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VOICE OF ASIA The Largest Asian-American Newsweekly in Texas

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Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years

Vol. 31 No. 9 • Friday, March 2, 2018

Published Weekly from Houston

More than 15,000 celebrate the Lunar New Year at CCC

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March 2, 2018 InFRIDAY, Section 2 l l l l l l l

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Students make emotional return to Florida school Heartbroken but strong after a tragedy by Leila Macor


A R K LAND, Florida | AFP | 2/28/2018 - With tears, fears and defiance, students made an emotional return Wednesday to their Florida high school where a former classmate went on a shooting rampage two weeks ago, killing 17 people.

The 2018 Lunar New Year Festival Dragon dance performance was a thrill for all.


OUSTON - More than 15,000 people from all over Greater Houston attended the Chinese Community Center’s (CCC) 15th annual Lunar New Year Festival on February 17. The 2018 Lunar New Year Festival welcomed in the Year of the Dog and thrilled Houstonians with a full day of performances representing China, Tibet, Korea, Vietnam, and Polynesia. The event was highlighted by traditional Lion and Dragon dances, which were held on the main performance stage and around the festival grounds. Cultural performances ranged from martial arts and Chinese yoyo demonstrations to belly dancing and traditional folk music. Attendees also visited the festival’s East West Bank Marketplace, an outdoor bazaar that featured over 60 booths showcasing small and large businesses, community partners, and local food vendors. The booths offered delicious food from around the world, familyfriendly craft activities such as lantern making, and traditional Chinese New Year merchandise. This year’s Lunar New Year Festival was sponsored by East West Bank,

Cultral performances were a main attraction on the day of traditional celebration.

Lead Corporate Sponsor of the East West Bank Marketplace; Houston Arts Alliance through the City of Houston; H-E-B; Wells Fargo; Xfinity; Discount Power; Houston Symphony; Bud Light/Silver Eagle Distributors; Drewstar Insurance; and MD Anderson Cancer Center. In the 39 years since the Chinese Community Center was founded as a Chinese language and cultural heritage school, it has grown into the largest Asian-led social service agency in the southwestern United States. The organization supports the learning and positive development of at-risk youth, helps people from low- and moderate-income households achieve financial sta-

bility, helps immigrants integrate into American society, supports independent lifestyles for older adults and adults with disabilities, and promotes cultural awareness and appreciation for Houston’s diversity.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland were greeted by heavy security and scores of well- Emma Gonzalez (L), who has spoken passionately for gun reform after 17 wishers as they re- people were shot dead at her Florida school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, walks turned to classes. with others to campus on February 25, 2018, for the first time since the murders Dozens of po- (AFP Photo/JOE RAEDLE) lice officers lined the sidewalks "It was just sad to go back matic rifle. saying "Good morning" to there and not have my friends each child, retired officers "It's pretty upsetting," said who were in the class with me Miller. "But it was also refreshpassed out flowers. Former anymore." students, neighbors and their ing to talk to everyone because children held banners readLikewise, for Kimberly people don't really understand ing "We Love You," "You've Miller, the first day back meant how it feels, no matter how Got This" and "We Are With confronting the absence of her much they try to understand." You." geography teacher, 35-year-old "You're at home and they try Scott Beigel. "It's all a little overwhelmto empathize with you, but you ing," said one 17-year-old Beigel was one of three staff come here and everyone else student named William, who killed, along with 14 teenag- experienced it -- it's kind of a shared a classroom with two ers, when former student Niko- relief because they can just reof the young victims, Nicholas Cruz entered the school on late," said the 14-year-old. las Dworet and Meadow PolValentine's Day and opened fire lack. with an AR-15-style semi-auto- Continued on next page

Char Dham Hindu Temple Grand Opening

The Year of the Dog represents a milestone year for CCC. The agency expects to complete its New Horizons expansion project in fall 2018. Once completed, the project will add more than 24,000 square feet of programming space to the organization’s campus through the construction of a state-licensure-compliant adult day center, auditorium, multipurpose conference/office suites, courtyard garden, and additional recreational space.

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

Questions you should ask politicians about guns (according to a politician) by Mike Gatto


y father was murdered by a handgun-wielding assailant, so the firearms debate is personal for me. And I'm routinely disappointed by how disingenuous it is on both sides. I worry that each party just wants to mobilize its base and raise campaign funds rather than solve tough policy problems. Next time you hear a politician offer a simplistic solution, here are some questions to ask. If the politician favors gun control: 1. What will tougher laws accomplish when there are already roughly two guns in circulation for every American adult? Are you proposing the mass seizure of firearms? It's not just the 2nd Amendment that's at issue, but the 5th, which prohibits the taking of private property without compensation. 2. You say you favor an "assault weapon" ban, but most murders in the U.S. are committed using handguns. Do you have a separate plan to address handgun violence (which occurs daily)?

explain your intentions using terms that have a precise meaning, like "semiautomatic." 4. You've suggested that the 2nd Amendment should be read to protect only the muskets and rudimentary rifles extant at the time the Constitution was drafted. Do you realize how problematic this logic is? Do you believe the 1st Amendment should protect print newspapers but not television broadcasts, web-based journalism, or social-media posts? 5. The Constitution belongs to the people of the United States, and if the requisite supermajorities agree, the people can amend it to reflect changing mores. So have the guts to be honest: Do you believe we should repeal the 2nd Amendment? If the politician does not favor gun control: 1. You've offered "thoughts and prayers" for the victims. Do you realize how trite that sounds? Could you please take the initiative to change your phrasing once in a while? And is there anything besides thinking and praying that you believe you can do?

2. You say you believe the solution is not to pass more gun laws, but to enforce the ones we already have on the books. So what have you done to insist that the relevant agencies do just that? 3. According to the National Rifle Assn., only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. You've extended that logic to schools, advocating that we arm teachers. But most mass shootings happen so fast, there isn't much time to react. I can't imagine my first-grade teacher stopping a determined killer, and I don't believe parents want schools to look like prisons. Besides, is it fair to turn teachers into security guards? Do you really believe arming educators is the solution? 4. The 2nd Amendment confers a right to bear arms, but no constitutional right, even free speech, is absolute. So if you make blanket statements about the 2nd Amendment, why don't you tell us where you draw the line? 5. Background checks won't end gun violence. But they can stop a portion of the mentally ill population (or criminals or

domestic abusers) from purchasing guns legally. How can you argue that a better system won't prevent at least some crimes? Even under pressure, I fear politicians on both sides are neither honest nor realistic on this issue. But here's what we can do. The low-hanging fruit if we want to lower rates of gun violence is to address drug use and mental health problems. Large percentages of those incarcerated for violent crimes committed those acts under the influence of drugs or to obtain money to buy drugs. And a large percentage of mass shooters are mentally ill. So try to notice the signs of mental illness and addiction, and do whatever possible to get friends and family the help they need. Meanwhile, by all means, ask politicians those tough questions. Mike Gatto, a Democrat, served four terms in the California Assembly. He is an attorney and legislator in residence at USC's Unruh Institute of Politics.

3. For that matter, do you realize that there is no sound legal or technical definition of an "assault weapon?" The 1994 ban, which expired in 2004, was rife with loopholes. Rather than political catchwords,

FL school Continued from front page While there were few open displays of grief, many students looked somber, speaking in hushed tones with their eyes downcast.

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Jonathan Abramchaev, 15, said it was "very emotional" to see his school again -- and that the first day back was largely spent working through those emotions.

- The Publisher

"Seeing all the flowers by the gate, that really hurt me," he told AFP. "Today we were just discussing and talking out our feelings."

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FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

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Section 1


FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

Southwest National Bank celebrates Lunar New Year

Bank employees and customers feed the dancing lions with red envelopes for good luck and good health.

Chairman C.K. Lee and CEO Gary Owens and the Board of Directors seen passing out the red envelopes as part of the celebration. Photos provided by Southwestern National Bank.


outhwestern National Bank recently celebrated the coming of the “Year of the Dog” on Friday, February 16, 2018 at the Bank’s main office in Houston, Texas. Chairman C.K. Lee, CEO Gary Owens, The Board of Directors, employees and customers gathered together for the traditional Chinese New Year celebration.

The celebration was oriented towards the public, as Southwestern National Bank provided traditional Chinese New Year snacks for customers. Entertainment came in the form of Lion and Dragon dances. Lucky red envelopes were passed out to Bank employees and customers to feed the dancing lions for good luck and good health. Southwestern National Bank’s Main Location is located in the heart of Chinatown in Houston. Bank employees are fluent in many languages including Chinese, Taiwanese and Cantonese as well as English. The Bank strives to say in touch with the local Asian community by participating in charity events and events that celebrate the cultural heritage of the area. Southwestern National Bank also provides monthly seminars to the community, free of charge, on a variety of valuable information. For information, contact Ling Chuang (713) 272-5045. (Member FDIC)

Southwestern National Bank employees with Lion and Dragon dancers.

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edic Fair 7 was held last weekend. Yet again, Ashirwad A Blessing put up a spectacular house full show of Indian heritage, religion and learning. The fun filled and entertaining non-stop show went for 5 hrs from 5 to 10 PM. The entrance of Cinco Ranch high school had been converted into a beautiful temple of Dasha Avatars of Bhagwan Maha Vishnu.

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

VEDIC FAIR - 7 Educational and Superbly Entertaining!

8th chapter of Vedic Fair will be happening in February 2019. For continued updates visit Visitors and Participants share their experiences about VEDIC FAIR 7

Vedic Fair 7 began with an invocation pooja by Hanuman Swamy of Rama Jaya Niketan Temple of Katy. Ashirwad Indian-LifeStyle Class students recited Shanthi Mantras as part of invocation pooja .ISKCON Houston group chanted Hari Nama Sankeertan from entrance to Bharat Bazaar Street sanctifying the whole area. Ashirwad students contested in the Celebrate India Exhibits presentations. The students showcased varied topics ranging from religion to current issues with confidence and taking the contest to a level never seen before. Aryaa Joshi became Celebrate INDIA Exhibits Presentations 2018 Champion for her topic ‘Ayurveda – The Science of Life’. Sai Parthu Aki took runner up spot with his topic on ‘Sundar Kand – The Power of Devotion’. Vedic Fair 7 showcased an amazing line up of Celebrate India exhibits comprising of extremely well researched presentations on India’s heritage. Amazing line up of topics include, Ayurveda – Science of Life by Aaryaa Joshi, Sundar Kand – Power of Devotion by Sai Pardhu Aki, Ashtanga – 8 Limbs of Yoga by Harshini Kaparaju, Incredible INDIA – World's Largest Secular Democracy by Sudhiti Marri, Voices of India by Annika Ahuja, Save Precious Indian Rivers by Laalasa Kella, Agnidev – The Undying Flame by Rishi Kadiam, Famous Indian Sages – Ancient Scientists by Ajay Rao, Power of Sloka Chanting by Ishika Pandurangam, Angkor Wat - Heaven on Earth by Krish Varun, Mahatma Gandhi – Peace Warrior by Srinidhi Srikalyani, AGNI, Human-Divine Channel by Anushka Sapru, Bhagwad Githa – Management Lessons by Roshan Kadiam, Concept of Re-Incarnation by Vidhyaa

of Vedic Fair Subhash and Sorojini Gupta, Umang Mehata, Judges Thara Namarasinhan and Indrani Parthasarathy. Ashirwad Team also thanked its media sponsors for continuous support.

Swapna Shah : Vedic Fair definitely keeps us and our kids rooted. Shamal: Vedic fair gave the marvelous experience of Indian heritage. It’s an exquisitely arranged variety of cultural program. I participated in Brides of India fusion show as a bride from Goa and it was all Geethaji's efforts which came alive in the show in our form. A spectacular depiction of the celestial beings at the Vedic Fair 7.

Kavitha Kella : Vedic Fair is a blend of Spiritual and Indian cultural Experience. The trance of vedic fair cannot be expressed in mere words and it's my fortune to experience it live for the past 4 years. Geetha ji and Sri ji have put tremendous effort through the years to impart Indian values and traditions in our kids and along with them as parents we also gained knowledge on the path of spirituality. Rakhi Joshi (Mother of Ashirwad Students): In one line if I have to sum it up I would say Vedic Fair is a flamboyant celebration of positivity and goodness.

Brides of India Fashion Show was among the highlights of the Vedic Fair 7. Murugan, and Significance of Lighting a Diya by Reim Rao.

rolling trophy by becoming Sloka-Thon 2018 champion.

Dance Talent – Team Competition, is a new addition to VEDIC FAIR program line up. 6 teams competed in the finals presenting diverse dance forms, beautiful costumes and props adhering to the “Bhakti and Indian Heritage” theme. Championship was awarded to Studio Mudra School of Dance for their Patriotic Unity in Diversity performance, Choreographed by Rashmi Shashi.

Prime time fast paced show, “10 Vishnus | 10 Avatars” mesmerized the house full audience. Show was inspired by 10 main avatars of Maha Vishnu and showcased Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narsimha, Vamana, ParashuRama, Rama, BalaRama, Krishna & Kalki avatars of Vishnu that incarnate to protect the good, punish the evil and reestablish law and order. A few stories highlighted faith in GOD is stronger than any evil power, Love for GOD is greater than any kingdom or power and GOD crushing Mahabali’s Ego and Greed and blessing him with boon.

Rare Sloka-Thon contest show cased a unique talent of chanting slokas from Sri Vishnu Sahasra Namam. Contestant have to recite Slokas by any number, in increments and in the reverse order. Sai Pardhu Aki lifted Enchanted Empress, the rare Sloka-thon

The finale, ‘Brides of INDIA – Fusion Show’ choreographed by VEDIC FAIR Chair Geetha

Children's costume show at the Vedic Fair 7. Ravula was a treat to the eyes & ears for its contemporary music, dazzling authentic costumes, and beautiful brides from Kashmir, Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Bengal and Odisha states. Geetha Ravula – Vedic Fair chair thanked Ashirwad Team members for their continued service towards Indian Heritage.Ashirwad A Blessing Team thanked all the support-

ing organizations - ISKCON, Sanatan Hindu Center, Shri Sita Ram Foundation, Sri Rama Jayaniketan Temple, US Desi Gals, Hindus of Greater Houston, Daya Houston and organizations who participated in Celebrate India Inter-Faith exhibits, Buddhism by Universal Door Meditation Center, Islam by Islamic Society of Greater Houston, Jainism by JVB Preksha Meditation Center, and Vedic Bazaar Vendors. Ashirwad Team appreciated supporters

Surendra, First Time Vedic Fair Visitor: I have never seen anything like this before, it was way beyond my expectation. Sequence of events were well organized. I felt 5 hours passed by quickly. Arya Joshi (9 year old), Champion: This is my 3rd year presenting at Vedic Fair, every year I not only improve my presentation skills but also learned and got inspired from others creativity.


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Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place Section 1


Tel: 713-774-5140

Harmony Science Academy Houston hosts STEM/Multicultural Festival

Help us move Fort Bend forward! Community survey open through Friday, March 9


Staff of HSA Houston where the annual festival was held.

Staff of HSA Houston where the annual festival was held.


he Harmony Science Academy Houston STEM/Multicultural Festival was held this past Saturday, February 24, 2018. This year, the campus separated the festival by a multicultural portion and a STEM portion where students were able to showcase their projects to VIP guests and other attendees. Projects such as robots and cultural dances were all shown at the festival to give attendees the full Harmony festival experience. Each classroom was decorated as a different country along with special delicacies from each countries to share with all of our guests. There were guest judges that were parents, teachers and other volunteers to rate all of the projects to determine the winners of each category. The STEM & Multicultural festival is held once annually for HSA Houston and had visits from outreach li-

Student making her presentation of her exhibit to a parent at the STEM/Multicultural Festival. aison, Sam Merchant on behalf of Congressman Al Green, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Main Street Theater, U.S

Navy, The Houston Alliance, the Houston Food Bank and our vendor, Tea Citi. We value and thank everyone who steps

Sam Merchant representing Congressman Al Green with Kara Willis, Campus Outreach Coordinator, Houston-South through our doors as a parent, student and guest and hope that the best cultural experience could be given at our festival

and already have many ideas for next year. To learn more about our campus, please visit www.

ORT BEND ISD (February 28, 2018) -- Fort Bend ISD is committed to providing an educational system that will enable all students to reach their full potential, and strongly believes that every child deserves an equitable education and safe environment in which to thrive. We also know that we cannot do this alone, and our students benefit from a collaborative community. This week, FBISD launched its “Fort Bend Forward” survey, asking all parents and guardians, staff members, community members and students in grades 6-12 to participate. This survey is the first phase of a strategic effort to understand how the District – together with our community -- can better support our current and future students as they develop the skills and attributes included in the Profile of a Graduate. Survey questions address overall perceptions and valuing of equity, culture and climate, safety and behavior, policies and procedures, access and opportunities, family support and inclusion, and curriculum and instruction. The results will help school and District leaders better understand Fort Bend ISD students, identify gaps in student support, and help lead to meaningful changes. Continued on Page 6

Spoorthi Cherivirala of DHS wins art contest


ORT BEND ISD (February 19, 2018) – Dulles High School student Spoorthi Cherivirala was named the winner of an art contest held for the Fort Bend Education Foundation. She was surprised by the announcement this month when a prize patrol led by Superintendent of School Dr. Charles Dupre and his wife Seeju Dupre came to her art class.

Education Foundation board members Lynn Halford and Peggy Jackson were also in attendance. As the winner, Spoorthi, and her teacher Kayla Munson, received gift cards and letters of recognition. The artwork will be featured on a framed gift given to underwriters for the Education Foundation’s 25th annual gala.

Spoorthi’s work was chosen from among the submissions from all of the District’s high schools. The contest was sponsored by Dr. Dupre and his wife. The Fort Bend Education Foundation was established in 1992, and since its founding, has provided more than $33 million to schools and staff in FBISD.

City Accepting Applications for 5th Annual Citizens’ University

Dulles High School student Spoorthi Cherivirala (center) won the art contest for the Fort Bend Education Foundation's 25th annual gala. The announcement was made by a prize patrol including, left to right: Fami Khan, FBISD's Visual Arts Coordinator; Dr. Jennifer Nichols, DHS Principal; Dr. Charles Dupre, Superintendent of Schools; Mrs. Seeju Dupre; Peggy Jackson, an Education Foundation Board member; Kayla Munson, DHS art teacher; and Lynn Halford, an Education Foundation Board member. Photo source: FBISD.

The 4th annual Citizens’ University class in their graduation ceremony at Paint Party Place in the Township. Image courtesy of Missouri City To keep in line with community engagement and outreach initiatives, Missouri City invites residents to participate in the Fifth Annual Citizens’ University class, which begins on Monday, March 12. For this session, classes will be scheduled the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. During the 10-session program, participants will receive an “inside look” into “Show Me City” municipal operations and an opportunity

to work with Staff members who build budgets, construct capital projects, plan for growth, help the City remain green, emphasize fitness first and keep neighborhoods safe. Previous classes have included interactive tours of City facilities, equipment and vehicles; case studies based on current and previous challenges that staff have faced; and scripted mock trials and permit processing scenarios.

promotes transparency and citizen engagement through one-on-one discussions and behind-the-scene tours of public facilities,” City Manager Anthony J. Snipes said. “This is not only a way for public service employees to directly address resident questions, it is also an avenue for them to receive vital feedback from the influential community leaders and industry leaders who live in our great City.”

“Citizens’ University is a great example of how my staff

To apply, visit the City Website or call 281.403.8500.



FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

Char Dham Hindu Temple Grand Opening Ceremony The wait is finally over. Devotees around the Greater Houston area will get to see and visit the Char Dham Hindu Temple in the Woodlands during its Grand Opening Ceremony from March 8th to March 11th. This will be the culmination of the dream, seen by Dr. Surya Sahoo and Mrs. Kabita Sahoo, to have a place in the USA which will be a symbolic representation of the Holy Char Dhams in India. Char Dham are the names of four pilgrimage sites in India that are widely revered by Hindus. It comprises of Badrinath Dham in the North, Dwarkanath Dham in the West, Jagannath Dham in the East and Rameswaram Dham in the South. It’s believed in Hindu religion that if you visit all four Dhams in your lifetime, you will achieve Moksha. We, Greater Houston residents are fortunate that we have a chance to visit all four Dhams (in the form of four separate temples) at the same place, right here in our backyards. A lot of sweat and tear have gone into building these temples over the last few years. Bhoomi Puja for the temples was first conducted in 2011. At first six years seem like a long time, but the results are amazing. The entrance to the temple, lined with Tuscan order columns and two huge lion statues in the front and tall trees all around is nothing short of magical. The first thing you see after you reach the parking lot is the silhouette of the four temples among the tall trees. As you enter the beau-

tifully manicured landscape, you will see the kitchen and dining hall to your left. The magic begins when you reach the temples. The first temple you will see is Lord Jagannath temple, complete with 22 steps to reach the inside of the temple (as in Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri). Rameswaram Dham temple stands to the left of Lord Jagannath Temple. Go to the north of both these temple and you will find the Dwarkanath temple and to the right of the Dwarkanath temple, you will find the Badrinath Temple. All around the temples, you will beautifully manicured landscape with hundreds of flower trees. This experience is something that needs to be seen firsthand rather than described in words. Deities have all been installed in the four temples, waiting for Prana Prathistha, which will happen during the four day ceremony, headed by Pandit Srikiran Narayam, Head Priest of Char Dham Hindu Temple and with assistance from more than twenty priests coming from the Greater Houston area and all over USA. The deities already installed include: Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra , Devi Subhadra and Sudarshana, Lord Ganesh, Mahalakshmi, Radha Krishna, Dwarakadheesh, Lakshmi Narayana, Shirdi Sai Baba, Durga Mata, Badrinarayan, Saraswati Mata, Vaikhanasa Acharya, Ram Parivar, Ramanataha Swamy, Sri Venkataswara(Balaji), Ayyappa Swamy, Navagraha and Panchamukhi Hanuman.

Schedule is as follows: March 8th, Thursday 6 PM TO 9 PM All Puja Vidhis followed by Dinner Prasadam (8 PM). March 9th, Friday 9 AM to 9 PM Puja Vidhis all day long. Lunch Prasadam will be served at 12 PM and Dinner Prasadam at 8PM. March 10th, Saturday 9 AM to 10 PM Puja Vidhis all day long. Lunch Prasadam will be served at 12 PM. Shoba Yatra will be from 4PM to 5PM, followed by Cultural Program from 6PM to 8PM. Dinner Prasadam will be served at 8PM. March 11th,Sunday 6 AM to 12 PM Puja Vidhis from 6AM to 12PM. Lunch Prasadam will be served at 12 PM. Volunteer and Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Pandit Srikiran Narayam by dialing 832299-5172 or 832-663-8799 or sending an e-mail to srikiran@ or


Help us move Fort Bend Forward! Continued from Page 5 Following the survey, Fort Bend ISD will work with K12Insight to host focus group discussions at campuses throughout the District, using the survey feedback to lead to deeper conversations about the unique needs of each campus community. Ultimately, Fort Bend ISD aims to develop prescriptive, strategic plans for each campus that combine the District’s efforts with those of our community partners and resources. Fort Bend ISD parents and staff members should check their email for an invitation and survey link, and students with permission for surveys will have an opportunity to participate during the school day. Community members are invited to participate using this link: Community survey link. The survey can also be accessed online at

by visiting the website www.

Prana Pratistha & Maha Kumbhabhisheka Mahotsav From March 8th to March 11th, 2018

Jagannath Dham in the East

Badrinath Dham in the North

Dwarkanath Dham in the West.

Rameswaram Dham in the South.



FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

Nitin Sonawane's World Bicycle Tour to promote Truth and Non-violence A tribute to Mahatma Gandhi Sesquicentennial


itin Sonawane stops in Houston during his World Bicycle Tour to promote Truth and Non-violence in honor of and reminder of upcoming Mahatma Gandhi Sesquicentennial on October 2, 2019 Over the past 10 days Houston has benefitted immeasurably by Nitin Sonawane’s stop on his epic journey to circle the globe on a bicycle. As if that is not impressive enough, he is doing it solo, all by himself without a companion. Nitin hails from Rashin, a small village near Pune, Maharashtra, Bharat (India). He started on his epic journey on November 1, 2016 from Sevagram, Vardha, home to Mahatma Gandhi’s last Ashram. Over the past 15 months he has logged more than 10,000 miles riding from Bharat to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Japan and now in USA. From here he is headed to South America, Africa, Europe, Middle East and end his epic journey in Lahore, Pakistan on October 2, 2019, Mahatma Gandhi’s Sesquicentennial, 150th birthday. Nitin hails from a family of 3 brothers of an extremely modest family from Rashin, a small village, near Pune. His entire education was paid for by scholarships. Upon graduation from college in Information Technology he started working in that field. Pretty soon he got bored from work and felt that the money does not bring happiness. In search for real happiness he first turned to Gautam Buddha and then to Mahatma Gandhi when he came in touch with Maharashtra Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, the organization that is sponsoring his odyssey. It was here that

Nitin with Mahatma Gandhi Library members.

Atul Kothari, Dinesh Agarwal and Anil Gupta of Mahatma Gandhi Library and Arya Samaj pose with Globe Trekker on Bicycle, Nitin Sonawane,(second from right) at Arya Samaj Greater Houston

the idea of circling the globe to commemorate Gandhi Sesquicentennial and increase awareness of his message sprouted. Mahatma Gandhi Library, MGL, learned of his stop in Houston when Nitin called Atul Kothari on Monday, February 19, 2018. He was referred to MGL by Ramesh Patel of BAPS when Nitin visited BAPS on Sunday, February 18, 2018. As Atul was speaking with Nitin on the phone his mind was racing to find ways to support his ride, facilitate his visit and publicize his journey in Houston. At the time of the call he was staying at Casa Juan Diego, a Catholic charity for refugees, in Heights area. Next day Atul Kothari and Ajit Paralakar from MGL met with Nitin. They were impressed to learn that he had already visited several

schools including St Agnes Academy in Houston area to share his amazing experience and story. He was invited to stay at Arya Samaj Greater Houston for the remainder of his stop. He graciously accepted the offer and moved into Arya Samaj the next day. When Interfaith Ministries For Greater Houston learned about Nitin’s layover in Houston via press release sent out by MGL they were really impressed with the purpose, determination and sheer courage of Nitin. They arranged for an interview with Houston Chronicle. Just as soon as the Houston Chronicle publishes the article we will share it with everyone. At MGL Office On Thursday, Nitin visited DAV Montessori School operated by Arya Samaj Great Houston. When children learned of his odyssey their

imagination went wild. In Nitin’s own words “He had never been asked so many questions about his undertaking in any other place”. Children became really fascinated. On Sunday he gave presentation during morning, 10 AM to 12 Noon, Satsang at Arya Samaj and met with Sunday School children who really embraced him just as children have been doing all over the world. He was also interviewed by Meena Datt on her popular radio program and Open Forum also covered him during their shown on Saturday. DAVM Visit-2 Children of DAV Montessori School of Arya Samaj Greater Houston peppered Nitin with more questions than any other place in the World according to Nitin Some of the most memorable moments of Nitin’s epic journey have been

1) Visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, venues of the explosions of first atom bombs 2) Walking with Buddhist monks in Japan for 2 months 3) In Thailand he was accompanied on bike by a Peace activist in Thailand. The peace activist rode with him and acted as his translator as well as made arrangements

for vegetarian meals. 4) More upon publishing of his book upon completion of his epic, adventurous journey If you want to contact Nitin then his e mail address is His facebook page is https:// -World Peace and Friendship movement

DAV Montessori School children with Nitin at Arya Samaj Greater Houston



FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

Suicide and India cabinet clears Fans bid tearful farewell to legfirst anti-human traf- endary Bollywood actress Sridevi gun attacks kill six in ficking bill SW Pakistan: officials by Shilpa Jamkhandikar


housands of fans lined the streets of Mumbai on Wednesday, some weeping quietly, others running behind the hearse, as they joined Bollywood stars in paying tributes to actress Sridevi who died at the weekend in Dubai.

saw in theatres. I wanted to get a last glimpse of her, but the police won’t let us in,” Indrayani,

a woman from Sridevi's home state of Tamil Nadu, said. REUTERS

Quetta, Pakistan | AFP | 2/28/2018 - A suicide bomber killed four soldiers in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta and a gunman shot dead two policemen in a separate attack in the restive province on Wednesday, officials said.

Sridevi, 54, acted in 300 films in a career that began at age four and culminated in her becoming one of Hindi cinema's biggest female superstars. Police were called in to control a crowd that surged towards a Mumbai club where her body was placed for people to pay their respects.

Kolkata school children take part in rally against Human trafficking /Source:PTI


EW DELHI, India | AFP | 2/28/2018 India's cabinet on Wednesday approved the country's first anti-human trafficking bill, increasing penalties for perpetrators and focusing on helping them recover from their ordeal, in a bid to battle the growing scourge. Traffickers abduct or lure women and children, mostly from remote villages, with false promises of jobs before selling them off to brothels, factories or gangs which force them into begging. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said the new bill made a clear distinction between the trafficker and the trafficked, unlike in earlier cases, when victims were themselves at risk of being thrown in jail, as for example after police raids on brothels. "Before it used to be that you lock up the woman who herself is a victim ... then only when the case is finished, which may be 10 years later, then you attempt to rehabilitate her but by then it's too late," Gandhi said at a press conference in New Delhi. "So, here, she will be rehabilitated." Nobel laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi hailed

“She was in the first movie I

the bill as a "historic achievement" and urged parliament to pass it in its next session. "This bill will help India become a leader in the fight against trafficking by eradicating this modern day slavery," the 64-year-old tweeted. Human trafficking in India increased by nearly 20 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year, latest government data shows. About 14,000 children were victims of rape and sexual harassment in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. The new bill provides for special courts to expedite trafficking cases, time-bound repatriation of victims and a fund to help rebuild their lives including for education, legal aid, physical and mental support. It also raises the minimum punishment from a seven-year sentence to a decade in prison. India's elite National Investigation Agency, a federal police unit that investigates terror offences, will double as the AntiTrafficking Bureau once the bill is cleared by parliament. Gandhi said the bill could be brought before parliament when it sits again on March 5.

The body of Bollywood actress Sridevi is carried in a truck during her funeral procession in Mumbai, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

India dumps sari for trousers at Commonwealth Games ceremony India's women athletes will for the first time wear trousers and a blazer instead of a traditional sari at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Australia, a move that has pitted reformers against traditionalists.

But female stars like badminton ace PV Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik, both Olympic medalists, prefer the time-honoured sari, a flowing dress draped around the body.

"Four soldiers were martyred and two others were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint in the outskirts of city," a paramilitary force spokesman told AFP. Bomb disposal officials said that the bomber had strapped about eight to 10 kilograms of explosives on his body.

New Delhi, India | AFP | by Faisal KAMAL

Many Indian women competitors have welcomed the dark blue blazer and trousers that the Indian Olympic Association said was introduced at the request of the country's athletes' commission.

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan, a province bordering Iran and Afghanistan where police and troops have been battling Islamist militants and separatist groups for more than a decade.

Separately, a gunman ambushed a police vehicle and shot dead two policemen, also in Quetta city, senior police official Abdul Razzaq Cheema told AFP. A senior police official was travelling with his family in the vehicle but they escaped unharmed, he said. April 4 in Gold Coast, Australia. Women's hockey captain Rani Rampal told AFP that she "loves" the new uniform at the official launch of the attire in New Delhi on Monday.

"We always feel happy and proud when we wear a sari during the opening ceremonies," Malik told the Mail Today newspaper.

"It's very nice. Time to time there should be changes. Girls always used to wear a sari at the Games but this time it will be different and I love it," said the 23-year-old Rampal.

Younger athletes feel it will be a change for the better at the opening parade for the 21st Commonwealth Games starting

Fifteen-year-old shooter Manu Bhakar was relieved not to have to wear a sari, which she

finds difficult to wrap. "I have never worn these typical women dresses, so it was a bit weird when thinking that I would have to wear the sari. Bhakar told AFP that she always wears trousers and shirts so the new uniform will be "comfortable" for her. Indian gymnast Pranita Das wore a sari at the 2014 Commonwealth Games but said she thought the trousers would be a better fit for female athletes.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. The mineral-rich Balochistan is the largest of the country's four provinces but its roughly seven million people have long argued they do not get a fair share of its vast gas and mineral wealth. Male athletes have mostly worn blue blazers with grey trousers at major sporting events while women have had to wear the traditional Indian attire.

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FRIDAY, March 2, 2018


Pakistan ban Shahzaib Hasan Tennis chiefs aim to transform for year in cricket fixing case Davis Cup with World Cup plan


AHORE, Pakistan | AFP | 2/28/2018 Pakistan Wednesday hit former opener Shahzaib Hasan with a one-year ban and a million rupee ($9,050) fine for a spot-fixing incident that rocked the country's Twenty20 League last year.


ONDON | AFP | The Davis Cup is set for a dramatic transformation that would see a new season-ending World Cup of Tennis Finals featuring 18 nations, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on Monday.

Hasan, 28, was a member of Pakistan's World Twenty20 winning team in 2009 but had not played any international cricket in the past eight years. Hasan, who was playing for the Karachi Kings, was one of six players charged with various breaches of the Pakistan Cricket Board's anti-corruption code during the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) held in the United Arab Emirates. "Hasan has been banned for one year and fined one million rupees on one charge and we have requested for more action against him on inducing other players for fixing," board legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi told the media. Hasan, an aggressive opener, played three one-day internationals and 10 Twenty20 internationals before losing his place due to poor performance in 2010. The PSL was rocked by scandal in February last year when it was announced that several players were caught in a spot-fixing incident. Spot-fixing involves determining the outcome of a specific part of a match rather than the overall result, and is therefore harder to detect than match-fixing. The PCB formed a threeman tribunal which later banned Sharjeel Khan for five years (two and a half

US Olympics chief resigns in wake of abuse scandal OS ANGELES| AFP | 2/28/2018 - United States Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun has stepped down following calls for his resignation in the wake of the USA gymnastics abuse scandal, it was confirmed on Wednesday.


Blackmun, who faced stinging criticism for his handling of the case involving team doctor Larry Nassar which rocked the sport, departs after eight years in the role. The 60-year-old administrator had recently disclosed he was battling prostate cancer. "Given Scott's current health situation, we have mutually agreed it is in the best interest of both Scott and the USOC that we identify new leadership so that we can immediately address the urgent initiatives ahead of us," USOC Chairman Larry Probst said in a statement. "The USOC is at a critical point in its history. The important work that Scott started needs to continue and will require especially vigorous attention in light of Larry Nassar’s decades-long abuse of athletes affiliated with USA Gymnastics." USOC said board member Susanne Lyons would replace Blackmun as interim chief executive as the hunt for a permanent successor got under way. Blackmun's departure comes after he had faced calls to resign for his alleged failure to act swiftly as the Nassar scandal unfolded, claims rejected by USOC. Multiple US senators had demanded his resignation after a Wall Street Journal report that said USOC was made aware of allegations surrounding Nassar in 2015 yet did nothing to intervene. USOC had defended Blackmun's handling of the case, with Probst telling reporters in Pyeongchang at the Winter Olympics this month that "he did what he was supposed to do and he did the right thing at every turn."

In this March 21, 2017 file photo, Pakistani cricketer Shahzaib Hasan leaves the office of the Federal Investigation Authority in Lahore, Pakistan. (AP File Photo/K.M. Chaudary). suspended) while Khalid Latif was banned for five full

years and fined one million rupees.

The ITF unveiled plans for a 25-year, $3 billion (2.4 billion euros) partnership with investment group Kosmos, founded by Barcelona football star Gerard Pique, to shake up the current format, which sits uneasily in the packed calendar. Currently, the Davis Cup is structured around a 16-nation

Bangladesh name Walsh interim coach for Sri Lanka tournament DHAKA, Bangladesh | AFP 2/26/2018 - Bangladesh on Monday named West Indies fast bowling great Courtney Walsh as interim coach for next month's tri-nation Twenty20 series in Sri Lanka. Walsh has been Bangladesh's fast bowling coach since early 2016 but had never been called on to take charge of the entire squad. Bangladesh have been without a head coach since October when Chandika Hathurusingha, a former Sri Lankan batsman, quit after three years at the helm to join his struggling home team. Former skipper Khaled Mahmud filled the void as team director recently, when Bangladesh lost a Test and Twenty20 home series against Sri Lanka. "Walsh has vast experience

and everyone respects him as well," Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan told reporters. Bangladesh named a 16-man squad for the tri-nation Twenty20 against Sri Lanka starting March 6. India is the other team in the tournament. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has been included despite a niggling finger injury that forced him out of the recent Sri Lanka series. Off-spinner Mehedi Hasan will fill in as back-up. Hassan said Shakib could bowl but not bat so they would rest him in the lead-up to the tournament. "His finger was swollen. So we can't take any risk with Shakib," he said. Fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza turned down requests from the board to emerge from Twen-

ty20 retirement to feature in the tournament. There are five changes to the Twenty20 squad against Sri Lanka. Opener Imrul Kayes, paceman Taskin Ahmed and wicketkeeper-batsman Nurul Hasan have returned along with Mehedi and regular skipper Shakib. Mohammad Saifuddin, Mahedi Hasan, Zakir Hasan, Afif Hossain and Mohammad Mithun were dropped. Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mahmudullah Riyad (vice captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehedi Hasan.

World Group, contested over four weekends during the year. The remaining countries are then divided into three regional zones.

can elevate Davis Cup... to new heights by putting on a mustsee World Cup of Tennis Finals featuring the top nations and top players."

ITF president David Haggerty described the proposed new format, which could be launched as early as next year pending a vote at the ITF general meeting in August, as "a complete game-changer for the ITF and for tennis".

The investment will see significant increases in prize money to lure the sport's top stars, who often skip Davis Cup matches, and provide funding for grassroots tennis projects.

"Our vision is to create a major season-ending finale that will be a festival of tennis and entertainment, featuring the world's greatest players representing their nations to decide the Davis Cup champions," he said. Pique said: "Together we

The ITF said it was already liasing with potential hosts over launching the tournament in November 2019. Under the plans, the World Cup of Tennis Finals would be played over seven days in November in the traditional week of the Davis Cup Final, featuring a round-robin format followed by a quarter-final knockout stage.

Racing cars

Force India set to change name for new Formula One season


ONTMELĂ“, Spain | AFP | - The racing car is still pink and drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were clad in the colour as their team unveiled their 2018 model, but Force India are set to change their name in time for the new season. "The name will probably change before the first Grand Prix," Force India director Otmar Szafnauer told press gathered for the official unveiling of the new car with its safety 'halo' on the sidelines of pre-

season testing in Barcelona. "We haven't quite decided and it also needs to go through the formal approval process." The team have finished fourth twice running in the constructors championship and their managing director Vijay Mallya promised to chase every point next season, which begins at Melbourne on March 25. "Formula One is a very tough and competitive environment, but we are an established team with continuity in all areas of the company," Mallya insisted.


FRIDAY, March 2, 2018




FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

Section 2 Tel: 713-774-5140

Indian origin brothers look to harness IACCGH hosts Annual Tax Seminar as artificial intelligence for greater good part of community outreach program by Glenn Chapman AN FRANCISCO | AFP | 2/24/2018 As debate swirls on whether artificial intelligence will be a boon or a curse for humanity, two Indian-American entrepreneur brothers are out to ensure the emerging technologies don’t just benefit the richest in society. Romesh and Sunil Wadhwani this week launched what is billed as the world’s first nonprofit institute dedicated to putting AI to work improving lives of poor farmers, rural health care workers or teachers in communities with scant resources. “AI will go where AI will go; it is difficult to predict where,” Sunil Wadhwani said of the conflicting views on the emergence of computers more brilliant than their human creators. “Our focus is how many tens of millions of lives can we improve in the next five or 10 years. Where AI goes in 100 years, it will go.” The entrepreneur brothers, who have a series of lucrative startups to their name, have committed $30 million over 10 years to the Wadhwani AI institute, established in Mumbai with the Indian government as a partner. Areas targeted at the outset will include health care, education, agriculture and urban infrastructure. The project’s founders hope AI could help nurses in rural areas with diagnoses, advise how to optimize crops, translate text books into various languages as needed or even spot signs students might be on paths to dropping out. “AI is a game-changing technology,” said Sunil Wadhwani, who is based in Pittsburgh as a trustee for Carnegie Mellon University. “A lot of developing countries are getting left behind; US and China are leapfrogging ahead.” Students from New York University and the University of Southern California will travel to Mumbai to collaborate, while the brothers also plan to partner with players


Amid advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, concerns are growing on whether new technologies will be used for beneficial purposes .

in Silicon Valley, where Romesh Wadhwani is based. The ethical issues raised by AI -- from its potential to destroy jobs to the power it could exert over people’s lives -- will be front of mind, according to institute chief P. Anandan, a former Microsoft Research director. “It has the potential to be used badly, or run away on its own,” Anandan said of AI. “At the end of the day, you are going to manage that by being aware of it from the start and applying it where intentions are good.” - Strange new world Internet giants have been investing heavily in creating software to help machines think more like people, boosted by super-fast computer processing power and access to mountains of data to analyze. AI has been put to work in the form of virtual aides, for recognizing people’s friends in photos, fighting “fake news,” stymying the online spread of violent extremist messages and more. But the rise of artificial intelligence brings mighty new challenges too, and the new initiative coincides with the release of a report by AI scholars warning the technology has the potential to be exploited for nefarious purposes. “These technologies have many widely beneficial ap-

plications,” said the study produced by the Future of Humanity Institute, the nonprofit group OpenAI and others. “Less attention has historically been paid to the ways in which artificial intelligence can be used maliciously.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which took part in the study, expressed concern that “increasingly sophisticated AI will usher in a world that is strange and different from the one we’re used to, and there are serious risks if this technology is used for the wrong ends.” High-profile figures who have expressed fears about the potential dangers of AI include tech visionary and innovator Elon Musk. SpaceX founder and Tesla chief executive Musk in 2015 took part in creating the research organization OpenAI, which aims to develop artificial intelligence that helps rather than hurts people. Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, IBM, and Google-owned British AI firm DeepMind are also members of a nonprofit “Partnership on AI” which seeks to promote the technology’s use “to benefit people and society.” Sunil Wadhwani has meanwhile promised an “aggressive” timeline at the brothers’ eponymous institute, with testing of potential AI tools starting by the end of this year.

L to R: IACCGH President Swapan Dhairyawan, CPAs Mahesh Desai, Kershaw Khumbatta, Robert Brown, Rimple Mashruwala, Tupil Narasimhan, Moderator Ajit Thakur. Photo credit: Bijay Dixit

by Manu Shah ACCGH’s Annual Tax Seminar, a Chamber outreach program designed to educate the community on tax issues, attracted over 130 members of the community on February 11th at India House. Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia described the event as part of the Chamber’s efforts “to empower the community with the right knowledge.” This year, with the support of Shell, IACCGH will focus on educating small businesses affected by Harvey on how and where to look for relief. The LiftFund, which provides low cost (even 0%) loans of up to $25000 to such businesses, was presented at the seminar and will continue to partner with the Chamber in this initiative. President Swapan Dhairyawan, a renowned CPA himself, thanked the distinguished panel of 4 CPAs’ and Keynote Speaker Robert J. Brown, Senior Director of Audit Support Services, Harris County Appraisal District for volunteering their time on a Sunday afternoon. He emphasized the Chamber’s commitment of bringing “value to the community” through such


events. CPA and Past IACCGH President Ajit Thakur moderated the presentations and drew attention to the revisions in the U.S. tax code for both individuals and corporations. Robert Brown, Audit Support Director, HCAD, highlighted the types of Real Property Exemptions and Business Personal Property exemptions. Owning a business requires reporting of personal property used in the business to your County appraisal district by filling a rendition form. Describing the new law provisions as “perhaps the biggest legislative topic” coming out of Washington D.C, CPA Rimple Mashruwala focused on the business tax changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act where starting 2018, business entities will be able to take advantage of a 20% deduction on “Qualified Business Income.” Pass through business will only be taxed on 80% of their pass through business and this is claimed on the taxpayer’s individual tax return. CPA Kershaw Khumbatta covered Entity planning af-

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ter 2018 emphasizing the importance of choosing the right legal structure for a new business and outlined the provisions in Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief which has established the Safe Harbor method for calculating potential loss. CPA Mahesh Desai highlighted Forms 114 and 8938 that must be filed by taxpayers holding more than $10,000 in an overseas account. The OVPD and the SDOP are two other IRS schemes to voluntarily disclose foreign accounts. He stated that US Citizens/NRIs/OCI card holders are not eligible to obtain the Aadhaar card but can have a PAN card for Indian Income Tax reporting purposes. CPA Tupil Narasimhan reinforced the new tax cuts applicable to businesses such as a flat 21% tax cut for Corporations. This effectively amounts to a 40% reduction in tax expense. Non corporate taxpayers can avail a 20% deduction of qualified business income from certain pass through businesses. The seminar concluded with a Q & A session. President Dhairyawan gave the closing remarks and stated that the Chamber intends to conduct several such informative tax seminars at various community places during the year due to the New Tax & Jobs Cut Act 2017 which has prominent changes that will affect taxpayers significantly. Disclaimer: The IACCGH tax seminar is for advisory purposes only

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FRIDAY, March 2, 2018



Disneyland Paris to add Star Wars zone in $2.5 bn upgrade


India mourns Bollywood’s Sridevi after drowning tragedy


UMBAI, India | AFP | India Monday mourned Bollywood superstar Sridevi Kapoor after her death in Dubai aged just 54, as police in the emirate said she drowned in her hotel bathtub. The body of Sridevi, one of the biggest names in Hindi cinema, had been due to be brought back to Mumbai on Monday by charter flight. It was not immediately clear however when Dubai authorities would release it.

Disneyland Paris’s attraction Star Tours: The Adventure Continues


ARIS, France | AFP | The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday announced a two-billion-euro ($2.5-billion) expansion of its Paris amusement park which will add a new Star Wars-

themed zone to the huge site.

which will take several years.

Disneyland Paris will also build new areas devoted to its hit animated film “Frozen” and the Marvel comics franchise (Spider-Man, The Hulk, XMen) as part of the makeover,

The work will start in 2021 and significantly expand the park, which is Europe’s most popular private tourism destination with 320 million visits since it opened in 1992.

Netflix announces first Arabic original series titled Jinn The supernatural drama will feature Middle Eastern talent and will be shot in Jordan later this year


o we already have a contender for the show we’re going to binge-watch in 2019? According to Hollywood Reporter, Netflix has unveiled its first Arabic original series. titled Jinn; the series will be a contemporary teen drama centered around a group of friends whose lives are disrupted when a supernatural being known as a Jinn appears to them in the form of a teenage boy in the ancient city of Petra. Their alliances are tested when they embark on a journey to stop a great darkness that is threatening to destroy the world. The six-episode supernatural drama will feature Middle Eastern talent and will be shot in Jordan later this year. The show is being executive produced by Elan and Rajeev Dassani, comes from rising Lebanese director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, behind acclaimed 2015 comedy Very Big Shot and screenwriter Bassel Ghandour, who co-wrote the Oscarnominated Theeb.

Hundreds of heartbroken fans gathered outside her Mumbai home hoping to catch a final glimpse of the star before her cremation, now likely to take place on Tuesday at the earliest. Initial reports had cited a heart attack as the cause of her death late Saturday at a hotel in the emirate, where she had been attending a nephew’s wedding. “The death of Indian actress Sridevi occurred due to drowning in her hotel apartment’s bathtub following loss of consciousness,” Dubai police tweeted, citing an autopsy report. Police have now referred the case to the public prosecutor. Tributes kept pouring in for the actress and fans gathered outside her home for a second day. “We want to see her one last time,” 48-year-old Laxmi Subbaramaiah told AFP outside the house in the Andheri area of Mumbai -- the heartland of the Bollywood film industry.

Pictured- Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya Lebanese director behind the project. “This is a great opportunity to portray Arab youth in a very unique way. The level of authenticity Netflix is trying to achieve with this show is definitely what attracted me the most to be part of this project,” said Bou Chaaya.

can enjoy,” added Ghandour. “On a broader note, I love that Netflix is investing a lot in the region, it’s a real turning point. We have such a rich storytelling culture, and we’ll finally be able to enjoy Arabic content with Netflix quality.”

“We are really excited about this. It is very common in Middle East that people know someone who has a jinn story, so it’s nice to take that and turn it into a fun and mysterious teen adventure that everyone

Jinn, which will release some time next year, is Netflix’s second project in the Middle East following its first commission, stand-up comedy show Adel Karam: Live From Beirut, which is due to launch March 1.

“All of my family members

Sridevi appeared in around 300 films during a career that spanned over four decades. (AFP Photo/STR). are big fans and we cried when we heard the news. We will wait here until her body comes back,” he said. Vishal More, 23, said he had travelled seven hours from Jalgaon district, around 400 kilometres away from Mumbai, to bid farewell to his favourite actress. “I’ve been waiting all morning to catch a last glimpse of Sridevi. I have watched all of her movies. She is such an inspiration,” he said. Sridevi’s death has prompted an outpouring of grief in India from fans and fellow actors as well as condolences from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. - Bollywood shock “I have always been a huge fan of her work. Equally I have been an admirer of the grace and dignity with which she conducted herself,” actor Aamir Khan wrote on Twitter. “I join all the millions of her fans in mourning her demise. Ma’am we will always remember you with love and respect,” he added. Fellow actor Ranveer Singh tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened to hear about the untimely demise of one of Hindi cinema’s greatest superstars”.

Every live-action Disney remake coming to cinemas soon

Actress Alia Bhatt posted on Twitter: “Nothing makes sense. I have no words... just completely shocked. RIP Sri Devi. My icon forever. Love you.” Sridevi, born Shree Amma Yanger Ayappan in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, appeared in around 300 films and was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, for services to the movie industry. She made her acting debut at the age of four and her career spanned more than four decades. Sridevi worked in India’s regional Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam-language films before making her Bollywood debut in 1979. She became a national icon with a string of blockbuster films including “Chandni”, “Mr India”, “Mawali” (“Scoundrel”) and “Tohfa” (“Gift”). Sridevi famously took a 15-year-break from the silver screen after marrying film producer Boney Kapoor but returned in the 2012 hit comedydrama “English Vinglish”. Her most recent film was last year’s “Mom”. She was set to see Jhanvi, the eldest of her two daughters, make her Bollywood debut.


isney is showing no signs of stopping when it comes to given its classic animations the live-action remake treatment. The studio has already produced Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book to critical and commercial acclaim and soon we’ll be having several more to watch in cinemas. Here’s every single liveaction remake Disney has green-lit and when they’re heading to a movie theatre near you.

When the live-action Winnie the Pooh movie was first announced, it had indie filmmaker Alex Ross Perry attached to both write and direct. Given Perry’s previous work on films like Queen of Earth, this was a mighty exciting prospect. However, more recently, Quantum of Solace and Finding Neverland director Marc Forster signed on to take the helm, working from Ross’ script. He marks a more traditional hire given his journeyman-like tendencies as a filmmaker, and the story of Chris-

topher Robin will revolve around the adult version of the titular character who has since grown out of the joyful imagination he had as a young boy. The film tracks the now-businessman whose life is upended when Pooh shows up on his doorstep looking for help. So, Hook. It’s unclear how much of Perry’s initial work will remain, however, as Oscar-winning Spotlight co-writer/director and Up co-writer Tom McCarthy subsequently signed on to rewrite the script. Ewan McGregor (above) plays the grown-up Christopher Robin.

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Does emotional eating begin in early childhood?

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

The isolated lives of Japan’s young social recluses


ew US research has shown emotions can affect the food choices of children as young as 4½, with feelings of happiness or sadness influencing which snacks children choose and how much they eat. Carried out by psychologist Dr. Shayla C. Holub at the University of Texas at Dallas along with Dr. Cin Cin Tan at University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development, the study looked at how mood affected the snack choice of 91 children aged 4½ to 9 years old. Participants were placed into one of three mood conditions -- happy, sad, or neutral, with the researchers using clips from Disney’s “The Lion King” to elicit the three feelings. After observing the children’s snack consumption in each condition, the pair found that children appeared to engage in emotional eating. They found that when presented with different snack options, those in the sad condition consumed the most chocolate, followed by those in the happy group. Those in the neutral group ate the least chocolate. When presented with savory goldfish crackers, the findings were reversed, with children in the neutral condition consuming the most snacks, followed by those in the happy condition, with those in sad condition eating the least. Dr Holub commented on the findings saying, “This suggests that children eat in response to both happy and sad emotions, but more for sadness,” with the

Does emotional eating begin in early childhood? (Photo: AFP/ iStock) researchers also finding that the tendency to eat in response to sad emotions appeared to increase with age. This suggests, added Dr Holub, that emotional eating is in part a socialized behavior. “Very young kids are really good at regulating their food intake,” says Holub, “If you change the energy density of a baby’s formula content, the child adapts his or her food intake in response. If you give preschoolers a snack, they will adjust their meal intake to react appropriately so that they are not too hungry or too full.” As children get older however, they learn to associate certain foods with certain feelings. “For example, you go to birthday parties and experience positive emotions -- everyone has fun and gets candy or cake. And at holidays, it’s all about

the food,” explains Dr. Holub. Children’s emotional eating habits can also be influenced by parents offering snacks when children are upset or bored, and certain foods can be made to seem more appealing by being forbidden by parents. Although eating habits can be changed later in life, Dr. Holub stressed that setting healthy habits early in childhood to promote healthy eating for life is the best option. “If we can learn how to nurture healthy habits early on, that makes us less likely to have to eliminate negative behaviors later,” she said. “The idea is to set up healthy trajectories and communicate with our children about how to choose healthy options.” The results can be found published online in the journal Appetite. (-AFP)

10 Difficult things highly successful people learn to do young by Brianna West


o invent a product, turn a profit or start a business is to be accomplished. To be successful is to maintain ethics, principles and self-awareness regardless of how your professional pursuits are going, and it is the latter to which we should strive.

3. Maintain humility. To be humble is to see oneself as whole and human, rather than defined by a few standout achievements or circumstances. It is to stay connected to others, whereas some use their success as a way to disconnect and disassociate, positioning themselves as “better than”

It is not our time that is limited in a day, it is our energy. More specifically, it is our willpower that we run out of if we are required to use it for too long. This is why many highly successful people streamline or automate a lot of their dayto-day decision making about things like outfits or meal prep, so they can conserve their fo-

“Successful people,” as we’ll call them here, are defined largely by their willingness to lean into difficulty and transform it, rather than avoid it or cast blame. Some of their most consistent and outstanding traits involve being individuals who see opportunity in challenge, and who strategize in the face of crisis whereas others only react emotionally. They understand the value of being good over being “right,” and are always willing to grow. Interestingly, these individuals aren’t always the most visible individuals in their workplace – and even if they are, they would be the last to applaud their own self-development. What we can learn from them is that life will consistently present different circumstances to which we control how we respond. If we can garnish from those situations wisdom, patience and potential, we can yolk the true essence of a leader, which is to see change and growth where others see crisis. Here, some of the most difficult things that highly successful people learn to do early on. 1. Admit fault. Highly successful people understand that the sooner they can acknowledge a mistake, the sooner they can take action to rectify it. Getting past the ego-block of denying wrongdoing not only holds them back further, it looks like a poor display of character. 2. Value being good over being right. Successful people are never the smartest person in the room. To achieve this, they forfeit the need to always be right with the commitment to always do better. Their goal is not to be the best, but to create something that is the best, in collaboration with those capable of making that happen.

Chujo, 24, has been a hikikomori for two years. He has dreams of becoming an opera singer, but as he is the eldest son, his family wants him to join the family business. He worked in an office for a year, but it was so stressful that he suffered from stomach pain. He would also compare his situation to that of his younger brother who could do whatever he pleased. Upset, he would act up, drawing further reprimand from his family, which would, in turn, intensify his feelings of shame. He locked himself in his room for a year before his parents forced him to join a support program. (Photograph by Maika Elan) by Laurence Butet-Roch


n Japan, observes photographer Maika Elan, “there are always two sides that oppose one another. It is both modern and traditional, bustling and very lonely. Restaurants and bars are always full, but if you pay close attention, most are packed with customers eating alone. And in the streets, no matter the hour, you find exhausted office employees.” The counterpart to people living solitary lives in public might well be those who have chosen to shut themselves away. Known as hikikomori, these are people, mainly men, who haven’t participated in society, or shown a desire to do so, for at least a year. They rely instead on their parents to take care of them. In 2016, the Japanese government census put the figure at 540,000 for people aged 15-39. But it could easily be double that number. Since many prefer to stay entirely hidden, they remain uncounted. Elan, who is Vietnamese, first heard about the hikikomori while she was in Tokyo for a six-month artist residency. She connected with a Japanese woman named Oguri Ayako, who worked with New Start, a non-profit organization centered around drawing the hikikomori out of their seclusion. At the parents’ request—and at a cost of about $8,000 USD per year—women like Ayako regularly contact the recluse, starting with letters. The process takes months as he goes through the motion of opening them, writing back, chatting on the phone, talking through the door before finally allowing her in. Many more are required before he ventures out with her. The goal is to get him to go live in New Start’s dorm and participate in its job-training program. Ayako, whose role as a ‘rental sister’ might be best under-

Highly successful people value being “good” over always being “right.” (File photo) someone else.

cus for when it really matters.

4. Communicate with precision.

8. Meet judgment with understanding.

The value of a good communicator cannot be understated, but to speak with precision is to find and use the correct combination of diction and tone to express an idea as clearly as possible. This requires clarity of thought, and the objective to convey ideas, rather than elicit emotional responses like awe, pity or intimidation.

It is easy to become defensive when someone makes a snap judgment or derogatory mark about yourself or your work. It takes wisdom and vision to accept what they are saying and evaluate whether or not it is to be disregarded, or potentially used as a learning tool.

5. Embrace failure as a process, not a finality. Those who fear failure – and subsequently avoid risk – tend to see it as a permanent mark against one’s character or reputation. In reality, failure and success is an ongoing process, and the former almost always has to precede the latter. 6. Not exaggerate or conflate issues. Anyone can make an issue more complicated than it needs to be, and in fact, most people do. It takes true genius – and a touch of tact – to simplify them. 7. Conserve willpower.

9. Meet pain with compassion. To be successful but lose your humanity isn’t really “success” at all. When people become numbers and struggles become statistics in the eyes of those who are responsible for managing them, disassociating makes them seem out-oftouch, if not cruel. 10. Meditate on mortality. As we go on aspiring to acquire more and more for our lives, it is imperative to “keep a skull on the desk,” so to say, or to remember that all of this is temporary, and all that will matter in the end is how much we gave, and how we made other people feel.(-Forbes)

stood as that of a social worker, claims to have helped between forty and fifty of them out of their isolation in her decadelong career. Elan shadowed Ayako on visits to eleven different hikikomori, and after five or six meetings was allowed to take pictures. “At first, I thought they were lazy and selfish,” she admits, but over time as she got

minded society to a more individualistic one, especially amongst the younger generations who are seeking ways to express their originality. “In Japan, where uniformity is still prized, and reputations and outward appearances are paramount, rebellion comes in muted forms, like hikikomori,” she says. “The longer the hikikomori

‘Rental sister’ Ayako Oguri writes to Masahiro Koyama, 40, who has been in his room for 10 years. This is Ayako’s third visit to his house. Since he refuses to talk, she writes letters and leaves them in front of his room. to know them, she learned not only how thoughtful and perceptive they can be. “There are so many people out there working themselves to the ground; the hikikomori, in a way draw Japan into balance.” The situation is not unique to Japan, though it is most acute here. Elan cites many reasons why this may be the case: an increasing number of families have only one son in which they put all their hopes and dreams, few of them have male role models since their fathers work day and night, persistent gender roles continue to ascribe much, if not all, the economic responsibilities to the household’s patriarch, to name a few. Yet another explanation could be found in the country’s cultural shift from a collective-

remain apart from society, the more aware they become of their social failure,” explains Elan. “They lose whatever selfesteem and confidence they had, and the prospect of leaving home becomes ever more terrifying. Locking themselves in their room makes them feel ‘safe’.” Elan plans on continuing this project by focusing more on the rental sisters. These women who are strangers to the hikikomori yet may be the solution to their malaise. Case in point, Elan just learned that one of the hikikomori she photographed, Ikuo Nakamura, has since married his rental sister, Oguri Ayako. He now wants to become a rental brother, helping others like him. (-National Geographic)

Social media firms failing to protect young people, survey finds Cyberbullying inquiry finds the mental health of young people is severely affected by online abuse ocial media companies such as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter have been accused of failing to protect young people from harassment after a cyberbullying inquiry found that online abuse severely affects their mental health.


Almost half of young people have experienced threatening, intimidating or abusive messages on social media, pushing some to the verge of suicide in the most extreme cases, according to a survey commissioned by the Children’s Society and YoungMinds. Sixty-two percent of respondents were under 18 and threequarters were female. The findings were based on oral and written evidence from young people – including an online survey of 1,089 children, social media companies, mental health experts and children’s charities. Respondents said they felt let down by social media plat-

forms, and wanted companies to take tougher action against cyberbullying, including banning abusive users. The children’s charities have recommended that social media companies pilot approaches to identify children using their platforms, and to gain explicit parental consent for under13s. They said the government should require social media firms to publish data on their responses to reports of online bullying, which the inquiry found to be “inadequate”. “You kind of expect to experience it: nasty comments on the selfie, Facebook posts and Twitter posts, people screen grabbing your Snapchat story to laugh about it … I feel like it’s something people don’t take seriously. But leaving just one nasty comment could really hurt someone,” a 15-year-old girl told the inquiry. “Social media companies should take complaints more seriously. If someone reports

something, they shouldn’t take days to review it, they should literally just remove it straight away. The reaction from adults is just delete your account to stop the bullying, but that’s taking something away from that young person’s life for something that’s not their fault,” she added. The inquiry’s findings have been published in advance of the government’s response to its internet safety strategy consultation. Forty-seven percent of respondents had experienced threatening or abusive messages on social media and 61% had their first account aged 12 or under, despite platforms stating that users must be over 13. Frequent social media users are most likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression, the inquiry found, with some young people who had experienced bullying repeatedly checking their feeds to see what had been posted about them. (-The Guardian)



Section 2


YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at


Q: We are looking to hire a few foreign workers as computer programmers. We understand that we will have to offer higher wages than what was offered last year to our workers. Is this true?

I have three children under the age of 21 years. If I receive the H-1b visa, can my wife and children also receive a visa to come live with me in the US? A: Yes, your wife and children under 21 years old will be issued H-4 visas. They can apply for this visa at the US Consulate in India.

A: Yes, this is correct. Under the new Buy American Hire American (BAHA) policy, the Government is requiring that H-1B jobs also come with higher wages. As such, for H-1B filings for the 2019 fiscal year, employers are encouraged to offer a higher salary to most H-1B occupation including computer programmers. In other words try to avoid a Level 1 wage (FLC Data Center) if at all possible.

If my spouse is grantQ: ed the H-4 visa, can she work or attend school in the US? A: Initially she will not be permitted to work. But she will be allowed to attend school on a full time or part time basis. Q: When can my husband who has H-4 status apply for work authorization?

Q: This April my sponsor will file the H-1B petition for me. If they premium process the case, will that increase the chances of my H-1B petition being selected under the quota? A: Requesting for Premium processing will not increase the chances of the petition being selected under the quota. Every petition whether filed by regular processing or premium processing stands an equal chance of being randomly selected so long as those petitions were filed before the filing cut off ‘deadline’ set by USCIS. To premium process, the H-1B petition must be filed with Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. The filing fee is an additional $1225 on top of the H-1B petition regular filing fee of $460. Under premium processing, USCIS will either issue a Notice of Approval or Request for Evidence within 15 calendar days. Q:

I am married and

A: Effective May 26th, 2015, H-4 spouses of H-1B holders who are either the beneficiary of an approved I-140 or are holding H-1B status under AC21 sections 106(a) and (b) may apply for employment authorization. These are nonimmigrant H-1B holders who intend to seek permanent residence status and 365 days or more have elapsed since their labor certification application or I-140 immigrant petition (whichever applicable) was filed. Once the H-4 spouse’s Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is approved, the he or she may begin working in the US. There have been proposals to remove this category of work authorization but so far this has yet to happen. Q: I am in the US on B-2 status. It expires in May 2018. Can I apply for the H-1B? A: Yes, you will need a sponsor to petition for you. You need to meet the requirements for the H-1B visa. In addition to that, you will have to ensure that you either continue to maintain your status from the time of expiry of your

B2 status until the time you can commence H—1B employment on October 1st, 2018 or return to your home country prior to expiry of your authorized stay so that you can obtain the H-1B visa from the appropriate US consulate. Q: My employer will be petitioning for my H-1B visa this year. Can they accept payment from me for the attorney fees and filing fees associated with the preparation and filing of the H-1B visa petition? A: No. These payments must be made by the Petitioner and can be deducted as ordinary business expenses. The only payment you can make is for the Premium Processing fee amounting to $1225.00 if you desire for the case to be premium processed. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713623-8088 or by email at to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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Indian state offers free breast implants to poor women


EW DELHI, India | AFP | 2/23/2018 - Thousands of poor women in India’s Tamil Nadu state have been offered free cosmetic breast surgery, including implants, its health minister said Friday, because “poor people also have a right to look beautiful”. The southern Indian state is known for its populist schemes, which have previously included free canteens and providing thousands of disadvantaged people with goats, laptops and bicycles among other items. It will now offer cosmetic breast surgery free of cost to all women -- for aesthetic or medical reasons -- with priority given to those from the poorest sections of society. “If a poor woman desires to look beautiful, we will support her financially,” state health minister C. Vijayabaskar told AFP. “Whether they require medical procedures or beauty treatment, it will be free.” Tamil Nadu is ranked among the top states in India’s public healthcare system, compared with ailing government-run facilities in many other parts of the vast country. But critics of the new scheme said the state government is wasting public money on cosmetic surgery instead of spending money on treating serious ailments. “It is sad that we are now


eer has fueled a lot of bad ideas. But on a Friday afternoon in 2007, it helped two Alzheimer’s researchers come up with a really a good one.


Neuroscientists Robert Moir and Rudolph Tanzi were sipping Coronas in separate offices during “attitude adjustment hour” at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard’s largest teaching hospital. And, by chance, each scientist found himself wondering about an apparent link between Alzheimer’s disease and the immune system.

focusing on beauty instead of life-saving surgeries,” Dr S. Elango, a former public health official in Tamil Nadu, told the Times of India newspaper.

V. Ramadevi, who heads the clinic, told AFP some women want such surgery because they “face psychological issues that may severely impact their lives.”

Moir had been surfing through random scientific papers online — something he does for an hour or so on most Fridays. “I cruise wherever my fancy takes me,” he says.

Cosmetic breast surgery is becoming increasingly popular in India, but private hospitals charge anywhere between $2,300 to $3,800 for a procedure -- a year’s wage for most Indians.

“Their career, (their) marriage are derailed because they are taunted and their confidence is shattered,” she said, adding that the clinic expects up to 150 women a month to take up the offer.

And on this day, he cruised to research on molecules known as antimicrobial peptides. They’re part of the ancient immune system that’s found in all forms of life and plays an important role in protecting the human brain.

More than 90,000 such procedures were carried out in the country in 2016, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, up from 50,600 in 2010. The Tamil Nadu scheme was launched Wednesday at a staterun clinic in state capital Chennai, with a promise to soon expand it to other districts of the

One of India’s more prosperous states, Tamil Nadu has for decades offered freebies to its marginalised population, mostly under the government of popular actor-turned-politician Jayalalithaa. She died in 2016 but her party still rules the state.

Tips for finding a good nursing home facility at


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Scientists explore ties between Alzheimer’s and brain’s ancient immune system by Jon Hamilton

The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu will now offer cosmetic breast surgery free of cost to all women -- for aesthetic or medical reasons -- with priority given to those from the poorest sections of society (Photo: AFP)

tion for people in search of the right place for loved ones, but even those who work at the highest-ranked facilities say it shouldn’t be the only factor when picking a home. Critics say the information is not perfect: Two-thirds of facilities’ overall score is based on self-reported data on staffing and quality. The remaining one-third of a facility’s score is based on state inspections, that, while more objective, can also be outdated. Kansas is behind schedule because of vacant inspector positions. The overall rating is just a place to start. Perhaps the most important factor to consider is

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One way antimicrobial peptides protect us is by engulfing and neutralizing a germ or some other foreign invader. That gives newer parts of the immune system time to get mobilized. These peptides are “extremely important,” Moir says. “They’re not like legacies from an immune system we don’t use anymore. If you don’t have them, you’re going to die in a couple of hours.” As Moir surfed through paper after paper, he realized that one of these ancient molecules, known as LL-37, looked a lot like a molecule closely associated with Alzheimer’s. That molecule is called amyloidbeta and it forms the sticky plaques that tend to build up in the brains of people with dementia. LL-37 and Amyloid-beta “looked just like peas in a pod,” Moir says. That was really surprising. Even more surprising, on that same Friday afternoon, Moir’s colleague Tanzi had also noticed a connection between Alzheimer’s and the ancient immune system, which scientists refer to as innate immunity. Tanzi had been spending the same hour that Friday afternoon reviewing a list of genes he’d found that were somehow related to Alzheimer’s. “I was enjoying my first or second Corona,” he says, “and I noticed that many of the genes coming up were involved with innate immunity.” “I was like, well, what does that mean?” Tanzi says. “So I wandered into [Moir’s] office,

carrying my Corona in hand, and I said, ‘What do you know about innate immunity in the brain?’ “ The two researchers decided to team up to figure out precisely how innate immunity figures

into Alzheimer’s. They later sketched out their research plan while sipping Bordeaux on the deck of Tanzi’s house along the coast. “We spent a lot of evenings out there making a dent in his very nice cellar,” Moir says. The two scientists began to discuss a wild idea. What if amyloid-beta was an integral part of the ancient immune system? What if those sticky plaques were actually an effort to protect the brain by encapsulating foreign invaders? Their idea was that the brain was producing amyloid for much the same reason an oyster forms a pearl — for self-defense. “Maybe amyloid plaques are a brain pearl,” Moir says, “a way for our body to trap and permanently sequester these invading pathogens.” That was a pretty radical idea. For decades, most scientists thought amyloid-beta was no more than a toxic waste product. “In all those scenarios it’s bad, bad, bad, bad, bad,” Moir says. But Moir and Tanzi suspected amyloid-beta was usually good — unless the brain started making too much. Then it could kill brain cells and lead to dementia. This hypothesis was not immediately embraced by other scientists, Tanzi says. “I had folks emailing me,

ex-mentors — Nobel laureates — saying, ‘Rudy have you lost your mind?’ Luckily neither Rob nor I have a really good track record of listening to people.” So. Tanzi and Moir set out to

prove that amyloid really is part of the immune system. And they were lucky enough to have a funder, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, that was willing to take a chance on their idea. The effort took years. But in 2010, Moir, Tanzi, and their team demonstrated that amyloid is really good at killing viruses and bacteria in a test tube. And, in 2016, they showed it did the same thing in worms and mice. “It was very clear that amyloid protected against infection,” Tanzi says. “If a mouse had meningitis or encephalitis, [and] if that mouse was making amyloid it lived longer.” In contrast, mice that did not produce amyloid died quickly from the infection. Today, Tanzi and Moir’s wild idea is no longer considered so wild. Lots of scientists are now studying the ancient immune system’s connection to Alzheimer’s. And Tanzi says it’s become clear that Alzheimer’s involves a lot more than just plaques and tangles in the brain. “Even though we really concentrate on these plaques and tangles in Alzheimer’s disease, it looks like it’s the brain’s immune system — the very primitive immune system of the brain — that’s gone awry,” Tanzi says, “and the plaques and tangles are a part of that system.” (-NPR)



A father’s heart disease sparks a son’s lifelong commitment to stopping the no. 1 cause of death



Dr. Maniar remembers leaving a karate tournament to head to the hospital where he saw his father lying in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) surrounded by cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and nurses devoting their attention to helping him heal. It was a powerful moment, and one that would ultimately reshape the trajectory of Dr. Maniar’s life. “Seeing how awesome his care team was and the steps they were taking to help him recover, that’s what sparked my initial interest in medicine,” he said. Today, Dr. Maniar is a cardiovascular specialist with Memorial Hermann Medical Group Southwest Cardiology and Medical Director of Cardiovascular Imaging & Cardiac Rehabilitation at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, dedicated to caring for his patients like his father. Growing up with a dad who had been diagnosed with heart disease at age 45, and knowing that he also faced a higher risk of developing the same condition, Dr. Maniar has committed his professional life to raising awareness about the perils of heart disease and empowering families to make healthier lifestyle choices that lessen their risk. “Being a physician means being an advocate for something,” Dr. Maniar said. “And I feel strongly about doing whatever I can to stop the No. 1 cause of death in the world. Ninety two million people die every year from heart disease, including 800,000 in the U.S. alone. That’s 2,220 deaths per day. One death every 40 seconds. Think about it: In the time it takes you to watch a

Dr Sanjay Maniar and his father (Photo: Memorial Hermann)

“By spotting signs that your skin is maturing, you can take steps to intervene early, helping skin stay as healthy and youthful looking as possible,” says Dr. Roger Ceilley M.D., a nationally and internationally recognized dermatologist with over 30 years of experience.

single sitcom, 45 people die from heart disease. That’s nine basketball teams.”

breast or boxing up half your meal at a restaurant and saving it for later.

To tackle age-related skin issues, Dr. Ceilley recommends the following tips.

To help stop this deadly epidemic, Dr. Maniar has become a vocal supporter of the American Heart Association’s campaign urging people to know their numbers – blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels – in order to better manage their risks for heart disease.

“It’s really the decisions you make day to day that help you out in the long run,” he said.

“It’s really important for people to take charge of their own health,” he said. For Dr. Maniar, his family history of heart disease prompted him to embrace healthy lifestyle choices at a young age. As a young man, he played soccer and tennis to stay active. He later picked up running when he was in medical school, working his way up from weekend 5Ks to half marathons. He acknowledged that it can be challenging for many adults to squeeze physical fitness into their daily routines, but said it’s vitally important for heart health to find time for exercise. “You can always find an excuse not to exercise – whether that’s work, school, kids or just the stresses of life – but the key is to making your health a priority,” he said. “The sooner you can do that, the sooner you can build healthy habits, and the better off your heart will be in the long run. The thing with heart disease is: It doesn’t develop overnight. The habits you develop in your 20s, 30s and 40s can ultimately influence how healthy you are in your 50s, 60s and 70s.” Not every heart-healthy decision has to be as time-consuming as training for a half marathon. Some choices can be as simple as swapping fried chicken for grilled chicken

Adopting healthy habits can be beneficial at any age, even for people who have already been diagnosed with heart disease. Dr. Maniar said he has been inspired by his dad, who has been able to keep his heart disease in check over the years by following his medication regimen and adopting a more active lifestyle by regularly going to the gym and taking up water aerobics. “He’s really stepped up his game, and I’m so proud of how active he’s become,” Dr. Maniar said. “With some patients, I end up being a life coach almost because they’ve gotten so used to doing things a certain way that they feel like they can’t change. I’m here to motivate them and let them know that even by making small changes, they can shed weight and even get off some, or even all, of their medications!” Witnessing his patients make progress makes Dr. Maniar’s career rewarding, he said. He finds fulfillment in knowing that he’s helping improve the quality of people’s lives. “This is why I get up in the morning, to go out and do my best to help the people of Houston live long and healthy lives so that they can be around to see their parents grow older and see their kids go to college,” he said. “Because sometimes improving your health and wellness isn’t just about you – it’s also for the people who matter to you and who care about you.” (-Memo-

rial Hermann Houston)


Bernie, who leads an active lifestyle and works in a hospital, experienced severe cramping in the back of his left thigh one morning while walking into work. The pain became so severe that he rushed himself to the emergency department, knowing that something wasn’t right. After a series of consultations and tests, he was diagnosed as having deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. DVT affects approximately 900,000 people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and while a clot can form anywhere, it usually occurs in the legs or pelvis. Sometimes part of the blood clot can break off and travel to your lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism, a serious and potentially deadly condition. Doctors typically diagnose DVT through tests such as an ultrasound or blood tests. First line of treatment can consist of medications and compression stockings, but these options don’t actually remove or dissolve the clot. Many DVT blood clots can be absorbed by the body over time with the help of blood thinners; however, as long as the clot is present, it can cause permanent damage to the valves in the vein, leading to chronic pain and swell-

ing called p o s t thrombotic syndrome (PTS).

Help counteract this process with a moisturizing cream or lotion that contains skin-nurturing ingredients (Photo Source: (c) DragonImages/

• Around age 40, begin examining your skin for changes. You’ll get a better understanding of your skin’s specific needs so you can address them accordingly. Be careful not to focus only on the face, as you may wind up playing catch-up with the rest of your skin late in the maturing process. • According to Dr. Ceilley, the levels of collagen, elastin and fatty tissue important for making skin appear plump and youthful begin to diminish as you age, causing thinner-looking skin. Help counteract this process with a moisturizing cream or lotion that contains skin-nurturing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol, glycolic acid and niacinamide. These can be found in products such as DerMend Fragile Skin Moisturizing Formula from the new DerMend Mature Skin Solutions line. In addition to those ingredients, the lightweight cream also features five critical ceramides to help make skin more resilient and fresher looking. • A well-balanced diet pro-

motes healthy, younger-looking skin. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats each day. • Thin, fragile skin can bruise more easily. Medications such as blood thinners may leave skin especially vulnerable to bruising. To help, keep a product on-hand like DerMend Moisturizing Bruise Formula which contains a blend of ceramides, alpha hydroxy acid, arnica oil and retinol. • Dr. Ceilley also advises using gentle, unscented products when bathing or showering. Scented soaps, cleansers and alcohol-based products can leave aging skin feeling irritated and dry. Be sure to wash gently and avoid scrubbing or over-exfoliating as this can further irritate the skin. • Itchy skin is not only a nuisance, but it can keep you from being comfortable and prevent a good night’s sleep, which can be detrimental to one’s health at any age. Though doctors are not certain why, itchiness is a very common problem in maturing skin. To temporarily relieve discomfort, use a steroid-free, anti-itch product

containing pramoxine hydrochloride 1%, which can rapidly interfere with the itch/scratch cycle, helping to calm skin and allowing you to have a better night’s sleep. • No matter what age you are, protect your skin from the sun and use sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher. Sun exposure throughout your lifetime can cause a myriad of skin problems as you get older including skin cancer, deep wrinkles, thinning skin, dark spots and broken capillary veins. “Your skincare should be specific to your needs,” says Dr. Ceilley. “Watch for signs of aging and then adopt a routine that addresses every inch of your skin.” For more information, please visit www.Dermend. com or By incorporating these tips along with specially-designed mature skincare products into your daily beauty routine, you can help tackle age-related skin conditions and help maintain healthylooking skin for life. (StatePoint)

New US task force to target opioid makers


ASHINGTON, AFP | A new US federal task force will target prescription drugmakers and distributors as officials step up efforts to combat the opioid crisis, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. The department said it would also move to recover funds in legal actions brought by local governments that seek to make drugmakers pay for the cost of responding to the crisis, which the department said kills nearly 200 Americans a day.

Deep Vein Thrombosis: A pain that cannot be ignored i f t y - t h r e e - y e a r- o l d Bernie McKay never would have guessed that the pain he thought was a simple muscle cramp was actually a serious medical condition that could have stopped him in his tracks forever.

Tips for tackling age-related skin issues ging is a fact of life, and your skin is no exception. However, experts say that there is a lot you can do to help your skin at all stages of life.

OUSTON – Dr. Sanjay Maniar has a childhood memory of visiting his father in the hospital and being awestruck by the team of people who were taking care of his dad following an unexpected and urgent heart bypass surgery. Dr. Maniar was only 9 years old when his dad fell ill, went to the doctor for a check-up and discovered that he had blockages in nearly every blood vessel leading to his heart. His situation was so dire that his medical team refused to let him return home and instead, rushed him to a nearby hospital for surgery.

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

“This epidemic actually lowered American life expectancy

in 2015 and 2016 for the first time in decades, with drug overdose now the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “These are not acceptable trends and this new task force will make us more effective in reversing them and saving Americans from the scourge of opioid addiction.” Senior Justice Department officials will join the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate and prosecute drug industry actors -- including pain management clinics, drug testing facilities and prescrib-

ing doctors -- while ensuring prescription opioid marketing follows federal rules. The new Prescription, Interdiction and Litigation, or PIL, task force will use fraud-onthe-government and whistleblower statutes to make manufacturers and distributors pay, the Justice Department said. The task force follows the August launch of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. Sessions said Friday that the Justice Department would argue in court that the opioid crisis has drained the resources of federal health programs and law enforcement.

Bernie McKay just months after a procedure to remove

Another his blood clot. PHOTO SOURCE: STATEPOINT treatment option that physirest; cians may consider for their • A personal or family history patients is a medical proof blood clots; cedure called a mechanical thrombectomy. This proce• Older age; dure can help quickly restore • Pregnancy. blood flow by removing the Understanding the risk facclot altogether, thus reducing tors and being aware of various the amount and duration of treatment options can help remedications a patient needs duce your chance of developing to take, and may help prevent a dangerous blood clot and the future complications. serious health complications “Recent medical advances that may be associated with it. are allowing more and more patients to have blood clots removed using minimally invasive procedures,” said Dr. Kush Desai, Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “Some patients, like Bernie, may be candidates for a mechanical thrombectomy, which uses a special catheter designed to help break up and physically remove all or portions of the clot.” Only half of the people who develop DVT experience any symptoms, such as swelling, pain or tenderness in a leg with skin that’s warm and red or discolored. However, there are risk factors that you should be aware of as they can increase your chances of developing DVT: • Treatment for cancer; • Prolonged lack of movement such as long distance travel or long periods of bed

Read up on what’s changing in the Health world

“With such a short recovery time, the procedure allowed me to spend time with my family and friends -- without having to take medications for the rest of my life,” said Bernie. “I’m more active than I was before, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.” There are risks associated with all medical procedures. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits associated with mechanical thrombectomy. For more information visit or the Clearing the Clot Facebook community, patient resources developed by Boston Scientific. For more information, visit Take control of your health to help decrease your chances of developing DVT by understanding the risks and treatment options available. (StatePoint).

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



Indians Celebrating India at Houston FotoFest by Rena Silverman

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

Pakistani men assert their right to be groomed as male beauty booms

OUSTON, Feb. 27, 2018 - Photography in India is a paradox. There are ample commercial opportunities, but not a single school devoted to the medium. So, for the people of the world’s seventh largest country — with a population expected to overtake China — choosing a career in photography means either learning on the job or studying outside the country.


“There is very little discourse,” said Sunil Gupta, an artist and the lead curator of this year’s FotoFest International, the first and longest-running worldwide photography biennial, which opens March 10 in Houston. “There is no classroom situation, no discussion, nothing in print, nothing to be involved in some kind of critique.” There are a few photo courses at the National Institute of Design, known as NID, in Ahmedabad, but Mr. Gupta said “you can count them on one hand.”

“War Paint,” 2001. From the series “An Indian from India, 2001-2007.” (Credit: Annu Palakunnathu Matthew/Courtesy of sepiaEYE Gallery, New York) BELOW: “Untitled,” 2012. From the series “Friends and Their Friends, 20102015.”( Credit: Anoop Ray)

Yet, with the largest diaspora in the world — at over 15.6 million according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs — many Indian photographers already reside outside of the subcontinent. That led Steven Evans, an artist and FotoFest’s executive director and head of programming, to choose India and its diaspora as the theme for the 2018 biennial. FotoFest is also publishing an accompanying book, “India: Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art.” “We’re known for bringing recognition to photographers from parts of the world that have been underserved by people looking at photography,” Mr. Evans said. “So, in the past, the biennials have focused on photography from Russia, China, Korea, Latin America, the Arab world. And this year we are looking at artists of Indian origin.”

While women in urban Pakistan have long enjoyed access to the care of beauticians, expensive facials and mani-pedis for men are becoming more common as disposable incomes in the swelling middle class grow

In “An Indian from India,” Annu Palakunnathu Matthew — an artist and photography professor at the University of Rhode Island — plays on the word “Indian” by combining archival images of Native Americans with new self-portraits. “When I say that I am Indian, I often have to clarify that I am an Indian from India,” Ms. Matthew said. FotoFest’s original focus on South Asia comes a decade after India’s art market emerged slightly, but then dwindled, mostly because of the global financial crisis. But last year, according to Artnet, 62 percent of India’s 48 or so galleries reported an increase in sales last year, albeit with help from the country’s general economic improvement. “We are seeing photography in India, certainly in art context, more and more,” said Mr. Gupta, who is also an artist. “Already we have a kind of emerging art canon.”

by Masroor Gilani aid Mr. Gupta.”

Many collectors and visitors of this year’s festival are expected to be part of the larger diaspora and based in Houston. Mr. Gupta noted that some of the artwork is politically charged, addressing issues regarding this nation’s turn to the political right, which some Indian-Americans support. “There is a tiny pocket of work in the show that addresses the land and displacement of indigenous people,”

Gucci donates $500,000 to US student gun reform march

The festival also features videos and multimedia pieces, which might help new collectors of Indian origin who are accustomed to paintings and sculptures accept the idea of limited editions instead of a single object, something that Mr. Gupta said was a problem when photography first hit the Indian market. “I hope it’s going to encourage people to look at this region more carefully and become better acquainted with it for a variety of reasons,” he said. “The standard history of photography seems to be an American idea and there is very little else except a European or Japanese contribution.” (-Source: The New York Times)

strong young women and men across United States who are fighting for their generation and those to come,” he said. Tapping into the millennial market, Gucci’s pre-fall advertising evokes the French student protests of 1968, with Gucci-wearing rebels occupying a campus demanding change.


SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP | Thursday 2/22/2018 - Nails are buffed, blackheads scrubbed and coffee sipped to the sound of clipping scissors inside the “Men’s” salon in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, where a growing number of male patrons are set on revamping their style.

Italian fashion house Gucci is joining George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and others in donating $500,000 to the March For Our Lives gun control rally in Washington on March 24 OME, Italy - Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci on Friday followed a slew of US celebrities in announcing a donation of $500,000 to next month’s student march on Washington demanding tougher gun controls.

that US Congress come up with effective legislation to address the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.

The donation, first reported by Women’s Wear Daily and confirmed by a Gucci spokeswoman in the United States, gives another huge boost to what is considered an unprecedented youth mobilization against gun violence following last week’s shooting in Florida.

The rally is being organized by students from the Florida high school where a 19-year-old armed with a semi-automatic rifle killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida.


“We stand with March For Our Lives and the fearless students across the country who demand that their lives and safety become a priority,” the label said in a statement. “We have all been directly or indirectly impacted by these senseless tragedies.” The rally is scheduled to take place on March 24, with sister rallies planned across the country to demand

The Washington Post says organizers expect up to 500,000 people to attend, according to their event permit application.

On Monday, George Clooney and his human rights lawyer wife Amal, Oprah Winfrey, director Steven Spielberg and his actress wife Kate Capshaw, and film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn each also pledged $500,000. Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele told Women’s Wear Daily that he was “truly moved” by the courage of the Parkland students. “My love is with them and it will be next to them on March 24. I am standing with March for Our Lives and the


The festivals across Europe and North America, which include several known as music industry tastemakers but few mega-events, said they would give women at least 50 percent of opportunities on their lineups, panels and commissions. “I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone,” said Vanessa Reed, the CEO of PRS Foundation, the British charitable fund for music initiatives that spearheaded the campaign. Thirty-eight festivals newly signed up to the initiative including Midem, the leading music industry trade fair in the south of France; the BBC Proms, the closely watched summer season of classical music in London; and A2IM, the independent label festival in New York. Seven festivals had already made the commitment including Iceland Airwaves, the indie rock-heavy festival in Reykjavik, and The Great Escape, which takes place in small venues across the English coastal city of

“Men have equal right to be groomed and times have changed. It’s no more just getting your haircut,” says Haider. “Senior citizens, bureaucrats, they don’t feel ashamed of saying that I need a facial, massage, my nails need to be done, please suggest what should I get,” he adds.

Deeply conservative Pakistan has strict notions of masculinity where men are often expected to be austere and flamboyant styling is to be avoided.

In rural Pakistan, men have traditionally taken their fashion tips from Islamic dictates, with the Koran specifying the length of beard and moustache along with hygiene guidelines.

But savvy entrepreneurs in urban centres have latched on to a new metrosexual trend: male beauty salons.

And in the cities, Bollywood and Western entertainment have long driven fashion trends for conscientious groomers.

While women in urban Pakistan have long enjoyed access to the care of beauticians and stylists, expensive facials and mani-pedis for men are becoming more common as disposable incomes in the nation’s swelling middle class grow -- per capita income jumped by 6.4 percent in 2017. A vibrant social media culture has also fuelled the desire to be selfieready at any time, with influencers like Adnan Malik and Osman Khalid Butt attracting hundreds of thousands of followers online with their fashionconscious posts. At Tauseeq Haider’s “Men’s” salon, customers usually fork out a minimum of 1,400 rupees ($12.60) for a visit -- a far cry from the 200 rupees

45 music festivals vow gender equality EW YORK | AFP | Monday 2/26/2018 - Forty-five music festivals pledged Monday to ensure a gender balance in their programming by 2022 amid a growing spotlight on the lagging recognition of women in entertainment.

spent at traditional barber shops.

Brighton. Canadian events were especially prominent in making the pledge including Canadian Music Week, the industry get-together in Toronto, and North by Northeast, the showcase for new art and media billed as Canada’s answer to South by Southwest. The so-called Keychange initiative on gender equality did not include many of the most prominent music festivals, which often have male-dominated lineups that reflect rock music’s long history of testosterone influences. Coachella, the biggest-name US festival, has one woman -- Beyonce -- among its three headliners in April. Glastonbury, the grandaddy of British festivals, is taking a regularly scheduled break this year but in 2017 had no women among its top three names. The festival initiative comes as the entertainment industry and the broader culture confront institutional sexism in the wake of allegations of widespread sexual abuse by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Several female artists voiced outrage after the latest Grammy Awards when the head of the Recording Academy, asked why more women were not winning the top US-based music industry prize, said that women needed to “step up.”

But times are changing fast in the rapidly developing South Asian nation, with social media setting and wrecking trends in urban centres at the speed of a swipe. - ‘More metrosexual’ According to Lebanese salon owner Michael Kanaan, who has been based in Pakistan for more than a decade, rising wages and greater exposure to global culture is fanning the burgeoning demand. “The Pakistan male is becoming more metrosexual. It is all due to the internet and the age of satellites and and TVs,” says Kanaan. Economist Minhajul Haque agrees, saying Pakistani men are also subjected to a new slew of online advertising campaigns that have reinforced the trend. “There is this whole lot of clever marketing of male beauty products which is spurring demand,” he explains. Humayun Khan, 49, says he is fine with spending more money to look good and his wife is supportive of the new passion. “I... get my nails done, get my haircut, get my facial and I am done for the day and after two weeks I come again,” he says. “If I don’t look good, my wife wouldn’t like me,” he laughs. Stylist Ghulfam Ghori says Pakistani men are also now more concerned with skincare, opting for blackhead removal, acne treatments and even the occasional brush with makeup before major events like weddings. “Men are very conscious about their skin now... and consider it essential to get facials. Previously it was not common, but now the trend is increasing among men to get themselves groomed,” says Ghori. But it’s not just the salons that are cashing in on Pakistani men’s blossoming cosmopolitan predilections. Zafar Bakhtawari, chairman of the D. Watson Group, one of Pakistan’s biggest pharmacy chains, explains:”I can say there is a revolution coming up in Pakistan in the male psyche that they are becoming very much conscious about their beauty, about their face, about their hair, about their dress and it’s a great revolution.”







FRIDAY, March 2, 2018


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Your Horoscope for the Week of MARCH 2, 2018

Aries - 21 March to 20 April

You’re not giving up, exactly, but you’ve had enough. Put another way, you’re greeting the end of the week enthusiastically. Try switching gears early in the day, from trying to make money to more ardent pursuits. Wait a bit before responding to that message, or emailing that online hottie -- later in the day is better. Your first impulse this morning might be awesome, but what you dream up later is even hotter.

Taurus - 21 April to 20 May

Plenty of people are seeing things from a new perspective these days. If you were already one of the enlightened, then you should be welcoming them into the fold. And not by doing any preaching, either. You can count on your partner to follow through with whatever they said they’d do today, no matter how many times they’ve backed out before. T

Gemini - 21 May to 20 June

A new acquaintance strikes your fancy. You may hope and wish to know them better, or you could simply make plans for the weekend. Put thoughts of money aside long enough to ask. You probably want to speed about, throwing your charisma and flirts about as you like, but romance demands focus for now. Zero in on the right person, take a deep breath and figure out what you’ve been missing.

Cancer - 21 June to 22 July



1. Birth-related

1. *Non-profit org.

6. Post-U.S.S.R. acronym

2. Eon, alternative spelling

9. Like white-headed eagle

3. Queen of Hearts’ pastry

13. ____ and desist 14. In the manner of, French 15. F, unit of electrical capacity

7. U.N. workers’ grp. 8. Chip dip

18. Upright

9. Shakespeare, e.g.

19. *San ____, 2018 Final Four spot 21. *NCAA’s selection day 23. Color of Scare

Leo - 23 July to 22 August

30. ____ ____ the hook 37. Play parts 39. Gulf of Naples resort 41. Peruvian beast of burden 43. Nonfatty meat, e.g. 44. States of agitated irritation 46. Nucleus plus electrons

You have more on your mind than romance, but romance is slowly taking up a majority of your thoughts. It’s not quite the weekend yet, so remind yourself that it’s still time for business. The two of you are going to want to try something new today -- maybe going to a play or checking out a museum. Your eye for beauty will be stimulated equally by your partner and your surroundings.

47. Montgomery of “Pretty Little Liars”

Scorpio - 23 Oct to 21 Nov

50. Between ids and superegos

48. House music

52. 100% 53. Beware of these in March 55. Shoshonean 57. *Winningest NCAA basketball coach 60. *Game tracker 64. Slight amount

You have been dutifully glued to your career and now you get to start leaning toward family. Ah, the weekend beckons. Whether or not you’ve made your fortune can wait. Put those worries out of your mind until Monday. Show off a bit more of your feelings than you normally would today. Even if you’re just complimenting a colleague or talking up your appreciation for the world around you, it’s great for your karma.

Aquarius - 21 Jan to 19 Feb

The weekend is calling to you, and it’s creating a kind of electricity in the air. That’s just what you need to make a bigger buck. Harness the energy today before closing shop. Your partner will go on and on about something you just don’t find all that interesting today. However, you may need to stay engaged to keep in their good graces.

Pisces - 20 Feb to 20 March

YJust how to make money is still a bit bewildering. But telling yourself it’s a brand new ballgame isn’t calming you down anymore. Put all of your confusions and concerns on the back burner, at least until tomorrow morning. A little switcheroo makes you stand out in a good way today. Whatever you do, make it memorable. Ask crazy question no one can see coming.

15. Tiny fox with large ears 20. Like utopia 24. Subjects of wills

Virgo 23 August to 22 September

Capricorn 22 Dec to 20 Jan

12. Banned insecticide

22. Web address

40. Flick part

You can swagger around all you want, as long as you’re only having fun with it. The moment you start taking yourself seriously, it’s no longer a game. Keeping things light is the money making touch. Your partner may need you to help with a problem, and it will take both of your brains to come close to an acceptable solution. You’ll each see the details the other misses.

11. Like a tatting product

28. ____ ex machina 35. Big-ticket ____

Sagittarius - 22 Nov to 21 Dec

10. A in A=ab

25. ____ cry

You can’t have a good time out of any old thing, but you’re learning. In fact, you’re getting quite creative. You may meet someone who shares your optimism and doubles your fun. You’re going to resist a request from your honey, but they might turn it into a demand if you’re not careful! You’re not usually this stubborn, but something about the situation seems to demand it.

It’s not a good day to start a fitness routine, you need to focus on making money for the duration of the day. If you want to start getting in shape, begin tomorrow. A big emotional risk might not pay off all that well, whereas a little exploration could reveal more interesting possibilities. Don’t force anything -- instead, give yourself some room to breathe.

6. Head of family

17. Neighbor of Ger.

24. Bring home the bacon

Libra - 23 Sept to 22 Oct

5. Tilted

16. Blood line

When it comes to being flush, do you really have only good memories? Or does absence make the heart grow fonder? Use your quick mind to put two and two together. You may be better off today than you were a year ago. You’ll be able to sweet-talk your partner into almost anything, as long as you stick to nice tactics and avoid resorting to anything underhanded. Charm is all it takes -- and you’ve got plenty.

Take some time to figure out your own personal money issues. If making money in the first place came as something of a surprise to you, then trying to earn it all back is giving you your true sense of purpose. You may be a practical person, but remember that your soft side is also important. The hard facts about a particular romantic prospect may seem quite clear, but what does your heart say?

4. Brooke or John Jacob, of New York

65. One of a set of dice 67. Garlic unit 68. Curl one’s lip

25. *____ Four 26. Make amends 27. Indiana Jones’ find, e.g. 29. *Team with most titles 31. Samoan money 32. Phantom’s genre?


33. Physically weak 34. *____ Four 36. Illegal kind of lab 38. Urban haze 42. Affair in Paris 45. Dee of “Twisted Sister” 49. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem 51. Book storage at a library 54. Furnish with a fund 56. “Bravo! Bravo!” 57. Lush 58. *Top seeds in each NCAA basketball region 59. Type of molding 60. *Advancing action 61. Caffeine tree

69. South American edible tuber

62. “Happily ____ after”

70. Curly-leaf and Plain-leaf ____

64. Recipe amt.

71. Mannequin Challenge state 72. Kind of nurse 73. *Jump ball, e.g.

63. Multiple choice challenge 66. ____ Bucket Challenge




FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

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FRIDAY, March 2, 2018

Home&Real Estate US home construction jumps in January, shifts to apartments


ASHINGTON | AFP | US home building surged in the first month of 2018, with a sharp rise in construction of apartments and as rebuilding continued in the storm-damaged South, according to government data released Friday. The jump brought the pace of housing construction to a 15-month high, while new building permits, a sign of supply in the pipeline, hit a pre-housing-crisis record, according to the Commerce Department data. Total housing starts rose 9.7 percent in January to an annual rate of 1.3 million units, the highest level since October 2016 and the largest increase in 13 months, the report said. That surpassed analyst forecasts, which had called for 1.2 million units. The increase was driven by a 19.7 percent surge in apartment construction, while single-family homes started rose just 3.7 percent from December. “The underlying story here is that housing construction is grinding slowly higher, and likely will continue to do so through mid-year, at least,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said in a research note. “Higher mortgage rates are likely to become a problem later in the year.” Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, cheered the data, since the increase in available housing will help hold down home prices and rent. In addition, “This boost in housing supply not only helps the economy, but may also help the Federal Reserve temper the pace of future short-term rate hikes,” Yun said, since rising housing costs can drive inflation. “Simply put, more housing supply means a lower inflation rate, and potentially a slower pace of interest rate increases by the Fed.” However, he noted that housing inventory is currently near historic lows. The construction figures are subject to a high degree of uncertainty and most fell within broad margins of error. Officials caution that a trend may take as many as six months to appear. Data on permits for projects in the works, which are more reliable, showed a 7.4 percent

3 Home projects that offer great returns

The Dallas neighborhood home to billionaires, athletes and the 43rd President by Michela Tindera

Kelcy Warren


t the beginning of the last century, Pio Crespi, a wealthy Italian count, arrived in America with the intention of expanding his cotton business. He headed west and eventually settled in Dallas, where he erected a mansion befitting an oldworld noble in a northern enclave called Preston Hollow. There, Crespi and his family hosted guests, including legendary opera singer Maria Callas and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, at their extravagant French-style estate. The 29,000-square-foot, ten-bedroom manse still stands today as Preston Hollow’s pièce de résistance. It’s now owned by a corporate aristocrat: billionaire banker Andy Beal, who made headlines last year when, in a twomonth span, he bought Crespi’s old homestead for an estimated $40 million and then paid an estimated $25 million for another estate nearby.

Net worth: $3.7 billion

he warmer months present an excellent opportunity to get outdoors and spruce up your home’s exterior. But if you have limited time and resources, it’s important to prioritize the focus of your efforts. For guidance, consider Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, which shows that not all remodeling projects are equal. Here are three spring renovation ideas that will give your property not only a facelift, but offer a great return on investment to boot. Garage Door: National data from the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report shows that the project that delivers the highest return on investment is a new upscale garage door. This is a good choice for those looking for better noise control, greater security, curb appeal and convenience. Newer offerings relying on smart home technology can synch with your mobile device to offer conveniences like voice control and notifications when you’ve left the garage door open. Manufactured Stone Veneer: In the number two slot for sound renovation investments, according to the same report, is manufactured stone veneer, which is a great way to add visual interest to your home exterior (or an interior room, for that matter). Be sure to select products that mimic the texture and color of natural stone, such as the choices from ProVia, which are molded and cast to look like stone harvested from various U.S. geographic regions and are offered in a variety of style and color palettes. The manufacturer offers resources that help make it easy to select and install the best choice for your home or get the look you’ve always wanted. Their visualizer tool, found at, allows you to upload a photo of your home to see how the stone will look on your exterior. Entry Door Replacement: Your home’s entry door is one of the first things prospective home buyers will notice, so it’s no surprise that upgrading yours could be a wise investment. The Cost vs. Value report named a new steel door as the third highest cost recouped. However, steel or fiberglass are both good choices for materials when it comes to functionality, durability, energy efficiency, security and versatility in style. For more home renovation ideas and resources, visit When giving your home a facelift, make it count. Consider those upgrades and renovations that don’t just look good, but also are proven to increase the resale value of your home. (StatePoint).


Home: $25.4 million (assessed value) Energy Transfer Partners’ cofounder snagged this 26,600-square-foot home in 2009. Pick your preferred sport: It has a baseball diamond, tennis court and bowling alley. George W. Bush Home: $4.6 million (assessed value*) When the Bushes left the White House in 2009, they settled on this 8,500-square-foot ranch built in 1959. Andrew Beal Net worth: $10.1 billion Home $48.9 million (assessed value*) Billionaire Mark Cuban’s palatial mansion nestled in Preston Hollow, suburban Dallas. A few months after Cuban sold to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in April 1999, he bought this 23,700-square-foot, ten-bedroom house.

Beal finds himself in very good company in the roughly 6-square-mile neighborhood, which lies about 10 miles north of downtown Dallas. Mark Cuban’s palatial spread (pictured above) is several blocks away. In all, Preston Hollow is home to at least five billionaires, a sprinkling of sports stars and the 43rd president.

This may be hotter-thanhellfire Texas, but Beal’s estate includes 11 fireplaces, a movie theater, a swimming pool, a tennis court and a wine cellar.

rise to 1.4 million units, the highest since June 2007. This was largely due to a sudden 25.4 percent spike in permits for multi-unit dwellings. Permits in the single family home segment, in contrast, fell 1.7 percent. Analysts say rising costs and scarce labor have slowed construction, leaving builders struggling to meet strong demand in the current economic recovery, causing prices to increase. Construction in the fire-damaged West rose 10.7 percent, and increased 9.3 percent in the South, which was battered by back-to-back hurricanes in August and September. Building in the Northeast, also mainly of apartments, jumped 45.5 percent but construction slowed 10.2 percent in the Midwest. Analysts caution that the data can be very volatile and subject to noise in the initial reports, with wild swings in the multi-unit category especially

FOR SALE: HOME Nice completely updated home in Mission Bend.

A look inside the foyer of Beal’s Crespi Hicks Estate



Land: 2.33 Acres on main Highway 6 in Rosharon/ Alvin area.

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Voice of Asia E-paper March 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 March 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...