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Vol. 31 No. 17 • Friday, April 27, 2018

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Indian court jails popular guru for life over teen rape

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April In FRIDAY, Section 227 2018 l HEALTHLINE World’s first penis, scrotum transplant done in US

l YOUNG LIFE Afghan girl spends life disguised as ‘son’ her parents wanted



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Historic signing ceremony of MOU for Graduate Nursing Education between UHCON and INC, India by Shobana Muratee


historical Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was entered by and between the University of Houston College of Nursing (UHCON) and Indian Nursing Council, (INC) India on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 followed by a signing ceremony and dinner reception held at the Office of the Consulate General of India here in Houston. In his welcome address Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana said, “This is a very small step to ensure that we feel every day, some momentous contribution in ensuring that our India-US relationship becomes much stronger.” In this Sept. 1, 2013 file photo, controversial spiritual guru Asaram Bapu, center, is brought for interrogation by police at Jodhpur airport in Jodhpur, India. (AP Photo/ Sunil Verma, File)


ODHPUR, India | AFP | Wednesday 4/25/2018 -An Indian guru with millions of followers was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for raping a teenage devotee on the pretext of ridding her of evil spirits, his lawyer said. Asaram




India's most charismatic and controversial "godmen", was given the maximum sentence at a closed jailhouse hearing in Rajasthan state, where hundreds of police were on high alert for any backlash from his disciples. Continued on Page 10

Kathryn Tart, EdD, MSN, RN. Founding Dean and Professor, UH College of Nursing who was the signatory for UNCON said, “In the University of Houston, one of the ways to move forward from our nurse practice is through the baccalaureate program, to nurse practitioner program, and to our doctoral program. We think, that is a proper way to ensure that education is given to our students both here in our state, nation and globally. We are very keen in making sure that is part of our history and part of our trajectory of where the UHCON is taking us.” Dr. Tart praised the efforts of Dr.

Consulate General of India, Houston hosted the signing ceremony of the MOU for Graduate Nursing Education between Ms. Kathryn Tart, Dean, University of Houston college of Nursing and Mr. T. Dileep Kumar, President, Indian Nursing Council. CG Dr. Anupam Ray, DCG. Mr. Surendhra Adhana, Dr. Suresh Khator, Mr. Jiten Agarwal, Jagdip Ahluwalia Dr. Virendra Mathur, Dr. Shainy Varghese attended the signing ceremony. Consul General of India Facebook picture. Durga Agarwal, UH Regeant in initiating this landmark MOU. It was during one of the biannual meeting of deans from all ove Texas where nearly 45 deans attend, Dr. Tart recalled that one of them mentioned the name of Dr. Agarwal and his contribution in getting the doctorate of nursing practice finally approved in the state of Texas. There are 350,000 registered nurses in the State of Texas of which only 2% have a doctorate. Dr. Tart mentioned.

“Finally we are able to help patients in a much better way than we ever were able to before. Dr. Tart also mentioned that the MOU was officially signed by UH Provost, Paula Myrick Short and UH Global Initiatives Vice Chancellor Dr. Ortis with Mr. T. Dileep Kumar, President, Indian Nursing Council early that day. Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of

Greater Houston (IACCGH) emceed the program and introduced the speakers. “I was taken care by nurses and compounders until I was 17 years while growing up in a small village in India,” said Dr. Durga Agarwal, an experience that would drive him to support the Doctorate of Nursing Program (DNP) while serving Continued on Page 3

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Donald Trump Presidency at Crossroad of Morality and Legality

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

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

Shobana Muratee

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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

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FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D.

soft stand towards Russia and President Putin, etc.

by Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D.

These circumstances are forcing President Trump to defend himself constantly against attack by the media and investigations by law enforcement agencies and Congressional Committees. He is constantly giving new explanations, offering alternative (and sometime contradictory) statements, and seeking new lawyers to help him weather the storm. For example, this week he included Rudolph "Rudy" Giuliani to his legal team to represent him in the Mueller investigation. All this shows that President is in panic mode.

Even though since his election in 2016, there is an unending debate about the personal ethics, character and morality of Donald Trump, last week former FBI Director James Comey dealt President Trump a serious blow to his public reputation. In his television interviews with George Stephanopoulos and others the former FBI Director stated that he thought of Donald Trump as being “morally unfit to be President”. To strengthen his argument further, Comey cited Trump's response to the “white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, his mistreatment of women”, and his tendency to lie "constantly about matters big and small”. This was quite an indictment of a sitting US President by the highest law enforcement official, albeit the former one who until recently dealt with President Trump. On his part, not to be undone by his former subordinate, President Trump responded by tweet that Comey was “a proven LEAKER & LIAR” and “untruthful slime ball”, to quote a few tweets. And now Donald Trump is engaged in full war of words with James Comey and the media who have held series of interviews with Comey, who is promoting his new book “A HIGHER LOYALTY: Truth, Lies and Leadership”. Besides Comey’s book and his characterization of Donald Trump’s character, the President also has other personal quagmires that occupy his attention and time. These include the Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation of Russian interference in 2016 US Presidential election, recent allegations of $ 130,000 hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels on President’s behalf by his personal attorney Michael Cohen and recent raid by law enforcement including FBI at latter’s residence, President’s alleged affair with Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, his alleged

Personal indiscretions by US Presidents are not unknown in the history of the United States. In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton engaged in outrageous and shameful personal conduct in the White House with young intern Monica Lewinsky. Before that President John F Kennedy reportedly engaged in several inappropriate personal behaviors in the White House. But the situation with Donald Trump has assumed an exceptional dimension due to intrusive media scrutiny, perhaps due to his acrimonious relationship with the media. As unfortunate and undesirable as the situation is with Donald Trump’s Presidency, political polarization is not making it any better. There are extreme partisans on both sides. While Democrats would like to see him impeached, Republicans support the President. It is believed that vast majority of Donald Trump’s base that

voted for him in 2016 is still with him, and is likely to elect him again. They argue that Presidential indiscretions are not as serious as Bill Clinton’s as those took place before his election. His conservative base is willing to ignore Donald Trump’s odd personality traits in favor of his conservative political agenda. In the meantime, the national business (governance) hangs in the balance as President is distracted by these side issues, and is not able to fully focus on issues like US foreign policy, economic development, healthcare, education, security matters, illegal immigration, etc. With Donald Trump’s occupation with Mueller’s Russian investigation and almost daily new revelations about him, the President cannot provide effective leadership or stable working environment to his cabinet and the staff members. This is evident by an above average turnover of Donald Trump’s cabinet members as well as White House staff, many of whom have been interviewed by the Robert Mueller investigation team. Per the US Constitution, the Presidency represents is the Executive branch of the US Government at par with the Legislative and Judiciary branches. Its prime responsibility is to carry out the national business under the laws of the United States. Regardless who is President, the Presidency is too sacred an institution to be polluted by scandals, illegalities, immorality or unethical conduct by its occupant. In the symbolic sense, US

President is the embodiment of the King in old times, who was trustworthy, kind, morally pure, selfless, and had sense of ethics and justice. Sadly enough, Donald Trump is not showing these virtues. Nor has he transformed himself from an all controlling business executive to a national leader who builds a team and exerts collective leadership. He, instead, comes across as a lonely warrior, who has many times overridden his cabinet members or not take them in confidence in policy matters. It is also not uncommon for Donald Trump or his Associates to make statements that are not inconsistent or not contradictory. He has taken several positions that are morally indefensible. His uncontrollable impulsive to get even with anyone who crosses him has puts him at par with Heads of States from unstable non-democratic regimes of the world. Finally, how will history judge Donald Trump and his Presidency, will depend on his own conduct, vision, fortitude, and his leadership quality. But for now, it is at the crossroads of his moral values and confines of legality. He does not have the luxury of choosing between them, but has to embrace both with equal commitment and fervor. Otherwise, history is not likely to treat Donald Trump too kindly. Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College, and CoFounder of Indo-American Association (IAA), Houston. He can be contact at drckmittal@

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

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

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Section 1


FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

Historic signing ceremony of MOU for Graduate Nursing Education between UHCON and INC, India

Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana welcoming the guests. Continued from Page 1 on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Dr. Agarwal went on to give a brief background on how the DNP was brought from UTMB to UH. Despite much opposition from medical doctors, he said he was successful in getting the program approved. There are now 13 DNP operating in Texas. Dr. Agarwal said he had mentioned the success of DNP programs in Texas during his meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year and told him that “it could be a game changer for India, a brand new pipeline for healthcare in India.” Dr. Agarwal said this was his way of paying back to India for the good education he had received there for probably just $10 which now costs $250,000 or so. Mr. Dileep Kumar, President, Indian Nursing Council, India and the signatory of the MOU said, “India his currently go-

ing through a quantification expansion of nursing education. We are 1700 nursing educational institutions offering Baccalaureate program, about 3000 offering diploma program and 650 institutions offering the PG program in nursing.” “Though we are gone in quantification of expansion, quality is a concern to us now,” he added. “The Government of India National Health policy of 2017 is focusing more on nurses training and specialization.” It has an ordeal to convince the medical fraternity to get Nurse Practitioner Program approved by Government of India mainly because there immediate concern was that ‘they may lose their practice,” he said. Mr. Kumar referred to Dr. Devi Shetty, a Padma Bhushan-awarded cardiac surgeon in India who commented that if India doesn’t create a career pathway for nursing professionals in India, the day may come when

they have to import nurses from Thailand and the Philippines. This statement was used to motivate policy makers to get the approval for nurse practitioners for the first time. “The Nurse Practitioner in Critical Care was approved and the Dean of CMC Vellore authored its syllabus,” he said. Today 50 institutions have been approved to start the Nurse Practitioners and Health Care Program. It was during that time, he said they were informed about Dr. Agarwal’s proposed DNP program in India. “It seemed very promising as we did not have anything after Nurse Practitioner in Critical Care. Then it was agreed that we start a pilot program, and the clearance for signing of MOU was given.” Mr. Kumar also mentioned that India’s National health Policy of 2017 has framework in place to phase out all the diploma programs into degree programs by 2021. There is a serious lack of data on the nurses which spans from 1947 to date. “We now have a live registry program called NRTS (Nurse Registration Tracking System) which tracks nurses in India and those going aboard. Already 3 lakh nurses are enrolled in the NRTS and we have physical data.” This new initiative is going to improve in a big way, the quality of Nursing in India, Mr. Kumar said. The Nurse Practitioners Primary Health Care is also being approved he informed. “We have to move forward and as there is more demand for Nurse Practitioners in Anesthesia,” he added. Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray congratulated both

Kathryn Tart, EdD, MSN, RN. Founding Dean and Professor, UH College of Nursing and Mr. Dileep Kumar, President, Indian Nursing Council, India with faculty of UHCON. Photo credit UHCON.

A section of the audience who attended the MOU signing ceremony on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

signing parties and especially thanked Dr. Agarwal for his contribution. Dr. Ray spoke of India’s phenomenal economic growth, “We will soon be $10 trillion economy in the next 20 years and that is a glimpse of the kind of scope in India for health care business,” he remarked.

Dr. Shainy Varghese UHCON encouraged nurses to pursue their doctorate in nursing. The Indian Nurses president Akkamma said it was about time nurses in India received the much need attention and respect. At one point she pointed out to Mrs. Moani Thomas, who was in the audience, and mentioned that she

was the first nurse to come to the US. This was not accurate, as Mrs. Thomas later told this reporter that she came only in 1971. Dy.Consul General, Adhana proposed a Vote of Thanks after which the MOU signing ceremony concluded the evening’s formal program.

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FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Sad demise

The Spectacular Utsavam at Sri Guruvayurappan Temple, Houston by Chittoor K. Ramachandran


reater Houston is looking forward to this season of Indian cultural extravaganza. Year after year, this is the time hundreds of families from nearby towns look forward to rush to Sri Guruvayurappan Temple. The annual festival (Utsavam) of this temple falls this year during April 26 through May 5. Unique style of rituals and certain art forms presented in this festival are distinct from other Hindu temple celebrations. Although Sri Guruvayurappan Temple at Houston has been in existence only for less than 10 years, one can notice a tremendous increase in the number of visitors attending the events in this festival. Year 2018 Utsavam is special because of the extended (initial four days) of rituals associated with the addition of a new shrine within the Temple to worship Sri Shiva. Several priests, professional ‘melam’ percussionists, classical musicians, and associated volunteers have already started turning the temple surroundings into a festival ground. Every evening has been filling a temple with devotees and art lovers. From the first day of Utsavam that begins formally with flag hoisting ceremony, enormous activities of Utsavam begin. Series of a variety of classical music concerts, daily precessions around the temple with traditional chenda melam. The stage in the temporarily raised tent will serve as the shelter for conducting all cultural events. Classical music and dance recitals, and several rare art forms like Kathakali, Ottam thullal, and Chakyar kooth will be featured during the festival. A variety of melams will be played almost all evenings that would make this event a spectacular event. The events will be concluded with a grand display of firework. Please visit www. for details of the festival. Or call (713) 729-8994. Address 11620 Ormandy St, Houston TX 77035

Annamma Thomas, (Ammini) November 5, 1937 - March 20, 2018


Classical music and dance recitals like Kathakali will be featured during the Utsavam).

mmini was born in Venmony on November 5, 1937. She was the first born of K.K. Koshy and Rachel Koshy, Keerikattu Valiaparimpil House Venmony. She was called to eternity on Friday at March 20, 2018 at 7.48 PM.

Grace Mathew and John Mathew, Lilly Philip and Raju Philip, Valsamma Koshy and Koshy Kochukunju their children and grand children.

She is survived by Leni and Sutha Thomas, Leena Jacob, Andrew and Beena Mohunthan and grandchildren Nathan Jacob, Joel Joel, Sonya Thomas ,Zachary Thomas, Joshua Mohunthan and Julia Mohunthan.

Location: St. Paul's Marthoma Church, 1002 Barnes Bridge Rd, Mesquite, TX 75150

Her other surviving siblings live in the same neighborhood. They are Koshy Cherian and Annamma Cherian, Susan Varghese and Francis Puthanagadi, Mariamma Thomas and Issac Thomas, Oommen Koshy and Molly Koshy,

Location: St. Paul's Marthoma Church, 1002 Barnes Bridge Rd, Mesquite, TX 75150.

Memorial Service: Friday, April 27, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Funeral Service: Saturday, April 28, 10:00 AM 12:00 PM

Burial location New Hope Funeral Home, 500 US 8, Sunnyville, TX 75182

Sri Guruvayurappan Temple in Houston.

Color HTX (Holi Fest) postponed to Sat, May 19th ISKCON of Houston announcement


ue to the weather forecast for this Saturday, we have decided to change the date of our event to Saturday, May 19th

from 11AM–4PM, with a pre-festival yoga class from 10-11AM. We hope that you can still make it to the event on this day and help us paint the sky with colors! If you have already purchased

tickets, they are transferrable to the new date.

well as your friends and family, to the festival in May!

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we look forward to welcoming you, as

Feel free to share this message with others. Contact us at if you have any questions.


Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place Section 1


Seven FBISD students named in first round of 2018 National Merit Scholarship Winners


ORT BEND ISD (April 18, 2018) – Fort Bend ISD is proud to announce that seven District seniors are among the first group of winners in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation released the names of approximately 1,000 distinguished high school seniors, who have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations.

wishes to encourage.

FBISD’s 2018 National Merit Scholarship winners named in the first round include:

More than 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/ NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2017, some 16,000 Semifinalists were designated on a staterepresentational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

Nikitha Bhavani, Dulles High School, NM-S&P Global Scholarship Isha Dhawan, Clements High School, NM-Jerry R. Junkins Memorial Scholarship Palak Diwanji, Dulles High School, NM-The PWC Charitable Foundation Scholarship Stephanie Guo, Clements High School, NM-National Oilwell Varco Scholarship Star Ni, Dulles High School, NMDr. Joseph J. Jacobs Scholarship Abigail Sackett, Dulles High School, NM-Fluor Scholarship Sally Mingshuang Yan, Clements High School, NM-Fluor Scholarship These scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice. - 2018 National Merit Scholarship Competition -

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists had to fulfill requirements to advance to Finalist standing. Each Semifinalist was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 met Finalist requirements.

Fort Bend study to explore levee at Barker Reservoir


ICHMOND - Fort Bend County Commissioners Court on April 24 unanimously authorized the county engineer to retain AECOM Technical Services Inc. to conduct a high-level study evaluating the feasibility and potential cost of enclosing the back side of the Barker Reservoir with a levee system. "As I stated today in court," said Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers, "I wish to thank County Judge Bob Hebert for his leadership in pursuing this agreement with AECOM. I support this study for several reasons but none greater than this - never again, should our citizens and property owners have to solely rely on the federal government and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for protection from the Barker Reservoir." The agreement calls for the cost of the study not to exceed $67,200. The money was transferred from the Commissioners Court Projects into an Engineering Project Account. The agreement is to end no later than Sept. 30, 2019. The study is to be completed within 90 days. After the study has been completed and reviewed this summer, Meyers said he will give residents the results and outline the next steps in partnership with the community and other government entities. The project overview in the agreement states: "AECOM Technical Services Inc. will conduct a high-level study to evaluate the feasibility and potential cost of enclosing the backside of Barker Reservoir and pumping extreme event inflows from the various upstream channels into the reservoir in order to contain the flood pool within government owned land by increasing the accessible storage volume within the reservoir." (-Staff report) The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will name recipients of National Merit $2,500 Scholarships on May 9, and winners of college-

Tel: 713-774-5140

Dr. Asha Wurdeman joins Houston Methodist Sugar Land for palliative care difficult treatments for serious illnesses or injuries,” Wurdeman said. “Aggressive care can often create its own special issues, such as nausea, side effects or pain, and palliative care specialists work to solve these problems.” Palliative care physicians also serve as liaisons between medical specialists and family members – explaining difficult concepts, answering questions and listening to concerns.

Asha Wurdeman, DO, Palliative Care Medicine


UGAR LAND—(April 19, 2018) — Asha Wurdeman, D.O., has joined the medical staff at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital to develop a palliative care program that will provide specialized care and support to patients undergoing complex treatments. Palliative medicine is a rapidly growing specialty that focuses on relieving the symptoms, pain and stress that patients experience during times of intense treatment. Wurdeman will work with Houston Methodist Sugar Land physicians and nursing staff to help patients – and their family members – cope more effectively with the care they receive. “Palliative care is really about understanding each patient’s unique situation and helping develop strategies for improving the effectiveness of medical care during a time of great stress, when patients and their families are dealing with complex, often

sponsored Merit Scholarship awards on June 6 and July 16. By the conclusion of this year’s

“People often wish they were healthy enough not to need a hospital stay,” Wurdeman said. “Having an advocate who can take the time to listen and help solve issues is invaluable.” Wurdeman earned her doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona, and completed her residency in family medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, along with a fellowship in geriatric medicine/palliative medicine at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. She previously served as medical director of palliative care at CHI Health/ Alegent Creighton Clinics in Omaha, Nebraska, before moving to Houston to take a similar role. “I am excited to have the opportunity to build a palliative care program at Houston Methodist Sugar Land,” Wurdeman said. “I know we can make a significant difference in the lives of our patients and their loved ones.” To learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit or our Facebook page at for the latest news, events and information.

competition, about 7,500 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.



Book launch event benefits Pratham’s Beauty Entrepreneurship Program

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Empowering children’s dreams: CRY America’s upcoming gala with Abhay Deol in Houston


RY, Child Rights & You America [CRY America], a 501c3 nonprofit that works towards ensuring underprivileged children their basic rights, is hosting their Annual Gala Dinner in Houston on May 4, 2018 to bring people together for the cause of children's rights. This year, the CRY Gala Dinner is at the Sweetwater Country Club. Speakers include Celebrity Guest Abhay Deol who joins CRY America to amplify the voices of underprivileged children, Shefali Sunderlal, President of CRY America, Dr. Rolee Singh, Program Director of Dr. Shambhunath Singh Research Foundation (SSRF) and Surendra Adhana, Deputy Consul General India. Author Dr. Rajani Katta with Asha Dhume, President, Pratham


ermatologist and author Dr. Rajani Katta recently released her latest book, on eating for younger skin, at an event held to raise funds for Pratham. At the book launch event held on Friday, April 13, all proceeds from the sale of Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet were donated to the Pratham Beauty Entrepreneurship Program. During the event, held at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, event goers learned about Pratham’s Beauty Entrepreneurship Program. The program provides vocational training for women in India, and supports the development of beauty businesses. “I’m so honored to be able to support such a worthwhile program with the proceeds from my book launch party,” said Dr. Rajani Katta. “I’m so thankful that my friends and fellow Pratham supporters are coming together this evening to benefit such a worthy cause.” Attendees included Pratham board members, Asha Dhume, Pratham Houston president, and many Houston Pratham supporters. As Asha states: " Educated & Trained women are empowered to make better choices. Give women a chance. Unleash their potential.” While serving as Professor of Dermatology at the Baylor College of Medicine for over 17 years, Dr. Katta was often asked about how diet can affect the skin. “After researching and writing multiple medical articles, I was determined to share the science and evidence on how our dietary choices impact our skin,” said Dr. Katta. The book delves deep into the research but presents the information in a practical and engaging manner, allowing readers to easily incorporate the recommendations. The book highlights Skin Saving Foods, including everyday foods such as ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and many herbs and spices. Dr. Katta maintains a blog at About the Author An accomplished dermaologist and professor, Dr. Rajani Katta has extensively researched how diet can affect the skin and the body’s overall health. Widely sought out for her perspectives and insight, she has been interviewed by and quoted in multiple media outlets, including The Oprah Magazine, Dr. Oz Magazine, and Glamour. She has also been featured in news programs on the ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC networks, as well as NPR. She

Apart from raising awareness for the cause, plans include an enjoyable evening with dinner, cocktails, auctions, entertainment, music and dancing. Performances by Oliver Rajamani of Flamenco India will be part of the evening’s program. Auction items to be featured are donations by famous Indian painters including the late Ram Kumar, late Badri Narayan JMS Mani, Prakash Deshmukh, Suresh Gulage, Sachin Sangare, Dinkar Jadav; fashion ensembles

Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet by Rajani Katta, MD.

information. With the support from over 25,000 donors & 2,000 volunteers, CRY America has transformed the lives of over 695,077 children in 3676 villages and slums. CRY America welcomes the support from sponsors, media, donors and volunteers to make the CRY Dinners a big success. For more information or to attend the CRY Gala Dinners in Houston contact: Dharam Bali 832-341-1142 or Patrick Bocco 617-959.1273 or visit america.

Abhay Deol donated by Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, Ritu Beri, Ritu Kumar, Tarun Tahiliani, Anita Dongre, Payal Singhal; evening clutch bags donated by Sabyasachi & Joy Bags and Jewelry donated by Rosentique, Aquamarine, Kareena Nahar and Amrapalli. While India has made great progress economically in the last decade, her children continue to battle violations of their rights every day. Millions of children are denied their rights to education, healthcare and forced into child labor, child marriage and abuse. CRY America works with grass-

root Projects, communities and local government authorities to ensure children have quality education, healthcare, and protection from child labor, child marriage and issues which hinder their development. Shefali Sunderlal says, “CRY America believes that “YOU” can empower children’s dreams and your support allows us to ensure that thousands of children are able to go to sleep educated, healthy and protected." She appealed for people to join CRY America as donors, volunteers and supporters and visit http:// for more

About CRY America: CRY - Child Rights and You America Inc. (CRY America) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is driven by its vision of a just world in which all children have equal opportunities to develop to their full potential and realize their dreams. With the support of over 25,000 donors and 2,000 volunteers, CRY America has impacted the lives of 695,077 children living across 3,676 villages and slums through support to 73 Projects in India and USA. All donations to CRY America are tax deductible

Men for Change, Inc. presents 2018 “Uplifting Youth through Education” scholarship awards Five FBISD seniors among organization’s scholarship recipients

serves on the Clinical Faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine and the McGovern Medical School. About the Book Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet (MD2B, 2018, ISBN 978-1-93797809-9, is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers. About Pratham Established in 1995 to provide education to children in Mumbai slums, Pratham (which means “first” in Sanskrit) is now one of the largest and most successful non-governmental education organizations in India. Working in collaboration with governments, communities, parents, teachers and volunteers, Pratham focuses on innovative interventions to address gaps in the education system. The clarity of the mission—“every child in school and learning well”—drives the focus to make an impact on the lives of India’s children. With operations in 20 of India’s 29 states, Pratham reaches millions of children and youth each year, from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu. Pratham USA is a volunteerdriven organization with 14 chapters across the United States that raise awareness and mobilize financial resources.

Pictured (front row, l-r) are: Toni Ajala, Dulles HS; Louisa Idah-Oze, Marshall HS; Aumari Wilson, Willowridge HS; Jalon Jackson, Stafford HS; Sidney Brigance, Elkins HS; Treveon J. Wigrys, Hightower HS; and (back row): William Wallace, Laymon Humes, Jr., James Poore III, Rodney Toussant, FBISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles E. Dupre, Alton Honore, Will Willis, Billy Polk and Will Ross.


ORT BEND ISD (April 24, 2018) – Men for Change, Inc. (MFC), hosted its Annual Scholarship Awards Gala this month at the Quail Valley City Centre. The event serves as a platform to grant scholarships to enable high school graduates to pursue their academic successes, while helping families reduce financial Pratham USA will be burdens. hosting its 2018 Houston Gala FBISD Superintendent of on Saturday, May 12, at the Schools Dr. Charles Dupre Hilton Americas in Downtown served as guest speaker at the Houston. For sponsorship event. He inspired students by opportunities and more sharing his background and information on Pratham USA educational journey that led to please contact Vikas Bahl @ him becoming superintendent. or visit He also reminded the students Tel: 713 774 of the unlimited possibilities they can realize with diligence, 9599.

commitment, steadfast purpose and hard work. This year MFC awarded six (6) scholarships, totaling $2,000 each, to deserving Fort Bend ISD and Stafford Municipal School District students. The scholarship awards were possible through the generous

donations of MFC benefactors and sponsors. The 2018 MFC scholarship recipients include: Toni Ajala, Dulles HS; Sidney Brigance, Elkins HS; Louisa Idah-Oze, Marshall HS; Treveon J. Wigrys, Hightower HS; Aumari Wilson, Willowridge HS; and Jalon Jackson, Stafford HS.


“We were humbled and very grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support from our friends and sponsors, without whom these scholarships would not be possible,” said Will Willis, MFC President. “Because of them, we are able to help students in our community become all they can be.”

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Save A Mother's 10th Anniversary Gala in Houston on May 6 in the vision to provide maximum benefit to the under privileged with minimum overhead expenditure. He advocates that prudent expenditure should make Save a Mother a leading innovator in healthcare delivery. He says, “We achieve our goal,

Member of Parliament will be the chief guest at both the events.

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Gujarati Senior Citizens of Seattle tour Houston's temples, sights

If you want to participate in these great events or organization, please contact: or call 630-362-3119

Gala Chief Guest, Shabana Azmi, social activist, actress and former Member of Parliament, India.


oung mothers die during childbirth in poor countries with limited resources. Rural India has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. In 2008, a group of volunteers joined together in Houston and Chicago to start ‘Save A Mother,’ an organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant mortality in rural India. What began in 20 villages ten years ago, the organization has expanded to 1100 villages in three states - Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana. With the resources and direction of the organization, they have been able to reduce maternal mortality by 90% and infant mortality by 60% in the villages they serve. This success rate is almost unbelievable. In 167 villages in the district of Gadag in northern Karnataka, there was not a single maternal death in 2017 and there was only one death in 2016, which is almost the high standards of developed countries. Rahul Singhal, an IT entrepreneur and Chicago native, who has been with the organization since its inception believes that it is the dedicated field volunteers and supporting volunteers in the U.S.A. that made it happen. Nat Murthy, CEO of his own company in Houston, joined the organization five years ago. Although in his mid-70s, his goal was to make a difference. He is an inspirational volunteer and serves as the treasurer of the organization. He strongly believes

After visiting ISKCON of Houston (Hare Krishna Dham) and Govinda's Vegetarian Cuisine buffet on Sunday afternoon. A special vegan Earth Day menu was featured at their lunch. (Photo: Dayal Nitai das)

Rural women participating in Save a Mother program in India. by spending approximately $150 annually per village, which is about 25 cents per capita per year”. An incredibly dedicated volunteer board and generous Houston community has enabled Save a Mother to continually expand its program. Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, Curator of Indian and Islamic Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, visited a program village recently and met some of the participating women. After enduring a tortuous and tiring journey through the dusty villages, it was a transformational experience for her when she witnessed the hope, enthusiasm and empowerment that Save a Mother program has brought to the women. Save a Mother is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year to honor all the volunteers who made its success possible. They will hold evening events in Chicago on 5 May and in Houston on 6 May. Ms. Shabana Azmi, well known social activist, legendary film personality and past

"It has been my privilege and honor to be the leader of Save A Mother for the past 10 years. Our rate of growth is steadily increasing commensurate with the expanded healthcare services we have provided for women and children in the remote villages of India. In our quest to make a dramatic shift in the lives of underrepresented women and children, I have the distinct pleasure of a dedicated, talented and most of all, agents of change to serve as volunteer board members. Our board represents a cross section of young, vibrant leaders who are committed to make quantum leap changes in embarking and more importantly advocating in enhancing health care education and services. I would be remiss if I don't extend my deepest gratitude and admiration to the amazing donors whose generous contributions and encouragement over the years from Houston community has resulted in SAM's 10th year celebration" Veena Kaul, President

by Shobana Muratee


OUSTON - A group of 23 seniors, 19 from Seattle, two from Portland and two from N. Carolina, visited Houston from Friday, April 20 until Tuesday, April 24.


Sudha Trivedi, former president,and current trustee, ISCA welcomed the group and thanked Lalit and Chatur for their initiative to bring the groups together.

Lalit Chenoy and his wife Chatur Chenoy, former residents of Houston who have moved to Seattle, Washington to join their son. He founded the Gujarati Seniors of Seattle along with Praveen Shah and Sureh Chokshi. The group was started in Febuary, 2015 with just 17 members.

Others who spoke on the occassion were Arvind Shah from Seattle and Houston's PV Patel, along with Sudir Mathuria.

Under the guided tours arranged by Vinod Shah of ABC Travels, the group visited Houston's many temples, including VPPS, Jain temple, BAPS, Char Dham, ISKCON of Houston, and Sri Meenakshi Temple.

Lalit informed the group was steadily growing and that out of the 90 members currently, nearly 60% are ladies. For the 2018 initiatives, Lalit said there will be more importantage to health plans, yoga and day care centers for Indian seniors.

They also visited NASA and Galveston's beaches. On Saturday, April 21st, they hosted a get-together with a few friends from ISCA (Indian Seniors Citizens Association) at Madras Pavilion, Sugar Land. The evening's entertainment was provided by Preetu Dave and other singers Tejas Mehta, Nick Ganotra and Parth Joshi. Vinod Shah kept the smiles up with a few jokes in Gujarati, to the audience's

The Gujarati Seniors of Seattle meet the first Saturday of the month to discuss issues of medical and other relevant topics with a little light entertainment.

Currently their support comes from ISSO Seva. On the following day, the group attended ISKCON of Houston's mandir, auditorium, school and buffet restaurant. A temple tour was conducted by servant leader Dayal Nitai das, who explained the history and mission of Hare Krishna Dham Houston, with darshan of the Deities at noon, followed by lunch prasadam.



Suicide revives concerns Child rape about Japan immigration case heightens India's Hindudetention

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Blind elephants used by tourists at popular Indian fort: PETA

Muslim divide

by Harumi Ozawa / Sara Hussein


OKYO, Japan | AFP | 4/21/2018 - The suicide of an Indian man being held at an immigration detention centre in Japan has sparked a hunger strike among detainees and revived concerns about conditions. Deepak Kumar was found dead on April 13 after apparently hanging himself in the shower at the Ushiku facility, northeast of Tokyo. At least eight detainees, including Kumar, have died in immigration detention facilities since 2010, according to a tally by the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR), an NGO. Kumar's death prompted a hunger strike, with around 70 people at the Ushiku facility refusing food by Friday, according to an official, and reports that people held at other centres were also protesting. Around 1,000 people are held in immigration detention centres around Japan, according to JAR, and there have long been concerns about conditions, with a series of deaths raising questions about medical access and oversight. Last year, a Vietnamese man died in the Ushiku facility after having a stroke, and in 2014 two detainees, an Iranian and a Cameroonian died there. "One death in ten years is too much," said Eri Ishikawa, chair of JAR's board. "But in reality, in these three to five years, every year there has been an incidence of death among detainees," she told AFP. Authorities deny that detainees are being mistreated or neglected. "We respect their human rights," said Daisuke Akinaga, an official at the Ushiku facility. "We try to listen to them

and meet their requests. For example, there was a complaint about cold inside the facility and we improved the situation," he said. "Applications for provisional release are a different story. They have to go through proper procedures." - Calls for reform Detainees at the facilities are generally facing deportation, but many are seeking asylum and can file for provisional release while their claims are being processed. Kumar appears to have committed suicide after learning that his provisional release request had been denied, said Kimiko Tanaka, 65, a long-time activist. "His provisional release request had been turned down in March, but he only learned about it on April 12, according to a detainee who was sharing a room with him," she said. Kumar's brother Sanju told AFP that the family was devastated, and was calling for an investigation. "There was no reason for him to commit suicide, he was a courageous man and had a fighting spirit," he said from Ludhiana, in India's Punjab state. "He called me a day before his death and was in a good mood. He promised to call again in five days." "We don't believe the authorities and demand that his death be investigated," he added. Activists and rights group have long urged reforms to the immigration detention system, including ending the practice of long-term detention, improving medical access and allowing independent oversight. They also criticise the government's stringent rules on granting refugee status.

by Alexandre Marchand


AMMU, India | AFP | The internet is being cut for hours on end in Jammu as authorities try to halt protests that have grown in the Kashmir winter capital since the rape-murder of an eight year old girl opened a new front in India's Hindu-Muslim divide. With near daily protests held across the country over the brutal killing, Jammu police say the digital clampdown is to halt the spread of "rumours" that inflame tensions. Much damage has already been done in the city. Eight Hindu men are on trial for the rape and murder of the Muslim girl, or for trying to destroy evidence. On the streets, Muslims are demanding justice while Hindu radicals say the inquiry is biased. Threats have been made and state politicians forced to resign. "Hang the real guilty," read banners carried by about 100 mainly Hindu protesters on a Jammu road on Friday. The group were demanding a new investigation into the events in Kathua district about 60 kilometres (35 miles) from Jammu. According to police the girl was drugged, held captive in a Hindu temple for five days, repeatedly raped and then killed. They say the killing in January was part of a plot to drive the girl's Muslim nomad community, the Bakarwal, out of the region. Activists for the girl "have made a big fuss so that innocent men are put behind bars," said Rajimder Abrol, a lawyer who took part in the Jammu protest by Hindus. In an illustration of the communal distrust that permeates the region, Deepak

Elephants ferry thousands of tourists a year to Jaipur's Amer Fort (AFP Photo/Andrew CaballeroReynolds)


EW DELHI, India | AFP | 4/24/2018 Dozens of elephants used for tourist rides at one of India's most recognised forts are blind or suffering other ailments, a report said Tuesday, calling for the practice to end.

Board of India.

Nineteen elephants used to ferry visitors to Rajasthan's famous Amer Fort were blind or vision impaired while nine others had tuberculosis, found a report commissioned by the government's Animal Welfare

Tens of thousands of tourists visit the Amer Fort, a medieval complex on a hilltop outside Jaipur, every year and many opt to enter its imposing gates on the back of an elephant.

Kamora, an insurance company employee who was among the protesters, accused Muslims of taking part in drug dealing and "terrorist" activities. - Jammu powder keg Hindu radicals see the murder charges as part of a conspiracy against them. Muslim activists say the murder is new proof of their persecution in the Hindumajority region. While Jammu and Kashmir

Almost all the 102 elephants examined by government officials and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) displayed some psychological distress or health troubles like bruised footpads.

as a whole is Muslim majority, the Jammu region in the south is Hindu-dominated. "They call Jammu the 'City of Temples' but they are changing it, they are replacing temples with mosques," said Kamora. Before the eight were charged, a group of Hindu lawyers tried to stop police entering a court in Kathua to register charges in the rape case.

But the government's animal welfare board, which sanctioned the study with PETA, said the captive elephants were unfit for safaris and such joy rides endangered both the elephants and tourists alike. "Shocking reports of blind and TB-infected elephants forced to haul illegal, backbreaking loads day in and day out are exactly why these rides must stop," PETA India's Nikunj Sharma said in a statement. The report said elephant handlers often overloaded the elephants beyond limits considered safe. The tusks were missing on 47 beasts, raising suspicion the ivory was sold on illegal markets, it said. The elephants are owned privately but registered with the government. More than 100 were listed with authorities in 2017 but many more are brought from outside Rajasthan, India's western desert state, to meet demand during peak tourist season.



Indian American teen shot dead by California police after he opened fire on them


ASHINGTON, PTI, Apr 24, 2018 - An Indian-American teenager wanted on a felony firearms possession warrant was shot dead by a California police after he opened fire on them, officials said.

This interaction was captured on video surveillance and was corroborated by statements of the involved officer and witnesses at the scene, the local police said in a statement. Additional police officers were rushed to the scene.

The individual, identified as Nathaniel Prasad, 18, was shot dead on April 5, according to an investigation report released by the Freemont Police Department on Thursday. He was wanted on a felony probation warrant and a misdemeanour evading arrest warrant for fleeing from a Fremont School Resource Officer on March 22. On April 5, the Fremont Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit identified Prasad as a passenger in a vehicle that was being driven by a female in Fremont area. The vehicle was known to be associated with Prasad. Soon the information was broadcast over the police radio about the vehicle and the active warrants and requested marked patrol units to assist with a traffic stop.

Nathaniel Prasad, 18, of Hayward, California, who died April 5, in an armed confrontation with police in Fremont. (Photo: Facebook, Chapel of the Times, Hayward). radio that the suspect had a gun. Prasad ran back toward Fremont Blvd.

During the time the six officers were giving chase, Prasad pulled a gun from his waist area, pointed it in the direction of the officers and it appears he fired at least one round. This interaction is corroborated by the statements of the involved officers, statements of witnesses, the body-worn camera footage and in-car camera footage of the event,” the report said.

In response, the officers shot in the direction of Prasad, striking him

several times, causing him to fall, it said. “On the ground, Prasad still had the weapon in his hand and officers fired additional rounds, the report said. Fremont Fire paramedics who arrived on the scene announced Prasad was deceased shortly thereafter. No officers were injured during the incident, the police said. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Prasad’s mother. She was transported back to the Fremont Police Department where she provided a statement to investigators. The firearm in Prasad’s possession was a .22 calibre revolver. When officers examined the weapon at the scene, it had three spent casings and three empty cylinders. A record check revealed it was reported stolen. The recovery of the firearm from Prasad was captured via body worn camera and corroborated by witness statements.

Thereafter, two patrol officers responded to the area, activated their emergency lights and siren, and stopped the suspect vehicle just prior to the intersection of Fremont Boulevard and Nicolet Ave.

Trump administration plans to end work permits for H-1B visa spouses The move to end the Obama-era rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 holders of H-4 visas , which are issued to the spouses of H-1B visa holders.


ASHINGTON, PTI, Apr 24, 2018 - The Trump administration is planning to end allowing spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the US, a top federal agency official has told lawmakers, a move that could have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of Indians. The move to end the Obamaera rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visas holders, who have work permits. H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of whom are high-skilled professionals from India. They had obtained work permits under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration. Indian-Americans were a major beneficiary of this provision. More than 100,000 H-4 visa holders have been beneficiary of this rule.

According to the investigation report, the driver of the vehicle stopped and Prasad fled from the right passenger side of the car on foot. One of the patrol officers followed Prasad to the rear of a nearby petrol station. The officer soon stopped his vehicle and quickly got out to confront Prasad. Prasad pulled a firearm from his waist area and it appears that he fired one to two shots in the direction of the officer, police said. The officer drew his duty weapon, returned fire and broadcast over the police

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

A 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration allows work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed while H-1B visa holders seek permanent resident status -- a process that can take a decade or longer.

During the time the six officers were giving chase, Nathanial Prasad pulled a gun from his waist area, pointed it in the direction of the officers and it appears he fired at least one round.(AFP File Photo)

The Trump administration is planning to terminate this provision. A former communication is expected to be made later this summer, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna said in a letter

to Senator Chuck Grassley. “Our plans include proposing regulatory changes to remove H-4 dependent spouses from the class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation, thereby reversing the 2015 final rule that granted such eligibility,” Cissna said. He said such action would comport with the executive order requirement to “propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system ... “ As with other revisions to regulations, the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback during a notice and comment period, Cissna said. According to a recent study by the Migration Policy Institute, the US has issued employment authorisation documents to more than 71,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders, over 90 per cent of whom are Indians. “As of June 2017, USCIS had granted 71,287 initial (versus renewal) employment authorisation documents to H-4 spouses,” the study which was released last week said. Of those H-4 spouses with work authorisation as of early 2017, a total of 94 per cent were women, and the vast majority, 93 per cent, were from India, while four per cent were from China, the study said.



Jury locked in Cosby trial by Jennie Matthew ORRISTOWN, PA | AFP - A US jury was locked in deliberations Wednesday in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial, tasked with deciding whether the disgraced megastar drugged and molested a young woman at his home 14 years ago.


The frail 80-year-old could spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Con-

stand, then a Temple University employee, in 2004. The sequestered Pennsylvania jury of seven men and five women crossed the seven-hour point in deliberations, recalling the judge and lawyers to court three times for questions and two further clarifications. They asked for the legal definition of consent, only to be told that there wasn't one, and for portions of Cosby's 2006 deposition, and the entire testimony of the star defense wit-

ness, to be re-read. After Judge Steven O'Neill announced a hot dinner had been ordered for the jury, the panel decided to eat before listening again to the testimony in Norristown, near Philadelphia. They have already heard 12 days of testimony from around two dozen witnesses in what is the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era that has seen a litany of powerful men lose their jobs over sexual misconduct accusations.

Indian court jails popular guru...


OS ANGELES | AFP | 4/25/2018 - A 72-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of being the "Golden State Killer," a notorious rapist and murderer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s.

and his wife, Katie, who were shot to death in Rancho Cordova while walking their dog. Also known as the "East Area Rapist" and "Original Nightstalker," the Golden State Killer carried out at least 12 murders, more than 50 rapes and 120 home burglaries in California between 1976 and 1986, according to the FBI.

Joseph James DeAngelo, of Citrus Heights, California, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with two counts of murder, officials said at a press conference in the state capital Sacramento.

His victims ranged in age from 13 to 41. "Everyone was afraid," FBI special agent Marcus Knutson was quoted on the FBI website as saying. "We had people sleeping with shotguns, we had people purchasing dogs. People were concerned, and they had a right to be. This guy was terrorizing the community. He did horrible things," Knutson said.

"The magnitude of this case demanded that it be solved," Sacramento County district attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a press conference. "This case deeply affected this entire state."

Asaram Bapu, one of India's most charismatic and controversial "godmen", was given the maximum sentence at a closed jailhouse hearing in Rajasthan state, where hundreds of police were on high alert for any backlash from his disciples. "Asaram has been sentenced for life until death," Rajendra Singh, a defence lawyer, told AFP outside the court in the western city of Jodhpur. The white-bearded guru, 77, has always denied raping the then 16-year-old in 2013 during a spiritual retreat at his ashram in Jodhpur. His lawyer said they would appeal the sentence. Asaram is just the latest high-profile guru jailed for sex crimes, and his conviction comes as India reverberates with anger over a series of child rapes in recent weeks. Two of the four other coaccused, including a woman, were also found guilty and sentenced to 20 years. Two others accused in the case were acquitted. The hearing was closed to media and the prison surrounded by tight security, with thousands of police deployed across parts of India amid fears his devotees could riot.

The Golden State Killer was the subject of "I'll Be Gone in the Dark," a best-selling book published earlier this year by true crime writer Michelle McNamara.

Schubert said DNA helped bring the authorities to DeAngelo 40 years after his first attack. "The answer was and always was going to be in the DNA," she said. Indian spiritual leader Asaram Bapu, who urges followers to live a pious life free of sexual desires, leads hundreds of ashrams in India and overseas (AFP Photo) outrage. He still commands a devoted following even though his star power is fading following the rape charges and other controversies. Asaram's followers have been accused of using violence against those who have spoken out against the guru. Two close aides who turned key witnesses against him were murdered in 2014 and 2015. Asaram is also accused of raping another devotee and suspected of involvement in the killing of two other people. His son is also on trial for rape. But this conviction was the first for the Hindu televangelist and yoga guru, who once attracted seas of fans to hear his sermons. "We argued that Asaram is not a saint," public prosecutor Pokar Ram Bishnoi told reporters after the sentencing. - Controversial 'godman' -

The influential guru, who has been in custody since 2013, had called the trial a political conspiracy and refused to cooperate with a police investigation.

Asaram became restless in his teens and ran away from the family home in Gujarat state. He flitted between jobs, selling liquor and fixing bicycles, before landing in an ashram where he found his true calling.

A perceived reluctance to bring the charismatic leader to account sparked public

He established his first spiritual retreat in Ahmedabad in the 1970s with just 10

members, extolling a simple life and urging his followers to control their lust. A particular target was Valentine's Day, which he decried as a corrupting force luring youth into "dirty acts". Dressed in a crisp white sarong and signature red turban, his daily sermons -- later televised to millions -- offered yoga instruction and tips on celibacy. He recommended cow's milk for appendicitis and honey to treat cancer. He attracted friends in high places and many of the ashrams which mushroomed in his heyday were on land donated by successive state governments. Asaram's movement grew from India's rural heartland to an empire with 400 ashrams and Ayurveda health centres estimated to be worth more than half a billion dollars.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- who was criticised for a slow response to the crimes -- last week approved the death penalty for child rapists, vowing to hang those "of demonic tendencies who misbehave with daughters".


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McNamara died two years ago at the age of 46 but her book helped spark renewed interest in the case.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said DeAngelo had been arrested for the February 2, 1978 murders of a newlywed couple, Brian Maggiore

McNamara's husband, actor

Joseph James Deangelo, 72 appears in a booking photo in Sacramento and comedian Patton Oswalt, welcomed the news of the arrest and said on Twitter he was flying to Sacramento for the press conference. "I hope you got him, Michelle," Oswalt tweeted. "I hope THEY got him." "She would be beyond excited about this. I think this is the definition of bittersweet," Oswalt said. Two years ago, the FBI offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. According to the FBI, the Golden State Killer carried out his attacks starting in the summer of 1976 in the suburbs of Sacramento, California's state capital. - Last known attack in May 1986.

Senators introduce social media privacy bill


introduced by Republican Senator John Kennedy and Democrat Amy Klobuchar would require terms of service agreements to be in plain language, and enable users to see what information about them has already been collected and shared. It would also allow consumers the right to opt out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection, and mandate that users be notified of a privacy violation within 72 hours.

ASHINGTON, DC | AFP - Two US senators, one Democrat and one Republican, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at better protecting online privacy in response to the Facebook data scandal. The proposal comes following hearings in Congress on the hijacking of private data on tens of millions of Facebook users by a consulting firm working on Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. The "Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act"

"I don't want to hurt Facebook, and I don't want to regulate them half to death, either," Kennedy said in a statement. "But I have a job to do, and that's protecting the rights and privacy of our citizens." Klobuchar said: "Consumers should have the right to control their personal data and that means allowing them to opt out of having their data collected and tracked... The digital space can’t keep operating like the Wild West at the expense of our privacy."

Immigration Law

India is already outraged at the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old and a separate assault on a teenager by a ruling party politician.

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40 years on, US man arrested for 'Golden State' murders, rapes

According to local television stations, DeAngelo was a former policeman.

Continued from Page 1


FRIDAY, April 27 2018

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At Argentina football club, Maradona is God, Messi is Adam

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

India tennis star Mirza announces pregnancy

Sania Mirza


EW DELHI, India | AFP | Monday 4/23/2018 - Grand Slam-winning Indian tennis star Sania Mirza on Monday announced she is pregnant, describing herself as "ecstatic" but giving no indication whether she would retire from the sport. Young people play football at the Sportivo Pereyra club in Barracas, where local artist Santiago Barbeito has painted the sport's version of the Sistine Chapel featuring legends Diego Maradona (R) and Lionel Messi (L). AFP Photo


UENOS AIRES, Argentina | AFP | Wednesday 4/25/2018 - There is no question that football is a sort of religion in Argentina. And one of the football-mad country's brightest stars, Diego Maradona, is known for his infamous "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup. Now, on the ceiling of one club in Buenos Aires, in a painting modeled after Michelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapel, Maradona is God, extending his hand to Adam -- Lionel Messi. Argentina-born Pope Francis, an avowed football fan, would certainly smile at the grand gesture made by the club Sportivo Pereyra, located in

the Barracas district of the capital, where football and other team sports are played. "For us, this pitch is our temple -a sacred temple of football, and what better than to have a fresco on the ceiling that is worthy of a temple," coach Ricardo Elsegood told AFP. "The Sistine Chapel has God and Adam, and the chapel of football has Messi and Maradona." In this version of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam," instead of the angels surrounding God, other football stars are featured: Juan Riquelme, Gabriel Batistuta, Mario Kempes, Sergio Aguero, Claudio Caniggia, Ricardo Bochini and Ariel Ortega. The players are clad in the classic

blue and white striped jersey of Argentina's national team. The club, where many children play, is located in the southern part of Buenos Aires, not far from the stadium of the Boca Juniors, Argentina's most successful club. "It's as if Maradona had bestowed upon Messi the gift of continued good football," explains the artist who painted the work, Santiago Barbeito. For Elsegood, it was a simple decision. "We realized the ceiling was rather dark. We thought at first of painting it blue with white clouds. But one day, the artist came and said it would be better to do it with Messi and Maradona," he said.

Mirza and her husband, former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik, posted a picture on their Twitter accounts of a baby vest and a feeding bottle between two T-shirts bearing their names. It was accompanied by the hashtag #BabyMirzaMalik. Bollywood actor Aamir Khan tweeted back his "congratulations". The baby is due in October, the tennis star's father and coach Imran Mirza told the Press Trust of India news agency. "We are soon to become parents," Sania Mirza said in a statement released by a family friend. "Having thought about it for a while, we both felt right now is the correct time to start a family. When we found out, we were ecstatic and couldn't wait to give out this news to our fans and well-wishers.

this new phase of our lives and look forward to our journey as parents," she added. The three-time Grand Slam doubles winner had said earlier this month that any child she had would bear the Mirza-Malik surname and that Shoaib wanted a daughter. The 31-year-old has been sidelined since October with a knee injury. She has slipped from number one in the world doubles ranking -- the first for an Indian woman -- to 24. She said at the start of the year that she wanted to return for the French Open in May. Mirza has won at least one medal at every Asian Games since 2006 and had also expressed hope of competing in this year's event in Indonesia in August. Mirza in 2005 became the first Indian to win a WTA tournament singles title. She reached the fourth round of the US Open in the same year, and by 2007 was among the women's top 30. But a wrist injury ended her singles dream and she focused on doubles tennis. A partnership with Swiss great Martina Hingis produced three Grand Slam titles.

"We are very excited to enter

'Tsunami' of match-fixing in non-elite tennis: review panel by Pirate IRWIN ONDON | AFP | 4/25/2018 A "tsunami" of match-fixing is plaguing non-elite tennis, according to a report released Wednesday by a review panel set up to look into allegations of corruption in the sport. The Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis report said the lower levels of the sport provide a "fertile breeding ground" for breaches of integrity and are engulfed in bettingrelated corruption. The problems stem from too many players in the lower reaches, such as the Futures and Challenger circuits, not earning enough to make a living, coupled with the rise of online betting. "Player-incentive structure and remuneration creates a lamentably fertile breeding ground for breaches of integrity," said lawyer Adam Lewis, who chaired the Independent Review Panel (IRP). "In particular only those playing principally at Tour level make a decent living. Only the top 250 female players and the top 350 men players break even before coaching costs, yet there are around 15,000 professional players." The IRP was set up in January 2016 following allegations made by the BBC and Buzzfeed that leading players, including Grand Slam winners, were involved in suspected matchfixing and that evidence had been suppressed.


Having surveyed more than 3,000 players as well as tournament organisers, officials and betting operators, it found "evidence of some issues" at Grand Slams and Tour events, although it did not uncover evidence of a widespread problem at those higher levels. A total of 14.5 percent of players who responded to the survey said they had first-hand knowledge of match-fixing but the panel found no evidence of top-level players being implicated in corruption. - Detection difficult "Detection is difficult, not least because at many lower-level matches there are no spectators and inadequate facilities to protect players from potential corrupters," the report said. "Moreover, under-performance is often attributed to ‘tanking’, which too often has been tolerated." The level of suspicious betting alerts rose sharply after the sale of official live scoring data to betting companies in 2012, making tens of thousands of matches

Pakistan hockey hero seeks heart transplant in India


ARACHI, Pakistan | - Pakistan's World Cup winning field hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed Monday reached out to India for help in securing a heart transplant -- despite years of breaking his rivals' "hearts on the field". The 49-year-old has been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart. Ahmed has been a sporting icon in Pakistan since helping the country win the 1994 World Cup in Sydney with his penalty stroke push against the Netherlands in the final. "I may have broken a lot of Indian hearts on the field of play by beating India in the Indira Gandhi Cup (1989) and in other events but that was sport," Ahmed told AFP. "Now I need a heart transplant in India and for that I need support from the Indian government." India-Pakistan ties, including sports and cultural contacts, plummeted after the 2008 militant attacks

in Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistani militant groups. Despite the strained ties, Pakistanis are eligible to apply for medical visas to India, renowned for its booming medical tourism industry. Ahmed -- who played 338 international matches, participated in three Olympics and various other high-profile events in a career spanning from 1986 to 2000 -- said the visa could be a lifesaver. "Humanity is paramount and I too would be obliged if I get a visa and other help in India" said Ahmed. Sport has been one of the few avenues to improve relations between the arch rivals, he added.

available to gamble on. "The imbalance between prize money and costs, and deliberate un-

der-performance, are the seeds for corruption," said Lewis. "It is a small step for a player who

already intends to lose for other reasons, to bet or to make others aware of their intentions.


FRIDAY, April 27 2018


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Music business grows at record pace as digital dominates by Shaun Tandon


EW YORK | AFP The global music industry soared a record 8.1 percent last year as digital sales for the first time made up the majority of revenue thanks to the streaming boom, the industry said Tuesday. Recorded music grossed $17.3 billion in 2017 with digital music -- until last year roughly equal to physical sales worldwide -- amounting to 54 percent of the revenue, the IFPI global body said in its annual report. The growth marks the third consecutive year of expansion and the fastest pace since the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), began compiling data, the group’s CEO Frances Moore told reporters on a conference call. But the industry still is only worth about two thirds of its value in the 1990s before the rise of the internet and the scourge of pirated music sent the music business into a 15year slump, Moore said. The resurgence is almost entirely due to the rapid growth of streaming services including Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music, which have given the

Recorded music grossed $17.3 billion in 2017 with digital music amounting to 54% of the revenue. as records find a renewed market among audiophiles.

IFPI’s 10 best-sellling artists in the world in 2017 as sales soar led by digital industry a badly needed new source of revenue. The report said that 176 million people around the world paid for streaming subscriptions by the end of last year, with 64 million joining

throughout the year -- and there is plenty of room to grow on a global level. Physical sales tumbled again but one bright side was vinyl, which remains a sliver of the market but grew 22.3 percent

Stu Bergen, the CEO for international and global commercial services at the Warner Music Group, warned that the music industry should not become “complacent” and pledged that record labels would invest their revenue to develop new talent. “We’ve fought too hard to get here and, after 15 years of decline, there’s still plenty of room to grow,” Bergen said on the conference call. - Spotify keeps expanding -

hours before Spotify announced a major expansion of its free, advertising-backed level, which the Swedish company sees as crucial to its hopes of making streaming universal, especially in emerging economies. The industry voiced guarded optimism about China, where revenue jumped 35.3 percent as international labels increasingly penetrate the billion-plus market. The growth, however, comes from a small base, with China only the 10th largest music market.

The IFPI released its data

Your package is in the trunk: Amazon wants keys to your car


mazon, which is already opening front doors for parcel delivery, now wants to offer the same service for vehicles. The online giant said its Amazon Key, which enables in-home delivery and keyless guest access, now offers customers an option for deliveries inside their vehicle, if it has the right technology and is parked

in a publicly accessible area. “Since launching Amazon Key last November, we’ve safely delivered everything from cameras to collectable coins inside the home,” said Amazon vice president Peter Larsen. “In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the

Amazon experience with them. And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering in-car delivery today.” The in-car deliver for US customers requires a compatible vehicle with a model year of 2015 or later with an active General Motors OnStar or Volvo On Call account.

Amazon said support for even more vehicle makes and models will be added over time. “Receiving a package securely and reliably in your car, without you having to be there, is something we think many people will appreciate,” said Atif Rafiq, chief digital officer at Volvo Cars.

“This intersection between transportation and commerce could very well be the next wave of innovation, and we intend to be at the forefront.” Amazon said it uses “multiple layers of verification” to ensure security of in-car deliveries, which allow for unlocking and relocking of the vehicle and notification via the Amazon Key application. (-AFP)

In one point of concern, Japan -- the world’s second largest music market -- saw revenue decline by three percent. The slump was paradoxically due to the continued strength of CD sales in Japan, where physical music makes up 72 percent of the market, with digital revenue not providing the same injection of growth as elsewhere. “It’s just a question of time. It’s a traditional society and the move toward digital is slower than in some countries,” Moore said. Latin America saw the biggest growth among regions. Revenue there jumped 17.7 percent on the back of streaming and particularly strong showings in Brazil, Chile and Peru. The report, however, warned that more needed to be done to reach Latin American music consumers who lack credit cards -- generally a requirement to subscribe to streaming services. The IFPI also repeated its longstanding complaints about a structural “value gap” that allows YouTube to pay less back to artists, owing in part to laws in the United States.

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#MeToo hits Pakistan as allegations mount against leading singer

Paramount Network orders series based on ‘First Wives Club’ movie Ali Zafar (above. left) has rejected the allegations by Shafi. SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP | Pressure mounted Friday against Pakistani singer Ali Zafar after he was hit with a sexual harassment allegation by a leading actress in the first high profile “#metoo” accusation in the staunchly patriarchal country.


The allegations were trending across social media in Pakistan after popular actress Meesha Shafi posted a lengthy message on Twitter, accusing Zafar of physically harassing her on “more than one occasion”.

sparking an avalanche of accusations against other powerful men. However, the movement has been slow to catch on in Pakistan, where women have fought for their rights for years in a patriarchal society where socalled “honour” killings and attacks on women remain commonplace.


S TV network Paramount Network has picked up the TV reboot of the movie “First Wives Club.” The network has ordered 10 episodes of the new TV series. After weeks of rumors, the news has finally dropped. According to reports in US entertainment media, Paramount Network has greenlit the TV reboot of Hugh Wilson’s “First Wives

Club” movie. The American network has ordered ten 30-minute episodes of the new show, coming in 2019, with production scheduled to start this summer in New York. Screenwriter Tracy Oliver -- who co-wrote “Girls Trip” -will be penning the series. The show will follow the lives of three women in New York City who reunite to support each other mutually after the breakdown of their marriag-

es. The cast is yet to be announced. A first pilot was developed by Keith Cox for TV Land, starring Alyson Hannigan (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “How I Met Your Mother”), Megan Hilty and Vanessa Lachey, before being taken over by Tracy Oliver. The original “First Wives Club” movie starred Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler, and was a $181 million box-office hit in 1996.

Cinema makes return to Saudi

‘Mini-Me’ actor Verne Troyer dead at 49

A visitor checks out a Lexus car, similar to a one used in the Black Panther film, that is on display outside an invitation-only screening, at the King Abdullah Financial District Theater, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Verne Troyer was best known for his role as Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” movies and as Griphook in “Harry Potter” (AFP Photo/Valery HACHE).

“This happened to me despite the fact I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind!” read the statement. Zafar denied the accusations, threatening legal action against the actress. “I intend to take this through the courts of law, and to address this professionally and seriously rather than to lodge any accusations here,” he wrote on Twitter. Following the accusation, other high-profile voices were quick to lend their support. “No woman goes public with allegations like this just for fun. Obviously you spend no time listening to women when they talk about how widespread harassment is in our society,” tweeted Pakistani novelist and columnist Bina Shah. Zafar has dominated the music charts in Pakistan for nearly two decades and has also starred in a number of films including Bollywood satire “Tere bin Laden” which translates as “Your Bin Laden”. The #MeToo and #Timesup campaigns have gone global since allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were published last October,


YAD, Saudi Arabia | AFP | Saudi Arabia hosted its first public film screening in over 35 years on Friday, two days after US movie giant AMC unveiled the kingdom’s debut theatre in Riyadh. Clutching prized tickets for the soldout showing of Hollywood blockbuster action film “Black Panther”, men and women walked into the movie hall with

tubs of popcorn and fizzy drinks. AMC chief executive Adam Aron on Wednesday said its multiplex theatre at Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District will for now operate one screen with a seating capacity of around 250. He said plans were afoot for three more screens in the coming months. The conservative desert kingdom lifted a decades-long ban on cinemas last year as part of a far-reaching modernisation drive, with AMC Entertainment granted the first licence to operate movie theatres.


erne Troyer, best known for his role as Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” movies, died Saturday. He was 49.

kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.”

While no cause of death was given, a statement on the actor’s social media accounts said he had gone through a “recent time of adversity” and alluded to suicide and depression as “serious issues.”

Troyer, who lived in Los Angeles, was taken to hospital early this month for unspecified treatment. The actor spoke about his alcohol addiction during another hospital stay a year ago.

“Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much,” it added. “Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what

One of the world’s shortest men at just two feet eight inches (81 centimeters) due to achondroplasia dwarfism, according to reports, Troyer was born in 1969 in Sturgis, Michigan. He first entered show business as a stunt person in “Baby’s Day Out” (1994).

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Young Life


FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Malaysian Foundation recognized for refugee support by Sharjah with $136k

Afghan girl spends life disguised as ‘son’ her parents wanted

A picture from the activities Dignity Foundation organizes for refugee children (Photos: The Big Heart Foundation).

Sitara, 18, has pretended to be a boy for most of her life


HARJAH, United Arab Emirates - For the past couple of years, the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA) has been shining a spotlight on the achievements of unsung heroes working for refugees and stateless people at a time when the world is witnessing unprecedented levels of displacement globally, with over 65 million people forced to flee their homes, including some 21.3 million refugees. The Dignity for Children Foundation from Malaysia, has been announced the recipient of the second edition of the award whose value was further appreciated this year to USD 136,000 (AED 500,000), in recognition of their outstanding efforts in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

placed people. As the third largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and one of the cultural and humanitarian centres of the Arab region, Sharjah, under the vision of its leadership represented by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, UAE, and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of TBHF and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for

Refugee Children, continues to champion philanthropic efforts by individuals and organisations around the world. At a time when the region hosts 39 percent of forcibly displaced people, including 5 million Syrian refugees, initiatives that celebrate community spirit and humanitarian efforts are of essence. Further information about TBHF can be found on the foundation’s website: http:// (- BUSINESS-WIRE)


ULTANPUR, Afghanistan | Sitara Wafadar yearns for long hair like other girls. Instead, the Afghan teenager has disguised herself as a boy for more than a decade, forced by her parents to be the “son” they never had. With five sisters and no brothers, Sitara lives by the gender-twisting custom known as “bacha poshi”, which in Dari refers to a girl “dressed as a boy”, enabling her to safely perform the duties of a son in the patriarchal country. The 18-year-old, who resides with her impoverished family in a mud-brick house in a village in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, has pretended to be a boy for most of her life. Every morning she puts on the baggy shirt and trousers and flip flops typically worn by Afghan males. Sometimes she covers her short brown hair with a scarf and deepens her voice to conceal her real gender.

This year, the foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary and now provides educational services to approximately 1,100 refugees, stateless people, undocumented students and other marginalised groups in the Malaysian community of Kuala Lumpur. The award, established by the Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) has garnered huge praise and support from humanitarian organisations and the international community, including the likes of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who have said that it offers a valuable platform to showcase solidarity with dis-

by Noorullah Shirzada

“I never think that I am a girl,” Sitara tells AFP at the brick factory where she and her elderly father work six days a week as bonded labourers to repay money they borrowed from the owner and feed the family.

A visitor to the “Sub Zero Lounge” experiences the chill-out, a BHF fund-raising event in the capitol city in the UAE.

“My father always says ‘Sitara is like my eldest son’. Sometimes... I attend funerals as his eldest son” -- something she would never be allowed to do as a girl. Bacha poshi has a long history in deeply conservative Afghanistan, where boys are valued more highly than girls and women are often confined to the home. Normally it is families with no male heirs who make a daughter dress as a boy so she can carry out the duties of a son without getting harassed, or worse. But some girls choose to

pose as boys so they can enjoy the freedom their male counterparts take for granted in a country that treats women as second-class citizens. While most bacha posh, as they are known, stop dressing as a boy after reaching puberty, Sitara says she keeps wearing male clothing “to protect myself” at the brick kiln. “When I go to work most people do not realise that I am a girl,” Sitara says. “If they realised that an 18-year-old girl was working morning to evening in a brick factory then I would encounter many problems. I could even be kidnapped.” - No choice Sitara started working at the factory when she was eight, following in the footsteps of her four older sisters, who also made bricks instead of going to school -- until they married, after which they stayed home. She makes 500 bricks a day in return for 160 Afghanis (just over $2). From 7:00 am to 5:00 pm she crouches on the ground preparing mud and clay and then pushing it into brick moulds under the hot sun that has turned her skin brown. “I don’t feel ashamed about what I am doing but people my age tell me ‘you have reached puberty and now you don’t have to work at a brick factory’,” Sitara says. “But what should I do? I don’t have any other choice.” Sitara’s father, Noor, says “almighty Allah” did not give him a son, leaving him with no choice but to force his daughter to dress as a boy and work. The family says they owe 25,000 Afghanis to the factory owner and relatives that they borrowed to cover the medical expenses of Sitara’s diabetic mother. “If I had a son I would not

have faced all these problems and my daughter’s life would be peaceful and prosperous,” Noor tells AFP. “All the responsibility is on my and Sitara’s shoulders -- we have to provide for the family and pay back the loans.” - ‘I wish I had a brother’ Bacha poshi tends to be followed in “particularly conservative areas” of Afghanistan, Kabul University sociology professor Baryalai Fetrat tells AFP. But after years of dressing as a boy, the girls can be left feeling confused about their gender identity and status in the maledominated society. “Girls find it difficult to go back to their normal self or act as a submissive wife to their husbands, which can lead to depression and also domestic violence,” Fetrat says. Sitara’s mother, Fatima, wishes Sitara could wear female clothes and stay at home, but she needs her to “bring groceries, take me to the doctor and do other work because my husband is old”. While Sitara recognises that her situation is “unfair and unjust”, she is resigned to it, mainly because her younger sister, who is 13, would “face the same fate as me” if she stopped. “I will do the hard work because I don’t want my younger sister dressing as a boy and working at the factory,” Sitara says. “If I don’t work we will face a lot of hardship and problems.” But even after so many years acting as a boy, Sitara still finds herself imagining what it would be like if she had a brother and could be free to have long hair and go to school. “When I put on boy’s clothes I wish I had a brother, then my dreams would have been fulfilled,” she says.

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Personal Injury – Steps To Take After A Car Accident:

by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at


Q: What is USCIS, ICE and CBP? A: USCIS, ICE and CBP are three different agencies under the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is the Government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States by granting immigration and citizenship benefits. You will deal with USCIS if you file an application seeking immigration benefits. ICE or Immigration and Customs Enforcement enforces federal laws relating to border control, customs, trade and immigration such as those related to the apprehension, detention and removal of illegal and removable aliens. You will most likely deal with ICE if you are in the United States and you have violated U.S. immigration laws which could result in your removal from the United States. Lastly, CBP or Customs and Border Protection is an enforcement agency that is charged with facilitating lawful international travel and trade and protecting the United States border security. You will most likely deal with CBP at the United States port of entry after foreign travel. Q: How do I obtain the necessary forms to request for an immigration benefit such as to become a US Citizen? A: You can obtain the forms online at USCIS’s website at www. under “Forms” or you may call USCIS’s National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to request for the forms to be mailed to you. Q: My immigration case has been pending for almost one year. How do I obtain information about the status of my case? A: You can first go online to USCIS’s website at and click on the link for “Check Your Case Status” and enter your receipt number. If the information merely says that the case is still currently

being processed, then move to the next online information tool which provides USCIS’ current processing times for that type of case. In order to do this, you will need to scroll down the page and click on the box which says USCIS Processing Times. This will take you to USCIS’s processing times schedule and you will need to select the correct location where your application is currently located. For this information, look at the bottom of your filing receipt and it will indicate where you case is being processed. Select the correct processing location for your case and you will see a chart which provides all the current processing times for each type of case. If your case appears to be outside normal processing time, you may then go back to the Related Tools page and select “Submit a Case Inquiry” to report a problem with your case. The other way is to call USCIS at their National Customer Service Center at 1-800-3755283 to check if there there is a problem with your case and if your case if outside normal processing time, USCIS will submit a service request for you and will provide you with an update on the status of the case by mail within 30 days. Q: I have done the USCIS referral for my case and the updates just say my case is still processing. What else can I do to speed up the process? If it is not a priority A: date issue which is causing the delay in the approval of your case, you may want to do an Infopass appointment to see an immigration officer at the field office to try to find out more information about your case. You will have to go online to and click on the Infopass link to make the appointment. Q: I received my biometrics appointment notice to go for biometrics in two weeks. I have to travel overseas in three days and cannot attend the appointment. What should I do? I advise that you go A: for the biometrics before you depart from the US and inform them that you need to provide your biometrics early because you have to travel overseas. Take your flight information

with you as verification that you have a flight to catch and will be gone overseas. Q: My father received her Biometrics Notice for biometrics appointment. She fractured her hip and is unable to attend the biometrics appointment. What should she do now? A: In the Biometrics appointment notice, there is a section which says that if you need to reschedule the appointment, you may write in to request to reschedule. Please follow the instructions on the letter and write to request for the biometrics to be rescheduled. Q: I petitioned for my mother for permanent residence. She has been scheduled for an interview for her permanent residence. How would they handle the interview if she cannot speak English? Usually for such inA: terviews, USCIS will permit the relative petitioner who is present to translate the questions and answers. However, if USCIS requires sworn statements from an applicant who does not speak English, USCIS will normally provide their own interpreter to assist in getting such testimony from the applicant. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration Lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.

Mala Sharma (1) Remain Calm. Call the police. (2) Do not leave the scene before the police arrive and, if necessary, the paramedics arrive. Pull over to a safe (3) location to exchange contact information including: name, telephone number, license number, insurance company name and telephone number, and take pictures of the car. (4) Get names and contact information for any witnesses. (5) Do not make any statements to anyone about the collision except the police. (6) Do not admit fault. (7) After the collision, consult a doctor for your injuries. Insurance companies will use all tactics to not pay you the money you deserve. For example, gaps in treatment, inconsistent treatment and

different body parts treated, irrelevant treatments, overpriced treatments, and “soft” injury accidents vs. “hard” injury (involving broken bones) accidents are all old and worn out excuses. It is highly recommended that you contact a qualified attorney to assist you in recovering all damages including: past and future medical bills, lost wages, physical pain, and mental anguish.

only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. About the Author Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala is President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association.

About the Author: Mala Sharma Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala is President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association.

Disclaimer: This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

This material is available for informational purposes

Global Legal Hackathon announces winners


he Global Legal Hackathon announced its winners Saturday night in New York City. Of the 14 finalists from around the world, four came out winners. Competitors were broken into two categories, those that were focused on the business and practice of law and those that worked to build access to justice and government solutions for the public. (A list of the finalists and their pitch videos can be seen here.) Winning the private sector category was Revealu, an app from Hungary that helps people download their personal data from online service providers

under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, and LexLucid, a team from Colorado that rates online consumer contracts. In the public service category, Decoding Law, a tool from Hong Kong that helps users navigate statutory language, and RightsNow App, a voiceactivated legal information tool from New York, took top honors. “Winning the [Global Legal Hackathon] was an amazing experience, and a huge opportunity for us to get global reach,” says Daniel Bihary, co-founder of Revealu. “The next step for Revealu is to gather investors to

fund the initial development of the software and then to scale the product to cover our huge market. We see this win as a massive validation to our idea and intend to pursue revolutionizing data security one step at a time.”, a project from Berlin that proposes compromises in negotiations, and ANIKA, a lawyer-matching service from Australia, took runner-up spots in the private and public categories respectively. For Sally Yiu, a member of the Decoding Law team, the experience was an example of law’s ongoing evolution around technology. (-ABA Journal)

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World’s first penis, scrotum transplant Houston Methodist Sugar Land offers advanced treatment for done in US nonhealing wounds

Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber

The medical team (L-R) Drs. Richard Redett,Trinity Bivalacqua, Brandacher Gerald, Arthur Bud Burnett and W.P. Andrew Lee(R), professor and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine standing near a mannequin. (AFP)


ASHINGTON | AFP | 4/23/2018 - Doctors at Johns Hopkins University said Monday they have performed the world’s first total penis and scrotum transplant on a US military serviceman who was wounded in Afghanistan.

The 14-hour operation took place on March 26, and was performed by a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urologic surgeons. “We are optimistic that he will regain near-normal urinary and sexual functions following a full recovery,” W.P. Andrew Lee, professor and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told reporters on a conference call. The patient was severely injured by a blast from an improvised ex-

plosive device in Afghanistan several years ago, Lee said. The entire penis, scrotum without testicles and partial abdominal wall came from a deceased donor. “It’s a real mind-boggling injury to suffer; it is not an easy one to accept,” said a statement from the recipient, who asked to remain anonymous. “When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal.” He is now up and walking around, and is expected to be released from hospital this week. The man lost his testicles in the explosion and did not get them restored as part of his transplant. “The testicles were not transplanted because we had made a decision early in the program to not

Understanding your risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis


nything that keeps the blood from circulating properly can cause a clot, including injury, illness, lack of movement, certain inherited conditions and lifestyle factors. Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a large blood clot that forms in one or more of the deep veins in the

transplant germline tissue, that is to say not transplant tissue that generates sperm because this would raise a number of ethical questions,” said JHU plastic surgeon Damon Cooney. “In particular, the ability of the recipient of the transplant to have children would result in genetic material being transmitted from the donor of the transplanted tissue to the recipient’s offspring,” Cooney added. “And we just felt there were too many unanswered ethical questions with that.” Doctors said they are hopeful he will be able to urinate with his penis in the coming weeks, and that he will eventually regain enough sensation to achieve an erection. The patient retained his prostate gland in the blast, but since he lost his testicles, he will not be able to ejaculate. The extent of his sexual function will not be known for about six months, doctors said. The first penis transplant in the world took place in China in 2006, but it was later removed due to “a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife,” doctors said.

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Two have been done in South Africa, the nation that achieved the first such successful surgery in 2015. The United States performed its first successful penis transplant in 2016.


UGAR LAND—(April 24, 2018)— For people living with diabetes, even the smallest scrape can lead to potentially dangerous circumstances. High blood sugar can damage nerves, which may cause numbness in the feet and legs, and lead to a narrowing and hardening of blood vessels, which can result in less oxygen being circulated throughout the body to aid in healing. If you have a wound that doesn’t heal properly, early treatment can help you get back on your feet. The Houston Methodist Wound Care Program at Sugar Land uses a multidisciplinary approach for treating wounds that won’t heal. DIABETIC FOOT WOUNDS Timothy Oppermann, M.D., boardcertified surgeon with Houston Methodist Surgical Associates, encourages patients to take a proactive approach. “Diabetes accounts for about 60 percent of lower limb amputations not related to injury in adults, clearly illustrating the importance for diabetic patients to closely monitor their health and take quick action to provide the

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Warning signs of a chronic, nonhealing wound include: • Persistent pain in the area around the wound • Discoloration of the wound’s edges • Increased drainage from the wound site • Redness or swelling around or spreading away from the wound HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY

The program’s doctors and nurses are certified in wound care medicine, and work with patients and their primary care team to monitor, manage and treat wounds with the most advanced treatments available, including compression wraps, antimicrobial dressings, bioengineered skin substitutes and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). The program’s RN case managers bring exceptional care and compassion to their roles. Continued on Page 18

Spreading E.coli outbreak prompts US lettuce warning


ASHINGTON | AFP | 4/20/2018 - Romaine lettuce is off the menu of US households and restaurants, health authorities ordered on Friday after a spreading E.coli outbreak infected 53 people in 16 states.

at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona growing region,” the CDC said on its website.

The warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covers all types of romaine lettuce from in and around Yuma, Arizona.

The CDC said no deaths have been reported but 31 people have been hospitalized, including five who developed a type of kidney failure.

“Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce


proper care to even the smallest wound, particularly in the feet,” Oppermann said.

“Throw out any romaine lettuce if you’re uncertain about where it was grown.”



Wide waist with ‘normal weight’ bigger risk than obesity: study

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Parental diet before conception affects child’s health

weight, and 30 or higher obese. The World Health Organization has defined “abdominal obesity” as a ratio of waist circumference divided by hip circumference of 0.9 or higher for men, and 0.85 or higher for women, or a BMI of 30 or more. The new data showed that people with a “normal” BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 must not automatically be considered at low risk of heart disease, said Medina-Inojosa. “If you have fat around your belly and it’s greater than the size of your hips, visit your doctor to assess your cardiovascular health and fat distribution,” he said. How fat is distributed on a person’s frame determined disease risk as much as how much fat they had overall, according to an investigation of nearly 1,700 people aged 45 and over.


eople of “normal” weight who sport a wide waist are more at risk of heart problems than obese people, said researchers Friday, urging a rethink of healthy weight guidelines. How fat is distributed on a person’s frame determined disease risk as much as how much fat they had overall, according to an investigation of nearly 1,700 people aged 45 and over. Even people who are not classified overweight on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale, should be concerned if they had an “apple” shape with a waist wider than their hips, said research leader Jose Medina-Inojosa of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Such excess fat around the middle is called “central obesity”. “Current guidelines do not recommend measuring central obesity in those with normal weight as they claim their is no risk exposure,” Medina-Inojosa told AFP.

“We found greater risk... for those with normal weight and central obesity, on the contrary. This has the potential to change guidelines.” Study participants, 1,692 residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, had their weight, height, and waist and hip circumference measured between 1997 and 2000. They were monitored until 2016 for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke. Participants with a normal BMI but central obesity had a two-fold higher long-term risk of disease than pearshaped participants -- even technically obese ones, the research found. BMI is a ratio of height to weight used to divide people into low- or high-risk categories for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or certain cancers. A person with a BMI of 25 or more is considered over-

“If you have central obesity the target will be waist loss rather than weight loss.” The data is the latest to question the current reliance on BMI in healthy weight guidelines. The results were presented at a congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Ljubljana, Slovenia. They have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Lifestyle habits of fathers and mothers can have a direct impact on the health of their children


ARIS, France | AFP | 4/16/2018 - A child’s health can be compromised not only by a mother who smokes or drinks during pregnancy, but by the obesity and poor diet of both parents well before the act of procreation, researchers said Tuesday.

Houston Methodist Sugar Land offers advanced treatment ..... Continued from Page 17 Michael Yaakovian, M.D., board-certified surgeon with Houston Methodist Surgical Associates, treats patients with diabetic foot problems and other nonhealing wounds. “Hyperbaric therapy supplies oxygen under pressure that supersaturates the red blood cells and plasma with oxygen, so when blood is supplied to the area of the wound, these supercharged blood cells help repair

the wound and kill the infection, leading to the generation of new blood vessels and tissue growth,” Yaakovian explained. SELF-CARE TIPS For people with diabetes, managing wounds to prevent complications requires care and diligence. Take good care of your feet with the following tips: 1. Inspect and wash feet daily. With poor sensation, there may be the presence of wounds that could go unnoticed. 2. Keep wounds clean and dry to reduce risk of infection. 3. File your toe nails. Clipping may increase the risk for skin injury. 4. Wear proper-fitting shoes and socks at all times. 5. Control your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol to slow down the progression of diabetic complications. To schedule an appointment at Houston Methodist Wound Care Program at Sugar Land, call 281.275.0770 or visit to learn more about the program. Visit our Facebook page at for the latest news, events and information.

What a mother and father eat, and whether they are seriously overweight, in other words, can have “profound implications for the growth, development and long-term health of their children before conception,” they warned in a trio of studies. The findings, reported in The Lancet, a leading medical journal, should heighten awareness of “preconception risk factors,” the researchers said. “Evidence for preconceptional effect on lifetime health is now so compelling that it calls for new guidance on parental preparation for pregnancy, beginning before conception,” they concluded. The studies -- combining a review of earlier literature and new research -- showed that the lifestyle habits of fathers, not just mothers, can have a direct impact on the wellbeing of offspring. “The preconception period is a critical time when parental health -- including weight, metabolism and diet -- can influence the risk of future chronic diseases in children,” said Judith Stephenson, a professor and University College London and lead author of the series. “While the current focus on risk factors such as smoking and excess alcohol intake is important, we also need new drives to prepare nutritionally for pregnancy in both parents.” Obesity in either or both parents, for example, increases the chances of heart attacks, stroke, immune disease and diabetes in offspring. Maternal obesity is thought to enhance levels of inflammation and hormones, which can directly alter the development of the egg and embryo. This, in turn, boosts the odds of chronic disease later in life.

In men, being obese leads to deficiencies in sperm associated with many of the same conditions. - Consequences across generations Malnutrition in mothers can also lead to developmental problems in their children, the review found. “Consequences can extend across generations, but awareness of these links is not widespread,” the authors noted. “Poor nutrition and obesity are rife among women of reproductive age, and differences between high-income and lowincome countries have become less distinct, with typical diets falling far short of nutritional recommendations, especially among adolescents.” The conclusions were based in part on two new analyses of women of reproductive age -18 to 42 -- in Britain and Australia. These studies showed that women are often not “nutritionally prepared” for pregnancy, the researchers said. Some 96 percent of the women, for example, had iron and folate intakes below the recommended levels, 14.8 milligrams and 400 micrograms per day, respectively. Adjusting diet after a pregnancy has begun is often not good enough. “Micronutrient supplementation started in pregnancy can correct important maternal nutrient deficiencies, but it is not sufficient to fundamentally improve child health,” they concluded. Schools should prepare young adults -- boys and girls -- for future parenthood, the studies recommended, pointing out that some 40 percent of pregnancies worldwide are unplanned.

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Self-exams can help detect testicular cancer — the most common cancer among young men

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Organic tampons, cups no safer against toxic shock: study


rganic cotton tampons are often advertised as safer alternatives, but a study Friday said they are not better than regular tampons at preventing toxic shock syndrome. Menstrual cups can also raise the risk of toxic shock, and should be boiled in between uses, said the report in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Women have long been advised to change tampons regularly to avoid the risk of toxic shock syndrome, a rare but lifethreatening condition that arises from a bacterial infection. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, rash, muscle aches and organ failure. In recent years, a number of new female hygiene products have hit the market, including tampons made from organic cotton and menstrual cups that can be rinsed between uses.

Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital lit up purple for testicular cancer month (Photo courtesy HMSLH)


UGAR LAND – (April 13, 2018) – Most men aren’t thinking about cancer during their 20s and 30s when they’re establishing careers and families. However, that’s exactly the time when testicular cancer typically appears. Testicular cancer, which is rare but highly treatable, is the most common cancer among men ages 15 to 34, with 33 being the average age for diagnosis. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that this year 9,310 men will be diagnosed and about 400 men will die of the disease. “Men with a family history of the disease or an undescended testicle are more likely to be diagnosed. However, men of all ages should watch for testicular cancer by doing self-exams and reporting changes to their doctors,” said Neel Srikishen, M.D., urologist with Houston Methodist Urology Associates.

“Even if it doesn’t hurt, swelling or a lump on the testicle is cause for concern.” Painless swelling is the main symptom of testicular cancer, but in some cases, the lump or swelling does cause pain. Additional symptoms include aching or pain in the lower abdomen or groin or a sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum. Looking for Changes Before they can notice changes, men need to know the usual look and feel of their testicles. It’s normal for testicles to be different sizes or for one to hang lower than the other. And what may feel like bumps could actually be blood vessels, tissues or tubes. Although ACS doesn’t have a recommended schedule for self-exams, some doctors advise men to check their testicles monthly. During self-exams, feel for changes to the testicle’s size, shape and consistency.

Be sure to see your physician within two weeks of noticing any suspicious changes; delaying a visit gives time for cancer to spread to other parts of the body. For localized testicular cancer, the prognosis is hopeful – the five-year survival rate is 99 percent. “An annual checkup with your doctor is still the most important screening method,” added Srikishen. “Because most men don’t have any risk factors, making awareness of testicular cancer even more important.” In honor of Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is lit up purple for the month of April. To schedule an appointment with Neel Srikishen, M.D., please call 281.276.5280. Learn more at, or visit our Facebook page at for the latest news.

To see how they measured up, researchers tested 11 kinds of tampons and four menstrual cups in the lab to study their effect on growth of a pathogen called Staphylococcus aureus, and also toxic shock toxin 1 (TSST-1) production. They inserted the tampons and cups into plastic bags, injected a liquid and a trace of bacteria isolated from a patient who had toxic shock in 2014, then sealed the bags and left them for eight hours. They found it didn’t seem to matter what kind of material was in the tampon, rather it was the amount of air in between the fibers that seemed to raise the risk of bacterial growth. “Our results did not support the hypothesis suggesting that tampons composed exclusively of organic cotton could be intrinsically safer than those made of mixed cotton and rayon,” said Gerard Lina, professor of microbiology at University Claude Bernard, in Lyon, France.

Findings of a new study suggest that organic tampons are no safer than regular tampons utes to intake of air in the vagina also represents the major site of S. aureus growth and TSST-1 production.” Meanwhile, menstrual cups seemed to allow even more bacteria to grow than tampons, again likely due to the additional air involved. At least one case has been documented in scientific literature of a woman coming down with toxic shock after using a menstrual cup. “Over the years, it was postulated that perhaps if tampons were made from natural materials, toxic shock would be averted. The new research recently published clearly illustrates that this is not true,” said

“Toxic shock can occur with any tampon material and even more frequently with the menstrual cups.” According to Jill Rabin, cochief of the division of ambulatory care at Northwell Health, a network of medical providers in New York, women should change tampons frequently. “If tampons and menstrual cups are used be sure to see your doctor at the first sign of any fever, chills or rash, and of course, remove the cup or tampon immediately.”

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

“We observed that space between the fibers that contrib-

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Adi Davidov, director of gynecology and robotic surgery at Staten Island University Hospital in New York, who was not involved in the study.



Philip Glass oratorio casts spotlight on Indian guru religions are true” -- a powerful statement for equality in the diverse subcontinent -- and worshiped a “divine mother” as creator of the world. Glass, in brief comments to introduce “The Passion of Ramakrishna” at Carnegie Hall, credited Ramakrishna with instilling a sense of Indian identity at a time when British colonialism had spread feelings of cultural inferiority.

Philip Glass (R), seen here with Barack Obama in 2016, has credited India with helping form his musical vision

- More than 100 voices as Ramakrishna -

by Shaun Tandon


EW YORK, NY| AFP - Philip Glass, often considered the foremost living US composer, has credited India with helping form his musical vision. When trying in turn to understand what made modern India, Glass looks to 19thcentury mystic Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. “The Passion of Ramakrishna,” an oratorio by Glass on the final days of the revered guru, found a new audience with its New York debut Saturday night at Carnegie Hall, closing a season of concerts to mark the composer’s 80th birthday. The Pacific Symphony, which premiered “The Passion of Ramakrishna” in 2006 at its home in southern California’s Orange County, brought the work to New York in the Carnegie Hall debut for the 39-year-old orchestra that has emphasized original choral works. Sung by the 100-strong Pacific Chorale, “The Passion of

“It is hard to imagine the emergence of India on the world stage without the spark that was provided by Ramakrishna’s brilliance,” Glass wrote in notes to a recorded version of “The Passion of Ramakrishna.”

The years after Ramakrishna’s death saw a flowering in Indian culture led by figures influenced by him. His disciple Swami Vivekananda would popularize yoga among Westerners, Rabindranath Tagore would pursue writings that won the Pacific Symphony’s recording of The Nobel Prize and MahatPassion Ramakrishna 2002. ma Gandhi -- the focus (Music Composed by Philip Glass; of a better-known Glass Carl St.Clair, Music Director) work, the opera “Satyagraha” -- would develop the intellectual underRamakrishna” is, musically at pinnings of the non-vileast, a disarmingly straight- olent movement that achieved forward work for Glass, with independence. triumphant brass and a tender “The Passion of Ramakrishepilogue that hark back to an earlier era of Western compos- na,” which explores the guru’s acceptance of physical pain as ers. he dies of throat cancer, brings Ramakrishna, from the east- out singers who portray key ern region of Bengal, was people in his life including his consumed by spiritual visions wife Sarada Devi. from a young age and, as his But Ramakrishna is reprefollowers grew, became a critical force in shaping modern sented by more than 100 voices -- the full chorale, both men Hinduism. and women. He notably declared that “all

Carl St.Clair, the music director and conductor of the Pacific Symphony, said he and Glass had wanted to reflect Ramakrishna’s state of enlightenment as he lay dying. “We almost at the same time came to the idea that the voice of Ramakrishna should actually be the chorus, because at that stage in one’s relationship with God, gender evaporates,” St.Clair told AFP.

The Pacific Symphony opened at Carnegie Hall with “Meetings Along the Edge,” from the 1990 joint album by Glass and Shankar, in which the American’s trademark arpeggios play with ragas adapted to strings. The late maestro’s daughter Anoushka Shankar joined the concert to perform her father’s Sitar Concerto No. 3, a call-and-response between the sitar and Western ensemble which Ravi Shankar had taught her only through singing the ragas. As for “The Passion of Ramakrishna,” St.Clair said he was initially struck by the influence not of Shankar, but of the late Austrian Romantic Anton Bruckner. When he presented his theory to Glass, St.Clair said the composer was taken aback -- he had indeed composed most of the oratorio while in Bruckner’s home city of Linz.

- Home Secretary Amber Rudd will notify the Lord Mayor of London, while the queen’s private secretary informs her governor-generals, her representatives in the 15 other Commonwealth realms where she is head of state. - The baby’s name may not be

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving hospital after the arrival of their third child, a boy. (Photo: Instagram) would have been expected to witness births of potential heirs. Fortunately for Kate this tradition ended with the birth of the queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, in 1936. - William was on hand for the first and second babies, and is making no exception for the third. Queen Victoria’s husband prince Albert; their son, the future king Edward VII, and William’s father Prince Charles all witnessed their wives giving birth. - Queen Elizabeth II, senior royals and Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, are expected to be the first to be informed of the birth. - It will be made public in a tweet from Kensington Palace, Kate and William’s official residence in London, and in the traditional way, with a proclamation signed by royal doctors displayed on an ornate easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.


- Cannon will be fired across London in celebration and the Union Flag will be flown from government buildings across Britain. The traditional 21-round gun salute has 20 more rounds if fired from a royal park or palace, and a further 21 from the Tower of London because of its location in the City of London. - All births in England and Wales, regardless of parentage, must be registered within 42 days at the hospital or a local

Palestinian-Kuwaiti artist Suzan Bushnaq paints portraits of women. (Suzan Bushnaq)

“Most activities of Palestinians in the U.S. are political in nature. They give talks on campuses about issues. The average American still doesn’t know much about Palestine,” says Saleh. “I thought the best way to communicate with Americans is with the language of art and literature.”

Saleh, of Wallingford, was born in Al-Bireh, a city in the West Bank. He is one of 11 children of farmers who were driven off their land in 1948. “My story is the story of millions of Palestinians,” he said.

- Once, the home secretary, Britain’s interior minister,

register office.

Glass had a formative experience in 1960s Paris when he met sitar legend Ravi Shankar, who lifted the instrument to the world stage. Glass set about transcribing Shankar into notation that could be followed by Western musicians.

ARTFORD, Ct., April 20, 2018 Connecticut’s newest museum isn’t where one would expect to find a museum. It’s in the first floor of an office building on a quiet stretch of the Litchfield Turnpike in Woodbridge. The 4,000-square-foot exhibit space is open just four hours a week from 1 to 5 p.m. every Sunday.

Also on the walls are photographs by Yale Prof. Margaret Olin of murals in Dheisheh, a refugee camp. The murals memorialize Palestinians killed in the conflict with Israel. In Olin’s photos, children play in front of these islands of artistry in the midst of a slum. All the murals are surrounded by Arabic writing with memorial messages, including “the bodies fall, but not the ideas.”


ONDON, UK | AFP Prince William and his wife Kate may present themselves as modern parents but their third child will still be a senior royal as the fifth in line to the throne, and certain traditions must be respected.

- Long influence of Shankar

by Susan Dunne

The opening exhibit includes works by Ayed Arafah, including a mural of Palestinian national heroine Rachel Corrie; abstract paintings by Hani Amra and Manal Deeb; a diptych, “The Memory of Old Homes,” by Mohamed Harb; portraits of average people by Maher Naji and Mohammad Khalil; portraits of women by Malak Matter and Suzan Bushnaq; installations by Raji Cook; and geometrical abstractions by Samia Halaby.

Traditions surrounding a British royal birth


First Palestinian museum in U.S. opens

Founder Faisal Saleh called the Palestine Museum a “proof of concept,” and he placed it in a building he owns. He hopes it will grow out of its home to a bigger venue in a city. For now, though, Saleh said his museum is the first art space in the United States dedicated to artworks made in Palestine and/or by Palestinians.

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

revealed right away: William’s name was not announced for a week, while the world had to wait one month after his father Charles was born. George and Charlotte were named two days after their birth. - The new baby will be a prince or princess of Cambridge and enjoy the prefix title of his or her royal highness (HRH). - Lacy christening gown - The prince or princess will be christened as a member of the Church of England, wearing a replica of the intricate lace and satin gown made for queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1841. Sixty-two royal babies wore the original. - Charlotte was the seventh baby to wear the new robe, which like the original has a long skirt and elaborate collars and bow. - George was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, with water from the River Jordan poured into the traditional silver Lily Font. Charlotte was christened in the same way at St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham, her great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s country estate in Norfolk, eastern England. - Royal babies usually have around six godparents, people who agree to support the child, particularly in their faith. George has seven, while Charlotte has five.

Indian galleries raise their game at Art Basel Hong Kong


re Indian galleries making a comeback? That’s the buzz right now,” says Adeline Ooi, the director of Art Basel in Hong Kong (ABHK). The number of Indian dealers showing at the fair this year has risen to nine, up from six in 2017 and four in 2016. Although they still represent only a tiny proportion of the exhibitors overall, these increments could signal that the country’s art market is finally growing again. Two galleries are new additions for 2018: TARQ, which opened in Mumbai four years ago, and the established Delhi-based Gallery Espace. Meanwhile, Sakshi Gallery from Mumbai returns after a two-year hiatus.

Painting by artist Maher Naji, showing the Palestinian olive harvest. (Photos courtesy of the Palestine Museum US) Saleh said the museum isn’t political by design. But, he says, artists create work on any subject; one of Cook’s pieces, an ammunition box

full of stones, points out the weaponry inequality between Israelis and Palestinians. “One of the murals is of an assassinated cartoonist who

created a character called Handala, who refused to turn around until Palestine was free,” Saleh says. (-SOURCE: Hartford Courant) LEFT: Subodh Gupta’s Start.Stop. (2008) is in the Encounters sector of this year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong fair (Photo: Liu Jingya) Subodh Gupta uses the ubiquitous kitchen vessel as “the theme of India’s oscillation between urban and rural norms.” This piece comprises a huge, slowly moving sushi belt fitted with scores of steel and brasstinged, tiered tiffin boxes

Ooi says that there is “palpable excitement” about recent events such as the opening of a sculpture park in Jaipur in December and reports of “healthy” sales at the India Art Fair in Delhi in January. “The evidence suggests that the scene is becoming active again,” she says. But what do galleries make of the mounting speculation about growth? Priyanka Raja, the co-founder of the Kolkatabased gallery Experimenter, which opened a second space in February, is optimistic. “The size and geography of the market are growing,” she says, noting that collectors are springing up in second-tier cities such as Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Goa. Raja says that her decision to expand was not driven by market forces, although six years ago, the gallery “did not have the resources to think this large”. Participating in around six art fairs a year supports the gallery’s programme in a country “that is still lacking” in terms of art infrastructure, she says. Geetha Mehra, the director of Sakshi Gallery, says that more buyers are entering at the affordable end of the market in India. “Younger people with smaller budgets are coming in, but overall, things are more or less the same,” she says. At the fair, the gallery is showing a single installation by Vivek Vilasani. City—Fifth Investigation (2017, priced at $40,000) comprises 31 translucent rice-paper sheets that were exposed to pollution in Delhi to varying degrees over the course of a month. “The paper records the smog in one of the most polluted cities in the world, which is relevant to cities in Asia and China that also face tremendous pollution,” Mehra says, adding that Vilasani has a following in Taiwan, Korea and parts of China.


FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Home&Real Estate Activity-based design takes precedence in more new office projects

US existing home sales edge higher in March


ore evidence that companies are embracing open workplace environments comes from Ted Moudis Associates, a New York-based architectural and design firm, whose 2018 Workplace Report finds that offices are being designed to accommodate collaborative “activity-based” projects. This report, the firm’s third in as many years, encompasses data from 31 projects in the U.S. with 3.1 million sf of rentable space, 2.5 million of usable space, and 15,546 workspaces. While the average usable square footage per seat remained consistent at 165 sf, 54% of the total seats were allocated for “alternative” (i.e., non-assigned), collaborative, or amenity seating. Nearly one quarter of the employees in projects that Ted Moudis analyzed—especially

Open floor plans that encourage collaboration are becoming “best practices” for office designers. (Image: Ted Moudis Associates) sity,” the study concludes. “This is a really exciting time to be in workplace,” notes Jamie Feuerborn, Director of Workplace Strategy at Ted Moudis Associates. “Executive leaders are competing [with] other organizations across all industries to recruit the best

by 7% over 2017, to where 75% of open workspaces are desking/benching. Of the 54% of workspace seats that are alternative, 71% are being used within meeting spaces (the vast majority of which within an open floor design), 23% for amenity seats (such as cafés), and 6% are “focus” seats that are in enclosed areas free from auditory and visual distractions. The study finds a strong inclination toward consolidating café space to include meeting areas. (Amenities are now viewed as “destinations,” the report stated) More often than not, offices are also being designed to support mental and physical opportunities for employees. Wellness space now includes prayer rooms, nap rooms, game rooms, and fitness centers.

those working for digital media and technology companies— participate in activity-based working, meaning that they roam the office on a daily basis. Activity-based work environments average 177 sf per seat (versus 163 sf/seat in 2017), 1.3 seats per employee, and 131 sf per person (vs. 124 sf last year). The study states that usable square footage per seat in activity-based working environments rose by 14 points to a total two-year gain of 18 points. “This suggests that we have reached the limits of office den-

and brightest talent and have come to realize the value the physical workplace brings. As a result, we have seen a larger investment in workplace strategy and change management services to help create the right balance between their culture, productivity, and employee experience.” Progressive workplace concepts “have increasingly become best practices and virtually all organizations are implementing some, if not all, of them,” the study stated. The number of clients that are adopting benching increased

The projects analyzed average one wellness space per 173 employees, vs. one per 198 employees in 2017. And as companies become more paperless, there’s less space allocated for equipment like copier machines, which average one for every 83 employees, vs. one for every 73 in 2017. In the future Ted Moudis Associates will track its predictions that there will be an increase in semi-enclosed and small focus rooms, fewer executives suites, an increase activity-based seating, and an increase in amenity and wellness spaces. (-Design+Construction)

US apartment construction surges in March 2018


ASHINGTON | AFP -Construction of apartment buildings surged in the United States in March, overwhelming a big drop in work started on single-family homes, according to government data released Tuesday. The rebound last month after the slight decline in February put housing starts just below January’s pace, which was a 15-month high. Total housing starts rose 1.9 percent in March compared to the prior month, to a 1.32 million annual pace, seasonally adjusted, the Commerce Department said in its monthly report. That was far higher than the 1.27 million units analysts were expecting, and was driv-

en by construction begun on multi-family units, a volatile segment which surged 16.1 percent in the month. That increase offset the 3.7 percent drop in building of single-family homes, and put the construction pace nearly 11 percent higher than March 2017. Building permits for singlefamily homes -- one of the most closely watched numbers in the monthly report as it is a sign of construction in the pipeline -- also fell 5.5 percent. Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said the weak showing for the single-family segment could point to a trend. “Single-family accounts for more than two thirds of housing construction so short-term

swings in the multi-family numbers can’t overwhelm the trend,” he said in a client note. “Construction activity tracks sales. So a sustained rise in housing starts in the near-term is unlikely.” The biggest gains were in the Midwest where housing starts jumped more than 22 percent, which compensated for modest declines in the South and West. The construction figures are subject to a high degree of uncertainty and officials caution that a trend may take as many as six months to appear. Data on building permits for projects in the works, which are more reliable, rose 2.5 percent to 1.35 million units, but as with starts this was largely due to a 23 percent spike in permits for multi-unit dwellings.

Skilled-labor shortage makes home repairs a headache


ALLAS - An unprecedented skilled-labor shortage exists from a combination of the Great Recession’s record levels of unemployment, industry veterans leaving the workforce and the fact that many high school graduates are not interested in bluecollar jobs. Dennis Burke, owner of Mr. Electric, knows all too well the challenges of finding enough qualified electricians to meet his fluctuating workload. He says his electrical repair company has experienced a high volume of calls. He needs more licensed electricians to meet demand during and after storms.

Eight months after Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic flooding in Texas, Sherry Vital of Port Arthur is living in a manufactured home supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency until her three-bedroom house is rebuilt. She and her husband could have moved back into their home sooner, but they wanted their elderly neighbors’ house taken care of first. Vital says many residents in the coastal city are anxious to get new kitchen and bathroom cabinets to replace mold-infested ones that were thrown away. The problem is finding skilled carpenters to get renovation

projects off the ground. “Residents are ordering cabinets because they can’t find anyone to build them,” Vital said. “Carpenters are overwhelmed with work.” The reality is many workers in the skilled trades earn average or above average wages. Salaries vary depending on which field you enter. The elimination of vocational training in high schools cut off much of the pipeline for blue-collar workers. An emphasis on college readiness and STEM career choices adversely affected trade courses such as woodworking and welding.

Home prices and mortgage rates continue to rise, amid very short supply of available homes, even as sales recovered in March, according to the latest real estate data. (Photo: GETTY/AFP)


ASHINGTON | AFP - US sales of existing homes rose in March for the second month as the market recovered from unfavorable winter weather, according to industry data released Monday. But headwinds in the market meant homebuying remained below recent peaks, amid mounting prices and tight supply making homes harder to find. Sales rose 1.1 percent over February for previously owned single-family houses, condos, town houses and co-ops, according to the National Association of Realtors. The increase put sales at an annual rate of 5.60 million units, the fastest in four months and marginally higher than an analyst forecast. Despite the increase, sales were still 1.2 percent below their level in March of last

year. “The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year ago levels because supply is woefully low and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. The median price gained 5.8 percent over the same month last year, reaching $250,400 -- the 73rd straight month of year-over-year gains. And while the supply of available homes for sale gained 5.7 percent to reach 1.67 million, this is still more than seven percent lower than the same time last year. At the current sales pace, this amounts to a 3.6 month supply, down from 3.8 months a year ago.

In addition to rising prices on strong demand and dwindling supply, other market factors worked against affordability. Analysts also say December’s tax cuts, which limit federal deductions on real estate taxes, could make ownership less attractive in some states. Average interest rates for 30year fixed-rate mortgages rose for the sixth straight month, reaching 4.44 percent -- the highest since December 2013. Half of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month. Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said the March figures were a “pleasant if modest surprise.” Mortgage applications implied the pace of sales would stabilize around 5.7 million units in the coming months but did not appear to have room to rise much higher, he said in a client note.

How the Bushes chose Houston as a home


OUSTON - George H.W. and Barbara Bush are no strangers to the Houston metropolitan area. But how exactly did the couple choose to make Houston their home? George, a Massachusetts native, and Barbara, a New York native, settled in the Houston area in 1958, when the patriarch of the Bush family began leaving the oil business behind and began fulfilling his ambition in politics. It was during this time that George built up his political aspirations, first, as a chairman of the Harris County Republican Party in 1963. The following year, George eyed the U.S. Senate, and, despite failing in his bid, the Bushes became known as a hot commodity in politics.

Images of former President George H.W. Bush and his family throughout the years. (Photos: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

By 1966, George H.W. Bush was elected to the U.S. House as a representative from Texas. Following that move, his reer began to take off and couple traveled throughout globe before settling in White House in 1989.

cathe the the

After President Bush lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, the couple chose Houston as the place to call home for the rest of their years. Since then, the Bushes became well-known Houstonians and made their marks. From Barbara’s Houston Literacy Foundation to touching the hearts of others, they caused an impact. (-KPRC)

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Matters could get intense over this week. When fiery Mars, your ruler, links with powerful Pluto in your career sector, you could have a driving urge to push ahead with a plan.

21 April to 20 May A desire to enjoy novel experiences or travel could take on new intensity this week, pushing you to do something about it. You could feel quite emotional about going ahead.

21 May to 20 June The idea of pushing ahead with something that is very important to you could move to a new level this week. Thoughts of how you might benefit could fill your mind and intensify your desire.

21 June to 22 July The present planetary alignment encourages social activity in the wider and broader sense, and helps you become involved in new activities with people who are very different from those you are usually involved with.

23 July to 22 August A key word for you is compromise. You have been very stubborn with regard to a certain issue for the past few days. Now you need to give, in order to receive. Meet people halfway instead of insisting that things only be done your way.

23 August to 22 Sept You’re chattier and more social than you already were. You’ve got a week of pleasant surprises. Something you thought you knew may need to be relearned now, or you may suddenly have the urge to extend your education.

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23 September to 22 Oct You can organize your life to fit your needs, the options are there for the taking. If ever the planets were encouraging you realize that you are in the driver’s seat, it is now. Try challenging yourself to a more demanding physical routine.

23 October to 21 Nov The current cosmic climate is perfect for attending any social engagements or holding an impromptu party. It is also an opportunity to move in circles with people who hold very different ideas from your own. Try dating someone not your type.

22 November to 21 Dec A trend that has been building during the last two weeks is going to culminate during your workday. The sparks will fly and the resulting scene may not be too pretty. Brace yourself for intense confrontation with many different people.

22 December to 20 Jan You’re already feeling pretty rebellious about what you’re currently doing for a living. You may find that using this unique vision to fashion your financial path works best for you now. Let your work do the talking.

21 January to 19 Feb You may be a little more accident-prone than usual, so drive with care. Be proactive about paying back what you owe. Don’t wait for the inevitable phone call. Opportunities are coming out of nowhere these days; go for it!

20 February to 20 Mar If you don’t have firm boundaries in place regarding a certain friend, you could be persuaded to do something you don’t really want to do. Even if it does seem like a good idea at the time, the novelty could soon wear off.



1. “____ Mouth” band

1. Practice in the ring

6. *Special day honoree

2. Flexible mineral

9. Gumbo pod

3. Opposed to

13. Santa Maria companion

4. Expressionless

14. *Ovine mom

5. Harbour, alt. sp.

15. “He’s ____ ____ nowhere man,” Beatles 16. SAG member 17. *Sean Lennon’s mom 18. Bottled up 19. *TV’s “Blackish” mom 21. *President who designated official Mother’s Day 23. Thou, today 24. ____ of Man 25. *Rebecca Pearson’s and Clair Huxtable’s network 28. CISC alternative 30. Kismet-related 35. Winglike 37. Audience’s rejection 39. Dinero 40. Yorkshire river 41. Tree in Roman Republic 43. Seating section 44. Poet’s concern 46. “Better Sound Through Research” company 47. Foul substance 48. Angry 50. Pharaohs’ cobras 52. German river 53. “____ in Show” 55. Wade’s opponent 57. *Carrie Fisher’s mom 60. *Gifted arrangement

6. Feline line 7. Have title to 8. #6 Down, pl. 9. Loads from lodes 10. Lotto variant 11. Kind of delay 12. Belgian brew 15. Radiant 20. Hair-raising board game 22. Kind of person 24. Watercraft with skis 25. *Ashley and Wynonna’s mom 26. Gloomier 27. Social class 29. Balkan native 31. Campus military org. 32. Wavelike patterned silk 33. Part of small intestine 34. *Sent en masse 36. Snorkeling site 38. *#19 Across’ real-life mom 42. Reproduction, for short 45. Waterproof material 49. Luau souvenir 51. Compass point, pl. 54. Photo tint 56. Peer 57. Lateen-rigged vessel


64. Shelf material

58. Dexterity

65. Mate

59. Had been phlebotomized

67. Supercharger 68. Artist’s model

60. To dry ink, in the olden days

69. U.N. labor agency

61. Pakistani language

70. Was dressed in

62. Deep black

71. Like one showing reverence 72. Mentally quick 73. Like a backpack

63. Chinese immigrant association 64. *Treat mom to this type of relaxing day 66. European peak




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Theme: MOTHER’S DAY from PAGE 22



Suicide machine draws crowds at Amsterdam funeral show

FRIDAY, April 27 2018

Americans waste 150,000 tons of food per day: study


AMPA, Florida | AFP - Americans waste nearly 150,000 tons of food per day, amounting to about one pound (422 grams) per person, and fruits and vegetables are mostly what gets tossed, said a study Wednesday. The amount of land used annually to grow food that ends up in the garbage in the United States is 30 million acres, or seven percent of total US cropland. Some 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigation water gets wasted, too, said the report in the journal PLOS ONE. Fruits and vegetables made up 39 percent of total food waste, followed by dairy (17 percent), meat (14 percent) and grains (12 percent). Dutch designer Alexander Bannink explains how the “Sarco” euthanasia pod works as a woman experiences sitting in the device by wearing virtual reality glasses, on April 14, 2018 at the Amsterdam Funeral Expo (AFP Photo/Jan Hennop) by Jan Hennop

his work to legalise euthanasia.

Nitschke said.


The “Sarco” is a device “to provide people with a death when they wish to die,” Nitschke told AFP.

Asked about the controversy surrounding euthanasia and legal hurdles, Nitschke said: “In many countries suicide is not against the law, only assisting a person to commit suicide is.”

MSTERDAM | AFP - A controversial suicide pod that enables its occupant to kill themselves at a press of a button went on display at Amsterdam funeral show on Saturday. Called the “Sarco”, short for sarcophagus, the 3D-printed machine invented by Australian euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke and Dutch designer Alexander Bannink comes with a detachable coffin, mounted on a stand that contains a nitrogen canister. “The person who wants to die presses the button and the capsule is filled with nitrogen. He or she will feel a bit dizzy but will then rapidly lose consciousness and die,” said Nitschke, who has been dubbed “Dr Death” for

The inventors put a model of the device on display, together with a set of virtual reality glasses to give visitors a true-to-life experience of what it would be like to sit in the pod, before ultimately pressing the button. Nitschke said he aimed to build the first fully-functioning pod before the end of the year. After that, the design will be put online as an open-source document for people to download. “That means that anybody who wants to build the machine can download the plans and 3D-print their own device,”

“This is a situation where one person chooses to press a button... rather than for instance standing in front of a train.” “I believe it’s a fundamental human right (to choose when to die). It’s not just some medical privilege for the very sick. If you’ve got the precious gift of life, you should be able to give that gift away at the time of your choosing,” Nitschke said. Thousands of visitors flocked to the annual Amsterdam Funeral Expo at the city’s famous Westerkerk, where all the latest trends in death.

Driving high: US cops prepare for crackdown on ‘weed day’

Items least likely to be thrown out included salty snacks, table oils, egg dishes, candy and soft drinks. “Higher quality diets have greater amounts of fruits and vegetables, which are being wasted in greater quantities than other food,” said co-author Meredith Niles, an assistant professor at the University of Vermont. “Eating healthy is important, and brings many benefits, but as we pursue these diets, we must think much more consciously about food waste.” The report, based on gov-

Fruits and vegetables made up 39 percent of total US food waste, followed by dairy (17 percent), meat (14 percent) and grains (12 percent) (AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan) ernment data and surveys about food waste from 2007 to 2014, found that the amount of wasted food equals about 30 percent of the average daily calories consumed for every American. The costs to the environment and to farmers are “significant,” it said. “Food waste corresponded to harvests produced with the use of 780 million pounds of pesticide and 1.8 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer, annually.” Solutions may include teaching consumers how to better prepare and store fresh fruits

and vegetables, revising “sellby” dates, encouraging people to buy imperfect produce, and incorporating efforts to prevent food waste into government sustainability programs. “Food waste is an issue that plays out at many different levels,” said lead author Zach Conrad at the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in North Dakota. “Looking at them holistically will become increasingly important to finding sustainable ways of meeting the needs of a growing world population.”

Mexico court blocks sales of Frida Kahlo Barbie


EXICO CITY, Mexico | AFP - A Mexican court has barred sales of a controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll in the painter’s home country, ruling her family owned the sole rights to her image, lawyers said Thursday. The Frida Kahlo doll, launched in March by US toy giant Mattel, has drawn criticism for putting a painter known for defying gender norms into the plastic body of Barbie. It also drew a lawsuit from Kahlo’s relatives, who claimed Mattel used the painter’s image without their authorization and criticized the company for lightening her skin, feminizing her features and omitting her famous unibrow. The court ruling bans sales of the Frida Barbie immediately in Mexico, or any use of the “brand, image and works of Frida Kahlo” by Mattel. It can still be appealed. The family said it would wait for the final outcome of the Mexican case, then launch a similar lawsuit in the United States.

In places like California, where recreational marijuana has been legal since January, law enforcement officials and doctors are worried about an increase in intoxicated drivers by Javier Tovar


- ‘Like a gun’ -

OS ANGELES c - Pot may be legal in eight US states and the capital, but tokers getting behind the wheel on a national weed appreciation day could be in for a downer as police forces crack down on intoxicated drivers.

Aside from weed for smoking, marijuana dispensaries sell items like pot-based candy and chocolate.

In places like California, where recreational marijuana has been legal since January, law enforcement officials and doctors are worried about an increase in people arrested for erratic driving and hospitalized with overdoses.

Mark Morocco, a professor and emergency care physician in Los Angeles, said doctors have seen a “gradual but progressive increase” in pediatric marijuana overdose cases since January.

The issue is particularly acute on April 20, or 4/20, a national day of celebration in cannabis culture -- especially after 4:20 pm when usage surges. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which looked at 25 years of data on fatal crashes in the US found that the risk was 12 percent higher between 4:20 pm and midnight on April 20, compared to the same time frame a week earlier and a week later. The penalty for driving under the influence (DUI) applies to both alcohol and other forms of drugs. There is a serious “lack of knowledge on the users, so they still feel like ‘I thought I can drive, it’s all legal now,’” said John Hernandez, an eightyear veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Experts warn that children could seriously overdose if they mistake the weed sweets for regular candy.

Children in a pot haze usually just seem “altered,” Morocco told AFP. Doctors first have to rule out an infection or a trauma, the two leading causes of death or injury of pre-teen children. Then they have to consider “more rare and more insidious” possibilities, such as an overdose of prescription medicine. A marijuana overdose is “the last thing we think about,” he said. Overdosing on pot is not lethal, and the treatment is rest until the effects wear out. In the case of a minor, a social worker must also be called in. Morocco tells parents to treat marijuana the same as prescription medicine, or “like a gun -- you need to have positive control over it in your house.”

“This litigation is in its first stage. We asked the judge to grant certain precautionary measures to protect our rights to Frida Kahlo’s intellectual property,” said the family’s

Barbie doll depicting late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, is exhibited -alongside other commercial products- at her sister’s house in the neighborhood of Coyoacan, Mexico City,on April 19, 2018 (AFP Photo/Alfredo Estrella). lawyer, Pablo Sangri. Mattel’s Mexico office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. “I’m thrilled (with the decision), I think justice is finally being done,” Kahlo’s greatniece, Mara Romeo, told AFP. She said the case is not just a dispute over rights, it is about who her aunt really was.

“It should have been a much more Mexican doll, with darker skin, a unibrow, not so thin because Frida was not that thin... dressed in more Mexican clothing, with Mexican jewelry.” Kahlo (1907-1954), who was married to the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, is today considered one of the great painters of the 20th century.

Put the toolbox away - new robot assembles IKEA chairs


INGAPORE | AFP Sick of struggling with incomprehensible instructions and a baffling array of planks and screws? Help is at hand in the form of a new robot that can assemble an IKEA chair in minutes.

“The job of assembly... has to be broken down into different steps, such as identifying where the different chair parts are, the force required to grip the parts, and making sure the robotic arms move without colliding into each other.”

The robot, developed by scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, can put together the wooden IKEA chair in just eight minutes and 55 seconds -- a swift timing that may give even DIY enthusiasts a run for their money.

The team is now looking

into further developing the robot so it can learn to construct furniture by copying humans, reading an instruction manual or even just viewing a finished product. They are also working with the automotive and aircraft manufacturing industry where

the robot could be used for such tasks as drilling holes in aircraft. But those looking for help in assembling more household items from Swedish furniture giant IKEA may be disappointed -- for now the unnamed robot can only construct a humble chair.

The device, consisting of two mechanical arms with grippers, starts the process by taking photos of the parts spread on the floor with a 3D camera, which is supposed to mimic the cluttered environment after flatpack furniture is unboxed. Each arm has a similar range of motions to that of a human, while sensors mounted on the wrists monitor how much force is being exerted by mechanical fingers as it picks up tiny parts to expertly put the chair together. “For a robot, putting together an IKEA chair with such precision is more complex than it looks,” said team leader Pham Quang Cuong, an assistant professor at the university.

“For a robot, putting together an IKEA chair with such precision is more complex than it looks,” said team leader Pham Quang Cuong, an assistant professor at the university

Voice of Asia E-paper April 27, 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 27, 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...