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VOICE OF ASIA The Largest Asian-American Newsweekly in Texas

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Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years

Vol. 31 No. 16 • Friday, April 20, 2018

Published Weekly from Houston

Voice of Asia publisher presents plaque of press coverage to Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen

24 Pages (2 sections) 50 cents

April2 20 2018 In FRIDAY, Section l HEALTHLINE

Exercise, not vitamins, urged for seniors





Nursing is a family affair for UTMB grads China relaxes foreign ownership as Asia grows

713-774-5140 • E-mail:

'A beautiful life': America mourns Barbara Bush by Mathes



Publisher & CEO Koshy Thomas presenting the plaque to Mayor Allen Owen at the Missouri City, City Hall on Monday, April 16, 2018. (Photo credit: Cory Stottlemyer, MCTX)

ASHINGTON | AFP | 4/18/2018 Former president George W. Bush thanked his mother Barbara for her "beautiful life" as tributes poured in Wednesday for the much-loved political matriarch and one-time first lady following her death at the age of 92. Former US first lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the age. Long seen as Photo: AFP File) the pillar of one of America's most prominent families, as wife comforted on her deathbed, my in Texas after a memorial to the 41st US president and soul is comforted," George W. ceremony on Saturday in mother to the 43rd, Barbara Bush told Fox Business. "It's Houston to be attended by the first lady, Melania Trump. Bush died at her home in Texas the end of a beautiful life." on Tuesday surrounded by her President Donald Trump His father, the 93-year-old family. George H.W. Bush, was said ordered flags to be flown at "As a result of her soul being by staff to be heart-broken to half-staff at all public buildings lose "his beloved Barbara," and military posts in Bush's his wife of more than seven honor, as he paid tribute to her work to promote literacy -- a decades. Known for her trademark cause she embraced during her faux pearls and tart-tongued time as first lady, from 1989 to comments about life in and out 1993, and beyond.

Body of 12-yr-old, last missing member of Indian family, found in California river

The Thottapilly family, from Santa Clarita, were on a road trip when they disappeared on April 6 while driving through Redwood Coast Highway.

Having undergone heart surgery in 2009, she was treated for years for Graves' disease, a thyroid condition, and as her health failed in recent days, was moved into comfort care at her home in Houston.


ASHINGTON | PTI - 4/17/2018 - Searchers and rescue team have found the body of a 12-year-old boy, the last missing member of an Indian family of four which died when their sports utility vehicle plunged into a swollen river in the US state of California some 11 days ago.

Separately, an adult female body recovered on Friday from another area of the river was identified as Soumya Thottapilly, 38. "At approximately 4:00 PM water searchers located the body of a juvenile male submerged in the Eel River approximately 6 miles north of the reported crash site," it said.









"Once the body was recovered it was identified as being Siddhant Thottapilly, the

A hugely popular figure during and after her time in the White House, Bush made history as one of just two women to be wife and mother Continued on Page 12

Trump issues public challenge to Abe


ALM BEACH, Florida | AFP | Wednesday 4/18/2018 - US President Donald Trump issued a blunt face-to-face challenge to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in full view of the cameras Wednesday, demanding more favorable terms on trade.

Sandeep Thottapilly, his wife Soumya, along with their two kids were on a road trip in a maroon Honda Pilot from Portland, Oregon to San Jose in Southern California. (Photo: Facebook). remaining missing member of the Thottapilly family. An autopsy is expected to be performed this week as part of the Coroner's investigation into the incident," it added. The family's maroon SUV was seen falling into the river in northern Mendocino County from a pullout during a rainstorm. They had been travelling south from Oregon along Highway 101 when the

incident occurred. Officials last week determined the vehicle belonged to the Thottapilly family. On Sunday, 70 searchers using Jet Skis, boats and kayaks worked along the river in an ongoing effort to find the vehicle and family. The vehicle was encased in sediment and visibility was poor but divers believed there

was at least one body inside, officials said. About 6:30 pm a tow truck was able to partially pull the vehicle out and two bodies were found inside it. Soumya's body was found several miles from where the vehicle went into the water. The river was swollen from recent storms and officials had to wait several days for it to recede.

Serious Car Accident?

"As the prime minister knows, they have done very well with the United States. We have a very big deficit," Trump said as the two leaders and their delegations sat across the table from each other at Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida. Insisting the "relationship is a very good one," Trump nonetheless broke with the usual diplomatic niceties, urging Abe do more to make trade "free, fair and reciprocal." "We have a massive deficit with Japan," he said, pointing to passenger plane and fighter jet orders that could plug the

gap before railing about unfair practices. "The word 'reciprocal' is that when you have a car come in, we charge you a tax. When we have a car go through Japan, which aren’t allowed to go there, we have to take down the barriers and we have to pay the same tax," Trump said. "But that goes for other countries too," he said, vowing to "weed" the deficit down. The blunt talk will appeal to Trump's domestic political base, which was promised a better economic deal and a tougher "America First" stance under his administration. "This is a very exciting meeting for me, because I like this maybe the best. I love the world of finance and the world of economics, and probably, it's where I do the best," Trump said, playing up his business credentials.


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George W. Bush and his wife Laura expressed their gratitude for the prayers and sympathies pouring in for his mother, who is survived by five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She lost a sixth child -- a daughter -- to leukemia as a toddler.

She will be laid to rest

The Thottapilly family, from Santa Clarita, disappeared on April 6 while driving in a Honda Pilot through the Redwood Coast Highway on vacation, officials said. Their disappearance coincided with reports that a vehicle had sunk into the Eel River in Northern California. Searchers on Monday found the body of Siddhant Thottapilly, the last to be found after the family of four went missing. Sandeep Thottapilly, 41, and Saachi Thottapilly, 9, were found dead inside a vehicle encased in sediment in the Eel River, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said.

of Washington -- but also her deep loyalty to family and selfdeprecating humor -- Barbara Bush was in many ways a figure more popular among ordinary Americans than her high-flying husband and sons.

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by Kia McDaniel

VOICE OF ASIA Publisher: Associate Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Austin Correspondent: Marketing Director: Office Manager:

Koshy Thomas Sherly Philip Shobana Muratee Sherine Thomas Susan Pothanikat Priyan Mathew

Contributors: Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Mala Sharma Editor Online:

Shobana Muratee

All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the consent of the publisher. Voice of Asia assumes no liability resulting from action taken based on the information included herein. Published weekly by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713-7745143. Email for editorial submissions: voiceasia@aol. com; Email for advertising inquiries and submissions:

It is the policy of Voice of Asia to publish letters to the editor which evidence a variety of viewpoints. The opinions expressed in any particular letter to the editor are not necessarily those of the management. Voice of Asia welcomes letters in reply to issues raised in letters to editor. In as much letters to the editor are not articles written or researched by members of Voice of Asia, it is not the policy of the Voice of Asia to perform any investigation or confirmation of any facts or allegations contained in letters to the editor. Moreover, Voice of Asia reserves the right to edit letters to the editor as necessary to correct errors of fact, punctuation, spelling and to comply with space constraints. Although paid advertisements may appear in Voice of Asia Group Publications in print, online, or in other electronic formats, the Voice of Asia Group does not endorse the advertised product, service, or company, nor any of the claims made by the advertisement. - The Publisher

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


he consequences of a growing teacher-student diversity gap portend lower rates of academic success of students who do not look like the majority white, female teacher workforce. As a result, nonwhite students who perform at or beyond the level of their white peers too often seek out other professions where they can see themselves as successful and where they will have a salary commensurate with their work, opportunities for professional growth and the respect of their communities, families and even former teachers. A wealth of data reveals a lack of diversity in the teaching profession. Indeed, while people of color account for 36 percent of the American workforce, they make up only 17 percent of teachers. The majority of the workforce will be comprised by people of color by 2030, and students of color already outnumber their white peers. This lack of diversity in the teaching profession is troubling given

by Susan Rowell


here are two things you need to know about newspapers.

Newspapers are important to community life and democracy. Always have been. We at the National Newspaper Association think it is important for all sorts of newspapers to survive for the sake of a free society— the very large and the very small ones, the liberal ones, the conservative ones, the middle-of-the-road ones, the ones with no viewpoint but just important news, all of them. Some are our members. Many are not. We defend them anyway. America needs them like we need oxygen. The second is that even if your newspaper seems to be “online,” the digital copy that you may count on probably couldn’t exist if there weren’t a printed newspaper behind it. The newspaper in print supports all of the other versions economically. So, if the printed version disappeared, you can’t assume all would be well because it is online anyway. It won’t be. These facts are important because the paper your newspaper is printed on is under attack. One small paper mill in Washington State is trying to use the federal trade and tariff laws to make

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Teacher diversity benefits all students the research showing the benefit of teachers of color on all students.

teaching profession to highachieving people of color, especially students.

Raising the standards for entering the teaching profession — making it a more desirable profession among high-achievers while simultaneously aiming to increase diversity — will yield the kind of teachers we need standing before students each day. And, as a recent report from the Center for American Progress notes, while some teacher preparation programs have moved the needle in increasing both selectivity and diversity in the teaching profession, more must be done to bring the teacher workforce in line with the student population.

Too often, high-achieving people of color are not pursued by school districts to serve as teachers because they are deemed rare, off limits or even too talented. Even those who want to enter the field of education after studying their initial passion must jump through so many hoops — like additional coursework and expensive exams — just to become "certified," they often feel that it is not worth it. There's likely to be a significant decrease in pay with such a career change in addition to the 30 credits of required courses that result in more debt, but not a degree.

From the halls of Congress to the halls of school buildings, education stakeholders have not done enough to market the

To diversify the teaching profession while also increasing selectivity, state and district officials must do

more to provide pathways for people of color into the teacher workforce, pay them like similarly educated professionals, support them through mentoring and induction, and offer them career growth opportunities. Teachers must also do their part to encourage their students to teach. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to provide the kind of education that creates opportunities for students, and students of color especially, to choose the college and career of their choice — and we should do everything in our power to ensure that teaching is at the top of their list. Kia McDaniel is an ESOL Instructional Supervisor in Maryland. Source: Service



The paper your newspaper is printed on is under attack safely situated in compliance with environmental rules. With demand falling, no one is going to invest in a massive expansion of U.S. newsprint. Over the short term, tariffs could force the price of paper up and the New York investors who own the Washington State mill could gain.

this paper—newsprint, or uncoated groundwood paper, in paper parlance—about 50 percent more expensive. This mill has complained to the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission about international competition. If it succeeds, the prices of newspaper printing will skyrocket. The resources available for everything else your local newspaper may need or want to do for you will be strangled. Canadian paper producers have supplied the U.S. for

many years. They have some natural advantages over U.S. papermakers because of hydroelectric power and shipping costs. More than a dozen U.S. mills have stopped making newsprint in the last decade because demand for paper has declined. Today, even if Canadian paper disappeared because of high tariffs being proposed to the federal government, the U.S. paper mills could not supply newspapers with the paper they need. Mills cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and can take many years to be

But our country will lose. Fragile newspapers will vanish. Challenged newspapers will have to cut back. Even healthy newspapers are going to have to find ways to absorb a daunting new cost. And who will pay? Everyone who relies on a newspaper to tell the local stories, cover elections, advertise sales, get pictures of the winning touchdown, and cheer the economic development people on in their work of creating new jobs. That worries me. If it worries you, pay a visit www. and be informed. Susan Rowell is President of the National Newspaper Association Source: Service



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

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More than 30 years of experience as Priest in major temples including Sri Meenakshi Temple Pearland, TX. Can speak 5 languages (Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, and English)


Section 1

Community Email:

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

Arya Samaj Greater Houston celebrates 27th Sthapana Divas, 2nd Annual Health Fair


n April 7th & 8th, Arya Samaj of Greater Houston celebrated its 27th Sthapana Divas, with 2nd annual community wide Public Health Fair, consisting of Health Awareness Lecture, testing, Blood Donation and consultations with doctors. Arya Samaj, was founded by Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati on April 10, 1875 in Bombay (now Mumbai). The ASGH program began on Saturday, April 7th with a 5K walk around the lake in next door scenic McClendon Park. This was followed by Yoga for health & strength and breakfast for all who came. The health fair began blood & EKG testing at 8 AM at cost, supported by ASGH dedicated volunteers & Arya Youth Mandal high school youth group and YourHealthLab. com. Almost 140 people took

Flag representing Om being hoisted by the members of ASGH

A section of the audience during the Health talk

benefit of the health fair. Approximately, 76 patients had their blood drawn for testing over next 3 hours, and 49 patients had taken EKG exam with free consultation with onsite Cardiologist. This was followed by educational Health Awareness seminars on current healthy living and eating related topics. The doctors’ presentations emphasized Cardiac health, Diabetes and Power of Dietary discipline for a healthier, happier life, Life after 50, Mind & Body Relationship, the effects of stress on our overall health. The lectures were followed by informative live questions & answers session with the Doctors. Mrs. Gayatri Kapoor gave a talk on emphasis of Bone Marrow, Organ and blood donation. Urging south Asian community to register timely at a DPS office or at for organ donation, as it takes very little time, and saves lives with a do-

nation –Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center Bus clinic was onsite and 11 donors (age 16 to 70 plus), amongst the many who had volunteered and donated their blood. Ask the Doctor session started at 11.30 AM, 100% free 1-on-1 consultation with ten doctors of various specialties. ASGH healthfair celebrations will be held annually at ASGH campus in the first weekend of April in the future. Doctors presentations, information is available on Facebook: www.facebook. com/AryaSamajGreaterHouston/ On Sunday, April 8th, celebration continued with Sthapana divas program. Children from DAV Sunday Sanskriti School, DAV Montessori & Elementary School gave an amazing, enthusiastic cultural program, followed by lunch. The mission of the Montessori School is to provide excellent Montessori and Traditional

education along with the Vedic values. Enrollments in both schools is open for next semester. ASGH principles emphasizes importance of community service and leading by self to set an example and make the world noble. Last year 2017 was bad due to Hurricane Harvey, ASGH collected $70,000, and donated $50,000 to SEWA International within couple of days to help local relief efforts and $10,000 each to Mayor of Houston funds and Governor relief funds. Arya Samaj of Greater Houston, would like to thank, all the volunteer teams & teachers, who have supported noble efforts along the 27 years of an amazing journey. Report by Arya Samaj Greater Houston, Arya Youth Mandal

ASGH volunteers and Arya Youth Mandal high school youth group.

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New Teen, Miss, Mr. & Mrs Bollywood International 2018 Crowned!

Performing Asia: The Forgotten Empress Presented Asia Society Texas Center and Co-presented by EnActe Arts


ollywood Shake hosted its 7th Annual Bollywood Pageant International 2018 at the Stafford Civic Center. Pageant Director, Ruchika Dias presented yet another glamorous, awe inspiring show with her team that included; Pageant Choreographer Priti Islam, Pageant Coordinator Bindhya Babu, Judges Coordinator Esha Shah and Backstage Manager Abha Jain. Contestants from all over the United States participated to compete for the coveted titles of Teen, Miss, Mr. and Mrs. Bollywood International 2018! The show was broadcast live on Facebook and Youtube. The panel of judges included former Miss India & Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta, Founder & CEO of HumFM Rehan Siddiqi, Omar Saeed Khan of Northwestern Mutual, Realtor Shaneel Mitha, Actor Dr. Pavan Grover, Lawyer Zainab Rizvi, Miss Pakistan USA 2017 Hirra Khan and Mrs. Bollywood USA 2015 Shruthi Bekal. The emcees, Rocko Stedy Narvios and Niharika Nag (also the Pageant Coach), conducted the show flawlessly starting with a spectacular opening dance. This was followed by the evening wear introduction round of the contestants. The talent round showcased some outstanding talents including Bollywood dances, singing, a Salsa dance performance and an Aerial Acrodance act.

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21, 8PM


Winners of titles: Teen, Miss, Mrs., Mr. Bollywood International 2018 with Bollywood actress and judge Tanushree Dutta. Photos credit - Jasleen Kaur

In the Ethnic Wear round, the contestants donned gorgeous, colorful and vibrant ethnic attire. The finalists chosen went through a Q & A round with the judges. Judge Tanushree Dutta asked a finalist “You are a mother, a wife and a career woman. What is the most important priority for you in life?” The winners were crowned Contestants during the evening wear introduction round by Tanushree Dutta and the Ruchika Dias, Director past title holders – Miss Teen Bollywood USA 2017, Manjari Parikh, Miss Bollywood USA were: Aslam Jivani and Abdul 2017, Pooja Gohil and Mrs. Bollywood Realtor Shaneel Mitha and Universal Bakery and Snacks. A special thanks Khiyani of DECO ART, DJ Tariq USA 2017, Nadia Neubert. was extended to Zainab Kayani Rizvi Ali, DJ TAMIM, Arzoo Khan’s The event was sponsored by Omar and Pavan Grover for their support. Vida Salon & Spa, Sonny and Saeed Khan of Northwestern Mutual, Others recognized for their support Jennifer Chohan of Houston Live TV

ombining South Asian classical dance, live music, multi-media, and theater, The Forgotten Empress is a dynamic dance drama based on the life of Empress Noor Jahan. The performance will explore her influence in 17th century Mughal India, and how she maintained power in a male-dominated empire, only to be almost forgotten in the latter years of her life and in death. Acclaimed kathak artist Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, director Matthew Spangler, and musical director Salar Nader, along with their team of world-class musicians and actors, deliver the spectrum of emotions, relationships and occurrences surrounding this powerful woman. An additional performance on April 20 features the same program. For details and tickets, visit:

Voice of Asia readers get 10% off. Use code VOICEFE Network, Jasleen Kaur Photography and Reflection Media Inc. USA.

Miss Bollywood International 2018 1st Runner Up - Jasmin Sheth (Austin)

Bollywood Pageant International 2018 winners!

Miss Bollywood International 2018 2nd Runner Up - Tavishi Saxena (Michigan)

Miss Bollywood International 2018 - Michelle Adamjee (Houston)

Miss Teen Bollywood International 2018 1st Runner Up - Siya Nair

Miss Teen Bollywood International 2018 - Gursheen Kaur (California)

Mrs. Bollywood International 2018 1st Runner Up - Mayuri Rana (Houston)

Mrs. Bollywood International 2018 Malin Pathak (Austin) Mr. Bollywood International 2018 Nitish Singh (Arizona)

Mrs. Bollywood International 2018 2nd Runner Up - Sharan Budwal (Florida)


Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

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

Section 1


Sugar Land dispatcher named best trainer in Texas


Tel: 713-774-5140

Williams Trace Boulevard Replacement Complete

ugar Land Public Safety Dispatcher Amanda Davis was recently recognized as the 2018 Texas Association of Public Safety Communication Officials Trainer of the Year. Davis is a critical part of an important team that has ensured Sugar Land is safer than ever before. The city has the lowest crime rate in 20 years, faster ambulances, improved public safety dispatch, better drainage, safer streets, improved traffic technology and more ambulances and paramedics. Accidents still happen though – even in Sugar Land. With seconds making the difference between life, death and property loss, it’s often quick decisions of unsung heroes like Davis who play a decisive factor in the outcome of emergencies. Sugar Land’s public safety dispatchers quickly size up situations and allocate necessary resources to mitigate calls for help. They also provide critical instructions for callers to follow before help arrives. In addition to serving as a front-line dispatcher for more than nine years, Davis trains new recruits. She standardized presentations and developed curriculum to ensure Sugar Land’s dispatchers are prepared to meet the high demands of the job. When citizens call for assistance, they’re the voice on the other end of the line, ready to help 24/7. The nature of a call for assistance determines the type of equipment and personnel needed to respond to an emergency. To ask the right questions, dispatchers need to understand

Pictured is Davis at a public safety dispatch console. basic operations of police and fire departments. Their ability to size up situations and allocate the appropriate resources during high stress incidents is crucial during emergencies. Training is critical to manage these high-stress situations. “Amanda always has great ideas for our training program and can mold her training style to fit any trainee’s needs,” said Public Safety Dispatch Director Shannon Price. “She goes above and beyond to see to it that trainees feel welcome and are as comfortable as can be while training with her. She never allows anyone to feel left out and helps to include them in team conversations. “Amanda never fails to demonstrate absolute professionalism and care in her role as a

trainer and public safety dispatcher. She consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty.” (-Photo / Article: City of Sugar Land)

Pictured during a ribbon cutting ceremony are members of the community with City Council, senior management and project managers.


ugar Land, TX – The city of Sugar Land recently completed the reconstruction of Williams Trace Boulevard.

Fort Bend ISD’s 2018 Tommy Tune Award Nominees FORT BEND ISD (April 18, 2018) – Dulles High School students Jordynn Heins and Rayevin Johnson were nominated for 2018 Tommy Tune awards. Presented by Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS), the annual awards program recognizes and rewards excellence in the production of musical theatre by high school students

and their teachers. Both Heins and Johnson were nominated for “Best Featured Performer” for their roles in Dulles High School Theatre’s production of Zombie Prom. Heins was nominated for her role as Candy, and Johnson for her performance as Ginger. Continued on Page 9

The $5.9 million project included the replacement of 1 mile of Williams Trace Boulevard from Austin Parkway to State Highway 6. The project included a 10foot pedestrian and bicycle path identified through years of public input as a part of the Ped-Bike Master Plan. The layout of the roadway included the four-lane road and side path with the least impact to trees along the corridor and was consistent with a professional arborists recommendation for the protection of the overall canopy along the corridor. Other components of the project included the following items.

• A water main was replaced and a new storm sewer was constructed to facilitate effective drainage to address issues identified in a recent drainage study. • The traffic signal at Austin Parkway was also upgraded to ornamental poles. The project addresses the pedestrian and mobility needs of area residents. Sugar Land’s 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey identified just one issue as a high priority -- traffic management, particularly along the State Highway 6 corridor. The intersection improvements at State Highway 6 and Williams Trace will assist with traffic management.



Durga Bari celebrates Bengali New Year

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

FEMA mitigation specialists available to consult residents on Harvey repairs at Hwy. 6 Home Depot through April 21


s Texans repair, build or rebuild their homes after Hurricane Harvey, home improvement stores and FEMA mitigation specialists are teaming up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer. FEMA mitigation specialists will be available at The Home Depot, 5900 Hwy. 6 South, Missouri City, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Saturday, April 21. FEMA mitigation specialists will answer questions and offer tips and techniques to build hazard-resistant homes using proven meth-

ods that will prevent or reduce damage from future disasters. Most of the information and free literature provided are geared to do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

Harvey Facebook page at FEMAharvey, the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at or the Texas Division of Emergency Management website at www.dps.

Some topics covered will include flood insurance, elevating utilities and rebuilding flooded and wind-damaged homes.

For more information about Missouri City, please watch the City website:, like us on Facebook—fb/ MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse).

For Texas disaster mitigation information, visit www.fema. gov/texas-disaster-mitigation. For additional information about mitigation, visit www. For more information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit the FEMA

Dance prformances during the evnt. Pics taken by: Saurabh Sengupta and others.


ouston Durga Bari celebrated Poila Baishakh in the heart of Texas with a day full of fantastic events on Sunday, April 15th. It brought the Indian and Bangladeshi communities, Durga Bari and Tagore Society of Houston , together at our home away from home right here in Houston, celebrating Poila Baishakh. The Tagore music connoisseur, Shreya Guhathakurta, a part-time Houston resident, along with Mou Das organized a fabulous Baishakher Amontroney program with almost 90 participants from the Indian and Bangladesh

Shreya Guhathakurta and accompanying singers

was super; the choreography and execution by the dancers were simply out of the world and finally, the rendition

of the songs was top notch. Shreya’s creativity and direction to make so many diverse talents work together in creating this extraordinary show drew rapturous applause.

was a super hit. Nothing like buying new clothes for new year! From latest couture to dazzling jewelry, the stalls had an amazing array of items to buy and revel in for the rest of the year.

Poulami Bhattacharya, Suchetana Mukherjee and team brought the best of Bengali cuisine to the Food Fest, where a packed house enjoyed the Bengali delicacies right here in Houston. Kicthen Food committee led by Pradip Saha and Rajib Datta, also made sure the event was a success. Food fests at Durga Bari are a huge hit in the local community and the tradition continued with the overflowing crowd at the stalls. They cannot wait for the next event to relish the experience again.

Balaka Ghosal held informative and engaging Earth Day where the kids and the adults learnt so much about sustainability and environment and how to reuse things. The lessons and the videos were a hit even after the event. Trees were planted as part of the event. The entire day started with Surya Pranam and temple celebration.

Piyali Chatterjee and team put together the Mela, which

April 15th was a day to remember and savor and feel lucky to have Durga Bari right here in Houston. It is our home away from home, where we celebrate every facet of our culture and tradition.

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Food Fest was part of New Year celebration communities. That program, which celebrated Tagore’s vision of universal peace and love, with a mesmerizing mix of song, dance and recitation. Consisting of three parts, Bhanusingher Podabali, Barsha and Prem, the presentation tries to capture the essence of love through depicting not only the divine love between Radha and

Krishna, and in various other forms, in nature and in real human lives. Celebrating the joy of union as much as the agony of separation of the tormented souls, the show captured the beauty and power of this most exalted and yet little understood feeling, and how it alone, essentially takes creation and life forward. Aided by most imaginative choreographies

by celebrated Nritya-gurus and exponents of multiple dance gharanas and styles, like Odissi, Manipuri and Kathak, Shreya directed an ensemble of singers, dancers and musicians, to bring to life the magic of love through harnessing the sheer power and beauty in Thakur's poems and songs The selection of the pieces




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Suffragan Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Athanasius of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church passes away morning. His mortal remains were later shifted to the headquarter of Mar Thoma church at Thiruvalla. "The mortal remains of Suffragan Metropolitan will be kept at the headquarter for the public to pay homage. The funeral will be held at Mar Thoma Church headquarter in Thiruvalla on Friday. A meeting of Mar Thoma church council will be held on Wednesday evening to discuss the preparations for the funeral ceremony," an information provided by Mar Thoma Church headquarter stated.

Suffragan Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Athanasius of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian.


OCHI, Kerala: The Suffragan Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Athanasius of Malankara Mar Thoma SyrianChurch passed away on Wednesday morning. The 74-year-old breathed his last at PVS Memorial Hospital in Kochi where he was admitted for liver and kidney related ailments. "With painful heart and deep grief, this is to announce that Geevarghese Mar Athanasius Suffragan Metropolitan is taken to eternal rest at 4.40 am in PVS Hospital," K G Joseph, secretary Malankara

Mar Thoma Syrian Church made an announcement on Wednesday morning. The spokesperson of PVS hospital told Express that Metropolitan was admitted to the hospital on April 8. "After his condition deteriorated on Tuesday, he put on the ventilator. He was suffering from kidney related ailment for past several years," the hospital spokesperson said. The body of Geevarghese Mar Athanasius was kept at Mar Thoma church, Elamkulam, Kochi to enable the public to pay homage on Wednesday

Ordained Deacon and Kassessa in 1969, he was consecrated as Ramban in 1989. He became an Episcopa, taking the name of Geevarghese Mar Athanasius, in the same year. In charge of various organisations and projects of the Mar Thoma Church, he was installed as Suffragan Metropolitan on October 2, 2015.

Kaushalya Devi by Vijay Pallod


have the deepest respect, gratitude, and love for my mother Kaushalya Devi for whom I performed last rites this week, appreciative that I had arrived in time. My mother was the most influential person in my life. She shaped my character, instilling in me and my siblings the virtues of simplicity, healthy habits, and seva bhav, or service, towards our families, elders, and the community. Kaushalya Devi was born in the small town of Sedam, Karnataka. As their first grandchild, Kaushalya Devi was brought up with great love and affection by her paternal grandfather Seth Tulsi Ram, a well-known philanthropist, and grandmother

A very spiritual person, Kaushalya Devi rose at 4:30 every morning and was immersed in her daily prayers till mid-morning. Her unshakeable faith in the Devatas gave her immense courage. Among her blessings she counted her children’s well-settled lives; her caring daughters-in-law Sushma and Anju; and her grandchildren Kavita, Bharat, Namita, Radhika, and Kunjas well as daughter Urmila’s three children. A valuable lesson about not compromising on principles was also taught me on a road journey from Hyderabad to Zaheerabad. Since we were running late, I asked my mother to forgo stopping at the Hanuman Temple to save time. She would not agree. The only other time I argued with

Library reopening event 2 - 5 pm, Saturday, April 28


estchase District and Houston Public Library invite you and your family to join them in celebrating the reopening of the Judson W. Robinson, Jr. Westchase Neighborhood Library, 3223 Wilcrest Drive, at a grand reopening event from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 28.

The entire community is invited to view this

new beautifully renovated library and enjoy a dayfilled with interactive activities, games and performances including delicious food from local restaurants, face painting, dance performances, retro movies and more. For more information, contact Marjorie Gonzalez, 832393-1381.

Saturday, May 26, 2018 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

UH Student Center South • 4455 University Blvd.

Mission: To bring awareness, spread eternal message and provide practical tools to all; specially the YOUNG ADULTS/MILLENNIALS who can empower their knowledge and leadership skills.

Registration Required:


Source: The New Indian Express

Guruma Geeteshwari

Reflections From Her Eldest Son

Kau studied in a Hindi medium school until the age of 12 when she married 16-year-old Brij Gopal Pallod and moved to Zaheerabad, a small town near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. If asked whether she wasn’t too young to get married, her reply was always matter-offact “woh zamana aisa tha.” As the third daughter-in-law of the family, she easily assimilated into the joint family setup of five brothers and their families, considering the joint family system an asset.

Gita Conference Houston

Geevarghese Mar Athanasius is the son of late C.I. Idicula and late Achiyamma of Nedumpram in Pathanamthitta district. He completed his high school education from TMT High School, Neerattupuram, and later graduated from the Mar Thomas College in Tiruvalla. After joining the seminary, he completed the BD degree from Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur.

Kaushalya Devi -

Narmada Bai. She silently absorbed the values of duty and seva bhav from them and later passed them on to her children Vijay, Kamal, and Urmila.

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

my mother was at my son Bharat’s wedding in Hyderabad. Special arrangements had to made for her meals as she would not eat the meals made by non-marwari caterers. “Bahut yaad aate hai Vijay ki.” “Meri har baat manata hai.” My mother admitted this and it’s true that she and I shared a very close bond. It has been one of my biggest regrets that I was not able to spend more time with her as an adult. As I sometimes told

Joseph Emmett

Brahmacharini Shweta

Satya Kalra

Free and Open to Public

her “Kismet nahi hai ma ki seva karna.” My father who described her as very “dharmic and himmatwali” offers an instance of her courage. She travelled to the United States on her own with a slip of paper saying “SHE DOES NOT KNOW ENGLISH. PLEASE HELP

HER.” She made it safely for the deliveries of our children Bharat and Radhika. At 75 and with several health issues my mother Kaushalya Devi became physically weak but still able to walk using a walker until a week ago. But she remained mentally strong. Her father, still living and in

his mid-90’s, found it hard to see his daughter near her final passage. Family members of all generations will miss Kaushalya Devi greatly, but her values will live on in her children, grandchildren, and extended family members who respect and love her greatly.



China's media crackdown sends a chill through its tech sector by Yue Wang


hina has long censored what people can read and watch online, but the increasingly heavy hand of the regulator threatens to disrupt growth in the country’s vibrant tech sector. In the current campaign to "clean up" the country’s online space, Beijing hasn't just focused on removing politically sensitive information. Authorities are now going after what they consider to be content that violates “core socialist values,” and these values include anything from patriotism to a positive lifestyle. To some of China’s most valuable tech companies -- especially startups -- this means risking alienating users by removing popular themes that have helped them grow large audiences in the first place. If the trend continues, some analysts believe the value of these companies will take a hit as user numbers start to fall off. - User Backlash China’s Twitter-equivalent Sina Weibo recently targeted content the authorities have put under the spotlight. The company last week said it would remove gay, pornographic and violent content during a threemonth campaign. This triggered a storm of online protests under the quickly-deleted hashtag “I am gay,” as people criticized the company for discrimination. Weibo has now backed down, announcing on Monday through its official microblog that it will no longer remove gay-themed content during the current crackdown, without explaining further. It also reinstated the “I am gay” hashtag, which has been viewed 580 million times so far.

- Product Shutdown Other tech firms have also been requested to clean their sites up. Kuaishou, a Tencentbacked live-streaming platform with 100 million active users, and a valuation of $3 billion, has been removed from several Android app stores after state broadcaster CCTV criticized it for streaming teenage moms -- some who claimed to be as young as 14 -- and broadcast their newborns or swollen bellies online for no other reason than to be famous. Meanwhile, Beijing Bytedance, which has a valuation of $20 billion following a 2017 funding round, was last week told to permanently shut down its joke-sharing app Neihan Duanzi because it promoted “low values” among its 20 million active users, according to an online statement from the country’s media watchdog, the State Administration of Television and Video. Separately, its bread-and-butter Toutiao news app was suspended for three weeks, though regulators didn’t give a reason for doing so. “The Chinese government is cracking down on content that isn't in the spirit of party ideology,” said Paul Haswell, a Hong Kong-based partner at law firm Pinsent Masons. "Anything, whether it is a joke or a post, if it doesn’t match what the party wants people to be reading, they will pull it down without giving any reason." - Higher Costs The immediate business impact on these companies is higher operating costs. In a public apology issued last week, Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming said his prod-

For more news, visit

ucts "walked the wrong path," and the company promised to fix flaws in its content filtering system and increase its monitoring workforce from 6,000 to 10,000. Similarly, Kuaishou expanded its content reviewing team from 3,000 to 5,000, with the site looking for candidates with “good political awareness and political sensitivities.” Previously, both depended on an artificial intelligence-based algorithm to create tailored feeds for individual users, but they ultimately pushed too much content viewed as vulgar -- such as celebrity gossip -- to attract more eyeballs, according to Zhu Wei, deputy director of the Communications Law Research Center at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. “These companies haven’t paid enough attention to what regulators want,” Zhu said. “They should shoulder more responsibility in policing their sites.” - Valuation Hit And as the companies do so, their valuation could also take a hit because users may not find these cleaned-up sites as appealing, according to Zhang Yi, founder of Guangzhoubased consultancy iiMedia. Investors are willing to fund Bytedance and Kuaishou to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars because their user base is growing rapidly, especially in lower-tier cities where people become accustomed to their tailored feeds due to a lack of other entertainment options, Zhang said. Now, with the sites deleting content considered unsuitable by the authorities, it remains to be seen how many users will remain loyal. “By giving these companies very high valuations, investors have underestimated potential regulatory downsides,” Zhang said. “Now, with regulations hitting the basis of their growth, their valuations could be adjusted to more reasonable levels.” (-Forbes)

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Rape-killing of seven-year-old heightens Indian outrage

Protesters take part in a candlelight vigil in Ahmedabad in support of rape victims. (Photo: AFP/ Sam Panthaky)


EW DELHI, India | AFP | Tuesday 4/17/2018 - The body of a seven-year-old girl who had been raped and strangled was found in India Tuesday, compounding outrage over a series of horrific sexual attacks on women or girls. Nationwide protests have been held in the past week over the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Jammu and Kashmir state. In the latest case, the child's body was found on a building site early Tuesday, hours after she went missing from a wedding in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh state. Police said a neighbour who was putting up tents for the wedding had been detained on suspicion of luring the girl to the secluded building. Etah superintendent of police Akhilesh Chaurasia told AFP the man fled but was arrested within hours. "We have charged him with the rape and murder of the child. We are awaiting the postmortem reports but prima facie it looks she was strangled to

death," Chaurasia said. The authorities and police face mounting pressure over a series of sexual assaults, including the Jammu and Kashmir case.

resigned after they attended rallies organised to defend the accused. Some activists have accused the party of siding with Hindu groups demanding the release

Shocking crimes come ahead of key state and national elections That killing was in January but outrage has mounted as details of the rape emerged. Police say she was drugged and raped for days at a Hindu temple before being beaten to death

of the arrested men.

Eight men, all Hindus, have been arrested for the crime.

The woman's father died in police custody as he agitated for the authorities to take up the case.

Police said the accused targeted the girl because they wanted to drive her nomadic Muslim tribe out of the Hindudominated region. Two Jammu and Kashmir state ministers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

The BJP government has also faced criticism after one of its legislators in Uttar Pradesh state was arrested last week for the alleged rape of a 17-yearold woman.

A 2014 UN report said one in three rape victims in India was a minor. Nearly 11,000 cases of child rape were reported in India in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau's latest figures.



Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen to Highlight Global Partnerships in State of the City Address

HCC to launch Challenger Learning Center


OUSTON – Houston Community College is on a mission to thrill and educate young students in simulated flights to Mars, the Moon and beyond. The flights will blast off at the new Challenger Learning Center, where elementary, middle and high school students will be taught how to apply the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math to a trip to outer space. In February, HCC submitted a formal application to Challenger Center, headquartered in Washington D.C., to open a Challenger Learning Center at the HCC Southeast College Felix Fraga Campus. Approval came late last month, clearing

Mayor Allen Owen


ISSOURI CITY, TX - Mayor Allen Owen will present the 2018 State of the City address to Missouri City stakeholders, commercial partners and local leaders for the first time at the newly renovated Community Center in the City Hall complex, 1522 Texas Parkway, on Thursday, April 26, at 11:30 a.m. This year, Mayor Owen’s remarks will focus on the many great community and global partnerships that are shaping the City’s future and has resulted in Missouri City’s status as one of the nation’s premier places to live, work and play. Situated next to the recently opened Houston Community College Center for Entrepreneurship, Technology and Health and the soon-to-be-reopened Missouri City Library, the Community Center features a new outdoor plaza, interior design upgrades and houses the City’s newly opened Visitors Center. Guests at this year’s State of the City address will learn about the City’s renewed focus on economic development and how proactive approaches to community development and redevelopment are preparing the City for future success. Participants will also learn about the City’s many financial successes and changes and how the effects of Hurricane Harvey were managed in 2017. “Our forward-thinking initiatives, exemplified this year through our ongoing economic development study, continue to be key to our City’s success and growth,” Mayor Owen said. “We have been able to proactively capitalize on our strategic partnerships with community leaders to foster future growth and build on our previous

FB....Tommy Tune Award Nominees Continued from Page 5 Other FBISD schools to enter this year’s awards program include: Austin High School, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins Bush High School, Dreamgirls Clements High School, Monty Python’s Spamalot School Edition Travis High School, Hairspray About TUTS’ Tune Awards


The Tommy Tune Awards are named for Broadway legend, Houston native and Lamar High School alumnus, Tommy Tune. A performer, director and choreographer with more than 50 years of stage experience, Tune received nine Tony Awards for his work in the following productions: Seesaw, My One and Only, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies. He was also awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003 by President Bush.

accomplishments.” Title Sponsors are Johnson Development Corp. and WCA Waste. Underwriter Sponsors include Huitt-Zollars, Inc. and PGAL. Tickets and sponsorship details for this year’s event are available via the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce’s website (www. or by

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

contacting Matthew Ferraro at 281-491-0277 or matthew@ For more information about Missouri City, please watch the City website: w w w. m i s s o u r i c i t y t x . g o v, like us on Facebook—fb/ MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse).

The Challenger Learning Center’s Space Mission Simulator offers visitors the next best thing to actual space flight. (Image: NASA) the way for the start of a $2 million fundraising campaign to support construction of the 10,000 square foot Center.

passion for learning that lasts a lifetime. We look forward to working together to open the doors of this new Center.”

“We are incredibly impressed with Houston Community College’s vision for a seamless STEM pathway that launches students on a trajectory to higher education and 21st century skills. We share both this vision and a passion for inspiring today’s youth,” said Challenger Center President and CEO Lance Bush. “I congratulate everyone at Houston Community College on this extraordinary step to provide students in the area with a STEM experience that will spark a

The Challenger Learning Center at Houston Community College will join a network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers around the globe. Each Center is a fully immersive experience, including a Mission Control Room and Space Station where students work with hands-on labs, conduct experiments and analyze data during a Challenger Center Mission. Students learn teamwork, communicate with one another to complete tasks and solve problems when

emergencies arise. Aligned with national education standards and informed by real science data, Challenger Learning Center Missions introduce students to careers in STEM fields and help them build important 21st Century skills. "This will add to HCC's growing innovative educational offerings that already include participation in the city’s new innovation corridor in Midtown and partnerships with NASA and the University of Houston to build a Mars surface habitat and other additional facilities for manned missions to Mars." said HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado. "Today’s students are the innovators, explorers and designers of tomorrow. We must nurture their excitement and inspire their imagination." The Felix Fraga Campus, located on 11 acres at 301 N. Drennan St. in southeast Houston, offers a rigorous STEM curriculum that includes engineering, maritime logistics, drafting, math, physics and astronomy. It also has an astronomical observatory to serve students and the community. "HCC is proud to have been selected as the site for the newest Challenger Learning Center," said HCC Board Chair Carolyn Evans-Shabazz. "Houston put a man on the moon and now HCC is adding to Houston's heritage as Space City with this project. This new partnership with Challenger Center is a perfect match made in the heavens.”


FRIDAY, April 20 2018



FRIDAY, April 20 2018


Sixers, Mavericks to play NBA pre-season games in China


EW YORK | AFP - A Philadelphia 76ers squad powered by Cameroon's Joel Embiid and Australian Ben Simmons will face the Dirk Nowitzki-led Dallas Mavericks in China in two NBA pre-season games, the league announced Tuesday.

In all, 17 of the NBA's 30 teams will have played in China once the Mavericks and Sixers make their debuts. "The 25th and 26th NBA games in China mark another milestone in our efforts to bring the authentic NBA experience to our passionate Chinese fans," NBA China chief executive David Shoemaker said. Aussie playmaker Simmons, an NBA Rookie of the Year candidate, averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists a game for the 76ers this season. "Getting a chance to play all over the world has always been a dream of mine and I'm excited to play in China," Simmons said. "I know the fans there are passionate about basketball and I'm really looking forward

The Mavericks new Chinese sensation, Ding Yanyuhang (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) to the trip." African big man Embiid averaged team highs of 22.9 points and 11 rebounds for the Sixers, the 7-foot (2.13m) center becoming the first Philadelphia player selected for the NBA All-Star Game since Allen Iverson in 2010.

The Mavericks finished 2458, missing the playoffs for the second year in a row. They haven't won a playoff series since capturing the 2011 NBA Finals over Miami.

"It will be an honor to be the first 76ers team to play in front of the amazing fan base in China," Embiid said.

Germany's Nowitzki, a 13time NBA All-Star who was the 2011 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, averaged 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists a game for Dallas this season.

The 76ers, who went 52-30 to finish third in the Eastern Conference this season, are facing Miami in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It's their first trip to the post-season since 2012.

"When I played in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I witnessed China's enthusiasm for basketball firsthand," Nowitzki said. "It will be a fantastic experience for our franchise to play in China for the first time."

Philadelphia boasts one of the NBA's most global lineups, with other international talents including Italy's Marco Belinelli, Croatia's Dario Saric, Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova and Furkan Korkmaz and Frenchman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

The Mavericks were the first team in NBA history with a Chinese player, with Wang Zhizhi suiting up for Dallas in 2001 and 2002. Wang also played for the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat before returning to the Bayi Rockets in 2005 and played until retiring in 2016.


Houston's real 'money' player? SaberCats' Kolinisau appears on Fijian bill


OUSTON - He is worth his weight in gold, the Houston SaberCats will tell you. But Osea Kolinisau is also connected to another form of currency.

The 23 players have been divided into three groups consisting of U-19s, old U-19s and India A players.

The BCCI wants to protect these players so that they do not over-exhaust themselves.

The criterion of selecting these players is that the BCCI thinks these cricketers are worthy of India call-ups in future. - The rationale behind this move -


The hosts chased down England's 201-9 with almost five overs to spare. Amy Jones hit a careerbest 94 in England's innings, but it never looked like being enough once Mithali Raj (74 not out) combined with Smriti Mandhana (53) and Deepti Sharma (54). England's next assignment is the home visit of South Africa this summer. "We can have no qualms today, we were well beaten. We were out-batted as much as anything, we were probably light by 50 runs," head coach Mark Robinson said after the

England beat India in last year's World Cup final at Lord's 2-1 series loss. "We had the chance to create a bit of history, being the first England women's team to come to India and win."

"She's had a tough time with the gloves and bat but she came through today and was outstanding, and showed a lot of character.

Paying tribute to Warwickshire wicketkeeper Jones, who hit seven fours and one six, Robinson added:

"It was a big game for her, and hopefully the start of something that she can really build on." (-BBC Sports)

Cricket coach shot dead in India, probe underway Kharkhoda town as the coach Sumit Badhwar was coming out. Unidentified, motorcycleborne assailants fired on him from close range and fled from the spot. Bhadwar was rushed to a

nearby hospital where he was declared dead. The cricket coach was a resident of Sunarian village in the adjoining Rohtak district. Police said that they were investigating the reason behind the killing. (-IANS)

Fantasy golf: Sleeper picks for Valero Texas Open by Rob Bolton


He is worth his weight in gold, the Houston SaberCats will tell you, but Osea Kolinisau is also connected to another form of currency. is a reason why Kolinisau came here to Houston. It’s good to know someone important enough to be featured on a bill worth seven dollars, still has a cents of humor.

“Do you know any other players that are on currency?” asked Bristol. "Yeah, all these players," joked Kolinisau, pointing to the team photo on the back of the bill (-KHOU)

fter consideration, here are my picks:

Joaquin Niemann … All right, here we go. It doesn't seem like 10 months ago when he first appeared in this space (for the U.S. Open), but he kept busy in the interim. His whirlwind schedule included redemption at the Latin America Amateur Championship and another victory in a professional event in his native Chile, this time by five strokes four weeks before his first appearance at the Masters that his LAAC victory yielded. Speaking of debuts, the Valero Texas Open marks

"Ah, probably if I cut my hair!" joked Kolinisau.

Indeed, transitioning from playing to someday coaching,

The U-19 WC winning team sees four players in the

Domestic India A members: Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar, Vijay Shankar, Jaydev Unadkat, Basil Thampi, Deepak Hooda, Mayank Agarwal, Ravikumar Samarth, Navdeep Saini, Siddarth Kaul, Hanuma Vihari, Ankit Bawne.


Kolinsau was the captain of Fiji’s national rugby team which won gold at the Rio Olympics in rugby sevens; a faster version of rugby with seven guys on a side playing seven minute halves.

The SaberCats open their Major League Rugby season on April 21 against New Orleans.

- The 23 players shortlisted by BCCI -

The old U-19s consist of Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant, Avesh Khan, Khaleel Ahmed and Sanju Samson.

ndia completed a series win over world champions England with an eight-wicket victory in the third and final one-day international in Nagpur.

The incident took place outside the government senior secondary school in

That legacy is a small nation celebrating its first-ever Olympic gold medal.

The SaberCats don’t need Kolinisau to change one bit. His experience has been invaluable since day one, says Houston head coach Justin Fitzpatrick. “I was bowled over by his enthusiasm; his passion for the game; how he wanted to share that, which is incredibly important to me and the organization," said Fitzpatrick.

An official cited that the step has been taken in the interest of the Indian cricket in coming time.

mix: Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi.

England women in India: Hosts complete series win


It goes back to the ‘we’ he just mentioned. “We talked about it, before going to the Olympics about having our own legacy,” he said.

"Do you think that looks like you (on the bill)?" wondered Bristol. "On the other side there?"

The BCCI wants to keep an eye on all the selected players during the ongoing IPL because of the schedule and a lot of travelling involved between matches.

ARYANA, India - A cricket coach was shot dead outside a school in Haryana's Sonipat district on Tuesday, police said.

Kolinisau pictured on Fiji’s seven-dollar bill. How does that happen?

It features Kolinisau on the font of the bill, along with head coach Ben Ryan who's shown overseeing one of the squad’s grueling training sessions along the Fijian sand dunes.

he BCCI is set to monitor the progress and workload of 23 shortlisted players during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.

Motorcycle-borne assailants fired on him from close range

"What’s that mean to you?” asked Sports Anchor Jason Bristol, while handing a bill to the SaberCats player. “Dude,” replied Kolinisau. “It means a lot – on what we’ve achieved as a team.”

Hence, the $7 bill issued by Fiji last year to commemorate this momentous accomplishment.

IPL 2018: BCCI to monitor workload of 23 shortlisted players


The 2018 NBA China Games on October 5 in Shanghai and October 8 at Shenzhen will be the 25th and 26th league contests in China and feature two clubs that will be playing in China for the first time. "These games will not only bring the excitement of NBA action directly to our passionate Chinese fans, but also provide our teams and players an opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of the country," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.


Read up on Local and International Sports! Visit us online

his first tournament anywhere as a pro. He leaves behind the No. 1 ranking in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at just 19 years of age. Starts at the AT&T Byron Nelson (May 1720) and Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide (May 31-June 3) are among others to follow.

comfortable in that challenge, he's also proven to be streaky, so there's multiple reasons to expect him to sustain form in San Antonio where he's 3-for3 since 2015 but still chasing his first top 25. His confidence comes to life on the greens on which he's 41st in strokes gained: putting this season.

Chris Kirk ... A moving target no matter your criteria, he connected for a T8 and T13 at TPC San Antonio in 2015 and 2016, respectively, but bracketed them with a T48 in 2011 and a missed cut last year. The 32-year-old also has registered a trio of top 15s in 2018, the last a 13th-place finish at Bay Hill a month ago, but he finished outside the top 30 in all of his other seven starts. While inconsistency among most touring professionals isn't unusual, it is surprising that he's competed the entire season while positioned no better than 150th in the Official World Golf Ranking, especially when you further consider that he's 41st in strokes gained: tee-togreen, 46th in proximity, 43rd in adjusted scoring and 28th in bogey avoidance.

Nate Lashley … The 35-yearold has endured the usual challenges facing rookies at this level, but he's turned it around just enough to warrant some attention in the wind of the Hill Country. After placing T28 at Corales where he prevailed on the Tour last year, he recorded a careerbest T18 in Houston. What's more, his strength of striping irons matters most in his debut at TPC San Antonio. Currently 49th on the PGA TOUR in greens in regulation and leading the circuit in proximity to the hole. Also T26 in bogey avoidance.

Shawn Stefani … As he has before at the Houston Open, the native Texan delivered in his last start there with a T24. He warmed up the previous week with a T13 in the strong winds at Puntacana. While

Daniel Summerhays … A tournament that has been very, very good to him extended another opportunity in the form of a sponsor exemption this week. Saddled with conditional status this season, playing time has been limited to seven starts. He failed to crack a top 50 in the three cuts he made, but since 2012 at TPC San Antonio, he's 6-for-6 with three top 10s and a T13. (-PGAGolf)



US cracks down on Syrian 'human trafficking gang

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Starbucks to shut US stores for 'racial-bias education' by Jennie Matthew


EW YORK, AFP | 4/17/2018 - Starbucks will close stores and corporate offices across the United States on May 29 to conduct "racial-bias education," the company announced Tuesday, following outrage over the arrest of two black men in one of its cafes. It was the latest bid by the behemoth coffee chain to recover from last Thursday's incident in Philadelphia, which was captured on video and went viral, viewed millions of times. Would-be migrants' route begins in Syria and transits Lebanon, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, before arriving in "certain South and Central American countries" and then the southwest US border, seen in April 2018. AFP/File | Photo.


ASHINGTON | AFP | 4/18/2018 The United States imposed sanctions Wednesday on a gang it alleges has smuggled migrants out of war-torn Syria and through Mexico to the southern US border. The US Treasury accused a 47-year-old Syrian, Nasif Barakat, of operating a "global network" bringing travellers to the United States illegally. Would-be migrants pay an average of $20,000 and they are provided with false or fraudulently-obtained documents, sometimes including European passports. Their route begins in Syria and transits Lebanon, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, before arriving in "certain South and Central American countries" and then the southwest US border. Under the sanctions, US citizens are forbidden from doing business with Barakat or his gang, which is designated a "transnational criminal

organization." Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared in the US statement that the action follows an executive order from President Donald Trump to dismantle such gangs. "Many of these organizations use human smugglers to bring

people across our borders with little regard to their safety or our national sovereignty," Sessions said. "We will continue to use every lawful tool we have to defend our borders, fight alien smuggling, and restore legality to our immigration system."

...Barbara Bush

Continued from Page 1

to two US presidents. Abigail Adams, who died in 1818, was the other. Another son, Jeb Bush, served two terms as governor of Florida and ran for president himself in 2016. "I'm exceptionally privileged to be the son of George Bush and the exceptionally gracious, gregarious, fun, funny, loving, tough, smart, graceful woman who was the force of nature known as Barbara Bush," Jeb Bush wrote in tribute to his



Barbara first met her husband-to-be at age 16 when she was a schoolgirl and he was a student at an elite Massachusetts preparatory school. They married in 1945 while he was on leave from wartime service. She was her husband's consummate companion and advisor as they traveled the world, moving multiple times as he rose from Texas oil man to congressman, US ambassador to the United Nations and envoy to China.

The video posted on Twitter by a Starbucks client shows uniformed police questioning and then handcuffing the two men, who offer no resistance, as a white client repeatedly asks an officer, "What'd they do? What'd they do?" Starbucks said more than 8,000 stores would be closed on the afternoon of May 29 and training provided to nearly 175,000 employees, and incorporated going forward. CEO Kevin Johnson, who has also apologized, said the company was "committed to being a part of the solution" and that he had been in Philadelphia "listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it." "Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities," he said. The curriculum will be designed "to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome,"

Protestors demonstrate outside a Starbucks on April 15, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (AFP Photo/Mark Makela). the company statement.




Philadelphia police said they received a 911 call from a Starbucks worker who said the men were trespassing, after refusing to buy anything. Police said officers had "politely" asked the two to leave before finally arresting them. They reportedly asked first to use the bathroom, but were told it was only for paying customers. The two men's lawyer Lauren Wimmer told a CBS affiliate in Philadelphia that they had been waiting for a third man to arrive for a business meeting. - Indignities, suspicion Starbucks declined to prosecute and the men were released. Ex US president Barack Obama's former attorney general Eric Holder and Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights lawyer who has exonerated innocent prisoners on death row, will be among those experts consulted on the curriculum, Starbucks said. "Being treated with respect

and dignity at a place of public accommodation is an essential aspect of full citizenship," tweeted NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which fights for racial justice and which is also being consulted. "The reality is that most black Americans regularly face the indignities of being treated with suspicion," it added. "This is a crucial next step in fighting implicit bias," tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, another expert consulted. The woman who posted the video, Melissa DePino, said a Starbucks employee called police because the men had not ordered anything, while they waited for a friend. "All the other white (people) are wondering why it's never happened to us when we do the same thing," she tweeted. "The men were sitting there peacefully quietly and they were put in handcuffs and they were walked out of the store, humiliated, embarrassed and put in a patrol car," DePino subsequently told MSNBC television.

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

µ˙The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston



IMF sees emerging Asia as top global growth engine


FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Section 2 Tel: 713-774-5140

China to relax foreign ownership limits on cars, other industries by Albee Zhang / Ryan Mcmorrow


EIJING | AFP |China announced Tuesday a timeline to open up its manufacturing sector including scrapping ownership limits for foreign automakers, shipbuilders and aircraft firms -- addressing a contentious issue in its trade dispute with the United States.

by Ryan Mcmorrow


EIJING, China | AFP | 4/17/2018 - The IMF said Tuesday it remains upbeat about the economic prospects of emerging Asia, labelling the region “the most important engine of global growth” despite concerns over trade disputes and mounting debt. The International Monetary Fund’s latest quarterly World Economic Outlook forecasts global growth of 3.9 percent this year as the world economy hums along and nations retain supportive fiscal policies. The fastest-paced expansion will remain concentrated in Asia, it predicts, where the buoyant economies of China, India and a host of Southeast Asian nations will perform well above the global average. The IMF left unchanged from January its growth estimate for China of 6.6 percent for 2018 and 6.4 percent in 2019. The country’s own 2018 target is around 6.5 percent. China reported Tuesday that its economy had grown 6.8 percent in the first quarter, maintaining the same pace as the fourth quarter. India is widely expected to

be the next global growth juggernaut. The IMF foresees the nation’s economy surging by 7.4 percent this year and 7.8 percent in 2019, also unchanged from its previous outlook in January. The two Asian giants have seen their economic prospects brighten amid strong global demand for their exports and as their massive populations start spending, the IMF said. Southeast Asia’s booming economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will collectively maintain growth above five percent this year and next, the fund said. “Emerging Asia, which is forecast to continue growing at about 6.5 percent during 2018– 19, remains the most important engine of global growth,” the fund wrote. Global trade jumped 4.9 percent last year, the fund estimated, with China’s exporters being among the largest beneficiaries. Their prospects are less certain amid US President Donald Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion worth of Chinese goods as part of his “America First” agenda.

The liberalisation meets a longtime demand of the US and other countries seeking better access for their companies in the world’s biggest car market and one of the largest markets for air travel. China currently restricts foreign auto firms to a maximum 50 percent ownership of joint ventures with local companies. The country will this year end shareholding limits for new energy vehicle firms such as those that produce electric cars, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The move will be followed by commercial vehicles in 2020 and passenger cars in 2022, when it will also abolish restrictions limiting foreign automakers to two joint-venture partners, the NDRC said in a statement. “After a five-year transition period, the auto sector will lift all restrictions,” it said. Auto analysts said the new rules will have the most immediate benefit for electric car makers, especially those with a less established presence in China. - A boon for Tesla One car company likely to gain is electric car giant Tesla led by entrepreneur Elon Musk,

China said it will lift restrictions on foreign ownership in the auto sector by 2022 AFP/STR who this year had asked US President Donald Trump for help on the market access issue, alluding to the troubles his firm has faced producing in China. “It has instant impact for firms like Tesla,” said Li Yanwei, an analyst with the China Automobile Dealers Association Expert Committee. “China is the world’s biggest electric car market so it has a great deal of attraction to any auto company. The demand for electric cars is very small in other countries,” he said. “Auto companies can now keep their secrets and they can earn higher profits,” Li said. Under the current setup, foreign carmakers must transfer proprietary technology to the joint venture companies they set up -- the issue of forced technology transfer has been a top concern for the Trump administration. “China’s full opening of the

manufacturing industry is a clear indication of our opposition to trade and investment protectionism, and shows our clear support to widening and deepening the development of economic globalisation,” the NDRC said in the announcement. “Through the full liberalisation of the manufacturing industry, we will support Chinese and foreign companies in achieving common development on a level playing field,” the NDRC said. It said it hoped the liberalisations would encourage greater exchanges of capital, technology, management and personnel of Chinese and foreign firms. Volkswagen “welcomes any opening and liberalisation of the Chinese market” a spokesman said. “We will carefully analyse if these changes open the door to new options for the Volkswagen group and its brands,” the

spokesman added. President Xi Jinping announced the plans for the auto industry last week without giving any timeline. Xi’s announcement was among a series of measures seen as potential concessions to Trump in the face of a potential trade war, including a pledge to lower car tariffs this year. - Washington wary Still, after Xi struck the conciliatory note in his speech, Trump showed no indication he would back down from imposing the threatened tariffs on $150 billion worth of Chinese goods, and Beijing said it was ready to hit back in kind. Officials in Washington say they have grown wary of China’s endless promises that often result in little action. The NDRC announcement could allay those complaints by giving specific dates for completion of the reforms.

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Steven Spielberg tackling DC Comics movie ‘Blackhawk’


Varun’s charisma brings girl to run away from home


e is ruling the box office and is the talk of the town with his last release October.

Varun Dhawan is a heart-throb of the younger generation and it is normal to spot fans queueing outside his house to catch a glance of their favorite actor.

(Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Courtesy of DC Comics(

OS ANGELES - Steven Spielberg is jumping into the world of DC Comics.


The iconic filmmaker is tackling his first DC Comics property, the World War II action-adventure hero Blackhawk. Spielberg, along with his Amblin Entertainment, will produce Blackhawk for Warner Bros., and is developing it as a directing vehicle, the studio announced Tuesday. The move reteams him with the studio behind his latest tentpole, Ready Player One. David Koepp, who has work with Spielberg writing blockbusters Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, is writing the script. The material seems tailor-made for the filmmaker behind the Indiana Jones movies. Blackhawk told of an international squadron of heroic pilots led by a man named Blackhawk who fought the Nazis and their ilk in World War II. The series debuted in 1941’s Military

Comics No. 1,published originally by Quality Comics before DC acquired the property in 1956. Co-created by comic book legend Will Eisner, along with Bob Powell and Chuck Cuidera, the comic was one of the biggest sellers in the 1940s. Spielberg will produce the film together with Kristie Macosko Krieger, under the Amblin Entertainment banner, while former studio executive Sue Kroll will executive produce under her Kroll & Co. Entertainment shingle. “We are so proud to be the studio behind Steven Spielberg’s latest hit, and are thrilled to be working with him again on this new action adventure,” said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich. “We can’t wait to see what new ground he will break in introducing ‘Blackhawk’ to movie audiences worldwide.” Spielberg is still on track to make Indiana Jones 5 his next movie and is still developing a remake of West Side Story for which he is trying to cast his leads. Player One has made over $476 million worldwide since its March 29 opening. (-Hollywood Reporter)

Cathy Yan in talks to direct Harley Quinn movie


ilmmaker Cathy Yan is joining the DC universe.

whom Warner Bros. hired last week to write Batgirl.

She is in talks to direct an untitled DC film featuring Margot Robbie’s Suicide Squad character.

Warners isn’t copping to Birds of Prey, but is developing it under the rubrick of the “untitled Harley Quinn girl gang movie.” Sources are describing the project as an all-female variation on Suicide Squad.

The Warner Bros. film is expected to be based on the Birds of Prey property, which centers on a female-led team that debuted in 1995 and in the comics and has included characters over the years such as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Catwoman and Katana (who was played by Karen Fukuhara in Suicide Squad). The film has a script by Christina Hodson,

Yan is an up-and-coming filmmaker, whose feature directorial debut Dead Pigs earned strong reviews at Sundance earlier this year. The dark comedy won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Acting. In addition to also

But one fan went a notch ahead when he eloped her house in Surat to come to Mumbai and meet Varun, a report in Mumbai Mirror said. She left her home on Friday, boarded a train to Mumbai and reached the actor’s apartment the same night. On Saturday, she was picked up by the police.

“The girl insisted on meeting the actor even though security personnel at the building in Khar told her that Varun Dhawan was not at home. She started shouting from outside the building and created a ruckus when she got to know the security guards were not conveying her messages to his residence. A building resident, who heard the girl shouting, then informed us,” a police official was quoted by the daily. Investigations have revealed that the girl is the daughter of a Surat-based textile manufacturer and had sneaked out of her residence on Friday. (-KhaleejTimes)

Everything you need to know about the next big wedding in Bollywood umours refuse to die regarding Sonam Kapoor’s wedding to her longtime boyfriend Anand Ahuja.


Mumbai Mirror had reported that the wedding might be spread over three-day between May 7 to May 10 in Mumbai. The ceremony will be preceded by a sangeet and mehendi ceremony. How can a big fat Bollywood wedding be complete without elaborately planned dance moves? New reports suggest choreographer Farah Khan will be handling the dance department at the wedding. “Rehearsals have kicked off at Anil Kapoor’s Juhu bungalow. The doting dad and mom Sunita will be putting together a special act for the bride-to-be at the sangeet. Sonam’s cousins and extended family have joined in as well for the pre-wedding ceremony. They will perform on her hit songs like the Veere. title track, ‘Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai’, ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, and ‘Dheere Dheere’ among others,” a source told Mumbai Mirror. The actress recently talked about her personal life and her relationship status with Anand.

directing several shorts, Yan has worked as a Wall Street Journal reporter based out of New York, Hong Kong and Beijing. (-Hollywood Reporter

“I don’t want it to be written about. That has to be under my control. Everything else in my life is completely out of control. People are always saying things about me, on social media. They are always judging the way I look, the way I stand, the way I eat, the way I act, the way I speak. I need to protect others who come into my life because that person hasn’t signed up for what I have.

Why should he or she have to go through that? It’s not fair. It’s private and I don’t believe in talking about it. I will not hide it but I will not talk about it either.” On work front, Sonam is currently working on her upcoming movie ‘Veere Di Wedding’ that also stars Kareena Kapoor and Swarna Bhaskar. (-Khaleej Times)

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Young Life

Nursing graduation is a family affair


ALVESTON, Texas – For six of the 578 graduates receiving their degrees from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston School of Nursing, the day will be extra special since family members either work or teach at UTMB. You might say they are all, “keeping it in the family.” Student Trista Arnold is very excited to have family present for her graduation, and even more excited that her mother will be there not only to support her, but to also receive her own Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Arnold’s mother, Tonya Callender, received her nursing degree 30 years ago and has been a source of support during her time in school. “I could not have asked for better person to go through nursing school with,” said Arnold. “It was great to have my mom to understand and be supportive of me and to push me through when things got hard.” Graduation day also will be special for Trista’s mother as she receives her doctoral hood from her husband, Dr. David L. Callender, UTMB’s president. “I am very excited, it is not very often you get to watch your daughter graduate and also get your husband who happens to be the president to hood you,” said Callender. The hooding ceremony is a memorable time when a faculty member places the doctoral hood over the head of the graduate, signifying their success in completing the graduate program. School of Nursing assistant professor Rebeka Watson Campbell will be proudly watching as her husband,


NDIO, California | AFP Coachella became one of the world’s premier music festivals not only for the A-list performers. The two-weekend party in the California desert has become a major event in its own right for the fashion. Graduates from previous UTMB senior nursing class (Photo: UTMB) Stewart Campbell, receives his Master of Science in Nursing degree. “It is a little different for me because I did this with him four years ago when he got his baccalaureate degree,” said Watson Campbell. “When he got his degree at that time I was also on stage with him, so I have had practice.” Graduate Allison Strawn’s father, Kenneth Strawn, is a software systems specialist at UTMB’s Moody Medical Library and through the years Allison has had quite a number of other family members work at UTMB. When asked how it will feel graduating from an institution where so many family members have worked Strawn said, “I think all of the graduates are proud to be graduating from UTMB, but I do feel it is different when you have family members that work at UTMB and you have grown up hearing about how good a school it is.” There are more UTMB families that will be filled with pride as their family members graduate. School of Nursing assistant

professor Tina Mathers a 2011 UTMB graduate will be watching as her daughter Rachel, receives her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and assistant Professor Jackie Aoughsten will be proud as her daughter, Danielle also receives a BSN. Regardless of their immediate connection to UTMB, the nearly 600 graduates all now become a part of an extended family of more than 12,000 who have graduated from a nursing school institution that began in 1890 as the John Sealy Hospital Training School for Nurses. Commencement will be an exciting time for UTMB’s new senior vice president and dean of the School of Nursing, Deborah Jones. “I am very proud to celebrate the accomplishments of our students with their family who also happen to be our UTMB family. This is truly going to be a family affair!” WHERE: Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston WHEN: 3 p.m. Friday, April 20


RISBANE, Australia | AFP - Fifteen-yearold Anish Bhanwala became India’s youngest Commonwealth Games champion with a stunning victory in the 25m rapid fire pistol on Friday.

India’s Anish Bhanwala won the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol at the Commonwealth Games at the age of just 15

“I’m very excited that I became the Commonwealth champion. I am the youngest athlete from India to win Commonwealth gold at 15,” Bhanwala said, adding: “I will celebrate with my coach.”

India’s only individual Olympic gold medal so far was won by Abhinav Bindra in the 10m air rifle at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.

They dress in green from head to toe, or at least when they dress at all. Tiana Tuttle and T.J. Sonnier covered their bodies with green nets over matching swimsuits, with caps to top it off. The pair from Los Angeles have been coordinating their festival outfits for several years. Tuttle, 23, said that this year, they wanted to explore the fashion possibilities of bondage. “We wanted to be that slutty, sexy thing in the corner that you can look at when you’re bored at the show,” said Sonnier, 22. - A passion for flowers Hillary Osgood, 31, has been heading to festivals, especially Coachella, for 12 years. One thing she never forgets and has never lost -- her light purple umbrella that both shields her from the sun and highlights her signature style.

India have repeatedly been on target at the Commonwealth Games, topping the shooting medals table with Bhanwala their sixth winner in Brisbane.

“Our findings have implications for parenting and family dynamics,” suggests Xiaoran Sun, doctoral student in Human Development and Family Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, who led the study. “Parents need to be aware of how siblings can influence one another and monitor their children’s interactions, as well as how they as parents treat their children.” Researchers collected information via home interviews and telephone calls from first- and second-born children from 152 families to determine whether and how siblings’ experiences during middle childhood (ages 9 to 11) predicted differences in siblings’ college graduation status (i.e., whether they had graduated 15 years later). Specifically, the researchers measured siblings’ warmth toward one another and their time engaging in shared activities. They also examined differences between the siblings in mothers’ and fathers’ warmth toward their two children and the time parents spent with each child,

as well as children’s perceptions of their parents’ fairness in how they were treated relative to their siblings. Fifteen years later, researchers determined whether the siblings had graduated 15 years later from college. The youth were almost exclusively from European American families living in small cities, towns, and rural areas in Pennsylvania. The families were mostly working class to middle class. Warmth between siblings in middle childhood predicted the likelihood of siblings having the same college graduation status (i.e., both graduating or both not graduating), even after considering differences in the siblings’ middle- and highschool grades, the researchers found. When warmth was greater, the siblings tended to follow a similar path (i.e., both graduated or both didn’t graduate); when there was less warmth, siblings more often had different graduation outcomes (i.e.,

Genevieve Paish of Christchurch, New Zealand (Photo: AFP) was disappointed in the changing musical direction of everexpanding Coachella and may not come back. “I thought I should go all out for my last one. It’s sort of like my graduation,” she said. - Recycled fashion Chanel Twyman and Auzu-

Twyman, 23, said that she and Watkins, 25, considered themselves “very fashion-forward” -- and found the cans to be comfortable. - All about the sunglasses For Genevieve Paish of Christchurch, New Zealand, who is attending Coachella for

This year, she decked herself out in matching flowers draped like a turban on her head. While the flowers are artificial, Osgood said she found inspiration as she lives in the flower district of Los Angeles and works at a tiki bar. “It’s a way to exemplify the Coachella lifestyle. It’s not every day that you find a safe place to project some of your style,” she said.

The purple-haired 21-yearold sported a floor-length, sparkling red dress that she found in a vintage store in her home of Santa Barbara, California, paired with thick maroon sunglasses and a golden belt. Hayden however said she

Siblings’ experiences in middle childhood predict differences in college graduation status

The study, conducted by researchers at The Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University, is published in Child Development, a journal of the Society for Research in Child Development.

- Fun with bondage -

Aquiel Hayden has been on the festival circuit for the past two weeks and threw her clothes into a suitcase, choosing the day’s wardrobe at the last minute.

The teenager immediately set his sights on this year’s world championships and Asian Games, but he is also likely to be touted as a future Olympic hope.

A new longitudinal study investigated whether and how siblings’ experiences in middle childhood predicted differences in their educational achievement, specifically, whether they graduated from college 15 years later. The study found that when siblings in middle childhood experienced less warmth in their relationships with each other, spent different amounts of time with their fathers, or thought their parents treated them unfairly relative to their siblings, they were more likely to differ in their college graduation status (i.e., graduating versus not graduating).

While designers have heavily marketed their brands to Coachella, the fans who draw the most notice often do so by embracing their own sartorial flair, driven by a sense of innovation and, among revelers in the searing heat, of inhibition.

- ‘Graduation’ in a vintage dress -

Bhanwala, who is already the world record-holder in the 25m standard pistol, fired an unbeatable maximum score of 30 points in the gold-medal shoot-off.


From bondage to flowers, a fashion bonanza at Coachella by Kyle Grillot and Shaun Tandon

Indian hotshot, 15, blasts way into Commonwealth history books

raduating from college has significant implications for adults’ long-term success, including employment, family formation, and health.

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Fashion and fans (the kind you need in the heat) were a constant. nay Watkins were looking for something different for Coachella and found it -- short, and largely revealing, dresses made entirely from the tops of soft drink cans. The pair from Philadelphia bought the unique outfits from the New York designer Gypsy Sport and matched them with equally shiny half-masks with rabbit ears.

the first time, the initial accessory was a pair of orange-red, heart-shaped sunglasses. (Top photo) Paish, 21, said she picked the rest of her outfit to match, including her impromptu dress of drooping red strings. She dyed her hair a similar color and used a key chain to make puffy red scrunchies with which to hold up her hair.

Poll: Young people more likely to shift toward supporting abortion rights by Sarah McCammon


new national poll finds a growing divide between younger and older Americans on abortion and reproductive health care — a shift that may be driven in large part by changing attitudes toward religion. In the survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI, respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 were more likely to report that their views on abortion had changed in recent years — and when they moved, they tended to move in favor of abortion rights. Of those young people whose opinions had changed, 25 percent said they became more

one graduated and the other didn’t). In addition, in middle childhood, both the difference in the amount of time fathers spent with the two siblings and siblings’ perceptions of their parents’ fairness predicted the likelihood of siblings differing in graduation status. When there was a larger discrepancy in the amount of time fathers spent with the siblings, or when the siblings perceived that they were treated more unfairly by their parents, they tended to

supportive of legalized abortion compared to 9 percent who became less supportive. Older respondents, meanwhile, were less likely to report they had changed their opinions; those who had changed their minds were more likely to have shifted toward opposing abortion rights. “This moving in opposite directions has led us to a greater polarization between the generations on this issue,” said PRRI CEO Robert Jones. The poll also looked at personal beliefs about abortion — in other words, opinions on the morality or ethics of abortion apart from the legal or political status of the procedure.

have different graduation outcomes (i.e., one graduated from college and the other didn’t). “Parent education and family programs should move beyond a focus on mother-child relationships by including fathers, and by studying the experiences of siblings,” according to Susan McHale, Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and professor of demography at The Pennsylvania State University, who coauthored the study. (-Science Daily)

More than half of Americans, 54 percent, said abortion “goes against my personal beliefs,” while 44 percent said it did not. A substantial number of respondents appeared to separate their personal views from their public policy position; 34 percent said that while abortion violates their personal beliefs, they believe it should be legal in most or all cases. Here, too, a generational divide was apparent: 60 percent of older respondents said abortion violates their personal beliefs, compared with 44 percent of younger people. Jones said he believes the generational divide on abortion is explained at least in part by a larger shift among young people away from religion, particularly among white evangelical Protestants. While some religious traditions support abortion rights, Jones notes that white evangelicals have consistently opposed abortion in larger numbers than other religious groups. In the PRRI poll, 78 percent of white evangelical. But while white evangelicals remain a dominant religious group in America, the tradition is losing younger members. The margin of error is 2.6 percentage points. (-NPR)


Section 2

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Trump’s Supreme Court pick gives surprise vote in immigration case


ASHINGTON | AFP | 4/17/2018 Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch cast a surprise vote in a decision released Tuesday favoring an immigrant fighting deportation, siding with the US Supreme Court’s left-leaning wing. Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s only appointee to the top US court, joined in a 5-4 ruling stating that the legal definition of a crime of violence -which was being used to deport Philippines-born James Garcia Dimaya -- was too vague. According to federal law, immigrants convicted of crimes of violence are to be deported. Dimaya, who had been convicted of burglary in California, challenged his deportation on the grounds that his offense was not severe enough to be considered a violent crime. The ruling is a setback for the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies. Trump was swift in condemning the court’s move and calling for congressional action to set an immigration crackdown into law. “Today’s Court decision means that Congress must close loopholes that block the removal of dangerous criminal aliens, including aggravated felons,” he tweeted. “This is a public safety crisis that can only be fixed by Congress – House and Senate must quickly pass a legislative fix to ensure violent criminal aliens can be removed from our society. Keep America Safe!” The staunchly conservative Gorsuch, who cast the deciding vote, has sat on the bench of the highest court in the land for just over a year. Trump often refers to Gorsuch as the justice who will stand up for the values cherished by his core supporters, including gun rights and opposition to abortion.

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FRIDAY,April April20 20, 2018 2018 FRIDAY,

APRIL is National Autism Awareness Month Section 2

Fish oil supplements don’t help dry eye disease: study


AMPA, Fl | AFP | 4/13/2018 - Fish oil supplements have long been recommended to people suffering from dry eye disease, a common ailment that affects millions worldwide -- but a study out Friday says they don’t work.

A total of 61 percent of people in the omega-3 group and 54 percent of those in the control group achieved at least a 10-point improved, but the difference between groups was not statistically significant.

Tel: 713-774-5140

Exercise, not vitamins, urged to prevent falls in seniors

“We were surprised that the omega-3

Exercise, rather than supplements like vitamin D, is the best way to avoid falls, the leading cause of injury-related death among people over 65, new US guidelines say. Photo: AFP file

“Omega-3 supplements are no more effective than placebo at alleviating dry eye symptoms,” read the findings from a randomized clinical trial involving 535 people and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dry eye disease affects more than 16 million Americans, causing burning, itching, stinging, and impaired vision. Experts estimate that in the United States dry eye costs some $55 billion per year in lost productivity and medical care, according to background information in the article. Those enrolled in the study had all struggled with moderate to severe dry eye for at least six months. The subjects were randomly assigned to either a daily dose of an omega-3 supplement or an olive oil placebo, delivered in identical capsules. Neither the patients nor their eye doctors knew which treatment group they were in. After a year, symptoms had “improved substantially in both groups,” said the report.

supplements had no beneficial effect,” said study co-author Vatinee Bunya, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania. “The results are significant and may change the way a lot of ophthalmologists and optometrists treat their patients.” According to Matthew Gorski, an ophthalmologist at Northwell Health in New York, doctors interested in dry eye and the effectiveness of fish oil supplements have “eagerly awaited results of clinical trials with the hope that it would potentially improve one’s quality of life.” Gorski, who was not involved in the research, said “further studies should be performed to confirm this finding.” Jules Winokur, an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, described the study as “important,” and agreed that more work is needed to understand why both groups improved almost equally. “Dry eye is a common problem that almost everyone experiences at some


AMPA | AFP | Tuesday 4/17/2018 - Falling is the leading cause of injury-related death among people over age 65, and seniors who want to avoid falls should exercise, not rely on supplements like vitamin D, US guidelines said Tuesday.

D deficiency or a frail bone condition known as osteoporosis, the task force’s latest review of clinical trials on the topic found no benefit for average seniors, and even an increased risk of kidney stones for those who take vitamin D and calcium supplements.

The new recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force update those last issued in 2012, when the independent medical advisory group was favorable to taking supplements containing vitamin D as a way of preventing fall-related injury.

“The USPSTF found adequate evidence that vitamin D supplementation has no benefit in preventing falls in older adults,” said the guidelines published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

But unless a person has vitamin

point in their lives,” he said, noting that symptoms can range from mild discomfort to chronic, debilitating pain that interferes with daily life. “For many, it resolves on its own or is quickly made better by the use of over the counter artificial tears. However, there are many people whose treatment course isn’t simple, and whose lives are negatively impacted by the disease.”

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Instead, the USPSTF “recommends exercise interventions to prevent falls” in those 65 years or older who are at increased risk of falling. Such exercise may include “supervised individual and group classes and physical therapy,” said the guidelines. The update was based on a review of 11 randomized, clinical trials involving more than 51,000 people. “Vitamin D supplementation alone or with calcium was not associated with reduced fracture incidence” among adults without vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, or prior fracture, said the report.

According to the most recent data from 2014, nearly 29 percent of US adults 65 years or older reported falling. Nearly 38 percent “needed medical treatment or restricted activity for a day or longer,” said the JAMA report. Some 33,000 people died due to falls in 2015. An accompanying editorial in JAMA said the new recommendation, with its “increased emphasis on exercise, warrants adoption and should prove helpful, especially because exercise interventions reduce injurious falls.” Getting more exercise can also improve health by lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancer, it said. However, for elders “at increased risk for osteoporosis, those with vitamin D deficiency, or both, it remains reasonable to consider vitamin D supplementation (800-1000 IU/d or more), consistent with recommendations of other professional societies such as the US Endocrine Society and National Osteoporosis Foundation,” the editorial said.




isuse and abuse of drugs and alcohol among the elderly is one of the fastest growing health problems in the U.S., according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), yet it can often be mistaken for normal aging behavior.

Drug and alcohol abuse: A growing problem for those growing old

The statistics are alarming: according to The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., 2.5 million older adults have an alcohol or drug problem; while a SAMHSA report shows that the use of illicit drugs, combining drugs with alcohol, and the nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals, results in an average of nearly 300 emergency room visits nationwide each day for those aged 65 and older. Despite these disturbing trends, substance abuse among the elderly often goes unrecognized and untreated. According to “The Tough Talk: Aging Parents and Substance Abuse,” a new survey commissioned by WellCare Health Plans, Inc., adult children of elderly parents know very little about the drugs and alcohol their parents consume, and three-quarters say it’s possible that they may not even know if their parent

Decoding of hair color genes could aid cancer research by Emma Clark


ARIS, France | AFP Scientists on Monday said they have uncovered more than 100 new genes linked to hair colour, a discovery which could advance knowledge on skin cancer and other diseases. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, could also help forensic scientists use DNA samples to identify the natural hair colour of unidentified criminals. In the largest ever genetic study on pigmentation, which includes skin and hair, researchers analysed DNA data from almost 300,000 people of European descent.


ARIS | AFP | Thursday 4/12/2018 - Recommended limits for safe alcohol consumption are too high in many developed countries and should be lowered to save lives, a study suggested Friday.

Other pigmentation-related diseases include testicular, prostate and ovarian cancers, as well as Crohn’s and other forms of bowel disease. - Gentlemen prefer blondes The discovery could give police investigators a boost, the researchers said. “If after a crime, police have a DNA sample but no idea who they are looking for, knowing with far more certainty what colour hair they have could increase the chance of finding them,” said co-author Manfred Kayser from Erasmus MC University Medical Centre in Rotterdam. The study also confirmed that women are more likely to have lighter hair than men. Earlier research has speculated that when early Europeans migrated north, women evolved to have lighter hair than men, most likely in response to male sexual preference. “Our study confirms in very large sample sizes that there must have been a selection towards fair haired females,” said Bataille. “It’s fascinating in terms of human history and sexual behaviour.” The once popular expression “gentlemen prefer blondes”, in other words, may be grounded in an ancient evolutionary imperative.

utes off a person’s life -- about the same as a cigarette, David Spiegelhalter, a professor in the “understanding of risk” at the University of Cambridge said in a comment on the report. “Of course it’s up to individuals whether they think

Family members are often the ones who can best spot changes in behaviors. (Photo Source: (c) Halfpoint/ had a substance abuse problem, likely mistaking the signs -such as slurred speech, dozing off and confusion -- for normal behaviors of aging. “While family members may not feel equipped to identify an abuse problem, they are often the ones who can best spot changes in behaviors that could indicate one exists,” said Kevin Middleton, Psy.D., vice president, behavioral health, WellCare. “Given the serious consequences that overuse or abuse of drugs and alcohol can have on seniors, it’s important to look for those signs and also ask questions that will help determine if and what kind of help is needed.” Dr. Middleton advises those with aging loves ones to be aware of the following. • Life Changes Can Trigger Abuse: Retirement, the death

of a spouse or dear friend, the loss of a pet and other significant life events, are times when the elderly are most likely to begin misusing or abusing drugs and alcohol.

and if they think they have a problem. Speak frankly about your concerns and the risks of substance abuse, but also be sympathetic to the difficulties with which they’re dealing.

• Signs of a Potential Problem: Many older people will hide their problem out of shame, and while substance abuse can mimic symptoms of other diseases, always consider the possibility of abuse if there are any major changes in behaviors, such as loss of interest in hobbies, activities or socializing, as well as changes in appetite and sleeping habits. Other signs to be aware of are noticeable memory loss, slurred speech and confusion.

• Seek Help: If you do suspect a substance abuse problem, contact his or her health care provider and discuss the best approach to getting appropriate treatment.

• Asking Questions is the First Step: At times when loved ones appear sober and alert, start asking questions about their use of drugs and alcohol

For more tips and information on managing substance abuse for aging parents, visit WellCare’s blog at ycu6e7g2. Identifying substance abuse can be challenging, particularly when it comes to the elderly. However, addressing the issue quickly is critical. If you’ve detected signs of a problem, start by asking the right questions. (StatePoint).

What new research shows about probiotics and baby health

Regularly drinking more than 100 grammes (3.5 ounces) of alcohol per week -- about five or six medium glasses of wine or pints of beer -- was linked to a shorter life expectancy for men and women, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. “Recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are almost 50 percent higher than this, and in the USA, the upper limit for men is nearly double,” the researchers found. The international team analysed data on nearly 600,000 drinkers aged 30-100, from 83 studies in 19 high-income countries. The participants had been observed for at least a year after signing up. The researchers factored in other health-related data such as the participants’ age, gender, diabetes history, their socio-economic status, and whether they smoked. Among the group, the team recorded 40,310 deaths, and compared this with the participants’ self-reported levels of alcohol intake. Drinking the equivalent of 100-200g of pure alcohol a week shortened life expectancy by about six months compared to drinking less than 100g, they found. Consuming between 200350g per week lowered life expectancy by one to two years, and more than 350g by up to five years.

Inherited factors account for 97 percent of colour variation for hair and skin, but only a dozen relevant genes had been previously identified.

“Knowing more about these genes can be important not just for skin cancer but also for other conditions, like autoimmune diseases.”

Alcohol guidelines in many countries may not be safe: study by Emma Clark

By comparing self-reported hair colour with genetic makeup -- stored at several million locations across the human genome -- the team identified 124 genes involved in the development of hair colour.

“The link between pigmentation and health is very important in the evolution of the human race,” said co-author Veronique Bataille from King’s College London.

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

“This study has shown that drinking alcohol at levels which were previously believed to be safe is actually linked with lower life expectancy and several adverse health outcomes,” said study co-author Dan Blazer of Duke University in North Carolina.


new clinical trial shows that parents can safely improve gut health in that crucial first year of life while a baby’s metabolism and immune system are developing.

lergies, diabetes and obesity,” says Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and best-selling nutrition author. “Doing this early in a baby’s life has the potential to reduce the risk of these common health issues later in life.”

A team of scientists at the University of California Davis have spent years researching a beneficial gut bacteria called B. infantis that has gone missing in nine out of 10 U.S. babies. Scientists attribute this trend to modern medical practices such as antibiotic usage and CSections. Unfortunately, when this good bacteria is missing, baby’s gut microbiome often becomes disrupted, increasing the risk of developing shortand long-term health issues like colic, eczema, allergies, diabetes and obesity.

Researchers say that their most notable finding is that 100 percent of the babies given Evivo in the study had B. infantis fully restored. What’s more, infants given Evivo had 80 percent less potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli, clostridia, Staph, and Strep linked to disease, as well as significantly lower levels of endotoxins, which are known markers of inflammation and linked to increased risk of chronic disease later in life.

The groundbreaking news, notes the new clinical trial, is that a probiotic called Evivo results in rapid and substantial restoration of gut health in babies.

On average, each unit of alcohol consumed over the 100g threshold, slices about 15 min-

- Higher risk of strokes Alcohol guidelines vary substantially from country to country. In the United States, for example, the recommended cutoff for men is 196g or 11 glasses of wine per week, and for women 98 grammes. Limits in Italy, Portugal and Spain are about 50 percent higher than in Britain, where the threshold for safe drinking was recently lowered to 112g. “These data support adoption of lower limits of alcohol consumption than are recommended in most current guidelines,” the report added. The team found no evidence supporting a lower alcohol limit for women than for men. Commenting on the report, Petra Meier, a professor of public health at the University of Sheffield in Britain, urged caution in interpreting the results. “Guideline developers tend to recognise that, in line with many other voluntary behaviours, drinkers are likely to be willing to accept some level of risk and have set guideline thresholds accordingly,” she said. The researchers found that the more alcohol a person consumed, the higher their risk of stroke and heart failure. By contrast, alcohol consumption was associated with a somewhat lower risk of nonfatal heart attacks, they said -- echoing previous research. However, “this must be balanced against the higher risk associated with other serious -- and potentially fatal -- cardiovascular diseases,” said lead author Angela Wood from the University of Cambridge in Britain.

Read up on what’s changing in the Health world

“Together with breast milk, Evivo can help set the foundation for a healthy life, protecting your baby’s gut and ultimately building the immune system needed to ward off future health issues,” says Dr. Altmann.

“When the right bacteria for babies is combined with breast milk, it can restore the microbiome to its naturally protective state, boosting levels of good bacteria and reducing levels of potentially harmful bacteria, which have been linked to increased risk for long-term conditions such as eczema, al-

To learn more about babies’ gut health, Evivo and the study results, visit

“Maybe it is still happening now, we don’t know.”

in pigmentation subtly adapted to external environments and even social interactions during our evolution,” added co-author Tim Spector from King’s College London.

“Our work helps us to understand what causes human diversity in appearance by showing how genes involved

gut to its naturally protective state. (StatePoint)

this is worthwhile,” he said via the Science Media Centre in London.

While a disrupted gut microbiome isn’t always symptomatic in the first few months of life, thanks to new research, you as a parent have the power to safely restore your baby’s

Voice of Asia brings you the latest in medicine, medical technology, nutrition, pharmacy, and other health related articles. Also visit


UN’s health body urges Hepatitis C offensive by Mariëtte Le Roux


- ‘Incredible opportunity’ -

ARIS, France | AFP | 4/13/2018 - Hepatitis C is easily cured. Yet, about 400,000 people die of the liver disease every year as only a smattering get the medicine they need.

A new category of drug called direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), described by Hirnschall as “revolutionary”, can cure all six major HCV strains, with a success rate of more than 90 percent.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged governments to attack the problem with more urgency, and more money.

It comes as a once-daily pill taken for eight to 12 weeks.

Only about three million people from an estimated 71 million Hepatitis C virus (HCV) carriers, received the treatment they needed, the UN’s health organ said at an International Liver Congress in Paris. “We very much encourage leaders in countries and politicians, policymakers, to... include Hepatitis C treatment into their broader health portfolio and really also find the domestic resources that are needed to take this forward,” said Gottfried Hirnschall, head of the WHO’s global hepatitis programme. The price of a cure ranges from about $200 (162 euros) to several thousand dollars per person -- excluding diagnostic tests and healthcare salaries and infrastructure. But “by really frontloading and treating people, and treating them as quickly as possible... you save costs later,” Hirnschall told AFP. “You save costs that you have if somebody progresses to liver disease or other diseases that require hospitalisation, in some instances very costly liver transplants, (or) tertiary care.” There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, and curing it is the best way to prevent virus spread. HCV is most commonly passed on through infected blood -- either by soiled needles used to inject legal or illegal drugs, or blood transfusions. Only about one in five people even know they are infected. Many go on to develop cancer or cirrhosis of the liver.

If all infected people could get it, the treatment would slash liver cancer deaths by 80 percent, says the WHO. Some countries, such as Egypt, Pakistan, China, and Brazil, have “really started to increase access” to HCV medicines, said Hirnschall -- some relying on special licencing agreements that allows for the production of cheaper, generic versions . As a result, the majority of infected people live in lowto middle-income countries where prices today are but a fraction of the $84,000 initially charged in the United States for a three-month course. In many rich countries, prices remain high, said Hirnschall. The WHO is reviewing its guidelines on HCV treatment, he added, and will propose that every person older than 12 must have access to DAA. Governments right now have “an incredible opportunity,” said Hirnschall, “with medicines becoming available that are simple, that are cheap, that can now be delivered not only through specialist hepatologists but also through the primary care system. “There’s no reason to not scale this up, to not take this forward.” The WHO will release an estimate of the global price tag in June. Two years ago, health ministers agreed to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 -- meaning to reduce new infections by 90 percent and deaths by 65 percent. On Thursday, the liver conference heard that only six

HEALTH Strawberries again top 2018’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ by Susan Scutti


nce again, strawberries top the list of the 12 “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables, according to the Environmental Working Group. Every year since 2004, the group -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental organization -- ranked pesticide contamination in 47 popular fruits and vegetables for its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Pesticides include a wide array of chemicals that kill unwanted insects, plants, molds and rodents. Spinach is the second dirtiest item on the “Dirty Dozen” list, followed by (in order of contamination) nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. Each of these foods tested positive for pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce. In fact, nearly 70% of conventionally grown -- non-organic -- produce samples were contaminated, the tests indicated. - The 13th suspect The shopper’s guide is based on results of tests by the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration on more than 38,800 nonorganic samples. The Environmental Working Group looks at six measures of contamination including the average number of pesticides found on samples and the average amount of pes-

European countries -- the Netherlands, Iceland, Georgia, France, Spain, Switzerland -were on track to meet the goal. Research published last year showed the number of Hepatitis C infections in the United States had nearly tripled in five years, partly due to a rise in needle-sharing fuelled by the opioid epidemic.

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Chinese doctor detained for traditional medicine ‘poison’ remarks


EIJING, China | AFP | Tuesday 4/17/2018 A Chinese doctor who called a popular brand of traditional medicine “poison” has been detained without charge by police for three months, in a case that has angered the country’s medical community. Physician Tan Qindong said in a December article that the popular “Hongmao Medicinal Liquor” was toxic, prompting a complaint from the Inner Mongolia-based drug maker, local media reported. Hongmao is popular among the elderly but Tan questioned the evidence behind claims made by the manufacturer that the product could cure illnesses including joint pain and coronary heart disease. Tan was detained by police from northern Inner Mongolia at his home in the southern city of Guangzhou -- more than 2,300 kilometres away -- on January 10. He has languished in detention for three months, even though police have not pressed charges, which has roiled China’s medical community. “Government organisations must respond to different academic opinions with caution, and avoid criminalising civil disputes,” the Chinese Medical Doctor Association said in a statement Monday. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an enormous industry

ticides found. When testing samples, the USDA personnel wash or peel produce to mimic consumer practices. A single sample of strawberries showed 20 pesticides, the report indicated. More than 98% of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. And, on average, spinach samples had 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

Traditional Chinese medicine, which originated thousands of years ago in ancient China, is based on naturally triggering the self-healing response of the body. Jars of herbal remedies are displayed on a shelf in Beijing. (Photo: Natural News) in China, with a total value in excess of $130 billion in 2016, according to the official news agency Xinhua. The case is the latest in a series of skirmishes between proponents of TCM, which lacks medical trials to prove the efficacy of some substances, and doctors advocating for evidence-based, peer-reviewed medicine. Responding to public uproar over the case, the state drug administration on Monday ordered Hongmao to “adhere to national drug advertising rules”. China’s drug regulator approved the alcohol to be sold as an over-the-counter traditional Chinese medicinal product in 2003. Paris to turn a third of its green space into urban farms Paris to turn a third of its green space into urban farms This year, the Dirty Dozen list is actually a “baker’s dozen” and includes a 13th suspect: hot peppers. These were found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system, according to the organization. Anyone who frequently eats hot peppers should buy organic, it says. “If you cannot find or af-

Jacob Sanchez Diagnosed with autism

Lack of speech is a sign of autism. Learn the others at

But since 2010, the medicinal wine has been temporarily pulled from shelves in three provinces, due to “exaggerated advertising claims,” data from the drug regulator showed In February, the company’s advertisements were banned in Shaanxi province as part of a crackdown on food fraud and false advertising. Hongmao Pharmaceutical Co. could not be reached for comment. Activists say growing demand for various TCM remedies such as rhino horn and pangolin scales -- which have no proven medical properties -- have decimated vulnerable animal species and filled the coffers of global wildlife trafficking syndicates. ford organic hot peppers, cook them, because pesticide levels typically diminish when food is cooked,” the authors of the report noted. ‘Chronic health implications’ Children are of special concern as younger bodies have greater susceptibility to pesticides than adult bodies, the report emphasizes. Research “suggests that pesticides may induce chronic health complications in children. (-CNN)



Punk, butt-breathing turtle joins unlucky club


ARIS, France | AFP Boasting a green, punk hairdo and the unusual ability to breathe through its backside, an Australian turtle has become famous overnight -- but not only for its eccentricity.

It lives only in the Mary River from which it took its name. The inventory has no shortage of weird and wonderful creatures -- a limbless lizard, the world’s largest sea turtle, a blind snake, and a chameleon named after Tarzan. But the Mary River Turtle might just be the strangest of them all. “The turtle is highly distinctive,” states a ZSL description of the species known to scientists as Elusor macrurus. It can breathe underwater through specialised glands in butt organs known as cloaca -- orifices through which the turtle excretes urine and waste, and lays eggs. “This turtle is able to spend so much time underwater -- up to three days -- without coming up for air due to its strange ability to breathe through its bum,” Rikki Gumbs of the Imperial College London, who helped compile the EDGE reptile list, told AFP. “They have specialised or-

Are we alone? NASA’s new planet hunter aims to find out by Kerry Sheridan


IAMI, Florida | AFP | Monday 4/16/2018 - Are we alone? NASA’s new planet-hunting mission, poised to launch Monday, aims to advance the search for extraterrestrial life by scanning the skies for nearby, Earth-like planets.

Unfortunately, just as many of us are discovering the Mary River Turtle’s tantalising traits, it has become the latest creature to join the “EDGE of Existence” list of endangered species compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). A native of Queensland, Australia, the turtle was one of 100 reptiles added to the catalogue this week.

FRIDAY, April 20 2018

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is poised to blast off at 6:32 pm (2232 GMT) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from a NASA launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Mary River Turtle’s edgy hairdo has made it perhaps the most original looking reptile on a list of endangered species. (Photo: AFP) gans in their cloaca which process oxygen from the surrounding water.” But perhaps the computer screen-sized turtle’s most distinguishing feature is the bright green, spiky mohawks sprouting on the heads of some. This is not hair, but algae. “The Mary River Turtle spends so much time submerged underwater that some individuals become covered in algae -- and can end up with some pretty impressive bright green hairstyles!” said Gumbs. - Popular pet According to Australia’s department of the environment, the Mary River Turtle’s rapid decline was sparked by its popularity as a house pet in the 1970s and 80s, known then as the “Penny Turtle”. The creature was only recognised and listed as a distinct species in 1994. “The Mary River Turtle takes an exceptionally long time to reach sexual maturity, with in-

dividuals not breeding before the age of 25,” said the ZSL. Destruction of the creatures’ natural habitat through the building of dams, as well as the collection of its eggs for the pet trade, piled on the survival pressure. “Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals,” added Gumbs. “Just as with tigers, rhinos and elephants, it is vital we do our utmost to save these unique and too-often overlooked animals. Many EDGE reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages.” The EDGE reptile list also includes the Madagascan blindsnake -- a pink, wormlike creature that spends its life burrowing through forest soil-- the freshwater “pig-nosed” turtle which uses its distinctive appendage as a snorkel, and the leatherback turtle which can weigh over 900 kilogrammes (1,980 pounds).

At a total cost of $337 million, the washing-machine-size spacecraft is built to search the nearest, brightest stars for signs of periodic dimming. These so-called “transits” may mean that planets are in orbit around them. TESS is expected to reveal 20,000 planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets, NASA said.

TESS is expected to reveal 20,000 planets beyond our solar system. (Graphic: NASA) TESS principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “That is about 20 times what the Kepler mission was able to detect.” - Kepler vs. TESS -

Its discoveries will be studied further by ground- and spacebased telescopes for signs of habitability, including a rocky terrain, a size similar to Earth, and a distance from their sun -- neither too close nor too far -- that allows the right temperature for liquid water.

Kepler, the first planethunting mission of its kind, “was launched to answer one single question: How common is a planet like Earth around a star like the Sun?” said Patricia “Padi” Boyd, director of the TESS guest investigator program at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.

NASA predicts that TESS could find more than 50 Earthsized planets and up to 500 planets less than twice the size of the Earth.

“It was designed to look at 150,000 stars in a fairly wide field of view without blinking, for four years,” she told reporters on the eve of the launch.

TESS will survey far more cosmic terrain than its predecessor, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope which launched in 2009, taking in some 85 percent of the skies.

“One of the many amazing things that Kepler told us is that planets are everywhere and there are all kinds of planets out there.

“TESS is equipped with four very sensitive cameras that will be able to monitor nearly the entire sky,” said George Ricker,

“So TESS takes the next step. If planets are everywhere, then it is time for us to find the planets that are closest to us orbiting bright nearby stars, because

these will be the touchstone system.” TESS and Kepler use the same system of detecting planetary transits, or shadows cast as they pass in front of their star. While Kepler confirmed some 2,300 exoplanets and thousands more potential planet candidates, many were too distant and dim to be studied further. With Kepler running low on fuel and nearing the end of its life, TESS aims to pick up the search while focusing closer, on planets dozens to hundreds of light years away. “TESS is going to dramatically increase the number of planets that we have to study,” said Ricker. “It is going to more than double the number that have been seen and detected by Kepler.” The first data from TESS is expected to be made public in July, and NASA says citizen astronomers are welcome to help study the planets for signs of possible habitability.

Researchers accidentally engineer plastic-eating enzyme

‘Make America Smart Again’: hundreds rally for US science

AMPA, Florida | AFP | Monday 4/16/2018 Researchers in the US and Britain have accidentally engineered an enzyme which eats plastic and may eventually help solve the growing problem of plastic pollution, a study said Monday.

ICHMOND, Va | AFP | Gesturing towards the White House, home to President Donald Trump who has called himself “a very stable genius,” Isaac Newton begged to differ.


More than eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans every year, and concern is mounting over this petroleum-derived product’s toxic legacy on human health and the environment. Despite recycling efforts, most plastic can persist for hundreds of years in the environment, so researchers are searching for better ways to eliminate it. Scientists at the University of Portsmouth and the US Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory decided to focus on a naturally occurring bacterium discovered in Japan a few years ago. Japanese researchers believe the bacterium evolved fairly recently in a waste recycling center, since plastics were not invented until the 1940s. Known as Ideonella sakaiensis, it appears to feed exclusively on a type of plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used widely in plastic bottles. - A useful mutation The researchers’ goal was to understand how one of its enzymes -- called PETase -- worked, by figuring out its

“Knowing many geniuses, and being one myself, I would venture to say that was rather a boastful claim on his part,” said “Newton,” actually Dean Howarth, a Virginia high school physics teacher in period dress. The enzymes could enable plastic bottles to be fully recycled for the first time. (Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images) structure. “But they ended up going a step further and accidentally engineered an enzyme which was even better at breaking down PET plastics,” said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal. Using a super-powerful Xray, 10 billion times brighter than the Sun, they were able to make an ultra-high-resolution three-dimensional model of the enzyme. Scientists from the University of South Florida and the University of Campinas in Brazil did computer modeling which showed PETase looked similar to another enzyme, cutinase, found in fungus and bacteria. One area of the PETase was a bit different, though, and researchers hypothesized that this was the part that allowed it to degrade man-made plastic.

So they mutated the PETase active site to make it more like cutinase, and unexpectedly found that this mutant enzyme was even better than the natural PETase at breaking down PET. Researchers say they are now working on further improvements to the enzyme, with the hope of eventually scaling it up for industrial use in breaking down plastics. “Serendipity often plays a significant role in fundamental scientific research, and our discovery here is no exception,” said study author John McGeehan, professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Portsmouth. “Although the improvement is modest, this unanticipated discovery suggests that there is room to further improve these enzymes, moving us closer to a recycling solution for the evergrowing mountain of discarded plastics.”

Facebook explains how it can collect info about you even if you never post on Facebook


AN DIEGO, CA Facebook’s product management director, David Baser, has just wrote a blog post explaining when Facebook and its partners collect your personal information and when it’s shared. It also reiterates how it’s able to gather information on people who don’t use Facebook. Here’s the nugget you need to know about: When does Facebook get


data about people from other websites and apps? Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant. These services include: - Social plugins, such as our Like and Share buttons, which make other sites more social and help you share content on Facebook; - Facebook Login, which lets you use your Facebook account to log into another

website or app; - Facebook Analytics, which helps websites and apps better understand how people use their services; and - Facebook ads and measurement tools, which enable websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers, to run their own ads on Facebook or elsewhere, and to understand the effectiveness of their ads. When you visit a site or app that uses our services,

Howarth was among hundreds of people who turned out to a “March for Science” Saturday in Washington to “create tangible change and call for greater accountability of public officials to enact evidencebased policy,” according to organizers. That was the formal message of the rally, one of more than 200 events being carried out around the world. But as keynote speaker Sheila Jasanoff said, the signs carried by people like Howarth told a more direct and simple story. Many of those messages, while more restrained than Howarth’s, carried implicit criticism of Trump, who withdrew from the global Paris Agreement on climate change, has defended coal-fired power plants, seeks to roll back environmental regulations, and has yet to name his top science advisor. “Make America Smart Again,” said a placard carried by one demonstrator, giving an alternative take on Trump’s “Make America Great Again” pledge.

we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook. (Emphasis added.) That means Facebook collects data from a lot of places, such as apps that let you log in with a Facebook account, news sites that let you share articles to Facebook, and other spots. It’s really hard to avoid Facebook’s reach.

Demonstrators take part in the March for Science in Washington, DC on April 14, 2018; local scientists and supporters joined a global March for Science to fight back against what many see as an “assault on facts” by populist politicians (AFP Photo/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds) “We’re here because no one wants to be led by the gut feelings of our elected officials,” Jasanoff, a Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Harvard, said in her opening address without specifically referring to Trump’s widelyreported tendency to govern by instinct rather than analysis. “Good science depends on good democracy. Let me repeat: good science needs good democracy,” she said. David Titley, a retired rear admiral who led the US Navy’s task force on climate change, told the crowd that science shows we need to “take actions now to avoid the worst of the risks we know are highly likely to appear.” Many in the crowd listened under the shade of cherry blos-

som trees beneath the Washington Monument on the first summer-like Saturday of the year. “Science is what separates facts from fallacies, falsehoods and fanaticism,” Titley said. “If we ignore and denigrate science we do so at our own peril.” Suzelle Fiedler, 44, a former laboratory worker, told AFP she attended the rally because of the administration’s desire to cut research funding, and “they’re dismissing a lot of scientific facts like climate change.” Steven Schrader’s sign proclaimed that he is not a “mad scientist. I’m furious.” Schrader, 66, told AFP the administration “is trying to essentially take science out of decision making.”

Baser said Facebook collects information including your computer’s IP address, the type of browser you’re using to access the internet, the software your computer runs (Android, macOS, Windows, iOS, etc.), and other material.

online. “If you visit a lot of sports sites that use our services, you might see sports-related stories higher up in your News Feed,” Baser explained.

Baser said Facebook doesn’t sell that data but only uses it to cater content to you. While that’s true, it can also use that data to target ads that it sells more accurately at its users, and can better understand what its users are doing

Most of this isn’t new information, but it’s part of Facebook’s initiative to be more transparent with the government and its users about how the data it collects is shared. (-CNBC)

This is one reason why it sometimes seems like Facebook ads are following you.


FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Home&Real Estate Eporta: The stunning global “Airbnb of Interior Design” raises $8 Million

Texas homebuyers grow more diverse, earn higher incomes Comes amid continued increases in state home prices

by Kitty Knowles


Bright loops of light crafted by Barcelona-based Vibia hang above, a graphic rug by Denmark studio BoConcept lays squarely underfoot, and a ceramic strongman supports a quirky blue vase by Bosnian designer Jasmin Djerzic. “We’re the of Airbnb for design,” cofounder Aneeqa Khan tells Forbes. “We connect trade buyers directly with people who make wonderful products around the world.” Already investors have been keen to back the business, with an $8 million Series A round announced this month—with investors in both the U.S. and Europe (despite Brexit uncertainty).

eporta founder Aneeqa Khan (Photo courtesty of eporta) loving, to let the industry flourish, was this pain point in the middle.” - A Global Vision Just two years later, and with zero marketing, eporta is the biggest source of trade products in the world.

“Brexit was mentioned in every single meeting I had, but we’re already global so for us it just wasn’t as much of a concern,” says Khan.

The platform works in over 85 countries, with more than 1,200 product manufacturers, and 10,000 companies. Its sales boomed 10x last year.

VC firms who took part in the round included Oxford Capital, Talis Capital, Samos Investments and LocalGlobe, as well as the San Franciscobased Canvas Ventures, and a number of high-profile backers like millionaire dealmaker Guy Hands, the founder of Terra Firma Capital Partners.

Rising stars like Samuel Bellamy (the young British lighting designer behind Bellamy Design), and Olga Torres (the Portuguese luxury upholster behind Duistt) benefit from being showcased alongside bastions of design like Vitra, Tom Dixon, and Andrew Martin (eporta takes just a small cut on sales, which is always under 10%).

- Starting eporta Khan started eporta having previously worked as Strategy & IPO Director at Britain’s property marketplace Zoopla. The self-proclaimed perfectionist (who today looks immaculate in electric blue trousers and a matching floral scarf) had just bought a flat, and was struggling to find the perfect items to deck it out with - despite sneaking into all of London’s trade design shows. Khan had first considered building a Zoopla-like marketplace aggregating designer furniture, but quickly realized the best way to get great products into peoples homes wasn’t through a b2c model, but a b2b one. “It’s really hard for manufacturers to have a presence in trade, and trade is how you get in front of customers,” Khan explains. “What really needed some

On the flipside, industryinsiders hunting for products for projects—be they interior designers like Kelly Hoppen, retailers like Ted Baker, or hotel group Hilton—benefit from trade discounts of up to 50%, and tools that help them organize their invoicing and orders. Recent projects completed through eporta include an office fit out for Accenture designed by Studio Jenny Jones, and a multi-site restaurant rollout for Wyevale Garden Centres. eporta is the “secret weapon” to help tradespeople save time, says Khan. “You don’t have to sit on every chair because I’ve sat on every chair, and touched everything from the supplier,” she explains. “If you want to get your restaurant up and running within a month, we know the manufacturers who will get you there vs the ones who would have a

delay or a summer shut down that’s the gap we bridge.” - What’s next for eporta? This month eporta will move to a bigger office where the team can scale up from 30 to 60. Khan’s only moving a few minutes down the road though. “A lot of showrooms are here,” she says of her Clerkenwell office. “A lot of the brands we work with pop in and say hello.” As part of the expansion, the founder also plans to build up eporta’s first marketing team, expand its product categories to include tiles and fabrics, and even to opening a second international office in a design hub in the U.S. or Europe. “We’d be less inclined to go after where VC funding is, and more towards what makes sense for our business,” says Khan. Getting the best staff (and more traditional customers) on board remains the biggest challenge ahead, the founder adds. “People are used to doing things in a certain way,” she says of the industry. “Once they realize they can do things in a new way it’s great, but it’s the overcoming of preconceived notions of how to do things [that can be hard].” In five years, Khan wants to have multiple eporta offices: she has no intention of selling up, but instead wants to take on the world. “We are the leader now, no one else is doing something like we are. We’re going to grow,” she says boldly. Time to re-do your office? (-Forbes)

Michelle Obama is the most-followed on Instagram by interior design experts

Kaki Lybbert, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, explained, “We have seen greater ethnic diversity among homebuyers over the last few years, which is an encouraging trend. At the same time, median household income in the state went up. That’s good news for Texans, because our home prices have continued to rise in most areas as well.” According to the report, the percentage of homebuyers who identified as African-American was 8 percent, up from 5 percent the previous year; 7 percent identified as Asian, up from 4 percent; and those who identified as Hispanic remained consistent with prior years at 14 percent. Median household income

popular interior designer Emily Henderson to interior design brands. Though Obama doesn’t always (or only) post about the interiors of her new home—the couple and their two daughters are renting a house in Washington, D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood—the former first lady’s account is full of shots from activities and events that she

Baseer H. Pirzada Realtor




takes part in, as well as images of the Obama family. Most recently, Obama shared a photo of herself with Debra Lee and Valerie B. Jarrett at BET’s Leading Women Defined event, as well as an image of her and fellow former first lady Laura Bush at Dallas’s Bush Center exhibit, “First Ladies: Style of Influence.” (-Architectural Digest)

among Texas homebuyers increased from $94,200 to $101,400. Nationally, the median income of homebuyers was $88,800. The median home price paid among Texas homebuyers was $259,500, significantly higher than the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University’s estimation of $150,000 as a home price for entry-level and first-time homebuyers. In Texas, single female homebuyers decreased 3 percentage points to 16 percent and single male buyers fell 1 percentage point to 8 percent of all Texas homebuyers. The percentage of married Texas homebuyers increased 2 points to 68 percent. The median age for homebuyers in Texas increased for the fourth straight year to 47 years old. However, the share of first-time homebuyers increased from 30 percent to 32 percent, while the median age of first-time homebuyers went from 32 years old to 33 years old. Lybbert concluded, “As we mark the 50th anniversary since President Lyndon John-

son signed the Fair Housing Act into law, it’s good to see diversity increasing among homebuyers in Texas. Our diversity is one of our state’s great strengths. Texas Realtors will be leading the way to make even more progress to ensure that homeownership is attainable for all Texans in all types of real estate transactions and at all price points.” Data from the 2018 edition of the Texas Homebuyers and Sellers Report is derived from the 2017 Texas Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers by the National Association of REALTORS®, which analyzes survey data among Texans who bought or sold a home between July 2016 and June 2017. The Texas Association of REALTORS® distributes insights about the Texas housing market throughout the year, including quarterly market statistics, trends among homebuyers and sellers, luxury home sales, international trends and more. To view the Texas Homebuyers and Sellers Report in its entirety, visit (-PRWire/TRE)

Gamechanger: Zillow to begin buying and selling houses Follows lead of Redfin and other direct homebuyers by Ben Lane


early one year ago, Zillow shook up the real estate industry when it announced that it was getting into the home selling business by launching “Zillow Instant Offers.”

As it turns out, that was just the beginning. Photo:AFP File

According to a new study conducted by Shutterfly, she is also the most followed celebrity on Instagram by interior design experts, with 5,451 of the 40,000 studied experts following her account. Other top performers include Lena Dunham (3,725), Rihanna (3,566), and Gwyneth Paltrow (3,562). Celebrities who also made the top 10 include Chrissy Teigen, Kendall Jenner, Reese Witherspoon, Alexa Chung, Gigi Hadid, and Kim Kardashian. The experts surveyed include everyone from influencers like


USTIN -- A new Texas Homebuyers and Sellers Report released today by the Texas Association of Realtors revealed that diversity continues to increase among those buying homes in Texas. The report also showed that Texas homebuyers are earning more and paying more for homes.

In the program, homeowners looking to sell their home in the test markets of Las Vegas and Orlando are able to get cash offers for their home from selected investors interested in buying it, all within Zillow’s platform.


ichelle Obama is many things to many people—an inspirational activist, a compassionate former first lady, and the bearer of an enviable set of toned arms.

Home prices have continued to rise

he London office of eporta—a booming British business that connects trade buyers and designers—is a testament to the $700 billion design and furniture industry its powering.

Zillow announced Thursday that it will begin buying and selling homes directly to and from homeowners. To repeat, Zillow itself will soon be buying homes directly from sellers, then turning around and reselling them. According to Zillow, the program will start small and test in two markets, Las Vegas and Phoenix. But the program represents a huge change in the business model for Zillow. Back in 2015, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said that the company views itself as a media company, not a real estate company.

“We sell ads, not houses,” Rascoff said at the time. “We’re all about providing consumers with access to information and then connecting them with local professionals. And we do a great job of giving those local professional high-quality lead, they’ll covert those leads to at a high rate and then want more media impressions from us. So we’re not actually in the transaction, we’re in the media business.”

According to Zillow, a local agent will represent Zillow in the purchase and sale of each home, which will enable agents to earn commission on the purchase and sale.

But that’s not the case anymore. Now, Zillow sells ads and houses.

Zillow said that it has hired Arik Prawer as chief business development officer to oversee the company’s participation in the Instant Offers marketplace.

According to Zillow, its homebuying program will roll out “this spring” in Phoenix and Las Vegas. The company said that home sellers in those markets will be able to compare an agent’s comparative market analysis to offers directly from Zillow or from other investors. Zillow says that it when it buys a home, it will make the “necessary repairs and updates” and list the home “as quickly as possible.” Now, what appears to make Zillow’s direct buying program different from companies like Opendoor and OfferPad is that it does not cut real estate agents out of the process.

The move also echoes Redfin’s recent move into direct homebuying, Redfin Now. Redfin began buying homes back in the first quarter of 2017. Redfin also offers Redfin Mortgage, a mortgage lending operation and its own title business.

Prior to joining Zillow, Prawer was chief integration officer at Invitation Homes, the massive single-family rental owner and operator. “The program gives real estate agents the opportunity to acquire new listings by connecting them with motivated sellers who have taken a direct action to sell their home,” Zillow said in a release. “Across all testing, Zillow found the vast majority of sellers who requested an Instant Offer ended up selling their home with an agent, making Instant Offers an excellent source of seller leads for Premier Agents and brokerage partners.” (-HousingWire)

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Making split-second decisions about your love life can lead to disappointing consequences down the road. Take some time to think things over before acting. Rearrange your schedule a friend.

21 April to 20 May Why do you have such a big smile on your face? Could it be that someone new is occupying your thoughts so much that you can’t hide your feelings from the rest of the world? Be prepared for people who are used to seeing you more.

21 May to 20 June You aren’t the best when it comes to making plans. You have good intentions, but you can be scattered at times and distractions tend to get the best of you. Political discussions could get heated soon.

21 June to 22 July You get your way with a blink of the eye at the start of the week. Your smile is captivating, and your eyes hold untold mysteries and intrigue. Don’t be surprised when someone falls in love with you at first sight!

23 July to 22 August Decide to stick with your next relationship for the long haul, Leo. Just because things haven’t worked out in the past doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. The weekend has its share of embarrassing moments, but don’t feel self-conscious.

23 August to 22 Sept A new company or new profession will catch your eye. Perhaps this is a company you would like to invest in, or a profession that you would like to get involved in. Either way, don’t be afraid to jump aboard.

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23 September to 22 Oct Are you aware that someone has been admiring you from afar? Look for a fan of yours to make themselves known to you this week, Libra. Whether or not you return the feelings, it’s nice to know that someone went to such great lengths.

23 October to 21 Nov You pride yourself on being a realist, but is it possible that you’re just in love with being in love right now? If you find yourself falling too hard too quickly for someone, the answer to that question might be yes. What’s the rush? Slow down!

22 November to 21 Dec Your words are like magic. You know the right thing to say to the right person to get the exact effect you’re after! What’s your secret, Sagittarius? Don’t share it with anyone you don’t trust 100%. Opposites attract over the weekend.

22 December to 20 Jan The next year and a half is a time of many changes for you. There will be restructuring in your life, and especially in your career. Don’t be afraid to let your current job crumble so that you can start over with something new.

21 January to 19 Feb Movement that challenges you to be physically vulnerable is a recommended practice for emotional release. Yoga, of course, and stretching out the chest cavity in particular. Try applying a hot water bottle to your chest at night.

20 February to 20 Mar A career move is at hand. Ideas will come your way now and during the next few days that will inspire you to learn a new skill, trade, or profession. Go with these instincts and don’t be scared. Fear of failure is your worst enemy at this time.

74. Mouthlike opening

1. Can become herniated, pl. 6. Jump key


9. Popular last name in East Asia 13. “I love you” or “J’____” 14. International workers’ group 15. Like famous rock-n-roll shoe 16. DNA half 17. Will Ferrell’s Christmas character 18. Item on a cell phone bill 19. *Ed’s title

1. Morse T 2. Footnote word 3. Songs for one 4. Like a potato chip 5. The Brady Bunch children, e.g. 6. Wedding cake layer 7. “____ the President’s Men” 8. Very successful 9. Intersection of two arcs 10. Great deal

21. *TV dolphin

11. Drop-off spot

23. Coach’s talk

12. ____-do-well

24. Gravy holder

15. Bachelor on “The Bachelorette,” e.g.

25. Hot tea amount 28. Serengeti antelope 30. Single-celled microorganisms 35. Call status 37. Karate blow 39. Marconi’s wireless telegraphy 40. Opposite of home 41. High fidelity sound systems

20. Historical period 22. Skedaddle 24. Renewable energy source 25. *Sea World’s long-running attraction 26. Des Moines native 27. Yoga class core exercise 29. *Punxsutawney seer 31. Persian backgammon

43. CISC alternative

32. “Bye” to Banderas

44. Edible biblical rain

33. Popular ‘70s music genre

46. One of deadly sins

34. *The Clintons’ cat

47. Ship’s final destination

36. Unit of force

48. Like broken promise

38. Leaning Tower city

50. Bring home the bacon

42. Parallel grooves

52. Message in a bottle?

45. App alternative

53. Sound of laughter

49. Driver’s aid

55. Promise to pay

51. Court figures

57. *Michael chimp


61. *Marlon Bundo 64. Be of one mind 65. Author of “The StarSpangled Banner” 67. Opposite of gregarious one 69. Flash of light 70. Bard’s before 71. *Like Garfield’s lasagna when he’s done 72. Surfer’s stop 73. Past tense of “be”

54. Off kilter 56. German destroyer 57. Tea servings 58. Tangerine-grapefruit hybrid 59. *Gromit of “Wallace and Gromit” 60. “Good” to Sophia Loren 61. Whiskey grain, pl. 62. “He’s Just Not That ____ You” 63. Swarm like bees 66. ____ of Good Feelings 68. Genetic initials




FRIDAY, April 20 2018

Job Posting – Part Time Associate Producer

Hiring - Marketing/Web Master/Graphic Designer

If writing is your passion and you have a take-charge attitude – here’s your chance to work for a station that is taking producing to a higher level. KTRK-TV, the ABC owned station in Houston, TX is accepting applications for a part-time Associate Producer. The person hired for this position will write and edit stories for our broadcasts and produce news cut-ins. You will also produce content for our digital platforms and social media. We are interested in people who love to write, love breaking news and love to find the stories everyone will be talking about. Applicants must be willing to work overnights, weekends and holidays. To be considered applicants must apply online at, reference job #546527BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. In addition, please mail writing samples to: Human Resources, KTRK-TV, 3310 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

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

Statements of Qualification Houston First Corporation requests Statements of Qualification from experienced civil and structural engineering firms to provide professional services and develop design documents for improvements at the George R. Brown Convention Center necessitated by TxDOT’s I-69 project. Please visit for full details.

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Voice of Asia E-paper April 20, 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 20, 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...