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FRIDAY, December 22 2017

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U.S. accusations are unfounded: Pakistan


SLAMABAD, DECEMBER 20, 2017, PTI - Pakistan on Wednesday strongly responded to U.S.’s concerns about the terror groups operating from its soil as outlined in its National Security Strategy, terming them as “unfounded accusations” that belie the facts on the ground. Mandated by the Congress, US President Donald Trump yesterday released his first National Security Strategy 2017, according to which the US has asked Pakistan to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts. In a statement, the Foreign Office said the NSS 2017 has made certain unsubstantiated allegations against Pakistan. “Pakistan rejects such unfounded accusations that belie facts on ground and trivialise Pakistan’s efforts for fighting terrorism and our unmatched sacrifices to promote peace and stability in the region,” the statement said. It said Pakistan has been at the forefront in the fight against terrorism and it is because of Pakistan’s cooperation, acknowledged and appreciated by the U.S. leadership, that the al-Qaeda’s core was decimated from the region. It said that in a troubled neighbourhood, Pakistan continues to suffer at

Consul General of India hosts Hanukkah celebration dinner by Shobana Muratee


he home of the Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg was buzzing with children and guests on Monday, December 18 as they celebrated Hanukkah in association with AJC Global, Houston, Israeli Consulate General, Houston and Indian community leaders. They were joined by Harris County Judge Hon’ble Ed Emmett as the chief guest. This is the second year the Consul General has been observing the celebration with intimate fanfare. Welcoming the guests, Dr. Ray said that his family was part Jewish (as his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg is of Israeli decent) and part Indian. He spoke of the two oldest faiths Hinduism and Judaism - both over 5000 years old - and shared an experience of his visits to Jerusalem annually: saying he can sense a civilization and a way of life that’s thousands of years old. He drew a comparison of the ancient Wailing Wall (or Western Wall), a part of the Jerusalem Temple that was built thousands of years ago and the ancient cities of Banaras (Varanasi), Nalanda and Sarnath (where Buddha gave his first sermon) in India. “We refer to parts of India as holy land much as the Jewish people refer to their country (as the holy land),” he said.

Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg celebrated Hanukkah at their residence on Monday, Dec. 18. Seen here with Chief Guest Harris County Judge Hon’ble Ed Emmett, Randy Czarlinsky, AJC, Houston, Vijay and his wife Marie Goradia, Dy. Consul General Surender Adhana and Mrs. Aparna Ray Pai.

Continued on Page 3

Continued on Page 10

Indians in Houston celebrate 10th Hamara Desi Christmas

Wishing you all the Hope, Wonder, and Joy that the Season can bring!

Read report on Page 8

Read Your Community News at: www.

Voice of Asia Publisher, Koshy and his wife Moani Thomas with their daughters, sons-in-law and grandsons.

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

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To understand the cynicism and mendacity underlying the Republican tax bill, look no further than a provision that would benefit President Trump and other property tycoons that is in the final legislation Congress is expected to vote on this week. The provision would allow people who make money from real estate to take a 20 percent deduction on income they earn through limited liability companies, partnerships and other so-called pass-through entities that do not pay the corporate tax. The beneficiaries would also include members of Congress like Senator Bob Corker, who last week decided he would vote for the bill even though Republican leaders did nothing to address his concerns about an exploding federal deficit. The biggest winners would be people like Mr. Trump, his family and similarly advantaged developers who make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars every year on swanky office towers and luxurious apartment buildings. An earlier version of the bill passed by the Senate provided a 23 percent deduction but put limits on its use that would prevent wealthy developers from profiting from it. The House version would simply have reduced the rate at which pass-through income

FRIDAY, December 22 2017

Tax Bill Lets Trump and Republicans Feather Their Own Nests is taxed. Republican leaders and Mr. Corker, who owns a real estate partnership in Tennessee, say the new loophole was not put in place to win over his vote. Mr. Corker has become more important because his party can afford to lose only two votes, and Senator John McCain will be absent because of the aftereffects from his cancer treatment. Republicans insist, further, that the provision was not “airdropped” — Mr. Corker’s term — into the tax bill during conference committee negotiations, and that its main purpose was to make sure pass-through businesses were not treated unfairly because corporations would be getting a big tax cut to 21 percent, from 35 percent now. Whatever the Republicans’ protestations, this malodorous loophole is further confirmation that congressional leaders are doing everything they can to maximize benefits for the wealthy at the expense of almost everybody else. As for Mr. Trump, he has been going around saying the tax bill would “cost me a fortune” and his accountants “are

air after 2025. Homeowners and others in high-cost states like California, New Jersey and New York would see their once-sizable deductions for state and local taxes shrink to a maximum of $10,000 a year, which could in turn reduce home values. Further, the tax bill would permanently change how tax brackets are adjusted for inflation so that more people would be pushed into higher tax brackets over time even if they received only modest raises in salary.

going crazy now.” This claim has always been “fake news.” But with the new loophole it has become even more nonsensical. Having done nothing to drain the Washington swamp, the president now luxuriates in its warm waters. All told, the 20 percent deduction for pass-through income would cost the government $414.5 billion in lost revenue over 10 years, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. To put that number into context, it is about 29 times as much as the roughly $14 billion a year that the federal government spends on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nearly nine million kids from low-income families. Congress let authorization for that program lapse at the end of September.

Details aside, here in broad numbers is the bill’s impact 10 years from now, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center: Nearly 70 percent of families with incomes of between $54,700 and $93,200 a year would pay more in taxes than they would under current law. By contrast, 92 percent of families whose incomes put them in the top 0.1 percent of the country would get a tax cut averaging $206,280.

The tax bill’s generosity toward real estate titans stands in stark contrast to its stinginess toward the average wage earner as well as its very real damage to taxpayers in high-cost states. Average wage earners who would get modest tax cuts in the early years would see them evaporate into thin

This bill is bad enough. No less revolting is the dishonest and sneaky way it was written. (COURTESY: New Times Editorial Board)


Houstonians discuss Wa. train accident, bullet train by Lindsey Henry


OUSTON (FOX 26) - At the University of Houston Center of Logistics and Transportation Policy, Maria Burns, who also serves as a researcher for the Department of Homeland Security, says many things could have caused what happened just south of Seattle but that she is still in shock after she heard the news. “I believe that around the world, we are in an era where we have so many different innovations in terms of technology, so many different and wonderful things are happening in terms of technology, so it was pretty much a surprise to see that accident, that caliber,” says Burns. “It’s really pretty frightening to think that kind of thing can still happen in today’s society,” says Houston resident Billy Hay. Officials with the Federal Railroad Administration re-

cently mentioned that the Texas Bullet Train would soon start in Dallas, go through BryanCollege Station and end up in Houston somewhere south of U.S. Highway 290, west of the 610 Loop and north of Interstate 10. Texas Central chief executive officer Carlos Aguilar sent FOX 26 the following statement: Thousands of hours have been spent to ensure the Texas Bullet Train will be constructed and operated in a way that gives Texans a choice for the safest mode of transportation in the world. This process ensures issues identified are addressed in the best way possible for communities and the environment. The route will also have no “at grade crossings,” which means essentially it will have no risk of intersecting with traffic.”

Houstonians spoke with FOX 26 about whether or not what happened in the Pacific Northwest will impact their thoughts on using the high-speed train.

going to be a reality, so basically we have to trust the technologies and everything and just try to figure out what happened in this case,”explains Burns.

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FRIDAY, December 22 2017

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Consul General of India hosts Hanukkah celebration dinner Continued from Page 1 “We are today, two faiths, two people who share a lot in common: We share the importance of education and learning as a method to improve ourselves; we believe in family values,” he said. “And since we are in a Republican state here we all believe in free enterprise,” he related, humoring the audience. On a serious note he said India, Israel and the United States have excellent relations now. “They are together building an aircraft carrier with the platform systems of Indian origin the weapon systems of US origin and the electronics are of Israeli origin.” They are also collaborating on Industries, universities and research he informed us. Chief Guest, Judge Ed Emmett, raised Presbyterian, grew up in East Texas where there was a Baptist church and a Methodist church, he said addressing the guests. When his family moved to Houston, he went to Bellaire HS that was then 35-40% Jewish. “By default, I was introduced to the Jewish faith and it was actually good at that time as I didn’t know anything about it,” he said. Judge Emmett also told the guests about his son Joseph who currently lives in India teaching Vedanta studies. “The two religions and heritages that I would never have come in contact with had it not been forced on me,” he said. “But it’s the best thing that ever happened. We need that more often and so gatherings like this.” Randall ‘Randy’ Czarlinsky, Regional Director, AJC Houston (American Jewish Community) in his address said, “This is the 25th anniversary for Israel and India having relationship

Chief Guest, Judge Ed Emmett seen lighting the Menorah during Hanukkah celebrations. Helene Zadak, AJC giving an overview of Hanukkah. and AJC has strong relationships with the Indian community conducting workshops here in Houston,” he added. Later, Helene Zadak, AJC Houston official gave a quick overview of Hanukkah as the children listened intently to her narration of the significance of Menorah and the Temple. Consul General Dr. Ray was joined by his mother Mrs. Ray, his sister Aparna Ray Pai and her family, Hon. Lior Yonatan of the Israeli Consulate General and his wife Michal, former Councilman, City of Sugar Land Harish Jajoo and leaders of Indo-American community in the celebration. Indian delicacies and choice sumptuous desserts made it a Happy Hanukkah!

Randy’ Czarlinsky, Regional Director, AJC Houston seen speaking at the Hanukkah celebrations.

Hon. Lior Yonatan of the Israeli Consulate General and his wife Michal with hosts Consul General Dr. Ray and his wife Dr. Amit Goldberg. (Photos by Shobana Muratee)

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FRIDAY, December 22 2017


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

Jay Neal Named Associate Vice President and COO for UH Sugar Land and Katy

Briargate Elementary’s Juanita Staten receives Red Apple Award


ay Neal has been named associate vice president and chief operating officer for the University of Houston at Sugar Land and University of Houston at Katy. The move is effective Jan. 1, 2018. “I am delighted to offer this position to Dr. Neal,” said Paula Myrick Short, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Houston. “I am confident he will continue to work with the University and community to advance the shared vision of UH Sugar Land and UH Katy as integral parts of the University of Houston.” Neal will be charged with academic and administrative leadership of both UH Sugar Land and UH Katy. That includes outreach to community agencies, government entities, school districts and community colleges. Neal has served as the assistant provost of academic affairs and operations at UH Sugar Land since May 2016. He also served as an associate professor at the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management where he taught for more than 15 years. “It is my great privilege to lead the faculty, students and staff at UH Sugar Land,” Neal said. “I look forward to continuing the great work of connecting with our Fort Bend County community, business and government leaders that began with Bob McPherson’s great vision and collaborative spirit.” McPherson was appointed interim associate provost of academic affairs and operations in 2015, while continuing to serve as dean of the UH College of Education. He will return to that post. UH Sugar Land became a part of the University of Houston in fall 2016. It is home to the UH College of Nursing, as well as programs from the Colleges of Technology, Education, Social Work, and Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. In the past year, the number of students enrolled in classes that meet in Sugar Land has increased from 1,645 to 2,365 students as the academic offerings grew to 10 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs. This includes programs unique to UH Sugar Land. Additionally, groundbreaking is expected soon for a new

Sugar Land’s Whiskerville Now Open for Pet Adoptions


UGAR LAND, Texas – The city of Sugar Land celebrated the grand opening of Whiskerville, an expansion of their animal shelter facility, on Dec. 12. The event included facility tours, hot cocoa, snacks and photos with Santa. Whiskerville was added to accommodate a planned increase in operations. Staff and volunteers transformed the 2,400 square foot facility into a feline friendly house for the shelter’s cats and kittens. The building also includes a veterinarian room, wildlife room, a break room and a managerial office. The existing 4,300 square foot animal services building is officially named Barksburg and will be home to dogs and puppies. For more information about the shelter or pet adoptions, visit www. or call 281-

Juanita Staten

Jay Neal will be charged with academic and administrative leadership of both UH Sugar Land and UH Katy. Image UH.

100,000-square-foot facility. In 2016, the University of Houston System purchased 46 acres of land in Katy and will break ground

on the facility in spring 2018. It will house programs in nursing and engineering, as well as programs from University of Houston-Victoria.

Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees names new directors FORT BEND ISD (December 15, 2017) ― The FBISD Board of Trustees approved two leadership positions at its December 11 Board Meeting. Dr. Megan Evans was named Director of Innovation and Continuous Improvement, and Clarissa Rodriguez as the new Director of Enriched Learning Opportunities. Dr. Megan Evans most recently served as vice president of business development for the Education Resource Group. As FBISD’s Director of Innovation and Continuous Improvement, she will oversee program evaluation, internal and external research, and identify innovative opportunities for the district through grant acquisition. Evans received her Doctorate and Master’s of Education from Lamar University. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston. Clarissa Rodriguez is an experienced education professional whose career spans 12 years. She comes to Fort Bend ISD from Round Rock

FORT BEND ISD (December 18, 2017) – Juanita Staten, a kindergarten teacher at Briargate Elementary, is the recipient of the Red Apple Award for December 2017. KHOU-TV’s Great Day Houston, in conjunction with Star Furniture, presents the award to Houston-area teachers who go above and beyond their call of duty to support students.

was very proud of me and my career in education,” said Staten.

Campus administrators and a group of Staten’s peers joined Great Day Houston reporter Christina Kooker in surprising her with the award on December 8.

Briargate Principal Deanna Olson also speaks highly of Staten. “Ms. Staten gives so much to her students and our staff all the time, and I’m glad she’s being recognized with the Red Apple Award,” said Olson.

“I am so honored to be awarded the Red Apple Award. It means a lot to be recognized for my hard work and dedication to students,” said Staten. “It’s also an honor to teach every day and make a positive difference in children’s lives.” Staten dedicates her Red Apple award to her mother who recently lost her battle with cancer. “My mother

Peggy Jones nominated Staten for the award. She describes Staten as a “die hard” educator who is always willing to volunteer and support her colleagues. She also said Staten takes pride in her appearance by dressing up for class each day and is always seen with a smile on her face.

Assistant Principal Constance Hawkins agrees. “I marvel over her dedication and constant morale boosts she provides to staff, even when facing challenges of her own,” said Hawkins. Staten closes out the year as the last educator to receive a Red Apple award in 2017.


ISD where she served as principal at the Round Rock Early College High School. She brings leadership skills and experience in developing and maintaining successful educational programs. Rodriguez has a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University, and a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M UniversityKingsville.

Fort Bend ISD announces new Missouri City Middle School Assistant Principal ORT BEND ISD (December 20, 2017) – The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees approved Tania Campbell as the new assistant principal of Missouri City Middle School at the December 18 Board Meeting.


Campbell recently served as an English Language Arts teacher at Bush High School. Prior to that, she spent numerous years teaching 9th grade English at Westbury High School in Houston Independent School District. During her tenure at HISD, she also served as the OneGoal Program Director, where she led a cohort of students from their junior year to their first year of college.

Tania Campbell

Ranjan K Dhairyawan died peacefully on December 13 2017 at Brampton, Canada. He is mourned by his wife Jyotsna Dhairyawan and sons Sameer & Swapan Dhairyawan, Daughter in laws Shibani & Pallavi Dhairyawan and Grand daughters Srushti, Eesha and Alyesha

Campbell obtained a master’s degree from the Heritage University and earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Washington.


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Texas Comptroller’s Office Unveils New Unclaimed Property Website

Harry Patel promoted as Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant (CFLC)

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar reminds Texans to search for their unclaimed money this holiday season with the Unclaimed Property Division’s new and improved website, “I am proud of our unclaimed property program, which has returned about $800 million to its rightful owners since I’ve been Comptroller,” Hegar said. “The newly redesigned website makes it even easier for users to search for unclaimed property, and I encourage everyone to go online, take a look around and see if there is money waiting for you or your loved ones.” New features include: - an enhanced search function for more comprehensive self-service searches; - the ability to upload claim documentation directly to ClaimitTexas. org; and - better mobile features that make it easier to search on smartphones and tablets.

Harry Patel CFLC HPPS LLC 7322 SW Fwy, Suite 400 Houston, TX 77074



Get Practice At Libraries’ Conversation Circles

re you learning to speak English? Would you like some practice in a casual, informal atmosphere? Fort Bend County Libraries presents a program for individuals of all nationalities who would like a place to practice their English language and conversation skills. The “ESL Conversation Circles” provide an opportunity for non-English-speaking people to gather in a relaxed setting, and discuss topics of their own choosing while practicing their English skills.


The Conversation Circles will take place at four locations in the Fort Bend County library system in January. The schedule is as follows:

FRIDAY, December 22 2017

· George Memorial Library – 1001 Golfview, Richmond; Adult Services Lab

o Fridays, January 12 and 26, 1:00-2:00 pm, Multi-purpose Room.

o Tuesdays, January 9 and 23, 6:00-7:00 pm

· First Colony Branch Library – 2121 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land.

o Wednesdays, January 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31; 10:00-11:00 am

o Tuesday, January 16, 1:30-3:00 pm, Conference Room.

· Sugar Land Branch Library – 550 Eldridge o Thursdays, January 4, 11, 18, and 25, 10:15 am-12:00 noon, Conference Room · Cinco Ranch Branch Library – 2620 Commercial Center Blvd, Katy

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call George Memorial Library (281341-2652), the Cinco Ranch Branch Library (281-395-1311), the Sugar Land Branch Library (281-2382140), or the First Colony Branch Library (281-238-2800).

OUSTON - In a congratulatory letter dated December 15, 2017, the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) granted Harry Patel the professional designation of Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant (CFLC)™. Kerry Parker, CAE, FEWA Executive Director in her letter stated, “By virtue of your qualifications as a practicing expert witness, you have met the minimum criteria required of Certified Forensic Litigation ConsulDecember 15, 2017 tants.”

Further, it was mentioned in the letter that his application was reviewed and approved by the FEWA National Office, the FEWA Credentialing Committee, and officially approved by the FEW A National Board of Directors on December 8, 2017.

credential CFLC in future communications. “You also have FEWA’s permission to use the CFLC badge icon for purposes of your website, email communication or social media,” the letter statted. The Credentialing Committee encourages all CFLCs to participate on the Credentialing Committee in a continuing effort to bolster and advance the CFLC credential. Interested persons can contact the National Office.

Harry Patel CFLC HPPS LLC 7322 SW Fwy, Suite 400 Houston, TX 77074

Harry Patel CFLC

Dear Harry, Congratulations! It is an honor and privilege for the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) to grant you the professional designation of Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant (CFLC)™. By virtue of your qualifications as a practicing expert witness, you have met the minimum criteria required of Certified Forensic Litigation Consultants. Your application was reviewed and approved by the FEWA National Office, the FEWA Credentialing Committee, and officially approved by the FEW A National Board of Directors on December 8, 2017. You may now promote yourself as a Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant and use the credential CFLC in future communications. You also have FEWA’s permission to use the CFLC badge icon for purposes of your website, email communication or social media. The Credentialing Committee encourages all CFLCs to participate on the Credentialing Committee in a continuing effort to bolster and advance the CFLC credential. If this is of interest to you, please contact the National Office. Best wishes for continued success.

Patel is now officially permitted to promote himself as Kerry Parker, CAE a Certified ForenFEWA Executive Director sic Litigation Consultant and use the Copy of the letter. Regards,


FRIDAY, December 22 2017

Holiday Special Gift and Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Those with Active Hobbies

Travelers Travel lovers on your holiday shopping list? Frequent fliers will appreciate customized luggage tags that will make spotting bags a cinch. Add comfort to all those redeye flights with a memory foam neck pillow. Newer models even offer features like pockets for smartphones and built-in earbuds. Runners / Dogwalkers

Yogis There are many great gift options

Photo Source: (c) Tierney/ for those who love yoga. Consider a personalized yoga mat, which you can design through an online site that lets you upload any image you want to create a meaningful gift. Select a picture of a beloved pet or a rendering of their favorite piece of artwork for a truly unique yoga mat. Or, help them take their practice to the next level with a gift certificate to a studio offering advanced classes, such as hot yoga or aerial yoga.

ital focus easily transitions from a full spotlight to a full flood light to help with fireside cooking or setting up the campsite. For hiking and climbing, the aluminum alloy exterior makes it a durable choice. Its impressive runtime, paired with powerful light output and a natural daylight color, make this flashlight a must-have gadget for those whose adventures include any kind of outdoor excursion. More information can be found at energizer. com/lighting.

Outdoor Adventurers Give the gift of light to your favorite outdoor adventurer with an Energizer Vision HD performance metal light with Digital Focus. The one-press dig-

This holiday season, thoughtful gift-giving can add light, comfort and personalized fun to loved ones’ busy lifestyles. Courtesy: StatePoint.

Holiday Cheer Abundant, Plentiful with Events Through New Year’s Eve Sugar Land, Texas – Holiday cheer will continue throughout December, as residents and visitors enjoy Christmas lights, ice skating and holiday entertainment galore at various locations throughout Sugar Land. Be sure

by P.G.Parameswaran, MD



t’s the gift-giving season and rather than give generic presents to everyone you love, consider thoughtful items that will make their lives easier and hobbies more fulfilling.

Not everyone is exploring the neighborhood in the dark, but runners and dogwalkers often are, especially when days are short. Consider brightening their way to make adventures safer with a headlight. For bright light of up to 180 lumens, the Energizer Vision HD headlight is an affordable, practical stocking stuffer. To light the path for both owner and pet on those wintry nights, the headlight features three light modes and pivoting functionality to direct light where one needs it. It’s also weather resistant and drop-tested up to 1 meter to stand up to harsh conditions. Running at sunset or at sunrise, an innovative smart-dimming feature provides users with maximum run-time to brighten hands-free activities at any time of the day.

The Best Gift You Can Give This Season

to check out the “Top 5 Things to Do in Sugar Land” at Holiday.aspx. While the city of Sugar Land will not host its annual New Year’s Eve

uring the holidays, when everyone is focused on giving gifts to family and friends, I would like to propose that you consider giving a free but important gift that will be cherished life-long: the gift of life. Several of our brothers and sisters suffering from Leukemia or other cancers and have stopped responding to chemotherapy and will surely die if they do not receive a bone marrow transplant quickly enough. I am appealing to you, the adult members of your family and friends to register to be bone marrow donors in the Be The Match Registry. The chances of a family member matching is only 15% to 20%. Since only a person of the same ethnicity as the patient can be a match and the patient’s human leucocyte antigen (HLA) has to match with that of the donor, there has to be a large number of South Asians registered in the national Be The Match Registry as potential donors. But the sad fact is that there are only a meager and negligible number of South Asians in the Registry. In addition, if you have an uncommon tissue type you may never be a match. Imagine for a moment that either you or a family member has stopped responding to chemotherapy, and is waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Your life would depend on matching with one of the few South Asians who have registered in the National Bone Marrow Registry. Next, imagine the unimaginable: Beating the odds, you do find a match…but your match decides not to donate. Unfortunately, this is a far too common occurance. This is what happened to 15 year old Manjot Singh (pictured). He has two sisters and lives with his parents and they were not a match. In 2012, he was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia is a condition in which the bone marrow (the jelly like substance that fills the hollow of long bones and makes all the blood cells) stops producing enough red blood cells, white cells and platelets. This leads to fatigue, recurrent infections and uncontrolled bleeding, needing repeated blood transfusions. Severe aplastic anemia requires a bone marrow transplantation. He was lucky to find a perfect match but unfortunately

on the Square Celebration this year, there’s still plenty of opportunities to celebrate at many local hot spots -- pretty much something to do for everyone. Local bars and restaurants will have specials, including midnight champagne toasts, drink specials and even brunch and buffet options. For more New Year’s Eve events visit w w w. v i s i t s u g Media-Center/TopReasons-to-SpendNYE-in-SugarLand.

munity’s most popular dance performers and theatrical acts. Revelers enjoyed festive holiday games, activities, a variety of food vendors, and Santa Claus made a grand entrance to help light the city’s 40 foot Christmas tree in Sugar Land Town Square.

Sugar Land kicked off the holiday season with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting held Dec. 7 in Sugar Land Town Square.

Visit Sugar Land (VSL) Convention and Visitor Services is a resource for all things fun in Sugar Land. For shopping, dining and event information, visit or follow them @VisitSugarLand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thousands filled Town Square to enjoy some of the com-

For more about tourism and events in Sugar Land, call (281) 275-2045 or email

Manjot Singh, 15 the matched person decided not to donate. We do not know when Manjot Singh will find another match. Every 3 minutes someone gets diagnosed with a blood cancer. For many of these patients a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Four out of five in the Caucasian community find a match in 6 months, but in our South Asian community, four out of five lose this battle without finding a match. If you are committed to give this gift of life you should register with the Be The Match Registry. If registered, and you match with a patient you should be committed to donate a small amount of marrow to save the patient’s life. If you match and decide not to donate, it amounts to a death sentence for the patient since there is unlikely to be another match. One or two percent of the 92 oz of bone marrow that is distributed in all your long bones, can save someone who has Leukemia, any other blood cancer, or aplastic anemia. Donating this small amount of marrow will have no ill effects on you and your body will replenish it in about two HERE IS HOW TO REGISTER TO BE A DONOR : Please visit for more information. In Houston, call the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center at 713 790 1200 or 1 888 482 5663 OR contact Gaytri Kapoor, Donor Contact Representative in the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center at 281 780 1379. Contact the Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) which conducts bone marrow donor registration drives regularly, at 713 370 3489 to find out the date and location of the next drive or visit If you would like to get involved and increase the donor pool, or have a friend or family member needing a transplant, the above organizations can help to hold a drive to recruit potential donors. You will be glad you registered to be a donor and helped others to register as well. The author wishes to thank Gaytri Kapoor for her help in providing the statistics and the case report for this artic

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FRIDAY, December 22 2017

Holiday Special Festive Tips to Set a Holiday Mood at Home

3 Tips To Reduce Holiday Stress And Preserve Marital Bliss

feel, creatively decorate your home using your holiday cards with greetings from loved ones. String cards together and hang them in the doorway, decorate the fridge or display them on the mantle.


he holidays arrive and with them come those endless lists of gifts to buy, decorations to put up and parties to attend.

Meeting all the demands can place a lot of stress on a married couple’s relationship, but it doesn’t need to be that way. “We all want our holidays to be magical and perfect, but the reality doesn’t always meet the expectations,” says Dr. Tim R. Thayne, a marriage and family therapist and author of Not by Chance: How Parents Boost Their Teen’s Success In and After Treatment ( “But that’s OK. One of the most important things couples need to remember this time of year is that you don’t have to live up to everyone else’s expectations and you don’t even have to keep doing everything you did in holidays past.”

4. Get into the spirit. Frosty pine, sugar cookies, cinnamon and more. Fill your home with the spirit of the holidays using essential oils and candles of classic holiday scents. Or, keep it natural and boil cinnamon sticks with orange and cloves.

Thayne offers a few tips to couples to help keep the stress level low and marital bliss on track through the hectic holiday season: • Hold a holiday powwow. No one wants the frustrating experience of parental shock when one parent buys a child an unexpected gift that is way over budget. The resulting tension can put a damper on the sweetness of the experience for everyone. Thayne says you can avoid this by scheduling a holiday planning session to brainstorm gift ideas, work out budgets, and review letters to Santa or teenage wish lists. “Because you were raised in different families, you may have different ideas about what Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas morning, or New Year’s Eve festivities should look like,” Thayne says. “You can avoid conflict by setting expectations early for how many events you’ll attend, whether you’ll take the kids, how much you plan to spend on each other, or what houseguests you’ll allow to stay over.” • Write a decline script. If you feel relieved when the holidays are over, you probably are guilty of overbooking yourself. “Write and then practice a script for politely turning down invitations for yet another holiday party, ice skating with the baseball team, or a performing arts event,” Thayne says. “Realize and commit to memory that mantra that the quality of an event is far better than quantity.” Your decline script could be something like: “That sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to attend. I’m sure it will come off beautifully.” • Know that not all traditions need to live on. Family circumstances and needs change, Thayne says. Holiday traditions might have their place for a time, but as children grow, you may be able to swap out the childhood fun of everyone-sleepsin-the-same-room-on-Christmas-Eve tradition for the benefits of the teenagers getting a good night’s rest instead. Anyone can add shiny, fun things into their life. It takes determination to evaluate and edit. “So, make the traditions you do decide to continue even better,” Thayne says. “How? Find a way to make them more relationship-focused.” “A scaled-down holiday may be just what a couple needs to keep the season relaxed and joyful,” Thayne says. “It may just take a little planning, compromising, as well as a willingness to let go of a few traditions, to make it happen.” Dr. Tim R. Thayne, a marriage and family therapist, is author of Not By Chance: How Parents Boost Their Teen’s Success In and Out of Treatment ( He also is the founder and CEO of Homeward Bound, a leading program in early intervention and in-home transition from treatment services from for families of troubled teens. He has a master’s degree from Brigham Young University and a doctoral degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Virginia Tech. COURTESY: News & Experts.

Baking with Grandma. Photo Source: (c) luckybusiness/


t’s the most festive time of the year. Be sure to fill your home with the classic scents, sounds and sights of the holiday season in the following ways. 1. Start a Holiday Cookie Tradition. Bring the family together by baking cookies. Not only will it fill the home with a scrumptious aroma, it’s a fun activity that can involve everyone. Let kids get creative and decorate their own batch. In the spirt of giving, make some extras to share with

friends, neighbors, teachers, coworkers and more. 2. Sing carols. Carol from the comfort of home. To experience a sense of community, organize an at-home holiday sing-along. An elegant, compact digital piano such as Casio’s Privia PX-770 is great for this seasonal tradition. Record your performances for posterity using its two-track MIDI recorder. 3. Display greetings. For a festive

5. Enjoy your favorite flicks. From classic dramas to contemporary comedies, the holiday genre is eclectic. Set up a home theater and enjoy your favorite films with some hot chocolate under a cozy blanket. To get an upgraded movie theater-like experience at home, check out the projectors from Casio’s LampFree line-up, which offer eliable, brilliant images. At your next holiday party, consider projecting movies silently while playing holiday music for an extra boost of cheer.

Rome mourns early death of Christmas tree ‘Baldy’


omans on Tuesday were mourning the untimely death of the Eternal City’s tree, affectionately nicknamed ‘Baldy’. With a week still to go until December 25, the tree in the Italian capital’s main square of Piazza Venezia has become such a laughing stock that it led the city’s mayor to launch an investigation into what prompted Baldy’s premature demise.


“Rome’s tree is dry, dead on arrival. It’s a metaphor for the state of the capital,” one local wrote on Twitter, while another wondered: “What time does the funeral start?” Poor Baldy is a Norway spruce, while the European silver fir would have been a much safer bet for a tree, these self-professed Christmas tree experts said. Right: Tourists take pictures near the controversial Christmas tree at PiazzaVenezia in Rome.-

Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how pitifully bare are your branches!”


Happy Holidays and New Year Blessings!

Political ad paid for by Re-Elect Judge Jay Karahan, K. Knox Nunnally, Treasurer.

Drawing courtesy RC Youth Foundation

I want to extend a big Happy Holiday wish to all of the readers of the “Voice of Asia” Tom Reid

Mayor | City Council City of Pearland


FRIDAY, December 22 2017

Holiday Special Indians in Houston celebrate 10th Hamara Desi Christmas dinators of the event said “Christmas is the season of love, peace and Joy. Nothing gives us more joy than preparing for this Christmas event for the South Asian community in Houston. She further added that when we see that the audience thoroughly enjoy the show it gives us the reason to do better and more shows in the coming years.”


ouston’s one and only Indian Christmas celebration was hosted last Saturday, the 16th of December 2017 at the Stafford Civic Center. This year it was a sold-out event and as always the auditorium was packed and the audiences were treated to an awe inspiring program by the Houston Indian Fellowship team.

Deepak Israel, of HIF proudly stated, “This event brings an opportunity to bring our own south Asian culture to be enjoyed thousands of miles away here in Houston. With the help of the many volunteers we plan on bringing more competitions and dances to the event. More importantly it is a free event accessible for everyone, so we can all share the Christmas spirit with joy!”

The Houston Indian Fellowship (HIF), a group of Indians from across the metropolitan Houston area, conduct an annual Christmas Celebration to share with joy and cheer, the true meaning of Christmas to Houstonians from different walks of faith, religion, and social status. This year during the Christmas event HIF conducted spelling bee competition in addition to the usual painting competition. The admission for the event was free, and it was followed by complimentary dinner for all the attendees. The dinner was catered by Amma’s Kitchen.

Dr. Robello Samuel, of HIF, said “Seeing the spirit of Christmas freely shared with free food, dances, plays and competitions gives me great satisfaction as that is the whole idea behind the celebration!”

The Houston Indian Fellowship (HIF) members at the Christmas celebration

Young boys show their talent at the Christmas celebration.

Performances by young girls HIF, by hosting events like these, strives to bring Christmas cheer to people from different faiths and regions of India. The MCs Sharon Samuel and John Jeevarajan hosted this year’s event with elegance. They were engaging, entertaining, and kept the audience feeling at home. Dr. Robello Samuel, President of HIF kicked off this year’s event with a welcome speech and spoke briefly about the history of Hamara Desi Christmas.

This year’s celebration included a variety of dances from different parts of India, all presented professionally to an awestruck audience. This year HIF also introduced their very own production ‘The Birth of A Savior’ A screen and staged play retelling the life of Jesus, from His birth to resurrection. The stage was overflowing with vibrant colors as costumes from different parts of India were used for the variety of dances enriching and bringing to life our very own culture several thousand miles away.

The audience was speechless, and they were glued to their seats as HIF performed these programs. Deepak Israel, Secretary of Houston Indian Fellowship awarded the winners of the painting competition. Dr. Sushma of Spring Medical awarded the winners of Spelling bee competition. Tablets were given to the first prize winners in each category and the second prize winners were given a gift card. Finally, the HIF children performed a Christmas Carol medley of Angels

we have heard on high, Away in a manger, O come all ye faithful and Feliz Navi dad, as others in the audience joined Santa and the HIF team in wishing everyone a merry Christmas. The audience was raving about the event. “Wow! This is the best organized Desi event I have been to in the Houston area! Well organized and well catered event. The programs were crisp, clear and very professional.” Sheena Reuben, one of the coor-

The University of Houston students along with several other families and friends helped behind the scenes activities– all of which helped make this celebration a memorable one. Houston Indian Fellowship would also like to invite anyone interested in performing or helping at the 11th annual Hamara Desi Christmas event scheduled for the 22nd of December 2018 to please contact Dr. Robello Samuel at 832-275-8810 or Deepak Israel at 832-419-0967 or via email to You may also visit them at www.

Southwestern National Bank host its 20th annual Christmas party


outhwestern National Bank held its 20th annual Christmas party at the JW Marriott Hotel on December 9, 2017. President/CEO Gary Owens, gave a warm welcome and thanked the shareholders and special guests that were able to join us in celebrating the holidays.

Chairman of the Board C.K. Lee (left 2) and President-CEO, Gary Owens (right 1) presented 15-year service award to Vicky Chen (left 2), Helen Liu (middle), Annie Chan (left2) received their 15 year service award at the Southwestern National Bank annual Holiday Party on 12-9-2017 (Member FDIC).

Chairman of the Board C.K. Lee (left 2) and President-CEO, Gary Owens (right 1) presented 10 –year service award to Winnie Wong,( left 1) , Winnie Wang (left 3), Chi Tang (left 4), Annie Lee (right 4), Anna Tse- Cheng (right 3) and Chen Chen (right 2), received their 10 year service award at the Southwestern National Bank annual Holiday Party on 12-9-2017 (Member FDIC).

A section of the audience at the annual Holiday Party.

Chairman of the Board C.K. Lee with guests at the annual Holiday Party.

Mr. Owens expressed his sincere appreciation to the Board of Directors for their continued support and thanked the employees for their dedication and hard work. He stated tonight is a perfect opportunity to come together, enjoy good company and celebrate another successful year. (Member FDIC).



Barring H-4 Spouses From Employment Disproportionately Discriminates Against Indian Families


ASHINGTON, DC (December 15, 2017) — Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) expressed concern over the Trump Administration’s plan to revoke a 2015 rule created by President Barack Obama allowing spouses of H-1B skilled labor visa holders to seek employment under the H-4 visa. The initial rule took into account the financial and emotional stress faced by immigrant workers and their families, and sought to allow spouses on H-4 visas to contribute taxable income to support their households. This announcement from the Department of Homeland Security regarding thousands of H-4 visa holders comes several months after President Donald Trump ordered a review of the H-1B visa program. Additional restrictions to the H-1B program itself are expected in the upcoming year. Media reports indicated that this was an attempt to enhance the Administration’s “Buy American - Hire American” initiative.

“The vast majority of H-1B visas issued to skilled laborers are from India, and the proposed rule change will have a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on Indian immigrants, the vast majority of whom are Hindu” said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF Senior Director for Policy, based in San Jose, CA. “If the rule is changed it would jeopardize the livelihoods of skilled immigrant labor families, and hinder the positive economic impact they have on our country.” Currently, the backlog for obtaining Green Card status, which most H-1B workers from India utilize to immigrate to the United States, is decades long due to country-cap restrictions. H-4 visa holders are often skilled workers in their own respective fields. The vast majority of H-1B/H-4 couples are also residing in metropolitan areas where there is a labor shortage, not where unemployment is high. “Indian skilled workers, who fill a major void in the American labor force, have long endured unwarranted criticism, and at times harassment,

for America’s broken immigration system. This year we saw a heinous hate crime murder perpetrated against an H-1B worker in Kansas, whose widow is an H-4 visa holder herself. Neither side of the political spectrum seems interested in addressing this critical immigration issue, and now spouses, most of whom are women, who are no threat to American workers are casualties of this gridlock,” added Kalra. About HAF The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is a non-partisan advocacy organization for the Hindu American community. The Foundation educates the public about Hinduism, speaks out about issues affecting Hindus worldwide, and builds bridges with institutions and individuals whose work aligns with HAF’s objectives. HAF focuses on human and civil rights, public policy, media, academia, and interfaith relations. Through its advocacy efforts, HAF seeks to cultivate leaders and empower future generations of Hindu Americans.

Student of Indian origin pleads guilty to launching cyberattack on US varsity EW JERSEY An Indian-American student has pleaded guilty to launching a massive cyberattack on a US university’s computer network by creating a giant botnet that paralysed the internet, officials have said.


Paras Jha, 21, of New Jersey along with two others Josiah White, 20, from Pennsylvania and Dalton Norman, 21, from Louisiana also pleaded guilty to creating and operating two botnets last year, which targeted ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) devices,

the Department of Justice announced Tuesday. “Paras Jha has admitted his responsibility for multiple hacks of the Rutgers University computer system,” Acting US Attorney William Fitzpatrick said in a statement yesterday. “These computer attacks shut down the server used for all communications among faculty, staff and students, including assignment of course work to stu-

Paras Jha, who faces a long prison term for his role in a series of cyber attacks. (Jeff Granit | For NJ Advance Media)

FRIDAY, December 22 2017

Sanjay Murty makes Influential Chicago Minority Lawyers List


anjay K. Murthy is a trial attorney who specializes in representing technology companies in high-stakes patent cases. He has represented Praxair, Inc., Baxter Healthcare and Baxalta, Inc., among many others. This year, he achieved two significant trial wins. Murthy was a lead partner in a complete trial victory for Praxair in an 11-patent infringement case filed by Mallinckrodt Hospital Products IP, INO Therapeutics LLC, and Ikaria Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The asserted patents relate to INOMAX (inhaled nitric oxide, which is used to treat neonates and children with breathing disorders) and medical devices for delivering the same. INOMAX is Mallinckrodt’s second-best-selling product, with annual sales of $500 million. Mallinckrodt was represented by a 12-lawyer team from a prestigious global firm, including its two global co-chairs of IP litigation and its

dents, and students’ submission of their work to professors to be graded,” he said. “The defendant’s actions effectively paralysed the system for days at a time and maliciously disrupted the educational process for tens of thousands of Rutgers’ students. “Yesterday, the defendant has admitted his role in this criminal offence and will face the legal consequences for it,” Fitzpatrick said. In a guilty plea before US District Judge Michael Shipp in Trenton federal court in New Jersey, Paras accepted of violating the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. According to court documents, between November 2014 and September 2016, Paras executed a series of attacks on the networks of Rutgers University.

Sanjay K. Murthy Partner Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP global co-chair of litigation. In September, the court ruled that five of the asserted patents were invalid and that the other six were not infringed, which resulted in a complete victory for Praxair. The case received national press attention.

His attacks effectively shut down Rutgers University’s central authentication server, which maintained, among other things, the gateway portal through which staff faculty, and students delivered assignments and assessments. At times, he succeeded in taking the portal offline for multiple consecutive periods, causing damage to the university, its faculty, and its students. The count to which Jha pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of USD 250,000, or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain or loss derived from the offence, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for March 13. (-PTI)


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FRIDAY, December 22 2017

OFBJP Houston Chapter celebrate India’s Magnificent BJP Victory in Gujarat and HP Mary driven by Ali in

bid for more boxing gold

Magnificent: India’s Mary Kom, five-time world boxing champion, mother of three and member of parliament (AFP Photo/INDRANIL MUKHERJEE) OFBJP Houston celebrate with friends and supporters at a restaurant on Hillcroft.


OUSTON - Excited, Jubilant and somewhat relieved OFBJP karyakartas gathered for a spontaneous celebrations over lunch in a local Indian restaurant on a rainy Monday afternoon in Houston. Most of these dedicated members were awake till the wee hours as counting of votes in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh unfolded, and the fact that they could make it to the celebrations on a busy office day speaks volumes about their commitment to BJP. The assembly was addressed by many senior members of the community. In his opening remarks, Houston chapter coordinator Achalesh Amar gave a brief glimpse of the efforts put by Houston community in this election. He applauded contributions of

by Padmanabha Rao two well-know senior community members Ramesh Shah ji and Sharad Amin ji , who are in Gujarat campaigning on the ground. Noting that in Gujarat the vote percentage difference was close to 9 percent over the closest rival, yet the number of extra seats BJP won was just marginally higher, he urged the gathering to be extra vigilant about poll strategies. In Himachal even though the vote difference was close to 7 % over the nearest rivals, BJP won more than twice the number of seats the incumbent party. Dr. Jayaram Guntapali spoke about the handicap BJP faced because of 22 years anti incumbency and the efforts put in my ground level workers to overcome this and other issues to put in a spirited campaign.

Raghuveer Reddy drew the attention of BJP leadership towards Telangana and the opportunity there for BJP to emerge as a credible alternative to present dispensation. Sangeeta Dua, the women and youth coordinator of Houston OFBJP chapter, stressed on the need of attracting more youth and women to such celebrations so that they get involved in political activities. Dr. Bimal Talati spoke about the need of BJP to work on Ram Mandir and article 370 immediately to retain its voter base. There was a general consensus that the members would need to work extra hard for 2019 elections. The speeches were followed by a sumptuous lunch.

He will go on trial from April 30. Rashid is charged with preparing acts of terrorism and assisting others to do likewise. Haddon-Cave set a four-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London. Rashid also appeared from a London prison via videolink and was remanded in custody. Khaleda sends legal notice to Hasina, seeks apology from PM Dhaka, Dec 20 (PTI) Bangladesh Opposition leader Khaleda Zia has sent a legal notice to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, demanding an unconditional apology for her remarks on the BNP chairperson’s alleged assets abroad, a party official said today.

the hands of state sponsored terrorism, funded and abetted by our neighbours through proxies. The self-proclaimed guarantors of peace and “phony regional powers” are pursuing this nefarious game of expansionism to the detriment of regional and global peace, the statement said, without naming any country. “Destabilising policies and actions by some countries to maintain their hegemony in pursuit of absolute power are responsible for instability in several parts of the world, including ours,” it said.

Driven on by the legacy of threetime world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, she has now set her sights on the Commonwealth Games in April, and even the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 where she hopes to improve on the bronze medal she won in London.

“And he was such a great boxer -that is why I am still able to do this.”

The legal notice was sent yesterday by 72-year-old Zia’s lawyer Mahbubuddin Khokon, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters. The notice demands an unconditional apology that can be issued to the media within 30 days. Compensation will be sought through legal means if no apology is issued, according to the notice, reported. Some media outlets had published a report claiming that an anti-graft investigation in Saudi Arabia has revealed that Zia and members of her family had assets in the kingdom.

U.S. accusations are unfounded: Pakistan Continued from Front Page

Dubbed “Magnificent Mary” for a glittering career that has already inspired a Bollywood biopic, veteran Kom last month defied critics who wrote her off by winning a record fifth Asian women’s championships title in Vietnam.

“I am really inspired by Muhammad Ali, who was a legend across the world. He is my mentor and my only inspiration (is) his achievements,” she told AFP.

Man faces trial over ‘plot to kill British PM’ London, United Kingdom | AFP | Wednesday 12/20/2017 A man accused of plotting to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May in a bomb and knife attack will face trial next June, a judge ruled Wednesday. Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, was charged with preparing acts of terrorism following his arrest on November 28. Rahman, a Bangladeshi living in north London, is accused of plotting an attack on May. According to the charge, he conducted reconnaissance of the target location, recorded a pledge of allegiance, and purchased a rucksack to be fitted with an improvised explosive device. He then collected the bag “with a view to committing attacks against persons in the UK”, according to prosecutors. He also allegedly assisted 21-yearold Mohammad Aqib Imran in his separate terror plans. He recorded and sent to Imran “a sponsorship video in order for him to be accepted by Islamic State (IS)”, the charge says. Imran allegedly tried to join the jihadist group and faces a charge of preparing acts of terrorism. The pair appeared at the Old Bailey central criminal court in London, via videolink from Belmarsh prison in the city. Judge Charles Haddon-Cave said he would hear their trial at the court for an estimated five weeks from June 18. The pair were remanded in custody. In a separate case, alleged IS supporter Husnain Rashid, 31, who is accused of sharing details of Prince George’s school on social media, appeared before Haddon-Cave at the court.


ANGALORE, India | AFP | Wednesday 12/20/2017 - She is a five-time world champion, mother of three and member of parliament, but Indian boxer Mary Kom believes that at 35 there is plenty more glory in the ring to come.

In an oblique reference to India, the statement said that countries emerge as regional or global powers on the basis of their constructive contributions and it does not fall upon one country to bestow such status on any state. “Ironically, a country with a record of defiance of UNSC resolutions, introduction of nuclear weapons in South Asia and use of terrorism as a state policy is being projected as a regional leader,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said. Pakistan also alleged that the hostile elements were using Afghan soil against it “despite substantial US presence” in Afghanistan. The statement said Pakistan has

The Asian title in November was her first gold at international level since winning the Asian Games in 2014. But Kom has long rejected the doubts of those who have highlighted her age and questioned her ability to combine boxing with being a mother and an MP in India’s upper house. “I am still fit. Some people talk about the X-factor and say ‘she cannot perform’. That is always the mindset. “So I say there is no X-factor ... I have more experience and I am getting better and better,” added Kom. In her bid for gold, she has dropped back down to the 48kg category she fought in when she first grabbed headlines at the 2001 world championships. “The Games will soon be here,” she said referring to the Commonwealth event in Australia’s Gold Coast. “I

consistently emphasised that a political settlement, owned and led by Afghans is the only viable option to end the conflict in Afghanistan. The statement said that Pakistan’s security forces have undertaken indiscriminate and effective counterterrorism operations against terrorism and extremism, making Pakistan a more stable, peaceful and secure country. Rejecting US concerns about its nuclear weapons, the statement said that Pakistan as a responsible nuclear state has put in place, a highly efficient, robust and centralised com-

am trying my best to improve day-byday.” Kom said the Indian government and much-criticised Boxing Federation of India (BFI) were providing “good facilities” so she has no excuses for not being ready. - Early struggle It is a far cry from recent years. Infighting in the Indian federation led to Kom failing to make the 2016 Rio Olympics. No Indian boxers took part in qualifying. “It was very unfortunate because the reason was there was no federation, they were fighting each other to hold power, be president,” said Kom. But businessman Ajay Singh’s election as BFI president last year has ended the turmoil. Like her hero Ali, Kom had her own struggles growing up, with her rise from an impoverished family in the remote northeastern state of Manipur being made into a 2014 Bollywood movie starring Priyanka Chopra. “In the beginning it was difficult to get my own gloves, it was difficult to even buy one glove and my family did not support me in the beginning,” Kom said. “They were worried that if I got injured, who will take the responsibility? “Everything moves with money only. If we want something to eat or to buy clothes or do anything, without money you can’t do anything,” she said with a laugh. Blessed with three sons, Kom is now happy juggling roles as a mother, lawmaker and gym owner. But she insists that boxing remains her top priority. “That is obviously very difficult. People might also say how can she maintain all these things? How can she keep performing? It is a question of will and mindset,” she said. “Whether I am going to a parliament session or programme or my own personal programme, that is secondary. The first priority is training, the rest comes second and that is why I am still performing.”

mand and control mechanism to secure its nuclear assets. “The safety and security standards of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal are second to no other nuclear state,” it said. It said Pakistan was mindful that the war against terrorism was not over and was committed to continue its fight against the sympathisers, financers and abettors of terrorism to ensure that its soil is not used for committing violence anywhere. “We expect the same commitment from our neighbours and other regional and global actors,” it said.

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China’s leader shakes it up

White House to push merit-based immigration in new campaign


ASHINGTON | AFP Friday, Dec 15, 2017 - The White House is embarking on a major campaign to turn public opinion against the nation’s largely family-based immigration system ahead of an all-out push next year to move toward a more merit-based structure.

President Xi puts his stamp on China’s economy, permits more debt by Ryan McMorrow


EIJING, China | AFP | Wednesday 12/20/2017 President Xi Jinping stamped his authority over China’s economy at a major meeting ending Wednesday, which called for “reasonable” credit expansion, increased imports and more open markets and efforts to curb noxious pollution. The pledges were made under a new banner, “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialist Economy with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, at the end of the annual Central Economic Work Conference, during which leaders review past policy and plan for the upcoming year. Xi is already seen as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. The clear expansion of his portfolio into economics -- once seen as the purview of the country’s premier -- is the latest sign of his ever-growing power. The outcome of the three-day closed-door meeting was published by the state news agency Xinhua. The report outlined China’s new economic direction under Xi, building on his declaration at a party congress in October that the country must shift from an era of high-growth to highquality development. The economy is rebalancing away from the investment-heavy and export-dependent model that brought four decades of breakneck economic growth but left the country heavily in debt. Though many analysts believe China’s debt-dependent growth has reached a breaking point, Xinhua’s report on the meeting noted no new projects to tackle the problem. Instead the meeting called for continued credit expansion. “The floodgates of monetary supply should be controlled, and credit and social financing should see reasonable growth,” Xinhua reported. The report did call for measures to tackle financial risk, but the apparently permissive credit policy flies in the face of increasingly dire warnings from foreign economists. In October the International Monetary Fund warned that China’s dependence on debt was growing at a “dangerous pace” and it must act to avert a brewing crisis.

Xinhua’s report on this week’s meeting made no mention of an official growth target for the year. But earlier on Wednesday a state think-tank forecast growth slowing to 6.7 percent in 2018, from 6.8 percent this year. - Boosting imports The drive to boost imports and open China’s market further could damp down a brewing trade conflict with the United States. “China vows to increase imports and cut import tariffs for some products to promote balanced trade,” Xinhua reported. The meeting also stressed the need to “expand opening up to the outside world” and “substantially expand market access”, it said. Economic relations have been a particularly thorny issue under US President Donald Trump. His administration has launched a record number of trade investigations of Chinese goods and added new tariffs to Chinese-made imports like aluminium foil and plywood. The import drive is also a nod to the need to get China’s consumer class to start spending at home. The meeting noted that the country boasts the world’s largest middle class. Xi has indicated he is willing to accept lower growth as China tackles financial risk and heavy pollution, with analysts saying he emphasised the point by leaving growth targets out of his speech to party delegates in October. “The key points are to win the battle for a blue sky, adjust the industrial structure and eliminate lagging production capacity,” Xinhua said. This winter China took the first steps in that direction, requiring steel factories and smelters to cut production -- with some running at half capacity -- in a drive to clean up the notoriously severe winter smog. The measure, among others, has dented industrial output but given the capital a string of blue-sky days. Along with pollution and imports, the government aims to control financial risk, encourage renting in the housing market, reduce poverty and protect private enterprise.

The administration was laying the groundwork for such a drive even before an Islamic State-inspired extremist who was born in Bangladesh tried to blow himself up in Midtown Manhattan on Monday. It is assembling data to bolster the argument that the current legal immigration system is not only ill-conceived, but dangerous and damaging to U.S. workers. “We believe that data drives policy, and this data will help drive votes for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress,” said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley. White House officials outlined their strategy this week exclusively to The Associated Press, and said the data demonstrates that changes are needed immediately. But their effort will play out in a di .. But their effort will play out in a difficult political climate, as even Republicans in Congress are leery of engaging in a major immigration debate ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The issue is expected to be prominently featured in the president’s Jan. 30 State of the Union address. The White House also plans other statements by the president, appearances by Cabinet officials and a push to stress the issue in conservative media. The administration was beginning its campaign Thursday with a blog post stressing key numbers: Department of Homeland Security data that shows nearly 9.3 million of the roughly 13 million total immigrants to the U.S. from 2005 to 2016 were following family members already in the United States. And just one in 15 immigrants admitted in the last decade by green card entered the country because of their skills. Other planned releases: a report highlighting the number of immigrants in U.S. jails, assessments of the immigration court backlog and delays in processing asylum cases, and a paper on what the administration says is a nexus between immigration and terrorism. Critics have questioned the administration’s selective use of sometimes misleading data in the past. The proposed move away from family-based immigration would represent the most radical change to the U.S. immigration system in 30 years. It would end what critics and the White House refer to as “chain migration,” in which immigrants are allowed to bring a chain of family members to the country, and replace it with a points-based system that favors education and job potential - “merit” measures that have increasingly been embraced by some other countries, including Britain.


On the evening of December 12, 2017, police detained Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, who were reporting on security force abuses against ethnic Rohingya for the Reuters news agency. On December 18, the media reported that President Htin Kyaw, a close ally of the de facto Burmese leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, approved charges against the journalists under the 1923 Official Secrets Act. “Burmese authorities should immediately release the two Reuters journalists whose detentions appear aimed at stopping independent reporting of the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Their secret, incommunicado detention lays bare government efforts to silence media reporting on critical issues.” Burmese authorities should immediately release the two Reuters journalists whose detentions appear aimed at stopping independent reporting of the

ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya. Reuters reported that the two journalists were dropped off by their driver at a police compound for a meeting with police officers in Rangoon on December 12 but never returned. The next day the government confirmed that the two journalists had been detained along with two police officers, Capt. Moe Yan Naing and Sgt. Khin Maung Lin. Under Burmese law, no one may be detained for more than 24 hours without the approval of a judge. With judicial approval, a suspect may be detained without charge for up to 30 days if the criminal penalty for the alleged offense is greater than seven years in prison. It is not known whether the two journalists have appeared before a judge. An officer from Yangon Police Division told Reuters on December 14 that the police would not disclose the location of the reporters until their investigation was completed. International human rights law provides that those arrested shall be informed of the reasons for their arrest and promptly brought before a judge and informed of any charges against them. The government’s failure to provide information on the whereabouts of the detained journalists or allow them access to counsel raises concerns of enforced disappearance. Enforced disappearances are defined under in-

Gidley said that for those looking to make the case that the U.S. is illserved by the current system, “ “transparency is their best friend.” “The more people know the real numbers, the more they’ll begin to understand that this is bad for American workers and this is bad for American security. And quite frankly, when these numbers come out in totality, we believe it’s going to be virtually impossible for Congress to ignore,” he said. The public is sharply divided on the types of changes President Donald Trump is advocating. A Quinnipiac University poll in August found that 48 percent of voters opposed a proposal that Trump has backed to cut the number of future legal immigrants in half and give priority to immigrants with job skills rather than those with family ties in this country. Forty-four percent of those polled - including 68 percent of Republicans - supported the idea. The White House hopes to see Congress begin to take up the issue early in 2018 - though it has yet to begin discussions with congressional leaders over even the broad strokes of a legislative strategy, officials said. Trump has laid out general principles for what he would like to see in an immigration bill in exchange for giving legal status to more than 700,000 young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. These include the construction of a border wall, tougher enforcement measures and moving to a more merit-based legal immigration system. In September, Trump gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix to allow the young immigrants known as “Dreamers” to stay in the country, creating an early-2018 crisis point he hopes will force Democrats to swallow some of his hardline demands. After Monday’s incident in New York and the truck attack there in October, DHS quickly released information on the suspects’ immigration statuses, and Trump amplified his calls for ending the two programs that brought them to the U.S. For those who have been pushing for an end to chain migration for decades, it’s a welcome push. The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which advocates for lower immigration levels, among other changes, recently began a national radio campaign warning of what it sees as the dangers of chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program. The group has spent close to $1 million over the last month and a half on its campaign. And NumbersUSA, another group that advocates for lower immigration levels, launched a national six-figure ad campaign Thursday “to educate on Chain Migration categories.” Guillermo Cantor, research director

Burma: Journalists feared ‘disappeared’ ANGOON, Myanmar – Burmese authorities should immediately release two Reuters journalists arrested in Rangoon for allegedly possessing leaked documents relating to police operations in Rakhine State, Human Rights Watch said today. After more than a week, the authorities have refused the journalists access to counsel and provided no information on their whereabouts, raising concerns of an enforced disappearance.

FRIDAY, December 22 2017

ternational law as the arrest or detention of a person by state officials or their agents followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty, or to reveal the person’s fate or whereabouts. Enforced disappearances violate a range of fundamental human rights protected under international law, including prohibitions against arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. “Disappeared” people are often at high risk of torture, particularly when they are detained outside of formal detention facilities such as prisons and police stations. (-HRW)

at the American Immigration Council, counters that the administration is ignoring the benefits of a family-focused immigration system and the values that drove the country to adopt it in the first place. Research, he said, has shown that allowing immigrants to reunite with their families is one of the best integration tools. And family members bring their own skills, as well as support networks and other benefits, such as help with child care. “This is a society that’s founded on family values,” Cantor said, arguing that, for many who have become citizens or legal residents, reuniting with siblings and other extended family members is crucial.

UN rights chief refuses to ‘bend knee’ after US clash by Carole Landry


NITED NATIONS, New York | AFP - The United Nations’ top human rights official, a sharp critic of US President Donald Trump, declared Wednesday that he will not tone down his message to seek re-election in his post. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told staff in an email he would not bargain away his agency’s integrity when his job comes up for renewal in August. Earlier this week, in an interview with AFP, the Jordanian prince had rejected the idea of “wheeling and dealing” with political players to secure a second four-year term in Geneva. And in an email to staff, seen by AFP, he wrote: “After reflection, I have decided not to seek a second four-year term” adding that “in the current geopolitical context,” to stay “might involve bending a knee in supplication; muting a statement of advocacy.” Hussein did not mention Trump by name, but he has reportedly been under pressure from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to tone down his human rights criticism of Washington. Even as Hussein’s email became public, Trump was threatening to cut off US funding to countries that vote against his Israel policy at a UN General Assembly emergency session on Thursday. During Trump’s election campaign, Hussein had blasted the political newcomer’s populist promise to ban Muslims from visiting or migrating to the United States as “grossly irresponsible.” In August, Hussein took a swipe at Trump over his depiction of media reports as “fake news,” saying it could amount to incitement against journalists. He compared the US president to a bus driver “careening down a mountain path.” From a human rights perspective, he said, “it seems to be reckless driving.” The United States remains the single biggest donor to UN coffers and Guterres has been keen to develop ties with the US administration to sustain the broader UN agenda.



Some companies announce worker bonuses after US tax cut


EW YORK | AFP | Wednesday 12/20/2017 - AT&T and Boeing were among the large US companies that announced new spending on their workers Wednesday after Congress approved a sweeping US tax cut.

Boeing announced $300 million in additional spending that includes funds for workforce training and to upgrade facilities to the “workplace for the future.” “We applaud and thank Congress and the administration for their leadership in seizing this

AT&T plans to give $1,000 bonuses to more than 200,000 workers and will issue the

checks over the holidays if President Donald Trump signs the bill before Christmas. The company also said it plans to invest an additional $1 billion in 2018 due to the bill. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs,” AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said. “In fact, we will increase our US investment and pay a special bonus to our US employees.” The handful of announcements came after the House of Representatives approved the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, sending the measure to President Donald Trump to sign into law. Democrats criticized the bill as a budget-busting sop that mostly benefits the very wealthy, while Republicans argued it would boost economic growth.

opportunity to unleash economic energy in the United States,” Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said. “It’s the single-most important thing we can do to drive innovation, support quality jobs and accelerate capital investment in our country.” Fifth Third Bancorp said it would boost its minimum wage for all employees to $15 an hour and distribute a one-time bonus of $1,000 to more than 13,500 employees. Still, many analysts and economists have expressed skepticism the tax bill will boost growth as much as promised. The tax cut “will improve corporate profits and that in turn will increase share buybacks and dividends more than it actually increases economic activity,” said Karl Haeling, portfolio manager at LBBW Asset Management.

FRIDAY, December 22 2017

The year the ‘caliphate’ collapsed by Jean Marc Mojon


AMASC U S , S y r i a - 2017 will be remembered as the year the Islamic State group’s ultra-violent statehood experiment was terminated, but Iraq and Syria are now left staring at ruined cities and daunting challenges. The jihadist group lost its two main hubs, Mosul Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces battle Islamic State group in Iraq and Raqa jihadists in Raqa, Syria (Photo: AFP) in Syria, earlier this year and is trained 125,000 members of yons where they are hiding now only clinging to the the security forces since then, and thrive afresh on the back dregs of a “caliphate” that and the country’s elite coun- of renewed sectarian discord. spanned territory the size of ter-terrorism units that spearBritain three years ago. Syrian cities such as Aleppo, headed the fight against IS Raqa, Homs and others also The proto-state shrank all are arguably the world’s most need extensive reconstruction. year as a hail of air strikes battle-hardened regular force. conducted by Iraq with its President Bashar al-Assad - Destroyed cities US-led allies and Syria with is much less palatable to the its main Russian backer “Daesh is finished from a international community than paved the way for an inexomilitary point of view but not Abadi, who enjoys good rerable territorial reconquest. as a terrorist organisation... we lations with the West as well must remain in a permanent as with Iran and other neighThis month, Iraqi Prime state of alert,” said Ahmed bours. Minister Haider al-Abadi anal-Assadi, spokesman for the nounced that for the first time During 2017, a peacetime Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary feel returned to parts of Dain four years IS controlled no organisation that had a major mascus and some areas elsesignificant territory in Iraq. role in the war. where in the country where In neighbouring Syria, The status of the Hashed, the fighting ended two or three some work remains to be which is dominated by Shiite years ago. done, but IS holds only scatmilitia groups whose loyalty tered and isolated pockets. But while IS’s final military is more to Tehran than Bagh- defeat in Syria is in no doubt, In Iraq, the West threw its dad, will be one of the greatest the war there is not yet over weight behind Abadi, who challenges for Iraq in the com- and large-scale military ophas defied the odds to keep ing months. erations against anti-regime his seat and gain internal The country will also have forces are still under way. credibility as he steered the to inject life back into Sunni country through three years Several so-called “de-escacities that have been exten- lation zones” across the counof anti-IS war. sively destroyed, including try have yielded mixed results The costly military fightthe second city Mosul, Baiji, and successive rounds of interback was also a chance to reRamadi, Sinjar and Fallujah. national negotiations to end a build an army whose collapse Failure to do so quickly, conflict that has killed around in Mosul played a large part observers say, would give the 350,000 people in less than in the lightning expansion of remnants of IS -- or its next seven years have yet to bear the IS caliphate in 2014. incarnation -- a chance to fruit. The US-led coalition has emerge from the desert can-

- Humanitarian crisis Kurds pushing for more autonomy and supported by the US now control a large area of the country, a standoff with Damascus that many fear risks sparking renewed fighting. Indeed, on Monday Assad referred to the Kurdish fighters who battled IS as “traitors”. “A big problem might be if a new security vacuum emerges, for example if the regime and the (Kurdish-dominated) Syrian Democratic Forces go to war against each other,” said Syria analyst Aymenn alTamimi. Since the end of the ninemonth operation to retake Mosul -- the largest urban battle since World War II -- and the assault to wrest back Raqa that ended in October, the scale of the fighting has tailed off. 2018 could even be the year Syria’s deadly conflict is declared over, but the humanitarian crisis in both Iraq and Syria still festers, prompting record appeals for aid. Around three million Iraqis are displaced while half of Syria’s 22 million inhabitants have been forced from their homes by the conflict. A growing number of Syrians are returning home, but “while some areas have become safer this year, fighting has erupted in other places causing huge waves of displacement”, said Ingy Sedky, ICRC spokesperson for Syria, adding that a million people were displaced this year alone. In Iraq, 11 million people require humanitarian assistance and colossal reconstruction needs are not the only challenges. “Thousands are in detention following these rounds of conflict,” said Patrick Hamilton, ICRC Deputy Regional Director of the Near and Middle East. “How they are treated, and how justice is carried out will have a critical impact on creating a sustainable peace, or gestating the next round of violence,” he said. (-AFP)

FRIDAY, December 22, 2017



Section 2



How to Buy Bitcoin and Other Digital Currencies by Michael Pruser


uying bitcoin and other digital currencies can seem overwhelming. In this guide, we walk you through how to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Almost eight years ago, I wrote a article here asking whether or not Bitcoin was a scam. The cryptocurrency was almost brand new and at the time had a value of just $13 per coin. Being the genius I am, I purchased 100 coins over the course of six months using a variety of unreliable online platforms. My total investment at the time was roughly $1,500. If you can’t already tell from my investment in baseball cards, I am an outside the box kind of

had a bit of trouble recently on their platform. Twice in the period of two weeks, Coinbase was forced to shut down for a few moments (an hour or so) to adjust their pricing structure. Their model made the price of Bitcoin soar (higher than other merchants had the value). Because of this, they were forced to freeze accounts and fix the issue. Coinbase does offer a secondary market for the purchase of all cryptocurrencies called GDAX, where fees are much lower. However, buying and selling here is a bit more complicated. Coinbase is located on the west coast in San Francisco, CA. They were founded in 2011 and by October of 2012, they were fully operational


It is a controversial plan that Trump’s party insists will provide tangible benefits for most American families and businesses, and give the economy a shot in the arm. Democrats say the plan is a giveaway to the wealthy, and no lawmaker in the opposition minority is publicly supporting the legislation. Here are five numbers that help explain the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Trump aims to sign into law by Christmas. - 21 percent -

- $1.456 trillion The amount that the bill will add to the national debt between 2018 and 2027. Even accounting for increased economic growth brought about by the tax overhaul, an approach known as dynamic scoring, the Joint Committee on Taxation projects the bill will cost about $1 trillion over the next decade.

Comparative corporate tax rates (AFP Photo/Laurence CHU )

- $2,059 -

cans are slated to save dramatically more, while millions of working class and middle income families could eventually be hit with a tax hike. According to the Tax Policy Center, more than half of taxpayers would pay more in 2027 than under current law. - 2026 -

Gemini Exchange is relatively new to the space, having launched in 2015 by the famed Winklevoss twins. It’s fully regulated and compliant in the state of New York (since 2016) and is the second largest US based exchange (behind Coinbase). Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are all available on the exchange. In the last few months, this is where I have done most of my cryptocurrency trading.

Ohhhh, how that pains me. Like I said … genius.

Fees for trading on the Gemini Exchange are moderate. When trading o you have a big IRA? And live in a soak-theless than $1,000 in value, the fee is rich state? Run, don’t walk, to your accountant. 0.25%. That fee quickly creeps lower You’ve got two weeks left to do a Roth converas you trade more. The fee Gemini sion that just might save you a bundle. charges is determined by the amount you trade over a 30-day calendar winThe easiest way to accelerate income is with a Roth condow. When you sell more than $1,000, version. This moves money from a pretax IRA into an aftertax Roth account. With this move you prepay both fedthe fee drops to 0.23%. When you eralat state income tax on savings you will be drawing sell more $2,000, the fee goes sign ofthan autism. Learn thetoothers down during retirement. 0.20% and so on. At just $5,000, the fee drops to 0.10%. When you buy, Does it make sense to pay income tax on your IRA bethe fees are even better, as putting an fore you have to? It often does. This is counterintuitive, order in for greater than $5,000 will but the numbers are likely to work in favor of a Roth conallow you trade fee-free. You can find version if you meet these two conditions: the full schedule of fees from Gemini (a) Your tax bracket is not going down much between trading here.

I’ve used all three of these websites to buy and sell Bitcoin, and the transactions have been smooth and reliable every-time. Each provides something a little different. So depending on your needs, you may find them more or less expensive. Coinbase The biggest and brightest merchant for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is easily Coinbase. With over 13 million members signed up, Coinbase is the most popular and most recognizable Bitcoin merchant on the web. And to be honest, they’re a little different than the markets you see below. Coinbase lets you deposit money into your account via credit card or bank transfer with moderate. The fees are 3.99% when depositing via a credit card and 1.49% when done via bank transfer. In fact, the bank transfer cost is higher than any of the other merchants on our list. Unlike other exchanges however, Coinbase offers to buy and sell your cryptocurrency at a set price. When you enter the amount of Ethereum you want to buy or sell, Coinbase will tell you the fee and the cost. It will execute the transaction immediately if you have the funds available. No muss, no fuss. While Coinbase is secure and uses two-factor authentication, they’ve

The year that most tax cut provisions for individuals expire under the new law. Sunsetting those provisions

Gemini also uses two-factor authentication, but currently does not use Google Authentication to log-in. They send you a text to confirm your identity. Once you enter that online, you have the option to stay logged in for 24-hours. Bitstamp While the first two on our list are US companies, Bitstamp is not. They’re located in Luxembourg. And if you ever decide to do a wire transfer in or

5623 Hillcroft St. 713.783.0808

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- 37 percent The new highest tax rate for wealthy Americans. In 11th hour closed-door talks, House and Senate negotiators agreed to reduce the top individual rate to well below the 39.6 percent in the House bill (and the rate under current law), and even below the 38.5 percent sought in the Senate version, providing a bigger boon to the rich.

The December 31 Deadline For A Clever Roth IRA Move


Why I use Gemini more than other exchanges is the ease with which money can come in and out of the exchange. Initially when setting up my account, they attempted to verify my bank account automatically (but could not do so). After I submitted a single bank wire, my account was confirmed. Then I was able to deposit and withdraw money in and out of the exchange fee-free. Deposits do take some time, up to five business days before being able to be trade. But withdrawals only take one to two business days. Three times in the last few months, I’ve requested withdrawals before noon ET and the very next day, they arrived.

could save more than $300 billion.

The tax savings for a typical family Democrats are angry because while of four earning $73,000 in 2018 unthe individual rate cuts are temporary, Jacob Sanchez autism der the new law, according toDiagnosed House withthe corporate rate drop, and the interSpeaker Paul Ryan. national tax rules, will be made perDemocrats say that wealthy Ameri- manent.

At the time I owned these Bitcoins, I was single, living alone, employed at a job I had just started with student debt up the wazoo. As life progressed, I got married, bought a house, had children and paid a lot of my student debt down. When Bitcoin hit $300 some years ago, I cashed out. There was simply no way to pass up a 7,000% return. Today however, those 100 coins are worth roughly $1.6 million.

Getting to the point of my diatribe: When I purchased those coins in 2010, I did so at great risk. There were only a few star- up Bitcoin sellers. For $50 at a time, I was able to make deposits, buy BTC, and store them in an online wallet. Every single one of those startups is goneLack exceptof forspeech Coinbase, is so a naturally, we’ll start there.

Tel: 713-774-5140

ASHINGTON (AFP) President Donald Trump is poised for a major political victory as the US Congress prepares to vote on a Republican tax overhaul.

Earlier versions of the bill lowered the corporate rate to 20 percent, but it was bumped to 21 in order to help defray the plan’s high costs.


Five key numbers in Republican US tax revamp

The tax rate for US corporations under the new plan. Trump has argued that the current US business tax rate, 35 percent, is the highest in the developed world, and that cutting the rate substantially would make America more competitive globally.



now and when you would eventually be forced to take money out of the IRA. The forced disbursements begin at age 70-1/2. (b) You pay the up-front tax bill with cash from outside the IRA. Using outside cash for the tax magnifies the power of tax-free compounding going on inside the Roth account.

But don’t jump into a conversion without doing some what-if planning on your taxes. That means either visiting your accountant (who will be very busy for the next two weeks) or else plugging numbers into tax software like TurboTax from Intuit (INTU) or the competing product from H&R Block (HRB). If a conversion in 2017 does make sense, you have to get your state tax payment into the hands of the tax collec-

tor by Dec. 31 so that it’s an itemized deduction for 2017. Here are some cautions to consider before pulling the trigger on a conversion: Watch your brackets. You probably won’t come out ahead with a conversion large enough to push you into a higher bracket. Fill the bracket you’re in, but don’t go beyond. For 2017 a married couple’s 33% bracket reaches up to $416,700 of taxable income, which corresponds to roughly $500,000 of adjusted gross income. --Think about your retirement locale. It would be foolish, Perry says, to do a conversion while living in high-tax California if you are going to retire to low-tax Florida. --Look at the alternative minimum tax. The AMT may go away in 2018 but is very much in place for 2017. Once you cross into AMT territory, any further state tax deductions go to waste. This gets complicated. Boosting your income with a conversion pushes you away from the AMT because it increases your regular income tax. But a boost in your deduction for state taxes pushes you back toward the AMT red line. So, where’s the right balance? The only way to find out is to run what-if exercises on tax software. --Consider postponing to 2018. The Roth deal can make plenty of sense at any time because it increases the deferral power built into an IRA. Maybe you can afford to wait. You could do a conversion in January. (-Forbes)

out of the exchange, you’re likely to see the money come and go from Slovenia. While that may give you some pause, Bitstamp has been around since 2011 and currently has over 1 million users. I personally have made many transfers to and from this exchange. And I’ve always received my money in a timely fashion.

Depending on your daily trade volume, they lower that amount all the way down to 0.10%. For example, if you make a deposit into the exchange and wish to purchase $5,000 in BTC, ETH, or LTC, Bitstamp will charge a 0.25% fee to do so ($12.50). To transfer your cryptocurrency back to cash, the same fee applies.

The fee schedule for Bitstamp is on the higher side. When trading, you’ll start at a 0.25% fee for each trade.

When depositing money as a US citizen, you have two main options. You can deposit via credit card, which

costs a 5% fee. Or you can deposit by bank wire, where a .05% fee applies, with a minimum fee of $7.50. To withdraw via bank wire, the fee is 0.09% (minimum fee $15). If you’re planning to trade tens of thousands, these fees are of little consequence. If you’re a casual trader looking to buy $50 here and $50 there, this is not the exchange for you. Perhaps most importantly, there is no fee for depositing and withdrawing Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum. (



High and Dry: Pakistan’s Penchant for Hash

FRIDAY, December 22, 2017

America’s missing workers: matching jobs to the jobless “For children, it’s the drug of choice,” says Dr. Khan, blaming the vicious nexus between the region’s narco-funded insurgencies and widespread drug use for the scourge. Pakistan also remains wholly unequipped to handle the problem, with the UN survey saying a dearth of treatment clinics and prohibitive costs keeps users from seeking help. - ‘Wakes up your mind’ -

But in Islamic shrines salted At the Bari Badshah shrine in the heart of Peshawar, followers of the Sufi sect of Islam gather in a small courtyard nightly, where they smoke copious amounts of hash and listen to devotional music across the country others see cannabis while draining tea by the kettle (AFP Photo/Abdul Majeed) as more benign. by David Stout


ESHAWAR, Pakistan | AFP Niaz Ali is a deeply religious man: He prays five times a day and visits the mosque as frequently as possible. But he also loves to smoke hashish -- lots of it. Despite it being forbidden by his faith, the 50 year-old estimates he spends about 30 percent of his earnings as a cab driver on the habit. His love affair with cannabis began as an occasional puff with friends when he was a teenager, but has since morphed into a full-blown addiction for the father-of-nine. “It is a sacred plant. A sacred intoxication,” says Ali, who asked to use a pseudonym, after taking a fresh rip off a hookah packed with pungent hash in Pakistan’s bustling northwestern town of Peshawar. “It’s like a second wife, this addiction,” he sighs. While Ali freely acknowledges using hash runs counter to the tenets of Islam, he insists it has its advantages. “We know that it is haram but it’s an intoxication that doesn’t harm anyone else,” he explains. In conservative Pakistan, an Islamic republic, the consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden for Muslims. Any semblance of a sybaritic nightlife takes place at home behind closed doors, where the country’s elite have been known to quaff booze. But many Pakistanis are surprisingly open to using cannabis, with the spongy, black hash made from marijuana grown in the country’s tribal belt and neighbouring Afghanistan the preferred variant of the drug. Whereas alcohol is explicitly forbidden in Islamic scripture, hash seemingly straddles a theological gray zone, which could explain its popularity in the country.

Even if most observant Muslims in Pakistan scoff at the idea of drinking, a prod into their feelings on marijuana often triggers a wry smile followed by a trite maxim about how good it makes food taste or how restful sleep can be after a toke. - ‘No compromise on hash’ People have been smoking hash on the subcontinent for centuries. It predates the arrival of Islam in the region, with reference to cannabis appearing in the sacred Hindu Atharva Veda text describing its medicinal and ritual uses. According to a 2013 UN survey, cannabis was the most widely consumed drug in Pakistan with around four million users, representing 3.6 percent of the population -- a figure that has drawn scepticism in a country where reliable data can be hard to come by.

At the Bari Badshah shrine in the heart of Peshawar, followers of the Sufi sect of Islam gather in a small courtyard nightly, where they smoke copious amounts of hash and listen to devotional music while draining tea by the kettle. Conversations are fluid, only to be interrupted by hard drags off hash pipes with the occasional song performed by one of the devotees. “The basic work of hash... it wakes up new corners in your mind,” says Mohammed Amin, 50. According to Sayeed Asjid, 27, such shrines are welcome to members of any faith and in Peshawar are frequented by high-level bureaucrats, police officers and members of security agencies. “It’s a deep relaxation,” says Asjid of the cannabis high as he exhales clouds of marijuana smoke.

“It’s an underestimation,” says Dr. Parveen Azam Khan, president of the Dost Welfare Foundation, a nonprofit that treats drug addicts in Peshawar.

But Sufi shrines have been the frequent target over the years by Taliban militants and sectarian extremists like the Islamic State group, who view the mystical sect as heretical.

Despite its widespread consumption, not all are happy about hash’s prevalence in the so-called “Land of the Pure”.

“That was only to spread fear and havoc,” says Asjid of the attacks, while expressing his faith in the power of the shrine to protect.

“There is no compromise with hashish,” says Maulana Mohammad Tayyab Qureshi, the imam of the main Peshawar mosque.

The herb is not only enjoyed by free-spirited Sufi mystics.

According to Qureshi, anything that causes intoxication or bodily harm is strictly forbidden in the faith. He chalks up marijuana’s popularity in Pakistan as a law enforcement issue. Public health experts also warn the ubiquitous availability of cheap hash in Pakistan’s northwest has been especially harmful to impoverished children, who increasingly use the drug to deal with the hardships of poverty and trauma from years of militant violence.

Mehwish, a single mother of three, says the occasional joint helps manage the stress that comes with the daily grind. “You can use hash when you are alone... then you can think in a relaxed way,” says Mehwish, whose name has been changed on request. Although she admits most of her family are unaware of her habit, the 26-year-old is a firm believer in its benefits. She adds: “When you feel good and you’re active and it puts a smile on your face then nobody minds.”

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Instructor Giva Ann Wilkerson leads a workshop at the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, which helps train workers for jobs that already exist in the area (AFP Photo/Dominick Reuter) by Heather Scott


ASHINGTON | AFP A few years ago, Derek Hobbs could not find a job. He had three strikes against him: his age, 55, a criminal record, and a drug addiction that kept him out of the formal workforce for more than 25 years. When he decided to turn his life around, most employers dismissed him without a thought. Determined to succeed, Hobbs turned to an innovative program specializing in matching people facing employment challenges, to available jobs. “They actually give people with those strikes against them a chance,” he told AFP. Hobbs is just one example of a growing problem in the US economy: companies unable to find workers with the right skills to fill open positions, and workers who can’t find a job because they have the wrong skills. The program Hobbs attended is in an impoverished area of Philadelphia, the neighborhood featured in the popular Will Smith sitcom from the 1990s, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”: an area so dangerous his mother sent him to live with wealthy relations in California. The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) is unique among employment training programs. It has a hyper-local focus, with workers coming only from the area known as University City, and it trains workers for jobs that already exist in the area. This 2.4 square mile area houses two prestigious universities, research hospitals and numerous businesses. But 31 percent of residents live below the poverty line. While Hobbs had a good work history as a young adult, “from the early 90s through 2012 I was an addict,” he told AFP. Like him, many West Philadelphia residents do not have a solid habit of work. A key challenge is to loosen the “glue” that holds them in place, surrounded as they are by friends and neighbors who don’t work, according to Sheila Ireland, who ran the WPSI program for many years.

- Worker shortage? With the US economy creating new jobs at a solid pace of close to 175,000 a month, and with unemployment at 4.1 percent, lower than it has been in 17 years, companies nationwide complain they cannot fill openings, even for jobs that do not require advanced skills. The country has over six million unfilled jobs, the most since the government first began collecting data in December 2000, and yet many workers have given up looking and left the workforce, or are working part time because they cannot find a full-time position. The typical response when workers are hard to find is to raise wages and benefits, but wage growth has been stagnant or tepid at best, just slightly higher than inflation. Economists disagree on the primary cause of this mismatch between skills and available jobs -- and some say companies simply need to raise wages to attract older or discouraged workers back into the labor force. But new programs have sprung up to resolve the disconnect. Traditional unemployment and retraining centers offer courses in things like computer skills, and then send workers out into the market in the hope they will find a job. But more programs like WPSI are being developed to give workers the exact skills employers need. Many partner with community colleges to tailor the training to specific fields where openings already exist, such as nursing and health care. - Economic drag The lack of workers is a drag on the US economy that could get worse. Economist David Wiczer of the St Louis Federal Reserve Bank said having workers poorly matched to jobs mean lost wages and lost growth that accelerates over time. Poorly matched workers “are paid less, their pay grows less, and they are more likely to leave,” he told AFP. These mismatches “tend to persist quite a long time,” and over 15 years they are getting paid $120,000 less.


FRIDAY, December 22, 2017

Section 2



Immigration Law


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My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at srichardslaw@ to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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because she was physically abusive towards me during the course of our marriage and I could no longer stand her cruelty. What do I do now? A: We advise that you retain an Immigration Attorney to assist you due to the complexity of the matter. First of all, you will need to refile the I-751 to remove the condition on your residence with USCIS. Since you will be filing this petition without your spouse, check the boxes that you are seeking the waivers for bona fide marriage that has ended through divorce and also that you are a battered spouse. Attend the scheduled hearing at Immigration Court and seek a continuance on the case to enable USCIS to complete the processing of your I-751 case. Once the I-751 petition has been approved, the Immigration Judge will terminate the removal proceedings against you and your Permanent Resident will continue.

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for more than 20 years. Can he request for bond from the Immigration Judge? What does he need to do so that he can continue to stay in the United States? A: Your uncle is subject to Mandatory Detention. Immigration law specifically mandates that if an alien has been convicted of a controlled substance offence, he or she will be subject to mandatory detention. Mandatory detention means the Immigration Judge nor ICE cannot consider bond in the case and the noncitizen must remain in ICE custody during their entire course of his removal proceedings. It is possible that he will be eligible for the relief known as Cancellation of Removal for Certain Permanent Resident. The application for this relief is on Form EOIR-42A. It is advisable that your uncle retain an Immigration Attorney to assist him with the process. Q: I have just bonded out from the immigration detention facility. The Judge when he set the bond informed me to appear in the detained court docket next week but I am now bonded out. Do I have to appear before that detained court? A: No you do not. The detained court will transfer your immigration case to the non-detained docket and you will receive notice from that court as to your when your first Master Calendar Hearing will be at the non-detained court. Q: My I-751 Joint Petition for to Remove the Condition on my permanent residence was denied. USCIS in their denial letter stated that the reason for the denial was abandonment. I did not receive their Request for Evidence and therefore did not provide a response. I have just received in the mail a Notice To Appear in Immigration Court for removal. My US Citizen wife and I have now divorced. I filed for divorce

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FRIDAY, December 22, 2017


Section 2 Email:

Indian minister pushes Bolly- Ajay Devgn all set with his TV wood on sexual harassment show based on Baba Ramdev’s life


UMBAI, India India’s minister for women has warned Bollywood producers over sexual harassment in the Hindi film industry after a scandal that has brought down some leading Hollywood figures. Maneka Gandhi wrote to leading production houses reminding them that they are “ethically and legally” responsible for providing a “safe, secure and inclusive work environment” for all staff under Indian law. Bollywood has not so far faced the kind of allegations that have rocked the US film industry and led to the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. But last month a Bollywood actress said she had been harassed by an unnamed director early in her career. India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development said in a series of tweets late Wednesday that Gandhi had written letters to 24 producers urging them to comply with India’s 2013 sexual harassment act. “The aim of this law is to ensure that no woman is sexually harassed at her workplace,” she wrote. “This is to be followed in letter and spirit by all organisations in the country and I expect you to personally lead these efforts with sincerity and commitment, in accordance with all the applicable laws,”

Gandhi added. It follows an interview that Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar gave to the Mumbai Mirror tabloid in November in which she said she had “lost a few roles” over the years because she “didn’t give in” to unwanted advances. Bhaskar urged aspiring actresses to reject parts rather than “get on the couch”, a reference to the “casting couch” culture where young women are expected to exchange sexual favours to be cast in a film.

Maneka Gandhi has urged leading production houses to comply with India’s 2013 sexual harassment act (AFP Photo/MONEY SHARMA)


UMBAI, Dec 18 (PTI) - Actor Ajay Devgn is all set to make his debut as a producer on the small screen with TV show based on the life of Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev. The show, which is titled Swami Ramdev: Ek Sangharsh, will star actor Naman Jain. National Film award winner Naman, who received great appreciation for his performance in films such

The issue is almost never discussed in Indian media or talked about openly by Bollywood stars, but aspiring actors and actresses are known to regularly share their experiences of it privately. Since the Weinstein scandal first broke some Indian actresses, including Swara Bhaskar Kalki Koechlin and Bhaskar said in her interview Richa Chadha, have said Bollywood needs to create that the cliquey nature of Bolan environment where victims lywood, where many of the can speak out without fear of leading stars and directors are being ostracised or trolled on either friends or related, made going public difficult. social media.

Sonu Sood honored with Punjab Ratan award


UMBAI, Dec 18 (PTI) - Actor Sonu Sood has received the Punjab Ratan award for his contribution to the welfare of people of Punjab, specially his hometown, Moga.

and soldiers who fought that war were also present. “It was a great honour. I can relate to it more because I just finished for one schedule of J P Dutta’s ‘Paltan’ where I’m playing a Major and was in the uniform for two months.

Governor of Punjab, V P Singh Badnore, honoured the actor at an event at Fazilka in Punjab. During the ceremony, the 44-year-old actor also paid homage to the soldiers who fought the 1971 Indo-Pak war. “I feel really honoured to get Punjab Ratan award from the Governor of Punjab and that too at a venue which was full of the families of the martyrs in the 1971 war and several Majors, Colonels

Baba Ramdev (left) and actor Ajay Devgn hit the screen.

Sonu Sood

Meeting those families and people, who sacrificed their lives for their nation, was a huge honour. I feel blessed. It was all possible because of the blessings of my parents,” Sonu said in a statement.

as Bollywood Chillar Party, Jai Ho and Raanjhanaa, will star as young Baba Ramdev (Ramkishan). Ajay Devgn, 48, shared the news on Twitter: “Naman, immensely talented, playing young Swami Ramdev in our upcoming show Swami Ramdev: Ek Sangharsh on Discovery Jeet.” This is what the Golmaal actor shared: Swami Ramdev: Ek Sangharsh is a biopic based on the

by Bedika


EW DEHLI Dec 18 (PTI) Hollywood star Will Smith is in India to promote his Netflix movie “Bright” and the actor today said all the ideologies are governed by an individual or group’s need to feel superior than others. The 49-year-old actor, who stars as “racist” human cop in sci-fi action-crime drama, said it was interesting to be on the other side. He said his role in the Netflix movie made him understand that even the struggle to get rid of these ideologies is motivated by this sense of superiority. “What I realised - it’s not just racism, it’s all the ‘isms’ (the ideologies). Racism, sexism, class-ism, nationalism - all of the -isms are about the individual or group’s ego struggle for comparative superiority. Everybody wants to feel like they are better than somebody. Even a fight against racism is laced with an individual’s need to feel superior. “I never saw it that way. So, both sides of any -ism, one of them is winning, so you’re having an argument that is winning, so the other side feels inferior. Both sides are struggling for superiority,” Smith said at a media round table here.

Will Smith at a recent press conference for his new film (Photo: AFP) The actor is currently in India along with the director of the movie, David Ayer, and co-stars Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace. Smith said while playing the character he, for the first time, understood “the negative reaction to the word, diversity.” “We say ‘diversity’, as if we mean ‘equality’, But really what diversity means - I’m going to use this term for me to get higher than you,” he added. Smith said the debate about racism has become more complicated for him post the film as it has made him aware about the consequences of the fight for “superiority”. “This role - really made me see that it is really difficult, almost

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what feels like a covert struggle for superiority and the problem got more complex -- can’t say it got a lot easier in my mind, it got difficult. “But looking at racism from this perspective... I comprehended the aspects of fear, ignorance and the individual and collective struggle that perpetuates and precipitates the violence,” he said. The actor, however, said the film does not aim at highlighting the issues like racism, but focuses on “how poorly we treat one another”. “It’s like we were saying (in the film) the Dark Lord is coming. We weren’t thinking of Donald Trump,” he quipped.




You don’t need to be an attorney to be a peacemaker.

Naman Jain also spoke about the show and said, “It is an honour to play Swami Ramdev’s childhood in his biopic. The task was not easy as Swami Ramdev faced multiple challenges as a child and it was important for me to understand the social tensions that prevailed in a small village. It was also a challenge for me to adopt his style and portray the character.”

All ‘isms’ are about individual or group’s ego: Will Smith

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life of Swami Ramdev’s inspirational journey and how he became a Yoga Guru. Earlier, of Naman, Ajay Devgn said in a statement, “There are huge expectations from this biopic series and we wanted to ensure that somebody who fits the bill perfectly gets to play the role of Ramkishan as the audience will, for the first time, get to know about the early days of Swami Ramdev. Naman Jain is hugely talented for his age and has delivered a captivating performance,” reports Indian Express.



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FRIDAY, December 22, 2017


Section 2 Email:

Houston film producer’s award winning film Kshitij - A Horizon bags Gandhi Medal at 48th IFFI in Goa, India

A scene from the film Kshitij- A Horizon

Navroz Prasla of Media FilmsCraft(U.S.A.), producer of the film Kshitij- A Horizon with his IFFI 2017 awards.

Marathi Movie Kshitij


n inspirational tale of a 12 year old girl struggling to continue her education in the face of severe adversity.

Marathi movie Kshitij- A Horizon produced by Navroz PraslaMedia FilmsCraft(U.S.A.) based company and Navroz Prasla Productions directed by Manouj Kadamh and the story written by Rayban Davage recently won “ The prestigious ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal ” at 48th International Film Festival Of India ( IFFI ) Goa. It’s a story of small girl- Vacchi trying to overcome the adverse situation. Despite of good eagerness about education in world, many children are deprived from education because of adverse family background. So it’s a try from Kshitij director to express the psychological changes of children due to this situation. While featuring Indian National film award winning actor Upendra Limaye and Kanchan Jadhav as lead, movie also shows that the farmer suicide is growing at an alarming rate in India. Especially in the state of Maharashtra where on one hand we have made many scientific & technological advancements but on the other hand our food providers- farmers have always struggled to live a satisfying life & to fulfill their basic needs. From the story to screenplay and dialogues, sensible film maker Kadaamh has filled his film with many such gripping, engaging sequences inviting the attention of audience towards many such social problems. The story is backed by a fertile screenplay that yields the desired fruit keeping the storytelling simple. Very few films have managed to showcase this stark reality convincingly.

KSHITIJ has been selected at the following International Film Festivals.

Navroz Prasla with director Manouj Kadaamh and Resul Pookutty in Goa. 1. Official Selection Indian Film Festival Houston. U.S.A.(Won the Best Film Award) 2. Official Selection Cape Town International Film Market & Festival 2017 South Africa. (Won Best New Film Director Award) 3. Official Selection 20th International Children’s Film Festival Hyderabad, India. 4. Official Selection Global Migration International Film Festival 2017. U.N Geneva, Switzerland. 5. Official Selection 48th International Film Festival Of India ( IFFI ) Goa. 6. Nomination for UNESCO Gandhi Award, IFFI GOA. (Won the trophy for best film) 7. Official Selection Third Eye Asian Film Festival, Mumbai. 8. Official selection for Kolkata International Wildlife & Environment Film Festival

Poster of the film Kshitij- A Horizon

9. Official selection for Echo Film Festivals BRICS (EFF BRICS). According to the makers, Media FilmCraft and Navroz Prasla Productions along with Co-Producer Mrs. Karishma Sagar Mhadolkar, the film will offer entertainment besides making the audience aware of the importance of education social values. Media FilmsCraft is headed by Mr. Navroz Prasla, a visionary businessman and creative filmmaker, hailing from Metropolis Mumbai in India, where Bollywood, the heart of movie-making beats energetically; it was a foregone conclusion that Prasla would be infused with a passion for sculpting celluloid dreams. Intuitively, he saw a niche market in devising those films, of telling those stories, of finding different perspectives to the Indian ethos here in the USA. Young, and replete with ideas that permeated his every conscious thought, he moved to Houston, Texas, and sought to follow his dreams in the land of promised opportunities. Where he founded Media FilmCraft, a company driven to craft films that represents a unique fusion of American and Indian film cultures.


Conveying we are not an art house company, we respect good story telling, but our aim is to make movies that are slightly off kilter with a certain edge.

Regardless of the keen intellect that has brought him untold success, it is undoubtedly movie making that has him captivated.

Mr. Prasla selected the Kshitij story because he was roused by the fascinating subject. However, he was convinced by Kadaamh’s study and understanding of the concept.

The promotional song of this film has been penned by Guru Thakur with the music provided by Shailendra Barve. The song has been choreographed by Sagar Mhadolkar. The song has been picturized on Vaishnave Tangde with Akshat Singh and other child artistes. Yogesh Rajguru is the cinematographer of this film, while Resul Pookutty the Oscar winner is the sound designer. Beside actor Upendra Limaye “Kshitij” also stars greats like Sanjay Mone, Manoj Joshi & Vidyadhar Joshi.

A “Kshitij” for him is one of those rare variety films about which one can’t discuss much despite a strong desire for it could hamper your viewing experience as an audience. Film hints us that education could eventually turn out to be a boon to help the farmers. Mr. Prasla already has another film taking shape.He has his ambitious sights set on collaborative ventures with Hollywood, for him the holy grail of movie

Navroz Prasla with his team at 48th International Film Festival of India ( IFFI ) Goa.

KSHITIJ is an inspirational film that enriches

you as a person. Let’s hope Kshitij to be a welcome exception by influencing our farmers & others in a positive way.


Voice of Asia

FRIDAY, December 22, 2017


Section 2

For the first time in decades, a drug for migraines shows promise

Can I get a flu shot if I have an egg allergy? Yes, now you can

by Kristin Brown


new drug, called Erenumab, has shown promise in preventing migraine attacks, the intense headaches that chronically plague millions of adults each year in the US alone. Erenumab is a lab-made antibody that works by blocking a neural pathway called CGRP. Data from a recent phase three reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that it cut the number of “migraine days” experienced each month by 1,000 patients to between three and four. In half of those patients, the length that the migraines lasted were reduced by at least half. Migraines are an extremely common ailment, and recent estimates suggest they affect about one in seven adults annually. They’re a significant public health problem, contributing every year to many outpatient doctors visits as well as visits to the ER. The phase three trial compared patients taking erenumab

by Robert Preidt


t’s safe for people with an egg allergy to get a flu shot, says a leading U.S. allergists’ group. Doctors no longer need to question patients about egg allergy before giving the vaccine, according to an updated guideline from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. for six months with others given a placebo. By months four to six, there was at least a 50 percent reduction in the mean number of migraine days per month for about 43 percent of patients injected under the skin with a 70 milligram dose of erenumab each month. With a doubled dose, half of patients saw similar results. More than a quarter of those on the placebo, though, also experienced benefits.

Placebo effects are common in studies related to pain, including migraines. Whether the drug ultimately passes muster with the FDA will depend on whether the agency views the benefits as robust enough, and in enough people. Either way, though, the drug points to an important avenue of research to explore for a terrible condition that impacts millions each year. (-New England Journal of Medicine)

The “overwhelming evidence” since 2011 has shown that a flu shot poses no greater risk to someone with egg allergy than someone without, Greenhawt said in a news release from the medical group.

by James Collins


hate January. There you go, I said it. Not because I’m so crazy about Christmas that I’m sad to see it pass, but because January means the yearly dose of BS in the media: tales of ‘detox’, selfproclaimed gurus, and the latest diet books which promise to ‘melt’ your body fat away while you sit around in your pajamas.

The flu vaccine does not contain enough egg protein to cause an allergic reaction, even in people with severe egg allergy, he and his colleagues said. That means patients don’t need to see an allergist to get the flu shot, or require a longerthan-usual observation period after receiving the injection.

One of my biggest bugbears at this time of year is that the messaging around Christmas and January is incredibly negative. It’s taken for granted that we will ‘binge’ during December, and pay for our sins at the start of the new year by dieting, doing ‘dry January’, training like a maniac and generally feeling exhausted.

- A familiar foe The Christmas break provides a great time to recover from work and the frenetic pace of life – however, the time off from the office also brings less structure. You drop some of the positive habits you have: like regular mealtimes, or the walk to work, or that 3pm afternoon lull in emails, when you often manage to sneak a 30 minute jog. Throw in a banquet of some irresistible home cooking, chocolates and mince pies, and much of the hard work that you put in fuelling your body more effectively in 2017 gets slowly eroded. On the other end of the spectrum over the festive period are the elite athletes I work with. For footballers in particular, the festive period is one of the busiest times of the year. Importantly, we can all learn with the coping strategies they adopt. Firstly, it would be wrong to think that pro athletes don’t really get into the spirit of things at Christmas. They still enjoy a Christmas celebration will their families, they just make sure it’s well planned. They take a couple of days off to totally relax, unwind, and celebrate; and they enjoy a few treats – but are then back into their training routine shortly after. Crucially, they still maintain their core dietary principles during this period, e.g. they make sure they’re eating protein with every meal for muscle repair. It’s keeping some structure

“We want health care providers and people with egg allergy to know there is no need to ask this question anymore, and no need to take any special precautions,” said Greenhawt, chair of the college’s food allergy committee. The guideline is consistent with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

How to enjoy Christmas – and still be ready for the New Year

In terms of socialising, it’s a message that gives with one hand and takes with the other: go out, meet friends, be merry in December, it says – but prepared to stay at home and feel guilty for it in January.Such black and white thinking is obviously flawed. Of course it’s possible to enjoy Christmas without January having to feel like you are just ‘surviving’ the month – but in order to achieve that, some meaningful changes do need to happen. And they need to happen this week, the week before Christmas.

“When someone gets a flu shot, health care providers often ask if they are allergic to eggs,” said guideline lead author Dr. Matthew Greenhawt.

If you’ve been putting off your flu shot until the season really gets going, wait no longer. It’s already here—and it’s looking like it’s going to be a doozy. Influenza viruses quietly circulate yearround in the US, but every winter they go big, triggering a seasonal epidemic of sniffles, sweats, and sore throats. And this year it’s come earlier than usual, just in time for a potential peak over the holidays. Normally, infections start to increase around the beginning of January, peak in February, and then come down by the end of March. But according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, the flu is already widespread in 12 states. “We’re seeing flu activity increasing around us,” says Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s influenza division. “The uptick does indeed seem to be here.” “There are hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths in the United States every year because of the flu, most of which could be prevented with a flu shot,” said guideline co-author Dr. John Kelso. “Egg allergy primarily affects young children, who are also particularly vulnerable to the flu,” Kelso added. “It’s very important that we encourage

everyone, including children with egg allergy, to get a flu shot.” The guideline was published Dec. 19 in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccination, with rare exceptions, according to the CDC. (WebMD)


Last Chance to Enroll in 2018 Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or Health Insurance Plan under Obamacare Enrollment Ends on December 31, 2017 for all counties in and around Houston and in Dallas Metroplex area Dallas and Tarrant counties. Prioritise meals over snacks, balancing your food and alcohol consumption levels (Photo: Shutterstock) which is the key thing here. You can certainly afford to relax your eating patterns a bit more than athletes – but you want to keep things under control. Know what you intend to do differently this year, whether this is planning in more exercise or focusing on healthier snacks over the Christmas period. Then write it all down – a process that will increase your chances of sticking to the plan. Approaching 1st January in a better place, physically and mentally, means that you are less likely to need to reach for the diet, detox or Dry January extremes. You can attack January 2018, rather than starting on the defensive. I appreciate that this approach may not be for everyone. And that’s fine, but for clients I work with we deliberately set targets (e.g. weight and body composition) for January, as this helps to keep some focus over the Christmas period. This will make sure that a few days of celebrations don’t turn into two weeks of unalloyed indulgence, and two months of catch-up gym work. Four tips for having a great Christmas and starting 2018 on the front foot 1. Set the tone by changing your environment Christmastime often sees us pack our kitchens (and living rooms) with sweets and treats and fatty meats. Indulgences are important at Christmas, but try to keep a lid on things by

introducing healthier snacks. Turkey roll ups, fruit platters, vegetables and dips will all help keep the hunger at bay while you rattle around the house, and they’ll keep in you better shape than chocolates and shortbread and the like. 2. Get up and get out Get your training session done earlier in the day (make sure you have got your kit with you), as your muscles will be well fuelled from the indulgences of the evening before. If you’re based at home, just getting out for a brisk walk before meals can make a big difference 3. Balance your days Plan and enjoy Christmas Day without any guilt. Plan in some stricter (calorie intake) days between Christmas and New Year, similar to your normal eating pattern (preferably without the snacks and alcohol). If the wheels do come off one day, then make sure you exercise the next day to burn off some of those excess calories. 4. Prioritise snacks



Fill up on proteins (e.g. turkey) and vegetables at mealtimes, so you aren’t left hungry and craving snacks. By making sure that snacks and alcohol aren’t readily available all day, will help to reduce the temptation to continually graze. (If you do need to graze, see point 1 above).


s a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make available special enrollment periods for all Medicare beneficiaries and certain individuals seeking health plans offered through the Federal Health Insurance Exchange. This important step gives these individuals and families who have been impacted by the hurricanes the opportunity to change their Medicare health and prescription drug plans and gain access to health coverage on the Exchange immediately if eligible for a special enrollment period.

CMS established the following special enrollment periods to support individuals impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria: • Medicare special enrollment period: This special enrollment period will allow individuals affected by these hurricanes to enroll, dis-enroll or switch Medicare health or prescription drug plans. It is available at the start of the incident period and runs through the end of the calendar year. • Federal Health Insurance Exchange special enrollment period: CMS created this special enrollment period for certain individuals impacted by these hurricanes who need to enroll in a 2017plan through the Exchange or make changes to their existing 2017 plan. This special en-

rollment period will apply to individuals who experienced a special enrollment period qualifying event between 60 days prior to the start date of the incident period and December 31, 2017, but were unable to complete the application, plan selection, and enrollment process due to a hurricane-related weather event in 2017. This special enrollment period will allow individuals impacted by the storms to select a new 2017 Exchange plan or make changes to their existing plan at any time through December, 31, 2017. In addition to the special enrollment periods for the 2017, individuals who reside in or move from areas affected by a hurricane in 2017 will be eligible for a special enrollment period that extends the 2018 Annual Open Enrollment Period through December 31, 2017. These special enrollment opportunities are in addition to the Medicare and Exchange annual Open Enrollment Periods this fall and any other enrollment period for which the individual may be eligible. CMS will continue to examine the circumstances in the areas affected by hurricanes and will consider taking action that reaches beyond December 31, 2017, if needed. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., declared public health emergencies in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – areas all impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. With the public health emergencies in effect, CMS has temporarily waived or modified certain Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program requirements to provide healthcare providers,

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

facilities, and suppliers the flexibility they need so they can focus on the health and safety of those impacted by the hurricanes. To determine if an individual is eligible for this SEP, sponsors must first attempt to obtain proof that the individual resided in an affected county (e.g., driver’s license, utility bills, etc.). If the individual is unable to provide such proof, the sponsor must accept the applicant’s attestation that he or she resided in an affected county. For enrollment requests received during the Fall Open Enrollment Period where more than one enrollment effective date is possible, sponsors will need to determine the applicant’s desired effective date. Enrollments made pursuant to this SEP are effective the first of the month following the sponsor’s receipt of the enrollment request, which includes those received in December after the end of the Fall Open Enrollment Period. To take advantage of prompt Medicare or under 65 health insurance enrollment contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.

FRIDAY, December 22, 2017


LIVING Living alone makes you sick and health, professionals are worried


t might seem like you’re rarely alone, but that doesn’t stop the feeling of loneliness that creep in. And according to mental health professionals, the United States is experiencing a loneliness epidemic. Scientists gathered to discuss the issue, and the impact the feeling can have on our health, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, reports The Washington Post.

der how well someone can take care of themselves. The doctor also found that those who suffered from these feelings had a 45-percent increase in their risk of death. This new panel discussion isn’t the first time loneliness has been broached as a public health concern. Former surgeon general of the United

December is AIDS Awareness Month Email:

Tel: 713-774-5140

Older adults’ forgetfulness tied to faulty brain rhythms in sleep


lder brains may forget more because they lose their rhythm at night.

During deep sleep, older people have less coordination between two brain waves that are important to saving new memories, a team reports in the journal Neuron. “It’s like a drummer that’s perhaps just one beat off the rhythm,” says Matt Walker, one of the paper’s authors and a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. “The aging brain just doesn’t seem to be able to synchronize its brain waves effectively.” The finding appears to answer a long-standing question about how aging can affect memory even in people who do not have Alzheimer’s or some other brain disease. “This is the first paper that actually found a cellular mechanism that might be affected during aging and therefore be responsible for a lack of memory consolidation during sleep,” says Julie Seibt, a lecturer in sleep and plasticity at the University of Surrey in the U.K. Seibt was not involved in the new study. To confirm the finding, though, researchers will have to show that it’s possible to cause memory problems in a young brain by disrupting these rhythms, Seibt says. The study was the result of an effort to understand how the sleeping brain turns short-term memories into memories that can last a lifetime, says Walker, the author of the book Why We Sleep. “What is it about sleep that seems to perform this elegant trick of cementing new facts into the neural architecture of the brain?” To find out, Walker and a team of scientists had 20 young adults learn 120 pairs of words. “Then we put electrodes on their head and we had them sleep,” he says. The electrodes let researchers monitor the electrical waves produced by the brain during deep sleep. They fo-

cused on the interaction between slow waves, which occur every second or so, and faster waves called sleep spindles, which occur more than 12 times a second. The next morning the volunteers took a test to see how many word pairs they could still remember. And it turned out their performance was determined by how well their slow waves and spindles had synchronized during deep sleep. “When those two brain waves were perfectly coinciding, that’s when you seem to get this fantastic transfer of memory within the brain from short term vulnerable storage sites to these more permanent, safe, long-term storage sites,” Walker says. Next, the team repeated the experiment with 32 people in their 60s and 70s. Their brain waves were less synchronized during deep sleep. They also remembered fewer word pairs the next morning. And, just like with young people, performance on the memory test was determined by how well their brain waves kept the beat, says Randolph Helfrich, an author of the new study and a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley.

“If you’re like 50 milliseconds too early, 50 milliseconds too late, then the storing mechanism actually doesn’t work.” Helfrich says. The team also found a likely reason for the lack of coordination associated with aging: atrophy of an area of the brain involved in producing deep sleep. People with more atrophy had less rhythm in the brain, Walker says. That’s discouraging because atrophy in this area of the brain is a normal consequence of aging, Walker says, and can be much worse in people with Alzheimer’s. But the study also suggests that it’s possible to improve an impaired memory by re-synchronizing brain rhythms during sleep. One way to do this would be by applying electrical or magnetic pulses through the scalp. “The idea is to boost those brain waves and bring them back together,” Helfrich says. Walker already has plans to test this approach to synchronizing brain waves. “What we’re going to try and do is act like a metronome and in doing so see if we can actually salvage aspects of learning and memory in older adults and those with dementia,” he says. (-NPR)

Drug and alcohol deaths at U.S. workplaces soar


As the panel discusses in a video posted on the Aspen Ideas website, lonely people are more likely to get sick, experience cognitive decline and even early death. There is a difference between loneliness and social isolation, the team points out. Dr. Carla Perissinotto, who specializes in internal and geriatric medicine at the University of California San Francisco, explained that loneliness is the subjective feeling of having no one.

States Dr. Vivek Murthy labeled it a major health problem because its consequences can be so crippling.

“You cannot tell me if I feel lonely,” she said in the video. “I may look lonely. But it really depends on what’s going on inside of me.”

In fact, the lifespan of someone who suffers from loneliness is similar to that of someone who smokes 15 cigarettes a day, Vivek explained. Its implications are worse than for obesity.

Social isolation is different in that you can actually put a number to how many relationships a person has. Perissinotto reported on her research highlighting how these feelings of isolation can impact our minds and bodies. In the video, Perissinotto explained that loneliness was linked to a 60-percent increase in functional decline, which is marked by physical and mobility problems that hin-

“We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s,” he wrote in an article for Harvard Business Review. “Today, over 40 percent of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher.”

But we haven’t focused nearly as much effort on strengthening connections between people as we have on curbing tobacco use or obesity,” he said. While Murthy believes we should encourage stronger social connections in the workplace, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda thinks becoming more comfortable with the awkward is key.

he number of U.S. deaths at work from unintentional drug and alcohol overdoses jumped more than 30% in 2016, according to new government data, showing that the nation’s struggle with a deadly opioid epidemic is migrating to the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational

In the Aspen Institute video, Chibanda said that generally people are uncomfortable with emotionally loaded statements. “You know, often when you say hello to somebody, you don’t expect them to say ‘I’m lonely’ or ‘I’m isolated.’ I think that’s where the problem begins,” he said. “And so the key problem is: How do you undo that? How do we all become comfortable with that which is uncomfortable?” There is likely no easy solution or answer, but it might not be such a bad idea to answer honestly the next time a family member asks how you’re doing. (-Newsweek)

Injuries said Tuesday that 217 workers died on the job last year as a result of an unintentional overdose from the nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol, up from 165 in 2015. The number of accidental overdose deaths at work has nearly tripled since the BLS began compiling the data in 2011. The statistic is part of a bigger problem. Drug overdose deaths surpassed 64,000 last year, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Donald Trump in October declared opioid addiction, in particular, a national public health emergency. Addiction experts are in wide agreement on the most effective way to help opioid addicts: Medication-assisted treatment. But most inpatient rehab facilities in the U.S. don’t offer this option. WSJ’s Jason Bellini reports on why the medication option is controversial, and in many places, hard to come by. Image: Ryno Eksteen and Thomas Williams “The surge in deaths, the abuse and

the way in which this has turned into a crisis which encompasses so many elements, it’s not at all surprising this crisis has migrated” into the workplace, said John Deskins, an economist at West Virginia University. The Department of Labor will respond by working “with public and private stakeholders to help eradicate the opioid crisis as a deadly and growing workplace issue,” said Loren Sweatt, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s deputy assistant secretary. Earlier this year, OSHA limited its reporting of fatalities in the U.S., as part of a series of moves by the agency cutting back the amount of information about workplace accidents made available to the public. Total fatal work injuries rose 7% to 5,190 in 2016, according to the report. Deaths due to workplace violence increased 23% last year from the year before, making that the second most common cause of death on the job in 2016 after transportation incidents. (-Wall Street Journal)

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FRIDAY, December 22, 2017

Reebok and Gigi Hadid host The #Perfectnever Revolution Uniting Women to Confront the Notion of Perfection


EW YORK CITY – December 8th, 2016: Reebok and brand ambassador Gigi Hadid hosted the #PerfectNever Revolution, an empowering event that challenged hundreds of women from all walks of life to come together and confront the unattainable notions and standards of perfection. A series of activities including a workout class, a panel discussion with prolific female trailblazers and an immersive, artistic installation brought to life Reebok’s underpinning brand spirit, “Be More Human,” and showcased the global fitness leader’s unwavering commitment to identifying and meeting the demands of women worldwide. Gigi united with a group of inspiring women who are redefining perceptions in their respective industries and challenging norms. Here, the women formed a dynamic panel where they spoke to their own experiences of the pressures of perfection and gave insight into how they combat these impossible standards. Panelists included: Aly Raisman – Reebok athlete and medal-winning gymnast Lena Dunham – Actor, writer, director, creator and star of HBO’s “GIRLS”. Jessica Mendoza – ESPN broadcaster; former medal winning softball player Ruby Rose – Actress Zoe Kravitz – Actress and musician The panel was live-streamed at: Lena Dunham said, “The reason that I started doing my job was to connect with other women, with other people,

New York Fashion Week extends to 10 days in February

Gigi Hadid

The event honors the next chapter in the “Be More Human” brand campaign with a series of physically, mentally, and socially empowering activities (File photo) and to let them know that their flaws, their complexities and their darkness were an important part of who they are. So any time I can engage with something that busts open narratives, traditional narratives, about who women are supposed to be, I’m there.” Ruby Rose said, “The #PerfectNever campaign resonated with me because I think that it embodies female empowerment and its about being authentic to yourself, being true to yourself and being the best that you can be. We are all so unique and if you can’t be true to that and be authentic to who you were born to be, then you are not living the life you deserve.” Zoe Kravitz said, “The #PerfectNever campaign is important to be because I think its something we don’t see enough in the world. I think its important for women to embrace

Disney agreed Thursday to buy key film and television assets from Fox in a $52.4 billion deal set to step up its challenge to Netflix and emerging rivals in the streaming wars.

Men’s shows will take place February 5-7, followed by women’s and coed shows in the customary week-long slot from February 8-14, it said. The change comes as a growing number of brands merge men’s and women’s collections on the runway.

“It’s certainly a historic merger but this is not the first time two studios have come together -- 20th Century Fox is itself the result of a merger,” filmmaker Jean-Luc de Fanti, who coproduced “Good Time” and “American Made” this year, told AFP.

The CFDA said the following season’s men’s fashion week would take place July 9-12 2018 with the women’s event scheduled for September 6-12. Last season’s fashion week in September suffered from lackluster reviews and saw a spate of up-andcoming US creative talent decamp to Europe. The first New York Fashion Week was created in 1943 by Eleanor Lambert, press director of the American fashion industry’s first promotional organization, the New York Dress Institute. The event, the world’s first organized fashion week, was called “Press Week”, and was created to attract attention away from French fashion

The event culminated in powerful and uplifting style as Reebok and Gigi

Commenting on the #PerfectNever Revolution, Inga Stenta, Senior Director at Reebok shared, “The #PerfectNever Revolution is a powerful expression of our Be More Human rallying cry. Reebok’s mission is to empower people to be the best versions of themselves not just physically, but mentally and socially. Each moment in today’s #PerfectNever experience combined these beliefs with Gigi’s


Men’s fashion week will “abut the women’s schedule” in a bid to streamline the international fashion schedule, the Council of Fashion Designers of America said.

But the New York schedule shift may also be an experiment.

Continuing the #PerfectNever story which debuted worldwide in early 2016, Gigi also participated with guests in an immersive workout experience alongside longtime trainer and Gotham Gym owner, Rob Piela. Showcasing her love for boxing, Hadid sparred with guests during the combat master class, which took the women through moves that strengthen and empower.

by Frankie Taggart and Veronique Dupont OS ANGELES | AFP - The Walt Disney Co. acquisition of a large chunk of 21st Century Fox is expected to reshape the filmmaking landscape, uniting two of the “big six” Hollywood studios under one umbrella for the first time.

The fashion media suggested that the calendar switch could help menswear get more attention if editors, buyers and influencers jet into the Big Apple a bit earlier. After New York, the international fashion pack decamps to London, Milan and Paris.

Commenting on the panel discussion, Jessica Mendoza said, “Just listening to the other women, powerful women, talk about their own strengths and weaknesses and how they’ve gotten to where they’re at was one of the most powerful panels I’ve been on.”

invited guests to take part in an interactive installation. A sea of balloons featuring phrases reflecting negative notions and unrealistic expectations women face in their daily lives transformed into positive and inspiring words that brought the #PerfectNever philosophy to life. Engaging with women around the world in real time, the installation featured social commentary posted via #PerfectNever, reflecting the campaign’s truly universal message.

Fur flies in Hollywood as Disney goes ‘Fox hunting’

EW YORK CITY| AFP New York Fashion Week will morph into a 10-day style fest next February, with a men’s event being tagged onto the front of the flagship women’s shows, organizers confirmed Wednesday.


the fact that were not perfect and celebrate that.”

Gigi Hadid for Reebok (Photo: Reebok)

Disney will take over billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s prestigious movie distribution businesses, which racked up 27 Golden Globes nominations on Monday, comfortably more than its big six rivals combined. One important question for film buffs is whether Disney, which offloaded indie subsidiary Miramax in 2010, has the stomach to keep muchadmired arthouse label Fox Searchlight going after the acquisition. The distributor has turned heads this

during World War II, when fashion industry insiders were unable to travel to Paris to see French fashion shows. It was also meant to showcase American designers for fashion journalists, who had neglected U.S. fashion innovations. Press Week was a success, and fashion magazines like Vogue, which were normally filled with French designs, increasingly featured American fashion. By the mid-1950s, the event was known as “Press Week of New York”.

personal fight against the pressures of perfection. Our aim is to unite and inspire women of all ages all over the world to flip this conventional notion on its head. Potential is perpetual and limitless. Why stop at perfect?” The #PerfectNever Revolution and Reebok’s partnership with Gigi marks the second phase in the #PerfectNever movement’s chapter. Its debut was led by a compelling campaign video featuring athlete and champion of empowerment, Ronda Rousey. The #PerfectNever campaign is a continuation of the Reebok ‘Be More Human’ marketing platform, a rallying cry for people to live up to their full potential, and continues the global fitness brand’s mission to change how people perceive and experience fitness. Hadid and Reebok will work together to further champion this message. (-AFP/ lot in Burbank, although the company is planning to lease the studio back to Fox for the coming years, according to Variety magazine. Redundancies are expected, although Variety reported that 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice reassured employees at a meeting Thursday that staff laid off would get “big severance packages.” - ‘Meaningful negative’ Regulatory approval may not come until as late as 2019 -- a relief to some analysts who see the proposals as an alarm bell over the health of the film industry. “Even Fox, with all its resources... is looking at the increasingly expensive future of moviemaking and considering taking itself out of the picture,” said David Sims of The Atlantic in a commentary before the deal was signed. If Fox can’t hack it anymore, Sims argues, it is difficult to see how Universal, Sony and Paramount are going to manage, given that they already rely heavily on other revenue streams such as television.

As Disney swallows Fox, a new era dawns for Hollywood (Photo: AFP) awards season with a production line of critical darlings like “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The Shape of Water” and “Battle of the Sexes.” But it doesn’t have the box office clout of its blockbuster stable mate 20th Century Fox, which made $826 million in 2017 from three movies alone -- “Logan,” “The Boss Baby” and “War for the Planet of the Apes.” On the small screen, the deal would offer Disney the chance to double its stake in streaming service Hulu to a controlling 60 percent, allowing it to fold the up-and-coming platform into its own streaming services being launched in 2019. - ‘Avengers vs X-Men’? It could also add content from Fox’s FX -- which produced hit series “The Americans” -- and National Geographic cable channels, and movies such as “The Revenant” and the “Avatar” franchise, to give it a running start

in its bid to challenge Netflix. In the only aspect of the deal the fanboys will really care about, the marriage provides the opportunity for a meeting of minds between the costumed superheroes of Disney-owned Marvel and the mutants of Fox’s comic book division. That could pave the way for a new “Avengers vs X-Men”-style franchise featuring Thor battling Deadpool for galactic supremacy, or perhaps Captain America bickering with the Fantastic Four. Meanwhile “Star Wars” fans should be able to buy a box set of all nine movies for the first time, since the rights for the original films and prequel trilogy -- made before Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 -- have always belonged to Fox. The deal adds the 50 acres (20 hectares) of production and pre-production facilities at the Fox studios in west Los Angeles to Disney’s own expansive

The Writers Guild of America West Writers Union said the antitrust concerns raised by the deal were “obvious and significant” while Jeremy Slater, creator of Fox’s “The Exorcist” on Fox, tweeted that the deal was “awful for several reasons.” Richard Greenfield, a media and tech analyst for San Francisco-based financial services firm BTIG, told AFP the move may not be music to the ears of movie theater operators either. Disney is already able to leverage its influence to drive tough revenuesharing deals with theaters, as demonstrated most recently in its demand for a bigger-than-normal 65 percent of ticket sales for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Disney reported profits of $2.5 billion in 2016, when it distributed the top three movies -- and five of the top ten -- and adding Fox’s contribution will only give it more clout. “We would expect Disney’s increased scale to be a meaningful negative to exhibition chains around the world,” said Greenfield.


FRIDAY, December 22, 2017



Bill O’Brien says he won’t quit despite Texans struggles by Sarah Barshop


OUSTON -- A day after a blowout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, coach Bill O’Brien was asked whether he would choose to leave the Texans after this season.

Coach Bill O’Brien


said. “I don’t get into the hopeful. I don’t get into that. That’s up to one guy.” The Texans are 1-6 since rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in early November, and the offense has struggled since. After three seasons in which the Texans finished 9-7, Houston is guaranteed a losing season. Last week, O’Brien said, “I enjoy being the head coach of the Houston Texans.”

“I have great relationships with these players here, and I’m going to continue to coach hard until they tell me I’m not coaching here anymore,” O’Brien said. Under O’Brien, the Texans are 31-31 in the regular season and 1-2 in three playoff games. The Texans won back-to-back AFC South titles in 2015-16 before falling to 4-10 this season.

Beijing unveils Winter Olympics emblems with fanfare


EIJING, China | AFP - China unveiled emblems for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics inspired by Chinese calligraphy on Friday, in a star-studded ceremony featuring songs from actor Jackie Chan and pianist Lang Lang.

During the show Chan belted out the song, “Wake Up Win-


ter” in English and Mandarin as clips of people playing winter sports played on a giant screen. The ceremony, which was attended by former Chinese Olympians, took place at the futuristic “Water Cube” -- former site for swimming events at the Beijing 2008 Summer Games.

China has had great success at the Summer Olympics, but its few Winter Olympics victories have been centred on speed skating. The Chinese capital has financial muscle and the political determination of a one-party state.

International Olympics Committee President Thomas Bach said via video message that Beijing is set to “make history” as the first city to host both the summer and the winter Games.

But the country still has scant top-class facilities for outdoor events and only about one metre of snow falls annually in the mountains north of Beijing, where alpine skiing events will be held.

Beijing won the bid over only one other contender, Almaty, after other cities backed out over high costs.

The hosts will employ an elaborate artificial snow-making system, Beijing officials have promised.

SOCCER Man U. plot £90m move for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard


ONDON - Manchester United believe they can beat Real Madrid to Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard by offering a British transfer record bid of £90million. The Belgian winger still has twoand-a-half years to run his existing deal at Stamford Bridge but he rejected Chelsea’s last offer of close to £300,000-aweek and the club’s heirachy fear he craves a new challenge. The 26-year-old move to the Blues from Lille in 2012 and spent two-and-half seasons under Jose Mourinho, winning the PFA player of the year award in the Portuguese boss’ last full campaign in west London. Hazard clashed with Mourinho before his sacking in December 2015 but the pair remain on good terms and United have the financial clout to rival Real Madrid for his signature. Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for the Belgium international but United are said to be confident of rivalling the La Liga giants

LeBron James heartbreaking Game 7 to the Warriors this year somehow everyone will decide we have to do it and swallow our pride. I just have a really hard time seeing that. Harden’s usage and role is so big. I think you would get into some of the fighting over the ball that we haven’t seen between Chris Paul and James Harden thus far. I think

it would be unavoidable with LeBron and Harden. At the same time, I would love to see it. It would be amazing and their offensive ceiling would be super, duper high, but it’s more of a question of ego, pecking order and if they would be able to pull that off and massage it. I have serious questions about that.

India vs Sri Lanka: IPL graduates in the limelight

The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games emblem was similar in design and resembles the Chinese character for “flight” in calligraphy.

Cai said the Chinese government had to sort through some 4500 entries from designers before choosing the emblems, which are also meant to represent “a pursuit of excellence”.

Remember, Houston is still operating on Harden’s terms. He’s the supermax guy, everything is built around him. Chris Paul had to adjust to Harden, not the other way around. Mike D’Antoni has fully empowered Harden. The last shot of the game the ball’s going to be in Harden’s hands. I don’t think LeBron is capable of being a No. 2 at this point of his career, in any way. And I don’t think Harden is capable of being a No. 2 and really sacrificing, in any way.


At the glitzy ceremony in the Chinese capital, a dramatic drumbeat accompanied the countdown to reveal the Olympics logo: bold brushstrokes of colour resembling the shape of a skier as well as the Chinese character for “winter”.

The country of 1.3 billion is home to roughly only six million skiers, but President Xi Jinping hopes that number will rise to 300 million in the coming years as he tries to turn the country into a winter sports powerhouse.

Ben Golliver: I wrote earlier this season during the midst of the October Cavaliers struggles that I thought LeBron should target a new strategy for his free agency next year. I thought he should look for organizations that have better struggle, that have more alignment between ownership, GM, star player and coach. And to me, the two teams that really jumped off the page as possible destinations, if we take Golden State out and we take Boston out, are San Antonio and Houston. And with Houston, I think he would fit that system very well. There is no doubt about it.

Now, maybe if they lose a

Beijing, which hosted the Olympics in 2008, will become the first city ever to hold both the summer and winter Games as the country looks to burnish its sporting prestige.

“The emblems combine Chinese culture and... the passion, energy and vigor of winter sports, the president of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, Cai Qi, said on stage.

Why LeBron James to the Rockets will never happen n the latest Open Floor Podcast, Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver address the latest LeBron James rumors, focusing on talk about his possible move to the Rockets to join James Harden and Chris Paul.

“I’ll never resign as the head football coach of the Houston Texans.”

“That’s up to Bob [McNair]. That’s not up to me,” O’Brien


by Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver

He replied emphatically, “I will never quit as the head football coach of the Houston Texans. Ever.”

O’Brien has one season remaining on the five-year contract he signed when he became the Texans’ coach in 2014. It is unlikely the team would allow him to coach next season without signing him to a contract extension in the offseason. A week ago, O’Brien said his agent had not heard from owner Bob McNair about an extension. On Monday he said he has “no control over that.”


NDIA’S ODI team has had a settled look in recent times. In the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer responded with two sumptuous half-centuries. However, in the T20s space, the team is exploring different options in a bid to get the perfect balance. Consequently, the selectors have inducted a bevy of uncapped players for the series against Sri Lanka, which begins in Cuttack today. The Rohit Sharma-led squad has rookies Basil Thampi, Deepak Hooda and Washington Sundar, while the bowling will comprise the likes of Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammed Siraj, all of whom have hardly had much experience at the international level. But it’s the IPL experience that has prompted selectors to give them the nod, a fact attested by Dinesh Karthik ahead of the series opener. “All of them have come with a lot of IPL experience behind them — some have played 20-30 games. They are not as perturbed as they used to be in earlier days. It gives them a lot of confidence to come into the international set-up. I’m sure these are exciting times for the young boys. I’m very confident that they will make best use of the chances given to them.


for Hazard by offering a £90m, according to the Sun. United broke the world transfer record to sign Paul Pogba in an £89m deal in 2016, though Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain last summer has relegated the Frenchman’s move to a British transfer record. Chelsea’s preference is to keep Hazard and they’re willing to make him the best paid player

in the club’s history. However, should the Belgian push to leave they would rather sell him abroad than to a Premier League rival. However, Chelsea’s board overruled Antonio Conte last summer by allowing Nemanja Matic to move to Old Trafford in a £35m deal and could do the same should United produce a better financial package than Madrid. (-MetroUK)

It’s IPL that gave the youngsters a platform to express themselves and stake a claim for the T20 squad. Hooda, Baroda’s Ranji captain, has caught the eye with his belligerent strokeplay, while Kerala’s Thampi has showcased his brisk pace and ability to bowl yorkers almost at will. All-rounder Sundar, who made his ODI debut recently in Mohali, too was picked following consistent performances for the Rising Pune Supergiant earlier this year. After claiming a hat-trick in the IPL, the retirement of Ashish Nehra gives Saurashtra leftarm seamer Jaydev Unadkat another chance to cement his place in the T20 squad. The series also heralds the return of KL Rahul in the mix. However, like Ajinkya Rahane, he would find himself on the bench as the team management has insisted on using him specifically as an opener. Captain Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan are the automatic choice in those slots, while Iyer looks poised to retain the No.3 spot, with Karthik and the experienced MS Dhoni rounding off India’s middle order.

- The Dhoni conundrum For the wealth of experience that Dhoni brings to India’s T20 squad, his utility as a batsman has come under scrutiny due to his inability to up the ante in recent times. One does not need to look beyond the second T20 against New Zealand in Rajkot last month that India lost. Chasing 197 for a win, Dhoni walked into bat with India struggling at 67/4 at the halfway mark. With Kohli for company, the hosts perhaps had the best combination to ace the chase. But the former captain struggled to pull off the trademark big hits from the beginning. He did finish with a a 37-ball 49, including three sixes. But Dhoni’s sedate start put pressure on Kohli, who got out trying to go for a big hit. While Dhoni’s ability to steer the innings in limited-overs games has always been exemplary, it’s his big-hitting ability that has been on the wane recently. The issue with Dhoni is that he is neither a slogger nor a 360-degree player, hence he needs time to get into the groove. The frenetic T20 format, however, does not provide him that luxury. (-Indian Express)

Egypt releases more than 200 football fans accused of rioting AIRO, Egypt | AFP - Egypt’s military prosecutors have released more than 200 football fans who had spent over five months in detention accused of vandalising a stadium and attacking police, a lawyer said Monday.

Eden Hazard is wanted by Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

It’s a great opportunity for all the young boys coming in,” he said.

Police had detained hundreds of supporters of Cairo’s Zamalek club following a July 9 game against Libya’s Al Alhi SC, keeping 236 of them in detention ever since, said defence lawyer Mohamed Hafez, who represented more than 100 of them. Following months of investigations, the military prosecution released them Saturday “because there was not enough evidence to allow for a criminal trial,” Hafez said. Their release was also re-

ported by state media.

day, he added.

The supporters were accused of destroying seats at Alexandria’s Borg El Arab Stadium and attacking police, the lawyer said.

Egyptian authorities in 2015 banned the ultras groups, hardcore supporters of local teams who were at the forefront of 2011 protests that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak and are openly hostile to the police.

They were also accused of belonging to the Ultras White Knights, a club of hard core Zamalek supporters, said Hafez, who is also a lawyer at the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. “There was rioting inside the Borg El Arab Stadium, and some of the seats were destroyed, and then about 600 of Zamalek’s supporters were randomly arrested,” Hafez said. Eight of the 236 had remained in detention Saturday, apparently for investigation on other charges, although a further three were released Sun-

Authorities had banned spectators from local matches after 2012 stadium riots in Port Said left more than 70 people dead, but spectators were allowed into the July match as it was an international fixture. Matches played in the presence of spectators since 2012 have also been marred by deadly violence. In February of 2015, police fired tear gas at fans who tried to push their way into a Cairo stadium. The ensuing stampede left 19 people dead.



FRIDAY, December 22, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of December 22, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

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


Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April You will be in mood of being more social & it will bring you many possibilities. Reach out and have fun. Help someone by taking care of their duties or problems, you’ll be glad you did. Romance will unfold through work-related events. Opportunities to advance are evident, but you must keep your emotions well hidden if you wish to accomplish your objectives. You can make progress at work by refraining from idle chatter or disagreeing with your boss. Focus on your own projects.

The energy you feel will help you to reach your goals. Express yourself with passion & you may discover new ways to impress your style. This is the time to turn on the charm and attract interest both professionally and personally. You will hold the attention of those with whom you come in contact. Set your goals high, push yourself to the limit, and you will surpass your wildest dreams. The fact that you’re suddenly very popular doesn’t help with your focus.

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May You can be compassionate when it comes to the way you feel about others. Your dedication and determination will help you master whatever you set out to do. It’s all about support. Whether you’re lending a receptive ear or turning to trusted friends for backup, all agree on what is important. Setbacks will only make you stronger. Once again, you’re on the winning end of some grand strategy. Diplomacy will benefit from your golden touch.

You will realize that world is not simple & straight. Don’t trust anyone who won’t look you in the eye. You have to disconnect your emotions from a difficult situation. Once you do, your energy will increase. Use your resources to find new ways to complete your tasks. This is a time for accomplishment. You are a champion for those who need an advocate. You can make the impossible look easy. The services that you perform now are sure to earn you points.

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

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June You’ll remain unchanged, however the differences lies in how you present yourself to the world. Give a little, take a little. If someone else wants to run the show, don’t object to it. You could find yourself facing a choice when you least expect one. Talk to people who matter. Use a little creativity to show that you are dependable, stable and willing to do whatever you can to help. You’re a lively contributor and a giving individual who will gain respect and approval from those in authority. Don’t forget to attend to your inner needs.

High time to set new goals and put it in action. Emotional difficulties are likely, control your reactions to incompetence. Choose conservative investments and forget about becoming an overnight millionaire. Consider attending lectures to broaden your awareness of your professional goals and direction. Travel will help you to understand those from different cultural backgrounds better. Look into vacation spots that will provide warm weather and recreational activities for the whole family.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July You’ll be influenced by the differences that you see in others communication skills. You need to make your points but you also need to listen to other’s perspectives. Don’t over react to criticism. Events push you into an activity that you like. You’re happy to work hard at something that you love. Settle down and work on your future goals. Look at yourself in the mirror and discover who you really are and how much you have to offer. It’s time to believe in yourself and to raise your self-confidence.

You may feel that you are occupied in non rewarding activities. You’re now ready to give everything that you have to get what you want. Potential is everything this week. Many people are making promises, reaffirming their faith in you. You’re ready to act in ultimately successful ways. You need to start enjoying life a little more. Although you’d rather hold the answer in your hands, envisioning it helps you find it more easily. You’d prefer not to cause problems, but you know the fallout is unavoidable.

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

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August You’ll feel vital and everything will be in your control. Leadership is a big plus for you. Your words may be quoted. Your actions may have an effect on others, but it doesn’t all go to your head. Study your opponent or objective from a distance. You may find you need an altogether different approach. Be cautious in how you use your resources, don’t be hasty. Your willingness to listen is enough for someone who wants your attention. It’s too easy to take sides during an overheard dispute.

You can make headway early in the week, if you put your mind to it. You will be offered an opportunity to work some magic. Problems that older relatives face will become part of your life. Try to do what you can to help, but allow others to lessen your load. You don’t have to let their troubles disrupt your personal life. By week’s end, your excitement will overtake your serious side. You’ll become a master at the art of change.

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

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Your best partners are the people who always know what you mean. Bring your greatest asset to the forefront, Your Confidence. It’s time to make some choices. Reach out and draw someone new into your circle. A hint of strength is far better than an actual display. You’re sure to get people’s attention. You’ll be the master of your own destiny, so take hold of your life and decide what will make you happy. It’s time to stand your ground and follow your heart. Don’t let anyone push you into making a decision you’re not ready to make. Your efforts will go a long way toward comforting any hurt feelings.

Read your Weekly Horoscope Online


Unexpected short travels will take place. Sit back and relax, close friends may influence some light on your situation. Your insightful, trend setting way of putting things together will be admired by others. Participation in family outings or social activities will bring you added popularity and respect. New friendships will be stimulating, even intense. You’ll be able to make travel arrangements by week’s end. You can make a difference at work if you let others in on your unique and speedy way of doing things. Your generous contribution will bring you friendship.




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FRIDAY, December 22, 2017


Job Posting - Temporary News Reporter KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, TX, has an opening for a full time temporary News Reporter. Candidates should have experience in general assignment reporting, including live breaking news. Applicants must be able to develop contacts, enterprise good, hard news stories, and respond well to spot news. Candidates must have outstanding writing skills for both broadcast and digital platforms. Must be willing to work evenings and weekends. All interested applicants must apply on-line at by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Interested applicants should also send video tape samples of your news related work to: Human Resources, KTRK-TV, 3310 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005. Please Reference Job ID: 513065BR on all materials submitted. Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please


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When Asking for a New Job Title, Show How It Will Benefit the Company If you’ve been in your job for a few years, you’ve probably seen your responsibilities expand. But if your job title hasn’t changed along with them, then it may be time to talk to your boss. Before you ask for a title change, ask yourself, “What would help my manager say yes?” Think carefully about why you deserve a new title — maybe you just sealed a big new deal for the company, or you executed an important project — and how it will help you be more effective in your job. Will it give you more credibility with your colleagues? Help you build rapport with clients? Grant you more authority to make decisions? Consider what your supervisor cares and worries about most, and use that to build your case. Your boss is more likely to agree when the change benefits you and the company. Source: Adapted from “How to Ask for the Job Title You Deserve,” by Rebecca Knight

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FRIDAY, December 22, 2017

Voice of Asia E-paper December 22, 2017  
Voice of Asia E-paper December 22, 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...