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VOICE OF ASIA 1 Peacock in the Desert:

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Vol. 32 No. 9 • Friday, March 9, 2018

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Pritzker prize goes to Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi

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March29, 2018 InFRIDAY, Section l Health Line: Texas A&M N​RI ​Scientist Invents Novel Therapy for ​Brain Disorder l Home & Real Estate: Innovative New Looks for Your Kitchen Renovation l Bollywood/Hollywood Irrfan Khan: "I Suffer From a Rare Disease"

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Big turnout for election primaries across the Houston area OUSTON - In a wellattended primary election across Texas and the local metropolitan area, both Democratic and Republican voters set high-water marks in casting votes.

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Democrats flexed their muscles in the first primary voting of the 2018 midterm congressional election cycle in Texas on Tuesday. More than one million Democrats cast ballots in the Senate primary for U.S. Senate, the highest number since 1994, the last time Democrats were able to win a statewide race in a state that has remained firmly in the Republican column ever since. India's Balkrishna Doshi who won the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize poses for the Associated Press at his home in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. He is the first from India to win architecture's highest honor in the prize's 40-year history. The award was announced Wednesday by Tom Pritzker of the Chicago-based Hyatt Foundation. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki). by Thomas URBAIN, with Bhuvan BAGGA in New Delhi EW YORK, | AFP | 3/7/2018 - Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi, a pioneer of lowcost housing design, won the prestigious Pritzker Prize on Wednesday, considered architecture's Nobel equivalent.

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The 90-year-old Doshi -one of the last living architects to have apprenticed with the Franco-Swiss trailblazer Le Corbusier -- distinguished his work by committing to sustainable architecture and inexpensive housing, bringing modernist design to an India rooted in traditionalism.

Tiger Ball nets $1.2m, honors Sylvia and Gordon Quan

He is the 45th Pritzker laureate and the first from India. "Balkrishna Doshi has always created an architecture Continued on page 9

Republicans also delivered a strong turnout showing on Tuesday. More than 1.5 voters cast ballots in the Republican primaries, setting a new record for a non-presidential election. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (85.34 percent) easily handled his four opponents and will face off with Beto O’Rourke (who tallied 61.82 percent of the vote against two opponents

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in his primary race) in the fall. Governor Greg Abbott got a resounding vote of confidence (90.39 percent) among voters in the Republican primary, somewhat less so for Lieu-

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Sylvia Garcia at her polling location on Tuesday (Photo: AFP)

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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS

VOICE OF ASIA 2

by Seshadri Nonavinakere

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

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

Columnists: Legal: Richard M. Alderman Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Legal: Surendran K. Pattel Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Opinion: Dr. Chandra Mittal

VoiceofAsiaOnline.com Editor Online:

Shobana Muratee

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

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ow is the State of Local and State Economies? As reporters and political pundits pore over President Trump’s State of the Union Address and economists forecast the future, we thought it might be interesting to look at how State and Local Economies are reacting to his first few months in office. One does not need to be an expert economist to realize that the construction industry and other key indicators seem to finally be demonstrating signs of life after a long period of almost no activity. Since the dramatic slump in 2008, housing starts had been way off historical levels, but are now returning to pre-slump levels. Commercial construction was also at a standstill for most of the last decade and we now see physical evidence of an upturn in activity. Infrastructure spending is increasing and commercial starts are on the rise. Economists and the financial community point to “consumer confidence” as one of the key indicators of a country’s economic status. The following analysis is based on an old manufacturing management strategy of getting out of the office and walking around the factory to see what is really happening at the floor level,

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

Voice of Asia (USPS 010-215) (ISSN#10705058) is published every Friday (for a subscription rate of $50 per year) by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713774-5143. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Voice of Asia, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074

resident Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports Thursday, following the recent recommendations of his secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross. Actually, Mr. Trump went a bit further, saying he would hit steel with a 25 percent levy, rounded up from the 24 percent Mr. Ross had said was necessary to keep the U.S. industry operating at the 80 percent of capacity that central planners in his department deem optimal. For aluminum, the charge will be 10 percent. Prices on everything made from steel and aluminum will go up; jobs saved by producers may be offset by jobs lost elsewhere. If that seems contradictory, consider the fact that this tax increase on raw materials comes from the same president who says the economy is booming because he cut taxes on income. Ostensibly, these added burdens on all Americans except those involved in steel and aluminum production are necessary for national security. That’s the rationale Mr. Ross invoked to escape what would otherwise be American commitments under international trade law. Superficially plausible — planes are made of aluminum; tanks from steel — it’s basically bogus. A real

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

The State of the Union vs. the State of the States and then further documented by economic reports. We have been driving through the neighborhoods of several cities around the country and are noticing a serious upsurge in activity, so from a layman’s point of view, consumer confidence appears to be very healthy. Construction Rebounding Take a ride around almost any city in the country and you will see physical signs of the change in the air. Housing developments that lay in ruins for over ten years are finally starting to see life again and ground is breaking for totally new developments in faster growing areas. On the commercial side, new developments are popping up on nearly every street corner and older developments are looking for ways to use previously unused land. New commercial construction starts in December of 2017 are up over 200% compared to the same month in 2010. Monthly starts in both residential and commercial construction have been strong for the past two years and are expected to remain strong. New Car and

Capital Goods Sales on the Rise The big car lots that were going out of business back in 2008-2010 are back bigger than ever and the number of new cars on the road is holding steady since the low levels following the 2008 recession. Americans are driving more and petroleum sales are up as a result. Drivers “put a record 3.22 trillion miles on the nation’s roads last year, up 2.8 percent from 3.1 trillion miles in 2015.” This “increased miles driven on public roads and highways…” underscores the demands facing American’s roads and bridges,” according to a statement from the FHWA, “and reaffirms calls for greater investment in surface transportation infrastructure.” Durable Goods Remain Strong Since gas prices are staying low, there is more disposable income available for purchasing capital goods like appliances and furniture. Another key indicator that economists look at for determining the health of an economy is what are known as “durable goods,” defined as “higher

priced capital goods. Durable goods sales have rebounded significantly since 2008 and is expected to remain strong well into 2020 and beyond. Consumers Vote with their Pocket Book The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports consumer spending also remains strong and here again, one does not need a degree in economics to see that people are lining up to see first run movies, nearly every restaurant in the country is full and vacation spending is on the rise. There is an old saying that “consumers vote with their pocket books,” and Bill Clinton’s famous campaign slogan “it’s the economy stupid,” would certainly indicate that political blustering aside, consumers like what they see so far. The author, Seshadri Nonavinakere, is associated with and works in the Oil & Gas Industry for the last 20 years around the world. He is also a Finance Analyst, has experience in Manufacturing, Mining Operations, and IT Training.

Trump’s tariffs will hurt all Americans expert on national security, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, has been decidedly cool on Mr. Ross’s protectionist project and said so in a memorandum to the commerce secretary, albeit between the lines. While Mr. Mattis said he was against countries “intentionally” using “unfair” trade practices to harm the U.S. defense industrial base — as opposed to outcompeting us, which is what some of the trading partners potentially affected by the Trump tariffs are actually doing — he also pointed out that U.S. industry can easily meet the military’s steel and aluminum needs without protection. If we must go ahead with tariffs anyway, Mr. Mattis urged, we should spare our “key allies” from “negative impact” and encourage them to join us in putting pressure on China, whose market manipulations in both steel and aluminum are real and a legitimate focus for U.S. response. However, the president gave no sign Thursday that he would heed either suggestion. On its face, his decision applies equally to hostile powers such as China and Russia and to close treaty allies such as Canada and Japan. Without major modifica-

Primaries... Continued from front page Andrew White (27.38 percent) to see who gets to vie for governor come November. Land Commissioner George P. Bush had a tougher go of it (58.18 percent) versus challenger Jerry Patterson (31.2 percent). Bush will face Democratic challenger Miguel Suazo (70 percent). Ag Commissioner Sid Miller also had more of a run for it (55.83 percent of the vote) against two challengers who split the remaining votes. Seems that no matter what he does or says, Republicans want

President Trump speaks on steel and aluminum tariffs. ( Mandel Ngan /AFP/Getty Images). tions, the president’s plan will encourage U.S. allies to join forces with U.S. adversaries. Mr. Mattis also urged making it clear to U.S. industry that protection would be conditional, “to set clear expectations domestically regarding competitiveness.” Instead, Mr. Trump promised a roomful of steel and aluminum executives “you’ll have protection for the first time in a long while,” adding vaguely: “You’ll have to regrow your industries, that’s all I’m asking.”

mally adopts. Already, though, the president and his commerce secretary have legitimized unilateral invocation of a “national security” exception to normal trade rules. Other countries can play that game, too; and more might try, now that the United States has set this bad example.

Mr. Trump’s words are not always an exact guide to the policies his administration for-

Courtesy: The Washington Post, Editorial Board.

him in office. He’ll face Kim Olsen, the only Democratic nominee. Republican incumbent John Culberson (76.1 percent) retained the right to run for his U.S. Representative District 7 seat in the fall against either Lizzie Pannill Fletcher or Laura Moser who’ll be in a Democratic primary runoff. Despite Gov. Abbott’s wishes, incumbent Sarah Davis of House District 134 won her primary (56.29 percent) against Abbott-endorsed Susanna Dokupil (43.7 percent) and will face off against a Democratic challenger Allison Lami Sawyer who received 90.56 percent

Race to the bottom, trade war: Call it what you will, the spiral will eventually harm everyone, the United States and its metal industries very much included.

of the votes in her race. If voters wanted to establish a benchmark for the night, they did so in the Democratic race for U.S. Representative District 29 where Sylvia Garcia with 63.21 percent of the vote won the right to face either Phillip Aronoff (38.61 percent) or Carmen Maria Montiel (23.58 percent) in the fall once the Republican runoff elections take place. If elected, she would be the first Latina congress member from Houston. In other Democratic primary returns, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee easily handled (86.03 percent) her District 18 challenger.

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Community

VOICE OF ASIA 3

Section 1

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

IACCGH's Inaugural Event Welcomes New Leadership

IACCGH's President Swapan Dhairyawan. Photo credit: Bijay Dixit. by Manu Shah

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he 2018 IACCGH Inaugural event was held on February 22nd at the Legacy Room in Houston’s City Hall and was attended by a large gathering of members, elected officials, community leaders, resource partners and guests. The event marks the passing of the mantle from outgoing President Allen Richards to incoming President Swapan Dhairyawan as well as the introduction of his team. Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering and emphasized the fact that the Chamber has been fulfilling its role of promoting Houston’s economy during its 19 years of operation and has over the years evolved to become a collective voice of the business community. He also thanked the Guests of Honor – Mayor Turner and Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray for their continued support and encouragement.

In a brief address, Mayor Turner described the Chamber as “an essential driver that fosters the economic link between American and Indian businesses” and stated that he would call on the Chamber for help in the event of a planned delegation to India in the near future. Offering an interesting statistic, he stated that in 2015, India was Houston’s 16th trading partner and today it is in the 14th place – a position that, he expects, will only move up.

L to R: Ashok Garg, Joya Shukla, Jagdip Ahluwalia, Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Swapan Dhairyawan, Rajiv Bhavsar, Sanjay Ramabhadran, Alyssa Holmes Henderson. Photo credit: Bijay Dixit.

Reiterating the importance of this growing relationship, Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray quoted Past President Barack Obama that the, “US-India relationship was one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century” and added that Texas and India’s close relationship has opened the doors for greater trade and commerce.

businesses have a five year life span while only 33% of businesses reach a life span of more than 10 years. IACCGH, he emphasized, strived to change this statistic by developing opportunities for businesses through involvement and growth and he would continue to prioritize efforts to help small businesses survive and thrive.

Stepping into his new role, President Dhairyawan observed that small businesses are the backbone of the country but added that less than 50% of these

He further promised to carry the Chamber’s several initiatives with the same commitment and stated that he will introduce more seminars in the

areas of legal, financial literacy and engineering for the benefit of members who come from all walks of life. He thanked the “Open Forum” radio show which has extended an invitation to showcase an IACCGH member’s success story and said this special feature will be aired monthly He also encouraged the gathering to become involved with the Chamber, avail its resources, attend events, be visible, volunteer and most importantly, network as much as possible.

He concluded by introducing his Board members and expressed his appreciation at the strengths and expertise they were each bringing to the table. The Chamber’s next event to be held on March 15th is the Women Mean Business event and will feature Dr. Rathna Kumar, Artistic Director, Samskriti and Sunanda Nair, Founding Director of Sunanda Performing Arts Center. To register, please visit www.iaccgh.com

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 4

Guests toast the diversity of Asia at 2018 Tiger Ball, honor Sylvia and Gordon Quan Raised $1.2 million, exceeding fundraising goal

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OUSTON, March 6, 2018 — Tiger Ball 2018: Celebrating the Diversity of Asia, paid homage on March 3 to Honorees Sylvia and Gordon Quan, longtime Asia Society advocates. The event also recognized CoChairs Kathy and Glen Gondo, Helene and Stephen Le, and Sultana and Moez Mangalji, as well as Honorary Chairs The Honorable Theresa Chang and Dr. Peter Chang. The proceeds topped $1.2 million, well past the fundraising goal. Upon their arrival, the 600+ guests in black tie and national dress were greeted by several wishing trees along Southmore, strung with hot pink and red ribbons. (Wishing trees are a tradition throughout Asia.) The lavishly decorated 40’x240’ Chevron Gala Pavilion covered Southmore Blvd between Caroline and Austin. The tent was decorated in a Taj Mahal theme, complete with Moorish gates, lanterns, rugs, ottomans and lounging poofs. Guests enjoyed cocktails and Chinese performances by Dance of Asian America, who led a procession into the Grand Hall for dinner. A sumptuous Pan-Asian dinner was served throughout the Asia Society Texas Center building, which was thematically decorated and is itself an award-winning work of art (designed by famed architect Yoshio Taniguchi). Tables were arrayed throughout the Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall, the North Gallery, the café, Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater, Water Garden Terrace, and the Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center. After dinner, guests returned to the Chevron Gala Pavilion for a panoply of decadent Pan-Asian desserts and an impromptu hula lesson from dancers from the Ka Pā Hula Nā Pua O Kamali’i Polynesian dance ensemble. Special guests included: His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur and his daughter, Princess Shivranjani Rajye, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Nancy Allen, Joni Baird, Rice University president Dr. David W. Leebron and first lady Y. Ping Sun, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Isla and Tommy Reckling, Andrea and Bill White, Alex and Astley Blair, Lily and Charles Foster, plus many members of the consular corps.

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Comptroller announces new Director of Communications

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USTIN — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced today Chris Bryan will assume the role of director of Communications and Information Services (CIS) starting Monday, March 19. Bryan had previously served as assistant director of communications and as the Comptroller’s chief spokesperson. He fills a role vacated by outgoing director Lauren Willis, who is launching a soon-to-be-announced public affairs firm. “I’m excited Chris has accepted this position,” Hegar said. “I am extremely proud of the award-winning work the CIS Division does, and Chris has been instrumental in making that possible.”

Ka Pā Hula Nā Pua O Kamali’i dancer (local Polynesian group) teaching guests how to hula. Photo by Daniel Ortiz

“It is a sad day seeing Lauren leave,” Hegar said. “But we are so excited to see what she is going to do next. And

Floral choices played a key role in this year’s décor. The greenery represented a wide variety of Asian and non-Asian origins and included peonies, hydrangea, cherry blossoms, manzanita trees, roses, tulips, azaleas, orchids, forsythia, pierus japonica, iris, prunus, dogwood, and phlox.

“I want to thank Comptroller Hegar for his confidence in me and trusting me with this important position,” Bryan said. “And I’m grateful to Lauren for her mentorship and guidance over the years.” As part of the transition, Kevin Lyons, who currently serves as the agency’s press secretary, will take over the role of spokesperson, while agency veteran Karen Hudgins will take over Bryan’s duties as assistant director. “This is what good leadership at a state agency is all about,” Hegar said. “Part of my focus on customer service involves ensuring taxpayers and the general public get consistently high levels of service regardless of internal administrative changes. Smooth transitions are key to maintaining those levels of service, and I know Chris will continue that leadership and maintain the focus on Texas taxpayers.”

Houston wins competitive grant to improve flood warning signals at traffic intersections

A full complement of topshelf talent created this year’s Tiger Ball, including décor by Rebekah Johnson of Bergner & Johnson, tent by Derek Widis of SPF Event Resources, catering by Gary Mercer and Jim Ewing of City Kitchen, DJing by DJ Senega of Karma DJs, and lighting by Bright Star Productions.

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Proceeds from the Tiger Ball support Asia Society Texas Center’s 150+ public programs each year. Next year’s Tiger Ball is scheduled for Friday, March 1, 2019, honoring Phoebe and Bobby Tudor. About Asia Society Texas Center With 12 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the West. For more info visit www.asiasociety.org

Willis leaves the agency having spent six years with the Comptroller’s office, first as communications director under Comptroller Susan Combs and then as director of the newly created CIS division under Hegar. Bryan was hired as the agency’s spokesperson in 2014 and has served as Willis’ deputy in CIS since Hegar became Comptroller.

Lauren has put such a great team in place, starting at the top with Chris and throughout the whole division, that I’m completely confident the agency, its customers and the public will see the same great level of communication and information services they have come to expect.”

Nancy Allen (board director) and Princess Shivranjani Rajye of Marwar-Jodhpur. Photo credit: Jenny Antill.

Left: onorees Gordon (board vice chair) & Sylvia Quan, cochairs Sultana & board director Moez. Photo by Jenny Antill.

OUSTON - In partnership with county and state government, the City of Houston has won a $9.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve 40 flood-prone traffic intersections with new technology that alerts drivers when high water is present.

program is a discretionary grant for innovative transportation proposals. The program is highly competitive. DOT selects awardees from hundreds of applicants, who can include states, territories, counties, other cities, port authorities, transit agencies and other jurisdictions.

“These improvements will save lives,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We have seen automobiles become deadly traps time and time again in Houston during flooding events, including during Hurricane Harvey. Thanks to these grant funds, we will be able to help people avoid these dangerous situations.”

The City’s proposal, in collaboration with the Houston District of the Texas Department of Transportation and Harris County, targets 40 sites in the region where high water on roadways poses a threat to drivers and passengers. The sites will be equipped with red light warnings backup power generators and batteries. Guided wave sensors will monitor for high water.

City Council Member Larry Green, who died Tuesday, advocated for the grant application to the Department of Transportation on a recent trip to Washington, D.C., on behalf of the City. The proposal includes a location in District K, which Green represented, at Alt U.S. 90 and Beltway 8. The federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant

Currently, most of the yellow light signals at the sites are powered with batteries charged with solar panels. Yellow lights can be confused by drivers for less immediately dangerous warnings, such as entering a school zone. Extended cloudy conditions can cause the systems to lose power. (-City of Houston)

The one-of-a-kind big board auction items included the opportunity to throw the first pitch at an Astros game; a cultural tour of NYC with luxury accommodations, breakfast at Tiffany & Co NY, and an exclusive tour of the Rockefeller collection at Asia Society NY; 4 seats in the New York Yankees Legends suite; dinner for 10 with Rice University president Dr. David W. Leebron and first lady Y. Ping Sun in their 1920’s mansion; exquisite jewelry by Tiffany & Co. and Mikimoto; a curated tour of (continued) Toronto with first-class airfare; a progressive dinner for six at Tony’s, Vallone’s, and Ciao Bello; a sushi and sashimi party for 30 guests hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan; and first-class international United airfare for two.

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VOICE OF ASIA 5

Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

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

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Tel: 713-774-5140

Sugar Land launches Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land hosts open house to showcase advanced 311 Contact Center

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UGAR LAND, Texas – Citizens ask, and the city answers from its newly created 311 Contact Center. 311 is a single, one-stop point of contact designed to make it easier for residents to know who to contact for assistance with non-emergency, city-related questions, and requests for services and also provides the ability for residents to track the progress of their requests. 311 is staffed by customer service ambassadors who are trained in customer service and are equipped with a comprehensive knowledge of city services. The ambassadors aim to identify the best way to assist with general questions or service requests during residents’ first interaction with the city. Customer service has continually ranked among the community’s top priorities in its recurring Citizen Satisfaction Survey. An organizational emphasis on customer service and communications resulted in some of the largest percentage increases in satisfaction levels above the national average in the most recent survey. 311 is the result of the city’s customer service strategic project that began in 2013 and tasked city staff members from across the city organization with analyzing the city’s customer service practices, as well as industry best practices. The effort led to a recommendation that the city create the 311 Contact Center to focus on continuous improvement of the city’s customer service delivery. “311 builds upon the city of Sugar Land’s long-standing reputation of providing superior service to our residents,” said

City Manager Allen Bogard. “The consolidation of existing technology and resources into 311 allows the program to deliver a cost-effective enhancement to our citizens, which is in line with our city’s mission to enhance the quality of life in the community through a commitment to excellence in the delivery of public service.” Residents can call 311 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding city holidays. An after-hours answering service assists with and dispatches urgent calls to city staff members in the evenings and on the weekends, allowing residents to reach a live person 24/7. Residents have the option to submit questions and requests to 311 day and night using a variety of communication technology: • By phone, call 3-1-1 or 281275-2900 (the 10-digit number for outside of the city’s corporate limits). • Email gov.

311@sugarlandtx.

• Submit a request via MySugarLand, the city mobile app that can be downloaded at http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/80/ Mobile-App-Download. • Visit the 311 Contact Center webpage at www.sugarlandtx. gov/311. In preparation for the official launch of 311, the customer service ambassadors supported the city’s response to Hurricane Harvey and other severe weather events, as well as the December annexation of the Greatwood and New Territory communities. For more information about 311, visit www.sugarlandtx. gov/311.

technology and the cancer treatment team

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UGAR LAND – Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land invites the Fort Bend community to an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 to showcase the technological innovations and resources that are available close to home. Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is the only hospital in Fort Bend County with the American College of Surgeons – Commission on Cancer (CoC) accreditation. The hospital received this accreditation by complying with CoC standards. The cancer treatment team at Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land provides comprehensive care for cancer patients by routinely collaborating to ensure each patient receives the best possible care. The team is focused on using innovative approaches to treatment such as immunotherapy treatments, the latest surgical procedures and the most targeted radiation therapies to treat cancer. “Not only does Houston Methodist Cancer Center at

Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land. Sugar Land offer the most advanced treatments for our patients, the center also offers many types of support for patients and their families,”

said Amy Sebastian-Deutsch. “Physically treating the cancer is important and so is providing patients with resources to help with other aspects of the

Sri Preston Kulkarni celebrates

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ri Preston Kulkarni, Candidate for U.S. Congressional District 22, was grateful top the five candidates for the seat. “It is past 2am and I just finished thanking all of our volunteers for their hard work. We are thankful and could not have done this without y'all. Over 9,000 voters came out to support us and we are all truly

humbled. "When I began this journey, I aimed to bring reason, compassion, and decency into our government. People said it was impossible. Many said it was risky. Others said it was pointless, but I knew I had to do something. I resigned my position as a diplomat in the U.S. State Department, where I had served our country for 14

years. I met with and listen to thousands of people in District 22 on how to make that much nee"We stand proud and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our unique neighborhoods. We have shown we can bridge our communities and have our voices represented. We will fight for what's right. We will unite against those who divide us. We will find common ground, together.”

healing process such as nutritional support, spiritual care, providing tools for caregivers, and offering free survivorship programs such as Thriving Through Creative Arts, Music 4 Life, Life in Motion, Massage Therapy and Pet Therapy.” Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land welcomes the community to an open house to tour the facility and learn about services available for cancer patients. The open house will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 10. at Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land 16655 Southwest Fwy. Sugar Land, TX 77479. For more information visit events.houstonmethodist.org/openhouse-sl or call 281.275.0751.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 6

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Fort Bend ISD celebrates HH Sri Krishna Desika Jeer National Social Work Month Swami to visit Houston

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is Holiness SriKrishna Desika Jeer Swamy, an ascetic in the Ahobila Mutt lineage and the first monk of this cadre living outside India at Sri Ranganatha Temple in Pamona, New York, will be visiting Houston from March 30 to April 7, 2018 where he is conducting several functions. He will be staying at the devotees’ homes. As a sanyasi, he can stay no more than three days at a given home The major functions are as follows: -- To celebrate Sri Mahalaksmi"s Jayanti (Birthday) on 30th of March at Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple Sri LAKSHMI NARAYANA VRATAM is done from 7.00 PM to 830 pm all are invited to participate. Pictured (front row, l-r) are Davina Myles, Linda Coleman, Priti Avantsa, Janice Little, Jeniece Goudeau, Cecilia Tu, Rashan Carter; and (back row) Emeka Okonkwo, Rod Martin, Sharon Wright, Emmalea Bozone, Vanessa Perez, Ashley Bryant, Dana Guzman and LaSonya Newell McArthur. ORT BEND ISD (March 6, 2018) – Fort Bend ISD is proud to honor our District social workers during National Social Work Month. Sponsored by the National Association of Social Workers, Social Work Month recognizes the contributions of social workers in all areas, including education. The week of March 4-10 honors school social workers for the integral role they have

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in education and the positive impact they make in students’ lives. FBISD currently has a team of 16 social workers. The team collaborates with campus staff and community resource groups to extend services to students and families dealing with homelessness, school absenteeism and other challenges. Our school social workers also provide individual/group counseling, crisis intervention

and mentoring services, referrals and access to community resources and support to McKinney Vento families. “We chose this profession so that we could help children and their families be the best they can be,” said Priti Avantsa, FBISD’s Lead Social Worker. “Our team feels blessed to come to work each day knowing that we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in children’s lives.”

Young Syrian refugee fatally struck by teen driver while riding bicycle in Sugar Land UGAR LAND, Texas, Monday, March 05, 2018 -- For family friends of the teen boy, it was difficult for them to tell their children. Hani Muwakqe said, "My daughter and son took it real, real hard. Now we're trying to comfort them." Sugar Land Police say a teen girl in a high-profile truck was

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exiting a driveway onto Dulles Avenue when she struck a middle school boy on a bike and dragged him into the street. Friends say the family moved here to escape war in Syria, just a few years ago, only to have tragedy strike outside their home in Texas. They say the boy was just riding down the street to get his

older sister a taco. "There's a taco place right there and he always... I never see him walk on the sidewalk he was always riding. Very nice young kid, very active in school, activities, drawing, pictures, even the principal was telling me that's one of my best students," Muwakqe said. SOURCE: KTRK

March 31 SRI SEETERAMA KALYANAM and PATTABHISHEKAM in Katy. April 1st address Adult Prajna Parents and visitors 10:30 AM to 12 Noon April 2nd to 6th PRAVACHANAM on SRI VISHNU PURANAM This is unique April 7th SRI SANTANA KRISHNA POOJA for couples this is the first time in Houston this is for couple wanting children and also for the good of children it seems the FERTILITY RATE is 96 to 98% this is unheard of in medical circles Before accepting Sanyasam his name was Dr. Venkat Kanumalla. He was born on September 4th 1050 very interestingly on Sri Krihna Jayanti Day in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. Dr. Venkat Kanumalla received his PhD in Nuclear Physics in 1975. He was in the Clinical Treatment of cancer patients in the U.S, for 30 years. He is one of the few PhDs at the level of the American Board of Radiology certified ( D A B R ) in medical physics in the U.S. He was in-

HH Sr Krishna Desika Jeeyar Swami volved in advanced experimental radiation therapy for cancer patients in developing radiation protocols for advanced stages of cancer. He is well known in radiation oncology After receiving training in the Visitha Adwaita Siddhanta of Bhagavad Ramanuja in 1985 at the lotus feet of His Holiness the 44th Jeeyar of Sri Ahobila Mutt Sri Mukkur Alaghiyasingar and with his blessings he started volunteering as a priest. At the command of his Guru, Venkatji dedicated his life to build the beautiful Sri Ranganadha temple in Pamona New York in 1988 and the rest is history, He established a wonderful temple. With the blessings of His Holiness the 46th Jeeyar Swamy, sri Venkat Kanumalla accepted Sanyasa Asram on November 24th 2014 at Vaduvur Sri Kodanda Rama Templeand became His Holiness Srikrishna Desika Yathi Jeeyar. With the request of the board of trustees Swamiji stayed at Sri Ranganadha Temple and has been guiding the administration at the temple and has been blessing the devotees since. He has travelled extensively in the US,

Canada and other countries. Swamiji speaks many a language including Tamil, English, Telugu Hindi and others fluently, he gives discourses in many languages fluently and hew makes it very interesting because of his scientific knowledge and background, his lectures are very motivating and easy to follow and understand, He has served all in so may causes and calamities that affected humanity. He is in the process of completing Sri Krishna Temple and Asram and the Brindavan Vedic School at Narasarao Pet in Andhra Pradesh. Swamyji is well known for the Sri Santana Krishna Pooja which was successful 96% in helping women to have baby that tried long time and could not get a baby. This is unheard of even to the specialist doctors. He prays to Lord Krisna as Vatapatra Sayi made of Gold that was donated to him and prays with the couple. Swamyji is easily accessible to all and He can be reached at 551-500-3601 or at 83670-10192 in India. His E-mail is skdyjswamy@gmail. com and skdyjswamy@yahoo. com

India House

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DATE & VENUE SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2018 | 6:00 pm Sugar Land Marriott Town Square

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PATRON: $10,000 •1 Table of 10 •Council membership •Recognition in social media, press release & print

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SPONSOR: $5000 •1 Table of 10 •Council membership •Recognition in social media & print

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FOR SPONSORSHIP / TICKETS vipin@indiahouseinc.org | 713-929-1900 | www.indiahouseinc.org/gala2018


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 7

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Golden Moon Festival at ISKCON of Houston 2018

Sunday school children delighted the audience with bhajans and mrdanga-violin recital.

HH Hanumat Presaka Swami delivering an inspirational talk to the devotees on the occasion. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu - Siksastakam by the Sloka class students.

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he International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) of Houston celebrated Gaura Purnima, translated as “golden full moon” signifying the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu during the full moon, 532 years ago. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also known as Gauranga, due to his golden complexion, appeared in Mayapur, India and propagated“Sankirtana” - congregational chanting of the holy names, specifically the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare as the most effective means to attain the highest spiritual perfection - Love of Godhead. Typically, devotees fast on this day until moonrise which signifies the appearance of the Lord.

Gaura Purnima is one of the major festivals of Vaisnava tradition and planning and preparation for this festival started weeks in advance. The festival also marks the ushering of the Gaudiya New Year, and devotees from far and wide attended the early morning services at 4:30 AM to offer their respectful prayers to the Lordships and make an auspicious start to the new year. The public celebrations started in the evening with bhajans. The temple wore a festive look with flowers and special garlands made with popcorn donning its pristine marble walls and exquisitely carved teakwood altar. The festivities started off with abhisek of Gaura Nitai deities combined with chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Abhishek is - bathing ceremony where both Lord Gaurachandra and His dear associate Lord Nityananda were bathed in col-

orful sweet fruit juices, milk, ghee, honey, yogurt, and other auspicious substances. HH Hanumat Presaka Swami gave an inspiring talk on the appearance of Lord Chaitanya where he spoke about the reasons for the appearance of the Lord, His form and His teachings for a devotee of the Lord to cultivate the qualities of humility, tolerance and mutual respect. A vegetarian feast was served to everyone following yet another aarti and ecstatic chanting of the holy names. To continue with the festivities on Sunday evening, the cultural program kicked off with a recital of the sole composition of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu - Siksastakam by the Sloka class students. The Sunday school children regaled the audience with several melodious Vaisnava bhajans including a mrdangaviolin recital. The final piece

Children presented a wonderful finale drama depicting the pastimes of Lord Gauranga and His Associates was a drama on the pastimes of Lord Gauranga and His Associates emphasizing the importance of the Holy Name in this age of Kali and concluded aptly with the resounding chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. The festivities ended with a

sumptuous vegetarian dinner prasadam. Over 1000 enthusiastic devotees attended the event on Thursday and Sunday. This year, a special holi festival – Color HTX is planned at the new Govardhan Urban Farm in Houston and is sched-

uled for Saturday, April 21. Please visit http://colorhtx. com/ for more details. ISKCON of Houston temple (located at 1320 West 34th Street) invites you to attend our weekly Sunday program, starting at 5 PM.


DIASPORA

VOICE OF ASIA 8

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

1st Anniversary of GOPIO delegation discusses community issues Nithyanandeshwara with Indian Consulate in New York – Know India Hindu Temple - Houston Program to be launched for US PIOs Aadheenam

HH Paramahamsa Nithyananda

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fter its Grand Opening & Kumbhabhishekam a year ago, the Nithyanandeshwara Hindu Temple Houston Aadheenam will be celebrating its first temple anniversary this coming weekend Saturday, March 10th to Tuesday, March 13th, 2018. The temple will be hosting a full schedule of events, including the auspicious Gomatha Puja, which is being performed for the first time in this grand scale to honor the grace of the cow. According to the sacred Hindu Scriptures, all Gods and Goddesses have their presence in the body of a cow. By performing Gomatha Puja, we are receiving the blessings of all Gods and Goddesses that reside in the cow. This Gomatha Puja will take place on Sunday, March 11th, 2018 at 3.30pm. The temple will also be performing the special Pujas - The traditional vedic rituals for the Anniversary Celebrations as per the Agama Shasthra scriptures. The Kala Yaga Pujas will take place on March 12th, Monday, and March 13th, Tuesday, with Purnahuti on Tuesday Morning with Kalasabhishekam. The celebrations will end with a Grand Meenakshi

GOPIO Consulate Interactive Meeting Group Thirukalyanam - celebrating the divine cosmic wedding of Goddess Meenakshi, and Lord Sadashiva Himself. The Nithyanandeshwara Hindu Temple Houston Aadheenam - inspired by His Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda, recognized as a living incarnation by millions, and Mahamandaleshwar of the most ancient apex body of Hinduism, the Mahanirvani Akhada, and under the auspices of the worldwide governing body of Hinduism, Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad (ABAP), was founded to promote the values of Hinduism and to support the spiritual needs of the local Houston community. His Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda is the recipient of the Guinness world records for Largest rope yoga lesson at the Nithyananda Peetam, Bengaluru Aadheenam. The award was given for the very first time recognizing largest class ever conducted in Kundalini Rajju Yoga℠, the practice of rope yoga. Since the grand opening, the Nithyanandeshwara Hindu Temple r hosted several unique events - some of which include - The Navagraha Dosha Parihara Homa - A rare and

OPIO Officials and Chapter Representatives Meeting with General Sandeep Consul Chakravorty and Other Consulate Officials in New York On Tuesday, February 20th, 2018. In September a GOPIO delegation met India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and appealed to launch Know India Program (KIP) during the Summer for the second and third generation PIOs in the US who have not visited India. The ministry in principal accepted this proposal and the Indian Consulate in New York as a follow up invited a GOPIO delegation to the consulate for

discussion to launch Govt. of India's Know India Program (KIP) during the Summer for the PIO youth during Summer time.

elaborate ritual for alleviating the ‘Doshas’ - the ill effects of the Nine Planets, and the World Tour of Nithyananda YogisSM “From Human to Divine Superhuman and Beyond”, where 7 Yogis initiated by H.H Paramahamsa Nithyananda demonstrated several spiritual powers of the Third Eye such as Body Scanning, Remote Vision, Materialization, and Akashic ReadingsSM in front of a large awe-struck crowd of over 500 at Cullen Hall, University of Houston.

The temple cordially invites each and every individual to experience and participate in some of the rituals that are rarely done outside of India.

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The Indian Consulate officials included Consul General Chakravorty and the other Consuls. The GOPIO officials included Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Secretary Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Chapter Review Committee Chair Dinesh Mittal, GICC CoChair Prakash Shah, GOPIO Media Council Chair Nami Kaur and GOPIO Council on Seniors Chair Sudha Acharya. GOPIO discussed several

More information about the temple anniversary celebrations can be found at tiny.cc/ temple-anniversary & tiny.cc/ gomata-puja . Please contact (832) 8125916, (832) 980-7237, or events@vedictemplehouston. org. Visit VedicTempleHouston.Org

other issues including providing assistance to NRIs/PIOs in need and joint programs with the consulate. The Consulate on its part updated activities and services provided for the community. These include joint efforts with the community organizations as well as organized directly by the Consulate such as the India Lecture series. The Consul General reiterated that the KIP proposal presented by GOPIO to Sushma Swaraj had been accepted by the Ministry of External Affairs, and will start in Summer of 2018. This program caters to young PIOs around the world who have not visited India, to make that visit and get to know about the country of their origin. GOPIO delegation brought the following issues to the attention of the Consulate. PIO youth participation from the US in Know India Program (KIP) High need for social services for the NRI/PIO community in the US Growing need to address the mental health conditions within the Diaspora

PIOs being charged 10 times fees for off campus enrollment in Universities NRI/PIO Seniors experiencing hunger, loneliness and depression Limited Consulate resources to attend NRI/PIO events e.g. Independence Day The biggest outcome of this meeting was the plan to launch Govt. of India’s Know Indian Program (KIP) for the 3rd and above generation US PIOs of age 18-30 who have not visited India before. More details of the selection process will come later. The meeting also decided to initiate several new programs with the Indian Consulate, especially in coordinating social services to needy NRIs/PIOs, health series talks and activities of GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce (GICC) hosting Indian business delegation. The meeting ended with a positive discussion on how GOPIO can play an instrumental role to support the Indian Government’s objectives with respect to their nationals living abroad and helping the Indian Consulate to provide services to the Diaspora community.


SOUTH ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 9

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Thousands of Pakistanis de- Sri Lanka declares emergency tained and sentenced to death to quell anti-Muslim riots in Saudi denied rights: report by Amal JAYASINGHE

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SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP | 3/7/2018 - Thousands of Pakistanis imprisoned in Saudi Arabia and dozens sentenced to death in the ultra-conservative kingdom have been denied their legal rights to a defence, a report in Islamabad warned Wednesday. Saudi Arabia executes more Pakistanis than any other foreign nationality annually, nearly all for heroin smuggling, according to the study by Justice Project Pakistan and Human Rights Watch (HRW). Sixty-six Pakistanis were beheaded in the country between 2014 and 2017 alone, the report entitled "Caught in a Web" said. "You not only have the death sentence, but you have it without due process or elementary fair trial," Saroop Ijaz, an HRW researcher, told AFP. Pakistani migrants are "exceptionally disempowered and marginalised," Ijaz told AFP, adding that the group faces a "premodern discriminatory" criminal justice system in Saudi Arabia. With 1.6 million nationals, Pakistanis constitute the second largest foreign community in Saudi Arabia, and most are members of a low-skilled workforce with few rights. Some 2,795 Pakistanis are currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, the study says. According to Saudi media reports, a Pakistani man was executed on Tuesday in Mecca, convicted of drug trafficking. Four others were sentenced

last month for raping and killing a woman and raping her teenage daughter, according to the Saudi interior ministry. Detained Pakistanis "have braved a system that puts them in periods of detention without charge or trial, no access to legal assistance, pressure on detainees from the authorities to sign confessions and accept predetermined prison sentences to avoid prolonged arbitrary detention," said Sarah Belal, executive director for JPP. The report also criticised inefficient translation services, which can "make Pakistanis sign a confession without even knowing it," said Ijaz, who also blamed Islamabad for not do-

ing enough to help. "The Pakistani government has not shown either the willingness or the capacity to defend its citizens who are facing a harsh and discriminatory justice system." Under the "kafala" system in force in Saudi Arabia, which regulates the status of migrant workers, many are prohibited from changing jobs before the end of their contract if their employer objects to it -- a restriction which NGOs call forced labour or even slavery. Since the beginning of the year, 31 people of all nationalities have been executed in Saudi Arabia, according to an AFP count.

Pritzker prize goes to ...Balkrishna Doshi Continued from page 1 that is serious, never flashy or a follower of trends," said the Pritzker jury, which said Doshi "has continually exhibited the objectives" of architecture's highest honor. "Balkrishna Doshi constantly demonstrates that all good architecture and urban planning must not only unite purpose and structure but must take into account climate, site, technique, and craft, along with a deep understanding and appreciation of the context in the broadest sense," the jury said. "Projects must go beyond the functional to connect with the human spirit through poetic and

Indian police make arrest after Lenin statute is bulldozed

philosophical underpinnings." Over the course of his career spanning six decades Doshi developed an architectural style that considered human needs as well as sociocultural context, all while infusing his designs with Modernist elements that reflected what he called "contemporary expression for a sustainable holistic habitat." His accomplishments include everything from working on the Indian Institute of Management to designing the Aranya Low Cost Housing bloc in the city of Indore, completed in 1989 in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Bangladesh Islamic school burns students' mobile phones

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HAKA, Bangladesh | A hardline Islamic school in Bangladesh said Tuesday it had confiscated hundreds of mobile phones and torched them in a bonfire because they were distracting students from their learning.

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OLOMBO, Sri Lanka | AFP | 3/6/2018 Sri Lanka declared a nationwide state of emergency Tuesday after anti-Muslim riots left two people dead and more than 100 homes and shops ablaze in the popular hill resort of Kandy.

The government said it was imposing the extraordinary measures after police failed to curb violence in Kandy, a central district famed for its tea plantations and Buddhist relics.

mandos who were sent in to restore order after rioters defied an overnight curfew and went on the rampage.

"The government is taking all possible measures to protect the people, especially Muslims," Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament. He said an inquiry had also been opened into security lapses by police that allowed mobs of Sinhalese rioters to burn mosques as well as homes and businesses belonging to Muslims.

Armed forces were deployed to bolster security in addition to a unit of elite police com-

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the emergency had given them additional powers to arrest those using social media

The intricate labyrinth of houses, courtyards and internal trails today houses some 80,000 low to middle income people, with more than 6,500 units ranging from modest onebedrooms to spacious homes. "It seems I should take an oath and remember it for my lifetime: to provide the lowest class with the proper dwelling," the architect said in 1954. "My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams trying to create treasury of the architectural spirit," Doshi said in a statement thanking the Pritzker jury, in which he also cited the influence of Le Corbusier. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Doshi on Twitter, writing: "This honor is a fitting recognition of his outstanding work, which has spanned decades and made a notable contribution to society." - Architectural 'symphony' Exhibiting an aptitude for art and an acute sense of proportion at a young age, Doshi began studying architecture in 1947, the year India gained independence. Working under Le Corbusier, he returned to his native country in 1954 to oversee two of his Modernist guru's projects in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. The Indian architect also collaborated with Louis Kahn, another of the 20th century's Modernist giants. The laureate's son-in-law and

partner Rajeev Kathpalia told AFP the family is "honored and thrilled" to receive the Pritzker news, calling Doshi "one of those rare architects who has worked with all spectrums, a wide range from urban planners to slums and beyond." "He is passionate about everything that is alive. His name is Balkrishna, which means 'child Krishna," Kathpalia said. "And like a child, he is always curious about everything. It is as if he is growing young as we grow older." Doshi's many accolades include the Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters and France, which he received in 2011, as well as the 2007 Global Award for Lifetime Achievement for Sustainable Architecture from Paris's Institut Francais d'Architecture. In 2000 he won India's Prime Minister National Award for Excellence in Urban Planning and Design. The international Pritzker prize, established by Chicago's Pritzker family in 1979, bestows laureates with $100,000 along with a bronze medallion. Calling the preeminent award "deeply touching and rewarding," Doshi said the recognition reaffirms his belief that "life celebrates when lifestyle and architecture fuse." "Every object around us, and nature itself -- lights, sky, water and storm -- everything is in a symphony," said Doshi. "This symphony is what architecture is all about."

sites to instigate racial hatred and provoke violence.

He said there were no reports of communal violence outside Kandy district, but police had stepped up security for the visiting Indian and Bangladesh cricket teams. "A unit of 1,000 police have been deployed to protect cricketers," Gunasekera told reporters in Colombo where India, Bangladesh and hosts Sri Lanka are playing in a tri-nation limited overs tournament which opened Tuesday. Tensions rose in Kandy Tuesday as the body of a 24-yearold Muslim man was pulled out of a burnt building. Police said two dozen people had been arrested following the riots and remanded for two weeks. The emergency measures, imposed for the first time since 2011, give authorities sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for long periods, and deploy forces where needed. President Maithripala Sirisena said the measures would "redress the unsatisfactory security situation prevailing in certain parts of the country". "The police and armed forces have been suitably empowered to deal with criminal elements in the society and urgently restore normalcy," he said. City planning minister Rauff Hakeem described the riots as a "monumental security lapse" and recommended disciplinary action against those responsible. - Apology to Muslims Sri Lanka's parliament Tuesday issued an apology to the Muslim minority, which constitutes 10 percent of the country's population of 21 million. "We want to apologise to the Muslim community for the inhuman acts that have taken place," state enterprise development minister Lakshman Kiriella said in parliament. The violence in Kandy, a usually serene region of verdant hills frequented by tourists and pilgrims, has threatened to reignite communal tensions that have roiled Sri Lanka in recent weeks.

Pupils at the seminary in southeast Bangladesh were ordered to hand over their cellphones Sunday to school administrators who then tossed the devices en masse into a fire in a nearby field.

Indian communist figures decried what they described as a wider assault on democracy. PHOTO: AFP

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EW DELHI, India | AFP India's ruling party warned its supporters on Tuesday they were not above the law after a mob celebrating an election victory against communist opponents bulldozed a statue of Vladimir Lenin. Police in the remote state of Tripura said they were investigating more than a dozen complaints of arson, violence and vandalism in the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) win at the weekend election. An alliance led by the Hindu nationalist party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi crushed the incumbent communists -- who had ruled the small northeastern state for a quartercentury -- in a unexpected landslide. The thumping victory kicked off a frenzied celebration by BJP supporters which degenerated into clashes with their communist opponents and rioting. Police launched an investigation after a mob -- many wearing the saffron colours popular with BJP supporters -- on Monday flattened the statue of Lenin with a bulldozer. "We arrested a person who was driving the bulldozer that toppled the statue," Tripura police spokesman Pradip De told AFP.

buke from the soon-to-be BJP state leader in Tripura. "Anyone involved in anything like this will face action as per law," Biplab Kumar Deb, BJP's chief minister-designate, told reporters Tuesday. But a major BJP campaigner in Tripura said the crowd was responding to a "symbol of oppression". "This is simple catharsis," Rajat Sethi, the BJP northeast poll campaigner, told AFP. "It's a good and legitimate form of expressing their resistance against their symbol of oppression." Indian communist figures decried what they described as a wider assault on democracy. "The destruction of the statue of Lenin is symbolic," said the Communist Party of India (Marxist). "These attacks demonstrate, once again, that... (the BJP) rely mainly on unleashing political violence as means to advance their inherent antidemocratic agenda." Critics of Modi's BJP say Hindu vigilantes have been emboldened since the party swept to power in 2014. The BJP now rules 22 of India's 29 states and territories either outright or in an alliance.

"We have received at least 14 complaints of post-poll violence, clashes, arson attacks and damage to property."

Tripura, one of India's smallest states with just four million people, had been a bastion of communist politics for 25 years.

Images of the jeering mob reducing the statue to rubble sparked condemnation and a re-

Kerala, in India's south, remains the last holdout where the Communist Party of India

"These devices are ruining their character," said Azizul Hoque, a spokesman for the Darul Ulum Moinul Islam madrassa, or Islamic seminary. "The students use internet (on their phones) throughout the night and then doze during classes the next morning. Their parents are concerned." Hoque said the seminary -- a 123-year-old institution with 14,000 registered students -- was not against technology "but the negative results of mobile phones far outweigh its positives". "We are flooded with letters seeking fatwas (Islamic edicts) from Muslims against the use of mobile phones, as many complained that the gadgets were frequently used for extramarital affairs." Muslim-majority Bangladesh is officially secular but Muslim clerics are hugely influential, particularly in the more socially conservative rural areas of the country. The madrassa in Hathazari, outside the port city of Chittagong, is headed by Ahmad Shafi, the head of hardline Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam. The movement has evolved into a political force in recent years agitating for Islamic rule in the country of 160 million. The campaign has brought it into conflict with Bangladesh's secular government. Hundreds of thousands of Hefazat supporters marched to the capital Dhaka in 2013 demanding implementation of religious laws including criminalising blasphemy and segregating genders in the workplace. The protests triggered widespread violence and left nearly 50 people dead as police evicted demonstrators from Dhaka's commercial centre.

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SPORTS

VOICE OF ASIA 10

India's Sharma savors rare Masters invite

markable young player," said Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club on Tuesday. Sharma has also booked a berth in the British Open after the Johannesburg win and has his sights set on more.

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Dulles High School Academic Decathlon team wins state championship for second consecutive time

"Masters just has the same feel to it like Wimbledon is to tennis," he said. "It's a dream come true that I am into both the Majors and hopefully I get into the US Open and the PGA as well." From a relatively unknown golfer ranked outside 500, Sharma has had a stellar rise since November and is now ranked 66th. Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma, pictured on March 3, 2018, earned respect as an up-and-comer to watch (AFP Photo). by Faisal KAMAL

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EW DELHI, India | AFP | 3/7/2018 Young golfing sensation Shubhankar Sharma said Wednesday it was a "dream" to be invited to next month's US Masters, just the fourth Indian to ever make the elite tournament. Sharma, 21, burnished his rising star credentials with wins at the European Tour's Joburg Open in December and Maybank Championship this February. Last week he entered the final round of the WGC-Mexico in the lead, only to fade as American great Phil Mickelson claimed the title, but earning respect as an up-and-comer to watch. Sharma -- who will be the youngest Indian to enter the Masters since Anirban Lahiri -- finished tied ninth at the high-profile PGA tour event in Mexico. "I wasn't happy with the way I finished the tournament but when I got the call for the Masters all the pain got washed away," Sharma told reporters Wednesday. "It is every golfer's dream to get to the Masters." With his US Masters invite, Sharma follows in the footsteps of Indian golfers Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Lahiri. Only the best 50 golfers in the

world automatically make it to the Masters, and fewer still from outside that group earn an invitation to the prestigious US fixture. "Shubhankar Sharma is a re-

"I think in golf anything is possible if you have four good days," he said. "Now that I have won at a high stage and competed with the best at the WGC ... I know my best would be good enough for a top five or even a win and that gives you a lot of confidence."

Texans, Dolphins deny reports over anthem policy

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OS ANGELES, | AFP | 3/6/2018 - The Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins on Tuesday rejected reports they have taken a stance against players who protest during the playing of the US national anthem. In remarks quoted by the New York Daily News on Monday, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross appeared to suggest that kneeling during the anthem would not be tolerated by the franchise. "All of our players will be standing," the real estate mogul told the newspaper, saying his initial position supporting the players had changed during the furore between US President Donald Trump and NFL stars which erupted last year. Trump triggered an outcry after branding players who kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to draw attention to social issues as "sons of bitches". However Ross backtracked

on his comments on Tuesday, saying that his remarks had been "misconstrued" while acknowledging his belief that kneeling was an ineffective protest. "I have no intention of forcing our players to stand during the anthem and I regret that my comments have been misconstrued," Ross said in a statement. "I've shared my opinion with all our players: I'm passionate about the cause of social justice and I feel that kneeling is an ineffective tactic that alienates more people than it enlists," Ross said. The Texans meanwhile issued a denial of a report which appeared in the Houston Chronicle which said the team had adopted an unofficial policy of not considering free agents who had taken part in the protests. The Texans condemned the report as "categorically false and without merit".

The Dulles High School Academic Decathlon team earned its second consecutive state 6A championship. The team includes (l-r, f-b): Sophie Yangyi, Samuel Louis Steinman-Friedman, Matthew Gabino, Logan House, and Coach Kelsey Halfen; Coach Andrew Hartman, Moeez Tariq, Leighton Nylander, Tejas Tuppera, Jeffrey Zhang, and Vani Vellore.

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ORT BEND ISD (March 1, 2018) – The Dulles High School Academic Decathlon team earned its second consecutive state championship this weekend, taking the top prize in the Large School category. The team earned 27 medals, including several individual

"A recent report that suggests the Houston Texans would not sign a player who has protested in support of social justice issues is categorically false and without merit," the team said in a statement. "The Texans ownership, coaching, personnel and executive staff sign and hire employees based on talent, character and fit within our organization."

Sophie Yangyi – 5 Medals

medals: Logan House – 1 Medal Leighton Nylander – 4 Medals Samuel Louis SteinmanFriedman – 7 Medals Moeez Tariq – 6 Medals Vani Vellore – 1 Medal

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 in protest at the treatment of minorities by law enforcement. Kaepernick was released by the 49ers in 2017 and remains unsigned, a fact that has led to claims he is being deliberately frozen out of the NFL because of his history of protests.

Jeffrey Zhang – 2 Medals Samuel Louis SteinmanFriedman won first place overall and holds the record for the 3rd best Scholastic score in Texas history. The team earned the eighth highest score in the 35-year history of the Texas Academic Decathlon program, breaking records for Dulles High School and Fort Bend ISD. The Dulles High School Academic Decathlon team has a history of success at competition, but the feeling does not grow old, even since last year. “It feels surreal but amazing,” says coach Kelsey Halfen. “They are such a fun, silly, quirky group of kids who inspire me with their determination and dedication.”

Presents

Music and Healing Sunday, March 18 , 2018 From 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM India House, 8888 west Belfort, Houston, Texas-77031 Join us and enjoy this program and learn how music plays a role in our wellbeing and happiness. All are welcome to attend this free presentation

Music and Healing Presenter: Mrs Srivani Jade • Hindustani Classical Vocalist • Composer • World musician, • Disciple of Pandit Parameshwar Hegde • Founding editor of Ragavani Journal of South Asian Music and dance • Recipient of Several Honors Grants, Fellowships and Awards.

Follow us on Facebook @ Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) Visit our website at www.iacannetwork.org Join our mailing list. Email us iacannetwork@gmail.com Call us at (713) 370-3489 We appreciate your support.


US/WORLD

VOICE OF ASIA 11

Netanyahu accuses police of pressuring witnesses in graft cases

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Trump gives ground on tariffs as pressure mounts by Andrew BEATTY

Sanders also tried to soothe unease at Cohn's departure, saying a decision on his replacement would come soon.

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ASHINGTON, 3/7/2018 - The White House signaled Wednesday it would water down plans for contentious tariffs, in the face of threats from trade partners, financial market jitters and a revolt within Donald Trump's own Republican party.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been questioned eight times in relation to corruption investigations. (AFP Photo)

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ERUSALEM | AFP 3/7/2018 - Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used a video posted online Wednesday to accuse police of pressuring witnesses to "smear" him as corruption investigations against him intensify. In his first direct reaction since the announcement that his ex-aide Nir Hefetz would testify against him, Netanyahu said the "manufacture of witnesses" aims to "smear me, even at the price of lies". Israeli media reported Monday that Hefetz, a former spokesman for the Netanyahu family, had signed a state witness deal in a graft probe linked to himself and his former boss. In exchange, he would not be tried, go to prison or be fined, according to Israeli media, which have reported the deal may be a turning point in probes into Netanyahu. The premier, in power for almost 12 years, slammed the use of state witnesses in the video published Wednesday on his Facebook page. "When there is something, there is no need for this kind of witness," he said. "When there is nothing, even 1,000 state witnesses will not help." "They will continue what

they do and I will continue my historic action for the sake of the State of Israel," he added. Israeli media reports say Hefetz is alleged to have acted as a messenger between Netanyahu, telecoms group Bezeq and a news website it owns. Police suspect Bezeq was given regulatory breaks in return for Netanyahu receiving positive coverage on the Walla! news site. Shlomo Filber, once one of the prime minister's closest confidants, has also agreed to testify in the case, while Ari Harow, a former chief of staff for the premier, signed a state witness deal in a separate case. Netanyahu has been questioned eight times in relation to at least six ongoing cases. Although he has not been formally charged, the police on February 13 recommended he be indicted in two of the cases. The successive blows have called into question the future of the premier, the head of a coalition that is seen as the most right-wing government in Israel's history. Even if charged, Netanyahu would not be legally required to resign.

The US administration said the president still plans to sign off on global steel and aluminum tariffs as early as Thursday, but indicated there could yet be exemptions for infuriated allies. "There are potential carveouts for Mexico and Canada, based on national security. And possibly other countries as well," press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the White House. From shortly after dawn, administration big guns rushed to the cameras, trying to limit the fallout from a Trump policy that has already sparked fears of a global trade war, rattled stock markets and prompted the top White House economic advisor to quit Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross insisted the tariffs were "thought through" and not the caprice of a president running a White House that appears to be careening off the rails. "We're going to have sensible relations with our allies," he told CNBC, "we're not looking for a trade war." But Trump's impromptu move has already set Washington on a collision course with its largest trading partner the European Union, which sounded a stern warning Wednesday as it readied to retaliate with targeted tariffs of its own on everything from steel to denim to peanut butter. "Trade wars are bad and easy to lose," EU President Donald Tusk told a news conference Wednesday, directly rebuffing

discussing with the administration just how broad, how sweeping this might be," he added. "There's a high level of concern about interfering with what appears to be an economy that's taking off in every respect."

"The president's got a number of people that could potentially fill that role," she said. "What I can assure you obviously is he's going to make a good pick that can help him continue to further building a strong economy and continue creating jobs and continue focusing on long-term economic success." President Donald Trump's planned tariffs on steel and aluminum have triggered fears of a trade war (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

Despite Republican agitation, it is far from clear what the final tariffs will look like.

Trump's assertion last week they were "good and easy to win."

Cohn's departure has given the president's "nationalist" advisors like arch China skeptic Peter Navarro and Commerce boss Ross the whip hand.

Warning of "a serious trade dispute" between Washington and the rest of the world, Tusk said leaders of the bloc would hold emergency talks on the issue on March 22-23. Markets sold-off early morning on news that Wall Street favorite Gary Cohn had resigned from the White House in protest at Trump's decision. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin joined the damage limitation effort, claiming that the tariffs, although still in flux, would not hurt the administration's projections for three percent growth.

with POTUS to avoid that outcome," a congressional source told AFP. - Stormy waters Even Trump's most accommodating allies have begun to speak out against what amounts to a major break with Republican orthodoxy. "There is a lot of concern among Republican senators that this could sort of metastasize into a larger trade war," Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told reporters.

Cohn, a 57-year-old former Goldman Sachs executive, had lobbied passionately against the tariffs before losing out. Data released Wednesday showed US foreign trade deficit widened in January to its highest level in nine years, heaping pressure on Trump, who had campaigned on a promise to reverse that trend.

"Many of our members are

"We're comfortable that we're going to manage through this so that it is not detrimental to our growth projections," he told Fox Business. In Washington, a fierce battle over Trump's proposals raged behind the scenes. Trump's move has surprised and angered allied lawmakers and the Republican-controlled Congress has whispered about legislation that would block their own president from acting. "We are still trying to work

Donald Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn is the latest in a long string of senior White House figures to resign or be fired (AFP Photo/JIM WATSON)


VOICE OF ASIA 12

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018


VOICE OF ASIA 13

www.voiceasiaonline.com

Business

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

China’s WeChat app crosses one billion account mark EIJING, China | AFP | 3/6/2018 - China’s ubiquitous WeChat social media platform has crossed the one billion accounts mark as its messaging, game and shopping services attract more and more users.

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The symbolic threshold was announced by Pony Ma, the chief Pony Ma says WeChat’s accounts have crossed the one billion mark. (Photo: executive of its AFP/Anthony Wallace). parent company Tencent, on the sidelines of ChiThe popularity of WeChat -- of gambling or porn-related na’s parliamentary session on and profits from its addictive content within the app’s interMonday. mobile games -- have pushed nal browser, the study found. The all-in-one app, known Tencent’s earnings and share WeChat has a major advanas Weixin in China, is a daily price sharply upwards. tage over WhatsApp: Beijing necessity for most Chinese, The company surpassed authorities have apparently bringing together messaging, Facebook in market value last disrupted the Facebook-owned social media, mobile payment, year as it became the first Asian service in China in recent games, news and other serfirm to break into the $500 bil- months, with users often strugvices. lion league, while the 47-year- gling to send messages or imHalf of WeChat users spend old Ma has rocketed to near the ages. more than 90 minutes a day on apex of China’s rich list. the app. He is the wealthiest delegate In its last company results to the parliamentary session, in September, Tencent had re- according to Shanghai-based ported that WeChat users had luxury magazine publisher Huopened 980 million accounts, run Report, which estimated a 16 percent increase from the his fortune at $47 billion. previous year. - Privacy concerns “WeChat’s worldwide ASHINGTON | Another popular feature of monthly active users have AFP | 3/6/2018 WeChat is its payment service, surpassed the critical one bilPresident Donald which allows people to pay at lion mark,” said Ma, who is a restaurants, buy goods from Trump should take “surgical” delegate at the two-week sesshops or even send money to action against countries that sion of the Communist Partydump steel and aluminum in friends. controlled National People’s US markets rather than follow Chinese tourists visiting Paris through on a risky threat of Congress. have been able to pay for their global tariffs, Congress’s top “In the future we hope to use purchases in two of the city’s Republican said Tuesday. technological innovation to famous department stores uspush forward the next develSpeaker of the House Paul ing the app on their smartopmental step of reform and Ryan, leading a sharp break phones since last year. opening,” Ma said. with the president, said that Most WeChat users are based while there was “clearly abuse He was referring to China’s in mainland China, though Ten- occurring,” particularly by economic liberalisation policy cent is trying to gain customers China, protectionist measures that has fuelled four decades of in other countries, especially could have the “unintended breakneck economic growth. among the Chinese diaspora. consequences” of a trade war. Although Ma said WeChat’s But privacy concerns have “I think the smarter way to monthly active users had plagued the app as Chinese au- go is to make it more surgical crossed the one billion threshthorities actively censor social and more targeted” than broad old, a company spokesman told media content that they dislike. tariffs, Ryan told reporters. AFP he was referring to its total A 2016 study by University number of accounts. Trump triggered global of Toronto’s Citizen Lab found alarm last week when he anStill, the one billion figure that WeChat censors content nounced he would sign off on indicates the huge user base for all users registered with measures designed to protect which Tencent has built up both Chinese phone numbers, even US producers, and defiantly inside and outside China for the if they travel overseas or switch swatted back at critics by sayapp. to an international number. ing trade wars are “good, and It compares with 2.1 billion Censorship for accounts tied easy to win.” monthly active users on Faceto overseas numbers was limRyan said such action would book and 1.5 billion on its mesited to the intermittent blocking saging app WhatsApp.

Coca-Cola to launch its first alcoholic drink in Japan EW YORK, | AFP |Coca-Cola plans to launch its first ever alcoholic drink in Japan, in a suprising departure for a US company identified with cola and other non-alcoholic beverages.

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While Coca-Cola dabbled in the wine business in the 1970s, the Japanese experiment is “unique” in the company’s 125year history, said Coca-Cola Japan president Jorge Garduno. The new offering will be in Japan’s growing “Chu-Hi” category of beverages, Garduno said in a recent interview posted to the company’s website. “This is a canned drink that includes alcohol; traditionally,

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Section 2 Tel: 713-774-5140

Coca-Cola Japan is launching a version of a local low alcohol drink Chu-Hi it is made with a distilled beverage called shochu and sparkling water, plus some flavoring,” he said. Chu-Hi drinks come in a range of flavors such as grape, strawberry, kiwi and white peach and sometimes replace shochu with vodka. The drink, which usually has between three and nine percent alcohol and is marketed by leading Japanese beverage companies such as Asahi, Kirin and Takara, is especially popular with young consumers and women. “We haven’t experimented in the low alcohol category before, but it’s an example of how we continue to explore opportuni-

Trump should be ‘smarter’ on steel tariffs: US House Speaker Ryan

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make the United States “more prone to retaliation.” “And so what we’re encouraging the administration to do is to focus on what is clearly a legitimate problem, and to be more surgical in its approach, so that we can go after the true abusers without creating any kind of unintended consequences or collateral damage.” Ryan said he has had multiple conversations with Trump about the issue, and that while he would not characterize the discussions, he said the president “knows our view.”

Ryan’s comments come a day after he publicly split with the president on the tariffs. “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,” AshLee Strong, a Ryan spokeswoman, said in a statement Monday. Several other congressional Republicans were urging Trump to abandon his plan to slap a new import tax of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. “We have concerns,” Senate

ties outside our core areas,” Garduno said. But Garduno said the launch of Chu-Hi drinks should not be seen as a harbinger of the company’s intentions elsewhere. “It makes sense to give this a try in our market,” he said. “But I don’t think people around the world should expect to see this kind of thing from Coca-Cola. While many markets are becoming more like Japan, I think the culture here is still very unique and special, so many products that are born here will stay here.” Still, the push is part of a broader campaign by Coca-Cola to diversify beyond sodas at a time when consumers in the US and other developed markets are backing off sweet drinks and diet colas out of health concerns. Leading non-cola products in the company’s portfolio include Honest tea, Dasani bottled water, the flavored Vitamin Water and the Powerade sports drink. Coca-Cola in 1977 sought to diversify into wine, purchasing Taylor Wines of New York and establishing Wine Spectrum that comprised Sterling Vineyards and Monterey Vineyard. But Coca-Cola exited the venture six years later, selling Spectrum for $200 million.

Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker said of the effects the tariffs could have on allies like Canada and Mexico.

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BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD Section 2

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

VOICE OF ASIA 14

I am No. 1 in my own game

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What ‘Avengers’ surprise says about Marvel

Rani Mukerji Her husband may get the credit for pushing her back into the limelight, but on set Rani Mukerji has total control. The actress opens up about Hichki, challenging herself and motherhood by Namrata Joshi

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New artwork in advance of Avengers: Infinity War (Graphic: Disney/Marvel Studios) by Josh Spiegel he ‘Infinity War’ release date shift not only helps spare audiences from potential spoilers, it also signals Disney is seeking to further capitalize on the ‘Black Panther’ phenomenon.

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Further cementing the idea that the summer movie season is no longer confined to the actual season of summer, Marvel surprised a lot of people Thursday by announcing that Avengers: Infinity War would be opening a week earlier than expected in North America, on April 27 instead of May 4. There are, no doubt, a handful of possible reasons that drove this shift: Marvel is still riding the wave of deservedly good publicity for the wildly successful Black Panther, for one. This shift suggests, even more than before, that Marvel is the top dog in the industry and everyone else is running to catch up. Of course, as has become standard for a lot of big-budget fare, Avengers: Infinity War was always slated to open in late April, just not in the United States or Canada. First, the film was going to open in international markets such as India on April 27, before opening elsewhere within the following week. While it’s become the norm, as opposed to an exception, for a studio to internationally stagger the release of a blockbuster, Marvel might have been wary about the unavoidable spread of spoilers. Even those who try their best to avoid plot details might have had a challenging time in the week between when Infinity War opened around the world and when it opened in the States. Opening day-and-date makes the most logical sense (arguably the case for any blockbuster, not just this one); while some people may not be able to see the film on opening day, making it accessible around the world, as opposed to a chunk of the wider audience, is ideal. But more than the fear of spoilers leaking, Marvel must have been driven by the phenomenon of Black Panther. Not six weeks ago, box-office tracking suggested the film might be lucky to have an opening weekend take of $120 million, before doubling that over the four-day President’s Day weekend. While the month

of March will offer enough competition from other studios to take T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) off the top of the chart, Black Panther already represents a resounding creative and financial success. Over the last two weeks, Black Panther has broken box-office records left and right; by the end of this weekend, it will likely have grossed around or above $500 million domestically, and it may well end up making more than The Avengers, the first big team-up with the Marvel superheroes. Marvel’s decision— presented as part of a Twitter thread with Robert Downey, Jr., but no doubt made a few days or weeks ago internally — may have been inspired by a few factors. But Black Panther’s dominant stance at the box office was probably the biggest of all. This, in effect, is awfully similar to what happened with DC after Wonder Woman performed so well with audiences last summer. Justice League was an exceptionally messy film, but the new marketing foregrounded Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), shifting expectations to suggest that it might be more accurately titled Wonder Woman Plus A Few Other Heroes You Might Recognize. Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of much more well liked heroes, don’t be surprised if the new Infinity War ads emphasize the presence of T’Challa, Shuri (Letitia Wright) and other Wakanda favorites. (-Hollywood Reporter)

ast I sat Rani Mukerji down for a long interview was at her Yari Road home in July 2005, in the company of her Labrador Tin Tin and Spitz Simba. The relaxed interaction was for a story on the then reigning queen of Bollywood. Among other things, we spoke about being single and good men being thin on the ground. Almost 13 years later, snatching some minutes off her busy schedule in a nondescript meeting room at Yashraj Studios, I am all ears as she speaks about how “amazing and wonderful” a journey it has been with her husband of four years, Aditya Chopra — director-producer-distributor and chairman of Yash Raj Films — and their two-year-old daughter Adira. Happy domesticity taking over from carefree singledom. Lot else has changed in the interim. I have gained girth and grey hair. However Mukerji, in black jeans, boots and a dark grey T-shirt, doesn’t seem to have been touched by time. The 5’2” frame is just as slender, face lit with minimal makeup, the girl next door persona acquiring just a hint of imperiousness and self-awareness. She had told me back then: “I am like the ordinary girl in the house who is capable of showing a different side of her in the bedroom. My sexuality is not in-your-face.” That organic

sensuality, warm smile and throaty voice are intact, but the actress hasn’t been wooing the box office with them as ardently as she once had. For the last many years, Mukerji has been choosy, doing one film in a year or two. The forthcoming Hichki, directed by Siddharth P Malhotra, comes four years after Mardaani. The interim has been about marriage and motherhood. How has it affected her approach to work? Life is all about time management and work-home balance now, she tells me. “I don’t have a single second to spare. I tell my directors to be organised, get everything ready [on the sets], and I just come and shoot. I don’t even want to waste time eating [there]. I want to do my work and go back to my child,” she says. Yet she is incapable of giving a ho-hum shots. “I have to give my best,” she says. So Hichki has been all about getting even more focussed about work. As if in tandem, I also keep our conversation to

the point. No small talk, just straightforward questions, one after the other. - Films and flexibility According to Mukerji, it was her husband who pushed her back in front of the camera for Hichki. Much like how it was Chopra who had insisted she do Saathiya in early 2000, when she had almost nixed the Shaad Ali remake of Mani Ratnam’s Alaipayuthey. That film had proved to be the game changer for her. After the initial success of Ghulam and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, her career had got badly stuck with one flop following another, till Saathiya pulled her back into the reckoning. Chopra pushed her this time because he saw her getting consumed by domesticity. “He saw I was getting obsessed with my daughter,” she says. He told her she can’t change who she is — an actor — and that her fans were waiting for her. “He respects me as an individual, as a professional, and I think that helps me understand my goals as well,” she says. Earlier it was her mother who would goad her into discipline. “Now it’s my husband who has taken over the role,” she laughs.

Irrfan Khan - Suffering from a rare M disease!

UMBAI: Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan on Monday said he is suffering from “a rare disease” the details of which he would share when there is a “conclusive diagnosis”. In a Twitter post, Khan, 51, said he and his family were jolted by the knowledge of the illness, and requested his fans and followers to not “speculate” about his health. “Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life shaking you up. The last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease. I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will.

Twins for Sunny and hubby!

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nly after a few months of welcoming Nisha, a beautiful baby girl from a Maharashtra norphanage, Sunny Leone and husband Daniel Weber shared a picture of their new born twins. Both boys were born through surrogacy. The couple has named them Asher and Noah Kaur Weber and now consider their family a happy and complete one.

“...In trying times, please don’t speculate as I will myself share with you my story within a week-ten days, when the further investigations come with a conclusive diagnosis. Till then, wish the best for me,” Irrfan wrote. (-Film Beat)

Here’s wishing the new mommy and daddy all the best with the kids and hope to see loads of cute pictures of the three. (-FilmFare)

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VOICE OF ASIA 15

Young Life

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Young South Koreans lured by cryptocurrencies struggle with bust after the boom In South Korea, young adults seeking financial freedom are falling into the craze over cryptocurrencies

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AMYANGJU, South Korea — Feeding into a national frenzy over cryptocurrencies, 24-year-old Juwon Park scraped together some of her savings, and in December, gambled $2,250 on the online investment sweeping South Korea. Park, a former Google internturned-business writer, was riveted by a man on television who bragged that he transformed $80 into $23 million — all by trading in the virtual currency. It sounded too good to be true. And for Park, and others like her in South Korea pining for financial independence, it has been. “I didn’t want a fortune,” she said last month on the first day of the Lunar New Year, a family-centric holiday celebrated across Asia. “I just wanted enough to give me that glimmer of hope. Now it’s gone.” Park, looking forward to one day moving out of her parents’ home outside of eastern Seoul and paying for graduate school, was taken on a ride: She watched as in a matter of a couple of weeks that initial investment grew to $3,200 before plunging suddenly by midJanuary. Her cryptocurrency accounts’ most recent worth: about $750. A swift global downturn hammered South Korea’s crypto market in the beginning of 2018, spooking investors who have favored the digital cash as an alternative to — and potentially a replacement for — government-issued money. In recent months, countries have sought to regulate the hundreds of types of cryptocurrencies, which include the popular bitcoin, as well as rivals Ethereum Classic and Ripple. The South Korean government has been so worried about

cryptocurrency adviser Jeong SoonHyeong, who started a meetup group three years ago that has grown from 14 members to more than 1,500.

the use of cryptocurrencies in illicit activities, such as money laundering, that it threatened to ban its trading outright. A broader regulatory policy is still being devised, the government said last month. Some early initiatives have already been implemented in order to root out nefarious activity: Foreigners have been prohibited from taking part in South Korea’s domestic exchanges and anonymous accounts have been outlawed. Whether tighter regulations will cripple the market entirely remains to be seen. Recent studies show that American millennials have become more open to investing in cryptocurrencies over traditional government stocks or bonds. The obsession in South Korea, however, has become a next-level phenomenon thanks to the proliferation of brick-and-mortar crypto investment offices like Coinone and Bithumb, meetup groups and mobile apps. A man watches a screen showing the prices of bitcoin at a virtual currency exchange office in Seoul, South Korea, on Jan. 16. Ahn Young-Joon / AP When the government said it would move to regulate the market, more than 200,000 people signed an online petition in January asking lawmakers not to take away their “happy dream” of investing. South Korea’s currency, the won, has been just behind the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar in terms of market share for all bitcoin transactions worldwide, according to currency tracker CryptoCompare. Bitcoin, known as a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system,” was created in 2009 and experienced a record surge of $19,000 per bitcoin in December before its tumble in January.

“I think this tendency [to seek new, dynamic things], and the IT infrastructure, and the state of the economy have resulted in a craze for investing in cryptocurrencies,” Jeong said.

Juwon Park, a young crytpocurrency investor, at her home east of Seoul.(Photo: Brock Stoneham / for NBC News) “It’s a global trend, and [South Koreans are] indulging in being at the forefront of it,” said Elaine Ramirez, a Seoulbased tech journalist who writes about the crypto market. “On a macroeconomic level, it’s a way to gain greater opportunities when economic growth has been sluggish, and young adults see it as an escape from chronically high youth unemployment rates.” For Park, who studied for several years in the United States and broadened her English, her dreams are not all that different from her American counterparts who hope to acquire their own homes and secure their financial futures. In South Korea, Reuters noted how cryptocurrency mania has taken hold of everyone from students to housewives. Park had convinced her mother, Agnes Kang, a retired school teacher, to invest in cryptocurrency. Kang invested in the equivalent of $25,000 — and lost $12,000 before deciding to pull out completely in early January from an unforgiving market. Park, having virtually lost a significant portion of her investment, said she has so little

Chancellor delivers annual State of the College address at HCC’s new state-ofthe-art innovation facility

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OUSTON (March 2, 2018) - The West Houston Institute, Houston Community College’s new high tech home for innovation and learning, provided the backdrop for Chancellor Cesar Maldonado’s annual State of the College address before local business and community leaders. As he listed recent accomplishments and plans for the future, Maldonado stressed HCC’s ongoing commitment to disrupting education by bringing innovation directly into the classroom while at the same time being fiscally responsible with its public funds. “By pushing the boundaries of the traditional education model, we are engaging the changing times, creating an ecosystem where students’ aspirations align with far more impactful solutions,” said Maldonado. “The 21st century brings us great opportunity but challenges us to connect with students where they learn, adjusting to their needs. Quite simply, HCC is creating the intersection of innovation and education, clearing a path to bring together creativity, entrepreneurship, groundbreaking technology, and community partnerships.” The West Houston Institute is grounded in design-thinking principles, and an interactive work environment meant to facilitate the collision of ideas and concepts. Classes are focused on integrating the fields of STEM, the arts and entrepreneurship. Through incorporation of different kinds of spaces and learning opportunities, students, faculty and the public interact in a learning environment like no other. Maldonado noted that HCC’s commitment to innovation has taken many forms and shapes. To address the high

Chancellor Cesar Maldonado cost of books, one of the biggest impediments to student learning, the college created the Z Degree, which reduces costs through the use of online education resources. So far, the program has resulted in $750,000 in savings for students. The college’s foundation is working toward a future where every student is able to earn a degree or certificate without paying.

they step into a truck. A unique partnership with TRIO Electric and Spring Branch ISD provides electrician training while students are still in high school. And, in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, HCC’s cutting-edge Coleman College simulated hospital provides students hands on practical experience with equipment, technology and tools found in today’s top hospitals.

HCC’s commitment to disrupting education through innovation also includes exclusive and forward-thinking partnerships with Apple, Sony, Audi and the Challenger Center, through which students are learning 3D printing, robotics and coding for apps in the iOS platform, as well as working on space architecture for NASA’s Mars Project.

“We must continue to think ahead and work to forecast what skills and education our students need to be prepared, for both employers and for themselves,” said Maldonado. “You have my promise - we will do our part and we will do it with a smart, fiscally responsible approach - we will not stop attempting to disrupt education as we know it - we will continue to imagine, to dream, to learn, to anticipate and to push the boundaries.”

To address the business community’s need for more skilled workers, Maldonado highlighted HCC’s work to provide innovative programs that align with industry needs. The RigOne simulation lab, found only at HCC, is training roustabouts to work on oil rigs. Likewise, the truck-driving program trains students with a state-of-the-art truck simulator, resulting in drivers who are highly skilled even before

HCC educates 114,000 students annually and 88 percent of them go on to a job or a four-year institution. In the past three years, the college has increased its cash position by more than $70 million and made in excess of $20 million in early debt payments. To learn more, visit www. hccs.edu.

left in her Ripple and Ethereum Classic accounts that she doesn’t even bother checking on it regularly. She deleted one of her apps “for my sanity.” “I am hoping that [after] this whole government regulation, once it gets sorted out, the price will normalize,” she said. During a Lunar New Year lunch, she shared her frustrations with her parents and her younger brother, who has also tried his hand at crypto investing. “The only money that’s truly yours is the money you sweat to earn,” Kang said in Korean over plates of egg-fried vegetables and kimchi. “I wasn’t expecting 100 million won to fall from the sky,” Park told her family. “For me, because prices were rising so quickly, I thought they’d keep rising once I bought in,” she continued. “Then I realized I’d been too greedy.”

In this rural part of Gyeonggi Province, where the skyscrapers of Seoul appear like some distant mirage, Park’s financial fears are so closely tied to the volatility of an internet market — a stark contrast from the cow farms and sweet potato sellers that surround her. She longs for the opportunities and escapism of the city, where she commutes three hours a day for her job. Her parents can still rely on a national pension fund for their retirement. But what about her future? “I want to move out some day and get my own place in Seoul,” she said. Jeong Soon-Hyeong, 29, is co-organizer of a community meet-up called Seoul Ethereum Meetup, and the CEO of the startup, Onther Inc. Brock Stoneham / For NBC News South Korea, which consistently ranks as having the fastest internet speed in the world, offers a perfect launching pad for investing, said Seoul-based

That same explosive level of interest has yet to cross into the mainstream in America, said Christian Catalini, an assistant professor at MIT Sloan School of Management who focuses on cryptocurrencies. He estimates a few thousand people in the U.S. are investing in the nascent crypto market, with it relegated to mainly techsavvy early adopters and others in the Silicon Valley-minded crowd. While U.S. lawmakers and federal agencies have started looking into illicit digital currency activities and socalled initial coin offerings, any tangible move toward regulatory oversight remains unclear. The governor of England’s central bank said Friday that he will call for more regulation in the United Kingdom in order to bring the era of cryptocurrency “anarchy” to an end. Back in South Korea, Park remains tepid on cryptocurrencies. She once described them as a “life jacket” for young adults, but now she thinks she’s “swimming hopelessly.” On Lunar New Year, amid a day of relaxing with her family, she was tempted to check one of her cryptocurrency accounts. It was up, she told her family excitedly, to just over $1. (-NBC News)


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Immigration Law

HOA and Condo Liens and Remedies Over Residential Property

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A lien is defined as “a form of security interest granted over . . . property to secure payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation.” So, while you will not face anything as dramatic or troublesome as immediate foreclosure because of those unpaid fees/dues, the lien will remain until you settle your debt to your HOA. However, that is not to rule the possibility of foreclosure: there are circumstances in which foreclosure can be pursued.

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Texas A&M ​​N​RI ​scientist invents novel therapy for ​brain disorder pilepsy affects the lives of millions of people worldwide, and although breakthroughs in epilepsy research have provided individual pieces of the puzzle, researchers have yet to discover the magic bullet to permanently end the condition. However, Dr. Samba Reddy, Professor of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at Texas A&M University College of Medicine, recently published a paper suggesting that the next major puzzle piece might come from a different field altogether: cancer.

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The paper, published as a cover story in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, is the first to apply a concept called epigenetic histone modification, a common cancer treatment, to the prevention of epileptogenesis, which is the formation of epilepsy by a precipitating event. Epilepsy is a common brain disease, characterized by repeated unprovoked seizures, due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This condition affects about three million American adults and 65 million people worldwide. Approximately 150,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed in the United States annually. “When the brain suffers an injury, a person will not necessarily become epileptic immediately; that can take months to years,” Dr. Reddy said. “So, after the injury, the patient has a window of time that we call a ‘therapeutic window’ or ‘latent period’ before he or she begins experiencing chronic epilepsy. The latent period provides us an opportunity to intervene and prevent the development of chronic epilepsy. Our goal is to find and inhibit critical epileptogenic signaling pathways during this period.” That’s where epigenetic histone modification shows promise. Epigenetic changes are alterations not in the DNA itself, but in how the genes are expressed. This process is mediated by how tightly genetic information is packaged in cells:

In order to fit meters of DNA into each microscopic cell, the genetic material must be condensed in a certain way. DNA strands, which are negatively charged, are tightly wrapped around positively-charged proteins called histones, forming a coil called a nucleosome. The nucleosome further condenses to eventually form chromatin, which makes up chromosomes. Because epigenetic changes are mediated by how tightly this chromatin is coiled, there are certain enzymes in the body that can loosen or tighten the attachment between the DNA and the histone proteins that make up the chromatin. Histone acetyltransferase (HAT) enzymes loosen the attachment between DNA and histone proteins, which makes the DNA more physically accessible to be transcribed into RNA and translated into a protein. Conversely, histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes tighten the attachment between DNA and histone proteins, which hinders transcription and translation. “In cancer, HDAC activity in cells is markedly increased,” Dr. Reddy said. “So, many cancer treatments are based on HDAC blockers, because they stop the growth of cancer in part by increasing the acetylation and expression of genes which were suppressed by the cancer. Epileptogenesis has some mechanisms similar to cancer, including the proliferation of abnormal cells, inflammation and sprouting of the neurons. Our thought was that if HDAC inhibitors could prevent cellaltering mechanisms of cancer, then they could prevent similar mechanisms involved in injuryinduced epilepsy.” In the paper, Dr. Reddy and his team, which included young researchers Sandesh Reddy and Bryan Clossen, proposed that the activation of HDAC could be one common mechanism of epilepsy formation after an injury to the brain. This precipitating injury could cause increased HDAC activity, altering the transcription of some genes and thereby contributing to an electrical rewiring of the brain.

HealthLine - A Guide to Seniors on: l Remodeling Homes l Assisted Living Facilities l Health and Wellness

Multiple vaccines don’t make kids prone to infection: study

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IAMI | AFP | 3/6/2018 - Even though children are given far more vaccines than prior generations, the practice does not appear to weaken their immune systems or make them more prone to other infections, a US study said Tuesday.

Dr. Samba Reddy In the study, Dr. Reddy’s team used an experimental temporal lobe epilepsy model that is widely utilized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving antiepileptic medications. The results showed that daily administration of an experimental HDAC inhibitor during the latent period significantly hindered epileptogenesis, even for weeks after discontinuing the treatment. “These results were totally surprising,” Dr. Reddy said. “The long-lasting effects of HDAC inhibition in the brain could be the key for a new treatment to prevent epileptogenesis.” Even more surprising to the researchers, however, was the finding that HDAC-inhibiting drug therapy also partially broke seizure-prone networks and diminished seizures in subjects with preexisting chronic epilepsy. This discovery has promising clinical significance because there is currently no medication that can reverse the epileptic state, and drugs that reduce seizure activity must be taken indefinitely to continue providing benefit. “These results suggest that it may be feasible to erase or soften existing epilepsy by shrinking the epileptic state, such that additional treatments are not needed,” Dr. Reddy said. Next, Dr. Reddy plans to extend this research to epilepsy resulting from traumatic brain

Seafood: Food for Thought During National Nutrition Month

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e hear a lot about the important nutrients in vegetables and fruits, but the health benefits of eating seafood regularly aren’t always in the spotlight. It should be a no-brainer when it comes to seafood, which is packed with omega-3s. Yet, most Americans only eat one serving of seafood a week. Here are some evidence-based facts to help set the re- Seafood is packed with omega-3s. Photo Source: (c) Teri/stock.Adobe.com cord straight during National Nutrition ally is “brainfood.” One recent grilled shrimp salad. What’s Month. study shows that moms-to-be more, seafood is just as healthy 1. How much seafood should who ate fish two to three times whether it’s fresh, frozen or I be eating? each week had babies that canned, making it a convenient Studies show that seafood reached milestones -- such as item to stock up on when shopbenefits your heart, eyes and imitating sounds, recognizing ping, and ultimately helping brain, and may also help you family members and drinking you eliminate wasted food in fight chronic diseases and from a cup -- more quickly your household. memory loss. The 2015 Di- than children born to mothers 4. Start the day right. etary Guidelines encourage all who didn’t eat fish regularly Nutrition experts recomAmericans to eat at least two during pregnancy. Another servings of seafood each week. recent study found that preg- mend incorporating protein That’s double the amount most nant women who ate at least into your breakfast as a way people currently eat. To reap the two seafood meals each week to boost metabolism and balrange of nutrients found in sea- helped boost their child’s IQ ance your blood sugar levels food, try to get a variety of fish up three points by age 9. Learn for the entire day. Kicking off in your diet, including shrimp, more about the best fish to eat the morning with tuna avocado salmon, canned/pouched tuna, during pregnancy at aboutsea- toast or salmon on a bagel will help keep you feeling fuller for tilapia and pollock. food.com/seafood-pregnancy. longer, prevent cravings before 2. What if you’re pregnant? 3. How to get more seafood. lunchtime and help you reach Seafood is especially imporIncorporating more seafood your weekly seafood goals. tant for pregnant and breast- into your diet doesn’t need to More nutrition facts, recifeeding women, as well as be a challenge. It’s easy to get pes and other resources can be young children, since it is one the recommended two to three found at AboutSeafood.com. of the only natural food sources servings each week by simply This National Nutrition rich in healthy omega-3 fatty swapping out the protein from acids, EPA and DHA. EPA your favorite dishes with sea- Month, give your health a boost and DHA are critical for brain food. For example, chicken by eating a variety of seafood and eye development, support- tacos become fish tacos, and at least twice a week. ing the old adage that fish re- grilled steak salad becomes Courtesy: StatePoint

injury, which affects many soldiers who have been in combat. He plans to use existing clinically available HDAC inhibitors, such as vorinostat, to treat post-traumatic epilepsy. “These findings offer the possibility of rapid translation of our research from bench to bedside because FDA-approved HDAC inhibitors already exist and are commonly used to treat patients with cancer,” Dr. Reddy said. This research has been partly supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. Dr. Samba Reddy hails from Warangal in Telangana state, India.

The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association marks the first time researchers have probed a link between the current recommended immunization schedule -- which includes up to 16 vaccinations -- and the rate of infections and illnesses that are unrelated to vaccines among children in the United States. “It’s understandable that parents across the US have questions and concerns about vaccine safety,” said co-author Matthew Daley, a Kaiser Permanente pediatrician. “This latest study found that vaccination didn’t appear to damage the immune system in a way that made kids more infection-prone. This finding will hopefully provide additional reassurance to parents about the safety of the recommended schedule.” A random sample of 193 children who had been diagnosed

with respiratory and gastrointestinal illness, along with other viral and bacterial infections, were compared to a control group of 751 children who had not been diagnosed with these infections. Scientists looked at levels of exposure to vaccine antigen -- a protein or other substance that induces an immune response in the body -- in children’s first two years of life. They total vaccine antigen exposure “was not associated with an increased risk of infections not targeted by vaccines over the next 24 months of life,” said the study. “Some parents are concerned that multiple vaccines in early childhood could damage their child’s immune system, making them more susceptible to future infections,” said lead author Jason Glanz, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research. “This new study suggests the theory of overloading an infant’s immune system is highly unlikely.” Experts urge parents to talk with their pediatrician if they have concerns about vaccine safety.

Chemicals in Food Abstract:

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ood is an important commodity to ensure our lives to survive regularly and attend day today activities. Food preparation and consumption is part of human activity from the centuries to meet other daily developmental process of lives. In modern food production methods have opened major avenues of exposure to environmental pollution and other dangerous chemical compounds mixing in our food by way of adopting advanced technologies in food production, knowingly and unknowingly we are involving and causing other animals and creatures disappearing or death at present situations. Pesticides sprayed on crops, antibiotics used on poultry, and hormones given to cattle expose consumers involuntarily to contaminants that become part of our bodies and some of these exposures may increase of health risks and even deaths with unidentified diseases. In some ways, our ancestors had better health conditions, because they did not have chemically treated food and chemically enhanced kitchenware, their diets and cooking practices exposed those free toxic hazards and cultivated ecofriendly nature farm of food preparations. Food-Classification: Chemical substances can play an important role in food production and preservation, and have a variety of toxicological properties, some of which might cause effects in humans and animals. Under current law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has only been able to require safety testing for a small fraction of the over 85,000 chemicals in commerce today. Even worse, the EPA has banned or restricted only 5 chemicals, and despite enormous advances in our scientific understanding of the connection between chemicals and disease. (TSCA statistical data of 1976). Results of this study found consistent evidence of serious health risks such as cancer, nervous system disease and reproductive problems in people exposed and consumption of chemical applied food. Similar research has licked exposures to pesticides to increased presence of neurological disorders, Parkinson’s disease,

childhood leukemia, lymphoma, asthma and more. Today many Scientists and Research study centers have deeply concerned about Dr. Ramamohana Reddy Appannagari the increasing rates of breast Environmental Ecologist/Supervisor cancers and other diseases CHEMTEX Environmental linked to chemical exposures Laboratories, Port Arthur, Texas 77642 reddy.usa2017@gmail.com are having on our society. Because we believe the U.S needs new standards to regulate chemicals free food submit the regular monitoring supply and urge you to support case study reports to Governmeaningful reform of our na- ment and FDAD’s and other tion’s chemical law. research institutions to take necessary action and strict Species, including humans enforcement by law to avoid Organizations like the Or- further damages and deaths ganic Material Review Insti- due to chemical food poison. tute (OMRI) have been taking Many aspects of the food reinitiatives in recent years to sponse need to be addressed develop standards for these al- for consumers to benefit from ternative products, the private the concept. What we can non-profit group is in charge learn from the food concept of determining and approved in action today is that food organic product must pass a set manufacturers are already of rigorous standards to comply using some form of food lawith USDA organic regulations beling to differentiate their and certified products are put in products. In GI-exposed marplace to reduce negative effects kets such as Australia and the to people, animals, and the en- United Kingdom, consumer vironment. Directs the EPA to understanding and awareness clearly prioritize public health is not a barrier to influencing over industry’s bottom line, buying decisions. However, EPA’s regulation of chemicals food manufacturers may be should be based on improving cautious about further prodpublic health as opposed to uct development of the food what is most “cost-effective” concept because of many facfor industry. tors, including the perception Fruits and vegetables that that 1. global legislative adcontain pesticides residues can vice is inconsistent, 2. global be a health risk for people of all labeling advice is inconsisages. Research by scientists at tent, 3. testing is expensive the Harvard University, School and testing facilities (comof Public Health published in mercial scale) are lacking, 4. “Pediatrics” in June 2010 dis- a consensus scientific posicovered exposure to organo- tion concerning the food inphosphates may contribute dex or carbohydrate manageto the prevalence of attention ment in healthy populations deficit hyperactivity disorder is lacking. In the post-Atkins in children and increase risks era, food manufacturers are of Parkinson’s disease, espe- looking for sustainable health cially in young people, accord- positioning, not fads. Iming to research by scientists of proved satiety (related to GI) the University of California seems to be an approach that in Berkeley published in the the industry favors currently “American Journal of Epidemi- and that they feel they can use with some confidence on ology” in April 2009. packaging, “slow carbs” or However, the Food & Drug “helps you feel fuller longer.” Administrative Departments It seems that the motivashould implement a controlled agency to monitor the system tion for interest in the food regularly and organize practical concept for consumers goes trainings and exposure visits to beyond weight loss. It is more the fields where the food prod- about the entire family eatucts are produced and stored for ing healthily for improved selective executives and farm- longer-term health benefits, ing community. The Govern- including reducing the risk ment and other social organiza- of diabetes and heart disease, tions like OMRI, GMO, should by cutting down on refined organize practical trainings and and highly processed foods. promote awareness on chemi- The implications for manucals in food, how it’s affecting facturers and retailers from to our health, create a kind of this summary are that simple, attention not to eat those chem- trustworthy, and consistent ically identified food products. information and labeling sysAs well as represent on behalf tems are key to building conof public to raise the voice and sumer interest.


VOICE OF ASIA 18

Simple Ways to Help You Protect Yourself Against Skin Cancer

HEALTH

Colon cancer patients who eat nuts have lower death risk by Anne Doerr-Yale

Skin Cancer Seminar

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UGAR LAND – (March 2, 2018) — With more than two million people diagnosed every year, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It’s also one of the most treatable cancers when diagnosed early, and largely preventable if you avoid the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. “¬These rays can cause damage in as little as 15 minutes, but a few simple actions can go a long way toward safeguarding ourselves,” said Melissa Crosby, M.D., plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. Staying out of the sun is the first and foremost recommendation. But when you can’t avoid being exposed, a combination of sunscreen and protective clothing is your best bet. “Sunscreen alone is helpful, but loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection,” said Crosby. “Obviously, we can’t completely cover ourselves in fabric, so sunscreen is good for those areas of the skin that remain exposed.” A hat helps protect your scalp, face, ears and even your neck. Choose canvas over straw, which can let rays through its holes. Sunglasses not only protect the sensitive skin around your eyes, but they can also help prevent cataracts. SUNSCREEN SAVVY Be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes ahead of sun exposure and reapply every two hours

EW HAVEN, Connecticut March 2, 2018 - People with stage III colon cancer who regularly eat nuts are at significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality than those who don’t, according to a new study.

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and after swimming, sweating or toweling off. Waterresistant sunscreen still needs to be reapplied often. You can use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 15, but the higher the number, the better. Don’t forget to check the expiration date on sunscreen. Melissa Crosby, M.D., plastic and That bottle from reconstructive surgery your beach vacation three years ago has most likely lost its effective- cal warning signs, be sure to ask ness. If there is no expiration your physician,” added Crosby. date, three years is considered “Skin cancer can present itself the standard shelf life for sun- in a multitude of ways, so it screen, but higher temperatures is better to get checked early when it is more easily treated can shorten the lifespan. than to wait until it grows.” WARNING SIGNS Check your skin at least once a month for warning signs of precancerous or cancerous moles or lesions, using these ABCDE guidelines: Asymmetry: One half • does not match the other half. Border: The border or • edges are ragged, blurred or irregular. Color: The color var• ies throughout the spot or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red. Diameter: The diam• eter is larger than the eraser of a pencil. Evolution: There is a • change in size, shape or color. “If you find anything questionable, even outside the typi-

To schedule an appointment with Melissa Crosby, M.D., or another physician in your area, call 281.274.7500. You can also visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information. SKIN NAR

CANCER

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Join Melissa Crosby, M.D., on at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, and learn how to prevent the most common cancer in the United States — skin cancer. Estimates indicate 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer during their lifetime. Registration is required and space is limited. For more information or to register, visit events.houstonmethodist.org/ skin-sl or call 281.274.7500.

Read other HEALTH articles. Visit us online www. voiceofasiaonline.com

Drug companies and publichealth agencies are already grappling with the challenge of next year and beyond. Officials must decide several months ahead of flu season the makeup of the year’s vaccine. Flu shots are typically 40 percent to 60 percent effective in any given season, though this year fell short of that mark. The ultimate goal is a universal vaccine that would operate more like a measles inoculation than a vaccine targeted at a handful of strains of flu. The idea is to offer something closer to 90 percent protection against a disease for years - if not for life - with a single vaccine. It’s still early days. And outmaneuvering the stealthy, evermutating flu virus is about as tricky as it gets. There are hundreds of different viruses, and seasonal vaccines protect only against the three or four that researchers think will be the most common that season, creating an ever-moving target for public-health experts. The current epidemic has provided a new

A nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta last month. The disease is still “widespread” in many places, but slowing.(-David Goldman/AP)

Recently though, some new research leads have turned up potentially promising approaches. One that Sanofi already uses relies on cell cultures, rather than eggs, to develop vaccines because some viruses do not reproduce as well in eggs. That was a problem, for instance, with this year’s vaccine against the H3N2 strain, some experts maintain. Scientists have also developed ways to use what’s known as recombinant DNA technology in the production of cell-based vaccines. That allows them to find individual genes on a virus that are more likely to stimulate an immune response, cut them out, and insert them into the genome of another organism to make a

“Further analysis of this cohort revealed that disease-free survival increased by 46 percent among the subgroup of nut consumers who ate tree nuts rather than peanuts,” says Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Yale University Cancer Center and senior author of the study. Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans, among others. In contrast, peanuts are actually in the legume family of foods.

Earlier research among patients with colon cancer revealed that people had worse outcomes when they had lifestyle factors—such as obesity, lack of exercise, and a diet with high levels of carbohydrates— that heighten insulin resistance and quickly raise levels of blood sugar.

“These findings are in keeping with several other observational studies that indicate that a slew of healthy behaviors—including increased physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, and lower intake of sugar and sweetened beverages—improve colon cancer outcomes,” says Temidayo Fadelu, a postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and lead author of the paper. “The results highlight the importance of emphasizing dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survivorship.” Additionally, the researchers emphasize, the study highlighted connections between biological mechanisms that worsen disease not just in colon cancer but in certain chronic illnesses

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Sanofi, the world’s biggest flu-vaccine maker, signed a deal with SK Chemicals Co. in February to advance the development of a universal vaccine. John Shiver, senior vice president of global vaccines research and development at Sanofi Pasteur, says it’s hard for the scientific community to move away from the existing technologies to create a new one, in part because those have been relatively successful over the past 70 years.

such as type 2 diabetes.

AN FRANCISCO, California, March 2, 2018 - Scientists have been rejuvenating old mice with infusions of not just the blood of younger mice, but even blood from teenage human beings - and we finally have our first clues on why this strange technique works.

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sense of urgency to push ahead. Leading the charge from Big Pharma are drugmaking giants, including GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Sanofi SA and Johnson & Johnson.

The study followed 826 participants in a clinical trial for a median of 6.5 years after they received treatment with surgery and chemotherapy. Those who regularly ate at least two, one-ounce servings of nuts each week demonstrated a 42 percent improvement in disease-free survival and a 57 percent improvement in overall survival.

by Mike McRae

by Cynthia Koons and Ivan Levingston (Bloomberg News)

“There has to be a wholesale change to how we make the flu vaccine,” said Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “We’re always setting ourselves up for vaccine mismatch and failures and the like because of the lead time in how long it takes the vaccines to be made.”

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Many previous studies have reported that nuts, among other health benefits, may help to reduce insulin resistance, a condition in which the body has difficulty processing the insulin hormone. Insulin resistance leads to unhealthy levels of sugar in the blood and is often a predecessor to type 2 diabetes and related illnesses.

“These studies support the hypothesis that behaviors that make you less insulin-resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer,” Fuchs says. “However, we don’t know yet what exactly about nuts is beneficial.” Nuts also might play a positive role by satisfying hunger with less intake of carbohydrates or other foods associated with poor outcomes, Fuchs notes. Patients may not be eating nuts due to concerns about the high fat content, says Fuchs. For example, a one-ounce serving of about 24 almonds holds about 200 calories, including 14 grams of fat “People ask me if increasing nut consumption will lead to obesity, which leads to worse outcomes,” he says. “But what’s really interesting is that in our studies, and across the

scientific literature in general, regular consumers of nuts tend to be leaner.” Dietary changes can make a difference. An earlier analysis of diets in the same patient cohort found a significant link between coffee consumption and reduced recurrence and mortality in colon cancer. When Fuchs advises his patients about lifestyle choices, “first and foremost, I talk about avoiding obesity, exercising regularly, and staying away from a high-carbohydrate diet,” he says. “Then we talk about things like coffee and nuts. If you like coffee or nuts, enjoy them, and if you don’t, there are many other helpful steps you can take.” “Overall, we are working to apply the same rigorous science to the understanding of diet and lifestyles in the colon cancer patient population that we apply to defining new drugs,” Fuchs says. The researchers reported their findings in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Jeffrey Meyerhardt of Dana-Farber, and Ying Bao of Brigham and Women’s Hospital are co-corresponding authors of the paper. Funding for the research came from the National Cancer Institute. Support also came from private sponsors including Pfizer Oncology and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. The private sponsors did not participate in the design, conduct, or analysis of the study, or in review or approval of the paper.

We might finally know why the blood of young people can rejuvenate old brains

Amid a deadly season, the race is on to outsmart an ever-mutating flu virus ITTSBURGH, PA, March 2, 2018 - The only thing worse than getting the flu is catching it after you’ve gotten a flu shot. It’s been a terrible year for outbreaks - the worst in almost a decade. Contributing to that is the high failure rate of this year’s vaccine. The current shot is just 25 percent effective against the H3N2 virus, this season’s most-often-identified strain by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The experts say, with enough time and money, they can do a lot better.

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Researchers have discovered an enzyme that helps rescue ageing brains from cognitive decline. So far it’s only been shown in mice, but if the same mechanisms are found in humans, it could lead to a new class of anti-ageing therapies. Four years ago, a team of re-

searchers led by neurobiologist Saul Villeda from the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that giving older mice infusions of blood from younger mice improved their memory and learning by improving connections in the hippocampus. By the same token, they also found that giving the younger mice ‘old blood’ led to an increase in cognitive aging. Ever since, Villeda’s lab has been searching for the secret to this slightly vampiric fountain of youth - and now they think they have it. The team used a technique called parabiosis, which in-

volved surgically connecting the circulatory systems of a pair of mice of two different relative ages; either a spry 3, mature 6, or seasoned 18 months. Then the researchers analysed the mouse brains to measure the levels of an enzyme thought to be involved in some age-related diseases. “At first I didn’t believe it,” says the study’s lead author Geraldine Gontier from UCSF. As exciting as the idea is, we have to remember that so far it’s only been demonstrated in mice. There’s good reason to suspect these processes occur in humans, but further studies are required. (-Cell Reports)

more successful vaccine. Even using such advanced techniques, a flu vaccine with 90 percent effectiveness may be beyond reach, given the scientific challenges of targeting the virus over time. Shiver imagines that even a universal shot, were it to be successfully developed, would have to be constantly tweaked. “We don’t know the best way to produce them, which is why, at Sanofi Pasteur, we’ve been accumulating technology for flexibility,” he said.

Read up on what’s changing in the Health world

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen research group is also doing pre-clinical work on a universal vaccine. “New innovations for influenza are urgently needed,” said Julian Symons, research and development leader of respiratory infections. GlaxoSmithKline, another leading vaccine developer, is conducting one of the first studies of a universal flu vaccine in humans. The shot is based on research directed in part by Peter Palese, the chair of microbiology at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York. Unlike current vaccines that target constantly changing proteins on the surface of the flu virus, Palese’s approach targets a part of the virus that remains relatively stable from year to year. Glaxo is lending expertise in boosting the immune response through vaccination. (-

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


HEALTH

VOICE OF ASIA 19

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

A ‘paradigm shift’ in the Houston Methodist Sugar Land diagnosis of diabetes: study offers ‘Beat the Pack’ program to give smokers a successful start on resolution to quit P by Marlowe HOOD

ARIS, France | AFP | Thursday 3/1/2018 Scientists on Friday unveiled a revised classification for diabetes, one they said could lead to better treatments and help doctors more accurately predict life-threatening complications from the disease.

There are five distinct types of diabetes that can occur in adulthood, rather than the two currently recognised, they reported in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, a leading medical journal. The findings are consistent with the growing trend toward “precision medicine,” which takes into account differences between individuals in managing disease. In the same way that a patient requiring a transfusion must receive the right blood type, diabetes sub-types need different treatments, the study suggested. Similarly, scientists have also identified distinct kinds of microbiome -- the bacterial ecosystem in our digestive tract -- that can react differently to the same medication, rendering it more or less effective. “This is the first step towards personalised treatment of diabetes,” said senior author Leif Groop, an endocrinologist at Lund University in Sweden, adding that the new classification is a “paradigm shift” in how the disease is viewed. People with diabetes have excessively high blood glucose, or blood sugar, which comes from food. Some 420 million people around the world today suffer from diabetes, with the number expected to rise to 629 million by 2045, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Currently, the disease is divided into two sub-types. With type-1 -- generally diagnosed in childhood and ac-

Some 420 million people around the world today suffer from diabetes, with the number expected to rise to 629 million by 2045, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

counting for about 10 percent of cases -- the body simply doesn’t make insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. For type-2, the body makes some insulin but not enough, which means glucose stays in the blood. This form of the disease correlates highly with obesity and can, over time, lead to blindness, kidney damage, and heart disease or stroke. Acute cases may also require limb amputations. - ‘Exceeded expectations’ It has long been known that type-2 diabetes is highly variable, but classification has remained unchanged for decades. For the study, researchers monitored 13,270 newly diagnosed diabetes patients ranging in age from 18 to 97. By isolating measurements of insulin resistence, insulin secretion, blood sugar levels, age, and the onset of illness, they distinguished five distinct clusters of the disease -- three serious and two milder forms. Among the severe types, a group of patients with insulin resistence -- in which cells are unable to use insulin effective-

ly -- was at far higher risk of kidney disease. “This group has the most to gain from the new diagnostics as they are the ones who are currently most incorrectly treated,” Groop said. Another group facing serious complications was composed of relatively young, insulindeficient patients. The third “severe” group were people with auto-immune diabetes corresponding to the original “type-1” diagnosis. The two other groups have milder types of the disease including one, which includes about 40 percent of the patients, beset with a form of diabetes related to advanced age. “This will enable earlier treatment to prevent complications in patients who are most at risk of being affected,” said lead author Emma Ahlqvist, an associate professor at Lund University. The results were checked against three other studies from Sweden and Finland. “The outcome exceeded our expectations,” said Groop. The researchers plan to launch similar studies in China and India.

Stop Diabetes Movement (SDM) camps create measurable impact on participants

Houston Methodist Sugar Land offers ‘Beat the Pack’ program to give smokers a successful start on resolution to quit. Photo credit: HMSLH

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UGAR LAND – (March 5, 2018) — Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is offering the community a proven program to help people quit smoking. The complimentary program, called Beat the Pack®, was developed by Pfizer Inc. and is sponsored by Houston Methodist Sugar Land Respiratory Therapy Department and Cancer Center. The next fourweek series is scheduled to start on April 19, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Houston Methodist Sugar Land’s Main Pavilion Conference Room A. Participants will meet once a week for four weeks with a trained facilitator from Houston Methodist Sugar Land who will provide tools, tips and support to help smokers create and follow through with a personalized “quit plan.” “Studies show that close to 70 percent of smokers in the U.S. want to quit,” said Amy Sebastian-Deutsch, director of oncology and infusion therapy services. “But it typically takes a smoker between six and 11 attempts at quitting to finally succeed. Beat the Pack is a proven program that can greatly increase those odds and

make it easier to give up cigarettes for good.” Even long-term smokers can benefit from quitting. “The health benefits of quitting begin almost immediately and continue indefinitely,” said Sindhu Nair, M.D., a boardcertified hematologist oncologist with Houston Methodist Oncology Partners at Sugar Land. “Within months, former smokers will have improved circulation and reduced blood pressure, enhanced oxygen flow, the return of taste and smell and less coughing and colds. After a year, their risk of heart disease will be reduced by half. And after 10 years of living without cigarettes, the risk of heart attack or cancer is similar to that of someone who never smoked.” In 2015, a thorough compilation of more than 50 smoking cessation studies that included more than 25,000 participants

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Interpol and Ecpat, a Bangkok-based international organisation fighting child sexual abuse, produced the findings after reviewing more than one million online images and videos. “There is sort of a higher number than we would have maybe thought of males portrayed on the images,” Ecpat’s Marie-Laure Lemineur told a press conference in Brussels.

by Nikhil Jain Sewa International and VYASA organized ten-day yoga camps from Feb. 16th to 25th. The camps were held simultaneously at three locations in the Houston area (Sugar Land, West Houston & Katy). The camp is specially designed for diabetic and prediabetic people to help them manage and control high blood sugar levels with yoga routine and holistic approach. SDM camps are being conducted all across the country; so far 17 Camps have been conducted in Houston. More than 250 people have participated in these camps, from all walks of life since then. The 10-day camp included daily yoga routine, educative sessions from medical doctors and specialist on diabetes, stress management, food habits, diet sleep. At the closing ceremony held at Keshav Smruti, participants shared about the transformation the camp brought in their lifestyle and in managing diabetes.

One of the participants, Neetin from Sugarland, says "I started doing Yoga regularly and my blood sugar levels have come down significantly, I enjoy the routine”. Venkat from Katy mentions “Last 10 days I have started sleeping better and I am much more relaxed, this was all because of the Yoga”. Another participant, Anu says “My family has history of Diabetes and though I do not have now, I joined along with my friends to make Yoga a routine in our life and ensure that I don’t get Diabetes.“ Satya from VYASA presented data on the results of this camp. The drop in participant’s fasting blood glucose level and post prandial sugar levels was noticeable with just 10 days of practice (based on the readings provided by participants before start & at the end of these camp). The program concluded with Nikhil Jain offering vote of thanks to all the participants, doctors (Dr. Sudha Rajan, Dr. Ulupi Choksi, Dr. Sejal Desai, Dr. Kavita Patel, Dr Meghana Samant, Dr Sudha Tallava-

jhula); camp yoga therapists (Meena Kankani, Satya Pappu, Vijay Jilledimudi, Manju Banthia, Srinivas Suraparaju & Suveena Guglani); Vibhuti Shah; VYASA Houston Directors Vishwarup Nanjundappa & Smitha Mallaiah and their team; Irfan Karim of Unique Industrial Product Company, Arya Samaj of Greater Houston, Keshav Smruti & Swath Yoga Studio for providing their facility and partnering to conduct these camps. A delicious and nutritious potluck meal was served to end the program on a high note. These yoga camps were extremely successful and the participants are now looking forward to keeping up with the

practices. Sewa will conduct the next set of camps in various parts of Houston, from Sep 14th to 23rd. These camps are free of charge and have refundable deposit after participants complete all the sessions. For more information or to volunteer, please email info-sdm@ sewausa.org or text (713)8344909. Sewa USA is 501 (c) (3) Hindu faith-based non-profit, charitable organization. All donations (cash, cars, clothes, securities, etc.) are tax-deductible. (Tax Id# 200638718). Sewa serves humanity regardless of race, religion, color, gender or nationality.

“It isn’t easy to quit, and certainly it is more difficult to do so by yourself,” said SebastianDeutsch. “Beat the Pack provides all the tools and support needed, and it does so in an informative, friendly atmosphere that offers encouragement and camaraderie.” The four-week program will be offered each quarter in Main Pavilion Conference Room A at Houston Methodist Sugar Land. Registration is required and space is limited. For more information or to register, visit houstonmethodist.org/events and search for Beat the Pack, or call 281.205.4514. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information.

More boys suffer online sex abuse than thought: study RUSSELS, Belgium | AFP | 3/6/2018 - Boys account for nearly a third of online child sex abuse images and often suffer the worst horrors, a new study revealed Tuesday, suggesting a greater problem than first thought.

Sewa yoga camp participants.

found that combining behavior support in a group setting with medication provides the best results.

The report said 64.8 percent of the unidentified victims were girls and 31.1 percent were boys while both sexes were depicted together in 4.1 percent of images and videos. “When boys were depicted in the abuse, it was more likely to be severe,” the report said. The report added that the younger the child, whether a boy or a girl, the “abuse was more likely to be severe.” The findings are important and require further study because it is often assumed that girls and older children are far more likely to be abused than boys and young children, Ecpat and Interpol officials said. Some of the victims were infants and toddlers. The study rated levels of

victimisation from cases of nudity, erotic posing, explicit sexual activity, assault, gross assault as well as sadism and bestiality. Bjorn Sellstrom, Interpol’s coordinator for crimes against children, urged the public to be careful about the terms used to describe the abuses. “This is not child pornography. This is evidence of crimes,” the Swedish police officer told the press conference. The images were contained in the International Child Sexual Exploitation database that Interpol set up nearly a decade ago, leading to the identification of 12,000 victims. But Sellstrom said many more could be identified as less than half of the world’s countries are connected to the data base, with none in Africa and only a few in Asia. The system’s sophisticated software compares photos and videos, allowing investigators to also identify abusers and locations across the participating member states. Nearly 47 percent of the files in the database portray child victims that have been identified by the authorities while the remainder depict unidentified children. Interpol and Ecpat called for a coordinated global response involving civil society, media, academia and various layers of government. “This is not a law enforcement problem. This is a societal problem,” Sellstrom said.

Read HEALTHLINE Online Log on to healthlinemag.com


ART & CULTURE

VOICE OF ASIA 20

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

FotoFest 2018’s Topic is INDIA

Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is unprecedented

sought out art departments of universities, where she has given many lectures and helped students. Her female students were especially interested in what it is like to be a woman photographer. Wambaugh has been honored with Visiting Professorships at Osma-

nia University, Hyderabad and Utkal Culture University, Bhubaneswar. She is a lifetime member of Marquis Who’s Who in American Art. Michele Wambaugh’s website is: www.michelephoto.com

Groundbreaking exhibition brings centuries of royal treasures from Jodhpur, India, to the U.S. for the first time

Michele Wambaugh

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OUSTON - “I’ve been waiting years for this FotoFest,” said fine art photographer, Michele Wambaugh. Since 2000, she has taken annual trips to India with her husband, Dr. Krishna Dronamraju. “India is my second home,” she says. Wambaugh’s FotoFest 2018 exhibition, “Faces of India” opens March 10 – April 22 at University of Houston, Sugar Land inside Brazos Hall. There will be a Gala Reception on Thursday, March 22, 6 – 9pm with poetry, dancing and catered food. This is a free FotoFest / City of Sugar Land sponsored event, open to the public. Shiva on His Vimana (Aircraft) with Himalaya (detail), 1827

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OUSTON - March 4, 2018 A major collaboration brings a groundbreaking exhibition of royal treasures from India to Houston in March. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in partnership with the Mehrangarh Museum Trust of Jodhpur, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India showcase s nearly four centuries of artistic creation from the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur, one of the largest princely states in India, in the northwestern state of Rajasthan. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from March 4 to August 19, 2018, before touring to the Seattle Art Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.

morning sun,” has been the seat of the Rathore dynasty since then, serving as a royal residence, a center of cultural patronage, and a place of worship for the royal clan. Today, it houses the collection of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, which was established in 1972 by the current dynastic head of the Rathore clan, His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II, and remains one of the most important and best-preserved collections of fine and applied arts from the Mughal period of Indian history. A handful of carefully chosen objects from other notable collections, including The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, complete the presentation, while large-scale photomurals will evoke the stunning setting of the Meh-

Wambaugh has specialized in capturing portraits of women and children in India since 2003. This includes many tribal groups in their home villages in the Araku Valley, Nilgiris Mountains and Rajasthan. In addition, she has photographed many Indian celebrations in Houston. Her favorite holiday to photograph is Janmashtami. Previous exhibits of “Faces of India” include: a Retrospective Exhibition in Beijing, China, which was opened by Nirupama Rao, then Ambassador from India; Texas Museum of Asian Cultures, Corpus Christi, TX and The Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts. Parts of this portfolio were featured in several issues of Asian Photography Magazine, Mumbai; Indian newspapers and Peterson’s Photographic Magazine, USA. Long before these exhibits, Wambaugh’s other series, backstage with performers, were exhibited in many museums and art centers on both East and West Coasts of USA and in New Delhi. Her early work was featured in almost all photo magazines in North America and Europe, various books and newspapers. Due to difficult techniques used, three of her art portfolios were published in Canon Camera’s Technical Magazine. During her many trips to various centers of India, Wambaugh has

confrontations, all led to a dynamic crosspollination of new ideas and belief systems, which found brilliant expression in fine and decorative arts, architecture, design, performing arts, and more.

Pavilion (Baradari), 19th century Through lavishly made ceremonial objects, finely crafted arms and armor, sumptuous jewels, intricately carved furnishings and more, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India outlines the dynamic history of the Marwar-Jodhpur region and the Rathore dynasty that ruled it for over seven centuries. Established in the 15th century, the city of Jodhpur was once the powerful capital of Marwar, a vast desert kingdom ruled by the Rathores, who were descendants of a hereditary social caste of Hindu warriors and kings (known as “kshatriyas”). Over the course of several centuries, the prosperity of Jodhpur attracted the attention of two successive empires who ruled India: the Mughals and the British. Both encounters reshaped Jodhpur’s cultural landscape, introducing objects, artists, languages, architectural styles and systems of administration that influenced the royal identity of the Rathore dynasty. Through some 250 objects from Indian courtly life, most never before seen outside of Jodphur, the exhibition illuminates how the Rathores acquired and commissioned objects amidst these cross-cultural exchanges to leverage patronage, diplomacy, matrimonial alliances, trade, and conquest. Drawn primarily from the collections of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust and the private collections of the royal family of Jodhpur, the exhibition marks the first time that most of these treasures—including paintings, decorative arts and furniture, tents, canopies, carpets, textiles, and weapons—will be seen outside of their palace setting at Mehrangarh Fort and the first time they will travel abroad. The foundations of the Fort, carved out of a rocky hillside 400 feet above Jodhpur, were laid by the Rathores in 1459 as a military stronghold. The Fort, famously described by Rudyard Kipling as “a palace that might have been built by Titans and colored by the

rangarh Museum, where H. H. Maharaja Gaj Singh II continues to preserve the living heritage of Jodhpur. “Peacock in the Desert is the result of a landmark partnership, marking the first time the Mehrangarh Museum Trust has shared so many of the treasured objects of their collection,” commented Gary Tinterow, MFAH director. “We are deeply honored and grateful to be the first U.S. organization to present this show, and for the opportunity to provide visitors this unprecedented experience of India’s rich cultural history.” “The fort of Jodhpur-Mehrangarh has been preserved as a record of the lives and legacy of the Rathores,” added His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II. “I look forward to sharing the artistic and cultural heritage of my country, India, and the city of Jodhpur and its people, with new audiences across North America.” - Exhibition Overview Peacock in the Desert is curated by a team of scholars and professionals from India: Dr. Mahrukh Tarapor, senior advisor for international initiatives at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dr. Karni Singh Jasol, director of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur; the late Martand Singh, chief consultant from the Mehrangarh Museum Trust; and Dr. Angma Dey Jhala, associate professor at Bentley University, who serves as project advisor and volume editor for the accompanying catalogue. Three central, underlying themes woven throughout Peacock in the Desert build upon recent and emerging scholarship to deepen visitors’ understanding of the multifaceted character of a traditional Indian kingdom: - Interconnections: The relationships between palace and town, urban and rural, central empire and subsidiary kingdom, as well as those that resulted from migratory trade routes, marital alliances, and military partnerships/

- The role of women and artisans: Contrary to the popular assumption that royal women were quietly hidden away, the exhibition explores the crucial role they played as agents of cultural change and patrons of the arts, showcasing how the gender roles, social etiquette, and aesthetic practices employed by women influenced the identity of Indian courts.

“Tribal Girl, Rajasthan” (Photo by Michele Wambaugh)

Be it ballet or salsa, 28-yearold Antara Ashra helps dance lovers make the right moves by Sneh Singh

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umbai-based Future School of Performing Arts (FSPA) offers training programmes in Western dance styles to aspiring and professional dancers. It is also a hub for recreational classes, rehearsals, and shoots. Dance, they say, is the hidden language of the soul of the body. But in India, dance is either Bollywood or a hobby. It was to fill this gap that Antara Ashra 28, in January 2016 founded the Future School of Performing Arts (FSPA), an institute that provides formal education in dancing styles such as ballet, jazz, salsa, and more.

- Royal patronage and the continuity of tradition: An exploration of the royal courts and the ways they were able to preserve India’s cultural traditions, while at the same time absorbing and incorporating external influences. The exhibition opens with a dramatic recreation of a royal wedding procession with video projections of actual footage from royal weddings performed in the 20th century. Featuring elephant howdahs (seats), horse and elephant mannequins adorned with traditional wedding regalia, and royal insignia, this immersive environment introduces visitors to the role that marital alliances played in the lives of the citizens of MarwarJodhpur and in the development of the region’s aesthetic traditions. The Mehrangarh Museum Trust is India’s leading cultural institution and center of excellence, established in 1972 by the 36th Custodian of Marwar-Jodhpur, H. H. Maharaja Gaj Singh II, to make the Fort come alive for visitors. Today, Mehrangarh Museum has a unique importance as a repository of the artistic and cultural history of the large area of central Rajasthan, Marwar-Jodhpur, ruled by the Rathore dynasty. Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in collaboration with Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur, India. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from March 4 through August 19, 2018, before traveling to the Seattle Art Museum (October 18, 2018, through January 2019) and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (March 9 through September 2, 2019). The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is located at 1001 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas 77005 | www.mfah.org | 713.639.7300.

Antara Ashra (Photo courtesy FSPA) Born and raised in Mumbai, Antara was 13 years old when she went to study in a boarding school, United World College, Singapore. She says the school pushed her towards social issues. “It was at school that I realised how important social impact was; I soon wanted to pursue a career that helps in bringing change,” she says. Antara aspired to be a journalist, so went on to pursue courses in English and communication at the University of Toronto. However, she always remained aware of the fact that there was no better place to make an impactful change than India. In 2012, after returning to India, Antara did a two-year fellowship programme at Teach for India. “I was a class teacher for two full years to Class 3 and 4 government school students in the bustling area of Lalbaug,” she recalls. - Merging academics with dance Both her experiences in the education sector - as a student in Singapore and being an educator at Teach For India - exposed her to the multifold impact of education on the society at large. The turning point came while Antara realised that some of her students who did not excel at academics were very good at co-curricular activities. To discover their true potential, An-

tara began with her classroom, where she gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their potential for creative arts and athletics. She also noticed with the method of dancing and singing, students were able to grasp the knowledge of the classroom in a far better way. Antara says: “In India, dance is considered a hobby, not a career option. Some students who excel in it either quit midway because of academic pressure or because they do not have the financial resources to pursue it as a career option. Moreover, when it comes to Western and European dancing schools, there are many training centres but there isn’t any formal education trajectory.” She highlights that many of these institutes look at it as a form of recreation or “training”, and not as an education. “This is an area where there are immense talent and demand, but the ecosystem is limited. Therefore, many talented and passionate artists have to pursue other careers,” she says. - Dance: not just a hobby After completing her fellowship in 2014, Antara started work on building a world-class performing arts institute. She came across an unused 5,000 square feet space at Kalina, which her family had kept for opening an office space and decided to put it to use. She says, “If I didn’t have this space, I would not have opened FSPA, as rents in Mumbai are very high. So I built this space with the world’s best facilities available to the student.” FSPA provides educational and training programmes for aspiring and existing professional dancers; it is also a hub for recreational classes, rehearsals, and shoots. Antara believes in the importance of the space contributing to one’s work, and her studios do just that. “Those who are seeking long-term space associations, which could span through a single day to over four hours a day or for weeks/months, are welcomed here,” she says. “Our goal is to build strong alumni working with a strong vision and empowering the dance space by contributing to a growing ecosystem.” (-MyStory)


VOICE OF ASIA 21

Barbers bristle at ‘fashionable’ beards in Pakistan province

LIFESTYLE

Tea the brew of change by Prabalika M. Borah

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eautiful paraphernalia, a bouquet of flavours and exotic origins: tea is the kind of gift that can be tailor-made to demonstrate how well you understand your family, friends or colleagues. This is probably why it is fast becoming a popular gift. It doesn’t hurt that this beverage also traditionally denotes wellness and prosperity.

A Pakistani hairdresser styles the beard of a customer at a hair salon in Peshawar: barbers are now to ban “fashionable” beards in their shops (Photo: AFP) ESHAWAR, Pakistan | AFP | 3/6/2018 - Hairdressers in Pakistan’s conservative northwest have announced a ban in their shops on “fashionable” beards, saying trendy facial hair violates Islamic law.

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The decision affecting Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province echoes a similar ban introduced there more than a decade ago, after militant groups including the Pakistani Taliban threatened barbers with dire consequences for trimming beards. “Creating different beard designs is against the Sunnah (teachings) of the Prophet Mohammed,” Sulemani Hairdressers Association president Sharif Kahlu told a press conference in the provincial capital Peshawar on Monday. He said tens of thousands of barbers, all members of his association, have promised to abide by the decision and notices would be pasted in shops throughout the province informing customers. Different Muslim sects adhere to different beard shapes and lengths, but the most generally accepted “Islamic”

beard is one that is long enough to be visible from a certain distance, but not longer than a fistful of hair. Kahlu strongly denied any pressure on his association from any militant organisation, calling the move “a decision of our conscience”. “We met local administrations of all the major cities and districts in the province and they assured us of their full cooperation but refused to issue any directive to make this decision official,” he said. He said there were several shops in the province, which were not members of the association. “We will try and convince them to implement the decision but will not force them at all.” Militants attacked many barber shops and saloons in the province a decade ago, calling the shaving of beards un-Islamic. In recent years men in Pakistan’s major cities like Karachi and Lahore have become more metrosexual, with the growing middle class taking advantage of a trend in male beauty salons to be selfie-ready at any time.

India leads global decline in child marriages: UN

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Ask diamond merchant-turnedtea sommelier, Jiten Sheth. He has friends and customers drop by often, and it’s not to “buy diamonds”. “Almost every call begins with a ‘Can I come by for a cup of tea?’” he laughs. Sheth’s love for tea over the years and his keenness to know more about various blends and techniques earned him a reputation among friends and clients (he himself prepares tea for his guests). So he took it upon himself to gift little tea hampers to those who loved sharing a cup of tea with him. “That was very satisfying,” he says, adding, “It felt like I was gifting them wellness; that’s a gift that can be cherished and shared for a long time.” There are various kinds of teas to choose from today, and a large number of them — matcha, flavoured, loose leaf, blooming teas, rose oolong, charcoal matcha — are easily accessible, on supermarket shelves, in speciality stores and, of course, on the world wide web. When curating a hamper, don’t forget to include interesting infusers and brewing kits. They make putting together that great-tasting cuppa so much more fun. Think infusers, timers, teapots and glass tea presses. If you want something fancier, check out the Espro Press: a poshed-up version of the French Press, with a patented double micro-filter for a cleaner cup and vacuum-insulated stainless walls. Then, there are Premium loose leaf infusers that promise a quick, no-fuss brew. For the tech obsessed, there’s the one-touch automatic tea maker, where a fully automated tea basket moves down, then up, agitating the leaves to infuse your tea. If you prefer something more classic, Japanese cast-iron tea pots are works of art by themselves and come in various sizes and shapes. Traditionally forged in coal furnaces, they are based on century-old designs and are usually avail-

able with collectors.

Move over boxes of sweets and chocolates. Tea is the king when it comes to innovative gifting options

Of course, everything needs to be well packaged. Once your tea and infusers are in place, scout around for interesting flavours. Teabox’s hampers are aromatic and designed for those who love Indian tea. Their metal box, with a pretty, transparent lid in golden hues, offers an assortment of natural chai mixes: Masala, elaichi, kahwa and much more. - On the go -

There are over 65 varieties of green tea alone; and one pays for quality. The grading of varieties is influenced from the process of selection to the amount of shade the plantations receive. “The reason we at Tasse de Thé decided on making tea an exotic gift idea was to tell the story and health benefits that come with it. I call it ‘adorable luxury’, and instead of just limiting tea blends, we have

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Tea is also fast turning into an interesting collectible for travellers. Take, for instance, Mario Alex, a Hyderabad-based businessman who was so intrigued by a tea boutique in New York, that he couldn’t help but splurge on teas whose names he hadn’t even heard of before. “The brews were very exclusive and everyone was buying small quantities. The combination of blend, I was told, was meant to be more than just a cup at breakfast,” he recollects. New York has a fascinating number of options on offer. Like the green Matcha beer served at 29B Teahouse, a frothy combination of matcha and lager. Or Physical GraffiTea, which serves medicinal blends with memorable names, like Fertilitea and Serenitea. So, what makes it an ideal gift? “There’s a chai lover in every home, who’s now upgrading his daily cuppa to green tea, white tea, herbals and variants from around the world,” says Mumbai-based tea sommelier, Snigdha Manchanda of Tea Trunk, adding “Tea is today what chocolate was in the last decade. The move is also fuelled by the new wave of conscious eating and healthy food choices.” - Spoilt for choice -

decided to offer connoisseurs the whole culture,” says Rohak Sheth, co-founder of Mumbai’s Frenchstyle tea café. He adds, “We have infusers, automatic tea makers and handmade Chinese pots that cost as much as ₹22,000. The fact that we find buyers is proof that tea is now looked at as an uber gifting idea.” If a healthy brew is what you’re looking for, there’s a lot more beyond the colour green. Think kombucha, chamomile, hibiscus, echinacea, rose hip and sage. A simple online search is sure to leave you baffled by the sheer variety on offer. If you’re too cool for conventional varieties, snag some blue, purple or yellow varieties, or look for single origin teas. Of course, there’s also that range of iced teas, flavoured and non-flavoured blends to choose from. And for those extra-picky friends who need to be on trend, all the time, there’s one more option. The world of tea’s response to Bali’s civet coffee (Kopi Luwark): insect tea, or dragon ball tea, from China, made from insect droppings. No extra flavouring necessary. (-The Hindu)

‘No dancing’: Saudi concert edict stirs ridicule The legal marriage age in India is 18 but millions of children are pushed to tie the knot when they are younger. (Photo: AFP/STRDEL). EW DELHI, India | AFP | 3/6/2018 - A significant drop in Indian girls being forced into marriage has led a global decline in the number of child brides, the United Nations said Tuesday.

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According to UN children's agency UNICEF, 25 million child marriages have been prevented around the world in the last decade, with the sharpest drop in India and the rest of South Asia where girls as young as eight have reportedly been forced to wed. "South Asia has witnessed the largest decline in child marriage worldwide in the last 10 years... in large part due to progress in India", it said. "In the current trend, 27 percent of girls — nearly 1.5 million girls — get married before they turn 18 in India. This is a sharp decline from 47 per cent a decade ago." The risk of a girl being forced to marry before the age of 18 in South Asia has decreased from nearly 50 percent to 30 percent, said a UNICEF statement. The agency attributed the change to better education for girls, government initiatives and strong awareness programmes. UNICEF said there had also been reductions in African countries such as Ethiopia. About a third of the world's child brides are in sub-Saharan Africa.

The legal marriage age in India is 18 but millions of children are forced to tie the knot when they are younger, particularly in poor rural areas. Many parents marry off their children in the hope of improving their financial security. The results can be devastating, with girls dropping out of school to cook and clean for their husbands and suffering health problems from giving birth at a young age.

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IYADH, Saudi Arabia | AFP - A “No dancing or swaying” instruction on tickets to Egyptian pop sensation Tamer Hosny’s upcoming concert in Saudi Arabia has triggered an avalanche of mockery and ridicule on social media.

UNICEF's principal gender adviser, Anju Malhotra, warned that a lot of work remains to be done to reach the UN target of eradicating child marriages by 2030.

Thousands of fans were taken by surprise when tickets for Hosny’s first-ever Saudi concert in the western city of Jeddah on March 30 came with the edict that dancing was “strictly prohibited”.

The agency estimates that 12 million girls are forced into marriage each year, meaning that without further efforts more than 150 million will fall victim to the practice by 2030.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts,” one Twitter user said.

"Each and every child marriage prevented gives another girl the chance to fulfill her potential," Malhotra said.

“The corridors and seats will be equipped with sway detectors. Anyone who thinks about swaying will be kicked out.”

In a landmark judgement last year, India's top court said that sex with an underage wife constituted rape, in a ruling cheered by activists.

"But given the world has pledged to end child marriage by 2030, we're going to have to collectively redouble efforts to prevent millions of girls from having their childhoods stolen through this devastating practice."

CHILD MARRIAGE IS ANY FORMAL MARRIAGE OR INFORMAL UNION WHERE ONE OR BOTH OF THE PARTIES ARE UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE. EACH YEAR, 12 MILLION GIRLS ARE MARRIED BEFORE THE AGE OF 18. THAT IS 23 GIRLS EVERY MINUTE. NEARLY 1 EVERY 2 SECONDS.

Another tweeted: “No dancing or swaying in a concert! It’s like putting ice under the sun and asking it not to melt.” The kingdom’s entertainment authority did not respond to AFP’s request for comment about the instruction. With its new modernisation drive, the ultra-conservative kingdom has hosted a series of concerts

Egyptian singer and judge Tamer Hosny sings during “The Voice Kids: Ahla Sawt” show on February 3, 2018, at MBC studios north of the Lebanese capital Beirut. in recent months by artists such as Lebanon’s Hiba Tawaji and legendary Greek composer Yanni.

sidy cuts in an era of low oil prices with more entertainment options -despite opposition from Muslim religious hardliners.

Men and women are often seen breaking into dance at such events, in scenes that were unimaginable not long ago.

The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the kingdom reels from a protracted slump in oil prices.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is leading the reform drive, is seeking to balance unpopular sub-

Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see movie shows and visit amusement parks in neighbouring tourist hubs like Dubai.


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Your Horoscope for the Week of MARCH 2, 2018

Astrology.com

ACROSS

1. Tucked in

1. Out of whack

2. Supernatural life force

6. Greek H

3. Indiana Jones

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.

9. Goodness gracious!

4. Cancel an edit, pl.

13. Swahili or Zulu

5. Logic-based puzzle

14. “Was ist ____?”

6. Icelandic epic

Taurus - 21 April to 20 May

15. *What speakers do

Aries - 21 March to 20 April

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

16. Concluded 17. Chain letters 18. “A Doll’s House” playwright

7. *Sign of a Spring Break trip 8. Volcano near Nagano 9. Major European river 10. Knife wound

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.

21. Take advantage of an opportunity

12. Say you didn’t do it

Cancer - 21 June to 22 July

23. *Spring Break beach alternative

20. *____ life

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.

Leo - 23 July to 22 August

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.

Virgo 23 August to 22 September

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?

Libra - 23 Sept to 22 Oct

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.

Scorpio - 23 Oct to 21 Nov

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.

Sagittarius - 22 Nov to 21 Dec

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.

Capricorn 22 Dec to 20 Jan

19. *____ Beach

24. *Resort island in Indonesia 25. Web robot 28. Tangerine plus grapefruit 30. Canine’s coat 35. “The Three Faces of ____,” pl.

15. *In two pieces 22. *In high demand during Spring Break 24. With two axes 25. *Top destination 26. Immature ovum 27. Pavarotti, e.g. 29. Potato’s soup mate

37. Mound

31. Wet nurse

39. Idealized image

32. Shriver or Sharapova

40. Polly to Tom Sawyer

33. Leaf-eating moth

41. *South Padre Island, ____ 43. Jason’s vessel 44. Intangible storage 46. Jamie Fraser’s tartan 47. Hurries 48. Heavy lifting injury 50. “In your dreams!” 52. *”Where the Boys ____,” movie

34. ____ tooth 36. Render speechless 38. Buddies 42. Time on the job 45. Take weapon away 49. Lungful 51. Like medieval European society 54. Reduce pressure 56. Possible allergic reaction

53. Perfect houseplant spot

57. Antioxidant-rich berry

55. Clinton ____ Rodham

58. Misfortunes

57. *Tough to raise? 61. *Like typical Spring Break traveler 65. *Desired forecast

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.

66. Sylvester to Tweety

Aquarius - 21 Jan to 19 Feb

70. Flying saucer acronym

68. Show opposition 69. Smoke detector, e.g.

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.

71. Make laugh

Pisces - 20 Feb to 20 March

74. Everyone but clergy

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.

11. Domain

59. ____ Madrid 60. Taxi payment 61. Roofed colonnade 62. Red carpet purse 63. What birds do 64. Three pointer 67. Away from the bow

72. Same as island 73. School org.

DOWN

SOLUTION FOR STATEPOINT SPRING BREAKON PAGE 23


CLASSIFIEDS

VOICE OF ASIA 23

FRIDAY, March 9, 2018

Job Posting – Web Producer – Part Time KTRK-TV is looking for a part time digital producer who can do it all to be part of the team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. The ideal candidate will have three years’ experience working in major market televisionor print news internet operation, the ability to shoot and edit video and working experience of Photoshop. Additionally have proven social media expertise and must be flexible with work schedule which may vary depending on station needs and projects.Candidate must be able to handle many projects simultaneously. Candidate must be a self-starter and have a ‘Do It Now’ mentality to excel in our fast-paced environment. We are a 24/7 news operation, so digital producers must be willing to work any day or shift, as needed. To be considered interested applicants must apply on-line at www.disneycareers.com byuploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 529002BR. Equal Opportunity Employer –Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender IdentityNo Telephone Calls Please

Job Posting – Programming and Production Intern KTRK-TV, the ABC Owned station located in Houston, TX is accepting applications for aMULTIMEDIAPROGRAMMING AND PRODUCTION INTERN for the upcoming semester. Internships are available to currently enrolled college students in their junior or senior year pursuing careers in the television/media field and must receive college credit for the internship. The intern will assist Producers, Directors and Photojournalists with executing all aspects of the broadcast and digital storytelling process and will be expected to assist producers and directors with original content weekly for broadcast and digital platforms.Applicants must be comfortable juggling multiple projects at once and needs to be a strong researcher, writer, and communicator. Responsibilities will include working on a variety of programming, and digital projects. Opportunity to assist on producing/shootinglive and taped field stories, studio newscast production, and live special event programs.To be considered you must apply online at www.disneycareers.com, Job Req.#529004BR. Please upload a cover letter, your resume outlining expected graduationdate, current major course of study, other internships, work experience, related clubsand organizations and extracurricular activities. Applicants must be currently enrolled incollege and will be required to supply written verification of eligibility to receiveacademic credit for the internship at the start of the internship. Equal Opportunity Employer Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

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Job Posting – News/Digital Producer Intern KTRK-TV, the ABC Owned station located in Houston, TX is accepting applications for apaid NEWS/ DIGITAL PRODUCER INTERN for the summer semester. Internships areavailable to undergrads currently enrolled college students in their junior or senior yearpursuing careers in the television/media field and must receive college credit for theinternship. The internship program is designed to provide students with an on-siteeducational experience that complements their academic studies. Interns will have anopportunity to observe and participate in the daily work and operations of a majormarket, television station.As an intern you will gain valuable experience in all areas related to producing a television newscast – including the important relationship between our broadcast and digital platforms. Interested candidates should have a strong desire to pursue a career as a multi-platform producer and willing to receive continual feedback. Will have an opportunity to attend production meetings, research news topics, and learn how to prioritize assignments. Applicants must be currently enrolled in college and supply written verification of eligibility to receive academic credit for the internship at the start ofthe internship. Additionally, applicants must be able to work at least more than one day per week and the hours may vary depending on scheduling and will include some weekend and early morning and evening hours.All interested applicants must apply online at www.disneycareers.com, Job Req529006BR. Please upload a cover letter, your resume outlining other internships,degrees earned, work experience, related clubs and organizations, current major courseof study, expected graduation date and extracurricular activities. Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual

Orientation/Gender IdentityNo Telephone Calls Please

Job Posting – Community Affairs Intern KTRK-TV, the ABC Owned station located in Houston, TX is accepting applications for a paid COMMUNITY AFFAIRS INTERNSHIP for the upcoming semester. Internships areavailable to currently enrolled undergraduate college students in their junior or senioryear pursuing careers in the television/media field and must receive college credit forthe internship. The internship program is designed to provide students with an on-siteeducational experience that complements their academic studies. Interns will have anopportunity to observe and participate in the daily work and operations of a majormarket, television station.As an intern you will help in the production of community affairs shows, includingscheduling of guests, help gathering and editing video, assist with community drives,forums and outreach. Each area requires significant planning, scheduling andexecution. Applicants must be currently enrolled in college and supply writtenverification of eligibility to receive academic credit for the internship at the start of theinternship. Additionally, applicants must be able to work on a daily basis and the hoursmay vary depending on scheduling and may include some weekend and early morningand evening hours.To be considered you must apply online at www.disneycareers.com, Job Req.#529005BR. Please upload a cover letter, your resume outlining expected graduationdate, current major course of study, other internships, work experience, related clubsand organizations and extracurricular activities. Applicants must be currently enrolled incollege and will be required to supply written verification of eligibility to receiveacademic credit for the internship at the start of the internship. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Job Posting – Assignment Desk Intern KTRK-TV, the ABC Owned station located in Houston, TX is accepting applications for an ASSIGNMENT DESK INTERN for the upcoming spring semester. Internships are available to currently enrolled college students in their junior or senior year pursuing careers in the television/media field and students must receive college credit for the internship. The successful applicant will be responsible for assisting the assignment desk, which includes but is not limited to making beat-checks, answering phones, monitoring police and fire radios, getting information and developing stories.The candidate should be detail-oriented and able to handle many different responsibilities at the same time. The ideal intern knows how to multi-task and set priorities. Good news judgment and strong communication skills are essential, along with strong writing skills. The candidate should have a good working knowledge with theuse of social media for news gathering. Must be willing to work evenings and weekends. To be considered you must apply online at www.disneycareers.com, Job Req.#529007BR. Please upload a cover letter, your resume outlining expected graduationdate, current major course of study, other internships, work experience, related clubsand organizations and extracurricular activities. Applicants must be currently enrolled incollege and will be required to supply written verification of eligibility to receiveacademic credit for the internship at the start of the internship. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

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VOICE OF ASIA 24

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Home&Real Estate Innovative New Looks

Commercial real estate development is more important to Texas than any other state by Kyle Hagerty

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OUSTON - Texas is the top state in the nation for contributions to state gross domestic product and jobs created/supported by commercial real estate development, NAIOP found. In total, commercial real estate in Texas supports 379,781 related jobs and contributes $59B to the state’s economy. California ranked second with 333,817 jobs and over $52B contributed to the state’s economy by commercial real estate development. Texas leads the nation in commercial real estate development for warehouse/flex, including e-commerce distribution, fulfillment facilities and retail real estate. It ranks second only to California in office development. “Commercial real estate is a robust contributor to national and state economies, and NAIOP is dedicated to working with the administration, Congress and state legislators to develop bipartisan infrastructure investment incentives that empower our industry to expand,” NAIOP CEO Thomas Bisacquino said. Nationally, new development and ongoing operations of commercial real estate — office, industrial, warehouse and retail — supported 7.6 million American jobs (new and existing) and contributed $935B to U.S. GDP in 2017. -Medical Center lagging Despite being the largest medical complex in the world, Houston’s Texas Medical Center lags behind other healthcare strongholds in commercialization. In medical research hubs like Boston, every $5 of research spending produces $1 of commercialization, San Francisco is even better at a 3-to-1 ratio. At the TMC, it takes $24 to produce $1 of commercialization. To compete, the TMC will need to do better. “If you look at the MITs and Stanfords of the world, the paradigm is no longer publish or perish, it’s now commercialize or perish,” Texas Medical Center Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Shawn Cloonan said at Bisnow’s National Healthcare South event Tuesday. The Texas Medical Center handles more than 10 million patients and 750,00 emergency room visits every year. A sur-

gery begins there every three minutes. Historically, the TMC has used its 50M SF of developed medical space to focus on treatment, not innovation. That is changing. “Five years ago, and for the first time in our 70-year history, all TMC CEOs and executive leadership came together to form a strategic plan,” Texas Medical Center President and CEO Bill McKeon said in a recent press release. “We’re in desperate need of research space,” Baylor Col-

“The economics of research funding isn’t well understood,” David said. “As hard as it is, it’s a very important part.” (-Bisnow)

US hits RBS with $500mn penalty for deceptive investments

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EW YORK, | AFP - US authorities on Tuesday hit the Royal Bank of Scotland with a $500 million penalty for “deceptive practices” in mortgage investments it sold in the run-up to the global financial crisis. The penalty follows $5.5 billion which the bank, once the largest in the world, agreed in 2017 to pay a US regulator. RBS packaged toxic subprime mortgages into risky financial derivatives it sold to customers, a practice that helped spark the 2008 housing meltdown, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. The settlement includes $100 million in cash to the state, and $400 million worth of consumer relief for New York homeowners and communities as a result of the damage done by the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). “RBS admits that it sold investors RMBS backed by mortgage loans that... did not materially comply with underwriting guidelines,” the statement said. In addition, “many of the mortgage loans did not comply with applicable laws and regulations.” Defaults on mortgages led to a cascade of failures by financial institutions that packaged the loans but had no clear idea of which ones were good and which were likely to default, which ultimately led to the

for Your Kitchen Renovation

lege of Medicine Chief Business Officer Kimberly Cotner David said. “We’re landlocked in the Medical Center, that’ll be our next foray into a building.” Research dollars are key to pursuing commercialization, and funding the right idea could lead to thousands of square feet of development as enterprises expand.

2008 crisis. “While the financial crisis may be behind us, New Yorkers are still feeling the effects of the housing crash,” Schneiderman said. “Home values plummeted. Vacant homes consumed neighborhoods.” RBS has pledged to buy abandoned houses and to lend on favorable terms to the victims of the subprime crisis. The UK bank is the sixth financial institution to reach an agreement with Schneiderman’s agency on RMBS practices. The total amount of financial penalties imposed by the prosecutor is now more than $3.7 billion. RBS last month announced its first annual post-tax profit since the eve of the financial crisis. The gain of £752 million ($1.04 billion) for 2017 came after a drop in litigation and other costs which totaled billions of pounds and came largely over its role in the subprime housing meltdown. Last July the bank agreed to pay $5.5 billion in a settlement with the US Federal Housing Finance Agency to resolve a lawsuit which alleged that RBS sold faulty mortgage bonds between 2005 and 2007. RBS is majority-owned by the British government which bailed it out during the crisis but now plans to sell most of its stake.

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enovating your kitchen? Think about making updates that will add beauty and functionality to one of the most important rooms in the house. Here are a few innovative new looks and ideas to consider including in your plans. Add Geometry Geometric tile designs can create a bold modernized look in your kitchen, whether you’re adding a backsplash or redoing the flooring. Get creative by adding a mosaic design as trim around the perimeter or as a central point of focus. Create Your Focal Point Enhance any kitchen with an impressive new range that combines the functionality and green energy features of a modern appliance with the charm of old-world design. If you want an opportunity to tailor this look to your own specifications, consider those from ILVE. Known for their handcrafted Italian appliances, they have added even more ways to customize their ranges with a new, traditionally inspired solid door option for the ILVE Majestic Collection. Completely windowless, this model features a decorative country-style handrail on the oven door(s) and is available in a range of sizes and colors, from neutral tones like gloss black and matte graphite, to custom statement colors like ultramarine blue or ruby red. Three trims -- brass, bronze and chrome -- give homeown-

ers even more options when creating a look for the kitchen that is truly their own. For more information, visit ilveappliances.com.

a novel while you’re waiting for the dough to rise. If possible, create this area in a sunlit corner of the kitchen that’s convenient to where the main cooking action takes place, so that those giving the chef a little company will have a comfortable place to sit and chat with their host.

Get Cozy Create a lounge in your kitchen with some furniture that lets you kick back and relax. A nook that contains a loveseat or couch, along with a small bookshelf and side table, may become your new favorite place to look through cookbooks or read a few pages of

Innovative new looks for your kitchen can transform the space into one that’s more functional and beautiful. Courtesy: StatePoint

Baseer H. Pirzada Realtor

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832-267-5177

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Grocery Store for Sale or Lease

Auto, Home, Commercial, Flood, Umbrella, Workers Comp Insurance AN INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENCY

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Office (281) 310-5899 | Direct (832) 368-2773 www.texasinsurancechoice.com 6065 Hillcroft St., Ste 214 Houston, TX 77081

Voice of Asia E-paper March 9, 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 9, 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...

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