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VOICE OF ASIA The Largest Asian-American Newsweekly in Texas

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Vol. 31 No. 5 • Friday, February 2, 2018

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Indian Americans celebrate India's Republic Day, join Consul General at flag hoisting and dinner reception

FRIDAY, February22, 2018 In Section l l l l l l l

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Trump, Democrats head toward immigration showdown

by Shobana Muratee


OUSTON - On January 26, Consul General of India, Houston Dr. Anupam Ray held a formal flag hoisting ceremony at the Consulate office here on 4300 Scotland St., celebrating India’s 69th Republic Day. He and his wife Amit Goldberg, MD and son were joined by Chief Guest, Congressman Pete Olson, Consulate staff, community leaders, members of the Indian Americans community, friends of India and their families. The tricolor flag of India was hoisted with the singing of the National Anthem followed by the reading of the President of India’s address by Consul General Dr. Ray. Guests were served light refreshments soon after. As part of the Republic Day celebrations, an evening dinner reception was held at the same venue where Dr. Ray spoke on how India is emerging as the fastest growing major economy in the world and its ties with the United States. “We look at

US President Donald Trump is offering a path to citizenship for "Dreamers" in return for changes that experts say will cut immigration overall. (AFP photo) by Paul Handley

Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray (center) with Congressman Pete Olson, Chowdary (Charlie) Yalamanchili, Jay Guerra, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's representative (on the right), Dr. Virendra Mathur, Dr. Durga Agrawal and a guest (on the left). Photo by Shobana M. the United States as our major partner,” he said in his welcome address, “we have estab-

lished many bridges with the US: between people, public and private corporations, profit and

non-profits, all of them with the same goal,” he added. Continued on Page 4

India's Republic Day at India House


ASHINGTON | AFP | 1/31/2018 – A showdown over US immigration policy loomed Wednesday after President Donald Trump laid out a tough deal in his State of The Unionaddress that offers citizenship to 1.8 million "Dreamers" in exchange for sharp overall cuts to immigration. Less than two weeks after Democrats forced a three-day shutdown of the government over the issue, the Republican president said he would not give in to anything less than a harsh cutback on existing immigration and massive funding for a wall on the Mexican border. In exchange, Trump is offering a 12-year pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million people who came to the US illegally as children, 700,000 of whom are set to lose their current protection from deportation on March 6. Democrats are pushing for the fate of the Dreamers to be tackled as a priority, and are resisting Republican efforts to tie it into a broader bargain on immigration. The stalemate led Democrats to block a one-month budget extension on January 19, forcing a partial shutdown of the federal government, and the same threat looms over the new deadline for a long-term budget, February 8.

Indian Americans gather for flag hoisting ceremony at the India House to celebrate India's Republic Day on January 26, 2018. Photo credit: Navin Mediwala. Read Report on Page 3

In his annual speech before Congress late Tuesday, Trump again portrayed legal and illegal immigration as a threat to the country, highlighting murders by gang members from

other countries and terror attacks by people who entered the United States legally. "For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives," Trumpsaid. "My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans -- to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are Dreamers too." - Democrats: Trump 'uncompromising' With the immigrant population a crucial part of their voter base, Democrats sought to frame Trump's speech as demeaning and uncompromising. Representative Joe Kennedy, chosen by the party to answer Trump's speech, began with a paean to new foreign arrivals and their contributions to the country. "We are here in Fall River, Massachusetts -- a proud American city, built by immigrants," he said. Speaking in Spanish, he tried to assuage the mostly Latino Dreamers. "To all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away." Continued on Page 2

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Shobana Muratee

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It was a good speech. Calm down. I said good. Despite talking for an hour and 20 minutes, the longest since President Bill Clinton’s much-mocked 2000 stemwinder , President Trump’s first State of the Union address did exactly what it needed to do: nothing. It wasn’t strident; it wasn’t provocative; it wasn’t alienating; it wasn’t retributive; it wasn’t divisive — except to Democrats who would have sneered in disgust even if he’d said, “I’m sorry for all the ridiculous, mean things I’ve said the past year.” All disclaimers and critiques aside, there is a rule known to all public speakers: People don’t remember what you say; they remember how you make them feel. Only journalists, pundits, politicians, professors and speechwriters will closely examine the content of the president’s speech. The rest of America, to the extent they watched the speech at all, will have gone to bed thinking, “Gosh, he was surprisingly good. Maybe there’s hope after all.” Listening to postmortems on television Wednesday morning, I was struck by the consen-

Trump seemed ‘normal’ for a night. Can it last? Is this a new Trump? Or a momentary normal? sus that Trump sowed division during his address to the nation. I even heard words such as “horrifying” to describe certain aspects. I’m thinking: You don’t know the American people. The crux of most of the criticism was that Trump gave a speech encouraging unity while doing the opposite. By this they meant he invoked several hot-button issues, such as the “take a knee” movement and the violence of the Salvadoran gang MS-13. Both of these references among a smattering of others were strictly gratuitous and meant, presumably, to bestir the base. But when compared with the fire and brimstone of his inaugural address, these represent relatively minor flaws. Indeed, most Americans do prefer that people show respect for the national anthem by standing, and they are fear-

Trump, Democrats head toward immigration showdown Continued from Page 1 Speaking on NPR radio, early Wednesday Democratic Senator Chris Murphy accused Trump of using the Dreamers as "political pawns." "The president doubled down on his rhetoric, demonizing immigrants and trying to make Americans afraid of people who are crossing our border to come here to seek a better life," he said.

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

"clean" DACA fix, and a budget bill without his immigration demands, "I think we will be teetering on another shutdown, which is horrible." "Nobody wants a shutdown," she said. "What we need to do is be responsible adults and realize we're not going to get everything we want, and carve a pathway forward.

ful of the potential for violent characters to cross the border without enhanced security. To Democratic ears, of course, Trump was fearmongering and race-baiting, which, while not unprecedented, seems nearly as gratuitous a reaction. This was underscored when Rep. Joe Kennedy (DMass.), during the Democratic response, intoned: “ Vamos a luchar por ustedes ” (We’re going to fight for you). Otherwise, it is only reasonable that the president cited laudable benchmarks — economic progress, surging markets (notwithstanding Tuesday’s brief plummet), and greater business confidence. Noteworthy are recent stories about people who, through one retirement plan or another, are feeling friskier these days. Fidelity recently reported that the average annual return for 401(k)s hit 15.7 percent by the third quarter of 2017. None of these tidings erase the errors of Trump’s first year in office, or the negative effects of his often mean-spirited rhetoric. Nor does it alter the realities of the ongoing Russia investigation, the likely-to-be released memo by the House Intelligence Committee or the administration’s general dysfunction. Nor am I inclined to redact the many critical columns I’ve written. But it was a good speech. A more complete and fairer appraisal would note that Trump also said plenty to engage the other side of the aisle, including a $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal and a path

to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants, also known as “dreamers,” who were brought to the United States as children. Naturally, one of the first things to pop up Wednesday morning when you Googled “SOTU and immigration” was that David Duke praised the president for his line, “Americans are dreamers, too.” Please. Who cares what David Duke thinks or says? And by the way, Trump didn’t begin his day Wednesday by tweeting. Wait. Let me rephrase that: THE PRESIDENT DIDN’T TWEET!!! OMG! Not to jump the gun — or the shark — but, prematurely speaking, it would seem that Trump has turned a corner. Overall, his address to Congress was conciliatory in tone; his morning after was free of the usual rant aimed at someone he doesn’t like; and his speech, for all the harrumphing in the usual corners, made no matters worse. It’s a low bar, I’ll concede, but in a word, he seemed “normal.” Is this a new Trump? Can he sustain Tuesday night’s aura of gravitas? Can he justnot-be-weird for a while? As in, no more taunting North Korea, no more slamming critics, no more “fake news” and, for pity’s sake, no more strategic firings. If I may suggest a mantra: I will not fire Robert Mueller. I will not fire Robert Mueller. I will not fire Robert Mueller. My fingers keep stabbing the keyboard to write: Don’t hold your breath . But a more productive observation is to say what is, in fact, true: It was a good speech, Mr. President. Congratulations. You made us feel less crazed. And that, too, is good.

"We didn't get any closer to a deal on immigration or on the federal budget. We got further away," he said. - Dreamers vs. immigration cuts -

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Sad Demise

Democrats have pressed since last year for separate legislation to deal with the fate of 690,000 "Dreamer" immigrants who are registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, established by president Barack Obama in 2012 to protect their presence in the country. Trump cancelled the program in September, but is now offering a 12 year path to citizenship that goes beyond DACA recipients, extending to all those who arrived in the country as youths and children and have grown up here. As a counterpart, however, he wants $25 billion for a border wall, an end to the "green card lottery," and a sharp cutback to family-based, or "chain" migration.

Mariamma Kuruvilla ( Santhamma) was born on May 26, 1949 to the late K.K Oommen and Aleyamma Oommen Keerikattu (Kozhuvalloor, Kerala). She was called to eternity on January 17, 2018 in the midst of prayers surrounded by her husband Kunjachen, daughter Jaya and son in law Shiju. She is survived by her husband Kunjachen, her son Jikky KuruvilMariamma Kuruvilla la, daughters Jetty John May 26, 1949 - January 17, 2018 and Jaya Kuruvilla, daughter in law Annie, sons -in-law Shoby and She is also survived by Shiju and seven beautiful her seven siblings - Kunjugrand children - Angela, mol, Lillykutty, Kunjumon, Tia, Esther, Ruth, Joel, Dan- Thomaskutty, Sunny, Mercy iel, and Liya. and Jessy.

Immigration groups say that will reduce overall immigration by as much as half, and Democrats say the chain migration cutback will hurt families. Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer called Trump's proposal "draconian." "His immigration proposal betrays family values and uses Dreamers as a bargaining chip to harm other families." Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier said Wednesday that Trump's stance was a non-starter. "I think we are nowhere," she said on CNN. Without a

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Section 1


FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

Indian Americans celebrate India's Republic Day at India House by Shobana Muratee


OUSTON - Indian American gathered at the front lawns of O.P Jindal Center, India House to partake in India’s 69th Republic day celebrations held here on Friday, January 26th, 2018. After formal flag-hoisting was conducted with National Anthems of the United States and India being sung, guests moved inside the building. Dr. Virendra Mathur, India House Trustee read excerpts from India’s President’s speech ,highlighting 5 points of the speech which he felt were very impacting especially the opening paragraph, that reads as: “This is a day for all of us to celebrate and honour our nation and our sovereignty. This is a day to remember with gratitude the enormous efforts and sacrifices of millions of freedom fighters whose blood and sweat gave us Independence and created our Republic. Above all, this is a day to cherish our republican values.” Earlier, India House Executive Director, Col. Vipin Kumar welcomed the gathering and spoke briefly about the significance of such celebrations at the center which is mainly to bring together the community. The cultural segment of the day’s program opened with a graceful and enchanting dance item by Dolly Goyal and group to the instrumental music of ‘Vande Mataram” this was followed by a Bhangra dance by Dolly accompanied by Arjun.

Dance performance by Dolly and group to the song'Vande Mataram'.

Dr. Virendra Mathur, India House Trustee reading President of India's speech.

Dolly and Arjun performing the Bhangra.

Executive Director, Col. Vipin Kumar welcoming the gathering. Photos by Bijay Dixit.

The program ended with a melodious rendering of patriotic song “Aye mere vatan ke logon,’ sung by Payal Mitra, a local artist. Light refreshments provided by Nirman Restaurant and Deep Foods were served at the end of the program. Payal Mitra singing patriotic songs. A section of the audience at India House. Photos by Bijay Dixit.

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FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

Indian Americans celebrate India's Republic Day, join Consul General....

Speaker Abidali Z. Neemuchwala Wipro CEO at India's Republic Day celebrations. Indian Consulate Facebook photo Continued from Page 1 “Our speakers, some are distinguished businessmen, leading educationist, one technology group, they represent our aspiration, what we want our nation to be,” Dr. Ray said introducing Chief Guest and Speaker Abidali Z. Neemuchwala Wipro CEO. “Wipro is one that boosts our economy and education, if Wipro does well India does too,” he added. He also welcomed Congressman Welcomed Al Green and other dignitaries. In his address, Neemuchwala spoke of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 annual meeting, that he had attended in Davos on January 23, where President Trump gave his presidential address and Prime Minister Modi gave his inaugural address. “I’m extremely upbeat. The opening was about India and over 76 Heads of State, 400 CEOs and a large number of members the civil society attended,” Neemuchwala recounted. Prime minister (Modi), set the agenda, he said and he talked about what opportunity entrails in investing India and the benefits of globalization not losing focus of climate change. Modi also talked about eliminating terrorism which is common factor, Neemuchwala told the audience. Trump’s speech was very enlightening a well he added. Neemuchwala took charge in Texas in February

2016 and wants to settle here and raise his family. “Wipro is a company that gives back to community. Wipro is owed 50% by charitable organization,” he said and hopes to address the challenges faced by schools here. We need to make our STEM teachers more skill full,” he said and the Wipro is workingwith the ISD and with STEM teachers on that issue.

Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana with Indian students of the University of Houston who attended the flag hoisting ceremony on January 26, 2018. Photo by Shobana Muratee

Ladies of the Indian Consulate in Houston at India's Republic Day celebrations. Photo by Shobana Muratee “Today India is the fastest growing economy and at some point will become a member of the UN Security Council. I speak for all Indians when I say we will be truly great when we treat our women, our minority and our poor well,” was Dr. Ray’s message. Deputy

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Guests at Consul General's dinner reception. Photo credit Indian Consulate in Houston.

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Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

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Section 1


New Year, New Possibilities: Fort Bend ISD plans to launch 2018 Community Education Program

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ORT BEND ISD (January 26, 2018) – Fort Bend ISD’s Extended Learning Department is planning to grow its programs to offer enriched learning opportunities for all ages in 2018. Community Education courses will be offered at FBISD campuses within the community, and to determine what courses will be offered, the Extended Learning Department is hoping to hear from potential teachers and students. By visiting the Community Education webpage on the FBISD website, members of the community are invited to participate in a brief survey to share what kind of courses they are interested in attend-

ing, and what they would like to see in a Community Education program. The website also includes a link where community members can submit course proposals, indicating what kind of courses they would be interested in teaching. “We are truly excited about the possibilities that come with a Community Education program,” said Lori Montelongo, FBISD Assistant Director of Extended Learning. “Community Education gives all of our community members an opportunity to become lifelong learners, which is an important attribute in the District’s Profile

of a Graduate, and give our District the ability to engage and partner with our community in a new way. We want the courses to be affordable so that they are mutually beneficial for the community members and District as a whole.” Montelongo says the goal is to offer courses that appeal to different age groups and cover a variety of topics: enrichment, recreation, selfimprovement and academic prep. Locations will be chosen at a later date, and online courses could also be offered. Following the community survey and the submission of course proposals, Extended Learning plans to launch the first courses in the fall of 2018.

Determination to Succeed in the Face of Failure

YLDP Houston students with speaker Dr..Arun Pasrija, President and CEO of CHR Solutions.

Dr. Arun Pasrija, President and CEO of CHR delivering his talk. by Shruti Kumar hen we walked into the office of CHR solutions on Saturday, January 13th, we, students of Young Leadership Development Program (YLDP), didn’t realize the big impact that this company had on our communication service providers. I considered myself lucky to be able to understand this industry from the President and CEO of CHR, Dr. Arun Pasrija.


After 15 years working for Bell labs, Dr. Pasrija shifted his focus from programming and robotics for factories to learning more about business and entrepreneurship. He then joined a pseudo start up, L-3 communications as the head of operations which brought him to Houston. Dr. Pasrija not only has advanced the business field but also wants to spreads this knowledge to the future generations through the TiE program which is the world’s largest global nonprofit focused on fostering entrepreneurship. Dr.Pasrija during his presentations provided us with

statistics in the business field as well as highlighting what being an entrepreneur means. He mentioned the characteristics of start up companies and the cycles that each business goes through depending on their growth, the target audience, and the services they provide. During the presentation we learned not only what it means to start a business but also the strong will and the determination it takes in order for that business to advance. Throughout the presentation we were able to see firsthand as to how the company is run and the behind the scenes of their success which helped me realize the importance of a team with like minded ideas in order to reach the desired goal that everyone has set out. Dr.Pasrija’s business not only advances the field for communication service providers but also helps future and aspiring entrepreneurs in order to achieve their success through events similar to this one which I am immensely thankful for.

Ali Mahmood, MD, Colorectal Surgeon.


UGAR LAND (January 26, 2018) – Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States. It is the second leading cause of death in men and third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the U.S.. The good news is colorectal cancer is also highly treatable when caught early, and in some cases, even preventable. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself. TAKE AN ACTIVE APPROACH

According to Ali Mahmood, MD, a board-certified colorectal surgeon with Houston Methodist Surgical Associates, being aware of the signs of colorectal cancer can make all the difference when it comes to your health. “Paying attention to just a few areas can dramatically cut your risk of colon cancer as well as improve your overall health,” he said. Here are some specific steps he recommends. Add more vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains to your plate to cut fat and boost fiber intake. “Studies show that fiber helps by keeping the digestive process moving so cancer causing wastes spend less time in the colon,” Mahmood said. Take a 30-minute walk just three times a week to help lower your risk significantly, and reduce your risk for other diseases. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day — drinking more than that may contribute to your risk of getting cancer. Take steps to stop smoking, which plays a role in 30 percent of all cancers EARLY DETECTION IS KEY “Everyone should get screened for colon cancer at age 50,” Mahmood urged. “If you’re at high risk, talk to your doctor about possibly getting screened earlier and more often.” You may be at higher risk if you: • Have a family history of colon cancer • Have a family or personal history of polyps • Suffer from ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease • Eat a high-fat, low-

fiber diet • Are 50 or older A colonoscopy is the gold standard. “During a colonoscopy, your doctor looks inside the colon using a special camera (colonoscope) that can diagnose and treat polyps when they are detected,” Mahmood said. “People who get screened regularly greatly reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer.” Ensure early detection by reporting any of the following symptoms to your doctor: • Rectal bleeding • Blood in the stool A change in bowel • habits, including diarrhea and constipation • Unexplained weight loss • Anemia (low blood count) • Fatigue To request an appointment with Ali Mahmood, MD, with Houston Methodist Surgical Associates, call 281.242.3300. For more information about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit Visit our Facebook page at methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information. COLORECTAL CANCER SEMINAR One in 20 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer, and it is the one cancer that can be prevented through regular screenings. Join Ali Mahmood, MD, colorectal surgeon, and Nitesh Vachhani, MD, gastroenterologist, on Thursday, March 22 at 6 p.m. in our Brazos Pavilion Conference Center to learn more about colorectal cancer and take home a free colorectal cancer screening kit. Registration is required. Register at or call 281.274.7500.



AARP Fraud Survey Reveals the Financial and Emotional Toll among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

Mahesh Wadwa is IACF's new president • Focus on the signature events • Build a strong Platform for continuity since IACF is 30 years strong

AAPI Fraud Victims Age 50 and Older Lost More Than $15,000 on Average, Reported Emotional and Health-Related Issues Share tips with family and friends. If you have continued feelings of shame, embarrassment or anger, seek professional help. Talk to your doctor or another professional. Family members can also support a victim of fraud by: Listening with an empathetic ear to your loved one. Asking questions to better understand the situation and context in which the fraud occurred. Keeping lines of communication open. Remember to focus frustration and anger on the scam and the perpetrator — not the victim. ASHINGTON, DC — Nearly four in ten (39 percent) Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) age 50 and older report that they or their family members have experienced fraud schemes, according to the recent fraud survey from AARP. Additionally, onethird (33 percent) of victims lost $15,000 on average. Nonfinancial costs are even more widespread, with most fraud victims (72 percent) experiencing some sort of emotional, physical or mental health impact, including anger, stress and anxiety, difficulty sleeping and shame. “Everyone in the AAPI community is at risk for fraud,” said Daphne Kwok, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy. “This survey underscores the need to raise awareness around fraud and scams in order to protect against financial and non-financial loss. AARP seeks to help the AAPI community protect their families and their hard-earned savings.”


Awareness and education are major factors in avoiding fraud, but many AAPIs age 50 and older may be overconfident in their ability to spot common scams. In the survey, nearly three of four participants (73 percent) were confident they could spot a fraudulent offer, yet the majority (71 percent)

failed a general fraud knowledge quiz of six questions, unable to correctly answer more than half of the questions.

IRS imposter calls to collect back taxes (24 percent) Phishing emails (20 percent)

Some of the most common types of fraud targeting AAPIs age 50 and older include:

AARP offers advice on dealing with the non-financial impact of fraud, including:

Foreign lottery scams (36 percent)

Understand you are not alone and that it's not unusual to experience feelings of anger, shame and embarrassment.

Crisis-related charitable donations (33 percent) Tech support scammers offering virus removal (32 percent)

Re-channel those feelings into action. Volunteer to help educate others about fraud.


Her independent lifestyle and feisty nature symbolise the indomitable spirit of the resurgent women musicians of her time, and her high – pitched and flirtatious announcement – ‘My name is Gauhar Jaan’, at the end of all her recordings, epitomises a milestone in the history of Indian classical music, one that would change forever its content, structure and style of presentation. This show is one not to miss!


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he first ever Indian voice to be recorded in 1902 was mass media superstar Gauhar Jaan! The show Gauhar plays in MATCH Theatre in Houston, Texas on February 2nd and 3rd. An Armenian Christian who later converted to Islam, Gauhar Jaan was a naturally gifted musician with a wide repertoire. One of the earliest women artists who seized the opportunity that came with the advent of recording technology. Throughout her life she cut close to 600 records.

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Mahesh Wadhwa, President, Wadhwa and Associates, Inc. is an engineer and architect with 50+ years in architecture profession. His Houston based, Architecture/Engineering firm, has been providing building services for 35+ years. His company WAI specializes in Hotels/Motels, Banks, Medical/Retail/Office buildings, Manufacturing & Distribution facilities. With hundreds of projects under the belt, WAI has many satisfied customers around the world including: U.S., Mexico, Asia, and Africa. After completing his B.S. in Architecture in 1966, Mahesh moved to U.S. in 1974 and worked with Stran Steel on the prestigious Alaska Pipeline Project. He then lead a team of Architects at a sister company of MW Kellogg, before founding WAI in 1982. As an active member of the Indian community, he joined Indo American Charity Foundation in 2015 as its Director and in 2017 served as the president-Elect. On January 2018, Wadwa took charge as IACF President and held the first Board meeting where he outlined his goals for 2018 as: To improve commu• nity outreach

Wadwa brings a wealth of experience to IACF from his connections with professional, business and philanthropic organizations. He served as an Advisory Board member of United Central Bank and ASIE, as Council Member at India House, and as the Ex Vice-President of India Culture Center. He has volunteered his design services for: The Science of Soul Study Center, the Sikh Center, MTS, HWS, the initial Master Planning of the India House, as well as currently designing the BAPS Staff Quarters. Mahesh practices yoga regularly and is also an amateur singer. He lives with his wife Shashi. He has two sons and enjoys the company of his four grandchildren. This year, IACF completes 30 years as a leading non-profit representing the philanthropic spirit of the Indo American community in Houston while addressing needs in the areas of Education, Family, General needy and Healthcare in the metro Houston area. Driven by its motto “We live here, we give here,” IACF strives to serve the greater Houston community in more ways than it can. Last year, IACF was among the leading Indo-American organizations to support hurricane Harvey victims through fund raising and volunteer work. Serving on the IACF’s Executive Committee with Mahesh Wadwa are: Swetha Arora, Secretary, Venkat Iyer Treasurer, Sreeni Nakirekanti, Joint Treasurer, Shobana Muratee as President – Elect and Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, Immediate Past President.


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Could couscous be next in Chill with these winter drinks line for UNESCO's intangible Non-alcoholic Apple Pie Punch warms the season right up! cultural heritage list?


hat is winter if the kitchen is not filled with spicy aroma of mulled wine, if one is not tempted to curl up near the fireplace with a cuppa hot chocolate, and what use is the sharp nip in the air if it doesn’t inspire you to weave magic with your own liquid concoctions?


his North African culinary specialty -- to which Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia all lay claim -- could be set to join UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage. Could couscous join the French gastronomic meal (added in 2010) on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage? Experts representing Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria are working on a joint proposal to get couscous added to the list. The three North African countries all lay claim to the origins of the dish, comprising tiny balls of durum wheat semolina, served with vegetables and meat. While no one can agree on its origins, the joint project has the advantage of uniting the three countries and their people on the importance of couscous in the history of humanity. Indeed, the dish can be traced back to Antiquity. The French started to get a taste for couscous in the 20th century, with the arrival of Algerian immigrants and French nationals born in the former

Couscous could be set to join UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage (File photo) North African colony when Algeria gained independence in 1962. France's gastronomic meal isn't the only food-related addition to UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage. Traditional Mexican cuisine gained the status in 2010, along with Northern Croatian gingerbread. Japanese food -- more precisely "washoku," relating to Japa-

nese culinary traditions and culture -- was added in 2013. The famous Mediterranean diet, Turkish coffee and shrimp fishing on horseback in Belgium have also been recognized as intangible cultural heritage. In 2015, Arabic coffee was added for its stats as a "symbol of generosity," joined more recently by the art of the Neapolitan "Pizzaiolo." (-AP)

As Delhi braves, delights in and embraces the chill, mixologists and chefs across the capital are digging into their treasure trove, bringing an innovative blend of winter drinks to indulge in. While season essentials like egg nog and masala chai remain firmly placed on the menu, one also has the pleasure to choose from traditional Italian fare like Bicerin to new fusions of classics like hot toddy. The only message lying at the end of each cup is to let warmth envelope you in a delicious manner. Chef Jeneva Talwar of The Artful Baker who has introduced Bicerin, gives some history lessons about this heavenly brew of coffee, chocolate and foamed milk that instantly transports one to the cobbled streets of Italy. “Bicerin is a traditional hot drink native to Torino, Italy. It has a journey of its own, going back centuries in time with a key distinctive fact that in this indulgent beverage, the three components are carefully layered in the glass rather than being mixed together.” She confesses to have a special fondness for the drink which goes back to her student days in France. “When I came to India and started with the bakery, I realised that not many people were aware of Bicerin’s aromatic taste. This is one reason we brought it on our menu,”

adds Talwar. Mixologist Anil Dahiya of The Bristol, Gurugram, on the other hand, believes in combining the goodness of Indian spices with fruit juices. Packed a punch with nutritious goodness of fruits and spices that internally keeps the body warm, he is serving Hot Spiced Cranberry Cider- apple cider, cranberry juice, guava juice/ mango nectar topped with generous infusion of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground all spice and honey. Not the one to miss the urge to relish warm drinks on cold nights, Avinash, the mixologist at Zambar, Gurugram, offers his indigenous twist to the popular Hot Toddy, and tea expert Rishav Kanoi of The Tea Trove has brought together Indians’ two favourites — tea and whiskey to make Whiskey Chai — especially for those who love a tipple. Says Avinash, “Hot Toddy is an alcoholic drink with water, honey, herbs and spices, at its base. Served hot, the recipes vary and are best drunk before retiring for the night in cold weather. It is believed that the drink soothes symptoms of cold and flu. We have used lemon and

honey for their health benefits and added coastal spices for a Zambar twist.” Kanoi too shares the many benefits, apart from getting subtle high, of drinking Whiskey Chai, “We have created a rich black tea laced with flavours of finest Scotch whiskey, adding cinnamon in true Scottish spirit. With its warm, rounded flavours and malted sweetness, this tea is as good as any hot toddy, so won’t be needing any hip flask after all!”

NON-ALCOHOLIC APPLE PIE PUNCH • 4 cups Apple Cider • 1 cup Pear nectar (can substitute it with white grape juice too) • 3 cups Ginger ale • 1 Diced apple Method Combine the cider, nectar and ale in a pitcher or punch bowl. Add apple slice, and enjoy! (-Courtesy: Chef Anil Dahiya)

Learn to value your food, says Brazil's top chef by Carola Sole IO DE JANERO Brazil may produce much of the world's food as a commodities exporter but needs to pay more attention to its own taste buds, the country's top chef Alex Atala says.


In an interview with AFP, the French-trained chef who draws inspiration from the Amazon rainforest urged his homeland to start valuing its hidden culinary riches, rather than just export food in bulk.

Continuing with fantastic bowl meals in January, here is another simple one. The marinade is the star of the dish. It is garlicky, spicy and great to bake tofu with. Cook some noodles and blanch some greens with the noodles. Marinate the tofu and carrots, then bake. Use the same marinade as a dressing for the bowl. Add other roasted veggies of choice. Add some fresh basil, mint or cilantro and sprouts to finish. Easy, Spicy, Garlicky, Delicious!

Baked Chili Garlic Tofu, Carrot, Chard and Noodle Bowls. Cuisine: Asian, Gluten-free, Vegan Servings: 4 Calories: 384 kcal

For Atala, Brazil's cuisine is one of still unfulfilled promise.

Ingredients 12 to 14 oz tofu pressed for 15 minutes, sliced into an inch and half length slices. 1/4 cup soy sauce , use tamari for gluten-free 1 to 2 tbsp sriracha or other asian chile-garlic sauce 2 tsp sesame oil 3 tbsp maple syrup 1 tsp rice vinegar 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp miso Bowl: 1 cup or more veggies such as sliced carrots or broccolini 8 oz vermicelli or maifun ricce noodles (I use brown rice or white rice maifun) a couple of leaves of chard, hard stems removed and chopped Instructions Press the tofu for 10-15 minutes to remove

The tattooed former punk and DJ, now 49, worked at restaurants in France owned by Jean Pierre Bruneau and Bernard Loiseau, as well as training at the famed Hotel de la Cote D'Or, before opening his D.O.M. restaurant in Sao Paulo in 1999. D.O.M. currently ranks 16 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list, which describes him as "the rock star chef" putting "Brazilian gastronomy on the world map."

Course: Bowl, Main

Marinade and Dressing:

"Food is given to us by nature, it's a gift of life," he said in Sao Paulo this weekend during a conference he'd organized on alternative, environmentally friendly foods.

excess moisture. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Slice the tofu and marinate for 10 minutes. Line a sheet with parchment. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 deg C). Fish out the tofu slices and place on the parchment lined sheet. Slice veggies like carrots, beet, broccolini and place on the sheet. Drizzle some of the marinade on the veggies. Bake for 18 to 20 mins. or until the tofu is crisp and veggies roasted. Meanwhile, cook the vermicelli noodles according to instruction on the package (Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the noodles and cook for 3 to 5 minutes depending on the noodles). Add chopped greens to the pot as well to blanch. Plate the cooked noodles, blanched greens in a bowl. Top with tofu and veggies. drizzle remaining marinade and serve. Garnish with cilantro or mint. Add some sprouts or roasted nuts for variation. (-Richa Hingel)

"South America and Brazil and in some sense Sao Paulo is the only place in the world where all the elements of the food chain are present," he said. The Amazon, where indigenous tribes live in harmony with the forest's natural food stores, provides huge gastronomic riches, he says. But above all, Brazilians need to change their attitude towards food, he emphasized. "I always talk about the disconnection between man and food. I'm not worried that 90 percent of Brazilians have never tried cupuacu or bacuri (from the Amazon). What really gets to me is the number of people in the world who don't even known what an orange tree is," he said. "Sadly, we are part of a society where we're taught from

Alex Atala childhood to love money and to suffer for money (and) not to throw even a penny away. Yet why then do we throw food out?" "Man learns to respect food more when he's in misery. I hope we don't have to go through that to learn to value it." That throw-away culture has repercussions far beyond what's on our dinner tables, he says, citing the relentless destruction of the Amazon rainforest. "Deforestation is a fact. I do not know what is most under threat: the Amazon or the next generation. There may be a new generation that will not experience the beauty that we have, will not taste the flavors that we have," he said. "Today, the world eats practically the same thing and that is sad. You lose a treasure, flavors, culture." - Get cooking Brazil Latin America certainly has deep roots when it comes to world cuisine. As Atala says, corn, potatoes and chocolate are some of the foods that started in the region. But when you mention interesting cooking from Latin America, Mexico and Peru are likely to jump out. Brazil?

Hardly. For Atala, his homeland is still trying to establish its identity on the world's menu. He may have the third ranked restaurant in Latin America, behind two Peruvian chefs, but generally the country lags. "If I say tomato, mozzarella and basil, you'll say Italy. Coriander, lime and onion -Peru. We can travel the world through flavors," he said. "Brazil still hasn't worked this out.... Brazil is a producer of commodities and we have more pride in this than in supporting our own culture." Asked to name Brazil's iconic food, he doesn't hesitate: "Cassava, cassava and cassava," he said with a laugh. He calls the root "fascinating" and a potential replacement for much of the wheat, a common cause of allergies, consumed around the globe. As for the celebrity status and media platform given to big chefs these days, Atala says chefs can be "the strongest voice in the food chain." But he's not getting ahead of himself. "The first role of a chef has to be what he set out to do on day one: to make delicious food."



NRI doctor delivers baby 35,000 feet in the air



Hemal started in New Delhi, stopped in Paris and was heading to New York, where he would catch a connecting flight to Cleveland -- his final destination. Urologist Hemal was hoping to drink a glass of champagne and take a nap on a plane from Paris to New York on December 17, but instead helped deliver a healthy baby boy named Jake during the flight, the report said. Together with Dr Stefanie

Although Hemal's practice area is urology, he delivered seven babies during medical school although never on the floor of a jetliner. (Facebook/ Sij Hemal) Ortolan, a pediatrician from France, the pair managed to deliver baby Jake after just 30 minutes of pushing, Hemal said. He did not know that she was pregnant. He said the mom's bump was covered with a blanket. "As a urologist, I was excited. I thought it was kidney stones, but later found out that she was 39 weeks pregnant," he said. Hemal said there was no time to land the plane and the

best decision was to deliver the baby in the air. Hemal used a shoestring to tie and cut the umbilical cord for baby Jake. "This has been a team effort and certainly a flight I will never forget," he said. Although Hemal's practice area is urology, he delivered seven babies during medical school although never on the floor of a jetliner. "I just tried to think ahead to what might go wrong, and come up with a creative solution." (-Yahoo! News)

Indian techie from Telangana found dead in Arlington, Tx Cause of Cognizant staff’s death ‘not known’


ALLAS - A 30-yearold Indian-origin software engineer was found dead in the US state of Texas, according to officials. Venkannagari Krishna Chaitanya, who moved to the US three years ago, was living as a paying guest in Arlington, a suburb of Dallas in Texas, sources at the Indian Consulate said.

Suhas Patil passes the baton to Nitin Rai; Praveen Tailam is elected Vice Chairman of the TiE Global Board of Trustees ANTA CLARA, CA, ( - The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Global Board of Trustees announced today, Jan. 24, 2018 that the trustees have elected Nitin Rai as its chairman of board of trustees.

EW YORK - An offduty Indian-origin doctor had an "oh boy" story when he helped deliver a healthy baby boy while on a trans-Atlantic flight from Paris to New York at 35,000 feet, according to media reports. Dr Sij Hemal, 27 a secondyear urology resident at Cleveland Clinic's Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, immediately went into doctor mode when Air France flight attendants asked if there were any doctors on the flight to a 41-year-old who had gone into labor a week early, Cleveland 19 News reported.

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

When Chaitanya did not come out of his room for a long time, his landlord broke in and found his body. Chaitanya was working in Cognizant Technologies on a Southeast Airlines project. The authorities in the US have informed Chaitanya's family in Telangana about his death.

"We are in touch with the family in India and coordinating transportation of the mortal remains to India as soon as possible," Houston Consulate General Anupam Ray's office sources told PTI. The cause of Chaitanya's death is "not known", sources at the Houston Consulate said, adding that his body has been sent for post-mortem. (-PTI)

Prior to being elected as chairman, Nitin was vice chair of the TiE Global Board. In addition, he serves as chair of the TiE Global Angel alliance, a new TiE initiative he launched in 2017. Nitin is also managing director of Elevate Capital, a venture fund in Portland, Oregon, that invests in underserved entrepreneurs, including women and communities of color. Nitin is currently the president of TiE Oregon and TiE Oregon Angels. “I am truly honored to be chosen by my peer trustees to lead the TiE Global Board and work with them and the presidents of all TiE chapters,” said Nitin Rai. “Our goal is to implement TiE 2.0, the next generation of TiE through our chapters, so we can further our global impact of mentoring and investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs globally. I am excited to work with the board members and teams who are all committed to help take TiE to the next level.” Nitin started his entrepreneur journey when he founded First Insight Corporation, an Oregon-based ophthalmic software company in 1994. First Insight is a leader in the eye care industry in electronic health records (EHR), practice management and e-commerce products for optometrists and ophthalmologists with its flagship product, MaximEyes. In addition, First Insight Corporation is well-known for its cloud-based ophthalmic image management system and Fast Pay Health, a full-service revenue cycle management services. Nitin was preceded by Suhas Patil, co-founder of Cirrus Logic and co-founder of TiE

The new Chairman of the Board of Trustees at TiE Global Board Global, who completed his term as chair of TiE Global Board of Trustees at the end of 2017. Suhas was the first president of TiE in 1993 during the formative days of TiE. Suhas was a pioneer in building a semiconductor company based on the “fabless model” business strategy for the semiconductor industry, which changed the rules of the game in the $300 billion industry in the '80s and '90s. Suhas has been an active donor and philanthropist for the betterment of the Silicon Valley Bay Area community. Suhas will continue to serve as a member of the TiE Global Board of Trustees and will assist startups and entrepreneurs and TiE Chapters around the world. “I am excited to pass on the leadership responsibilities of TiE Global to Nitin Rai,” said Suhas Patil. “Nitin has been a driving force in the success of TiE Oregon to accelerate funding and growth, and his commitment to mentoring and investing in entrepreneurs is a key contributor to TiE Oregon’s growth. My time as chair with TiE Global has been amazing and I look forward to further supporting TiE as a trustee member.” The TiE Global Board of Trustees has also elected

Praveen Tailam as vice chair of the TiE Global Board. Since 2016, Praveen has served as president of the TiE Boston Chapter. Praveen co-manages multiple dental practices in New Hampshire and Maine in partnership with Aspen Dental, a leading nationwide Dental Service Organization. In 2006, Praveen founded Redtail Consulting, a Boston-area IT consulting practice and managed the business through 2012. “It’s a privilege to be elected as vice chair of TiE Global and I am honored to work alongside Nitin Rai and other visionary and entrepreneurial leaders,” said Praveen Tailam. “I look forward to working with Nitin and the trustees, and to supporting TiE’s goals of elevating our initiatives to the next level.” TiE Global is a non-profit organization committed to promoting entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking and education. TiE, a global network of entrepreneurs and professionals, was founded in 1992. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community, the focus of TiE has always been to foster and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.



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Gandhi nonviolence a tough sell in Trump era, says grandson

Equality, Secularism Foundations of India, says President Kovind Earlier in the day, President Kovind had received the ASEAN Heads of State and Government at Rashtrapati Bhavan and hosted a lunch in their honour. by Anuj Pant EW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the nation on the eve of the 69th Republic Day. Earlier in the day, President Kovind had received the ASEAN Heads of State and Government at Rashtrapati Bhavan and hosted a lunch in their honour. "IndiaASEAN relations have come a long way since we established our Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN on January 28, 1992. Today, ASEAN is a Strategic Partner for India. We have 30 dialogue mechanisms between India and ASEAN, including Annual Summits and 7 Ministerial Meetings in a wide range of sectors," the President said.


The President's address will be broadcast in Hindi and English on Doordarshan and will be followed by a broadcast in regional languages on the Doordarshan's regional channels. Here are the highlights of the President's speech on the eve of Republic Day: • President Ram Nath Kovind said today is the day to remember the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the country. • President Kovind thanked all army men, doctors, farmers, nurses, scientists, engineers and the mothers of the county. • The foundations of our country are equality, secularism and friendship, said President Kovind. • He said there were many more people doing a lot for the country, who he could not mention, but would like to thank as well for their service. • The nation's freedom fighters fought not only for the na-


eventy years ago, a 12-year-old boy seething with resentment over his treatment in apartheid South Africa was sent to his grandfather in rural India on an anger management course.

He started lifting weights and fantasising about revenge -- but after two years at the feet of his illustrious "Bapuji", Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, was a teen transformed.

President Ram Nath Kovind in a media handout photo tion's independence, but also for social change, said President Kovind. • The lessons they taught are still relevant to us in every field, inspiring the development of the country. • President Kovind also said that more than 60 per cent of Indian citizens are below 35 years of age. They are the future of our country. • He said various programmes have been started by the government to impart better education to the youth, which they should take advantage of. • One of the biggest challenges is dealing with malnutrition of the children of the country and although much progress has been made, a lot more needs to be done, said President Kovind. • Selflessness can build a selfless nation, said President Kovind.

by Asad Hashim



Separately, Afghan Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak and intelligence chief Mohamed Masoom Stanekzai also arrived in the Pakistani capital Islamabad for talks on Wednesday.

The deadline is due to expire on Wednesday, with Pakistan’s federal cabinet expected to discuss the matter during a weekly

by Clare Byrne

The boy, who grew up in an Indian ashram near the city of Durban, had been getting into a lot of fights. White children picked on him because he wasn't white; black children picked on him because he wasn't black.

• In our country, we are ready to help each other at all times, even give blood to others in need, said President Kovind. • Our society is based on the principle of helping each other, he said. • When Indians in foreign lands fall in trouble, we lend a hand to help them, President Kovind said. • We have to work to build a better nation, where every citizen works to his or her full potential, said President Kovind. • We need to keep up with the times and follow sustainable development, he said. • There are still a lot of people who are economically backward, who need our help. Making lives better is our primary responsibility. • President Kovind ended his speech congratulating all citizens, saying everyone would be inspired by the country's culture and traditions.

Deadline looms for Afghan refugees in Pakistan SLAMABAD, Pakistan – A deadline on the validity of legal refugee status for many Afghan residents in Pakistan is due to expire, throwing into doubt the futures of more than a million refugees, many of whom have lived in the country for decades.

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

Pakistan has extended the validity of Afghan refugees' 'Proof of Registration' (PoR) cards at least six times in the past, but the last extension granted on January 3, days af-

Gandhi, a champion of nonviolent resistance who was gunned down by a Hindu extremist on January 30, 1948, was devastated by the bloodshed. Seven decades later he would be "most unhappy" about the resurgence of Hindu nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Arun says. "It's a very vicious cycle there and it's made worse with a rightwing government in power."

For Arun, who has recently written a book on Gandhi's teachings, "The Gift of Anger", "he is just trying to use Gandhi like everyone else... to gain acceptance by the people." - Pumpkin soup and play In his book, 84-year-old Arun recalls being "intimidated" by his grandfather when he was shipped off to the Sevagram ashram in central India. "Every morning when I got up I would find a few hundred people standing outside waiting to get a glimpse of him," he said. But Gandhi was an attentive carer who made time in between negotiations with Indian leaders for pep talks and play with his young charge. While asceticism was the order of the day -- and bland pumpkin soup a staple -- the Indian leader enjoyed tomfoolery, such as swinging off two people hoisting up him by the arms like a child. A year after his return to South Africa the killing of his beloved "Bapuji" hit him hard. "I was absolutely shocked. In the heat of the moment I told my parents I would have throttled the person who did this," the soft-spoken activist who dresses in a dark suit and tortoiseshell glasses recalls.

ter the refugees' status expired - was for only a month, the shortest ever awarded.

Last year, the premier was pictured in a government catalogue sitting Gandhi-style at a

They encouraged him instead to be the proverbial change he

"Pakistan's economy has carried the burden of hosting Afghan refugees since long and in the present circumstances cannot sustain it further," read a government statement released after that extension.

and the United States, with the South Asian country accusing them of being a "security risk".

The refugees have become a bone of contention in the increasing souring diplomatic relations between Pakistan



- Modi 'showmanship' Arun's arrival in India coincided with the culmination of India's struggle for independence from Britain with its blood-soaked partition into separate Hindu- and Muslimmajority states (India and Pakistan).

spinning wheel, producing cotton.

The man revered in India as the Mahatma (Great Soul) would also take a dim view of Modi's attempt to cloak himself in his garb.

On Thursday, following a US drone strike in the northwestern Pakistani district of Kurram, Pakistan’s military said that the target had been hiding in an Afghan refugee camp. "This validates Pakistan's stance that left over terrorists easily morph into Afghan refu-

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"What my grandfather taught me is that anger is like electricity, it's just as useful and powerful if we use it intelligently but it can be just as deadly and destructive if we abuse it," the US-based activist and author told AFP in an interview on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the assassination of the father of the Indian nation.

Indian-American social activist, author and grandson of Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi in Paris on Jan 29, 2018. (Photo: AFP)

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gees' camps/complexes," the military said in a statement. "Thus their early and dignified return to Afghanistan is essential." Pakistan is home to at least 1.38 million registered Afghan refugees, according to the UNHCR. There are at least another million refugees estimated to be outside the formal refugee registration system.

wanted to see. After 30 years as a journalist he moved to the US in 1987 and founded the MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. His "turn the other cheek" teachings have found fertile ground in an unusual place: a prison. Six years after he began running a course in New York State's Groveland prison, violence is down 70 percent, he quotes the governor as telling him recently. - 'Take the beating' World leaders might also benefit from a refresher course in "satyagraha", Gandhi's brand of nonviolent resistance. Arun is critical of President Donald Trump, whom he accuses of erasing decades of gains for racial equality in the US. But he also has reproving words for African-Americans who "aggressively demand respect" and for Arab Spring protestors, whom he calls "too angry". Faced with repression, "you have to keep your hands by your sides and take the beating on the head," he insists -- a message Gandhi himself found a hard sell. "The fact is that nobody really wants to follow these great people," Arun says. " The safest thing is to put them on a pedestal and worship them but not follow them.

Pakistan's foreign ministry on Tuesday announced that it had handed over 27 individuals suspected of having links to the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban in November. "Pakistan continues to push any suspected elements to prevent them from using our soil for any terrorist activity in Afghanistan," said Muhammad Faisal, the foreign ministry spokesperson. (-Al Jazeera)

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FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

US lifts ban on refugees from 11 countries


Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Modi said his government is following the principle of reform, perform and transform. (Photo: Reuters)

Indian PM Modi defends globalization in Davos by Paritosh Bansal


AVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mounted a defense of globalization at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, urging joint action on climate change and economic cooperation, in a speech some delegates took as a swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump’s America First agenda. Modi, making the forum’s first speech by an Indian head of state in more than two decades, did not mention Trump by name but he criticized the rise of protectionism in remarks delivered three days before the U.S. President will address the summit. “Instead of globalization, the power of protectionism is putting its head up,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi and causing an initial flurry in the audience of business and political leaders as people reached for their translation headsets. “Their wish is not only to save themselves from globalization, but to change the natural flow of globalization.” Modi is leading a big government and business delegation to the summit in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, aiming to showcase India as a fast-growing economic power and a potential driver of global growth. His opening address was a moment of personal triumph for the nationalist leader once shunned by the West for failing to prevent communal rioting in his home state. The occasion also recognized India’s growth as an economic and geopolitical power.

Anindya Bakrie, chief executive of media company PT Bakrie Global Ventura, part of Indonesia’s Bakrie conglomerate, said Modi’s remarks were a welcome contrast to U.S. isolationism. “For developing countries, when we hear the U.S. talking about isolationism it’s a bit concerning. So to have more and more leaders talk about the benefits of globalization is really good,” Bakrie said. Arun Kumar, chairman and CEO of accounting firm KPMG in India, said: “He laid out where India stands in terms of his preference for a multipolar and multicultural world.” Under his America First agenda, Trump has threatened to withdraw from the North American free-trade agreement, disavowed the global climate change accord and criticized global institutions including the United Nations and NATO. Modi’s speech echoed some of the points made by Chinese President Xi Jinping at last year’s Davos summit, but he failed to generate the same enthusiasm. A year ago, Xi, speaking days before Trump was inaugurated, staked out China’s position as the world’s economic powerhouse, promising a greater openness to globalization. However, Xi, who is not attending this year, is not seen to have delivered on the broad promises made at Davos over the past year, but his speech was seen as a key moment in China’s attempt to fill a void created by a more inward-

looking United States. Modi arrived in Davos on Monday for a one-day trip. His visit was marred by travel delays, as heavy snow in the ski resort town made it impossible for Modi to take a helicopter to Davos from Zurich and the roads were clogged with traffic. In his speech, Modi laid out three big challenges facing the world: climate change, terrorism and growing protectionism. “The result of this is that we are seeing new types of tariff and non-tariff-based barriers being imposed. Bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations appear to have come to a halt,” he said. He said the world must come together to solve these issues and India could show it the way, referring frequently to ancient Indian thought and scriptures that call for harmony between humans and nature and refer to the world as family. Modi said climate change was a major threat to the world, yet the world had failed to come together to tackle it. He said everyone wanted carbon emissions to be cut, but the rich world was not ready to help developing economies with new technology. India has said it is keen to honor its commitment to clean up the environment despite Trump pulling out of the Paris accord on cutting carbon emissions. Modi also highlighted reforms and policies his administration had undertaken to make India more open.

ASHINGTON (AFP) - 29 January 2018 -The United States announced Monday it was lifting its ban on refugees from 11 "high-risk" countries, but said those seeking to enter the US would come under much tougher scrutiny than in the past. Applicants from 11 countries, unnamed but understood to include 10 Muslim-majority nations plus North Korea, will face tougher "risk-based" assessments to be accepted. "It's critically important that we know who is entering the United States," said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

"These additional security measures will make it harder for bad actors to exploit our refugee program, and they will ensure we take a more riskbased approach to protecting the homeland." The 11 countries, hit with a ban in October in the Trump administration's revised refugee policy, have not been identified officially. But refugee groups say they comprise Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Speaking anonymously, a senior administration official told journalists that the policy

of enhanced security assessments for the 11 countries was not designed to target Muslims. "Our admissions have nothing to do with religion," the official said, adding that there is "nothing especially novel" about tougher screening for countries deemed to have a higher level of risk. Donald Trump has pursued a much tougher stance on immigrants and refugees from all countries since becoming president one year ago. Annual refugee admissions have been slashed by more than half to a maximum of 45,000 in fiscal 2018, which ends on September 31.

Not there yet, but US officials warn North Korea soon to perfect ICBM, targeting tech


yongyang has demonstrated its rockets are powerful enough to reach the United States, but General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it has yet to prove that its fusing and targeting technologies can survive the stresses of ballistic missile flight. “They have made some strides but it’s North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the assembly work of an ICBM still true that they which was launched in 2017 (Photo: AFP/File) haven’t demonstrated all of the We “have developed a Donald Trump and Kim. components of an interconpretty clear understanding of At the United Nations in tinental ballistic missile sysKim Jong-Un’s capability,” September, Trump vowed to tem,” Selva told reporters. Pompeo said. “totally destroy” North KoAlso unclear is whether “We talk about him havrea if it launches an attack on North Korea has a re-entry ing the capability to deliver a the United States. vehicle strong enough to renuclear weapon to the United Selva said North Korea turn into the Earth’s atmoStates in a matter of a handhas also become very good sphere from space and deful of months.” at predicting when spy satliver a warhead. “It’s possible (North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un) has them, so we have to place the bet that he might have them, but he hasn’t demonstrated them,” Selva said.

Last year, North Korea tested ICBMs that had the potential range to reach the US mainland and in September it conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test.

In an interview with the BBC, CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned that North Korea is rapidly closing the few remaining gaps before it has a deployable ICBM.

Pyongyang’s weapons program has seen tensions on the Korean peninsula ratchet up in recent months, prompting fresh rounds of sanctions and fiery rhetoric from President

ellites are overhead and adept at camouflaging its missiles. Kim has developed new techniques of getting a missile to a launchpad, so the US and its allies might now only get about 12 minutes’ warning before North Korea launched a missile, down from up to an hour previously, Selva added.



FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

Holding a mirror to India’s education Second Hong Kong WW2 bomb in a week sector: We need a revolution sparks evacuation


by Bhamy V. Shenoy ifficult to believe. But this is a classroom in Mewat (near shining Gurugram) where maths is taught (see photo, right)


Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts in India have the maximum number of professional colleges per capita in the country. In addition to being the cradle of banking, these districts are a cradle of private professional colleges (17 engineering and 8 medical). However when it comes to standard of education, they cannot claim excellence based on my recent observations. My interactions with students at Aloysius Institute of Management (AIM), and with teachers at Besant and Nitte educational institutions, confirmed that India’s education system is in grave need of intensive care. Survey results of Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report 2017 (ASER 2017) released January 16, 2018, fully supports my observation. My purpose was to persuade students and teachers that we must think outside the box to usher in a new era in India’s education sector. ASER found that rural youths, ages 14 to 18, do not have foundational skills in reading or basic arithmetic. About 25% cannot read basic text, and more than 50% struggle with simple division. More shocking was the indifference of the media, which failed to draw the nation’s attention to this disturbing reality. Students have lost book reading habits. Almost all students at AIM thought they received a quality education. We discussed various metrics to assess education standards. Is it scoring high marks? High ranks? Maximum percentage of pass? In discussing the creation of an environment of learning, igniting critical thinking, and encouraging students to ask questions, it became obvious to everyone that their schools could have done a better job. Only three students had read Ramayana and Mahabharatha, which was the case in hundreds of schools I have visited in recent years. Shouldn’t this shock our educationists? No student in the West can graduate from high school without having read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, their classics. Only two students I met had any interest in entering politics. I pointed out that our constitution says that our leaders are chosen based on elections, and asked them how can any of us afford to be indifferent to taking part in elections? That question did not elicit any reaction from the students. Not one student had read ten books during the last twelve months. Only four had read a few books (three or four). When students were urged to ask questions on topics of their interest, none were ready. If these students had a solid foundation in elementary and high school, and were encouraged to think creatively, they would surely have been better prepared to do so in college. Interactions with teachers at Besant College was more encouraging. Seventy percent of teachers thought they had a good education. However by the end of our interaction, all changed their opinion and agreed that their education was below par. They also concurred that they were not imparting a quality education to their students. No one came up with any good reasons for such a sorry state of affairs. Some teachers argued that students do not respect teachers, and it is difficult to motivate them to take studies seriously. Their laptops, iPads, and smart phones are more important than books. When I asked how many teachers have gone “beyond the call of duty” to take special interest in students after class hours or during holidays, only three came forward to describe their involvement. We discussed the declining ethical standards in education sector. All agreed that no one can become a vice chancellor of any university these days without paying a huge bribe,

ONG KONG, China | AFP | Wednesday 1/31/2018 - A second wartime bomb was discovered at a construction site in the heart of Hong Kong within a week, prompting thousands of people to evacuate on Wednesday and stores to shutter.

customers, residents, workers from the surrounding office towers and students from over 40 schools at a track and field event, Apple Daily reported.

Police sealed off parts of the busy Wan Chai district and ferry services crossing the Victoria Harbour were suspended as experts worked to unearth the explosive, an operation that would likely continue overnight.

Both bombs were of the same American-made model that had been dropped on Hong Kong during the Second World War but the newly discovered one was in an unstable state, local media reported citing the police.

The bomb was found at the same construction site along the harbour front as a 450-kilogram explosive that was successfully defused on Saturday.

Some teachers argued that students do not respect teachers, and it is difficult to motivate them to take studies seriously. which in turn reinforces a cycle of corruption from the top. Teachers are ready to go beyond the call of duty. At the end of our interactions, most teachers agreed that they would now attempt to mentor students after school hours, motivate them to read books, discuss ethics and moral values, etc. Even if a small percentage of teachers implement what they promised, significant change in the educational environment in

the college is possible. The most exciting interactions were with the professors of Nitte Engineering College. They were liberal in thinking and interested in contributing to the betterment of students. All of were fully aware of the limitations of the current educational system, which is driven by rote learning to clear exams. They readily agreed to mentor students and motivate them to read books other than their text books.

Over 4,000 people had been evacuated by Wednesday evening including hotel

I discussed my innovative program to ignite students’ critical thinking, “True Education,” which has been implemented by a college in Mysore. The program consists of 20 discussion sessions on various topics. All the professors agreed to experiment with it.

are exposed to new ideas, some of them will be motivated to go beyond the call of duty to guide their students. While students may have lost the habit of reading books, if teachers take an interest and mentor them, a beginning can be made to promote reading books.

The destiny of a nation is shaped in classrooms.

Finally to usher in a new era, we need a revolution in education sector. Evolutionary changes attempted by hundreds of NGOs by demon-

In short, I have learned again that when management takes interest, and teachers

Many restaurants and shops in the area teeming with office workers on a typical afternoon were also closed, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

"The bomb is in a dangerous condition. The fuse mechanism is severely damaged and the bomb's position is making it difficult for our equipment to gain optimum access," the South China Morning Post cited bomb disposal officer Alick McWhirter as saying.

strating success of their pedagogy or outstanding schools or application of information technology are not enough. It is time that Pratham with well established credibility attempts to bring about such revolutionary changes. Our political leaders unless compelled by civil society are unlikely to bring about much-needed reforms. Let us remember that the destiny of any nation is shaped in classrooms by dedicated teachers.



FRIDAY, February 2, 2018



Cleveland Indians to retire 'Chief Wahoo' logo

Nepal teen IPL breakthrough boosts domestic cricket hopes

ASHINGTON | AFP | Monday 1/29/2018 Major League Baseball (MLB), under pressure from Native American groups, announced Monday that the Cleveland Indians will stop using the "Chief Wahoo" logo of a grinning American Indian from next year. MLB commissioner Robert Manfred said he had determined it was no longer "appropriate" for the team to use the logo, deemed offensive by some Native Americans.


The team has used the cartoon depiction of a red-faced American Indian since 1948. The logo has been phased out over the past few years in favor of the letter "C" but players continued to wear caps featuring Chief Wahoo for home games and it appears on uniforms as a shoulder patch. Manfred said it would be eliminated entirely from the start of the 2019 season. "Major League Baseball is committed to building a cul-

"Chief Wahoo" is a cartoon depiction of a red-faced American Indian which has been used by the Indians since 1948 (AFP Photo/Justin Merriman). ture of diversity throughout the game," the commissioner said in a statement. "Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club's use of the Chief Wahoo logo," Manfred said. "During our constructive conversations, (Indians owner)

French climber saved on Pakistan's 'killer mountain' arrives home SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP | Tuesday 1/30/2018 - The French mountaineer who was saved in a daring night-time rescue on a Pakistan peak nicknamed "killer mountain" returned to France Tuesday, suffering from frostbite.


Elisabeth Revol was rescued by an elite group of Polish climbers who scaled part of the 8,125 metres (26,660 feet) mountain Nanga Parbat in darkness overnight Saturday and Sunday to reach her. They were unable to reach a second climber, Polish national Tomek (Tomasz) Mackiewicz, however, making the "terrible and painful" decision to leave him behind. "Good bye Pakistan. I will come again to climb mountains of Pakistan but not Nanga Parbat," Revol said in a departure message shared by the Alpine Club of Pakistan. "Thanks to all official(s) including Pakistan Army, Alpine Club of Pakistan and local authorities," she was quoted as saying in the message. She was flown to Switzerland on Tuesday and transported across the border to a hospital in France's Haute-Savoie region, where doctors will assess the extent of the frostbite in her hands and left foot, including whether she will re-

quire amputations. She will also be offered emotional support. "She has suffered stress that goes beyond frostbite," said Dr Frederic Champly, who will supervise her treatment, but added that climbers often have "strong psychological profiles". - Unmatched rescue effort The French-Polish pair ran into trouble after making a late descent to a camp Thursday. They were trapped on the side of the mountain for the night without a tent, battered by frigid temperatures and high winds during the winter season. The rescue mission was launched after the missing alpinists were located Friday by fellow mountaineers using binoculars. They spotted Revol attempting to climb down while Mackiewicz appeared to be crawling due to frostbite. The team of Polish climbers with support from the Pakistani military launched the rescue attempt Saturday afternoon, flying in from the base camp of K2 -- the world's second-highest peak -- to reach the stranded duo. Pakistani climber Karim Shah said the rescue effort was unmatched in the climbing world.

Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team," he said. "Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball." Dolan, the Indians owner, said that while many fans have a "longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo," he was "ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred's desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019." The Indians are the latest US sports team to change their logo or name following criticism from Native American groups. Many US colleges have dropped Native American names in recent years, but one high-profile professional team -- the Washington Redskins of the National Football League -- has repeatedly rebuffed calls to do so. The Change the Mascot campaign launched by the Oneida Indian Nation welcomed the move by MLB and the Indians, and urged the Redskins once again to change their "derogatory" name. "The Cleveland baseball team has rightly recognized that Native Americans do not deserve to be denigrated as cartoon mascots, and the team's move is a reflection of a grassroots movement that has pressed sports franchises to respect Native people," Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter said in a statement. "Cleveland's decision should finally compel the Washington football team to make the same honorable decision," Halbritter said. "For too long, people of color have been stereotyped with these kinds of hurtful symbols -- and no symbol is more hurtful than the football team in the nation's capital using a dictionary-defined racial slur as its team name."

Athletics: Roberts wins 'passionate kiss' appeal


EW YORK | AFP | Friday 1/26/2018 American sprinter Gil Roberts, who took gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics on the men's 4x400 relay, won an appeal of his doping ban after a US arbitration panel agreed with his "passionate kissing" defense. Roberts tested positive for trace amounts of probenecid, a masking agent, and was suspended for four years last May, but an arbitrator overturned the ban last July, backing Roberts's claim that the positive test was caused by passionate kissing.

"There could have been tongue kissing, but it was more that she kissed me so soon af-


ATHMANDU, Nepal | AFP | 1/29/2018 - Teenage leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane could boost the sagging fortunes of Nepal's scandal-tainted domestic cricket with his breakthrough deal to become part of the Indian Premier League, officials said on Monday.

heels of weekend meetings between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and CAN about ending Nepal's two-year suspension from the global governing body.

Lamichhane, 17, made history Sunday becoming the first cricketer from Nepal to land an IPL contract when he was picked by the Delhi Daredevils for $31,466 during a player auction ahead of the Twenty20 tournament, which starts in April.

The ICC banned CAN in April 2016 over political interference in the running of the domestic governing body, but continued to allow Nepal's national teams to participate in top events.

"Sandeep has created history for Nepal and has sent out a positive message about Nepali cricket," Chumbi Lama of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) told AFP. "He has also opened doors for other Nepali players to make a mark internationally." Lamichhane's entry into the cash-rich league comes on the

Gil Roberts (AFP Photo/Justin Merriman) ter taking the medicine," Roberts told the New York Times. Anti-doping officials called Roberts reckless for even the inadvertent violation, to which he told the newspaper: "How can I be negligent for kissing my girl?" Roberts said she kept from him the fact she was sick, concerned he might not want to spend time with her if he knew.

Salazar testified in the hearing that she contracted the sinus infection on a family vacation in India and obtained antibiotics there. She also said she has an aversion to swallowing pills, prompting her to empty the contents of each capsule onto her tongue. Roberts produced his positive urine sample about three hours after the kissing, she said.

"We have had series of meetings with ICC and are hopeful for a reinstatement," said Lama.

The ICC has been working with CAN to draft a new constitution, but negotiations hit a roadblock after the Nepal side refused to adopt the proposed text. "It is concerning that CAN did not adopt the constitution as proposed," said ICC Deputy Chairman Imran Khwaja ahead of the weekend negotiations in Nepal's capital Kathmandu. "In addition to this there re-

mains a number of other reinstatement conditions outstanding that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency." Lamichhane is currently training in Dubai with Nepal's national team ahead of the Division Two of the World Cricket League in Namibia next month. Nepal needs to finish in the top two to take part in the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March. Nepal has never qualified for the World Cup. "I am worried that the dispute over the Cricket Association of Nepal has been affecting the development of cricket in Nepal and players' career enhancement," said Nepal's former national skipper and one-time mentor to Lamichhane, Raju Khadka. "The IPL opportunity for Sandeep could help cricket in Nepal overall in addition to his career. Now various countries and teams will notice other players of the country," he added.

Three sports-themed watches from SIHH 2018


game of polo.

ENEVA, Jan 25 — From car and motorcycle racing to golf, polo and horse riding, watchmakers celebrated all kinds of sports at last week’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) luxury watch show in Geneva. Here’s a look at some of these technical timepieces with sporty designs, all with features that pay tribute to specific sports.

The Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold by Hublot

The Clifton Club Burt Munro by Baume & Mercier Based on a partnership between Indian Motorcycle and watch brand Baume & Mercier, the “Clifton Club Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition” watch pays tribute to Burt Munro, a motorcycle rider who set a world land speed record in 1967, while also celebrating the 50th anniversary of his achievement. With a 44mm stainless steel case, this automatic chronograph features Burt Munro’s lucky number “35” on a yellow background on the dial. His record-breaking 184mph speed also appears on the bezel, which features a tachymeter scale. This tribute model is a 1,967-piece limited edition, nodding to the year Burt Munro set his legendary record.

Roberts said his girlfriend, Alex Salazar, was sick and had taken sinus medication for her illness, drugs that entered his body after frequent passionate kissing. A three-person arbitration panel sided with Roberts on Thursday in denying an appeal of his overturned ban by the World Anti-Doping Agency, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling it most likely "the presence of probenecid in the athlete's system resulted from kissing his girlfriend."

Michael Clarke and Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane (left) during a first grade match at Allan Border Oval on September 24, 2016 in Sydney. Lamichhane will turn out for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2018. (Getty Images)

The Clifton Club Burt Munro by Baume & Mercier

Celebrating seven years of collaborations with Ferrari, Swiss watch brand Hublot presents the “Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold,” combining Magic Gold — a scratch-resistant 18-carat gold — with the new design of the “Big Bang Unico” freshly reworked and updated last year by none other than Ferrari x Hublot. The watch has a 45mm polished 18K Magic Gold case

Plus, the watch has a highresistance Carbone TPT case and a sapphire crystal glass, comprising two sapphire glass layers with a polyvinyl film sandwiched between the two for optimal protection. This 30-piece limited edition combines elegance, resistance and precision — all qualities inspired by the

The Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold by Hublot

The RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough by Richard Mille

and uses the HUB1241 selfwinding chronograph flyback movement.

Watchmaker Richard Mille pays homage to star polo player Pablo Mac Donough with a new model that’s tough enough to withstand shocks and impacts while still showing off the watch’s movement. A cable suspension system ensures the tourbillon is highly shock resistant.

It has a minutes counter resembling a rev counter, a gearbox style date window, a fan-like seconds counter at nine o’clock, and the iconic horse logo at six o’clock. It is a 250-piece limited edition and guaranteed to win. (-AFP-Relaxnews)

The RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough by Richard Mille

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FRIDAY, February 2, 2018



Amazon, Warren Buffett join forces to tackle health care


Section 2 Tel: 713-774-5140

Online fashion marketplace Goxip raises $5M to expand in SE Asia

Investor Warren Buffett says the high cost of health care is “a hungry tapeworm on the American economy”


ASHINGTON | AFP - Retail behemoth Amazon has joined forces with two other titans of American business -Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase -- to tackle one of the most enduring problems in the country: quality affordable health care.

and their dependents likely amount to at least a million workers nationwide. “Hard as it might be, reducing health care’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort,” Bezos said.

find it hard to secure a health insurance plan they can afford. Studies show US health care costs as a share of the economy have doubled since the 1980s to 18 percent of GDP, and are far higher and growing faster than those in other major economies.

Co-led by Meitu and Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan’s daughter Chryseis Tan, the round also saw participation from Mills Fabrica Fund, Stanley Ho, Angela Leong, and Iman Allana (Photo: Goxip) by Sainul Abudheen

(L-R) Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and JP Morgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon are joining forces on health care. (Photos: AFP/File) Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, Buffett’s firm and the financial giant said Tuesday they would create a nonprofit health care plan to “provide US employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent health care at a reasonable cost.” “The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” Buffett said in a statement. “But we also do not accept it as inevitable.” The billionaire investor acknowledged that the group “does not come to this problem with answers” but is ready to invest its “collective resources” to “check the rise in health costs.” The trio could become a disruptor in the health care industry just as Amazon has in retail, using their combined data, technology, buying power and customer contacts to improve delivery while cutting costs. A source told AFP the companies purposely made the announcement -- which was thin on details -- so they could begin searching for a CEO without upsetting financial markets. The companies did not specify how many people would benefit under the new program, but the source said domestic employees of the companies

But he cautioned that success will require “a long-term orientation.” - Goal to ‘create solutions’ Rising health care costs in the United States, the only major world economy that does not provide universal medical coverage to its citizens, have been a perennial political issue. President Donald Trump failed to convince Congress to abolish Obamacare, the system put in place by his predecessor that allowed individuals to access private medical insurance and provided other protections while trying to limit spiraling costs. But he has managed to undermine it, reducing the timeframe allowed to enroll, cutting the advertising budget, and eliminating in the recent tax reform package the requirement that every person have health insurance or pay a fine. That “individual mandate” was a concession to the insurance companies to ensure they would have enough customers -- especially young, healthy Americans who do not need medical care as often -- to cover costs for those who need it more frequently, like the chronically sick or elderly. Without the requirement, many more Americans may

About half of Americans get their insurance through their employers, while the rest depend on government assistance or are uninsured, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said the new initiative would benefit employees and “potentially, all Americans.” Morningstar analysts said the move is “an intriguing partnership that opens up Amazon to a more serious push into other health care products and services” rather than “directly entering the market through an acquisition.” The new initiative will be spearheaded by Todd Combs, an investment officer of Berkshire Hathaway; Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold, a managing director of JPMorgan Chase; and Beth Galetti, a senior vice president at Amazon. Health care share prices sank on news of Amazon’s push into the sector. Insurers such as Cigna and Dow member UnitedHealth Group lost 7.2 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively, pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance tumbled 5.2 percent, and pharmaceutical giants Merck and Eli Lilly both lost about 1.5 percent.

oxip, an online marketplace for fashion and beauty products, with offices in Hong Kong and Malaysia, has raised US$5 million in Series A funding, co-led by Chinese beauty app developer Meitu and Chryseis Tan, daughter of Vincent Tan, a Malaysian billionaire and Chairman of Berjaya Group.


Leading Hong Kong property developer Nan Fung Group’s Mills Fabrica Fund has contributed to this round with US$1 million. Sabrina Ho, a Macau-based entrepreneur and daughter of billionaire Casino and entertainment tycoons Stanley Ho and Angela Leong, and Iman Allana, daughter of the Indian multi-billion dollar food giant Allana Group family, also joined this investment. The funds will be used to develop Goxip’s proprietary rewardSnap ad system, expand

into new markets in Southeast Asia by leveraging Meitu’s 100 million monthly active users in this fast-growing region, and enter into strategic partnerships with mid- to high-end fashion and beauty brands in Southeast Asia. “Fashion marketplaces are not new to the region, but most of them target everyone in search for quick but unsustainable growth. As a result, most of them end up diluting the brand and having to compete with giants in a race to the bottom in customer acquisition spend,” said Juliette Gimenez, Co-founder and CEO of Goxip. Goxip is an online shopping platform that combines fashion and beauty products from different online retailers, targeting fashion lovers and bloggers. With Goxip’s product/brand recognition technology, fashion aficionados can purchase similar apparel worn by celebrities or key opinion leaders, and make recommendations to

friends. The company has partnered with more than 500 international online retailers, and has over 36,000 luxury brands and five million merchandise in its database. The winner of RISE 2015, Goxip has earlier raised US$1.6 million in seed funding from Southeast Asia-based VC fund Ardent Capital. Cheney Cheung, Founder of Nan Fung Mill, said: “The establishment of the Nan Fung Workshop Investment Fund has enabled us to provide more support to startups in the global techstyle to further their growth. “We believe Goxip has great potential for global expansion and changing the fashion retail model, and we hope that more techstyle entrepreneurs will continue to inspire other techstyle startups in the community, especially in Hong Kong.”(- Yahoo! News)

Why the 4% Withdrawal Rule Is Wrong ore than 40 years ago, financial adviser William Bengen developed what is known as the “4% withdrawal rule.” This rule of thumb states you can withdraw 4% of your portfolio in the first year of retirement, adjust the amount withdrawn each year for inflation and safely avoid running out of money over three decades.

ment. Outside of health care, most retirees won’t see their expenses dramatically rise. In fact, overall expenses typically decline in retirement. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people ages 55 to 64 spend on average $60,076 per year, while people ages 65 and over spend $45,221, which is $14,855 less each year.

However, the biggest flaw is in its annual inflation adjust-

Furthermore, it’s important to be mindful of market condi-


tions. For instance, it’s generally not a good idea to increase your withdrawal amount during a market downturn. Instead, you may want to consider a small, temporary cut. Especially, during a deep recession along the lines of 2008. The reality is the 4% rule isn’t dynamic, so it doesn’t accurately reflect real-life spending habits. As in your workContinued on page 21

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Facebook admits social media threat to democracy by Rob Lever


ASHINGTON | AFP Facebook acknowledged Monday that the explosion of social media poses a potential threat to democracy, pledging to tackle the problem head-on and turn its powerful platform into a force for “good.” The comments from the world’s biggest social network were its latest response to intense criticism for failing to stop the spread of misinformation among its two billion users -- most strikingly leading up to the 2016 US election. In a blog post, Facebook civic engagement chief Samidh Chakrabarti said he was “not blind to the damage that the internet can do to even a wellfunctioning democracy.” “In 2016, we at Facebook were far too slow to recognize how bad actors were abusing our platform,” he said. “We’re working diligently to neutralize these risks now.” The post -- one in a series dubbed “hard questions” -- was part of a highprofile push by Facebook to reboot its image, including with the announcement last week that it would let users “rank” the trustworthiness of news sources to help stem the flow of false news. “We’re as determined as ever to fight the negative influences and ensure that our platform is unquestionably a source for democratic good,” said Katie Harbath, Facebook’s head of global politics and government outreach, in an accompanying statement.

cilitating the spread of bogus news -some of it directed by Russia -- ahead of the US election, the Brexit vote and other electoral battles. The social network has concluded that Russian actors created 80,000 posts that reached around 126 million people in the United States over a two-year period. “It’s abhorrent to us that a nationstate used our platform to wage a cyberwar intended to divide society,” Chakrabarti said. “This was a new kind of threat that we couldn’t easily predict, but we should have done better. Now we’re making up for lost time,” he said. Chakrabarti pointed at Facebook’s pledge last year to identify the backers of political advertisements -while also stressing the need to tread carefully, citing the example of rights activists who could be endangered if they are publicly identified on social media. He also elaborated on the decision to let Facebook’s users rank the “trustworthiness” of news sources, saying: “We don’t want to be the arbiters of truth, nor do we imagine this is a role the world would want for us.” While acknowledging concerns over the rise of “echo chambers,” he argued that “the best deterrent will ultimately be a discerning public.” - ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ Facebook’s plan to rank news organizations based on user “trust” surveys has drawn a mixed response.

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

There’s a ‘super blue blood Moon’ on the rise

mistic. “This is great news and a long time coming. Google has been ranking for quality for a long time, it’s a bit baffling how long it took for social networks to get there,” she wrote on Twitter. But technology columnist Shelly Palmer warned that Facebook appeared to be equating trust and truth with what the public believes -- what some call “wikiality.” “Wikiality is Facebook’s answer to fake news, alternative facts, and truthiness,” Palmer wrote. “Facebook, the social media giant, is going to let you rank the news you think is most valuable. What could possibly go wrong?” For media writer Matthew Ingram, the changes “not only won’t fix the problem of ‘fake news,’ but could actually make it worse instead of better.” “Why? Because misinformation is almost always more interesting than the truth,” he wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review. News Corp. founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch also expressed skepticism, suggesting Facebook should instead pay “carriage feeds” to trusted news organizations, following the example of cable TV operators. “I have no doubt that Mark Zuckerberg is a sincere person, but there is still a serious lack of transparency that should concern publishers and those wary of political bias at these powerful platforms,” Murdoch said in a statement issued by his group, which publishes the Wall Street Journal and newspapers in Britain and Australia.

In a rare phenomenon the Moon was both experienced an eclipse and turned a crimson hue. by Frederic Brown in Los Angeles, Kerry Sheridan in Miami and Ayee Macaraig in Ligao


OS ANGELES | AFP | Wednesday 1/31/2018 - Stargazers across large swaths of the globe -- from the streets of Los Angeles to the slopes of a smoldering Philippine volcano -- had the chance to witness a rare “super blue blood Moon” Wednesday, when Earth’s shadow bathed our satellite in a coppery hue. The celestial show was the result of the Sun, Earth, and Moon lining up perfectly for a lunar eclipse just as the Moon is near its closest orbit point to Earth, making it appear “super” large.

The extreme east of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Russia, Australia and New Zealand could enjoy the spectacle on Wednesday night, weather depending, as the Moon rose there. But most of South America, Africa and Europe, where the alignment occurs in the middle of the day, missed out on the show. In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, several thousand people lined up at the planetarium to catch a glimpse of the rare event on one of its telescopes. “I was watching the news on TV and then came here immediately,” Yami, who like many Indonesian goes by one name, told local media.

It is the second full Moon within the same month, a phenomenon called a “blue” Moon which has nothing to do with its color.

In Nepal, where the super moon was just visible in the hazy polluted night sky over Kathmandu, the celestial phenomenon was greeted with more caution as an ominous sign.

by Marlowe Hood

The “blood” in the name comes from the reddish brown color the Moon takes on when Earth enters between it and the sun, cutting off the light rays that usually brighten the lunar surface.

Local newspapers there had printed warnings telling citizens not to eat, drink, sleep or even go to the toilet during the lunar eclipse, citing Hindu customs.

ARIS, France | AFP | Dating sites would be well-advised to add “brain activity” as a compatability criterion, according to a study released Tuesday showing that close friends have eerily comparable neural responses to life experiences.


The eclipse began around 3:45 am (1145 GMT), as a black shadow began to devour one corner of the gray-white Moon.

“Our results suggest that friends process the world around them in exceptionally similar ways,” said lead author Carolyn Parkinson, director of the Computational Social Neuroscience Lab at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Then, rusty tones began to sheath the Moon, reflecting the light of all the sunrises and sunsets on Earth at the same moment.

Facebook, along with Google and Twitter, faces global scrutiny for fa-

Renee DiResta of the nonprofit group Data for Democracy was opti-

Best friends’ brains light up the same way

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare which regions of the brain lit up as 42 volunteers watched short clips from news reports, music videos, comedy skits and documentaries, researchers were able to identify who among them were friends. The closer the relationship, the more alike the neural patterns in parts of the brain governing emotional response, high-level reasoning, and the capacity to focus one’s attention. “Friends had the most similar neural activity patterns, followed by friendsof-friends,” the authors said in a statement. “You can predict who people are friends with just by looking at how their brains respond to the video clips.” The 14 brief excerpts included journalists debating whether then US President Barack Obama should use humour in his speeches; a sentimental music video about a social outcast with a facial deformity; a documentary about baby sloths in Costa Rica; and scenes from a gay wedding. Scientists long ago understood that “birds of a feather flock together” when it comes to human social networks, with people attracted more easily to those of the same age, physical

An hour later, the lunar surface was plunged into darkness, known as totality.

There were gasps of delight at that moment in a school in the Philippines town on Guinobatan where some of the 90,000 people who have fled the erupting Mount Mayon volcano were sheltering. The closer the friend relationship, the more alike the neural patterns in parts of the brain governing emotional response, high-level reasoning, and the capacity to focus one’s attention, according to study authors (Photo: AFP/File)

There they were treated to a doublespectacle -- a supermoon eclipse rising over a mountain spewing ash and lava.

appearance and ethnic background, as well as other demographic categories.

“It’s huge and bright. It’s exciting to see. God created this beautiful moon and the volcano,” farmer Jose Almesolano, 75, told AFP.

- Online echo chambers This tendency extends to social networks too, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Communications. From an Darwinian perspective, evolutionary psychologists argue, the “like-with-like” principle favour social cohesion, empathy and frictionless collective action. The relationships we forge with individuals who are clearly different from us -- not of our “tribe” -- tend to be practical, task-oriented and shortlived, research has shown. But seeking out peas from the same pod has a downside that is amplified in the digital age, said senior author Thalia Wheatley, a professor of psychology and brain science at Dartmouth University in Massachusetts.

“The cost of surrounding ourselves with only like-minded people is the creation of echo-chambers and polarisation,” she told AFP. “This can be exacerbated by online communities that offer a constant diet of information that only confirms what people already believe.”

On the other side of the Pacific thousands were gathering at Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory, which opened its doors at 3:30 am (1130 GMT) to a crowd expected to reach 2,000.

One question not answered by the study is whether we naturally gravitate toward people who see the world the same way we do, or whether similarity -- including the way our brains light up -- springs from shared experience.

Some had waited in line since 10:00 pm the night before, hoping for a choice viewing spot, many science buffs bringing their own telescopes to set up on the lawn.

Most likely, it is a combination of the two. “We are a social species and live our lives connected to everybody else,” said Wheatley. “If we want to understand how the human brain works, then we need to understand how brains work in combination -- how minds shape each other.”

Physicists create Star Wars-style 3D projections — just don’t call them holograms Laser and particle system produces three-dimensional moving images that appear to float in thin air. by Elizabeth Gibney aniel Smalley has long dreamed of building the kind of 3D holograms that pepper science-fiction films. But watching inventor Tony Stark thrust his hands through ghostly 3D body armour in the 2008 film Iron Man, Smalley realized that he could never achieve that using holography, the current standard for high-tech 3D display, because Stark’s hand would block the hologram’s light source. “That irritated me,” says Smalley, a physicist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He immediately tried to work out how to get around that. Smalley’s team has taken a different approach — using a technique known as volumetric display — to create moving 3D images that viewers can see from any angle. Some physicists say that the technology comes closer than any other to recreating the 3D projec-


tion of Princess Leia calling for help in the 1977 film Star Wars. “This is doing something that a hologram can never do — giving you an all-round view, a Princess Leia-style display — because it’s not a hologram,” says Miles Padgett, an optical physicist at the University of Glasgow, UK. The technique, described in Nature on 24 January1, works more like a high-speed Etch a Sketch: it uses forces conveyed by a set of near-invisible laser beams to trap a single particle — of a plant fibre called cellulose — and heat it unevenly. That allows researchers to push and pull the cellulose around. A second set of lasers projects visible light — red, green and blue — onto the particle, illuminating it as it moves through space. Humans cannot discern images at rates faster than around 10 per second, so if the particle is moved fast enough, its trajectory appears as a solid line — like a sparkler moving in the dark. And if the image changes

- Ominous signs -

quickly enough, it seems to move. The display can be overlaid on real objects and viewers can walk around it in real space. The images created so far are tiny — just millimetres across. And only simple line drawings can be created at the speeds needed to fashion moving images. The team managed to depict a moving spiral line drawing and the static outline of a butterfly. The technique needs substantial development but is a simple design with huge potential for improvement, says William Wilson, a researcher in nanotechnology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “It’s a technological triumph,” says Padgett. “I wish it was mine.” The approach has many advantages over existing 3D-display techniques. Hologram technology creates 3D images by sending light through a 2D

- Next one NASA trained its telescopes and instruments on its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on the Moon to measure the effect of the temperature drop during the one-hour-16-minute eclipse. Seeing what happens when the surface of the Moon cools quickly will help scientists “understand some of the characteristics of the regolith -the mixture of soil and loose rocks on the surface -- and how it changes over time,” the US space agency said in a statement. The last “super blue blood Moon” occurred on December 30, 1982, when it was seen in Europe, Africa and western Asia. For North America, the last time was in 1866. If you missed this one, the next blue Moon total lunar eclipse will happen on December 31, 2028, though it won’t be quite as large since it will not be as close to Earth. Another will occur on January 31, 2037. “The red color during a lunar eclipse is very distinctive and it’s a rare treat to be able to see a blood red Moon,” said Brian Rachford, associate professor of physics at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “One of the great things about a lunar eclipse is you also don’t need any special equipment to see it. Anyone can go outside and look at the Moon.”

UK sandwich eating produces same CO2 as ‘millions of cars’


ONDON (AFP) - Britain’s annual sandwich consumption produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as more than eight million cars, according to a study published on Thursday.

print, followed by shop-bought varieties containing cheese or prawn.

Around 11.5 billion sandwiches are consumed each year in Britain, half of which are homemade and half bought, according to the British Sandwich Association (BSA).

Producing this generates 1,441 grams of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the CO2 emissions produced by a 12mile (19-km) car journey.

This annual consumption “generates, on average, 9.5 million tonnes of CO2 eq., equivalent to the annual use of 8.6 million cars,” said Adisa Azapagic, professor at Manchester University, which produced the study. The researchers studied the carbon footprint of 40 different fillings. Mass-produced sandwiches containing pork (bacon, ham or sausage) were found to have the largest footscreen that contains a diffraction grating. The grating manipulates the light rays’ paths such that they interfere to create the perception that an image has depth. State-of-the art holograms can be full colour and life-sized but, because the light must always emerge from a 2D surface, the viewing angle is limited. And because changing a diffraction grating at speed is challenging, holograms are also generally static.

The most carbon-intensive filling was found to be the shop-bought “allday breakfast”, comprising egg, bacon and sausage.

The “cleanest” was found to be homemade ham and cheese, with the production, storage, packaging and transport of shop-sold sandwiches accounting for their increased environmental impact. Researchers estimate that the carbon footprint of sandwiches could be reduced by half by changing recipes and packaging, recycling waste and extending their shelf life. “We need to change the labelling of food to increase the use-by date as these are usually quite conservative,” said Azapagic. “Given that sandwiches are a staple of the British diet as well as their significant market share in the food sector, it is important to understand the contribution from this sector to the emissions of greenhouse gases,” she added.


FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

Elton John to ‘go out with a bang’ on final tour by Shaun Tandon


EW YORK | AFP - Elton John announced Wednesday that he is retiring from touring, with the consummate showman saying he wants to devote himself to his children -- but after a final, massive swing around the world.

“It’s the last time that I will be touring and traveling the world, because my priorities have changed in my life,” John told several hundred journalists and guests after a mini-concert and virtual reality presentation of his career. “I’ve had an amazing life, I’ve had an amazing career,” he said, adding: “My priorities now are my children and my husband and my family.” John, who in the 1980s became one of the first openly gay major celebrities, has two children with his husband, Canadian filmmaker and former advertising executive David Furnish. The original “Rocket Man” said he had no health concerns, despite a scare with a bacterial infection that caused him to cancel South American dates last year. He said he would stay active, hoping to record more albums and write further musicals.

“I never thought that I could love anything as much as I love my sons. There’s not a word in the English dictionary that describes the love you have for a child,” he said.

Dior Guest leave after attending the Christian Dior’s Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2018 fashion collection show in Paris, France, January 22, 2018. (Photo: Charles Platiau, Reuters) John made the announcement under the Roman-inspired dome and columns of Gotham Hall, a former bank turned event space in Midtown Manhattan, where guests were offered champagne and shrimp tempura hors d’oeuvres. The self-described Luddite -- “I’ve never downloaded anything, not even porn,” he quipped to laughs -- offered a virtual reality retrospective of his career on headsets offered to the audience.

- Still standing John, often known as Sir Elton after a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II, has generated decades of hits such as “I’m Still Standing,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”

- Don’t let the sun go down on me Sporting a floral coattail jacket with sequined lapels, John promised an extravagant affair for the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour which will open in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The artist has also earned a fortune as a composer for musicals including blockbuster “The Lion King,” “Billy Elliot” and the upcoming adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Anticipating 300 shows around the world, the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour could easily become one of the most profitable in music history.

Forbes magazine in 2017 ranked him as the 26th highest-earning celebrity, earning $60 million over the previous year.

“It’s a way of going out with a bang. I don’t want to go out with a whimper,” he said. John’s theatrics have made him a top attraction in Las Vegas. His second residency, the technically lavish “The Million Dollar Piano,” will close in May after more than 200 concerts. The artist said he still relished pleasing crowds -- but, as a septuagenarian, he was more interested in

After struggles in the past with addiction and depression, John’s last studio album, “Wonderful Crazy Night,” carried a palpable sense of joy. Last year he put out a greatest hits collection dubbed “Diamonds.” John said he was open to one-off concerts after his tour but that they would likely only be in Britain. But he has one firm red-line. He said he had instructed his eldest son Zachary, “When Daddy dies, promise me -- there won’t be a hologram of me going around the world.”

Lifestyle influences the language of smell


hen describing how something smells, many of us fall back on using other senses to describe the odor, or we use analogies. Cookies smell sweet, for instance. But sweet is a taste. The inside of an athletic shoe smells like a wet dog, perhaps. But that’s just saying the smell reminds of you a wet dog. It’s not really giving the smell a unique description. With colors, we tend to get very specific. We have any number of ways to describe blue — navy, powder, United Nations, baby — so if we’re talking about blue, we tend to have the vocabulary necessary to make ourselves understood without having to reference something else, or another sense. So what accounts for our apparent inability to describe smells? Is it our language? Is it because visual acuity became more important than smell as humans evolved? Or is it because, as a study in Current Biology contends, we’re not hunter-gatherers? Asifa Majid of Radboud University in the Netherlands and Nicole Kruspe from Lund University in Sweden set off to the Malay Peninsula to find out how different people described colors and smells. The researchers picked the Semaq Beri, who rely on hunting and gathering; and the Semelai, who rely on farming rice. The two groups, while they follow different lifestyles,


elhi-based brand, People Tree, have made allegations against Christian Dior after seeing their block prints on the cover of a magazine. Featuring on the cover of Elle magazine, Sonam Kapoor was seen adorned in a boho-chic dress with the controversial print. The vibrant dress in rustic shade was paired with a frilled multi-coloured patchwork shrug. While initially it garnered a positive

The mini-biography starts in 1970 at West Hollywood’s Troubadour club, where the little-known pianist, born Reginald Dwight, electrified the crowd. It then takes the viewer on stage with him at his legendary 1975 blowouts at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

His style brought together the oldschool rhythm-and-blues piano of early rock ‘n’ roll with Gospel influences as well as a solid grounding in classical music.

“I will be creative, hopefully, until the day I die,” he said.

Indian design brand accuses fashion house Christian Dior of stealing their design

taking his children to soccer practice than in traveling.

Sir Elton John (File photo)

The 70-year-old British entertainer, revealing his plans at a gala New York event, said he planned to “go out with a bang” with a global tour that will open on September 8 and last through 2021.


live in relatively close proximity to one another and their languages are largely similar. Twenty Semaq Beri people and 21 Semelai people were asked to identify 16 different smells and 80 colors. The smells were orange, leather, cinnamon, peppermint, banana, lemon, licorice, turpentine, garlic, coffee, apple, clove, pineapple, rose, anise and fish. The colors consisted of 20 different but equally spaced hues at four different degrees of brightness. Participants were asked in their native language “What smell is this?” and “What color is this?” Majid and Kruspe tracked whether the subjects used abstract words, like “blue” or “musty” versus source-based descriptors, such as “leaf-colored” or “like a banana.” Majid and Kruspe gave each verbal answer a score: zero if the participants all gave different answers and one if participants all gave the same answer. The Semaq Beri were four times better than the Semelai when it came to using the same word to describe a smell, while the Semelai did better at identifying colors with the same answer. However, the Semaq Beri also relied heavily on abstract words to describe color, quickly identifying shades. The Semelai were more likely to use evaluative language when describing smells, whereas less than 1 percent of Semaq Beri responses included such language. (-MNN)

response, later on allegations of ‘blatant plagiarism’ made the dress and its designer, Christian Dior, an internet buzz. An associate of The People Tree, Orijit Sen, made these allegations on his Facebook Page where he shared the post with Gurpreet Sidhu, supposedly an ex-worker at The People Tree, and Pakhi Sen, another associate of the brand. The shared pictures showed uncanny similarities between The People

Tree’s design and the design on the Dior dress worn by Kapoor. Sen claimed that the handmade blocks were created many years ago by the people working for The People Tree. Later on, Sen even shared an image of the original blocks which were used for printing many years ago. While many big designers have slammed Dior for the act, the European luxury brand has not reacted to the controversy yet.

Five highlights from Paris haute couture fashion week by Fiachra Gibbons


ARIS, France | AFP - As Paris haute couture week ends Thursday, we look at the five things we learned from the elite fashion extravaganza: - All hail Galliano Genius is a word that gets thrown around in fashion like confetti at a wedding, but many who witnessed John Galliano’s two shows for Margiela over the past 12 days believed that in his case the feathered hat fits. The British designer may never live down the notorious drunken anti-Semitic rant that cost him his job at Dior in 2011. Yet fashion would be far less fantastical without him. His haute couture collection using transformative fabrics which look completely different to the naked eye than through the lens of smartphone, was not just inspired use of cuttingedge tech, but deft commentary on seeing at the world through the lens of Instagram. - Karl’s beard Even geniuses make mistakes. Just ask Karl Lagerfeld who is no doubt stroking his chin over whether he will persist with his new wispy white beard. Reaction to the Kaiser’s first major change in image in two decades was generally negative -- and almost drowned out his very girly Chanel show. Vogue’s legendary critic Suzy Menkes did her best to soften the blow by referring to the growth as “an exciting facial accessory”. - Be careful who you quote Dior under Maria Grazia Chiuri loves nothing better than a good slogan. She began her reign at the fabled label with her “We should all be feminists” T-shirt and by plastering “Christian Dior J’adore” on just about everything, from bras to sandal straps.

Victor & Rolf went for a bold palette in their Spring/Summer haute couture collection (Photo: AFP)

This week she wrote lines from Andre Breton’s “Surrealist Manifesto” across her models’ collar bones as part of a homage to Italian artist and protofeminist Leonor Fini. Which was unfortunate, as critics quickly pointed out, because Breton was a notorious misogynist who Fini abhorred for writing that “the problem of woman is the most marvellous and disturbing problem in all the world”. - Don’t say it with flowers Never write a note using the N-word and send it to someone who puts their entire life on Instagram. The Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko learned that the hard way this week when she sent flowers to her friend the Moscow socialite Miroslava Duma when she arrived in Paris for the shows. Both women insisted it was meant as a term of endearment between friends, but the fashion world was not in a forgiving mood. - Life is black and white While catwalks are more and more gender fluid with co-ed shows and androgynous and trans models, they could not have been more binary when it came to colour this week.

Black and white dominated Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 2018 spring/summer Haute Couture collection (Photo: AFP) Black and white dominated from John Paul Gaultier’s two-tone tribute to Pierre Cardin to Dior’s surrealist checkerboards and Clare Waight Keller’s much-praised debut at Givenchy. That couture fixture the femme fatale cut a black and silver swathe through the Azzaro, Alexandre Vault-

ier and Galia Lahav collections, with shoulders exaggerated 1980s-style to emphasise killer glamour. Chanel and Valentino swam against the austere tide with a sweetshop assortment of sugary pinks and greens, while Viktor & Rolf also went for a bolder palette, giving their quirky creations an extra sheen by making the complete collection in satin duchesse.

Young Life


Parents initiating teens to drinking a bad idea: study by Marlowe Hood


ARIS, France | AFP | 1/25/2018 - Parents who give their teens alcohol, even to teach them how to drink responsibly, are more likely to do harm than good, according to a six-year study in Australia, published Thursday. “Parental provision of alcohol is associated with risk, not with protection,” said lead author Richard Mattick, a professor at the University of New South Wales. “Parents should avoid supplying alcohol to their teenagers if they wish to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms,” he said in a statement. Mattick and colleagues monitored nearly 2,000 teens aged 12 to 18 in three Australian cities, along with their parents, over a six year period, with participants completing detailed questionnaires every year. At the start -- when the teenagers were 13 years old on average -- only 15 percent accessed alcohol from their parents. By the end, when they were nearly 18, some 57 percent did so.

The proportion of kids who said they had zero access -- from parents or other sources -- dropped over the same six-year period from four-fifths to one-fifth. The researchers also tracked the incidence of alcohol-related problems, including binge drinking and symptoms of alcohol abuse. At the end of the study, 25 percent of the teens given alcohol by their parents admitted to binge drinking, compared to 62 percent for those who got booze only from outside the home, such as friends or illegal purchase. The rate of self-reported bingedrinking climbed to 81 percent for teens who had procured alcohol from parents as well as other sources. At the same time, however, researchers noted that teenagers supplied with alcohol only by their parents were twice as likely to access it from additional sources in the following year. Predictably, the study shows that children who had no access to wine, beer and spirits experienced the fewest alcohol-related problems.

The authors acknowledged that the results may not apply to other countries, especially those with lower levels of alcohol consumption, or where binge drinking is infrequent. France and other southern European countries, for example, are famously lax in restricting access to alcohol for teens, but were all deemed “least risky” in a 2010 World Health Organization (WHO) comparative assessment of alcohol-related health problems. Nor does the study distinguish between parents who encourage or tolerate heavy drinking, and those who -- in word and deed -- preach moderation. “The findings only tell us whether alcohol was supplied by parents,” noted James Nicholls, director of research and policy development at Alcohol Research UK. “It can’t say whether the way in which parents supply or talk about alcohol has an effect on later outcomes.”

The desire of Indian parents for a son has created an estimated 21 million “unwanted” girls, the government says


EW DELHI, India | AFP | Monday 1/29/2018 - The desire of Indian parents for sons has created an estimated 21 million “unwanted” girls because couples keep having children until they produce a boy, the government said Monday. Indian parents have historically wanted sons, who are seen as breadwinners and family heirs. Girls are often viewed as a financial burden in a country where the tradition of giving a marriage dowry persists. Even though sex selection is against the law, illegal gender-based abortions have been blamed for a sex ratio of 940 females for every 1,000 males in the last census.


EW YORK - 9 January 2018 – Not content to follow oldschool rules to tackle problems like climate change, poverty and inequality, today’s youth – media savvy ‘Millennials’ and the ‘Born in the 90s’ cohort that can’t remember life without the Internet – are using disruptive, new-school innovations to drive change; and they’re heading to the United Nations to talk about building a better world for all.

Marie Chatardová, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council, the UN body that convenes the annual Youth Forum, has said that it is vital to empower young people to break cycles of poverty allow them to fulfil their potential to the fullest.

India has 21 million ‘unwanted’ girls

The findings were reported in the medical journal The Lancet Public Health.

Youth leaders ready to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and get to work at annual UN forum

At UN Headquarters in New York on 30 and 31 January, youth leaders from every corner of the world will lead discussions with government officials, civil society and other stakeholders on policy frameworks and innovative initiatives to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a 15-year plan to create a prosperous world for everyone on a clean planet.

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

But many couples continued having children until they produced their desired number of sons, the government said in its annual economic survey report.

“Families where a son is born are more likely to stop having children than families where a girl is born. This is suggestive of parents employing ‘stopping rules’ -– having children till a son is born and stopping thereafter,” it said. Couples, particularly women, in India face immense pressure to produce male children and many rural families do not send girls to school, marrying them off young. But the report said India’s preference for sons appeared “inoculated to development”, with even wealthier families not immune. Illegal sex selection and genderbased abortions remain rampant across social and economic groups in the country, according to several studies. A 2011 study in the British medical journal The Lancet found that up to 12 million girls had been aborted in the last three decades in India.

‘I want the world’ - ski queen Shiffrin eyes fantastic four by Jim Slater A group of young people at the Fifth Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. (Photo: UN/Evan Schneider) sions, at all levels”. Wickramanayake also serves as a representative and advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General in her

arching theme is the role of youth in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities. In addition to discussing youth ac-


ASHINGTON | AFP - In a moment of teen exuberance after winning the 2014 Olympic slalom gold, Mikaela Shiffrin blurted out her dream of winning five gold medals at the Pyeongchang Games.

This time, Shiffrin is a target rather than a talented prodigy and has had to deal with fame and success and its impact on training time. “I feel like my face has been out there more than it was four years ago,” Shiffrin said. “It’s adding more that I have to manage and still be able

“If young people have the right support, education, and means, they can go on to build better societies. They have energy, creativity, and innovation to power entrepreneurship and create jobs for themselves and others,” she wrote in an opinion piece, published in the Miami Herald on Friday. Citing examples of the youth taking action on pressing global concerns, such as on impacts of climate change or growing pollution, Mr. Chatardová said that young people do not wait idly for others to transform their ideas into reality. “They are leaders who roll up their sleeves and work hard to transform their societies,” she added. Around the world, the population of young people is now almost 1.8 billion – the largest ever. And it offers both immense potential as well as considerable challenges ranging from 71 million unemployed youth and an additional 161 million in situations of moderate or extreme poverty despite having a job. In this situation, building on the work of young people to address the problems of the young people is critical, highlighted Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth. “We will be discussing the issues [the youth] care about like sustainable energy for all, safe and inclusive cities, access to clean water and sanitation, protecting bio-diversity and forests and partnerships to achieve the [SDGs],” said Ms. Wickramanayake. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed the United Nations SecretaryGeneral’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017. In this role, she works to expand the engagement, participation and advocacy efforts of youth across the four main pillars of the work of the United Nations: development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action. One of her goals as the Envoy on Youth is “to ensure that young people have a voice in all these processes at the UN”, while bringing the UN closer to young people at the same time.[4] She has also stressed the “need to see young people not as a liability but as an opportunity, and to see how we can proactively engage them in all discus-

“We will be discussing the issues the youth care about like sustainable energy for all, safe and inclusive cities, access to clean water and sanitation, protecting bio-diversity and forests and partnerships, ” states Ms. Wickramanayake Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin (-REUTERS/Mike Blake/File photo) capacity as the Envoy on Youth. As a subset of the partnerships agenda, she explained, is the involvement of the youth in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. Started in 2012, the Youth Forum is the only gathering of its kind to bring together young people and senior Government officials in-charge of youth matters in their countries, such as youth ministries. This year’s over-

tion for specific SDGs, the agenda also includes regional perspectives and a roundtable on means of implementation, including finance, technology, capacity building and trade. The outcomes from the Youth Forum will flow into this year HighLevel Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the global UN forum to which discusses and reviews the status of implementation of sustainable development. (-United Nations News Source)

North Korean athletes arrive in S Korea


EOUL (AFP) - Female hockey players from the rival Koreas were paired up with each other Thursday to form their first-ever Olympic squad during next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Games. A dozen North Korean hockey players wearing white-and-red winter parkas crossed the heavily fortified border into South Korea earlier Thursday, as about 30-40 conservative activists shouted anti-Pyongyang slogans at a nearby border area. The North Koreans traveled on to a national athletes’ village in southern South Korea, where they were welcomed by their South Korean teammates and Canadian coach Sarah Murray, who presented them flower bouquets in an outdoor welcoming ceremony.

“I sincerely welcome your arrival,” Lee Jae-kun, head of the athletes’ village, told the North Koreans after they got off a bus. Park Chol Ho, a North Korean coach who arrived with the 12 athletes and two support staff, told reporters that he’s happy to team up with South Koreans. “I’m very pleased with the fact that North and South are united as one to participate in (the Olympics). I expect we’ll see good results if we unite our efforts ... though we don’t have much time,” he said. The Korean players later shouted “We are one!” and took a group photo. North and South Korean players plan to practice separately for several days as Murray needs time to learn about the North Koreans.

Now with the showdown in South Korea less than two weeks away, the 22-year-old American is leading the Alpine Ski World Cup overall standings and is a serious threat for multiple medals. “I still haven’t had a chance to let it sink in,” Shiffrin says of her Sochi success. “I guess the best way to realize it is to just go to Korea and win some more.” Three-time reigning world slalom champion Shiffrin has won nine World Cup races this season, boosting her career total to 40. She captured four races in seven days to begin 2018. In a timely reality check, she overbalanced a missed a gate when yards from victory at the Lenzerheide slalom on Sunday, opening the door to her Sloval rival Petra Vhlova. Despite the error, she figures to be favored in Olympic slalom and giant slalom. She is also likely to chase the combined crown, and could make a run at the downhill as well. “If I compete in four events, it’s because I think I have shot to medal in four events,” Shiffrin said. “Five might be biting off too much. Even though I did go on record saying I want five gold medals -- I want the world and (to be) the king of the universe and all those things.”

to go back to training and keep my nose to the grindstone. “Sometimes the next challenge feels like the very next day of skiing. The challenge is to find ways to improve. I was at the top in slalom and now the top at giant slalom. I need to work on building my strength, technique and speed and it’s more in practice than it is in events.” - Luck is ‘work in disguise’ There’s plenty of hype and expectation around Shiffrin’s bid to become the first back-to-back Olympic slalom champion. “When I start to think about expectations, it’s too much to focus on. The thing I concentrate on is trying to meet my own goals,” she said. “I don’t have to change my tactics (for the Olympics). I can focus on those goals. It’s a season-long thing. I’ll be hoping to perform well in every style race and the best thing I can do to prepare for the Olympics is have a great season.” When it comes to looking ahead to the starting gate in the South Korean mountains, Shiffrin isn’t fretting about the emotions she might feel. “I’m pretty much in control of where my nerves are,” Shiffrin said. “Not to say I won’t be nervous before the first race at the Olympics but I’m not really nervous.”

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018


Section 2

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Heart attack risk high with only one cigarette a day

‘Disturbingly high’ rates of diabetes in India reports study


by Marlowe Hood ARIS, France | AFP | 1/24/2018 - Just one cigarette a day carries nearly half the risk for heart attack and stroke as smoking a full pack of 20, according to a large-scale study published Thursday.

IAMI | AFP | Monday 1/29/2018 India is facing an epidemic of diabetes and high blood pressure, often called “silent killers” because they lead to heart disease, said a report Monday involving more than 1.3 million people.

“If someone smokes one cigarette instead of 20 per day, intuitively we’d think that the risk drops to 1/20, or five percent,” said lead author Allan Hackshaw, a professor at University College London, whose paper analysed 141 previous studies.

The rate of diabetes in India is over six percent, while around one quarter of people have high blood pressure, said the first nationally representative figures on the topic, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

“This seems to be the case for lung cancer, but is not true for heart attacks and stroke, where one cigarette per day carries around 50 percent of the risk of a pack a day,” he told AFP.

The rates of diabetes and hypertension were particularly high among middle-aged and elderly people.


Cigarette smoking continues to decline as taxes on tobacco rise. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

Smokers should not be fooled, in other words, into thinking that a few cigarettes a day -- or even just one -- carries little or no long term harm, he added.

a day was linked to a higherthan-expected risk of heart disease, but findings were inconclusive.

“Whilst it is great that smokers try to cut down -- and they should be positively encouraged to do so -- in order to get the big benefits on cardiovascular disease they need to quit completely,” he said by email.

To probe deeper, a team of scientists led by Hackshaw analysed the results of 141 studies, estimating the relative risk of one, five or 20 cigarettes a day.

The findings were published in the medical journal BMJ. Tobacco kills about seven million people worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization. About two million of those deaths are due to cardiovascular disease, mainly coronary heart attacks and stroke. Earlier research suggested that smoking a few cigarettes

- Risk higher than expected -

They found that men who lit up once a day had 46 percent of the excess risk of heart disease associated with smoking a full pack a day, much higher than expected. For strokes, the excess risk was 41 percent. For reasons that are not fully understood, the risk for women was somewhat smaller -- 31 and 34 percent, respectively. “It could be a mixture of biological difference and differences in lifestyle,” said Hack-

shaw. Overall, long-term smoking shortens life expectancy by 12-15 years. “This well conducted study confirms what epidemiologists have suspected but few among the public have,” commented University of Oxford professor Paul Aveyard, who was not involved in the research. “The implication is obvious -- anyone who smokes should stop.” At the same time, he added, it would be wrong to conclude that cutting down is useless. “There is more reason to believe that lower cigarette consumption will reduce the risk of chronic lung disease and lung cancer, the other two big causes of early death from smoking,” he said via Britain’s Science Media Centre.

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“In middle-age to older adults across all geographic settings and socioeconomic groups in the country, the prevalence of both diabetes and hypertension were disturbingly high,” said an accompanying editorial by Alka Kanaya of the University of California, San Francisco. Overall, prevalence of diabetes was 6.1 percent among women and 6.5 percent among men. For hypertension, it was 20 percent among women and 24.5 percent among men. Young adults also had unexpectedly high rates of hypertension -- the rate was 12 per-

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cent among those aged 18-25. “Hypertension was higher among adults under 45 than previously estimated and was higher than in Central and Eastern Europe, the region previously estimated to have the highest rates for young adults,” said the report. Whether rich or poor, all groups were similarly affected by diabetes and high blood pressure. Being wealthy was associated with only a modestly higher risk of diabetes, on the order of about three percent. Among the poorest households in rural areas, the rate was also high -- 5.9 percent had diabetes and 30 percent had hypertension. “Understanding how diabetes and hypertension prevalence varies within a country as large as India is essential for targeting of prevention,

screening, and treatment services,” said lead author Pascal Geldsetzer, a doctoral student in the Department of Global Health and Population. The study was based on health data collected from 1,320,555 adults across India between 2012 and 2014, including plasma glucose and blood pressure measurements. “India has a window of opportunity to invest in its health system to effectively tackle hypertension and diabetes -- both major killers,” said Rifat Atun, co-senior author and professor of global health systems in the Department of Global Health and Population. “However, because the epidemics are worsening rapidly, now is the time for urgent action.” India is home to more than a sixth of the world’s population.

Hunger, contraception key concerns in Burkina: Melinda Gates by Olympia De Maismont

space their pregnancies.


“If you don’t give women access to contraceptives you are locking them into a cycle of poverty,” Gates told AFP.

UAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso | AFP | 1/27/2018 - While widespread malnutrition remains the biggest child killer in Burkina Faso, mothers’ tasks are made all the more arduous by a chronic lack of access to contraception, Melinda Gates, wife of billionaire philanthropist Bill, told AFP in Ouagadougou this week.

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While these rates are lower than the United States and China, experts say a combination of widespread tobacco use, genetic susceptibility to diabetes and a lack of access to quality medical care are to blame.

An Indian nurse collects a blood sample using a glucometer at a free diabetic health check-up camp on World Health Day in Hyderabad on April 7, 2016 (AFP Photo/NOAH SEELAM)

“When women have one child after another then they can’t feed the kids properly so they don’t grow properly and then the family don’t have the resources... to then educate their kids.”

Like other west African nations, the landlocked country has a rapidly growing population that is struggling to feed itself, and nearly 40 percent of all deaths under five are down to malnutrition.

In a country like Burkina Faso, with a population of nearly 20 million growing 3 percent a year, contraception can be a tool to not only cut birth rates, but also improve health, education and business opportunities for all.

Gates announced a $34-million investment in nutritional programmes, to teach young mothers to breastfeed their children until the age of six months, and healthier eating in general.

But it can be hard to access in a society where condoms, the pill and other methods, are often unavailable or frowned upon.

“If you care about the children in your country and you want them to reach their full potential, they need to be fed properly,” she said. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a multi-billion dollar charity and one of the most powerful in the world, has also earmarked $10 million for contraceptive programs in Burkina Faso to help women plan and

“You have to go to religious leaders, traditional leaders, they need to hear it from a trusted community health worker,” Gates implored. “To be honest we also have to educate their husbands, sometimes even the husbands first and the mother-in-law,” she said. - ‘Learning from each other’ Knowledge about what con-

traceptive methods are available and how to use them is relatively low in Burkina Faso. And many community leaders are ambivalent or opposed to the benefits of birth control. The fertility rate in Burkina Faso was 5.71 children per woman in 2017, according to the CIA World Factbook. Melinda Gates’ trip to the country is, in part, to promote the initiative and to learn about the problems the programme is up against. “The Gates Foundation invests in access to contraception because we know the beneficial impact of birth spacing on the health of women, and children under five, as well as empowering women to choose if and when they wish to have a child,” a spokeswoman from the charity told AFP. The $10 million donation will boost efforts already promoted by the Ouagadougou Partnership, an alliance of nine Francophone West African countries and several international groups set up in 2011 to expand access to family planning in the region. The Ouagadougou Partnership now aims to bring family planning to 2.2 million more people across the region by 2020.



‘Soccer is medicine’ says new study


ood news for those who enjoy a weekend kickabout with friends -- a new European study has found that enjoying recreational soccer (referred to as football in the study) with friends is an effective way to improve health and decrease the risk of disease such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). Carried out as a collaboration between the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and the University of Nis, Serbia, the new meta-analysis looked at 31 studies to find that partaking in one hour of football training twice a week for just 3-6 months brought a variety of health benefits for untrained men and women aged 18-75 years of age. These benefits included an increase in maximal oxygen uptake, which shows an individual’s level of cardio fitness, a lower resting heart rate, a reduction in fat mass, a reduction in the level of LDL or “bad” cholesterol, improved jump performance, and for 30-70-year-old patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension, a reduction in blood pressure. “The results from our metaanalysis clearly emphasize that football training is an intense, effective and versatile type of training that combines HIITtraining, endurance training and strength training,” said Peter Krustrup of SDU. “After 10 years of research, the evidence is now sufficiently


Rajesh Maru, 32, was yanked towards the machine by its magnetic force after he entered the room carrying an oxygen cylinder, the city’s police said in a statement. “We have arrested a doctor and another junior staff member under section 304 of the Indian penal code for causing death due to negligence,” Mumbai police spokesman Deepak Deoraj told AFP. The incident occurred on Saturday night at the Indian financial capital’s Nair Hospital. Police said preliminary re-

Measles? Bring it on, says US ‘vaccine choice’ movement by Kerry Sheridan IAMI | AFP | Friday 1/26/2018 - Joe Accurso, a 47-year-old chiropractor, refused to vaccinate his daughter against polio, measles or whooping cough because he believes that getting sick wouldn’t be dangerous and might even be good for her.


One hour of football training twice a week for just 3-6 months brought a variety of health benefits. (Photo: AFP) strong to state that football is medicine. Football is broadspectrum medicine for patients with hypertension, type 2 diabetes and other lifestyle diseases.” “The most prominent results are that short-term football training is as effective as drugs against high blood pressure and as effective as HIIT-training in terms of increasing aerobic fitness. Together these effects lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by more than 50% and may considerably lower the risk of death,” Krustrup added. “In addition, there are multiple positive effects on body composition and lipid profile, making football a very attractive type of broad-spectrum nonpharmacological intervention against lifestyle diseases,” he concluded. Krustrup also stressed that the football looked at in the studies

was not of the professional level seen on TV. Instead, in order to reap the benefits he and his team are recommending smallsided football training with a lower risk of injury, such as 5-aside matches, not competitive games. He gives the example of Football Fitness, which is an evidence-based Danish concept that is comprised of a thorough warm-up including strength, balance and dribbling exercises, followed by drills and small-sided games on small pitches. No competitive matches are played and it is a type of football that can be played and enjoyed by all, regardless of age, gender, level of football experience and physical fitness. The findings are due to be published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) on Friday February 2. (-AFP Relax.)

Indian man killed after being sucked into MRI machine UMBAI, India | AFP | Monday 1/29/2018 - An Indian man died after being sucked into an MRI machine while visiting a relative at a hospital in Mumbai, police said Monday.

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

ports suggested that the man had died from inhaling liquid oxygen that leaked from the cylinder. It is thought the cylinder was damaged after hitting the machine. Ramesh Bharmal, the dean of the hospital, told AFP that an investigation had been launched to determine the exact cause of death, adding CCTV footage of the incident had been handed over to police. The victim’s uncle said Maru had been asked to carry the cylinder by the junior staff member who assured him the machine was switched off. “The ward boy who was supposed to prevent such incidents told my family members to go inside when the machine was turned on. We are shocked and devastated,” Jitendra Maru said.

The state government of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, announced compensation of 500,000 rupees ($7,870) for the victim’s family. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, machines use a powerful magnetic field to produce images of the body’s organs. Metallic objects are pulled towards it and must not be carried into the room. In 2014 two hospital workers sustained injuries when they were pinned between an MRI machine and a metal oxygen tank for four hours at a hospital in New Delhi. In 2001, a six-year-old boy undergoing an MRI scan in New York was killed when a metal oxygen tank flew towards the machine and crushed his skull.

“I am actually disappointed that she doesn’t have the opportunity to get the chicken pox, to get diseases that make her body stronger in the future. That is our big reason,” he told AFP. Don’t call them “anti-vaxxers.” Joe and his wife Cathy, a physical therapist, see themselves as part of a vocal minority that believes in “vaccine choice.” These parents -- many of whom are white, educated and upper middle class -- choose not to immunize their children against diseases which collectively used to kill millions children per year around the world. They say these illnesses aren’t so bad, compared to vaccines, the risks of which they believe are being withheld from the public in the name of pharmaceutical profits -- a belief now shared by millions of people across the developed world, from the United States to Europe and Australia. They are also swayed by purported medical whistleblowers who claim that vaccine effectiveness data has been skewed, that vaccine injuries are on the rise, and that dubious ingredients have been concealed.

A woman gets a flu shot in California. A vocal minority of advocates are refusing shots, claiming that vaccines can be dangerous and are not as effective as doctors claim (AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan) (MMR) in the Somali-American community plummeted to 42 percent in 2014, down from 92 percent in 2004.

bubble” around the fraught issue -- so vaccine skeptics see their ideas reinforced on pages they follow.

The result: 65 cases of measles in 2017, most of them unvaccinated Somali children -- the largest single outbreak in a year that saw 120 cases nationwide, the CDC said.

When it comes to convincing hesitant parents to vaccinate their kids, Smith said both sides are at “a total impasse.”

Fears about autism spread after British anti-vaccine activist Andrew Wakefield -- whose 1998 research alleging that vaccines trigger autism was found to be fraudulent -- spoke to local Somali community groups in 2010 and 2011. “One of the pseudoscience phony central tenets of the antivax movement is to claim that measles is a benign illness or even good for you,” Peter Hotez, director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, told AFP.

Fueled by distrust of the medical establishment, more than seven million people follow various US-based Facebook pages that question vaccines, wrote Richard Stein, a New York University cardiologist, last month in the journal Germs.

Such ideas are “deliberately misleading and false,” and have real-world consequences, he added.

“Conspiracy theories on social media are alive and thriving, rejoicing their golden age,” Stein said.

In the United States, recent measles outbreaks include one in Ohio’s Amish community in 2014 (383 cases), and a nationwide 2015 outbreak that infected 188 and is believed to have started with a visitor to California’s Disneyland amusement park.

- Resurgence of measles Endemic measles was eradicated from the United States in 2000, and nationwide only about two percent of kindergarteners have gone unvaccinated in recent years, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the danger comes when large pockets of people do not vaccinate and an area loses “herd immunity.” In Minnesota, for example, child vaccination rates for measles, mumps and rubella

Measles can cause hearing loss, blindness, brain swelling and pneumonia. The CDC says that for every 1,000 children infected, one or two will die.

A vaccinated elderly woman was the sole measles fatality that year. - Influence of social media Social media may be perpetuating the anti-vaccine movement, said Naomi Smith, an Australian researcher. Smith just completed a threeyear study on how Facebook appears to have created a “filter

Anti-aging field ‘explodes’ in pursuit of healthy old age by Jean-Louis Santini

periods often proves “too difficult” for people, said Sierra.


ASHINGTON | AFP | Friday 1/25/2018 - Experts on the forefront of anti-aging medicine say the field is booming, with therapies on the horizon to target illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s and make for a healthier, older population in the years to come.


Such remedies are increasingly important because of the world’s aging population. Growing old, experts say, is a leading risk factor for most human diseases and a major socioeconomic problem. “In the last 20 years this field of research on aging has exploded,” said Felipe Sierra, director of the division of aging biology at the US National Institute of Aging. “We are getting close to having treatments to prevent the illnesses related to aging,” he

Much of the research done so far has been on lab animals and simple organisms like worms, which enable researchers to both measure and tweak life expectancy.

“There are drugs now that can mimic the effects of caloric reduction,” he added. - Promising molecules Out of 20 molecules tested so far on mice, seven have led to longer lives, he said.

For instance, researchers were surprised to learn that by manipulating just 17 genes, which also exist in humans, they could double the life expectancy of a much-studied worm called C. elegans, and even make mice live 60 percent longer. Researchers have also found that a major reduction in calorie intake can have the same effect on these genes. “We know that the accumulation of cellular damage is the cause of many diseases,” said Luigi Fontana, professor of nutritional science at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis and University of

One of the most promising is called rapamycin (sirolimus), an immunosuppressant used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs.

An Amish man drives his buggy through in Mechanicsville, Maryland: a recent study on the Amish showed the powerful effect of a single mutant gene against the ravages of age (-Photo: AFP) Brescia in Italy. “But when you go long periods without food, the resulting metabolic changes appear to

stimulate autophagy or a natural cleaning out of your body’s damaged cells.” Restricting calories for long

The substance has been shown to prolong the lives of mice by 25 percent, and produces similar effects on other mammals. “There are a lot a side effects but this medication is used in extremely sick people,” said Sierra. “The interesting thing is that when they tried it in healthy people none of them had side

People who hold strong anti-vaccination beliefs tend to believe personal testimonies, and “use a different standard of evidence than what the medical community uses,” she told AFP. To bridge the divide, some doctors, like Arizona pediatrician Tim Jacks, occasionally share their own personal stories with vaccine-hesitant parents. In 2015, Jacks’ daughter Maggie was battling leukemia, had recently finished a round of chemotherapy, and was exposed to measles while getting blood drawn at a Phoenix clinic. Also exposed was his younger son, Eli, just 10 months old then and too young for the MMR shot. The experience was scary, and required the family to spend two weeks in quarantine. Fortunately neither child fell ill, and Maggie, now six, is in remission from her cancer. “We don’t live in bubbles. So even going to the store and getting groceries, going to church, going to the park, you are interacting with other people and you are potentially exposing other people,” Jacks said. “Who is really at risk? It is the family that has a newborn that has no protection. It is the grandmas.” For Hotez, solutions include more engagement from scientists and laws that eliminate the personal choice to vaccinate, as now exist in 18 states. “It is no longer simply a small cult,” said Hotez.

effects,” he added. “It is a kind of miraculous drug.” Other promising agents to fight aging target cells that are aging and no longer able to divide, by causing them to selfdestruct. Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have been able to genetically eliminate these dysfunctional, aging cells in mice. “It was amazing. The mice lived longer and were in much, much better health,” said Sierra. Now there are 15 or 20 of these senolytic drugs being tested. “And I am sure that some of them might work,” said Sierra. “So that is why it is an exciting field right now.” - Longer lifespan According to Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a geneticist at the Salk Institute in California, the science of anti-aging is making real progress.

‘Disturbingly high’ rates of diabetes in India: study IAMI | AFP | 1/29/2018 - India is facing an epidemic of diabetes and high blood pressure, often called “silent killers” because they lead to heart disease, said a report Monday involving more than 1.3 million people. The rate of diabetes in India is over six percent, while around one quarter of people have high blood pressure, said the first nationally representative figures on the topic, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.


The rates of diabetes and hypertension were particularly high among middle-aged and elderly people. While these rates are lower than the United States and China, experts say a combination of widespread tobacco use, genetic susceptibility to diabetes and a lack of access to quality medical care are to blame. “In middle-age to older adults across all geographic settings and socioeconomic groups in the country, the prevalence of both diabetes and hypertension were disturbingly high,” said

an accompanying editorial by Alka Kanaya of the University of California, San Francisco. Overall, prevalence of diabetes was 6.1 percent among women and 6.5 percent among men. For hypertension, it was 20 percent among women and 24.5 percent among men. Young adults also had unexpectedly high rates of hypertension -- the rate was 12 percent among those aged 18-25. “Hypertension was higher among adults under 45 than

previously estimated and was higher than in Central and Eastern Europe, the region previously estimated to have the highest rates for young adults,” said the report. Whether rich or poor, all groups were similarly affected by diabetes and high blood pressure. Being wealthy was associated with only a modestly higher risk of diabetes, on the order of about three percent. Among the poorest households in rural areas, the rate was also high -- 5.9 percent had

diabetes and 30 percent had hypertension. “Understanding how diabetes and hypertension prevalence varies within a country as large as India is essential for targeting of prevention, screening, and treatment services,” said lead author Pascal Geldsetzer, a doctoral student in the Department of Global Health and Population. The study was based on health data collected from 1,320,555 adults across India between 2012 and 2014, including plasma glucose and

blood pressure measurements. “India has a window of opportunity to invest in its health system to effectively tackle hypertension and diabetes -- both major killers,” said Rifat Atun, co-senior author and professor of global health systems in the Department of Global Health and Population. “However, because the epidemics are worsening rapidly, now is the time for urgent action.” India is home to more than a sixth of the world’s population.

FRIDAY, February 2, 2018



Medical breakthroughs, a victim of their success Six Reasons Your Back Hurts


ozens of antibiotics discovered since the discovery of penicillin have added 20 years to the life expectancy of humanity, according to the WHO Vaccinations, antibiotics and antivirals are medical breakthroughs that have saved millions of lives in the 20th century, even if today they are increasingly contested or taken for granted.

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The success of modern medicine presents a paradox: as disease and epidemics are progressively brought under control, the public sees less need for medical treatment. “We are in a regressive dynamic of defiance vis-a-vis medicine that worries me and is fuelling the desire for alternative medicines,” says recognised French doctor, researcher and microbiology professor, Philippe Sansonetti. Here is a look back at three major medical breakthroughs that some are defying today. - Anti-vax vs vaccinated At the end of the 18th century, English doctor Edward Jenner carried out the first successful vaccine by inserting pus taken from an adult with cowpox into a cut made in the arm of a boy. Several days later, Jenner exposed the boy to smallpox and he was found to be immune. The antiviral vaccination was born. It became obligatory in England in 1853 but an antivaccines movement formed quickly, forcing through a “conscience clause” that allowed Brits to escape compulsory vaccination. With its highly contagious pimples, smallpox was a terrible plague: it killed 300 million people in the 20th century, according to the World Health Organization -- more than armed conflicts. Thanks to a worldwide push

Dozens of antibiotics discovered since the discovery of penicillin have added 20 years to the life expectancy of humanity, according to the WHO. AFP on vaccination, it was eradicated in 1980. Vaccines also made it possible to contain polio, diphtheria, tetanus and measles. Yet the “anti-vax” -- those resolutely opposed to obligatory vaccination -- have never been so visible in their claims about the supposed danger of injections and against the “pharmaceutical lobby”. “The problem is we are victims of the success of vaccination. Because we no longer see children die of tetanus or measles, we lose the notion of risk,” said WHO expert Philippe Duclos in the Swiss newspaper Le Temps. - Anti antibiotics Discovered accidently in London in 1928 by Britain’s Alexander Fleming, penicillin revolutionised medicine. It made it possible to effectively treat for the first time pneumonia, meningitis and syphilis. Dozens of antibiotics discovered since then have added

20 years to the life expectancy of humanity, according to the WHO. Antibiotics have lost some of their shine in recent years, however. Misused or overused, including in farming, they have become less effective against infections such as tuberculosis, as bacteria become more resistant. Patients are also increasingly likely to cut short treatment as soon as symptoms disappear, which specialists say is the best way to develop resistance. - Triple therapy time-out When AIDS appeared on the medical radar at the start of the 1980s, science was caught short: an infection of the HIV virus was a death warrant. Rock Hudson in 1985, Freddie Mercury in 1991, Rudolf Nureyev in 1993 -- as the list of famous victims grew so did the public realisation of the danger of this disease. In 1994 AIDS became the

first cause of death for Americans aged between 25 and 44. A corner was turned in the 1990s when new antiretroviral drugs enabled effective combinations against HIV in what became known as triple therapy. While the epidemic has not disappeared, the number of related deaths has fallen by 48 percent since a peak in 2005, according to UNAIDS. Treatments have become effective enough to almost eliminate the risk of infection but consistency is essential to avoid the reappearance of resistant viruses. Nonetheless, US studies have shown that only 30 percent of patients respect their prescriptions. And in France a 2010 study by the SIDA Info Service found that 3.6 percent of patients stopped their treatment after having tests that did not detect low levels of the virus, leading them wrongly to believe it had been rendered harmless.

‘Mediterranean’ diet may boost IVF chances: study The study showed a correlation between two things, and researchers cannot use it to conclude that a Mediterranean diet is what caused better IVF outcomes. The findings cannot be generalised to all women trying to become pregnant, nor to obese women, a category excluded from the study, the team added. Other researchers not involved in the research said the findings once again highlighted the importance of healthy eating. “It contributes to growing evidence that diet and lifestyle affect both natural fertility and IVF outcomes,” Adam Balen of the Leeds Centre for Reproductive Medicine said via the Science Media Centre.

Jeffrey Wood, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon.


UGAR LAND - (January 29, 2018) – Your back is a feat of biological engineering: More than 33 vertebrae form the column that runs from skull to tailbone; between each is a cushiony disk, all held together by a web of ligaments and muscles. With all those moving parts, plenty can go wrong.

pain when bones become brittle and porous.

“Back pain is incredibly common, especially as we age,” said Jeffrey Wood, MD, a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon at the Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center at Sugar Land. “Fortunately, we can treat most cases of back pain without surgery.” Below are some of the most common causes of back pain.

“Although you may be tempted to spend a few days recuperating in bed, movement is actually better for your pain,” Wood said. “Try to keep up with your regular activities.”

Heavy lifting or 1. improper sports or exercise techniques. Repeated lifting or simply an awkward movement could cause a muscle or ligament strain. Bad posture. Sit 2. at a desk all day? If you’re hunched over papers or using a chair with little support, your back bears the brunt of it. Herniated disk. The 3. vertebrae in your spine are cushioned by disks between each bone. When the soft material inside bulges or ruptures, it can cause pain by pressing on a nerve. 4. Scoliosis. Adults experience pain from scoliosis (a sideways curve in the spine) when an existing curve worsens with age or a new curve develops. 5. Arthritis. In its most common form, osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down around joints, making movement painful. 6. Osteoporosis, thinning of the bones, predisposes a person to fractures. Compression fractures may cause

FINDING RELIEF Minor back problems — primarily those associated with strains or spasms — can be successfully treated at home with a combination of hot and cold compresses, rest and anti-inflammatory medications.

If your pain is debilitating, a spine specialist can perform an exam to help determine the source of your discomfort and prescribe a treatment plan that may include medications, physical therapy or injections to relieve pain. In severe cases, surgery may be needed. “At our Neuroscience & Spine Center, doctors work together to get you back to a pain-free life,” Wood added. We offer expedited appointments, including second opinions, with our renowned specialists. To schedule an appointment with Jeffrey Wood, MD, or another specialist at the Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center at Sugar Land, go to and fill out the online form. BACK AND NECK PAIN SEMINAR Join Jeffrey Wood, MD, as he discusses causes, the latest treatment options and prevention on Thursday, April 12 at 6 p.m. in the Brazos Pavilion Conference Center. Registration is required. To register or find out more information, go to or call 281.274.7500.

Adopting the healthy diet - which is loaded with fruit and veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish boosted the chances of successful fertility treatment by almost 70 per cent for some women. (Stock image).


ARIS, France | AFP | 1/29/2018 - Women who follow a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and olive oil may stand a better chance of falling pregnant through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), researchers said Tuesday. A study of 244 women enrolled for IVF in Athens, Greece, showed that those younger than 35 who followed a so-called “Mediterranean” diet for six months before IVF, were more likely to have a

healthy baby, a team reported in the journal Human Reproduction. Women in this group “had a 65-68 percent greater likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy and birth compared to women with the lowest adherence to the Mediterraneanstyle diet”, researchers said in a statement. A Mediterranean diet, inspired by menus popular in countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain, has long been said

to be good for heart health. It involves eating little red meat, and lots of fruit and veggies, legumes such as peas and beans, unrefined cereals, fish, and vegetable oil. “The important message from our study is that women attempting fertility should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet,” study co-author Nikos Yiannakouris of the Harokopio University of Athens said in a statement.

Read up on what’s changing in the Health world

Japan sued over forced ‘eugenic’ sterilisation


okyo, Japan | AFP | 1/30/2018 - A Japanese woman in her 60s on Tuesday sued the government over her forced sterilisation as a teenager under a now-defunct eugenics law, according to a court official and local media reports. The woman, whose name was not given, was 15 when the government forced her to undergo a sterilisation procedure in 1972 after she was diagnosed with a mental disability, local media reported. She is reportedly seeking 11

million yen ($100,000) in damages, saying the state failed to offer relief measures while seriously violating her human rights under the law which remained in force until 1996. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, a court spokesman told AFP, declining to give further details. The plaintiff’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment. Some 16,000 people were forcibly sterilised under the notorious eugenics law, according to the Japanese bar association.

“We’ve had agonising days... we stood up to make this society brighter,” the woman’s sister-in-law said at a televised press conference. Asked about the lawsuit, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato declined to comment, saying he was not aware of the details of the case. The government is prepared to have talks individually with those who need support, but “has no plans to offer blanket measures” to all victims of forced sterilisation,.

Voice of Asia brings you the latest in medicine, medical

technology, nutrition, pharmacy, and other health related articles. Also visit


FRIDAY, February 2, 2018



SRK urges Davos set to fight sexism

Mallika evicted from Paris flat!

ARIS, France | AFP - A French court has ordered that Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat be evicted from an apartment in a posh part of Paris for failing to keep up with the rent.


Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan after receiving an award in Davos for charitable work for victims of acid attacks (Photo: AFP)


AVOS, Switzerland | AFP - Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Monday urged the economic elite to break down barriers of discrimination against women as they gathered for the Davos forum. He appeared at a celebrity gala ahead of the official start on Tuesday of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting and received an award for his charitable work for victims of acid attacks. “From them I have learned how

courage can catalyze victimhood into heroism,” he told the audience of international business leaders and officials. Australian actress Cate Blanchett also received an award for her work with refugees and British singer Sir Elton John for his campaigning on HIV/ AIDS. The Davos meeting brings some 3,000 delegates from business, politics and civil society, to discuss ways to “make the world a better place”, in the words of the WEF.

In a December 14 ruling seen by AFP on Tuesday, the court told Sherawat and her French husband Cyrille Auxenfans to pay 78,787 euros ($94,000) in rent owed and expenses, giving the green light for their furniture to be seized. The couple began renting the apartment in the pricey 16th district on January 1, 2017, for a monthly sum of 6,054 euros.

Among the issues on the agenda this year are gender equality and harassment, after allegations of sexual misconduct by powerful men in Hollywood spawned the #MeToo movement.

A lawyer for Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat, shown in this May 24, 2017 file photo, has told a Paris court that the actress and her French husband are in financial difficulty (Photo: AFP/File photo)

But according to the owner they never paid the rent, making only a single payment of 2,715 euros.

plied to AFP’s request for comment.

At a hearing in a Paris court on November 14, a lawyer for the couple said they were in financial difficulty.

“It’s absolutely not true, if someone has donated one to me, please send me the address,” she tweeted in response to media reports about the case.

The lawyer emphasised the “irregular” nature of Sherawat’s work -- an argument dismissed by the owners of the apartment who claimed she had earned tens of millions during the rental period. Neither Sherawat nor Auxenfans re-

In mid-December the actress had denied having a Paris apartment.

The couple may appeal the eviction order. They cannot be thrown out until March 31, when a moratorium on wintertime evictions expires.

Controversial Padmaavat wins hearts on opening day

Khan brings heavy star power to the agenda as one of the biggest celebrities in India and loved worldwide.

Grammys ratings drop to near record low


EW YORK - The US television audience for Sunday’s Grammy Awards show on CBS Corp. fell by more than eight million viewers and could be one of the lowest audiences on record, early Nielsen ratings data showed on Monday. Variety and reported that 17.6 million Americans tuned in for the three and a half hour broad-

cast, a more than 30% drop from 2017 when some 26.1 million television viewers watched. If the early figures are confirmed when final data comes out later on Monday, it will be the least-watched Grammy Awards show since 2008, when 17.2 million people saw the television broadcast. The lowest audience for any Grammy Awards show came in 2006, which

drew an audience of 17 million. Sunday’s 60th anniversary Grammy Awards, staged in New York over three and a half hours, saw R&B singer Bruno Mars win six statuettes, while rapper Kendrick Lamar won five. Jay-Z, who had gone into the show with eight nominations, won nothing. Audiences for the Grammys had risen in 2016 and 2017.

Bollywood hit beats ‘Star Wars’ at China’s box office by Lee J Miller ollywood is speaking to Chinese film-goers with a Hindi-language hit that’s outdrawing “Star Wars” in a market that Hollywood has staked out for making big-budget blockbusters pay.


The protesters belonged to India’s Rajput caste who revere Padmavati and insist the film distorts history by Abhaya Srivastava


UMBAI | AFP - The Delhi cinema resembled a fortress but the owners were not taking chances -- riot police and iron barricades were preferable to Hindu mobs storming the ticket booth and attacking patrons. Film buffs arriving for the opening day of “Padmaavat”, a Bollywood epic that has enraged Hindu radicals, had to manoeuvre past machine guns, riot shields and blockades to watch the controversial flick.

“Secret Superstar,” the tale of a 14-year-old Muslim-Indian girl who strives to become a singer, has topped China’s box office since its local release on Jan. 19, surpassing sales for “Star Wars: Last Jedi,” according to ticketing-data provider Maoyan.

The precautions may have appeared overkill in the busy commercial district of India’s capital.

damaged vehicles, ripped posters and threatened cinema goers. Fanatics had promised to torch movie theatres screening Padmaavat and to prove their mettle had rampaged through Indian cities in the days before its release, burning vehicles and vandalising malls. Just south of Delhi a day earlier, a school bus was pelted with stones while another was set alight and used to block a major highway. Tires were set ablaze in Mumbai, the heartland of India’s film industry, while hardline groups paraded through other cities warning of repercussions if the film aired.

Cinemas in three states took the But an orgy of violence by fanatics convinced the film insulted a legend- warnings so seriously they refused to The second straight hit in Chiary Hindu queen has forced cinema screen it, citing security concerns. na for Bollywood actor-producer owners to take extreme measures. Aamir Khan, “Secret Superstar” unBut cinema managers in Delhi derscores how quickly the world’s Even as roughly 100 Bollywood pressed ahead -- even if an “atmosecond-biggest film market is die-hards turned up for the screen- sphere of fear” had subdued audiencevolving from franchise fare like ing in Delhi, a molotov cocktail was es, as one manager said. Universal Pictures’ “Fast & Furi- Bollywood actor-producer Aamir Khan (File photo) hurled at a cinema in neighbouring “The hype is only going to work in ous” installments to a taste for films Uttar Pradesh. its favour. It’s a work of art and defrom all around the world. Based on can market was $128 million take for foreign-language releases for North In Bihar state, further east, two serves to be appreciated by all,” said results from the past 12 months alone, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” America, where only three films have theatres were set upon by mobs who Verma. hits from India, Thailand and Spain almost two decades ago. “Secret Su- ever exceeded $50 million. show China’s box-office may already perstar” is on track to become the secEnglish-lanbe less blockbuster-centric than Amer- ond-biggest selling non-blockbuster guage films from ica’s. in China with box office revenue of Hollywood reThe official Xinhua News Agency about 743 million yuan ($117 mil- main the domimade a diplomatic connection in an lion), Maoyan estimates. nant import to editorial: “Chinese filmgoers’ appreThailand’s “Bad Genius,” about two China, helped by ciation of Aamir Khan’s films reflect poor but brilliant students who make a an agreement unthe common aesthetic pursuit of the living helping rich kids cheat on stan- der World Trade two countries, which should be ex- dardized tests, generated $41 million O r g a n i z a t i o n helps with all problems: love, marriage, business, stops divorce, removes tended from the cultural aspect to in 2017 -- 13 times its Thailand sales. rules under which bad luck and evil. Helps restore failing business. Can help with difficult broader areas, including politics and Spanish-language thriller “Contra- China has importchildren. the economy.” tiempo” (The Invisible Guest) grossed ed about 34 films Khan’s 2017 “Dangal” drew $193 $26 million in the mainland in 2017, a year on revenueCall now for one free question: 713-560-0988 million in China last year, according sixfold more than at home, according sharing basis from to By compari- to Those respec- the U.S. son, the biggest take for a foreign-lan- tive Chinese grosses would be enough (-Bloomberg) guage film ever in the North Ameri- to rank among the all-time top 10 for

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Texas allows recording with one person’s consent Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center

Q. I am in a dispute with my landlord. Is it legal to record my phone calls with him? Do I have to tell him I am recording it or have a beeping sound? A. Different states have different rules regarding the recording of conversations, but Texas is what is called a “oneparty consent” state. This means that you can record a conversation if one party to the conversation consents. Therefore, you may record your conversation with the landlord, but could not record his conversations with another person. If you illegally recorded a conversation, you could be subject to criminal and civil penalties. Q. I stopped paying a credit card bill in 2009. I have not paid a penny since then, and for a few years heard from several debt collectors. About three years ago, all contact stopped. I am now being threatened with a lawsuit. You recently wrote that generally you couldn’t be successfully sued for a credit card debt four years after you stop paying. Why did you say generally? When is it longer? A. The rule in Texas, called the Statute of Limitations, is that the four-year clock starts on the day the last payment due on the account was in default. Under this law, you have a defense to any lawsuit filed too late. I said generally, however, because if you start paying again, the clock may

be reset. Based on what you say, however, I can’t imagine an exception. I suggest you let the collector know the debt is more than four years old, you will defend any lawsuit, and any legal action would be barred by the Statute of Limitations. In my opinion, a threat to sue or a lawsuit violates federal and state debt collection laws. Q. My friend was late on her rent at an apartment complex. One day she came home and found a “lien notice” where her TV used to be. They took both of her TVs in the apartment. This makes no sense to me, and I have never heard of this. Where I come from, that’s stealing!!! Is this legal for them to do? A. This is stealing if someone else were to do it, but probably not when it is the landlord. Under Texas law, a landlord may have a “landlord’s lien” on the tenant’s property, and may be able to take it if the rent is not paid. For such a lien to exist it must be written in the lease and be bold or underlined. If there is no such provision in the lease, the landlord has no right to take the property. A landlord also may take only certain property. The list of protected property includes wearing apparel, food, some furniture, children’s toys and a car. Electronic equipment, such as a television is not protected and may be taken. Finally, if the landlord takes any property, he must leave a notice telling you what he took and what you must do to get it back. A landlord who violates this law is responsible for all the tenant’s damages, plus a penalty of $500 or one month’s rent, whichever is greater. To learn more about

the landlord’s lien, look at the landlord tenant section on my website, www.peopleslawyer. net.

Continued from page 13 ing years, your income needs throughout retirement will also change. Early in retirement, you’re more likely to be active with travel, new hobbies, work-

ing on your home and other activities. So you may want or need more money. Over time, you’ll probably cut back on these big-ticket items for smaller, less expensive ones. Though by then medical expenses may begin to creep up. But, in a period where you have high medical costs, you will

• • • • • • • •

Sharlene Sharmila Richards

Q: I have Temporary Protected Status (TPS). I am from El Salvador. I came the US without inspection or illegally and have been renewing my TPS. President Trump terminated TPS designation recently. Is it necessary to renew my TPS any further?

A. As you may know, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act gives you a cause of action when a seller knowingly fails to disclose material information, or makes a misrepresentation. For example, if the seller knew of the foundation problem and didn’t tell you to get you to buy the house, he has violated this law. He also would be responsible if he stated anything about the property that turns out to be false—a misrepresentation.

A: The termination of TPS for Salvadorans will not be effective until September 9th, 2019. Since TPS designation has been terminated, this means that after September 9th, 2019, it cannot be extended any further beyond that date. I do strongly recommend that you continue to maintain your TPS status. Please re-register for your TPS because if you do not, you will lose your TPS immediately. The re-registration period for Salvadoran TPS runs from January 18th, 2018 through March 19th, 2018.

To bring a claim under this Act, you must file your lawsuit within two years of when you discover or should have discovered the act you are complaining about. In your case, you say you did not discover the problem until last year. That means you have at least another year to file suit. However, if the problem is something that you should have discovered earlier, the two-year period runs from when you should have discovered that the seller withheld information. The seller would have the burden of proving that you should have discovered the problem earlier. I suggest you speak with a consumer law attorney who can review all the facts and give you a more specific answer.

likely have reduced expenses in other areas. In any case, it’s safe to assume that you’re not going to put your spending on auto-pilot in retirement. With a little flexibility and planning, you can broaden your income options in your favor. (-Business Insider)

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Q: As a TPS holder facing eventual deportation from this country because of the termination, I like to know what options I have, if any, to be able to continue to stay legally in the US after September 9th, 2019. I came illegally to the US and have held TPS for many, many years. I have not been convicted of any crimes. I have a wife who is also undocumented and three US Citizen children. My son just turned 21 years of age. I have never left the US since I last came here and have always resided in Texas. I have never worked without authorization as I always have my TPS Employment Authorization Document. I am just so disheartened that I may have to leave this country and my children and family. I also have a landscaping business and my company hires more than 15 employees. I have filed taxes for as long as I can remember. You have one posA: sible option. I recommend that you consider moving to a jurisdiction under either the 6th or 9th circuit. This will include States such as Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee (6th) or Alaska, Arizona, California, Ha-

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A: Yes, you should be able to apply to adjust your status based on marriage to your US Citizen spouse. This is because your parole under the advance parole three years is considered an admission for purposes of adjustment of status. I came here to the US Q: illegally. I am a TPS holder and I am going to apply for the last re-registration of my TPS next week. My wife of 20 years who was also a TPS holder just passed away and we did not have any children. I am preparing to come to terms that I may have to return to El Salvador, a country I have never been to for more than 20 years. I do not have any family there as my parents have passed away and my only sibling was murdered. Looking at the possibility that I may have to sell our house and close my business is really painful for me. Is there anything else I can

A: With the current anti-immigrant climate, and the uncertainty of what is really going to happen to Salvadoran TPS holders who have not found a another way to legalize status, there is still hope that perhaps somehow there will be some form of legislation to address this problem and give TPS holders a pathway to some semblance of stability here. There are two bipartisanship House bills. The Extending Status Protection for Eligible Refugees proposes to allow certain qualified TPS holders and their family from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras to adjust status to permanent resident and the American Promise Act which proposes adjustment of all TPS holders and their family member whose country was designated as of 01/01/2017 to adjust status. In addition, there is a Senate bill as well – the SECURE Act with similar provisions as the American Promise Act. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713623-8088 or by email at to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. E-mail:

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Q: I am a TPS holder and I have already applied for re-registration of my TPS. 3 years ago I had to travel back to El Salvador because my mother was gravely ill and to attend her funeral. I had returned back on advance parole and was paroled in. With the sudden news that now TPS has been terminated, I have decided that I will marry my US Citizen girlfriend. Can I apply to adjust my status to a permanent resident based on my marriage?

do or hope for so that I can possibly continue to stay legally in the US after September 9th, 2019?

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Phone: 832 274 7507

waii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington (9th). In these jurisdictions, because of recent case law (Ramirez & Flores) which treats the grant of TPS as constituting an ‘admission’ for purposes of adjustment of status under Section 245(a) of the INA there is a possibility that you will qualify to adjust. If you are not otherwise inadmissible for any other reason and have not worked without lawful authorization, you might be able to adjust your status to a permanent resident. If you are eligible, your US Citizen son will petition for you as his immediate relative (because you are the parent of US Citizen) and you will proceed to file your adjustment of status to permanent resident concurrently with his petition.

Sharlene Sharmila Richards

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

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


Q. I bought a house in 2015. Last year, I discovered that the seller failed to disclose a major problem with the foundation, and even mislead us as to what repairs had been made. Can I sue under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act?

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Job Posting - Part Time Broadcast Technician The KTRK-TV Production Department is looking for a part time Broadcast Technician who is a self-starter and works well with others. Duties will include but not limited to building graphics with Adobe Photoshop, robotic camera operator, audio assistant, and floor manager for live and recorded programming. This position might also be used for various production-related duties as assigned by the Production Manager. Prior broadcast experience in a live Control Room environment is a plus. Qualified candidates must be able and willing to work flexible hours, early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. Weekly work hours will vary. Applicants must be able to lift up to 25 pounds and stand on your feet for long periods of time. A strong work ethic and positive attitude is required as is the ability to handle multiple tasks. To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 520419BR Equal Opportunity Employer –Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please

Job Posting – Part-Time Multimedia Content Contributor Are you a news junkie who scans the headlines every morning? Are you tied to your twitter feed throughout the day? Can’t go to bed before watching the 10pm news? KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, TX is accepting applications for a part-time content contributor for both broadcast and digital. This is a great opportunity for someone looking to advance their career as a multi-media journalist. In this position, you will work with producers and contribute to digital platforms, among other duties. If you love to write and want to make a story your own, we want you. Must be willing to work overnights, weekends, and holidays. The ideal candidate can multi-task in a fast-paced environment and has experience gathering information and writing news stories - along with a good understanding of social media trends and apps. College degree and some experience in a working newsroom is preferred. To be considered all interested candidates must apply online at, ref job # 520716BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. In addition, please mail writing samples to: Human Resources, KTRK-TV, 3310 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005 and include the job reference number. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please

Job Posting - Temp Producer, Multi-Platform Content KTRK-TV’s Programming Department has a temporary opening for a Producer with a proven track record in broadcast and digital content creation. Will work on a variety of projects including both short and long form, live and taped shows. Must be able to come up with creative & relevant content ideas, and possess key production knowledge necessary to produce, present & promote this content in a compelling manner. Requires excellent writing and producing skills, in-depth shooting & editing knowledge. Must be an effective communicator with a “can do” attitude. Must be organized, efficient, and capable of juggling multiple projects and working under tight deadlines. All applicants must be willing to work any day or shift needed. To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 520422BR Equal Opportunity Employer –Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please


Job Posting - Web Producer – Part Time KTRK-TV is looking for a part time digital producer who can do it all to be part of the team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. The ideal candidate will have three years’ experience working in major market television or print news internet operation, the ability to shoot and edit video and working experience of Photoshop. Additionally have proven social media expertise and must be flexible with work schedule which may vary depending on station needs and projects. Candidate must be able to handle many projects simultaneously. Candidate must be a self-starter and have a ‘Do It Now’ mentality to excel in our fast-paced environment. We are a 24/7 news operation, so digital producers must be willing to work any day or shift, as needed. To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 520420BR. Equal Opportunity Employer –Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please

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Houston Community College Request for Proposals (RFP) Human Patient Simulator RFP NO.: 18-13

Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Thursday, February 22, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs. edu/procurement

January is

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Month Talk to your doctor about your risk and how to lower your chances of getting diabetes

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FRIDAY, February 2, 2018

Voice of Asia E-paper February 2, 2018  

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

Voice of Asia E-paper February 2, 2018  

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