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FRIDAY, November In Section 2 9, 2018 l HEALTHLINE 2019 Defined Standard Medicare Part D prescription drug plan


Mala Sharma - Texas Super Lawyer and Rising Star


Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years

Businessman grants $5 million for innovative Alzheimer's solution

Vol. 32 No. 44 • FRIDAY, November 9, 2018 Published Weekly from Houston 24 Pages (2 sections) 50 cents 713-774-5140 • E-mail:

Asian American Democratic candidates 2nd term win for Texas impact local mid-term elections Governor Abbott

Hubert Vo, State Representative, District 149


esidents of Fort Bend County saw a monumental shift in leadership with Democratic candidates sweeping the 2018 elections on Tuesday. Democratic candidate KP George ousted incumbent Republican Fort Bend County Judge

KP George, Fort Bend County JudgeElect

Juli Mathew, Number 3 Judge-Elect of the Fort Bend County Court

Robert Hebert. George won with 52.91 percent, against Hebert’s 47.09 percent. George served as a Fort Bend ISD board trustee before being elected as judge.

ber 3 udge of the Fort Bend County Court defeating Tricia Krenek, her Republican challenger.

Juli Mathew, Democrat, won Num-

State Rep. Hubert Vo, Democrat won his seat in Texas House District Continued on Page 2

4 Indian-Americans reelected to US House and over dozen others in US midterm


ASHINGTON - PTI (Nov 07, 2018,) Four Indian-American Congressmen from the Democratic party were re-elected to the US House of Representatives and more than a dozen others won various other races across the

country in the highly polarised midterm elections held Tuesday.

dian American Republican opponent J D Diganvker.

In the eighth Congressional District of Illinois, Raja Krishnamoorthi was re-elected for the second term by a comfortable margin of more than 30 percentage points. He defeated his In-

Three-term lawmaker Dr Ami Bera was re-elected for a record fourth consecutive time from the seventh Con-

In this picture, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady light the lamp during Diwali celebrations at his residence on Nov. 5 where prominent Indian Americans joined Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupan Ray on the occasion. (Photo credit: Twitter) Read report on Page 11

Continued on Page 11

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by Mark Reynolds

Publisher: Associate Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Austin Correspondent: Marketing Director: Office Accountant: Multimedia & Graphics: Data Entry:

Koshy Thomas Sherly Philip Shobana Muratee Sherine Thomas Susan Pothanikat Priyan Mathew Joey Belleza Satish Philip

Contributors: OpEd: Dr. Chandra Mittal Sharlene Sharmila Richards Legal: Mala Sharma Research: Dr. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Health: Sudhir Mathuria

Editor Online: Shobana Muratee Marketing Director: Susan Pothanikat Web Designer: Joey Belleza 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: 713774-5140. Fax: 713-774-5143. Email for editorial submissions:; Email for advertising inquiries and submissions: It is the policy of Voice of Asia to publish letters to the editor which evidence a variety of viewpoints. The opinions expressed in any particular letter to the editor are not necessarily those of the management. Voice of Asia welcomes letters in reply to issues raised in letters to editor. In as much letters to the editor are not articles written or researched by members of Voice of Asia, it is not the policy of the Voice of Asia to perform any investigation or confirmation of any facts or allegations contained in letters to the editor. Moreover, Voice of Asia reserves the right to edit letters to the editor as necessary to correct errors of fact, punctuation, spelling and to comply with space constraints. Although paid advertisements may appear in Voice of Asia Group Publications in print, online, or in other electronic formats, the Voice of Asia Group does not endorse the advertised product, service, or company, nor any of the claims made by the advertisement. — The Publisher Voice of Asia (USPS 010-215) (ISSN#10705058) is published every Friday (for a subscription rate of $50 per year) by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713-774-5143. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Voice of Asia, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074.


As the dust settles from the midterm election to reveal a new political landscape in Washington, hope emerges that congressional action to rein in climate change may finally find traction after a decadelong drought. Come January, Democrats will control the agenda in the House of Representatives, and some of them are eager to bring carbon pricing legislation to the table. As reported in The Hill last month, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) is expected to push for a carbon fee bill. “The House has an opportunity to move something forward — hopefully with bipartisan support — that the president would then have to respond to,” Deutch said. How the president responds depends largely on whether a bill attracts Republican support, and Deutch has cause for optimism on that front. As cochair of the bipartisan Climate Solution Caucus, which has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, Deutch has seen this group of strange bedfellows grow from a dozen members to 90 in just two years. The Berlin Wall dividing the two parties on this issue is crumbling. There are now dozens of Republicans who acknowledge the existence of human-caused climate change, and they are willing to seek the common ground on solutions. So where is that common ground? The solution that finds sup-

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With Democrats controlling the House, a bipartisan climate solution is possible port across the political spectrum is Carbon Fee and Dividend, whereby a steadily rising fee is assessed on the heat-trapping emissions released from fossil fuels. In order to protect Americans from rising costs associated with the fee, all revenue is returned to households as monthly payments. The third component of this plan is a border carbon adjustment on imports from nations that lack an equivalent carbon price, which would shield American businesses from unfair foreign competition and discourage U.S. companies from “offshoring” their carbon emissions. From a conservative standpoint, there is much to like about this policy: It relies on the market rather than government regulations to achieve its objective. It’s revenue-neutral, which means it will not increase the size of government. It will put money in people’s pockets, grow the economy and add jobs. It provides the incentive for other nations to follow our lead and implement carbon pricing policies of their own.

What are the chances that Republicans will get behind a carbon pricing bill? Well, three of them, all members of the Climate Solutions Caucus, sponsored a bill to do just that. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), cochairman of the caucus, introduced the MARKET CHOICE Act this past summer, which would apply a fee on carbon and use the revenue to fund infrastructure projects. Joining him as co-sponsors were Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.). Although Curbelo lost his seat in a tight race last night, Fitzpatrick and Rooney are returning to the House, and addressing climate change is a priority for both. The imperative to act now couldn’t be clearer. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned that we have little more than a decade to take the “unprecedented” actions needed to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change. Waiting around for a new president and a Democratic Senate in 2021 — outcomes that are by no means guaranteed — kicks the can down an ever-shortening road. Momentum for carbon pricing got a boost last month when

Canada announced that a carbon fee and dividend system will be implemented in provinces that cover nearly half that nation’s population. With federal elections coming up next year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is betting that pricing carbon will be a political winner if Canadians get a check in the mail. We’re making that bet, too. We must set the table going into the 116th Congress by encouraging lawmakers to introduce and pass bipartisan legislation for Carbon Fee and Dividend. Bipartisanship is the best path forward to effective and enduring climate legislation, and I have faith a significant number of Republicans will come around to support such legislation in the new Congress. In the end, the real solution to climate change is democracy, and with more and more citizens telling their members of Congress that delay is not an option, a viable solution to the climate crisis is now within reach. Mark Reynolds is the executive director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. - The Hill

Cornyn releases letter to Texans in celebration of Diwali


USTIN—U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following open letter to Texans in celebration of Diwali: Dear Fellow Texans: Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year, and millions across the globe – including hundreds of thousands of Indian-Americans in Texas – celebrate the Festival of Lights. These lights are physical, including lanterns, candles, and fireworks, but for those who light the flames, they hold a deeper meaning. Diwali celebrates awareness of one’s inner light and light’s triumph over darkness. It celebrates

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goodness over evil and hope over despair. It holds a message that resonates with all Texans and a wonderful opportunity to recommit our-

selves to acknowledging the plentiful good around us.

joyous and prosperous new year.

As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, I authored a resolution to commemorate Diwali with a Forever Stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. I’m proud that you can purchase a Diwali stamp from the U.S. Postal Service to send greetings to your friends and family.

God Bless you all, and may God continue to Bless the great state of Texas.

My wife, Sandy, and I send you our sincere wishes for a

Sincerely, John Cornyn U.S. Senator for Texas Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Asian American Democratic candidates impact local midterm elections Continued from front page

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149 - where Harris and Fort Bend counties meet after fending off his latest GOP challenger: Bryan Chu. Incumbent Gene Wu (D) defeated Lee Sharp (L) in the general election for Texas House of Representatives District 137. He won by 88.3%. Democrat Jason Luong defeated Brennen Dunn in the Democratic primary for Texas District Court 185. He won by 50.5% votes. Read more results at :www.

Incumbent Gene Wu, Texas State Representative


Jason-Luong, Texas District Court 185

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Section 1

Community Email:

FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

India House Distributes Free Food to Needy Families

Volunteers stand by the tables arranged with food produce at the India House ready for distribution in a joint effort of Houston Food Bank and India House. Photos credit: Bijay Dixit

India House Executive Director, Col. (Retired) Vipin Kumar and India House trustee Jugal Malani assisting ith distribution at India House.


OUSTON: Living up to their mission of serving the community, India House, in collaboration with Houston Food Bank, distributed Free Food (Food produce and Groceries) to 151 needy families of the neighborhood on Tuesday, October 30th. The Mobile unit from Houston Food Bank arrived at India House at 7:45 am. The truck was loaded with large pallets of cereal, vegetables such as potatoes, cabbages, pumpkins, cans of beans, and fruits such as watermelons & pineapples. India House Board /Council members, staff and volunteers joined hands to parcel out groceries to 151 needy families. India House staff set up an assembly line to bring in the food and organized assorted items into plastic bags for each

Bhalla sponsored this food distribution session and they also volunteered their time to help with the food distribution. Joining them were more than 25 volunteers from diverse sections of the community. Many of the volunteers were gratified by their charity service and are looking forward to the next monthly food distribution session on November 6th and November 28th from 10 am to 1 pm. Many of the needy families expressed their gratitude to India House, Houston Food Bank and the volunteers.

Volunteers for food distribution at the India House. family. In orderly fashion, the families drove to the side entrance of India House and were

helped by volunteers to load the groceries in their cars. Several families did not have cars

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and either walked back to their neighborhood home or waited for Metro transportation for a

ride home. Col Raj and Mrs. Kanwal

India House Houston is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization located in Houston, Texas. Our mission is to united cultures, create bridges and serve the community by bringing resources, education, services and Indian culture to Houstonians.


FRIDAY, November 9, 2018


Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

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

Section 1


Essay on Vande Mataram by Kavya Tomar Submitted as a part of Last Year’s Vande Mataram Outloud Contest Sponsored by Swami Dayanand Education Foundation, Sugar Land, TX


ande Mataram was written in the 1870s by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and it still carries major importance today as India’s national song. Vande Mataram has historical importance and meaningful lyrics. Although it was written in the 1870s, Vande Mataram did not gain fame until Chattopadhyay included it into his novel, Anandamath. The poem was composed to song by Rabindranath Tagore, who also wrote India’s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana. Tagore first sang it in a political setting in the 1896 Indian National Congress. It became a symbol for Indian emancipation from the British. Many were thrown in jail for singing it after the British banned it. Later, the ban lifted, but the song became politicized. Some Muslims did not want to sing a song in which there was a reference to Durga, a Hindu goddess. This controversy continues today. The lyrics are meaningful. The

first verse, beginning with “Sujalam suphalam” and ending with “Sukhadam varadam”, is all about India’s beautiful nature. It talks about cool breezes, lush greenery and fresh water in India, making it seem like a paradise. The second verse, starting with “Sapta koti” and ending with “Ripudalavaariniim”, is about India’s strength. Indians will protect their motherland fiercely from invaders. They are fearless and strong. The third stanza, beginning with “Tumi vidyaa” and ending with“ mandire” is about the god-like qualities of the motherland. She is omnipotent and omniscient, embodying Indians’ spirits. The fourth stanza, beginning with “Tvamhi durgaa” and ending with “Sujalam suphalam” relates the motherland to different Hindu goddesses, such as Durga and Lakshmi, and ends with more praise of India’s nature. The fifth stanza, which begins with “Shyamalam” and ending with “Bharanim”, talks about India’s beauty and wealth. Vande Mataram is a moving patriotic song which is still important today.

Tel: 713-774-5140

Fort Bend County winners in the mid-term elections Olson, Middleton gain advantage with voters

U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R)


ORT BEND - In a tightlycontested race which garnered much attention in the local community, U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R) defeated Democrat Sri Kulkarni in Texas 22nd Congressional district with 152,318 votes to Kulkarni’s

Newly elected District Attorney Brian Middleton 137,500. It was a historical win for Democratic candidate Brian Middleton who beat Republican opponent Cliff


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Durga Puja at Houston's Free hairstyling, facials Durga Bari brings Bengal available in November at experience to Space City two HCC campuses


O U S T O N (Nov. 6, 2018) – Craving new color for your tresses? Dreaming of a dynamic haircut for the holidays? Houston Community College graduating cosmetology students are offering free, top-of-theline hairstyling services and facials during November. All services are free and open to all.

Bengali women participating in Sindoor khela by applying red vermilion as part of the celebratons.

by Partha Sarathi Chatterjee


ouston’s Durga Bari’s Durga Puja was again celebrated with tradition grandeur over a matter of eight days – Oct 14-21. It more than lived upto the first Biswa Bangla Sarad Samman award winner in the international category. Puja was celebrated at our vast temple complex right on a picturesque lake. Durga Bari’s temple has Ashtadhatu deities brought from India. Puja was conducted by our dedicated volunteer priests over four days led by our Head priest Buddhadeb Bhattachariya. We followed all rituals - from Bodhon to Bishorjan, from Hom to

Chandi path to 108 lotuses during Sandhi Puja, Dedicated volunteers prepare the elaborate Naibidya, Bhog and Dadhikarma. We had about 4000 attendees from all over Houston, Texas and other states for our Puja. The entire complex becme a fun-filled festival – the milieu of people milling around with mikes blaring. From the entrance gate to Las Vegas style lighting, we converted the temple complex to a Vegas-Kolkata lighting wonderland. The Pujas brought together young and old – from second-generation kids and adults to the senior citizens, with the theme being “Renew, Revive, Rejoice”.

“Our students are junior and senior-level cosmetologists who are passionate about what Facial. Stock Photo. they do,” says Shenesse Britton, department chair for the HCC Cosmetology Program. “These free services offer them a chance to enhance Program their skills and give back to the WHEN: community at the same time.” Nov. 5 - Nov. 30, 9 a.m. WHAT: 12:30 p.m. Free hairstyling, shampoos, WHERE: sets, haircuts, braiding, up HCC Katy, 1550 Foxlake dos, men’s styling and facials through the HCC Cosmetology Dr., Houston, TX 77084

Volunteers cooked delicious food and served it under a canopy. From lunches to bhog to snacks to dinner, one had a gourmet food ex-


OUSTON, (November 10th, 2018): After the grand success of the duo Samir and Dipalee's Live in Concert, MB Entertainment Company is launching its Second Event Diwali Gala Nite 2018 with Soumen and Chandrika the Zee Sa re ga ma pa stars, performing Live in Houston with their Musical Band on Nov.10th at the Noah’s Event Venue, Sugar Land, Texas.

Additionally, he has performed in USA, Canada and several other countries. Apart from doing shows his compositions and improvisations based on Indian Classical Raga Music and chord chemistry are highly appreciated by different seniors and professors of India. Today Soumen is also a trainer and mentor for Zee TV, training Indian Music to the next generation singers. Chandrika the terrific rising star/singer in India and abroad. The Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2017 finalist has already done solo performances in all major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Coimbatore, Vizag, Jabolpur, Hyderabad, Ghatshila, Jamshedpur. Chandrika has done playback in some Bengali Films as well. "Dramadol" released on Aug. 2015. She has sung three songs in this film. She is a versatile singer and has sung in several TV serials also.

No appointments are needed for hair services. All services are offered on a first-come, first served basis. For facials, please call (713) 718-7527 to make an appointment.

Houston’s stage saw a powerful lineup of famous artists rocking the Houston crowd. From Iman Chakrabarty to the new Sa re ga ma pa sensations creating waves back home – Kushal Paul to Mekhla Dasgupta to Suday Sarkar, this year’s programs were exciting, high-class and tremendously entertaining. Kushal was easily the top show and had the packed auditorium crowd in raptures. Talented local artists including gifted second-generation kids and adults, performed admirably on stage too.

Kushal Paul, Zee TV's Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2016 winner had the audeince rocking during the festivities.

Mousumi Banerjee Entertainment presents Diwali Gala Nite 2018

Soumen Nandi, a classically trained Indian/Bengali musician had started his musical journey at a very tender age of six. Soumen was a winner of the regional Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee Bangla in 2008 and a Finalist in Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009 is a prolific singer performers and award winning Bollywood playback singer. Soumen has performed in most cities in India and shared stages with stalwarts like Music Director Pritam, Mahalakshmi Iyer, Shankar Mahadevan, Abhjit Bhattacharya, Sanjay Chakraborty and several other famous singers and musicians of India.

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perience here. Tutored by the elders, dhaaks (drums) were now played by second-generation kids, for every arati and bishorjan. For bishorjan, we took the Kala Bau and the pitchers three times around the temple in a procession and then, immersed them in the lake. Houston Durga Bari organization, led by Anindya Chakrabarty and Diptabhas Sarkar, and the Puja committee, led by Swapan Das and Piyali Chatterjee, and 25 teams with 200+ dedicated

volunteers organized a great Puja, which the community loved dearly. The coordination and team work and many new faces stepping up to take active roles in the organization show that Durga Bari is in really good hands. Durga Bari will host Kali Puja with dramas, fireworks and Bangla band Chandrabindoo Nov 2-3. In short, we created an authentic Durga Puja ambiance right here in Space City in the heart of Texas.

Soumen Nandi, was among the inalist in Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009.

Chandrika, lead female singer who will be accompanying Nandi at the Live Concert. The Grand Sponsor for this event is Omar Saeed Khan with North Western Mutual Wealth Management Powered by Manyavar and Embassy Suites by Hilton Houston Energy Corridor. Speaking about the event, Mousumi Banerjee, says, “MB Entertainment invites you all to join a mesmerizing evening of entertainment as we celebrate Diwali with Music, Delicious Dinner from Amar’s Indo-European Cuisine and Dazzling Performances by Soumen and Chandrika. Thanks for your support. We are all excited to

celebrate Diwali together in a Grand & fun way. Mousumi Banerjee Entertainment Company is an entertainment company specializing in Concert Promotion, Talent Promotion and Cultural Event Promotion. Mousumi Banerjee the CEO of the Company had worked relentlessly several years helping the non-profit organizations like India House, CRY, SEWA International and currently a Director of Indo American Charity Foundation. She has promoted both large and small scale events all over

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FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Houston Reimagined: Building IHA pays tribute to late Prime Minister of India, Shri a Resilient City and Best Practices from Asia Atal Bihari Vajpayee Report: Sanjay Sohoni & Swapan Dhairyawan Pictures: Sanjay Sohoni


n Sunday, October 28, 2018 Houston Chapter of International Hindi Association organized a program dedicating tribute to Late Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Keshav Smriti Hall in Houston. Swapan Dhairyawan was the Event Coordinator & Master of ceremony who took the audience on journey and life of Atalji. The program started with VPSS Hindi learning kids singing ‘Hum Honge Kaamyab’ which set the mood and tone of the program. The song was rendered by Riti, Rhea, Arjun, Reyna, Priya, Samika, Anushka, Manav & Shrey and was taught by Sangeeta Gupte. The audience was happy and impressed to hear the kids singing in chaste Hindi. The President of Houston Chapter, Dr K.D.Upadhyaya welcomed the audience and narrated the purpose and timeline of the program. Fatehali Chatur recited the first poem “hari hari doob par onski boonde” and narrated the similarity with the examples of husband and wife relationship, which was appreciated by the audience. This was followed by Dr Sarita Mehta reciting poem “aao phir se diya jalaye” & “geet naya gaata hu”. The next participant was Dr Harendra Chahar who recited a incredible poem filled with Veer Ras “hindu tan man hindu jivan” which made audience appreciate the greatness of Hindu way of life. Next hope poem was recited by Manisha Gandhi “ savera hai magar purab disha mein” which was liked by the audience for its soft mood and emotions. At the half time senior Community Leader & an accomplished Businessman Ramesh Bhutadaji was invited to share his experience and memories of Atalji. He remarked the strong characteristic of Atalji who ran the coalition government of 22 different parties as a Prime Minister and succeeded in keeping all of them together, so in our life we should also work in cooperation with people though we have different ideology, views and goals. He also mentioned that Keshav Smriti will always keep its doors open for any such noble cause to the IHA team. This was followed by a speech by ICC President Nisha Mirani who also recited a poem by Atalji. She thanked IHA and audience for attending the program and spoke on mutual cooperation within the community. Sangeeta Pasrija then recited few short poems on different moods which were well appreciated and liked by the audience. Her recitation on ‘Babli Ki Diwali’ on two pet dogs of Atalji showed altogether different perspective of his talent and flair in poetry writing. Swapan Dhairyawan recited Atalji’s ‘Dudh me darar pad gai’ “unche parvat pe paude nahi ugte” & new vision poetry “ek naya bharat ke jisme ek naya vishwas ho”; as he very eloquently went over the life span and activities of Atalji right from childhood, to youth, Vistarak, Pracharak, as a Parliamentarian, to an Opposition Party Leader and so also his role as the Prime Minister of India. Distinguished Community Leader Arun Sharma of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh narrated AtalJi’s early life incident and emphasized his quality of simplicity and “ahankar rahit jivanselfless and without ego life” to the audience. Shobendu then recited poem ‘kadam milakar chalana hoga’ and narrated the background & philosophy behind this poem. Saroj Gupta then recited a summary of different poems intertwined in a simple format to the audience which was really interesting. At the end, Dr Upadhyaya recited Atalji’s very famous poem ‘Than gai, than gai, maut se than gai’. The audience was awestruck with the expression & energy & fortitude in this poem. Charlie Patel and Sanjay Sohoni proposed vote of thanks at the end. Light snacks and tea was provided at the beginning of the program which attracted over 100+ people. The next program of IHA is Kavita ki Shaam on December 7th for more information call Sanjay 281-9439758

Swapan Dhairyawan, Event Coordinator addressing the gathering.

Speaker: Rizal Algamar is the Country Director of The Nature Conservancy – Indonesia Program

Speaker: Jackson Ewing, senior fellow at Duke University's Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions

Speaker: William Fulton, Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University.

Hurricane Harvey dropped record amounts of rain on Greater Houston in 2017 and cost the city billions of dollars in damage. The event also followed a challenging stretch of floods during Memorial Day in 2015 and Tax Day in 2016. Houstonians were left to wonder if flooding would become the new norm and how to plan for the future.

files for concepts on how to integrate policy and practice. For example, Tencent's headquarters in the southern Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen are implementing a "sponge city concept," using gardens and permeable building materials to manage stormwater runoff from annual monsoons.


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FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

10th Annual “Oper- Houston Indian Americans aid Houston ation Thanksgiving Food Bank and Indian American Council —Stuff the Squad in raising 1Million Meals Car & Fire Truck!” will be hosted by MCPD & MCFRS


n the spirit of giving, “Show Me City” citizens and staff will partner again this year to host the 10th annual “Operation Thanksgiving—Stuff the Squad Car & Fire Truck!” on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Public Safety Headquarters, 3849 Cartwright Rd. All City departments are collaborating to sponsor the operation and donations will assist families in need during the holiday season. Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to come out and fill at least 10 police squad cars and two Fire & Rescue Services trucks with canned and non-perishable food items. The goods will be donated to Bethel Ministry, Palmer House and Second Mile Mission Center. If residents would like to drop-off donations before Saturday, Nov. 17, they are welcome to deliver them to the following City facilities: Ø Police and Fire Departments, 3849 Cartwright Rd. Ø City Hall, 1522 Texas Pkwy. Ø Permits & Inspections in the City Hall Complex, 1522 Texas Pkwy.

Ø Municipal Court, 3845 Cartwright Rd. Ø Recreation and Tennis Center, 2701 Cypress Point Dr. Ø Police Department MiniStation, 1700-A Texas Pkwy. Ø Fire Station 1: 3849 Cartwright Rd. Ø Fire Station 2: 12043 McLain Blvd. Ø Fire Station 3: 2496 Texas Pkwy. Ø Fire Station 5: 190 Waters Lake Blvd. Over the years, thanks to the generosity of residents, employees, churches and community groups, the event has consistently exceeded its collection goals and continues to attract major donors from around the region. For updates, please watch the City website:, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX, and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).

For more stories on culture and newsmakers worldwide Women of Wellness

Indian American Council mobilize Indian Americans in Houston to aid Houston Food Bank. Image credit: Houston Food Bank.


OUSTON, Texas -- October 22, 2018 marked a special day in the history of Houston Food Bank (HFB): in a show of unprecedented community leadership and unity, more than 50 prominent Houstonians of Indian-American background came together for the launch of the Indian American Council (IAC) for Houston Food Bank and pledged their support to fighting hunger in southeast Texas.

American community who call southeast Texas their home.

The Indian American community in southeast Texas has grown exponentially over the years. With a rally cry of, “Hunger Mitao” (Mitao means wipeout) and an ambitious campaign titled “Million Meal March,” the HFBIAC raised commitments for more than one million meals within an hour of its launch, reflecting the “give where you live” spirit of business owners and individuals of the Indian

Raj Chappidi, CEO of Advent Global Solutions and cochair of the HFB-IAC, says, “It has always been a part of Indian culture to give to those in need - we call it ‘Dhana,’ the practice of cultivating generosity. In our modern age, it is a crime that widespread hunger exists. The Houston Food Bank is an excellent example of an organization helping those struggling with food insecurities and I'm thrilled to be

The HFB-IAC also announced an exciting opportunity at the launch: between now and December 31, 2018, Houstonians can take advantage of a legacy-creating opportunity by pledging to fund 100,000 meals for Houston Food Bank – a commitment of $33,333 over three years – and be inducted into the Houston Food Bank’s IAC Founders Circle.

working with them.” Philanthropists and Cofounders of the Indian American Council, Raj and Aradhana (Anna) Asava originally launched the IAC in Dallas for the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) in September 2017. In one short year, the NTFB-IAC has provided more than 2.25 million meals and exponentially increased food drives and volunteering by the Indian American community in North Texas. After the launch in Houston, the Asavas intend to raise awareness, improve engagement, as well as evangelize channeling of resources and contributions of the Indian American community towards hunger across America, one food bank at a time. Their vision for IAC is for the Indian American community to unify and be recognized as a leader in the fight against hunger across the country.

“We cannot thank the Asavas, Raj Chappidi and all who attended the kick-off event quite enough for their amazing show of support right out of the gate,” says Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank. “The Indian American community in Houston has always shown support for the Houston Food Bank but to have this dedicated group form an official council solidifies their commitment to helping their neighbors in need by providing soul-nourishing meals. We look forward to working together in this meaningful partnership.” “This is just the beginning of many million meals that will be enabled by the Indian American Community across United States!” says Aradhana Asava. For more information about the Houston Food Bank’s Indian American Council, visit: Source: Houston Food Bank

Physicians advise early detection, screening mammograms at St. Joseph Medical Center’s “Pink Power” Luncheon certain rare genetic mutations. “The first part of early detection is to perform monthly self breast exams so you can identify any changes in the breast,” said Dr. Dawodu. “Women should also have an annual clinical breast exam by a physician and annual screening mammography.” Dr. Dawodu said that any changes to the breast or breast pain should be addressed by a physician, and that they are not all indicators of breast cancer. Benign breast conditions can be caused by a variety of factors including medication, stress, natural changes and exercise. There are 200,000 new cases of breast cancer annually and Ngoc Pham, M.D., radiation oncologist on the medical staff of St. Joseph, said that

Physicians of St. Joseph Medical Center at the 2018 Pink Power luncheon. Photo by St. Joseph Medical Center


he battle against breast cancer—the second leading cause of cancer death in women—is best fought by early detection, screening mammograms and knowledge, agreed the medical experts addressing women attending the Third Annual Pink Power Luncheon at St. Joseph Medical Center October 19. “Nine women are diagnosed with breast cancer and two women lose their battle with the disease each day in our seven-county service area around Houston,” said Marjorie Landry, Interim Executive Director of Susan G. Komen® Houston. “We

appreciate St. Joseph Medical Center hosting this event to educate women about the importance of early detection, and for donating event proceeds to our organization. While there has been a 39 percent decrease in breast cancer deaths nationwide, there are still more than 40,000 women who will die this year from breast cancer. We won’t stop until there is a cure, and we get closer to it every day.”

“Screening mammography leads to the greatest reduction in deaths because it can detect breast cancer very early,” said Dr. Dawodu. “Mammography is the only screening tool proven to reduce the rate of death by 30 percent. For women who have a higher than average risk for breast cancer, screening may begin at 30 years of age and may also include screening breast ultrasound.”

Eniola Mudasiru-Dawodu, M.D., radiologist on the medical staff of St. Joseph Medical Center, encouraged the audience to begin annual screening mammography at age 40 and to continue beyond the age of 80.

According to Dr. Dawodu, there are four key risk factors for breast cancer. They include the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation, personal history of breast cancer, radiation treatment to the chest, and family history including

treatment today represents a new era of advanced biological therapy. She provided an overview of the evolution of treatment from radical mastectomies in the 1890s to more individualized treatments for women today. “Since the late 1990s, we have developed biological therapies that are the key element of standard breast cancer treatment based on rapidly expanding cellular and molecular understanding of the disease,” said Dr. Pham. “The key is early detection.” Dr. Pham explained the advances in breast-conserving surgical treatments and radiation therapy. “Radiation today is targeted precisely to avoid other areas

of the body,” said Dr. Pham. “Less energy is needed, there is control for hot spots and it is a much more comfortable experience for the patient. Today’s breast-conserving treatment provides an equivalent outcome as a mastectomy for early stage disease.” St. Joseph’s Pink Power annual luncheon is part of the hospital’s Women of Wellness (WOW) program. WOW is a health and social program to empower women as health care consumers by providing educational information and hosting fun, inspiring events that celebrate women’s roles in their own wellness. Membership in WOW is free and open to all women. To join visit or call 713-756-5051.

K. V. Doraiswamy Bhattar 281-489-0464 or 281-948-8368

Rituals Performed: Sreemantham, Punyahavachanam, Namakaranam, Annaprashanam, Vidyarambham, Choulam, Upanayanam, Wedding, Sathya narayana puja, and all kind of Homas (Havans) and more. I can drive to your place. More than 30 years of experience as Priest in major temples including Sri Meenakshi Temple Pearland, TX. Can speak 5 languages (Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, and English)



FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Indian activist to lead walk for peace from New Delhi to Geneva

Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi freed from jail

ENEVA, Switzerland, AFP | An Indian activist said Wednesday that he expects thousands of people to join his "March for Justice and Peace", a 9,500-kilometre hike from New Delhi to Geneva next year.

SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP | - A Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy has been freed from jail a week after her acquittal in a landmark case triggered angry Islamist protests, her lawyer said Thursday.

Rajagopal PV told reporters in Geneva that he plans to begin his long trek from New Delhi next October 2 and should arrive in the Swiss city on September 25, 2020.

Asia Bibi's conviction was overturned by the country's highest court last Wednesday, but she remained in prison as the government negotiated with hardliners who blockaded major cities and demanded her immediate execution.

by Gohar Abbas



The departure date is the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, which Rajagopal said "India is celebrating in a big way" against a backdrop of an intensification of conflicts around the world. The 70-year-old engineer and advocate for the rights of landless peasants in India said the idea was to cross through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey on the way towards the Swiss "city of peace". The aim is to draw international attention to the links between a growing number of conflicts around the world and


Rajagopal is uncomfortable with being called 'the new Gandhi'. Photo: Simon Williams dwindling natural resources. "If land, forests and water are taken away from the poor people, then that will lead to unrest in the society, that unrest will lead to conflict and that conflict can evolve into large-scale of violence," he said. "In a world where conflict is increasing, peace is in great demand, so we thought prob-

ably we can offer the idea of peace-building to the world at large." Rajagopal acknowledged that there were many challenges ahead. He said there could be problems obtaining visas for the walkers to some of the countries in their path, and that they may choose to take a boat from Bombay to Greece, and continue their walk from there.

"She has been freed," lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook said in a text message to AFP. "I have been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land." According to a civil aviation official, the aircraft which collected Bibi from jail is registered in Pakistan and is therefore obliged to land in Islamabad. Following protests at last week's ruling, the government agreed in a deal with Islamists to impose a travel ban on Bibi, and not to challenge an appeal

in the Supreme Court. An order for her release arrived Wednesday at the jail in the central city of Multan where she was detained, a prison official told AFP. "Asia Bibi has left the prison and has been transferred to a safe place!" tweeted Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament. Another civil aviation official, in Multan, said a small plane arrived in the city with "a few foreigners and some Pakistanis" on board to fetch Bibi. Her case has underscored deep divisions between traditionalists and modernisers in the devoutly Muslim country. The conviction stemmed from a 2009 incident when Bibi was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. Muslim women labourers objected to her touching the water bowl as a non-Muslim, and a fight reportedly erupted. A local imam then claimed Bibi insulted the Prophet Mohammed. Bibi has consistently denied the charges, and her prosecution rallied international rights

Bangladesh rescues 33 'Malaysia-bound' Rohingya from sea

OX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh | AFP | 11/7/2018 - Bangladesh's coast guard rescued 33 Rohingya and detained six alleged human traffickers from a fishing trawler headed for Malaysia in the Bay of Bengal, an official said Wednesday. The rescued included 14 men, 10 women and nine children who had been living in refugee camps in the southeastern Bangladesh district of Cox's Bazar, according to Fayezul Islam Mondol, coast

guard commander in the southeastern coastal town of Teknaf. "We have captured six traffickers as well. All of them are Bangladeshis," he told AFP. Some 720,000 refugees of the persecuted Myanmar minority have taken shelter in Bangladesh camps since August last year. They fled what the UN has described as ethnic cleansing in Buddhist-majority Myanmar's western Rakhine state, and have joined some 300,000 refugees already living in camps in Cox's

Bazar. People smugglers in recent years have sent tens of thousands of Rohingya from the Bangladesh camps to Malaysia, before Bangladesh launched a crackdown in 2015 after Thai authorities discovered mass graves and boats overcrowded with thousands of migrants drifted at sea. Mondol said the Rohingya rescued Wednesday had boarded a dilapidated fishing trawler on an uncertain "sea voyage to

Malaysia". The boat was intercepted Wednesday evening by a coast guard boat near Saint Martin's Island, the last territory of Bangladesh, situated only a few kilometres (miles) away from Myanmar's Anauk Myinhlut coastline. One of the arrested traffickers, Abdus Shukur, 55, told AFP that the fishing trawler had been due to transfer the Rohingya to a bigger Malaysia-bound ship moored neared the island in the Bay of Ben-

gal. "We were forced by an influential local to take these (Rohingya) people on the fishing boat. We were instructed to board them on an awaiting ship near Saint Martin's," Shukur said. Authorities in Bangladesh worry many refugees may once again risk travelling to SouthEast Asia by boat, a route previously popular among Rohingya seeking economic opportunities outside the grim and crowded camps.

groups, politician, and religious figures. Pope Benedict XVI called for her release in 2010, while his successor, Pope Francis, met the prisoner's daughter in 2015. - Incendiary charge Bibi's husband Ashiq Masih has appealed for Britain or the United States to grant the family asylum, while her lawyer has fled to the Netherlands. Several governments including Italy and France have offered to help. Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted: "I will do everything humanly possible to guarantee this young woman's future." Blasphemy is an incendiary charge in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unsubstantiated allegations of insulting Islam can result in death at the hands of mobs. Mere calls to reform the law have provoked violence, most notably the assassination of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, by his own bodyguard in broad daylight in Islamabad in 2011. Taseer had called for Bibi's release, and his son Shahbaz tweeted "Pakistan Zindabad" ("Long live Pakistan") following last week's ruling. Thousands of Islamist hardliners poured onto the streets in protest after Supreme Court judges overturned Bibi's conviction last Wednesday. Demonstrations broke out in major cities across Pakistan in the ruling's wake, with clubwielding protesters blocking Islamabad's main highway and barricading roads in Karachi and Lahore. One of the most vocal groups -- the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) -- called for "mutiny" against the army's top brass and the assassination of the top court's justices.

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FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Taliban confirms delegation to attend Moscow peace talks

In this 2014 file photo, a representative of Taliban speaks during a press conference at the official opening of their office in Doha, Qatar. AP photo.


ABUL, Afghanistan | AFP | The Taliban will send representatives to multilateral talks in Russia on war-torn Afghanistan this month, the militant group said Tuesday, as the international community ratchets up efforts to end the 17year conflict. Moscow announced Saturday it would host the meeting on November 9 to discuss ways to kickstart peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban. In a statement posted on social media, the Taliban said it would dispatch "high-ranking" representatives from its political office in Qatar. "This conference is not about negotiating with any particular side, rather it is a conference about holding comprehensive discussions on finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary and ending the American occupation,"

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said.

eign ministry spokesman Muhammad Faisal told AFP.

The Taliban last month appointed five former Guantanamo Bay detainees, who had been swapped for US soldier Bowe Bergdahl in 2014, to its political office.

The US embassy in Kabul did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

They have the authorisation to "talk about peace", a senior Taliban official told AFP. The confirmation comes a day after Afghanistan's High Peace Council, a government body responsible for reconciliation efforts with the militants, said it would send a delegation. Moscow has also invited representatives from the United States as well as India, Iran, China, Pakistan and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia. Pakistan, which has long been accused of providing support to the Afghan Taliban, would "definitely" attend, for-

The Moscow meeting was initially scheduled to take place in September, but was postponed after Kabul insisted that the process should be Afghan-led. The meeting comes at a sensitive time. Newly appointed US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been trying to convince the Taliban to agree to negotiate an end to the war and there are fears the Russian meeting could derail those efforts. A US government watchdog last week said Kabul's control of Afghanistan had slipped in recent months as local security forces suffered record casualties while making minimal or no progress against the Taliban.

Boeing issues advice over sensors after Indonesia crash


AKARTA, Indonesia | AFP | 11/7/2018 - Boeing issued a special bulletin Wednesday addressing a sensor problem flagged by Indonesian safety officials investigating the crash of a Lion Air 737 that killed 189 people last week. The plane maker said local aviation officials believed pilots might have been given wrong information by the plane's automated systems before the fatal crash. "The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee has indicated that Lion Air flight 610 experienced erroneous input from one of its AOA (Angle of Attack) sensors," Boeing said. "Boeing issued an Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) directing operators to existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an AOA sensor." The US Federal Aviation Administration issued an order to domestic carriers to follow

the new instructions on dealing with the erroneous sensor alert in 737-8 and -9 airplanes. This affects nearly 250 aircraft flown by US airlines like Southwest, American and United, the FAA said. The FAA emergency directive warns that the "erroneous inputs can potentially make the horizontal stabilizers repeatedly pitch the nose of the airplane downward, making the aircraft difficult to control." An AOA sensor provides data about the angle at which wind is passing over the wings and tells pilots how much lift a plane is getting. The information can be critical in preventing the plane from stalling. Lion Air JT610 plunged into the Java Sea less than half an hour after taking off from Jakarta on a routine flight to Pangkal Pinang city. There were no survivors. The doomed jet was a Boeing 737-Max 8, one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes,

So Many Reasons. So Little Tuition.

and there is still no answer as to what caused the crash. A preliminary report is expected at the end of the month. - Instrument failure? Indonesian investigators said Wednesday the plane had experienced instrument failures on four flights, including on one journey where both the AOA sensor and the airspeed indicator were affected. Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee told reporters that after one flight from Bali to Jakarta -- the last flight before the crash -- the left and right AOA sensors were found to disagree by 20 degrees. He said the pilot had landed the plane safely on that occasion. "The pilot's success became our reference to give a recommendation to Boeing so they could issue an advice for other airlines to follow the same procedures if the same situation occurs," Soerjanto said.

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Despite failed Senate bid, a Texas Democrat rises to prominence

4 Indian-Americans reelected to US House and over dozen others ..... Continued from Page 1 gressional District of California. Unlike the previous three elections, Bera did not had to wait for weeks for recounting of votes. He defeated Andrew Grant of the Republican party by a small five percentage margin. In the Silicon Valley, IndianAmerican Ro Khanna defeated Ron Cohen of the Republican party with a massive 44 percentage point in the 17th Congressional District of California. "Tonight was a great night for our campaign and for Democrats across the country. I'm grateful to the voters of #CA17 for giving me the opportunity to continue to represent you in Congress. This has been the honour of my life," Khanna said.

Congressman Beto O'Rourke of Texas is now one of the most promising Democrats in the United States (AFP Photo/Suzanne Cordeiro) by Michael Mathes


ASHINGTON, | AFP | 11/7/2018 - Democrat Beto O'Rourke may have fallen just short Tuesday in his longshot bid to win a Senate seat in red Texas, but the onetime punk musician has cemented his rockstar status as a force in American politics. He was an under-the-radar congressman two years ago with few political accomplishments but agreeability and passion to burn. Now, even as he failed to topple Senator Ted Cruz, the 46-year-old's campaign of inclusion has helped catapult him to national prominence at a time when Democrats are on the lookout for a fresh face who could mount a challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020. Beto, as everyone calls him, has been on the campaign trail relentlessly over the past 20 months, hitting all 254 counties in Texas with a postpartisan platform that recalls the grand optimistic vision of America promoted a decade ago by a young Barack Obama. Amid the current toxic politics of division, Beto's appeal for common ground resonated across The Lone Star State, perhaps more than analysts expected. "My faith in this state and this people as a country is in no way diminished at this moment," the candidate told cheering supporters at his concession speech, invoking the inspirational language of an American politician in the spotlight. "I know that we will continue to work to come together, to make sure that we live up to the promise and the potential of this country." His alluring rejection of status quo politics, including a pledge to eschew corporate or PAC money, ultimately inspired supporters in Texas and beyond to help lead O'Rourke to raise tens of millions of dollars from personal donations. Much of that money came from outside Texas, signalling he could potentially be a future fundraising juggernaut. - Liberal gamble But while he made a point of reaching out to Texans of all ideological stripes, O'Rourke refused to tilt his politics towards the middle, instead maintaining a liberal agenda that would make most Republicans squirm. He has called for Trump's impeachment, a step the Democratic leadership in Congress has largely avoided. While Cruz vilified "Obamacare" during the campaign, O'Rourke appealed for expanded health coverage, endorsing the "Medicare for all" plan popularized by Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed Democratic socialist. He supports a halt on sales of military-style semi-automatic rifles, wants a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in the country, and has expressed openness to the idea of abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency

-- under fire for its aggressive deportation policy -- if its duties could be handled elsewhere. And he was not afraid to wade into one of Trump's signature controversies by offering a robust defense of black American football players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality. O'Rourke's comments on the issue during his campaign, captured in a video that went viral, helped rocket him to broader prominence. For every Texan turned off by O'Rourke's liberalism, he likely gained a voter frustrated with Cruz's hyperpartisanship and concerned more about lowering the toxic tone in Washington. It was a gamble that came close to paying off, as his margin of defeat was narrower than any other Democrat running for statewide office in two

decades. Through it all, Beto appeared to be enjoying himself -- even as he sweated through his blue cotton Oxford shirts during rally after rally in the searing Texas heat. He could be seen skateboarding on the campaign trail. He jammed onstage with irreverent country music legend and supporter Willie Nelson. With talk of 2020 swirling in recent weeks, O'Rourke himself offered a resolute no. "I will not be a candidate for president in 2020," O'Rourke told an MSNBC reporter on the campaign trail this week. "That's as definitive as it gets." But he left the door open for future political action, saying members of his campaign team "will continue to aspire to do great things." His closing message: "We will see you out there, down the road."

FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

"With Democrats in control of the House, we will push for economic and foreign policy populism," he said. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, the only IndianAmerican woman lawmaker in the House of Representatives, defeated her GOP rival Craig Keller by a massive 66 percentage points. "The American people voted to put the Democrats back in control of the US House of Representatives. Now, we are primed to restore the balance of power between the branches of government and push back even more strongly against the Trump administration's deeply destructive policies. Our communities are and tired of the corruption and injustice," Jayapal said in her victory speech in Seattle.

ponents and outraising them in the fund raisers, could make it to the House of Representatives, which is equivalent to Lok Sabha in the Indian parliament. However, Indian-Americans picked up more seats in the State assemblies. In Wisconsin State, Democratic Josh Kaul created history by becoming the first IndianAmerican to win the race for Attorney General by defeating incumbent Brad Schimel of the Republican Party. Democratic Nima Kulkarni defeated Joshua Neubert from the GOP to make her maiden entry into the Kentucky Assembly from State District 40. A practicing and recognised lawyer, she owns Indus Law Firm specialising in immigration, employment and business law. Amish Shah made his maiden entry into the Arizona Assembly from State Legislature District 24. So did, Kevin Thomas from the New York Senate District 6 for the New York State Assembly. Mujtaba Mohammed entered the North Carolina State Senate from the Senate District 38. A former staff attorney at the Council for Children's Rights and assistant public defender, Mohammed defeated Richard Rivette. Incumbent Jay Chaudhuri, an accomplished entrepreneur, was re-elected to North Carolina Senate from the State Senate District 15.

"With new and diverse voices joining our ranks, we are building a movement that truly represents the people of this country," she said.

Republican Niraj Atani, 27, registered his third consecutive electoral victory from Ohio House 42nd District. He is the youngest Indian-American elected official in the US. He also is the second IndianAmerican state elected official in Ohio history, and the first Indian-American Republican.

None of the more than half a dozen new Indian Americans candidates, many of whom caught national attention by giving tough fight to their op-

In Washington State, Manka Dhingra and Vandana Slatter were re-elected for the State Senate. Among others re-elected at the State level are Sabi

Kumar in Tennessee and Ash Kalra (California) and Kumar Bharve from Maryland. Juli Mathew won the Fort Bend City Court at Law No 3 in Texas, K P George won the race for Fort Bend County Judge in Texas and Shalini Bahl-Milne for the Amherst Town Council District 4 in Massachusetts. The emergence of a large number of young IndianAmericans candidates reflects the growing desire of this small ethnic community comprising just one per cent of the US population of 32.57 crores. "It was a good night for Indian American candidates. We re-elected every incumbent, including all four members of the US House of Representatives, and also elected at least six new state legislators, four of whom will be the very first ever elected to that office in Kentucky, New York, llinois, and Arizona," Gautam Raghavan from the "Impact" organisation told PTI after the election results were declared. "Perhaps our biggest win of the evening was Josh Kaul winning his campaign for attorney general of Wisconsin, which makes him the only Indian American to serve in statewide office today," he said. However, none of the dozen other Indian Americans running for the Congress could be win their races. "I know some may be disappointed that we weren't able to elect any new Members of Congress, but each of them outperformed prior challengers in their districts," he said. "It's also worth remembering that most Members of Congress - including Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, and Raja Krishnamoorthi - lost their first campaigns, so we hope to see them on the ballot again in future years," Raghavan, a former Obama Administration official, said in response to a question.

Democrats seize US House 2nd term win for but Trump averts 'blue wave' Texas Governor Abbott by Shaun Tandon with Nova Safo in Chicago and Javier Tovar in Irvine, California ASHINGTON, | AFP | 11/7/2018 - Democrats celebrated their return to the majority in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday in a midterm rebuke to President Donald Trump, who still escaped a feared "blue wave" as his Republicans bolstered their Senate majority after a polarizing, racially charged campaign. Heralded by Trump as a "tremendous success," Tuesday's Republican Senate victories will all but end any immediate talk of impeachment, even as the Democratic-led House will enjoy investigative powers to put new checks on his roller-coaster presidency. Trump took to Twitter to hail his party's performance and declare victory. "Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals," Trump wrote early Wednesday. "Now we can all get back to work and get things done!" He was set to give his first post-election press conference at 11:30 am (1630 GMT) in the White House East Room, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. Network projections said Democrats would take control of the House for the first time in eight years, upending the balance of power in Washington, where Trump enjoyed an easy ride following his shock 2016 election with Republican dominance of both chambers. Democrats were on course to flip at least 27 seats from Republican hands, with strong performances among


suburban white women who had narrowly turned to Trump two years ago and in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania. In the 100-member Senate, with final, complete results not yet tallied, news reports said the Republicans had won at least 51 seats. Representative Nancy Pelosi, who is likely to return as speaker of the House despite opposition from some centrist Democrats, promised that the party will serve as a counterweight -- but also work with Trump. "Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It's about restoring the constitution's checks and balances to the Trump administration," Pelosi told a news conference. But she added: "A Democratic Congress will work for solutions that bring us together, because we have all had enough of division." Democrats will now be able to block legislation and light a fire under Trump's feet with investigations of his opaque finances and Russian interference in the 2016 election. - No 'blue wave' Tuesday's contest saw several historic firsts in the Democratic camp: Sharice Davids in Kansas and Deb Haaland in New Mexico became the first Native American women elected to the US Congress. And in the Midwest, onetime Somali refugee Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, shared the historic distinction of becoming the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. But the rosiest expectations of some Democrats -- that they could create a "blue wave" even when playing defense on the Senate map -proved unfounded. Republicans were fore-

cast to have defeated several Democratic senators in states won by Trump -Florida, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota. Trump boasted a growing economy but campaigned aggressively in the closing days on a hardline anti-immigration message. He seized on scenes of a caravan of Central American migrants heading through Mexico for the US, mused ending the constitutional guarantee of citizenship to all people born in the United States and ran a television advertisement, deemed too provocative to air by mainstream networks, linking Democrats to a criminal who was an undocumented immigrant. Trump also has sent soldiers to the Mexican border and threatened to have illegal immigrants shot if they throw stones. "It's a consequential election," Yorgo Koutsogiogasi, a 64-year-old immigrant from Greece and CEO of a hospitality company, said as he voted in Chicago. "Divisiveness is really tearing the country apart," Koutsogiogasi, a Democrat, said as he voted with his wife. "I'm voting for candidates that I believe have the capacity to unite people rather than divide." But Republican voter James Gerlock, 27, said he wanted to see more of the soaring economic growth that Trump says is the fruit of his business-friendly policies. "I am extremely happy with the economy," Gerlock said as he cast his ballot in Chicago. "I just want to keep everything moving, because I'm loving it." - Beto falls short Democrats claimed some high-profile victories, with

Governor's long-held populist message in Texas — no illegal immigration, no abortions but guns aplenty — proves winning formula yet again.


USTIN, TEXAS — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott bested his Democratic challenger, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, handily on Election Day Nov. 6 — 56 percent to 43.3 percent — to secure his second term as governor. The strong showing early on during the preliminary counts prompted the Republican Governors Association (RGA) to congratulate the incumbent governor on what was seen all along as a likely win. "Governor Greg Abbott's dynamic leadership has the Texas economy booming, and with four more years, the Lone Star State will continue to serve as a model of successful governance," said RGA Chairman Governor Bill Haslam said in a prepared statement. "Gov-

former professional hockey player Colin Allred defeating Pete Sessions, the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee and leading opponent of legalized marijuana, in suburban Dallas. But in Texas, Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke, a charismatic congressman and former punk rock singer who had raised an unprecedented $60 million in his mission to win in the Republican stronghold, fell short to arch-conservative former presidential contender Ted Cruz. O'Rourke had told voters that Trump was wrong and described Texas as built from "immigrants, asylum seekers

ernor Abbott's victory was a clear reaffirmation from voters to continue the conservative, pro-growth policies that have delivered record-low unemployment, as well as significant progress on education and public safety. With Governor Abbott in charge for another four years, Texas will continue on the right track. The RGA is proud to congratulate Governor Abbott on his re-election." While the contest was never close, both candidates are trailblazers. Abbott, 60, is the only governor in the country confined to a wheelchair after being paralyzed from the waist down when a tree fell on him as a young law student. For her part, Valdez is the first lesbian to ever be nominated as a gubernatorial nominee. - Austin Patch

and refugees." Districts around the country reported unusually high turnout: according to Michael McDonald of the US Elections Project, 38.4 million Americans cast their ballots early ahead of this election, compared with 27.4 million in the 2014 midterm. Trump had noted the energy as he wrapped up a punishing schedule of rallies around the country that were intended to boost Republican candidates -- and his own brand heading toward reelection in 2020. "The midterm elections used to be, like, boring," Trump told a crowd in Cleveland on Monday. "Now it's like the hottest thing."


FRIDAY, November 9, 2018




Awareness the Key to your Safety The Houston Police Department wants you to be safe! By practicing these personal safety tips, you will reduce the opportunities criminals look for when targeting a crime victim.


•Lock your doors and windows when you are at home. •Install a peephole with a 190-degree viewing angle. •Before opening an exterior door to your home, know who is at the door and do not open the door to an unexpected visitor. Exterior lighting provides additional protection from intruders.


•Walk with confidence. •Safety in numbers. Travel only in well-lighted streets •Try not to carry a purse, but if you must, carry it securely under your arm. •Avoid displaying large amounts of cash or other tempting item. •Avoid street solicitors trying to sell you something at a bargain price.


•Park in well-lighted areas. •Have your car keys ready, look around and under your car and observe other vehicles parked nearby. •Glance into the backseat and at the floorboards of your car before entering. •If you think someone is following you, do not go home. Drive to the nearest police station. •If you have car problems, raise the hood and tie a white cloth to the door handle to signal for help. •If someone stops, ask them to call for help. Do not accept rides from anyone.


•If you are worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something and do not get on. •Look inside before getting on to ensure that no one appears suspicious, if so do not get on. •Once inside, stand near the controls and familiarize yourself with the emergency buttons. •Get off if someone suspicious enters. •If you are attacked, push the alarm and as many floor buttons as possible.


•Never give telephone numbers or addresses of fellow coworkers to anyone without their permission. •Use discretion in revealing personal plans to people at work.

Remember! Awareness is the key to your safety. Meetings are open to the public. Please join us: 2nd Wednesdays Public Safety Committee Meeting at 9:00 a.m. Environmental & Urban Design Committee Meeting at 10:30 a.m.

A lifetime of experience coupled with physical problems associated with aging often make older Americans fearful of being victims of burglaries, robberies, physical assaults, and other violent crimes. However, the greatest crimes against senior citizens comes from fraud and con games.


•Go with family, friends, or a group if possible rather than by yourself. •Use direct deposit for any checks you receive such as your Social Security and retirement payments. •Avoid displaying large amounts of cash or other tempting items, such as expensive jewelry, clothing, and wraps. •


•Lock your doors and windows, do not let strangers in your home. •Do not judge a book by its cover, well-dressed people commit crimes and so do women. •If you have called for services, check the person’s identification before they enter your home. •Never let anyone know that you live alone or are at home alone. •Work out a “buddy” system with a friend to check on each other. •Consider a home alarm system that provides monitoring for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.


•Be skeptical of “too good to be true” telephone offers. •Resist pressure for an immediate decision and ask for written follow-up materials that explain the offer. •Agree to pay no more than the price of a postage stamp when notified about “winning” a sweepstakes. •Never provide your credit card or checking account numbers to a caller from an unfamiliar company without first checking the company out with your Better Business Bureau, state consumer protection agency or state Attorney General. •Never allow yourself to be drawn into a conversation with an unknown caller in which you reveal your name, address, marital status or anything to indicate you are alone. •Ask to be placed on the company’s “do not call” list to reduce the number of unwanted telephone calls..

LATEST SCAMS A woman states that she is a Social Worker and needs to give you a hearing test. When you turn away from her, she grabs your valuables or you discover items missing after she has left. During the spring, summer or fall when the weather is nice outside, individuals working on their yard most often do not lock the doors to their homes. One individual will approach the victim and occupy his/her attention while a second person enters the victim’s home and steals money, jewelry, and other valuable items. Another home diversion technique is for perpetrators to come to a residence and ask for a drink of water, use the bathroom, or use a telephone to gain entry into your house.

Business & Economic Development Committee Meeting at 11:30 a.m. 4th Mondays Board Meeting at noon (no meetings in December) 24 hour/7 days a week S.E.A.L. Security Dispatch for the business community Call 281-407-1160 for non emergencies.

If you see something, say something.


For General Information, contact Your Local Police Station. Emergency 9-1-1 Police Non-Emergency 713-884-3131. Public Affairs at 713-308-3200. Citizens Help Line Dial 3-1-1.




ROBBERY PREVENTION Be Observant. Be on Guard. Be Safe A robbery is one of the most serious and potentially dangerous crimes committed in the United States today. A robber commits a holdup because he or she believes that their profit will be worth the risk. By decreasing the possible profit and increasing the risk of apprehension.


•All doors leading to the outside should have dead-bolt locks. •Lock your doors and windows when you are at home. •Before opening an exterior door, make sure you know the identity of the person at your door before allowing admission. •Do not open the door to an unexpected visitor. •Install a peephole with a 190-degree viewing angle. •Do not advertise that you live alone. •Make sure exterior lighting is on at night. Inexpensive timers or photoelectric cells will automatically turn lights on and off at dusk and dawn. •Write down the license plate number of any suspicious vehicles and call the police if concerned. •


•Always park in a well-lighted area so you can see your car. Have your car keys ready as you approach your vehicle. •Stay alert. Don’t drive on autopilot. Watch your mirrors for any car that might be following. •If you think someone is following you, do not go home. •While stopped in traffic, leave enough room between your car and the one in front of you so you can maneuver and escape if necessary. •Keep an alert eye out for any suspicious characters at intersections.


•Try not to walk alone. •Be alert, walk with your head up and do not let your mind wander. •When walking at night, consider a taxi cab even for short trips. •Trust your instincts, avoid uncomfortable situations. It’s better to be safe than sorry. •Be observant for groups of males/females driving or just hanging around. •Do not take shortcuts through unlit, sparsely traveled paths such as trails, stairwells or alleys.


•Carry only the amount of cash that you expect to use. If cash is needed use ATM or debit cards. •Avoid outdoor ATM’s, particularly at night and those in secluded areas inside. •Be alert at banks or check cashing businesses. Carrying cash marks you as a target. •Avoid showing your wallet. Keep needed cash, ID, and credit cards in an accessible pocket. •Do not wear expensive or expensive looking jewelry and carry as little cash as possible. Leave valuable items at home if not needed.


•Remain calm. DO NOT resist. Take no action that would jeopardize your safety. Follow the robber’s directions, but do not volunteer more than asked for. If you have to move or reach, tell the robber what you are going to do and why. Assure the robber that you will cooperate. •Make mental notes of: •The robber’s race, age, height, sex, clothing, complexion, hair, eye color, etc. •Anything unusual about the robber such as scars or tattoos. •The number of accomplices and how they left the scene, direction of travel, type and color of vehicle. Get the license number if you can safely do so. •Any conversations the suspects may have with one another. •What the suspect’s weapon looked like so you can describe it later. •Also, try to remember what the suspect touches so that fingerprints may be lifted.

Crime Stoppers can be contacted at 713-222-TIPS (8477) or /channels/swmd


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How to respond when a giant competitor moves in on your idea? had a good start selling their weighted blanket, so when they were challenged by the big guys, the founders regrouped and came out fighting

FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

The University of Texas at San Antonio:

U.S. businessman issues global, multimillion dollar challenge for innovative Alzheimer’s solutions


AN ANTONIO | Business Wire | 11/5/2018 - To expand the understanding and explanation of Alzheimer’s disease, United States businessman James Truchard has given a $5 million USD gift to The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Sciences to establish the Oskar Fischer Project. The initiative will engage the world’s brightest minds in a comprehensive literature review with the goal of synthesizing that information into one simple explanation for the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The challenge was announced today during the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, an international gathering of nearly 30,000 scientists taking place through Nov. 7 in the United States.

Gravid co-founders Omar Shahban, left, and Fahd Javed, right, and son Azmir Javed, 7, in their warehouse in Mississauga, Ont.J.P. Moczulski for National Post

by Denise Deveau


uccess may breed success, but it can also bring out the competition in a big way.

When co-founders Omar Shahban and Fahd Javed launched their e-commerce site in May, the cousins tapped into a market that was more than willing to try out its weighted blankets. In just over a year, its unit sales surpassed the 10,000 mark, and are expected to reach 50,000 in 2019. As with any company to be first out of the gate in a new consumer product category, competition latched onto the concept, from e-commerce players selling on Amazon to such major market forces as Sleep Country. “We were seeing bigger competitors that were mainstays in the homeware space creating their own versions, once they realized it was a growing trend,” Shahban says. “Suddenly, we were faced with players that were trying to compete on price. We knew that wasn’t the route to go, because we had strong competitive differentiators and the advantage of having a year’s worth of experience.” They decided first to focus on the quality and design of the product, based on their customer feedback. With that, they spent six months working on a design upgrade. “We’ve advanced the design in numerous ways,” Javed says. “The one thing we can say is that the Gravid 2.0 has truly been designed by our customers.” They also invested in technology to streamline the supply chain to ensure next-day delivery. In addition, they decided to expand, starting with securing a warehousing partner in Australia, rather than taking the usual U.S. market route. “The U.S. is more of an ex-

aggerated and aggressive market and more commodity price driven, while Australia has a lot of cultural similarity in terms of temperament and marketing,” Shahban explains. On another front, is currently working with McMaster Children’s Hospital to test the blanket in the pediatric ICU unit, he adds. “We’re testing to see if the blankets can be used to reduce the use of traditional painkillers to reduce the impact of withdrawal symptoms. That is something that really excited us.” The plan is to also work with elderly care homes, centres for mental health addiction and other sectors. “We see lots of room for growth in Canada on the B2B side,” Javed says. A children’s version of the product is also on the agenda. “We’ve had a lot of requests from clients whose children have trouble sleeping,” Javed says. “I have two kids, so that resonated deeply with us.” The blanket also helps settle those with ADHD. It is common for competitors to come out of the woodwork once a new product strikes a chord with consumers, says Hussam Ayyad, senior director, programs and partnerships, Ryerson DMZ in Toronto. “It’s the nature of competition. Regardless of how small or large, businesses are always fighting for market share.” There are two paths a startup can take to build a competitive edge, he says, depending on the nature of the industry. The first is creating an unfair advantage, to ensure your solution can’t be replicated, such as through IP protection. “The other is getting smarter with your go-to-market strategy,” Ayyad says. “A smaller company doesn’t

want to be in a price war because the big guys will always win. But you can engage in strategic partnerships, or change your product design or distribution. That’s where startups can have a big advantage, because large companies can’t move at the same speed.” Another critical piece is understanding your market inside and out, Ayyad advises. “The one consistent thing entrepreneurs need is a really good understanding of their markets, and the problem they are trying to solve for their customers, especially when dealing with a highly specialized product.” That information can be essential when looking to expand, he adds. “Ask yourself, What other industries can benefit from the product? What kind of strategic partnerships can I build?” Shaun Adams, director, small business, Meridian Credit Union in St. Catharines, Ont., says when competition starts to take notice, it’s important for businesses to seek out subject matter experts to discuss their challenges and potential ideas. That can be financial services professionals, mentors, local business centres or industry peers. “Engaging in dialogue helps entrepreneurs explore the whole situation and establish connections,” he says. “It’s also about going back to your business plan,” Adams notes. “All too often businesses approach their business plan as a transactional document that they file and don’t look at again. A business plan is a living document that should be used often to prompt conversations around shifting into the next phase.” - Business Wire.

Section 2

Truchard, retired president and chief executive officer of United Statesbased technology company National Instruments, conceptualized and established the Oskar Fischer Project to engage the world’s brightest minds. The challenge will award up to $4 million USD in Oskar Fischer Prizes, including a grand prize of $2 million, two second place prizes of $500,000 each and four third place prizes of $250,000 each. Collectively, the monetary awards are the world’s largest prizes of their kind. Through personal research, Truchard, 75, was introduced to the work of Oskar Fischer (1876-1942), a Jewish pioneer in neuroscience who studied dementia at the same time as Alois Alzheimer. In 1900, Fischer began working at Charles University’s German University, based in Prague. His research led to the identification of senile plaques (then called neuritic plaques), the signature lesions of Alzheimer’s disease. Fischer hypothesized that the plaques were associated with presbyophrenia, then characterized as a form of senile dementia marked by memory loss, memory distortions and disorientation. He published on 12 patients with plaques and tangles, protein strands that appear during Alzheimer’s disease, in 1907, the same year that Alzheimer published on one patient with early onset Alzheimer’s. Fischer remained at the German University until he was removed in 1939. Two years later, he was sent to Theresienstadt in Terezín, a way station for Auschwitz and Treblinka. He died in 1942, unable to survive the harsh conditions of the concentration camp. “A century has passed since Oskar Fischer’s seminal work, and tens of billions have been spent around the world on research and potential cures. Over 130,000 research papers have been published and yet no definitive explanation and cure for Alzheimer’s has been found,” said Truchard. “We need to look at Alzheimer’s as a big complex puzzle with a missing piece. We need a brilliant individual who can take all of the pieces and consider what each offers, and then develop one explanation that fits because it pulls all of the pieces together and makes the puzzle whole.”

According to the World Alzheimer Report 2018 by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an estimated 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia at a cost of $1 trillion to the global economy. That population is expected to more than triple by the year 2050, according to ADI, which also reports that the global ratio of publications on neurodegenerative disorders versus cancer is just one to 12. “The Oskar Fischer Project will take a new systems approach to the research on Alzheimer’s, building on the work Oskar Fischer started over a century ago,” said George Perry, chief scientist of the UTSA Brain Health Consortium. “Jim Truchard’s generous gift will create an international forum to assess that work and bring forward an explanation that will advance society’s understanding of the disease.” The University of Texas at San Antonio, a world leader in brain health research, will incubate the two-year challenge. In the UTSA Brain Health Consortium, 38 of the nation’s brightest scientists are engaged in research on brain mechanisms and therapeutics. The university’s researchers have expertise in neurodegenerative disease, brain circuits and electrical signaling, traumatic brain injury, regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies, medicinal chemistry and drug design, neuroinflammation, and psychology. “Through Jim Truchard’s support, the Oskar Fischer Project will accelerate our shared mission of unraveling the mysteries of neurodegeneration through engagement with the smartest thinkers around the world,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. Truchard added, “I truly believe that Alzheimer’s disease is multifaceted; it’s about lifestyle, heredity and brain regression. It’s important to look at all possible solutions. This contest will bring together the world’s best minds to consider the entire story.” UTSA will work closely with an interdisciplinary committee of outstanding scientists from Texas to award the Oskar Fischer Prizes. The call for proposals will open in February 2019 and will continue through the two-year term of the project. About The University of Texas at San Antonio The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is a public urban serving university specializing in health, cybersecurity, energy, sustainability, and human and social development. With more than 32,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property—for Texas, the nation and the world. Learn more online, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram or on UTSA Today.


FRIDAY, November 9, 2018


Section 2 Email:

Freddy Mercury biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ soars at box office

Bollywood celebrates Diwali


reddy Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” soared to the top spot at the North American box office over the weekend, proving again that audiences matter more than critics. The film unexpectedly pulled in $51 million, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations said on Monday, coming in well ahead of Disney’s new “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” at $20 million, and Paramount’s “Nobody’s Fool,” with $13.8 million. “Rhapsody,” with Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek starring as the charismatic Mercury, thus logged one of the best openings ever for a music biopic. The movie has received decidedly mixed reviews, however. dismissed it as “a crashingly dull movie about ... one of the least drab humans who ever lived,” while The Washington Post called it a “bad movie that works, even when it shouldn’t.” But Malek, a Primetime Emmy winner for his role in TV’s “Mr. Robot,” has won mostly high praise. While Fox essentially paid the $50 million production cost of “Rhapsody” with the film’s opening-weekend take, Disney was not faring as well with “Nutcracker,” which cost $125 million to make. The studio hopes the classic Christmas tale will hold on through the holidays, Variety said.

Shahrukh Khan with his wife Gauri and their daughter Suhana and son AbRam. (older son Aryan Khan not in pic). Instagrammed photo courtesy Gauri Khan.


iwali is the festival of joy, of lights and of celebrations. And what better way for Bollywood to celebrate Diwali than with glamorous parties?

But like “Rhapsody,” the Keira Knightley film got some less-than-glowing reviews. “Tchaikovsky,” said Rolling Stone, “is rolling in his grave.” Nor did “Nobody’s Fool,” Tyler Perry’s first R-rated comedy, do much better on the critic’s couch, with deploring its “clumsy, misshapen script.” It stars the popular Tiffany Haddish as a newly paroled woman who tries to help her sister get revenge on a man who deceived her.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ with Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek starring as the charismatic Freddie Mercury, has logged one of the best openings ever for a music biopic. © Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

In fourth place, Warner Bros.’s “A Star Is Born” earned a solid $11 million in its fifth week out. Bradley Cooper, in his directorial debut, plays a hard-drinking musician who has a star-crossed love affair with a talented young singer played by Lady Gaga.

Not far behind in fifth was Universal’s “Halloween,” at $10.8 million. The low-budget horror film has Laurie Strode (played again by Jamie Lee Curtis) in a final confrontation with a masked homicidal maniac decades after she survived his first killing spree.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were: “Venom” ($7.9 million) “Smallfoot” ($3.9 million) “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” ($3.8 million) “Hunter Killer” ($3.5 million) “The Hate U Give” ($3.4 million)

Alec Baldwin charged in New York after ‘punching’ man


EW YORK,| AFP | Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault on Friday after allegedly punching a 49-year-old man in the face during a New York parking dispute, police said. The 60-year-old, who has famously impersonated President Donald Trump and who lives in downtown Manhattan with his second wife and their four young children, was arrested in Greenwich Village. “Police got a call around 1:30 pm (1730 GMT) regarding an assault in progress. When we got there, we discovered that it looked like two individuals were fighting over a parking spot,” a spokeswoman said. The younger man had already parked his vehicle and was attempting to purchase a parking ticket, when he got into a dispute with Baldwin, “who then punched him in the face,” the officer said. She said the unnamed man was taken to hospital in a “stable” con-

Actor Alec Baldwin is well-known for his hot temper and for impersonating Trump on satirical US television show “Saturday Night Live” (AFP Photo/ ANGELA WEISS) dition, while Baldwin was in custody. He was subsequently charged with

assault in the third degree and harassment in the second degree, and ordered to appear in court .

Shahrukh Khan hosted a grand party at his residence, which saw a host of A-list actors and actresses coming in

their best avatar. Actress/reality show judge, Shilpa Shetty, hosted a party at her place, which was attended by filmy and TV stars. – Images by Yogen Shah, Instagram

Shaquille O’Neal, Ken Jeong team for reality TV comedy pilot


OS ANGELES (AP) — Shaquille O’Neal and Ken Jeong are trying out as comedy teammates. TBS said it has ordered a reality series pilot that will test the pair’s ability to take on odd jobs. The pilot, with the working title “Unqualified,” could be the basis for a series.

The concept: O’Neal and Jeong try to master jobs including mall rent-acop, substitute schoolteacher and train conductor. TBS said basketball great and sports commentator O’Neal and doctor-turned-actor Jeong showed their chemistry when they appeared on the series “Drop The Mic.” In a joint statement, O’Neal and Jeon said they are “built to hustle.”

This combination photo shows actor Ken Jeong at the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss the film “Crazy Rich Asians” in New York on Aug. 14, 2018, left, and retired Hall of Fame basketball player Shaquille O’Neal during an NBA basketball news conference in Miami on Dec. 22, 2016. TBS said it has ordered a reality series pilot that will test the pair’s ability to take on odd jobs. The pilot, with the working title “Unqualified,” could be the basis for a series if it impresses the channel. (AP Photo)



Section 2

FRIDAY, November 9, 2018


How to successfully negotiate physical pain, mental anguish, and soft tissue damages


hose involved in a personal injury accident caused by the negligence of another are entitled to the maximum compensation possible including not only economic damages, but also physical pain and mental anguish such as anxiety, depression, and more. Personal injury accidents include but are not limited to auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, slip and fall accidents. Most claims are settled prior to filing a law suit because of the risk and uncertainty of outcome, length of time to resolve the matter, additional legal expenses to litigate, and extent of injuries involved. Often, it is difficult to determine the fair and just value of the case based on the economic and non-economic damages. Thus, never settle without having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side to fight for what your case is ultimately worth!

soft tissue injury, the calculation varies. This aspect of damages is never properly quantified because each person may respond differently to accidents where some take longer to recover than others. Although mental anguish claims are not adequately calculated by the insurance, a qualified attorney will fight to have all damages valued for full and just compensation deserved by forcing the insurance company to pay the full value now or be exposed to potentially much higher award at trial! About Mala Sharma Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala is President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association.

Mental anguish and physical pain, also known as ‘pain and suffering’, is also difficult to prove. Mental anguish and physical pain claims from an accident include difficulty with daily activities, continuous treatment, anxiety, depression, permanent disability or disfigurement, and the loss of enjoyment of life. There is no formula specified how to compute mental anguish and physical pain and insurance companies are not required to offer mental anguish and physical pain payments without a jury but most often multiply economic damages to quantify the amount. Further, depending on the severity of the damages or simply

Insurance companies view ‘soft tissue injuries’ as minor and subjective damages. Soft tissue injuries refer to muscular pain and strain with no broken bones, headaches, whiplash, and even herniated discs. On the other hand, when there are broken bones, lacerations, or other physical disfigurement, that can be objectively verified by a doctor,

by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at

Disclaimer: This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you require advice on any particular legal question, you may contact Sharma & Associates at 281-893-8644 or by email at mala@sharmalaws. net to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Willy, Nanayakkara & Associates ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS AT LAW




Sharlene Sharmila Richards

Q: I like to apply for naturalization. What is this good moral character requirement? A: A permanent resident who applies for naturalization must satisfy all the requirements for physical presence and continuous residence. In addition to that, the individual must possess good moral character within the required statutory period. For most individuals, the good moral character period is five years. For individuals married and living with a US States Citizen spouse, the period is three years. Good moral character issues can range from not paying child support, not paying taxes, being arrested and being convicted of offences during that period of time. Material misrepresentations made on the Naturalization application can also be deemed to go towards bad moral character. Q: How will the immigration service or USCIS find out if any individual has a crime or not? A: When an individual applies for Naturalization, USCIS will conduct a fingerprint and name check through all the databases they have. As such, when an applicant completes the N-400 Application for Naturalization, it is advised to provide all names the individual is known as and if there are any convictions or arrest, please provide the details of such incidents with accuracy and also furnish USCIS will all conviction records where applicable. Q: I have received numerous traffic tickets (citations) during the past 5 years all of which I paid a fine. Will this be a problem for my Naturalization?



A: A traffic ticket where you had to pay a fine also counts as a conviction.


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USCIS has the discretion to decide on good moral character. As such, it will consider the nature of those citations, how many you actually received, the fines you paid and will then decide whether you have a pattern of disregard for the law or shown good moral character during the required 5 years period. Q: My sister has a theft conviction in June 2012 and she was given 6 months probation. Can she apply for Naturalization now as the required 5 years have passed? She does not have any other convictions or new arrests. A: Theft is a crime involving moral turpitude. Since she only has one theft conviction and she was given 6 months probation, this is deemed to be a petty offence. Since the 5 years have passed since her conviction and completion of her 6 months’ probation, she can apply for Naturalization without having a problem with the good moral character requirement. She will need to disclose this conviction and provide the details of it in the N-400 Application for Naturalization. Q: I was convicted of an aggravated felony (burglary with deadly weapon) offence more than 10 years ago and was placed in removal proceedings. The Immigration Judge granted my 212(h) waiver and allowed me to become a permanent resident. I have been a permanent resident for 8 years now. Can I file for Naturalization as at least 5 years have passed since the conviction. I do not have any other convictions. A: An individual convicted of an aggravated felony will be permanently barred from establishing good moral character. In such instance, you will not be able to Naturalize at any time. In your case, this conviction no longer makes you deportable as you have already been granted the 212(h) waiver for the crime.

Q: I have one Class C Misdemeanor for selling alcohol to a minor about 3 years ago and I paid a fine. In the past I had 3 convictions for DUI, all of which are outside the 5 years statutory period. Is there going to be good moral character issue in my case? A: If you have more than one conviction, USCIS may consider your entire criminal record not just the one which occurred during the statutory good moral character period. On its own, the Class C Misdemeanor for selling alcohol to a minor will probably not lead USCIS to determine you have bad moral character. However, it allows the USCIS adjudicator to review your record outside the 5 years statutory period to see if you have a pattern of breaking the law and thus have bad moral character. It will be for them to determine if you have good moral character for naturalization. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713623-8088 or by email at to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.



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the insurance company will, only then, put a higher value on the case. Insurance companies often use programs to compute the value of a case depending on factors including: amount of time to begin treatment after an accident, any gaps in treatment, any prior bodily injuries that already existed prior to accident, total medical expenses, suggestions by medical doctors, any permanent disability or disfigurement, and total property damage. Because subjective complaints of pain cannot always be objectively proven in X-rays, a soft tissue injury claim with no prior medical history, consistent medical treatment, little to no other prior claims, must be proven by the claimant’s character and trustworthiness as portrayed in the best way by a competent attorney.

Young Life


Suicides among Japanese young people hit 30-year high


hild suicides in Japan are the highest they have been in more than three decades, the country’s education ministry says.


The number is five more than last year, and the highest it has been since 1986.

But schools said the reasons behind about 140 of the deaths are unknown as the students did not leave a note. Most of those who took their lives were of high school age, where Japanese students typically study until they are aged 18. A report released by Japan’s Cabinet Office in 2015 looked at child suicide data in the country from 1972-2013, which recognised a massive peak at the start of the second term of the school year on 1 September. Japan had one of the highest suicide rates in 2015 but since preventative

Suicide rates in Japan have lowered, but remain high among students (Photo: Getty Images) measures were introduced, the figures have dropped, according to World Health Organization. Overall suicides across Japan fell to about 21,000 in 2017, police say, down from a peak of about 34,500 in 2003. Why does Japan have such a high suicide rate? However, child suicide rates remain relatively high making it the leading cause of death among young people in the country. “The number of suicides of students have stayed high, and that is an alarming issue which should be tackled,” education ministry official Noriaki Kitazaki said as the latest figures were released. - BBC World News

Time to stop being coy about sex – and give young people the truth The government’s draft curriculum on sex education falls short on LGBT experiences, sexual violence and pornography by Lola Okolosie


had just turned 11 when Salt-N-Pepa released a track that made my ears burn on first hearing: “Let’s talk about sex baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about SEX.” It was quickly recorded on to a cassette and listened to surreptitiously. God forbid my parents should hear and think I wanted to talk about sex with them. But of course, as a preteen and then teenager, it was a conversation I did want to have. One I hoped would make me feel normal amid the swirl of overwhelming hormones. My parents were, for their part, ordinary in their attitude towards “the talk”. They could be best described as squeamish, preferring to be vague on details but with a huge dollop of fear because … PREGNANCY. They were, and are, not alone. Ineptitude sits close to denial; both act as effective weapons for those who’d rather shirk a tricky responsibility. On this matter our schools have proved no different. Deemed best placed to curate discussions around sex, they have done so with an incompetence that has left young people unable to talk about the good and bad of s-e-x. Britney Spears was dressed in a school uniform demanding “Hit me baby one more time” when the current sex education curriculum was first published. That year Monica Lewinsky was pilloried by public opin-

ion that was too sexist to recognise that the 22-year-old intern might be a victim in the grim spectacle. Our schools largely ignored these teachable moments and were silent on such milestones. No wonder then that it is a curriculum feminists have long criticised for inadequately meeting the needs of today’s young. Where is talk about consent, sexting and the explosion of online pornography? Nowhere. Why is there such a reluctance to arm young people with the information and discussions they need to go on to have healthier sexual relationships? Thankfully in the government’s new relationships and sex education (RSE) draft curriculum there is now explicit mention of these issues, and on Wednesday the Department for Education (DfE) closes its consultation on it. Yet there is still a danger it could fail many of our young by repeating old mistakes – and by ignoring the issues young people want to talk about. It’s clear from the draft curriculum that violence against women and LGBT experiences are still issues seemingly difficult to broach – best handled with the language of ambiguity or outright silence. There is talk about coercion, but no room to place that in the context of gender inequality. There is, too, a repeated return to the centrality of marriage, admittedly with an acknowledgment that this includes same-sex marriage. Yet this jars with making the

teaching of LGBT relationships discretionary. It is why the feminist organisation Level Up is calling for people, especially the young, to have their say and respond to the government’s draft consultation. The aim is to let the government know that LGBT experiences should be an integral part of sex education rather than a tacked-on optional extra. To ignore this would be to let down the thousands of LGBT young people grappling with their sexual identity, who are already made to feel out of place. A survey by the government itself found that for 31% of young people, it is a priority that they are taught about gender and sexual identity. We all have stories of that one sex ed class where a teacher, usually barely able to contain their own discomfort, instructs a class of giggling teenagers on how best to place a condom on a cucumber. It tells us much that the memory of sex education for so many is one of awkward tittering – and a very clear sense that sex is something to be feared if not avoided. But even in that scenario, most could at least say they found their sexual identity reflected in the content of discussion. The same could not be said for LGBT students whose teachers were legally bound under section 28 to desist from teaching “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. Fifteen years on from the repeal of the act, and despite proposed changes to the curriculum,




Texas Rising Star - Super Lawyers Recognition ala Sharma, attorney from the Law Office of Sharma & Associates, has been selected to the 2019 Texas Rising Stars by Super Lawyers.

In the fiscal year 2016/7 up to March, 250 children from elementary to high school age were recorded as having taken their own lives.

Concerns the children had reported included family problems, worrying about their futures and bullying.

FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Saturdays, Sundays, and Thanksgiving Friday September 2 9 th through November 2 5 th


Being named to Rising Stars is a prestigious distinction. Fewer than five percent of attorneys practicing in Texas are selected, after nomination, and published in the Texas Monthly and Super Lawyers magazines reaching millions of readers. Publications are designed to recommend these attorneys by a well-known and respected organization. To be selected, the Super Lawyers team reviews peer nominations, accomplishments, and researches nominations by peer recognition. It is an honor to be selected.

Mala has been practicing primarily personal injury and family law with her family of attorneys, Bash Sharma, Anjali Sharma, and Sharda Sharma, at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1994. Sharma & Associates, is a law firm practicing Personal Injury, Family Law, Immigration, and Criminal Law in Houston and surrounding counties. Mala graduated with Honors from the University of Houston main campus and received her law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law.

Mala Sharma, Attorney, Law Office of Sharma & Associates

Serving the community by volunteering in many capacities is a priority for her. Additionally, Mala holds leadership positions with the American Bar Association GP Solo and GP Solo YLD divisions, Board of director member for the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board

member of the South Asian Bar Association. Other distinctions Mala has received include: selected as 10 Best Attorneys by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorney and Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers in addition to being selected Texas Rising Star by Super Lawyers.

Mayur Patel serving on the front lines of cyber security


econd Lieutenant Mayur Patel, son of very proud parents Bharat (Treasurer of Gujarati Samaj of Houston) and Daksha Patel of Sugar Land, TX, recently graduated from the Army’s Officer Candidate School (OCS). OCS is one of the commissioning sources that future Army Commissioned Officers must undergo. Located at Fort Benning, Georgia, OCS trains selected personnel in warrior tasks and basic drills, imparts the fundamentals of leadership, and instills professional ethics and the Army values. As an Officer Candidate, Mayur faced rigorous physical, mental, academic, and emotional challenges. Some of these challenges included foot marches leading up to 12 miles while carrying a 75-pound rucksack, obstacle courses, physical fitness training, map reading, day and night land navigation, small unit tactics, military history, and planning Army operations. All of this culminated into an intense 18-day field training exercise where Officer Candidate Patel was assessed on everything he learned while at OCS as he planned, executed, and led missions. Prior to attending OCS, Mayur was a Staff Sergeant with 13 years of Army experience and has held multiple posi-

Second Lieutenant Mayur Patel

tions from Infantryman to Recruiter to Information Technology Specialist. Mayur has been deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he was a ground combat Soldier. He has also been to South Korea in support of Key Resolve where he assessed the United States Forces Korea’s networking, knowledge management, and cybersecurity capabilities.

Now, as a Cyber Operations Officer, Mayur has transitioned from being on the front lines on a physical battlefield to being on the front lines of cyberspace. His primary mission will be to conduct offensive and defensive operations in order to prevent adversaries from infiltrating the Army’s networks. Mayur is currently assigned to the Southwest Cyber Protection Center in San Antonio, TX.


FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

November is American Diabetese Month

Section 2

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Tel: 713-774-5140

defined standard Medicare Older dads’ kids run higher 2019 Part D prescription drug plan health risks at birth: study coverage parameters by Marlowe HOOD



ere are a few highlights of the defined standard Medicare Part D plan changes from 2018 to 2019. The CMS “Part D Benefit Parameters for Defined Standard Benefit” is the minimum allowable Medicare Part D plan coverage. However, CMS does allow Medicare Part D plans to offer a variation on the defined standard benefits (for example, a Medicare Part D plan can offer a $0 Initial Deductible).

ARIS | AFP | 10/31/2018 Newborns of fathers 45 and older are more likely to be underweight or wind up in intensive care, researchers reported Thursday, adding to the list of problems associated with older dads. For fathers 55 and up, infants tended to score worse in a standardised test used to assess the baby’s health immediately after birth. Even more startling -- and harder to explain -- was a heightened risk for women carrying the child of a man 55 and older of diabetes arising during pregnancy, according to a study published in the medical journal BMJ. All these conclusions, the researchers cautioned, are based on an analysis of medical records rather than a controlled experiment, which means no firm conclusions about cause-andeffect can be drawn. The overall risk of such outcomes also remained low, they added. But the findings held true even after other factors that might skew the results -- age of the mother, maternal smoking, level of education -- were taken into account, they said. “A significant number of these negative birth outcomes were estimated to be prevented if older fathers had elected to have children before the age of 45,” the scientists concluded. “The risk associated with advanced paternal age should be included in discussions regarding family planning and reproductive counselling.” The average age of fatherhood has been steadily rising in wealthy nations, as has the percentage of fathers above 45 or 55. In the United States, the number of births to men 40 and older has almost doubled to nine percent over the last 40 years. For men over 50, the per-

- Initial Deductible: will be increased by $10 to $415 in 2019. - Initial Coverage Limit (ICL): will increase from $3,750 in 2018 to $3,820 in 2019. Older dads could see their babies suffer more health risks at birth [Photo: Getty] centage has gone up from 0.5 to nearly one. - 20 grammes lighter Similar trends are found in western Europe. In England, for example, fathers over 35 accounted for 40 percent of all births in 2003, compared with 25 percent in 1993. To date, most research on the link between the age of parents and health outcomes in children has focused on older mothers. But recent studies suggest that being a father later in life may also be associated with higher risks in offspring of autism, genetic abnormalities and mental problems. One possible culprit is thought to be changes with age in male reproductive cells that affects the way genes are expressed, rather than the genes themselves. To better understand the possible impact of advanced-age fatherhood

on infants and mothers, researchers led by Michael Eisenberg of Stanford University combed through data on more than 40.5 million births in the United States from 2007 to 2016. Children born of fathers 45 or older were on average 20 grammes lighter, and had a 14 percent higher risk of low birth weight -- less than 2.5 kilos (5.5 pounds) -- than infants born to younger dads. These children were also 14 percent more likely to be admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit, and had 18 percent higher odds of experiencing a seizure compared with infants of fathers aged 25 to 34. The risk of gestational diabetes, meanwhile, for women carrying the child of a man aged 55 or older increased by 34 percent. The researchers further estimate that 13 percent of premature births were attributable to fathers of more advanced age.

Skin cancer deaths rates soar, mostly for men: study by Marlowe Hood


ARIS, France | AFP | Skin cancer deaths among men have soared in wealthy nations since 1985, with mortality rates among women rising more slowly or even declining, researchers told a medical conference in Glasgow Sunday. Reasons for the discrepancy between sexes are unclear but evidence suggests men are “less likely to protect themselves from the sun” or heed public health warnings, lead researcher Dorothy Yang, a doctor at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in London, told AFP. More than 90 percent of melanoma cancers are caused by skin cell damage from exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation such as tanning beds, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In eight of 18 countries examined, men’s skin cancer death rates increased over three decades by at least 50 percent. In two nations -- Ireland and Croatia -- it roughly doubled. Also seeing a sharp jump were Spain and Britain (70 percent), The Netherlands (60 percent), as well as France and Belgium (50 percent). In the United States, which was not included in the study, male melanoma mortality went up by about 25 percent, according to CDC statistics. But the nations with the biggest rise in skin cancer deaths were often not with the most elevated mortality rates, the new research showed. - Ozone hole silver lining In Australia, for example, nearly six of every 100,000 men succumbed to the disease in 2013-15. That is twice the second highest death rate (Finland), but only a 10 percent increase compared to 30 years earlier.

Evidence suggests men are less likely to protect themselves from the sun or heed public health warnings, researchers said (AFP Photo/Alberto Pizzoli) “Australia has been an early implementer of public health media campaigns since the 1970s to promote ‘sun-smart’ behaviour,” Yang told AFP by phone before presenting her data at the 2018 UK National Cancer Research Institute Conference. While debate continues as to how much of Australia’s record skin cancer rate stems from depletion of UV-filtering ozone in the stratosphere, 30 years of public health campaigns have no doubt made Australians acutely aware of the dangers. The so-called “ozone hole” was especially big over Australia when the efforts kicked off. Skin cancer deaths among

women in 1985 in Australia occurred at half the rate as for men, and declined by 10 percent over the next 30 years, Yang and three colleagues reported. Other countries where female mortality from the disease went down over the same period are Austria (nine percent), the Czech Republic (16 percent), and Israel (23 percent). In several other nations -- Romania, Sweden and Britain -- there were slight increases. Scientists are investigating whether biological or genetic factors might also play a role in skin cancer, but findings so far are inconclusive, Yang said.

- Out-of-Pocket Threshold (or TrOOP): will increase from $5,000 in 2018 to $5,100 in 2019.

Sudhir Mathuria HEALTHLIFE 360 713-771-2900

- Coverage Gap (Donut Hole): begins once you reach your Medicare Part D plan’s initial coverage limit ($3,820 in 2019) and ends when you spend a total of $5,100 out of pocket in 2019. - 2019 Donut Hole Discount: Part D enrollees will receive a 75% Donut Hole discount on the total cost of their brand-name drugs purchased while in the Donut Hole. The discount includes, a 70% discount paid by the brand-name drug manufacturer and a 5% discount paid by your Medicare Part D plan. The 70% paid by the drug manufacturer combined with the 25% you pay, count toward your TrOOP or Donut Hole exit point. For example: If you reach the Donut Hole and purchase a brandname medication with a retail cost of $100, you will pay $25 for the medication, and receive $95 credit toward meeting your 2019 total outof-pocket spending limit. Medicare Part D beneficiaries who reach the Donut Hole will also pay a maximum of 37% co-pay on generic drugs purchased while in

the Coverage Gap (receiving a 63% discount). For example: If you reach the 2019 Donut Hole, and your generic medication has a retail cost of $100, you will pay $37. The $37 that you spend will count toward your TrOOP or Donut Hole exit point. - Minimum Cost-sharing in the Catastrophic Coverage Portion of the Benefit**: will increase to greater of 5% or $3.40 for generic or preferred drug that is a multi-source drug and the greater of 5% or $8.50 for all other drugs in 2019. - Maximum Co-payments below the Out-of-Pocket Threshold for certain Low Income Full Subsidy Eligible Enrollees: will increase to $3.40 for generic or preferred drug that is a multisource drug and $8.50 for all other drugs in 2019. To select right Medicare Plan for 2019 contact Sudhir Mathuria at 713-771-2900.



FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Robotic surgery for cervical Chronic exposure to excess cancer boosts death risk noise may increase risk for heart disease, stroke by Kerry SHERIDAN



AMPA | AFP |10/31/2018 -A minimally invasive, robotic surgery commonly used for performing hysterectomies in women with early stage cervical cancer actually boosts the risk of a woman dying, researchers warned on Wednesday. A pair of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine sound the alarm about a surgery that has quickly become the go-to option for many women, even before its outcome was thoroughly studied. “At this point, we would recommend only using open surgery to perform a radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer,” said co-senior author Shohreh Shahabi, chief of gynecologic oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. When a woman is diagnosed with cervical cancer, she often gets her uterus and cervix removed, an operation known as a radical hysterectomy. Minimally invasive radical hysterectomy using either laparoscopic or robot-assisted procedures have been around since 1992, but ballooned in popularity in the last decade. More than 60 percent of hysterectomies performed on women with early stage cervical cancer in 2013 were done in a minimally invasive way, allowing women to go home the same day. The procedure involves inflating the abdomen with gas and operating through small incisions, using a camera and a robotic instrument. In comparison, a traditional, open hysterectomy requires a long incision through the center of the abdomen and several days of hospitalization. While robotic surgeries are gaining popularity fast, and are generally seen as less risky in terms of surgical complications, researchers wanted to understand which method was better from a cancer-survival standpoint. A randomized clinical trial was conducted to compare the two methods in terms of how

© AFP/File | Minimally invasive radical hysterectomy using either laparoscopic or robot-assisted procedures have been around since 1992, but ballooned in popularity in the last decade many women were free of disease 4.5 years later. The trial was halted early, in 2017, when researchers realized there was a 10 percent difference in survival between the two groups. Eighty-six percent of women who had the robotic surgery were alive and disease-free after 4.5 years, compared to 96.5 percent in the open surgery group. Minimally invasive surgery was also associated with a lower overall survival rate after three years -- 93 percent in the minimally invasive group were alive compared to 99 percent in the traditional surgery group. - Second study A second study analyzed 2,461 patients in the National Cancer Database who had radical hysterectomies for earlystage cervical cancer from 2010 through 2013, half by robotic surgery and half via open surgery. There, too, researchers found that women who underwent the minimally invasive surgery had higher rates of cancer recurrence and death than those who had a traditional surgery. There was a 9.1 percent risk of death in the minimally invasive group and a 5.3 percent risk in the open surgery group.

“It’s important to note that our study doesn’t explain why mortality is higher among women who have minimally invasive surgery,” said the lead author of the larger study, Alexander Melamed, a clinical fellow in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School. “One possible explanation is that there could be something technical about minimally invasive radical hysterectomy that is different from the open procedure and makes a difference for long-term survival,” he added. “An alternative explanation is that US surgeons could have been less experienced with the minimally invasive procedure than with open surgery during the study period.” The study spanned 33 medical centers in 13 countries, and all the cancer recurrences were clustered in 14 of those sites. More work is needed to understand the factors that led to poorer survival in the robotic surgery group, wrote doctor Amanda Fader of Johns Hopkins University in an accompanying editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. “Do these studies signal the death knell for minimally invasive radical hysterectomy in cervical cancer patients?

But the research does not explain why.

“Not necessarily, but this approach has been dealt a great blow,” Fader said.

According to Shahabi, it’s possible that tumor tissue is not completely removed in some robotic procedures, or that somehow the tools used encourage tumor tissue to spread.

Cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide, and affects more than 13,000 women in the United States each year.

HICAGO, Il., Nov. 5, 2018 — Exposure to environmental noise appears to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes by fueling the activity of a brain region involved in stress response. This response in turn promotes blood vessel inflammation, according to preliminary research to be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians. The findings reveal that people with the highest levels of chronic noise exposure – such as highway and airport noise – had an increased risk of suffering cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, regardless of other risk factors known to increase cardiovascular risk. The results of the study offer much-needed insight into the biological mechanisms of the well-known, but poorly understood, interplay between cardiovascular disease and chronic noise exposure, researchers said. “A growing body of research reveals an association between ambient noise and cardiovascular disease, but the physiological mechanisms behind it have remained unclear,” said study author Azar Radfar, M.D., Ph.D., a research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “We believe our findings offer an important insight into the biology behind this phenomenon.” Researchers analyzed the association between noise expo-

sure and major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, among 499 people (average age 56 years), who had simultaneous PET and CT scan imaging of their brains and blood vessels. Diagnostic validation was done in a subset of 281 subjects. All participants were free of cardiovascular illness and cancer at baseline. Using those images, the scientists assessed the activity of the amygdala - an area of the brain involved in stress regulation and emotional responses, among other functions. To capture cardiovascular risk, the researchers examined the participants’ medical records following the initial imaging studies. Of the 499 participants, 40 experienced a cardiovascular event (e.g., heart attack or stroke) in the five years following the initial testing. To gauge noise exposure, the researchers used participants’ home addresses and derived noise level estimates from the Department of Transportation’s Aviation and Highway Noise Map. People with the highest levels of noise exposure had higher levels of amygdalar activity and more inflammation in their arteries. Notably, these people also had a greater than threefold risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke and other major cardiovascular events, compared with people who had lower levels of noise exposure. That risk remained elevated even after the researchers accounted for other cardiovascular and environmental risk

factors, including air pollution, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes. Additional analysis revealed that high levels of amygdalar activity appears to unleash a pathway that fuels cardiac risk by driving blood vessel inflammation, a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The researchers caution that more research is needed to determine whether reduction in noise exposure could meaningfully lower cardiovascular risk and reduce the number of cardiovascular events on a population-wide scale. In the meantime, however, the new study findings should propel clinicians to consider chronic exposure to high levels of ambient noise as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. “Patients and their physicians should consider chronic noise exposure when assessing cardiovascular risk and may wish to take steps to minimize or mitigate such chronic exposure,” Radfar said. Co-authors are: Michael T. Osborne, M.D.; Brian Tung, M.S.; Tomas Patrich, B.A.; Blake Oberfeld, B.S.; Ying Wang, M.D.; Roger Pitman, M.D.; and Ahmed Tawakol, M.D. Author disclosures are on the abstract. This work was in-part funded by the National Institutes of Health and by the American Heart Association. For more news at AHA Scientific Sessions 2018, follow us on Twitter @HeartNews #AHA18.

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“For me it’s about inspiring women of all shapes and sizes to give it a go,” she says.

by Laura Bonilla


EW YORK | AFP- Six years ago, a doctor told Londoner Julie Creffield that she was too fat to run a marathon. She had none of it, and proved him wrong. On Sunday, the 40-year-old mother of one will be taking part in her fourth marathon -in New York -- “a dream come true.” The professional life coach began her running career began in 2010, when she took part in a short race and came last. “When I got to the finish line, there was no finish line left, everybody had left and gone home,” she tells AFP, dressed

in black leggings and a pink hoodie, her blonde hair in a pony tail after a quick jog in Central Park. She remembers feeling “very embarrassed and thinking maybe I shouldn’t be a runner, maybe I am not welcome in the running world.” So she decided to inspire other women of a similar shape. “That’s when I started writing the blog,” called “Too Fat to Run,” she says. The London Olympics later inspired her to run her first marathon. “I’ve done maybe 30 half marathons and ultra marathons

“I feel quite passionate about larger women running, because we weren’t very visible in the running world. When you think runner, you think tall, slim, fast, and lots of people want to run for lots of other reasons.” Creffield, who says she does not know how much she weighs, wears a dress size 18 in Britain, which is a 16 in the United States. - ‘Heckled a lot’ It is in Central Park, where the fall leaves are already turning yellow, that Creffield hopes to cross the finish line along with the more than 50,000 other runners taking part from around the world. The average time to complete the New York marathon, which takes in the city’s five boroughs, is four hours, 35 minutes.

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Last year’s winner, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, romped home in two hours, 10 minutes, 53 seconds. Creffield calculates that it’ll take her between six and a half, and seven and a half hours. She’ll run as much as she can, and walk when she needs a breather. People take up running for all kinds of reasons, she says, not only to lose weight or get in shape, but to counter depression, to socialize or even carve out a little me time. Although she has been heckled and insulted for running,

Creffield stops at nothing and is confident that little by little, attitudes are changing.

“There are so many more things that define us as women than what we look like.”

“I’ve had things thrown from car windows at me when I train. I got heckled a lot of the time. It tends to be either children or grown men. Sometimes people shout things they think are motivating, but they are not,” she says.

Although some people want marathons reserved only for elite runners, a growing majority -- especially in New York -- believe they should be open to as wide a pool of people as possible.

“Because you’re big, they think you’re new to running and they shout things like ‘it gets easier!’ and I’m like ‘no it doesn’t, I’ve been running for 15 years and this is my pace,’” Creffield smiles.

“Our mission at New York Road Runners is to help and inspire people through running, regardless of their age or ability. Everyone is welcome,” explains Chris Weiller, spokesman for the group that organizes the marathon.



Winner of UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award turned tragedy into art

FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Marie Antoinette’s jewels on display ahead of Sotheby’s auction

A model wears the “Queen Marie Antoinette’s Pearl”, her diamond brooch, her pearl and diamond earrings, and a ring during a photocall for the sale of “Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family” at Sotheby’s on October 19. AFP Photo/Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP |

Indonesian artist Suvi Wahyudianto is the youngest artist to win the UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award.Photo credit: Benjamin Seetor/ Straits Times by Akshita Nanda


INGAPORE- Indonesian artist Suvi Wahyudianto’s mother wanted him to find a steady job, but she may now finally approve of his artistic pursuits. On Nov 1, the 26-year-old became the youngest artist to win the UOB Southeast Asian Painting of the Year award, a regional prize worth US$10,000 (S$13,800). His mixed-media work titled Angs’t (ANGST), created with plastic enamel and resin on aluminium, was chosen by judges as the best among the four national winners of the UOB Painting of the Year award. The bank has given out a painting prize annually in Singapore since 1982, in Thailand since 2010, and Malaysia and Indonesia since 2011. Suvi’s work also won the UOB Painting of the Year award for Indonesia, worth 250 million rupiah (S$23,000), and he is the youngest winner of the national award in his country. The youngest winner from Singapore was named in 2005, when Alvin Ong, then 16, won for his acrylic painting titled The Window.

This year’s Singapore winner was 28-year-old Khairulddin Abdul Wahab, who received $25,000 for his acrylic-on-linen painting Rite Of Passage. It depicts a mystic oil bath ritual, which is part of the silat martial-art practice. This was Suvi’s second try at the prize after a 2016 attempt that got him to the finals, but not the first prize. “It’s quite a prestigious competition and quite an achievement for artists to participate and, of course, win,” he says through an interpreter. He does not remember much about his 2016 entry, but this year’s came from an unforgettable time in his past. He come from the Indonesian island of Madura and many in his village were migrant workers - his mother worked as a domestic helper in Malaysia. He and his elder sister and younger brother were looked after by relatives while she was away. In 2001, a civil war broke out between the Dayak tribesmen in Kalimantan and the Madurese migrants. Hundreds, mostly Madurese, were slaughtered and thousands left. Many from Suvi’s

village fled home, scarred and shaken. “I wanted to make a work of art that focused on tragedy and wounds,” he says of Angs’t, which recalls the universal redand-pink tissue that lies under all human skin. “It’s my way of encouraging people to have empathy for others. The message I’ve tried to convey is for people to look under the skin regardless of social status, we are all the same.” The artist, who graduated from Unesas, the State University of Surabaya, lives in Yogyakarta and plans to use his prize money to pay for a studio. Later, he hopes to start a small arts community in Madura to encourage more people to create contemporary art. “I came from a broken home and though a lot of my friends were affected by the fact that their families were falling apart, I believe art saved me,” he says. The winning paintings from the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year competition will be exhibited at the UOB Art Gallery, UOB Plaza 1 at 80 Raffles Place from Nov 9 to end-February next year. SOURCE: Straits Times

Contemporary Japanese art looks to historical craftsmanship for inspiration


arie Antoinette’s dazzling diamonds and pearls, unseen in public for two centuries, went on display in London on Friday before going on sale next month in one of the most important royal jewellery auctions in history.

ued at $1-2 million (870,0001.75 million euros).

The treasures were secretly whisked out of Paris in 1791 in the aftermath of the French Revolution and have been privately owned by relatives ever since.

A monogrammed ring containing a lock of her hair is valued at $8,000-10,000.

The collection, held by the Italian royal House of Bourbon-Parma, is being sold by Sotheby’s auction house in Geneva on November 14. On show at their London headquarters, the lots include 10 pieces which belonged to Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France before the French Revolution. She was guillotined in Paris aged 37 in October 1793. “The romance, magic and universality of her name is because she represents that sophistication of l’ancien regime. She is it,” Andres White Correal, Sotheby’s senior director of jewellery, told AFP. “It is the sale of the 21st century. Because how do you top Marie Antoinette? Also because it’s so scarce. There isn’t much left.” The highlight is Queen Marie Antoinette’s Pearl, a natural pearl and diamond pendant val-

by Emmanuelle de Montgazon


n Japan, time is not always conceived of in a linear fashion, as it often is in the West. Past, present and future are not distinct realms, and they can instead overlap and shift. This conception of time comes to the fore in contemporary art, where many of today’s Japanese artists are recreating and developing ancient crafts in their work. As such, “tradition” is not a relic of the past but rather a living, constantly evolving idea. This attitude toward traditional crafts is one that I have explored in my work as a curator and, most recently, at Asia Now, a boutique art fair in Europe dedicated to contemporary Asian art. To coincide with Japonismes 2018, a year of celebrating Franco-Japanese relations across cultural institutions in France, I curated “The Japanese Platform,” (with scenography designed by the celebrated Sou Fujimoto Architects), a project

exhibiting work by some of the most innovative established and emerging artists working in Japan today. Three of them -- Fantasista Utamaro, Aya Kawato and Yuken Teruya -- particularly embody this historical approach to craftsmanship in contemporary Japanese art. Fantasista Utamaro references manga and traditional Japanese illustration, though he reimagines them in new and alternative materials. Some of the artist’s best-known works have seen him layering acrylic paint and resin into blocks of carefully cut wood to produce bold, cartoon-like images. While the creations reference popular manga, the powerful visual effect is only achieved through the artist’s knowledge of lacquering techniques. Utamaro’s output is the result of time, concentration and physical labor, and to complete his pieces he must work in stages, gently cleaning each coating and slowly building up the artwork layer by layer. Aya



employs a similar physicality in her art, though she has taken things one step further by building a custom loom to produce intricate 2D canvases. At first glance, her artworks look like pixelated printed images, though they are in fact intricately woven sheets of paper that Kawato has colored in high concentration -- with subtle variations --square by square. Having trained in historic textile techniques at university, Kawato has adapted her practice to produce these mesmerizing optical illusions. Finally, Yuken Teruya manipulates traditional paper-cutting methods, putting a modern spin on the ancient Japanese art of kirigami (a form of origami whereby the paper is sliced as well as folded). Using unorthodox materials, including legal tender banknotes, McDonald’s packaging and Prada shopping bags, Teruya uses a scalpel knife rather than the traditional scissors to achieve a more complex cut that looks almost three-dimensional. - CNN

“The ring is a small diamond ring with a lock of her hair inside, with the monogram MA set with rose diamonds,” Sotheby’s jewellery specialist Benoit Repellin told AFP. “The value of the diamonds themselves is very low but there is an emotional value and a historic value behind it.” Spirited out of France A fine natural pearl and diamond necklace is priced at $40,000-70,000, while a double ribbon bow diamond brooch is estimated at $50,00080,000. When king Louis XVI, his wife Marie Antoinette and their children tried to flee the French Revolution in March 1791, the royal jewels were smuggled out of the country into the trust of a confidant in Brussels. They were then sent on to relatives in Austria and passed down through the generations. “It is one of the most impor-

“This extraordinary group of jewels offers a captivating insight into the lives of its owners going back hundreds of years.” White Correal compared Marie Antoinette to Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra and Britain’s Diana, princess of Wales. He said there were queens with greater political and historical stature but Marie Antoinette “had the allure”. The Bourbon-Parma sale also contains jewellery belonging to Charles X, the last monarch styled king of France, including a diamond tiara; jewels from empress Marie Therese of Austria -- Marie Antoinette’s mother -- and from Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I, who died in 1916. The fleur de lys design tiara, made in 1912, contains diamonds from the collection of Charles X, Marie Antoinette’s brother-in-law, who died in 1836. It is estimated at $350,000-550,000. The collection has been exhibited in Hong Kong, Dubai and New York and will go on to Singapore, Taipei and back to Geneva where they will go under the hammer. (AFP)

Myths about shared culture have no place in the citizenship debate Americas does so. But not one in Europe. Yet this is not a New World/Old World divide. The roots of both birthright citizenship and opposition to it lie in Europe.

by Kenan Malik

Aya Kawato’s intricate 2D works are informed by historic texile techniques. (Pierre Caer Gallery)

A natural pearl and diamond necklace composed of three rows of more than 100 slightly graduated pearls is expected to fetch $200,000-300,000, as are a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant earrings.

tant royal jewellery collections ever to appear on the market and each and every jewel is absolutely imbued with history,” said Daniela Mascetti, deputy chair of Sotheby’s jewellery Europe.


hat links Mike Leigh’s new film, Peterloo, to Donald Trump’s threat to deprive children born to undocumented migrants of the right to US citizenship? It might seem an odd question, best left to Only Connect fans. But answering it helps give an insight into some of the ways we think about immigration and citizenship. Trump wants to restrict the scope of the 14th amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born on US soil. It’s the latest move in a long history of attacks on “birthright citizenship”, a history defined by a desire to create fears about an “alien” presence and to cast some Americans as not truly belonging to the nation. The French tradition views citizenship from a universalist perspective, without regard for ethnicity or culture There is more to the debate, however, than fearmongering. It speaks to wider questions about the nature of citizenship and of national belonging. It has resonance on this side of the Atlantic too. The United States, according to Trump, is the only nation “stupid” enough to permit birthright citizenship. In fact, virtually every country in the

Two broad approaches to citizenship are formally labelled jus soli and jus sanguinis. Jus soli (right of the soil) is the right to citizenship of anyone born in a country. Jus sanguinis (right of blood) defines citizenship as an inheritance through one or both parents, who themselves need be citizens. What Americans call birthright citizenship is jus soli (though both forms of citizenship can be a birthright, automatically conferred at birth). The distinction between the two has traditionally been seen as that between French and German conceptions of citizenship. The French republican tradition views citizenship from a universalist perspective, without regard for ethnicity or culture. German nationalism draws upon Romantic ideas of the Volk, rooted in a specific history, culture and race. The reality is more complicated. For a start, the US concept of birthright citizenship derives not from French republicanism but from English common law. More importantly, jus soli and jus sanguinis have long been intertwined in policy. France introduced in the 19th century a “blood” element to citizenship: only those born in France with a French parent are automatically granted citizenship at birth. In Britain, the 1981 Nationality Act restricted automatic citizenship at birth to those at least one of whose parents was British or had permanent residency rights. Fear of populism and the triumph of identity politics have transformed what we imagine is racist

In both countries, wariness about jus soli was driven by the sense that certain groups were incompatible with the nation. In the 19th century, Jews were cast as the unassimilable “other”. More recently, North Africans or West Indians were given that role. Today, it’s often Muslims. Today, too, such fears have been recast in the debate about populism and social fragmentation. The philosopher Michael Walzer, influential in communitarian and postliberal circles, argues that in the past there existed an organic relationship between the political community and the cultural community. This allowed for “language, history and culture [to] come together… to produce a collective consciousness” and “a world of common meanings”. Immigration has served to disrupt this, making societies seem more fragmented. For nations to flourish, Walzer insists, they must regulate immigration and citizenship so as to protect their historical and cultural integrity. The lesson that some, such as the academic Eric Kaufmann, draw from this is the need to employ racial and cultural criteria in selecting immigrants. There is nothing racist, Kaufmann insists, in an immigration policy that seeks to maintain the “white share of the population”. It is a pragmatic response to assuage social anxiety and protect cultural integrity. Fear of populism and the triumph of identity politics have transformed what we imagine is racist. On neither side of the Atlantic will it help in thinking about charged issues around immigration and citizenship to cling to historical myths or be blinkered to the consequences of our answers. - The London Observer



FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Sri Lanka crisis scares tourists Indian firework sellers in fresh hit to economy fume over festival ‘ecocracker’ ban

Tourists at Sri Lanka’s Independence Memorial Hall. Tourism is a cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s economy.PHOTO: AFP by Amal JAYASINGHE


OLOMBO, Sri Lanka | AFP | A political crisis in Sri Lanka, where two prime ministers are fighting for power, is scaring away tourists and raising questions over foreign aid, ringing alarm bells for the economy as the currency slumps to record lows. The turmoil in the Indian Ocean nation that has seen one premier refuse to be sacked, and another battle to prove a majority in a parliament that is banned from meeting, has caused major upheaval that Sri Lanka cannot afford. Amidst warnings from politicians of a “bloodbath” if the dispute escalates, tourists are cancelling hotel bookings just as Sri Lankan beaches and major sites like the Temple of the Tooth prepare for peak season. While no official figures have been given, deluxe hotels have reported cancellations and a critical decline in new bookings in the past 10 days. “This comes at the worst possible time when people in Europe are making their holiday plans abroad,” a Colombo city hotel executive told AFP. “We have had a lot of cancellations from the United States.” “With the political crisis our winter season is gone,” the director of a luxury beach resort in the south of the island said. - Tourist dollars needed Western nations have warned their citizens to be on their guard in Sri Lanka. “You should exercise vigilance and avoid all demonstrations or large political gatherings,” a British govern-

ment advisory said. Tourism is a cornerstone of the economy. More than 2.4 million foreign holidaymakers visited last year, spending $3.2 billion. Authorities had been counting on a rise of more than 10 percent this year. And whether Ranil Wickremesinghe stays in office or former president Mahinda Rajapakse takes his place, foreign earnings will be badly needed. The Asian Development Bank had predicted the economy would grow by 3.8 percent this year and 4.5 percent in 2019, but all bets are now off. The power vacuum has raised doubts over a $1.5 billion Japanese-funded light rail project and another $480 million of US finance for transport and health, a Wickremesinghe minister, Patali Ranawaka, said last week. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was about to announce an agreement on releasing a new tranche of a $1.5 billion loan when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on October 26. “We are monitoring the situation closely and we remain in contact with our counterparts at the technical level,” an IMF spokesman said of the deepening power struggle. - Populist cuts Wickremesinghe, a market liberal, has insisted he is still in charge while strongman former leader Rajapakse -- already blamed for piling up the island’s debt when he was president from 2005 to 2015 -- launched his rival administration last week with measures that caused new jitters. Rajapakse, finance minister as well as head of government, reduced the price of fuel and other essential goods

and cut taxes in a move to win over the public. Treasury officials, who asked not to be named, said the revenue loss from the cuts could blow a new hole in the country’s balance sheet. Official figures show that Sri Lanka will have to start repaying a record $4.2 billion of debt in 2019, up from $2.8 billion this year. The crisis broke just days after Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera called for a “coalition of the willing” to stabilise the free-falling Sri Lankan rupee along with other emerging market currencies. The rupee hit a record-low 177.32 to the dollar last week, despite official measures to arrest its decline. The currency has shed more than 14 percent this year and Sri Lanka fears it could slide further as US sanctions squeeze Iran, the island’s chief source of oil. Samaraweera, whose position is now disputed by Rajapakse, said the flight of foreign capital accelerated in the first four days after the political crisis. He cited Colombo stock exchange figures showing foreign investors took out nearly $23 million from the market, compared to $35 million over the first nine months of this year. Rajapakse has said he will cut down on non-essential imports and reduce personal and corporate taxes to encourage local industrialists and companies. Fitch said however that a protracted political crisis could undermine foreign investor confidence and “make it more challenging” for Colombo to pay its debts.

GDP impact of Muslim travel in Asia to hit $33 billion by 2020: report


on-Muslim countries in Asia like China, Thailand and Singapore are set to reap the benefits of Muslim travel over the next few years, as the region becomes increasingly popular for halal tourism. That’s according to the results of the Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism and Future Growth Projection: 2017-2020 report, which predicts that the GDP impact of Muslim travel in Asia will hit US$33 billion by 2020, up 27 percent from 2017. Globally, that will represent 22 percent of Muslim travel spend.

The Supreme Court ruled only eco-friendly crackers can be sold in Delhi, in a bid to curb smog levels (AFP Photo/Money SHARMA).


EW DELHI, | AFP | Rajesh Tyagi stands outside his decades-old fireworks stall in Delhi’s old quarter, fuming over a court ruling that allows him to sell only “eco-friendly” fireworks for the Indian capital’s largest festival. “There is no such thing as a green firecracker in India,” says an exasperated Tyagi, in an empty alleyway usually buzzing with customers buying rockets and bangers ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The Supreme Court has ruled only environmentally-friendly crackers -- that emit less smoke and soot than normal ones -- can be sold in the Indian capital, in a last-ditch bid to curb smog in the world’s most polluted major city. Delhi’s record-setting pollution is at its worst around this time of year, when tens of millions celebrate Diwali by setting off firecrackers late into the night. Revellers in the city of 20 million wake the next morning to find the fumes have mingled with car exhaust, factory emissions, construction dust and smoke from crop fires to form a thick, soupy haze. Landmarks fade in the smog and visibility plunges to mere metres in parts of the city as cooler air traps poisonous particulates close to the ground.

nesia, China and Malaysia will contribute 17 percent of total Muslim outbound spending by 2020 -- more than Europe, which is poised to reach 15 percent. In other words, spending by Asia’s Muslim tourists is forecast to grow to US$29.6 billion by 2020. The rise in Muslim tourism presents a huge opportunity for destinations which are advised to develop halal-friendly tourism in order to capitalize on the growing market, analysts point out. South Korea and Thailand have long been offering Muslimfriendly guides that include lists of halal restaurants, mosques and prayer rooms.

Asia is one of the top regions driving the growth of the global Muslim travel market, says a new report. The countries that © istock/FilippoBacci will see the lion’s “With the Muslim share of that spendpopulation growth ing? China, Thailand aspirational population and an in“The robust growth in inbound and at 70 percent compared to the global and Singapore. creasingly-affluent middle class who outbound Muslim tourism expenditure average of 32 percent, the Muslim The report was written by Salam are hungry to travel the world in a forecast for Asia presents exciting op- travel market presents many untapped Standard, a hospitality tool dedicated faith-compatible way, whether for portunities for Muslim and non-Mus- opportunities for countries and orgabusiness or leisure,” said Faeez Fadh- lim destinations, which will benefit nizations that successfully address its to Muslim travelers. lillah, CEO of Salam Standard and national and regional economies by needs -- and an enormous threat for “Asia is one of the top regions driv- Muslim hotel booking site, Tripfez in boosting GDP and job creation.” those who ignore it,” Fadhlillah adding the growth of the global Muslim a statement. The findings also predict that Indo- ed. - Relaxnews travel market, fueled by a young and

But Tyagi -- who along with other vendors shut his shop and went on strike against the court’s decision -said so-called “green crackers” are a myth. “I have been in this business for 35 years, and I haven’t seen or heard of this product,” he told AFP. “These authorities issue orders from their air-conditioned rooms and we suffer from their ignorance.” Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan insisted earlier this week that ecofriendly firecrackers do exist, unveiling a product said to emit 30 percent less pollution, the Press Trust of India reported. However he added that they would not be available in time for Diwali, on November 7. Indian researchers have been working on other prototypes of the ecofriendly cracker. The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Mohali, about 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Delhi, claims to have developed a rocket that releases no soot, particles or smoke. But this model, and others like it, is still only in the test phase. The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, which regulates the firecracker industry in India, told AFP no licences had been issued for lowemission crackers. - ‘Impossible to enforce’ The Supreme Court imposed a total ban on fireworks for Delhi during Diwali last year, angering not just businesses but revellers who felt it unfairly targeted Hindu festivities. Activists, however, were hoping for a repeat of the ban this year, and questioned how authorities would enforce the “green cracker” ruling. The United Residents Joint Action of Delhi group tweeted that it would be “impossible to monitor”, and that “the state has no capacity to enforce” the law. Citizens, the group added, would be left to make their own “informed choice” on which fireworks they purchase. Those celebrating outside the capital can fire normal crackers but only between 8 pm and 10 pm in the evening, on the night of Diwali. Pollution in Delhi has soared to unhealthy levels a number of times in recent days, even before the festival and upcoming wintry weather, which will push them up further. The US embassy website in Delhi showed the concentration of microscopic harmful particles reached the 372-mark Friday -- roughly 15 times the World Health Organization safe limits. Air quality data collected by the Indian government showed even higher readings of PM2.5, the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants.


FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Home&Real Estate Zillow to begin buying, selling homes in Houston by Kelsey Rameriz


OUSTON, Monday, November 5 - Zillow announced Monday that it plans to begin buying and selling homes in Houston, Texas. This expansion of its Zillow Offers program marks the seventh market where this option is now available. The program launched in Phoenix in April, and is also available in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Denver. Zillow will expand its program to Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, this Winter. Zillow Offers allows homeowners to request a no-obligation cash offer from Zillow to buy their home. If they accept it, Zillow directly buys a seller’s house, prepares it for showings and quickly lists it for sale. Agent from the Houston area will represent Zillow in the transaction. “Zillow Offers launched just seven months ago, and we’ve already seen nearly 20,000 homeowners request an offer from Zillow to buy their home,” Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman said. “Consumers desire a more seamless experience and the ability to sell their home on their own timeline - something Zillow Offers can provide.” “We’re excited to start working with Houston sellers, giving them more flexibility and certainty in one of the greatest

Zillow Offers now available in 7 markets financial transactions of their life,” Wacksman said. And Zillow’s new program does not seem to compete with local real estate agents. Through Zillow Offers, the company works with local real estate agents and brokers during every transaction. Zillow pays a commission to local agents when it buys and sells each home. It also uses Zillow Offers to promote its Premier Agent, which allows real estate agents the opportunity to acquire new listings by connecting them with motivated sellers who have taken a direct action to sell their home. Consumers who request a Zillow Offer, but instead decide to sell their home tradi-

tionally with an agent or do not receive a Zillow Offer, will be connected to a local brokerage or Premier Agent. The partner brokers and Premier Agents participating in Houston will be announced when Zillow Offers launches in Houston early next year. It’s real estate branch is not the only part of the company that is expanding. Last week, Zillow officially entered the mortgage sector with its acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America. And this is only the beginning. Zillow has more plans ahead with the expansion of its Instant Offers and its decision to rebrand its newly acquired mortgage company. - Housingwire

These are the top Houston communities, homebuilders for new home starts by Fauzeya Rahman


While current numbers aren’t showing a slowdown in new home construction, that could change in the next couple of quarters, said Lawrence Dean, regional director with Metrostudy. New home starts are still rising, but sales tapered off in August and September, he said.

As Raviv Melamed, Cofounder, CEO, and Chairman of Vayyar, noted, “Most falls happen without anybody else knowing that the event occurred,” so having a device to connect independently-living individuals to their loved ones

brings comfort and security to seniors who can rest easy knowing that, just in case, the Walabot HOME is there. The device detects movements through radio waves, which, according to Vayyar, work similarly to Wi-Fi. Because this type of technology does not require a camera, private lives remain private even in intimate places like the bathroom or bedroom. The Walabot HOME is available now in the US for $249. There are no monthly fees for monitoring your home, and the device can be controlled via the Walabot HOME mobile app available on the App and Play stores. - Relaxnews


Sienna Plantation in Fort Bend County saw 526 home starts from October 2017 year-to-date. Bend County, 526 starts Aliana in Fort Bend County, 416 starts (tie) Cross Creek Ranch in Fort Bend County, 416 starts (tie) Bridgeland in Harris County, 412 starts The Woodlands in Montgomery County, 403 starts Harmony in Montgomery County, 384 starts

The top five homebuilders by closings between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018: DR Horton (NYSE: DHI), 2,763 annual closings, 10.03 percent market share Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), 2,707 annual closings, 9.83 percent market share Perry Homes, 1,443 annual closings, 5.24 percent market share - Houston Business Journal

Metrostudy also revealed the top communities ranked by annual new home starts. Once again, Sienna Plantation in Fort Bend County came in first with 526 starts (167 more than the previous year) and 392 closings.

Sienna Plantation in Fort

Until now, independently living seniors’ best option to keep themselves safe and connected to emergency help was to wear an alert pendant at all times. In response to a need for more choices, Vayyar Imaging has been developing a line designed with seniors in mind, and the flagship device of the collection, launched this week, is able to provide phone assistance in the event of a fall.

tects if a person has fallen and automatically places a call for help, without requiring any wearables.” All you have to do to set the device up is to place it on the wall, and the device can take it from there. The space is then monitored by the device and, if someone falls, their emergency contact will automatically be dialed; however, a call can be placed simply by pressing a button on the Walabot HOME if that’s more befitting of a particular situation.

by Ryan Burleson

Looking ahead, a bigger portion of these new starts could end up in the “kiss of death” category of finished but vacant homes, Dean said.

Top five communities by home starts between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018:


ayyar Imaging revealed on Wednesday the new Walabot HOME device, the first of a senior-oriented line of products to assist people in emergency situations without the need of an alert wearable.

A self-taught designer builds a Midcentury-inspired home on a budget

Houston has more home starts than San Antonio and Austin combined, reports Metrostudy.

While new home construction is still seeing gains, overall single-family home sales in September dropped 5.8 percent compared to the year before, according to data from the Houston Association of Realtors.

Introducing Walabot HOME: A New Senior Care Smart Home Device for Fall Detection © Vayyar Imaging

The Walabot HOME, “de-

ouston ranks No. 2 in the nation for most new home starts after Dallas, according to the latest data from housing research firm Metrostudy. The ranking remains unchanged from last year.

In its third-quarter briefing Nov. 1, Metrostudy counted 29,370 home starts in Houston for the 12-month period that ended Sept. 30, 2018, a 6 percent bump from the year before.

Ditch the wearable: now home devices can place emergency calls if someone falls

DR Horton had 2,763 annual closings, which was a 10 percent market share. (Photo: Reuters)

lmost everything about Bob Butler’s Nashville home is unexpected. Its sunken living room, open beams, and carport hark back to the 1950s, yet it’s barely more than a year old. The breezy, rectilinear residence transports visitors to midcentury Hollywood Hills or Palm Springs, though it’s located in a city known for Craftsman bungalows and the rococo mansions of country stars. Most surprising of all, Bob designed and built it himself, with only a few years experience under his belt and no formal training, and on a budget that would get the attention of many area residents: $115 per square foot. “It was difficult to find builders who wanted to be creative within my budget,” he says. So he hired a variety of subcontractors and ended up doing it all. The road that led Bob to architectural design was also unexpected. Born in New York and raised in Australia, he made his living for many years as a fine art photographer. But in 2011, while looking for a light-filled home in Decatur, Georgia, he purchased a 1950s ranch and refashioned it almost entirely by himself, on a “super slim budget,” into a low-key modernist haven. His education? Francis D.K. Ching’s Building Construction Illustrated, YouTube videos, and muscle memory from a handful of drafting lessons in

Bob Butler drew lessons from the legendary Case Study House program to design his cost-effective residence in Nashville. high school. His photographic training didn’t hurt, either. “I felt like I was building a 3-D picture,” he says. By overseeing many of these functions himself, he contends

he has a competitive advantage in cost: “I’d like people to know that, with ingenuity, modern living can be achieved on a modest budget using everyday materials.” - Dwell







FRIDAY, November 9, 2018


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Do you put yourself first when you’re looking for a relationship? If you’re not ready to give up your single lifestyle, maybe you shouldn’t be looking for anything long term right now, Aries.

21 April to 20 May You can be rather moody now. Allow some time to resolve your situation and for confusion to disperse. Now isn’t the moment to act. An answer will come all in good time.

21 May to 20 June You’re looking for a new way to bring in extra cash now, and you may not yet have the perfect solution. But with aspects affecting your house of employment, you’ll find that there are more opportunities.

21 June to 22 July Your gung-ho approach to life isn’t necessarily reflected in the way you look after your health. You can be a bit lazy in this respect. You may not eat the right foods because it’s easier to cook the way you always have.

23 July to 22 August Can you feel it? There’s something in the air that lets you know something exciting is around the corner. You love the feeling of romantic anticipation! Don’t give in to any pressure to change your status!

23 August to 22 Sept Getting along with others can be complicated now. This period can bring a relationship where one person focuses on feelings and the other wants to keep things more professional. Events can bring delays or setbacks.


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23 September to 22 Oct You have fortunate aspects affecting employment now. You may find that you’re offered a new job, raise, or promotion. There may be some instability in your workplace. Ensure your future viability as a valued employee.

23 October to 21 Nov TYou might have to lighten your social schedule, especially if you’ve been feeling tired as a result of recent partying. Focus on getting yourself back in shape and recharging your batteries. Try a detox diet for a day or so.

22 November to 21 Dec Have you been keeping secrets about your love life from your friends? If you’ve been lying or keeping the details from them, have you thought about why?

22 December to 20 Jan You may feel especially energetic now. This is an excellent time to be on your feet and moving around. The energy is ideal for teamwork and presentations. Things that have slowed progress are beginning to ease.

21 January to 19 Feb You’re a tad unconventional now as you bring sudden genius to events. The Universe sends lucky vibes to your house of cash and values. Opportunities for more hours, better pay, and more desirable projects come to you now.

20 February to 20 Mar Staying fit and healthy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You don’t have to join a gym. You can walk or bike more. Or you can take long jogs to get fresh air and get fit at the same time. Dancing to your favorite music keeps you fit too!

ACROSS 1. Newton or Stern 6. Hot springs resort 9. Gene Simmons’ band 13. Cuban dance 14. Anticipated outcome 15. Type of rug 16. Shiny suit 17. Red area between Saudi Arabia and Egypt? 18. Telephone company 19. *Which Thursday is Thanksgiving? 21. *Gathering 23. To boot 24. India location 25. Deli order 28. Walked on 30. Authoritative declaration 35. Milano moolah 37. Swear, not curse 39. Kappa Alpha ____ 40. Battery fluid 41. Long-necked wading bird 43. Biz bigwig 44. Chirp 46. Gauche or Droite, in Paris 47. On one’s guard 48. Take for ransom 50. Gingrich of politics 52. Female sib 53. Hoodlum 55. Comic cry 57. *Early Thanksgiving celebrant 61. *It’s on the final Thanksgiving Parade float 64. Convex molding 65. High or low 67. “Roots” author 69. *Post-Thanksgiving song 70. Yoga accessory 71. Accustom 72. “The Man Who ____ Too Much” 73. Possessive of it 74. Opposite of digest

DOWN 1. Roth ____ 2. Turf alternative 3. Shots, for short 4. Roughly 5. Root vegetable 6. “I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters, and threw up the ____” 7. *Not cake 8. Wet nurses 9. Capital of Ukraine 10. Capri, e.g. 11. Hollow baglike structures 12. Vegas bandit 15. Gibraltar or Bering 20. Synagogue read 22. Willie Nelson’s “Farm ____” 24. Like fans 25. *Like Friday after Thanksgiving 26. Chinese fruit 27. “____-and-true” 29. *____-eating 31. “The ____” talk show 32. Astros’ homeland 33. Wombs 34. *Parade organizer 36. Port in Yemen 38. Created a rug? 42. Handrail post 45. “Snow ____,” band 49. Between Sigma and Epsilon 51. Tittering laugh sound 54. Savory taste sensation 56. Asian wild ass 57. From chicken pox 58. He was terrible 59. Elders’ teachings 60. Neon effect 61. Exercise groups 62. Adhesive 63. Not his 66. *The oldest balloon animal 68. Hitherto




Holiday Tips for Houseguests and Hosts This Season

Ensuring a comfortable place to sleep for all your guests. Photo source: StatePoint


lanning for the holiday season? Whether you’re a guest or a host, there are easy ways to ensure that everyone enjoys their time with family and friends. Check out these tips for a joyful holiday season: A Helping Hand Holiday hosts are often bogged down by tasks and chores. Make yourself useful. Keep areas you are using clean and offer to help around the house. If you’re the host, don’t be shy about delegating simple tasks to your guests. Most guests will appreciate the opportunity to make their stay less stressful on you. Comfort is Key When extended family or friends get together for the holidays, ensure everyone has a comfortable place to sleep. A must-have for both travelers and hosts is a high-quality air mattress that’s compact and easy to inflate, and these days,

some brands have elevated their offerings to luxury standards, helping to create a more comfortable night’s rest. For example, Intex offers a range of comfortable airbeds with impressive features, such as a headboard, raised bed height (up to 24 inches), builtin USB chargers, a plush dual air pillowtop system, various sizes and supports to choose from and more. Their airbeds provide enough comfort and luxury that guests may even consider extending their stay. Worried about the time and energy of set-up? With internal electric air pumps, these high-quality, durable airbeds take just minutes to inflate and deflate, saving families both time and energy. That means more time spent enjoying each other’s company and making memories. And they’re super easy to stock up on, available online or in-store at most major big box retailers. Snack Time Beyond the main holiday

Whether you are traveling or staying put, with a bit of preparation you can make sure everyone feels comfortable, so that you can focus on what the holidays are all about -- making great memories together. (StatePoint)

Make your own music PHOTO SOURCE: (c) nuzza11 /


• Get cozy: During the chilly holiday season, decorate with comfort in mind. Light the fireplace. Add throw pillows to sofas. Turn off overhead lamps and use soft lighting instead. Consider how texture and warmth can contribute to your holiday decorating scheme. • Screen festive flicks: From “It’s a Wonderful Life to “Home Alone,” keep your favorite holiday films playing all the time to create a festive holiday atmosphere, or host a special movie night and select a few classics. With the right projector, you can turn any room of the house into a home theater experience. Select a portable projector for the holiday season that will sense ambient light in the room and automatically adjust the projection accordingly, so you won’t need to blow out candles or unplug holiday lights. Those from Casio’s

SLIM Series are lightweight and portable, combining a laser and LED light source to create a high-brightness mercuryfree projector that uses half the amount of power per unit than its traditional lamp-based counterparts. • Fire up the oven: There’s no better time of year to roll up your sleeves and knead out some dough. One of the best ways to create a holiday atmosphere is with scent, and the aroma of baking cookies, cakes and other holiday desserts will do the trick. If you’re worried about having all those extra sweet treats around the house just before kicking off your New Year’s resolutions, consider volunteering to bring dessert to potluck and parties you attend this season or donating the product of your labors to a holiday bake sale raising money for a charitable cause. • Make music: Get the holiday cheer going in your home by making music. Now you can get the sound of a 9-foot concert grand piano with the Privia PX-

Houston Community College Request for Qualifications (RFP) Custodial Environmental Consulting Services Project No. 19-15

160, a portable digital piano, making it easy to gather round for a sing-a-long of all your favorite seasonal tunes in any room of the house. Its 88-key Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action keyboard simulates ebony and ivory-textured keys and its speaker system opens to the front but is also ported to the back, to deliver a big projected sound to all your holiday celebrants. • Add some flora: Holly, poinsettias, mistletoe -- decking the halls with traditional holiday plants adds color and vitality to side tables, mantels, dining areas and staircases and more. Those with pets and small children should take heed, as certain plant species are toxic -- so avoid these plants or be sure they are displayed well out of reach of curious children and animals. Preparing your home for the holiday season takes a little thought and energy, but the end result is a cheerful and warm atmosphere to make memories while spending time with loved ones. (StatePoint )

Houston Community College Request for Proposals (RFP) Employee Assistance Program Services (EAP) Project No. 19-16

Sealed proposals will be

Sealed proposals will be

received in Procurement

received in Procurement

Operations (3100 Main

Operations (3100 Main



Room No. 11B01, Houston,

Room No. 11B01, Houston,

Texas 77002) until 2:00PM

Texas 77002) until 2:00PM

(local time) on Friday,

(local time) on Tuesday,

November 30, 2018.

December 4, 2018.

Documents can be obtained

Documents can be obtained






meal, there are breakfasts, snacks and other meals to consider. Guests and hosts should work together on this one to ensure that there are foods and beverages on hand that meet everyone’s dietary needs and restrictions. Hosts should ask their guests in advance if there are any allergies, sensitivities or particular foods to avoid. Children can be particular about food, so knowing if there are any favorites to stock the fridge and pantry with can also be helpful. As a guest, consider packing your own snacks to take with you. You can also help your hosts by letting them know of any issues in advance: from peanut allergies to medical restrictions.

How to Create a Holiday Atmosphere at Home

reating festive cheer at home for the holidays is easy and fun. Here are some great ways to transform your space into a winter wonderland.

FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

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FRIDAY, November 9, 2018

Voice of Asia E-paper November 9, 2018  

Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...

Voice of Asia E-paper November 9, 2018  

Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...