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VOICE OF ASIA 1

VOICE OF ASIA The Largest Asian-American Newsweekly in Texas

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Vol. 32 No. 17 • Friday, May 4, 2018

Published Weekly from Houston

Trump hails Kalpana Chawla as American hero

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ASHINGTON (PTI) U.S. President Donald Trump has hailed Indian-origin Kalpana Chawla as an American hero for devoting her life to the space programme and inspiring millions of girls to become astronauts.

“Indian American Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian descent to fly in space, and became an American hero for her devotion to the Space Shuttle programme and its various missions transporting cargo and crew to and from the International Space Station,” Mr. Trump said. For her achievements, the Congress posthumously awarded her the Congressional Space Medal of Honour, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) posthumously awarded her the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, he said. “Ms Chawla’s courage and passion continue to serve as

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Kalpana Chawla. (Photo handout: NASA) | Photo Credit: AFP

"Material interests are not our only guiding light" - Kalpana Chawla an inspiration for millions of American girls who dream of one day becoming astronauts,” said Mr. Trump.

ica home, including those living in Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

The proclamation noted that during Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Mr. Trump administration recognises their tremendous contributions.

America, Mr. Trump said, is a country that values hard work, an honest living, and a commitment to the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Through their industriousness and love of country, our nation has enjoyed the privileges and enrichments of multiple innovations and societal advancements,” Mr. Trump said.

“For these reasons, America cherishes its connections with the Indo-Pacific region, which shares an appreciation for these principles, he asserted. Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage help to reinforce these relationships, which are stronger today than ever before,” he added.

There are more than 20 million Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who call Amer-

"We are honored to celebrate American freedom with @realDonaldTrump," Chris Cox, a senior NRA executive, said on Twitter. The four-day gathering in Dallas is the first annual NRA meeting since the February 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida left 14 students and three adult staff members dead. Parkland students have organized school walkouts and a March 24 protest that saw hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate for tougher gun laws in cities across the United States. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked at a briefing whether this was an "insensitive" time for the president to address the NRA. Trump's participation at the NRA gathering was only confirmed on Tuesday, but Vice President Mike Pence's attendance had been previously announced.

Health issues for youth and young adult athletes

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LEGAL

How the new tax reform bill impacts your bottom line

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday blasted the federal judges who blocked the Trump administration from ending DACA, calling it “a travesty of justice.” (Photo: Nick Wagner / AP)

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USTIN - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against the federal government on Tuesday, looking to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or "Dreamers" program. The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to declare DACA unlawful and bar the federal government from issuing permits through the program, which protects people brought to the country illegally as children from deportation. Six other states joined Texas in its lawsuit: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia. "Texas has argued for years that the federal executive branch lacks the power to unilaterally grant unlawfully present aliens lawful presence

and work authorization," Paxton said in a statement. "Left intact, DACA sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws enacted by Congress and change our nation’s immigration laws to suit a president’s own policy preferences.” Paxton threatened to sue the government early last year if the Trump administration did not take steps to end the program. President Donald Trump started to phase out DACA in September, but multiple federal court decisions have forced the government to allow some aspects of the program to continue. This lawsuit is emphatically about the rule of law," the lawsuit reads. "The policy merits of immigration laws are debated in and decided by Congress." (-Associated Press)

Spectacular Pattabhishekam for Goddess Meenakshi at MTS

Sri Meenakshi Pattabhishekam. Picture credit: Srini Sundarrajan. Report on Page 6

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Trump to Texas calls for immediate speak at halt to Dreamer program NRA meeting in Dallas

The NRA, on its Twitter feed, said Trump would join Vice President Mike Pence at the group's annual "Leadership Forum" in Dallas, Texas.

Internationally renowned kathak artist, Farah Yasmeen Shaikh in Asia Society of Texas - Performing Asia presentation The Forgotten Empress co-presented by EnActe Arts Photo credit: Lynn Lane. Read report on Page 4.

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Alleviating anxiety, depression in dementia sufferers

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Farah Yasmeen Shaikh’s portrayal of Empress Noor Jahan – Unforgettable!

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ALLAS | AFP - US President Donald Trump will address the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday, the gun lobby announced, less than three months after a mass shooting at a high school in Florida sparked a grassroots campaign for gun control.

Mr. Trump’s remarks came on April 30 as he issued a proclamation declaring May as ‘Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month’. The U.S. Congress has also designated the month of May each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.” Chawla was the first woman of Indian-origin in space. She was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 when the craft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS

VOICE OF ASIA 2

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

Contributors: Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Mala Sharma

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

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

by Vikas Bajaj

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FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

A Reckoning for Apu, ‘The Simpsons’ and Brownface

hank you, come again” — those four words, spoken in an exaggerated Indian accent, have followed immigrants and Americans of South Asian descent like a bad penny since “And I think the most important thing is that we have to listen to South Asian “The Simpsons” premiered people, Indian people in this country when they talk about what they feel and how in 1989. They helped make they think about this character.” -Hank Azaria, who voiced Apu for 29 seasons. Apu, the show’s tightfisted convenience store owner, a would please the many fans of household name. And they are Apu, some Indian-Americans often repeated to us, with a sly among them, and those who grin or a guffaw, by the same love to rail against “political people who are surprised that correctness” — Apu is just a we speak English in grammati- funny fictional character, and cally sound sentences. critics are being overly sensiLast week brought Indian- tive, these people often argue. Americans of my generation But for many of us, it is not some relief: Hank Azaria, the so easy to dismiss Apu and his white actor who has voiced accent as a mere joke. It is too Apu for 29 seasons, told Ste- often clear that the joke is on phen Colbert that he is willing us — and even more so on our to stop playing the character older relatives. Apu was the because he now understands only major South Asian charwhy Apu is troubling to the acter on prime-time TV for community that he is supposed many years, helping to define to represent. “My eyes have how millions of Americans been opened,” Mr. Azaria said. think Indians, Pakistanis and “And I think the most impor- other people from the subcontant thing is that we have to tinent talk and live. listen to South Asian people, As with all caricatures, there Indian people in this country when they talk about what they is some truth to Apu. Many feel and how they think about South Asian immigrants, especially those who came in earthis character.” lier decades, do work behind Two cheers for Mr. Azaria. the counters of 7-Elevens and Credit for his newfound en- other such stores, often belightenment on this issue be- cause it is the only work they longs to Hari Kondabolu, the can get. Many of them are The character Apu from the animated series “The Simpsons.” comedian, whose 2017 docu- parsimonious because they are Credit: Fox, via Associated Press mentary “The Problem With sending money home or saving Apu” is a funny and informa- up to send their kids to college. tive explication of how the They don’t always understand character perpetuated ugly American slang and norms, stereotypes about South Asians and so can come across as ter Sellers gave in a 1968 co- there are not a lot of them in that harm people to this day. bumbling. They cling to cusmedic movie, “The Party.” His positions of power behind the Though “The Simpsons” has toms and religions that they face darkened with makeup, camera, Ms. Davé says — but on occasion portrayed Apu and brought with them from the old Mr. Sellers plays an Indian ac- they are in a much better posihis family with nuance and pa- country because those are their tor who is invited to a Holly- tion to offer viewers a necesthos, the character also encour- connection to home. wood bash, which he proceeds sary corrective to the cramped ages the infantilizing of Indian to wreck. Earlier, Mr. Sellers representation put forward by But many aspects of the immigrants as simple-minded had a cameo as a clueless In- the creators of Apu. character reveal Apu to be the people who talk in a singsong dian doctor in the 1962 movie brown equivalent of blackface But keeping Apu on “The voice. Even Apu’s last name “The Road to Hong Kong.” In Simpsons” in his current form minstrel performances. He — Nahasapeemapetilon — is the 1988 movie “Short Cir- would be a huge missed oppresented in a way that invites comes across as a caricature cuit 2,” Fisher Stevens, who portunity for the show, which designed to mock a minormockery. is white, plays an Indian sci- on the whole has been one of ity for the entertainment of entist with brown makeup and the most thoughtful voices in Of course, Mr. Azaria doesn’t the majority. “Often, racism is a fake accent. More recently, American popular culture by control Apu’s fate on the show. dismissed under the guise of in 2012, Ashton Kutcher put addressing issues like immiThat responsibility falls to the humor,” says Shilpa Davé, a on brownface for an ad for gration, discrimination and the writers of “The Simpsons” and professor at the University of PopChips. Even blackface has power of big corporations that the corporate bosses at Fox, the Virginia and author of “Indian not disappeared — it crops up most network TV shows have network that airs the show. Go- Accents: Brown Voice and Raespecially around Halloween. ing by what the show’s creator, cial Performance in American studiously avoided. Mr. GroenMatt Groening, said dismis- Television and Film.” “There Clearly, a lot has changed ing has said he named Apu after sively about the criticism of is always an undercurrent of since Apu entered American Satyajit Ray’s humanist masApu — “I think it’s a time in truth to it and there is also an living rooms. Mindy Kaling, terpiece, “The Apu Trilogy,” our culture where people love undercurrent of censure and Hasan Minhaj, Aziz Ansari suggesting that he of all people to pretend they’re offended,” satire.” and Kumail Nanjiani, to name ought to understand why many he told USA Today — and the a few rising actors, are regu- people find this character so Brownface — or brownshow’s churlish reaction to Mr. lar fixtures on screens big and troubling. voice, in the case of Mr. Azaria Kondabolu’s documentary on small. Priyanka Chopra, a Boland Apu — does not have as an episode earlier this month, lywood star, plays the leading long a history as blackface, but Apu will probably remain en( Vikas Bajaj is a member of character in the ABC drama there are plenty of examples of sconced in the Kwik-E-Mart. “Quantico.” South Asians, of The New York Times editorial it. Mr. Azaria has said he was course, still face obstacles — board.) No doubt such an outcome inspired by a performance Pe-

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Community

VOICE OF ASIA 3

Section 1

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

Glamorous! 1st Miss Malayalee Beauty Pageant USA 2018

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OUSTON -Miss Malayalee USA 2018, a unique pageant platform for teens, youth and married women of Malayalee origin who reside in USA was staged on April 28th, 2018. The show was a grand extravaganza with contestants showcasing their talent and beauty in an ethnic setting. The pageant was organized by Lakshmi Dance Academy events division in association with Flowers TV USA. The Founder of Miss Malayalee USA Ms. Lakshmi Peter, who is CEO of Amazetech IT consulting in addition to being a Bharatanatyam dancer and an acclaimed singer, has organized many events and cultural projects for the Malayalee community. She stated that Miss Malayalee USA will be one of many events that she believes will mark a start to empowering women and entrepreneurs from the community. Acclaimed Malayalam movie actress Manya Naidu attended the event as celebrity judge along with award winning Malayalam film producer Tom G Kolath. Being a national pageant. Miss Malayalee USA featured participants from different states. The team auditioned over 50 contestants and 20 finalists took the stage at Stafford Civic center last Saturday to present their skills in

Miss Malayalee USA tittle winner Reshmi Surendran.

three rounds of introductions, talent and the most awaited “Kerala with a Twist” round after which 11 semifinalists faced the dreaded judge’s question round. The pageant organizers coached contestants in areas of fashion, confidence, stage presence and oration during the weeks before the pageant. The coaches for the pageant were Himi Haridas, Silvy Varghese and Sheeba

Mini Vettical, winner of Mrs. Malayalee USA 2018 tittle. Credit: msanphoto.

Jacob. The finalists faced eminent judges who came from the fields of fashion, film, media, social activism, medicine, technology among others. Around 500 guests attended the event with representation from all Malayalee associations of USA.

runner up Devika Mathilakath. The title winners of Miss Malayalee USA were Reshmi Surendran, 1st runner up Lexiah Jacob and 2nd runner up Daleena Abraham. The title winners of Mrs Malayalee USA 2018 were Mini Vettical, 1st runner up Beena Thattil and 2nd runner up Preethy Sajeev. The winners of the pageant were given direct entry into final rounds of

The title winners of Miss Teen Malayalee USA were Juliet George, 1st runner up Jiya Thomas and 2nd

Miss India USA TX as well as Bollywood Pageant International along with cash prizes and opportunities to work with nonprofit organizations. The event MCs were Anil Janardhanan, Shiji Mathen, Shibi Roy and Raina Rock. For more info contact malayaleeusapageant@gmail.com or call us on 713-701-5100

Juliet George being crowned as Miss Teen Malayalee USA

20 finalists of Miss Malayalee USA took the stage at Stafford Civic Center on Saturday, April 28th, 2018.

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 4

BAPS Women’s Conference in Dallas, focuses on power of unity

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Grand Utsavam 2018 at Sri Guruvayurappan Temple

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ALLAS, TX - Unity is strength. This was the simple yet powerful subject of conversation at this year’s annual BAPS Women’s Conference held at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Dallas, TX, on April 21, 2018. With the thought of unity currently on the minds of many in society, the conference focused on the individual’s role in creating a unified nation and global community. The speakers delved into the qualities of humility and positivity and their roles in initiating a more unified mind-frame. Hosted in fourteen cities across North America, the conference aimed to inspire its attendees to bring about change through dialogue and reflection. Shahla Pillai, Manager of Guest Relations at DFW Airport, was the keynote speaker at the conference in Dallas. Reflecting on the importance of the conference, she opined that “Growing up I didn’t have such support… so having women that have paved the way, that can guide us to avoid some of the same pitfalls and give us a better opportunity to better our futures… that alone is a reason to have such events”. The conference began with attendees standing up for both the American and Indian national anthems. The presentations then began with Pooja Solanki emphasizing what unity truly means and why it is essential to achieve it. While there are more apparent benefits one can claim from integration, the speaker focused on how the small and incremental actions of individuals can lead to a more unified

family, which can in turn influence a community and even society at large. The other two speakers for the conference concentrated on two instrumental traits that can be further developed to create unity within our relationships – that of humility and positivity. Affirming that humility is not a fixed trait, but one that should be practiced and developed, Dr. Jyoti Patel discussed the small, everyday steps that can be taken to practice humility. Using her personal experiences and quoting those she gained inspiration from, Rina Rao explained how humility strengthens through service and tolerance. Finally, Gopi Patel closed out the conference with a compelling talk on the power of positivity. The speakers, just like the audience, were from various professional and personal diasporas and yet were able to come together to bring about an environment for dialogue for selfreflection and growth. Attendee

Julie Mitchell reflected on her experience "it is a beautiful celebration of women and unity and love". The BAPS Women’s Conference was inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and encouraged by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. The conference highlights the influential role of women in today’s society and also empowers the younger generations by promoting a healthy dialogue around current topics. Before and after the conference, attendees had the opportunity to network with others from the greater community and share their perspective on the talks of the day. Many in attendance felt inspired by the conference and conveyed their motivation to share the word with their family and friends. The audience left with the message that while unity may seem like a global concept, the power of change, and the power of creating a more unified world lies within everyone.

Devotees participating in the annual Utsavam at the Sri Guruvayurappan Temple.

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he annual Utsavam (Festival) of Sri Guruvayurappan Temple 2018 continues, hundreds of Hindu devotees are gathering to seek the satisfaction of attending various rituals every day . Parallel presentations of varieties classical art forms enthrall many of the visitors every day for long hours. Prominent musicians and dancers from local art schools and from various cities are looking for opportunities to participate in this event

year after year. The sound of an assortment of Kerala style vadyam with maddalam, edakka, elathalam, chenda etc. presented by world class artistes reverberate the temple surroundings. The stall that serve a variety of vegetarian food attract everyone at temple ground. The amazing ambience of the temple ground almost take the visitors to a wonderland. The Utsavam 2018 continues till the 10 the day – On May 5 (Saturday) with the special

ritual of Aarattu that includes the ceremonious lowering of the flag. Thousands of families customarily watch the grand display of fireworks by around 9.00 pm For More information: www.guruvayurappanhouston. org: address 11620 Ormandy Street, Houston, 77035. For details contact temple (713) 729- 8994, Biju Pillai at 832247-3411 or Anil Gopinath (Festival coordinator) 973640-3831.

Farah Yasmeen Shaikh’s portrayal of Empress Noor Jahan – Unforgettable! Gita Conference Houston Saturday, May 26, 2018 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

UH Student Center South • 4455 University Blvd.

Mission: To bring awareness, spread eternal message and provide practical tools to all; specially the YOUNG ADULTS/MILLENNIALS who can empower their knowledge and leadership skills. Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, renowned kathak artist performing the dance drams, The Forgotten Empress at Asia Society of Texas Center. Photo credit: Lynn Lane. by Shobana Muratee

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nspired by and compelled to shine a light on the extraordinary life of Moghul Empress Noor Jahan, acclaimed Kathak artist Farah Yasmeen Shaikh gave a riveting performance in “The Forgotten Empress”, presented by the Asia Society Texas Center on Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21 evenings. The dance drama portrays the remarkable ways in which the Empress in 16th century Mughal India wielded her influence in a male-dominated empire - unparalleled in history - but which has remained forgotten. A collaborative project of Asia Society Texas Center and EnActe Arts, the dance drama was masterpiece of playwright and director Mathew Spangler and his team of world renowned musicians (Tabla, Harmonium and Vocals: : Music Director: Salar Nader, Sarood: Ben Kunin, , Violin: Raginder Singh Momi, Vocals: Deepti Warrie and Storyteller: Sukanya Chakrabarti supported by the production team: Jack Beuttler, Drew Kaufman, and Jerry Girard). Shaikh changed into 13 costumes during her performance which were the creations of wardrobe experts Zeba and Meera. Stephanie Todd Wong, Director of Performing Arts &

Culture Asia Society Texas Center introduced the artist and thanked the national sponsor NEFA and other sponsors . It took two years of planning before the project was brought to Houston by Asia Society. “Stories like this must be told, must be shared. Without presenters and an audience to share those stories with, they are nothing. We appreciate that you are ensuring that Empress Noor Jahan is never forgotten,” Shaikh said at the conclusion. Shaikh encapsulated the golden era of Emperor Akbar, his conquests, and dominance, with her robust footwork and expressions juxtaposing with

the sublime and graceful expressions of the Persian beauty Mehr-un-Nissa, who later became the Empress Noor Jahan. “It is impressive how well the dancer tells a story through her movements, her facial expressions. And how well the musicians reflect the dancer’s emotions and enhance the story,” observed Isabel Van Dyke, about the show that evening. Earlier, on Tuesday, April 17, Shaikh conducted an Introductory Kathak Workshop for students to experience the various aspects of kathak in a ‘format that contextualizes the music, movement, etiquette, and history that surrounds the dance form even in modern day’, the program indicated.

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Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, in one of scenes of The Forgotten Empress Photo credit: Lynn Lane.


VOICE OF ASIA 5

Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

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

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Fort Bend ISD rolls out red carpet and honors student filmmakers at 2018 FBISD Film Fest

Tel: 713-774-5140

Sudha Nagaraj, M.D. joins Houston Methodist Primary Care Group in Sweetwater

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UGAR LAND – Houston Methodist Primary Care Group is pleased to announce Sudha Nagaraj, M.D. is now seeing patients in Sugar Land at 4660 Sweetwater Blvd., Suite 210. Nagaraj adds another board-certified internal medicine specialist to the team of primary care providers serving the Sweetwater community. Nagaraj has a broad range of clinical expertise, including prevention and wellness, diagnosis and management of acute and chronic illnesses, health screenings, routine immunizations, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.

The student filmmakers following the annual “red carpet” awards ceremony (Photo: FBISD)

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ORT BEND ISD (April 12, 2018) – Fort Bend ISD congratulates all of the entrants, finalists and winners named in the 2018 Film Fest. The District recognized the student filmmakers during its annual “red carpet” awards ceremony that welcomed the honorees and their entourage of family members, school staff and friends. Hosted by the District’s Teaching and Learning Department, the awards program recognizes student produced films in six categories: 48 Hour Challenge, 60-Second Short, Animation, Profile of a Graduate, Narrative and Documentary at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Special awards are also presented in People’s Choice, Best Cinematography, Best Storyline, Best Picture and Overall Winner. Following are the 1st place winners in each division, as well as the special award winners. Elementary Division: 48 Hour Challenge – The Fear by Allen Spencer and Jefferson Yen, Highlands Elementary

60 Second Short – Sisters by Courtney Williams, Blue Ridge Elementary Animation – Into the Lego Realm by Vedant Iyengar and Karyaveer Misra, Commonwealth Elementary

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Mike Reagan, Senior Vice President of RE/MAX, LLC from headquarter, alone with RE/MAX Texas Regional leaders will present at the ribbon ceremony. Community leaders, Medias, partners, clients, friends and family will be attending the Grand Openings to witness the momentum of RE/ MAX United. RE/MAX United has successfully built up a one-stop professional platform to serve multicultural real estate demands which can be demonstrated with its two offices in landmarks of Asian community, Chinatown & Katy Asian Town. In addition to the typical Residential and Commercial brokerage services, RE/ MAX United has spent efforts on projects for clients and agents. The most evident one is designated as leasing broker of Katy Asian since late 2016 that help this unique theme center earned the publicity with massive promotions. In 2018, RE/MAX United’s two well structured projects will further strengthen the predominance of its business scope. The opening of Katy Asian Town

48 Hour Challenge – Who I Am by Leah Sutton, Austin High School

Narrative – Dog Gone Wrong by Courtney Williams, Blue Ridge Elementary

60 Second Short (Tie for 1st place) – Life by Taj Stoddart and Jibin Thomas, Ridge Point High School; and Toyko by Connor Cleveland, Austin High School

Documentary – Elizabeth Blackwell by Mohini Goswami, Walker Station Elementary

Animation – Ensemble by Sherya Subramanyan, Clements High School

Middle School Division:

Narrative – Piece of Paper by Sharon Benny, Austin High School

48 Hour Challenge – Loved by Kati Benton, Baines Middle School 60 Second Short – The Power of Originality by Karina Barreto , Adriana Figueroa, Jazmig Kaloustian, Sophie Kaloustian, Rechelle Robinson and Emma Unger, First Colony Middle School Animation – Convenient Man by Daniel Epega, First Colony Middle School Narrative – The Prank Master by Andrew Weber, Sartartia Middle School Documentary – Zero to 100: Success Comes from Hard Work by Sean Khokhar, First Colony Middle School

RE/MAX United Katy Asian Town Office Grand Opening on May 9th ATY, (April 30, 2018) – RE/MAX United announces the opening of its second office in Katy Asian Town, the newly developed retail landmark in Katy. A grand opening celebration will take place on May 09 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 23119 Colonial PKWY, Unit A1, Katy, TX 77449.

High School Division:

office will conveniently serve booming demands in Katy, Cypress, Spring and even the Woodlands. “I’m very excited to open our second office in Katy Asian Town and to provide the best buying and selling experiences for multicultural demands of the greater Northwest Houston. It marks another milestone of our business development. ” Josie Lin, the owner/ broker associate of RE/MAX United said, “With the fast growing populations and infrastructure expansion the greater Northwest Houston, our presence in Katy and surrounding areas shall continue to leverage on our niche in serving multicultural communities. Meanwhile, our platform will support more Asian and Non-Asian real estate professionals who like to make connection with diverse clients either locally or overseas.” In addition to helping clients with their real estate needs, RE/ MAX United is also passionate about giving back to community. The company has earned “Miracle Office” by supporting Children’s Miracle Network for consecutive years. During post Harvey recovery, RE/ MAX United founded United Help Center to support people who suffer from the flood. For more information about the grand opening ceremony or RE/MAX United, please contact Irene Zhang at 713.630.8000, or email to: remaxunited888@gmail.com

Documentary (Tie for 1st place) – World Changers: The Alyssa Ferguson Story by Sneha Joseph, Kaitlin Catuiza and Kathleen Cruz, Ridge Point High School; and Be Someone by Connor Cleveland, Austin High School Profile of a Graduate and Class Awards Profile of a Graduate – Profile of a Graduate: Future of Compassion by Matthew Bennett, Jeselle Fabria, Elijah Hunt, Chaylin King, Daejonna Kirkpatrick, MJ Moffett, Dominic Njoku, Brandon Racca and Jeremiah Spikes, Bowie Middle School Elementary Class – The Rita Drabek Story by Aayan Aziz, Muhammad Haris, Caden Nguyen, Khai Nguyen, Vritika Singh, Joshua Zapata, teacherlibrarian Monica Barroso and Coach Cervantes, Drabek Elementary Secondary Class – JBMS Family Feud by Je-Isaac Alamo, Gio Carcamo, Zoe Gonzales, Janae Greene, Ke’ron Hartsfield, Chance Hodge, Anna Marek, Brianna McDonald, Stuart Moffatt, Armando Moreno, Gregory Nwaneti, Brooke Roberts, Austin Schrader, Jaedon Wright and teacher Joey Dyrud, Bowie Middle School Special Awards People’s Choice – World Changers: The Alyssa Ferguson Story by Sneha Joseph, Kaitlin Catuiza and Kathleen Cruz, Ridge Point High School Best Cinematography – Toyko by Connor Cleveland, Austin High School Best Storyline – Zero to 100: Success Comes from Hard Work by Sean Khokhar, First Colony Middle School Best Picture – Be Someone by Connor Cleveland, Austin High School Overall Winner – Connor Cleveland, Austin High School Fort Bend ISD, its campuses and its students are routinely recognized for exemplary achievements by organizations such as The National Merit Scholars Program, the National Association of Music Merchants, Children at Risk, The Washington Post’s Top High Schools in the national rankings, U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools in the nation and the United States Presidential Scholars Program.

Prior to joining Houston Methodist Primary Care Group, Nagaraj served as an assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and was consistently recognized for excellence in patient care. She attended medical school in Chennai, India and, in addition to English, is also fluent in Tamil and Hindi. After receiving her medical degree from the Madras Medical College, Nagaraj went on to complete the University of California-Los Angeles Internal Medicine Residency Training

Dr. Sudha Nagaraj, Internal Medicine Program at West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center in California.

form trusting partnerships with my patients in an effort to improve their overall health.”

“’In the sick room, 10 cents worth of human understanding equals 10 dollars worth of medical science – this quote has been my guiding mantra as a physician over the years,” Nagaraj said. “I’m excited to

To schedule an appointment with Sudha Nagaraj, M.D. or another Houston Methodist Primary Care Group physician, visit houstonmethodist. org/pcg/sweetwater or call 281.930.6639.

Missouri City residents invited to create sweet memories Second Annual Mother’s Day cake decorating event

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ORT BEND - The “Show Me City” is preparing to host its Second Annual Mother’s Day Cake Decorating Event on Saturday, May 12 as part of the Leadership Luncheon Series. This family fun initiative will take place from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Community Center in the City Hall Complex, 1522 Texas Pkwy. Sponsors of the 2018 event are Million Cakes, Classic Chevrolet, Rich Products Corporation, Niagara Bottling and Kroger. “Inspired from the feedback

and participation from last year’s event, we have planned a few more activities this year including a flower station,” said Director of Communications Stacie Walker. “There will also be cake kits to decorate, music, food, and some great surprises. We look forward to another terrific celebration.” Cakes will cost $15 per kit (a six-inch round cake, icing, decorations and other essentials). Food and beverages will be available for purchase. The event will also include the opportunity for participants

to design a card with a special message for their loved ones, a photo booth, a face painter, a balloon artist and more. For more information on the Mother’s Day Cake Decorating Event, visit www.missouricitytx.gov or call 281.403.8500. Volunteer partnerships are available; please contact MVP Coordinator Cory Stottlemyer at cory.stottlemyer@missouricitytx.gov to sign up. For more information about Missouri City, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov

Registered sex offender facing child porn charges arrested near Rosenberg school by Taisha Walker

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OSENBERG - A former sex offender was arrested Thursday in Rosenberg for possessing child pornography. James McMillan Sr., 47, was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. There was a warrant out for his arrest, investigators said. McMillan was taken into custody in the 2500 block of Bamore Road. The arrest was a joint effort by the Rosenberg Police Department and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. “Obviously, he ain’t here. He’s in jail, right?” an unidentified woman told KPRC2 as she angrily came out of the house in which McMillan was arrested earlier. McMillan is a former convicted sex offender. Police said he was required to register with the state of Texas in 1992 after being charged with indecency with a child. He remained on the registry until 2002. Police said the law at the time only required McMillan to register for 10 years. “I got daughters and I got a little boy,” Saadi Anthony Valencia, who lives near McMillan, said. “I don’t want nothing (sic) to happen to my kids, especially me living right here close to this and close to the school."

Bowie Elementary School is a two-minute walk from where McMillan lives. Parent Dustin Daley said he’s disgusted that a man arrested for child porn lives so close to children. “It makes me sick to know that somebody like that is so close to a school and to my children,” Daley said. McMillan’s James McMillan Sr., 47, was charged with two name has not counts of possession of child pornography. (Photo: appeared on a Rosenberg Police Department) sex offender registry in 16 day with a third-degree felony. years. He was charged Thurs(-KPRC-TV)

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 6

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Spectacular Pattabhishekam for Goddess Meenakshi at MTS pattabhishekam.

Sri Meenakshi adorned for Her coronation ceremony. by Bhargavi Golla Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Sri Meenakshi Pattabhishekam on April 21st, 2018, the coronation ceremony on a majestic scale with religious fervor and devotion as part of the ten-day Chithirai Mahotsavam festival. Chithirai Mahotsavam is one of the biggest extravaganza annual celebrations that take place during the month of April both in Madurai in India and right here in Sri MTS. From Thursday, April 19th, the entire temple atmosphere was transformed into one of supreme celestial ambiance with religious and cultural activities celebrating the divine glory of Goddess Meenakshi. It started on Thursday, April 19th with Vigneswara Pooja and on Friday dhwaja-arohanam, hoisting a flag bearing the image of Nandi took place, which marked the start of Mahotsavam. Third day was the Sri Meenakshi Pattabhishekam. Yagasala poojas were conducted every morning and evening throughout the ten-day event. Cultural Program with classical music and dance are scheduled for each evening during the Mahotsavam. Devotees gathered at the Ganesh temple with colorful trays of bakshanams, fruits and flowers and carried in a seer varisai procession to the Main temple. The devotees were engrossed in spiritual bliss throughout the ceremony as the priests performed the Pattabhishekam at the Main temple. Advisory council chair Dr. P.

Vaduganathan explained the legend behind pattabhishekam. King Malayadhwaja Pandian and Queen Kanchana Malai did not have a child for a long time. So Malayadhwaja Pandian performed special poojas and offered his prayers to God. During the pooja, a small girl came out of the fire and sat on the lap of the king and at that time lord appeared from the sky and told them that this child was an incarnation of Shakti (Wife of Lord Shiva) and Lord Shiva himself would come to marry her at the right age. Meenakshi was trained in warfare and she was crowned as the Queen of Pandya kingdom after her father. This coronation ceremony is known as the Pattabhishekam. After the Pattabhishekam Chairman Padmini Ranganathan, bestowed the regal scepter with the customary honor on behalf of all the devotees. Priest Sri Manickasundara Bhattar said that this is the first time he witnessed a woman chairman being presented with a scepter. It was indeed a historical blissful moment. The regal scepter was taken in a procession around the Main Temple to commemorate Meenakshi’s crowning. Sri Meenakshi was crowned with a new Kireetam (crown), donated by Ms. Roopa and Mr. Balakrishnan and Charman Dr. Padmini Ranganathnan thanked them for their generous donation. Haripriya Sundar and her friend, Roman Stromeyer created a 3D printed and hand painted parakeet model for the Sri Meenakshi

Procession of Meenakshi in a Poo Pallakku led devotees. Picture credit: Srini Sundarrajan

It was a magnificent spectacle to watch a procession of Meenakshi in a Poo Pallakku led devotees, including children carrying lamps and accompanied by Chenda melam. Another pallakku carried Meenakshi and Sundareswar along with the Vigneswara, Muruga and Chandikeswara murthis adorned in their divine vehicle. This year a new Poo pallakku (Floral Palanquin) was designed by artistic silpi Ramanathan and hand made by many silpis and volunteers. Beautiful Poo pallakku was decorated with fresh flowers by volunteers in diamond shape patterns using yellow, white and red cornations. It’s also brightly decorated with led lights. Divine blessings graced the entire Pattabhishekam of goddess Meenakshi and devotees were enthralled to have a glimpse of Meenakshi in a poo pallakku as the procession went around the temple. The feedback from many devotees is that one has to be destined to witness such a heavenly event. Student from Abhinaya School danced in Raja Veedhi as the pallakku returned. The procession concluded with devotees carrying Sri Meenakshi's Pallakku swaying to the beats of Chanda Melam. Chairman thanked the priests (Manickasundara Bhattar, Kalyana Sundaram, Balaji Sethuraman, Sridharan Raghavan, Pavan Kumar Sri Bhashyam, Sriman Narayana, R.K.E. Parameswaran , Sivakarthick Kannan and Sathish Devanathan), staff, board and advisory council and all the volunteers who worked hard in making the grand poo pallakku day possible. The event was coordinated by Sheila Sriram and Dhani Kannan from RAC committee. A brief video of the event can be found on Youtube

Abhinaya School student performing in Raja Veedhi

Captivating Carnatic music con- UH Senior wins prestigious cert by the delightful violin duo Ford Foundation Fellowship

Duo violinists Ganesh, and Kumaresh (center).

by Dr. Lakshmi Srivaths An enchanting Carnatic concert by the violin duo, Vidwans Ganesh, and Kumaresh, was presented by the Houston Youth Music Association (HYMA), under the able guidance of Vidushi Smt. Rajarajeshwary Bhat, on April 22nd, 2018, at the auspicious venue of Hare Krishna Temple (ISKCON)

in Houston, Texas. The violin brothers were proficiently supported on the percussion by Vidwan Dr. Patri Satishkumar on the mridangam and Vidwan Trichy Krishnaswamy on the ghatam. The artists were welcomed by the sub-junior members of HYMA, which was an adorable display of the Houston community’s love for Carnatic music. Akin to the pleas-

ant breeze drifting in Houston that evening, the mellifluous violin music wafted and serenely filled the air, drenching the audience in divine musical bliss! The artists received a standing ovation for the brilliant performance and Lord Krishna had indeed made the concert flawless, impeccable and par excellence.

Serrae Reed, who is graduating from the University of Houston and going on to Yale University, shares her story. (Photo credit: UH, Cullen College of Engineering) by Rashda Khan

ing Studies (PROMES).

of the traditional silicon.

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Reed launched two writingrelated community service programs while at UH. Each uses UH student volunteers to tutor Houston-area youngsters. She created Writing to Inspire Successful Education as part of the UH Bonner Leaders Program, and then – in fall 2016 – developed the Houston Scholars Writing Workshops to help 11th graders prepare their college essays.

In 2017, she attended a week-long Shell Drilling and Production Training Camp to better understand subsea wells, drilling, casing, production operations and well equipment. Reed also worked for LyondellBasell as a machinery reliability intern at their Channelview plant.

errae Reed, a mechanical engineering senior at the Cullen College of Engineering, is at a bittersweet point in life. On one hand, she’ll be graduating this year and leaving behind her family and her University of Houston community — both of which supported her through thick and thin. On the other hand, she’s won one of the 60 prestigious 2018 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships and is on her way to Yale University to earn her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science.

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“I’m very grateful for everything UH has done for me. Being here has always made me feel that I had a lot of people on my team,” Reed said. “It was a really good place to grow and succeed for the last four years.” At times her journey seemed a bit atypical, but Reed likes to learn, explore and forge her own path. Along the way, she’s earned several accolades and achievements. In particular, she was chosen as the Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Student at the UH Cullen College of Engineering for three consecutive years. She also participates in the Honors Engineering Program and Program for Mastery in Engineer-

Gaining a wide variety of experience is important, Reed said. “Trying out new things kind of gave birth to new passions that I didn’t know I had, such as research,” she said.

The Ford Fellowship, administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, is her most recent achievement. It will provide three years of support for Reed.

She worked as an Arizona State University Research Fellow during the summer of 2016 on a project that reported on the energy requirements of delamination of solar panels, the second step in the disposal and recycling process of photovoltaic waste. This experience spring-boarded her interest in academia.

“When people often talk about UH, they know that it’s a good school but I don’t think they necessarily understand that the resources we have here – undergraduate research, access to internships and mentoring – are really topnotch and that we’re competitive on a national level,” Reed said. “This [award] just proves that and so I’m happy with how it all turned out.”

That same year, Reed won the Houston Scholars Program’s competitive independent research grant and used it to research making solar cell photovoltaics more affordable and efficient with a process known as thin film deposition using gallium arsenide instead

At Yale, Reed will be working in the laboratories of two mechanical engineering and materials science professors – with Judy Cha on research project involving 2-D layered nanochalcogenides and with Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio on a soft robotics project.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 7

FIS joins the 70th Anniversary celebration of the state of Israel

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

State Farm awards grant to Chinese Community Center

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OUSTON - At a byinvitation only event held on April 18 at the luxurious Citadel, over 500 guests from Houston area were welcomed by the Israeli Consul General, Mr. Gilad Katz and treated to a culinary delight. Fox 26 News Anchor, Ms. Kaitlin Monte emceed the program from beginning to the end. A musical performance was by UH choir and a video titled "Israel-Small but outstanding" illustrated the tremendous progress made by Israel in its 70 years of independence as a sovereign nation. A short Independence Day speech delivered by President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin was also shown.

Governor Abbott delivered the Keynote address on the occasion.

Governor Abbott delivered the Keynote speech. He spoke about the importance of the Texas-Israel relationship. “There’s a deep, enduring bond between the people of Texas and the people of Israel,” said Governor Abbott. “We share in the blessings of freedom, a commitment to democracy, and the burdens of vigilance. I am honored to be a part of this joyous celebration, and I want to reaffirm Texas’ commitment to growing this important alliance with Israel both economically and culturally.” In his remarks, Governor Abbott also spoke of Texas’ recent efforts during the past legislative session to support Israel by passing House Bill 89 (HB 89), known as the Anti-BDS law. The BDS movement discriminates against businesses that associate with Israel or for being of Israeli heritage. The Governor also spoke about his visit to Israel, and talked about ways in which Texas will continue to build on the historic partnership. Among the special invi-

The State Farm check presentation

Grant sponsors Chinese Community Center’s Financial Literacy and Housing Counseling programs

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Indian Consul General,Dr. Anupam Ray and his family with FIS Founder and Chair, Krishna Vavilala, and FIS Director, Nishchay Bhan. tees were the Indian Consul General,Dr. Anupam Ray and his family, IACCGH Executive Director, Jagdip Ahluwalia, FIS Founder and Chair, Krishna Vavilala, his daughter Amanda Vavilala-Morales and FIS Director, Nishchay Bhan. Israeli Consul General Mr. Gilad Katz, was happy to see FIS representation at the celebration and so were FIS's

former Advisory Board member, Ellen Goldberg and her husband Mr.Howard Goldberg. Also, thanks are due to former City of Houston Mayor Pro-term, Mr. Gordon Quan, a friend of the Indian community for introducing FIS Board members to the Chinese Consul General, Mr. Li Qiangmin who made a friendly reference to the warming relationship between India and China.

Are you pondering pregnancy? Make sure your body is prepared for a baby “The number one change a woman should make before she gets pregnant is to stop smoking,” Compton-Joseph said. “Smoking can cause low birth weight and premature birth. Your baby is also at greater risk for asthma and ear infections if smoking occurs in the home.” Are you taking folic acid? Inadequate folic acid intake is linked Brandi Compton-Joseph, M.D., OB-GYN to spina bifida and other birth defects, many of which ocSUGAR LAND – (May 1, cur before a wom2018) — Making sure your an even knows she’s pregnant. body is ready to support a “Before you start trying to get healthy pregnancy is an espregnant, take folic acid to sential part of pregnancy build up a reserve,” Comptonplanning. Joseph said. She recommends taking 0.4 milligrams of folic “Addressing modifiable acid or 4.0 milligrams if you risks and making dietary have a family history of spina changes can have a meabifida. Taking a prenatal vitasurable benefit for mom min ensures that you’re getting and baby,” said Brandi optimal nutrition, and it will Compton-Joseph, M.D., meet the folic acid needs for obstetrician-gynecologist most women. (OB-GYN) with Houston Methodist Sugar Land HosDo you exercise regularly? pital. “The benefit is not just Developing the habit of regufor the first baby, but for all lar exercise before pregnancy subsequent babies, too. Putmakes it more likely you’ll ting the effort in up front can continue to exercise during and mean an important pay-off after your pregnancy. “Exercise in your children’s health.” can help to not only get you So is your body babyback to your previous weight ready? Answer these quesafter delivery but, more imtions to find out. portantly, decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, hypertenDo you smoke? sion, aches and pains caused by

the pregnancy along with postpartum depression,” ComptonJoseph said. If you have a chronic medical condition, is it under control? Seizure disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma are examples of chronic conditions that may impact your pregnancy. “Often the medications for chronic conditions can impact the fetus, so it’s a good idea to work with your doctor to create a plan,” Compton-Joseph said. A preconception consultation with your OB-GYN can help you determine how to best handle chronic conditions during pregnancy. For more information on the Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land, visit houstonmethodist.org/childbirth-sl or call 281.274.7500 to find a doctor in your area. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/ methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information. Pondering Pregnancy Seminar If getting pregnant is a matter you are seriously considering, don’t miss our expert panel discussion about your preparation for a healthy pregnancy. Join us at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 21 at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center. Registration is required. For more information or to register, visit events.houstonmethodist.org/pondering-sl, or call 281.274.7500.

Visit us at: voiceofasiaonline.com

OUSTON– On April 20, 2018, State Farm awarded a $8,000 Good Neighbor Citizenship company grant to the Chinese Community Center, a United Way agency, to sponsor its Financial Literacy and Housing Counseling programs. These programs offer free financial education, first-time homebuyer workshops, and oneon-one credit counseling and are a critical part of the Chinese Community Center’s efforts to help people from low- and moderate-income households achieve self-suf-

ficiency and financial resilience. The grant from State Farm will help the Chinese Community Center provide these services to 550 people during 2018. Many participants of the Financial Literacy and Housing Counseling programs have a history of being excluded from mainstream financial services due to a lack of financial records and collateral, low income, poor credit history, and language and cultural barriers. The Chinese Community Center helps participants overcome these barriers by increasing their knowledge and skills related to building credit and assets, reducing debt, and utilizing financial services effectively.

The Chinese Community Center has been a beneficiary of grant funding from State Farm totaling $103,300 since 2004 and has received inkind donations since 2000. In addition to sponsoring the Chinese Community Center’s programs, State Farm has provided representatives to share their expertise on such topics as homeowners insurance and home safety during the Chinese Community Center’s educational workshops. For more information about the Financial Literacy or Housing Counseling program sponsored by State Farm, please contact Kimberly Tang, Chief Operating Officer, at 713-271-6100 extension 204 or at ktang@ ccchouston.org.

Spring Clean Up campaign over three weekends in April secured tons of large item houeshold waste Along with tons of shredded documents

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ICHMOND, TX - The City of Richmond and Republic Services partnered once again to bring the semi -annual Clean Up Campaign across 3 weekends in April for the 2018 Spring Clean Up. This Clean Up Campaign occurs spring and fall to assist citizens in eliminating large item waste. Residents were prepared again this year to take advantage of this opportunity as 25.96 tons of large item household waste was collected. The Spring Clean Up Campaign was segmented across three Saturdays of April, with different areas defined for each of these ‘one day collection’ days . The first Saturday, April 14th collected the most tonnage with 10.4 tons of alternate waste, followed by April 28th with 8.58 tons and April 21st with 6.98 tons of alternate waste. This year’s Spring Clean Up campaign had slightly less large item household waste collected overall, but KRB’s Annual Shred event on April 14th add-

Residents were prepared again this year to take advantage of this opportunity as 25.96 tons of large item household waste was collected. ed 9.68 tons of shredded documents- more than previous Shred events (and 8860 more lbs. than the Fall Shred event)! Keep Richmond Beautiful has been adding to the City’s Clean Up Campaigns for the last few years with a document shred event to properly dispose of documents as well.

When you add the 19,360 pounds of shredded documents to the large waste pick ups, the total tonnage removed from our Richmond residents totals 35.64 tons of waste, which is about the same collected tonnage as Spring 2017 (36.95 tons). Way to go Richmond in helping to beautify our great City!


ASIA/SOUTH ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 8

S. Korea, Japan, China to hold summit next week

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

India's top court slams gov't over Taj Mahal decay

by Jung Hawon

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EOUL, South Korea | AFP | Tuesday 5/1/2018 - South Korea, China and Japan will hold a trilateral summit in Tokyo next week, Seoul announced Tuesday, the latest move in a diplomatic whirlwind centred around North Korea. The gathering on May 9 will bring together the South's President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in the neighbours' first such meeting for more than two years. It follows a historic summit between Moon and the North's leader Kim Jong Un last Friday. They vowed to pursue denuclearisation and a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, setting the mood for Kim's much-anticipated face-to-face encounter with US President Donald Trump. But analysts have urged caution, warning that similar previous pledges have come to nothing, and that the North has yet to make clear what concessions it is willing to make regarding its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. All three of the neighbours are deeply involved with North Korea -- the South as its neighbour, key US ally Japan as a sometime target for its threats, and China as its key diplomatic backer and business partner. "We want to confirm cooperation with President Moon ahead of a summit between the US and North Korea," Abe said during a visit to the Jordanian capital Amman, describing the upcoming summit as "very significant". "I want to thoroughly discuss how we can have North Korea walk on a right path, resolve the abduction, missile and nuclear issues and create a bright future," he added, referring to the North's abduction of Japanese in previous decades to train as spies. Friday's summit, in which

The gathering of South Korean, Japanese and Chinese leaders is the latest move in a diplomatic whirlwind centred around North Korea. (Photo: AFP).

Kim and Moon exchanged smiles, handshakes and warm words in front of the world's cameras, was a marked contrast to the tensions of last year. The North staged its most powerful nuclear test to date and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland as Kim and Trump traded threats of war and personal insults, sparking global security fears. The thaw between the Koreas, triggered by the Winter Olympics in the South, has repercussions for the geopolitics of the region. Japan has long maintained a hardline position on negotiations with Pyongyang but has found itself left on the sidelines. With concerning growing in Tokyo over whether it should change tack, a hawkish Abe expressed a willingness to meet Kim -- a message which Moon relayed to the North's leader during the summit. Kim said in response he was "willing to talk to Japan any time", Moon's office said on Sunday, adding the South's leader would be "happy to build a bridge" between the two nations. But Moon's trip to Tokyo will be the first visit by a South Korean leader to Japan

in more than six years, with relations between the US allies marred by disputes over history and territory. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying confirmed that Li will attend the trilateral meeting in Japan, in a statement reported by the official Xinhua news agency. No further details were provided. - 'Comfort women' During a day-long visit to Tokyo, Moon will "share the result of the inter-Korea summit and discuss ways to strengthen trilateral cooperation to denuclearise and establish peace on the Korean peninsula", Moon's office said in a statement. Moon also asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Tuesday for UN inspectors to observe the promised shutdown of the North's only known nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri. In Tokyo, Moon will also have a separate summit with Abe to discuss ways to develop "future-oriented ties" with Japan, it added. The South and Japan face a common threat from the North's nuclear and missile technology but have locked horns over the issue of South Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II, and a row over Seoulcontrolled islets.

Myanmar urged to hold 'proper' probe into alleged Rohingya atrocities

The Taj Mahal has been slowly yellowing because of smog in the region. (AFP Photo)

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EW DELHI, India | India's top court on Tuesday sharply criticised the government for failing to protect the Taj Mahal, the centuries-old monument to love which has been changing colour because of pollution. The brilliant marble of the Taj Mahal -- a UNESCO world heritage site -- has acquired a yellow tinge over the years. The colour of the marble "was first becoming yellow. Now it seems to be green and black," a Supreme Court bench said after reviewing recent photos of the monument. The Taj Mahal has been slowly yellowing because of smog in the region. Insects also leave green stains on its rear wall, which faces the heavily-polluted Yamuna River.

Various methods -- including using mudpacks to draw the stain from the marble -- have been employed since conservationists first raised alarm about the decay. Authorities also announced plans earlier this year to limit the number of visitors to reduce wear and tear. But that seems to have done little to stop the decay. "It appears that you do not have expertise or you have (it) but do not want to utilise it, or you do not care about (the Taj Mahal)," the court said. "You all appear helpless. Money should not be the consideration.... We need to save it." Supreme Court justices M.B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta gave

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OLOMBO, Sri Lanka | AFP | - Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday reinstated his justice minister, who was sacked nine months ago for publicly criticising a billion-dollar deal to lease a loss-making harbour to China. Former justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was sworn into cabinet with the higher education and culture portfolios, in a reshuffle prompted by the resignation of six ministers last month.

Rajapakshe had been forced out of the cabinet after criticising the controversial $1.1 billion lease of a loss-making deep sea port to China. He was also accused by his own party of delaying the prosecution of former government figures accused of murder and corruption under former president Mahinda Rajapakse, who led the country through the conclusion of a decades-long civil war until his ouster in a 2015 poll. Sirisena won that election with the support of current prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe but the relationship between the two men has

China gives 'subversive' Peppa Pig the chop

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EIJING, China | AFP - A Chinese internet platform has given the British cartoon "Peppa Pig" the chop as state media lamented that the series had become a "subversive" icon for slackers and anti-social young people.

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AYPYIDAW, Myanamar| AFP - Myanmar must hold a "proper investigation" into alleged atrocities against the Rohingya, a UN Security Council envoy said on Tuesday (May 1), after the highest-level diplomatic visit to an area from which 700,000 members of the Muslim minority have been driven out. Refugees and rights groups say Myanmar's army and vigilantes systematically raped and murdered civilians and torched villages during "clearance operations" in Rakhine state ostensibly targeting Rohingya militants. That campaign launched last August in the mainly Buddhist nation sparked the exodus of Rohingya into Bangladesh. During the two-day trip to Myanmar, UN delegates travelled to Rakhine and also met both civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who heads an army accused by the UN of

"ethnic cleansing". "In order to have accountability there must be a proper investigation," Britain's UN ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters, after envoys had visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and also Rakhine. There were two ways to establish a full probe, "one is an ICC (International Criminal Court) referral", she said. The other was for Myanmar's government to hold its own comprehensive inquiry. Last month the chief prosecutor for the ICC asked judges to consider whether the court's jurisdiction extends to Myanmar, which is not a member of the panel. Suu Kyi, pilloried outside her country for failing to speak up for the Rohingya, promised to "undertake a proper investigation" where evidence of atrocities was found, Pierce said. "It doesn't matter whether it

(a probe) is international or domestic, as long as it's credible," she added. During his meeting late Monday with the UN envoys, Myanmar's army chief denied his forces had committed rape and other sexual abuses during the crackdown which he ordered. "The Tatmadaw (army) is always disciplined... and takes action against anyone who breaks the law," he told the delegates, according to a posting late Monday on his official Facebook page. Rohingya women and girls in Bangladesh have provided consistent accounts of sexual violence - reports verified by conflict monitors - but Min Aung Hlaing said his forces have "no such history of sexual abuse." "It is unacceptable according to the culture and religion of our country," he said, adding anyone found guilty of crimes would be punished.

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has criticised Indian authorities on the issue. In February, it warned that the state government's "ad hoc" approach was jeopardising the monument. The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth. It has attracted some of the most famous people in the world, and is often a stop for world leaders on state visits to India. Diana, the late British princess, was famously photographed alone on a marble seat there in 1992.

Sri Lanka reinstates sacked minister amid govt tensions

Sirisena's office did not say why Rajapakshe was brought back into the fold despite his sacking last August.

A UN Security Council delegation is making a belated first visit to Myanmar to ratchet up pressure for a safe and dignified return of the Muslim minority (AFP Photo/Ye Aung THU)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government and the government of Uttar Pradesh state a week to respond.

At least 30,000 clips of "Peppa Pig", whose heroine is a playful bright pink pig, were removed from the popular Douyin video-sharing platform, while the #PeppaPig hashtag was banned from the site, the Global Times reported on Monday. According to a document quoted by the newspaper, the BBC children's cartoon is on a list of content censored by Douyin, in the same way as men disguised as women, excessive nudity or "erotic behaviour". The series, introduced in the mid-2000s in China, has become extremely popular through episodes dubbed into Mandarin. But this fervour intensified at the end of 2017 among a young adult audience. More and more internet users including stars sported temporary "Peppa Pig" tattoos in selfies. Cups, watches and clothes appeared bearing the image of the main character. The People's Daily, mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, sounded the charge last Thursday -- denouncing the harmful effect of the commercialisation of Peppa which was encouraged by web celebrities.

"A number of schoolchildren try to differentiate themselves by competing for Peppa Pig watches or accessories" to the benefit of makers of counterfeit goods, it lamented. The Global Times on Monday referred to this "addiction" among children, which parents complained was encouraging some pre-schoolers "to oink and jump in puddles" after watching the cartoon. In January, the same newspaper said social media users had been circulating "explicit fake versions" of the cartoon online, with references to paedophiles and sexual organs. On Monday, the paper said the innocent pig "had become an unexpected cultural icon" for a "subculture" of idle youth, "people who run counter to the mainstream value and are usually poorly educated with no stable job, unruly slackers roaming around, and the antithesis of the young generation the Party tries to cultivate." Peppa Pig had taken on a subversive hue and subsequently gone viral, illustrating the social psychology of "hunting for novelty and spoofing, which could potentially hamper positive societal morale", the Global Times said. China's communist rulers have launched a crackdown on content seen as deviating from the central values of socialism or criticising established social norms.

since broken down, with Sirisena accusing Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) of corruption.

Indian groom killed at wedding by celebratory gunfire

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EW DELHI, India | AFP | - Indian police on Tuesday arrested a man accused of killing a bridegroom when he marked his friend's wedding with gunfire, the latest in a grim series of marriage celebrations gone wrong. A video of Sunil Verma, 25, being hit in the chest late Sunday as he performed Hindu wedding rituals has gone viral on Indian social media. The footage shows a man identified as a friend of Verma adjusting a pistol when it goes off. The next moment, the groom is seen clutching his chest and slumping face down. "He has confessed to the shooting but the investigations will continue. We have recovered the murder weapon," Ghanshyam Chaurasia, investigating officer in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh state, told AFP. The shooter, who could face a murder charge, was on the run until his arrest on Tuesday in a neighbouring town. Police said two shots were fired from the licensed pistol belonging to the friend. Although outlawed in India, celebratory gunfire at weddings and other social events is common and sometimes deadly. A 20-year-old man was killed at his cousin's wedding on Sunday after revellers fired live ammunition to celebrate the event in neighbouring Allahabad district. The shooter, a relative of the groom, is also on the run, police said. And in February, during celebratory gunfire at a wedding in the capital New Delhi, the groom was hit by a stray bullet and killed.


DIASPORA

VOICE OF ASIA 9

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Indian-American IT professionals Indian-origin medic backs new hold protests in US, seek end to multiple sclerosis algorithm in UK green card backlog

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ASHINGTON | AFP - Several Indian-American IT professionals have held two rallies in the US, demanding an end to the long and massive green card backlog by eliminating per-country limit quota.

wrong’.

dency.

“It’s high time the Congress, Senate and White House administration work on this issue and solves the problem of high skilled immigrants,” GCReforms, organisers of the rallies said in a statement.

As a result, the current wait period for Indian skilled immigrants for a green card can be as long as 70 years.

ONDON, May 2, 2018 -- An Indian-origin consultant neurologist is among a team of UK researchers behind a new algorithm for better monitoring of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients to improve treatments of the disease.

The rallies were organised over the weekend in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Having a green card allows a person to live and work permanently in the United States.

Participants argued that per country quota on issuing of green cards per annum was the main reason for the backlog.

Indian-Americans, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on H-1B work visas are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven percent per country quota on allotment of green cards or permanent legal resi-

At the Pennsylvania rally, three children — Leela Pinnamaraju, Siva Pragallapati and Venkat Daita — shared the stories of H4 kids and how they will become out of status at the age of 21.

Dr. Sivaraman Nair, Consultant Neurologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said assessing the changes in the way patients with MS walk is key to understanding the progression of disability.

They requested lawmakers to treat all kids equally in the current immigration discussion. Kids who came to the US legally with their parents who work in US companies should also have a pathway to citizenship.

"It is particularly important to look at these indicators at an early stage as it can also tell us about the effectiveness of the medication they are taking," he said.

Dr. Nair said, "Currently, mobility of MS patients is assessed in specialised gait laboratories. The relevant technologies can be expensive and require highly skilled personnel. The impact of this research could therefore be significant for patients as well as cost-effective".

The algorithm development by researchers from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, when paired with wearable sensors, provides more informative and ef-

"The potential applications of this research are not just limited to MS but could be used for other conditions that could benefit from monitoring gait, such as Parkinson's disease," he said.

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They displayed posters with ‘Remove Per Country Limits for employment-based green cards’, ‘3,00,000 waiting for 90 years’ and ‘What did I do

Indian-American owned IT company fined for H-1B visa violations Investigators found that the company paid impacted employees well below the wage levels required under the H-1B program based on job skill level, and also made illegal deductions from workers' salaries.

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ASHINGTON, May 02, 2018, PTI: An IndianAmerican owned IT company in California was today asked to pay $ 173,044 in wages to 12 of its foreign employees, most of them from India, in violations of the H-1B visa program salary requirements.

It describes itself as leading provider of bimodal digital business services and solutions to the Global 1000. Its services include big data, cloud, advanced analytics, business intelligence modernisation, data science, big data pilot-toproduction, IoT, mobile application development.

Investigations carried out by US Department of Labour's Wage and Hour Division revealed that some of the H-1B employees that information technology provider Cloudwick Technologies Inc. brought from India with promised salaries of up to $ 8,300 per month instead received as little as $ 800 net per month.

According to the company, its clients include the likes of Bank of America, Comcast, Home Depot, Intuit, JP Morgan, NetApp, Target, Visa, and Walmart.

Notably, the crackdown on the company came just a day after many countries in the world celebrated the International Labour Day (International Workers Day or May Day). Based out of Newark in California, in the famed Silicon Valley, Indian-American Mani Chhabra is the founder and CEO of the Cloudwick Technologies, as per the company's website.

Investigators found that the company paid impacted employees well below the wage levels required under the H-1B program based on job skill level, and also made illegal deductions from workers' salaries. "The intent of the H-1B foreign labour certification program is to help American companies find the highly skilled talent they need when they can prove that a shortage of US workers exists," said Susana Blanco, Wage and Hour Division District Director in San Francisco. "The resolution of this case

demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for lawabiding employers, and protect guest workers from being paid less than they are legally owed," Blanco said. In addition to the recovery of back wages, the IT employer has also signed an enhanced compliance agreement requiring them to hire an independent third-party monitor to help ensure future compliance, a media release said. To further deter and detect abuse, US Citizenship and Immigration Services has established a dedicated email address which will allow individuals including both American workers and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse to submit tips, alleged violations and other relevant information about potential H-1B fraud or abuse. Silicon Valley companies and high-tech ventures are among the largest employers of foreign workers with H-1B visas. The number of visas awarded each year is capped at 85,000.

fective monitoring of the way MS patients walk in real life.

The study titled 'Free-living and laboratory gait characteristics in patients with Multiple Sclerosis', published this week in the journal 'PLOS ONE' will help clinicians more easily assess the effectiveness of existing treatments and disease progression in MS patients.

Up until now, gait analysis has only been carried out in laboratories. Doctors at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals approached researchers at the University of Sheffield and asked them to help find a way to measure how patients walk in "real life" conditions. he next stage of the research will involve working with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre (for Translational Neuroscience) to conduct a larger clinical study. Pharmaceutical companies are investing 50 million euros in research linking digital assessment of mobility to clinical endpoints to support regulatory acceptance and clinical practice. Multiple sclerosis is a lifelong condition that can sometimes cause serious disability. (-PTI)

Indian-origin woman, grandparents killed in fire at New York home

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EW YORK: April 30, 2018, PTI - An Indian-origin woman and her grandparents died and her two children were injured after a fast-moving fire swept through their home in the US as they celebrated a relative's upcoming wedding, a media report said.

Harleen Maggo and her paternal grandparents Ragvir Kaur-Kainth, 82 and Pyara Kainth 87, died in the tragic incident late on Saturday night.

Harleen Maggo and her paternal grandparents Ragvir Kaur-Kainth, 82 and Pyara Kainth 87, died in the tragic incident late on Saturday night. Ms Maggo's two children, an 8-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy, were trapped inside the building as it burnt. Firefighters rescued both of them, the girl was in critical condition and the boy was in stable condition at Nassau University Medical Center, fire officials said. Seven other people inside the home were taken to local hospitals with serious but not life threatening injuries, New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Gala said in the report.

Harleen Maggo, right, with her husband, Varinder Kumar. Facebook Photo. A relative Ranjit Kaur, 38, said she heard screams of people still trapped in the house. "It's a big tragedy," Ms Kaur said. "I've never seen a big fire

like this." Fire officials are investigating the cause of the blaze and are still unsure where and how it started.


US/WORLD

VOICE OF ASIA 10

US hopeful about China talks to resolve trade dispute by Heather Scott

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ASHINGTON | AFP - Senior US officials are due to travel to Beijing on Tuesday to hold talks on resolving an escalating trade dispute and they say they are hopeful of finding a solution but warn the issues are complex. If they fail to agree on a course of action to protect intellectual property rights from depredation, US punitive tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods are set to take effect May 22 and are certain to set off a chain of retaliation that could spill over into the global economy. "I'm always hoping but not always hopeful," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Tuesday. "It's a big, big challenge." President Donald Trump announced the punitive action against China in late March for what the administration says is rampant theft of US technology and know-how. Lighthizer said the problems are grave since practices such as forced technology transfers and even outright theft undermines the US ability to position itself for the economy of the future. "They are using their own law to get technology without paying for it," he told a USChina business conference. He is due to travel to China later Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House economic advisers Peter Navarro and Larry Kudlow to meet with

their counterparts on Thursday and Friday. US officials have highlighted Beijing's "China 2025" industrial development plan as a source of concern -- Ross called it "frightening" -- since they say it is map for dominating key high tech industries. - 'Most sinful' Lighthizer said the country had already followed that path with steel and aluminum -- products now subject to steep US tariffs -- as well as semiconductors and "now they want to do it in all these areas, many of which will drive the economy." "The whole relationship has a lot of negatives," he said, but "the most sinful is this issue of intellectual property." In comments earlier on Tuesday, Ross declined to say what would be sufficient to satisfy the White House but stressed it was time for action on the trade deficit, which he described as "too big, too chronic and too inspired by evil practices." Still, "I wouldn't be going all the way over there if I didn't think there was some hope," he said in an interview with CNBC.

to the increase.

The Trump administration's aggressive trade strategy has fueled concerns the exchange of reprisals would harm economies just starting to find firmer footing after years of sluggish growth. China has promised to retaliate with tariffs on $50 billion in US goods, prompting Trump to boost the US threat by another $100 billion. US manufacturers over the past two months have reported sharp increases in prices of steel and aluminum as a result of the biting tariffs also imposed in March, and the EU also has threatened retaliation against those duties if their exemption expires on June 1. Ross downplayed the concerns about retaliation on the US economy, saying, "We are the ones in the deficit position. That means they have more to lose at the end of the day."

But Lighthizer said Trump was right that "deficits do matter," adding that the imbalance with China was "completely lopsided," which made it fair to ask if their policies contributed

He called for Beijing to move "aggressively" to reform their economy but called on Washington "to work collectively...to adequately address China's unfair trade practices."

Afghan attacks on media shows jihadists are weak: Pentagon chief

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Later Monday, the BBC confirmed that one of its reporters, 29-year-old Ahmad Shah, was killed in a separate attack in eastern Khost province, near the border with Pakistan. One American soldier was also killed and another wounded during a combat operation in eastern Afghanistan, US Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement. In a further attack, 11 children were killed and 16 people wounded, including Romanian and Afghan security force members, when a suicide attacker exploded his car near a NATO convoy in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the "senseless and barbaric attack." "The independent media is a cornerstone of democracy," he said, adding that the United States was "committed to defeating" the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack. "The vibrant media landscape that has developed in Afghanistan will endure, in large part due to those journalists and media professionals who tragically died in today's attack, but whose courageous and steadfast work helped lay the foundation for Afghanistan's thriving and resilient independent media."

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by age two, while the second study found that exposing asthmatic children with dog allergies to bacteria that dogs carry appeared to have a protective effect against asthma symptoms.

- Trade war -

Thomas Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday urged the administration to find a solution "without inflicting collateral damage on business and consumers."

"They need the international media to basically broadcast this going on, so they can undercut through those kind of attacks, what Jim Mattis listens to a question on the Depart- is what has ment of Defense budget posture during a Senate obviously set Armed Services Committee hearing. (Jacquelyn them on their Martin, AP) back foot diplomatically and militarily. ASHINGTON | "We anticipated that they AFP - Fighters are would do their best to try to targeting journal- bring bombs right into Kabul." ists in Afghanistan because A double suicide blast in they are weakened and want more news coverage in order Kabul killed 25 people, into undermine the country's cluding AFP photographer electoral process ahead of an Shah Marai and at least eight expected vote in October, Pen- other journalists. Reporters tagon chief Jim Mattis said Without Borders called it the most lethal single attack on Monday. the media since the fall of the "This is the normal stuff by Taliban. people who cannot win at the

World Asthma Day 2018: five ways science suggests we can prevent and manage asthma

The US deficit in goods with China last year was $375 billion, compared to just $83 billion in 2000, before the country joined the World Trade Organization.

Economists have faulted the administration's focus on reducing trade deficits with specific countries, since it is not a good measure of the benefits of the relationship.

ballot box, so they turn to bombs," Mattis said when asked about a day of bloodshed in Afghanistan that left dozens dead, including many children and journalists.

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May 1 marks World Asthma Day 2018, which aims to raise awareness of the condition and suggest how we can help care for those around us suffering from the condition. Here we round up the most recent research released since last year's World Asthma Day, which suggests some ways asthma can be prevented or improved in people of all ages. Top up vitamin D levels A UK study published last year found that taking oral vitamin D supplements alongside standard asthma medication could bring even bigger benefits for those with mild to moderate asthma, with consumption of vitamin D supplements associated with a 30 percent decrease in the rate of asthma attacks requiring treatment with steroid tablets or injections, and a 50 percent decrease in the risk of experiencing asthma attacks that require hospital assistance. Maintain a healthy weight A 2017 Japanese study found that being obese may worsen asthma in children, leading to repeated hospital admissions and longer stays. The largescale study looked at 38,679

asthmatic children aged three to eight years, finding that children who were obese and hospitalized for asthma were more likely to be readmitted to hospital within 30 days and have longer hospital stays than those who were a normal weight. Make man's best friend part of the family According to two studies presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting last year growing up in a household with dogs may help protect children from developing asthma and eczema. The first study found that children born to mothers who had daily contact with dogs during pregnancy had a lower risk of eczema

A 2017 review of two studies looking at the effects of fish oil consumption in pregnant women found that eating fish and taking supplements are both equally likely to protect children from developing asthma. The first study looked at pregnant women in their third trimester who took omega-3 fatty acids daily, while the second looked at pregnant women in their third trimester who took either fish oil, a placebo of olive oil, or no oil, but were able to eat fish if they wanted. The results showed that whether obtained from fish or fish oil, children of mothers who consumed highdose omega-3 fatty acids daily during the third trimester were less likely to develop breathing problems. Quit smoking An American study published earlier this year found that smoking during pregnancy could be even worse for children than exposing them to secondhand smoke in childhood. After assessing the lung function of children aged six to 11, the researchers found only a small association between exposure to tobacco smoke and airflow obstruction in the lungs, whereas exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy was associated with a 2.5 times increase in the chance of having airflow obstruction in children with asthma.

Zuckerberg says Facebook to add dating service

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AN JOSÉ, California | AFP - Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday that the world's largest social network will soon include a new dating service. "This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hook-ups," Zuckerberg said as he unveiled the plans at Facebook's annual developers conference. Zuckerberg said the new dating feature was built from the ground-up with privacy and safety in mind -- as the social network reels from the revelation of a mass breach involving the personal data of tens of millions of its users. "People already use Facebook to meet new people, and we want to make that experience better," the Californiabased titan said in a statement. "People will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile -- and potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends." After setting up a distinct and private dating profile, user will be able to check out groups or events where they live along with profiles of other Facebook members who are taking part. In presenting the new feature, Zuckerberg noted that one-in-three marriages in the United States start online, and that some 200 million people on Facebook identify as being single. Facebook's developer conference comes as the giant faces global scrutiny over the mass harvesting of personal data for use by a British political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the F8 Facebook Developers conference in San Jose, California. (Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images/AFP) had their data hijacked in the scandal, which saw Zucker-

berg grilled at length by the US Congress last month.

Pompeo vows to put US diplomatic power at Trump's service

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ASHINGTON | AFP - New US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed Tuesday to harness the might of US diplomacy in service of President Donald Trump to achieve "the outcomes that America so desperately needs." "I think I have the record for the longest trip to the first day of work," joked Pompeo with staffers at the State Department headquarters. Pompeo took office last Thursday but immediately set out for a NATO meeting in Brussels followed by a trip to the Middle East, before returning to Washington to address his new staff. He thanked personnel for their "amazing work" in his first address to them since the dismissal of his predecessor Rex Tillerson, a former oil executive who advocated widespread cuts to the department.

"We need to make sure that never happens again," Zuckerberg told the audience packed with software developers, as he underscored the firm's commitment to boosting privacy protections.

"To stand here and look at the most important diplomatic corps in the world is enormously humbling to me," said Pompeo, who headed the CIA before being switched by the president to the State Department.

Facebook has admitted up to 87 million users may have

Pompeo repeatedly lauded his department's work and its

importance, in an apparent attempt to distance himself from his sacked predecessor, who was criticized for doing little to defend its budget or staff. Fifteen months after Trump took office, numerous key posts have yet to be filled and Pompeo promised during his confirmation hearings before the Senate to fast-track those nominations. "I know for certain that America can't... achieve its objectives absent you all, absent executing American foreign policy in every corner of the world with incredible vigor and incredible energy," he said. "I have an enormous amount to listen and learn from you," he said. "But as people I'm confident that I know who you are." Pompeo said that each member of his new staff was critical to the department's "ultimate objective, which is to deliver President Trump's and America's foreign policy around the world." With key deadlines looming in dealing with Iran and North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Pompeo promised to elaborate on his priorities after his swearing-in ceremony


SPORTS

VOICE OF ASIA 11

Cairo women take to the American football field It's a spectacle that few would imagine in Cairo -- an American football field full of Egyptian women.

USA Track re- Hockey musical chairs as opens bids for Marijne returns to Indian 2020 trials women

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OS ANGELES | AFP - SA Track and Field announced Tuesday it has reopened bidding to host the 2020 US Olympic athletics trials because of a lawsuit that has delayed construction of the intended stadium. USA Track's board of directors unanimously authorized the move as litigation continues over the building of the new stadium at Mt. San Antonio (Mt. SAC) College in Walnut, California -- a suburb of Los Angeles. The board had awarded the 2020 Olympic trials to Mt. SAC last June but a key aspect of the winning bid was construction of the stadium on the campus.

Egyptian female American football players from the AUC Titans (red) play against Gezira Thunder (green) during their match at the Maadi Olympic Centre. (Photo: KHALED DESOUKI / AFP)

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rom humble beginnings in 2016 with only three teams, Egypt's all-female informal "flag football" league now has eight clubs vying for supremacy in the capital. The version played by women here is non-contact, with players seeking to snatch flags tucked into opponents' waistbands. For the young women who have taken up the game, which faces stiff competition for attention in a nation mad about soccer, it's a chance to escape the many pressures of city life. Habiba Mohamed, 19, says her friends and parents were surprised about her new passion. "When I told them at home I will practice American football, my father and mother told me: 'How is this possible? You need to be careful,'" she says. Mohamed is kitted out in the green-and-yellow jersey of her team, Gezira Thunder, which is playing rivals the AUC Titans at the Maadi Olympics Centre, a stadium that normally functions as a soccer venue. It proves a good day for her, as Gezira storms to victory, albeit in a largely empty arena, save for a smattering of cheering friends and family. A teammate is keen to em-

phasise the non-contact nature of flag football. "My friends thought it was a violent sport but it is not, as I have told them, and when they came to watch the games, they liked the sport a lot," says 20-year-old quarterback Yara Tawheed. "The level of violence in this sport is similar to that in ballet," she adds. - Release for stress and anger But some would prefer to play the full contact version. Alia Haytham, 22, a student at Cairo's American University, says she hopes to play the undiluted game, to help her release anger and energy. "But this does not detract from flag football being fun," she says. "All of us here have problems at university and at home, but as soon as we enter the pitch we forget everything that preoccupies us."

drive to register teams outside Cairo and expects several new clubs will be up and running in time for next season. But the game "is not new in Egypt, where it was initiated among men in 2007", Asmaa Marie, a spokeswoman for the Egyptian Federation of American Football, tells AFP. Marie, who wears the Islamic hair cover and plays regularly, cites similar motivations to Haytham. "The game has helped me control my anger and release stress."

While Mt. SAC settled a lawsuit with the city of Walnut last month, a second lawsuit seeking to halt construction of the stadium by a local taxpayers group, United Walnut Taxpayers, remains unresolved. USA Track said the board will look to re-award the US trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics no later than next month. Eugene, Oregon, has hosted the past three US Olympic trials at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, which annually stages the Diamond League's Prefontaine Classic and also will host the IAAF 2021 World Championships. This year's US Track and Field Championships will be staged June 21-24 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

- International games Games have even been organised against teams in other countries. Last year, Cairo Warriors, another of the capital's teams, played a Moroccan outfit in a friendly, and early this year they took part in a tournament in the US.

The coach of another female team, the adventurously named Hell Hounds, is proud of his players.

In a socially conservative country, playing a spectator sport can be a radical departure from the norm for women -especially games traditionally associated with Western men.

"If you see how hard these girls work, I think you would really admire what they put into it," says 30-year old American Matthew Kershey.

But Marie believes that "the game's popularity in Egypt will surpass that of many team sports, like volleyball and handball".

Egypt became a member of the International Federation of American Football in 2014. The federation is leading a

"The American football community in Egypt has grown, and we feel that we all know each other," she says.

Nepali teen gets golf lesson from Tiger Woods

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IAMI, Florida | AFP - A Nepali teenager hoping to become her country’s first female professional golfer was given the opportunity of a lifetime on Tuesday after being invited to a private coaching clinic with Tiger Woods.

Man United to lose Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind

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ANCHESTER, England -- Defenders Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind are set to head the list of Manchester United exits this summer, sources have told ESPN FC. Darmian, who has made just three Premier League starts this season, has attracted significant interest from Juventus. Sources said there has been initial contact between United and the Serie A side ahead of a possible deal for the 28-yearold at the end of the season. Blind, who has also made three league starts, is wanted by Inter Milan and Roma. United triggered a one-year extension in his contract but sources say he is willing to take a pay cut to secure a move to Italy. Darmian, a £12.7 million signing from Torino in 2015, and Blind, who arrived from Ajax for £13.8m in 2014, were both left out of Jose Mourinho's squad for the 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday.

Pratima Sherpa, 18, who is the subject of a recent ESPN documentary about her attempts to become a golfer, was given a 30-minute clinic with Woods at Medalist Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida.

To compensate for the loss of the two players, Mourinho is set to include Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe in his squad for the preseason tour of the United States.

Former world number one Woods later wrote about his meeting with the teenager on Twitter. The clinic was set up with the help of Woods’ charitable foundation and ESPN.

Fosu-Mensah, 20, has made 24 appearances on loan at Crystal Palace, and Tuanzebe, also 20, has been on loan at Aston Villa since January.

“Inspiring day working with my @TGRFound team and meeting Pratima Sherpa, an amazing young woman from Nepal,” Woods wrote.

Sources said Mourinho will assess the pair during the summer before a decision is made about whether to include them in the first-team squad next season. (-ESPN)

“We can all learn from her perseverance, hard work and determination.” “Pratima is simply incredible,” Woods added in separate remarks reported by ESPN.  “I read her story and I was amazed. The chance to meet her and talk to her was really inspiring. It was great to witness her journey and to see the happiness she exudes.” 

ESPN quoted her as saying on Tuesday. “I was surprised to receive the letter. Everyone knew about it but me.” 

Woods was made aware of Sherpa’s over a year ago when Golf Digest magazine ran a feature revealing her dream of playing professionally.

According to Sherpa’s fundraising website -- www.teampratima.com -- the youngster was born and lives in a modest hut on the fourth hole of the Royal Nepal Golf Club.

The 14-time major champion wrote a letter of encouragement to the teenager after reading the story, ESPN reported. “The letter I received from Tiger inspires me to play well,”

(Photos: Twitter/@TigerWoods)

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Her story was the subject of an ESPN documentary “A Mountain to Climb,” which premiered in New York last weekend.

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EW DELHI, India | AFP | Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne on Tuesday returned as coach of India's women's hockey team after seven months in charge of the men's side.

ruary last year, Marijne was in charge of the Netherlands' women's side.

Marijne did a swap with Harendra Singh, who switched from the women's team to the men's after India failed to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games last month.

Hockey India secretary general Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed said both teams would benefit from the sporting musical chairs.

Marijne was appointed men's coach in September following the sacking of fellow Dutchman Roelant Oltmans.

"Harendra Singh brings with him a wealth of experience and has previously managed a lot of the men's team players during his stints in the Hockey India League," said Ahmed.

He was happy with the change, saying he was "excited to reunite with the women's team" and was looking forward to the World Cup in England this year. Before joining India in Feb-

His first event with the Indian women will be the Asian Champions Trophy in South Korea starting May 13.

"Marijne's first stint with the women's team was a very successful one and we are sure he will continue to do well with this team as he has done in the past," he added.

Pakistan's Hafeez cleared to bowl after remodelling action

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UBAI, United Arab Emirates | AFP - The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday cleared Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez to return to bowling at international level after remodelling his action. The 37-year-old was reported for a suspect bowling action during a one-day international against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi last October, with an assessment finding it illegal for the third time in his career. He underwent remodelling of his action and had a re-assessment of his bowling action last month. "The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that following remedial work and re-assessment, the bowling action of Pakistan's Hafeez has been found to be legal, and the off-spinner can now resume bowling in international cricket," said an ICC statement. On April 17, Hafeez underwent a re-assessment of his bowling action at Loughborough University, England where it was revealed that the amount of elbow extension in his bowling action was within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted. Officials are still at liberty to report Hafeez in the future if they believe he is displaying a suspect action and not reproducing the legal action from the reassessment, the ICC added.

Hafeez was first suspended from bowling in December 2014 after being reported during a Test series in the United Arab Emirates. Following remedial work on his bowling action he was reassessed and permitted to resume bowling in April 2015. He was then suspended from bowling in July 2015 for 12 months. Hafeez was able to resume bowling again in November 2016 before he was reported for a third time. Hafeez is not part of Pakistan's Test squad currently touring Ireland and England. Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur last month said Hafeez needed to clear his action. "The doors are not closed for Hafeez at all. If Hafeez is bowling, he becomes a very good option for us. If he doesn't bowl, it becomes a problem," Arthur said. Hafeez was also dropped from Pakistan's Twenty20 series in New Zealand in January and a home series against the West Indies last month. Meanwhile, West Indies fast bowler Ronsford Beaton failed an independent assessment and is suspended from bowling in international cricket, the ICC said. Beaton made his international debut last December, playing two ODIs in New Zealand.

England players an 'easy' target, claims Kane

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ONDON, United Kingdom | AFP England's talismanic striker Harry Kane believes he and his international colleagues are an easy target for cheap jokes just over a month before he carries his nation's hopes at the World Cup. Kane was widely mocked on social media even by a number of ex-professionals, fans and even England team-mate Jamie Vardy after claiming his side’s second goal in a 2-1 win at Stoke City last month, initially credited to Christian Eriksen. He was then poked fun at by the official FA Cup Twitter account for his performance against Manchester United in the semi-final. "The FA tweet was a silly tweet, we all know that,” Kane told The Telegraph. "I talked to the gaffer about it and all we said was ‘Would other countries do that to their players?’ Probably not." Tottenham's Kane has scored 42 goals for club and country this season. However, he believes people are just waiting for him and England to disappoint once more at a major international tournament. "It

is

easier

nowadays

maybe to ‘banter’ England players or take the mickey out of the England players. So if we don’t do well in the World Cup, then people can say 'We told you so.' But that is maybe a weaker mentality," he added. Kane was back on the scoresheet as Spurs closed in on a top-four finish in the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Watford on Monday to move to within four goals of Mohamed Salah in his quest for a third consecutive golden boot award. His chase of the Egyptian has been hampered by a three-week injury absence with ankle ligament damage last month and a dip in form on his return. However, Kane insists he is feeling fully fit ahead of the World Cup. "The ankle is fine. The ankle is good. It was good to score against Watford and I had a couple of chances. I feel fine. I feel good. I am looking forward to the last three weeks. "Every striker in every country wants to win the golden boot. I want to win at everything, whether it's the golden boot or every game. Even if it is just playing a game with my mates –- I want to win that. I am not afraid to say so."


LEISURE & LIFESTYLE

VOICE OF ASIA 12

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Wood you like a drink? Japan team invents 'wood alcohol'

MORNING TEA HOUSE

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OKYO, Japan | AFP - Discerning drinkers may soon be able to branch out after Japanese researchers said Tuesday they have invented a way of producing an alcoholic drink made from wood. The researchers at Japan's Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute say the barkbased beverages have woody qualities similar to alcohol which is aged in wood barrels. They hope to have their "wood alcohol" on shelves within three years.

"There are many tea house in China, I took this photo from my recent trip to China. I Spent almost half day in this old tea house, observing the local people activity early in the morning at the place. Most of the regular customer that come to this tea house at the age of 60 to 90. They are always playing cards, make chatter with their friends, or just have a cup of tea to accompany their cigarettes. They will be in the tea house until lunch time." -Photographer Handi Laksono

For Pakistani dockworkers in Dubai, kushti is a way of life

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t is kushti wrestling night and Kala Pehlwan is ready to fight.

As the sun sinks below towering palm trees, dozens of men -- many in tunics, others in T-shirts -- begin to form a perfect circle. Most are Pakistani or Indian, from the cross-border region of Punjab, where kushti is a beloved pastime. They are also a pillar of the United Arab Emirates' workforce. Veteran wrestlers, now referees, pour water over the inner ring to minimise dust. A peanut vendor drags a rickety cart around the circle, tending to the crowd -- now three rows deep. "Clink, clink, clink," ring out wooden cymbals with bells.

The wrestlers unabashedly strip down to their underwear, donning yellow, red, or even floral-patterned loincloths. "Kala Pehlwan, son, come to the ring! Suhail, son, come to the ring," cries out 50-year-old Mohammed Iqbal -- a Dubai kushti fixture.

The method involves pulverising wood into a creamy paste and then adding yeast and an enzyme to start the fermentation process. By avoiding using heat, researchers say they are able to preserve the specific flavour of each tree's wood. So far, they have produced tipples from cedar, birch and cherry. Four kilogrammes (8.8-pounds) of cedar wood

Spectators dart into the ring to film fights. Others watch in rapture, breaking out in cheers at decisive moments in the match.

opponent to the ground on his back.

The winner is declared when a fighter manages to pin his

If the fight starts going over 20 minutes, the referees de-

Wood fermentation is already used to produce biofuel but the product contains toxins and is flavourless, making it far from a suitable cocktail component.

Researchers experimented with both brewed and distilled versions of the new beverage, but "we think distilled alcohol appears better", researcher Kengo Magara told AFP.

"But our method can make it drinkable, and with a wood flavour, because it does not require high heat or sulphuric acid to decompose the wood," Magara said.

clare a tie. On this evening, Kala Pehlwan finds himself overpowered -- and faced with a challenge.

Iqbal wrestled for more than two decades in Dubai before passing the torch to the next generation, whom he takes the time to train each evening before work.

The day's matches are quick -- sometimes under a minute -and hard fought.

NOW OPEN

gave them 3.8 litres (eight pints) of liquid, with an alcohol content of around 15 percent, similar to that of Japan's muchloved sake.

"Find me a fighter that can beat me," his opponent taunts.

Glaring, the opponents swipe one another's bodies with sand -- a reciprocal move to counter sweat.

A foot is trapped between a rival's legs, a fighter flips over his opponent's shoulders to escape his grip. One pins his match down on his stomach and throws sand in his face before getting restrained by the referees.

Researchers have so far produced tipples from cedar, birch and cherry (above). Photo: AFP

Every Friday evening in Dubai's bustling Deira district, a sandy lot is transformed into the ring of champions. (Photo:Relaxnews)

The institute has a broad mandate for scientific study related to Japan's extensive woods and forests, but Magara acknowledged "wood alcohol" might not be the most obvious application for their research resources. "We thought it would be interesting to think that alcohol could be made from something around here like trees," Magara said. "It's a dream-inspired project."

"It's not hard to get a space for these fights because in Dubai they always want entertainment and encourage us.

The government institute aims to commercialise the venture with a private-sector partner and to have the lumber liquor on shelves within three years.

"The (authorities) say arranging fights like this is better than fighting in anger where you live or at your workplace," said Iqbal. (-Relaxnews)

"Japan has plenty of trees across the nation and we hope people can enjoy wood alcohols that are specialised from each region," Magara said.

mfah.org/India

Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in collaboration with the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur, India. Lead Underwriters: Nidhika and Pershant Mehta Additional generous support for this exhibition is provided by Medha and Shashank Karve; Sushila and Dr. Durga D. Agrawal; National Endowment for the Arts; The E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; Eddie and Chinhui Allen; Milton D. Rosenau, Jr. and Dr. Ellen R. Gritz; Paul and Manmeet Likhari; Mr. and Mrs. H. Bruce Sallee; Vivian L. Smith Foundation; Anne and Albert Chao; Jag and Pinder Gill; Dr. and Mrs. Srinivasa Madhavan; Usha and Kumara Peddamatham; Dr. Mani and Anuradha Subramanian; Rama and Geetha Rau Yelundur; Mr. and Mrs. Sundaresan Bala; Monjula and Ravi Chidambaram; Kathy and Marty Goossen; Shantha Raghuthaman; and Miwa S. Sakashita and Dr. John R. Stroehlein. The accompanying catalogue is generously supported by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

µ˙The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


VOICE OF ASIA 13

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FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

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T-Mobile, Sprint to merge: CEOs IACCGH cohosts Business Investment Conference as part of Shell sponsored series by Ian Timberlake

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ASHINGTON, | AFP | 4/29/2018 - US wireless operators Sprint and T-Mobile will form a new company and push development of a super-fast 5G network, the heads of both firms said Sunday. The announcement came months after the two companies called off merger talks when they failed to clinch mutually agreeable terms.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere (L) speaks as Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure looks on at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, NY, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid.

“I’m excited to announce that @ TMobile & @Sprint have reached an agreement to come together to form a new company -- a larger, stronger competitor that will be a force for positive change for all US consumers and businesses!” T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced as part of a series of tweets about the tie-up. T-Mobile, a division of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, and Sprint -- a subsidiary of Japan’s SoftBank -- are at present the third and fourth largest US wireless operators, respectively. Together they would have about 131 million subscribers, virtually matching second-ranked AT&T and posing stiff competition to market leader Verizon Communications. Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure also used Twitter to announce “some incredibly exciting news - @ Sprint and @TMobile are joining forces.” He said they will “combine to create the most disruptive U.S. carrier!” In a video posted online the longhaired Legere and Claure, wearing a T-shirt, appeared side-by-side. Legere said “the New @TMobile will be the ONLY company able to bring a broad & deep nationwide 5G network -- something no US wireless company could achieve alone in the critical early years of 5G.” In its first three years, the new firm will be able to invest around $40 billion, “nearly 50 percent more than

both of us invested in the last three years,” he said. - ‘20,000 lost jobs’ Legere announced that he would lead the new company as CEO, while T-Mobile’s chief operating officer Mike Sievert would be president. T-Mobile is one of the biggest earners for its German parent. In 2017, it added 5.7 million net new customers compared with 8.2 million the previous year, but the hoped-for merger with Sprint fell through in November. At that time, the Communication Workers of America union had warned that a merger would result in the loss of at least 20,000 US jobs through store closings and other consolidation, while also harming consumers. The two firms had previously held talks in 2014 on a merger but ended discussions in the face of opposition from US regulators. 5G or fifth-generation wireless communication networks would enable services such as smart cities, remote surgery and driverless cars. The networks would allow customers to experience video and virtual reality with greater ease. Claure, who is also a partner in David Beckham’s Miami Major League Soccer franchise, said “the difference between 4G and 5G is the difference between black-and-white TV and color TV.”

Standing L to R: Steven Gonzales, Kim Morris, Bob Payne, Juliette Lopez, Mark Winchester, and Jagdip Ahluwalia Sitting: L to R: Steve Paterson, Scott Livingston, Douglas Baumann, Alyssa Holmes Henderson, Jacqueline Taylor, Valerie Maher, and Swapan Dhairyawan. by Manu Shah

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he Business Investment Conference cohosted by the Chamber on April 18th was part of a Shell sponsored IACCGH series of events to support Harvey affected small businesses. Events are being hosted at different locations to help small businesses grow, overcome technical challenges, rebuild, access technology, or simply get a loan on easy terms. Held at the Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center in League City, the event was supported by the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce, City of League City, America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), US Small Business Administration (SBA), IACCGH, LiftFund, and Shell. Representatives from these Institutions as well as community banks, NASA, BayTech Solutions and the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) offered presentations on the varied resources small businesses could tap to get their businesses get off the ground or get a competitive edge. IACCGH Executive Director and Master of Ceremonies Jag-

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dip Ahluwalia offered a brief outline of the Chamber’s mission and expressed his appreciation at the support from Shell in carrying out this work. Alyssa Holmes Henderson, Supplier Diversity Coordinator at Shell also highlighted Shell’s commitment to supporting the community and stepping up the funds to help businesses after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.

The discussion underlined the effectiveness of working with a community bank for loans as it understands your needs better.

League City Councilmember Larry Millican welcomed the gathering to League City and highlighted the potential for business that League City offers.

The NASA Technology Transfer program, Steven Gonzalez Associate Manager of the Strategic Partnership Office at the NASA/JSC explained, enables small businesses around the country to access and leverage almost 1400 technologies and solutions that are being used in their space program.

A presentation by Steven Lawrence, Executive Director SBDC Texas Gulf Coast underscored the changing business trends. Describing today’s business environment as a “knowledge economy,” he emphasized the importance of understanding “what consumers want and how to get it to them faster.” SBA’s District Director Tim Jeffcoat took over with a “Start and Grow Your Small Business” presentation, which outlined the services SBA offers such as Counseling, Matchmaking events with lenders as well as helping small businesses procure federal contracts with the Government. Mark Winchester, SBA’s Deputy District Director in Houston moderated a panel of community bankers: Nasr Khan – Wallis State Bank, Matt Curry – Texas Citizens Bank and Wendy Ghormley – Texas First Bank.

Moderator Jacqueline Taylor quizzed Anthony Lopez from LiftFund, Paula Jeminson from American Red Cross and Mark Winchester from SBA on how best to prepare an organization to function through a disaster.

President and CEO of the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce Steve Paterson offered a brief outline of the strategic advantages and the “business friendly” atmosphere that League City has to set up shop. Program Manager Bob Payne from SATOP offered a presentation of how NASA provides engineering expertise to small businesses faced with technical challenges while BayTech Solutions, Director Kim Morris explained, contracts with companies that would like JSC to test their product and iron out technical issues. Owner of T-Shirt Trends Poonam Tulsiani stated that she found the event very useful as it had many organizations that help small businesses like hers “all under one roof.”


VOICE OF ASIA 14

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD Section 2

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

The Great Impersonators: Charlie Chaplin fans parade through Indian town by Indranil Mukherjee DIPUR, India | AFP - Wearing bowler hats and fake moustaches while carrying walking sticks, hundreds of Charlie Chaplin fans shuffled bow-legged through a small Indian town to celebrate the comic actor’s birthday this week.

A

Mariah Carey reveals bipolar disorder

Every year on April 16, residents of Adipur -- in India’s far western state of Gujarat -- honour the legendary silent actor’s birthday by imitating his slapstick style in a parade.

he singer, whose sweeping five-octave vocal range helped make her one of the most successful artists of the 1990s, said she decided to go public to help remove stigma over the mental illness.

Participants, which include young and old, male and female, are members of Charlie Circle, a local fan club that has been marking Chaplin’s birthday annually since 1973. Chaplin enthusiast and impersonator Ashok Aswani set up the club. He was cycling to work one day in the early ‘70s when he passed a theatre showing Chaplin’s 1925 hit “The Gold Rush” He bought a ticket and went in. Aswani was immediately hooked and watched three consecutive shows, skipping work. He was fired from his job the next day. Aswani discovered that he enjoyed copying the mannerisms of Chaplin’s most famous on-screen persona “The Tramp” and began paying homage to his new-found idol. “Earlier I used to celebrate his birthday alone by just cutting a cake. But then my neighbours started asking me what I was doing so I told them about Charlie Chaplin,” he told AFP. “Gradually people started joining me in celebrating his birthday and the numbers swelled,” added Aswani, a 70-year-old ayurvedic doctor. “We’ve done it for 44 years and this is the 45th.” On Monday, Aswani was joined by roughly 300 others marching for the 129th anniversary of Chaplin’s birth, a solid turnout for the event that started with one man. The suits were crumpled and the ties badly knotted during the two-hourlong procession. Many had used black marker pens to draw on Chaplin’s trademark toothbrush moustache while others opted to stick on fake ones. Children wore Chaplin face masks while some carried life-sized cut-outs of the English-born filmmaker as a stereo loaded onto a truck blasted out popular Bollywood songs. “I was four when I started acting. My first memory is of climbing onto a camel (for the parade) as a young Charlie,” Aswani’s grandson, Talin Mavani, told AFP. “We used to celebrate Chaplin’s birthday every year as if it was my birthday or my grandfather’s birth-

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Young supporters of the Charlie Circle, a Charlie Chaplin fan-club, participate in an annual parade to celebrate the birthday of Charlie Chaplin. (Photo: AP) day,” he added. The 18-year-old is about to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps by succeeding Aswani as president of the Charlie Circle. “We have a very wide-ranging vari-

ety of people in our club. The youngest member is two-years-old while the oldest is 70,” Mavani explained. “To carry forward the legacy of my grandfather as leader of the Charlie Circle is a very big responsibility.”

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she told People in the celebrity magazine’s latest cover story. Carey, who is in her late 40s, said she long presumed that she had a sleeping problem but that her insomnia and irritability turned out to be the lows of bipolar disorder, commonly known as

manic depression. “I would feel so lonely and sad -even guilty that I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing for my career,” she said. Bipolar disorder “does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me,” she told the magazine. Carey said she has Bipolar II disorder, which is characterized by less severe episodes than Bipolar I. Around 2.8 percent of US adults experience bipolar disorder in a given year, according to the federal National Institute of Mental Health. Carey has long faced unflattering headlines over perceived diva-like behavior. In 2001, she retreated in what was described as a physical and mental breakdown amid the flop of “Glitter,” her first film in which she starred in a leading role.

Marvel heroes together en masse Dutt biopic titled ‘Sanju’, Ranbir spitting image of controversial for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Bollywood star by Javier Tovar

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OLLYWOOD | AFP - More than two dozen superheroes. One big baddie. Let the mega-battle begin -- and watch the box office receipts pile up.

This week, Marvel Studios unleashes the highly-anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War” on theaters worldwide, almost 10 years to the day that it introduced movie fans to its ever-expanding comic book world with “Iron Man.” The film, set to hit US theaters on Thursday night, is sure to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year -- and the unofficial kick-off to the summer movie season. “Infinity War” is the 19th film in the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) -- it combines a whopping nine franchises, and the cast list reads like a who’s who of Hollywood’s A-list. Robert Downey Jr will don the red and yellow metal suit once again as Iron Man; Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange; Scarlett Johansson is back as Black Widow; and Australia’s Chris Hemsworth is Thor. Also back for more? Black Panther -- the Marvel breakout of the year after the massive opening of the standalone pic in February, Captain America, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, the Guardians of the Galaxy and their assorted allies.

Their mission? To prevent the powerful purple alien Thanos (Josh Brolin) from destroying the universe.

“We took a picture of every single person whose character has been in the MCU. We hung it up on a wall all around us,” co-director Anthony Russo, who helms the pic with his brother Joe, told reporters ahead of the film’s release.

he first look and teaser of Sanjay Dutt’s much-awaited biopic is finally out and the Rajkumar Hirani-directed movie, featuring Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role, is titled “Sanju”.

to leave his ‘feel good’ signature on the biopic of one of Bollywood’s most controversial and loved stars.

The first poster of the film was launched earlier today featuring Ranbir in the five iconic looks of Dutt from different phases of his life, starting from “Rocky” and going on to the time he was released from Yerwada Central Jail in 2016, after serving a five-year sentence in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case.

tails of the actor’s life as his mother Nargis Dutt used to fondly address him “Sanju”, which became a popular nickname for him besides ‘Baba’.

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The title of the film is reflective of the director’s understanding of capturing even the most miniscule de-

“We basically spent months and months and months talking about where we could go with each character, how we could draw them through the story,” he added. “Every one of these characters... has been on a very specific journey through the MCU to arrive at this moment.” This is the third “Avengers” film, with the final, untitled saga set for next year. At the press conference in Beverly Hills, the directors and stars were careful not to reveal too many details about the film’s plot. But expectations are high after the massive success of “Black Panther,” which so far has raked in more than $1.3 billion worldwide and has broken the all-time North American record set by “Titanic,” with more than $680 million in the US and Canada. Some projections have it opening at more than $235 million, and even higher, according to Variety -- the record opening weekend of $248 million for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is within reach.

The teaser begins with Ranbir breaking the fourth wall, as he introduces his story to the audience and takes them across different stages of his life both on and off-screen. Even though, Dutt’s life has been full of ups and downs, Hirani has tried

In the teaser, Ranbir manages to look the part and carry Dutt’s characteristic gait. Hirani has maintained that the film will not glorify his frequent-collaborator’s life. The video clip supports his claims as Ranbir talks about Dutt’s drug addiction, run-ins with law including a faint mention of AK-56, which led to his arrest. (-PTI/Mumbai)

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VOICE OF ASIA 15

NBA begins to address mental health and young athletes

Energy drinks cause negative health effects in more than half of young people

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oronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan and Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love are helping to jump start the program, which begins in part this week with a website and public service ads encouraging mental wellness for its athletes.

onsumption of energy drinks, which contain concentrated amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, sugars, vitamins, and amino acids such as taurine, has increased dramatically among young Canadians in recent years.

“We always preach eating healthy, exercising, being an elite athlete,” DeRozan told the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the drinks can cause a range of adverse health effects, however there has so far been little research on how prevalent these adverse effects are, especially among young people who can be even more susceptible to the effects of caffeine and other stimulants.

Jay LaPrete / AFP

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But with all that pressure “we don’t really look at the mentalhealth aspect first and foremost, somebody’s everyday life,” DeRozan said. “You never know where we’ve grown up and where we’ve come from before we made it -- that could be dwelling on us.” The ads begin Tuesday the same day the Raptors and Cavaliers start their second round Eastern Conference playoff series in Toronto. It is rare for NBA athletes to speak about their struggles with mental health, but DeRozan and Love are trying to change that. DeRozan’s own battle with depression and loneliness came to light during the recent NBA all-star game when he wrote a seven-word tweet, “This depression get the best of me.” The 28-year-old all-star guard DeRozan grew up in Los Angeles suburb of Compton, the same crime-plagued area that the tennis Williams’ sisters come from. His openness led to Love speaking and writing about his

struggle with dark thoughts. When the Raptors played in New York in March, NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with DeRozan to discuss the matter. Besides the TV ads, the league is coming out this week with a website that will include links to mental health resources for not only young and older athletes but the public. DeRozan and Love, who comes from the Los Angeles area, could also contribute by speaking at the league’s rookie transition program events. “The best thing I did was come out and say, ‘Hey look, I need some help,’” Love says in one of his ad spots. Said DeRozan, “Never be ashamed of wanting to be a better you, period.” They are, of course, not the first athletes to talk openly about

American football brain injury issues greater for pre-teens EW YORK | AFP | 4/30/2018 - Playing American football before age 12 leads to symptoms of cognitive, behavioral and mood disorders an average of 13 years earlier than other players, a Boston University study released Monday showed.

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The study by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine and released on the school’s website examined brain injuries, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), in 246 deceased American football players, 211 of whom were diagniosed with CTE after death. “The younger they started to play football, the earlier these symptoms began,” said Michael Alosco, an assistant professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and lead author on the study, published Monday in the Annals of Neurology. Those who began playing American football at 12 or younger showed signs of brain injury issues 13 years on average before those who began playing the sport after age 12.

“Thirteen is a huge number,” Alosco said. “There’s something unique about the age you start playing football, something about it that is contributing to those symptoms.” The study found that each year younger than 13 an athlete began playing American football correlated with an earlier onset of cognitive problems by 2.4 years, and behavioral and mood problems by 2.5 years -and some children began playing at age 5. “There is a recommendation that children under the age of 14 shouldn’t play tackle football,” says senior author Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at Boston VA Healthcare System. “This paper would provide some support for that.” Researchers found early onset in players who had CTE, a progressive degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma, and those without. “This finding wasn’t just for people who died of CTE. This was for people with any disorder that affected their cognition, behavior, or mood,” McK-

mental wellness, but too often the headline-grabbing stories in the sports sections these days focus on trivial matters like bad calls by officials. Three months ago, 28-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps spoke about his lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression at a mental health conference in Chicago where he encouraged people to seek help like he did. And NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West wrote a book called ‘West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life” that was released seven years ago and dealt with his struggle with depression and low self-esteem.

Banquet Halls, Conference Rooms, Class Rooms

“Those are the ages where the gray matter of your brain is really growing. Neurodevelopment is really at its peak,” he said.

The results can be found published online in the journal CMAJ Open. (-RelaxNews)

The number of children ages 6–12 playing American football dropped to 1,217,000 in 2016, down slightly from 1,262,000 in 2015, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. McKee and Alosco hope that the findings will help lead to ways to detect CTE before death, with autopsy now the only method to diagnose the disease. “Continuing to tease apart what affects the disease development, what affects the symptoms, will help us move forward and eventually identify who is at risk and eventually develop diagnostic clinical criteria,” Alosco said.

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Energy drinks are also not recommended for use by people participating in sporting activities.

The study appears to support growing concern by parents about having their children play the sport, which has seen concussion issues among NFL players surge to the forefront in recent years.

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“Most risk assessments to date have used coffee as a reference for estimating the health effects of energy drinks; however, it is clear these products pose a greater health risk,” said co-author David Hammond. “The health effects from energy could be due to the different ingredients than coffee, or the ways in which they consumed, including with alcohol

Currently, Canadian legislation is meant to prohibit energy drinks from being marketed to children, however Hammond added that, “The number of health effects observed in our study suggests that more should be done to restrict consumption among children and youth. At the moment, there are no restrictions on children purchasing energy drinks, and they are marketed at the point-of-sale in grocery stores, as well as advertising that targets children.”

Anesthesia before three doesn’t affect IQ, study indicates, though it may cause other problems

Alosco noted the years before age 12 are crucial for brain development.

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Of those that had reported consuming energy drinks at some point in their lives (73.8%), 55.4 percent reported experiencing an adverse health event, with 24.7 percent experiencing a fast heartbeat, 24.1 percent having difficulty sleeping and 18.3 percent experiencing headaches.

The team also found that 84.7% of participants reported having ever consumed coffee. However, although the adverse outcomes experienced with energy drinks were similar to the physiologic effects of caffeine, consumption of energy drinks was significantly more likely to cause an adverse effect than drinking coffee.

or during physical activity; regardless, the findings suggest a need to increase surveillance of health effects from these products.”

ee said. “Early exposure made them more susceptible to any later life pathology.”

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Participants were asked if they had every experienced any negative health outcomes after drinking energy drinks, with adverse events from drinking coffee also assessed to make a comparison.

seizure, while 3.1% had sought or had considered seeking medical help for the adverse health effects experienced.

Of the sample, 5.1 percent reported nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, 3.6 percent reported experiencing chest pains, and 0.2 percent reported having a

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To explore further, a team of researchers from the University of Waterloo conducted a nationwide survey asking 2,055 young Canadians aged 12 to 24 about prior consumption of energy drinks.

A new study has revealed that over half of young Canadians who have ever consumed an energy drink have experienced negative health effects including rapid heartbeat, nausea, and in rare cases even seizures.

Like Love, former National Hockey League goaltender Corey Hirsch penned an article where he opened up about anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. (-RelaxNews)

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New research looking into the effects of anesthesia in young children has found that intelligence is not affected by the procedure, although repeated exposure may affect other brain functions. (Photo: vgajic/Istock.com)

New research has found that despite concerns there is no evidence to suggest that giving anesthesia to children under the age of three years can affect intelligence, although other aspects of brain development may be affected by repeated exposure.

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new study follows a 2016 statement issued by the US Food and Drug Administration which warned that repeated or prolonged sedation (lasting over three hours) before age 3 may affect brain development. However, as this warning was based largely on data from animals, which may or may not apply to children, researchers at the Mayo Clinic set out to research further. The team looked at 997 people born from 1994 through 2007 and grouped them according to how many times they had been anesthetized before turning three. Of the group, 206 had two or more exposures to anesthesia; 380 had one; and 411 had none, with ear, nose and throat surgeries the most common reasons for anesthesia. The researchers then looked at medical records and brain function testing at ages 8-12 or 15-20, as well as reports from parents to assess the children’s behavior and brain function

later in life. They found that intelligence, memory, and other measures of brain function were similar among all three groups. However, when looking at those who had been exposed to anesthesia several times as small children, this group showed modest declines in fine motor skills, such as ability to draw figures with a pencil, and how quickly they processed information when reading. The parents of these children also reported more learning and behavioral problems, such as difficulty reading, behaviors in line with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, breaking rules, aggression, anxiety, or social withdrawal. In addition, parents whose children had anesthesia just once before their third birthday reported more problems with executive functions -- the skills which help with memory, impulse control, planning and flexibility -- however not with other behaviors.

“For the majority of kids undergoing surgery, the results overall are reassuring,” says lead author David Warner.”About 80 percent of kids who need surgery under age 3 only need one, and it’s relatively brief.” Several other studies have also suggested that a single anesthetic is not associated with any significant harm. “Although we do have some concerns about the children who are receiving multiple anesthetics, it’s important to note that our results don’t allow us to conclude that anesthesia itself is causing problems,” Dr. Warner says, adding that other factors, such as the reasons that make surgery necessary in the first place, could contribute. “However, the fact that we found some problems in some of these children means that research in this area needs to continue, including further analysis of our data.” Dr. Warner added that in the meantime the benefit of surgery outweighs the risk in most cases, although potential problems and concerns should always be discussed between parents and surgeons. The results were published in the journal Anesthesiolog. (-Relaxnews)


LEGAL

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Section 2

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The Trump administration has found a new way to crack down on legal weed

but, they do not really affect most people directly. Democrats claim they will result in lower revenues to fund social programs, but that will play out over several years if not decades. What follows are the most key facts affecting individual taxpayers next year as reported by CNN, The Washington Post and many other sources:

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small change in U.S. Small Business Administration rules could have a big impact on legal weed. The agency has tightened its lending rules to prohibit banks from using SBA-backed loans to finance any business that has direct interaction with the marijuana industry.

The use of medical marijuana is legal in 29 states while recreational use is legal in nine states. The cannabis industry is also becoming more economically significant — an Arcview Market Research report forecasts the legal marijuana industry will generate $24.5 billion in revenues by 2021. SBA rules already precluded lending to any business directly involved in the industry — “a business that grows, produces, processes, distributes, or sells marijuana or marijuana products, edibles, or derivatives, regardless of the amount of such activity. This applies to personal use and medical use even if the business is legal under local or state law.” Regulators have long recommended banks avoid providing any services to businesses directly involved in the trade, so this is nothing new. “The stricter rules come as the Trump administration’s Justice Department seeks to make life hard for the marijuana trade even as public support for it grows. “ The new SBA rule goes much further, however. SBA now also precludes lending to any firm that is even indirectly doing business with a marijuanarelated operation, significantly

Seshadri Nonavinakere New rules from the SBA will make it hard for companies that do business with the marijuana industry to gain access to loans. expanding the number of businesses no longer eligible for SBA-backed loans. The rule defines such a business as one that “derived any of its gross revenue for the previous year (or, if a start-up, projects to derive any of its gross revenue for the next year) from sales to Direct Marijuana Businesses of products or services that could reasonably be determined to support the use, growth, enhancement or other development of marijuana.” For most law-abiding citizens, that may seem like a very reasonable extension of the rule that prohibits offering SBA loans to a business involved in illegal trade, but it is significantly more difficult to follow in practice. In a state like Colorado, where marijuana is a substantial part of the economy, many otherwise legal businesses may now be ineligible for SBA loans, because they derive some small part of their revenues from direct marijuana businesses. It may be obvious that a bong manufacturing business that caters directly to the trade should also be ineligible for government financing, but consider a garden supply company that sells bagged dirt, hydroponic equipment, potting supplies, fertilizer, or grow lights primarily to garden and home centers, but received even one purchase

order from a local marijuana business. Is it now ineligible since its products could be used to help grow the product? Similarly, consider companies like contractors, architects, or engineers that help build a grow facility, or online marketing and website development services that help market a retail marijuana business. These businesses are providing a service that can be viewed as helping the marijuana business grow, and if their products and services are publicly available in a market that has legalized marijuana, it is very likely that they have some revenues that come from direct marijuana businesses. This notice comes at a time when some private equity and individual investors have made bets on the so-called “picks and shovels” trade. This play involves investing in the suppliers to the industry as a way of gaining the benefit of the growth of legal weed while avoiding the risks associated with the fact that marijuana is still illegal on a national basis. The stricter rules come as the Trump administration’s Justice Department seeks to make life hard for the marijuana trade even as public support for it grows — a recent Gallup poll finds 64 percent of Americans favor federal legalization, including a majority of Republicans. (-CNBC)

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The 2018 Tax Reform Bill How It Impacts You Personally

by Mark Abell

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Politicians Agree to Disagree, as Usual Every news organization in the country has published both opinions and facts on the 2018 Tax Reform Bill. Republican leadership is pointing to the legislation as a great victory, in what CNN called “the first significant reform of the U.S. tax code since 1986”. Democrats voted against the bill, claiming it will result in “crumbs and minimal tax cuts” for the middle class, while “83% of the tax change goes to the top 1%”. Politicians like to claim they are speaking for this group or that group of American taxpayers, but in the end, we are all individuals with a wide variety of needs. In the final analysis, only you know how the Tax Reform Act will really affect you as an individual. Just the Facts, Please Whether you side with the Republicans or the Democrats does not really matter. Yes, there are tax changes for businesses and corporations,

• There are still seven tax brackets for individuals while rates overall, have come down. The following are the new rates: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%. • The standard deduction is nearly twice what it was in the past. For single filers, the standard deduction is now $12,000 and for married couples filing jointly, it is $24,000. • The $4,050 personal tax credit that could be claimed for you, your spouse and each dependent is gone. • The state and local property tax deduction are capped at $10,000. • Child tax credit is doubled to $2,000. • There is a $500 tax credit for non-child dependents. • 529 savings plans: Up to $10,000 can be used to cover the cost of sending a child to private school. • You can deduct up to $2,500 for student loan interest (unchanged). • Home mortgage interest deduction for existing homeowners remains intact, but people buying a new home can only deduct the first $750,000

of mortgage debt. • Capital gains tax: If you sell your house for a gain after having lived in it for at least two of the past five years, you may exclude $500,000 as a couple and $250,000 as an individual filer. • The individual mandate on health insurance which penalizes people who do not have a health plan is eliminated effective in 2019. • The Alternative Minimum Tax threshold is lifted to $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for married couples. Summary Although all the individual tax cuts are scheduled to go away after 2025, if history is any judge, that deadline will likely be extended, so every American who pays taxes should consider how the 2018 Tax Reform Act will impact them and their family. The most important aspect for individuals is that deductions are being reduced, and in some cases eliminated. This is to make way for a simpler tax code, that encourages more people to use the simplified standard deduction, and will have minimal direct impact on most Americans. 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.

New law firm/LPO partnership aims to cut corporate legal spend by half The longer-term goal of the collaboration is to build something that can be provided to other mid-market legal departments. by Robert Ambrogi

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or corporate legal departments, legal ethics rules leave them stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they are ever to achieve meaningful reductions in legal spend, the services of their outside counsel would need to be tightly integrated with cutting-edge technology and legal process management. But rules that prohibit nonlawyers from investing in law firms inhibit such integration. The founders of the new law firm ElevateNext believe they have the solution to free legal departments from this bind and deliver the full range of services and technology they need. The firm plans to do that by closely aligning itself with the legal process outsourcing company Elevate. The firm will provide the legal representation and Elevate will provide the LPO services and technology. To the client, it will all be seamless. Not only are they launching this firm, but they are also developing a proof of concept. ElevateNext and Elevate are partnering with the in-house legal team at Univar, a global chemistry distribution company, to design, build, and operate what they are calling “the law department of the future.” Their goal: Show that they can reduce legal spend by 50 percent. Behind all this are names who are no strangers to legal innovation. The founders of ElevateNext are Patrick J. Lamb and Nicole Nehama Auerbach, who a decade ago started Valorem Law Group in Chicago with the aim of smashing the billable hour. Elevate’s founder is Liam Brown, who originally founded Integreon before selling his stake to start Elevate. The general counsel at Univar is Jeffrey W. Carr, best known for his years as GC at FMC Technologies, where he created the Alliance Counsel Engagement System (ACES), designed to upset the traditional billable hour structure by rewarding outside firms for efficiency.

And if any of this sounds reminiscent of Clearspire, there is reason for that. Mark A. Cohen, Clearspire’s cofounder and managing partner, is chair of Elevate’s advisory board and has helped guide and shape the launch of ElevateNext. Clearspire, which opened in 2010 and shut down four years later, pioneered the dual-entity concept. The law firm, Clearspire Law, promised high-end legal work delivered efficiently, collaboratively, and transparently, at fixed prices. The service company, Clearspire Service Co., supported the firm’s business operations and infrastructure and developed a custom software platform, Coral, to support the law firm. Last September, Atrium LLP launched based on a similar model, promising to “revolutionize legal services” and backed by big-name Silicon Valley investors, but prompting me to ask in a column here whether it wasn’t just a case of Clearspire déjà vu. In an interview last week, Auerbach and Lamb credited Carr with inspiring the launch of ElevateNext. “He’s always had this view that there needs to be transformational change in the way that law departments work,” Lamb said. “His position at Univar provided the opportunity for him to test his hypothesis.” Key to that hypothesis, they say, is that legal departments should be able to work seamlessly with all their moving parts, whether they are internal business units, external service providers, or outside law firms. “As Jeff says, ‘Whether you receive a W-2 or a 1099, you’re all my law department,’” Lamb said. In a separate interview, Brown echoed that idea. When he started in the LPO business, clients came to him wanting unbundled commodity work. Now, they want him to provide full services. But ethics rules prevent him from giving them that. “Customers become frustrated because we’re an embedded part of their law department and then we have to

send them off to an outside law firm.” Achieving that seamlessness is the reason Auerbach and Lamb aligned this new firm with Elevate, rather than operate through Valorem (which will continue in business). “We think it’s important to have the seamlessness, and to invest in the manner in which Elevate has built its own brand,” Auerbach said. “So it really will be seamless for their clients and our clients — so much so that they won’t really know who’s doing what.” Operationally, ElevateNext’s role will be akin to that of a prime contractor. It will provide direct legal services and strategy, hire lawyers and services as needed from Elevate (which itself employs some 400 lawyers), and contract out to other firms when appropriate. Elevate will continue to provide the services, process consulting, and technology it already offers, both directly to legal departments and in association with ElevateNext. Its cloud-based Cael enterprise legal management technology will serve as the backend for the work. In addition, Elevate will develop integrations with other technologies used by legal departments so they operate as a single platform. The longer-term goal of the collaboration with Carr is to build something that can be provided to other mid-market legal departments. “If we can do this for Jeff, we can do it for other legal departments,” said Auerbach. “Jeff is the test case, if you will. As we’re working with Jeff, we’re designing what we’re doing so it is easily replicable and utilized by other law departments.” “We don’t think that every law department will buy this template,” said Brown. “But we think they will see how they can, within two years, go from where they are to becoming a more business-managed, more business-disciplined law department.” (-Above The Law)


VOICE OF VOICE OF ASIA ASIA17 17

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018 May 4, 2018 FRIDAY,

MAY is Older Americans Health Month

Section 2

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Music-based treatment may alleviate anxiety, depression in dementia patients by Ariel Scotti

ing the patient back in reality.”

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The team saw that while the patient listened to his or her playlist, the salience network, the executive network and the cerebellar and corticocerebellar network pairs of the brain were all activated and showed higher levels of functionality and connectivity on the MRI.

he salience network of the brain is responsible for selecting which outside stimuli are deserving of our attention — and it’s one of the few regions spared by Alzheimer’s. That’s why researchers at the University of Utah Health are investigating if the area can be stirred by music to alleviate anxiety in dementia patients. Tests of the effects of a personalized playlist on the moods of those with the debilitating brain disease showed improvements in patient anxiety levels, depression and agitation, the study, published in The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease said. “People with dementia are confronted by a world that is unfamiliar to them, which causes disorientation and anxiety” the study’s contributing author Jeff Anderson said in a release. “We believe music will tap into the salience network of the brain that is still relatively func-

“This is objective evidence from brain imaging that shows personally meaningful music is an alternative route for communicating with patients who have Alzheimer’s disease,” the university’s Director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Care and the paper’s senior author, Norman Foster, said. “Language and visual memory pathways are damaged early as the disease progresses, but personalized music programs can activate the brain, especially for patients who are losing contact with their environment.” But the study noted that these results are in no way conclusive or certain to replicate in anyone with the disease.

The new menstrual innovations aiming to take the pain out of periods

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s the topic of periods becomes less taboo, the range of menstrual products designed to make them a little easier also seems to be on the rise. This new generation of products is more innovative and more eco-friendly than ever before, designed to reduce waste, increase comfort, and even boost health. Here we round up some of the newest products that will help take the pain out of your period and make it just another day. First Period Kit by Lola Created to make girls feel more prepared for their first periods, the First Period Kit comes with a range of pads, liners, and tampons for those early days when your flow can be irregular, as well as a free, downloadable e-book guide that tells girls everything they need to know about periods. It makes a great gift for a daughter, little sister, or friend, but with its handy stickers to get you used to tracking your period, a keepsake box and canvas bag for storing your menstrual kit at home and on the go, and a $5 voucher for future Lola purchases, you might want to purchase one for yourself too. Flex Menstrual Disc by The Flex Company

Researchers at the University of Utah Health are investigating if the salience network of the brain can be stirred by music to alleviate anxiety in dementia patients. (Photo: urbazon/Getty Images) tioning.” Over the course of the three-weeklong study, the researchers and patients selected songs that caregivers would play. The study’s authors recorded their highly positive observations and a functional MRI scan was administered to check for changes in the brain. “When you put headphones on dementia patients and play familiar music, they come alive,” first author Jace King said. “Music is like an anchor, ground-

Their trial was only made up of 17 patients and a larger, longer study is being needed but the researchers are encouraged by their initial results. “In our society, the diagnoses of dementia are snowballing and are taxing resources to the max,” Anderson said. “No one says playing music will be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but it might make the symptoms more manageable, decrease the cost of care and improve a patient’s quality of life.” (-New York Daily News0

Created as an alternative to tampons, Flex is designed to catch rather than absorb menstrual blood, similar to a menstrual cup, although it does have some extra advantages. Flex can be worn for up to 12 hours meaning you can pop it in and forget about it pretty much all day, and it can even be worn during sex, whereas a menstrual cup needs to be removed beforehand. As Flex is disposable you also don’t have to worry about washing it every time you use it, but as you use less menstrual discs than tampons it still helps to reduce waste.

The First Period Kit by LOLA. to relieve menstrual pain. Nannogenic technology also helps to decrease odor by reducing bacteria around the pad. A range of products are available, including pads and liners for different flows, all made with 100% OCS Certified Organic Cotton for extra comfort. Balance by FloLiving FloLiving is perhaps best known for its period tracking app, however it

also offers a supplement plan to help keep your hormone levels healthy and balanced. Balance by FloLiving is a range of five supplements, including “Energize,” “Harmonize,” and “Replenish” which have been specifically developed for women, helping to support female health and a range of conditions and problems including PMS, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, missing periods, difficult periods, infertility, and perimenopause. (-Relaxnews)

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HEALTH

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Five healthy lifestyle habits could add ten or more years to life finds new study

from 44,354 men and defined the five low-risk lifestyle factors as not smoking, a low body mass index (18.5-24.9 kg/m2), at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, moderate alcohol intake (up to about one 5-ounce glass of wine per day for women, or up to two glasses for men), and a healthy diet.

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Seniors more likely to stick to a workout routine when they can do it together tions,” commented lead author Mark Beauchamp, “If you set the environment up so participants feel a sense of connection or belonging with these other people, then they’re more likely to stick with it.”

For the participants who didn’t adopt any of these lowrisk lifestyle factors, the researchers estimated that life expectancy at age 50 was 29 years for women and 25.5 years for men. However, for those who adopted all five of the low-risk lifestyle factors, the researchers estimated that life expectancy at age 50 was 43.1 years for women and 37.6 years for men. Doing regular exercise is one of the ways to increase life expectancy according to new research. (Photo: gradyreese / Istock.com)

For women this meant on average an extra 14 years of life, and for men an extra 12 years, with the combination of all five New US research has found that sticking to five healthy healthy behaviors linked with habits throughout adulthood, including eating a the most additional years of life gained. healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy

weight, no smoking, and not too much alcohol, could together add more than ten years to life expectancy.

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ed by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the study is the first comprehensive analysis to look at the effect of adopting low-risk lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the US, a country

which has a shorter average life expectancy (79.3 years) than almost all other high-income nations. The researchers analyzed 34 years of data from 78,865 women and 27 years of data

Palliative care saves money, study finds by Maggie Fox

mean giving up.

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t was a bad December for Saskia Siderow and her family.

The approach includes treating a patient’s pain and symptoms such as breathlessness

First, her mother-in-law was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer. Then, as she was coming out of a procedure in the hospital, her father-in-law suffered a massive stroke.

Continued on next page

“It was a nightmare,” said Siderow, a New York-based healthcare consultant. Siderow helped other family members care for both husband and wife as they went through treatment starting in December 2011 and, finally, died. And for Siderow, one thing made a huge difference for both of her in-laws: palliative care.

The researchers also found that both women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer, when compared with those with had the least healthy lifestyles. “This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the US population,” commented senior author Frank Hu. “However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low. Therefore, public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles.” The results can be found published online in the journal Circulation. (AFP-Relaxnews).

Hair products could be exposing Black women to a higher level of hazardous chemicals

“We had no sense that anyone was talking to each other, which is typical of the U.S. healthcare system.” Her mother-in-law died within a few months, after first trying every treatment possible. Her father-in-law lived for four years. In both cases, Siderow feels the palliative care team gave her in-laws, whom she does not wish to name, comfort and dignity in their last weeks and months of life. Palliative care is a team approach. “Care is usually provided by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including palliative care doctors, nurses, and social workers,” the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine says. “Chaplains, counselors, massage therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, and others might also be part of the team.” It sounds expensive and complicated. But a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine shows that palliative care teams can actually cut costs. On average, hospital costs alone were more than $3,000 lower if patients were started on palliative care within three days of admission, the team, led by Dr. Peter May of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland reported. Palliative care — sometimes called comfort care — hit the headlines earlier this month when former first lady Barbara Bush said she was opting for comfort care just days before she died. Dr. Sean Morrison of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who worked on the study team, said people often misunderstand what palliative care is. They often fear that palliative care and hospice care

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arried out by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) the study looked at 627 adults with an average age of 72 and enrolled them in a 12-week exercise program at YMCA locations in Metro Vancouver, with the option of extending for another 12 weeks afterwards. Participants were divided into three workout groups; one group included participants similar in age and the same gender, another included participants similar in age but mixed gender, and the third included a mix of age and gender. The researchers found that over the 24-week period the participants who worked out with people their own age attended an average of 9.5 more classes than those who worked out in the mixed-age group. Although the researchers had predicted that same-gender classes would lead to more participants sticking to the workout plan, this was not found in the results. They found that participants in the same-age, mixed-gender group averaged 33.8 classes, while those in the mixed-age group attended an average of just 24.3 classes. Those in the same-age, samegender group averaged 30.7 classes.

“There was a big difference between before palliative care and after palliative care,” said Siderow. “Before palliative care, no one really made sure that we understood the diagnosis. No one made sure that we understood the prognosis. No one made sure we understood what was going on,” she added.

Working out with people of a similar age may encourage seniors to stick to a fitness plan according to new research. (Photo: alvarez / Istock.com)

The team also pointed out that in the current study the participants didn’t want the classes to end and successfully lobbied the YMCA to continue the age-specific sessions that had been created for the study so they did not have to change to the regular classes. New research has found that hair care products could be exposing Black women to dozens of hormone-disrupting chemicals. (Photo: PeopleImages/Istock.com)

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ew U.S. research has found that Black women could be exposed to dozens of hormonedisrupting chemicals through the use of certain hair products. Carried out by scientists at Silent Spring Institute, the study is the first to measure the concentrations of endocrinedisrupting chemicals -- which interfere with the body’s hormones -- in a variety of hair products marketed at Black women. The team looked at 18 different hair products including hot oil treatments, anti-frizz hair polishes, leave-in conditioners, root stimulators, hair lotions and hair relaxers. The researchers tested each product for the presence and level of 66 endocrine disruptors that are associated with a variety of health problems including reproductive disorders, birth defects, asthma and cancer. They found that the products contained a total of 45 endocrine disruptors, with each product containing anywhere between 6 and 30 of the chemicals tested for in the study. All of the products contained fragrance chemicals and 78 percent contained parabens -preservatives commonly found in cosmetic products which have been shown to be endocrine-disruptors. Nonylphenols and diethyl phthalate were also commonly found in root stimulators, hair lotions and hair relaxers, and cyclosiloxanes were found more frequently in anti-frizz products. Eleven products also contained seven chemicals that were prohibited in the Euro-

pean Union (EU) or regulated under California’s Proposition 65, and hair relaxers marketed at children contained the highest levels of 5 chemicals prohibited in the EU or regulated under Proposition 65. The team also found that 84 percent of chemicals detected were not listed on the product label, with co-author Robin Dodson explaining that, “unfortunately, companies aren’t required to disclose everything that’s in their products, so it’s hard for consumers to make informed choices.” The researchers noted that the chemicals found in the study are also present in other personal care and beauty products. However, the levels found in the products for Black women were generally higher, which the researchers say could potentially explain why Black women have higher exposures to hazardous chemicals than other groups.

However, grouping participants by age and gender were not the only strategies used by researchers to try to strengthen participants’ commitment to the program -- participants were also given custom T-shirts to identify them as members of a group, and were given opportunities to socialize over coffee after class.

“All of this together points to the power of social connec-

The team added that these strategies would be also easy to implement in physical activity centers such as community centers, fitness clubs and retirement communities to help encourage adherence to a workout plan, although they noted that the results suggest that providing separate classes for each gender could be unnecessary for gyms, studios, and other fitness centers. The results were published in the journal Health Psychology. (AFP-Relaxnews).

Cheap, portable test can identify risk of measles

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ASHINGTON | AFP | Wednesday 4/25/2018 - A cheap, portable device can warn of a person’s vulnerability to infectious diseases like measles, which kills tens of thousands of people each year, mainly in developing countries, researchers said Wednesday. The test, called the MeaslesRubella Box (MR Box), uses a finger-prick volume of blood to detect the presence of antibodies against measles and rubella in only 35 minutes. Measles kills about 134,000 children per year, and rubella causes some 100,000 children to be born with birth defects such as deafness. Researchers brought the device -- which is about the size of a toaster oven and uses “labon-a-chip” technology made with inkjet printers to manipulate blood samples -- to the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya where they tried it on 144 children and caregivers. “The system had a good ability to determine whether a person was at risk for measles and rubella infection,” Amy Summers, an epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was involved with the field trial in Kenya, told reporters on a conference call.

86 percent of measles samples, and 91 percent of rubella samples,” said study co-author Darius Rackus, post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Toronto. The cost per microfluidic cartridge was about $6 at the time of the field study in 2016, but technological advances have since lowered it to about $1 or less, he said. Researchers hope the device will be useful in remote settings or places where people are at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases and other illnesses. “This technology would be very useful in places where people are displaced by humanitarian emergencies, which right now could be in, for instance, with the forced displacement of the Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh,” said Summers. “So populations who are displaced by humanitarian emergencies are especially vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases” because they often have low vaccination coverage and suffer from overcrowding and malnutrition, she said. Co-author Aaron Wheeler, a professor at the University of Toronto, said his lab is currently working on a similar lab-ona-chip test for malaria and other tests for Zika virus.

“This was done by detecting whether a person had antibodies to either measles or rubella in their body, either from a prior infection of measles and rubella or from being vaccinated.”

“And of course, there are many more tests than we have the manpower or financial resources to develop, but that is the dream, that this type of system with its flexibility could be sent out into the world,” he said.

Its accuracy “matched the international laboratory-standard reference tests of the Kenyan Medical Research Institute for

The study appears in the April 25 edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Read up on what’s changing in the Health world

“Chemicals in hair products, and beauty products in general, are mostly untested and largely unregulated,” says lead author Jessica Helm. “This study is a first step toward uncovering what harmful substances are in products frequently used by Black women, so we can better understand what’s driving some of the health issues they’re facing.” Helm is now advising consumers to reduce the number of products they use, look for products that say “parabenfree” or “fragrance-free” on the label, and choose products that are plant-based or made with organic ingredients. The results can be found online in the journal Environmental Research. (AFP-Relaxnews).

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, May 4, 2018

How to do a spring detox Researchers How bacteria feast on drugs - from your smartphone unlock thorny designed to kill them secrets of rose DNA

new, detailed breakdown of the modern rose genome should help growers improve traits such as pest and drought resistance, and boost the vase life of cut stems, researchers said Monday.

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Avoiding your smartphone during mealtimes is one way to use it less, and spend more time with family and friends instead. © Antonio_Diaz / IStock.com

If you’re thinking about a spring detox to give your health a boost, don’t forget your mental health. Many studies have shown how an increasing use of smartphones and social media can distract us from family, friends, and work, amplify feelings of anxiety and depression, and make us unhappier. So if you want to reduce your smartphone use, read on for five expert tips to help you take a break from your phone and avoid addiction.

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chedule your time to avoid smartphone addiction

“Now we can do so much online -- a lot of our daily lives are on our phone,” said Steven Sussman, professor of preventive medicine, psychology and social work at USC, who recognizes that this can make it hard to avoid using your device. However, there are ways to limit use, with Sussman suggesting setting a schedule with times for when you are allowed to use certain websites or apps, or limiting how many times you check your phone to once every 15 minutes, then once every 30 minutes, and so on. Turn off notifications San Francisco State University Professor of Health Education Erik Peper says that digital addiction is not our fault, but a result of the tech industry’s desire to increase profits. Push notifications, vibrations and other alerts on our phones compel us to look at them by triggering the same neural pathways in our brains that once alerted us to imminent danger, such as an attack by a tiger or other large predator. “But now we are hijacked by those same mechanisms that once protected us and allowed us to survive -- for the most trivial pieces of information,” he adds. Peper suggests turning off push notifications so you can focus on daily tasks rather than being constantly interrupted by your phone, and to avoid triggering these neural pathways. Don’t use your phone at mealtimes This is one way to easily and quickly cut down your phone use, and it comes with other benefits according to Julie Albright, a psychology lecturer at

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “Keeping them out of sight during family dinners lets you focus on the people around you and be present,” she said. Sierra Hinkle, a Holistic Health minor and student of Peper has another trick to avoid phones when eating -- when out with friends, they all put their phones in the center of the table, and the first one to touch theirs buys the drinks. “We have to become creative and approach technology in a different way that still incorporates the skills we need but doesn’t take away from reallife experience,” said Hinkle. - Quit social media Khari McKendell, also a student of Peper, has tried to reduce phone use by closing his social media accounts. “I still call and text people but I want to make sure that a majority of the time I’m talking to my friends in person,” he said. The fewer social media accounts you have the less likely you are to be constantly on your phone, and, according to various studies, the more likely you are to feel happier. - Charge your phone in another room If you’re really struggling to limit phone use during the day, perhaps because you simply need it to check work emails or urgent messages, Albright suggests a small way to disconnect from your phone, by charging it in another room in the evening. “This is a way to reconnect with body, mind, and self and not be in constant state of overstimulation of the mind,” Albright said. “We all need that quiet time to be able to think again and refocus.” (-Relaxnews)

Palliative care... Continued from previous page so they can better understand options, communicate and withstand the stress of medical treatment. “Every single study that has compared palliative care to usual care — there has never been a study that shows people’s lives are shortened when they receive palliative care,” Morrison said. “We know that there is a very, very strong database that demonstrates when palliative care is provided at the time of other appropriate treatment, patients feel better, their quality of life improves, their families feel better and, particularly in the case of cancer, they live longer.” Morrison, May and colleagues did what’s called a meta-analysis — a study of studies. They pooled data from six other studies on palliative care covering more than 130,000 patients admitted to hospitals in the United States between 2001 and 2015. Just under 4 percent of them received palliative care. Those who got palliative care ended up with hospital bills that were more than $3,200 lower than those who did not get palliative care, the study found. Cancer patients ended

up spending more than $4,200 less if they got palliative care. “This study proves that better care can go hand in hand with a better bottom line,” Morrison said. “It’s a side-effect of providing high-quality care.” Morrison chairs the department of geriatrics and palliative care medicine at Mt. Sinai and helped head the team that cared for Siderow’s mother- and father-in-law. Siderow said the approach helped choose the best course of treatment while ensuring her mother-in-law stayed clearheaded and able to decide what she wanted to do. “My mother-in-law said that it was transformational for her,” Siderow said. “They gave her peace of mind, that she was in the driver’s seat and there wouldn’t be this crazy circus of tests and treatments that she didn’t understand.” At first, Siderow’s motherin-law wanted every treatment possible for her stage 4 colon cancer, which had spread to her brain by the time it was diagnosed.

In a study published in Nature Genetics, a multinational team said a fastidious examination of rose DNA has allowed them to compile “one of the most comprehensive plant genomes to date.” A major export product, roses are a favourite for Valentine’s Day, weddings, and anniversaries -- considered by some to be a symbol of love. Rose petals are a key ingredient for the multi-billion dollar perfume industry. Study co-author Mohammed Bendahmane of France’s CNRS research institute said growers are always on the lookout for “blockbuster” roses that combine captivating colouring and alluring scent with pest resistance and low water consumption. The newly-published rose genome will “allow them to considerably accelerate the process of improving different rose varieties,” he told AFP. The new DNA map was based largely on the genome of a rose known as “Old Blush” or Rosa chinensis, introduced to Europe from Asia in the 18th century. With its 36,377 genes, the Old Blush it is considered one of the main ancestors of today’s tens of thousands of rose cultivars from some 200 known, wild species. (-AFP)

by Marlowe Hood cientists have figured out how some bacteria not only resist antibiotics but feast on the drugs designed to eradicate them, according to a study published Monday.

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The findings, reported in Nature Chemical Biology, could help scientists genetically engineer bacteria to consume tonnes of antibiotics from industrial waste and livestock farming that leech into the soil and waterways every year, the researchers said. “Ten years ago, we stumbled onto the fact that bacteria can eat antibiotics, and everyone was shocked,” said lead investigator Gautam Dantas, an associate professor of immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri. “Now that we understand how these bacteria do it, we can start thinking of ways to use this ability to get rid of antibiotics where they are causing harm.” Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives by defeating bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis. But over the decades, bacteria have learned to fight back, building resistance to the same drugs that once reliably vanquished them. Penicillin -- the original antibiotic, and once the most commonly prescribed -- has fallen out of favour for this reason. The World Health Organization has repeatedly warned the world is running out of effective antibiotics, and called last year on governments and big pharma to create a new gen-

Obesity tied to worse disability in rheumatoid arthritis eople with rheumatoid arthritis and obesity may be more likely to become disabled than their counterparts who maintain a healthier weight, a U.S. study suggests

delphia VA Medical Center. “This suggests that obesity causes disability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and provides yet another reason for patients to try to take off a few pounds.”

Researchers examined data more than 25,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Most were overweight or obese when they joined the study. Those who were severely obese were more likely to report some disability to start with.

In contrast to the more common osteoarthritis, which happens when cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time, rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder that causes debilitating swelling and pain in the joints.

Over the course of the study, for up to about 15 years, obesity was associated with more progression of disability.

In the current study, weight loss was also associated with disability, but it’s possible this is because people lost weight due to poor health or frailty as they aged, and not because of a conscious effort to eat right, exercise more and get in shape, researchers speculate in Arthritis Care and Research. (-Reuters)

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Their worsening disability “was not explained by worse disease activity,” said lead study author Dr. Joshua Baker of the University of Pennsylvania and the Phila-

The World Health Organization has repeatedly warned the world is running out of effective antibiotics, and called last year on governments and big pharma to create a new generation of drugs to fight ultra-resistant supergerms. eration of drugs to fight ultraresistant supergerms. Bacteria can become resistant when patients do not finish a course of treatment, giving the half-defeated bug a chance to recover and build immunity. Modern industry and agriculture hasten the rise of antibiotic resistance by saturating the environment with active drugs. People release unmetabolised antibiotics into the water system though their urine or faeces. - Bon appetit Bacteria easily share genetic material. When resistant bacteria infiltrate the water or soil, they spread resistance-conferring genes to the bacteria species that were already there. To determine how some bugs not only withstand antibiotics but actually feed on them, Dantas and colleagues studied four species of soil bacteria known to flourish on a diet of penicillin. The researchers found three

Siderow said the palliative care team helped through the process, making sure her mother-in-law didn’t get unnecessary tests and middle-ofthe-night wakeup calls for nonurgent care. Her father-in-law died four years later from complications of his stroke. “He was able to live at home. He had round-the-clock care from family and from visiting doctor services that are part of the Mt. Sinai program,” Siderow said. “It kept him out of the ER. It kept him out of the hospital. Would his care have cost more had we pursued a different philosophy? Absolutely,” she said. What Morrison believes works is the combination of strong healthcare, communication and choice.

“She wanted to fight,” Siderow said.

“For example, for one of my patients, it may be extraordinarily important to live as long as possible or to make a major family event and they are willing to try a treatment that may be very, very burdensome,” Morrison said.

“But she was very sick. She needed surgery,” she added. “Then she needed to get well

“For others, it may be that a five percent chance of a treatment meeting its goals, plus

burdensome side-effects and indeed side effects that may hasten death, may seemless attractive. They may say to me ‘I would rather spend my time feeling better and spending better quality time at home’,” he added. “Each of those decisions is right for that individual patient.” A second study shows the effects of not providing palliative care. Dr. Melissa Wachterman of the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and colleagues looked at the records of more than 770,000 Medicare patients who were getting dialysis as part of their treatment. About 20 percent of them enrolled in hospice but more than 40 percent of these patients got hospice care for three days or less, the team found. Hospice helps keep patients out of intensive care, the team noted, and means fewer of these patients end up dying in the hospital. But three days of care isn’t enough, they noted. “Those who enrolled in hospice within three days of death had similar costs and more intensive patterns of health care utilization than those not referred to hospice,” they wrote in their report, also published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

They also discovered the single-celled organisms had learnt to neutralise and snip off toxic molecules, like a chef removing poison from a fugu fish. After that, it’s ‘bon appetit’. The new insights could lead to strategies for cleaning up antibiotic contamination in rivers, lakes and soil. “With some smart engineering, we may be able to modify bacteria to break down antibiotics in the environment,” said study lead author Terence Crofts, a researcher at Washington University. But any such a plan would require finding a way to speed up the action of the bacteria whose consumption of antibiotics -albeit effective -- is very slow. “But now we know how they do it -- it is always much easier to improve on something than to try to design a system from scratch,” said Dantas. (-AFP)

Brains, eyes, testes: offlimits for transplants? by Mariette le Roux and Paul Ricard ince the world’s first successful organ transplant in 1954 -- a kidney -- the discipline has advanced to the point where a wounded soldier could have his penis and scrotum replaced in a groundbreaking operation last month.

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A Frenchman recently became the first person to receive a second face transplant after the first failed, and another made history by regrowing skin lost over 95 percent of his body, thanks to a graft from his twin brother. Transplants are no longer limited to the vital organs: heart, liver, or lungs. Nowadays, people can get a new hand... or even a uterus. But some organs remain offlimits. For now.

enough, post-surgery, to do the chemotherapy. That took some time. By the time she was ready, the cancer had continued to progress.”

sets of genes active in bacteria that consumed penicillin.

- Brain swap Topping the list, brain transplants are a long way off, for both technical and ethical reasons, experts say.

A brain alone? The patient, suggested a recent article in the journal Surgical Neurology International, will likely struggle with the concept of “human identity”. “Even memories of the role the former body played in the creation of the subject’s identity would encounter possible conflict with a new donor-given body,” wrote bio-ethicists Anto Cartolovni and Antonio Spagnolo. “Similar issues were also seen in cases of face and hand transplants. This confusion to the person’s psychological state could possibly lead to serious psychological problems, namely insanity and finally death.” - Fancy a pig heart? Given the dire shortage of donor organs, the use of animal hearts, lungs or livers to save human lives has long been a holy grail of medical science. But organ rejection has stood stubbornly in the way of interspecies “xenotransplants”.

“The most challenging organ to transplant is anything related to the nervous system, as we do not have effective techniques for nerve growth/regeneration,” explained transplant surgeon David Nasralla, of the University of Oxford.

“It was tried in the 50s and 60s, with kidneys from chimpanzees, for example. But organ failure set in immediately, within days. They could not break through the species barrier,” said Olivier Bastien, of France’s biomedicine agency.

“For this reason, eye and brain transplants are currently beyond the scope of modern medicine,” he told AFP.

This is changing as scientists learn to modify the genes that prompt the immune system to attack intruder germs, but also foreign tissue perceived as a threat.

Nerves carry messages through the body in the form of electrochemical pulses flitting between the brain and spinal cord, muscles and other organs. An Italian-Chinese surgical duo recently set the science world aflutter by announcing they planned to remove a person’s head and attach it to a decapitated donor body in what would be the first such procedure. There is a high likelihood, observers say, that the patient will die. Many doubt it is possible to connect the nerve fibres of two spinal cords. Above all else, the undertaking raises troubling moral questions, including a very basic one: What constitutes a person?

Researchers’ focus is to modify the genes of donor animals so their organs will resist the human immune response, while also preventing the transfer of animal diseases. Animal welfare is an added concern. “Up to what point should we undermine the animal’s immune system”, asks Bastien -- potentially exposing it to disease and suffering so we can harvest its organs? - Are there limits? Few organs remain technically non-transplantable. But two are excluded, for now, due to their raising of ethical eyebrows -- the testes and ovaries.


FASHION & BEAUTY

VOICE OF ASIA 20

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

How a young fashion designer hit $1 Million Beauty blogger wears insane eye makeup in revenue as a solo entrepreneur looks - on her arm! by Elaine Pofeldt

By Johannah Masters

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rowing up in a Drayton Valley—a town of 7,200 people in Alberta, Canada—Sid Neigum wasn’t exposed to many fashionistas. One of the biggest industries in the area is oil and gas.

ell, that’s an eyeopening look.

Instagram user and makeup artist Gabrielle Alexis (@gabxxrielle) is racking up likes for the hyperrealistic looking eye makeup looks. The catch? They’re not drawn on her own lids, but on her forearm.

Neigum discovered how much he loved fashion serendipitously, while working in a clothing store. That led him to take sewing classes and enroll in a tiny 12-month, post-secondary fashion program with only eight students. Eventually, he got into Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and moved to New York City to immerse himself in his field.

“I saw a post on Pinterest of a one-eye-closed look and fell in love with the concept, so I decided to create eyes on my arm,” she tells The Post. “As soon as I noticed some interest in my work from [other makeup artists], I thought it would be cool to create looks on my arm that they could re-create on their own eyes.”

Inspired to try running his own business by observing his father, who ran an excavation firm, Neigum, now 29, set up shop as a women’s fashion designer six years ago, after his graduation from FIT.

Alexis has been posting photos of her designs and video tutorials on how to make them since 2016, according to Cosmopolitan. Her meticulously drawn eyes are incredibly detailed; the eyelashes and eyebrows look three-dimensional.

“He was a huge advocate of being an entrepreneur,” Neigum says of his father. “He sort of rubbed off on me in a way that I want to have my own business, but it had to be a creative twist on what he is doing.” Nonetheless, he knew there were no guarantees of success when entering the highly competitive fashion industry, where small design shops like Sid Neigum compete against global brands with multi-million-dollar marketing budgets. Nonetheless, he says, “I was 100% committed and hoped it would work out.” Sid Neigum Sid Neigum’s designs have won him critical accolades and helped him build a fast-growing, ultra-lean business based in Toronto. Neigum’s approach, which reflects his mathematical bent, soon won many fans. As Vogue put it recently, “Neigum’s essential passion, as a designer, is for geometry; he’s an innovative patternmaker, and his work is premised on a near-religious belief in the beauty and power of the golden ratio, a proportion he diligently works through his clothes.”

While many of the looks seem to mimic some of Hol-

A Summer 2018 design by Sid Neigum (Photos: Instagram/@ SidNeigum) the online store Net-a-Porter currently range from $165 for a ruched, cotton-blend blouse to $610 for a wrap-effect satin jacquard jacket. Focus on essentials. Runway shows were once the only way for fashion designers to attract coverage of their collections but today there are a wider variety of avenues. Rather than stage a show, Neigum opted to shoot a “look book” that he could share with fashion editors and buyers instead. “Shooting a look book is fairly inexpensive in comparison,” he says. However, he has invested in very high-quality images, so fashion editors take his label seriously. When the timing is appropriate, he says, he’ll consider a show. “We have to wait until the right moment,” he says.

ders and used them as the basis to get a line of credit. Having purchases orders from clients with a high likelihood of paying him had an impact on his bankers. “They helped me, surprisingly,” he says. Still, Neigrum says that even with the bank’s help, he has to stay on top of cash flow. “Cash flow is one of the bigger challenges,” he says. “As we’re getting paid for the last season, we’re having to produce the next one. So much of that money is going right back into fabrics and the factory.” Secure the right partners. One thing that allowed Neigum to scale his business was building a strong relationship with Neta-Porter, which has a big following among fashion lovers.

With fashion lovers eager to buy his designs, Neigum broke $1 million in revenue as a solo entrepreneur. This year he expects annual revenue of $1.3 million in the profitable business. While being highly talented no doubt contributes to Neigum’s success, there are plenty of people with artistic gifts who struggle to make a living and have to give up on their dreams to pay the bills. He beat the odds, and it’s possible for other creative entrepreneurs to do so, too, by applying some of his strategies. Here’s how:

most exactly like Alexis’s own eyes — which she paints just as elaborately. See her designs and creative looks on Instagram. (-NYPost)

Company to launch ‘indestructable’ jeans meant to last 50 years The company aims to combat pollution linked to the fashion industry

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inding the perfect pair of jeans can be a euphoric experience but it also comes with the knowledge that one day, those perfectly worn, soft jeans will unavoidably tear from years of use.

ger than cable steel and used for activities such as extreme sports climbing, according to their manufacturers. In a pair of jeans, this means

happen to be chemical-resistant - meaning they could survive just about anything life could throw your way. In addition to protecting you from unfortunate ripping incidents, Half Century Jeans wants to combat the excessive pollution linked to the fashion

But here to answer our fashion prayers, a Kickstarter campaign called Half Century Jeans has announced that they are creating “indestructible” jeans that promise to last at least 50 years - or the repair is free. The best part? Half Century Jeans, once they are released, will only cost £69 for a halfcentury of worry-free wear and you won’t have to compromise on comfort. According to the Kickstarter page, Half Century Jeans are “as comfortable as your favourite pair of jeans,” with just a few slight tweaks.

never having to patch a hole that’s formed from your legs rubbing together.

Rather than the cotton blend typically used to manufacture jeans, these jeans will rely on “a special hybrid of materials” including Japanese selvedge denim, sourced from Okayama, and Spectra fibres.

It also means no rips, frays as the jeans are made from Selvedge denim, which is created through a method of continuous cross-threading that results in strips of fabric with “tightly woven bands.”

Spectra fibres, one of the strongest and lightest fibres available, are 15 times stron-

The miracle jeans, which feature reinforced belt loops and a triple-reinforced crotch, also

by Laure BRUMONT

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ARIS | AFP - Five years on from the industrial disaster that killed over 1,130 clothing factory workers in Bangladesh, high street fashion giants have invested millions in developing more socially responsible practices.

Ultimately, locating his business in Toronto meant fewer distractions. “I’m hibernating when I’m making the clothes,” he says. Staying focused allows him time for pursuits that renew him, like marathon running. He just completed a marathon in Rome. Sid Neigum picked up a passion for entrepreneurship from his father--but put his own spin on it as a fashion designer.

Choose the right niche. It’s very hard for designers to build a sustainable business at the highest price points, because the number of consumers who can afford couture fashions is limited. Neigum opted for the “high contemporary” market, which is still very high quality—and gets attention from fashion reviewers—but affordable to a wider range of people. Retail prices for his fashions on

lywood’s most famous eyes, from Elizabeth Taylor’s to Kim Kardashian’s, scrolling through her feed reveals that the peepers on her arm look al-

industry and the “fast fashion” mentality with their new jeans. And if “anything happens to your jeans over the next five decades,” Half Century Jeans will replace or repair them for free - and recycle the damaged ones. It’s finally time to say goodbye to your ripped jeans and hello to the jeans you will wear the rest of your life. (-The Indepenent)

Fashion giants in rights drive after Bangladesh factory tragedy

Find a creative refuge. Many designers leave Toronto for fashion meccas like New York or Paris, but Neigum opted to stay put. He found that no matter where he happened to be working, he ended up flying frequently to do business anyway.

Doing business in Toronto— while not cheap—is lower than in the major fashion capitals, reducing financial pressures that might drain his creativity. He runs his firm out of a government-subsidized business incubator, where his rent is $1,900 Canadian dollars a month (about $1,475 USD at the time of this writing). He initially won space there in a contest five years ago, which prompted him to relocate it from New York.

Makeup artist Gabrielle Alexis’s drawings are positively eyepopping.(-Instagram/@gabxxrielle)

Sid Neigum in his New York studio in 2017 Make the most of LinkedIn. As he grew his business, Neigum reached out to retail buyers on LinkedIn. Some told him they would meet with him in a year or 18 months. Neigum patiently kept in touch. “It was a little bit of chasing, and sending a lot of emails,” he recalls. Many of those meetings eventually came to fruition, and he found is patience paid off. He was surprised by the magnitude of some of the orders. “You have no idea you are about to get a quarter-million-dollar order,” he says. “It’s shocking opening that first purchase order. It’s like there’s a zero added.” In case you’re wondering how he had the cash flow to fill these large orders while still in his twenties, Neigum went to his bank with the purchase or-

“Their orders are about 1,500 units,” says Neigum. “That is what got me into the really large numbers.” Out of all of his revenue in 2017, 50% came via Net-a -Porter, he says. With his business growing quickly, Neigum expanded from relying in 11 contractors, such as his seamstress, to hiring an employee last September and another one in February 2018. He now contracts with a showroom that shows his clothes to buyers, freeing time for him to focus on designing and growing his business. Of course, fashion is a fickle industry, and it’s changing rapidly, thanks to digital technology. Neigum is taking it one season at a time in his business. “I’m hoping I can sustain it for a bit and have some growth,” he says. (-Forbes)

But experts say the people who produce the T-shirts, dresses and rompers that sell like hotcakes online and on high streets around the world still often face dangerous working conditions and dismally low pay. The collapse of the Rana Plaza building housing several garment factories in the Dhaka suburb of Savar on April 24, 2013 sparked global outrage and forced a rethink of how fast fashion collections should be produced.

world in competition against each other, and ... the shortterm search for profit” endures, according to Ethique Pour l’Etiquette, a French group that is part of the global Clean Clothes Campaign. After years of outrage over images of so-called sweatshops around the world, the Rana Plaza disaster focused global attention on grim working conditions in factories in Bangladesh, the second-biggest garments exporter after China. According to British charity War on Want, garments exports account for 80 percent of Bangladesh’s total export revenue. But even today, garments workers’ rights remain far from guaranteed, with many working 14 to 16 hour days at some of Bangladesh’s 4,500 factories, the organisation says.

It also triggered a huge drive among activists to encourage shoppers to buy from small, local stores, rather than from large multinationals -- while calling the fashion giants to account.

As Western consumers grow more socially and environmentally conscious, the fashion houses that have long relied on factories like those in the Rana Plaza have battled to redeem themselves.

The tragedy, one of the worst industrial accidents in modern history, exposed a key problem of globalisation. While workers in Bangladesh earned a pittance for their labour, companies kept prices low and their profits high.

Primark, for one, says it “continues to support those who were affected and ... has contributed a total of over $14 million in aid and compensation”.

“This global model ... based on keeping production costs low, pitting workers around the

It also says it launched a programme of building inspections “to assess its suppliers’ factories against international standards” six weeks after the

building collapse, and that it “remains committed” to improving the Bangladeshi garment industry as a whole. Swedish retail giant H&M, which says it never used the Rana Plaza factories to produce garments, is nonetheless committed to ensuring greater “social and environmental progress” in Bangladesh. On April 19, H&M said in a statement that 450,000 textile workers at 227 factories in Bangladesh that produce garments for its stores worldwide “are now represented by democratically elected representatives”. The role of these representatives is to “speak on behalf of the workers when discussions are held about for example working hours, working conditions, health and security issues”, the statement said. - ‘Appalling’ conditions More broadly, the International Labour Organization launched a programme following the disaster, to “enhance safety in factories so that the country should never again experience a tragedy like the Rana Plaza collapse”. The ILO programme includes training for local producers in chemical safety, inspection of over 1,500 factories for building and fire safety, labour inspection, and an improved culture of safety in the workplace.


VOICE OF ASIA 21

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Home&Real Estate The future of design is tactile, aromatic, and euphonious As a new exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt demonstrates, designing for senses beyond sight is more inclusive and more fun

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wall wrapped in plush obsidian-black fur, scratch-and-sniff wallpaper perfumed with cherry, a minimalist color-coded bathroom, a speaker that’s a dead ringer for a satellite dish —these aren’t novelty design. They’re hints to the house of the future, which is all about multi-sensory experiences. The Senses: Design Beyond Vision, a new exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York City, is a survey of sensory design, or design that appeals to all of our senses: touch, smell, sound, taste, and vision. While most of the world is designed for sight, this exhibition acknowledges that humans process the world using multiple senses. The Senses invites museum-goers to run wild and explore using all of them.

accessible design as a right, not a privilege. Together they show how designing for all of our abilities and senses not only leads to environments that work better for more people, but also environments that are also more exciting, enriching, and tantalizing than the purely visual defaults we usually experience. Inclusive design is the just and equitable thing to do; it’s also the more fun and appealing thing to do. Curators Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps argue that sensory design is inclusive, physical, and experiential, while enhancing health and wellbeing and activating language and memory. They scoured the globe to find the most compelling examples of this philosophy. Some of what they turned up leans conceptual: The Bay Area studio Emerging Objects’

done up like confections is suited more for an eccentric collector and your average Ikea shopper. However, real-world applications lurk between the experiments. The Dementia Care Bathroom Setting by HEWI is color-coded to help people with Alzheimers navigate the space. Courtesy HEWI Barber & Osgerby’s Tip-ton chair is intentionally off-kilter to help correct posture and activate certain muscles when you sit. Hewi’s color-coded fixtures are designed to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s navigate bathrooms. Ode, a timed scent diffuser, disperses food aromas to stimulate appetites of people with dementia. A graphic display explains Deaf Space, or how architects can create spaces that function

The questions you should be asking your real estate agent but aren’t by Eileen Lacerte

O

n a daily basis, my clients inquire how the real estate market is doing. I want to say it’s great, but the reality is that there’s no simple answer. I know what they’re really wondering is if their personal real estate holdings are appreciating in value as much as their other investments. What they should be asking is, “What are the underlying factors impacting home sales and home values?” Yes, the real estate forecast for 2018 looks positive: The National Association of Realtors 2018 Forecast predicts an increase of 2.5% in existing home sales and a 7% increase in new home starts this year. However, that comes with an asterisk: The bulk of that growth will come in upper-tier sales of homes priced above $350,000. The NAR also calls for a continued tight inventory of starter homes, which in turn is causing continued price appreciation in the entry-level home market. Topping the list of external factors placing pressure on rosy sounding stats is a shortage of affordable housing and the skilled workers to build those houses. It’s one of the biggest ongoing issues affecting the real estate industry. I see this often on the local real estate level. For example, where I live, property owners looking to build a $1 million home (in a county where the median home price is $350,000) wait months to years for contractors to become available. For those looking to build a home in the $500,000– $700,000 range, it can be next to impossible to find skilled tradespeople without paying an increased premium on labor costs.

A living room design by Barber & Osgerby, whose color-coded fixtures are designed to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s navigate bathrooms. (Photo courtesy the designers) “Across all industries and disciplines, designers are avidly seeking ways to stimulate our sensory responses to solve problems of access and enrich our interactions with the world,” Cooper Hewitt Director Caroline Baumann said in a news release.

vessels forged from flamingopink sugar (with the scent of cotton candy) and cups 3Dprinted from cocoa-brown coffee grounds (as aromatic as you’d expect) are destined to be thought-provoking museum vitrines and not kitchen essentials.

The Senses takes place a few floors up from Access + Ability, the Cooper Hewitt exhibition (rightfully) advocating for

Kollektiv Plus Zwei’s oh-sotouchable furniture made from industrial materials—think foam insulation and concrete—

Inside the new Starbucks on Park Street, Kolkata The artwork by Namrata Singh is centred around coffee—its history and cultivation he coffee-crazy folks in Kolkata can now get their caffeine fix at three new Starbucks outlets that were recently launched in the city. The premium coffee chain’s three

T

stores are located in two shopping malls and one on a high street. The outlet located in Park Mansions, on the popular Park Street stretch, has been designed in celebration of Kolkata’s culture and modern vibrancy. Different elements of the store reflect the city’s textile artwork of tapestry, pottery and motifs, crafted by local artists. However, the standout feature of the Starbucks outlet on Park Street, Kolkata is the massive installation—a beautiful, layered and textured tapestry. Artist Namrata Singh designed the tap-

estry (photo below) keeping in mind the characteristics and attributes of the brand—handcrafted, experiential, layered, and approachable. The design style used is a combination of modern

and contemporary illustrations and techniques, along with hints of traditional Indian embroidery and dyeing. The artwork, which depicts a Siren, draws its inspiration from the positive, free-flowing form of the Greek mythological creature. “Just as the Siren tells the story of Starbucks’ history, mission and values, the fabric, textures and colours of my art installation pay tribute to India’s cultural heritage. The tapestry pushed me to find a unique way to bring this unity to life,” elaborates Namrata. (-ADIndia)

better for people with hearing impairment. Interested in alarm fatigue—a phenomenon where health care providers are desensitized to noise hospital alarms make, affecting the quality of care patients receive—Man Made Music redesigned machine noises (think heart rate monitors and code blue alerts) to make them more harmonious all together. They’re beginning to pilot this with a few providers to test how it works.

The Associated General Contractors of America’s (AGCA) 2018 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook survey results indicate that more than 75% of construction firms said they plan to expand in 2018. This becomes a little less positive when you consider that half the firms surveyed plan to increase their headcounts by less than 10%. And 82% of those same construction firms report that they expect it will be harder to hire skilled workers this year, a 9% increase over 2017. But what isn’t being said

Photo: Shutterstock amidst all the fanfare of projected growth is that construction jobs — and all skilled trades services, for that matter — have to increase the number of workers in order to address a dire workforce shortage that’s impacted the industry for years. Our society’s emphasis on attaining a four-year college degree as the ticket to a better life combined with contempt for the trades has resulted in, among other woes, very few young tradespeople. An aging workforce where the skilled construction worker’s median age is over 40 compounds this. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 2,295,600 construction workers aged 55 and over with another 2,476,000 between the ages of 45 to 54. That’s compared to only 1,002,000 skilled construction workers 24 or younger. Unfortunately, the severest shortages in the building trades are in the very same areas with the highest housing demands. If trade workers can’t afford to live in the regions in which they work, how are affordable homes — or any homes at all — going to be built? There’s no clear-cut answer or quick remedy. It will take more than just paying premium wages and bonuses, though that is a sound starting point. Innovative training programs between multiple partners such as high schools, trade associations, vocational schools and businesses will need to be implemented. The local trade unions in my area have extensive apprenticeship programs. There’s a missing link when it comes to the connecting the apprenticeship programs to high schools — schools tend to push students towards colleges. How many posters have you seen in a school coun-

selor’s office touting a trade apprenticeship as a career opportunity? Just as technology continually changes how I operate my real estate business, it does the same to some degree for the construction trade. While more of the technology is concentrated in the drawings, plans and things like pre-fab trusses, technological advances will increasingly lower the actual number of physical bodies needed on the job sites. For instance, the job superintendent can be in many places at the same time by way of operating a drone throughout the project while viewing ongoing work from his computer screen. One person can do the job of what took several supervisors to do in the past, freeing manpower up for the hands-on work. One way real estate agents can helping out with the housing shortage is by finding suitable homes for “flippers.” The popularity of flipping homes is causing a sweeping trend of upgrading of homes nationwide. What was old is new again! Most agents have at least one flipper client that they scout out fixer-uppers for. The success of these buyers and investors adds desirable inventory to the market that is otherwise overlooked due to the amount of work a property would need to bring it up to acceptable living standards. Committed action by myriad partners in the real estate world is needed to get the skilled labor numbers back up to past levels, to a place where the housing market doesn’t suffer from a shortage of stock. It will also take a mindset in which society gives value to skilled trades as a profession. Because without home builders, what homes will we have to invest or live in? (-Forbes)

Real estate stocks are on sale but no one is buying by Ken Brownb

I

nvestors hate real estate, and investors love real estate. Both statements are true right now, creating one of the oddest dichotomies in markets. More specifically, investors hate real estate investment trusts, which have lagged behind the S&P 500 by more than 15 percentage points over the past 12 months. REITs on average are trading a 16.4% discount to the assets they own, one of the widest gaps that has ever occurred outside of a recession, according to Green Street Advisors. But investors love private real estate funds, which don’t trade on the market and so never are valued at a discount to their assets. Institutions and rich investors poured $71 billion in equity capital into private real estate funds that closed last year, according to Preqin. Private-equity firms held $1.2 trillion in real estate assets at the end of 2016, according to consultants PwC. “There’s a big pile of private capital that wants to own real estate and a big pile of real estate trading at a discount,” said Jonathan Litt, the chief investment officer of Land & Buildings, which invests

in REITs and has pressured some companies to take steps to eliminate the discounts. The love-hate situation is driven by two main factors. Investors have sold REITs because of rising interest rates, which have left their yields less attractive. Meanwhile, investors also have been pouring cash into private equity, hedge funds and other alternative investments on the belief they will outperform public markets. - Property on Sale REITs are trading at some of biggest nonrecession discounts to their assets. Yet REITs historically have outperformed similar private funds, according to Green Street. And when REITs are trading at big discounts, as they are

today, they outperform by a lot. The question is why investors would choose to invest in private funds when publicly traded REITs are on sale. The likely explanation is that investors believe private funds are less risky because their values don’t bounce around like stock prices do. Risk, though, isn’t volatility but rather the chance of a permanent loss of capital. Veteran real estate investors know that the better reason for avoiding REITs is that en-

trenched managements often do little to close the gap such as selling properties. “There aren’t enough big sellers,” Green Street’s Peter Rothemund says. There are several activist investors currently waging fights to force boards to act. But the best strategy for most investors is to grab the REITs at current discounts and wait for them to shrink, as they always have. With so much private cash primed to invest in real estate, that could happen pretty quickly. (-WSJ)

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VOICE OF ASIA 22

B

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BUSINESS DIRECTORY

ACCOUNTANTS BOOK-KEEPING

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

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Book this space TODAY For a quick reference to your service and product listing. Call 713-774-5140

COMPUTER SERVICES Networking and Computer Repair Home & Business, on site, Microsoft MCSE & A+ certified, low flat rates, free estimates, pickup & delivery, www.PCNetworkGuru.com Call Amit at 832-971-6807

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Week of MAY 4, 2018 21 March to 20 April Whatever drama took place last week seems to be largely resolved this week. The overall focus in your chart is quite grounded and earthy, with a powerful dose of ambition.

21 April to 20 May Any plans you’ve launched recently may already be bearing fruit. With a powerful focus on your adventure sector, the present alignment actively encourages you to grab any new opportunities.

21 May to 20 June With delightful Venus now moving more deeply into your personal sector, the desire to make new friends could increase. You might be more inclined to compromise and seek solutions that are a win/win.

21 June to 22 July With the sun in your social sector, this can be a good time to enjoy the support of friends. However, with a major focus on your sector of relating, it seems that your associations are going through some major changes.

23 July to 22 August With the sun in the topmost sector of your chart, this is your chance to make progress in your career or business. Taking every opportunity to show off your skills and let others know about you can help you advance in the way you desire.

23 August to 22 Sept Lovely Venus moving more deeply into your career sector heightens your ability to connect with important people, and this could see you making significant progress over the coming weeks.

Astrology.com

23 September to 22 Oct With the sun now moving through a deeper sector of your chart, you could be looking at ways to address emotional issues that have been going on for some time. This could be echoed on the home front.

23 October to 21 Nov With jovial Jupiter in your sign linking to potent Pluto in your sector of mind and communication, your thoughts may still be on a project that is important to you. However, this can be a time of research and consolidation.

22 November to 21 Dec With chatty Mercury forging ahead in your sector of leisure and fun, this can be the ideal time to connect with others who share your interests. Its presence here can also encourage you to learn a craft or sport that requires skill.

22 December to 20 Jan Your social life could be a lot of fun. It’s also necessary for your health and well-being. The chance to relax in good company may be just what you need to counteract all the hard work you’re doing. Turn yourself to you favorite hobby.

21 January to 19 Feb The more time you make for your inner child to have fun, the happier you will be. It’s important to mix with people who help you feel positive and upbeat, and this is because of the changes taking place within you.

20 February to 20 Mar You continue to be busy with your social life, community plans, and various groups and clubs. Nevertheless, delectable Venus in your home zone could draw your attention to domestic chores that need to be done.

ACROSS

DOWN

1. Dog show outcasts

1. Type of nuclear missile

6. Pose a question

2. Eye layer

9. Mr. Potato Head, e.g.

3. Legal wrong

13. ____ tower

4. *Orient Express, e.g.

14. Holstein sound

5. On the same page

15. Liable to cry

6. Echoed by the flock

16. Was rebroadcasted

7. Chronic drinker

17. Pilot’s deadline

8. *Down Under marsupial

18. Packers QB

9. Scorch

19. *Where ATMs have instructions in Latin 21. Army bathroom 23. Surf turf

10. ____wig or ____winkle 11. *Middle name of Shakespeare’s hometown 12. Unit of force

24. “At ____, soldier!” 25. Pat

15. *Taking the ____, or going to Baden-Baden 20. Consumed

28. University head 30. Pre-wedding agreement

22. Pharaoh’s cobra

35. Caspian Sea river

24. Joins the military

37. Like the fairy tale duckling

25. *Location of world’s tallest building

39. Pore in a leaf

26. Omani and Yemeni

40. Hindu Mr.

27. “____ in Toyland”

41. Intrudes

29. *Where to see Taj Mahal

43. Month before Nisan

31. #17 Across, pl.

44. Perpendicular to the keel 46. “Pronto!”

32. Source of lymphocytes, pl. 33. Savory sensation

47. Highway hauler 48. Magazine collection 50. Bike maker

34. *Chunnel ride from London 36. *Party in Maui

52. Bro’s counterpart 53. Start of a conclusion 55. Look through a scope

38. *Sydney Harbour is one of first to ring in the new one 42. Ancient fishing tool

57. *Popular all-inclusive location, pl.

45. Modus operandi

61. *Where to visit “the happiest place on Earth”

51. In working order

65. Yokel’s holler

49. Female pronoun 54. Run-of-the-mill 56. Native New Zealander

66. Crematorium jar 68. Dip a ____ ____ the water

57. Memory unit 58. Nobleman’s title

69. General direction

59. Throat-clearing sound

70. Be indisposed

60. Flipside of pros

71. Jagged

61. Unrivaled

72. Trees on Krueger’s street

Freddy

73. Spade for stony ground 74. Roller derby turf, pl.

62. *Vegas light 63. Floppy storage 64. Change for a five 67. *Home to Christ the Redeemer

SOLUTION FOR STATEPOINT TOURIST DESTINATIONS on PAGE 23


CLASSIFIEDS

VOICE OF ASIA 23

Houston Community College Request for Proposals (RFP) Energy Procurement Services RFP NO: 18-19

Houston Community College Houston Community College Request for Proposals (RFP)

RFP 18-27 – Comprehensive

Facilities Condition Assesment

Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs.edu/procurement.

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Request for Proposals (RFP)

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Project No. 18-26

Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www. hccs.edu/ procurement.

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Consulting Services

Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs.edu/procurement.

Voice of Asia is looking for a Marketing / Web Master / Graphic Designer person who can do it all to be part of the team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. Interested applicants can email their resume to ads@voiceofasiagroup.com

STATEPOINT CROSSWORD SOLUTION

Houston Community College Invitation for Bid (IFB) SALE OF APPROXIMATELY 23.402 ACRES OF LAND (WESTHEIMER) Project No. 18-31

Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Thursday June 28, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs. edu/procurement.

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Theme: TOURIST DESTINATIONS from PAGE 22

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VOICE OF ASIA 24

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018

Voice of Asia E-paper May 4, 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 May 4, 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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