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FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

2017 Begins with Higher Part B Medicare Premium

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Vol. 30 No. 1 Friday, January 6, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 20 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: voiceasia@aol.com

Bollywood Shake rings in 2017 with Five Indian-Americans sworn in as Members of Congress New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball

52-year-old Kamala Harris whose mother was from India, was sworn in US Congress. (AFP)

Bollywood Shake host Ruchika Dias, with revelers at the New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. Photo redit - Hassan Studio.

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OUSTON - Bollywood Shake hosted its 3rd Annual New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball 2017 at Safari Texas Ranch Grand Ballroom on December 31st, 2016. The guest list included the cream of Houston crowd who rang in the New Year with style, glamour and excitement! After successful events for the last two years, there was a lot of anticipation and excitement about this year’s event and the event exceeded all expectations once again! Ruchika Dias, Founder & CEO of Bollywood Shake raised the bar this year and delivered

a superbly executed event. The Masquerade theme added some additional elegance, mystery and glamour to the event. The upscale and grand venue was beautifully decorated and exuded glitz and glamour. There was an abundance of music, food & drinks keeping the guests entertained all night! One of Houston’s top DJs, DJ AV kept people on the dance floor all night with their foot tapping music including Bollywood and Top 40 hits. Guests were welcomed to the beautiful event by Samba dancers and a stilt walker! The emcees for the evening were Nina Desai, Mrs. Bollywood

2014 and Riva Verma, a popular RJ on a Houston desi radio station. The emcees looking beautiful and conducted the show wonderfully. The entertainment began with singer J.S. Paras who entertained the crowd with his energetic music. People joined Paras on the dance floor and enjoyed dancing to his music! Then came a melodious performance by 22-year old Jamal Shayan who sang beautifully on his guitar. This was followed by a scintillating performance by Samba dancers followed by a fun interactive session. DJ Continued on Page 9

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ASHINGTON, (PTI) Creating history for a minority ethnic community that comprises just one per cent of the US population, five Indian Americans took oath as members of the Congress.

Harris, who before the swearing in held the position of California Attorney General replaced Senator Barbara Boxer, who decided against seeking re-election. She is one of the seven new Senators to have taken office in the new Congress.

52-year-old Kamala Harris whose mother was from India and father from Jamaica of African heritage, was sworn in yesterday as the Senator from California by the outgoing US Vice President Joe Biden. She is the first Indian American to have ever served in the Senate.

“Today I was sworn-in to the US Senate. I am humbled and honored to serve you and the people of California. Let’s get to work,” Harris said immediately thereafter.

She was accompanied by her husband Doug Emhoff, sister Maya Harris and other members of her immediate family members during the swearing in ceremony.

After her elections, she has made it clear that her top priority would be to fight out the alleged divisive policies of the Republicans who are now in majority in both the House of Representative and the Senate. Continued on Page 10

Indian Christian Ecumenical Community of Houston, H.O.P.E. and other churches celebrate Christmas

Trinity Church Christmas carol singers.

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he Indian Christian Ecumenical Community of Houston (ICECH), an organization of different denominations of churches from India celebrated its 35th Christmas Celebration on December 25 2016 at the St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Cathedral Auditorium. This year the celebration by different churches was organized by President Very Rev. Zachariah Punnoose Cor Episcopa.

CSI Church of Greater Houston, St. Mary’s Knanaya Catholic Church, Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Holy Immanuel CSI Church, St. Stephen’s Orthodox Church, St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, St. Mary’s Syro Malabar Catholic Church Mission. Pearland, India Catholics of Houston, St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Cathedral, St. Joseph’s Syro Malabar Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Malankara Orthodox Church. 2016 collection from the service will be given to the Old age home run by Malankara Catholic Church

Participating Churches include: St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church of Houston, St. Thomas Evangelical Church of Houston, St. Peter’s Malankara Catholic Church, St. James Knanaya Syrian Orthodox Church, Trinity Mar Thoma Church, St. John’s Knanaya Syrian Orthodox Church, Sr. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church, St. Thomas

Presidential address was delivered by Vey Rev. Zachariah Punnoose Cor Episcopa. More pictures on page 3 Children of H.O.P.E.

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All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the consent of the publisher. Voice of Asia assumes no liability resulting from action taken based on the information included herein. Published weekly by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713-7745143. Email for editorial submissions: voiceasia@aol.com; Email for advertising inquiries and submissions: ads@ voiceofasiagroup.com Voice of Asia (USPS 010-215) (ISSN#10705058) is published every Friday (for a subscription rate of $30 per year) by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713774-5143. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Voice of Asia, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074

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

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Why India may matter less in world politics during a Trump presidency by Sushil Aaron, Hindustan Times

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he reality of a Donald Trump presidency is unnerving many capitals. European leaders are unsure if the US will stick to Nato treaty commitments and hold firm if Russia destabilises the Baltics states, for instance. Japan wonders if Trump’s talk of greater financial burdensharing on security will impact its own preparedness in the wake of threats from China and North Korea. India too has plenty reason to be uncertain. This has less to do with Trump’s rhetoric about outsourcing and the number of H1-B visas granted – although that is politically important for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The real danger of a Trump presidency for India is in the unsettling of the international order that it promises, and the changed power equations between Russia, China and US which potentially work to Delhi’s disadvantage. To get a sense of the wholly different situation India finds itself in, consider the context India operated in during Barack Obama’s presidency. The Asian theatre was marked in recent years by US-China tensions owing to Beijing’s belligerence in the South China Sea. The US countered this through a set of revitalised strategic partnerships, including with India. Modi’s enthusiasm led him to sign the India-US joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean – that

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explicitly spoke of ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. Modi went one step further and signed a logistics agreement that enables US military’s access to Indian bases for repair and supplies. The diplomatic cover afforded by the Obama administration allowed the Modi government to focus its energies on isolating Pakistan internationally and get away with a heavy-handed policy in Kashmir – both policies that served to bolster the BJP domestically. Russia and China were relatively marginal to India’s diplomatic considerations, even though Delhi valued Moscow as a source of weapons and energy while the enhanced trade with China created a measure of interdependence that managed tensions. Delhi could choose not to participate in China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) infrastructural initiative because the US, Western powers and Japan were envisaged as the primary sources of security, legitimacy and resources for India. This entire calculus now stands upended. Trump is keen on dismantling the pillars of US foreign policy in a manner that makes the US’ political and bureaucratic machinery deeply uncomfortable. He wants to scale back American commitments abroad, he’d like to focus on an ‘America first’ policy and is expected to be explicitly transactional in his dealings with other countries. He has chosen a pro-Russian figure in Rex Tillerson as his

Secretary of State and picked China hawk Peter Navarro to head the National Trade Council, leading many to anticipate serious tensions with China on trade issues. Some in Delhi may believe that an aggressive US that counters an assertive China works for India. But policymakers will know that it is one thing to play geopolitical chess in peace time, i.e. strengthen regional partnerships to counter a rising power, and quite another being on the cusp of a US-China conflict in Asia and having to choose sides. It’s not clear if such developments will materialise soon, but the scene of global politics will move to great power dynamics between US, Russia and China. India will be peripheral to the concerns of all three for different reasons. As far as the US is concerned, it is not clear how much attention Trump will devote to India while he is preoccupied with the inevitable domestic turbulence his presidency will generate and the resetting of ties with Russia and China. India’s leverage abroad now appears to depend on the Washington security establishment’s ability to normalise Trump and make him aware of Delhi’s utility to American strategy in Asia. But that establishment itself will take time recovering and coping with the changes he wants and India as a priority could slip in the process. Trump did not mention India in his foreign policy speech on April 27, 2016 and it is not clear if he has any definite ideas as to what to do

with the relationship. So as it braces for a Trump presidency, India finds itself both geopolitically outflanked and economically bereft. The reason for the former is that the Modi government abandoned ‘strategic autonomy’ and tilted towards the US in ways that aggravated Russia and China – leaving Delhi unprepared for a scenario where Washington’s priorities itself change with the election of a maverick figure. What then can India do in changed circumstances? Some will say nothing – for things may turn out fine; Washington can tame Trump and he may turn out to be a predictable figure who will not hurt India much. American soft power and its public institutions will endure; bureaucratic and peopleto-people contact will continue and help weather new political currents. India could also try and strike a set of deals with Trump that appeals to his transactional instincts, vanity or both. There’s no guarantee that such methods will work over time with a temperamental politician. As a coping strategy, Delhi will need to accept that a Trump presidency threatens to shrink India’s influence by the effects it promises to generate in world politics. To increase its wiggle room, Delhi needs to find ways to express its strategic autonomy in ways that suits India’s interests while ensuring that US, Russia and China do not perceive its moves as being (too) opportunistic. That’s way easier said than done.

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Dr. Manousso to Lecture on Negotiation in Goa, India

Dr. Barbara Sunderland Manousso.

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OUSTON - Barbara Sunderland Manousso, PhD., MPH, CEO of Manousso Mediation and Arbitration, LLC,

and an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas on Global Conflict Management at the UST Center for International Studies, has been invited to Goa, India, to train and lecture to their law students at this January’s Lex Infinitum 2017: Negotiation Training/Workshop. Dr. Manousso is an international conflict solution trainer,

author, and practitioner, based in Houston, Texas (Houston 77027). She is in her second year as the international chair for the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Education, Research, and Training section. For more information on Dr. Manousso and Houston training programs, go to www. manousso.us

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FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

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Indian Christian Ecumenical Community of Houston, H.O.P.E. and other churches celebrate Christmas

Priests representing the Indian Christian Ecumenical Community of Houston (ICECH)

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FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Joya Shukla: Achievements as IACCGH’s President of 2016

YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER Answers to your Immigration Questions by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at srichardslaw@aol.com

by Manu Shah Joya Shukla went from volunteering at an IACCGH event to being nominated to the Board of Directors to Chamber President all in the span of a few years. In 2016, Joya put her heart into ‘chambering’ as her daughter calls it advancing the healthcare initiative, International Internship program, and events for young professionals.

ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT NATURALIZATION Sharlene Sharmila Richards Q: Do I have to be a lawful permanent resident first before I can apply for naturalization?

As the first American born President and its youngest, Joya, a fifteen year Shell veteran, says she was keen to engage the next generation that she represented. To offer local university students an Indian corporate experience, Board member Narayan Bhargava and she launched the International Internship Program sending two local university students to Shell & JSW in India. Intern Akash Dhingra described this as “one of the best things that ever happened to me.” Joya also launched the Business of Medicine Series which in her words is “a breakthrough.” This healthcare initiative kicked off with a keynote by CHI-St Luke’s CEO Michael Covert. The intent is to strengthen healthcare bridges between top medical facilities in Houston and India and engage CHI-St. Luke further with Greater Houston with a special focus on women and those committed to medicine. The year also delivered Shell Distinguished Lectures featuring LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel, Dr. Renu Khator, and Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, while the Women’s Leadership Series featured philanthropist Indrani Goradia, Wood Group CEO Michele McNichol, HMSDC President Ingrid Robinson, WBEA President April Day and Former Mayor Annise Parker introduced by UH Dean Latha Ramchand. The pearls of wisdom gained by attendees at each of these events provided empowering strategies and tools teaching

A: In order to be eligible to apply for naturalization, you must first be a lawful permanent resident. If you are married to a US citizen and your spouse has been a US Citizen for three years and you have been living in marital union with him or her for three years, you are eligible for naturalization three years after becoming a permanent resident. Otherwise, typically, the requirement is you have to be a permanent resident for five years.

Joya Shukla. Photo credit: Bijay Dixit life skills, leadership and worklife balance.” Joya was particularly pleased to have Bruce Culpepper, President Shell, USA deliver the 2016 Gala Keynote since her Chamber journey started in earnest when she was chosen to represent Shell on the Chamber’s board. The 17th Annual Gala, the highlight of the year, had a record turnout of 750 guests from Houston’s top tier – along with an unprecedented thirty executives who joined the Gala from India. Mayor Sylvester Turner and other elected officials graced the occasion mingling with the diaspora of Houston’s business elite. She admits it was gratifying to see the incredible community support from energy, education, and healthcare—the Chamber’s key focus areas. Quick to share credit, Joya acknowledges that this successful year was possible due to a “phenomenal Chamber board,”

Treasurer Swapan Dhairyawan, Secretary Raj Bhavsar, and Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia along with the foundation laid by recent past Presidents Sanjay Ram & Ashok Garg and Chamber founders such as Dr. Durga Agrawal. Recognizing her tremendous involvement and contribution to the Chamber’s growth, Jagdip Ahluwalia also highlighted Joya’s persistence and ability to get things done. As her year ends, President Joya Shukla credits her corporate training, project management skills and networking that helped leave the Chamber “just a little bit better than it was yesterday to benefit Houston and India.” While her term as President has ended, her involvement with the Chamber, she says, will continue with the same passion and enthusiasm. She looks forward to continue making an impact in the Houston community through both nonprofit and corporate roles.

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Q: What is the minimum age to apply for naturalization? A: Generally, to apply for naturalization, the applicant must be at least 18 years of age unless the age requirement is waived for example such as due to military involvement. Q: I traveled overseas and stayed for more than 6 months but less than one year in the last five years. The reason is illness and I was hospitalized resulting in my inability to return within the six month period. How will this affect my application for naturalization? A: For naturalization, there is a requirement that the applicant demonstrate continuous residence for 5 years subsequent to obtaining permanent residence. Generally, any single absence between 6 months and a year within the requisite 5 year statutory period creates a rebuttable presumption that continuous residence has been interrupted. Because this presumption is rebuttable, you can present evidence to show that your continuous residence was not interrupted. For example, evidence that you had maintained your employment in the US, you did not obtain employment abroad, you retained full access to your home in the US and that your close family members continued to remain here during the period of your absence will be helpful. It will also be useful to provide evidence of your hospitalization and your

Other types of cases such as Removal of Condition, L, E, H-1B, O, P visas, PERM Labor, Appeals, Waivers etc, all are reasonably priced.

inability to return to the United States within the 6 months period was due to illness. Q: I had a re-entry permit and stayed abroad for more than one year during the required statutory period. I intend to apply for naturalization. Will it be denied? A: Your naturalization application will be most likely be denied because any absence of more than one year during the period which continuous residence is required interrupts the continuous residence requirement. As such, you may reapply to naturalize four years and one day after your return from that trip or two years and one day under the rules for spouse of a U.S. citizen. Q: What are the exceptions and exemptions to the English Language requirement for naturalization? A: The English Language requirement shall not apply to those who are at least 50 years and older at the time of filing and been a permanent resident for at least 20 years or at least 55 years and older and lived in the US as permanent resident for at least 15 years. In addition, those who can show that they are suffering from a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment which impairs their ability to learn English are exempt. Q: My father suffers from dementia and at this stage he is unable to learn the English Language and US History and Government part of the naturalization test. What does he need to do to obtain the exemption from the English Language / US History and Government requirement for his naturalization? Is there a fee to be paid? A: He must file his N-400 Application for Naturalization together with N-648 Application for Medical Disability Waiver. The Form N-648 must be certified by a physician and contain a full and complete description of the medical diagnosis including the DSM-IV Code (Diagnosis Statistical Code); an explanation of how the disability or impairment affects the ability to learn or demonstrate knowledge of the English Language and or US History and Government and the physician’s conclusion whether your father is

able to learn and demonstrate knowledge of English and/or U.S history and government. The Form N-648 does not require a Filing Fee. Q: My mother’s English is not very good. Can she still pass the naturalization test as she does not qualify for the English Language exemptions and does not suffer from any disability or impairment which prohibits her from learning English? A: For naturalization, the applicant must possess elementary level reading, writing and understanding of the English Language. The applicant must also have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of US history and government. If your mother is at least 65 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years, she can take the easier test of US History and Government. In order to determine her chances of passing, my advice is for her to consult with an immigration attorney to determine if she possesses or will be able to achieve the required level of literacy skill needed for such an application and to pass the interview. We have successfully assisted many of our clients who thought their literacy skills were inadequate. 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 713-623-8088 or by email at srichardslaw@ aol.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

FORT BEND VIEW

Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place Email: voiceasia@aol.com

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In diverse Fort Bend, election raised prospects for Democrats by Alexa Ura

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UGAR LAND (TRIBUNE) - When Bharthi Chittur moved to Fort Bend County six years ago, her neighborhood was so diverse and heavily Asian that it wasn’t too dissimilar from her life in Mumbai. “I didn’t find much difference — except maybe more freedom,” Chittur said on a recent rainy day from behind a register at the Asian Market Indo Pak Grocery store she coowns. Nestled in a small commercial park on the outskirts of Sugar Land, the market was surrounded by almost a dozen other businesses catering to Asian residents. It’s not an uncommon sight in this suburban enclave southwest of Houston where the Asian share of the population is four times as high as their share statewide. Chittur is among the immigrants to Fort Bend that have helped the county win the designation as the most ethnically diverse in the United States. But it’s also immigrants like her who in recent years seem to be making a difference politically. Despite long being considered a Republican county, Fort Bend went blue on Nov. 8 when Hillary Clinton won the county with an almost seven-point margin of victory. It wasn’t just an electoral flip — it was a 13-point swing from the 2012 presidential election. And it marked the third presidential election in which the Republican presidential candidate did not win the county by double digits. Political observers say it’s still too early to call Fort Bend a battleground county after just one election in which it flipped from red to blue. But given its demographics — and the possibility that those could help it turn reliably purple in the future — they acknowledge that something is afoot in this diverse pocket of Texas. “This phenomenon is a direct result of the fact that the two population groups Trump did the worst with was collegeeducated voters and minority voters,” said Jay Aiyer, a Texas Southern University assistant professor of political science and public administration. “Fort Bend is unique in that it has a high share of both.” Like most suburbs, Fort Bend’s landscape is a combination of affluent neighborhoods, old ranch homes, rows of new subdivisions, strip malls and open space. About 45 percent

its residents have bachelor’s degrees — well beyond the state’s overall rate of 28.4 percent. But unlike most suburban counties, Fort Bend is home to minority working and middle classes — except here they aren’t in the minority. Black and Asian Texans have long made up a larger share of the county’s population compared to their small numbers statewide. And as the share of the county’s white residents dropped from 40.7 percent in 2005 to 34.5 percent in 2015, the share of Hispanic and Asian residents has steadily grown. In an election year in which the Republican candidate’s rhetoric toward these racial and ethnic groups was called into question, Nita Pundit, a longtime resident of Sugar Land, says she heard from locals who regularly vote for conservatives but were put off by Donald Trump’s remarks. “If [Trump’s rhetoric] wasn’t there, they would’ve voted Republican,” Pundit said during a recent shopping trip in Sugar Land’s town square. “I have no doubt of that.” Turning Fort Bend into a battleground would be a significant coup on the Democrats’ part. And they were quick to celebrate the possibility of a purple Fort Bend. In an email to supporters a week after the election, the county’s Democratic party chair Cynthia Ginyard celebrated Democrats’ win at the top of ticket, saying Fort Bend is turning “very blue” and pointing out that many precincts had come “into play as ‘swing precincts.’” But the results in Fort Bend also depicted another reality: Diversity alone doesn’t decide elections. Despite a Democratic win at the top of the ticket, Republicans won most county races, even sending home incumbent Democratic commissioner Richard Morrison who lost to Republican challenger Vincent Morales by five points. “I have no idea why that happened,” Morrison said in a recent interview. “If you would’ve told me 10 months ago that Hillary Clinton would’ve won Fort Bend County by a significant margin like 17,000 votes and she would have had zero coattails, I would’ve thought you were crazy.” Morrison’s precinct covers a wide southern swath of the county and includes the town of Rosenberg where a carniceria and a quinceañera party store are lined up next to vin-

Report card time for Fort Bend ISD State recognizes 30 schools for achievements; 2 schools miss expectations by Joe Giuliani

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ORT BEND - State education officials in December released school report cards for the 2015-16 school year, recognizing 30 Fort Bend ISD schools for special achievements while two schools as needing improvement. The Texas Education Agency measures schools according to four different categories: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness. The agency’s assessments are essentially pass or fail. To be considered “passing,” a school must attain either a minimum score in the student achievement category, or it must attain minimum scores in all three of the other categories. Ridgemont and Briargate elementary schools were the only FBISD schools that did not meet minimum achievement standards, according to TEA. TEA recognizes schools for exceptional student performance in: English language arts/reading, math, science, social studies, student progress, closing perfor-

mance gaps and postsecondary readiness. Clements High School and Fort Settlement Middle School were the only two FBISD schools to receive TEA’s distinction designations in all seven categories. A total of 30 schools were received distinctions in at least one category. School report cards include additional information about each school as well, including student demographics and details about a school’s finances with comparable information listed about the district and the state as a whole. Briargate failed to meet minimum state scores in three out of the four categories, while Ridgemont failed to attain minimum scores in two out of the four. This was the second year both schools were rated “improvement required.” Schools that fail to meet state standards for two consecutive years must meet a list of TEA requirements, including collecting and analyzing certain school data, submitting progress reports and improvement plans to TEA, and having school staff undergo

www.voiceofasiaonline.com

Thousands attend Sugar Land New Year’s Eve celebration

tage shops in the town’s historic downtown. It’s an area where Hispanics make up 59 percent of the population. But that hasn’t necessarily made it solidly Democratic. Surrounded by quinceañera dresses in every color, Elsa Resinos, a Salvadoran immigrant who opened the party store 14 years ago, said she heard from neighbors and friends who had been planning to vote Republican but were eventually disillusioned by the election cycle. “I was worried about the election,” Resinos said in Spanish while counting table cloths for an upcoming party. “There were a lot of people who were going to vote for Republicans, but then they didn’t even vote.” The numbers are still being crunched, but political observers attribute Clinton’s win in the county to a boost in minority voters, particularly Asian Americans, splitting their tickets to vote against Trump. Fort Bend County had the highest share of straight-ticket voters in November among the state’s 10 biggest counties, but Democrats outnumbered Republicans among the 76 percent of voters that cast straightticket ballots. At a time when the Republican party both in Texas and nationwide is generally moving farther to the right, the challenge for Fort Bend Republicans in the future will be bringing back those typically Republican voters who switched over this year, said Aiyer, the political scientist. “That’s the question: Has the shift become more permanent?” he added. For now, GOP county chair Mike Gibson isn’t sweating the outcome of the presidential election. He acknowledges his party has “to work to close the gaps” and that many first-time voters and Republicans were behind Clinton’s win in the county. But he pointed to GOP wins down the ballot as proof that his party was able to overcome the “demographic sensitivity” to Trump and said he doesn’t think the Trump-fueled crossover voters will bring longterm implications for the party. “If Donald Trump does a good job and runs for re-election, they’ll all be on board,” Gibson said about future elections. “If he does a bad job, he won’t be the nominee anyway. I just don’t see it being a big factor in four years.”

certain training. The improvement plan required by TEA must explain how the school will improve student achievement, while identifying reasons why it failed to meet standards. The plan must be approved by the district’s board of trustees and submitted to TEA by April 17. Schools and districts that are labeled “improvement required” are allowed to appeal the rating. DeEtta Culbertson, TEA spokesperson, was unable to say whether FBISD had appealed the ratings of Ridgemont and Briargate. Schools that continue to fail to meet state standards could eventually see the state education commissioner appoint managers to take over operations at the school, or close the school entirely. FBISD board president Kristin Tassin said the district is providing additional resources for 15 campuses designated as priorities. “Fort Bend ISD and the Board of Trustees are committed to continuous improvement for all students throughout the District,” Tassin said. “We have approved and implemented new programs and provided additional resources to address targeted areas at various campuses. We are encouraged by the 2016 Accountability Results, as they show that our efforts are working.”

Fireworks capped a most festive celebration on the Town Square (Photo: City of Sugar Land)

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UGAR LAND -- An estimated 20,000 people came out for New Year’s celebrations at the Sugar Land Town Square. The city’s annual New Year’s Eve party featured a live band, street performers and a hightech 3-D projection display across the Sugar Land City Hall.

the fireworks and light show,” said Rachel Ray of Brazoria, who also happened to be celebrating her 21st birthday. The New Year’s bash featured two countdowns, a family friendly one at 9 p.m.for children and the main celebration for adults at midnight. “I think it’s a great idea,” said Laura Upton, who brought her

“It’s just fun to hang out, see

Event:

Bike the Bend for Literacy Grab your helmet and water bottle and get ready to Bike the Bend for Literacy!

6-year-old twins to the party. “They would be crazy at midnight.” The early celebration allowed Upton’s children to enjoy the celebrations while still making their bedtime. Since Houston wasn’t hosting a New Year’s Eve event this year, Sugar Land officials say it brought more people to the square.

n Sunday, Jan. 8, The Literacy Council of Fort Bend County is hosting a Bike the Bend event -- presented by Houston Federal Credit Union -- on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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The ride costs $45 per rider until ride day and $50 on the day of. All proceeds will go toward the literacy council’s programs for adult learners. More info: www.ftbendliteracy.org


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 6

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Fort Bend Education Foundation celebrates 25th anniversary of support to teachers and schools Support the Foundation’s annual campaign; become a donor and make a difference in education

Teachers and students displaying the check

2nd garden bed Travis High School Leslie Stanton-Dohnalik.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Fort Bend Education Foundation. For more than two decades, the Foundation has served as a powerful catalyst for extraordinary academic achievement. Since its inception in 1992, the Foundation has provided educators with opportunities to enrich and enhance the quality of education for all students in Fort Bend ISD through its Grants to Teachers and Schools programs, professional development grants, corporate pass-thru programs and grants to assist new teachers who are beginning their educational careers by outfitting their classrooms.

funded $42,137 in grants compared to last year when the Foundation funded $477,000 in grants.

Thanks to generous corporate and individual donors, the Fort Bend Education Foundation has awarded more than $32 million to FBISD teachers and schools over the years. The Foundation receives hundreds of grant applications each year from educators repre-

14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Highlights The 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2017 is being held in Bengaluru, Karnataka from 7-9 January 2017. The PBD is held every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India. The highlights of PBD Convention are:- Hon’ble Prime Minsiter Shri Narendra Modi’s address at the inaugural session - Hon’ble President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee confers Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards (PBSA) 2017 - Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj’s address of Youth PBD - Dr. António Costa, Prime Minister of the Republic of Portugal to be the Chief Guest. - Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin (36 years), Vice President of the Republic of Suriname will be the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held on 7 January, 2017 in Bengaluru. These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields. During the event, individuals of exceptional merit are honored with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to appreciate their role in India’s growth. The event also provides a forum for discussing key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora. PBD 2017 will provide opportunity to explore business and investment opportunities while you get to meet with Chief Ministers, Policy Makers, Entrepreneurs, Stakeholders, Corporate Sector. For more information log on to: https://pbdindia.gov.in/

Colony Bend - Making Math Meaningful senting every school in FBISD. The Foundation’s Board of Directors completes an extensive review of each proposal to ensure that strict criteria are met. “We have received really amazing grant proposals over the years that inspire and equip students for successful futures,” said Jim Brown, FBEF

President. “The Foundation has funded literacy and math programs at the elementary level, agricultural and science projects at the middle school level, and fashion design and technical education projects for high schools. The list goes on and on.” In 1992, the Foundation

Three districtwide programs recently funded by the FBEF include a Programming and Robotics Club in partnership with Schlumberger on 45 FBISD campuses; a Mobile Digital Film School, which teaches students advanced film-making techniques with a film showcase during the Annual FBISD Film Fest in the spring, and “Robots for Homebound Education,” which enables home and hospital bound students to virtually attend class. These programs are just a few of the thousands of grants that have been funded by the Fort Bend Education Foundation. The number of grants funded each year is limited only by the amount of money raised by the Foundation. “The demands on school districts today are enormous, and budgets can’t always keep pace

Schlumberger Coding Club with the individual requests of classroom teachers who want to make education come alive for their students,” said Brenna Cosby, Executive Director. “Delivering this exceptional level of learning is neither easy nor inexpensive.”

who support the Foundation.” As we begin our 25th year of service, we are asking the community to be a part of enriching Fort Bend Future by donating to our 25th anniversary campaign. “We touch every school in Fort Bend ISD.”

“Each grant is the result of the generosity of our local community – including businesses, corporations and individuals –

For more information or to donate today online, visit the FBEF at www.fortbendisd. com/foundation

India Culture Center to host India’s Republic Day

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TAFFORD - The India Culture Center, (ICC), Houston will host its signiture event India Fair 2017 celebrating India’s 68th Republic Day on Saturday, January 21, 2017 between 1 PM to 8 PM at Stafford Center, on Cash Road, Stafford, Texas 77477.

services at the venue to help out needy people.

A variety of entertainment and educative programs have been planned to display India’s diverse cultural by way of folk, classical dances, skits, yoga, Antakshari, Quiz on ‘Our India’, Women pride of India, and will be showcasing culture of ‘Turkey’.

“To organize any event on such a large scale needs money. ICC being a non-profit cultural organization, we have kept a very nominal entry fee of $ 3 per person above age of 12 to take care of these expenses. And here is an icing on the cake, based on the entry tickets, we will have a raffle at regular intervals to give away a 5 gold coins to lucky winners,” says Sanjay Sohoni, Event Chair. The whole theme of this event is ‘Our India’ and ICC’s goal

The celebrations will also be felicitating few prominent personalities from Indian American community in Houston. We have also arranged consular

The event will have many commercial/religious/social booths to suit and fulfill the need of diverse individuals along with the delicious and affordable food at food booths.

ICC Board at the India Fair celebration of 2016 at the Stafford Cdenter. is to keep guests connected to India emotionally and culturally during their presence at the

venue and even after they have left for the homes.

Visit www. icchoustontx.org/ for more information on ICC and the event.


VOICE OF ASIA 7

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017


VOICE OF ASIA 8

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

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1-877-331-8670 10148 HWY 6 S. SUGAR LAND, TX Offer for new and qualifying former customers only. Important Terms and Conditions: Qualification: Advertised price requires credit qualification and eAutoPay. Upfront activation and/or receiver upgrade fees may apply based on credit qualification. Offer ends 1/16/17. 2-Year Commitment: Early termination fee of $20/mo. remaining applies if you cancel early. $120 Savings Offer: Receive a monthly credit of $5 for the first 24 months. Requires subscription to International package and qualifying American or DishLATINO package (starting at $29.99/mo). NOT included in advertised price (and subject to change): Taxes & surcharges, add-on programming (including premium channels), Protection Plan, and transactional fees. Other: All packages, programming, features, and functionality are subject to change without notice. After 6 mos., you will be billed $8/mo. for Protection Plan unless you call to cancel. After 2 years, then-current everyday prices for all services apply. For business customers, additional monthly fees may apply. Free standard professional installation only. © 2016 DISH Network L.L.C. All rights reserved.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 9

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrates the arrival of New Year 2017 New Year.

Classical dances performances by students of local dance schools. by S. Narayanan (Cultural program write up by Akilan Gopal)

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EARLAND - Long before the dawn of the New Year, devotees were gathered at Sri Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS) to bid farewell to 2016 and to welcome 2017. The special midnight pooja has become a regular feature at MTS with many devotees braving the winter cold for the occasion. The auspicious Dhanur Masa (Marghazhi) which falls from mid-December to midJanuary is significant for the early morning Thiruppavai and Thiruvempavai recitations that reverberate at the dawn hours to awaken the Gods, and set the scene for the New Year on January 1st. It was a Grand New Year’s Day celebration at Sri Meenakshi Temple. From the early morning to the late night the main temple was filled with devotees. The weather was great and more than 8,000 devotees visited Meenakshi temple, Pearland, Texas. The Ganapathi Homam, Venkateswara Laksharchana, Pallakku procession for Ven-

kateswara in the morning Pallakku procession for Meenakshi in the evening, Special Archana for Mahalakshmi all went remarkably seamlessly, with the large number of devotees participating. The Priests did an excellent job with the throngs of devotees coming to pray and seek blessings from the God. The décor and the ambience of the inside main temple greatly complemented the expanded precincts of the Main Temple. Meenakshi Temple started the New Year off with a cultural extravaganza, hosting the talent of local and international artists alike. The occasion was organized by Mala Gopal, who enlisted the help of high school teens Harish Ganesh, Aakash Srikanth, and Gopinath Senthilkumar to run the show. Adhi Gopal and Kishore Ayer began the event with a prayer followed by a classical performance honoring the recently deceased legend M. Balamuralikrishna, who was also the guru for Adhi’s mentor P. Sekar. Soon the hall filled up with guests, looking forward to a magical afternoon of singing and dancing. Magesh, Kishore and Maya Iyer never missed a beat as they gave a

MTS Staff and volunteers were recognized on the occasion. violin mini-concert. Sinthuja and Priya, students of Manjula Palivela, sang beautifully. As the program progressed, we experienced delightful classical dances from students of Sreepadham School, Tatvam School, Sunantha Nair School,

Anjali School, as well as students of Indrani Parthsarathy. The highlight of the day was a superb dance showcase by the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, a non-profit that now supports over 9,000 persons with auditory, visual, or vocal

disabilities to help them engage socio-economic-cultural fronts. The specially talented performers truly left the audience in awe, as they showed us how perseverance and determination will overcome all odds – a fitting message to begin the

Devotees witnessed the construction of the Corner Temple Renovation Project (CTRP) already began and generously donated for the project. Food booths were always crowded, and the vendors did an awesome job serving all the devotees. Thanks to Deputy Consul General Mr. Surendra Adhana for his presence. We thank the Dr. P. Vaduganathan, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Dr. Saraswathi Reddy, Dr. Venugopal Menon, Dr. Siva Bodgala, Dr. Saranathan, Dr. Hema Salvady, Dr. Visalakshi Annamalai for their valuable time to be on call at the Temple for any first aid need by the devotees. Thankfully there was no incident. MTS thanks the event coordinator Joint Secretary Ramachandra Reddy, all the volunteers, board members, council members, and staff for their hard work and dedication in putting on such a wonderful New Year’s Day experience at our Temple.

Bollywood Shake rings in 2017... Continued from Page 1 AV got everyone on the dance floor soon and tt was a delightful spectacle to watch hundreds of attendees dance along with the Bollywood Shake team and shake up the dance floor! There was an abundant spread of delicious Indian cuisine including Gobhi Manchurian, Vegetable Croquettes, Chicken Tikkas, Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer and Malai Kofta catered by Bombay to Beijing and mouthwatering desserts prepared by Red Berries Bakeshop including pineapple cake, chocolate mousse and gulab jamuns. Kids had a wonderful time in the adjacent Magnolia

Houston Youth Ring in New Year at MIDNITE DHAMAKA -2017

ballroom with balloon twisting and face painting! The highlight of the evening was the midnight countdown accompanied by a champagne toast and a spectacular confetti blast at the stroke of midnight! Excitement filled the air and reached a fever pitch as the large gathering rang in the New Year together!

A view of the Bollywood Shake party in motion Photo Credit - Hassan Studio.

Special thanks to our sponsors – Amir Dodhiya of New York Life and Upen and Mythily Varanasi.

had a delightful time celebrating the New Year at this oneof-a-kind family friendly New Year’s Eve event in Houston which both adults and kids enjoyed equally!

The Bollywood Shake New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball was a grand success with a full house including guests from all over Texas who attended the event at the exquisite Safari Texas Grand Ballroom. Guests

In addition to running a very successful Bollywood dance school and hosting their own radio show (Bollywood Shake Radio Online & On the App 24x7), Bollywood Shake hosts several events throughout the

year including Bollywood Pageants, Fashion Shows, Dance Competitions and Galas. Ruchika Singh Dias, Founder and CEO of Bollywood Shake has been featured in various mainstream media outlets such as NBC Channel 2 KPRC, ABC 13 Houston, Fox 26 Houston, KEYE CBS Austin, News 8 Austin and Houston Chronicle. Bollywood Shake wishes you a Happy New Year!

Midnite Dhamaka 2017 Party in full swing. Photo credit: Murali Santanam, msanphoto.

Drum beats rev up the mood at the Midnite Dhamaka 2017. Photo credit: Murali Santanam.

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OUSTON – On December 31st, 2016, Yuva Houston in association with Sunki Foundation and Amir Dodhiya hosted its 9th Annual Midnite Dhamaka New Year’s Eve 2017 in grand style under cowboys and cowgirls theme at Ayva center which is one of the largest Banquet and Concerts Hall Center in Houston.

izing Bollywood and regional hits music by DJ Nish and DJ Bhavin and well supported by Dhol Player Zubair which stole the show and made the crowd dancing and rocking on the floor all night. AYVA Center was beautifully decorated with radiant lightings, separate VIP seating for all our grand sponsors and event supporters.

As every year event was a grand success with huge desi crowd and sold out event. Being one of the biggest desi new year party in town, organizers had put lot of efforts in arranging banquet style seating, grand desi buffet with a mix of North and South Indian taste provided by Biryani Pot restaurant coupled by mesmer-

Special care for kids with day care, kids food and kids activities were arranged and special attraction was Texas Bull Ride and --Magic Show for Kids/teens which was total fun and thrilling experience. A separate BAR area with private booths for drink lovers was provided to enjoy

the event. There was an richness of music, food & drinks keeping the guests entertained all night! All the couples and kids were dressed with Texas’s style. The highlight of the evening was the midnight countdown accompanied by a champagne toast. Special thanks to our major sponsors – Amir Dodhiya , Discount Power Jamal Malik , Santosh Chividi, Umang Deep Foods & NNN-Nik Nikam. Yuva Houston Midnite Dhamaka 2017 was a grand success event with houseful crowd as everyone equally enjoyed the event! Yuva Houston wishes all a very Happy New Year!

Adara COMMUNITIES


ASIA/WORLD

VOICE OF ASIA 10

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Pakistan violence drops significantly in 2016

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SLAMABAD | AFP (Tuesday 1/3/2017) Deaths linked to violence in Pakistan decreased significantly in 2016, dropping 45 percent compared with the previous year, a report released Tuesday said.

of violence-related fatalities in 2016, which continued the trend of reduction from 2014,” the report said. “In fact, since 2014, there has been an overall reduction of nearly 66 percent.

lives since 2004. It has involved a series of military offensives as well as concerted efforts to block the militants’ sources of funding. Last year, the country recorded its lowest number of killings since 2007 when the Pakistani Taliban was formed. But the remnants of militant groups are still able to carry out periodic bloody attacks. According to the CRSS report, the two provinces of central Punjab and southwestern Baluchistan had a marginal increase in violence during 2016.

Police near the Blue Area (Islamabad’s main commercial district) guard a bank building in June 2016 (Photo: AFP) Some 2,610 people lost their lives due to violence during the period compared with 4,647 in 2015, according to research by the Islamabad-based think tank, the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). “There was nearly a 45 percent reduction in the number

It added that December was the least violent month for the country during the year. Pakistan’s army launched an operation in June 2014 to wipe out militant bases in northwestern tribal areas and bring an end to a bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian

Baluchistan suffered the most fatalities as violence-related deaths rose from 719 in 2015 to 798 last year, an upsurge of nearly 10 percent, followed by central Punjab which lost 424 people during 2016 -- the highest number of fatalities in the province during the last four years. Both provinces were the targets of suicide attacks that increased the casualty count. Baluchistan had three suicide attacks, leaving 186 dead, while Punjab had one suicide attack at a park crowded with families on Easter Sunday, killing 75 including many children.

Chinese official sentenced to 10 years in vaccine scandal

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EJING, China | AFP (Tuesday 1/3/2017) A former official of China’s Food and Drug Administration has been jailed for taking bribes from vaccine manufacturers, reports said Tuesday, in a case with echoes of a major scandal that rocked the Asian country last year. Yin Hongzhang, the former deputy director of the administration’s drug testing centre, received a 10-year sentence and was fined 500,000 yuan for taking bribes to help vaccine manufacturers gain approval for their drugs, China’s Legal Evening News newspaper said. His wife and son earlier received prison sentences for participating in the scheme and accepting property and

bribes worth 3.56 million yuan ($510,000), including ivory products worth 180,000 yuan, it said. At present, the police have not released his photography to the media. Yin was taken into custody in April 2015 and charged with taking payouts in relation to four biotech firms’ efforts to obtain government permits for a variety of vaccines, including for SARS and avian flu. The sentence follows the March revelation of a massive vaccine scandal that enraged the Chinese public. That case involved the improper storage, transport and sale of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of vaccines -- many

of them expired. No one was believed to have been harmed, but the story still provoked outrage in a country where families, who were long limited to one child by government policy, fiercely protect their offspring. Public fury erupted after a report revealed that information about the case had been suppressed by authorities, who had arrested two key suspects nearly a year earlier. From 2010, the pair, a mother and daughter from Shandong province in eastern China, sold 25 different kinds of expired or improperly stored vaccines worth more than 570 million yuan ($88 million), the official Xinhua news agency reported at the time.

Transgender man in China wins the first illegal dismissal case

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EJING, China | AFP (Tuesday 1/3/2017) - A Chinese transgender man declared victory Tuesday after a court ruled he had been illegally fired in the country’s first such unfair dismissal case, even though it cleared the company of discrimination.

evidence he was dismissed because of discrimination against transgender people, it said.

The plaintiff, who was born a woman but identifies as a man and generally wears men’s clothing, was sacked after seven days working for a health centre in the southwestern province of Guizhou, reports said.

But the ruling that discrimination was not involved showed that “legislation in this field requires greater attention”, he added.

The Guiyang Yunyan district people’s court ordered the company to pay the man, known as Mr C, 843 yuan ($121) in salary as well as compensation of 1,500 yuan, Chinese outlet The Paper reported. But the court decided last month there was a lack of

Mr C told AFP on Tuesday that he was “quite happy” with the result. “It is the first case in China where a sexual minority wins,” he said. “It is also a piece of good news for the community.”

Mr C sued after losing a complaint at a labour arbitration panel, which ruled he was fired for lacking “adequate skills”. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have won wider acceptance in large Chinese cities in recent years but conservative attitudes persist. Activists

say

they

face

widespread discrimination and have attempted to use the courts to push their cause. Their efforts have met with mixed success. A Chinese court ruled against two men seeking to marry last month. In 2014, a Beijing court ordered a clinic to pay a gay man compensation for administering electric shocks in an attempt to make him heterosexual.

Dubai arrests Indian businessman for alleged fraud

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UBAI, United Arab Emirates | AFP (Tuesday 1/3/2017) The Indian owner of a Dubaibased foreign exchange trading firm who had promised to double investors’ money has been arrested in the emirate for suspected fraud, a newspaper reported Tuesday. Sydney Lemos, 36, from Goa, had been arrested on December 21, The National reported, saying he was behind the failed investment scheme worth 50 million dirhams ($13.6 million). His firm, Exential Group, was closed by Dubai authorities in July, the daily said, adding that clients lost mil-

lions of dirhams when the group failed to pay out after promising the 100-percent return on their investments. A spokesman for Dubai police was unable to confirm or deny the report to AFP. The National said investors were trying to recover their funds through a local law firm that is working together with UK-based investigation company Carlton Huxley. “We are working with various authorities both inside and outside Dubai, and looking at the alleged laundering of more than Dh50m by one individual,” it quoted a Carlton Huxley spokesman as say-

ing. “He has now been arrested on criminal allegations,” the spokesman said. Exential said in February that delays in processing investors’ funds were due to antimoney laundering and compliance investigations in Australia, according to the report.

Lightning crashes to the sea in a winter storm off the coast of Ibaraki, Japan, located to the northeast of Tokyo. Silhouetted against the storm is a torii gate, a Japanese gateway typically constructed at the entrance to a temple; this one is outside the Oarai Isosaki Shrine. (Photo: Makoto Igari)

Five Indian-Americans sworn in .... Continued from Page 1

consecutive term.

A few hours later, the focus of the community shifted to the House Chambers wherein as many as four Indian Americans were sworn in as its members, including Congressman Ami Bera, who has been re-elected for the third consecutive term. In the process he equalled the record of Dalip Singh Saundh, who exactly 60-years ago became the first Indian American to be elected as a member of the US Congress. Joining Bera were young and dynamic Ro Khanna (40) representing the Silicon Valley. He was sworn in on a bicentennial edition of the Constitution on loan from the rare books division of the Library of Congress. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, 42, who won the election from Illinois took the oath on Gita. He is only the second US lawmaker after Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii to take the oath on a Gita. Ms Gabbard, the first ever Hindu to be elected to the US Congress took the oath for third

Having created a national niche for herself even before being sworn in Pramila Jayapal (51) is the first Indian American woman in the US House of Representatives. Her 78-yearold mother, who especially came in from India, watched the proceedings from the gallery. “Today is not about me. It’s about we. It is about the movement of hundreds of thousands of people in Washington’s seventh Congressional District, a diverse coalition of people from all walks of life, who want to ensure that we continue to provide opportunity for all,” she said. “In Congress, I pledge to draw on my experiences as a woman of colour, as an immigrant, and as a Washingtonian to speak out against injustice, even when it is not popular, to push for creative solutions to people’s everyday problems, and to find common ground where it can be found,” said Ms Jayapal, who is one of only

twenty-three Members of Congress born in another country apart from Mr Krishnamoorthi. Less than a mile away, Indian Americans from across the country gathered later in the night to celebrate the historic occasion at a gala organised by Indian Americans. “This is a historic moment. Today we are celebrating from success to significance,” said M R Rangaswami, eminent investor, philanthropist and entrepreneur. “Today, we are actually one per cent of the Congress. We have come a long way but we have a long way to go,” Mr Rangaswami said. “The best of the (Indian American) community is yet to come,” said eminent Indian American Ashley Telis at a pre-gala news conference, adding that more is in store from the next generation of Indian Americans. “Indian Americans running for office and winning for Congress is really historic,” said political activist Neera Tanden.

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Born again: baby boom after China ends one-child rule

managers and promotional materials all describe as “scientific” accompaniments to confinement: spa facilities where women can lie on a heated bed of jade, consume six specially calibrated meals a day to boost breast milk production while shedding pounds, and enjoy roundthe-clock specialist care.

Nurses massage babies at an infant care centre in Yongquan, in Chongqing municipality, in southwest China (Photo: Gregg Baker / AFP File photo / Getty Images) by Becky Davis

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EIJING, China | AFP | As soon as China abandoned its onechild policy a year ago, Zheng Xiaoyu and her husband started trying for a sibling for their nine-year-old son. Their efforts bore fruit with another boy -- one of a million extra births this year. “The traditional Chinese thinking is that more children bring more blessings,” Zheng said, recovering from the birth at a luxury convalescent home in Beijing. For years the couple dreamed of a second child to keep them company in their twilight years. “Neither me nor my husband is the only child in our families. We grew up in the company of our siblings,” she said. “Before the change, we questioned why we couldn’t have a second child, why they had to limit everyone’s desire to have children.” Since the late 1970s, strict measures in the world’s most populous country restricted most couples to only a single child, with fines for violators and even forced abortions. Zheng and her husband were employees of state-owned enterprises and faced losing their jobs if they violated the ban. Officials say it was a key contributor to China’s economic boom. But concerns over an ageing population, gender imbalances and a shrinking workforce pushed authorities to end the restriction and allow all couples a second child from January 1. Now China is undergoing a

minor baby boom, with almost one million more newborns expected this year, National Health and Family Planning Commission deputy director Wang Pei’an said according to official media reports. More than 17.5 million births were expected in 2016, he told a conference in November -- which would reverse a decline last year and be the highest figure since 2000. But while the end of the onechild policy swayed Zheng and her husband, it is unclear how much it contributed to this year’s baby boom. Previous statistics show the increase was concentrated in the first half of the year, before the new policy could have an effect. And 2016 is the lunar year of the monkey -- considered a particularly auspicious zodiac sign to be born under. - Bed of jade In pyjamas and slippers, Zheng was recovering at the gated Xiyuege Centre, or “Lucky Month Home”, in Beijing, where Porsche and Lexus cars line the parking lot. It is a modern take on the 2,000-year-old practice of postpartum confinement or“zuoyezi” -- literally “sitting the month” -- in which new mothers stay in bed, keep warm and avoid certain foods. Traditionally they do not exercise, expose themselves to draughts of any kind, or bathe.

Such institutions in recent years have turned the custom into a lucrative industry, now set to boom even further.

There were more than 760 such centres across the country generating revenues of approximately 4.2 billion yuan ($605 million) two years ago, according to website China Industry Information. It projected that sector turnover would more than double to 11 billion yuan by 2019. The Xiyuege Centre has seen clients recovering from their second pregnancies more than double this year, estimated Zheng Hui, the nurse managing infant care for VIP mothers, who pay more than $1,000 a day for their stays. The oldest woman she had cared for was a 44-year-old, whose first child was already an undergraduate at college. “It’s very clear that this year demand has gone up drastically. Customers are booking further and further in advance,” said Hou Yanran, marketing manager of Xiyuege which plans to open a third branch in the capital. Women were calling to reserve spots a mere month into their pregnancies, she said. - ‘Very hesitant’ – The long-term impact of the new family planning rules remains unclear. Officials predicted a surge in births after a 2013 change that allowed couples a second child as long as one parent was without siblings. But it did not materialise.

There is no evidence for traditional claims that the practice will prevent diseases such as arthritis later in life.

The Global Times newspaper this month cited family planning policy expert Yuan Xin as attributing the current uptick to the 2013 relaxation, with an increase from the two-child policy only coming in the next few years.

But the 75-room Xiyuege Centre offers what nurses,

But around 53 percent of one-child families have no

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Indian minister blames ‘western dress’ for sex attacks

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ANGALORE, India | AFP | Tuesday 1/3/2017 -An Indian minister faced a severe backlash Tuesday after he criticised women for dressing “like westerners” at a New Year’s eve celebration where a mob allegedly carried out a series of sex assaults. Although police have yet to charge anyone in connection with the violence on Saturday night in Bangalore, local media have carried testimony and photos of vic- A minister in Bangalore has been criticised for blaming women for wearing tims cowering from western-style clothing after a mob allegedly molested them at a New Year’s their attackers or Eve celebration (AFP Photo / STR). fleeing for safety. Police say they are now trawl- claimed to have been misquot- minister should apologise to ing through CCTV footage to ed, was widely condemned for the women of the country and see if they can identify any of his televised comments, with resign,” Kumaramangalam told the central government’s ju- the Press Trust of India news the attackers. nior home minister Kiren Rijiju agency. But a minister with responsi- describing them as “irresponIndia has been shamed by blity for policing in the south- sible”. shocking levels of sexual asern state of Karnataka, whose sault against women, which “We can’t allow the shameful largest city is Bangalore, said came into sharp focus in Deact of #MassMolestation go unthe “unfortunate” attacks were cember 2012 when a student punished,” he said on Twitter, a consequence of women wearwas gang-raped on a bus in adding that women’s safety is a ing western clothing. New Delhi and later died of her “must in a civilised society”. “A large number of youngLalitha Kumaramangalam, injuries, leading to the official sters gathered -- youngsters cancellation of that year’s New who are almost like western- who heads India’s National Year celebrations. ers,” Karnataka’s Home Min- Commission for Women, said Some of the country’s most ister G Parameshwara told The Parameshwara should resign senior politicians have been acTimes Now television network, over his comments. speaking in English. “I want to ask this minister: cused of casual misogyny, with are Indian men so pathetic the leader of one political party “They try to copy westerners widely condemned for brushnot only in mindset, but even and weak that when they see a ing off the December 2012 atwoman in western clothes on a the dressing, so some disturtack by saying “boys will be bance, some girls are harassed, day of revelry, they get out of boys”. control? these kind of things do hapThe attacks in Bangalore pen.” “When will the Indian men have drawn comparison with learn to respect women? The Parameshwara, who later last year’s mass sexual assaults at New Year’s celebrations in the German city of Cologne, where police were also accused of losing control. desire for a second, according other child at their age. to a survey of 10,000 families Senior Bangalore police offi“Due to financial reasons, with kids under 15 by the All- most people don’t want to cer Malini Krishnamoorthy told China Women’s Federation. have a lot of kids anyway,” AFP no complaint had yet been filed and officers were scanning Zheng is 38 and said many she said. hours’ worth of CCTV footage. of her friends had been ex“They’re all very hesitant. tremely curious about her From the perspective of an or“We have appealed to the pregnancy, asking endless dinary citizen, I think it would public to come forward if they questions to decide if it was have been better to end this have evidence in any form,” the worth the risk of having an- policy earlier.” officer added.

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FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Streaming subscription boom boosts US music sales

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EW YORK (AFP) - Song streaming on subscription services more than doubled in the United States last year, bringing solid growth to the music industry despite sagging album sales, data showed Monday. Analytical firm BuzzAngle Music said that consumption by the world’s largest music market rose 4.9 percent last year, led by a surge of streams of individual tracks.

as Spotify’s free tier that are frowned upon by record labels. US listeners streamed songs more than 191 billion times in 2016 through subscription services, growing an impressive 124.3 percent from a year earlier. More than 76 percent of audio streams last year were through subscriptions, well up from 62 percent a year earlier.

Streaming services, which offer unlimited on-demand music online, have grown rapidly in recent years and brought new growth to a longstagnant industry.

In a sign of the rapid transformation of the industry, BuzzAngle Music said that more US listeners were streaming songs on any given day in 2016 than paid for downloads over the whole year.

The 2016 data offered additional good news for the industry -- more people are paying to subscribe to services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, rather than choosing advertising-backed platforms such

Album sales by download and CD both tumbled in 2016. One bright point was sales of vinyl albums which jumped nearly 26 percent, although they still represented a sliver of the

market. Canadian rapper Drake’s “Views” was by far the top album of 2016 when factoring in streaming, although British balladeer Adele’s “25” edged it out when looking only at direct sales. The music industry has largely embraced streaming and forecasts robust future growth. Some artists are less enthusiastic, however, saying that streaming proceeds cannot ensure sustainable livelihoods except for top stars. Meanwhile, sales of vinyl in 2016 reached a 25-year high as consumers young and old have once again embraced physical formats of music. More than 3.2m LPs were sold last year, a rise of 53% on last year and the highest number since 1991 when Simply Red’s Stars was the bestsell-

Latin America rings in new year with colorful undies

But there’s a catch, says her colleague, Jesica Silva: “The underwear has to be given as a gift to bring luck.”

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Chileans shop for yellow underwear at a market in Santiago, believing it will bring them good fortune in 2017 (AFP Photo) pink is the color of choice.

love, happiness or money.

And in Venezuela, revelers are supposed to wear only new clothes -- a tall order this year as the once-booming oil exporter struggles through an economic crisis.

Colombians meanwhile put potatoes under their beds to bring good luck.

- Buckets of water For some, it is indispensable to welcome the New Year by eating lentils.

Some even say the undies should be worn inside-out to guarantee a year full of passion.

For others, it’s 12 grapes -- one at each strike of the clock at midnight, a tradition inhered from Spain.

“Beyond yellow lingerie, the tradition is more tied to the color itself,” says Chilean writer Hector VelisMeza, author of a book called “The Secret History of Christmas and New Year’s.”

In many countries, revelers ring in the new year by walking around the neighborhood with a suitcase, a ritual meant to guarantee a year of journeys.

Chile is not the only country that adheres to the tradition. It also exists in Mexico, Peru and Ecuador, with slight variations. Some say you should wear red undies for love, yellow for money. In Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil,

In Uruguay, people often throw buckets of water out the window to wipe the slate clean for the new year. Some throw their old calendars, too. In Brazil, many people dress in white and make offerings to Yemanja, the goddess of the sea in the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomble. Thousands of people swarm the beaches of Rio de Janeiro each year to launch makeshift boats with flowers and other gifts for Yemanja, seeking

Californians to say ‘cheers’ at hair salons in 2017 OS ANGELES | AFP - Come Sunday, Californians will legally be able to raise a glass of alcohol while getting a haircut or beard trim at beauty salons and barbershops.

ounces of wine by the glass to customers without having to obtain liquor licenses.

Although the practice of offering complementary wine and beer at such establishments has been going on quietly for years, the new legislation, which goes into effect in 2017, will make it legitimate.

The bill was supported by many of the Golden State’s 42,000 beauty salons, which until now had to seek liquor licenses to serve alcohol to customers or do so under the table.

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AB1322 will allow beauty salons and barbershops to serve no more than 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of beer or six

They will be allowed to serve the complimentary alcohol only during business hours and before 10:00 pm.

But not everyone is toasting the new measure. Some groups, including the California Alcohol Policy Alliance, say it will give minors easier access to

And in Peru and Ecuador, revelers burn in effigy politicians and others they loved to hate in the outgoing year. The custom has its roots in ancient indigenous practices in the Andes mountains. But for the most part, the region’s rituals have their origins in European traditions imported by Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors, says VelisMeza. That is the case for both the grapes and the lentils. In Europe, the custom was to eat lentils, a hearty dish, in preparation for winter, he said.

Japan also ushered in 2017 in style, with thousands packing the streets of Tokyo and releasing balloons into the air in celebration of the new year. Sydney’s visual feast paid tribute to some of the international musical legends who died this year, including David Bowie and Prince, with purple rain pouring off the bridge in an early display and firework “stars” soaring high above the harbour. 2016 has seen repeated bloodshed, most recently a deadly truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market, a similar incident on Bastille Day in France that killed 86 people, and atrocities in Turkey and the Middle East. But the New South Wales state premier urged “business as usual” as a larger-than-usual crowd gathered due to the weekend timing and warm

“If (hair salons) want to serve alcohol, it has always been an option for them to apply for a license to do so,” Jim Kooler of the California Friday Night Live Partnership that opposes underage drinking told AFP.

“My encouragement to everyone is to enjoy New Year’s Eve... in the knowledge that police are doing everything they can to keep us safe,” Premier Mike Baird said. - A number of threats Around 2,000 extra officers were deployed in Sydney after a man was arrested for allegedly making online threats against the celebrations. There were a number of other reported threats during the holiday period, in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere. In Melbourne, police foiled a “significant” Islamic State-inspired Christmas Day terror plot. Indonesia said it foiled plans by an IS-linked group for a Christmas-time suicide bombing, and 52 injured in the Philippines in bomb attacks blamed on Islamist militants. Israel on Friday issued a warning of imminent “terrorist attacks” to tourists and western targets in India. Despite the terror fears, revellers in Hong Kong and Taipei were expected to throng city streets to watch firework performances. Shoppers in Japan had earlier filled markets to buy tuna and crabs - seen as expensive items for special feasts -- for New Year’s Day family gatherings.

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In much of Latin America, though, New Year’s falls in the middle of summer.

alcohol.

as people invested in records as a mementos. After David Bowie’s death he became the bestselling vinyl artist of 2016, with five albums posthumously featuring in the top 30.

weather.

YDNEY, Australia | AFP Australia rang in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display in Sydney, sending rainbowcoloured showers into the night sky and defying the global terror attacks that cast a pall over 2016. Around 1.5 million people packed Australia’s biggest city to watch as the midnight fireworks erupted from Sydney Harbour Bridge, with the extravaganza beamed to television sets and phones across the world.

Yellow, she says, “represents the golden rays of abundance and prosperity.”

Yellow is seen in Latin America as a symbol of the sun, an eternal light, he says.

The deaths of some music world giants was a key driver in vinyl sales,

by Barry Parker

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This time of year, she specializes in yellow undergarments in all shapes and sizes, for women and men alike.

ing album. This was also the first year that spending on vinyl outstripped that spent on digital downloads.

Australia kicks off global New Year party defying terror threat

by Paulina Abramovich ANTIAGO, Chile | AFP | Yellow underwear is flying off the shelves these days in the Chilean capital Santiago, where tradition holds that it brings prosperity and love if you wear it on New Year’s Eve. That’s just one of many colorful New Year’s rituals in Latin America, where some spend the evening walking around with a suitcase, others put potatoes under the bed and still others throw buckets of water out the window. “The yellow underwear is for love, luck, money and so that this year will go well for everyone,” says Gladys Leal, a saleswoman at a lingerie stand in Santiago’s Meiggs neighborhood.

Streaming services, which offer unlimited on-demand music online, have grown rapidly in recent years and brought new growth to a long-stagnant industry (AFP Photo/Jonathan Nackstrand)

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FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Tech show looks beyond ‘smart,’ to new ‘realities’ by Sophie Estienne / with Rob Lever in Washington

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AN FRANCISCO, | AFP | 1/1/2017 - The mega-extravaganza of the tech world in Las Vegas is showcasing an array of new devices that get smarts from computer chips, sensors and artificial intelligence, but go further by opening doors to augmented or virtual realities. The Consumer Electronics Show, which begins with a series of media events Tuesday will offer trade professionals a look at new robotics, connected cars and a dizzying assortment of gizmos from connected sneakers to drones. This year’s show will see results of a boost in computing power from artificial intelligence, which can help power things like autonomous cars, and deliver new experiences such as augmented or virtual reality. “Virtual reality is changing the game for a variety of industries including health care, agriculture, manufacturing and business,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association that organizes the annual show, in a Reddit chat. “Doctors are using VR to enhance traditional therapies, architects use VR to design stronger buildings and travel agencies are using it to simplify vacation planning.”

CES will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the gathering, and organizers promised it would have the largest showcase of VR technology ever. One CES panel discussion will examine how virtual reality is transforming television, movies and even news with immersive forms of video. A host of virtual reality experiences will entice attendees at the trade-only show. Cars will feature virtual reality displays to provide a better sense of the environment around them, while similar technologies will be showcased for smart glasses, medicine and beauty makeovers. - Enhancing reality Robin Raskin, who heads the Living in Digital Times center of the show, said augmented reality is catching on with tryand-see beauty apps, in-store virtual mirrors and toys. Augmented reality, she said, “lets us look at the real world and add valuable, entertaining and immersive information to it.”

things, but whether you can put it into a space where consumers can afford it and give enough additional information so people are able to use it,” Gold said. CES is among the world’s biggest trade shows, and last year drew 177,000 attendees over exhibit space of 2.47 million square feet (230,000 square meters). This year, 150 countries will be represented. It will include big industry names such as Sony, LG and Samsung in electronics, with the perennial battle to have the sleekest most gorgeous television screen. Meanwhile, in attendance will be more than 600 startups from 33 countries, including firsttime participants -- the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Ukraine. Auto-industry titans including Ford and BMW are increasingly using CES to show off technology packed into vehicles for efficiency, safety, entertainment and navigation. - Race for autonomy -

Analyst Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates said that despite the potential benefits of virtual and augmented reality in business or industry, “gaming is where it is going to take off first,” because that’s where people are spending money.

The show will feature demonstrations of autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles, including one from Japan’s Honda said to be equipped with an artificial intelligence “emotion engine” that aims to better understand its occupants.

“The issue is not whether it has the potential to transform

Electric car startup Faraday Future, one of several manu-

Tech show looks beyond ‘smart’ to new ‘realities’ (Photo: AFP/Rob Lever) facturers taking on Tesla, is expected to unveil its first production car a year after showing a prototype. Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has promised to discuss “a major technological breakthrough in the realization of a zero-emission, zero-fatality world for everyone,” according to a statement from CES organizers. - Humanoid robots The show is also expected to feature advances in robotics, with more human-like robots and the public debut of “Professor Einstein” from Hanson Robotics. Getting a boost from artificial intelligence, some new robots at the show will keep an eye

on the kids, play chess or help with homework. Gold said he expects to see a large number of drones looking for a slice of a surging market. “This is really the year of the drone, and everybody is trying to get into this market,” he said. But he added that the strongest potential for drones may be with businesses, with uses including aerial photography. On the smartphone front, South Korea’s LG will show a range of new “mid-range” handsets and China’s Huawei has a smartphone event scheduled. TCL, the Chinese firm which owns the Alcatel brand, will unveil new BlackBerry handsets following its deal for

the troubled Canadian brand. The show floor will see a host of new and improved connected home technologies that manage everything from light bulbs to refrigerators. “We’re pretty close on things like the smart home, where we’re going to get up one day and everybody is going to speak to their refrigerators,” said NPD analyst Stephen Baker. Carolina Milanesi of the consultancy Creative Strategies said 2016 “has seen material progress” in some new technologies that will result in products hitting the marketplace, even though not all will be hits. “In some cases, it’s because the consumers weren’t really asking for it,” she said.

Famous artworks showed early signs of disease: study

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ONDON | AFP | 12/29/2016 - Brushstrokes in paintings could help early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, according to a study published on Thursday of works by famous sufferers such as Salvador Dali and Willem De Kooning. The analysis was carried out on 2,092 paintings, including those of two artists with Parkinson’s Disease, Dali and Norval Morrisseau, and two with Alzheimer’s Disease, De

Kooning and James Brooks. Works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet, who were not know to suffer from any such disease, were also included for comparison. “Knowing that you have a problem sooner rather than later is always going to be an important medical breakthrough,” Alex Forsythe from the University of Liverpool, one of the authors of the study, told AFP.

Fractal analysis -- a way to study patterns that is already used to spot fake paintings -was used to gauge the relative complexity of the works. Fractals are often described as “fingerprints of nature”. For De Kooning and Brooks, the study showed a sharp decrease in the complexity starting around the age of 40 -long before their Alzheimer’s diagnosis. De Kooning received an official diagnosis in 1989 -- the

Our New Issue of

year he turned 85 -- and Brooks when he turned 79. In the case of Dali and Morrisseau, the research found an increase in “fractal dimension” in middle age followed by decline starting from their late 50s. Dali was diagnosed with drug-induced Parkinsonism after his right hand began shaking severely when he turned 76. Morrisseau’s diagnosis came at the age of 65. The indicator for Chagall, Monet and Picasso showed an increase in complexity into old age. “What I’m hoping is this research will trigger thinking about what’s happening in the brain much earlier,” Forsythe said. “With dementia, people are concerned about their memory getting worse. This shows something happening long before that,” she added. The study drew on research including of US president Ronald Reagan’s linguistic decline starting in 1980 -- long before he revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 1994 at the age of 83.

A painting by Willem De Kooning (AFP File photo) The article was published in the American Psychological Association’s Neuropsychology journal and was co-written

with Ronan Reilly from Maynooth University in Ireland and Tamsin Williams from Britain’s National Health Service.

Scientists identify new organ in humans

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mighty membrane that twists and turns through the gut is starting the new year with a new classification: the structure, called the mesentery, has been upgraded to an organ. Scientists have known about the structure, which connects a person’s small and large intestines to the abdominal wall and anchors them in place, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, until now, it was thought of as a number of distinct membranes by most scientists. Interestingly, in one of its earliest descriptions, none other than Leonardo da Vinci identified the membranes as a single structure, according to a recent review. In the review, author Dr. Calvin Coffey, a professor of surgery at the University of Limerick’s Graduate Entry Medical School in Ireland, and colleagues looked at past studies and literature on the mesentery. Coffey noted that throughout the 20th century, anatomy books have described the mesentery as a series of fragmented membranes; in other words, different mesenteries were associated with different parts of the intestines. More recent studies looking at the mesentery in patients undergoing colorectal surgery and in cadavers led Coffey’s team to conclude that the membrane

An abdominal membrane is now a classified organ (Photo: iStock) is its own, continuous organ, according to the review, which was published in November in the journal The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology. What’s in a name? The reclassification of the mesentery as an organ “is relevant universally as it affects all of us,” Coffey said in a statement. By recognizing the anatomy and the structure of the mesentery, scientists can now focus on learning more about how the organ functions, Coffey said. In addition, they can also learn about diseases associated with the mesentery, he added. “If you understand the function, you can identify abnormal function, and then you have disease,” Coffey said. The continu-

ous nature of the mesentery, for example, may serve as a means for disease to spread from one part of the abdomen to another, according to the review. In addition to studying disease, researchers may also look to the mesentery for new approaches to surgery, the authors said. The authors noted in the review that many anatomical and other features of the mesentery still need to be described. For instance, what body system should the mesentery be classified in? “Whether the mesentery should be viewed as part of the intestinal, vascular, endocrine, cardiovascular or immunological systems is so far unclear, as it has important roles in all of them,” the authors wrote. (-AFP)


VOICE OF ASIA 14

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Young Life

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OUSTON — George Bush Intercontinental Airport has been voted a “Trazee Winner,” as a Top 5 Airport (North America) for Millennials, according to Trazee Travel, an online publication targeting millennials.

What is special about Bush Airport for millennial travelers? Choice, choice and more choice. Its Free Wi-Fi, rated seconde-fastest in the U.S., and mobile-responsive website are especially well-suited for digital natives. And Bush Airport is adding power outlets for mobile device charging throughout the airport. Bush Airport offers destination choices, in abundance. Millennials are more interested in international travel, constituting 20 percent of international tourists (per a UN study), and Bush Airport offers 71 nonstop international destinations (24 in Mexico, 10 in Central America, 8 in South America, 7 in Europe, 5 in Canada, 10 in the Caribbean, 2 in the Middle

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Trazee Travel, a web and print publication created by Global Traveler’s parent company FXExpress Publications, Inc., targets the sought-after under-35 market. It presents reviews, tips and insights into destinations around the world, covering the entire span of a journey (including airports) “to keep young, intrepid travelers informed.”

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

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George Bush Intercontinental Airport is a hit with the under-35 travelers, according to a recent survey (Photo: IAH) East, 4 in Asia, and last but not least, Auckland, New Zealand). In total, Bush Airport offers 183 non-stop destinations spanning 5 continents. Millennials also appreciate Bush Airport’s abundant lowcost carriers, which include Frontier, Interjet, Spirit, Texas Sky, Vacation Express, Viva Aerobus, Volaris and WestJet, in addition to the great connectivity of its hub carrier United Airlines and its 15 foreign flag carriers. Millennials can choose from 29 carriers total . Bush Airport boasts millennial-friendly dining, with affordable food choices, vegan and vegetarian, and local food in all five terminals. Local food establishments include Hubcap Grill, Pink’s Pizza, Pappasito’s,

Hugo’s Cocina, and Texas’s beloved Whataburger. There also are no fewer than 13 coffee bars. Check out searchable dining and drinking options, including hours of operation, menus and locations.

IENNA, Austria | AFP | 1/3/2017 - The Vienna Philharmonic rung in 2017 with its famed New Year’s Concert on Sunday under the baton of the orchestra’s youngest-ever conductor, charismatic Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel. The 35-yearold, who currently leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic, follows in the footsteps of giants such as Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta.

Venezulean conductor Gustavo Dudamel conducts the traditional New Year’s Concert 2017 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein in Vienna, Austria, on January 1, 2017 ( AFP PHOTO)

The shopping brands millennials prefer are easy to find at Bush Airport and of course duty free items for international travelers at ATÜ and Dufry shops.

“An incredible honour to lead this year’s New Year’s Concert,” Dudamel tweeted hours before the glittering event, broadcast live in more than 90 countries and watched by millions of people.

Bush Airport even offers great choices on the ground, with the best value in covered remote parking at its brandnew ecopark2 lot on Will Clayton Parkway.

The annual “Neujahrskonzert” held inside the Great Hall of the exalted Musikverein in Vienna is largely dedicated to the 19th-century Strauss composer family.

Choices abound at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport — for millennials, and for all travelers.

The 2017 programme twirled through waltzes, polkas and marches before ending with the legendary Radetzky March by the elder Johann Strauss.

New York governor unveils plan for free college tuition

The finale also featured the much-loved Blue Danube by his son Johann Strauss, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary next month. But every edition also has some variety and this year’s non-Strauss pieces included Otto Nicolai’s The Merry

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EW YORK, AFP | 1/3/2017 - New York’s governor unveiled a proposal Tuesday to make public colleges tuition free for low and middle-income students, an idea championed by US Senator Bernie Sanders during his White House run. “Today, college is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success,” Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo said, noting that the average American student carries $30,000 in debt.

Wives of Windsor. At one point, the lighthearted event saw a group of young ballet dancers burst into the gilded hall and pirouette their way through the seated public. The orchestra meanwhile was dressed by fashion super star Vivian Westwood and her Austrian-born husband Andreas Kronthaler. At the end of the two-anda-half-hour show, a visibly elated Dudamel received a standing ovation, including from Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz who was among the many personalities in attendance. “(Conducting the Blue Danube) means now I can die in peace,” the maestro had euphorically told a press conference in Vienna on Thursday. Shortly after Sunday’s per-

formance, the Vienna Philharmonic announced that a familiar face will return to the stage for the next edition -- Italian great Riccardo Muti who will conduct the concert on January 1, 2018 for the fifth time. The event started life on December 31, 1939, under the Nazis but in the subsequent years these dark beginnings were forgotten and it gradually became a regular highlight in the classical music calendar. In the 1980s after the 25concert reign of Austrian Willi Boskovsky and sixtimes American successor Lorin Maazel -- who died this year -- it was decided to have a different conductor each year. Due to extremely high demand, tickets for the concert are drawn by lottery at the beginning of each year.

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“New York state is going to start this year the Excelsior scholarship: if you come from any family earning $125,000 or less, you are going to get free tuition,” he said during a news conference at a university in Queens. “It’s the first program like it in the US... and it should be a wake up call to this nation,” Cuomo said. The governor, who is said to have his eye on an eventual White House run, was joined at the news conference by Sanders, who offered his congratulations. Sanders, of Vermont, garnered passionate support from young voters during the Democratic primary contest against Hillary Clinton, in part because of his impassioned calls for tuition-free college. Although he ultimately lost to Clinton, his free-college proposal was so popular that she added it to her White House platform.

Free public college was a theme in the presidential campaign for Senator Sanders (iStock) New York’s most prestigious universities -- including Cornell, Columbia and New York University -- are private and presumably would not be involved in the free tuition plan. Tuition in the well-regarded State University of New York and City University of New York systems can reach $6,500 a year Cuomo did not give details on the financing for the proposal, which has yet to be approved by lawmakers in this

state of 20 million people. It has estimated to cost $163 million per year, and could benefit as many as one million households. Governor Cuomo said he aims to have the program start at the beginning of 2017, covering families with an annual income of less than $100,000, before expanding to cover students from families with an annual income of up to $125,000 at the beginning of 2018.

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VOICE OF ASIA 15

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Bollywood -Hollywood

Section 2

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Carrie Fisher - heartful note from sister Joely “You Lost Princess Leia, I Lost My Hero”

Joely, 49, is the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Connie Stevens, and shares details about her childhood and growing up near her halfsiblings, Carrie and Todd, in Malibu, California, in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter.

Venting out his anger against the perpetrators of the terror attack, Bollywood actor Raza Murad on Sunday said Rizvi’s death was a loss to the industry. “The perpetrators of this attack should not only be condemned. They should also be shot at. Rizvi, a budding filmmaker, whose film ‘Roar’ is set to release, what was his fault, why was he shot at. This is extremely unfortunate his death is a loss to this industry.”

“We promised we’d spend Christmas together. It’s a promise we kept, although not in a way either of us had anticipated,” the late actress’ half-sister writes in a remembrance.

“We spoke of our dear mothers, Connie [Stevens] and Debbie [Reynolds], both of whom have been fragile in the past year and how our roles as daughters had changed. My own belief is that our mutual father, Eddie Fisher, was everything you heard about him: charming, wildly talented, a playboy, a gambler, lost but he gravitated toward the spectacular in wives. “In 1977, Connie bought a house in Malibu. We walked out onto this tiny deck — sand and

Bollywood grieves the tragic loss

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“When I say spoke, I mean we texted each other on our smartphones, she in London and I in Laguna Beach. But even via text, and oceans apart, we could still hear the sound of each other’s voice, that distinct Fisher timber that was full of mutual admiration.

Abis Rizvi killed in Istanbul nightclub attack! UMBAI (ANI) - As soon as the news of Bollywood director and film producer Abis Rizvi’s death broke out, rich tributes from the film fraternity poured in who expressed grief at the tragic loss.

OS ANGELES - Carrie Fisher‘s half-sister, Joely Fisher, has picked up on her sister’s talent for writing and penned a revealing tribute to the deceased 60-yearold Star Wars actress.

On the eve before my sister Carrie took to the sky in the silver bird that would be her transport to her dramatic and untimely end, we had a long conversation. We spoke of love, age, our children and a dozen other subjects.

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Joely Fisher (left) during a recent promo tour with her sister Carrie (AFP file photo) salt everywhere — and noticed that there was a swimming pool next door. Connie asked, “Who the hell has a swimming pool on the beach?” The real estate agent giggled and said, “Debbie Reynolds.” So we spent the better part of our childhoods as neighbors, our two families right next door. “During our transcontinental chat before Carrie’s fateful flight from London to L.A., we promised we’d spend Christmas together. It’s a promise we kept, although not in a way either of us had anticipated. Throughout the holiday, I sat by her side in a hospital room filled with a cacophony of sounds made by the machines keeping her barely alive. Debbie, of course, was there as well. She told me that she’d been praying for more time. More time for Carrie, for herself and for Connie. I knew if those prayers weren’t answered, Debbie might very well join her daughter.

“Of course, Debbie loved nothing more than the spotlight. “ “You all lost Princess Leia and Carrie Fisher; I lost my hero, my mentor, my mirror. My brother Todd has lost his sister and his mother, whom he has said will lay to rest together. There is no universe where these ladies are not due their appropriate pedestals, and both will be memorialized in separate ceremonies in coming weeks. My sister Tricia Leigh and I vow to be whatever our niece Billie needs us to be. We will pick up the saber, use the force ... whatever. We will honor these two magical people who have left the tribe in the way they lived, with grandeur and grace. I want them back but since I know that is not possible, I will soldier on. I have changed my shoes and will keep dancing to honor these magic people. (Hollywood Reporter)

Expressing similar sentiments, another Bollywood actor Javed Jaffery, said, ‘Devastated by the death of my friend #AbisRizvi in the dastardly terrorist attack this morning in an #Istanbul nightclub (sic)’. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has informed that two Indian nationals have lost their lives in the Istanbul nightclub attack. “I have a bad news from Tur-

Bollywood director and film producer Abis Rizvi (Photo: ANI) key. We have lost two Indian nationals in the Istanbul attack. Indian Ambassador is on way to Istanbul. The victims are Mr. Abis Rizvi son of former Rajya Sabha MP and Ms. Khushi Shah from Gujarat,” Swaraj tweeted. “I have just spoken to Mr.Akhtar

Hassan Rizvi father of Abis Rizvi. He and Mrs Rizvi also want to go to Istanbul. We r organising their Visa. I have also spoken to Shri Ashok Shah father of Ms.Khushi Shah and conveyed our condolences (sic),” she tweeted.

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Shah Rukh Khan - Salman Khan to reunite on Bigg Boss 10

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t’s going to be Karan-Arjun 2.0 on the sets of Bigg Boss 10. Shah Rukh Khan is all set to promote his next, Rahul Dholakia’s underworld thriller Raees on the reality show hosted by his contemporary Salman. Salman Khan and Shah Rukh

prior to the season finale of the show. International Business Times reports that Shah Rukh was also scheduled to promote his last release, Gauri Shinde’s slice of life drama Dear Zindgai on Bigg Boss. However, he opted

Boss was on the previous season when Shah Rukh and Kajol appeared on Bigg Boss 9 to promote their Christmas release last year, Rohit Shetty’s family drama Dilwale. At that time, a religious community had taken offence to the scene in which the two Khans had entered the sets of a Hindu temple, with their shoes on, in a setup to recreate their memorable scene from Rakesh Roshan’s 1995 family drama Karan Arjun.

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Speaking of Roshan, his upcoming production Kaabil will clash with Raees at the box office on 25 January. Mumbai Mirror reports that the filmmaker has chosen not to up the ante in his marketing strategy just before it is clashing with a typical Shah Rukh potboiler.

Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan on Bigg Boss 9. (File Photo/ Colors) Khan on Bigg Boss 9. File Photo/ ColorsSalman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan on Bigg Boss 9. File Photo/ Colors

out of the promotions as he did not want to steal the spotlight from his co-star Alia Bhatt who was the lead actor of the film whereas Shah Rukh was only a co-producer and had a supporting role in the film. Thus, Bhatt went solo on the sets of Bigg Boss.

“I will give my film an organic release. There is no heroism in Kaabil and no catch-phrases. It is the story of a blind man taking revenge. That makes him a superhero, that makes his story hair-raising,” he said.

The last time these two Khans were seen on the sets of Bigg

As the Roshans and the director of Kaabil, Sanjay Gupta, are promoting their film only through the regular interviews, social media outreach and song launches, the promotion of Raees has been aggressive since the get go in order to build excitement among the fans about this long-awaited entertainer. (-FirstPost.com)

Priyanka Chopra triples her yearly income

has resulted in being the unofficial Bollywood star most likely to be named by the general public in the USA.

Mumbai Mirror reports that the two Khans will shoot two consecutive weekend episodes of Bigg Boss in which they will also be seen dancing to the tunes of the songs of Raees. These two episodes will air immediately

M

UMBAI (Voice of Asia special report) - 2016 turned out to be very lucky for one particular actor in terms of income, while others were disappointing or lackluster. The big winner for last year is undoubtedly fan favorite Priyanka Chopra. Her tallied earnings for 2015 were a paltry (relatively speaking) Rs. 26.8 crore. In contrast the newer star Deepika Padukone made Rs. 59 crore in that year.

But last year has proven to be a big step for Ms. Chopra, both financially and name-recognistion-wise. Her income for 2016 has amounted to Rs. 76 crore, an almost 3x jump in money. Priyanka, on the other hand had Jai Gangaajal which released in 2016 but the film tanked at the box office. The actresses did sign some meaty endorsements and continues to star in Quantico on American network television. And being put into American households on a weekly basis

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Such high-profile recognition will usually result in offers for product pedalling (or to put it politely “endorsing”), and it seems to have paid off handsomely for this former Army brat. The the same for Salman Khan. His films didn’t do very well 2015 as much as they did in 2016. hah Rukh incurred a loss of Rs. 36 crore as compared to the year before. While in year 2015 he made Rs. 257.5 crore, in 2016 he made Rs 221.8 crore.

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VOICE OF ASIA 16

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

HEALTHY LIVING VOICE OF ASIA

Section 2

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Low iron levels may be linked to hearing loss by Sara G. Miller, Live Science.com

W

hen people have low levels of iron in their blood, they may develop a condition called iron deficiency anemia, which is known to have wide-ranging effects throughout the body, and now, a new study suggests that this condition may be linked to hearing loss as well. In the study, adults who had iron deficiency anemia were more than twice as likely to develop a specific type of hearing loss, called combined hearing loss, compared with those who did not have iron deficiency anemia, according to the study. In the study, published Dec. 29 in the journal JAMA OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgery, the researchers looked at data from the medical records of more than 300,000 adults in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The participants’ ages ranged from 21 to 90; the average age was 50. [7 Ways the Mind and Body Change with Age] Based on the medical records, the researchers identified the people in the study who had iron deficiency anemia as well as any diagnoses of hearing loss. Hearing loss was divided into three categories: sensorineural hearing loss, which results from damage to the inner ear, damage to the nerve that runs from the ear to the brain, or damage to the brain; conductive hearing loss, which occurs when sound cannot travel through the ear properly; and combined hearing loss, which is a combination of the two. The researchers found that the people with iron deficiency anemia were 2.4 times more likely to have combined

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2017 Begins with Higher Part B Medicare Premium

hearing loss compared with those who from Taiwan, for example, found a did not have iron deficiency anemia. link between iron deficiency anemia The people with iron deficiency ane- and sudden sensorineural hearing loss, mia were also 1.8 times more likely to a type of hearing loss that develops have sensorineural hearing loss. There in less than 72 hours, the researchers was no link, however, bewrote. tween iron deficiency Conductive hearanemia and conducing loss, on the other tive hearing loss, hand, is often caused according to the by more “mechanistudy. cal” problems, such Earlier research as blockages in the suggested several ear, including those potential reasons caused by earwax or why iron fluid, or perforated deficiency eardrums. Therefore, a n e m i a the researchers did may be not hypothesize that linked to conductive hearing hearing Photo: Shutterstock.com loss would be linked loss and, to iron deficiency in particular, to sensorineural hearing anemia, they wrote. loss, the researchers, led by Kathleen The authors noted that the findings Schieffer, a doctoral student at Pennsylvania State University College suggest that there is an association between iron deficiency anemia and of Medicine, wrote in the study. certain types of hearing loss, and that Sensorineural hearing loss can de- the study does not prove a cause-andvelop when damage occurs to the tiny effect relationship between the two. blood vessels in the ear, and iron defi- In addition, there were several limitaciency anemia can put a person at risk tions to the study, they noted. For exfor such damage. For example, iron ample, although the researchers were deficiency anemia has been linked to able to adjust the results to account for several blood disorders that can cause differences between the sexes, they such damage to these delicate blood were not able to account for other risk vessels. In addition, the condition has factors for hearing loss, such as smokbeen linked to problems with myelin, ing status, high blood pressure and a sheath that surrounds nerve cells, diabetes. More research is needed to including the nerve that runs from the tease out the possible effects of these ear to the brain, the researchers wrote. other factors. Indeed, the researchers had hypothIron deficiency anemia can be treatesized that iron deficiency anemia ed easily with iron supplements, so would be more likely to be linked to future studies should focus on whether sensorineural hearing loss than to con- this can help prevent hearing loss, the ductive hearing loss. An earlier study researchers wrote.

New Years health resolutions Gyms see a rise in memberships with the new year by Tyler Graef

Medicare: Part B Cost Some people automatically get Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and some people need to sign up for Part B. If you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty. Part B premiums You pay a premium each month for Part B. If you get Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board, or Office of Personnel Management benefits, your Part B premium will be automatically deducted from your benefit payment. If you don’t get these benefit payments, you’ll get a bill. Most people will pay the standard premium amount. If your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount, you may pay an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Medicare uses the modified adjusted gross income reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago (the most recent tax return information provided to Social Security by the IRS). The standard Part B premium amount in 2017 is $134 (or higher depending on your income). However, most people who get Social Security benefits pay less than this amount. This is because the Part B premium increased more than the cost-ofliving increase for 2017 Social Security benefits. If you pay your Part B premium through your monthly Social Security benefit, you’ll pay less ($109 on average). Social Security will tell you the

Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6776 Southwest Freeway Suite # 178 Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com

exact amount you’ll pay for Part B in 2017. You’ll pay the standard premium amount if: • You enroll in Part B for the first time in 2017. • You don’t get Social Security benefits. • You’re directly billed for your Part B premiums. • You have Medicare and Medicaid, and Medicaid pays your premiums. (Your state will pay the standard premium amount of $134.) • Your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount. If so, you’ll pay the standard premium amount and an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). IRMAA is an extra charge added to your premium.

If you’re in 1 of these 5 groups, here’s what you’ll pay:

I

t’s the perennial resolution: to get in shape. Post-holiday, preswimsuit-season months, gyms stand ready to oblige the scores of would-be gym rats who decide to go for it each year. While a New Year’s windfall may seem like a trope, local gym owners such as Matt Diebold at Snap Fitness said the January membership bump is no joke. “Yeah, we see it definitely,” he said. “I’d probably say we see about a 10 to 12 percent increase in new memberships this time of the year.” So it should be no surprise he chose Jan. 15 to open his gym in Cape Girardeau, Missouri two years ago. Jill Mills, who owns Anytime Fitness, said her gym also gets proactive early in the year, offering memberships for $1. “We usually run a promotion,” she said. “We have one going on at this time.” She said they’ll probably end up running another offer through the rest of the month or into February. “New Year’s is pretty easy for gyms,” she said with a laugh. “But it’s

Fitness places have their own challenges to help keep members motivated beyond January (Photo: AFP file photo) catalyst. People want to lose weight; they want to get healthy.” But it’s not quite that easy; capitalizing on the New Year’s bump takes work and a personal touch, she said. “Once they’re here, it’s our job to keep them in here not just for a few months,” Mills said. She said there are regular customers at Anytime Fitness who joined around this time and have stuck to it for several years since.

Part B deductible & coinsurance

“You keep them by having a nice, clean facility and maintaining member engagement,” she said. “Get to know your members. Make them want to come to the gym because it’s fun to be at the gym, not just to be grinding away all the time.” Diebold said things such as check-ins from trainers, initial consultations and taking the time to teach newcomers what the machines do and how to use them is key to helping patrons achieve their goals. “That’s important,” he said. “We don’t want people to come in and just go to a treadmill, we’ll call it, just because that’s the only thing that they know how to use.” (-AFP)

You pay $183 per year for your Part B deductible. After your deductible is met, you typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for these: • Most doctor services (includ-

ing most doctor services while you’re a hospital inpatient) • Outpatient therapy • Durable medical equipment To select Medicare plan, contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.

While many businesses were closed Monday and many people were relaxing at home, Chris Poyner and his brother, Brad, were working up a sweat at Anytime Fitness.

with a shrug. “But that first couple of weeks, I knew that they were going to be the hardest part of it.”

Chris said he’d been serious about exercise months ago, but knows what gym newcomers might be in for.

“Then your body starts to crave it,” he said. “And from there, you sort of get addicted.”

“You see guys in muscle magazines and stuff like that. I just wanted to push my body and see what I could get it to do. I already was kind of fit,” he said

“You just get bitten by the bug,” Brad said. “And if you start to not do it, you feel like crap.” (-Live Science)

After a while, he said, he became more capable.

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VOICE OF ASIA 17

ONLINE .COM voiceofasiaonline.com

Section 2

Business VOICE OF ASIA

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Local businessman on best ‘Under 40’

Chinese manufacturers selling nearly 40% of Indian smartphones Despite growth, price war remains fierce

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Among all, Lenovo saw its shipment volume rise to the second only after Samsung in the third quarter last year, state-run China Daily quoted global research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) survey as saying.

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n 2003, IACCGH member Khalid (Ken) Parekh waded into the tech world with $100, a dream and tons of determination. That determination won him the Houston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award not once but twice – a rare honor. Khalid’s success story as an immigrant is inspiring. At 18, he completed a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer degree from NIIT Mumbai, India, borrowed money for a one way ticket to Houston and landed a job on the third day of his arrival in an engineering company. He worked at gas stations and cleaned restrooms on weekends to make ends meet while evenings were spent cramming for his Associate’s Degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship. At 23, Khalid decided to follow his entrepreneurial instincts and branch out on his own. In 2003, he started his company AMSYS Innovative Solutions, converted his bedroom into an office, worked 14 hour days and within a year hired his first employee and moved into his own office space. His first employee is still with him, revenues are now close to $10 million and his present office at 18,000 sq. feet is a far cry from his first digs. AMSYS quickly picked up steam and showed great revenues until the 2008 recession. The ensuing years proved to be “one of the toughest periods” of his life but Khalid learnt an important lesson. Instead of leaning on one big client like he was, the company now went after different streams of businesses as well as expanded their array

of IT services. Today AMSYS has 60 employees and 1000 engineers nationally on a contractual basis and is one of the top three IT outsourcing companies in Houston. The Company racked up 7 awards this year alone. According to IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia, Khalid deserves the HBJ 40 under 40 and other awards for “not only proving to be a successful entrepreneur but for opening doors for other startups and boosting entrepreneurship in Houston.” With hacking episodes regularly making headlines, Khalid explains that 6 out of 10 businesses get hacked. Companies, he emphasizes, must spend 15-20% of their IT spending on cybersecurity, which is one of the services AMSYS offers. Client satisfaction is a top priority and the company displayed this in full measure during Hurricane Ike. With the office premises completely damaged, Khalid did the next best thing. He moved lock, stock and barrel to his house where he and his employees worked 24/7 helping their customers access their data from the AMSYS private cloud and resume business. He believes the company “emerged stronger and better” for it. In 2014, Khalid started Amsys Ventures, a $5 million VC fund which serves as an incubator for startups. Amsys Ventures has invested in two companies to date – AM Label.net and Software App. Khalid enjoys the role of being “a big brother” to these startups pointing out that if he had access to this kind of backing, business wisdom and capital, his company would have grown faster.

Santhigram Kerala Ayurveda opens new midwest location at Naperville, Illinois

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he Grand Opening of the Center which was the 12th one in the US was celebrated by lighting of the traditional lamp and ribbon cutting and a discussion on the increasing popularity of Comple-

mentary & Alternative Medicines like Ayurveda in the US and the mission of Santhigram in fulfilling this need. The Chief Guest was Congressman Mr. Bill Foster of the 11th District of Illinois and the Guest of Honor was

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Amazon delivered more than 2bn items for other merchants in 2016 The world’s largest e-commerce retailer’s handling of indy merchants doubled in 2016 on its site, has also become a sizable logistics titan. by Ángel González

hinese smartphone vendors last year captured about 40 percent share in India, the second largest smartphone market in the world, the official media here reported.

by Manu Shah

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Xiaomi took the third spot with a market share of 10.7 percent, whereas Chinese vendors collectively took up 40 percent, according to the survey conducted across 30 major Indian cities.

A

mazon.com’s handling of items sold by independent merchants on its site doubled in 2016, showing how the world’s largest e-commerce retailer has also become a sizable logistics titan. More than 2 billion items were delivered to customers last year through the Fulfillment by Amazon program, in which Amazon stores third-party sellers’ products and ships them to customers. In 2015, the number was more than 1 billion.

— to the point that Chief Executive Jeff Bezos refers to their activity as one of the three “big pillars” of the company. Amazon is working toward a future in which it handles the logistics of most or all of these independent actors (just as it expects pretty much every shopper that can afford it to be a member of the $99-a-year Prime program). The data points buttress other recent signs of progress in this direction, such as a 42 percent increase in shipping revenue for the first nine months

The forays by Chinese phone makers comes as India’s domestic brands saw decline in market share. Micromax reported a 16.7 percent month-over-month sales drop in October, the survey said. Analysts noted that as smartphone giants look at India which has a population of 1.34 billion, to be the “new China” and the competition will be intense, the report said. Despite growth, price war remains fierce in what is becoming the world’s second-largest smartphone market where the price of a mobile averages only USD 100, the survey said. “Lenovo has retained its duo-brand strategy in India,” Rahul Agarwal, the company’s managing director, told state-run Beijing News, adding that Motorola is focused on high-end market, taking up a third of its sales, whereas Lenovo phones targeting lower end account for two thirds. Indian customers are even more price sensitive than Chinese users, Ni Fei, co-founder and CEO of Nubia Technology, said. Besides price war, patent rights and tariff could also hinder further growth in India, analysts said, citing patent disputes faced by Chinese smartphone makers Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi in recent years. Oppo is planning to invest USD $215 million to build an industrial park in India to bring down manufacturing cost, according to media reports earlier last month. The company already has a factory in Greater Noida. (-PTI) Mr. Rick Guzman, Chief of Staff from Mayor’s Office City of Aurora. During the occasion, after the welcome speech by the Center Partner, Mr. Vinoz Chanamolu, the Founder Chairman of Santhigram Wellness, Dr. Gopinathan Nair expressed his confidence in taking forward Santhigram Ayurveda to greater heights. “The main hurdle we faced at Milwaukee, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and now in Naperville was to get the trained manpower in Ayurveda and Panchakarma therapies”, he said. In order to meet shortage of trained manpower in Ayurvedic and Panchakarma Therapies which will help Santhigram to grow faster, he has narrated his plans to launch Ayurveda Training Schools in East, Midwest and West as early

Employees pack parcels at the logistics centre of Amazon (AFP Photo / Uwe Zocchi) Additionally, Amazon said that there were 70 percent more sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which not only pads Amazon’s revenues but also gives it a tighter grip on customer satisfaction. Merchants, in return, don’t have to worry about shipping and handling; in addition, their products are eligible for shipping privileges through Amazon’s Prime loyalty program, which has tens of millions of members. The disclosures, on Tuesday, are a strong indicator of how widely Amazon is spreading the gospel of FBA among the multitudes of retail entrepreneurs that use its site as a platform. These merchants are an increasingly important part of Amazon’s business

as possible. The Wellness Center celebrated its Grand Opening with an open house for two days, offering Ayurveda consultations by the renowned Holistic physi-

of last year, to $5.9 billion. (Shipping revenue still lagged shipping costs, however, which rose 43 percent to $10.5 billion.) They also give analysts a hint of what to expect when the company releases its fourth-quarter earnings in the next few weeks. Wall Street is also likely to notice some other interesting data points: During the holiday season, for example, Fulfillment by Amazon shipments grew more than 50 percent. (That’s a seemingly slower clip of growth than the 60 percent year-overyear figure reported at the end of the previous holiday season.) Amazon also said third-party sellers received orders for more than 28 million items on Cyber Monday. That’s up from 23 million items in 2015 (-Seattle Times) cian Dr. Ambika Nair assisted by Dr. Greeshma Varghese, an experienced Ayurveda Doctor from Kerala, India. Santhigram Kerala Ayurveda Wellness Centers were established in India nearly two decades ago and is an ISO 9001:2008 certified provider of Authentic Kerala specific Ayurvedic & Panchakarma therapies for total body rejuvenation, detoxification and for alleviation of many chronic ailments. The unique services provided by Santhigram Wellness help to reduce stress, enhance skin luster, correct metabolism, improve immunity, remove hormonal imbalance and recharges the body and mind. The Santhigram wellness Centers are staffed by trained Ayurveda professionals who offer consultations and recommendations on Diet, Herbal remedies and Healthy Lifestyle.

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HOROSCOPE

VOICE OF ASIA 18

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of January 6, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

by Hardik Vyas, Astrologer Cell : 832-298-9950

ONLINE WWW.VOICEOFASIAONLINE.COM

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April Promises of business or financial opportunities. You may encounter problems with authority figures that could lead to confinement or delays. Your imagination can help you come up with some high profit ideas. Even you still have things to learn. Taking part in a class or workshop is one way to help this happen. Make sure all of your personal papers & data are in order. Pay close attention to detail & don’t put serious issues on the back-burner.

Emotions, psychic powers & your ability to use your visions to see in the past events. You may be able to see & analyze much more than the rest of us. You’ll be able to tap into this part of your psyche with little effort. Your perspective will allow you to notice the big patterns that often may be lost in the shuffle of day-to-day life. Children & loved ones may be on your mind more. Try to get more involved in organizations that help children who are experiencing difficulties. You have much to offer & will gain greatly by the experience.

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

You will need to have different approach like…. Partnerships, teamwork & working towards your mutual goals. You know it is impossible to accomplish anything if you try to do it alone. Bring your leadership qualities to the surface & help organize your mutual efforts. Arguments with family or friends may really set you off. Try hard not to instigate unnecessary friction with anyone. It would be best for you to stay put & avoid conversations that are controversial to start with. Follow your basic instincts & you’ll do very well.

You may face some Stressful domestic & personal affairs. Spend time by yourself if at all possible. Your usual cool may not be evident and your emotions could be extreme. Erratic behavior may cause isolation. Allow others to do their own thing. When communicating with children, try to put yourself in their position. It’ll help you take a fresher perspective on the whole situation. You’ll experience a growing awareness of who you are and what you need.

Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June You may feel sleeping disorders, although it’s temporary, try to listen peaceful music in the night, it will surely help you out. You will be ruled by Responsibilities & getting back to basics issues. You need to have a conversation with one who wants to hang on to your generous hospitality, forever. Some uncertainty may cause you to take time to make decisions. Your ability to work through complex situations can come in very handy. You need to eliminate distractions and get straight to the heart of the matter.

You are ready to take on difficult tasks. Your job may demand that you pay attention to every detail. You prefer to deal with the big picture. A close friend or partner could get on your nerves now. They may be worried about a minor matter that frustrates you. Don’t allow your emotions to make decisions for you. It may cause trouble to control your actions or re-actions. Your emotional well-being will depend on how well you deal with a recent family situation. Don’t take on more responsibilities than you can handle.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July A sense of getting yourself organized. Your life has been far too busy lately. Try not to sweep your problems under the rug. Expect disagreements with your partner if financial irresponsibility has left you in a tight spot. The key might be to set limitations on each other’s spending habits. Perhaps you were supposed to take care of this situation long time ago. Slow down and deal with it now. Then you’ll get this problem behind you forever . If you want to make long term plans, make sure you share them with those who will be affected.

Growth in your emotional stability. You don’t have to accept whatever comes your way, but neither should you reject innovation as a matter of course. You may also have the gift of being able to push others in the direction you want them to go. You understand how to use the energy of the team, and this enables you to stretch a dollar with great success. Take some time out to do things with children. You may just find they really need more than you imagined. Try not to lose your patience, support will work better than criticism.

Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August New dynamic cycle of change that is about ready to begin. Unpredictable events may disrupt your routine greatly. You may find it hard to get a clear response from a coworker, mate. You need the information & you need it now, but somehow it may not be forthcoming. Try asking again, with finer delicacy. It may just be that, there’s more here than meets the eye. An act of kindness or gesture of caring can melt the resistance and get you what you want. Your generosity could also put you in the poorhouse. Try not to give others too much.

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September The intuitive and psychic perceptions you receive from many sources. An intense conversation could be important to you. Re evaluate your past, try to bring out your best qualities, set aside your insecurities. Communications & understanding will increase greatly. Plan outings with family or friends with fun filled conversation. Your knowledge & good sense will help more than you expect. Competition could help your team, especially if you approach it in a positive manner.

BD

The flow of energy will be different, it will be cheerful due to good news you will get either for yourself or your family members. A new Partnerships or engagement possibilities. This is not just about romance; it can also be about friendship and professional partnership. Your involvement with family situation could prove to be very interesting. You may want to watch what you say, though. Your words could be misinterpreted. Your intuitive insights and healing energies can be used positively to help others.

Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March This time, Your need patience & understanding. Use these valuable virtues to get you through others’ moods. Those around you may start the week with enthusiasm, then lose their way in the process. You can get others to do things for you if you use your charm. Dealing with “wishy-washy” people may test your patience. Try to keep your workload to a normal level, no more long hours. You need your rest, even if you see yourself as too tough to quit. Soothing music or easy reading can make you more comfortable.

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CLASSIFIEDS

VOICE OF ASIA 19

HARVEST RICE, INC NOW HIRING

GULF RICE MILLING, INC., NOW HIRING

HARVEST RICE, INC., a family owned rice milling and packaging operation, with facilities located in McGehee, AR, and in Otwell (near Jonesboro), AR, is looking to build a community of employees who value loyalty, dedication & hard work. We are looking for the right candidates to help us expand our family of employees. The positions needed are as follows: ADMINISTRATIVE / OFFICE / TRANSPORTATION for both locations SKILLED LABOR, i.e., PACKAGING, MANUAL, MACHINE OPERATORS – McGehee, AR location

Gulf Rice Milling, Inc., a leader in rice milling and rice packaging and distribution, has an exciting opportunity for a self-motivated individual looking to be part of a company that is experiencing tremendous growth. Gulf Rice is looking for a PRODUCTION PLANNING MANAGER to help implement our company’s high standards by managing the production scheduling, warehouse and shipping departments. This position is located in Houston, TX. The main job responsibilities are as follows: Organize the production scheduling process to maximize output and lower labor costs while maintaining a high on-time service. Implement a new schedule that considers machine capacities and material availability. Improve inventory accuracy to reduce machine downtime Ensure efficient and accurate shipping of finished goods. Work closely with Production, Sales and Purchasing Departments. The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering, preferable and a big plus, or other Operations and Supply Chain majors Minimum 5 years of experience managing a Production Planning Dept. High MS Excel proficiency Preferably bi-lingual English/Spanish Our employees enjoy a competitive salary and benefits package that includes Medical Insurance, 401K Plan, Vision, Dental, Sick Time, Paid Vacation and Holidays. Please send resumes to Deborah Shriver, H.R. Manager at dshriver@gulfpac.com. Please visit our company website at www.gulfpac.com to find out more about our capabilities, our technologies & innovations and our commitment to quality & food safety.

Harvest Rice, Inc. is family owned and operated for over 25 years and we value employer / employee relationships, so in addition to our competitive compensation & benefits package, we will consider offering assistance with relocation and schooling, depending on the circumstance. Anyone interested in this unique opportunity, please send resumes to Deborah Shriver, H.R. Manager at: dshriver@ gulfpac.com. Please visit our company website at www.gulfpac.com to find out more about our capabilities, our technologies & innovations and our commitment to quality & food safety.

Safe Winter Driving Tips (StatePoint) While winter can be a beautiful time of year, it can also be a treacherous season on the roads. Winter driving conditions require increased attention and an ability to adapt quickly. In 2015, 8,010 people nationwide were killed in car crashes between December and March, resulting in an average seven percent per month increase from 2014, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). These numbers are a warning to everyone on the roads about how dangerous winter driving can be.

FRIDAY, January 6, 2017

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“Winter looks more idyllic outside our house windows than outside our windshield,â€? said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The good news is many cars are equipped with life-saving technologies. It is important that drivers understand how the technologies work in order to drive safely in winter conditions.â€? In an effort to prevent crashes on the road this winter, MyCarDoesWhat, an NSC and University of Iowa initiative, is offering some major pieces of advice for driving in winter conditions. • Slow down. Drivers frequently underestimate how long it takes to brake and how difficult it can be to steer on slippery roads. • Don’t use cruise control on slippery surfaces like ice and snow. It will diminish your control and reduce your reaction time in the event of a skid. • Remember, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways, so be alert in cold weather when approaching one. • Many new safety technologies (like back-up cameras) have outside sensors that can freeze or fog up. Always make sure they are clear so they work their best. MyCarDoesWhat also reminds drivers of the safety technologies that can help vehicles adapt in slippery and changing conditions. • Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) help drivers maintain control by preventing wheels from locking up. ABS works differently than traditional brakes, delivering and releasing precise braking pressure to each wheel as needed. So, don’t pump the brakes if you have ABS. Just hold them down firmly and look and steer in the direction you want to go. The brakes may buzz and vibrate when the ABS has activated. • Traction control helps you accelerate without spinning out on slippery surfaces like snow and ice. • Electronic stability control senses when you may be losing control around a corner or curve, and can stabilize your car if it begins to veer off the road. • Adaptive headlights adjust to changing roadway conditions -- such as curves -- to provide optimum illumination along the roadway during long winter nights and periods of low daytime visibility. • The temperature warning feature provides updates about upcoming roadway conditions such as black ice. “When there is snow and ice on the road, antilock brakes can improve the stability of your braking so you can steer better,â€? said Dan McGehee, director of the University of Iowa National Advanced Driver Simulator. “Remember to hold the brakes down even when they pulse and vibrate.â€?

VOICE OF ASIA

MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK Make Your Meeting More Effective by Following Up It’s easy to think that your work is done when you walk out of a meeting. But the decisions made in the room will only be effective if you carefully follow up. Start by writing a succinct summary note, describing what was discussed and clear action steps. Attach any notes from the meeting. Draft this in a way that allows others to forward your message to anyone who missed the meeting or who cares about what occurred. Record any task due dates in your calendar so you can make sure they’re completed. If there’s someone who has a particular stake in the meeting outcome, such as your boss, follow up in person to make sure they’re aware of the decisions made and next steps. Finally, spend some time reflecting on the meeting, how you did as a facilitator, and what you could do better next time.

Job Posting - Web Producer Are you a Digital Content Guru? Someone obsessed with major news and top trending stories of the day? Do you have a knack for producing creative digital content that generates high engagement? KTRK TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, Texas is looking for a Full-time Digital Producer to be part of the station team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. Ideal candidate must have: Gift for Recognizing and Creating Impactful, Innovative and Distinctive Digital Content • Extensive Newsroom Digital Background (Supervisory Skills a Plus) • Unerring News Judgement • Knack for Writing Powerful and Accurate copy and headlines • Ability to manage multiple projects at one time, while utilizing resources from multiple departments to produce the best product. • Proven Social Media Expertise in both content creation and strategic optimizing • Working knowledge of Digital enhancement and publishing tools • Working knowledge of Digital Analytics and how to use them to optimize station’s brand recognition • Ability to Excel in fast-paced news station environment and willing to work under deadlines • Flexibility with Work Schedule depending on station needs and projects • Strong Leadership, Organizational and Communication skills. 7REHFRQVLGHUHGFDQGLGDWHVPXVWDSSO\RQOLQHDWZZZGLVQH\FDUHHUVFRPE\XSORDGLQJDUHVXPH¿OH cover letter and list of references. Please Reference Job ID: 418900BR on all materials submitted. Equal Opportunity Employer –Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please.

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