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VOICE OF ASIA
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
28 years dedicated service toCounties the community Serving Harris,ofFort Bend and Surrounding for 29 years Vol. 30 No. 17 Friday, April 28, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: email@example.com
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FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
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28 years dedicated service toCounties the community Serving Harris,ofFort Bend and Surrounding for 29 years
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
10 Ways You Can Still Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan after Open Enrollment
Read on Page 18 or Call 832-806-1000
Vol. 30 No. 17 Friday, April 28, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
7 Receive Hindu Youth Award - 2017 China sentences local woman presented by Hindus of Greater Houston to prison for ‘spying’
EIJING | AFP | We d n e s day 4/26/2017 A Chinese court has sentenced an American woman to three and a half years in prison and deportation on espionage charges, a rights group said Wednesday, and her lawyer said he expects her release soon.
Hindu Youth Awards 2017 awardees from left to right: Mukund Nair, Harsh Mehta, Siddhant Ahuja, Govinda Ramirez, Shial Gajjar ,Nikita Zamwar and Haripriya Sundaramurthy. by Manu Shah
even youngsters used their public moment to share their pursuit of their Hindu identity and reconcile their dual heritage in a country that is culturally so different from their roots. They were the 7 awardees at the Hindu Youth Awards 2017 event held on April 22nd – an annual event that honors Hindu youth between 16-30 years who demonstrate academic excellence, community service, inspire social change and serve as role models.
The event which was co-hosted by Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) and BAPS was well attended by over 400 people and represented by a large number of Hindu organizations. Keynote Speaker Pujya Kaivalyamurti Swami, a BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Swami who took the path of renunciation after completing his High School in Dallas, Texas set the tone for the evening with an inspiring message for the Hindu youth of today.
ing to be cool and blending in” he warned that, in the process of doing this, it is easy to forget our ethics and values and end up as “people pleasers.” He encouraged the gathering to overcome this identity crisis, follow their dharma, embrace their culture, practice purity of diet, and be a proud practicing Hindu. Swamiji also shared a relevant piece of advice for students: join social events but do not be “pressurized to be part of a culture that is not yours.”
Acknowledging the many challenges that youngsters face in terms of “try-
Sandy Phan-Gillis was detained in March 2015 at the Macau border after visiting mainland China with a trade delegation from the Texas oil capital Houston.
Sandy Phan-Gillis (Photo: savesandy.org.) rights group, told AFP.
She was accused of espionage and stealing state secrets for allegedly passing intelligence to a third party, according to previous reports from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention which cited government sources. Nanning Intermediate People’s Court in the southern province of Guangxi passed the sentence Tuesday, but the American’s next steps will not become clear until a written judgement is released, John Kamm, director of the US-based Dui Hua Foundation
Phan-Gillis was currently being held in a detention centre and not a prison and did not plan to appeal, he said. Kamm said that “adjusted for time spent in residential surveillance in a designated location, she has already served more than half her sentence, and is accordingly eligible for parole as well as medical parole, commutation and immediate deportation”. “I am hopeful she will be reunited with her family soon,” he added. Continued on Page 5
Continued on Page 8
Jaz Creationz Studio hosts Sneha Milan for IHA and ICC by Shobna Muratee
OUSTON - On Friday, April 21 members of the International Hindi Association, Houston Chapter and India Culture Center (ICC) met at host Jasmeeta Singh’s grand Jaz Creationz Studio at 9703 Richmond Ave., to experience and enjoy Sneha Milan. The IHA Houston Chapter Convener, Dr. K.D. Upadhyaya welcomed the guests and spoke about the purpose of the event Sneha
Milan meaning a friendly union that started in 2013 with members getting together in friend’s homes, ‘not as a group but as a family’ he said. About 20-30 members and guests attended the event that was exclusive and fun. Typically, 4 such events are conducted throughout the year and this was their second quarter for 2017. The IHAHouston has grown phenomenally since it was restarted in 2008 Sangeeta Pasrija in partnership with ICC by bringing IHA’s annual Hasya Kavi Sammelan and continued to grow under the leadership of Swapan Dhairy-
JITENDRA R. SHAH CPA
awan, currently the IHA National President. Language is a vital part of culture and heritage, the IHA’s aims to preserve and promote India’s linguistic interests related to Hindi language globally and to instill human values inherent in its literature. It also fosters friendship and understanding between and across Hindi and Non-Hindi speaking people through the learning and teaching of Continued on Page 8 & 11
Jasmeeta Singh, CEO of Jaz Creationz studio. Photo by
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prospered, we have become the most educated and most affluent ethnic community in this country. Dr. Venugopal Menon
t may be time for all Indians and people of our kind to take a fresh look at our status, to reevaluate our perception, and make amendments as needed based on each one’s assumptions. Precautions are not presumptuous. It has happened in many countries and as much as we believed that it will never happen here, we must be cognizant of the present, precarious plight of many of us in this country, who have a different shade of skin color, an atypical accent, diverse social habits or food preference than the mainstream of ‘Americans’. We are first generation immigrants and our descendants who are born and brought up here. We are all legal residents or natural citizens. Yet. We live in troubled times. The statement may be cliché, but our concern is real and out of fear of ongoing developments. It is recent, acute, and authentic, as we seem to be at the clemency of some of the ‘so-called real Americans’ who have been given clearance to rampage against those who they despise, malicious with their racist bias and hatred. The unique status of America as the greatest nation on earth owes it to the original settlers from Europe, the white Anglo-Saxons and the slaves they brought in who toiled over for centuries in building this republic. But in the last several decades, the influx of the bright, elite intellectuals from the East with professional training, played a substantial role in helping this country with education, healthcare, computer technology, engineering and the like. Such skilled contributions are undeniably relevant and crucially inimitable in the progress of any country, and the immigrants from Asia have to be acknowledged and admired without reservation. Qualified professionals in several fields like physicians, engineers, computer specialists, scientists, researchers, accountants, nurses and such who came in from the sixties and seventies contributed in big ways to create the new wave of progress here. Being a land of immigrants, America has benefited and prospered from such help from foreigners and the brain drain from their motherland. It is noteworthy that neither did we leave India from its oppressive regimes, nor due to its political atrocities. We just looked out for greener and prosperous pastures to graze, against the interest of the country that trained us. We toiled hard, we rose through the ranks, we succeeded in our vocations, and we earned many laurels. We raised families, built homes, took vacations and our life in general was cozy and rewarding. We created several religious, philanthropic, cultural and political organizations, our arts, music and culinary treats appealing to the mainstream. We brought in our unique, ethnic customs and traditions to this ‘melting pot’, and we contributed to enrich and enhance the already vivid and kaleidoscopic culture of America. As we thrived and
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There is another salient reality about many of the foreign professionals who opted to come to America. India has substantially devoted its resources in training us with a purpose that we would serve the needs of that country and its people. But we left India (irrespective of a million reasons why) and spent the rest of our professional career in the USA, contributing to the benefit this country. Our input and service to the United States were done as compliments from the educational system of India, from her resources, at the expense of the people there who should have received that benefit, and against the intent with which such establishments were set up there. United States and its progress owe us a great deal and are immensely indebted to India and several such countries for the generosity that is seldom recognized and appreciated. And most of us who benefited from such training and chose to migrate for better comforts in life remain oblivious, and often ungrateful to our mother countries. But suddenly, the situation here seems to be changing and hence such a concern. With the current commotions about immigration, attacks on people who look ‘different’ with shades of brown skin, wearing sarees or with dots on their forehead, strange accents, food habits and social customs, we are forced to re-evaluate our status and situation here, in the land we adopted to domicile. It is imperative action for our future generations as well. Even though it is from a miniscule minority, some ‘opinionated Americans’ see ‘our kind’ as unwanted, inferior, and worthless to live here. The recent incidents of hate crimes, harassment at schools and work places, random accusations and insults, shooting innocent people may all be consequent to the xenophobic rhetoric of some irresponsible authorities. If the killing of Kuchibotla in Kansas City is the worst expression of hate, there are many such sporadic incidents, obviously perpetrated by the new ranking of and consequent gaze at immigrants here. The
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When jobs are at stake, families struggle to cope and the natives feel threatened, and they watch the visitors thriving and flourishing, such explosive upheavals are likely to happen. It is out of ignorance and fear and it is for survival; it is human reaction. And of course, the hate perpetrators seem to have no clue about our contributions or commitment in this country. The level of their education or prejudicial upbringing limits their ability to realize that many of us are assets keeping America great. They do not care to accept that most of us are much more productive than average citizens here, that we are law abiding, family oriented, tax paying, peaceful, loyal members who have put in more than we have taken out. And we did not sneak in to grab the place unlawfully; we were accepted as qualified professionals. What can we do about it, or what should we do about it? The reality is that we came to stay here, and here we are. Our children and future generations are bound to be living here. As hard as we chose to leave our native motherland, as much as we struggled to get established here, we have certain imposing responsibility to meet and adjust to pressing demands as they arise. Each of
Refining the ignorant and humanizing the racists should be a fundamental and essential step. And for that, sincere understanding, sympathy and commitment from caring, sensible citizens of this country have to come through. We could work with ‘the real Americans’ who could help educate the uninformed, the misguided and the prejudiced ones about the reality about migrants like us. They should realize the fact that when their drunken son crashes his car and is taken into the ER, the doctor who saves his life on the operating table may have brown skin under the mask; the college professor who lectures to their daughter in the chemistry class may have an accent but is well qualified; many of the experts who designed their phone or laptop are very likely to have strange last names but are experts in their fields. The several professionals who came from outside are tirelessly involved in research in laboratories, hospitals, universities, corporations, computer industry, aeronautics, financial institutions and such, intent to improve the comforts in life or inventing cures to prolong precious lives. Several such people may look or act different but they donate ‘in big ways’, to help ‘keep America great’.Troubled times can and must be handled by increasing awareness, improved precautions, explicit instructions, and adopting appropriate measures as relevant as required. - Dr. Venugopal Menon 6962 Amie Lane, Pearland, TX 77584 713-822-3384 firstname.lastname@example.org https://migrantsmemoirs.com (Author’s recent book, ‘My Mother Called Me UNNI – A Doctor’s Tale of Migration’, is being well received)
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plight of the two Indian neurologists Drs. Satija and Ummat in Houston, should alert and prepare many of us who may face the same predicament. Whether they were targets of the perverse pride of the immigration department or were overstepping the legal boundaries by illegally occupying the space is not the issue. It is obvious that some of the fear-mongering authorities seem to be on a rampage to evict our sort of people who they consider undeserving to belong here. The United Air episode against the Vietnamese doctor is a blatant case of discrimination. Several such incidents may ensue against worthy, productive and reputable professionals who have already proved their mettle, or are waiting to be regularized. It is understandable if inflow of immigrants is limited to suit our needs here, but discrimination against the already working professionals is injustice, bias, prejudice. It is totally wrong.
us as individuals and the several organizations that we created have a role to protect us from such plights. As a community we have to rise above our petty differences of religions, regions, languages, occupation, economic standing or political inclination to stand together and fight against a common adversary. We need to educate our people to follow the lawful guidelines if they desire to stay here, and collectively such instructions have to be dispersed in our communities and by the various organizations. We should also be vigilant, taking robust measures to stand up to atrocities committed against our kind by hateful and loutish racists, who resort to violence.
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FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Second Front Page
China sentences local woman to prison .....
IACCGH features Chief Acevedo in Distinguished Lecture Series
Continued from Page 3 Her lawyer Shang Baojun confirmed the sentence and said he expected the written verdict to be issued within five days. “I expect she will be deported very soon, and if so, would not need to serve the threeand-a-half-year sentence,” he told AFP. Phan-Gillis was in “okay” physical and mental condition, he said. A US embassy spokeswoman said Wednesday her trial was closed to the public and a request to have a consular officer attend had been refused. The spokeswoman said the US government “remained concerned” about the case and was in contact with the “highest levels” of the Chinese government about it.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo delivering his lecture. Photos by Bijay Dixit. by Manu Shah
n April 11, Houston’s top cop Art Acevedo delivered a strong message about “relational policing” and his efforts to build a rapport of trust with the community. As Keynote Speaker at the IACCGH Distinguished Lecture Series, Chief Acevedo’s impassioned address about his aim to serve and make Houston safe for everyone came across as genuinely caring, sincere and determined in working with the community to make a difference.
Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering and described the Chamber as an “inclusive Chamber representing the community.” Diversity, he emphasized, is what “Houston is all about and what the Chamber is all about.”
He also thanked the Consulate for hosting the event. Deputy Consul General of India in Houston, Surendra Adhana lauded the contributions of the Indo American community and promised the Consulate’s support to the community and the HPD in all their endeavors. Greeting the gathering with a cheerful “Namaste,” Chief Acevedo opened up about the police department’s struggles and challenges in ensuring public safety with a taskforce of only 5100 police officers. He compared this figure with Chicago’s taskforce of 13000 officers despite the city being geographically smaller than Houston. A shrinking department is the reason, he clarified, why calls to 911 don’t always get a quick response. The response time for an emergency is under 5 minutes but could be longer for less serious situations. The necessity of deploying the limited resources in an effective way and the prioritization of going after violent crime
rather than minor misdemeanors, he added, called for such measures. Chief Acevedo also reflected that deeper engagement with the community starts with the police chief which is why he is focused on reaching out to community members at every opportunity he gets and being on crime scenes or patrol beats whenever possible to “send the message” that Houston’s police department is there to serve. Alluding to the “ugly political rhetoric” about undocumented workers in the country, he highlighted their contributions to the economy and called on the gathering to speak out against this stance. An unfortunate outcome of this rhetoric, he observed, has resulted in a glaring drop in the reporting of rape by undocumented workers for fear of being deported. Chief Acevedo also highlighted the proposed pension reforms and stressed the importance of providing a pension plan for “all the men and women who put their lives on the line” for public safety day
Violations by Chinese authorities were of “such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty of Ms Phan-Gillis an arbitrary character”, it noted in a report released last July. Phan-Gillis was held for six months at a secret location and later at a detention centre in Guangxi, where she was initially put in solitary confinement, the working group said. Her husband Jeff Gillis has campaigned for her freedom, including a website “savesandy.org” which has now been taken down. According to an archive version of the site, Phan-Gillis has family origins in southern China but was born in Vietnam. She left the country in the late 1970s as part of the exodus of “boat people” who fled Communist rule.
after day. Concluding his address, he stated that he was “here to do his job, not keep it” and held out the guarantee that the day he leaves, the department would “be in better shape” than when he came. Shell VP Fred Whipple thanked Chief Acevedo for his leadership and expressed his gratitude for the sacrifices “you and your families make to keep Houston safe.” Jagdip Ahluwalia did note that he Chamber has had a long term relationship with the HPD and their main contact over the years, till he retired, was Assistant Chief John Chen. The retired Chief had addressed the community at several IACCGH events in the Hillcroft/Harwin area and has been extremely responsive regarding any safety and security issues. The Chamber was pleased to welcome and introduce his successor Assistant Police Chief Henry Gaw who will henceforth be the point of contact for the community.
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The event which was sponsored by Shell was hosted at the Indian consulate and attended by representatives from several economic development agencies, IACCGH members and guests.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention last year denounced China’s handling of the case, saying it had not ob-
Chief Acevedo seen receiving a plaque from Dy. Consul General Surendra Adhana as Jagdip Ahluwalia, Alyssa Holmes Henderson, Swapan Dhairyawan, and Fred Whipple
served “international norms relating to the right to a fair trial and to liberty and security”.
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FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER
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by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at email@example.com
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You can’t just keep someone’s property if they owe you money Q. I recently asked my daughter to move out of my home. She owes me over $3,000 for money I loaned her while she lived with me. Now she is refusing to pay it back or make payments towards the debt. Her washer and dryer are still in my home. Can I just hold on to the appliances until she pays me at least part of what she owes me? Can I sell them if she still refuses to pay? A. As a general rule, if someone owes you money you cannot just take, or hold, their property if they don’t pay you. To be able to use someone’s property as collateral for a loan, you need a special agreement, called a security agreement. In most cases, a security agreement is in writing. For example, when you purchase a car, you sign such an agreement that allows the lender to take your car in the event you do not pay. Because you have the property, however, the agreement may be oral, but your daughter must have agreed that you could keep or sell her appliances if she did not pay, at the time you made the loan. In my opinion, based on what you say you do have not right to keep the appliances or sell them if she does not pay. Q. My husband does not have a will and has two kids by his first marriage. In the event that he passes would the house he owned prior to us get-
ting married be left to me? A. Without a will naming you as a beneficiary, the house ultimately will pass to his children. You will have the right to continue to live in the house, but the children will own it. If that is not the result he wants he must prepare a will. Q. I am an hourly employee. I always put in eight hours a day and do my job well. Can I be fired for not working over-time? A. Yes, you could be fired if you refused to work when your employer requested. Basically, an employer may set the hours employees work. An employer may require you to work more than forty hours a week. All that the law requires is that you be paid an overtime rate for any hours in excess of forty. Q. Someone who owes me money just died. Am I out of luck? Do his children have to pay? A. When someone dies, his or her children are not liable unless the child had agreed to pay the debt. You may not, however, be out of luck. After a person dies, his or her estate is responsible for the debts. You should file a claim with the executor or administrator of the estate. If there are any assets in the estate, they can be used to pay the money you are owed. Q. I want to get a di-
vorce. What do I have to prove to obtain a divorce? Does my spouse have to agree? A. I assume you are referring to whether you must prove things like adultery, cruelty, or abandonment in order to get a divorce. In the past, some standard of “fault” such as these was required to obtain a divorce. Today, you may still obtain a divorce based on your fault, but it is no longer necessary. Texas is what is commonly called a “no-fault” divorce state. To obtain a divorce, all you must show is that the relationship can’t be fixed. The marriage has become “insupportable.” You may do this by simply showing that you do not get along and do not want to be married. Your spouse does not have to agree, and it is no longer necessary to prove either party did something wrong. Q. I was laid-off right after my workday ended, and told not to come to work the next day. Doesn’t the law require I be given some prior notice? A. Unless you have an employment contract, you are considered an employee “at will.” That means you may be laidoff or fired, or you may quit, at anytime, with no prior notice. I agree the right thing to do would be to give you prior notice, but the law does not require it.
Q: My present employer had submitted labor certification and I have an approved I-140 Petition for Alien Worker which was just approved. I have yet to file for my adjustment of status because my priority date is not current and may not be current for a long time. I also hold H-1B status. I wish to move to another employer. What happens to I-140 petition and Labor Certification? A: According to the new rule which came into effect on January 17th, 2017, an I-140 petition that has been approved for 180 days of more cannot be automatically revoked even if the employer goes out of business or withdraws the petition. The result of this is the foreign national will need a new labor certification and new I-140 petition in order to eventually obtain employment based permanent residence. However, the foreign national will generally be permitted to retain his or her priority date for the subsequent I-140 petition. If you transfer now, you could be in a position where you are not able to retain the I-140 priority date for the subsequent I-140 petition if your employer were to withdraw their I-140 petition before 180 days of its approval. Q: I left my old employment two weeks ago and I was informed that my employer will withdraw their I-140 Petition. The I-140 Petition was approved in 2015, more than two years ago while I was in my 4th year of H-1B status. My new employer will be filing a new I-140 Petition. My priority date to file adjustment of status is not yet current. Can I retain the I-140 petition priority date? Am I still eligible to continue to renew my H-1B beyond the usual 6 year
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT PORTABILITY AND PRIORITY DATE RETENTION FOR I-140 BENEFICIARIES AND OTHER RELATED ISSUES limit? A: Yes, you should be able to retain the old I-140 priority date for the subsequent I-140 petition, unless the reason for the revocation was for fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, material USCIS error or error in the underlying Labor Certification. In your case, you should be able to apply for the 3 year extension of your H-1B status beyond the usual 6 year period. Q: I have an approved I-140 petition and have filed for adjustment of status. My adjustment of status has been pending for 8 months now. I wish to transfer to a new employer to do same kind of job with similar duties. Will this affect my I-140 Petition and Adjustment of Status? A: Under the new rule, the beneficiary of a pending I-140 petition is permitted to port to a new employer and port the I-140 petition if the application for adjustment of status has been pending for 180 days or more as long as the pending I-140 petition was approvable when filed and remained approvable for 180 days after filing of the application for adjustment of status. In addition, the new position must be in the same or similar occupation as the original Labor Certification or I-140 petition if no Labor Certification was needed. Q: My work authorization renewal application based on adjustment of status is taking more than 4 months to process and my current work authorization will expire soon. Do I need to worry? A: The new January 17th, 2017 rules, USCIS is no longer required to process work authorization within the mandated 90 days. Now there is a 180 day automatic work authorization extension
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for adjustment applicants who have timely filed their request for EAD renewals. Under this rule, you are also now allowed to file EAD renewal requests up to 180 days before the EAD expiry date. Q: I am filing employment based adjustment of status. Must I also file Form I-485 Supplement J? A: If your I-140 petition is one which requires a job offer, this Form is needed to confirm that the job offered to you in the I-140 petition remains a bona fide job offer that you intend to accept once your application for adjustment of status is approved. Supplement J is also needed if you are requesting for job portability to a new full time permanent job offer in a same or similar occupational classification as that of your I-40 petition which is the basis of your application to adjust status. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713623-8088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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VOICE OF ASIA 7
Connect with us today! Visit us Online @ www.voiceofasiaonline.com
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
FORT BEND VIEW
Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place
Tiny heart pump saves lives during high-risk cardiac procedures
Sugar Land to celebrate Bike to Work, School day
Mr. and Mrs. Copans with their care team. (Left to right). UGAR LAND – (April 24, 2017) — Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is the first in Fort Bend County to use a tiny heart pump to protect a patient’s blood flow and save vital tissue during cardiac surgery.
the device through an incision in the groin, and threaded the pump via a long wire into Copans’ heart. Because the heart was not pumping enough blood due to cardiogenic shock, the device started to assist with blood flow.
In January, board-certified interventional cardiologist, Htut Win, M.D., used the Impella® CP – the world’s smallest heart pump – to keep a patient’s blood flowing following cardiac arrest during a complex procedure to remove clots from his main artery.
Win determined that Copans suffered a coronary aneurysm and that clots inside it had made his main artery 100 percent blocked. He began clearing the blockage and placing stents to restore natural blood flow. During that procedure, Copans went into cardiac arrest again, which is not unusual, and the device took over his heart function completely.
The tiny pump was cleared by the FDA in 2016 for highrisk elective and emergency usage. It pumps up to 3.5 liters of blood every minute, protecting the brain and kidneys from the long-term damage that occurs when the patient’s own heart is not pumping enough blood. The small size of the pump allows it to be inserted percutaneously through a small hole in the leg, up through the main pumping chamber of the heart. The first patient treated with the device, Eric Copans of Sugar Land, was admitted on Jan. 17 suffering from chest pain. He immediately went into cardiac arrest in the emergency department and was treated with a defibrillator before being rushed to the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab. There, Win inserted
“In the past, we would have to perform CPR manually while clearing the artery at the same time, and the risk of brain and kidney damage, or even death, was high because of the difficulty of pushing enough blood through the body,” said Win. “Now, the Impella CP takes over for the heart and protects vital organs, and it happens seamlessly. It is a true lifesaver.” Win said that another benefit of the device is its ability to help patients recover from cardiac procedures. The pumps can remain in place for up to four days following a coronary procedure or incident to support blood flow while the patient’s heart regains strength. In Copans’ case, Win allowed
EARLY VOTING APR 24 - MAY 2, 2017
the tiny device to do much of the work immediately following the artery-clearing procedure, then slowly reduced the amount of blood the pump was moving over a 24-hour period as Copans’ heart recovered. “These situations obviously place a great deal of stress on the heart, and the pump allows the heart to rest without having to work so hard to keep blood flowing,” Win said. “The human heart typically pumps about 5 liters of blood per minute, so with the Impella CP at full strength, a patient’s heart only has to pump about 1.5 liters, which is enough to allow for recovery over a few hours or days.” Houston Methodist Sugar Land is the only hospital in Fort Bend currently using the Impella CP and its less powerful version, the Impella 2.5, which was approved by the FDA in 2015. The Impella 2.5 is typically used in high-risk patients undergoing elective cardiac procedures such as a coronary artery bypass. To learn more about the Heart & Vascular Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit houstonmethodist.org/ heart-sl or call 281.274.7500 to find a doctor in your area. Visit our Facebook page fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information.
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U G A R LAND, TX – Shape Up Fort Bend and the City of Sugar Land will celebrate National Bike Month on Friday, May 12 with the sixth annual Bike to Work Day and fourth annual Bike to School Day. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with fun, food and prizes at the South Meadow Pavilion at Sugar Land Memorial Park, 15300 University Blvd., adjacent to the Pawm Springs Dog Park. The event will begin with a reading of a proclamation from the Mayor’s office in celebration of Bike to Work Day and announcing May as Bike to Work Month. After a safety briefing at 8:25 am, all participants will ride 1.1 miles to Fort Settlement Middle School, 5440 Elkins Road, via University Boulevard. After dropping off students, Bike to Work Day participants will continue another 6.4 miles to Town Square via Commonwealth, Austin Parkway and Lexington Boulevard. The closing celebration at Town Square will include a group photo, food, massages, and free coffee. Participants must pre-regis-
ter and bring their own bicycles and helmets to participate. Bike to Work Day takes place during National Bicycle month. The event is celebrated nationwide and is an opportunity for local cyclists to spread awareness of bicycling opportunities in the community and to share the efforts being taken to make the City of Sugar Land a safe environment for bicyclists. It is also an ideal time to stress the importance of knowing and following
state and local laws that apply to bicyclists, sharing the road legally with motorists and demonstrating the bicycle as a useful form of transportation. All riders are encouraged to wear bright clothing, travel in the direction of traffic, stop at all stop signs and traffic lights and follow all traffic laws. For more information and to register for the event please, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/ biketowork.
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VOICE OF ASIA 8
7 Receive Hindu Youth Award - 2017 presented by Hindus of Greater Houston
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Jaz Creations hosts Sneha Milan ...
Continued from Page 3 The awardees who earned a spot in this year’s list of winners were Haripriya Sundaramurthy, Shail Gajjar, Govinda Pramodini Devi dasi (Ramirez), Mukund Nair, Nikita Zamwar, Siddhant Ahuja and Harsh Mehta HGH Board of Director Thara Narasimham did the honors of introducing the second Keynote Speaker of the evening – Suhag Shukla, Executive Director and Legal Counsel and a co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation. In her address, Suhag Shukla highlighted the three core principles of Dharma - ahimsa (non-
Ashwin Dave BAPS Mandir representative passing on the Baton to Goara Klein and Dr. Hansa Medley of ISKCON Mandir.
Members of IHA and ICC with host Jasmeeta Singh at her studio. Photo credit: Quaid Tinwala. Continued from Page 3 Hindi. Dhairyawan announced that IHA is planning for its National Convention in Dallas on December 8a and 9 with leading poets Surender Sharma and others. On September 15, Mumbai’s famous Kabir Band will be visiting, he mentioned. Cheif Guest Pujya Kaivalyamurti Swami
Key Note speaker Suhag Shukla
Event host Jasmeeta Singh, founder and CEO of Jaz Cre-
violence), bhamacharya (living in moderation), and satya (truth) and asserted that they can serve as a valuable guide in making the right decisions. She also reflected on her initial struggles to understand Dharma but gradually came to the realization that she can be “a proud Hindu and a proud American.” The youth, she continued, will be taking life changing decisions and these are “important opportunities” to make the right choices. She concluded by stating that they could “simply live a life or live a higher life” and hoped they would choose the latter of the two. In a brief address, HGH President Partha Krishnaswamy outlined the ways in which HGH strives to bring Hindus together: through the celebration of Hindu festivals, a bi annual Hindu Leaders Meet, honoring
ationz studio is a multi-talented and influential socialite of Houston who also served on ICC Board. Her passion for semi-classical dance and fashion shows is well known from her numerous performances at various galas and community events. Jaz Creationz studio is her Houston based production company specializes in modeling, dancing, fashion and a coaching center that offers public speaking and physical fitness programs. Speaking to the guests she said that stressed on the diversity of production to serve any type of an audience to any length of time. It
could be a homely, conservative gathering for just about 15-20 minutes program or to a large scale auditorium setting lasting over 2-hour, Jaz Creationz was capable of handling it she said. She has showcased numerous Fashion Designers, ethnic to international wear, from all over. At Jaz Creationz, it’s a homely and safe environment congenial for any child to attend. Jasmeeta is a gifted Pageant director and groom many first timers into becoming winners! Jasmeeta arranged a DJ, dinContinued on Page 11
Board Members of Hindus of Greater Houston from left to right: Vijay Pallod, Sharad Amin, Girish Naik (back) Partha Krishnaswamy(President), Bhagwan Bhutada, Vinod Mantri,Swapan Dhairyawan,Tupil Narasiman,Sanjay Jain(Treasurer), Sanjay Jajoo,Thara Narasimhan (Secretary), Bhawna Luthra, Richa Dixit (Secretary) the youth and collaborating with and supporting other organizations. Emcees Jignesh Patel, Ekta Thakkar and Richa Dixit kept things moving briskly through the evening which was inter-
spersed with beautifully sung bhajans by the students of Swaminarayan Sanstha. In his vote of thanks, Event Chair Vinod Mantri thanked BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir for their unstinting “support in planning,
hosting and guidance in organizing this event.” Board of Director Vijay Pallod invited ISKCON leaders Dr. Hansa Medley and Goara Klein to take up the baton in hosting the 2018 Hindu Youth Awards.
Guests having a fun at the event.
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VOICE OF ASIA 9
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
The Grand Guruvayurappan Temple Annual Utsavam 2017 festival (evening of May 13). Every evening throughout the 10 days of festival, prominent art schools of Greater Houston will present their best. During the festival period, Consulate General of India, Houston in association with the Sri Guruvayurappan Temple of Houston would be organizing a one-day
Sankaran Namboothiri Music recital by Biju Pillai
rathishta Anniversary Festival of Sri Guruvayurappan Temple is scheduled from April 30th through May 13, 2017 at 11620 Ormandy St., Houston. Visitors may notice that the rituals practiced in this temple are unique to the temples of Kerala and somewhat different from other Hindu Temples which follow Agama Shastra *. This traditional temple has established rituals under the close supervision of Thanthri Brahmasri Divakaran Nambuthiri. The festival (Utsavam) formally will commence on May 4th evening with hoisting the flag ceremony at 8 pm. The word ‘Utsava’ translates to remove of all sorrow and bring joy ( ‘Ut’ removal; ‘Sava’ means grief). Sri Guruvayurappan Temple at Houston has gained the reputation both as a prominent place of Sri Krishna worship and as a center where several ancient temple art forms are presented. One would find that the annual utsavam (festival) incorporates several key elements of the traditions established at the ancient famous Guruvayoor Temple of Kerala, India. During the 10 days of Utsavam, several priests will come together to conduct the rituals
under the supervision of the Thanthri, Brahmasri Divakaran Nambuthiri. The devotees will get a chance to understand the significance of key rituals performed during the festival. Devotees can also participate and sponsor special poojas during Utsavam. Many attractions are included in this year’s festival. The outstanding percussionists of Pallavoor family (Sridharan and Sreekumar Marar) will present varieties of chenda melam all through the event. The distinct styles of melams include Chembada, Panchari, Thayambaka, Edakka vadyam etc. will capture your attention. Rendition of Ashtapadi (Sanskrit Hymns from Gita Govinda, written in 12th century) as a tradition, especially in Sri Krishna Temple is melodious and enjoyable. You will experience the special divine ambience in this unique
edifice as you listen to this. Another special feature of this year’s celebrations is the presentation of Kathakali (Saturday, May 6 at 8pm), the highly developed art form that was born and nurtured by the temples of Kerala. Naturally, themes of Kathakali are primarily extracted from Hindu mythology. Kathakali is globally acclaimed as one of the best art forms and it takes years of training to perform on stage. Mohini Attam (will be performed on Friday May 12 at 8pm) is another art form mostly focused on themes pertinent to devotion and philosophical thinking. The grand Carnatic music recital by Vidwan Sri Sankaran Nambuthiri will be one of the major attractions as a grand finale on Saturday, May 13 at 7pm. The auspicious ritual, Aarattu is on the final day of the
consular camp on Saturday, May 6th from 10 am to 4 pm. Special rituals include Kalashabhishekom, Sreebhoothabali, Udayasthamana pooja and Utsava Bali. Udayasthamana Pooja is one of the most popular offerings at the famous Guruvayoor Temple in India (sponsorship requires
early booking). For more information please contact temple (713-729-8994) or Mr. Shanmughan Valluli (President, 832-640-0614) / Vinod Vasudevan (festival coordinator, 832-528-6581). Sri Guruvayurappan Temple, Visit: www.guruvayurappanhouston.org
VOICE OF ASIA 10
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
BAPS Womenâ€™s Conference - Inspires and empowers women Trivedi attended the conference with her mom. â€œI am glad that I chose to attend. The program today was interesting and I can see how I can apply the topics that were discussed today to my life, how I can resolve to be better.â€?
Keynote speaker, Asha Dhume, Vice-president of Pratham-Houston, addresses the audience and sets the tone for the conference.
he BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston, TX held its annual Womenâ€™s Conference themed Resolutions: Bonds that Liberate. The conference centered on positive resolutions that transform lives by transforming habits, accepting ownership, performing hard work, and making sacrifices. Distinguished speakers discussed how oneâ€™s resolve to take ownership, perform hard work, and make sacrifices can strengthen character and develop grit. Mrs. Asha Dhume, Vice President of Pratham â€“ Houston was invited to serve as the keynote speaker for the conference. Through her personal experiences and lessons in sacrifice, hard work and responsibility, she set the tone for the conference. Mrs. Dhume shared the sentiment that while people refer to bonds as something that bind, when we correctly utilize resolutions, they can be the very thing that can lead to a more meaningful life. The Womenâ€™s Conference was organized by local youth and women volunteers of BAPS. They dedicated weeks of their time leading up to the conference to organize a professional forum where women could share their strengths and empower one another. The diversity of speakers invited to present at the conference appealed to a wide variety of interests among audience members. Their personal experiences and adherence to cultural values inspired young women to strive for suc-
cess while imbibing spirituality into their daily lives. â€œEach year we hope to organize a conference that appeals to a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Our goal is for each attendee to be able to relate in some way or another to the topics discussed and walk away feeling inspired or encouraged.â€? said Akshita Amin, a local volunteer and conference lead from the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, â€œI believe the theme this year allowed for good dialogue and unique perspective from the speakers.â€?
Lighting of the divo (lamp). From left to right: Mrs. Jyotsna Patel, Dr. Nita Gandhi, Mrs. Asha Dhume (Keynote Speaker), Dr. Heena Thakkar, Mrs. Sushma Pallod, Mrs. Sushila Agrawal signer and owner of Designs by Sippy, shared after the conference, â€œThis was my first
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day.â€? Another first-time attendee, College freshman, Roshni
â€œMandala Abhishekam Purtiâ€? of Houston Aadheenam
The first speech of the conference, led jointly by Dr. Parin Patel and Ms. Khyati Patel, focused on how individuals can cultivate personal accountability within family, community, and spiritual growth without feeling burdened. Reaffirming that hard work requires drive, dedication, and a commitment to finding the solution without giving up, Mrs. Bijal Jadav, JD shared with the audience her personal experience with the topic. To bring the theme full circle, the third speech by Mrs. Ketki Patel focused on the value of sacrifice, and how putting the needs of others first, is actually empowering. Each speaker brought their distinct viewpoints and personal experiences to provide practical ways in which the resolutions Beautifully adorned deity of responsibility, hard work, and sacrifice could be applied he final Mandala Abin everyoneâ€™s day to day lives. hishekam Purti of the Sippy Varma, a fashion de-
time attending and it was phenomenal. Very inspirational and something that each one of us can connect to from day to
After the conference, audience members were able to network with the speakers and other professional women who attended the event. The Womenâ€™s Conference program connected with members of the audience to bring them together and inspire them. His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj encouraged events as such to strengthen and support women to, in turn, support the backbone of our society. Today, his beliefs are persevered by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj who encourages all to lead a life infused with spirituality and integrity.
Nithyanandeshwara Hindu Temple - Houston Aad-
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heenam, for which Kumbabhishekam was performed on Mahashivaratri Day, was held on April 10th, 2017, bringing the 45-day rituals to an auspicious end. The customary and traditional vedic ritual of Mandala Abhishekam was performed as per the Agama Shasthra scriptures by renowned Shivacharyas from around the world. The Nithyanandeshwara Hindu Temple Houston Aadheenam - inspired by His Holiness Paramahamsa Nithyananda, recognized as a living incarnation by millions, and Mahamandaleshwar of the most ancient apex body of Hinduism, the Mahanirvani Akhada, and under the auspices of the worldwide governing body of Hinduism, Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad (ABAP), was founded to promote the values of Hinduism and to support the spiritual needs of the local Houston community. Grand 108 Kalasa Abhishekam and Alankarams were performed to Lord Ganesha, Lord Subramanya, Devi Meenakshi, Sri Nithyanandeshwara Linga and to H.H. Paramahamsa Nithyananda Swamiji, culminated in an elaborate
Maha Mandala Abhishekam ceremony. Mandala Abhishekam celebration was filled with auspicious signs including with light rain showers signifying cosmic blessings as per the Vedic tradition. As part of the Mandala Abhishekam Purti celebrations, there were also demonstrations of Shaktis (Spiritual Powers through Third Eye AwakeningSM). The presiding deity of the temple, Sri Nithyanandeshwara Linga, is a replica of Sri Kalahasteeswara deity of Sri Kalahasti temple, Andhra Pradesh, India. The Linga adorns the Navagraha Kavacha, nine steps representing the Navagrahas. During the Grand Opening and Kumbhabhishekam of the Temple, H.H. Paramahamsa Nithyananda blessed the temple to radiate the special energy of Navagraha dosha shanti. It will be the Parihara Sthala (a sacred place that removes malicious effects) for the Navagraha doshas for the visitors and devotees of the temple. The temple practices and uphold the ancient Vedic truths based on the following five pillars of enlightenment: Yoga, Bhakti (Devotion), Dhyana (Meditation), Jnana (Knowledge), and Seva (Selfless Service). The templeâ€™s Yogacharyas will conduct free yoga classes every weekend. Unique and rare vedic rituals
like Sri Vidya Puja, Thiruvilakku Puja, Meenakshi Thirukalyanam and Sri Venkateswara Thiru Kalyanam will be performed. A special Mahalakshmi Puja will be performed on Friday, April 28th, at 6.30pm to celebrate Akshaya Tritiya. Any initiative started on the day of Akshaya Tritiya continues to grow and prosper. The temple conducts meditation coursesâ€”ranging from daily meditation instruction, to weekend workshops. Advanced meditation programs are taught directly by H.H. Paramahamsa Nithyananda through live, 2-way video connection such as â€œBe Your Own Boss - Manifest Leadership Consciousnessâ€? this weekend April 29-30 Mornings and â€œLife Beyond Limitsâ€? next month on May 20-21 Mornings. H.H. Paramahamsa Nithyananda delivers daily satsang discourse on a variety of scriptures. Viewers can tune in daily at 9.30pm CST at www.Nithyananda.tv (or) youtube.com/nithyanandatv. The temple is 100% volunteer-run, and provides many opportunities for seva or â€œselfless serviceâ€?. More information about the temple can be found at vedictemplehouston.org. Devotees can contact (832) 812-5916, (704) 965-8966, or events@ vedictemplehouston.org.
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VOICE OF ASIA 11
ASIE Honors Shashi Kumar, PWE Director at Missouri City and local media during the technical Seminar
Speaker Shashi Kumar addressing the gathering at ASIE meet.
Members of Media that were honored at the ASIE event
merican Society of Indian Engineers and Architects (ASIE), a Houston based organization for engineers, architects, designers, and engineering technicians honored Shashi Kumar, the newly appointed PWE Director for the City of Missouri City on April 19, 2017 at their monthly meeting held at the at HESS Club in Houston. Publishers and editors of local newspapers, along with anchors of TV Asia and All India Radio Station were also honored, prior to ASIE monthly technical seminar presentation by ADS, Inc. The year 2017 started with lots of momentum and tremendous response from the members with more than hundred members attending last three monthly technical seminar meetings. This month event was also attended by over one hundred professionals. The program started on time with half an hour of registration and social networking followed by three course delicious dinner. ASIE President Dinesh D. Shah, welcomed the gathering and introduced Special Guest Rashmi Desai, Architect, holds a Master Degree in
Dinesh Shah (center) presenting a plaque to Shashi Kumar. Also seen are ASIE Board members and guest speakers. Architecture from Rice University, President of archiCON Construction since 1983, and a long-time Houstonian. He also recognized another special guest Col. (Retd.) Vipin Kumar, an engineer currently serving as an Executive Director of India House. Program Committee Chair Archana Sharma in her report mentioned that for the first time this year, ASIE has not only booked technical seminars in advance for the entire year, but have exceeded
with additional five programs including several field trips. Chaitanya Gampa, Membership Chair indicated her record of surpassing the last year’s membership and doubling from January to March, including the 38 Corporate Members. Sirish Madichetti and Tej Kour respectively gave their report for ASIE Website Update and Public Relations. Recognizing the local media and their importance Shah said, “Today, ASIE has made a
tremendous progress is due to one of the reason that positive perception created by the media. This resulted in increase of our membership and also our monthly seminar attendance.” A Certificate of Appreciation and ASIE Coffee Mug Plaque was given to Koshy Thomas of Voice of Asia, Jay Malhotra of Indo-American News, and Manisha Gandhi of TV Asia. Among those who could not attend: Seshadri Kumar of India Herald, Dr. Nik Nikam of All
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Jaz Creations hosts Sneha ... Hemu Basu, an incredibly talented cake designer and owner of The Sweet Sensations showcased her cupcakes and cake creations and guest got to taste them. During dinner guests were entertained with songs and poem recitation by young Esha Dhairyawan, Fatehali Chatur, Jasmeeta Singh, Saroj Upadhyaya, Keka Khar, Dr. Narendra, Jawahar Malhotra, Sangeeta Pasrija to name a Photo by Shobana M few. There was also Hemu Basu, cake designer of The Sweet a brief birthday celSensations with one of her creations. ebration for Parul Fernandes, ICC Trustee. Vijay PalContinued from Page 8 lod invited guests to the Hindu ner and had the guests singing Youth Awards function due the and reciting poets throughout next day. ICC and IHA memthe evening. Standard Sweets bers presented a gift to Jasmeecatered the dinner and enticed ta as a token of appreciation on all with their sugar cane juice. the occasion. India Radio, Shobana Muratee, Chief Editor of Voice of Asia,, Vanshika Vipin Verma and Pramod Kulkarni of Indo-American News, were recognized by Shah on the occasion.
lion. Kumar, in his remarks talked about the demographic, growth, diversity and vision of Missouri City. He also answered few questioned from the audience.
ASIE promotes Indian Origin Engineers and Architects for the high level technical assignment. ASIE Vice President Chetan Vyas introduced honoree Shashi Kumar at its event. Kumar holds a master’s degree in engineering from Lamar University, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Houston - Victoria, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering in Bangalore, India. Kumar has over 24 years of municipal engineering and management experience In February 2017, Missouri City Councilmembers unanimously approved Shashi Kris Kumar, P.E., to serve as its new Public Works Director and City Engineer. The department has approximately 40 employees and an annual operating budget of approximately $6.5 mil-
As a part of the monthly technical seminar, this time the subject was related to Sub Surface Detention Systems, and it was presented by Nelson Stone, the representative of ADS. Earlier Madhu Kilambi, ASIE, introduced the speaker Rashmi Desai, architect, said, “The speech by Shashi Kumar was interesting and enlightening…He made it clear that talent of Indo American engineers and other professional can contribute and impact lives of people more if they become part of a public service entity like City of Missouri. The storm drainage disposal talk was every educational to me personally.... It is really a green ecofriendly very useful engineering.” ASIE Treasurer Poolkeshi Patel concluded the program by proposing a vote of thanks. For more details visit http://www. asiehouston.org/
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FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Business VOICE OF ASIA
Uber sets ‘flying car’ launch for 2020, liftoff in Dallas and Dubai
’m travelling in the Bay Area, in a cab driven by a woman software tester. She says she has been out of job for months now and driving a cab is the only way she can pay her bills, living just outside of San Francisco. My company is looking for coders and testers but in Asia, I inform her. “A lot of coders from India have taken up jobs here, and are willing to work cheap,” she tells me. Seated at the back, I couldn’t spot whether she was sarcastic, disappointed or angry.
An illustration from Uber shows the company’s plans for a flying car network.
AN FRANCISCO, | AFP | - Uber said Tuesday it wants to launch a system of flying cars to move people around cities, with a goal of putting demonstration projects in place by 2020. The ridesharing giant announced a series of partnerships to manufacture “vertical takeoff and landing” (VTOL) vehicles and put networks in place, a system dubbed Uber Elevate. The partner cities working with Uber are Dubai and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis in Texas. “The goal of these partnerships is to develop a new ondemand VTOL network to enable customers in the future to push a button and get a highspeed flight in and around cities,” Uber said in a statement. The announcement came at a summit held in the Dallas area with partners in the project. “What started as a simple question ‘why can’t I push a button and get a ride?’ has turned, for Uber, into a passionate pursuit of the pinnacle of urban mobility -- the reduction of congestion and pollution from transportation, giving people their time back, freeing up real estate dedicated to parking and providing access to mobility in all corners of a
city,” said Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden. “Urban aviation is a natural next step for Uber in this pursuit, which is why we are working to make push a button, get a flight a reality.” Uber’s goal is to have the first demonstration network in place in Dubai for the 2020 World Expo in that city, and another pilot in Dallas the same year ahead of “full-scale operations” in the Texas region by 2023. The announcement came a day after Silicon Valley “flying car” startup Kitty Hawk, reportedly backed by Google cofounder Larry Page, released a video of its airborne prototype and announced plans for deliveries of a “personal flying machine” this year. - Manufacturing plans Uber’s plans appear more ambitious, and include partnerships with US-based Bell Helicopter, Brazilian manufacturer Embraer and Slovenia’s Pipistrel to produce flying machines for short distance urban operations. “Uber’s Elevate network is an exciting opportunity for Bell Helicopter to help transform how cities move people and products in the future,” Bell president and chief executive Mitch Snyder said in a statement. Embraer CEO Paulo Ce-
sar de Souza e Silva praised the “unique opportunity to complement the air transport knowledge of a visionary and revolutionary ground transport company.” The Uber plan also includes partnerships for “vertiports” for the flyers to take off and land, along with changing stations for the transporters, which are expected to be mainly electricpowered. Uber’s agreement with Dubai Roads and Transport Authority calls for a joint study into pricing models, people movement and determining where routes should be created in the city. “The partnership will result in everything from hover and forward flight tests to actual flight operations in the Dubai area,” according to a joint statement. Uber has grown into the world’s largest venture-backed startup, with a valuation estimated at some $68 billion despite ongoing obstacles with regulators and taxi operators. In addition to ridesharing in some 80 countries, Uber is also testing self-driving cars in three US metro areas. Uber’s growth so far has not been dented by a series of embarrassing disclosures about a culture of sexism, cut-throat workplace tactics and covert use of law enforcement-evading software.
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H-1B lottery: Why a loss for Infosys, Cognizant will be a gain for tech startups by Harsimran Julka
by Sophie Estienne
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Even as I take her email id, promising to inform her if I hear of any opportunity, I could only empathise with her. While shopping with a friend at a CostCo, roaming on the Embarcadero or while eating lunch at GooglePlex, I realise that every third face is an Indian. Not a bad mix, I muse as I savour the various state foods of India in Charlie’s cafe at the Google headquarters. The words of the cab driver were still pinching me somewhere, as I felt helpless about her condition. Why Indians dominated the Bay Area tech industry Earlier, on a flight from New York to San Francisco, the person on my adjacent seat, happened to earlier own a beer joint in Palo Alto. “Mark (Zuckerberg) and his colleagues used to hang out at my bar often,” he told me. Asking me where I was from, he said the biggest homes and best cars in Bay Area were owned by Indians. I asked where he was from — he said his parents came from Italy. I realised that everybody in this country was an immigrant if we traced second or third generation, including President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump. “Indians were the blacks in the 1990s. I myself faced this discrimination,” Vivek Wadhwa, a professor at Stanford University told me at an Oakland cafe.
and Sundar Pichai to the helm at Microsoft and Google did help. But is the tech industry here helmed by Indians, interested in solving the problems of the developing world? “Sadly no,” says Wadhwa, just back from a trip to New Delhi, where some of his family resides. On an H-1B, can’t start a company
As the US moves from a lottery based H-1B system, startups from across the world in the US are going to benefit more I also met a few Indians, who just got approved for a green card, and had started a company. On an H-1B visa, foreign workers are not allowed to start a business. Thus, those who wish to go by the rule, wait years to get a residency status and start a company. This person, an alma mater from BITS Pilani, waited for over a decade. Though some Indian tech entrepreneurs who wish to call America their home, have migrated the headquarters of their companies and thus sponsored themselves on either a L1 visa or a H1 visa. “The practice was rampant, but not now so much,” a former colleague tells me. His brother started an IT outsourcing company which sponsored him for a H-1B visa and later a green card, in the 1990s. He is back to India, running his IT business from Kerala. When culture, besides cost starts playing a role Donald Trump’s new H-1B guidelines have named companies such as Infosys, TCS and Cognizant who the White House has said were misusing the H1-B lottery system.
“With the emergence of Indians at the helm in the tech industry, now the tide has turned. Most tech startups want to hire Indians – firstly, they are hard-working and secondly they possess the requisite tech skills,” he tells. “Indians are the new whites in the tech industry now,” he remarked.
“Top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata, Infosys, Cognizant — they will apply for a very large number of visas, more than they get. By putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will, and then they’ll get the lion’s share of visas,” a senior US administration official said. Trump has thus directed his administration to do away with the lottery system.
The rise of Satya Nadella
This might benefit the tech
startups which hire in small numbers compared to the big IT outsourcers who apply for visas in thousands. However, does hiring from a foreign land become imperative for Indian tech startups based in the US? Is cost the only factor at play here? “One issue that startups face in scaling up business in their early days is (consistency of) culture. That’s the reason of me moving here,” explains Abhinav Asthana, co-founder and CEO of Postman, who is based in Bay Area on a L1 visa. Asthana’s company has about 10 workers based in the US, some of them on a work visa. He has clients has such as AMC Theatres, Clarifai, and BigCommerce. Other Indian tech startups which have opened offices or moved headquarters to the US are Druva and Freshdesk. Gaining the lottery system was easy. Apply more, and you stand more chance of getting a cheap worker placed offshore. Consultants in Bay Area also took advantage of it and placed a worker from India from one client to another. The workers got tied as bonded labor to the system and to the employer who could easily exploit them. Tech startups from Israel, Japan, China, India or Germany which needed to fly key staff to set up a base in the US, lost out in the raffle. They would apply for just one or two visas and would never win the lottery. Doing away with the luck based system and focusing on merit as well as wages, would benefit the startups around the world, looking to expand to the US. Big IT companies would rather now offshore work to cheaper destinations than hire expensive labor onshore. This would also help drive innovation as talented scientists, designers, architects and other specialists would often lose out as large IT corporations would flood the raffle with their applications. Clearly, as US moves from a lottery based H-1B system to a more merit-based program, startups from across the world headquartered in the US are going to benefit more, in attracting global talent to Silicon Valley than the big IT outsourcers. It will also alleviate the pain of American software programmers who get disadvantaged as they get replaced by cheap foreign workers. (-moneycontrol. com)
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FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
California nuns want to heal with the power of pot by Saif Alnuweiri alifornia’s Central Valley is home to a weed nunnery called “The Sisters of the Valley.” Based in the town of Merced, the sisters grow and harvest their own cannabis plants. Their mission: to heal and empower women with their products.
Despite the religious dress, the sisters insist they aren’t religious. “We’re against religion, so we’re not a religion,” says Sister Kate, who founded the sisterhood in 2014, to Reuters. “We consider ourselves Beguine revivalists, and we reach back to pre-Christian practices.” A case in point: the group believes hemp, a
AZA CITY, Palestinian Territories | AFP - A Gazan firm has found a way to add style to weddings in the Palestinian enclave despite being unable to import a limousine: make one with parts from five cars.
strain of marijuana with very low THC levels, is the true Holy Trinity. The group made roughly $750,000 in sales last year, and has been selling cannabis-based products since the start of 2015. But with promises by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to crack down on the plant, the sisters have started looking north to sell their products. “The thing Trump has done for us is put a fire under our butts to get launched in another country,” said Kate to Reuters. “Our response to Trump is Canada.” They plan to launch operations there in two months. (-Courtesy: Canada News )
California “weed nun” Christine Meeusen, 57, who goes by the name Sister Kate, centre, Desiree Calderon, who goes by the name Sister Freya, left, and India Delgado, who goes by the name Sister Eevee, pour CBD salve made from hemp at Sisters of the Valley near Merced, California (Photo: Reuters)
Roll with it! Gazans create own limo from five different cars
Wedding planner Salama al-Odi sought to import a limousine as part of the various offerings to young Gazans by the firm he heads, Farha, but said he was unable to.
Some 30 people weighed in on the design and drew up plans for the improvised limousine. “It took us three months and $21,000 (19,500 euros)” to build the vehicle, whose interior with curtains was “completely conceived in Gaza,” Odi said. The result looks something like a cross between a car and a spaceship, with a rounded roof extending upward from what would have been the original top.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for 10 years, with the entry and exit of goods and people tightly controlled by Israel. Its sole crossing with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.
Hand-painted designs adorn the sides of the vehicle.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, run by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.
Final touches are being put on the “limo” and the first bride and groom should be able to climb aboard as soon as Thursday.
Israeli officials say the blockade is necessary to prevent the importation of weapons and materials that could be used to make them, but UN officials have called for it to be lifted, citing deteriorating conditions in the enclave of two million people.
Odi says he will offer it at an affordable rate for young people in Gaza, where marriages have been delayed due to a lack of financial resources. For him, seeing the homemade vehicle roll through the streets of the Gaza Strip will also be a message to Gazans to “not give in to the restrictions” imposed by Israel.
With poverty widespread and unemployment at nearly 45 percent, Gazans have had to show creativity -- and Odi has responded to the challenge. In his small mechanic shop, a group
of men were busy taking parts from five different cars and adding them to a white Mercedes.
A Palestinian mechanic works on his “Cinderella” vehicle at his workshop in Gaza City on April 22, 2017.
“You have to answer by inventing and embarking on an adventure,” he said.
VOICE OF ASIA 15
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
These are the best undiscovered beaches in the world You’ll see nobody else on the beaches of India’s Andaman Islands, said Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant, except for the occasional elephant. That should be selling point enough. (Who doesn’t love elephants?) But the Andamans have even more going for them: Some of the world’s best scuba diving, easy access via suddenly trendy Calcutta, and its first-ever five-star stay, Jalakara. “Now is the time to see these pristine islands before more people get wind of them,” Marchant told Bloomberg. “They’re a haven of natural beauty, a contrast to the bustling mainland and a relaxed alternative to the Maldives and Mauritius.”
EW YORK, April 24 — A certain type of New Yorker has complaints about the beaches in Tulum, Mexico, Saint Barth’s, or Mykonos in Greece. “Why escape New York,” they ask, “just to be surrounded by New Yorkers?” Do not hang out with these people! But do heed their warning: If you want to go to a beach to get away from other humans, you’ll have to try a lot harder than visiting those popular, luxurious, seaside spots. At the six under-the-radar destinations listed below, you won’t know a soul anywhere in a hundred-mile radius— and the locals will make you feel like one of their own. Not just that: These untrammelled landscapes are postcard-perfect, free of photo-bombing tourists and full of secret coves just waiting for you to discover them. As icing on the cake, they’re all within close proximity to places you already know and love. You’ve done Mykonos … now try Zakynthos Tired of looking at Mykonos’s beautiful windmills? Never. But maybe you’re ready to swap out the thumping social scene for something more laid-back. Head to the Ionian island of Zakynthos, a little-explored paradise where secret, pearlescent coves are hidden from plain sight by towering limestone bluffs. The western and northern sides of the island are the quietest and most beautiful—and the latter is where you’ll find the stone-walled Porto Zante Villas and Spa, which Greece expert Mina Agnos, president of Travelive, says offers an unsurpassed experience. “Each villa has panoramic views, a private, heated swimming pool, and access to a private section of beach,” she said. Other island draws: The neon-blue Shipwreck Beach (named for a destroyed vessel that still sits on the sand), endangered Caretta Caretta (loggerhead) sea turtles, and plenty of yacht charters for a day of Ionian beach-hopping. You’ve done Saint Barth … now try Sint Eustatius Not every place that Christopher Columbus discovered was put on the global map. Case in point: Sint Eustatius, one of the most under-theradar islands in the resort-rich Caribbean, which the famed explorer first documented in 1493. Little has been said about it since then. Its sole city, Oranjestad, is known as the “smallest capital in the world,” and the entire is-
You’ve done Ibiza … now try coastal Portugal
The Andaman (pic) and Nicobar islands are Indian territory, though they are at least 600 miles (1,000 kilometres) from the mainland and are closer to the coast of Myanmar. — AFP photo. land has a population of just 3,183. But Statia, as it’s known, is just a short puddle-hopper flight from Sint Maarten, and scuba diving expert Robert Becker, of ProTravel, considers it one of his all-time favourite places. “There’s no mega-tourism, and most people don’t even know it’s there,” he said. “It’s got great hiking and lots of gorgeous tropical foliage, plus very welcoming people who have a genuine desire to know that you’re enjoying your stay.” Bunk up at the Dutch colonial-style Old Gin House, where Becker says you’ll feel like you’re staying with family friends, and pack goggles: The island is ringed by a national marine park, with impeccably-protected coral reefs and tropical fish stocks. You’ve done Punta del Este, Uruguay … now try Mancora, Peru “This beach is popular with locals, but few Western visitors have discovered it,” said Ashish Sanghrajka, Latin America enthusiast and president of Big Five Tours. That’s because most travellers to Peru head inland to the Sacred Valley, rather than up the coast. That’s a big mistake. Not only does Sanghrajka say that the beach town of Mancora—close to the border of Ecuador and a four-hour flight from Lima—has “some of the best banana board surfing in Latin America.” It’s also home to a stunning nine-room resort, Kichic. Nearby, at Túcume, you can still accomplish some of that requisite Peruvian ruin-spotting; the
A member of the ‘dream walker’ team climbing up after jumping from atop the rugged rocks overlooking the azure waters of Navagio beach, on Greece’s Zakynthos island June 23, 2014. — AFP pic adobe complex is nearly a thousand years old. And soon enough, the country’s luxury resort standard setter, Inkaterra, will open a beach retreat in the vicinity—in a fishing town that inspired Ernest H e m i n g w a y ’s The Old Man and the Sea. You’ve done the Maldives … now try India’s Andamans
Portugal’s tourism mojo has skyrocketed in the last year, luring many to its romantic cities and dreamy wine valleys, but its rugged beaches have yet to experience the boom. According to Virginia Irurita, who specialises in custom trips to the Iberian peninsula, there “are no unexplored beaches left in Spain,” but several spots along the Portuguese coast are still “wild, beautiful, and empty.” Take Odeceixe (pronounced udd-sesh): It’s set at the juncture of the Atlantic Ocean and the tightly-coiled Ceixe River, which separates the Algarve from Alentejo. There, you’ll find pristine beaches between the river’s curled banks as well as on the quartz-lined ocean coast—so many of them that you can kayak from one to the next, looking for resident otters or places to avoid human contact. The crowds are thin, in part because there are no luxury hotels. One exception: Herdade do Touril, an affordable boutique bolthole with direct beach access. It’s far more stylish and hospitable (-Bloomberg)
VOICE OF ASIA 16
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Young leaders around the world Shruti Shibulal named young global leader 2017 P of World Economic Forum
ARIS, France | AFP | If Emmanuel Macron, 39, wins the second round of the French presidential election in two weeks, he will be one of the world’s youngest leaders. Here is a look at those who were still a little wet behind the ears when they attained high executive office. - Young leaders Hungary: Viktor Orban became prime minister in 1998 at the age of 35. He left office in 2002 but took over again in 2010. Belgium: Charles Michel became prime minister in 2014 at the age of 38 to become the country’s youngest leader since 1840. Estonia: Juri Ratas became prime minister in late 2016 at the age of 38. Ukraine: Volodymyr Groysman was appointed prime minister in 2016 at the age of 38. Greece: Alexis Tsipras was named prime minister in 2015 at the age of 40, the youngest Greek leader in 150 years. Tunisia: Prime Minister Youssef Chahed was 40 when he took office in 2016, the youngest since Tunisian independence in 1956. Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was 43 when he took office in 2015. Poland: President Andrzej Duda won election in 2015 at the age of 43.
French Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron (Photo: AFP) Georgia: President Giorgi Margvelashvili took the oath of office in 2013 at the age of 44. Some young leaders have recently left or lost office:
Spanish government in 1982 at the age of 40. Tony Blair became the British premier in 1997 at the age of 43. Benazir Bhutto was Pakistan’s premier in 1988 at the age of 35, and Laurent Fabius was French premier in 1984 at 37.
Estonia: Taavi Roivas was just 34 years old when he became president in 2014. He left office in 2016.
US president Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he took office, and John F. Kennedy was 43.
Kosovo: Atifete Jahjaga became president in 2011 when she was 36 years old. She left office in 2016.
In France, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is still the youngest president to date, at 40 years old in 1848 and under a different political regime, followed by Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the youngest under the current system, at 48 in 1974.
- Those no longer in power -
Italy: Matteo Renzi ran the government from early 2014, when he was 39, until late 2016. Britain: David Cameron was 43 when he became prime minister in 2010. He left office last year. - Looking back Felipe Gonzalez was head of the
Excluding democratic governments, notable young leaders at the moment include North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, 34, and the emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, 36.
For Chinese fans, popular teen band are mama’s boys
EIJING | AFP | Monday 4/24/2017 - Liang Shanshan considers herself a mother of two: one child is her biological son, the other is a 16-year-old Chinese teen pop star she has never met. She is a “mother fan” and part of a group of women in their mid-20s to 60s whose maternal instincts are set off by China’s boy band sensation TFBoys(“The Fighting Boys”). The band has won millions of Chinese followers since their 2013 debut, rapidly amassing a following ardent enough to buy a giant ad in New York’s Times Square for a band member’s birthday. Liang insists her feelings are no fleeting fancy: just like a real mother, her devotion to TFBoys’ singer Roy Wang (Wang Yuan) is unwavering. “Our fandom isn’t shallow,” she explains, adding: “I intend to follow him through his entire career.” While tween fans are attracted to the teenagers’ boyish good looks, Liang and her friends are drawn to their cherubic personas and wholesome values, with songs that explore the trials of growing up (Practise Book for Youth, Imperfect Kid). Some, like 24-year-old Yang Andan, even make annual pilgrimages to Wang’s hometown of Chongqing in southern Sichuan province. “The more I learn about (Wang), the more I like him,” Yang said. - Empty nest Liang’s family has embraced her fandom. Her four-year-old refers to TFBoys as his “big brothers,” and her husband accompanies her to concerts to see Wang, describing him as their “kid”. Anthony Fung, a Chinese University of Hong Kong professor who studies pop culture, said this trend of mothers who “worship young idols” began with teen stars of Korean dramas, which are hugely popular in China. TFBoys are “quite Korean in aesthetic”, he pointed out, adding that so-called mother fans are “repeating the same kind of relationship where they will follow an idol... from the beginning to the end”. “They love that kind of healthy, cute boy image,” he explained. Nearly a quarter of TFBoys fans are at least 30 years old — double the band members’ age, according to a survey by Chinese media giant Sina. Fung says in some cases the obsession with TFBoys is a symptom of empty nest syndrome. “The older fans may have kids who are grown up, so now they’re looking for someone else to be at the centre of their attention,” he said. Affluent Chinese women, many of whom have only one child to spoil thanks to decades of the one-child policy, are more than happy to splash out on their celebrity kids. To celebrate the birthday of TFBoys member Jackson Yi (Yiyang
This picture taken on April 14, 2017 shows a woman handing out leaflets during an event for fans of China’s boy band sensation TFBoys ‘The Fighting Boys’ at a university in Beijing (Photo: AFP) Qianxi) in November, fans flew a cake-shaped hot air balloon over New York and held a party on a cruise ship in Shanghai. Sometimes, their loyalty is rewarded. On his 15th birthday, Wang debuted a song dedicated to his fans called Because I Met You. - My heart hurts A recent university graduate who works at a Beijing-based Internet company, Yang said she has learned a lot from the singer nearly ten years her junior. Every year, she gathers with fans in Chongqing to coat the streets with TFBoys posters in celebration of Wang’s birthday, spending several sleepless nights on enormous decorations. She has even seen her idol in person a handful of times, at meet-and-greets and as part of airport welcoming parties. “Every time I see him I feel like I haven’t seen enough,” Yang said. “But my heart hurts thinking about how hard he works. I hope he’ll have more time to rest.” Aside from his entertainment career, Wang also works with several
charities and represented China earlier this year at the United Nations Youth Forum in New York. The schedule doesn’t leave him much time for his real family, which the star is only able to see a handful of times a year. “My dream has always been to make enough money to buy my parents and grandparents a house,” Wang said during a TV interview in February. Yang and Liang, who addressed each other by their fan aliases (“Mushroom” and “Goldfish”, respectively), both vowed to remain loyal to Wang, whom they firmly believe is more talented and a better person than the other TFBoys. Even when her childlike icon is a child no more, Liang said—in an echo of a TFBoys song—they can indulge in the “very joyful process of growing up together.” Like young people everywhere, however, TFBoys’s more traditional teenybopper fans are not always happy to share their idols with people of their parents’ generation. “A girl at one of the concerts said my husband was too old to be there,” Liang said with a shrug.
Youth march for science
Shruti Shibulal (Photo: The Tamara)
EW DEHLI - Shruti Shibulal, Promoter and Director Strategy and Development, The Tamara has been named as Young Global Leader 2017 by World Economic Forum. The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a community of over 800 enterprising, socially-minded men and women selected under the age of 40 from across the world. On its website, announcing the class of 2017, the World Economic Forum addressed Shruti Shibulal as an accomplished hospitality executive who has promoted and cofounded premium hospitality projects in India and has several upcoming projects to her credit. Shruti Shibulal is among 100 young leaders, under the age of 40, who are tackling the world’s “most complex challenges with innovative approaches”. Further, Shruti Shibulal is among 9 leaders selected from South Asia and 5 from India. Selected into a five-year programme, this year’s class of 100 Young Global Leaders is split evenly between business and not-for-profit sectors - building a global community of peers who can capitalize on diverse talents, experiences and networks to bridge divides that exist in society and achieve more together than they could separately, the WEF said. “We’ve asked these young leades to join the YGL community because of their ground-breaking work, creative approaches to problems and ability to
build bridges across cultures and between business, government and civil society. These leaders highlight the potential for innovation to correct the shortcomings in our economies and societies,” said John Dutton, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum. The Tamara, a leading hospitality Group in India, currently operates in Coorg, Karnataka (as a luxury resort, The Tamara Coorg), Bangalore (as Lilac, a European themed hostel concept) and in Kerala (as a destination resort, Palma Laguna). It has upcoming projects in Trivandrum (a premium business hotel), Kodaikanal (The Tamara Kodai, a Luxury resort) and expansions to Palma Laguna in Kerala and Lilac in Bangalore. It also has an upcoming project in Guruvayoor, (Lilac Guruvayoor) in India and owns two properties in Europe. Under Shruti’s leadership, The Tamara is projected to own 1000 keys by 2025. As a Young Global Leader, Shruti Shibulal aims to promote sustainability in hospitality, a subject she is deeply passionate about. Her desire is to bring to life The Tamara’s vision of building a ‘Sustainable Good Life’ for all its stakeholders. Shruti also endeavors to generate local employment through her various projects and to establish global best practices within the Indian hospitality industry. (ANIBusinessWireIndia)
Upward mobility has fallen sharply in US: study
IAMI | AFP, Monday 4/24/2017 - In a sign of the fading American Dream, 92 percent of children born in 1940 earned more than their parents, but only half of those born in 1984 can say the same, researchers said Monday. Greater inequality in the distribution of growth is largely to blame, said the findings in the US journal Science. “Children’s prospects of earning more than their parents have faded over the past half century in the United States,” said the study, led by Raj Chetty of Stanford University. “Absolute income mobility has fallen across the entire income distribution, with the largest declines for families in the middle class.” Since little data exists linking children to their parents in terms of economic performance, researchers combined US census data with tax records, adjusting for inflation and other confounding variables. They found the sharpest declines in income in the industrial Midwest, including states like Indiana and Illinois.
“The smallest declines occurred in states such as Massachusetts, New York and Montana,” said the study. Researchers said that trying to boost gross domestic product -- or the total dollar value of goods and services produced -- in the United States would not suffice to fix the problem. Rather, a concerted effort to level the playing field is needed, said an accompanying editorial by Lawrence Katz of Harvard University and Alan Krueger of Princeton University. “In our view, faster growth is necessary but not sufficient to restore higher intergenerational income mobility,” they wrote. “Evidence suggests that, to increase income mobility, policymakers should focus on raising middle-class and lower-income household incomes.” Interventions worth considering include universal preschool and greater access to public universities, increasing the minimum wage, and offering vouchers to help families with kids move from poor neighborhoods into areas with better schools and more resources, they said.
eople in Washington, DC, and around the world came together for the March for Science on Saturday, April 22. which was also Earth Day. The march brought together scientists, science enthusiasts and those who simply recognize the value of science for the public good. It also attracted kids who are, you know, taking science class. Right: A young girl marches with scientists and supporters in a March for Science on April 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/ Getty Images)
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VOICE OF ASIA 17
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
US actor Will Smith on jury of Cannes film festival: organisers call is another remarkable twist in the story of a rapper who had become one of Hollywoodâ€™s key players. Other big names on the jury include the Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, best known for â€œLa Grande Bellezzaâ€? and his hit television series starring Jude Law, â€œThe Young Popeâ€?. German film-maker Maren Ade, who many critics felt should have won the top prize last year for her comedy â€œToni Erdmannâ€?, was also tapped up alongside cult Korean director Park Chan-wook. Almodovar, who won the festivalâ€™s best director prize in 1999 for â€œAll About My Motherâ€? and best screenplay seven years later for â€œVolverâ€?, was named jury president in January.
Will Smith (Photo: AFP/File)
ARIS, France | AFP | Tuesday 4/25/2017 - US actor Will Smith -- one of the most bankable stars in the world -- is to sit on the jury of the Cannes film festival next month, its organisers said Tuesday.
He will decide the festivalâ€™s top prize, the Palme dâ€™Or, with a ninemember jury that also contains fellow Hollywood star Jessica Chastain and the Chinese â€œX-Menâ€? actress Fan Bingbing.
The former hip-hop star, 48, who made his name in the teen television series â€œThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Airâ€?, has been nominated twice for an Oscar.
Having missed out twice on an Oscar despite being one of the favourites in 2001 for his portrayal of the boxer Muhammad Ali in â€œAliâ€?, the Cannes
Festival boss Thierry Fremaux revealed that Chastain would serve on the official competition jury during an interview with French radio earlier this month. French actor-director Agnes Jaoui and Lebanese-born composer Gabriel Yared, who won an Oscar for his score of the â€œThe English Patient,â€? complete the line-up. The Cannes film festival, regarded as the most prestigious in the world, runs from May 17 to 28.
Oprah Winfrey conquers acting fears in â€˜Henrietta Lacksâ€™
efore Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore removed some of her cancerous cells to grow outside her body in a petri dish. It was all done without her knowledge or consent. Struggling with poverty and racism in Baltimore, Lacksâ€™s family discovered the truth accidentally years later. Writer Rebecca Sklootâ€™s subsequent account, â€œThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,â€? rocketed to public attention earlier this decade, prompting a public debate about the ethics of harvesting peopleâ€™s cells. Now Oprah Winfrey has helped bring the story of Lacks and her â€œimmortalâ€? cell line to the small screen
in a HBO film adaptation of the book.
â€œI was really afraid to do this role,â€? she said this week with the director George Wolfe, who had urged her to take it on. â€œI said from day one, â€˜George, I donâ€™t want to make a fool of myself.â€™ Thatâ€™s the fear, that youâ€™re
It is a light hearted, average love story
Anshai Lalâ€™s directorial debut traces the incidents around the marriage of
ctor Esha Gupta found herself on the edge, when she was stalked by a fan recent-
The actor was in Dubai, where she walked the ramp for designer duo Anjalee and Arjun Kapoor wearing a gown with a long trail. She had an awkward fan moment,when a 20something guy followed her in the ladies washroom on the pretext of helping her with her gown trail, when it got stuck. According to a source, when Esha saw him, she politely asked him to step out but he insisted on taking a picture with her. She promised to click one later and somehow got him to leave immediately. â€œI was just taken aback when he entered the washroom. But he then apologised, said he wants a picture
with me, and waited outside,â€? shares Esha, who has worked in films such as Jannat 2 (2012), Raaz 3D (2012), Humshakals (2014) and Rustom (2016). The source further informs that Esha got someone from her team to go and speak to that guy before she got out from the washroom. â€œLater, when Esha briefly spoke with him, he shared he works with a bank and was following her ever since she stepped out from the event, but he could not muster up the courage to speak to her. And that, when the trail of her dress got stuck, it was just a spontaneous act on his part to help her. It was an impromptu thought that he should just click a picture as well, so he landed up entering the washroom,â€? adds the source. (-Hindustan Times)
Saif Ali Khanâ€™s take on Sonu Nigamâ€™s Azaan rant controversy makes a lot of sense!
Sonu Nigam and Saif Ali Khan (File photos)
Saif Ali Khan speaks up... not going to measure up in the moment. But I am pretty damn healed from all my past stuff.â€? (-AFP)
While Anushka lightens up the screen each time she appears, the film shines only in parts.
Phillauri does not give away any interesting bit almost till the interval. It is only in the second half when the film focusses on Diljit-Anushkaâ€™s story that it becomes engaging enough. And the credit for this must be given where it is due - the enchanting presence of the two actors and the lovely chemistry between them.
Esha Gupta had an most awkward fan moment in Dubai after a fashion show
Oprah Winfrey (Photo: AFP/File)
Despite a fresh idea, Phillauri is a loosely-written film that fails to engross the audience. Most of the first half entertains in bits - only at times when Anushka makes you smile and cry, or when Phillauri (Diljit Dosanjh) and Shashi set the screens afire with their heart-warming chemistry.
hillauri, the second production venture of Anushka Sharma, hits screens on Friday. With a â€œfriendly ghostâ€? aka Anushka in the film, it is a fresh take on love stories.
Winfrey, who once worked as a reporter in Washington, was determined to coproduce the film after reading the book. But the hugely successful talk show star said she long resisted the idea of acting in it.
Film review: Phillari
by Shweta Kaushal
Kanan (Suraj Sharma) with his childhood love, Anu (Mehreen Pirzada). The twist is that Kanan marries a tree as he is a â€œmanglikâ€? and the ghost of Shashi (Anushka) is bound to him as she is the ghost on the tree. The film narrates two parallel love stories - that of Kanan and of Shashi.
The incidents of Kananâ€™s marriage and the flip-flop between the two love stories make the film rather disjointed. The story develops quite slowly. The current day story is overloaded with stereotypes about Punjabis - from over-the-top welcome to alcohol flowing freely all day and the loud Punjabi ways only mar the otherwise subtle tone of the narrative. However, there is one aspect of the film that is extremely impressive, set in undivided Punjab in the pre-Independence era Anushka-Diljitâ€™s love
fter Sonu Nigam said in a series of tweets,â€?God bless everyone. Iâ€™m not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India. And by the way Mohammed did not have electricity when he made Islam.. Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison? I donâ€™t believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity To wake up people who donâ€™t follow the religion . Why then..? Honest? True?â€?, there was yet another wave of religious controversy.
The actor was further quoted as saying,â€œI also understand the amplification of the sound during Azaan comes from insecurity. Not just here but also in Israel apparently where three different religions co-exist. Itâ€™s been written about so I believe itâ€™s the same. As a minority, you would like to make your presence felt and hopefully accepted. If someone says that it should be extinguished, it will make some people little uncomfortable. As a precursor to some sort of holocaust, itâ€™s the first thing you think of. Thereâ€™s a bit of fear there.â€?
While most of the stars avoided saying anything on the Azaan front, Saif Ali Khan chose to be vocal about it. Sonu Nigam used a poor choice of words which made a lot of people angry. When Saif was questioned about it, he agreed with Sonu. He said,â€?Donâ€™t know who you are offending. At one level I agree, the lesser sound the better, there should be certain decibel lev-
Some people might not like this statement and troll the actor for the same but the next set of words which he uttered saved him. â€œItâ€™s fine to express your views on the decibel levels. I think that tweet was a bit aggressive though, initially. And I do think religion should be a private affair and we should be a secular country,â€? he said. (-DNA)
story is quite unusual. While Diljit plays a â€œbhaant, kanjar, piyakkadâ€? singer, Anushka is the obedient sister of a doctor who believes that singing and dancing is not for â€œrespected peopleâ€?.
Not only does Anushka find the courage to write and post her poems, she also becomes an intellectual equal and partner - more of the â€œsanginiâ€? for Diljit - as she writes and he sings. Forget the pre-Independence era, not many women in our villages can boast of such a subtle-yet-strong protest even in todayâ€™s time.
Anushka loves poetry and even writes for a weekly that is widely read in her pind - Phillaur. Everyone loves her poetry but Anushka does not unveil her identity because â€œacche ghar ki ladkiyan in cheezon mein nahi padtiâ€?.
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Except for that one point, there is nothing extraordinary about Phillauri. It is a light-hearted, average love story. Watch it, if you must, for Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh. (-HT)
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VOICE OF ASIA 18
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
HEALTHY LIVING VOICE OF ASIA
Exercise ‘keeps the mind sharp’ in over-50s
10 Ways You Can Still Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan after Open Enrollment
Moderate physical exercise such as cycling or jogging can help boost brain power, research suggests
oing moderate exercise several times a week is the best way to keep the mind sharp if you’re over 50, research suggests. Thinking and memory skills were most improved when people exercised the heart and muscles on a regular basis, a review of 39 studies found. This remained true in those who already showed signs of cognitive decline. Taking up exercise at any age was worthwhile for the mind and body, the Australian researchers said. Exercises such as T’ai Chi were recommended for people over the age of 50 who couldn’t manage other more challenging forms of exercise, the study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said. Brain boost Physical activity has long been known to reduce the risk of a number of diseases, including type-2 diabetes and some cancers, and it is thought to play a role in warding off the brain’s natural decline as we enter middle age. The theory is that through exercise the brain receives a greater supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients that boost its health as well as a growth hormone that helps the formation of new neurons and connections. In this analysis of previous studies, researchers from the University of Canberra looked at the effects of at
least four weeks of structured physical exercise on the brain function of adults. In a variety of brain tests, they found evidence of aerobic exercise improving cognitive abilities, such as thinking, reading, learning and reasoning, while muscle training - for example, using weights - had a significant effect on memory and the brain’s ability to plan and organise, the so-called executive functions. Joe Northey, study author and researcher from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise at Canberra, said the findings were convincing enough to enable both types of exercise to be prescribed to improve brain health in the over-50s. “Even if you are doing moderate exercise only once or twice a week there are still improvements in cognitive function, but the improvements were better the more exercise was done,” he said. He said people should be able to hold a conversation while doing moderate exercise. NHS guidelines recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week and exercise the major muscles on two or more days a week. Heavy shopping bags Dr Justin Varney, lead for adult health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said any physical activity
was good for brain and body. “Whilst every 10 minutes of exercise provides some benefit, doing 150 minutes a week cuts the chances of depression and dementia by a third, and boosts mental health at any age. “Doing both aerobic and strengthening exercises leads to a greater variety of health benefits.” He said cycling or walking to work could count as aerobic activity and carrying heavy shopping bags was one example of a good strength exercise. Dr Dean Burnett, lecturer in neuroscience and psychiatry at Cardiff University, said the study gave a clearer picture of how exercise affected the brain - but there were still issues. “It could lead to increased pressure for the 50-plus age group to exercise more in order to stay mentally healthy, which is good advice but also overlooks the fact that as we age it’s increasingly difficult to engage in physical activity, as our bodies are simply less capable of it,” he said. “Physical exercise is one element of improved brain functioning, but not the whole story.” As well as staying physically active, Dr David Reynolds, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said it was equally important to look after our brains by staying mentally active, eating a balanced diet, drinking only in moderation and not smoking. (-BBC News)
Texas health officials say we’re still ‘quite vulnerable’ to Zika this mosquito season by Ashley Lopez
osquito season is upon us, and Texas still isn’t out of the woods when it comes
The mosquito-borne illness can cause birth defects if a woman is exposed to it while pregnant. Last year, there were 312 cases of Zika reported in the state. Public health officials say they are more prepared this season and have a better picture of what to expect. Part of the problem, though, is that Zika didn’t really go anywhere. Some locally transmitted cases continued to pop up near the border during the winter months. That means the disease lingered in the local mosquito population. According to Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, historically warm weather last winter compounded the problem. “We have probably not had a huge die-off of the Aedes aegypti mosquito in places like San Antonio or in Houston,” he said, referring to the type of mosquito linked to Zika.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito also happens to be prevalent in Texas, specifically in densely populated areas. Hotez said the combination of all of this is not good. “I am quite worried that we’re still quite vulnerable to Zika virus transmission,” he said. State health officials said they’re worried, too. “Certainly it’s something we’re on guard for” said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. “We’ve continued our planning, continued working with local health departments, with mosquito control, folks around the state to provide some additional funds for Zika control, Zika planning. And that’s certainly something we’re going to continue working with throughout the summer.” Van Deusen said officials are also drawing on lessons learned from last year’s Zika cases. “One thing that we’ve done recently is further expanded our testing criteria, particularly in the valley,” he said. The agency now recommends testing for all pregnant women in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata
counties in South Texas Van Deusen and Hotez said the importance of actively testing humans for Zika was one of the bigger lessons learned. “And second, we’re not really getting a lot of help from the federal government,” Hotez said. “So, the state of Texas is kind of on our own.” There have been 10 Zika cases reported in Texas so far this year. (-KUT. FM)
(10 Ways You Can Still Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan after Open Enrollment - In Continuation from last week) 4. Your current plan’s status with Medicare changes If Medicare sanctions your current Medicare Advantage plan or ends the contract with the plan for some reason, you’re free to switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan. In situations where your current plan has its contract with Medicare canceled, you can change to a new plan starting two months before the contract ends and one month after it ends. The period allowed for changes varies on a case-bycase basis when Medicare Advantage plans are sanctioned. Also, if your current Medicare Advantage plan doesn’t have its contract renewed, you’ll have from Dec. 8 to the last day in February to enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan. 5. You’re dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid You can join, switch, or drop your Medicare Advantage Plan at any time during the year if you’re eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. 6. You’re either currently enrolled in a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP) or lose SPAP eligibility Many (but not all) states help pay drug plan premiums and other drug costs through State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAP). If you’re either enrolled in SPAP or lose eligibility, you will be able to join a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Check with Medicare if this applies to you to find out when you’re allowed to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. 7. You’re in a Special Needs Plan (SNP) but you no longer qualify Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are Medicare Advantage plans that limit membership to individuals with specific diseases or conditions. If you have been enrolled in an SNP but no longer have a disease or condition that qualifies as a special need that the plan serves, you can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan. You can enroll in a new plan starting from the time you lose your special needs status through three months after your SNP’s grace period ends. 8. Your decision to join (or not join) a plan resulted from a federal employee’s error
Salt makes you hungry, not thirsty, scientists say by Josh Hafner
t’s conventional wisdom as timeless as beer taps: Eating salty foods makes you thirsty.
But if you inhale fistfuls of bar snacks on a regular basis, you may find the opposite to be true. Diets high in salt can lead the body to retain more water, decreasing thirst and ramping up hunger, according to new published research in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
An international group of scientists from places such as the Vanderbilt University and the German Aerospace Center conducted the first-ever study on salt intake and drinking habits, according to the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, which also took part. To create a controlled environment with fixed diets, researchers used two simulated Mars missions involving 10
Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6776 Southwest Freeway, Suite # 178 Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com
If a federal employee made an error that impacted your decision on joining your current Medicare Advantage plan or choosing not to join a plan, you can potentially enroll in a new plan. Medicare will notify you about the error (not the other way around). You’ll have two months after the month in which you’re notified by Medicare about the error to make a change. 9. You weren’t properly informed that your other private drug coverage wasn’t as good as Medicare drug coverage If either Medicare or your current private plan notifies you that you weren’t appropriately told that your current drug coverage wasn’t equivalent to Medicare drug coverage, you will have two months after the month you are notified about the error to either join a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage or enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. 10. You weren’t properly informed you were losing private drug coverage that was as good as Medicare drug coverage If either Medicare or your current private plan notifies you that you weren’t appropriately told that you were losing private drug coverage that was as good ad Medicare drug coverage, you will have two months after the month you are notified about the error to to either join a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage or enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. To Select right Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.
male volunteers. One “mission” lasted for 105 days and the other for 205 days. The men all ate the same diets, but with differing levels of salt. At first, the hunch of every bartender held up: Salty foods increased thirst in the short term, according to the Max Delbrück Center. But over the long term, those on salty diets drank less and complained about being hungry more. That’s because the salt set off a mechanism that keeps water in the kidneys, researchers found. Scientists behind the research said it could shape understandings of how the body achieves proper balance, or homeostasis. (-USA Today)
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VOICE OF ASIA 19
Feminism is in fashion by Christina Dean
realised that feminism is well and truly in fashion when I was in New York during the city’s famous Fashion Week earlier this year. But it wasn’t the bloggers’ miles of digital coverage or my Instagram’s overwhelming feed of front row fashion news that gave me this revelation. Instead, it was my conversation with Freddy, my friends’ nine-year-old son, who made me reconsider feminism in fashion. Sitting over his bowl of overflowing Coco Pops, he casually told me how popular Pussy Hats are in the US. “Everyone’s wearing them,” he said.
Pussy Hats, I was on higher alert for signs that feminism has resurfaced into the forefront of fashion.
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Why White is Right for the Summer
A few days later, the fashion week baton moved from Manhattan to Milan, bringing along with it teems of tiny models, cases of foundation and swarms of fashion journalists. And on the hallowed Milan runway, the famous family-run Italian knitwear brand, Missoni, who is better known for colourful knits, sent their models down the runway wearing pink Pussy Hats (naturally, these were customised with a certain Missoni flare) and all the show’s guests, regardless of gender, received their own hat. This was a
White is a classic way to beat the summer heat. Plus, it’s versatile (Photos: Femna) he summer is going to be sheer delight, in more ways than one. Designers unveiled sheer white crop tops, dresses, gowns, duster jackets, capes and even bottoms in white and off-white tones. Designer Anita Dongre says, “White is a quintessential summer hue, reminiscent of purity and serenity. Combined with sheer, the textile that is light and fluid, it produces an ethereal effect that is absolutely breathtaking.”
The best bit about sheer fabric is that it allows you to play with layers. Pure white as well as hues like ivory, ecru and cream are a big hit in sheer fabrics this season.
can focus on just one body part that you’d like to accentuate.
Designer Shruti Sancheti says that one can sex it up by going for minimum coverage under the sheer fabric. “But wearing white sheer demands a certain amount of fitness. If you’re in shape and have a toned body, you’ll rock the trend,” she adds.
Angelic and elegant: Play peek-aboo with a dress that mixes sheer with fabrics like chiffon, georgette and silk
White is a classic way to beat the summer heat. Plus, it’s versatile. With millennials looking to buy pieces that are stylish and have repeat value, white sheer fits right in. As designer Monica Shah says, “You can dress up or dress down your look with the same piece.”
While trying out the trend, make sure that...
Desi chic: Go for flowy Indian silhouettes in white cottons with semisheer details
Models on the runway for Missoni in Paris (Photo: AFP /MIGUEL MEDINA) For the uninitiated, Pussy Hats are pink, woolly hats with pointy ears that proliferated during the recent Women’s Marches. Catalysed by Trump’s victory, the hats signify a strong statement about gender equality. Yet coming from a child who is (presumably) more interested in football and Pokémon than fashion and Pucci, my attention was pricked. The true beauty of fashion is not the colours or shapes it comes in. It’s what fashion says about the state of the world that interests me. I’ve always loved working in fashion - through founding Redress, the NGO reducing waste in fashion, and co-founding the social impact up-cycled fashion brand, BYT - because fashion is a reflection of our times. If you scratch beneath the silk, hair spray, marketing and makeup you find an industry that evolves according to what’s going on around us. At their best, fashion designers are cultural commentators. So after Freddy’s comment about
fashion and political message to push the need for women’s equality, proving that you don’t have to own a pussy to support gender equality. I then looked elsewhere and saw that many of the world’s top designers also featured feminist statements down the runway. Cue Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminists” T-shirt, which was echoed by a flurry of other designers touting slogans such as “Full Time Feminist” and “The Future Is Female”. For a moment, I almost felt sorry for the men of the world. But this is mere tit-for-tat because gender equality is serious business. The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, recently said that “Gender equality is key to development and there is growing evidence of its critical role in building and maintaining peace.” But we should be applauding the Pussy Hats and the slogan T-shirts because they signify a change in mood. And there’s also a change in mood
Nip, tuck, lift and shape: Cosmetic surgery thrives by Mariëtte Le Roux
ARIS, France | AFP - Demand for cosmetic surgery is showing no sign of abating, with a boom in Asia as the procedures become more affordable and less of a taboo, experts said.
Korea is for eye, nose, cheek and chin resculpting. “They (clients) will be treating areas of the face that will make them look like Europeans or Americans,” Laurent Brones, and industry expert, told AFP.
when it comes to money. Women are getting richer, whether you have personally noticed it or not. UBS this year reported that women’s global wealth is expected to grow. Over the next five years, UBS predicts the amount of private wealth controlled by women will grow seven percent per year1. But what’s exciting about these wealthy women is that they are reportedly more focused on financial investments that bring about social good, so much so that women are expected to invest $2.3 trillion into ethical causes by 2021. I’m applauding! These wealthy women can invest their way into a better fashion system that respects women and the environment.
1. You use layers with different textures like cottons mixed with flouncy net 2. You wear an inner that fits you well. Go for the seamless variety in colours that complement the sheer outfit. 3. Your peak-a-boo skin show always looks sophisticated. For that you
4. Go for a dash of colour with a scarf or statement earrings or even a belt.
At play: Wear a sheer collared shirt with 3D embellishments. Pair with a bralet and athleisure-inspired pants
Barely there: Wear see-through lowers (pants or skirts) with a solid shirt or top At work: If you don’t have a strict dress code, throw on a sheer jacket over skirt and top or wear a shift dress. Keep it subtle (-Femina)
But girl power is not just for the ultra-high-net worth. Whether we shop in Prada or Primark, women can control fashion. So next time I’m in New York, I’ll check in with little Freddy, who is currently volunteering in remote Africa with disabled and orphaned children, many of them girls. And I’m sure he’ll have something interesting to say about that too. (-Huffington Post UK) injections (2.9 million) to iron out wrinkles and plump up lips. Surgical breast augmentation was in third place with 1.5 million procedures, followed by liposuction with 1.4 million and operations to lift and shape eyelids at 1.3 million.
Supermodel Kanishtha Dhankar flaunts her toned figure in a sexy swimsuit, poses for the Kingfisher Calendar 2017 shoot. Super-stylish, ace, fashion photographer Atul Kasbekar has captured the glamorous beauties in the calendar, on sale now (Photo: Kingfisher/Atul Kasbekar/Instagram)
Youngest Astrologer of North America Astrologer, Vaastu & Gem Stone Consultant
“HARDIK VYAS” Astrologer Hardik Vyas, a famous young face in Vedic Astrology from India is available in Houston. Call for guidance on Health, Wealth, Education, Career, Business, Property, Love & Passion, Marriage & Compatibility, HoroscopeMaking, Child Problem, Luck & Fortune, Peace & Prosperity, Karma & Economical Sources. Demand in Asia is exploding, practitioners say, driven by a rapidly growing middle class and a quest for more Caucasian features (Photo: Shutterstock) The global market grew by 8.3 percent in 2016 to an estimated value of 8.5 billion euros ($8.9 billion) -- the GDP of the Bahamas, according to data released Friday at the IMCAS aesthetic industry conference in Paris. In 2017, people are projected to spend 9.2 billion euros on face and body upgrades, growing to nearly 12 billion euros in 2020. “There’s a general acceptance that doing, whether it’s surgery or less invasive procedures... to make you feel better, look better, it’s much more accepted,” Nolan Karp, a New York surgeon and board member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, told AFP. Demand in Asia is exploding, practitioners say, driven by a rapidly growing middle class and a quest for more Caucasian features. Behind the United States and Brazil, South Korea was the third biggest market for aesthetic treatments in 2015, with 1.2 million procedures out of a global total of 21.7 million, according to data from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). While breast augmentation and liposuction are the most popular procedures in America, Brazil, Mexico and most of Europe, demand in South
IMCAS data shows the Asia Pacific region will be the fastest grower, at 12 percent in the coming four years -- overtaking Europe for the first time in 2020 to represent a quarter of the global market at over three billion euros. - Machines overtaking scalpels Less-invasive procedures such as laser treatments to tighten or “rejuvenate” skin, toxin injections to paralyse face muscles and ease frown lines, chemical peels, and freezing and killing unwanted fat, are fast overtaking traditional surgery. More and more clients opt for procedures that require no anaesthesia, less recovery time, and present fewer risks. “The growth of non-surgicals is pretty much exponential,” ISAPS president Renato Saltz told AFP. “The technology, the money invested in research and development, is just mind boggling. If you look at the industry, they don’t make money with a scalpel, but they do make money with machines.” In 2015, Botox injections were the most popular procedure with 4.6 million performed by plastic surgeons, followed by hyaluronic acid
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SCIENCE & TECH
VOICE OF ASIA 20
Microsoft inches toward a world without passwords by David Jones
EDMOND, Washington, April 25, 2017 Microsoft on Tuesday announced the general availability of its phone sign-in for customers with Microsoft accounts -- a system that could be the beginning of the end for passwords.
and consumer use in regular Microsoft accounts. The initial version allowed fingerprint authentication in place of passcodes, and offered support for wearables including Apple Watch and Samsung Gear. Setting up Microsoftâ€™s new phone-in system is easy. If customers already have Microsoft
la and Cloud Platform General Manager Julia White discussed the idea of moving away from passwords at the Government Cloud Forum in November 2015. Microsoft then employed Windows 10 Password to give customers a smart card level of threat detection, using the card as the first level of protection, then Windows Hello for confirmation through biometrics, such as face recognition, iris scanning or fingerprints. - Better Than 2FA? The new functionality from Microsoft is not groundbreaking, but it represents a true upgrade from traditional password authentication methods, suggested Rik Ferguson, vice president for security research at Trend Micro.
The new system requires that customers add their accounts to the Microsoft Authenticator app, which comes in both iOS and Android versions, noted Alex Simons, director of program management of the Microsoft Identity Division. After supplying a username, a member will get a mobile phone notification. Tapping â€œapproveâ€? on the app will authenticate the memberâ€™s information. The new phone sign-in process is easier than two-factor authentication, according to Simons. 2FA requires users first to enter passwords, and then to enter a code delivered via text or email. The new process is safer than password-only systems, which can be forgotten, stolen for use in a phishing scheme, or otherwise compromised, he said. - Microsoft AuthenticatorMicrosoft Authenticator, introduced last summer, started out as a replacement for earlier authentication apps, both for enterprise use in Azure AD
Authenticator for their personal accounts, they can select the dropdown button on the account tile and select â€œenable phone sign-in.â€? Android users will be prompted to set up the authenticator. iPhones will set up the authenticator automatically. Users who donâ€™t have a phone available can elect to access their accounts using a password. Microsoft has not made the phone sign-in system available to Windows Phone users. Windows Phone makes up less than 5 percent of the active Authenticator Apps user base, Simons noted, so the company has prioritized iOS and Android. When the system achieves success on those two platforms, Microsoft will consider making it ready for Windows Phone. - Password Problems The idea of moving away from passwords has been around for years, in part due to their vulnerability to hacking. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadel-
â€œThis technology is definitely an improvement over using authenticator apps to generate one-time passwords, which can still be hijacked through a manin-the-browser attack,â€? he told the E-Commerce Times. The new app represents true two-factor authentication in the same way Apple uses its Trusted Device authentication or Google uses its prompts. Using interactive prompts or using an out-of-band trusted device like a smartphone rather than one-time passwords from an authenticator app or SMS does away with having data pass through the same browser, Ferguson added. However the new system doesnâ€™t necessarily make logins more secure, Trend Micro Cloud Security VP Mark Nunnikhoven told the E-Commerce Times. Microsoftâ€™s approach substitutes â€œsomething you know,â€? the password, with â€œsomething you have,â€? the phone, he said, but it is not as strong as genuine two-factor identification. (e-Commerce Times)
Worldâ€™s last male rhino getting help from Tinder dating app
AIROBI, Kenya, (AP) - The worldâ€™s last male northern white rhino named Sudan has joined the Tinder dating app as wildlife experts make a last-chance breeding effort to keep his species alive.
World,â€? by a Kenyan wildlife conservancy and the dating app, focuses on the rhino. The 43-year-old and his last two female companions are unable to breed naturally because of issues that include old age.
â€œI donâ€™t mean to be too forward, but the fate of the species literally depends on me,â€? the rhinoâ€™s profile says. â€œI perform well under pressure.â€?
Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the app aim to raise $9 million for research into breeding methods, including in-vitro fertilization, in an effort to save the species from extinction.
The campaign called â€œThe Most Eligible Bachelor in the
â€œWe partnered with Ol Pejeta
conservancy to give the most eligible bachelor in the world a chance to meet his match,â€? said Matt David, head of communications and marketing at Tinder. â€œWe are optimistic given Sudanâ€™s profile will be seen on Tinder in 190 countries and over 40 languages.â€? The conservancyâ€™s website had crashed by Tuesday evening. Sudan lives at the conservancy, protected by guards around the clock, with the two females.
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Thousands join March for Science to fight â€˜alternative factsâ€™ Scientists and the people who support them took to the streets around the world on April 22, 2017
ASHINGTON, DC - Thousands of people joined a global March for Science on Saturday with Washington the epicenter of a movement to fight back against what many see as an â€œassault on factsâ€? by populist politicians. Hundreds streamed onto the Washington Mall for a festive day of music, speeches and teach-ins by scientists disturbed by the rise of so-called â€œalternative factsâ€? around crucial issues like climate change following the election of Donald Trump.
Scientist Bill Nye alongside fellow demonstrators in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
â€œWe have no Planet B,â€? read one of the signs carried by demonstrators, many of whom sported â€œKeep Our Science Greatâ€? caps as they arrived from around the country on Earth Day to remind fellow citizens of the importance of science to their daily lives.
around the world, from Sydney to Accra. Organizers stress their protest is non-partisan, but concerns about the challenges to the role of science in society have spiked under Trumpâ€™s presidency.
At a time when the Earth has marked three consecutive years of record-breaking heat, and ice is melting at an unprecedented rate at the poles, risking massive sea level rise in the decades ahead, some marchers say it is more important than ever for scientists to communicate and work toward solutions to curb fossil fuel emissions.
He has proposed deep cuts in funding for scientific research, elevated opponents of climate pacts and environmental regulations to cabinet-level positions, and drawn support from conservative Christians who challenge the teaching of evolution in US schools. â€œIf this president has his way, science is in danger but I think there will be a lot of resistance from Congress,â€? said Elisabeth Johnston, a retired biologist.
â€œEverything we touch, science has helped us understand better,â€? said Ruth Varner, a biochemist from the University of New Hampshire.
Protesters were to march to the US Capitol later in the day to carry their pro-science message.
â€œWeâ€™re all busy every day, so if youâ€™re not surrounded by scientists talking about this you might forget how important it is to you.â€?
Some in the Washington crowd were not opposed to Trump per se, but felt that science was a public good that should receive non-partisan support, as it historically has.
Rainy weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Washington crowd, as people chatted, introduced themselves to strangers, or hailed colleagues they came across in the throng.
Lowell Jarvis, a 57-year-old air and water quality expert, said he agreed with Trump on some issues, but not the cuts on
Their movement was echoed in hundreds of satellite events across the United States and
funding for research. â€œWe need to invest in people and the environment,â€? he said. - Satellite events In London, hundreds of people marched from the Science Museum to the Houses of Parliament, holding up signs with messages like â€œScience is Sexyâ€? and â€œLess Invasions, More Equations.â€? The London rally was attended by actor Peter Capaldi, who plays TVâ€™s time-travelling hero of science, Dr Who. In Ghana, organizers used the day for a teach-in at a beachside hotel in Accra about environmental issues of local concern like the impact of plastic waste on the environment. â€œAs you walk around our beaches you see it is killing everything,â€? said Cordie Aziz, an American activist involved in plastics recycling. â€œItâ€™s killing our fish, we have flooding in our communities, we have a rise of environmental diseases.â€? Vocal protesters in Sydney wearing white lab coats called on politicians to support the scientific community. â€œWe need thinkers not deniers,â€? read one banner. (-AFP Relax News)
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Sachin Tendulkar: I can’t believe I am 44
UMBAI: Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar on Monday said that he could not believe he has turned 44 as he celebrated his birthday in front of thousands of adoring fans at the Wankhede Stadium.
Asked by former Australia opening batsman Matthew Hayden to cut the bat on top of the cake along with a ball, Tendulkar said, “You never cut a cricket bat...will cut the outfield to open up the gaps.” “Being 44 is nice but also covering those 44 years (has been nice). My movie is probably coming out on May 26th and I have been busy these days to ensure how best it is launched. I can’t believe I am 44.” The legendary batsman said that he never thought IPL would become so big as it is today when it was launched 10 years back. “I never thought it will become so big. The way it has taken off it’s remarkable. In these 10 years, people have become connected to their clubs and backing their players. Moreover, families have started attending the matches. “Now, it’s not about some male friends getting together, the wives and grandmothers have started taking interest. That is what IPL is all about, celebrating cricket,” he said. “This is fast cricket and it is enjoyable as it is full of action. What this format has done is it has gone to countries where cricket does not exist,” he added.
In truth her dash became more of a gentle amble the closer the diminutive centenarian came to the finish line, with more energy spent beaming at spectators than running. But Kaur was guaranteed victory as the only participant in the 100-years-and-over category at
Houston could soon have its own major league rugby team next year — the Houston Strikers
As the popularity of rugby grows nationwide, could that interest translate into a growing Houston fan base?
Sachin celebrates his Birthday at Wankhede stadium (Photo: IPL/ Twitter) Meanwhile, Tendulkar was flooded with wishes from the cricketing fraternity across the globe. Indian captain Virat Kohli led the pack in wishing Tendulkar on the occasion. “Happy B’day Paaji ????. May God bless you with more happiness and peace in life. My cricket hero always,” Kohli tweeted. In his congratulatory message for Tendulkar, the dashing Virender Sehwag wrote: “To a man who could stop time in India, #HappyBirthday Sachin @ sachin_rt.” Indian off-spinner R Ashwin quipped that April 24 could be declared the ‘Indian Cricket Day’. “Many more happy returns of the day @sachin_rt , April 24th should be marked as Indian cricket day. I was lucky to have played along side you,” he tweeted. Current India coach Anil Kumble also wished the Little Master, tweeting “#HappyBirthdaySachin. One of the most inspiring sportsmen the world has seen. Hope you have a splendid year ahead @sachin_rt.” Out of favour India opener and Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir
wrote: “@sachin_rt may God Almighty continue to smile on you. A very happy birthday paaji, have a blast. #HappyBirthdaySachin” “Happy birthday paaji @ sachin_rt lots of love and best wishes khush raho tandrust raho (be happy, be well)..we love you,” Harbhajan Singh wrote on his twitter handle. “Special day, special person and special celebration. May all your dreams and desires come true.Happy birthday Sachin @ sachin_rt,” is what India pacer Umesh Yadav wrote in his congratulatory message. “Happy B’day to a man who has touched an emotional chord with a billion people, a part of our lives forever, @sachin_ rt#HappyBirthdaySachin,” former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif wrote in his congratulatory message.
the New Zealand event, which has attracted 25,000 competitors. Participation, not racing the clock, is the priority for Kaur, who has been dubbed the “miracle from Chandigarh” in New Zealand media. “I enjoyed it and am very, very happy,” she told reporters via a Punjabi interpreter. “I’m going to run again, I’m not going to give up. I will participate, there’s no full stop.”
Thirty-one-year-old rugby fan and Houston engineer, Mathew Oliver, thinks so. He says the city’s diversity offers up a great backdrop for the sport. “There’s such a big ‘ex-pat’ community that gets largely driven by the energy industry,” says Oliver, “and that brings in a lot of people from countries where rugby is a bit more ingrained in the culture – people start playing at a younger age, [from] the UK, Australia or South Africa.” Oliver co-founded the Houston United Rugby Team (also known as HURT), one of the largest social rugby clubs in Greater Houston – but when asked his thoughts about a major league rugby franchise? “I guess I just say that I’m cautiously optimistic,” states the rugger. “There’s been some different attempts in the past to form “professional” rugby leagues that have not worked out. But I’m all for anything that helps grow the sport of rugby in America and definitely a legitimate professional league can do a lot for that.”
Not just Indian cricketers, former Australia stalwarts also wished Tendulkar.
Jeremy Turner, president of the Houston Strikers, sees that
“Happy birthday @sachin_rt and @bowlologist,” tweeted Australian wicket-keeping legend Adam Gilchrist.
Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke: “Happy bday to the great @sachin_rt, 44 years young today. Hope you have a great day and year to come mate!” (-Times of India)
After a medical check-up she was given the all-clear and since then mother and son have taken part in dozens of masters athletics meets around the globe. Kaur already has a swag of gold medals that would rival Michael Phelps’ haul and also plans to compete in the 200m sprint, two kilogramme shot put and 400 gram javelin in Auckland, taking her tally to 20.
Kaur only took up athletics eight years ago, at the tender age of 93.
Her son told the Indian Weekender newspaper that Kaur was on a strict diet that included wheat grass juice and a daily glass of kefir (fermented milk).
She had no prior sporting experience before her son Gurdev Singh suggested she join him in competing on the international masters games circuit.
World Masters Games 2017 chief executive Jennah Wootten said the Auckland organisers were delighted to host such an inspiration.
Houston United Rugby Team (HURT) (Photo: Michael Starghill) growth increasing here in the city. He says Houston has hosted ‘test-run’ rugby matches for years with thousands of fans in attendance. “We’ve run five international games: one at U of H at the old Robertson Stadium and then four at the new soccer stadium, BBVA Compass,” says Turner, “and all of them have been wonderfully attended by far more people than even heard about rugby before the matches were put on.” Turner would not comment on proposed efforts to build a Houston stadium for the team. Newly-hired head coach, Justin Fitzpatrick, says with Houston’s love for their sports teams: the Texans football and the Rockets of the NBA – rugby in this city just makes sense. “American football is a de-
rivative of rugby as is basketball,” says Fitzpatrick. “So there are many things that are unknowingly you can see and recognize in the sport of rugby. You’ve got the fast pace of basketball and collisions of football – there’s a lot to be enthralled about.” Turner says the league is working closely with international rugby organizations and using major league soccer as a benchmark. He says the Houston Strikers are one of ten teams – including teams in Dallas and Austin – signed on to the Major League Rugby group, with two more cities in other states in talks to join the league’s roster. Preseason rugby matches in Houston could begin as early as this fall. (-Houston Public Media)
Messi’s Clasico for the ages vs Barcelona by Gabriele Marcotti
No hurry as India’s inspirational centenarian wins gold
Is Houston ready for a major league rugby franchise? he city of Houston could soon have its very own major league rugby team next year — the Houston Strikers.
UCKLAND, New Zealand | AFP - With a jaunty victory dance, 101-year-old Man Kaur celebrated winning the 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games in Auckland on Monday, the 17th gold medal in the Indian athlete’s remarkable late-blooming career.Kaur clocked one minute 14 seconds as a small crowd cheered her on -- ending a mere 64.42 seconds off Usain Bolt’s 100m world record set in 2009.
by Eddie Robinson
Tendulkar cut a cake during the IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant as the stadium reverberated with chants of ‘happy birthday Sachin’. Tendulkar is currently MI’s mentor and he played for the franchise for six seasons from 2008 to 2013.
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
ometimes they live up to the hype. Sometimes they surpass it. From the neutral’s perspective, Sunday night’s Clasico took it to another level. No matchup in the world has as much talent on the pitch even with Neymar missing and Gareth Bale succumbing to injury after just more than half an hour, and few had as much drama, individual displays of talent, handbrake turns in the narrative and end-to-end excitement as what we witnessed. And, as far as Lionel Messi is concerned, we’ve had the umpteenth confirmation that we are living in privileged times, able to see one of the greatest of all time doing it over and over again in the most dramatic fashion, including a virtual buzzer-beater. Barcelona’s 3-2 win at the Bernabeu doesn’t quite reopen the Liga race, but it does mean Real Madrid are one slip-up away from a potential neck-andneck finish. Both are level on points, with Barca enjoying the edge in the tie-breaker, but Real Madrid have a game in hand:
May 17 away to Celta Vigo. By that point, both Celta and Madrid could be in European finals: Eduardo Berizzo’s crew face Manchester United in the Europa League and Real, of course, have the Madrid derby. Should Barca hold out hope? Sure. Celta have already beaten Madrid once this season in the Copa del Rey. You presume that the semifinal derby will stretch Real both in terms of mental and physical resources. Only a fool would rule out the possibility of this going down to the wire at this stage. The game itself offered up positive and negatives for both sides. Zinedine Zidane made a big call by starting Gareth Bale, who had limped off injured against Bayern 11 days earlier. There’s no point in medical second-guessing, but the gamble clearly didn’t work as the Welshman hobbled off after 38 minutes, with the score at 1-1. Here, Zidane made the first of his three big substitution decisions. The draw would have likely handed the title to Madrid. But rather than looking to pre-
serve the result, he went for the jugular. He could have sent on Isco, which might have shifted Madrid to a virtual 4-4-2, allowing them to control the midfield and, therefore, the game. Instead, he opted for Marco Asensio -- a more direct, attacking player -- which had the side effect of opening the game up further. Another was taking off Casemiro. The holding midfielder had opened the scoring, but he’d also been engaging in a game of “whack-a-Messi,” which had cost him a booking and could have cost him a sending off. Sending on Mateo Kovacic in his place was a fairly textbook decision. The third, nine minutes from time, involved withdrawing Karim Benzema for James Rodriguez. With Real Madrid chasing the game, conventional wisdom would have suggested a like-forlike change (Alvaro Morata) or maybe a guy like Isco. Instead, he opted for Rodriguez, who cut across the box and was there to turn a cross from the brilliant Marcelo past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make it 2-2. (-ESPN FC)
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VOICE OF ASIA 22
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Your Horoscope for the Week of April 28, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE
by Hardik Vyas, Astrologer Cell : 832-298-9950
Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April
Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct
Make the effort to understand what is going on by having sensitive discussions. You need to get ready to accept all the good things that are coming your way, because this is a perfect time for new starts and there are indications of fabulous financial conditions. Look deeper in order to understand motivations. Start projects that bring more beauty into your home and lifestyle. Financial situations with groups and friends may demand your time & careful attention. Finish one thing before you start another.
Anything that is related to partnership activities or your home life could be a source of uncertainty. You may be uncertain whether you should take the next step toward a more exciting life or maintain the status quo. Some situations could be very beneficial to you, but you may be tempted to zig when you should zag. Your timing may be a little off. Financial matters continue to be a burden on you. If you’re in danger of feeling too much pressure from projects, don’t make decisions until the picture is clearer. Keep your eyes wide open.
Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May
Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov
You need to prepare for changes in your personal life as well as in public or professional situations. You may feel as if you are plugged into a source of very high energy. Considering the opportunities that await you, you have good reason to be excited. Pay attention to gut instincts that tell you where the treasures of the world are buried. Even the best-laid plans can go awry and you could feel that your equilibrium being disturbed unless you find alternatives. Rely on your sense of humor to get past any obstacle.
Change doesn’t have to be frightening, in fact, major changes taking place in your creative life, could awaken you to new talents and abilities. Remember that there is always another step to take and that things may not actually be as they seem. Don’t resist these changes. You are developing new levels of consciousness, and these changes are part of that development. You’ll enjoy work projects that relate to the communications field. Humanitarian concerns are important to you, it may be time for you to address the inhumanity in the world.
Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec
Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June Take a look at the truth of any situation, no matter what anyone else might say. Try not to go overboard with promotional efforts or the additional expenses. Be sure you don’t let flattery lead you down the wrong road. You may be counting on unreliable sources of income now. If you trust that checks will arrive on time, hedge your bets and make sure they were mailed as promised. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet. You need to take some risks, but don’t frighten yourself in the process.
You may need to get extra rest to keep nervous reactions under control. Try not to get upset over misunderstandings. Others may tend to think out loud & cause you to lose your temper. You may need to blow off some steam. Utilize your natural sense of humor to help yourself to see things from a different perspective. Look for humor everywhere, especially in those who are closest to you. Find a balance between the excitement that goes on around you and your need for serenity.
Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan
Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Sensitivity can be a positive and valuable commodity but when those feelings are close to the surface, they can turn into feelings of insecurity. Your sensitivity may come in handy when it comes to an appeal to others for aid. You may be called to distant shores. If you feel an urge to travel, contact someone at a distance or follow your impulses about international projects. Don’t let anything else distract you. You may find it somewhat scary to react impulsively to pure instinct.
If you are resentful toward friends or associates, you may have to struggle with those feelings. You may find it difficult to keep a smile on your face when you see funds slipping through your fingers. A partner or your mate may appear to take the easy way out and ignore your struggle to balance everything that’s going on around you. Don’t let stress tempt you to play games or plan ways to get even. Do yourself and others a big favor by investing in some background checks & research. Your deep emotional feelings are apparent to you.
Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb
Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August New responsibilities could seem burdensome now. You need to make an effort to adjust to the demands of you. If you’re under too much pressure, your health could suffer. You need to be needed and you may have to carefully structure your time to accommodate everything you want to do. With some patience and understanding on your part, however, you’ll realize what could occur in the lives of others to cause them to have to completely re-adjust their routines. Try to see external events as a mirror for your own growth.
You may want to bury your head in the sand. Your awareness of something that is not fair or just at your job could make you want to walk away from some career situations. Be sure you don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. If some associates behave like traumatized children, treat them in right way. Give people the attention they require. Then you’re free to go on your way, unfettered and clear of resentments. You should have good luck selling or purchasing property.
Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March
Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Financial matters demand your careful attention. To avoid going down the garden path of unfulfilled dreams, take care of all practical matters. Keep your eye on your goals, but take precautions. Secure the situation with practical measures. Partnership projects could seem uncertain. If someone you depend on lets you down or acts in an unpredictable manner, you may need to discuss the situation more thoroughly. You could discover that the actions of others have little to do with you.
You may be very vulnerable and sensitive, especially when it comes to your own creativity and your need for self-expression. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Show your leadership and avoid overly aggressive behavior. Make sure that you don’t push anyone too strongly, because you could inadvertently push good things away. You could be tempted to run away at the wrong moment. Take a step backward, gain new perspective, and try to attract the right people and situations into your life. There are many wonderful ways of expressing your feelings. Look deep inside for answers.
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VOICE OF ASIA 23
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
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VOICE OF ASIA 24
FRIDAY, April 28, 2017
Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...
Published on Apr 27, 2017
Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...