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FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

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Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years Vol. 32 No. 23 • FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

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Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years

Vol. 32 No. 23 • FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Published Weekly from Houston

24 Pages (2 sections)

50 cents

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

In Section 2 l HEALTHLINE LTC built in with Life insurance

l BUSINESS US Fed Reserve raises key interest rates



10 HS Seniors receive ACC Scholarship

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Bend it like Modi: Indian Indian Consulate and Indo-American organizations in Houston kick off InterPM trots and treads in fitness video national Day of Yoga (IDY)

In one clip Modi, clad in a black tracksuit, walks backwards over a treaded lawn with his hands clasped in a prayer pose, before stretching over a large boulder


EW DELHI, India | AFP | 6/13/2018 - Narendra Modi, whose supporters boast of his physical prowess and indifference to sleep, has shared the secrets to his morning fitness regimen in a video where the Indian premier thrusts a staff, walks backwards and flexes over a boulder.

of 1.25 billion. In the latest addition Modi, 67, implores Indians to follow his example in a two minute clip shot in the lush garden of his New Delhi residence.

"Apart from yoga, I walk on a track inspired by the Panchtatvas or five elements of nature -- Prithvi (earth), Jal (water), Agni (fire), Vayu (air), Aakash Modi spruiked the "refreshing and (sky)," Modi says in the video viewed rejuvenating" benefits of his exer- nearly 200,000 times within hours of cise workout in a video posted online being posted. Wednesday that also included a medi"This is extremely refreshing and tative stroll over a special path "inrejuvenating. I also practise breathing spired" by nature. exercises." It follows a trend of homemade moIn one clip Modi, clad in a black tivational fitness videos from prominent Indians, including adored cricket tracksuit, walks backwards over a captain Virat Kohli, trying to tackle treaded lawn with his hands clasped in obesity and poor health in the country a prayer pose, before stretching over a large boulder.

Houston's Yoga teachers, IDY organizers and community members with Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana and Consul, (Center standing) during the IDY kick off at the Office of the Indian Consulate on Sunday, June 10. Photo by Raju. by Shobana Muratee


OUSTON – On Sunday, June 10 the formal kickoff was held for the 4th International Day of Yoga (IDY) by the Consulate General of India, which is celebrating the event on June 21, 2018 in partnership with various supporting Indo-American organizations. Nearly 50 members, mostly yoga teachers, IDY organizers, and media attended the curtain-raiser event at the Indian Consulate for a briefing of the main

Hanmi Bank informs Indian Seniors on 'How to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse' over Luncheon

event on the evening of Thursday, June 21, 2018 from 6 to 8 PM at the Midtown Park on 2811 Travis St. It will be followed by another IDY celebration on Saturday, June 23, 2018 from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at the Woodlands Town Greene Park, located on 2099 Lake Robbins Drive in The Woodlands. Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana said that the purpose of the meeting to “introspect on what we started with and where we are now” with IDY. He pointed out that yoga is all inclusive, much beyond any discrimination. Sharad Amin, who’s been leading the IDY planning in the Houston community, said that IDY has ‘lot more potential to grow’ and that it requires everyone’s effort to make it a success. There will be also be booths at the Midtown Park. Dr. Neeta Shukla, who is leading The Woodlands event, said, “You cannot get closer to nature than The Woodlands." She urged everyone to experience it; “It's 99% experience and 1% theory,” she said. Houston is a virtual hub of yoga schools and organizations promoting

yoga who are expected to participate in the celebrations. Some of the organizations that have long been promoting yoga are Hindu Temple of the Woodlands, Sewa International, Hindus of Greater Houston, ISKCON of Houston, JVB Praksha, Art of Living, Isha Foundation, and India House, to name a few. Apart from Indo-American organizations, many main stream like the YOUniverSOUL Fest coming to Houston on October 20, 2018 in Midtown Park is featuring yoga as one of its main highlights. They are also featuring music, art, flow, healing, nature, tribe and future. Local yoga teachers, Dr. Radheshyam Miryala from Heartfulness spoke about the practice Raja Yoga, Linsay Law of Alliance Yoga spoke about Robert Boustany, her guru and founder of Pralaya Yoga who was prominent at the earlier IDY events. The glimpse of a IDY celebrations to come was witnessed at the ‘Yoga for Warriors’ in San Antonio on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Read detailed report on IDY by Manu Shah on Page 6

L-R: Hanmi Bank representatives Tim Saelim, FVP, Branch Manager (S. Gessner), Sam Rukh, SVP, Branch Manager (Hillcroft), Mohammad Tariq, EVP, Regional Chief Banking Officer and Shellie Merritt, SVP, Regional Retail Banking Manager handing out gifts bags at the Indian Seniors Citizens Association meeting on Sunday, June 10, 2018.

by Shobana Muratee









HOUSTON –On Sunday afternoon, June 9th, representatives of Hanmi Bank lead by Mohammad Tariq, EVP, Regional Chief Banking Officer hosted a luncheon and

held a highly engaging session with the members of the Indian Seniors Citizens Association (ISCA) at the Bayland Park Community Center at 6400 Bissonnet St. Nearly 200 seniors who were at-

tending their bi-monthly meeting that afternoon were given first-hand information on banking and identity protection, and the members were alerted about the threat of scammers. Continued on Page 5

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

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

The world has certainly come a long way since last year, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (the "little rocket man") threatened an atomic attack on the United States, and President Trump (the "dotard") responded by saying that his nuclear button was a lot bigger than Kim’s.

Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Mala Sharma

Their just-concluded summit in Singapore was great theater, and a welcome relief from all the warmongering. The imagery of a U.S. president standing side-by-side with a North Korean despot was an astonishing sight that few would have predicted just months ago. The agreement signed by Kim and Trump was historic and potentially groundbreaking.

The sense of hopefulness emerging from the summit, however, has to be leavened with a heavy dose of skepticism.


Editor Online:

Shobana Muratee

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

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

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

Kim committed "to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but the details are murky and indefinite. So far, there is no timetable and no plan for verifying that the brutal regime is unwinding its cherished nuclear program. The world has been down this road before. In 1994, for example, Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader, agreed with President Clinton to close the Yongbyon nuclear facility, the main producer of fissile material. That agreement lasted for all of two years. Will this one be any different? Hard to say.

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Trump-Kim summit is theater that's worth playing out Perhaps most troubling about the Kim-Trump agreement is how much the United States has already given up. This includes the U.S. pledge to halt what Trump called "provocative" military exercises in the region and, more significant, Trump’s willingness to legitimize Kim on the world stage by appearing with him and buttering up the totalitarian ruler as a "very talented" and trustworthy leader. "He’s a funny guy, he’s very smart, he’s a great negotiator. He loves his people,” Trump told Voice of America contributor Greta Van Susteren — words of flattery that, if spoken by a Democratic president, would have Republicans howling. The Singapore summit came about largely because of Trump’s eccentric and highly egocentric approach to foreign policy. Prior presidents started negotiations with North Korea at a relatively low level and allowed them to rise only as progress was made. It's possible that Trump’s top-down approach might prove more effective. But it is just as likely to be an impediment. Trump’s agreefirst, negotiate-later approach carried an air of desperation.

The signatures of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images) Having angered many of America’s longtime allies and facing difficult midterm elections, Trump needed a diplomatic victory. Kim, too, was looking to enhance his standing back home. One of the great ironies is that a successful Korea deal — the dismantling of a nuclear program in return for economic security — would look a lot like President Obama's Iran agreement, which Trump recently trashed. Whether the Singapore agreement represents sustain-

able progress toward reducing the risk of nuclear war, or just more of the same, might not be known for months or even years. For now, it's worth letting the process play out, as there remain no good military options on the Korean Peninsula. Courtesy: USA TODAY. USA TODAY. editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature.

Rice U. expert: Any agreement with North Korea ‘will have to involve people who understand the technical issues’ HOUSTON – (June 11, 2018) – Facing a high-stakes challenge to get North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, President Donald Trump plans to speak alone with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their historic summit Tuesday in Singapore, according to news reports.

in Rice’s School of Social Sciences and a scholar at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. His research focuses on forecasting terrorism and the quantitative study of inter-

national conflict, for which he uses both statistical analysis and computer simulation. He is quoted regularly by local and national media outlets on issues involving national security and

international conflict. Rice University political scientist Ric Stoll is available to discuss the summit and issues at play. Source:

“The issue of North Korea eliminating its nuclear weapons involves a number of complicated issues that only experts can resolve,” Stoll said. “So while President Trump and Kim Jong Un can begin the process of negotiation, any agreement will have to involve people who understand the technical issues.” Stoll is the Albert Thomas Professor of Political Science

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Section 1

Community Email:

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Tel: 713-774-5140

Hanmi Bank informs Indian Seniors on 'How to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse' over Luncheon

Shellie Merritt and Mohammad Tariq with Ramesh Modi at the Indian Seniors Citizens Association meeting on Sunday, June 10, 2018. Photos by Shobana M.

Continued from Page 3

Mr. Tariq was joined by Shellie Merritt, SVP, Regional Retail Banking Manager who was visiting from Dallas and two other representatives: Sam Rukh, SVP, Branch Manager (Hillcroft) and Tim Saelim, FVP, Branch Manager (S. Gessner). “It was very personable,” said Tariq about the meeting, adding that they were receptive and engaging, which gives an opportunity to be more actively involved with the ISCA. The first meeting was an introductory one and part of the bank’s ongoing outreach program. They do plan to hold other meetings in the near future to introduce their product line in the broader sense

and also offer any online banking training if need, he said. Shellie Merritt also spoke on the occasion, sharing her thoughts, “As a community bank providing fi-nancial education, it is important in our strategy to give back to the communities we serve.” When asked about her expectation about the meeting, she simply stated nothing other than knowing the people and getting acquitted with the community. The speakers shared tips on ‘How to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse’ as it is impacting our Senior Citizen communities. “We are committed to partnering with the Indian Senior Citizens Association and other organizations to continue to serve these communities by pro-

A section of the audience

viding one-on-one relationship service and financial education,” Merrit stated.

mand ing:




No monthly fee for life of account

In addition, Ms. Merrit informed that this reporter that Hanmi Bank has a promotional Checking Account offer through September 30, 2018, offering a Green Personal Checking ( demand deposit ac-count) with these features:

Both are available to the 1st 200 customers or until 9.30.2018, whichever comes first.

No monthly fee for life of account (must enroll in eStatement)

Visit your nearest branch for additional details.

No transaction limitations (except for cash in/out - up to $50,000/mo.)

Commenting on the meeting, Ramesh Modi, ISCA President said, “We are very much impressed by

No transaction limitations A Smart Business DDA (de-

their presentation. Everything went on time as expected.” Some of the comments from the members were very positive and some others even showed interest in banking with Hanmi Bank, Modi said. The ISCA, is a Houston based non-profit organization for seniors of Indian origin founded in 1985. The organization holds bi-monthly meetings on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month at the Bayland Park Community Center. They are currently over 500 members and growing. Talks, lectures, comedy and musical programs are featured during their meetings.

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FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

International Day of Yoga (IDY) in Houston BSNA Announces its 25th Anniversary Celebration in Houston

by Manu Shah


he Consulate General of India, Houston in partnership with several supporting organizations is gearing up to celebrate the transformative power of yoga through several events scheduled across Texas. June 21st, 2018 will mark the Fourth International Day of Yoga (IDY) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and celebrated simultaneously in 155 countries around the world. Coordinator of Houston’s yoga program and a longtime yoga practitioner himself, Sharad Amin stated that the focus of the 4th IDY is to encourage yoga among mainstream Houstonians through the Midtown Park main event on June 21st as well as over 15 yoga sessions organized at different locations spread over the month of June. These events could be an introduction to yoga for some and a continuation of practice for others. Yoga, he added, has a ripple effect because “when one person benefits, the whole community benefits.” IDY will be celebrated in Houston on Thursday, June 21 at the Midtown Park (2811, Travis St, Houston Texas 77006). The event will begin at 6:00 pm with a demonstration of some of the more difficult yoga postures (asanas). After brief remarks from the Consul General, Dr. Anupam Ray, the guided group yoga will commence at 6:25 led by Director of SVYASA Houston, Vishwarupa Nanjundappa and Yoga teacher Olivia Keller. This will be followed by a Relaxation and Pranayama session by Roger Rippy and initiator of Pralay Yoga Robert Boustany respectively. The event will conclude by 7:30 pm with a color powder dance party or Holi as it is known in India led by Lindsey Law. (RSVP at The excellent response to


rahman Samaj of North America (BSNA) is very pleased to announce its 23rd Annual Convention and Silver Jubilee Celebration on July 27 – July 29 (Friday – Sunday), 2018, at the Doubletree by Hilton, IAH, Houston, Texas.

Standing: L-R: Vijay Pallod, Raju Veludandi, Col. (Retd.) Vipin Kumar, Consul Rakesh Banati, Saeed Pathan, Radhakrishna, Sharad Amin, Dy. C G, Surendra Adhana, Murad Ajani and Al Jamisen. Seated L-R: Vishwarupa Nanjundappa, Rahat Sultana Kalle, Linsay Law, Dr. Neeta Shukla, Meera Kapur, Gita Masand and Hetal Varia. Photo by Raju. the previous years’ IDY has encouraged the Hindu Temple of the Woodlands to host the event again on June 23, Saturday at 7:00am. . The young volunteers of their Vision to Reality project and Community Outreach Program by the Education Youth Service (EYS), are organizing the event in Town Green Park (2099 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands, Texas 77780). Retired Vascular Surgeon, renowned Yoga Therapist & Ayurveda practitioner Dr. Dilip Sarkar will be the Chief Guest. Local Yoga Studios are also involved in the event with many offering free yoga classes. There will be booths with information about yoga, yoga books for sale, and an Indian-style breakfast and lunch by Hyderabad House. Temple President Mukesh Mittal and Chairman Jagan Allam encourage all community members to join this global yoga movement.

BSNA is a not-for-profit charitable, social, cultural and educational organization approved under the US IRS Section 501 (C) (3). More than 2000 families are active members of the organization. More than 500 delegates including several foreign delegates are anticipated to attend the Convention. Please visit for detailed information about the convention and the registration process. The BSNA objectives are to globally protect,

A Continued Medical Education, (CME) meeting at Memorial Hermann of The Woodlands has also been organized. The Indian Consulate of Houston has planned a series of events spread over a week in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. IDY will be observed in front of the stately State Capitol building in Austin on Saturday June 16 at 5:45 pm (1100 Congress Ave. Austin, Texas 78701), in Dallas on 17th June, Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana and Consul, Community Affairs Sunday at 7:30 am at Rakesh Banati address the gathering at the IDY meeting on Sunday, June 10. the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza (1201 Hidden Ridge Dr., Ir- (900, E. Market St., San Anto- ahead to find a comfortable spot. ving, Texas, 75038) and in San nio, TX, 78205). Antonio on 9th June, Saturday The events are free and open Please visit these links for at 8:00 am at the Henry B. to all. Bring your yoga mats more information: Website: Gonzales Convention Center and plan to arrive 20 minutes

preserve, promote and advance Vedic Values, Culture and Heritage following Brahmanic Values. BSNA endeavors to create an international community of Brahmans. BSNA network and membership includes highly experienced and successful professionals from all walks of life from all over the world including physicians, academician, scientists, engineers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, social workers, public servants, cultural & spiritual leaders, etc. The Convention will provide an excellent opportunity for both adults and youth to meet, interact, network and share their knowledge and experience on Vedic Culture, Brahmanic values and heritage in our culture. During the convention, the youth group will have their separate meetings, explore connections and have an opportunity to network. The program includes various topics such as education, spirituality, religion, scriptures, culture, yoga, healthcare, business, entrepreneurship, social and many more. In addition, BSNA is sponsoring Hasya Kavi Sammelan on July 27th (Friday) with the participation of three renown Kavi from India. The event is open to public with participation fee and sponsorship. BSNA greatly appreciates your support through your sponsorship and donation to support several social and cultural activities undertaken by the organization. To register and participate/ sponsor events or have a booth, please contact BSNA President Dr. Keshav Shukla @ 832-265-1549 or Convention Director Mrs. Abha Dwivedi @ 281-650-3229 or visit


Fort Bend View

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

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


Tel: 713-774-5140

Court of appeals affirms award Senator Kamala Harris endorses nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni of $200,000 in legal fees and sanctions to Fort Bend ISD F ORT BEND ISD (June 11, 2018) – In an opinion issued on June 5, 2018, a three-judge panel of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment awarding $246,788 in legal fees and sanctions to Fort Bend ISD in a lawsuit challenging the District’s truancy practices.


Local attorney Deron Harrington filed the lawsuit against the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees, the Fort Bend County Juvenile Board, Fort Bend County truancy judges, and other Fort Bend County and district employees on behalf of three students, claiming procedural defects in the handling of truancy cases. The plaintiffs’ lawsuit was dismissed in September of 2017 and a judgment was entered ordering Harrington, his co-counsel, and his clients to pay the county and district defendants a combined total of approximately $500,000 in attorneys’ fees and sanctions. Harrington was also ordered to take 22.5 hours of continuing legal education classes on topics relevant to the lawsuit. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment, concluding: “Despite warnings from defense counsel that the claims asserted were frivolous, filed in bad faith, and sanctionable, Harrington nevertheless persisted in repeatedly amending the pleadings to eventually include numerous public officials and others who were required to obtain counsel and defend themselves for over a year

against ever-morphing claims for prospective injunctive relief unsupported by either cogent allegations or evidence of wrongdoing under the new civil truancy system.” “We are grateful for the court of appeal’s decision. It is unfortunate that the plaintiffs and their lawyers pursued a meritless lawsuit that subjected the district and county to needless and costly litigation. The court’s opinion serves as vindication for dedicated public servants who work to ensure that the children in our community go to school,” said

Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees President Jason Burdine. Prior to the start of the 201516 school year, Fort Bend ISD introduced new attendance procedures in accordance with House Bill 2398, which was passed by the 84th Texas Legislature and created a new civil process governing truancy proceedings, moving student truancy proceedings away from criminal courts. In order to better support students, staffing was added at high school campuses to provide more personal interactions with families and ensure accuracy.

Harmony Science AcademySugar Land school named among best in Houston area


armony Science Academy-Sugar Land has been named as a top 10 Houstonarea elementary school by Children At Risk, a non-profit children’s advocacy group. HSA-Sugar Land was given an “A+” by the group, placing it as one of the 10 best elementary schools in the Houston region. Last year, the school was ranked 40th in the region; in 2018, it jumped to 8th out of 892 schools in the region and 23rd in the state. Children At Risk, a research and educational organization, ranks schools based on stan-

dardized state test scores in math and reading and take into account the schools’ poverty levels. The rankings were published recently in the Houston Chronicle. “Children At Risk is a wellknown and well-respected organization, and we are thankful they recognized the achievements of the students at Harmony Science Academy-Sugar Land,” said Ms. Afreen Merchant, principal of the school. “I believe this recognition is a result of the hard work and determination we have seen here from students, parents, faculty and staff.”

ORT BEND, June 13, 2018 - Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) endorsed Sri Preston Kulkarni praising his resounding victory in the primary and his commitment to representing District 22 with dignity and resolve to fight for inclusivity. “We need leaders in Congress who represent the diversity and values of our nation. Sri Preston Kulkarni exemplifies those values of equality and justice, and has committed his entire life to public service. I am proud to endorse him for U.S. Congress in Texas' 22nd District,” said Senator Harris in her statement. Senator Harris is a voice of reason in the Democratic Party. She has committed her entire life to public service much like Sri Kulkarni. This endorsement adds momentum to Kulkarni’s surging campaign to defeat incumbent Pete Olson. "Senator Harris is a beacon of leadership for all of us who

Sri Preston Kulkarni picks up a national endorsement from notable US Senator Kamala Harris for the mid-term election in November (Photo courtesy Kulkarni campaign) care about the rule of law and care about having elected representatives who are compassionate, reasonable, and decent towards their fellow citizens,” said Kulkarni. “She is one of the people who inspired me to

run for office, and I am proud to accept her endorsement. I will continue to lead the charge in standing up against the tide of hostility and anger and always listen to the concerns of those in our district.”

Meeting to Discuss Airport’s Future Set for June 20 UGAR LAND, TX – A public meeting to discuss an ongoing update to the city’s Airport Master Plan is scheduled for June 20, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Sugar Land Regional Airport, 12888 Highway 6, in Room 24 inside the terminal.

for development at the airport during the next 20 years.

Work to update the plan began in November. It is an effort intended to provide a blueprint

• land use, including commercial uses and a comprehensive study of areas west of


Areas being studied include: • the capacity of the runway, taxiways and aprons; •

rates and charges;

financial plans;

the runway; •

airport drainage; and

• parking garage infrastructure. Consultants will be available to answer questions and described the preliminary alternatives for airport development. For questions, call SLRA at (281) 275-2100.



Saji George sworn in as Sunnyvale City Mayor

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital welcomes vascular surgeons Dr. Jean Bismuth and Dr. Charlie Cheng SUGAR LAND – (June 12, 2018) — Board-certified vascular surgeons Jean Bismuth, M.D., and Charlie Cheng, M.D., have joined the staff of Houston Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates in Sugar Land. Bismuth and Cheng offer a full scope of surgical and minimally invasive endovascular options to treat vascular system diseases. Their level of expertise combined with access to state-of-the-art technology at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, allow for rapid diagnosis and treatment of vascular conditions, and better long-term outcomes for patients. Bismuth comes to Houston Dr. Jean Bismuth and Dr. Charlie Cheng, vascular surgeons.

Saji George being administered the oath Texas Senator Cindy Burkett.

Methodist Sugar Land Hospital from Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, where he continues to serve as associate program director for cardiovascular surgery as well as associate professor of cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. Bismuth received his medical degree from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He served as both a medical and surgical intern and as a research fellow at Gentofte University Hospital, also in Denmark, before completing his residency in general surgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York and a fellowship in vascular surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Sunnyvale, TX: Saji George was elected as the new Sunnyvale City Mayor. The ceremony was held at the Sunnyvale city hall on June 12, 2018 where the Texas Senator Cindy Burkett administered the oath. Saji George 8 years of experience serving as Councilmember and Pro-tem Mayor of Sunnyvale city be-fore he took charge as the Mayor. He migrated to the United States in the year 1990 and completed his masters degree at the Texas Tech University and also pursued his MBA Degree at the Southern Methodist University. He is currently working at Lockheed Martin Defense company as a senior executive. Report sent by P.P. Cherian, Dallas

Mayor Saji George with supporters at the oath taking ceremony.





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“It’s an honor to join the team that has a long history of bringing the most advanced and sophisticated cardiac care to Fort Bend,” said Bismuth. “My approach to patient safety and comfort is a perfect fit with the culture and mission of Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, and I’m excited to be seeing patients at Houston Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates.” Cheng previously served as assistant professor of vascular and endovascular surgery and assistant professor of trauma surgery at the University of

Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He earned his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk and completed his residency and internship in general surgery there, as well. Cheng then completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “My new affiliation with Houston Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates will enable me to continue to offer a deep and thorough level of care to patients in the Fort Bend and surrounding areas,” said Cheng. “Houston Methodist is leading the way in heart and vascular care through research and collaboration, and I am excited to be a part of such a well-respected institution.” Bismuth speaks English, French and Danish fluently. Cheng is fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese. Houston Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates in Sugar Land is located at 16605 Southwest Freeway in Medical Office Building 3. To schedule an appointment, call 713.441.5200. Visit our Facebook page at for the latest news, events and information.


FRIDAY, June 15, 2018



Muslims serve food and friendship in Ramadan to beat far right In bid to tackle Islamophobia, Brunswick's Muslim community invites curious visitors to dinner during holy month.

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Local jeweler hosts Iftar for Houston Muslims

L-R: Nick Quraishi Jesbir Singh Bawa, Sri Kulkarni and Najam Sheikh. Lentil soup, chicken, kibbeh and bread were served for the fast-breaking meal. (Photo: Yermi Brenner/ Al Jazeera) by Yermi Brenner


RUNSWICK, Germany - In the early evening, before the daily fast was broken, Sadiqu Almousllie, a 47-year-old with an inviting smile, held a large sign that read: "I am Muslim. What would you like to know?" Islamic music played from inside the nearby tent and comfortable chairs were offered to tempt Brunswick residents to join the festivities. The city's Muslim community set up the Ramadan event in the centre of the city beside a large 12th-century Lutheran church, and only a few metres away from the spot where Almousllie and his family were verbally attacked last year. "We are giving people the possibility to get to know Muslims, to get in a conversation," said Almousllie, who arrived in Germany almost 30 years ago as a university student. Last year, a stranger shouted at him and his family: "Go home!" He had replied: "This is our home. My children were born in this country, and this is their home." But on this Ramadan evening, he approached passersby and encouraged them to ask him anything about Islam with no topic off limits.

As the fast-breaking hour of 9:30pm (20:30 GMT) got closer, dozens of Brunswick's Muslims filled the tent. This was the seventh consecutive year that the community set up a Ramadan tent to encourage inter-religious communication. "I have actually never been to one of these events and I wanted to learn a little bit more about it," said Lisa-Marie Jalyschko, a member of the Brunswick City Council who works in the Volkswagen headquarters in nearby Wolfsburg. "It is important to include different cultures and different cultural events in our city life. It is important to give publicity to these events to show that [Muslims] are also part of [our] society." Izzat, a Syrian in his 20s who arrived in Germany 18 months ago and is studying German, was busy serving the food lentil soup, chicken, kibbeh and bread. "Germany is a Christian land. The majority of people don't know really about Islam and what Islam means," said Izzat, who requested anonymity because he has family members in Syria. "Therefore, we should introduce ourselves to the community we live in."

Brunswick is 300km from Dresden, where the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe (Pegida) is popular, and only 20km away from Salzgitter, a city that last October decided to ban refugees. Almousllie, who serves as the head of the Central Council of Muslims in Lower Saxony, has noticed a significant increase in verbal and physical attacks against Muslims in the past two years. Hate-mail insulting the Prophet Muhammad was delivered to the Brunswick mosque last year, and one afternoon, following communal prayers, a man opened the mosque door, yelled "dirty Muslims" and fled. "It is a situation that is getting worse and worse," he said.


OUSTON - Jesbir Singh Bawa and his wife Bhupinder Kaur, owners of Bawa Jewelers on Hillcroft hosted their traditional Iftar dinner on May 18, 2018 at the Charcoal BBQ Grill in Sugar Land. It was a grand occasion and all who attended left satisfied with the dinner, hosts and guests.

Right: Jesbir Singh Bawa and his wife Bhupinder Kaur with Sri Kulkarni Preston, running for US Congress, Texas 22nd district.

Waking up the neighbors: Indonesia’s Ramadan alarm clocks

According to the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, more than 1,000 Islamophobic attacks were registered in 2017, the first year in which such data was recorded. At least 33 Muslims were injured in attacks, which included assaults against Muslim women wearing headscarves and the vandalism of mosques and other Muslim institutions, the interior ministry said. Muslims are the largest minority in Germany.

Ramadan fast sparks debate ahead of World Cup

The motley group of children yell and bang on tambourines and drums as they roam the quiet streets of Indonesia’s by Bagus SARAGIH Jakarta, Indonesia | AFP | Most of Jakarta is fast asleep at 2:00 am, but for Fajar Ramadin and his pint-sized comrades it’s time to wake up the neighbourhood. The motley group of children yell and bang on tambourines and drums as they roam the quiet streets of Indonesia’s capital on a mission to stir sleeping residents for a predawn meal. It is Ramadan and millions across the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation are abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking or sex during daylight hours.

A man reacts as he watches the the UEFA Champions League final football match, between Real Madrid and Liverpool, at a coffee shop in the Egyptian capital Cairo on May 26, 2018. (Photo: AFP/ Khaled Desouki) by Aziz El Massassi


AIRO, Egypt | AFP | Should top athletes fast during Ramadan? The question has provoked an often heated debate in Muslim countries, particularly as national teams prepare for the 2018 World Cup.

fans, coaches and preachers -and this year was no different. In the lead up to World Cup play, Egypt's failure to win any of its pre-tournament friendly matches -- three of which were played during Ramadan -brought strong criticism from its fans.

For Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco -- four Muslim-majority countries competing in this year's World Cup in Russia -- the end of the Muslim holy month on Thursday coincides with the tournament's kick-off.

But despite their lacklustre performance, The Pharaohs remained "determined" to fast the entire month, according to a statement put out by the Egyptian Football Association in late May.

Throughout Ramadan, observant Muslims are expected to abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.

After the team's 0-0 draw against Colombia on June 1, The Pharaohs' Argentinian coach Hector Cuper said the Ramadan fast had "affected the players" performance.

The traditional fast has long proved divisive among players,

- 'Affected performance' -

Cuper's comments came shortly after Egyptian superstar forward Mohamed Salah was injured while playing for Liverpool in the European Champions League final. An observant Muslim, Salah decided not to fast ahead of the May 26 match in Kiev against Real Madrid -- which Liverpool lost 3-1. A Kuwaiti sheikh said Salah's injured shoulder -which kept him out of the remaining friendly matches -was "divine punishment". But religious figures and citizens across the region rushed to defend Salah -- beloved both in Egypt and across the Arab world. In Saudi Arabia -- home to Islam's two holiest sites -- the

The morning meal, known as Sahur, can be crucial to making it through until sunset without food or drink. “Sahur! Sahur! Please wake up sir, madam!” hollers the 20-strong group of kids, aged seven to 15. It’s music to the ears of dozens of other children who

kingdom's football federation sparked controversy earlier this year when it ruled players could abstain from the fast if they applied for a "permit". The decision angered Saudis, who denounced it on social media. But prominent religious leader Saleh al-Maghamsi upheld the ruling, saying Saudi players headed to the World Cup had "the right not to fast, if they want, because they will be travelling". Travel is among several conditions that absolve practising Muslims from the normally obligatory fast.

stream out of their houses to join in, adding the thump of empty paint cans and water jugs to the ensemble.

up tradition gradually decline over the years.

“This tradition has been around for a long time -- every kid is happy to do it,” said 13-year-old Ramadin.

But it is still found across the sprawling Indonesian archipelago - especially in smaller communities -- which is home to about 260 million people. Nearly 90 percent are Muslim.

“I like it because this not only entertains people, but also helps them wake up for the pre-dawn meal.”

Similar wake-up traditions are also practised in some other Muslim nations during Ramadan, which ends in mid-June.

Their entertainment value is probably a matter of debate.

Most of the Jakarta group’s members are known as local troublemakers so conscripting them into religious service is a win-win situation for the neighbourhood -- and the mosque.

But many of the kids are part of a Koran study group run by the local mosque which has given its blessing to this midnight madness. Complaining would be futile. “They are indeed noisy, but it helps me wake up on time,” offers local resident Rosimah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. “We are used to it -- happens every year,” she added. Smartphone alarms and digital clocks have seen this wake-

“Many of these kids have dropped out of school. Some never even went to school. They are unemployed and became street children who cause trouble,” Alvanali Panji Prasetyo, an Islamic teacher and group leader, told AFP. “Thanks to God, the kids are starting to change their attitude after joining the group.”

IMAGH Annaul Eid Milan on June 30


OUSTON - Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston (IMAGH) EID GALA IMAGH will be hosting the 9th Annual Eid Milan gala on June 30, 2018 at the Marriott Westchase Hotel in Houston,TX. IMAGH has been working tirelessly towards their mission to foster amenity across cultures,

communities and religions. On this auspicious occasion of Eid, IMAGH would like to wish all Houstonians joy, peace & goodness, warmth & togetherness, love and satisfaction that life can offer. For further information on IMAGH or its related organizations Club 65 and/or SAYA, please go to WWW. IMAGH.ORG



Life and death: World Cup rivalry turns violent in Bangladesh by Shafiqul Alam / Sam Jahan

EOUL, South Korea | AFP | Wednesday 6/13/2018 - The US hopes to see "major disarmament" of nuclear-armed North Korea by the end of President Donald Trump's first term in 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.



Last week in the central town of Bandar, rival followers of Lionel Messi and Neymar fought with machetes, leaving a man and his son critically wounded, police said. Meanwhile, a 12-year-old boy died after being electrocuted while putting a Brazil flag on a roadside pole. Argentina and Brazil flags have been dominating towns in the country of 160 million for weeks ahead of the start of the World Cup in Russia on Thursday. Supporters of the two teams hold flag processions to show their loyalties. In the northern town of Madarganj, motorcycle rallies are staged by hundreds of rival supporters waving football banners. "They hold meetings to plan further craziness. You can feel the tension and excitement all over town," local police chief Mohammad Rafique told AFP. Some Bangladeshis want to end the fervour, however. One lawyer tried to get a court order preventing the flying of flags of World Cup nations. Barisal University in southern Bangladesh has

Hope for 'major' N. Korea disarmament by 2020 by Francesco Fontemaggi

HAKA, Bangladesh | AFP | Wednesday 6/13/2018 - The World Cup is arousing high passions in Bangladesh, where machete-wielding fans of Brazil and Argentina have clashed in the streets and flags of the two countries are so ubiquitous that some people want to ban them. Ignoring the lack of any obvious link to the South American giants, and the absence of their national team -- which is ranked 194th out of 211 teams -- World Cup fever has firmly taken hold among Bangladeshi fans.

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

This photograph taken on June 6, 2018 shows a child (C) hoisting the national flag of Argentina on the outskirts of Dhaka. (Photo: AFP / Munir Uz Zaman) banned its 7,000 students from flying foreign nations' colours on campus. "The government should totally ban flying any foreign flags across Bangladesh," university head S.M. Imamul Haq told AFP. Flag fervour is the most obvious sign of the country's switch of allegiance every four years from cricket to football. Even though Bangladesh has never qualified for the World Cup, and has little chance of doing so in future, the country goes crazy for the tournament once every four years. - From Maradona to Messi The South American rivalry has been traced back to broadcasts of the 1986 World Cup, when Diego Maradona's brilliance helped Argentina win the trophy. "Pele was a household name here. His story was in our textbook. So there was a traditional support base for Brazil. But Argentina stole Bangladeshis' hearts after Maradona's solo feats in 1986. I think it is when this rivalry here began," M.M. Kaiser, editor of a sports portal, told AFP. Maqsud Elahi, 13, said after


buying an Argentina flag: "I support Argentina because of Messi. His dribbling is mindblowing." Tanvir Haider, a 29-year-old doctor, however, fell for Brazil after watching Ronaldo in his boyhood. "I love Brazil because of him. Also Brazil has a golden past. Their game is terrific and they have superstars at every World Cup," Haider said. But sociologists struggle to explain Bangladesh's football phenomenon, with one criticising it as "a kind of inferiority complex". "Many of these people don't know where Brazil and Argentina are. There is no blood or language connection, still they are mad for them," Nehal Karim, a Dhaka University sociology professor, told AFP. "I don't understand it," he declared. Mokaddem Hossain, deputy head of Bangladesh Open University, said it was globalisation at work. "This is part of worldwide branding. Hoisting flags and the excitement around it is just the result of that passion," he said.

Speaking the day after an unprecedented summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pompeo told reporters in Seoul negotiations on Pyongyang's atomic arsenal could move forward quickly and would take place "most certainly in the president's first term". "Major disarmament... We're hopeful that we can achieve that in the two and half years," he said, adding that there is "a lot of work left to do". At the first-ever meeting between sitting leaders of the US and North Korea on Tuesday in Singapore, Trump and Kim pledged in a joint statement to work toward the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula". However this stock phrase, favoured by Pyongyang, stopped short of longstanding US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way. When questioned on the wording of the statement, Pompeo said Wednesday that Trump's intention was to allow the US the opportunity to pursue further productive conversations on the issue with Pyongyang. "Let me assure you that 'complete' encompasses verifiable in the minds of everyone concerned. One can't completely denuclearise without validating, authenticating," he said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump met in Singapore on Monday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he expects to begin engaging North Korea in the next week or so, adding they have agreed to terms that were not officially included in the final document. That's where the next set of conversations will begin. (Photo: Getty Images/AFP) Critics have said the encounter between Trump and Kim was more style than substance, producing a document short on details about the key issue of the North's atomic weapons. - Military drills In his post-summit press conference, Trump made the surprise announcement that the US would halt joint military exercises with its security ally Seoul -- a concession Pyongyang has sought for decades. The US stations 28,500 troops in South Korea to help protect it from its northern neighbour, which invaded in 1950 to try to reunify the peninsula by force. The announcement appeared to take both the South Koreans -- and even top officials in the Pentagon -- by surprise, especially since Trump embraced Pyongyang's rhetoric in calling the drills "provocative". At his press conference in the South Korean capital Pompeo defended Trump's stance, saying the joint drills could be brought back if negotiations

with the North deteriorated. "He (Trump) made it very clear that the condition precedent for the exercises not to proceed was a productive, good faith negotiations being ongoing," Pompeo told reporters. Pompeo also said he anticipates the US would next speak to North Korean officials "fairly quickly after we return to our home countries", adding that he was "very confident" that some form of engagement between the two sides would take place in the next week. On Thursday, Pompeo will meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyungwha and Japan's top envoy Taro Kono. Tokyo has expressed some concern about the cancellation of military exercises. On Wednesday, Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera pointedly said the drills played a "vital role in East Asia's security". Pompeo will then travel to Beijing, North Korea's main diplomatic ally.

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

µ˙The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston



All eyes on OPEC as Trump gripes over prices by John Biers EW YORK | AFP | 6/13/2018 - Just nine days before a big OPEC meeting, US President Donald Trump joined the oilmarket fray on Wednesday, blaming the group for high prices.


"Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!" the US president said on Twitter. Trump's grousing follows reports suggesting the oil exporters group was already planning to open the spigots, an outcome the International Energy Agency hinted at in its monthly report released earlier Wednesday. "Statements by several parties suggest that action in terms of higher supply could be on the way," said the IEA, which represents the US and other oilconsuming nations. The IEA suggested the June 22 OPEC meeting in Vienna would need to boost output because of a political crisis in Venezuela that has pinched petroleum output and Trump's

decision to exit the Iran nuclear pact, which is expected to result in lower production from the Middle Eastern country. Under one scenario weighed by the IEA, output from Venezuela and Iran by the end of 2019 could be 1.5 million barrels per day lower than it is today. "To make up for the losses, we estimate that Middle East OPEC countries could increase production in fairly short order by about 1.1 mb/d and there could be more output from Russia on top of the increase already built into our 2019 non-OPEC supply numbers," the IEA said. OPEC flows were already higher in May, led by Saudi Arabia, the IEA said, adding that the oil kingpin was still in compliance with the Vienna deal caps. Citing "people briefed on the discussions," Bloomberg on Wednesday said Saudi Arabia had floated several oil output hike plans to fellow cartel members. On the sidelines of the open-

Domestic, gang violence no longer grounds for US asylum: attorney general


ASHINGTON | AFP | Monday 6/11/2018 - US Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared tough new limits on asylum claims Monday in an effort to push back against a flood of illegal immigrant families from Central America. Neither domestic violence nor violence from criminal gangs that flourish across much of the region will meet the threshold for an asylum request at the US border under a new ruling. "An alien may suffer threats and violence in a foreign country for any number of reasons relating to her social, economic, family, or other personal circumstances. Yet the asylum statute does not provide redress for all misfortune," Sessions said. In a deciding opinion on a case of an unidentified woman from El Salvador who was raped and beaten by her husband for years, Sessions said that asylum seekers must prove that they suffer persecution arising from their membership in a distinct group. Such a group cannot be overly broad or diffuse, Sessions said, overruling a previous asylum decision which accepted married women who are victims of violent relationships as a persecuted group. "The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes --such as domestic violence or gang violence -- or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim." The ruling came as part of a pushback to the arrival of thousands of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador over the past year fleeing widespread violence in their country. Most of them cross the USMexico border and immediately turn themselves in to request asylum. In early May Sessions announced that any illegal border-crossers, including asylum seekers, would first be charged with a crime, and parents and children would be separated. The policy, meant to be a deterrent, has sparked strong criticism and an accusation from the UN Human Rights Office that children's rights are being violated by the policy. In a speech earlier Monday, Sessions made clear the Trump administration's ongoing frustration with the border situation. "The asylum system is being abused to the detriment of the rule of law, sound public policy, and public safety -- and to the detriment of people with just claims," he said. "The vast majority of the current asylum claims are not valid," he added, saying only 20 percent have met asylum

standards. "Asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems -- even all serious problems -- that people face every day all over the world."

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Snow Day

ing match of the World Cup on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman will meet to discuss oil policy, Bloomberg added. - Higher gasoline prices Trump's complaints about OPEC come amid expectations of a more costly US summer driving season. A gallon of regular gasoline is currently $2.91, up 25 percent from the year-ago level. Analysts attribute the rise in prices in part to OPEC's action to defend prices. OPEC and non-OPEC producers struck a deal in late 2016 to trim production by 1.8 million barrels per day to reduce a global glut that had sent prices crashing. Key producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, have reaffirmed the deal since then. But Matt Smith, director of research at ClipperData, said Trump himself is responsible for some of the pressure due to the decision to exit the Iran deal. "It's confusing why the president would come out with a statement like this now," Smith said. "The real catalyst for the recent rise in prices is the sanctions on Iran." US oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery finished up 28 cents at $66.64 a barrel on Wednesday, while European benchmark North Sea Brent oil gained $1.06 to $76.74 a barrel. Various sources show that considerable uncertainty as to world oil demand.

Photographer Amanda Cook took her camera and went for a walk in the snow in Bushy Park, London. "Incredibly lucky to catch this stag looking majestic in the snow," she says. "He lifted his head up as he spotted a walker with two dogs." (Photograph courtesy NatGeo/ Amanda Cook)

World Cup: US spy warns Russians will hack phones, computers


ASHINGTON | AFP | Wednesday 6/13/2018 - A top US intelligence official warned football fans traveling to Russia for the World Cup that their phones and computers could be hacked by Moscow's cyber spies. William Evanina, Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said that in Russia, even people who believe they are too unimportant to be hacked can be targeted.

"Anyone traveling to Russia to attend the World Cup should be clear-eyed about the cyber risks involved," Evanina said in a statement. "If you're planning on taking a mobile phone, laptop, PDA, or other electronic device with you -- make no mistake -- any data on those devices (especially your personally identifiable information) may be accessed by the Russian government or cyber criminals." Evanina, in charge of the agency that assesses and coun-

ters the threat to the Untied States from foreign espionage, said that people attending the World Cup, which begins on Thursday, should leave behind any devices they can do without. For devices they take with them, they should remove the battery when it is not in use, he said. "Corporate and government officials are most at risk, but don’t assume you're too insignificant to be targeted."


Business Email:

Comcast outbids Disney with $65 bn offer for Fox assets


EW YORK | AFP | Wednesday 6/13/2018 - Comcast on Wednesday offered $65 billion for key film and television assets of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, topping an offer from Walt Disney Co. for a deal that could create a dominant media-entertainment power. The move by Comcast, which is the largest US cable provider and also owns the NBCUniversal media group, opens up a new round of competition for the prized assets being shed by the Murdoch family empire. The deal, if approved, would merge Comcast-owned Universal Studios and the NBC television network with Hollywood rival 20th Century Fox, Fox’s cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses. “These are highly strategic and complementary businesses and we are in our minds the right buyer,” said Comcast chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts in a conference call.

Roberts said Murdoch had built “one of the world’s great media and entertainment companies,” and that its history is similar to that of Comcast’s. With the deal, Roberts said Comcast would stay on track “to build the entertainment company of the future.” Roberts said the all-cash bid is nearly 20 percent richer than the $52 billion stock offer from Disney, and said Comcast would match the Disney offer of a $2.5 billion fee if the deal fails to win regulatory approval.

to review their position on the tie-up with Disney, which owns the ABC television networks ESPN and is a major Hollywood player. - The new landscape Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said his company’s offer for key assets of 21st Century Fox is superior to a bid +2 from Walt Disney Co. Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said his company’s offer for key assets of 21st Century Fox is superior to a bid from Walt Disney Co.

“We are highly confident in our ability to finance the transaction, and our offer includes no financing-related conditions,” Comcast said in a letter to Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James.

The news comes a day after a federal judge approved a massive $85 billion takeover by telecom-broadband giant AT&T or media-entertainment conglomerate Time Warner that could reshape the media and communications landscape.

The statement pointed out that Comcast and Fox had been in talks before the Murdochs reached the deal with Disney, which is being submitted for a shareholder vote July 10.

The court approval ended a heated antitrust battle, and suggested Comcast would be able to clear any regulatory hurdles to a deal with Fox.

The new offer is likely to prompt a response from Disney, and force the Murdochs

Comcast if successful would be able to new markets in Europe and India.

Pancakes to burgers: IHOP suffers backlash in name change


ASHINGTON | AFP | Wednesday 6/13/2018 - The US Federal Reserve raised the benchmark lending rate on Wednesday for the second time this year, and signaled it will be more aggressive about rate increases in 2018 and 2019 amid “strong” economic growth. And although he acknowledged concern among businesses nationwide about the uncertainty created by President Donald Trump’s abrasive trade policies, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell stressed that “the US economy is in great shape.” The unanimous vote the Fed’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee brings the federal funds rate to a range of 1.75-2.0 percent, and indicated there would be two more rate increases this year and four next, one more than previously expected. Wall Street was not happy with the aggressive new stance, worried that it signaled concerns about rising prices. All three major indexes turned negative right after the announce-

week ago saying it was changing its last initial to “b” in a rebranding exercise. With over 30,000 replies to their announcement on Twitter, guesses spanned from “bacon” to “bananas”, but the consensus seemed to be “breakfast”.

“Burgers are a quintessential, American menu item so it makes perfect sense that IHOP ... would go over the top to create a delicious line-up of quality burgers,” said Nevielle Panthaky, the chain’s culinary chief.


The move sent pancake breakfast lovers into a furor

“The world is spiraling out of control and I can’t understand why IHOP would force us to deal with more unwelcome change,” said one Twitter user. “Why is ihop going thru a mid life crisis,” tweeted another.

The venerable chain, 60 years old this year, has long offered sandwiches and burgers across its nearly 1,800 locations. But the name -- International House of Pancakes -- has always been rooted in their calorie-laden breakfast standards: pancakes, waffles and french toast, often smothered in syrup and whipped cream. IHOP baited the public a

Tel: 713-774-5140

by Heather Scott

“We are definitely going to be IHOP, but we want to convey that we are taking our burgers as seriously as our pancakes,” Darren Rebelez, president of IHOP, told CNN.

and sparked snarky broadsides from rivals already deeply rooted in the hamburger business.

Section 2

US Federal Reserve raises key interest rate, signals more hikes coming

Revealing “burgers” on Monday, the company said it was a temporary change to celebrate the release of its new “Ultimate Steakburgers” menu category.

ASHINGTON | AFP - After tantalizing fans for a week, IHOP, the ubiquitous blue-roofed American chain which promises pancakes 24 hours a day, said Monday it was changing its name to IHOb -International House of Burgers -- in a ploy to expand its market image beyond breakfast.

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

The move reaped taunts from well-established fast food chains. Whataburger tweeted: “As much as we love our pancakes, we’d never change our name to Whatapancake.” “Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard,” tweeted Wendy’s, another popular burger restaurant. Some dismayed fans just could not understand the need for it. “@IHOb the b stands for blasphemy,” tweeted one. “I’m okay with the name change as long as you don’t forget your roots,” said another. DineEquity, the company that owns IHOP/IHOb and also the Applebee’s chain, sought to assure customers that nothing had really changed. “Don’t worry, Pancakers. We still love pancakes. We’re just expanding our burger horizons,” it said.

Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powel (Photo: AFP) ment and closed even lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.5 percent and the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.4 percent. However, Powell downplayed concerns about accelerating inflation, saying the central bank would not overreact to an expected uptick driven by the recent increase in oil prices and would aim for the rate to hold at around two percent for a “sustained” period. “We know inflation is going to bounce around,” he told reporters. “We didn’t overreact, I think, to inflation being under two percent. We won’t overreact to it being over two percent.” The Fed last raised the benchmark in March, the sixth increase since December 2015 as it tries to keep the economy growing at a sustainable pace without fueling inflation. - Inflation mounts The FOMC statement stressed that rising rates were unlikely to derail economic growth -- which the committee now characterizes as “strong” rather than “moderate.” In another slight change of language -- something that always draws the scrutiny of Fed watchers -- it said “further gradual increases” in the key rate “will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric two percent objective over the medium term.” The use of the terms “symmetric” and “medium term” is a clear indication the Fed is not in a hurry to get inflation to two percent and will be comfortable if prices rise above that level for a short time -- which Powell confirmed. Even so, Jim O’Sullivan of High Frequency Economics, summarized the Fed’s outlook as “a bit more hawkish than expected.” In its quarterly Summary of Economic Projections, officials projected the Fed’s preferred inflation measure would accelerate only slightly, ending this year at 2.1 percent rather than 1.9 percent, and holding at that level through 2020.

That index currently is at two percent but other measures of consumer and producer prices have accelerated, pushed by rising fuel prices, as well as higher metals prices that could be the result of the steep import tariffs Trump imposed starting in March. Powell said the Fed would continue to watch prices and employment data closely to gauge the impact of inflation and the trade policies on the economic outlook. The quarterly economic forecasts show central bankers now expect the benchmark rate to end the year at 2.4 percent rather than the 2.1 percent projected in March. And the median forecast for the end of 2019 is 3.1 percent, up from the previous 2.9 percent, which signals four hikes this year and next. Powell also said the recent tax cuts were expected to provide stimulus to the economy. However, the FOMC’s economic growth forecasts were little changed, with 2018 GDP seen rising 2.8 percent rather than 2.7 percent but unchanged at 2.4 percent in 2019 and two percent in 2020. The already historically low unemployment is projected to fall even further, ending the year at 3.6 percent before settling at 3.5 percent in 2019 and 2020. - More press conferences Powell also announced that he would hold a press conference after every policy meeting, rather than the current quarterly schedule. The change will start in January following the meetings that are scheduled roughly once every six weeks, to give the Fed “more opportunities to explain our actions,” Powell told reporters. But he said “having twice as many press conferences does not signal anything about the timing or the pace of interest rate changes.” Economists had predicted the Fed would make this change to overcome the common view that the central bank only moves rates at meetings that includes press conferences, which limits its options.


FRIDAY, June 15, 2018



Sadness at Vietnam noodle shop where Bourdain dined with Obama

Priyanka Chopra is Nick Jonas’ plus-one at a wedding


riyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas have been photographed together on multiple occasions. New photos of them attending a wedding together have now emerged on social media. For the past few weeks, rumours of Priyanka Chopra dating Nick Jonas have been gaining momentum. The two have not commented on the relationship yet but it seems like the rumours aren’t affecting them at all as they continue to make public appearances. The late Anthony Bourdain posted this snapshot of himself, sitting down for bun cha in a restaurant in Vietnam, with then-President Obama in 2016


ANOI, Vietnam | AFP | The owner of a Hanoi noodle shop where Anthony Bourdain slurped down ‘bun cha’ with

former US president Barack Obama expressed her shock and sorrow Saturday over the death of the globetrotting American celebrity chef.

Priyanka Chopra apologises over ‘Quantico’ Hindu terror plot by Abhaya Srivastava


EW DELHI, India | AFP | Sunday 6/10/2018 - Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra apologised Sunday after a furore over a US TV series that showed her uncovering a terror plot hatched by Indian Hindu nationalists. The episode of spy thriller “Quantico” showed Chopra’s character, an FBI agent named Alex Parrish, thwarting the plan and noticing one of the terrorists wearing a Hindu rosary. The terrorists had tried to frame Pakistanis for the attack planned ahead of a summit on Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory that archrivals India and Pakistan claim as their own. Kashmir has been a source of historical tension between the nucleararmed neighbours who have fought two wars over it. The episode, aired on June 1, triggered outrage in India with many fans taking to social media to “shame” the Indian-born actress and calling her a “traitor”. Chopra, a former Miss World, said she was “a proud Indian and that will never change”. “I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico,” Chopra, 35, wrote on Twitter. “That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise.” ABC Studios, the producers of the

crime drama, have also offered an apology while defending Chopra who is the lead actor of the show.

The two have been photographed together on multiple occasions in the past few days and new photos of them attending a wedding together have emerged on social media. Priyanka and Nick, reportedly, attended a wedding in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Priyanka was dressed in olive green and arrived at the venue with Nick by her side. For the uninitiated, Nick Jonas is an American singing sensation who first shot to fame after he formed a music band with his brothers Joe and Kevin, collectively called the Jonas brothers. Recently, Priyanka was embroiled in a controversy regarding her TV

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas were seen attending a wedding together. (Photo credit Indian Express) show Quantico. The episode ‘The Blood of Romeo’ sparked outrage among Indians for its storyline on Indians planning a terrorist attack in Manhattan and blaming Pakistan, days before a summit on Kashmir, reported PTI. Later, ABC and Priyanka both issued apologies regarding the same. Priyanka took to Twitter and wrote, “I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt

by a recent episode of Quantico. That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise. I’m a proud Indian and that will never change.” The channel ABC issued a statement that read, “The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it,” said Walt Disneyowned ABC in its statement.”

5 Family-friendly movies releasing this summer


here’s plenty of big-screen action to keep kids entertained or escape the heat this summer with a trip to the movies. With an “Incredibles” sequel, Dracula’s antics, Winnie the Pooh and more, here are five family movies opening this summer for film fans of all ages.

Ericka. Mavis steps into the role of the overprotective parent, trying to keep her Dad as far away as possible from Ericka, whose true identity links her to Dracula’s ancient archenemy, Abraham Van Helsing. Selena Gomez and Adam Sandler return to voice the characters Mavis and Dracula, this time joined Incredibles 2 by Kathryn Hahn, Mel Brooks and The superhero family returns for a Steve Buscemi. second big-screen adventure. This time, Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky Mrs. Incredible -- aka Elastigirl -- is Opens July 13 in US theaters called away on a new mission leading a campaign to introduce superheroes Teen Titans Go! to the Movies back into society. Mr. Incredible is left A film adaptation the Cartoon to look after their three kids. His many parenting challenges include helping Network animated television seDash with math homework and taking ries “Teen Titans Go!,” the charcare of baby Jack-Jack, whose powers acters are based on the DC Comare starting to develop. This second in- ics stable of superheroes. Upon stallment is directed by Brad Bird, who learning that other DC Universe heroes have their own films, these also helmed the original 2004 movie. superheroes set out in search of a Directed by Brad Bird director to make their Hollywood Opens June 15 in US theaters dreams come true. But when they Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Va- encounter a super villain they realize there are more important things cation than movie fame. With voice talIn this third “Hotel Transylvania” ents from the TV show as well as picture, Dracula is lonely and looking Will Arnett, Kristen Bell and Nicofor love. While vacationing on a luxu- las Cage. rious Monster Cruise Ship, Dracula Directed by Peter Rida Michail falls for the ship’s mysterious captain

and Aaron Horvath Opens July 27 in US theaters Christopher Robin Winnie the Pooh comes to the big screen this summer. Now all grown up, Christopher Robin has left behind his cuddly bear and lost his sense of imagination. Pooh and his friend from the Hundred Acre Wood -- including Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger -- do all they can to re-enter Christopher’s life to help him find it again. Ewan McGregor stars as Christopher Robin in this live-action movie from Disney. Directed by Marc Forster Opens August 3 in US theaters Duck Duck Goose! This animated picture takes moviegoers on a comedy adventure to China. The film follows Peng, a high-flying bachelor goose who finds himself taking two lost ducklings -- Chao and Chi -- under his wing. After being injured in flight, Peng has to continue his migration on foot accompanied the two demanding ducklings. The expedition across China proves eventful for this newly formed

“The Incredibles” poster. © Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios party of three. Directed by Christopher Jenkins Opens August 24 in US theaters (- Relaxnews)

Young Life


FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

10 High School Seniors receive 2018 ACC Scholarship Foundation award

Arshia Batra, DeBakey High School, Houston ISD receiving the check.

Scholarship recipients with the sponsors/presenters ( 8 out of 10 recipients attended and 1 parent received on behalf of her daughter. (Photo by Shobana Muratee) by Shobana Muratee


OUSTON – Asian Chamber of Commerce (ACC) Scholarship Foundation recognized 10 Houston high school seniors for their academic and civic accomplishments on June 7, 2018 at a formal Scholarship Awards banquet held on Thursday, June 7 at the Brae Burn Country Club on 8101 Bissonnet Street. This year, several scholarships were offered by Bellaire Rotary Club, Asian Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Foundation, and the City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity Advisory Board College Scholarship. Trung H Doan, Partner, Studio RED Architects and Chair, ACC Scholarship Foundation welcomed the guests and spoke briefly about Foundation that has been awarding scholarships for 14 years. Doan congratulated the 10 outstanding recipients and recognized the contributions of the parents, teachers and sponsors. He also introduced Foundation board members: Dr. Parvin Bagherpour, Chief Academic & Student Service Officer, Graduate Medical Education Development and Catherine Le, J.D. Secretary & Board Member, Managing Partner, The Law Firm of Catherine Le, PLLC.

tion. Sponsors that included members of ACC and the Bellaire/Southwest Rotary Club were invited to present the check to the recipients.

Yuliza Lara, Heights High School, Houston ISD

2018 Scholarship Recipients Outstanding, High School Seniors

Emily N. Nguyen, Klein Oak High School, Klein ISD

The following 10 students received $1,000 in scholarship:

Jenisha D. Patel, Humble High School, Humble ISD

Shalom O. Akinwunmi, George Bush High School, Fort Bend ISD

Nisha Saif, Stephen F. Austin High School, Fort Bend ISD

Arshia Batra, DeBakey High School, Houston ISD

Brittany Y. Tran, Deer Park High School, Deer Park ISD

Jasmine Huang, Bellaire High School, Houston ISD

Devanshi H. Udeshi, Stephen F. Austin High School, Fort Bend ISD

Anh M. Nguyen, Jersey Village High School, Cy-fair ISD

Emily N. Nguyen, Klein Oak High School, Klein ISD receiving the check from Milton Young, ACC President. (Photos by Shobana Muratee) Ten outstanding students were recognized for their academic and civic accomplishments with scholarship awards to assist in financing their college education. The Asian Chamber of Commerce

Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c) (3) and was founded in 2005 to provide scholarships to further students’ higher education goals. Since 2005, the Foundation has awarded over 110 scholarships.

On the Path of Leadership

Brent Borgstedte, President, Bellaire/Southwest Rotary Club gave an overview of the 50- member Chapter that has held fielded fundraisers for more than 50 years, and their current primary fundraising event is an annual Fish Fry Festival for the community, featuring entertainment, contests, tasty food, and both live and silent auctions. The 2018 ACC Scholarship Luncheon is their second consecutive hosting. The scholarships award was a $1000 check to each of the 10 recipients to assist in financing their college educa-

Florida survivors of school gun massacre to hit the road for arms control by Leila Macor


IAMI | AFP - High school students in Parkland, Florida -- where a former student shot dead 17 people in February -- will start traveling across the United States this month to urge young people to stand up and vote against the powerful gun rights lobby. The national tour announced Monday and dubbed the “March For Our Lives: Road to Change” will kick off June 15 and is slated to make 50 stops in more than 20 states -- “places where the NRA National Rifle Association) has bought and paid for politicians who refuse to take simple steps to save our lives,” the movement’s website said. The goal is to “hold politicians accountable,” said Cameron Kasky, a teen activist who helped found the March For Our Lives campaign after surviving the carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “Our generation and many generations that are helping us can change the game,” said the 17-year-old, who cannot yet vote himself.

YLDP Batch of 2018 and directors with keynote speaker Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray (center) by Neil Raguthu

of teamwork in being a real leader.


Facing failure is a common part of life, but leaders are able to rise above the problems they face and continue to succeed. YLDP had taught us this when they invited Dr. Latha Ramchand, Dean of the C.T.Bauer College of Business, Univ. of Houston, to give us a presentation about the “Power of Failure”. She spoke about one of her own failures when she admitted to quitting the doctoral program at the Kellogg School of Management. However she later returned to continue her studies and is now a senior acadamecian. She said returning to her studies had been a pivotal point in her life because it proved to her that failure can be conquered. What defined her was that she got back up stronger. Accepting one own failures is difficult, but having failed doesn’t make us failures. It only encourages us to try harder and strive for higher levels of success.

he Youth Leadership Development Program of 2017-18 ended with a graduation event on May 19th, 2018 at the India House, Houston. As I look back at the program and the leaders I was exposed to during the last several months, I am truly overwhelmed and grateful for all that I have learnt through their words of wisdom. I began the journey to become a future leader and learned during the multiple sessions, what exactly it meant to be a leader. The program, in addition to several other things, taught me the importance of promoting teamwork, to face failure, and to make sacrifices for the betterment of others. Being a leader isn’t about improving one’s own individual skills, but it is rather to make the team work better together and succeed. We learnt this from Mr. Bhavesh Patel, now CEO of LyondellBassel who had earlier in his career, been tasked with the restructuring of the company in the European sector. He saw that the best way forward was to rework the entire structure by getting every employee involved. He strongly believed in taking input from his team members. His success story showed us the importance

To truly be a leader in the world, it takes the will to sacrifice for the betterment of others. Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India in Houston, embodies this belief through his works. Dr. Ray was the Chief Guest and Keynote Address Speaker at the YLDP graduation event this year and we had the privilege of listening

to his wisdom. He talked about what he believed a leader needs- the ability to face adversity with courage and to build one’s character by making sacrifices.

They truly define the skills and qualities of a leader and taught us how we could develop and implement effective strategies for our own success as future leaders.

What really stood out was his own story of sacrifice. He is a Neurosurgeon by education and training, but instead of pursuing a career in medicine, he chose to work for society. He sacrificed a wealthier lifestyle because he believed that he could help more people in his current career. His story shows that leadership isn’t about having control or money, but rather working to ensure that others can have better lives as well. These are only few of the lessons that we learnt dur- Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray ing the year from various speakers.



Which are the most expensive World Cup squads? URICH, Switzerland - There are a number of teams with massive market values that will be featuring in the Russia World Cup which starts on June 14.

NNECY, France | AFP - The “Pulp Fiction” of Chinese animation has finally been shown at the world’s top festival in France, a year after it was dropped from the competition under pressure from Beijing.

According to Swiss institute Football Observatory, the estimated transfer value for all players participating in the World Cup is a whopping 12.6 billion euros. The most expensive squad? It is France. France’s Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their first goal with Nabil Fekir. (Photo: Reuters)


hether you’re settled comfortably into your role or just waiting for the next opportunity, you should be in a constant state of evaluation and feedback with your current employer. By asking yourself all the right questions throughout your time there, you can provide valuable feedback to the organization (possibly improving your chance of advancement) and stay aware and in control of your own satisfaction and engagement. One of the most important things to consider when evaluating your current employer is whether the company matches your lifestyle – which, at first, sounds vague and tough to evaluate, right? Right. But we’ve done the work for you by developing a super simple list of questions to help you get to the bottom of whether your company matches the lifestyle you really want for yourself. #1: Physical health & wellbeing What do you need from your employer in order to achieve physical health and well-being, and are they adequately providing for that need? Ways em-

Crime drama “Have a Nice Day” -- a panorama of the ills caused by the pursuit of money in modern China -- was cold shouldered out of the Annecy film festival in eastern France last year. The festival -- which was celebrating Chinese animation with a slew of other films -bowed to pressure from Beijing and decided to drop the film from the line-up. “It became impossible to have both the film and the presence of Chinese officials,” Annecy’s director Marcel Jean told AFP.

Lionel Messi, with a 183 million euro market value -- the highest among the Argentines, is not the most expensive player in the market. Harry Kane (201m), Neymar(196m) and France’s Kylian Mbappe are all above the Argentine with Mbappe priced at 187 million euros. (-Relax News)


Chinese ‘Pulp Fiction’ finally shown at top film festival



If someone were to buy all the 23 players in French squad, it will cost them a whopping 1,410.3 million euros. England are second on that list with a value of 1,386 million while Brazil and Spain are third and fourth with 1,269 and 965 million euros respectively. Lionel Messi’s Argentina are on fifth with a market value of 925 million euros.

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

He said “Have a Nice Day” was only a political film “because of its realism, which shows a reality that the Chinese authorities do not want highlighted”. The film has been acclaimed, with the IndieWire website comparing it to “Pulp Fiction”.

Does your current company match your lifestyle? ployers might support physical health include: •

providing on-site gym access and/or gym membership

keeping healthy drinks and snacks on hand for employees

offering ample, affordable health, dental, and vision insurance

creating a group wellness program with accountability and incentives

offering paid time to work out for physically-demanding positions

discounting insurance premiums for employees who achieve health goals

Please note that everybody’s needs are different and evaluate your employer based on your own expectations for a company. For example, if you work out but don’t need or expect your employer to have a gym on site, your employer can still be a great lifestyle fit without offering that perk. For another employee, no on-site gym could be a deal-breaker. #2: Belonging How well do you belong in your current organization? Components that can improve

your sense of belonging include recognition for accomplishments, feeling free to express yourself, having a friend (or many) at work, liking your team members and feeling appreciated and included, and feeling like your boss cares about you as a human being. Mark down your thoughts about this category now; you’ll use it at the end to evaluate your company. #3: Beliefs and values A company that’s misaligned with your core beliefs and values can be a poor fit for your lifestyle. These questions make it easy to determine where you differ: Do I believe my company uses its power for good in the world? Does my company take any stance that I don’t believe is ethical or moral? Do I feel free to express my beliefs within my organization? Does my company encourage or even pay for volunteerism? Once you’ve identified where you differ, the most important question is, “Am I okay with that?” If you aren’t, your company might not be a great lifestyle fit. (

“Mixing the dreaminess of Wong Kar-wai with early Tar-

“Have a Nice Day” was only a political film “because of its realism, which shows a reality that the Chinese authorities do not want highlighted”, official says. antino vibes, it repurposes these precedents in an exciting new context,” it said. The movie, directed by artist Liu Jian, got a limited showing in China and will be released in France later this month by producer Julie Gayet, the partner of former French president Francois Hollande. She said Liu has a “slightly

critical view of the way Chinese capitalism has developed” and wanted to show how ordinary people have been touched by this. The director, who did not attend the festival, said earlier that he was “fascinated by the all the changes we have had in China and by men whose lives have been shaken by them.”

Malaysian king joins austerity drive with pay cut


UALA LUMPUR, Malaysia | AFP Malaysia’s king has thrown his weight behind the new government’s bid to slash massive debts inherited from the corruption-plagued old regime by taking a 10 percent pay cut, royal officials said. Sultan Muhammad V offered to reduce his salary after being touched by members of the public contributing out of their own pockets to a government fund to cut the debt, they said. An alliance headed by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad won a surprise election victory last month, ousting the scandalmired coalition that had ruled the country for six decades. The new government says the country has debts of over one trillion ringgit ($250 billion) after years of misrule by an administration headed by ex-leader Najib Razak, who is accused of having stolen vast sums of public money while in office. Najib denies any wrongdoing. The royal palace said late

The Malaysian King Sultan Muhammad V (AFP File Photo) Monday that the king -- a relatively youthful monarch at 48 -- would be taking the cut from the money granted to him by the government until the end of his term in 2021, but did not say how much he earned. The current king, known for his fondness for four-wheel driving and other extreme sports, has been on the throne since late 2016.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with an unique arrangement where the throne of the Muslim-majority nation changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian states headed by centuries-old Islamic royalty. Malaysians have so far contributed more than 56 million ringgit to the official fund set up to pay off the nation’s debts.



FRIDAY, FRIDAY,June June15, 15,2018 2018

LTC built in with Life Insurance

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Section 2

Tel: 713-774-5140

Yoga and cheesecake for new mums in plush Chinese ‘sitting centres’

LTC built in with Life Insurance


onsumers who are skeptical of traditional long-term-care insurance are snapping up “hybrid” policies combining life insurance with long-term-care benefits. But are these products really a better way to manage the risk of catastrophic longterm-care costs? Although they come in many flavors, the most popular hybrids have a longterm-care rider to a whole or universal life insurance policy. Consumers can typically pay a single up-front premium, and if they never need long-term care, their heirs get the death benefit. By paying a single premium or series of set premiums, you avoid the risk of future premium increases—an issue that has plagued traditional long-termcare policies. And many consumers have balked at the “use it or lose it” nature of traditional long-term-care policies; the hybrid’s potential death benefit removes that concern. More than 200,000 hybrid life insurance policies were sold in 2015, up 37% from 2014, according to LIMRA, a life insurance trade group. They’re gaining ground as “traditional long-term care insurance is becoming less of an option,” says Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at the American College. Premium increases on policies priced years ago have made headlines, and several insurers have dropped out of the market. The number of new traditional long-term-care policies sold in 2015 dropped about 20%, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

New mothers doing yoga exercises at a ‘sitting centre’ in Shanghai by Peter Stebbings / Albee ZHANG HANGHAI, China | AFP | Friday 6/8/2018 - Yoga class starts shortly, the pristine massage centre is open for business and cheesecake is served on a platter of pastries and fruit.


Here’s how one popular type of hybrid product works: Two long-termcare riders are attached to a universal life insurance policy. If you need longterm care, the first rider pays down the policy’s death benefit over the course of two years. If you exhaust the death benefit, the second rider extends your long-term-care benefits for another two to four years. There’s often an option to get some or all of your money back if you change your mind about the policy.

And then the muffled cry of a baby emerges down the hallway. The setting may resemble a five-star hotel, but this is a “sitting centre” on Shanghai’s outskirts where mothers pay up to 70,000 yuan ($11,000) a month to stay with their newborns. Chinese culture dictates that mothers confine themselves after giving birth, also known as a “sitting month”. Such confinement was once widely practised in many areas of the world and continues to be popular in other parts of Asia. But as incomes rise in China, the sitting month no longer means being cooped up at home without bathing or visitors. “We prefer to find a professional

Pastries, cheesecake and fruit are available to new mothers at some of the ‘sitting centres’ facility to take care of our baby. We have no experience in taking care of the baby or ourselves after birth,” said Yu Xueting, 34, a first-time mother, her weeks-old son “Kangkang” lying

contentedly beside her. Both appear well looked-after at the private Lake Malaren International Continued on Page 18

The up-front cost is hefty: You’ll pay at least $50,000 to $75,000 to get a meaningful long-term-care benefit. You face no risk of premium increases, but that’s not much of a threat with standalone long-term-care policies priced today either, according to the Society of Actuaries. A major reason for the big premium increases on traditional policies priced years ago is that insurers overestimated the number of people who would allow their policies to lapse.

Sudhir Mathuria HEALTHLIFE 360 713-771-2900 In pricing today’s policies, insurers have tweaked their assumptions to reflect low lapse rates and low interest rates, and they have more claims data to guide pricing decisions. As a result policies priced in 2014 have smaller chance of needing future rate increases, compared with 40% for those priced in 2000, the Society of Actuaries found. While the hybrid products ensure that you’ll get something out of the policy even if you never need long-term care, they also give option to earn similar to market rate of return on a large chunk of your money specially if it is indexed with market. In a typical hybrid product purchased today, the cash value will grow at a very modest rate, such as 2% to 3%. That may sound reasonable in today’s low-rate environment, at the same time if rates rise substantially most insurance companies will adjust the rate to stay competitive. Compare Your Options When weighing hybrid products against traditional long-term-care insurance policies, consider how you might invest the money that’s not spent on premiums. If you would leave it in cash or other low-return holdings and don’t foresee any need for the money, that might be an argument for the hybrid product. If you would aim for a moderate return and might need the money to cover living expenses, standalone long-term-care insurance may make more sense. For individual evaluation for Long Term Care planning or Medicare plans contact Sudhir Mathuria 713-771-2900. Read complete report online:www.

US suicide rate on rise: health agency


ASHINGTON | AFP | Thursday 6/7/2018 - The suicide rate across the United States has risen 30 percent since 1999, and nearly 45,000 people took their lives in 2016, officials said Thursday. Suicide presents a “growing public health problem,” with significant increases in 44 of the 50 states, said the report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Earlier this week, American handbag designer Kate Spade, 55, took her own life, sparking renewed calls for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Suicide is “a tragedy for families and communities across the country,” said CDC principal deputy director Anne Schuchat. “From individuals and communities to employers and healthcare professionals, everyone can play a role in efforts to help save lives and reverse this troubling rise in suicide.”

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and is rarely caused by a single factor, experts say. The study, which spanned 1999 to 2016, found that more than half of people who killed themselves did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Contributing factors included “relationship problems or loss, substance misuse; physical health problems; and job, money, legal or housing stress,” said the report. The most common method of suicide involved firearms. The highest suicide rate from 2014-2016 was in Montana, where 29.2 residents per 100,000 people took their own lives. It was lowest in the US capital, Washington, with 6.9 suicides per 100,000 residents per year. The biggest spike in suicides since 1999 was in North Dakota, where suicides rose 57 percent. A total of 25 states had sui-

cide rate increases of more than 30 percent in that span. The CDC, the top US public health agency, said individual states need to do more to boost suicide prevention “and address the range of factors contributing to suicide.” “This requires coordination and cooperation from every sector of society: government, public health, healthcare, employers, education, media and community organizations,” it added, urging those interested in learning the warning signs to visit We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Call 1-800-273-8255 to talk. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 / 7.



FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Severe heart attacks more likely to Yoga and cheesecake ... kill in winter than in summer suggests new research Continued from Page 17

New UK research has found that severe heart attacks are more likely to be fatal when they occur in colder months, compared to warmer months,.


arried out by cardiologists at Leeds General Infirmary, the team compared information from 4,056 patients who had received treatment for a heart attack over four years. The results showed that overall, around the same number of heart attacks occurred in the colder months as the warmer months, with 52% percent of heart attacks happening between November and April.

Since the drugs are so common, people may be unaware of their potential depressive effects, said the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). “Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis,” said lead author Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The report was released one week after US health authorities said suicides have risen 30 percent in the past two decades, with about half of suicides among people who were not known to suffer from mental illness. For the current study, researchers found that the risk of depression was highest among people who were taking more than one drug with depression as a possible side effect. “Approximately 15 percent of adults who simultaneously used three or more of these medications experienced depression while taking the drugs, compared with just five percent for those not using any of the drugs, (and) seven percent for those using one medication,” said the study. Anti-depressants are the only drug class that carries an explicit warning -- called a black box warning -- of sui-

One reason is that Chinese today are now giving birth later in life -- meaning grandparents are older and may not be able to help as much.

A photography studio captures those precious early days of life, while a “Mother’s Classroom” runs lectures for new mums to learn how to care for their baby -- and themselves.

And Chinese are increasingly able to afford places like the Shanghai centre, where staff fuss over every baby sniffle.

“If we do it at home (take care of the baby), then the whole family can’t sleep well. I can take maternity leave, but my husband needs to go to work.” - Long tradition -

One in three Americans take meds with depressive side effects: study


Mother and son are accompanied at all times by a nanny who sleeps in the same room. Numerous specialists, nurses and cooks are on hand.

Yu, who works for IT firm HewlettPackard, said the lengthy stay “liberates our family”.

New research has found that the risk of dying from a severe heart attack increases during The researchers found that the colder months. © PeopleImages / the risk of dying within 30 days of a severe heart attack was nearly 50% higher dureven the most severe, should be more Professor Metin Avkiran, Assoing the six coldest months, 28%, com- deadly in winter than in summer so we ciate Medical Director at the Britpared to a 20% risk of dying in the must do further research to find the ish Heart Foundation, also added, warmer months. cause of this difference and remedy it. “You obviously can’t choose when Cardiac arrest is when the heart sud- The next step is to find out if this trend you have a major heart attack, but it shouldn’t have such an impact on denly stops pumping blood around the is seen nationwide.” body, while cardiogenic shock is when “Potential explanations could in- your chances of surviving. It’s vital the heart can’t pump enough blood to clude longer time to treatment, pro- we carry out more research to find meet the body’s needs. longed hospitalization and delays to out why there are these differences, as well as continuing to do all we can Both conditions are often caused by discharge, and increased prevalence to stop people having heart attacks in of winter-associated infections, which a severe heart attack, but not everyone the first place.” who has a heart attack has a cardiac in the sickest patients, could be potentially lethal. Further studies interThe findings were presented on arrest or cardiogenic shock. rogating the association between time Tuesday at the British CardiovascuLead researcher Dr. Arvin Krish- of admission and outcomes, especially lar Society Conference 2018 taking namurthy commented, “There is no in the sickest and most vulnerable pa- place June 4-6 in Manchester, UK. physical reason why a heart attack, tients, are certainly warranted.” - Relaxnews

by Kerry SHERIDAN AMPA, United States | AFP | One third of Americans are taking prescription and overthe-counter drugs, such as birth control pills, antacids and common heart medications, that may raise the risk of depression, researchers warned on Tuesday.

Postpartum Care Center in a modern building embellished with turrets and intended to mimic old northern European architecture.

According to the Legal Daily, a state newspaper, the number of sitting centres in China has “exploded” from dozens in 2000 to more than 4,000 in 2017.

Dads can stay too, but usually just visit.

However, the most severe heart attacks, which lead to cardiac arrest and cardiogenic shock, were more deadly in the coldest six months, compared to the warmest.

cide risk. For other common medications -- like blood pressure lowering pills, antacids known as proton pump inhibitors, painkillers and hormonal contraceptives -- the warnings are harder to find or simply don’t exist in the packaging. “Product labeling for over-the-counter medications does not include comprehensive information on adverse effects including depression,” said the report. “Many patients may therefore not be aware of the greater likelihood of concurrent depression associated with these commonly used medications.” - 200 drugs -

Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers cautioned that the survey approach meant conclusions could not be drawn about cause-andeffect, and that questionnaires did not account for a history of depression. According to Allan Young, director of the Center for Affective Disorders at King’s College London who was not involved in the study, the “findings seem robust.” “This confirms the well-known fact that these medications might be causing depression in some people and we should be on the look-out for that so that we can detect and then manage the depression,” Young said.

Researchers found that more than 200 commonly used prescription drugs have depression or suicidal symptoms listed as potential side effects.

“Many prescription medicines may have depression as a possible side effect and this should be discussed with patients up front.”

Use of prescription drugs with suicidal thoughts listed as a potential adverse effect increased from 17 percent in 2005 to 24 percent a decade later, the study said.

Lead author Qato said solutions could include updating drug safety software so pharmacists could recognize if a person is taking drugs that raise the risk of depression.

For drugs with depression as a possible side effect, use increased from 35 percent in 2005 to 38 percent in the 2013 to 2014 period. “Use of antacids with potential depression adverse effects, like proton pump inhibitors and H2 antagonists, increased from five percent to 10 percent in the same period,” said the study. “Use of three or more drugs concurrently increased from seven percent to 10 percent.” - Limits, solutions The study was observational in nature, and was based on survey data on more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014, collected as part of the National

- Rapid growth -

“Sitting month”, or “Zuoyuezi”, stretches back to about 200 BC and the Han Dynasty, said Elizabeth HuiChoi, a lecturer at Hong Kong University’s School of Nursing. Empresses would be well lookedafter following childbirth, including a special diet and lifestyle to restore their “broken” body and prevent future illness, said Hui-Choi. “They believed that treating the mother well would also bring good things to the baby, and it is still believed to be that way.” Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) “also plays a very important part” in how most Chinese women still think after childbirth, dictating they should eat more of certain foods, such as ginger, and cut out others such as fruit, she said.

Demand has also ramped up since China began phasing out its one-child policy in 2015. Families can be too stretched with their first child to cope with a second, especially if there is no extended family to help out. Sitting centres or self-proclaimed experts in “Zuoyuezi” are found almost anywhere that ethnic Chinese are found, including in North America, making it a big business with global reach. However in Britain, doctors recently warned about the dangers of Chinese mothers locking themselves away after childbirth, fearing post-natal depression may go unnoticed or mums may avoid seeing a doctor for physical problems. - Six meals a day Xu Jingfang, baby son Kirk gurgling away beside her, said her British husband was initially sceptical. “At first he thought it was a weird idea. He said, ‘You’re having a baby, not heart surgery,’” said the 30-yearold Xu, one of about 80 other mums at the Shanghai establishment. Xu scouted similar centres including one in a high-end hotel, saying “all our friends and relatives” now opt for such care.

Some stop showering, washing their hair, or even brushing their teeth for the month, and won’t venture outside -- TCM says these can upset the body’s balance.

“It’s much easier. Here, you’ve got 24-hour care for the baby and someone to cook for you six meals a day,” added Xu, a phalanx of carers on hand to whisk away Kirk at the first hint of a whimper.

Yu did not wash her hair for a week, but doctors told her that was unnecessary and the centre recommends a more scientific approach that blends TCM and Western medicine.

Xu said that while her parents and grandparents did not wash for weeks after birth, they accept that times have changed.

Hui-Choi, a registered midwife trained in Western medicine, said some of the old rituals are unhygienic and that studies suggest strict observance of tradition can make women feel isolated, risking post-partum depression.

“I’ve hired a nanny at home. I guess life will be more interesting than here -- sometimes I do get a bit bored -- but also tougher.”

So will it be a shock to finally go home?

Blood test may predict premature birth ASHINGTON | AFP | Thursday 6/7/2018 - US and Danish researchers said Thursday they have developed an inexpensive blood test that may predict with up to 80 percent accuracy whether a pregnant woman will give birth prematurely.


While more research is needed before the test is ready for widespread use, experts say it has the potential to reduce fatalities and complications from the 15 million premature births per year worldwide.

The test measures the activity of maternal, placental and fetal genes, assessing levels of cell-free RNA, which are messenger molecules that carry the body’s genetic instructions. “We found that a handful of genes are very highly predictive of which women are at risk for preterm delivery,” said co-senior author Mads Melbye, a visiting professor at Stanford University and CEO of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen. “I’ve spent a lot of time over the years working to understand preterm delivery. This is the first real, significant scientific progress on this problem in a long time.”

The test can also be used to estimate “With depression as one of the lead- the mother’s due date “as reliably as ing causes of disability and increas- and less expensively than ultrasound,” ing national suicide rates, we need to said the report in the journal Science. think innovatively about depression as a public health issue, and this study provides evidence that patterns of Obstetrics, Gynecology, Infertility, Laser and Micro Surgery medication use should be conComprehensive Care for Women and Adolescents sidered in strategies that seek ARDMS Certified Ultrasounds on Premises to eliminate, reduce or mini713-271-2708 mize the impact Methodist Sugar Land S.W Memorial Hospital of depression in 16605 S.W Freeway, Suite:365 7777 S.W Freeway, Suite:748 our daily lives,” Sugar Land, TX 77479 Houston, TX 77074 she said.

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Global warming will make veggies harder to find: study

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

“Sea Wander” app wins UNESCO & Microsoft Hackathon for Culture and Peace

Nappasorn Sangkiew presenting the Sea Wander app. (Photo source: Microsoft)


By the end of this century, less water and hotter air will combine to cut average yields of vegetables -- which are crucial to a healthy diet -- by nearly one-third, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


AMPA, Florida | AFP | Global warming is expected to make vegetables significantly scarcer around the world, unless new growing practices and resilient crop varieties are adopted, researchers warned on Monday. By the end of this century, less water and hotter air will combine to cut average yields of vegetables -- which are crucial to a healthy diet -- by nearly one-third, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A 7.2 Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) increase in temperature, which scientists expect by 2100 if global warming continues on its current trajectory, reduces average yields by 31.5 percent, said the report. “Our study shows that environmental changes such as increased temperature and water scarcity may pose a real threat to global agricultural production, with likely further impacts on food security and population health,” said lead author Pauline Scheelbeek of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Southern Europe, large parts of Africa and South Asia may be particularly affected. The findings are based on a system-

atic review of 174 studies examining the impact of environmental exposures on yield and nutritional content of vegetables and legumes since 1975.

grown crop on the planet.

Some previous research has pointed to a likely increase in crop yields as carbon dioxide rises, but the current review found that any such boost would be cancelled out by higher greenhouse gases, reduced water availability for irrigation and rising temperatures.

They also showed that heat waves may boost inconsistency and volatility across various regions from year to year, leading to price hikes and global shortages.

“We have brought together all the available evidence on the impact of environmental change on yields and quality of vegetables and legumes for the first time,” said senior author Alan Dangour, also of LSHTM. - ‘Urgent action’ needed “Our analysis suggests that if we take a ‘business as usual’ approach, environmental changes will substantially reduce the global availability of these important foods,” he added. “Urgent action needs to be taken, including working to support the agriculture sector to increase its resilience to environmental changes and this must be a priority for governments across the world.” A second study in PNAS found that rising temperatures will increase the volatility of corn, the most widely

Researchers confirmed prior studies that showed global warming would likely cut back on corn growth.

“Previous studies have often focused on just climate and plants, but here we look at climate, food and international markets,” said lead author Michelle Tigchelaar, a University of Washington postdoctoral researcher in atmospheric sciences. “We find that as the planet warms, it becomes more likely for different countries to simultaneously experience major crop losses, which has big implications for food prices and food security.” The vast majority of the global corn exports come from the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine. “Under 4 degrees Celsius warming, which the world is on track to reach by the end of the century if current greenhouse gas emissions rates continue, there’s an 86 percent chance that all four maize-exporting countries would simultaneously suffer a bad year,” said the report.

New Tesla software to offer ‘full’ autonomy, Musk says


ASHINGTON | AFP - An update to Tesla’s Autopilot software coming in August will enable “full self-driving features” for the automaker’s electric cars, chief executive Elon Musk says. Musk’s comments come amid a race by automakers and tech firms to roll out fully autonomous vehicles, but also rising concerns about the safety of robotic systems.

“To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features,” he said.

Tesla founder and Elon Musk says an update to the carmaker’s Autopilot software will enable “full” autonomous driving features (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski) safer than human drivers.

killed the driver.

“It’s super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the (approximately) 40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in past year get almost no coverage,” Musk said last month.

In another fatal accident last year, Tesla’s Autopilot failed to detect a truck crossing the road, but investigators pointed out the driver was watching a movie at the time and not paying attention with the semi-autonomous system in operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report last week that a Tesla operating on Autopilot sped up before a crash into a freeway barrier in California that

After an Uber self-driving vehicle earlier this year killed a pedestrian in Arizona, investigators said the automatic braking system had been disabled.

India has discovered an amazing planet where a year lasts just 19.5 days

astronomical object - which is the tricky part.

Musk offered no details about the system, which could accelerate the effort to put more self-driving cars on the roads in the United States. Federal safety investigators have been looking into a series of accidents, including at least two fatal ones, involving self-driving cars. Musk has complained about the focus on accidents, arguing that selfdriving systems are likely to be far

n an exciting first, Indian scientists have discovered a sub-Saturn exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star around 600 light-years away.


The planet has been named EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b and it’s big - around 27 times more massive than Earth. The find sees India join a small group of countries to have confirmed a planet outside our Solar System. Exoplanets themselves aren’t that

“I learned so many new things that I can take back and use in my work and even a new perspective for history,” said 18-year-old Yensira Chaisuk or “Shin”, one of the five team members in NASHIMETEKO. “Everything in Asean comes from the same roots in so many aspects.” The NASHIMETEKO team, named after the first syllables of each of the five members’ names, walked off with 20,000 baht of prize money and a trophy from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The five high school teammates are from the Rayong Wittayakom School in Rayong province, 3.5 hours away from Bangkok. They are about to enter their first years in their respective universities to continue their studies in science, engineering and the arts. The UNESCO & Microsoft Hackathon for Culture and Peace was organized as part of Microsoft’s efforts to encourage young women to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); today, only 30% of STEM graduates in Thailand are women. A requirement to compete in the hackathon included having at least mixed-gendered teams. “When I was a child, I loved to draw,” said 17-year-old Nappasorn Sangkiew, another team member. “I started drawing on paper, then it went on to the Notebook Computer as digital painting, and then it evolved into designing logos and doing graphic animation.” The Sea Wander app allows its players to choose between playing as a Bali farmer growing rice and a Cambodian silk maker. The game uses cultural folktale to help educate users on the history of rice and silk while plowing fields or feeding silk worms in mini-games in between storytelling narratives. “I myself am a mother of a fiveyear-old, which is why I want to know where I can download this app,” said one of the judges, Montira Unakul, UNESCO Bangkok’s Cultural program officer. “I think my son would want to play this game, and even many

The Tesla founder made the disclosure in a Twitter conversation, responding to a user who complained about issues with Autopilot, which is currently considered semi-autonomous with the requirement that a motorist be at the wheel at all times. Musk said the updated “Version 9” coming in August would help address a number of issues.

ANGKOK, Thailand | AFP - Cartoon depictions of Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers, Singapore’s Merlion, Thailand’s golden temples were among some of Southeast Asia’s landmarks gliding along on the screen behind the name ‘Sea Wander’. The mobile app with its brightly colored cartoon characters and educational games was unveiled and crowned as winner after the team responsible spent one month to build it for the UNESCO & Microsoft Hackathon for Culture and Peace on May 21, 2018.

rare these days - we have confirmed the existence of 3,786 of them. But the vast majority (~2,600) have been spotted and then confirmed as planets by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. This latest planet was also first spotted and listed as a candidate planet by Kepler, but it was a team of Indian scientists that confirmed it was a planet, rather than simply a comet or another

The team was led by Abhijit Chakraborty from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad. They spent a year a half at PRL’s Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India, studying the changes in light coming from the planet’s host star, and performing an independent confirmation of its mass. It’s estimated to be more than seven times closer to its star than we are, which means a year lasts just roughly 19.5 days. (

of the adults sitting in this room would want to play it too.” The judges on the panel were allowed two votes each as their final choices. NACHIMETEKO was picked by all five judges, resulting in a unanimous decision to declare them the winner. Other teams had developed applications that implemented augmented reality questionnaires, story-based time travel and even an educational journey on spice routes. There were a total of five finalist teams at the winner announcement session at UNESCO Bangkok. In the course of almost two months since the launch of the program on March 27, each team had to pitch and design a web or mobile educational application that teaches the shared history of Southeast Asia and present it to the panel of judges. The purpose of the application falls in line with UNESCO’s Shared Histories project, launched in 2015 to melt away tensions among Southeast Asian countries and promote understanding between neighbors The promotion of national identities, with neighboring countries portrayed as opponents, is rooted in history curriculums among the 11 countries in Southeast Asia, according to historians. The hostile depictions influenced generations of people’s mindsets to view neighboring nations as enemies. The Shared Histories project is aimed at providing new un-biased views of history and proposes new ways of teaching it while emphasizing similarities between nations to cultivate respect. “We believe that education is very important,” said Desarack Teso, the Director of corporate, external and legal affairs for Microsoft and one of the judges. “The job of today may not exist tomorrow, and the job of tomorrow may not exist today, so you don’t really know the skills that you need to compete in your future.” The Sea Wander app with its kidfriendly graphics, clear subtitles, upbeat tunes and smooth gameplay was lauded as an outstanding example of intersection between technology and learning by Teso. It reflects Microsoft’s belief that “technology, no matter how advanced, is meant to serve and enhance the capability of humanity,” he said. The hackathon is in line with Microsoft’s goal to help people attain the digital skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the digital economy and become “future-ready”, free of technological obstacles, biased thinking and outdated norms – especially for women.

Fitbit releases kids wearable Fitbit Ace worldwide Fitbit announced on Monday that its first wearable for kids, the Fitbit Ace will now be available worldwide after its US launch earlier this year.


esigned for children age 8 and older, the Fitbit Ace has been created to help get kids moving as childhood obesity rates rise and parents become more concerned about their children’s health. Fitbit Ace will send kids reminders to move every hour and reward them for their activity to help build healthy habits. Children can sign up for daily or weekend challenges to collect badge rewards, and both kids and parents can see their stats, badges earned, and progress toward their goals in the Fitbit app. The wearable will also record sleep to ensure kids are getting enough, but to give kids a more positive experience the wearable will not highlight calorie intake, weight, or body fat and BMI. To help get the whole family involved, and enable parents to keep track of how kids are doing, there is also a family account option. Here parents can approve who their children connect with, view activity and progress, and sign up the whole family for challenges together to help keep

Fitbit’s first wearable for kids, the Fitbit Ace, is now be available worldwide. © Courtesy of Fitbit. one another motivated. The FitBit Ace also has an adjustable wristband to fit all children, even through their growth spurts, and comes in two bright colors of power purple and electric blue. Fitbit Ace is available now at retail partner stores worldwide, and is also available for sale at for $99.95 (USD). - Relaxnews


Eid chic to watch out for


ow that the lawn mania has simmered down and the heat levels have shot further up, it seems our designers have realized one thing. Easy on the eyes, breezy on the body is the way to go. Our selection of


FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Houston’s new Kinder High School For Performing, Visual Arts blends classrooms, creativity

top five collections this Eid have these qualities in common. We recommend them highly because they’ll keep you cool, comfortable and chic this Eid – is there really anything else you could ask for? (

by Cynthia Lescalleet


ccupying a full city block in downtown Houston, the new Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is nearing completion. The new flagship facility for Houston Independent School District (HISD) replaces, upgrades and expands the existing HSPVA, located in an urban neighborhood slightly south of downtown. A magnet school for music, theater, writing, dance and art, the $88.3 million project is one of 40 new or renovated HISD schools – 29 of which are high schools – funded by a $2 billion bond program in 2012. This year’s Eid collection by Azwer is our favourite in a long, long time. She uses traditional embroidery in 3D and mixes it with mirror work. The colours are easy on the eyes and overall, the aesthetic is clean with a focus on silhouettes and a variety of styles, which will probably sell fairly well.

Apple lands best-selling novel ‘Shantaram’ for TV series adaptation


The mob drama was previously set up as a feature film, with Johnny Depp set to produce and Joel Edgerton attached to star. Paramount Television and Anonymous Content will now adapt the property for the small screen. The two companies also acquired rights to Roberts’ follow-up novel, The Mountain Shadow. A network is not yet attached.

The novel has been published in 39 languages in 42 territories worldwide and has sold more than 6 million copies. It centers on an Australian heroin addict convicted of robbery who escapes from a maximum-security prison who flees to India and reinvents himself as a doctor in the slums of Bombay. He then gets involved in counterfeiting, smuggling and gunrunning, which leads him to Afghanistan, where he and a mob boss battle Russians. “As a huge admirer of the material, I’ve been tracking this book for more than a decade,” Golin said Wednesday in a statement. Added Roberts: “I’m honored and humbled in equal measure as a writer,

“Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts.©

and thrilled for the many readers who have hoped that Shantaram would become a vivid screen experience. Television is the perfect medium for the novel, and Steve Golin and Nicole Clemens at Anonymous Content are the perfect partners.” Joe Regal of Regal Hoffmann & Associates repped the book, while attorney Drew Patrick negotiated on Barron’s behalf. For Paramount Television, Shantaram joins a roster that includes TNT’s forthcoming The Alienist, George Clooney’s Catch-22 and Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, among others. (-Relax News)

Shanghai Symphony signs China’s first orchestra record deal


Founded in 1879, the Shanghai Symphony is the oldest orchestra in China and has been at the forefront of the country’s soaring interest in Western classical music since the 1980s.

Photo: Shutterstock

UNICH, Germany Deutsche Grammophon on Thursday announced a recording contract with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in a first global label deal for a Chinese orchestra.

Kinder High School for the Performing And Visual Arts in downtown Houston is designed as a “beacon of creativity” by project architect Gensler’s Houston office. (Photo: Forbes)

The new building rises five stories over two levels of underground parking. Its 168,000 square feet accommodate: a central 800-seat theater, a 200-seat black box theater, rehearsal rooms, an arts gallery, academic classrooms and commons, a recording studio, a roof terrace and a cafeteria, plus all the administration and faculty spaces that go with operating a school.

The downtown Houston site has been used and owned by academic entities since the 1850s.

Founded in 1971 as HISD’s cuttingedge arts and academics specialty program, HSPVA is one of the oldest such schools in the country. Now, it will have one of the newest facilities. It’s projected to open for students in January 2019. While the current fouryear program serves 700 students, the new school could accommodate 750 and includes a bit of room to slightly grow if the program so chooses in the future.

OS ANGELES, California - Following a monthlong, multiple outlet bidding war, Amy Powell-led Paramount Television and frequent collaborator Anonymous Content have landed the rights to Shantaram, the best-selling novel from author Gregory David Roberts. The coup marks Apple’s first international production

The Shantaram take will be executive produced by Anonymous Content’s Nicole Clemens and Steve Golin; Andrea Barron will also exec produce.

Kinder Foundation, a supporter of the existing non-profit HSPVA Friends since 2008, contributed a lead gift of $7.5 million for the arts school in 2016 as part of that organization’s $10 million campaign to further support the HISD project and program.

Led by China’s most celebrated conductor Long Yu, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will premiere on the German label next year with a CD of to-be-announced works by Chinese and Russian composers.

Yu, who was born during the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution and studied music in Germany, also leads the annual Beijing Music Festival as well as the China Philharmonic Orchestra in the capital.

Yu said that the orchestra hoped to reach new international audiences through Deutsche Grammophon, one of the most prestigious classical labels.

While live performances form the backbone of the work of the modern orchestra, recordings are considered vital to building an international stature.

“Shanghai’s profile as an international city, open to the world and cultural exchange, makes it the ideal place to explore fresh ideas and look at ways of bringing together the best of Chinese and Western culture,” he said in a statement.

Deutsche Grammophon, often dubbed the yellow label for its iconic logo, has been a recording home for classical legends including Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein and more recently Daniel Barenboim and Gustavo Dudamel. (-Relax News)

“Every arts school has its own needs,” says HSPVA Principal R. Scott Allen. This one, for example, is really two schools in one since students attend traditional classes as well as pursue and practice their arts specialty. However, the duality has always shared the same hallways, common spaces and school schedule, rather than dividing the day into traditional instruction versus specialty pursuits. In the current hallways, for instance, it is not uncommon to hear music wafting through academic areas as students practice or perform in impromptu spots, in part because space is squeezed on campus. - Keeping the Culture and Vibe Replicating the school’s vibe and connected culture was critical to the new school’s design – and added to the design challenge, says Dan Bankhead,

HISD’s general manager for facilities design. Fitting everything onto a city block site instead of a more sprawled site was another challenge. “We had to take what had been horizontal and make it vertical,” he says. Gensler’s Houston practice handled the design. Project materials describe its form and function as “a cuttingedge beacon of creativity.” The general contractor is McCarthy Building Cos. The new building retains the communal-collaborative-contemplative mojo of the existing campus, notes the project architect and manager, Terry Newell. Toward that goal, the academic classrooms and specialty spaces are interspersed. And they share several two-level common areas as well as access on all five levels to the main theater at the heart of the building. Located near wings of traditional classrooms, each artistic specialty now has a designated “neighborhood” that is custom-fitted accordingly. The sprung flooring in each dance studio, for example, responds independently so that movement in one room doesn’t affect conditions in adjacent ones. Soundproof practice rooms for musicians can be programmed to performance venue conditions. The theaters and rehearsal rooms share tech spaces. State-of-the-art technology runs throughout the school. - A Site with Synergy Kinder HSPVA is located one light rail stop away from Houston’s Theater District, suggesting possible partnerships as well as convenient access, school principal Allen says. The building is also near other redevelopment projects, mostly residential and mixed-use ones. HISD’s Bank-

head says the school is helping “invigorate the area.”

Of historical note, the school’s city block has been academically owned since the 1850s. A State of Texas historical marker lists the site’s use by Old Houston Academy in 1856 as well as Central High School and Sam Houston High School, 1895-1926. Later, it was home to school district headquarters and, more recently, a parking lot before it was picked for the new school. HSPVA is a founding member of the Art Schools Network, an arts education resource since 1981. The school has been an example to similar programs in other cities, says Alene Coggin, HSPVA Friends’ executive director – and an alumna of the school. “I am thrilled that our dream of a modern, right-sized campus is finally becoming a reality,” she says in an emailed response. “Thanks to the inspiring commitments from both HISD and the Kinder Foundation, Houston will continue to lead the nation in accessible arts education.” By the time Kinder HSPVA opens, about 80% of the 2012 bond program schools will be completed, HISD sources say, including those for other HISD magnet programs: the High School for Law and Justice, with its mock courtroom; DeBakey High School for Health Professions, adjacent to Texas Medical Center; and Sterling Aviation High School. While the new Energy Institute High School will join that portfolio of specialty schools, its funding was from the sale of a property not bond money. (-Forbes)

Bharti Kher wows in retrospective show


rtist Bharti Kher is having a busy summer. She has been travelling for various exhibitions around the world, including husband Subodh Gupta’s giant retrospective at Paris Mint. Now, she also has her own showcases. The London-born Kher, who lives and works in New Delhi, is showing at New York’s Met Breuer as part of the ‘Like Life: Sculpture, Color and the Body (1300-Now)’ presentation that showcases 700 years of sculpture. Kher, whose work encompasses painting, sculpture and installations, has showcased a life-size cast sculpture of her mother. Kher’s show has opened to great reviews in New York. “Remember also that the work looks back at you,” Bharti Kher says in the program to her sensorially extravagant exhibit Points de départ, points qui lient, at Old Montreal’s DHC/Art Foundation for Contemporary Art.

Left: Bharti Kher, Virus VII, 2016. Right: Bharti Kher, An absence of assignable cause, 2007. Installation view, BHARTI KHER: Matter, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2016. (Photo: Maegan Hill-Carroll)

While seemingly a simple quip, her statement feels aptly provocative and even profound, after viewing the striking works on display. Fusing vibrant colours, contrasting textures, disparate mediums and styles, the artist’s creations seep under your skin, functioning on intuitive, emotional, and intellectual levels.

available in all shapes and sizes,” said DHC/ART managing director and curator Cheryl Sim. “(Kher) was in a marketplace and saw a sperm bindi on a woman’s forehead and thought it was so amazing and weird. She went to the stall selling them and bought them all. Right away she started painting with them, applying them to painted board.

And everywhere, the bindi. The pasted-on dot, placed at the centre of the forehead in Indian culture to represent the spiritual “third eye,” has become a central motif in the Britishborn Kher’s oeuvre since she moved to New Delhi, India, in 1993 at the age of 23.

“They have so much physicality and so many layers to them — there’s a three-dimensional effect when you see them in person – and it went on from there.”

Bindis cover many of the pieces in Points de départ, points qui lient — so ubiquitous as to be comparable to confetti, were it not for the painstakingly precise patterns in which they are arranged, bringing movement and — in the case of sperm-shaped bindis, sexuality and humour — to the proceedings. “We know how bindis have evolved into fashion items and accessories,

In Kher’s work, the bindi becomes a doorway to other worlds, a language beyond words that transforms whatever objects they are affixed to. The resulting works become “a text, like a Morse code that I have created,” according to Kher, “and through them, I can actually speak in tongues, I can speak in code, I can speak in secret.” Standing before the giant, bindicovered sculpture of a blue whale heart, titled An absence of assignable cause (2007), which greets you in

one of DHC/ART’s two neighbouring buildings, one is inhabited by a sense of the ineffable as art, anatomy and nature intertwine. “The sheer physicality of it,” Sim said, with awe, going on to explain that when Kher created the piece, there were no existing diagrams or photographs of a whale heart to work from. The artist had to resort to archives and talk to scientists in order to piece together what a whale heart might look like. “It’s about seeing and the body, seeing with the body,” Sim said, “It’s an essential anchor point in all her work. There’s perception but also a kind of empathy — looking into the eye of the other, with heart.” “Her work has a sense of humour, but it’s also disquieting and has a kind of disruptive quality,” Sim said. “The multiplicity of the feminine comes out, as the non-physical and the material come together. She’s very much interested in the intangible qualities of what it is to be human.” (-Montreal Gazette)




FRIDAY, June 15, 2018





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Week of JUNE 15, 2018 21 March to 20 April Use the left side of your brain to solve romantic problems at the start of the week, Aries. The more emotional you become, the less likely you are to be satisfied with the outcome.

21 April to 20 May After weeks of delays and review of already established agreements, the energy begins to flow again now. This can be an uneventful period that offers you the opportunity to get a lot done. Don’t neglect necessary details.

21 May to 20 June You’re likely to be in a much chattier frame of mind with activity in your house of personal expression and appearance. You may be thinking about changing the way you present yourself to the world.

21 June to 22 July Partnerships are playing a major role in your well-being now. Perhaps your partner is encouraging you to look after yourself better or work out together. It’s possible that you may be looking after an ailing partner.

23 July to 22 August You feel like you’re on the right track, but you don’t have all the answers quite yet. Keep things moving along with someone new even though you aren’t sure exactly where you’re heading.

23 August to 22 Sept You may be feeling particularly social now. The energy that caused misunderstandings and delays is easing. All the same, focus on keeping regular schedules and working hard to deliver what you’ve promised.

23 September to 22 Oct This week could be challenging for you. It could feel like someone is forcing you to do something against your will. But the Universe is simply trying to push you toward your home life and inner feelings.

23 October to 21 Nov You’re full of energy and passion, which gives you a leading edge when it comes to looking good and feeling fit. You have plenty of chances to take this a stage further by reassessing your exercise routine; find new ways to increase your workouts.

22 November to 21 Dec Do you have the strange feeling that someone isn’t telling you the truth? If your intuition is working overtime, listen to what it’s trying to say. There are many unanswered questions you’re determined to get to the bottom of it.

22 December to 20 Jan Expect the unexpected. The energy supports expanded opportunities for travel and education. This is a lucky time to apply for work. This period can see you feeling rather emotional. It’s important not to say the wrong thing.

21 January to 19 Feb This period will bring many to a crossroads. Decisions you make now can set the tone for the next six months. This is positive for applying for a job or upgrading your current position. Other people may be stressed now.

20 February to 20 Mar Aspects in your area of money and values give you lots of room to grow this week. The challenge comes because it doesn’t always feel good, but the effort usually gets results. You’re being pushed to be more social now.

ACROSS 1. *MLB pitcher who retired with 321 saves 5. Bean house 8. Babies down under 12. Singes in “La Planète des singes” 13. Foolhardy challenge 14. 24-____ gold 15. Horizontal wall beam 16. Land o’ blarney 17. Analyze 18. *Stanley Cup sport 20. Fanatic’s quality 21. Street art 22. Have a bawl 23. Wear out 26. Maliciously satisfied one 30. Poor man’s caviar 31. Send, as in troops 34. Prefix meaning “left” 35. Resoundingly successful 37. Be unwell 38. Give a green light 39. “I’m ____ you!” 40. Rudolph or Hermey, e.g. 42. 1950s’ “I Like ____” 43. Mended by a cobbler 45. *a.k.a. association football

DOWN 1. Epiphany guests 2. *Type of matchup 3. Dry as dust 4. Cause of wheezing 5. “Snorkel” wear 6. Type of window 7. Say it isn’t so 8. *Known for its diamonds 9. Celestial bear 10. Figure of worship 11. Chester White’s home 13. King’s order 14. If you can hum, you can play it! 19. Beat the Joneses 22. Stallone’s nickname 23. Spring holiday honoree 24. *Yankees manager 25. Not rights 26. *Know for its tour 27. Opposite of ecbatic 28. Call forth 29. One of the crew 32. *When athletes get this, they become pros 33. Fleur-de-____ 36. *It includes safeties and ends

47. Hauling truck

38. Coral reef island

48. Sanrio’s “____ Kitty”

40. Feline sound

50. Great Depression drifter

41. Specks in the sea

52. Most pleasing to the eye

44. Like change in a pocket

56. Saintly glows

46. Folded like a snake

57. Owl’s cry 58. Stringed instrument 59. Like old cracker 60. Prefers 61. *The Browns and Indians play near this lake

48. *Popular colloquial sport name 49. Be theatrical 50. Rwanda’s majority 51. Kind of surgeon 52. Cabbage in France

62. Hurt a muscle

53. EU currency

63. Don’t waste

54. Recipe direction

64. College dwelling

55. Team homophone 56. Nile viper



FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Home&Real Estate Looking for a home to rent? Beware this scam by Jillian Harding


he Better Business Bureau is warning people in the market to rent a home this summer to be on guard for con artists using false advertisements.

wired ahead of time,” said Katherine Hutt of the Better Business Bureau. “Usually they are asking for some kind of a payment that is not traceable -- a wire transfer, a prepaid debit card, that kind of thing -- and once the money is sent it’s gone. We really urge

What’s new in home décor and design Styles for every season and for every taste


aurie Lodholz founded her interior design business 30 years ago with the goal of guiding her clients through the construction project from start to finish. “We are an active participant in our clients’ building teams,” says Lodholz. “Over the years, we’ve developed a wonderful working relationship with so many excellent builders, architects and designers. When a client comes to us with a plan, we have the experience and relationships to help them with their choices every step of the way.” Homeowners can have difficulty with simply knowing where to begin, and that’s what Lodholz’s Lau-

Photo courtesy: Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens

GOOD DESIGN IS PARTICIPATORY The Better Business Bureau says scammers often try to get people to rent a property sight unseen. (Photo: Shutterstock) “They’re using real listings and changing the phone numbers and changing the name of the owners so that people think they are getting a really good deal in the area,” realtor Bobette Gonzalez told CBS News’ Hena Doba. The scammers take pictures from actual real estate listings and create fake ads to lure consumers. In one case, a Houston home originally listed for $2,300 per month ended up in a fake listing on Facebook with a rent of $800. The Better Business Bureau says scammers often try to get people to rent a property sight unseen. “Everything is done by phone or email and they ask for the money to be

people to look out for this one.” Here are some red flags to look out for if you’re planning on renting a home: The “too good” deal: If the rent seems too low or location too good for the price, do your homework. See if the apartment or home is being advertised elsewhere or if you can track down the phone number or email of the person listing the place.

rie Driscoll Interiors is positioned to do. Lodholz will walk clients through options in fabrics, materials and finishes. She prefers to meet homeowners in their existing spaces to gauge what they like or don’t like about their surroundings. Trends are helpful—today accent walls are out in favor of warmer, mellower, blended palettes, and Lodholz is also seeing a rise in the use of texture to add warmth, from exterior masonry to interior wood flooring or wood-looking products—but, she says, it’s more important to pin-

wning a first home is an exciting prospect. It has long been part of the quintessential American Dream.


While owning your own house comes with many intangible benefits that are difficult to quantify, there is a financial aspect you must consider. A house and its mortgage will likely be the biggest items on your balance sheet as a first-time home buyer. The math needs to be taken seriously, and that math usually indicates the idea of a starter home as an “investment” is more myth than reality. Here are four reasons you might be better off renting and saving the money that would have otherwise been spent on a starter home. 1. You probably won’t build equity in your starter home. Many firsttime home buyers purchase a starter home after paying rent every month for years. They don’t want to keep “throwing money away.” The idea that you’re wasting money comes from the fact that you’re building equity in someone else’s property, not your own. But you’re unlikely to build much equity in a starter home yourself unless you stay in the house for seven to 10 years. There are two issues with this: For one, most of your mortgage payments will go to interest rather than principal in the early years of a typical mortgage. And two, most people overestimate the length of time they will stay in a starter home. Getting married, having a family, moving to a new city or changing careers are all common life events that happen around the same time you might be buying your first house. Those changes can turn a once-ideal home purchase into a bad financial decision by simply shortening the time you spend as the owner of the property. 2. You’re unlikely to turn a profit from price appreciation. Many people don’t realize the gains in housing prices mostly come from inflation. Most homes actually depreciate over time when adjusting for inflation, but the problem is compounded further when you consider all the expenses

Rather than budgeting wholehouse updates for individual items such as cabinets, siding, flooring or lighting, which seems to lead inevitably to getting squeezed by one or another cost overruns, Dream House Dream Kitchens Designer Jenna Mattison suggests thinking of a home in zones. “For instance, the kitchen is a main focus room in the house. It functions also as an entertaining space, an office, a children’s

Open house: If possible, go see the place in person, or ask a friend or person you trust to check it out for you. Sending money without a contract: Never send money if you haven’t met the person renting the home, and make sure the paperwork is in order before turning over a deposit. (-CBS News)

Photo courtesy: Coyle Carpets

you incur with a starter home.

point each client’s unique tastes and personal style.

Right upfront, you’ll be out a lot of cash just to complete the transaction–you’ll owe closing costs, agent fees, financing fees and more. You also can expect to pay for regular maintenance, repairs, replacements and renovations. Once you look at the amount of cash you pour into a property you own, you can see how difficult it truly is to come out ahead on a starter home.

“I truly do believe it’s an honor to help people create their piece of heaven on earth, which is their home. We always have parameters, such as budget and space, but designers realize you come to us because you don’t have the answers,” she says. “Good interior design is participatory, and the client is an active part of that process.”

3. Homes are illiquid and indivisible. Speaking of cash, yours will get locked up in your home’s equity for as long as you own it. That’s because houses are illiquid assets. Unlike the liquid assets on your balance sheet, homes are indivisible–you can’t slice off a piece of your kitchen and sell it to get cash. If you want to tap into whatever little equity you can manage to build in your starter home, you have to refinance your mortgage to take the cash out or borrow through a homeequity line. In both cases, it takes time to access the money and the access to funds come at a cost. 4. A single home lacks diversification. If you’re going to call a starter home an investment, it’s not a very good one considering it’s a highly concentrated bet on a single neighborhood, in a single region of a single country. Compare that to Vanguard’s Total World Stock ETF (VT), for instance, which has 8,099 holdings across all sectors of 42 countries. For people who are past the starter phase, and think they’ll be staying in their homes for a long time, the math is obviously different. Those people will be owning their homes long enough to pay off principal, take advantage of inflation and hopefully have other assets so the home isn’t where most of their wealth is concentrated. And, of course, you may still want to buy a starter home despite all the negatives. Just don’t call it an investment.(-WSJ) Peter Lazaroff (@peterlazaroff) is chief investment officer at Plancorp and blogs at

Welsh says engineered hardwood is replacing much of the threequarter solid wood once used. “For our Wisconsin climate, it will provide you with a lot longer life and sustainability in your home,” she notes. Luxury vinyl with a realistic wood-grain or tile look is increasingly popular for its durability without sacrificing style. Even laminate has come a long way, and Welsh says it’s tougher than luxury vinyl and hardwood. For those who still prefer wood, installing add-ons such as Aprilaire humidifying will create a climatecontrolled environment and extend life to your floors—and trim, cabinets and other investments. “We’re also seeing a lot of gray tones paired with painted tile looks, weathered hardwood designs, and short, lowpile carpet to keep up with busy families and daily life,” Welsh says.

Four reasons why a Starter Home is a bad investment by Peter Lazaroff

ing and building lasting memories is our slogan, and we’ve been doing that for 49 years.”

relationship with each subcontractor, and the subs get to know each other, too. Putting your trust in your designer and industry people is so beneficial. We go the extra mile to make sure our subcontractors are happy and the project is done right—and in a timely fashion.”

In addition to a surge in three- and four-season “outdoor” rooms (especially popular with Wisconsinites who wish to extend the warm season as long as possible), Midwest Homes Inc. President Brian McKee says technology is where he sees the most evolution. “I don’t think people realize how in-depth they can go with it if they want,” says McKee. “They can control almost everything from a smartphone or tablet now: check security systems, close the garage door, lock the front door, control temperature, lighting, sound, even appliances. They make refrigerators now that can create and email a grocery list to you.” But technology can be overwhelming—people want solutions, not confusion—so working with clients to determine what’s best for them is key. Communicating clearly up front about not only what’s available, but what it will truly cost, is crucial to the process. Midwest Homes staff accompanies clients to pick out selections, and they provide an online portal for clients to log on and track the schedule or view vendor proposals. McKee stresses the importance of researching builders; Midwest Homes hires an independent third party to conduct three surveys for each client—before, during and after the build—so that his team can continually improve practices. “We all know bad word travels a lot faster than good,” says McKee. “So we’ve built that into our philosophy and core values. Design-

homework and play area. Allocate a little more of the budget to rooms such as this,” she says. “Spend a little more on high quality cabinetry and good flooring material that will withstand heavy usage, on beautiful lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware to make the space beautiful and impactful.” New construction clients can take advantage of the company Buyer’s Club Program, which provides a discount program for those who purchase most of their cabinetry through Dream House Dream Kitchens. The Dream Team also provides cutting-edge computer renderings that help clients visualize before they invest. They walk homeowners through things that may not have occurred to them, such as storage needs, layout and function, appliance requirements, and the unique roles of kids and pets. “We want the money that is being spent to be spent right, and in the right areas,” says Mattison. “The best part about building a new house is that it is truly an individualized process, with each client making a personalized statement with their home design.”

TRUST YOUR TEAM As a family-owned, relationshipbased company, Coyle Carpet has a front-row seat to new home construction and design trends, and the builders and subcontractors who know how to put those trends in place. “We are seeing a huge increase in new home construction,” says flooring designer Crystal Welsh. “The builder you choose has developed a

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX For Michael “Freddy” Frederick, owner of JM Frederick Custom Homes, the best way he can deliver superior service and meet his clients’ expectations is to encourage them to research options. Potential clients should speak with a given builder’s existing customers, for instance. And they might want to think outside the box to challenge their own preconceived notions. For example, several current projects, including a 2018 Parade of Homes build, are located at Bergamont in Oregon, where his business is based. “People think that Oregon is too far away from Madison, but Bergamont is 18 minutes to Park Street, which is closer than Verona,” says Frederick. “It’s a great community, even if you don’t like golf—although that is a plus.” Having worked in new home construction for 30 years, Frederick says he’s seen it all. He started as an apprentice carpenter in 1987 and worked his way up to journeyman and foreman before starting his own company in 2009. Now that his name has been on his business sign, he enjoys delivering the best customer service possible. “I don’t have employees, just great sub-contractors. I am the owner, secretary, accountant, clean-up guy, and I am on site every day personally,” he says. “When you call, I answer the phone. With me, there’s no construction manager or expeditor to wait on who can’t answer your question because he needs to check with his boss. You’ve got me. And I love working with people to help them build their dreams.” (-Madison Magazine)



Job Posting – News Producer Are you a Rockstar Producer ready to take on a next level challenge? We are looking for an aggressive, proven, passionate, cool-under-pressure News Producer who knows what it takes to put together a fast-paced, creative, highly-showcased newscast. Houston is a major market that is a magnet for stories that often make national headlines. KTRK-TV, the ABC Owned Television station in Houston, TX wants a vocal and confident producer who knows how to handle the big stories, dig for informative, interesting content, knows how to meet the needs of the ‘new’ news audience, and knows when it’s time to abandon everything for breaking news, weather, or traffic. You must have excellent news judgement and the ability to come up with and pitch unique story ideas every day. You will be required to command the control room and manage an ever-evolving rundown during live newscasts. Candidates must also have complete understanding of how to promote and utilize digital content, including live streaming. Knowledge of ENPS and desktop editing a plus. Will need to show examples of newscasts, and submit tease and headline writing samples. This is a high profile position that requires a high level of skill. Candidates must have at least three years line-producing experience in a medium or major market. To be considered all interested applicants must apply online at, reference job # 563087BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Job Posting – Multi Media Journalist KTRK-TV the ABC Owned station in Houston, TX is looking for a hard-working, self-sufficient MMJ with a passion for unique story-telling. You will be researching, shooting, writing, and editing for TV and/or digital on a daily basis. You must be comfortable covering hard breaking news as well as fun-filled feature stories. Resume reels should include examples of packages and live shots that are innovative, creative and memorable. On most days, you will be working independently but on some days you will be assigned a photographer, in particular for live shots. You must have a knack for quickly cultivating contacts in the community and must know how to dig for unique, exclusive content on the big and little stories alike. We want a respected, knowledgeable, ethical station representative and promoter with a strong presence on social media. Candidates need at least 4 years of on-air experience and must be open to working any shift on any day of the week. Background check clearance and clean driving record will be required. To be considered all interested applicants must apply online at, reference job # 563086BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please


No Telephone Calls Please

Help Wanted Insurance Agency since 1983 specialized in selling Homeowners and Auto in Stafford, Texas. Looking for matured men/women wanting to learn insurance. Must be fluent in English, Hindi/Urdu, Gujarati. Please call Abe Jacobs 281-261-8200

Warehouse work 1st Shift, 2nd Shift, 3rd Shift. Paid Weekly. Many job openings. Full time. Plus Over time pay. Main Office: 281-537-9103—ask for Brad Direct:



Houston Community College Request for Proposals (RFP) Sign Language Intepreter Services and Communication Access Real-Time Translation (C.A.R.T) Services Project No. 18-22

Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Monday, July 09, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs. edu/procurement


OBITUARY Joseph Francis Illikattil was born on July 12, 1949 in Marika, Kerala to (Late) Joseph Mathai Illikattil & (Late) Annamma (Vallipadavil). Francis was the fourth of eleven children. He grew up in Marika and completed his education in Vazhithala. At the age of 18, Francis moved to Delhi with his uncle, Stephen Vallipadavil, and worked there for several years. He is survived by his wife, Leelamma Illikattil (Nadakuzhackal), son Agish Francis and wife Elizabeth (Kanicheril), daughter Angela and husband Sanjai Koreth and grandchildren: Gavin, Aiden, Anthony, Kyle, Ava and Jisha. Viewing and wake service was held on Thursday, June 7th, 2018 at the Houston Knanaya Catholic Community Center at 2210 Staffordshire Rd., Missouri City, TX 77489. Joseph Francis Illikattil July 12, 1949 - June 2, 2018


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FRIDAY, June 15, 2018

Voice of Asia E-paper June 15, 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 June 15, 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...