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Vol. 31 No. 15 • Friday, April 13, 2018

Published Weekly from Houston

24 Pages (2 sections) 50 cents

April2 13 2018 In FRIDAY, Section l HEALTHLINE

New brain cells in the old? Study stokes debate



Car Accidents Involving Pregnant Women & Pre-term Birth.



Indian fair celebrates transgender entrepreneurs

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Saudi Aramco signs SHOCKING TRAGEDY $44 bn deal for mega 30 dead, mostly children, in Indian refinery India's school bus accident

Aramco chief Amin Nasser said its investment in India formed part of its global downstream strategy. (Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)


EW DELHI, India | AFP | 4/11/2018 - Saudi Aramco on Wednesday announced a $44-billion deal to build a giant refinery complex in India with three Indian firms that will become a crucial new outlet for the world's biggest supplier.

The refinery at Ratnagiri on the west coast will be able to process up to 1.2 million barrels of crude a day, the Saudi company said after signing a memorandum of understanding Continued on page 8

HAF Houston chapter holds Annual Fundraising Gala Images from the scene showed injured children being carried away bloodied and bruised, some on stretchers and others in the arms of bystanders. (Photo: AFP)


Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi presents HAF's Pride of the Community award to Sewa International Houston Chapter President Gitesh Desai. (Photo credit: Paresh Shah) by Manu Shah OUSTON - History textbooks in the US depict obscure practices about Hindus and Hinduism but not its core philosophy. This was one of the cudgels the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a leading institution for Hindu advocacy, took up 10 years ago and the fight is finally paying off.


An insight into more of their work was provided to a packed hall of community members at the HAF Annual Fundraising Gala on April 7th at India House. The Keynote speaker was Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi from the 8th District in Illinois and one of 4 Hindu American members of Congress.

HIMLA, India | AFP | Monday 4/9/2018 - At least 30 people, including 27 children, were killed Monday in northern India when a school bus plunged into a deep ravine in the Himalayan foothills, police said. The bus carrying young students home in Himachal Pradesh state flew off a cliff near Nurpur, about 325 kilometres (200 miles) from the state capital Shimla, and crashed into a valley. "The bus rolled into a 200 feet (60 metre) deep gorge, killing 27 schoolchildren, two teachers and the driver," a senior local police official, Santosh Patial, told AFP from the scene. "My first priority was to save lives. We will now investigate the reasons for the accident," he said. Most of the students were aged between 10 and 12 years and hailed from a local school, he added.

Mitra Misra set the tone for the evening. Emcee Bharat Pallod briskly got the event rolling by inviting HAF’s Houston Chapter Coordinator Rishi Bhutada to offer a primer on the work HAF does.

Twelve have been rushed to hospital, most in a critical condition. Onlookers rushed to search the mangled yellow bus upturned on the valley slope for survivors. Images from the scene showed injured children being carried away bloodied and bruised, some on stretchers and others in the arms of bystanders. The state government has announced 500,000 rupees ($7,700) in compensation for each victim's family. India has some of the world's deadliest roads. More than 150,000 people are killed each year with most accidents blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. Last month, a truck carrying a wedding party drove off a bridge in western India killing 30 people,

mostly women and children. Nine children were killed in February when a vehicle crashed into them outside their school in an apparent hit-and-run. And thirty-two people died in late December when their bus swerved off a bridge into a riverbed in Rajasthan state. Lives are frequently lost in India's remote, mountainous northern reaches, where narrow hairpin turns cut paths into the steep Himalayan foothills. Last July, a bus rolled off a cliff around 100 kilometres from Shimla, a hill resort popular with tourists, claiming 28 lives. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was anguished by the loss of lives in the latest incident. "My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones in the accident," he tweeted.

IACF 5k Walk-a-Thon “I Walk – I Care” supported by IDA and IDCC

The goal, Rishi Bhutada explained, is to enhance the understanding of Hinduism and help shape policies that affect Hindus every day. This is done by educating the public, speaking out on issues that affect Hindus and building bridges with individuals and organizations whose vision aligns with HAF. Citing an example, he explained that textbooks in California and Texas are filled with matter and pictures

A melodious invocation by Dr.

Continued on page 8

IACF directors and volunteers at the 5k Walk-a-Thon. Read report on page 3

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

ERRATUM In our last week's issue, dated April 6, on Page 7 ran a story titled "Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) host series of tax seminar with experts" with two pictures. The captions were mistakenly switched. Our sincere apologies for the error. Please note that the picture on the left was that of CPA Mahesh Desai and the one on the right was of IACCGH President Swapan Dhairyawan.


hat the questioning of Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday by two full Senate committees was considered a triumph for Mr. Zuckerberg — he made $3 billion personally as Facebook stock shot up during his testimony — shouldn’t come as a surprise. This was an unfair fight between a man who knew intimately the project being debated and a lot of people who didn’t. The occasion for his Senate hearing, and his appearance in the House on Wednesday, was a data breach that allowed a British political consulting firm working for the Trump campaign to gain access to 87 million Facebook profiles, but as the questioning unfolded Mr. Zuckerberg behaved as if he were the only competent one in the room. When Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, asked, “Would you agree that users should be able to access all of their information?” Mr. Zuckerberg seemed confused: “Senator, we have already a ‘download your information’ tool that allows people to see and to take out all of the information that Facebook — that they’ve put into Facebook or that Facebook knows about them. So, yes, I agree with that. We already have that.” Similarly, when Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, asked, “Are you going to go back to work on giving me a greater right to erase my data?” Mr. Zuckerberg again appeared perplexed, saying, “Senator, you can already delete all the data that’s there.” This wasn’t quite the contemptuous Jimmy Fallon character — Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy — who briefly tries to explain the problem before shouting, “Move!,” and fixing it himself. But then again Mr. Zuckerberg had the benefit of intensive politeness training. Mr. Zuckerberg has been winning these unfair fights going on 15 years now. The idea that he’s the Computer Guy and we are the helpless office workers in his way exemplifies the attitude of Facebook and Silicon Valley more broadly. Famously, Facebook itself is the residue of an early unfair fight. Back in 2003, Mr. Zuckerberg was hired by three compatriots from Harvard — Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and their friend Divya Narendra — to write code for their social network, ConnectU. Mr. Zuckerberg soon dropped the task only to reappear a couple of months later, on Feb. 4, 2004, with a social network site called

FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Can Facebook develop a conscience? defined by Matt Welsh, Mr. Zuckerberg’s computer science professor at Harvard, as “Nerds win.” “Ideas are cheap and don’t mean squat if you don’t know how to execute on them,” Mr. Welsh explained in 2010 on his blog in response to the nasty portrait of Mr. Zuckerberg in the movie “The Social Network”: “To have an impact you need both the vision and the technical chops, as well as the tenacity to make something real. Mark was able to do all of those things, and I think he deserves every bit of success that comes his way.” In the past, Mr. Zuckerberg’s talents could only be a tool for richer and better-connected peers like the Winklevosses, who would provide the money and define the purpose of the project. By the mid-2000s, however, Mr. Zuckerberg could turn the tables. “The fact that we could sort of rent machines for, you know, like $100 a month and use that to scale up to a point where we had 300,000 users is pretty cool and it’s a pretty unique thing that’s going on in technology right now,” Mr. Zuckerberg told Harvard computer science students when he came back to campus in 2005 as a 21-yearold entrepreneur. At the time of the talk, Mr. Zuckerberg estimated that Google had 250 million page views a day, with thousands of machines and 5,000 employees, while Facebook had significantly more page views (400 million), hundreds of machines and just barely 50 employees. By then, Larry Page and Sergey Brin had already given up control of Google as the price for venture capital to keep the project running, agreeing to an outside chief executive, as investors had insisted. To this day, Mr. Zuckerberg retains majority control over Facebook and remains its chief executive — his decisions about regulation, privacy and transparency can mean happiness or misery for the more than two billion citizens of Facebook nation — majestic powers that are enshrined when you check the right box on the terms of service agreement. Peter Thiel, the first outside investor in Facebook and a longtime adviser to Mr. Zuckerberg, sees a founder-led tech

start-up as something like an independent cell that can help drive social change. “A startup,” he writes in his book, “Zero to One,” “is the largest endeavor over which you can have definite mastery. You can have agency not just over your own life, but over a small and important part of the world. In these extraordinary times, we are learning how society changes when it is in the hands of power-drunk engineers. Products and services are delivered much more reliably and efficiently. We are able to communicate quickly, directly, widely. But there are serious problems, too, and they are far more serious than even critics realized at first. To start, these Silicon Valley titans are in denial about history. They pride themselves on not bending to what has come before. Is there racism and sexism in the United States? Didn’t happen on my watch! Computers don’t see sex or color. When pressed by the few senators of color about Facebook’s complicity in running real estate ads aimed exclusively at white people, which would violate the Fair Housing Act, Mr. Zuckerberg defined this as a particularly compelling challenge for artificial intelligence software. Ads can no longer be explicitly targeted to racial groups, he said, though, of course, the rub is that there are plenty of surrogates for race that advertisers can presumably still use. This led to the absurd observation from Mr. Zuckerberg, in response to a question from Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, that “most of the enforcement today is still that our community flags issues for us when that comes up.” How the community can identify when a real estate ad is appearing only to white people remains a mystery. Notably, there was no declaration from Mr. Zuckerberg about the pain of racial inequality, nor an apology for Facebook’s role in perpetuating it. To Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, he simply said, “I’m not happy with where we are.” There is an unhealthy detachment — a virtualness — to the destruction caused by Silicon Valley innovations. One can’t help thinking that the ability to reset or reboot a computer has infil-

trated companies’ calculations about the cost of disruption and destruction. Despite the length of Mr. Zuckerberg’s Senate appearance, there was no serious reckoning with what happened in the 2016 election. Instead, there was an insistent focus on the future, which for Mr. Zuckerberg was synonymous with one phrase, “A.I.” In five to 10 years, he promised, artificial intelligence will clean up the mess that is Facebook in 2018. The problems with Facebook emerge from its lack of a human touch, but Mr. Zuckerberg doubles down on software. On Wednesday, Representative David McKinley, a West Virginia Republican, displayed recent Facebook ads offering opioids for sale without a prescription and addressed Mr. Zuckerberg directly. “Facebook is actually enabling an illegal activity, and in so doing you are hurting people,” he said. “Would you agree with that statement?” Mr. Zuckerberg’s response was to concede things were bad but to hold out the promise of the future. “We need to build more A.I. tools that can proactively find that content,” he said. As long as the discussion was about software — how it works, how it can be improved, how users interact with it — Mr. Zuckerberg holds the upper hand. When the discussion is about values, he is as confused as the rest of us, and takes refuge in the belief that society is nothing more than a series of market-based online interactions, as captured, absorbed and understood by engineers. Government regulation, in this scheme, is a product of a corrupt, inefficient political system; self-regulation, on the other hand, is a product of people voting with their actions and brilliant engineers devising solutions to meet their needs. A smug interpretation that Mr. Zuckerberg outwitted dopey legislators only plays into the Silicon Valley view that being called before Congress to answer questions is a bug of our democracy, instead of a vital feature. (-The New York Times, April 11, 2018) Noam Cohen (@noamcohen) is the author of “The Know-ItAlls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball.”

The allegation that Mr. Zuckerberg stole the idea was fought in court and ended in a settlement that netted the Winklevosses and Mr. Narenda cash and company stock worth tens of millions of dollars. Mr. Zuckerberg plowed ahead under a new paradigm, later

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Section 1

Community Email:

FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

IACF 5k Walk-a-Thon “I Walk – I Care” supported by IDA and IDCC

Mahesh Wadhwa, President, IACF speaking at the Walk-a-Thon on Sat., April 7 in Sugar Land. (Photos credit: Roy Photographers) by Shobana Muratee


UGAR LAND – On Sunday, April 7, the Indo-American Charity Foundation (IACF) had a flying start to their 5k Walk-aThon: “I Walk - I Care” at Lost Creek Park in Sugar Land. The signature event of IACF was collaborated with Indian Doctors Association (IDA) and Indian Doctors Charity Clinic (IDCC). Walkers gathered early around 7 a.m. to avail the free health screening organized by the Indian Doctors Charity Clinic prior to the start of the event. Light breakfast, courtesy Vishala restaurant and Deep Foods was also served ahead of the Walk-a-Thon. Although the weather was a bit muggy and windy early on, it turned out to be quite pleasant for the walkers soon after. Over 125 walkers participated in the free for all event and contributed $15,000, most of which will be donated to the Charity clinic. Mahesh Wadhwa, President, IACF thanked the walkers, and the heads of partnering organization, Dr. Prasun Ja-

lal, IDA President and IDCC officers Dr. Kiran Gandhi and KC Mehta and Drs. Sunita and Suresh Moonat. He recognized the sponsors, Fuel Maxx for their long-standing support. The event was first of 2018 events led by Nanda Vura, IACF Past President and his team of IACF Directors and volunteers. Many senior members including the Indian Senior Citizens Association (ISCA) Trustees, Raman Parekh, and Praful Gandhi participated to show their support. IACF is a strong supporter of ISCA. Candidates running for Fort Bend county court judges Juli Matthew, Toni Wallace and Farah Ahmed for Sugar Land City Council attended as well. PA system was provided by Manoj, a volunteer. Voice of Asia served as the media partner. Shobana Muratee, President-Elect, IACF gave a brief introduction about IACF: its mission and objectives being philanthropy, health, education and human services. IACF supports over 30 charitable organizations in Houston with funding and local Independent School Districts students in

Ribbon cutting by Mahesh Wadhwa, Dr. Jalal and K.C Metha for 5k Walk-a-Thon: “I Walk- I Care” at Lost Creek Park in Sugar Land

IDCC health screening at the Walk-a-Thon. need with scholarships. IACF is a non-profit (501c) organization in Houston recognized for its charitable services in the areas of health, education, and human services in the Greater Houston Area. Driven by its motto “We live here, we give here,” the organization commemorates 30 years this year

Volunteers Subha Venkat and Shwetha Iyer.

and will continue to expand its scope of activities to serve the communities here. During hurricane Harvey, IACF members volunteered at various centers and raised funds at its Annual gala making a donation of $200,000 to the Houston Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Indian



Clinic is a nonprofit (401c3) organization, established in 1999, for the solitary purpose of serving the Houston community people, who are in dire need of medical services that they could not afford. The clinic opens every Saturday (except major holidays) and is located at 6550 Maple Ridge,

Suite 229. Operated entirely by volunteering doctors and medical professionals, the Clinic receives its monetary support from IDA and donors like the IACF. IACF will hold its annual gala on October the 6th, 2018. Please visit www.iacfhouston. org for further details.

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FRIDAY, April 13 2018

IACCGH's Shell Distinguished Lecture on Medicine, Energy and Aerospace Michael Hess, Associate Center Director Johnson Space Center offered a brief description of the International Space Station and described it as “a marvel of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a people.” NASA’s generic long term strategy, he stated, was to get “humans to Mars” but to do so, the agency was working to enhance commercial flights in the lower orbits. He reiterated the point that there is a great deal of “overlap and learning from each other.” Budget constraints make it even more imperative to partner with other industries to exchange ideas and best practices.

by Manu Shah


hen Houston’s “centers of excellence” in medicine, energy and aerospace “looked into each other’s toolkit,” they hit upon breakthrough improvements to problems in artificial heart valves, unclogging oil pipelines and studying physiological changes in space travel. This was the focus of the IACCGH Shell Distinguished lecture held at Double Tree by Hilton. Keynote Speakers from the Pumps and Pipes Society – Co-founder Dr. Alan Lumsden and Directors Rustom Mody and Michael Hess shared the dais on 28th March to explain how education, collaboration and communication between Houston’s top three industries offered “a fresh set of eyes” to identify solutions and swap technologies. President Swapan Dhairyawan welcomed the gathering and emphasized the importance that diversity and collaboration played in the Chamber’s mission. This principle of partnership with diverse economic agencies enabled the Chamber to leverage its relationship with its Resource partners to ensure events that are relevant and useful to members. Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia highlighted the Chamber’s efforts in co-hosting a series of events to help small businesses affected by Harvey’s devastation. This will be done with the support of Shell and Liftfund, a nonprofit organization. In his opening address, Dr. Lumsden, a cardiovascular surgeon and medical director at the Houston Methodist Hospital explained how P & P, now in its 11th year, gets people together from different backgrounds and countries to “approach a problem from a fundamentally different direction.” It is a conscious effort, he continued, to overcome a mindset that says “no, that’s not possible” and instead focuses on looking at nontraditional sources for innovative solutions. Imaging is an area in which the collaboration has seen broad success. The organization, he stated, was keen to work closely with the Chamber and expand the program in India. Vice President of Technical Excellence/Enterprise Technology at Baker Hughes, Rustom Mody also stressed the point that engineers, doctors and

Stephen Igo, director of the Entrepreneurial Institute at the MDHVC, described P & P as an “evolutionary program” and stated that it was looking for more mentors and participation to expand the scope and scale of the program. An informative Q & A session followed after which Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana did the honors of presenting plaques of appreciation to the distinguished panelists. Left to Right: Swapan Dhairyawan, Micheal Hess, Alan Lumsden, Surendra Adhana, Rustom Mody, Stephen Igo, Jagdip Ahluwalia. (Photos credit: Bijay Dixit)

The Chamber is cohosting a Business Investment Conference in League City on April 18th to provide assistance to small business-

L to R : Panelists: Micheal Hess, Rustom Mody, Alan Lumsden.

L to R: Swapan Dhairyawan, Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana, Rustom Mody, Jagdip Ahluwalia.

space scientists have “more in common than one might think” and P & P helps industries go “beyond the fa-

was the first company to hire NASA scientists because “diversity fuels innovation.”

miliar, connect dots that are unrelated” and come up with a solution. This, he explained, is the reason Baker Hughes

es affected by Hurricane Harvey. For more information, visit www.

Fort Bend View


FRIDAY, April 13 2018

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

Section 1


TX-22 Town Halls For Our Lives holds gun safety meeting

Tel: 713-774-5140

Construction workers unearth historic cemetery on Fort Bend ISD property


UGARLAND - Fort Bend ISD has halted work of the James Reese Career and Technical Center after construction workers unearthed a historical cemetery. Fort Bend ISD purchased the land located at University Boulevard and Chatham Avenues in 2011, and construction of the James Reese Career and Technical Center began in 2017. FBISD announced to the community that there wasn’t enough information or evidence to identify a time frame for the historic cemetery or any of idea as to who is buried at the site.

Six area high schools were represented at the meeting.


UGAR LAND - Students in the city of Sugar Land got together from 6 high schools and had an engaging time discussing guns, schools, and students mental health issues in the town hall meeting.

“We are proceeding under

In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting in Florida on Feb. 14, 2018, youth activism has found a new place in our society. Students of the Texas 22nd Congressional District are working together, to open up community dialogs and to hold town halls in the area. These town halls, run by students and for students, are intended to focus on and address non-partisan and nonpolarizing student concerns. These concerns include: Gun Control and School Safety, Mental Health and Bullying, Over Testing and Academic


Photos: Facebook Pressure, Student Civic Engagement, and other relevant issues. On April 7th, 2018, in responding to the nationwide call for town halls following the March for Our Lives rally, three town halls in the area: Sugar Land, Pearland, and Katy, were held. Students, educators, parents, as well as community members, were invited to attend these town halls and to engage in open dialogues with our public officials. These included current congressman or congresswoman, state senators and representatives, as well as school board trustees. Candidates running these positions will be also invited. As the group stated on their Facbook page, "The main purpose of these events is to encourage students to use their voice as constituents and to participate in the civic process and governmental af-

fairs. As students from both the Republican and Democratic groups are participating, the student organizers intend to keep the nature of these activities non-partisan, without endorsing any specific policies over another. "Rather, open discussion between Republicans, Democrats, and Nonpartisans in regards to our differences is being endorsed. Although dissonance in ideology and ideas is bound to emerge in the dialogue between candidates, elected officials, and constituents, it is important that we engage in a dialogue with each other in order to approach pragmatic solutions. Dissent in opinion is not a mark of division, rather, it is a building block for unity and for bridging the partisan divide. We encourage everyone to join us in these town halls and to become active participants of our community."

Fort Bend ISD closing small schools to make room for bigger facilities


UGAR LAND - There will be some big changes at Fort Bend County Schools over the next few years as the district continues to deal with rapid growth. That means closings and consolidations to make way for newer and bigger facilities. On Monday evening there was a community meeting at Sugar Mill Elementary in Sugar Land, one of the schools facing at risk of closure which has spawned the #SaveSME campaign to save it.

possibility of archeological artifacts in the general area. We were careful as we began work, with an archeologist on site from the beginning,” said Dr. Charles Dupre, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent of Schools. (-CW39)

More than 1,000 Texas troops headed to Mexico border

Elected officials attended included FBISD board trustee KP George (also running for the Fort Bend County Judge), and State Representative Ron Reynolds. Candidates attended included those who are running for the Fort Bend county court judges (Juli Matthew and Toni Wallace), county commissioner (Ken DeMerchant), state representative (Sarah DeMerchant and Jennifer Cantu), state senator (Fran Watson), state education board (Eliz Markowitz), and congressional seats (Sri Preston Kulkarni, Letitia Plummer, and Kellen Sweny).

the guidance and expertise of the Texas Historical Commission to ensure we are respecting the history and lives of the people buried on this site. One our community members who has a passion for history brought to our attention the

OSENBERG | AFP exas will send more than 1,000 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border, in response to President Donald Trump's call for the military deployment to the southern frontier, the state announced Tuesday. An initial 250 Texas military personnel were sent to the border over the weekend. The Texas Military Department said the initial deployment was command and planning staff, along with support aircraft, vehicles and other equipment. The department announced Tuesday it would activate 300 reserve troops this week, and each of the following weeks, for a total of more than 1,000 troops. "The number of people coming across the border has increased more than 200 percent over this time last year," Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement. "The addition of National Guard on the border has proven to have a meaningful impact to reduce the flow of people and illegal activities coming across the border." Texas already had approximately 100 troops at the border prior to Trump's request. They were first activated in 2014 and have been serving in an "observe and support" role, officials said.

“People move in so they can go to the school,” explained Brooke Tullos, parent to a current 2nd grader and former student herself. “I went to sugar Mill from 1990 to 1996. Three teachers are still there from when I was there. It’s awesome, I just can’t say enough good things about it."

Sugar Mills Elementary is one facing closure or consolidation.

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Under the most recent Facilities Master Planning presentation, Sugar Mill Elementary is one of several Fort Bend ISD schools facing closure or consolidation. The presentation is

National Guard troops include 250 sent over this past weekend from Southwest and Southeast Texas. (Photo: AFP File) The additional troops will be tasked with assisting border patrol agents by carrying out surveillance, communications, and other tasks. The US Defense Department last week signed an order calling for as many as 4,000 National Guard personnel to assist at the southern border. National Guard troops are normally commanded by governors. The border state of Arizona has also responded to the federal request, deploying 225 members of its Guard on Monday. The defense department said the troops would not carry out law enforcement activities without federal approval and

part of a long-term plan to help the district deal with its rapid student growth. The current projection is roughly 5,000 new students by 2022. They were chosen by the Facilities Steering committee, based on infrastructure renovation costs and/or enrollment numbers. Eventually, freeing up funds to build other schools where there’s more demand. But to Sugar Mill parents, it still doesn’t make sense. “Why would you close the school that is literally in the heart of

would be armed for self-defense when necessary. Trump has indicated he might keep troops at the border until his promised border wall is built. The deployment has heightened tensions with Mexico, whose President Enrique Pena Nieto on Monday ordered a review of its bi-lateral cooperation with the US. The National Guard has previously been deployed to help patrol the southern border, including in 2010 under former president Barack Obama, and from 2006-2008 under George W. Bush. Both deployments were limited to around a year.

a neighborhood?” said Ryan Terrell, whose son attends the school. “It’s got full enrollment. Completely supported by the neighborhood that surrounds it, it doesn’t make sense.” Sugar Mill is a unique situation as the plan is to either close it or Lakeview Elementary, which is right down the road. Tullos says it feels like the schools have been pitted against each other. “Right now the debate is backand-forth on which one is more feasible to keep and to get rid of,” said Tullos. (-KHOU)



FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Sri Rama Navami on March 25

Utsava Murthis being taken in a procession on the silver chariot to the main temple. by Bhargavi Golla


ri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Sri Rama Navami with grandeur, gaiety, devotion and religious fervor on Sunday, March 25th. Sita Rama Kalyanam this year is more special for two reasons: the celebrations were on the same day as Sri Rama Navami and this year is Vilambi Nama Samvatsaram, which is a birth year of Lord Sri Rama. Sri Rama was the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the list of Dasa Avatars. Bhaktha Ramadas at the Sita Ramachandraswamy temple in Bhadrachalam started the

tradition of celebrating Sita Rama Kalyanam for Sri Rama Navami. Sri Rama's die hard follower Bhakta Ramadas was jailed for performing the deities’ wedding with government funds some 400 years ago. However, the deity came to the rescue of his disciple and the government later made the celebration a state event. The state government representatives present 'Pattu Vasthralu' and 'Mutyala Talambralu' to the temple for Sita Rama Kalyanam even today. Hindu religion has a tradition of celebrating divine weddings. The celestial wedding of Lord Rama, with Seetha

Devi is known to be most popular. The style of the kalyanam as described in ancient Hindu writings is used as the baseline for Hindu marriages today and songs like Sita Kalyana Vaibhogame are sung even to this day and age during Hindu wedding ceremonies. Devotees gathered at the Ganesh temple with colorful trays of bakshanams, fruits and flowers. Women clad in traditional attire have begun preparing Talambralu with rice, turmeric, and other ingredients for the celestial wedding of the deities. Rama parivar (Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman) utsava murthis were


- Lord Narasimha’s Appearance Day Festival April 28, 2018 Saturday | Starts at 5 PM


ark your calendars for the upcoming event at ISKCON of Houston; Narasimha Jayanti, a major Vaisnava festival commemorating the appearance of the “half manhalf lion” incarnation of Lord Krishna on Saturday, April 28 th 2018. An impressive festive lineup is in the works including yajna, kirtan, drama and sumptuous vegetarian feast. There lived in Satya Yuga, a demoniac king Hiranyakasipu who performed severe austerities and received special benediction from Lord Brahma that he could not be killed by any human being, demigod or animal or any other entities; he could not be killed by any kind of weapons, neither during day nor night. His son Prahlada was a staunch devotee of the Lord since birth and preached the glories of Lord Vishnu even as a child of five years. However, he did this much to the displeasure of his father who in turn tried to kill his own son by cruel means. But his son, Prahlada remained steadfast in his devotion to Lord Visnu and continued to preach the Lord’s message to his demoniac father. Being obsessed with anger, Hiranyakasipu, took up his sword to sever the head of his son, and with great anger struck his fist against the column in his assembly hall at the palace.

From within the pillar came a fearful sound, which appeared to crack the covering of the universe and thus Lord Narasimha appeared in His wonderful form from the pillar. There ensued a fight between the Lord and Hiranyakasipu where Hiranyakasipu was killed. Thereafter, along with Shukracharya and other great saints, Lord Brahma, made Prahlada the king of all the demons and giants in the universe. The Bhagavata purana establishes that one who hears and chants this narration concerning theactivities of Prahlada

Maharaja, the killing of Hiranyakasipu, and the activities of the SupremePersonality of Godhead, Narasimha Dev surely reaches the spiritual world, where there is no anxiety. Iskcon of Houston invites you, your family and friends to come take the blessings of the Lord on this auspicious occasion. Please visit or call 713-6844482 for more details. Find us on Facebook: ISKCONofHouston/Iskcon of Houston | 1320 West 34 th Street | 77018

TECHNOLOGY CLASSES FOR SENIORS Every Sunday 11:00 am to 12:00 pm A weekly interactive technology session for our seniors conducted by our young volunteers. No more waiting on someone else to send the message, share pictures and celebrate special days. Get active on social media. Get answers to all your Whys, What, Whos, When, Where and Hows in regards to technology. This is a free one hour class every Sunday 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at India House. All you need to do is show up with or without a smart phone / tablet / or laptop.

es Class e Freedia Hous @ In

For detailed information contact our young volunteer instructors Manav Rungta: Manasi Rungta: We have a limited number of spots so kindly register at or contact India House. | 713-929-1900 | | 8888 West Bellfort Ave., Houston, TX 77031

MTS chair Padmini Ranganathan (3rd from left) and other devotees offer colored rice to deities. adorned in silk clothes and glittering jewelry were brought in a seer varisai procession to the kalyana mandapam with Nadaswaram music and devotees chanting Bhajans. MTS chair Padmini Ranganathan welcomed the devotees and made announcement of the upcoming events Holi on April 8th, Walkathon on April 15th and Mahotsavam from April 20th to 29th. Pidi Sutral (offering of colored rice) was performed to deities by several ladies while singing ‘Seetha kalyana vaibhogam, Rama kalyana vaibhogam’ song. Panakam (sweet drink with jaggery and other ingredients) was offered to devotees as they entered the Kalyana mandapam to witness the celestial wedding. Many devotees sponsored silk cloths for deities, silver kireetams for Rama parivar, gold jewelry for lord, annadhanam and sweets. Sheila Sriram from RAC committee elaborated the significance of each step. Kalyana

Mandapam echoed with Vedic hymns by priests and devotees. The devotees enjoyed a mellifluous and soulful rendering of live music commensurate with the sacred marriage celebrations, by Praveena Gautham on vocal accompanied by young Kishore Iyer on the violin and Vishal Setlur on the Mridangam. Priests Sridharan Raghavan, Pavan Kumar Sri Bhashyam, Sriman Narayana and Sri Parthasarathy performed the authentic divine kalyanam after the initial rituals including Sankalpam, Vishwaksena Pooja (Obstacle removal) and Punyahavachanam (Purify the space ritualistically). This was followed by Raksha Sutram, a wristband that attests to the resolve of the devotees to perform the holy wedding, Yegnopaveetha dharanam (thread of sacrifice), Paada prakshalanam (cleansing Lord’s feet), Mangalashtakam prayer addressing all the Gods, sages, beings, places and sacred wa-

ters, kanya dhanam (offering of the bride to the groom), Jeelakarra bellam (a paste made of cumin and jaggery was put on the heads of the deities) and Mangalaya Dharanam. The priests then followed it up with the homam (holy fire ceremony), akstharaponam (sacred Talambralu showered on the deities) and mangala Aarathi. The Utsava Murthis were taken in a procession on the silver chariot to the main temple while the devotees chanting Bhajans for the final Aarathi. The Divine wedding concluded with a sumptuous feast, organized by Food committee and served by volunteers. Bhargavi Golla and Rani Chilukuri were the event coordinators of this successful event. Secretary Ram Reddy thanked the priests, staff, coordinators, devotees, sponsors and volunteers. A brief video of the event can be found at: nuoc4ff8BwU



FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Puranava Culture Fest showcases India From Ancient to the New

Mayor of Pearland, Tom Reid and Manvel Mayor Debra Davison with winners of the ElementaryLevel Quiz Competition

Art competition participants


EARLAND - At a time when most people identify modern India with Bollywood and ancient India with complicated religious practices, the Puranava Children's Indian Culture Fest brought a fresh experience of both ancient and modern India -- the real India with her essentially philosophical underlying way of life coupled with the bright, colorful diversity of her widely different regional cultures. The event was organized by Global Organization for Divinity, Houston chapter, and was held on April 7 at Rogers Middle School, Pearland. This project was supported by a City of Pearland Cultural Arts Grant program from the City of Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau. The event featured educative, fun, India-themed Quiz and Art competitions; regional exhibits showcasing cultures from northern, southern,

eastern and western India; a musical play on the life of Sant Jnaneshwar by children; dance performances featuring the classical dance forms Odissi and Bharatanatyam; an Indian folk Puppet Show by the Dancing Peacock Puppet Company; booths with henna, Indian vegetable and plant saplings and Indian children's books; Try-a-Sari and photo booths; vendor booths selling Indian saris, jewelry, toys, etc.; raffle door prizes sponsored by numerous local businesses and restaurants; kids art and craft activities, a scavenger hunt, and much more. Special guests at the event were Honorable Mayor Tom Reid of Pearland, Honorable Mayor Debra Davison of Manvel, Mrs. Ranjana Narasimhan and Mr. Tupil Narasimhan. All of them addressed the audience and immensely appreciated G.O.D.'s community and cultural service. They also gave away prizes to the com-

petition winners. Mrs. Ranjana delivered the keynote and spoke encouraging words to the young generation. The Puranava competition winners were -

Art: Coloring - Shwetha Iyer, Raghuram Ravishankar, Bertina Sarkar; Color Pencils - Shreshta Pendurti, Issa Sam, Shourya Tehlan; Water Colors - Smithi Gopalakrishnan, Madhura Sriram, Shruthi Gopalakrishnan; Doodling - Kishori Prakash; Digital Art - Shelly Fu and Purush Ram Storytelling: Ananya Hariharasudhan and Aashita Anand

Quiz: Grades K-4: Amudhan Madhankumar & Vasundhara Ravishankar, Ananya Hariharasudhan & Nilay Arangil Grades 5-8: Madhura Sriram & Pavithra Chandrasekar; Krishna Ram & Tapanjyoth Paunarkar Global Organization for Divinity (G.O.D.) aims to promote peace, harmony and universal love amid cultural diversity through inner transformation. It is a worldwide organization with chapters in several major US cities, and globally in several countries. G.O.D. frequently organizes cultural arts events that encompass performing and visual arts, as well as cultural arts education including yearround children's/youth cultural and arts events, classes and camps.

HAF Gala Continued from Page 1 depicting Hinduism and Indians as “weird, exotic, dirty and poor and causing our children to feel ashamed of their identity.” After sustained years of work, HAF was successful in submitting over 100 changes to educational material in Texas and getting a major publisher’s books rejected by the State Board as the publisher refused to make the changes. It was also proof of what civic engagement can accomplish. Thousands of Indian American children and parents across the State sent letters and took time off to travel to multiple hearings of State Education Boards where their message was simple: they wanted to be represented accurately and with dignity. Rishi Bhutada sourced some

HAF team with Raja Krishnamoorthi - Arvind Chandrakantan (left), Dr. Rahul Pandit, Shradha Bhutada, Dr. Lavannya Pandit, Dr. Mihir Meghani, Rishi Bhutada, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Priya Prasad, Aesha Mehta, Kavita Pallod, Krishna Parmar, Bharat Pallod, Vinay Sarda of HAF’s success to a professional approach, an office in Washington D.C and 12 full time staff members who’ve “given up lucrative careers to work for HAF because they

believe in the importance of advocacy.” Aesha Mehta, Associate Director of Programs, pulled up a survey which showed 1 in 3 Indian American students were

bullied because of their religious beliefs, a consequence of what’s depicted in textbooks. She reiterated the importance of raising awareness of Hinduism in mainstream

Storytelling competition winners with Mayors Debra Davison and Tom Reid. G.O.D.'s fun Gopa Kuteeram summer camps with creative workshops will be held on June 4-8 (ages 6-9) - "Vibrant India" and June 1115 "Fun with Mindfulness".

For more information about the camps and other activities, please call 281-402-6585, email or visit

America. HAF is currently working closely with the FBI and the Department of Justice on tracking hate crimes against Hindus and in a recent effort is meeting with elected officials to address the issue of the administration’s proposal of revoking H1B visas for green card holders.

urged people to vote because if you “don’t vote, you don’t count” and he was determined that the Indian American community’s voice counted.

HAF presented an award to the Houston Chapter of Sewa International because the organization “stood out in their efforts to rescue and rebuild Houston in the wake of Harvey’s devastation and exemplified Hinduism in action.” Sewa President Gitesh Desai accepted the award and shared his pride at the huge number of volunteers who “exhibited character and courage.” Democratic candidate in the runoff for the 22nd Congressional District, Srinivas Preston Kulkarni notched a record of sorts in the recent primaries when polls showed that 12 times the number predicted turned out to vote for him. He

Kruthi Bhat of Texas, the youngest recipient of the “KALA RATHNA” by Dr. Lakshmi Srivaths


Kruthi Bhat receiving the Kala Rathna award at the 41st Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana.

ruthi Bhat was conferred this title at the 41st Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana held in Cleveland, Ohio from March 28th to April 8th, 2018, celebration. The Kala rathna award is given by the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana to artists under the age of 35, as an appreciation and recognition for their tireless contributions to the field of Carnatic music. “Stalwarts like Sikkil Gurucharan and Akkarai Subhalakshmi have received this award”, mentioned Sri V V Sundaram, co-founder of the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana festival. Sri V V Sundaram went on to say that “the youngest and perhaps the youngest ever to receive the Kalaratna award is Kumari Kruthi Bhat of Houston, Texas. When a candidate is chosen for the award, age is immaterial, it is their musical accomplishment that elevates them for the honor!” He stated that Kruthi's name was recommended to the Aradhana board by the doy-

ens in the field of Carnatic music and was unanimously approved by the Aradhana board. Kumari Kruthi Bhat was honored with the award on March 31st, 2018 during the award ceremony at the festival. The award ceremony was attended by a houseful audience. A testament to her accomplishments and the Kalaratna award was the concert by Kruthi Bhat at the Cleveland Aradhana on April 1, 2018. With the mellifluous Dharmavathi in Parandamavathi Jayathi, elaborate manodharmam and intricate Saveri in Dhurusuga followed by the poignant Choodare. Sri V V Sundaram stated that if one can handle Saveri ragam effectively, that in itself is a proof for their musical prowess and Kruthi Bhat proved yet again that she is on the way to becoming a Carnatic Star by deftly handling Saveri, exploring the nuances of the difficult ragam with such ease and grace!

The opportunity to intern with HAF and explore the concept of Hinduism and politics was, according to Smriti Ahuja “an incredible experience.” Not only did the summer internship expose her to issues affecting Hindu Americans but provided her a direct insight on how Hindu Americans are being represented on the Hill and “how advocacy actually works.” Smriti Ahuja is a member of the Arya Samaj of Houston. Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s address was laced with lighthearted anecdotes and quips but behind the humor was a serious undertone of the necessity of upholding Dharma values “now more than ever.” He expressed his pride at being “a Hindu American” and his aspiration in representing all Hindu and Indian Americans and their values and principles in Congress. The Congressman who draws inspiration from the Gita and had taken his oath on the Gita, commended HAF on their outstanding work and stated that he was proud to stand with them in their efforts. He also emphasized the importance of voting and civic engagement to be able to formulate public policy in the country so that “every Indian American child is proud of their name.” HAF co-founder Dr. Mihir Meghani, who donates 25% of his income every year to HAF urged the gathering to invest in HAF and “donate until you feel the pinch.” The appeal seemed to have worked as HAF racked up a tally of $128,000 by the end of the evening. A classical dance by the students of Nritya Dance School was also appreciated. Rishi Bhutada wrapped up the event by thanking the gathering for their immense support and for believing in HAF’s ability to represent Hindu Americans across the country. This, he stated, was a testament to how important HAF’s work is. He also highlighted the support and the long term partnership with the Hindus of Greater Houston, an umbrella organization that works to support the Hindu community in Houston. For more information about HAF, please visit



Japanese Nepal's new prime minister makes first foreign visit to India tourist dies

on Leaning Tower of Pisa


ATHMANDU, Nepal | AFP - Nepal's new Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli left for India Friday on the first foreign visit of his latest term, a trip which analysts say signals a possible reset of strained relations. During the three-day visit Oli will meet his counterpart Narendra Modi, and possible deals on the use of Indian waterways by landlocked Nepal as well as an expansion of an India-backed railway to Kathmandu have been mooted. Nepal's prime minister is also expected to push for India to complete previously promised infrastructure projects, many of which have limped along for decades and are key to Oli's ambitious plans to kickstart moribund growth at home. Relations soured during Oli's last term in office in 2015 after deadly protests in southern Nepal over a controversial new constitution that led to a blockade of the border with India. The months-long shutdown caused a severe shortage of goods, including fuel and medicine, at a time when Nepal was still reeling from a devesting earthquake early that year. Oli blamed the blockade on interference by Delhi and tilted Nepal's diplomatic relations towards China, stoking nationalistic sentiment. The Communist leader returned to power in February after his party, together with a bloc of Maoist former rebels, won a thumping two-thirds parliamentary majority in elections late last year. Oli has since signalled he will take a less antagonistic approach towards India, which is Nepal's largest trading partner. Delhi -- which has historically acted as big brother to its small northern neighbour -has similarly been on a charm offensive, alarmed by Beijing's growing influence over Kathmandu.

FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Saudi Aramco signs $44 bn... Continued from page 1 with Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation. Ratnagiri will be among the world's largest "refining and petrochemicals projects and will be designed to meet India's fast-growing fuels and petrochemicals demand. The project cost is estimated at around $44 billion," said a statement.

Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli (2nd L) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi (2nd R) as his wife Radhika Shakya Oli (L) gestures during Oli's ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi, India, April 7, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Altaf Hussain) Nepal in May last year signed up to China's ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative, a massive infrastructure drive at the centre of the Asian giant's push to expand its global influence. Beijing is the single largest donor to Nepal's reconstruction effort following the earthquake three years ago and has also invested heavily in much-needed infrastructure projects, particularly in hydropower, in the impoverished Himalayan nation. Addressing parliament before the visit, Oli said his goal was to "create a balanced, reliable, friendly and cordial atmosphere" with both India and China. "Enhancing just relations with the neighbours on the ba-

sis of non-interference... and mutual interest is the starting point," he said in a nod to his nationalistic base. Akhilesh Upadhayay, editorin-chief of The Kathmandu Post newspaper, said the visit suggested a "shift in the dynamics" between the neighbours. "Nepal has never had a government this strong. This is a prime minister with extremely strong support," he said. "It is certainly about resetting relations. This visit is as important for India as it is for Nepal, perhaps even more. "It an opportunity for them to offset old mistakes and reestablish trust. It is an effort by India to reach out to Nepal."

"Saudi Aramco is the only company that can undertake (a) project of this scale," company president Amin Nasser said in Delhi.


OME, Italy | AFP A Japanese tourist died Tuesday while visiting Italy's iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, the city's fire department said. The 63-year-old was on the fourth floor of the tilted Tuscan monument when he fell ill and died on the spot as emergency services attempted to revive him. The local fire department said the cause of death was still unknown. "There is a possibility that the effort of climbing the stairs was a factor, but only the autopsy can confirm this," a spokesperson for Pisa's fire brigade told AFP.

The Indian accord is just the latest in a string of deals -- with French, US and Asian companies -- announced by Aramco as it seeks secure markets for its oil and to move away from being just a producer. Saudi Arabia is one of the world's top three oil producers with Russia and the United States, while Aramco is the biggest company putting oil on the world market currently awash with product. It will provide half of the oil to be processed at the new refinery, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters. Iraq has in the past year overtaken Saudi Arabia as India's main oil supplier so the refinery would be a major boost.

India defence website 'hacked'


EW DEHLI | AFP India's defence minister said the department website was hacked on Friday, with the web portals of at least three other government departments including the interior, law and labour ministries also appearing to be down.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed the attack, but India's cybersecurity czar denied hacking had taken place, saying a "hardware problem" was to blame. "Action is initiated after the hacking of the MoD (ministry of defence) website. The website shall be restored shortly,"

Sitharaman said on Twitter. "Needless to say, every possible step required to prevent any such eventuality in the future will be taken," she added. The defence ministry website was the first to be affected, with its homepage replaced by a screen showing a chinese character that means "zen".

Soon, other major departments' websites were either "unreachable" or "not found". The Ministry of Home Affairs website's main page said that the site was offline "due to technical problems". However, the national cybersecurity office denied any hacking took place.

- India is 'key' "Investing in India is a key part of our company's global downstream strategy, and another milestone in our growing relationship with India," said Aramco president Nasser. "Participating in this mega project will allow Saudi Aramco to go beyond our crude oil supplier role to a fully integrated position that may help usher in other areas of collaboration, such as refining, marketing, and petrochemicals for India's future energy demands," he added. Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have set up a joint venture for the deal with Aramco, called Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. Aramco said it may "seek to include a strategic partner to co-invest in the mega refinery". The Saudi giant and French firm Total this week announced a $5-billion deal to build a refinery at Jubail in Saudi Arabia. Last month, Aramco awarded more than $8 billion worth of contracts to American firms to boost its US refinery operations. Aramco has also pledged billions of dollars for deals in Malaysia and Indonesia in the past year. In each case, supply deals have been a condition of refinery investment. Aramco is also carefully planning a huge stock market listing, ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, amid the turbulence of the world oil market. The hotly-awaited stock market debut will happen in 2018 or 2019, depending on the market, the kingdom's finance minister told AFP on Tuesday.


FRIDAY, April 13 2018



Zuckerberg apologizes to Congress over massive Facebook breach

US farm lobby wants strict definition of 'meat'

FRIDAY, April 13 2018



EW YORK | AFP - A major US agriculture lobbying group on Tuesday threw its weight behind an effort to keep the "meat" label off of lab-created products, including ones that employ animal cells. The National Farmers Union backed a petition by the US Cattlemen's Association calling on the US Department of Agriculture to bar the term "meat" for alternative meat products. "We are concerned with the recent introduction of foods composed of alternative protein sources that are being labeled and marketed as 'meat,'" said Roger Johnson, president of the NFU. In his first-ever US congressional appearance, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg sought to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social network (AFP Photo/Jim Watson )

by Michael Mathes / Rob Lever


ASHINGTON | AFP | 4/10/2018 - Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg apologized to US lawmakers Tuesday for the leak of personal data on tens of millions of users as he faced a day of reckoning before a Congress mulling regulation of the global social media giant. In his first-ever US congressional appearance, the Facebook founder and chief executive sought to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social network that have angered lawmakers and Facebook's two billion users. Swappping his customary tee-shirt for a business suit and tie, Zuckerberg faced tough questions over how a USBritish political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, plundered detailed personal data on 87 million users to be used in the 2016 US presidential election. Facebook also became the platform of choice for a stunning Russian campaign of online misinformation that US intelligence says was designed to tilt the 2016 vote toward Donald Trump. "It was my mistake, and I'm sorry," Zuckerberg said in prepared testimony. "I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here." "It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm," he said. "That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy." Lawmakers questioned whether the election meddling and poor controls on personal data requires the government to step in to regulate Facebook and other social media companies which generate revenue from user data. "The tech industry has an obligation to respond to widespread and growing concerns over data privacy and security and to restore the public trust. The status quo no longer works," said Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of one of the committees holding the hearing. "Congress must determine if and how we need to strengthen privacy standards to ensure transparency and understanding for the billions of consumers who utilize these products." "You have a real opportunity this afternoon to lead the industry and demonstrate a meaningful commitment to protecting individual privacy," Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein told Zuckerberg at the rare joint committee hearing, to be followed by a similar hearing in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. - '#DeleteFacebook' protests Dozens of protestors gathered outside Congress before the hearing wearing Zuckerberg masks and #DeleteFacebook T-shirts. Inside the jammed hearing room, activists from the Code Pink group wore oversized glasses with the words "STOP SPYING" written on the lenses, and waved signs that read

"Stop corporate lying." Testifying was a new step forward for the 33-year-old Zuckerberg, who started Facebook as a Harvard dropout in 2004, and built it into the world's largest social media company worth $470 billion. In the past he has left it to top

lieutenants to answer questions from legislators. But after the largest scandal yet for Facebook, Zuckerberg has seen it as imperative to speak out himself and try to prevent the company from bogging down in questions about its core business model, which is to share user data with advertisers.

He said his organization "embraces new opportunities... including further development of markets for plant-based and insect-based proteins." "However, we believe all food products should be clearly labeled in a manner that helps consumers make informed decisions and allows producers to differentiate their products." Products grown in labs using animal cells are "not derived from animals born, raised, and

A vegetable vendor poses with her produce in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. She has set up shop in the same spot every day for more than thirty years, her grandson told photographer Steve Demeranville. (Courtesy: NatGeo) harvested in a traditional manner, and should not be permitted to be marketed as 'meat,'" Johnson added. The cattlemen's association's petition, dated February 9, noted that some major US meatpackers and companies in other countries were investing in synthetic products grown in labs using animal cells and known as "in vitro" meat, "bio meat," "clean

meat" or "cultured meat." "Alternative products, such as those described above should thus not be permitted to be labeled as 'beef,'" the petition said. Anything called meat, "is understood to be derived from animal tissue or flesh for use as food," the cattlemen's petition said.




FRIDAY, April 13 2018


Heart monitoring under scrutiny following cyclist Goolaerts' death by Thomas Bach / Justin Davis


ARIS, France | AFP |-The death of 23-yearold Belgian Michael Goolaerts from cardiac arrest during the gruelling ParisRoubaix one-day classic race has pushed heart monitoring of professional athletes under the spotlight. Goolaerts, of the Veranda'sWillems team, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Lille late on Sunday hours after suffering heart failure and crashing, on his own, during the 257-kilometre race. The incident cast a dark shadow over the 116th edition of the

race, known ominously as the "Hell of the North" due to its bone-shaking cobbled sections and overall difficulty. But Goolaerts' death on his Paris-Roubaix debut has also raised questions: is enough being done by professional teams and the sport's world ruling body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), to prevent such tragedy? Can 'unseen' heart conditions, which have claimed the lives of many athletes over many different sports, ever be fully detectable? Below, AFP Sport talks to experts in the field to determine whether sport, and cycling in particular, is doing enough.

- What do the UCI rules say ?"According to the current rules of the UCI, teams are obliged to carry out physical and cardiological examination and monitoring (of their riders)," said French doctor Francais Armand Megret, a member of the UCI's medical commission. Jacky Maillot, a doctor with the Groupama-FDJ team, underlined that point: "In accordance with the UCI rules, every year we must put our riders through the most gruelling heart stress tests in order to obtain a medical certificate that has no contraindications

India's Axar Patel to play county cricket with Durham

WINNER! Patrick Reed of the United States is presented with the green jacket after winning the 2018 Masters Tournament (AFP Photo/Patrick Smith)

Houston-area golfer wins Masters by Rebecca BRYAN


UGUSTA, GA | AFP - Houston's Patrick Reed, one of America's most formidable Ryder Cup weapons, will be even more fearsome come September thanks to his Masters victory. That's the view of threetime major winner Jordan Spieth, who was salivating at the thought of joining Reed and the rest of America's best in the 42nd Ryder Cup matches against Europe at Le Golf National outside Paris. "He's a member of the Masters club now," Spieth said.

down the back nine at Augusta on Sunday. "It's fun to battle Patrick, I love it," said Spieth, who came from off the pace to finish third behind Reed and Rickie Fowler. Spieth had racked up nine birdies, threatening the course record and gunning for what would have been an historic last-round rally, when his tee shot at 18 clipped a tree branch and dropped like a stone, leading to a bogey. Reed's brash confidence and go-it-alone mentality have reportedly not endeared him to many of his PGA Tour col-

match, you still have a bunch of other guys there that could pick it up." - 'Play golf' After ratcheting up the pressure on himself to win a major and failing, Reed said a new attitude helped him break through. "I went out there and I tried so hard to get the ball in the hole," he said of prior major starts, including his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship last August. "I tried so hard to hit the perfect shots, that going into this week, I was just like, hey, it's golf. Go play.

Axar Patel has played for India in both ODIs and T20 internationals (AFP Photo/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)


ONDON, United Kingdom | AFP - India all-rounder Axar Patel is to join Durham for the final six English County Championship fixtures of the upcoming season, the northeast club announced Monday. The 24-year-old left-arm spinner, who has made 38 oneday international appearances and played in 11 Twenty20 internationals, will arrive at Chester-le-Street in August.

Patel will be available for the four-day clashes with Glamorgan, Northamptonshire, Sussex, Middlesex, Leicestershire and Warwickshire as Durham look to climb out of the Second Division. "Durham County Cricket Club is delighted to announce that Indian star Axar Patel will join the club for the final six Specsavers County Championship fixtures of the 2018 season," said a club statement.

"The international spinner has enjoyed success in first-class cricket for state side Gujarat and is a key part of India's T20I and ODI squads, as well as the King's XI Punjab's IPL side." Patel has taken 79 first-class wickets and has also scored an unbeaten century. "Thanks a lot @DurhamCricket for the welcome! Look forward to my first experience of county cricket," Patel tweeted.

Heena Sidhu adds third gold to India's shooting kitty


RISBANE, Apr 10 (PTI) Heena Sidhu picked up India's third gold medal in shooting at the ongoing Commonwealth Games, finishing on top in the women's 25m pistol event and also breaking a Games record in the process, in Gold Coast on Tuesday.

Ominously for Europe, Reed became the fourth US Ryder Cup prospect to win a major since Spain's Sergio Garcia won the Masters last year.

The 28-year-old Sidhu shot a final score of 38, two of the series being perfect fives, to claim the top honours ahead of Australian Elena Galiabovitch (35).

This was Sidhu's second medal at the ongoing Games after having claimed a silver in the 10m air pistol event behind 16-year-old compatriot Manu Bhaker. Incidentally, this is her first major medal in the 25m pistol event with most of her other podium finishes being in 10m air pistol. "I am exhausted, those are my thoughts on today's (Tuesday's) performance," Sidhu quipped while speaking to PTI after her gold. Annuraj Singh finished sixth after being eliminated in the second stage of the same event. Her final score was a disappointing 15. Sidhu, however, was in terrific form after qualifying third with a score of 579 despite admitting to struggling with her trigger finger owing to a nerve problem.

"He'll have a green jacket forever. "His name is etched in history, and I'm sure he's going to carry everything that he went through today as we go into Paris and try to win a Ryder Cup on European soil."

by Poonam Mehra

The bronze medal went to Malaysia's Alia Azahari (26).

Winners of the Masters golf tournament 2015-2018 (AFP Photo/Laurence CHU)

Heena Sidhu picked up India's third gold medal in shooting at the ongoing Commonwealth Games, finishing on top in the event. "Thankfully, my trigger which has been giving me some trouble because of a tingling sensation was alright today. I didn't feel that tingling too much," Sidhu said. "The 10m air pistol final is a blur to me, I couldn't feel my fingers during that. I have been undergoing physiotherapy for this problem but for today, I told my physio not to touch me. I just let it be and to my relief it went off well," she said. Her coach, husband and the Indian shooting team's manager Raunak Pandit was by her side as she spoke and when asked what went into maintaining consistency at the highest level, Sidhu turned to her better half for answers. "I guess it's about ensuring that whether you compete at the Olympics or the state

championships, the intensity and process remains the same. If an athlete can achieve that, the results will automatically come," said Pandit. Earlier, defending silvermedallist Gagan Narang signed off a disappointing seventh while debutant Chain Singh finished fourth in the 50m rifle prone event. Narang, who qualified third for the final with a score of 619.4, went out after the first stage of elimination. He was tied for the second spot at the end of the first series. However, a gentle breeze perhaps affected the shots he fired after that and things went haywire for him. He ended with a final score of 142.3. Competing in just one event at the ongoing Games, the

In two Ryder Cup appearances, Reed has won six of his nine matches. He's a perfect 2-for-2 in singles -- starting with a victory over Henrik Stenson at Gleneagles in 2014 during which Reed irked European fans with his notorious "shushing" gesture. Spieth, who has teamed with Reed for seven wins in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup play, was only sorry he didn't get to go head-to-head with him

leagues. An ESPN poll in 2015 found him the second-most disliked player on the tour after Bubba Watson. But 2019 US Presidents Cup captain Tiger Woods is already eyeing Reed for his team. And Spieth said that Reed's rivals relish their chances to take him on. "Everybody really likes battling Patrick, because he loves it so much and eats it up," Spieth said. "My only wish or regret from the week was that I was playing with him at some point on the weekend, to be able to kind of fire back and forth, instead of finishing up so early." Reed said the Ryder Cup pressure he has thrived on differs from that of a major. "You go to a Ryder Cup and you feel like you have a whole nation on your back," he said. "If you win or lose your

34-year-old Narang would be returning without a CWG medal for the first time in his career. He has to his credit, a stellar eight gold medals, a silver and a bronze in the quadrennial Games. On the other hand, Chain Singh shot well for most part but lost his footing in the second elimination stage to end fourth with a score of 204.8. Singh had qualified sixth for the event with a score of 614.2. Apart from Sidhu and Bhaker, Jitu Rai has won a shooting sold so far, finishing top in 10m air pistol men's event on Monday with a Games record.

"I preached that to myself the entire week. I had my caddie remind me of that the entire week. Just be you. Play golf. If you get riled up, show it. If you aren't happy about something, it's all right. Just play golf." In classic Reed style, however, he fed off naysayers. Fans cheering for last-round playing partner Rory McIlroy to complete the career Grand Slam only spurred him on. Twitter trolls and pessimistic pundits only strengthened his resolve. In the end, a player who had never broken 70 in 12 prior Masters rounds, posted three rounds in the 60s and a 1-under 71 on Sunday to win the title he'd dreamed of since childhood. "Definitely growing up, everyone always dreamed about winning Augusta, winning the Masters," he said. "As a kid growing up, it's always, this putt is to win a green jacket, this putt's to win the Masters."

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FRIDAY, April 13 2018


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- Relieving the strain -


According to the report, the viability of the social safety net is at stake.

IMF economists acknowledged that governments face political backlash over immigration.

“Although receiving migrants can pose challenges, potentially prompting a political backlash, it can also be a boon for host countries,” the IMF said.

The report encourages immigration for economic reasons and comes at a time when many developed countries face a surge in antiimmigrant sentiment. US President Donald Trump has ordered National Guard troops to patrol the border with Mexico. European countries are struggling with a wave of discontent against migration from war-torn Syria, and Britain is exiting the European Union in part due to voters’ concerns about open borders. The United Nations projects that by the middle of this century, populations will be in decline in almost half of advanced economies, which means younger workers “will support close to double the number of elderly people they do now,” the IMF warned in one chapter of its World Economic Outlook analyzing labor force trends. “The force of demographics is a very strong one,” said Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, the IMF’s deputy head of research, presenting the report’s findings on Monday. “You can account for some of the effects through policy but ultimately if you want to maintain growth in the labor force you’re going to have to rely on workers coming from other countries that have more favorable demographic profiles.”

Tel: 713-774-5140

by Anuj Chopra

ASHINGTON | AFP - Aging populations in advanced economies drain the labor force and could slow economic growth, but allowing an influx of immigrant workers could counteract that decline, the International Monetary Fund said Monday.

But their options are limited: Even with policies to help sustain a steady supply of workers they will not be able to stave off the inevitable as older workers retire and leave the labor force.

Section 2

Aramco IPO in 2018 or 2019 depending on market

Advanced economies need immigration to boost labor: IMF by Heather Scott

FRIDAY, April 13 2018

“Unless more people participate in labor markets, aging could slow advanced economies’ growth and, in many cases, undermine the sustainability of their social security systems,” the report said.

“Migration can relieve the strain of population aging and contribute to other long-term gains, such as higher growth and productivity.” Major economies also have been facing a decline in the share of prime-age men in the workforce, defined as those 25-54 years old, especially those with lower levels of education. The IMF authors said there was “considerable scope” for local policymaking to enable those who are willing to work to do so -- and so counteract the economic forces tied to aging. This includes investing in education and training, as well as reducing incentives to retire early, and measures to help workers “combine family and work life,” something the report said could encourage people to stay in the workforce. But ultimately “the dramatic shifts in demographic structure” as workers age out of the labor force will overwhelm developed nations’ means of coping, the report said. That “underscores the need to rethink migration policies to boost labor supply in advanced economies,” the IMF said. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 189 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

ARIS/NEW YORK | AFP - The hotly-awaited stock market debut of Saudi energy giant Aramco will be launched in 2018 if market conditions permit, otherwise in 2019, the kingdom’s finance minister told AFP on Tuesday.


“If the market is ready in 2018, we will go in 2018. If not, we will wait until 2019,” Mohammed al-Jadaan told AFP in an interview at a French-Saudi forum in Paris, referring to the planned initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Aramco, tipped to be the world’s biggest. “We are not desperate for listing. We will only list when the market is right,” he said. Aramco’s CEO Amin Nasser said last month that his company was on track for a 2018 listing, but that the choice of date and venue was a decision for the company’s owner, the Saudi government. In the interview Tuesday, Jadaan said the government had not yet decided whether to list Aramco on the Saudi exchange alone, on a stock market abroad or seek a dual listing. He also said that Aramco “is ready now” for its IPO.

Mohammed al-Jadaan during a press conference in Riyadh on December 19, 2017. (Photo: AFP) “What is left is are we going to list outside, and if we are going to list outside, where,” said Jadaan.

amco on a foreign stock exchange, with New York, London and Hong Kong among the potential sites.

Saudi authorities plan to list five percent of Aramco on an as-yet unspecified stock market, but the company has struggled to arrive at a $2 trillion valuation sought by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Nasser, however, said there was “a lot of demand for the listing”.

Investors are reportedly sceptical about the lengthy process of placing Ar-

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has raised concerns that litigation would complicate a listing in New York, although President Donald Trump has publicly lobbied for listing of Aramco in the United States.

China says US trade talks currently ‘impossible’


be paid of 2 1/2%. When a car is sent to China from the United States, there is a Tariff to be paid of 25%,” Trump tweeted.

hina warned on Monday that trade talks with the United States were “impossible” under current conditions after President Donald Trump reassured markets by suggesting that the dispute could be resolved.

But China’s foreign ministry was less sanguine.

The two sides have announced titfor-tat tariffs and threatened to hit each other with more duties, raising the prospect of a trade war that could rattle the global economy.

“Under the current conditions, it is impossible for the two sides to have any negotiations on this issue,” Geng added.

Trump had sounded an optimistic tone on Sunday, playing up his personal relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Asian markets rose on Monday after Trump tweeted that he saw an end to the escalating dispute before the higher tariffs threatened on hundreds of billions of goods would come into effect.

A few hours later, Trump returned to tougher talk with an early-morning tweet railing against China’s duties on US cars.

“President Xi and I will always be friends,” Trump tweeted.

“Up to now, Chinese and US officials have not held any negotiations on the trade dispute,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a regular press briefing.

“When a car is sent to the United States from China, there is a Tariff to

“Does that sound like free or fair trade. No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE -- going on for years!”

“China will take down its trade barriers because it is the right thing to do.”

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FRIDAY, April 13 2018



Critics hail ‘thrilling’ feminist TV spy drama by Fiachra Gibbons


ANNES, France | AFP | A new spy drama which turns James Bond gender roles on their head was hailed Monday as a “must-see show of the year” by critics.

Lynda Carter honored Tuesday on Hollywood Blvd. ( AFP photo)

Hollywood honors Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in 1970s

“Killing Eve” stars Sandra Oh of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame as a frustrated, shambling bureaucrat working for Britain’s MI5 spy agency who ends up on the trail of an international hitwoman.

Variety said that “in attempting something rare, wild and risky” there is no doubt the series will become “one of the favourite shows of the year”. Its British creator Phoebe WallerBridge told reporters Monday that it was shocking that it has taken this long for women to take the leads in a classic spy cat-and-mouse story. - ‘Messy, flawed, fascinating’ “It is so obvious when you think about it. Why hasn’t it been done before with women?” said WallerBridge, who wrote and starred in the highly acclaimed jet-black BBC comedy series “Fleabag” about a young woman not coping with her life. “I hope the hell that this is part of the change after #MeToo and that they cannot get away with not having that conversation anymore,” she added. The writer, who adapted the story from a series of novellas by Luke Jennings, said the two protagonists were

powerful Hollywood figures.

“It will be here forever, and maybe it needs to say Wonder Woman, or maybe not, we’ll see. Hopefully this character and I will live on in the memories of people,” 66-year-old Carter said.

“We’ve been screaming the same thing but it took this generation of women to make the difference.”


The drama got rave reviews after being shown in competition in the CannesSeries festival in the French Riviera late Sunday. The Hollywood Reporter called its wicked mix of thriller chills and whipsmart comedy “thrillingly addictive... and massively entertaining, the next must-see show of 2018”.

OS ANGELES- Actress Lynda Carter, who played superhero Wonder Woman in the 1970s, was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday.

Spy drama “Killing Eve”, starring Sandra Oh (L) and Jodie Comer, turns James Bond gender roles on their head. (Photo: AFP / Frederick M. Brown.) “women who are messy, flawed, and yet still fascinating”. Eve, played by US star Oh, is in a comfortable mid-life marriage but craves excitement. “She wants to be out there protecting people but when there’s a bang in her house, she runs upstairs and hides. There is something much more human and relatable about that,” said WallerBridge. In contrast, the assassin Villanelle, played by British actress Jodie Comer, is fearless, a psychopath with a twisted sense of humour who lives in Paris and travels all around Europe killing people in ever more creative ways. In a neat stab at the macho Bond stereotype, she celebrates a successful hit by going out and picking up two men. “Even though it is a genre piece,” Waller-Bridge said, “it is about wom-

en’s intimate everyday lives, and it is the personal weight of the characters that drives it.” The show premiered on BBC America Sunday and has sparked huge interest from buyers at the MIPTV industry market in Cannes, which is running alongside CannesSeries. “Hopefully things like this will become common on all channels,” Waller-Bridge said. “Because of the whole #MeToo conversation, all these (female) stories are coming to the surface and becoming more specific and nuanced. It is not as if people have not been writing these stories for ages, but people are more open to them now.”

“There was no women in television during my era. So they didn’t really think that we could hold an audience,” she said. She addressed the #MeToo movement sparked by the Harvey Weinstein sex abuse scandal, which ended his career and those of numerous other

The “#MeToo movement is strong and I give everything to this generation,” she said. “What my generation can do is support you.”

Carter played the heroine between 1975 and 1979 on television, first on ABC and then CBS -- part of an acting career that has spanned several decades. The ceremony was attended by Patty Jenkins, the director of the 2017 “Wonder Woman” film which took in $821 million worldwide, as well as dozens of Carter’s fans.

Saba Qamar’s Hindi Medium breaks Indian film records in China

Oh said it was almost impossible for female actors, particularly “those of colour” to get such meaty roles in Hollywood films or to tell such edgy “mid-life stories”.

Salman Khan thanks fans after jail release


UMBAI, India | AFP Convicted Bollywood star Salman Khan tweeted “tears of gratitude” to all his fans Monday in his first remarks since being bailed over a five-year jail sentence for killing rare antelopes.

cinema’s most bankable stars, in return for bail and sureties totalling 100,000 rupees ($1,500). He cannot leave India without court permission.

Russell Crowe nets millions from ‘divorce auction’

Khan, one of the world’s highest-paid actors, was convicted in the 20-year-old case on Thursday and spent two nights in Jodhpur Central Jail before being released on bail by a judge Saturday.

Khan had denied shooting dead two rare antelopes known as black bucks on a hunting trip while filming a movie in October 1998.

by Aiman Bilal


aba Qamar—the famous Pakistani actress known and loved for her phenomenal performances both in television serials and films has all the right reasons to feel proud and happy as her Bollywood debut film—Hindi Medium has crossed all the Hindi cinema records in China. The film was recently screened in China, and there the film broke all the records ever made by the Indian films.


“Tears of gratitude. To all my loved ones who are with me and never lost hope. “Thank you for being there with all the love and support. God Bless,” the actor wrote to his 32.7 million Twitter followers.

Irfan Khan and Saba Qamar.

department of trying to frame him. His lawyers claim the black bucks died of natural causes such as overeating, insisting there was no evidence they were shot.

But the court found him guilty while acquitting four other actors.

Throughout the multiple cases, eyewitnesses have stated they saw Khan firing a gun.

Khan has accused Rajasthan’s forest

A judge released Khan, one of Indian

YDNEY, Australia | AFP | Hollywood actor Russell Crowe’s unusual “divorce auction” of personal items and movie memorabilia, including “Gladiator” props and a leather jockstrap he wore in “Cinderella Man”, exceeded expectations and raked in millions of dollars for the Australian star.

Within just the first weekend of the film’s screening, the film starring Irfan Khan and Saba Qamar gathered in INR 138.42 crore, hence making it the biggest opening for a Hindi film in China.

The Sotheby’s sale of more than 200 items in Sydney, titled “Russell Crowe: The Art of Divorce”, was held late Saturday on his 54th birthday and brought in Aus$3.7 million (US$2.8 million).

The film has broken the records of Amir Khan’s—Dangal which raked in around INR 12.99 crore and Salman Khan’s—Bajrangi Bhaijaan that made INR 14.61.

“Not a bad hourly rate for a 5 hour shift,” Crowe tweeted after the auction. Sotheby’s Australia chief executive officer Gary Singer said the auction was “incredibly successful”, with the

The film—Hindi Medium directed by Saket Chaudhry depicts the story of two parents who aspires to send their daughter to get the education not possible for them to afford. Danielle Spencer and Russell Crowe most popular items from Crow’s Oscar-winning film “Gladiator”.

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The film when released in India on 19th May 2017 crossed fifty crore in the Indian box office, as was revealed by analyst Taran Adarsh.

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Young Life

Apple unveils pencil support for $329 iPad at school event

FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Inaugural 2018 UH mechanical engineering alumni mixer


OUSTON, March 26, 2018 - The 8th Wonder Brewery was buzzing with activity last Thursday as UH mechanical engineering alumni, faculty and students gathered to mingle, catch up and hear the latest updates on the Cullen College at the inaugural Mechanical Engineering Alumni Mixer.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple event at Lane Technical College Prep High School, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast).


pple is adding the ability to use a digital pencil to draw and write on its cheapest iPad model in an attempt to make the tablet more compelling for creating, teaching and learning. Apple’s pencil previously worked only on its more expensive iPad Pro line. The company unveiled its latest iPad Tuesday in a Chicago high school to signal a renewed emphasis on education. Apple’s products have been losing ground in U.S. classrooms to Google and Microsoft during the past few years. Besides the new iPad, Apple is rolling out a new educational

app called Schoolwork to help teachers make assignments and monitor their students’ progress. Apple is also offering teachers and students 200 gigabytes of free storage in its iCloud service so they can access documents, photos and other digital content from any internet-connected device. Apple gives all accountholders five gigabytes of storage before charging for additional space. The company normally charges $3 per month for 200 gigabytes of storage. Apple is offering a $30 iPad discount for schools, but the regular price for the 9.7-inch iPad model remains at $329. Many analysts had expected

Apple to roll out a cheaper iPad to help spur sales to budgetstrapped schools Google has emerged as the education leader in the U.S. market, thanks largely to laptop computers running on its Chrome software. Some of those so-called Chromebooks sell for $200 to $250. After the hour-long event, CEO Tim Cook huddled for several minutes with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in an adjoining classroom where some of the new iPads were on display. Last year, Chicago announced a program with Apple where hundreds of thousands of Chicago public school students would learn coding.

UH Engineers, Chevron Introduce Houston-Area Girls To STEM Fun by Rashda Khan


OUSTON, March 28, 2018 - The Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston was a happening place this weekend — rockets launched into the sky with great puffs of smoke, robots performed amazing feats, and propeller-powered cars raced down corridors as happy shrieks filled the air.

M. E. Alumni Mixer

Demos in two US states seeking more public school funding by Nova Safo


HICAGO | AFP Teachers took to the streets of Kentucky and Oklahoma on Monday, with thousands rallying in the latest shows of force by angry educators demanding better pay and more funding for public schools. Classrooms were shuttered as demonstrations commenced. In some cases, school districts were on a scheduled holiday, while in others administrators were unable to find enough substitutes to keep doors open. Some school districts that were scheduled to be in session reportedly expected to be closed for much, if not all, of the week. The protests were the latest instance of public school teachers flexing their political muscle, inspired by a nine-day strike in March that won West Virginia’s teachers their first pay raise in four years. Organizers expected some 30,000 educators to demonstrate in Oklahoma City. Such numbers would make it the biggest demonstration recorded in the Midwestern state’s capital, The Oklahoman newspaper reported.

About a thousand Houstonarea girls, from grades 4-8, flooded the Cullen College and its surroundings on Saturday, March 24 for the third annual “Girls Engineering the Future Day: A STEM Event,” sponsored by Chevron.

Oklahoma City Public Schools said its campuses

would be closed through Tuesday, and a number of other public school districts planned to close for longer, according to The Oklahoman.

educators. Some teachers said they need second jobs -- such as working as restaurant waiters or mowing lawns -- to make ends meet.

Thousands of teachers were estimated to be at the Kentucky state capital Frankfort.

Oklahoma is one of 12 states that slashed education funds following the 2008 recession and failed to restored those dollars as the economy improved, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning Washington DC research and policy institute.

The Courier-Journal newspaper said that all 120 public school districts in that state also were closed. Most were on their Spring break vacation. Kentucky teachers were primarily protesting proposed cuts to pension benefits and demanding more funding for public education. - ‘Vote them out’ A vocal crowd inside the Kentucky state capitol rotunda chanted “public schools!” and sang “We’re not going to take it anymore” as legislators began their work day. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear threatened to sue over the pension issue. “If these people want to meet behind closed doors, I think it’s time we vote them out of the building,” he told demonstrators outside the legislative building, referring the lawmakers inside. In Oklahoma, a recent pay bump averaging $6,100 a year was not enough to placate

What do debt-free college plans actually mean?

“Is it going to explode? They always explode in the movies,” asked Isabella Tinnin, 12, watching a carbon-dioxidebased oil recovery demonstration involving two jars, marbles, tubing, oil and water, and denture-cleaning pills.


The denture-cleaner turned the water a frothy sea-foam green as it released the carbon-dioxide, which eventually pushed out drops of oil into a waiting cup. “No, no…in the movies, yes, but not here. That would be very bad if they did,” said Tony Science experiments dazzled and inspired participants at the Nowak, a UH student volun- 2018 Girls Engineering the Future! sponsored by Chevron. Photo teer and president of the stu- credit (Photo credit: Daniel Kolodziejcyk, UH AIAA) dent chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Then he launched into an explanation of the chemical reaction, pressure at work and the importance of petroleum in today’s world. Tinnin, who wants to be a NASA engineer, was part of Girl Scout Troop 28030 brought to the event by troop leader Meaghin Sliman, who graduated from the UH Cullen College with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2010.

ree college.” Who would object to the idea of giving aspiring scholars a free ride? But as higher education programs are being unveiled in many states across the country, it’s worth asking: What do these programs actually entail? Currently 16 states administer no-cost college plans based

organizations, individual Cullen College students and professors, as well as alumni — worked the different stations at the event. Minuri DeSilva, a petroleum engineering junior, decided to wrap up a stressful week of midterms by volunteering at the event. “This was a fun opportunity to work with kids and the experiment is fascinating,” said DeSilva, who was helping girls with the non-Newtonian fluid station, also known as the “slime” experiment. She and the girls were mixing up an electric blue cornstarch concoction and enjoying scraping and squishing it with gloved hands to demonstrate how pressure tended to harden the fluid.

“This was a great opportunity to bring our girls back to my old school and get them more interested in STEM fields,” Sliman said, pausing to look around the engineering courtyard with a fond smile. “This is where I met my husband. We both went here.” About 150 volunteers — representing Chevron, UH Cullen College of Engineering student

Attendees of the March 22 mixer enjoyed free beer and hors d’oeuvres while participating in door games to win raffle prizes. Department chair Pradeep Sharma led the evening’s festivities by sharing the latest successes and happenings within the department. (-University of Houston News)

A beautiful spring day is perfect for launching rockets at the 2018 Girls Engineering the Future! (Photo credit: Daniel Kolodziejcyk, UH AIAA)

“There are not a lot of girls in my classes,” DeSilva said. “So it’s good to be out here inspir-

on the “Promise Program” model, a much-lauded initiative in Tennessee launched under the Obama administration. Students can qualify for tuition-free or debt-free financing for a degree program at a state institution (usually the equivalent of two-year community college with the option of transferring to a four-year program). The idea is to re-

ing girls to get interested in engineering.” Sarika Gandhi, a computer engineer with Chevron, brought her daughter and two of her daughter’s friends to the event. “I thought I’d bring them since Chevron is sponsoring this and it’s good to expose them to more STEM fun,” Gandhi said. She was impressed by the number and diversity of activities all around. Her 11-year-old daughter ran off to test drive her propellerpowered car. “It’s amazing how they’re making this car with just popsicle sticks, rubber bands and some plastic,” Gandhi said holding up her own. To learn more visit https://

Kentucky was among seven of those states that cut per-student public education funding again in its latest fiscal plan, according to the late-2017 report by the think tank. Lily Garcia, president of the National Education Association (NEA) -- a group representing public school teachers, and college and university workers -- said teachers did not trust state legislators to properly fund schools without public pressure. “This is the result of a decade of underfunding public schools. Zero raises for these hard-working educators,” Garcia told CNN, speaking from the Oklahoma protest. “If we don’t stand up today, and say, ‘our students are worth the investment,’ then it’s going to be too late,” she said.

move the burden of post-graduation student debt by covering through a combination of subsidies and grants, nearly all basic tuition and programming fees. Unlike partial scholarships or grants for top students, the program is designed to take care of most or all basic costs and to offer widespread access, akin to regular K-12 education. This is, of course, a breakthrough in a deeply corporatized, financially unsustainable higher-education system. But researchers at the Century Foundation (TCF) warn of speed bumps in this seemingly righteous quest for free degrees. Although state policy-makers market “community college for all” as the most flexible way to boost the skilled and professional workforce with affordable bachelor’s and associate’s credentials, researchers note that the system “targets aid awards to a population (community college students) that tends to be lower-income and need the support the most.” So the big promise often comes with reams of fine print: It might include strictly limited income-eligibility criteria and academic-performance standards, or completion or programming requirements that are out of sync with struggling students’ economic capacity. The bottom line is that higher education is facing a systemwide crisis, which politicians simply can’t buy their way out of with free-tuition schemes. (-The Nation)



Section 2


FRIDAY, April 13 2018


FAMILY LAW Car Accidents Involving Pregnant Women And Preterm Birth – Personal Injury

by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at

Sharlene Sharmila Richards

Q: What is the O visa? What is required to obtain the O visa? A: The O visa is a nonimmigrant visa for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts (including television and motion picture), education, business or athletics. The O visa petition is normally filed by the US employer or US agent on behalf of the individual with extraordinary ability. The employer must provide a job offer to the individual and the individual must be able to show that he has extraordinary ability in his or her field and be coming temporarily to the US to work in the claimed area of extraordinary ability. Q: What are the qualifications the individual will need to be eligible for O visa? A: The qualifications needed will depend on the area of extraordinary ability claimed. For those in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics, the individual must essentially demonstrate that he is in the top of his or her field. This can be achieved if he has received a major or internationally recognized award such as a Novel Prize or Pulitzer award. Most individuals, it is recognized, do not possess such awards but may still qualify if the can show that they have at least three of the following : receipt of lesser national award or international recognized prizes for excellence in the field of endeavor; membership in association in the field of endeavor which requires outstanding achievements for the members; published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about him or her and which relates directly to the alien’s work in the field of endeavor; evidence of the individual’s participation as a judge of the work of others in the individual’s field of endeavor; proof of scientific, scholarly or business related contributions which are of major significance

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT O VISA FOR ALIENS OF EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY: in that field; proof of authorship of scholarly articles in the field in professional journals or in other major media; proof of performance in a critical or essential capacity for organizations or establishments with distinguished reputations; evidence of having commanded a high salary in relation to others in the field of endeavor; and other comparable evidence. For individuals in the arts, the requirement is slightly different in that the individual must show he has acquired ‘distinction’ in his field of endeavor meaning that he has achieved a very high degree of skill to the extent that he is seen or regarded as prominent or well known in his field of arts. For individuals in motion picture or television industry, the individual must show a very high level or accomplishment evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the individual is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the industry. As such, separate and slightly distinct criteria exists for these two separate categories of individuals. Q; How long is the O visa approved for? A: The period for which the visa is granted is up to the date requested by the petitioner organization but not to exceed a period of three years. If the beneficiary wishes to continue in that status beyond the period requested, extensions may be granted in increments of one year. Q: I understand that being in J-1 status and if I cannot satisfy the 2-year home residence requirement I can still apply and be eligible for O visa in the meantime? A: You may apply to obtain the O visa without completing the J-1 visa twoyear home residence requirement. However, you cannot change your status in the US but must obtain the O visa at the US consulate once the O visa petition has been approved. Q:

What kind of docu-

mentation is needed for the O visa? Mala Sharma

A: Generally, an advisory opinion from an appropriate organization such as a labor organization, management organization or peer group which states that the individual qualifies as an alien of extraordinary ability is required and whether the individual’s abilities and skills are needed for the work is required. In addition to that, include recommendations letters from experts in the field attesting to the individuals abilities and all supporting documentation evidencing that the individual possesses the required criteria for extraordinary ability.

Pre-term birth has been linked to car accidents involving pregnant women. Also prevalent with such accidents are increased chances of high-risk birth, internal bleeding, vaginal bleeding, placenta detachment, and severe pain in the abdominal/pelvic region. It doesn’t matter if it was not a major accident or an accident involving a total loss of the vehicle, smaller accidents may also cause such traumatic consequences to pregnant women.

Q: What kind of visa does the spouse and minor children of the O visa holder obtain?

The actions taken directly after the accident are important to ensuring the safety and well-being

of both mother and unborn child. The mother should seek immediate medical attention. If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, seek treatment from a qualified doctor immediately. A competent doctor will ensure appropriate medical treatment. It is important for the treating physician to document the causation between the impact and the resulting consequences to both mother and baby. Often, the impact causes placenta detachment and PROM (premature rupture of membranes), internal and vaginal bleeding, and pre-term birth. About the Author 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. Disclaimer: This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

A: They can obtain the O-3 visa. 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.

Sharlene Sharmila Richards Attorney at Law E-mail:

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. If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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FRIDAY, AprilApril 13, 2018 FRIDAY, 13 2018

Section 2

World’s hottest chilli pepper gives man ‘thunderclap’ headaches


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New brain cells in the old? Study stokes debate

octors issued a chilli his arteries had returned to warning Tuesday their normal width. after an American Eating cayenne pepper has man who ate the world’s previously been linked to hottest pepper was struck by heart attacks, the study auexcruciating “thunderclap” thors said. headaches. “We would recommend the The 34-year-old man’s general public be cautious symptoms began with dry when eating chilli peppers heaves “immediately after and to seek medical attention participation in a hot pepstraight away if you develop per contest where he ate one symptoms like this,” GunasCarolina Reaper,” in 2016, said an article published in File photo of Orange habanero peppers, the hottest pepper ekaran warned. medical journal BMJ Case on the Scoville heat index, are displayed in a supermarket For those who dare, the Reports. in Des Plaines, Illinois. (TIM BOYLE/Getty Images North Carolina Reaper has a fruity, sweet taste with a hint of The man then developed in- America/AFP) cinnamon and chocolate untense neck and head pain, and dertones, as well as being exfor several days experienced Often accompanied by “thunderbrief but intense “thunderclap” head- clap” headaches, the condition usually tremely hot, according to the website of Guinness World Records. aches. Each lasted several seconds. occurs as a reaction to certain preLast year it named the Carolina scription medications, or after taking After seeking emergency care, tests Reaper -- a cross between Sweet Hafor various neurological conditions illegal drugs. banero and Naga Viper chillies -- as came back negative. “It was a big surprise to everyone,” the hottest pepper on Earth. It is grown In the end, doctors diagnosed him said doctor Kulothungan Gunasekaran by a producer in South Carolina. with a temporary brain condition of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, It rates at an average of 1,641,183 called “reversible cerebral vasocon- one of the authors of the article that Scoville Heat Units (SHU), according warns of the dangers of playing with striction syndrome” (RCVS), characto tests conducted by Winthrop Uniterised by the temporary narrowing of chilli fire. versity in South Carolina in 2017. blood vessels to the brain. - World’s hottest chilli pepper A Jalapeno can score anything beIt was the first reported case of a paThe man’s symptoms cleared up by tient being diagnosed with RCVS after themselves and a follow-up CT scan tween 2,500 to 8,000 SHU on the eating a chilli pepper, the authors said. five weeks after the event showed that scale, Guinness World Records said.

AMPA, Fl | AFP | Friday 4/6/2018 - People as old as 79 may still generate new brain cells, US researchers said Thursday, stoking fresh debate among scientists over what happens to our brains when we age.

Mini cars drive away children’s fears of surgery

The focal point of the research is the hippocampus, the brain’s center for learning and memory. (Shutterstock/File)

by by Julia Pavesi


ALENCIENNES, France | AFP | Saturday 3/1 - Wearing a big grin, Marame clambers into the small electric sports car and drives off -- to the operating theatre.

The playful approach, implemented in December, has wiped out the need for anti-anxiety medication often administered before an operation, according to the hospital. “It allows (children) to arrive in the operating theatre in a fun manner and avoids the stress associated with the context,” anaesthetist Fanny Defrancq told AFP. Sat on a hospital bed, Marame looks worried ahead of her surgery to remove a metal pin inserted into her arm after she broke her elbow. But then a nurse comes in and leads her to three small vehicles parked in the corridor. “Which one do you prefer?” the nurse asks Marame, dressed in a blue hospital gown and with a white cap covering her hair. After carefully inspecting the models and testing out their horns, the little girl gets behind the wheel of a black racing car and cruises off under the envious glances of other young patients. A remote control in hand, a medical staff member steers Marame down hallways and around corners all the way to the operating theatre. “She doesn’t even take any notice of me,” says her bemused mother, Hassiba Mazouzi, after giving her a last hug. “Last time (she went into surgery) I cried,” Mazouzi says. “But now... she went without crying, without any problem. So frankly, I’m happy too.” - ‘You’re the hero’ Doctor Nabil El Beki, who heads the emergency unit in Valenciennes, insists the programme is not a “game”.

The report by scientists at Columbia University in New York, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, runs directly counter to a study published in Nature last month which found no evidence of new neurons being created past the age of 13. While neither study is seen as providing the definitive last word, the research is being closely watched as the world’s population ages and scientists seek to better understand how the brain ages, for clues to ward off dementia.

The five-year-old girl is a patient at the public hospital in the northern French city of Valenciennes, which has begun using toys rather than drugs to alleviate children’s fears of surgery. The new scheme for youngsters aged 18 months to eight years is based on similar programmes in the United States and Australia.


The focal point of the research is the hippocampus, the brain’s center for learning and memory. A two-year-old happily drives his way to the operating room at a hospital in Valenciennes in northern France (Photo: © AFP / Francois Lo Presti.) A study is under way to “scientifically assess” the benefits of the project, he told AFP. “We know that anxiolytic drugs reduce anxiety but they also intensify the anaesthetic and delay the wakingup process. Avoiding them is better for the recovery,” he said. Julie Dupuis, whose 18-month-old son, Issa, needed testicle surgery, also hailed the hospital’s novel scheme. “He’s like at home, he’s playing and it’s nice to see him like that,” she told AFP. “It’s reassuring for me too. I feel less stressed about his going into the surgery.” Other clinics in France are also ex-

perimenting with ways of avoiding pre-surgery medication for children. A hospital in the western city of Rennes has developed an app called “You’re the hero” for children aged three to 10. The young patients search for hidden objects in a virtual room, while they are being brought to the operating theatre on a stretcher. The distraction method has seen a major drop in children’s anxiety and led to an 80-percent decrease in the use of medication, the Rennes hospital said. “Children’s self-evaluation with emoticons showed that anxiety curves were very low and stable,” anaesthetist Severine Delahaye told AFP.

Cause and effect: the US opioid crisis explained by Catherine Triomphe


EBANON, Tn | AFP | The opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, and New Hampshire in particular, is born from subscription painkillers. How did it start? What do opioids do to the body? Is the crisis already past its worst? Lisa Marsch, an expert in the prevention and treatment of substanceuse disorders and a professor at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, answers these questions.

- How is the opioid crisis different from crack or heroin? “It was heavily driven by good intentions of physicians trying to manage pain... and pharmaceutical companies were just flooding the market place with lots of opioid options. “It touches all sorts of people and socio-economic strata, but it has continued to be predominantly a white, non-hispanic phenomenon. “In the 70s and 80s, the African American, black communities in the US were just wrecked from the crack

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Specifically, researchers are looking for the foundations of new brain cells, including progenitor cells, or stem cells that would eventually become neurons. Using autopsied brain samples from 28 people who died suddenly between the ages of 14-79, researchers looked at “newly formed neurons and the state of blood vessels within the entire human hippocampus soon after death,” said the Cell Stem Cell study. “We found that older people have similar ability to make thousands of hippocampal new neurons from progenitor cells as younger people do,” said lead author Maura Boldrini, associate professor of neurobiology at Columbia University. “We also found equivalent volumes of the hippocampus across ages.” The findings suggest that many seniors may retain more of their cognitive and emotional abilities longer than previously believed. However, Boldrini cautioned that these new neurons might be less adept at making new connections in older

and heroin epidemics, and ... for later generations, use of some of that type of drugs is highly stigmatized.” Marsch examined 76 active fentanyl users. She says 80 percent of them were first introduced to opioids with pills, which usually a couple of years later morphed into heroin, and a couple of years after that, people moved onto fentanyl. “The part of your brain that is focused on survival is what opioids take over ... and your brain is telling you: this is part of what I need to survive.”

people, due to aging blood vessels. Animals like mice and monkeys tend to lose the ability to generate new brain cells in the hippocampus with age. Just how the human brain reacts to

aging has been controversial, though the widely held view is that the human brain does indeed continue to generate neurons into adulthood, and that this “neurogenesis” could one day help scientists tackle age-related brain degeneration. - Study found opposite A study last month led by Arturo Alvarez-Buylla of the University of California in San Francisco found the opposite, however. Looking at brain samples from 59 adults and children, “we found no evidence of young neurons or the dividing progenitors of new neurons” in the hippocampi of people older than 18, he told AFP when the study was published. They did find some in children between birth and one year, “and a few at seven and 13 years of age,” he said. That study was described by experts as “sobering,” because it indicated the human hippocampus is largely generated during fetal brain development. Alvarez-Buylla’s lab responded to the latest research in a statement saying that they were unconvinced Columbia University had found conclusive evidence of adult neurogenesis. “Based on the representative images they present, the cells they call new neurons in the adult hippocampus are very different in shape and appearance from what would be considered a young neuron in other species, or what we have observed in humans in young children,” they said in an email to AFP. Boldrini, for her part, said her team used flash-frozen brain samples, while the California researchers used samples that were chemically preserved in a process that may have obscured the detection of new neurons.

- Has the crisis already peaked? National indicators do not point to an immediate improvement. “Saving lives, rapid Narcan distribution... That is just one piece of the many things that are needed,” says Marsch of the powerful antidote to a drug overdose. “We have been seeing more and more reports of home cultivation... you can take some key components and transport them. People literally report that they are making fentanyl in blenders in their homes.



FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Early intervention service cuts suicide Can you recover from nerve gas rate in schizophrenia poisoning?


herry Kit Wa Chan, M.R.C.Pysch., from the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues examined the correlation of a twoyear EI service with suicide reduction in patients with FES disorders. A total of 617 consecutive patients with FES who received the two-year EI ser-

vice between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2003, were compared with 617 patients with FES who received standard care (SC) between July 1, 1998, and June 30, 2001. The details of death were obtained for up to 12 years from presentation. The researchers found that the suicide rates were 7.5 and

How raising an eyebrow aided human evolution by Emma Clark


ARIS, France | AFP | Monday 4/9/2018 The ability to raise an eyebrow in distrust or to furrow it in sympathy may have given our species an evolutionary edge, researchers in Britain said Monday. Highly mobile eyebrows gave humans non-verbal communication skills required to establish large, social networks which allowed for greater cooperation and better survival odds, they said. “Eyebrows are the missing part of the puzzle of how modern humans managed to get on so much better with each other than other now-extinct hominins,” said Penny Spikins from the University of York, co-author of a study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. Spikins and a team examined the function of pronounced, bony brow ridges in our early ancestors, and to understand why we shed them over time. Some research had suggested that a large brow ridge helped protect our forebears’ skulls

from damage resulting from forceful chewing, or that it filled a void between the brain case and eye sockets. The team used 3D engineering software to examine the brow ridge on a fossilised skull of Homo heidelbergensis, an archaic member of the hominin family comprising modern humans and our direct, extinct ancestors. H. heidelbergensis, which lived between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, is thought to be the common ancestor of humans and our Neanderthal cousins. The researchers digitally recreated the skull, held in the collection of the Natural History Museum in London, and experimented with changing the brow ridge size while applying different biting pressures. They found that a large brow ridge does little to relieve pressure on the skull when eating. Also, it was much larger than needed to fill the gap between H. heidelbergensis’ flat brain case and eye sockets. In our extinct ancestors,

4.4 percent in the SC and EI groups, respectively. Significantly better survival was seen for patients in the EI group (propensity score-adjusted hazard ratio, 0.57), with the maximum correlation seen in the first three years. The number of suicide attempts was indicative of early suicide (one to three years). Indicators of late suicide (four to 12 years) included premorbid occupational impairment, number of relapses, and poor adherence during the initial three years. “This study suggests that the EI service may be associated with reductions in the long-term suicide rate,” the authors write. “Suicide at different stages of schizophrenia was associated with unique risk factors, highlighting the importance of a phase-specific service.”

Britain claims the militarygrade nerve agent used on the 66-year-old ex-spy and his daughter Yulia, 33, was of the Novichok family developed by the Soviet government towards the end of the Cold War. Russia denies any responsibility. Nerve agents are the most toxic known chemical warfare agents. They affect the central

In this photo taken March 8, 2018, emergency services in green biohazard suits re-affix the tent over the bench where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found in critical condition on March 4 in Salisbury, England (AFP Photo/ Ben STANSALL)

The development of a smooth forehead with more visible, hairy eyebrows capable of greater movement, began in hominins around 200,000 years ago and has accelerated over the past 20,000 years. “Social signalling is a convincing explanation for the jutting brows of our ancestors,” said Paul O’Higgins, senior author of the paper and anatomy professor at the University of York. Eyebrow movements allow humans to express complex emotions and perceive those of others, said Spikins.


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- The poison -

prominent brows may have signalled social status or aggression, later giving way to the more expressive eyebrows of modern humans, said the team.



This is what we know.

(Journal reference: JAMA Psychiatry)


Stephanie Salcedo


ARIS, France | AFP | Friday 4/6/2018 - As poisoned Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal was said to be on the mend Friday, toxicology experts warned the nerve agent used on him could leave long-term damage.

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Factfile on nerve agents. (AFP Photo/John Saeki) nervous system by interrupting communication between the brain, the main organs, and muscles. Many people stop being able to breathe, and asphyxiate, or suffer heart failure. - The treatment “As far as we know from the literature, there is no specific antidote for Novichok,” chemical arms expert Ralf Trapp told AFP. Typically, poisoning victims are kept on heart and lung machines while given the drug atropine “hoping that the body will recover” and restore normal functioning, he explained. Atropine relieves some of the symptoms by blocking acetylcholine -- a chemical transmitter that controls muscle contraction. Nerve agents attack the enzyme that controls acetylcho-

line, leading to an overproduction and muscle malfunction. With time, the body clears out the nerve agent and starts producing the acetylcholinecontrolling enzyme anew. “New research suggests something like this may take up to two weeks to restore sufficient levels of enzyme to restore reasonable nerve function,” said Chris Morris of the Newcastle University’s Medical Toxicology Centre. “With high dose exposures this may take longer, and is possibly why in this case recovery has taken up to now.” - The prognosis If diagnosed early, as in the case of the Skripals -- and treated immediately -- recovery from nerve agent poisoning “is typically very good,” said Morris. But permanent damage can-

not be ruled out. Some victims may have lifelong difficulty concentrating or reading, said Jean-Pascal Zanders, a biological weapons expert at France’s Foundation for Strategic Research. Long-term neurological damage had been reported in previous poisoning cases, including survivors of the sarin gas Tokyo subway attack of 1995, noted chemistry expert Michelle Carlin of Northumbria University in the UK. “This may include things like slowing of thought processes, a reduction of physical movement, and respiratory problems -- but we don’t know yet whether those will happen in this case,” she said via the Science Media Centre in London. Novichok, its dosage, effects and treatment, is less well understood than better-known nerve agents such as sarin.

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Bangladesh launches billion dollar ‘model’ mosques to counter radicals

FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Indian fair celebrates transgender entrepreneurs

we only earn by begging or dancing and don’t have any other work,” participant Katha Sarkar told AFP.


HAKA, Bangladesh | AFP | - Bangladesh has launched a billion-dollar campaign to build hundreds of “model mosques”, partly with Saudi funding, to try to counter radical Islam in the Muslim-majority country, officials said Friday.

Clothes, including saris and shawls, as well as jewellery boxes made out of bamboo were among the items on sale across some 50 stalls. Bobby Mudhuk, whose company sells handloom items such as scarves and bedsheets, travelled from West Bengal state to Mumbai for the fair.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who inaugurated work on nine mosques through a video conference on Thursday, is also trying to bolster links with Muslim groups in an election year, according to analysts. A senior official said 560 “model mosques cum cultural centres” would be built in the next 30 months as part of a government attempt to fight extremism. “In the next one to one and a half months, work on another 100 mosques will begin,” Shahmim Afzal, who heads the government Islamic affairs department, told AFP. They will be used to preach against “distorted Islamic philosophy” of groups such as Bangladesh’s largest opposition Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the official added. The country has been fighting Islamist extremism in recent years after militants carried out attacks on religious minorities, secular activists and foreigners. Afzal said the centres of worship would be open to women, unlike most of the country’s 300,000 mosques, and would be equipped with libraries and cultural centres. “Each mosque will cost 150

560 “model mosques cum cultural centres” would be built in the next 30 month, according to officials. (Photo: AFP File) million taka ($1.8 million),” he said. Imams would be required to give sermons “to inspire people against extremism”. Afzal last year said Saudi Arabia would bear the lion’s share of the project, but a senior official of the Islamic kingdom later denied any such plan.

An Indian supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community. (Photo: AFP File)

“She wants to build rapport with traditional Islamic groups. She wants to win over these forces,” said Ataur Rahman, chairman of the Dhaka-based Centre for Governance Studies. Hasina’s ruling Awami Legaue party has over the decades championed secular causes.

Afzal, however, told AFP that Saudi Arabia was partly funding the project. “They have already sent part of the fund,” he said, without disclosing the amount.

In recent years Hasina has cracked down on hardline Islamist groups, and tried and executed Islamist leaders accused of war crimes. She has made secularism part of Bangladesh’s constitution.

Minority groups have raised concerns over the proliferation of Saudi-backed mosques, saying these could spread the ultra-conservative Sunni doctrine of Wahhabism practised in the Gulf kingdom.

“Ahead of the elections, she is adjusting her secular stand by leaning towards a more rightist Islamist position,” Rahman said.

An expert said the real aim of the billion dollar mosque project by Hasina’s government could be political.

“About two years ago when we started our business journey we used to go door-todoor to sell our goods but people used to shoo us away,”

Hasina has said a general election will be held this year. Some 90 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million people are Muslims.

Malala Yousafzai returns to Pakistan for first time in six years

Around 250 transgender businesses set up shop to confront the stereotype. (Photo: AFP File)


UMBAI, India | AFP - Hundreds of transgender entrepreneurs from across India displayed their skills at an annual Mumbai fair aimed at empowering the disadvantaged community and challenging derogatory stereotypes.

They are often banished to the margins of society and forced to beg or engage in prostitution, and are regularly lampooned in Indian movies. At the “Trans and Hijra Empowerment Mela (fair) 2018”, held in the financial capital this month, around 250 transgender businesses set up shop to confront the stereotype.

“Hijras”, as they are known locally, face severe discrimination in conservative India despite being legally recognised as a third gender.

“In rural areas of India people think transgenders are good-for-nothing. They think

she told AFP. “Now people are coming and happily meeting us and buying from us. Some of them are placing orders. We are sending our parcels to people’s homes. A lot of positive change has come,” Mudhuk added. Around 1,000 people attended the event -- which also featured food stalls, makeup artists and live music -- on Sunday April 1.

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• Integrity • Dignity • Competence This handout photograph released by the Press Information Department on March 29, 2018, shows Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (C) presenting a shield to Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. (Photo: AFP)


akistan’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai on Saturday arrived in her hometown of Mingora for the first time since a Taliban militant shot her there in 2012 for advocating girls’ education. Amid tight security, Youzafzai along with her parents landed in the Swat Valley in an army helicopter. According to her uncle Mahmoodul Hassan, Yousafzai went to her home and also planned to meet with her friends and relatives. Security was visibly beefed up in Mingora the previous day. The 20-year-old Yousafzai had asked authorities to allow her to go to Mingora and Shangla village in the Swat Valley, where a school has been built by her Malala Fund. Hassan said Yousafzai and her family were not afraid of going to Swat, where Taliban militants wounded her six years ago. “We are grateful to the government and the army for facilitating this visit,” he told The Associated Press.

Schoolgirls in Yousafzai’s hometown were already jubilant over her arrival. On Thursday, Yousafzai met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at his office, where she also attended a gathering and made an emotional speech in which she said it was one of the happiest days of her life to be back in her country. Yousafzai has won praise from across Pakistan on her return home, but some critics on social media have tried to undermine her efforts to promote girls’ education. Yousafzai says she failed to understand why educated people opposed her, although she could expect criticism from militants, who had a particular mindset. She told Pakistani media that majority of Pakistanis supported her.

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In the interview, she said she was sitting in her classroom when news broke about her Nobel Prize and that she was not aware of it as she was not using her mobile phone at the time. “My teacher came into my classroom and called me outside. I was worried that I might have done something wrong and I am in trouble. But she told me that I had won the Peace Prize. I said thank you. You don’t know how to respond. For me, it was for the cause of education,” she told the paper.

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Yousafzai landed in Pakistan just before dawn Thursday, flanked by heavy security and plans to return to Britain on Monday. (AP)

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She said her trip to Pakistan was her college break as well. “That was also one of the reasons because I could not miss my school. So this just finally happened. To be honest, I can’t believe it that I am here in Pakistan. It still feels like a dream,” she said.

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“What I want is people support my purpose of education

became the Yousafzai youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

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“Those who do criticize have absurd kind of criticism that doesn’t make any sense,” she said in an interview with Pakistan’s The News Englishlanguage newspaper published Saturday.

Since her attack and recovery, Yousafzai has led the Malala Fund in which she said has invested $6 million for schools and books and uniforms for schoolchildren.

“Willy, Nanayakkara & Associates, a premier immigration law firm in Houston, makes a special offer for employers filing 5 or more H-1B applications under cap quota this year.


Only 14 when she was shot, Yousafzai has since delighted in telling the Taliban that instead of silencing her, they have amplified her voice. She has also written a book, spoken at the United Nations and met with refugees.

She said she would not have been sitting in Pakistan now if she had not been treated quickly. She plans to permanently return to Pakistan after completing her studies in Britain.

and think about the daughters of Pakistan who need an education. Don’t think about me. I don’t want any favor or I don’t want everyone to accept me. All I care about is that they accept education as an issue,” she said.


In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban assassin who jumped inside her school van and yelled, “Who is Malala?” She was targeted for speaking out on girls’ education.

On Friday, Yousafzai praised the Pakistan army in an interview on the independent Geo news channel for providing her timely medical treatment, saying her surgery was done by an army surgeon at the “right time.” She later received posttrauma treatment in Britain.

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Artists put personal stamp on Peanuts characters for 7-city art project


noopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang are to be re-interpreted by a host of well-known artists for a series of large-scale murals going up in Paris, Seoul, New York and several other cities. The Peanuts Global Art Collective, announced this week, has enlisted Mr. A, Nina Chanel Abney, AVAF, FriendsWithYou, Tomokazu Matsuyama, Rob Pruitt and Kenny Scharf

to inject their personal styles into Charles M. Schulz’s iconic Peanuts universe. In the project’s first phase, large-scale murals will appear in seven international cities, beginning with a launch in Paris on April 8. There, Nina Chanel Abney has created a Snoopy-themed work that will decorate the facade of the hotel Le Citizen along the Canal St. Martin. A week later, on April 15,

ART & CULTURE Four artworks vanish from French parliament


our works of art have vanished from the walls of France’s national assembly, parliamentary officials said Wednesday, prompting a police investigation to track them down. Confirming a report by the Canard Enchaine investigative newspaper, the speaker’s office said the four artworks had been discovered missing after an annual inventory at the end of last year. “Searches up until now have not allowed us to locate them,” the office said, adding the artworks had been “hanging on the walls of offices” in the lower house of parliament on the southern bank of the River Seine in Paris. They include a piece by the Greek artist Takis which belongs to France’s National Contemporary Art Fund, paintings by French modern artists Herve Telemaque and Richard Texier, and an engraving by an unknown artist. A legal complaint has been filed and a police source told AFP that investigators from the Banditry Repression Brigade in Paris, which handles art theft, have taken up the case.

Seoul’s Jamsil Lotte World Mall will welcome giant floating digital screens created by Rob Pruitt as part of the project. On April 16, Berlin (Mitte district), New York City (Hudson Square) and San Francisco (Downtown) will each reveal murals by all seven participating artists.

Above: A New York City mural by Kenny Scharf for the Peanuts Global Artist Collective

Left: A New York City mural by Nina Chanel Abney for the Peanuts Global Artist Collective

Tokyo follows on April 21 with the launch of a two-part exhibition at the Snoopy Museum in Roppongi featuring pieces by all seven artists. The exhibition will then be extended to digital screens in the Shibuya district starting April 28. On May 3, the tour will reach its final destination, in Mexico City (inside and around the Mumedi Design Museum) with Carnavelesque murals by AVAF in Zócalo. Details of the works and their locations in each participating city can be found at

International films are increasingly using Bollywood songs. But do they get it right?

FRIDAY, April 13 2018

New York Met returns stolen idols to Nepal


ATHMANDU, Nepal | AFP | 4/4/2018 - A pair of rare idols stolen from Nepal three decades ago were returned to the country Wednesday by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The two statues -- one of Buddha and the other of the Hindu god Shiva and his wife Parvati -- were stolen in the 1980s when rampant looting saw many important artifacts whisked out of Nepal and into the hands of private collectors. “The government was unaware of the whereabouts of the statues until historian Lain Singh Bangdel mentioned (in a book) that the statues were on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York,” Shyam Sundar Rajbanshi of Nepal’s Department of Archaeology told AFP.

Shiva and Paravati adore one carved statue being given back.

The 11th-century Shiva statue, known as the Uma Maheshwor idol, was given to the Met in 1983 while the Buddha -- estimated to be around 700 years old -- was donated by a private collector in 2015. The two statues were removed from display after the Met learned they were stolen, local media reported. The statues will now be showcased at the National Museum of Nepal in the capital Kathmandu, Rajbanshi confirmed. Nepal’s rich cultural heritage was ravaged by decades of theft from the 1960s to 1980s. Natural disasters and unchecked development also encroached on ancient sites. A devastating earthquake in April 2015 caused extensive damage in the Kathmandu Valley, home to hundreds of sacred Buddhist and Hindu sites. The UN’s cultural agency UNESCO warned if not properly conserved those sites could lose their coveted world heritage status.

The two statues -- one of Buddha and the other of the Hindu god Shiva and his wife Parvati -- were stolen in the 1980s (Photos: AFP)

Being human: Antony Gormley’s new bodies


ONG KONG, Mar., 28 AFP - His creations Rooting the Synapses unveiled in Hong Kong Some of the figures seem to be concentrating on yoga poses. One is standing on its head, another lies down with its upper back and legs lifted, its “core” apparently hard at work. Antony Gormley’s new creations, a series entitled Rooting the Synapse unveiled in Hong Kong this week, are as always modelled on his own form — but this time with jagged limbs branching out like plants, spindly and skeletal. Arguably the UK’s best known modern sculptor, Mr. Gormley has spent his career exploring the human body’s relationship to space, with his Angel of the North, a steel, winged behemoth installed on a hill in northeastern England in 1998, catapulting him to fame. His shadowy human figures loomed from the top of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers between 2015 and 2016 as part of his “Event Horizon” show, causing curiosity and consternation in the streets below, where some feared they were people about to jump to their deaths.

Indian weddings are great targets of cultural appropriation.

In Hollywood, the occasional cameo by the Hindi song came with its own ironies. by Vikram Phukan


ndian songs in international films are perhaps much more common now than they once were. You can put that down to the Bollywood boom of the noughties, or the bugbear of multiculturalism that spawned a profusion of ‘brown faces’ to fill out casting rosters that were once almost exclusively white. Indian weddings with their exotic soundscapes are great targets of cultural appropriation in films like Wedding Crashers, 27 Dresses (2008) or Rachel Getting Married, where even the Indian connection is dispensed with, leaving behind an empty diversity of saris and kurtas.

The ubiquitous desi immigrant continues to be chimed in with a melody from the motherland. The films of the diaspora — that always burgeoning genre — have also extensively drawn music and memories from the subcontinent. The first time I remember encountering a Hindi song in a foreign film was in Rita, Sue and Bob Too, a 1987 British comedy about two Bradford schoolgirls who have a fling with a married man. Sue goes out for a movie date with taxidriver Aslam to watch Sholay, and the clip in question shows Hema Malini traipsing on broken glass to ‘Haan Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, with Sue tickled pink that she was dancing to keep her beau alive. They leave the theatre without ever finding out if Hema succeeds in her mission. It felt strangely affirmative to view glimpses of our then inchoate soft power in those films.

- Them and us In British cinema, Indian movies often appeared to cater to Pakistani aficionados, ironically played by Indian actors. In 1999’s East is East, Om Puri was George Khan, a Pakistani chip-shop owner with a British wife (Linda Bassett) and a menagerie of ‘mongrel’ children in Salford, circa 1971. A telling moment in the film involves them visiting a picture house owned by a relative, who empties out seats (likely occupied by Indians) for the Khans, and barks out orders to the Indian projectionist (a vegetarian to boot) to change the reels from the film already screening (Professor) to Khan’s favourite, Chaudhvin Ka Chand. It’s an interesting ‘them and us’ one-upmanship, executed by using two films, both Indian productions, and the transition effected from one signature song to another — because of course it’s the songs that au-

Mr. Gormley, 67, insists his figures contain no narratives and are not trying to tell a story, but exist to stir up feelings in viewers.

diences of Indian films most cared for anyway. In those films, it appeared that our films made it to their theatres almost a decade after their release in India. East is East included a delightful send-up of the Pakeezah mujra, ‘Inhi Logon Ne’, by Archie Panjabi (who plays Khan’s daughter). It was a song that seemed more appropriate to the film’s period but probably wasn’t. Even allowing for dramatic licence, Pakeezah perhaps wouldn’t have normally occupied this purported pop-cultural space so soon after its 1972 opening in India (notwithstanding the film being Meena Kumari’s swan song.)

Sculptor Antony Gormley stands next to his sculpture Signal. | Photo Credit: Anthony Wallace “Your body is actually the most highly sensitive instrument that you have in order to experience the world,” he said. The southern Chinese city provides a vibrant setting for his show, he adds, casting the

- Comic self-indictment In Hollywood, the occasional cameo by the Hindi song came with its own ironies. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kate Winslet’s Clementine works at Barnes & Noble, and acquires a taste for ‘world music’. During her parleys with Jim Carey in her boho apartment, it is Lata songs like Wada Na Tod that waft in and out, punctuating moments of romantic indecision with prescient lyrics (which American audiences wouldn’t have cottoned on to). One reviewer called it a moment of ‘comic self-indictment’ without allowing for the fact

exhibition as a response to the heavily designed and dense urban environment. Decades into his life as an artist and devoted to a single theme, he describes his work as a stem, constantly budding with new possibilities.

that Clementine could possibly have liked the music and not just appropriated it for bohochic credentials. If there’s one film that gets it right on the homage front, it is Ghost World (2001), in which Thora Birch waltzes to the Gumnaam surf-rock ‘item’, ‘Jaan Pehchaan Ho’, during the opening credits. It’s that song that leads her down the rabbit hole of misadventure, as she seeks out more eccentric (and eclectic) musical choices from a collector of old records (Steve Buscemi). They are both misfits who’d fit in perfectly in the everything-goes and exotically Western universe of vintage Hindi films. (- The Hindu)


FRIDAY, April 13 2018

Home&Real Estate How floating architecture could help save cities from rising seas

Zaha Hadid’s only private residential home is now completed by Nick Maki


or decades, Zaha Hadid dazzled the world with striking, over-the-top buildings that were designed to be noticed. Her elegantly flamboyant creations seemed to stand out more as a force of nature than a man-made structure. While it’s been two years since Hadid’s untimely death, a steady drip of her final projects are becoming realized around the globe. Most recently, the Capital Hill Residence (Hadid’s only private residential design) was finished in Russia. Yet, unlike her other structures, which were almost exclusively situated in urban environments, the Capital Hill Residence is a neofuturistic building that stands apart from the thick forest of trees it’s surrounded by. Raftlike homes and buoyant buildings may be a fix for rising sea levels (Photo: NBC) by Kate Baggaley


rom New York to Shanghai, coastal cities around the world are at risk from rising sea levels and unpredictable storm surges. But rather than simply building higher seawalls to hold back floodwaters, many builders and urban planners are turning to floating and amphibious architecture — and finding ways to adapt buildings to this new reality. Some new buildings, including a number of homes in Amsterdam, are designed to float permanently on shorelines and waterways. Others feature special foundations that let them rest on solid ground or float on water when necessary. Projects range from simple retrofits for individual homes in flood zones to the construction of entire floating neighborhoods — and possibly even floating cities. “It’s fundamentally for flood mitigation, but in our time of climate change where sea level is rising and weather events are becoming more severe, this is also an excellent adaptation strategy,” says Dr. Elizabeth English, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Ontario. “It takes whatever level of water is thrown at it in stride.” NEW KIND OF FLOOD READINESS From ground level, amphibious houses look like ordinary buildings. The key difference lies with their foundations, which function as a sort of raft when the water starts to rise. In some cases, existing homes can be retrofitted with amphibious foundations to give people in flood-prone areas a less costly alternative to moving or putting their homes on stilts, says English, founder of Buoyant Foundation Project, a nonprofit based in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana and Cambridge, Ontario. “What I’m trying to do is to take existing communities and make them more resilient and give them an opportunity to continue to live in the place that they’re intimately connected to,” she says. There are also new constructions built with amphibious foundations, such as a home designed by Baca Architects on an island in the River Thames in Marlow, England. When waters are low, the house rests on the ground like a conventional building; during floods, it floats on water that flows into a bathtub-shaped outer foundation. Amphibious architecture isn’t about to displace conventionally designed buildings. But

experts say it could become the norm in parts of Virginia, Louisiana, Alaska, and Florida, and other areas that are vulnerable to rising seas. “For some communities this might be a saving grace,” says Illya Azaroff, director of design at New Yorkbased +LAB Architect PLLC and an associate professor of architecture at the New York City College of Technology. FLOATING HOMES Other architects are taking things a step further and building on the water itself. The Netherlands is a hotspot for such floating construction. Waterstudio, a Rijswijk-based architecture firm, recently designed nine floating homes for the town of Zeewolde. The homes look a bit like oversized floating houseboats. Waterstudio has also designed a number of floating homes for Amsterdam’s IJBurg neighborhood. Soon these will be joined by a floating housing complex designed by the Dutch firm Barcode Architects and the Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group. When construction is completed in 2020, the complex will have 380 apartments as well as floating gardens and a restaurant. Floating buildings and neighborhoods are not a new idea, of course. Vietnam and Peru, among other countries, have had floating communities for centuries. But floating architecture could allow cities around the world to grow and evolve in new ways, says Waterstudio founder Koen Olthuis. Olthius envisions cities with floating office buildings that can be detached and rearranged as needed. “It can be that you come back to a city after two or three years and some of your favorite buildings are in another location in that city,” he says, adding that buildings might be moved close together to conserve heat and separated when summer arrives. SPREADING OUT Floating architecture can do more than prevent flood damage. By allowing the construction of buildings over water, it can give cities additional room to grow. Waterstudio is collaborating with developer Dutch Docklands on a planned community in the Maldives that will include 185 floating villas. The flower-shaped development will have restaurants, shops, and swimming pools. The firms are also collaborating in the Maldives to build private artificial islands that will be anchored to the seafloor. The idea is to provide new places to live for residents of the lowlying islands, which are at risk

Baseer H. Pirzada Realtor




The $140 million project is half submerged into the ground and located in the heart of a Russian forest first meeting, Doronin knew he had found the architect who had the vision to create his dream home. “I met Zaha in London a decade ago at an event,” says

It was during this meeting I decided I wanted to work with her on a real estate project.”

An aerial view of the Capital Hill Residence, a Zaha Hadid-designed private home in a forest near Moscow. (All Images courtesy of

At first glance, Hadid’s design appears much like a spaceship that landed and, in an attempt at camouflage, submerged itself within the forest floor. At second glance, the viewer’s opinion will likely remain unmoved. But it’s upon closer inspection that the fine details begin to show themselves, making the building, like all of Hadid’s designs, something to be studied. (

Located roughly two miles west of central Moscow, Rus-

of being swallowed up by rising seas. “We will let the commercial project show that the construction can work and then work with the government to help the local community,” Jasper Mulder, vice president of Dutch Docklands, told Travel + Leisure. The islands are also meant to offer a sheltered new habitat for marine life. There are also plans for entire floating cities. The Seasteading Institute, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, hopes to attract 200 to 300 residents for a floating village scheduled for completion in the waters off Tahiti by 2020. Homes and other buildings in the community will be constructed atop a dozen or so floating platforms connected by walkways. Eventually, the institute hopes to create communities built from hundreds of platforms with millions of residents. “I don’t know if amphibious or floating architecture will go that far, but it is within the realm of possibility,” Azaroff says. “The overarching goal is

sia’s Barvikha forest is an unlikely location for any home, let alone one designed by the first female Pritzker Prize winner. Yet, the Capital Hill Residence was the pipe dream of the international real estate developer Vladislav Doronin, owner of the 36,000 sq. ft. home. After their

Doronin, CEO and owner of Aman Resorts (a luxury hospitality brand) and OKO Group (a U.S.-based real estate development firm). “We were both impressed by and attracted to the works of Kazimir Malevich. We spent the rest of the evening speaking about art and design.

After agreeing on designing Doronin’s future home, Hadid first began teasing out her design through a series of renderings. Showing the blueprint of a building to any client is never an easy process, namely due to the high demands that go with hiring a high-profile architect. And, as a seasoned real estate mogul, Doronin is no ordinary patron. “The renderings produced by Zaha were exceptionally detailed and I remember thinking at the time, there is no way the building is going to look like this in reality,” says Doronin. Yet, when the structure was completed earlier this year, they were all but identical. “In all my real estate career, I have never seen renderings so true to the final product.”

Tips to avoid scams after storms and natural disasters


s if the damage from a natural disaster isn’t enough, consumers trying to rebuild after a natural disaster often face a different danger: a flood of fly-by-night contractors -- ultimately raising the risks of sub-par repair work and outright scams. “Unfortunately, there are bad apples who blow into storm damaged areas and natural disaster locations with intentions to cheat and steal from consumers, making it harder for honest businesses and contractors to serve their communities the right way,” says Eric Miller, Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt. “It is more important than ever for buyers to beware and fully educate themselves before engaging with any contractor.” According to many reports, hundreds of criminal cases are still pending due to fraudulent work in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Many properly licensed and insured contractors are providing counsel and repair to the thousands of homeowners and businesses hard hit by recent storms, but consumers need to watch out for those providing misleading quotes and services. To help educate consumers on how to identify the right contractors to help them recov-

er, while avoiding scammers and other potential pitfalls, Owens Corning Roofing and their network of independent Preferred Contractors have joined together to offer tips and advice.


nailing patterns.

• Ensure proper licensing. To make sure the job is done right, ensure contractors carry the right licenses and know all the state and local codes and rules.

• Check with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure potential contractors have a good reputation. Check to make sure they have no bankruptcy or leans on the business. You can find out through the Better Business Bureau at

• Confirm potential contractors’ affiliations. A reputable contractor will take additional classes and earn certifications to be affiliated with a major national manufacturer. For example, those affiliated with Owens Corning, work to meet high standards and satisfy strict requirements, including a commitment to customer service, business stability and quality; carrying all required state and local licenses; holding at least $1,000,000 in general liability insurance; and going above and beyond local code, with things like proper product usage and

• Know the basics. Understanding the basics of the damage to your home will help you avoid the worst cheaters and make you a better, more informed consumer. For example, if someone says your entire roof needs to be replaced but you are unsure, get a second opinion, especially on a newer roof. • Make sure potential contractors are fully insured. Reduce your potential insurance risk by only working with insured contractors and make sure you get proof of Liability

Looking for a trustworthy and reliable contractor in your area, but don’t know where to start? Visit for a list of reliable, vetted independent contractors in your area. Don’t let a bad situation get worse. As you pick up the pieces after a storm or natural disaster, be sure to work with only reputable contractors who will do the job properly. (StatePoint).

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Although a part of you may feel like rebelling against authority, the stellar landscape suggests it would be just as easy to work with such people. A lovely new moon in your sign hinting at a fresh start.

21 April to 20 May With a major focus on your spiritual sector, the coming weekend could see positive shifts taking place as Mercury turns direct in this zone, allowing you to feel more in control. A new moon will encourage you to take up a spiritual practice.

21 May to 20 June For you, there is nothing that kills passion so quickly as too much of it. The astral configuration that this could be the case if you are not careful to hold back and create a little distance.

21 June to 22 July Honesty is most certainly the best policy for you right now. Don’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. Doing so will have unpleasant ramifications later on down the road. Tell the truth now so it doesn’t come back to haunt you.

23 July to 22 August You have a great deal of physical energy with which to tackle anything that comes your way. Feel free to work longer hours and take on extra work. You can handle it with greater ease than most people.

23 August to 22 Sept Even though the week is winding down to a close, this doesn’t mean that you should let the quality of your work slide. Maintain a high standard at all times. The work you do today will be noticed.

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23 September to 22 Oct If you have been feeling particularly hurt or rejected by someone from long ago whom you have not been able to forget, then take heart from today’s planetary alignment. It will begin to defrost your heart and melt away the pain.

23 October to 21 Nov It is important that you are in a good mood because this will make you better prepared to deal with the aggressive attitude you are getting from others. Don’t let people’s irrational and unpredictable actions throw you out of whack.

22 November to 21 Dec If you enjoy risk and challenge, then you will certainly appreciate today’s astral configuration. Stick to the tried and trusted and keep within the parameters of your own certain but limited experience.

22 December to 20 Jan It is time you took a stand for something you have contemplated having for a long, long time. You deserve it - just take the first step! Hold on to what you have, instead of putting it on the line for a chance to gain more.

21 January to 19 Feb You are not willing to take any risks and this is fine. You shouldn’t. Hold on to what you have, instead of putting it on the line for a chance to gain more. Such risky behavior is likely to backfire. Don’t get talked into these kinds of gambles.

20 February to 20 Mar You could get a brilliant idea from a magazine or the Internet that inspires you to redecorate your home. In fact, the week ahead could see you investing in paper, paint, or furnishings. You help someone who is going through a difficult time.

1. Piggy’s glasses (“Lord of the Flies”) 6. Strike caller 9. Not a hit 13. Earth in Latin 14. Fa follower 15. Half of diameters 16. Architectural projection 17. Down Under bird 18. Mountaineer’s tool 19. *Royal family since 1917 21. *2018 royal bride 23. Stumblebum 24. Ship wrecker 25. *A national color 28. Ditto 30. Poster heading 35. “It aint over till it’s ____” 37. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 39. Hindu sage 40. Not all 41. World Series mistake 43. Not Sunni 44. Augmenting 46. Hatha or bikram, e.g. 47. Teller’s partner 48. Take the first steps 50. Bar bill, pl. 52. *The British Royal Navy secures it 53. Strip of wood 55. Bebop, for short 57. *Cause of 1936 abdication 60. *#29 Down’s co-ruler 64. Dam 65. Fuss, to Shakespeare 67. Dhaka, formerly 68. Black tie ____ 69. Biochemistry abbr. 70. Foe 71. Between bleu and jaune 72. Seasonal blues 73. ____ sociales or social networks

DOWN 1. Put in the hold 2. ____meter or ____scope 3. Sportscaster Andrews 4. Words to live by 5. Pico de gallo and such 6. Drug addict 7. *Catherine of Aragon to Bloody Mary 8. Musketeer’s hat accessory 9. Speed of object divided by speed of sound 10. Brainchild 11. a.k.a. Xi’an, ancient capital of China 12. *How many wives did Henry VIII have? 15. Ships’ masts and sails attendant 20. “Coming ____ ____” 22. Get it wrong 24. *Get engaged 25. *Symbols for Houses of Lancaster and York 26. Call forth 27. Call it quits 29. *#60 Across’ co-ruler 31. Bit of smoke 32. “____ we all fall down” 33. German wine valley 34. *Present Prince of Wales’ first wife 36. First woman Attorney General 38. Frat house party garb 42. Torah teacher 45. Esophagus 49. ____ chi 51. Fuse together 54. Former Russian leaders 56. Heathrow craft 57. We have 58. Affirm 59. Pre-easter period 60. Blue dyestuff 61. Latte choice 62. “The Road Runner” corporation 63. The Say Hey Kid 64. Leo in Russian 66. “23andMe” type of test




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Voice of Asia E-paper April 13, 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 April 13, 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...