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Vol. 32 No. 22 • FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
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Two Indian-Americans University of Houston breaks ground on new UH Katy campus win Congressional
primaries in California
Ro Khanna received an overwhelming 58.9 per cent of the votes in the open primary.
Ami Bera is a three-time Congressman from Seventh Congressional District of California.
Ro Khanna and Ami Bera and are expected to win the Congressional elections in November.
Renu Khator, Chancellor and President of the University of Houston System with UH administrators at the ground breaking of their new campus in Katy on Wednesday, May 23. (Photo credit: UH Cullen College of Engineering)
ATY, TX - After years of planning and anticipation, the University of Houston broke ground on its new campus in Katy on Wednesday, May 23. The UH Katy Campus, located at the northeast corner of the Grand Parkway and Interstate 10, will offer programs in high demand throughout the region — en-
“If you’re going to be University of Houston, you have to own Houston and the Greater Houston area,” said Renu Khator, Chancellor and President of the University of Houston System.
to open its doors in fall 2019 as a direct extension of the UH main campus, but sporting its own modern look and feel. The flagship campus will offer undergraduate programs in computer engineering, construction engineering and systems engineering as well as graduate
The 80,000 sq. ft. building is slated
Continued on Page 4
gineering and nursing.
First Gita Conference held in Houston
ASHINGTON: PTI (June 6, 2018) IndianAmerican Congressmen Ami Bera and Ro Khanna won their respective primaries in California today and will run for the Congressional elections on November 6. Three other Indian-Americans Hirsh Singh, Goutam Jois and Peter Jacob – running for Congress in New Jersey lost their Congressional bid at the primary level. New Jersey has a sizeable Indian American population. Mr Bera, bagged more than 51 percent of the votes in the open primary. His nearest rival Andrew Grant from the Republican Party received 32.9 per cent of the votes. In California the top two candidates, irrespective of their party affiliation in the open primary head for the general elections for the House of Representatives. Mr. Khanna, who entered the House of Representatives for the first time in 2017, received an over-
whelming 58.9 per cent of the votes in the open primary for the 17th Congressional District of California. His nearest rival Ron Cohen from the Republican Party received nearly 25 per cent of the votes. Coming from a strong Democratic bastion, both Mr Bera and Mr Khanna are expected to win the Congressional elections in November. "Despite running an exciting insurgent campaign, Vivek Viswanathan came up short in his bid for California State Treasurer," said Gautam Raghavan of the recently formed Impact Project, which is keeping track of some 80 Indian Americans running nationwide this election season. He received just 12.8 per cent of the votes as against his Democratic party colleague and Fiona Ma who won the polls with 43.3 per cent of the votes polled. Indian-American Subham Goel received just 0.1 per cent of the votes in the primary for the Governor of California.
14-year-old boy arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a woman in Chinatown
OUSTON – (June 4, 2018) A 14-year-old boy was arrested over the weekend in connection with the fatal shooting of a woman found dead in her driveway in west Houston in April.
that Nguyen had left her mother's residence about 11 p.m. on April 4 to return to her home on Langdon Lane.
nani, a long time devotee of the Geeta Ashram, initiated the conference with the traditional conch sound, and all in attendance were tranquil yet eager to engage in the conference. The Gita Conference was primarily put together by Mr. Seernani who invited 6 very
According to the Houston Police Department, the male suspect has been referred to Harris County Juvenile Probation authorities on a charge of capital murder.
As he was leaving for work, the fiancé discovered Nguyen lying in the front yard. She had sustained at least one gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victim, Tuyen Nguyen, 29, was found dead at 6 a.m. on April 5 outside of a home located in the 9500 block of Langdon Lane, police said.
Continued on Page 3
Family members told investigators
Police said further investigation led to the identification of the juvenile suspect in this case, and, on Sunday, he was arrested without incident. (-Inputs from KHOU)
Conference Panelists and MCs: Left: Dev Shah, Pradip Seernani, Bramacharini Shweta, Acharya Guarang Nanavaty, Joseph Emmett, Narindra Kapoor, Satya Kalra, Guruma, Dr. Virendra Mathur, Pratik Shah. Not pictured: Dr. Stephen Phillips
OUSTON - On Saturday, May 26th, the City of Houston was fortunate to host the very first Gita Conference where people from many different communities gathered to learn, reflect, and discuss the various teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
The conference, named “Spiritual Conference: Road map for life and living”, had the goal to enlighten people of all ages, backgrounds, and religions to learn and appreciate the philosophy the Bhagavad Gita provides. This historical scripture for many seems to be very religious, which is not the case for the conference. Mr. Pradip Seer-
Nguyen's fiancé told investigators he awoke and noticed she had not returned home.
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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS At the G7 summit, Justin T
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
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It is the policy of Voice of Asia to publish letters to the editor which evidence a variety of viewpoints. The opinions expressed in any particular letter to the editor are not necessarily those of the management. Voice of Asia welcomes letters in reply to issues raised in letters to editor. In as much letters to the editor are not articles written or researched by members of Voice of Asia, it is not the policy of the Voice of Asia to perform any investigation or confirmation of any facts or allegations contained in letters to the editor. Moreover, Voice of Asia reserves the right to edit letters to the editor as necessary to correct errors of fact, punctuation, spelling and to comply with space constraints.
he role of a host, generally speaking, is to make sure the guests are comfortable and no fights break out at the party. But when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presides over the annual summit of G7 leaders starting Friday in Charlevoix, Que., he’ll have a very different job: speaking plain truths to the biggest, most disruptive guest of them all, President Donald Trump.
past weeks, as he must given the continuous provocations from the White House. The G7 will be a major test of how he handles the petulant president, and he should not worry overly about taking a firm line.
If that means the summit “fails” by traditional standards, then so be it. At this point there’s no point in Trudeau simply making nice with Trump. No one would believe it, and Canadians will rightly feel let down by their leader. Trump has gone out of his way to sabotage the trust between Washington and its closest allies, including Canada and key G7 members like Britain, France and Germany. His latest gambit is imposing stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, ostensibly for reasons of “national security.” As regards Canada and Mexico, it’s really just a naked pressure tactic to gain an edge for the U.S. in the talks to renegotiate NAFTA. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Lawrence Kudlow, threw in another curveball this week. He says Trump
Traditionally, prime ministers have been expected to handle their dealings with U.S. presidents with the greatest delicacy. If the American side got upset enough to show its annoyance, a good number of Canadians were ready to jump on the prime minister for “mishandling” relations with Washington. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump in a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., on February 13, 2017. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)
wants to split up the NAFTA talks; instead of renewing the three-way deal among what used to be known as the “Three Amigos,” the president would prefer to work out separate pacts with Canada and Mexico.
tic and Canada is quite right to reject that approach as a total non-starter. When it comes to dealing with Trump on trade, if Canada and Mexico don’t hang together they will surely hang separately.
Of course he would. Divide and conquer is an ancient tac-
Trudeau has taken a tougher public stance with Trump in
But with Trump, the mishandling is all on one side and most of it is deliberate. Trudeau and his foreign affairs team tried the nice-guy approach for a long time, to considerable good effect. But there is a point beyond which that risks looking like weakness, and we passed that point in recent weeks. For the prime minister, it’s time to stand up to the bully — and be seen to be doing so. (-The Star Editorial Board)
Amid the summit hoopla, let's not forget the nightmare of the North Koreans
s next week's Singapore summit rapidly approaches, carrying with it the prospect of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un greeting each other with warm handshakes and smiles, it's worth remembering that North Korea is the world's worst human rights nightmare.
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.
Kim's capacious cruelty toward his own people cannot be overstated, nor mitigated by his recent diplomatic charm offensive. He is a true totalitarian tyrant.
- The Publisher
For North Korea's 26 million people, Kim's regime controls every aspect of life: where they reside, the direction of their lives, how much they can eat. From the earliest age, children are indoctrinated in themes of unconditional obedience to "the dear leader" and a duty to criticize (inform on) others.
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
Trudeau must draw a line with Donald Trump
For the few who can afford and are allowed them, televisions are registered and their reception is controlled. Telephones are tapped. Mo-
bile phones and computers are blocked from the Internet. For the vast numbers of the less fortunate, there's chronic malnutrition leading to generations of stunted physical development. All of this is the least of Kim's crimes, according to investigations by the United Nations and, more recently, the International Bar Association. With the exception of statesanctioned churches in Pyongyang, Christians are persecuted — at times to the point of death because Kim views religion as a threat to his cult of personality. Pervasive discrimination against women leaves them vulnerable to trafficking, transactional sex and forced abortions — the latter performed in brutal, excruciating ways in prison. Worse yet are the public executions, torture and "disappearing" reserved for stamping out any shred of political dissent. Entire families vanish because of association with one accused member. Four political camps with shoot-to-kill security hold
an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 of these forsaken people who, according to testimony before the U.N. commission, never go home. They live lives of unremitting misery and starvation, reduced to eating grass, scavenging for crumbs, and vying for the chance to kill vermin for protein. Kim is scheduled to sit down with America's president next Tuesday. The harsh reality is that, for now, demands for basic human rights have to take a back seat to efforts to negotiate away the dynastic leader's nuclear weapons. Even so, this does not mean Trump has to be a smiling, conciliatory pal, ignoring sins for the sake of amity. His embrace of other authoritarian foreign leaders has already produced its share of cringe-worthy moments. If the world sees a beaming Trump patting and praising Kim, the U.S. president will have pandered to a whole new level of evil. (-USA Today Editorial Board)
ERRATUM Dear Reader, Our last week's issue featured a front page story titled "Manisha Patel the New CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System." The correct title should be as "Manisha Patel is the new CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land and Southwest Hospitals." Manisha Patel was appointed the CEO of two campuses within the system and not the entire Memorial Hermann Health System. We sincerely apologize for the mistake and regret any inconvenience caused due to the error. The report on our website www.voiceofasiaonline.com has been corrected since.
K. V. Doraiswamy Bhattar 281-489-0464 or 281-948-8368 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Rituals Performed: Sreemantham, Punyahavachanam, Namakaranam, Annaprashanam, Vidyarambham, Choulam, Upanayanam, Wedding, Sathya narayana puja, and all kind of Homas (Havans) and more. I can drive to your place.
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First Gita Conference held in Houston
Continued from Page 1 knowledgeable speakers that focused on expressing the practical and philosophical messages of the Bhagavad Gita. The lineup of speakers featured Mr. Joseph Emmett, Brahmacharini Shweta Chaitanya, Mrs. Satya Kalra, Mr. Narinder Kapoor, Dr. Stephen Phillips, and Guru Maa Geeteshwari Ji. Each speaker had a unique and deep understanding of the daily applications of the scripture. Seernani was accompanied by Houston’s own Acharya Gaurang Nanavaty from Chinmaya Mission, as well as the respected Dr. Virendra Mathur as they were key components in making this event a success. In efforts to seek out youth attendees, the conference was located at none other than the city’s hometown college, The University of Houston
(Main Campus). Seats filled with so many people from different walks of life, as they all joined in an experience of broadening their spiritual horizons. “We need more of this for our youth. The program was not only fun, but intellectually beneficial” said Mr. Gopal Savjani, Chairman and CEO of Ansh Labs. The conference was MC’d by Mr. Dave Shah (23), and Mr. Pratik Gandhi (24), two young men who volunteered to bridge the gap between the speakers and attendees. “We really enjoyed the informative speakers, but also really appreciated the MC’s who brought a ton of energy and entertainment throughout the entirety of the event. As a college student, the messages by the speakers and the MC’s resonated with me and attendees close to my age.” said Jay Shah, an attendee. The organizers of this event plan to carry on biennially and
expect tremendous growth due the success in the debut. With so much technological advancement, and information overload, our youth can greatly benefit from efforts like these that communicate the ancient knowledges in a manner more easily understood. “The best way to get the youth more involved and inclined to learn the teachings of the Gita is simply by being an example that they can look up to” said Brahmacharini Shweta Chaitanya Ji responding to a question that many of the adults, more specifically parents had in regards to youth involvement and interaction. The conference built the foundation for more youth involvement in various aspects and hopes to create a community where this scripture can be applied to anyone who looks to have a deeper understanding of spirituality.
Are you pondering pregnancy? Make sure your body is prepared for a baby UGAR LAND — Making sure your body is ready to support a healthy pregnancy is an essential part of pregnancy planning.
Participants with the panelists and emcees Dave Shah and Pratik Gandhi
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
“Addressing modifiable risks and making dietary changes can have a measurable benefit for mom and baby,” said Brandi Compton-Joseph, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) with Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “The benefit is not just for the first baby, but for all subsequent babies, too. Putting the effort in up front can mean an important pay-off in your children’s health.” So is your body babyready? Answer these questions to find out. Do you smoke? “The number one change a woman should make before she gets pregnant is to stop smoking,” ComptonJoseph said. “Smoking can cause low birth weight and premature birth. Your baby is also at greater risk for asthma and ear infections if smoking occurs in the home.” Are you taking folic acid? Inadequate folic acid intake is linked to spina bifida and other birth defects, many of which occur before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. “Before you start trying to get pregnant, take folic acid to build up a reserve,” Compton-Joseph said. She
recommends taking 0.4 milligrams of folic acid or 4.0 milligrams if you have a family history of spina bifida. Taking a prenatal vitamin ensures that you’re getting optimal nutrition, and it will meet the folic acid needs for most women. Do you exercise regularly? Developing the habit of regular exercise before pregnancy makes it more likely you’ll continue to exercise during and after your pregnancy. “Exercise can help to not only get you back to your previous weight after Brandi delivery but, more im- GYN portantly, decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension, aches and pains caused by the pregnancy along with postpartum depression,” Compton-Joseph said. If you have a chronic medical condition, is it under control? Seizure disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma are examples of chronic conditions that may impact your pregnancy. “Often the medications for chronic conditions can impact the fetus, so it’s a good idea to work with your doctor to create a plan,” Compton-Joseph said. A preconception consultation with your OB-GYN can help you determine how to best handle chronic conditions during pregnancy. For more information on the Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land, visit
Compton-Joseph, M.D., OB-
houstonmethodist.org/childbirth-sl or call 281.274.7500 to find a doctor in your area. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information. Pondering Seminar
If getting pregnant is a matter you are seriously considering, don’t miss our expert panel discussion about your preparation for a healthy pregnancy. Join us at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 21 at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center. Registration is required. For more information or to register, visit events.houstonmethodist.org/pondering-sl, or call 281.274.7500.
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Asia Society's 2018 Women’s Leadership Series concludes with Women in Fashion evening spotlighting top Asian designers Chloe Dao, Becky Hollands, Khanh Nguyen, and Naina Shah featured
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
University of Houston breaks ground ... Continued from Page 1 degrees in subsea, petroleum, environmental, power systems and corrosion engineering. Roughly 600 undergraduate and 480 graduate engineering students are expected to enroll at the Katy campus this fall. The UH Cullen College is planning to increase its program offerings at the Katy campus in direct response to industry and workforce needs across the region. “Given the demand for engineering talent across the Greater Houston area, the expansion of UH Engineering programs in Katy is both imperative and inevitable. The city of Houston needs a homegrown workforce trained to take on the engineering jobs of the future while filling in the skills gaps of today,” said Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the UH Cullen College of Engineering. “That’s precisely what brings us here.”
Panelists Chloe Dao, Becky Hollands, Khanh Nguyen, and Naina Shah during Women’s Leadership Series hosted by Asia Society Texas Center. (Images by ASTC)
“The Cullen College has continued to grow in the Katy area thanks to the support of our partners at the Houston Community College-Northwest
OUSTON, May 29, 2018 — Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC) completed the third year of the Bank of America Women’s Leadership Series (WLS) with a sold-out event entitled Women in Fashion. WLS is ASTC’s flagship program showcasing distinguished female professionals. The May 17 event was moderated by Houston Chronicle fashion reporter Joy Sewing, and the panelists were designers Chloe Dao, Becky Hollands, Khanh Nguyen, and Naina Shah. Three of the designers have Texas roots (Dao, Hollands, and Nguyen), while Shah splits her time between Mumbai and NYC.
After the program and Q&A at ASTC, the evening continued across the street at The Southmore. At the post-event reception, guests mingled with the panelists, viewed the panelists’ designs on-display, indulged in nibbles from Cordúa Catering, and enjoyed music on the Southmore’s seventh-floor poolside deck. The fourth year of the Women’s Leadership Series (WLS) will kick off this fall (date and program TBD). The WLS committee is chaired by Mandy Kao and Y. Ping Sun, and the programming focuses on women who are making a substantive impact in society and business. The series provides a platform for influential women of Asian descent, as well as women engaged in leading efforts reflected in the Asia Society mission, to share their personal and professional experiences. With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the rest of the world. Visit: asiasociety.org/texas
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Due to overwhelming demand for engineering programs in the area, the UH Cullen College began offering courses at the Houston Community College (HCC) Northwest campus in 2016. More than 15 graduate-level courses in subsea, petroleum, electrical, environmental and mechanical engineering are currently offered at HCC in Katy.
Renu Khator, Chancellor and President of the University of Houston System addressing the gathering. (Photo credit: Cullen College) Campus,” said Tedesco. “We are continuing to develop a relationship with HCC, because they will be important to us in being successful in offering courses that this community truly needs.” Want to engineer YOUR future? The demand for engineering talent is higher in the city of Houston than any other major U.S. city. Starting salaries
for engineers with bachelor’s degrees typically range from $60,000 to over $80,000; however, average starting salaries for alumni of the Cullen College are considerably higher. According to PayScale.com, University of Houston engineering students rank 15th in the U.S. for salary earning potential. Learn more and apply today at www.egr.uh.edu/students.
Seven FBISD students named in first round of 2018 National Merit Scholarship Winners
ORT BEND – Fort Bend ISD is proud to announce that seven District seniors are among the first group of winners in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation released the names of approximately 1,000 distinguished high school seniors, who have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations. Naina Shah during the Q &A Session
FBISD’s 2018 National Merit Scholarship winners named in the first round include: Nikitha Bhavani, Dulles High School, NM-S&P Global Scholarship Isha Dhawan, Clements High School, NM-Jerry R. Junkins Memorial Scholarship Palak Diwanji, Dulles High School, NM-The PWC Charitable Foundation Scholarship Stephanie Guo, Clements High School, NM-National
Oilwell Varco Scholarship Star Ni, Dulles High School, NM-Dr. Joseph J. Jacobs Scholarship
cipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.
Abigail Sackett, Dulles High School, NM-Fluor Scholarship
2018 National Merit Scholarship Competition
Sally Mingshuang Yan, Clements High School, NM-Fluor Scholarship
More than 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2017, some 16,000 Semifinalists were designated on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.
These scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage. Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Re-
To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists had to fulfill Continued on Page 6
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Fort Bend View
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place Section 1
Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports FBISD’s Small Business Enterprise Program Medicine Hosts Annual Sports Physicals
hosting meeting, June 27
ORT BEND ISD (June 5, 2018) – Fort Bend ISD’s Small Business Enterprise Program is kicking off summer with its monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the FBISD Triplex (550 Julie Rivers, Sugar Land 77478).
UGAR LAND – (June 5, 2018) — Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Sugar Land is offering annual student physicals from 9 a.m. to noon on July 28 for Fort Bend ISD, Stafford MSD and any other student athlete needing a physical. The University Interscholastic League (UIL) requires all high school athletes to undergo and pass a physical examination prior to participating in sports. Physical evaluations include examining height, weight, vision, blood pressure, pulse, ears, nose, throat, heart, lungs, abdomen, spine, and all joints in the upper and lower body. Physicians discuss the athletes’ medical history and consult with them and their parents if further evaluation is necessary prior to releasing them to participate in sports. “I grew up in the area and attended Elsik High School, so it is an honor to come back and support the players. We look forward to continuing to support these school districts,” said Vincent Phan, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and team physician. “We truly enjoy working with the schools in these districts.” Houston Methodist physicians have been associated with local school districts for more than 18 years and have donated more than $500,000 back to those communities. “Performing physical examinations is just part of being the team physician. Houston Meth-
This meeting is open to contractors, subcontractors and other small businesses that are interested in partnering with the District and learning more about projects included in Phase 3 of the 2014 Bond Program. Attendees will also learn more about construction and non-construction small business opportunities. June’s Meeting Agenda General Contractor/Subcontractor – “See Me Before You Need Me”
odist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine physicians support coaches, athletic trainers and players throughout the school year,” said Timothy Sitter, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and team physician. Partnering with Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine provides a convenient, inexpensive opportunity for our athletes to complete this physical exam, said Richard Gregoire, head district athletic trainer for Fort Bend ISD. “This partnership continues to provide access to some of the
finest doctors in our community and a safer environment for our amazing students as they participate in our athletic programs,” he said. On July 28 from 9 a.m. to noon, Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will host student physicals at 16811 Southwest Fwy., Sugar Land, TX, 77479. Orthopedic, sports medicine and cardiology physicians will be on-site to provide additional clearance as needed. The cost is $20 (cash only) for ages 12 through 18. Be sure to bring a completed UIL Phys-
Sugar Land appoints redistricting committee, solicits public input
UGAR LAND, TX – Sugar Land City Council recently appointed a Redistricting Advisory Committee to ensure the city’s single-member City Council districts comply with federal law. The annexation of Greatwood and New Territory increased the city’s population, requiring the city’s four singlemember City Council districts to be adjusted. Single-member Council districts must be of substantially equal population with a maximum deviation no greater than 10 percent between the most populated and least populated council member district. Sugar Land’s citizen redistricting committee includes Chairman Randy Garbs, Councilmember Himesh Gandhi, Tina Gibson, Dr. Mary Harrell, Russell Jones, Louis Manuel, Apurva Parikh, Sapana Patel and Councilmember Bridget Yeung. Committee meetings will be held from June 25 to Aug. 10. Outside legal counsel will prepare several redistricting plans based on state and federal law as well as guidelines adopted by City Council. City Council also approved resolution 18-19 that establishes criteria for use in the 2018 redistricting process, creates
Kenneth E. Stephens, Jr. Esq., Stephens PLLC
Dr. Nader Ayub performing exam on student.
Current Sugar Land Districts a framework to guide redistricting plans and assists city efforts to comply with all applicable federal and state laws. The city will adhere to the following criteria: • Where possible, easily identifiable geographic boundaries should be followed. • Communities of interest should be maintained in a single district, where possible
and attempts should be made to avoid splitting districts. • To the extent possible, districts should be composed of whole voting precincts. Where this is not possible or practicable, districts should be drawn in a way that permits the creation of practical voting precincts and that ensures that adequate facilities for polling places exists in each voting precinct.
ical Evaluation form, which can be printed from events.houstonmethodist.org/physicals-sl along with the Houston Methodist release form. Proceeds generated from the physicals are donated back to the athletic training program of the school the student attends. Students receiving a physical will also get a free T-shirt. For more information, email athletictrainer@ houstonmethodist.org or call 281.275.0447. Please note that email is not a secure means to communicate confidential or health-related information, including Social Security number, date of birth, financial information, etc.
sentatives from the following organizations Anthony Lopez, Liftfund Yongmei Wu, Chase Bank Irene Paul, Woodforest National Bank Simone Rixey, Wells Fargo Bank Zafar Khan, Wallis State Bank Jimmie Jones II, BB&T Clarence White, Lone Star Bank Cynthia Bank
KyKy Edwards, BBVA Compass Networking William Klineberg, Score Laurence Rice, The Rice Business Report
Kamila Andrzejak, Design & Construction
If you’re interested in attending, you can register online. If you’re interested in getting a vendor exhibit booth, fill out the SBEP Workshop Vendor Booth Form.
Julie Hartman, Certified Proposal Manager and Trainer
About the Small Business Enterprise Program (SBEP):
Gaurav Agarwal, Jacobs Engineering
SBE Certification Process Monqiue Pettaway, Metro Transit Authority Akeliah Hicks, Port of Houston Authority Will Norwood, City of Houston Gaye Spears-Madison, U.S. Small Business Administration Financial Aspects – Repre-
The SBEP was adopted by the FBISD Board of Trustees following voter approval of the $484 million bond program. Learn more at www. fortbendisd.com/sbep, or contact Jeanette Boleware, FBISD Small Business Enterprise Coordinator at 281-327-7697 or the SBEP team at 281-3277195.
VOICE OF ASIA 6
Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation to host four days of family fun including music, art, food & outdoor movie
Scenes above from 2016 Missouri City Juneteenth Family Fun Day. I(mages courtesy of Missouri City)
he Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (MCJCF) will celebrate its 16th annual festivities by hosting four days of fun-filled activities from June 11 – 16, 2018. This annual celebration is a family oriented, educational and a cultural experience that will include art exhibits, a movie in the park, the annual “One Mile of Smiles” parade and live music entertainment. The mission of the MCJCF is to bring positive attention to the African-American community while celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation. Mark your calendars and plan to attend the following celebrations: MONDAY – JUNE 11 Scholarship Golf Tournament l Quail Valley Golf Course, 2880 La Quinta Dr.
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
Missouri City awarded Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting
or the 36th consecutive year, Missouri City has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. Missouri City’s CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR. “The sound financial management that went into earning this award for the 36th year in
l Admission for an individual is $125 l Admission for a team of four is $500 l Award categories:
- Elected officials - Women - Over-all winner Register online at www.mcjcf.com. The funds raised at the MCJCF Scholarship Golf Tournament, provide scholarships for deserving Missouri City/Fort Bend County students.
The Government Finance Officers Association is a major professional association that services the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. It provides top quality publications, training programs, services and products that are designed to enhance the skills and performance of those responsible for government finance policy and management.
“Our citizens hold my staff and me to a high standard when it comes to fiscal stewardship, and we are proud to have their trust and confidence when it comes to managing the City’s budget on a year-toyear basis,” Snipes said. “The fact that we have been able to maintain this standard of excellence for more than three decades reflects our ongoing commitment to strategically manage the taxpayers’ dollars and to continuing a transparent process.” In 2017, Missouri City residents voted to approve a change in the City’s Fiscal Year to Oct. 1 – Sept. 30. With the changes in the budget cycle, planning for Fiscal Year 2019 has already begun. To ensure transparency throughout this new budget process and to educate citizens, staff has prepared a few frequently asked questions: http://bit. ly/2EMXJpm. Please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov
FBISD's 2018 National Merit Scholarships...
Young inventors win at biannual HCC Inventathon
Continued from Page 4
OUSTON (June 5, 2018) – Houstonarea middle and high school students showed off their entrepreneurial talents at the 2018 Inventathon sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Houston Community College Southwest campus. The competition's 120 participants were tasked with crafting innovative solutions for saving and conserving energy. Twenty of the inventions were submitted for judging. First place went to Saran Chockan and Vibhor Kumar from Clements High School for their “SkyPrint” tool, which saves paper by eliminating unnecessary ads and white space when printing online articles and content. Second-place winners are Raymond Nguyen, Varun Dixit, and Bill Rolph from Memorial High School who created and built a system that replaces regular bicycle brakes with a regenerative braking system that will al-
l Registration begins at 7 a.m. l Tournament begins at 8 a.m.
a row reflects Missouri City’s capacity to meet financial commitments throughout time,” City Manager Anthony Snipes said. “Residents and stakeholders are welcome to visit www. mctxfinance.com and easily access recent and past financial transparency documents such as City Budgets, Quarterly Investment Reports, Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR), check registers and more to further understand why we continue to meet these high financial management standards.”
requirements to advance to Finalist standing. Each Semifinalist was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 met Finalist requirements. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will name recipients of National Merit $2,500 Scholarships on May 9, and winners of collegesponsored Merit Scholarship awards on June 6 and July 16. By the conclusion of this year’s competition, about 7,500 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.
low a bike to store power and charge electronics. The third-place winners include Jefferson Yu and Desai Sannidhya of Elkins High School; Amogha Pokkulandra and Arjun Bhatia from Quail Valley High School; and Keshav Shah from Dulles High School. The team project was called “Energized Exhaust” and utilized a groundbreaking chemical reaction between CO2 and Lithium Nitride to fully neutralize gasoline emissions into clean air. Fourth place went to Manan Bhatia, Ibrahim Elsharkawy and Elyas Stephen of James E. Taylor High School for their invention of a battery that recharges itself when shaken. “I'm really inspired by the creative problem solving we saw from these young entrepreneurs," said Ravi Brahmbhatt, director of student innovation and entrepreneurship at HCC. "We are really proud of everyone who took part."
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VOICE OF ASIA 7
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
Hindu Sangathan Divas (Hindu Unity Day) organized in Houston by HSS by Charudatta Malusare
he Houston chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS) held its 13thannual Hindu Sangathan Divas conference on Saturday, June 2, at the JVB Preksha Meditation Centerin Houston, Texas. This event was attended by over 170 participants from over 48 Hindu organizations from the greater Houston area. Hindu Sangathan Divas offered representatives of Houston area Hindu organizations the opportunity to network with the goal of synergizing the work of different Hindu organizations, exchange ideas, share material and resources. The event began with the meaningful Sangh Geet “ Ek Naya Itihas Rache Hum” followed by Ekatmata Mantra which set the perfect tone and aligned all minds with the agenda. The entire program was coordinated by Hindu youth leadership team which perfectly exemplified the leadership team of second generation Hindu youth taking the baton forward. After an introductory session, representatives attended one of three parallel breakout sessions, covering, “AmericanHindu Identity Awareness for mainstream community”, “Synergizing Seva Activities amongst Hindu Organizations”, and “Creating Second Generation Hindu Youth Leader-
Prayer and meditation was conducted by JVB's Samani Kanchan Pragya Ji and Pranav Pragya Ji. (Photo credit: Anoop Rathod) teers, setting up a central command station, use of social media campaign for better communication during of natural calamities or crises, to serve better and faster.The seva efforts should ultimately lead to the empowerment of society by taking the role of “Sevak” than “Seva Seeker”. Ramesh Bhutada, left, and Swatantra Jain, right, honor Ved Prakash Nanda with a shawl and a bouquet. (Photo credit: Anoop Rathod) The discussion included the views expressed by the panellists on the values, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of the Hindu community to find expression in a range of spheres, including economy, education, media exposure, organizational, and political, as well as the unique leadership and contributions of Hindu women and youth. Greater clarity and proactive approach are needed and can
inclusive meaning of “Hindu” should reflect in our behaviour than mere words. All Hindu organizations need to unite 1n protecting and projecting “American Hindu” identity and increasing awareness. The second group outlined the importance of Seva as serving society selflessly. During the Harvey disaster, relief efforts by all the organ-
The third group brainstormed the topic of creating second generation youth leadership by constant engagement and open communication than enforcement. The young individuals participating expressed that this can be achieved by giving autonomy, nourishing their curiosity, developing common interest areas and respecting suggestions. It was recommended that resources be developed such as APPs or databases to overcome language barriers and better understand the significance of Hindu Ethos, Val-
ues, and Cultures. The creation of a Hindu Youth forum database as a platform for sharing ideas and organising Hindu Youth leadership conferences would be a step closer to achieving this goal. The distinguished legal scholar and President of HSS America zone, Padma Bhushan Prof. Ved Prakash Nanda, graced this function as keynote speaker. He thanked all the attendees for their enthusiastic participation. He urged all organizations to adopt collective approach as “United we stand, divided we fall”. He remarked “Hindu Dharma” resonates where diversity is valued and multiple perspectives are promoted however, our Hindu identity as a whole should be distinct, protected and promoted proudly. This broader understanding will lead to the ultimate goal of Sangha where the entire society will be transformed, safeguarding our own Hindu dharma. The keynote speech was followed bySangh Prarthana. The Jain prayer and meditation by Samani Kanchan Pragya Ji and Pranav Pragya Ji,created an enchanting and divine atmosphere, everyone felt empowered and blessed. This event was made successful with the lively participation of many community leaders, HSS volunteers and especially the youth. Special efforts and warm hospitality by JVB Preksha members made the event more enjoyable. HSS conducts a structured values education program through its 150 chapters nationwide to develop strong character and teamwork and leadership skills to organize a dynamic and flourishing Hindu-American community.
Representatives from over 48 Hindu organizations from the greater Houston area participated in the event. ship”. Each breakout session included a presentation by an experienced panel member of Hindu organizations actively working in the respective area followed by group discussion. The first group expressed their thoughtful views on the significance of proudly projecting our Hindu identity in the mainstream community.
be achieved by Hindu involvement in governance, inviting politicians to our cultural events such as Diwali, Holi, Garba celebrations etc. HSS is organizing Guru Vandana and Raksha Bandhan which are gaining popularity in mainstream community such as the police, teachers and firefighting departments. The broader and
isation in united way worked and demonstrated how connected we are as community. The group stressed on a structured approach such as the training of volun-
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New and expectant moms invited to Community Baby Shower CHIRANJAYA “ CHIRO” NANAYAKKARA
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UGAR LAND – (June 4, 2018) — Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land invites new and expectant moms – along with their partners and babies – to the annual Community Baby Shower from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m on Thursday, Aug. 2, in the Brazos Pavilion Conference Center on the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital campus. The event will feature demonstrations on how to safely use baby carriers, presentations on the importance of safe sleeping practices, and a Sugar Land police officer will speak about car seat safety. In addition, lactation consultants and counselors from the Childbirth Center will be available to talk one-on-one with moms and provide guidance and support.
“This is a great opportunity for new moms to speak directly with someone who understands their concerns,” said Donna Timmer, lactation consultant. “There will be great discussions and information provided at this event; it’s been a very beneficial experience for our attendees in previous years.” Timmer says attendees are welcome to stop by any time during the shower. Demonstrations will be repeated several times throughout the event, and light refreshments will be provided. Attendees can also participate in several drawings. “This is a fun event, but it’s also a great outreach program,” Timmer said. “Our goal is to celebrate new and expectant moms, as well as help them learn techniques they need to
Every Thursday: 4:00 to 4:30 pm
know in order to care for their newborns. Sometimes a mom gets home from the hospital and realizes that she needs additional support or information, and we’re here to help.” Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital hosts its annual Community Baby Shower in recognition of World Breastfeeding Week. Visit events.houstonmethodist.org/ babyshower-sl for more information. For more information about Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land, visit houstonmethodist.org/childbirth-sl or call 281.274.7080. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information.
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VOICE OF ASIA 8
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
VOICE OF ASIA 9
US must stop separating migrant children from parents: UN
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
China offers to buy $70 bn in US goods: report
ASHINGTON, United States | AFP | China offered to buy nearly $70 billion in American farm, manufacturing and energy products to persuade Washington to drop threatened tariffs, according to a news report on Tuesday. Top Chinese economic advisor Liu He presented the offer to the American team during the latest round of talks in Beijing last weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing knowledgeable sources. Under the plan, china would buy a basket of US goods, including soy beans, natural gas, crude oil and coal.
Protesters at a demonstration in San Francisco against the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant families who cross the border illegally. (AFP Photo)
ENEVA, Switzerland | AFP, 6/5/2018 - The United Nations on Tuesday urged Washington to immediately halt its controversial practice of separating asylum-seeking Central American immigrant children from their parents at the southern border. The UN rights office said it was "deeply concerned" over the "zero tolerance" policy introduced by the administration of US President Donald Trump in a bid to deter illegal immigration. Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani warned the US policy had "led to people caught entering the country irregularly being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children -â€“ including extremely young children -- taken away from them as a result." She said information received from US civil society groups indicated that several hundred children had been separated
from their parents at the border since October, including a oneyear-old. "The US should immediately halt this practice," she told reporters in Geneva. "The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child," she said. "The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles," she said. In a tweet, President Trump said "separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats". "Border security laws should be changed but the Dem(ocrat)s cant get their act together. Started the Wall," he added, referring to the building of a fence meant to halt illegal crossings into the
US-led coalition committed 'potential war crimes' in Syria: Amnesty
ONDON | AFP - The US-led military campaign to oust the Islamic State (IS) group from the Syrian city of Raqa in 2017 killed hundreds of civilians in indiscriminate bombing, amounting to possible war crimes, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
nihilation': Devastating Toll on Civilians, Raqa -- Syria" -details the experiences of four families "whose cases are emblematic of wider patterns".
The military operation failed to take "adequate account" of civilians and the "precautions necessary to minimise harm" to them in the city, IS's de facto capital in Syria, the human rights group said in a report.
"The cases provide prima facie evidence that several coalition attacks which killed and injured civilians violated international humanitarian law," the report said.
"Coalition claims that its precision air campaign allowed it to bomb IS out of Raqa while causing very few civilian casualties do not stand up to scrutiny," the report concluded. "The coalition strikes detailed in this report appear either disproportionate or indiscriminate or both and as such unlawful and potential war crimes." Coalition spokesman US Colonel Thomas Veale criticised Amnesty for the report, saying the group had not checked findings with the military or asked for comment. But he said his biggest objection was Amnesty's assumption that the coalition violated international law. "They are literally judging us guilty until proven innocent," Veale told Pentagon reporters. "That's a bold rhetorical move by an organisation that fails to check the public record or consult the accused." The United States led a fourmonth campaign of air strikes from June last year, dubbed a "war of annihilation" by US Defence Secretary James Mattis, to oust IS from Raqa. Amnesty researchers travelled to the devastated city in February and spent two weeks visiting 42 coalition air strike sites, interviewing 112 witnesses and survivors. - Imprecise weapons The report -- "'War of An-
US which he made a key campaign pledge. Separately, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a conservative US radio show that separating children from their parents was legal and necessary. "You can't be giving immunity to people who bring children with them recklessly and improperly and illegally. They should never do that," he told the Hugh Hewitt Show. Sessions announced early last month that there would be a zero tolerance policy, with all those without papers crossing into the US charged with illegal entry before they could submit a request for political asylum. - Children's interests first Shamdasani stressed that children's rights were "generally held in high regard" in the United States, but she lamented that the country was the only one in the world that had not yet ratified the UN Convention on the
But the talks did not appear to yield a breakthrough in the trade impasse between Washington and Beijing. Representatives of the US Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, which sent officials to participate in the weekend talks, told AFP on it had no comment on the report. In 2017, US exports to China were valued at $130.4 billion, meaning China's offer would amount to a 53.8 percent increase.
Rights of the Child. Despite this, she insisted that Washington was bound by international human rights laws that its current practices were flouting.
Under a plan offered by China, the country would buy soy beans as part of a basket of $70 billion in US goods Counting only goods and excluding services, as US President Donald Trump frequently does, the US trade deficit rose to a record $375 billion last year. The White House has demanded a $200 billion reduction. "If the United States introduces trade sanctions including tariffs, all the economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties will be void," China's official news agency Xinhua said Sunday. According to The Journal report, Liu personally delivered this warning to Ross. This
prioritised over the effective care and protection of migrant children."
"The child's best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns," she said.
"Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation," she said, calling on Washington to "adopt noncustodial alternatives that allow children to remain with their families."
"It is therefore of great concern that in the US, migration control appears to have been
The US says the policy aims to stem a surge of poor families mostly from Guatemala, El Sal-
US Colonel Sean Ryan, another coalition spokesman, told Britain's Press Association that Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen should "leave the comforts of the UK" and travel to Iraq and Syria to see how the coalition's forces were "fighting an enemy that does not abide by any laws, norms or human concern".
Washington also plans to announce new restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States along with additional export controls by the end of the month. Those new rules would take effect shortly afterwards.
vador and Honduras pouring into the United States. Citing the daily violence in their home countries, thousands each week cross the US-Mexico border and immediately turn themselves in to authorities asking for asylum. William Spindler of the UN refugee agency stressed Tuesday that "the right to claim asylum is a fundamental human right... and it is also part of the law in the United States."
On Sunday, Khamenei repeated the long-standing view from Iran that Israel is "a malignant cancerous tumour in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated". Speaking alongside Netanyahu in Paris later on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned the key players against worsening the situation. Macron called on "everyone to stabilise the situation and not give into this escalation which would lead to only one thing: conflict."
The probe, which also analysed satellite imagery and other publicly available material, found the coalition fired vast numbers of imprecise explosive weapons in populated areas.
"When so many civilians are killed in attack after attack, something is clearly wrong, and to make this tragedy worse, so many months later the incidents have not been investigated," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's senior crisis response adviser. "The victims deserve justice."
The final list of products subject to the 25 percent tariffs is due to be published on June 15.
Iran steps up pressure with plan to boost uranium enrichment capacity
Between them, they lost 90 relatives and neighbours -- 39 from a single family -- almost entirely from coalition air strikes, according to Amnesty.
Amnesty said it has written to defence officials in the United States, Britain and France -- whose forces carried out the air strikes in Raqa -- seeking additional information about these cases and about other attacks.
followed the White House's announcement last week that Washington would press ahead with plans to impose the tariffs, which are tied to China's tech sector.
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspector in January 2014 disconnects cascades for 20 percent uranium production at the nuclear power plant of Natanz, some 300 kilometres south of Tehran
by Marc Jourdier
Under the 2015 nuclear agreement that Iran signed with world powers, it has the right to build and test certain centrifuges, though detailed restrictions exist for the first 10 years on the types and quantities of the machines.
"However, at this particularly critical juncture, they will not contribute to build confidence in the nature of the Iranian nuclear programme," Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini, told AFP.
EHRAN, Iran | AFP | Iran said Tuesday it has launched a plan to boost uranium enrichment capacity with new centrifuges, raising the pressure on European diplomats scrambling to rescue the crumbling nuclear deal after Washington pulled out. "If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz (plant), we can announce the opening of the centre for production of new centrifuges," said Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, according to conservative news agency Fars.
Salehi also emphasised that these moves "do not mean the negotiations (with Europe) have failed." European governments have been trying to salvage the nuclear deal ever since the United States announced its withdrawal last month and said it would reimpose sanctions on foreign companies working in the Islamic republic by November.
He insisted the coalition made "painstaking efforts" to assess allegations of civilian casualties and any "noncombatant death or injury is a tragedy".
"What we are doing does not violate the (2015 nuclear) agreement," he said, specifying this was just the start of the production process and "does not mean that we will start assembling the centrifuges".
The remaining parties -- Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia -- have vowed to stay in the accord but many of their companies have already started to wind down Iranian operations.
A spokesman for the UK ministry of defence said it had been "open and transparent" over its nearly 1,700 Syrian strikes.
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed it had received a letter from Iran, which Salehi said was submitted on Monday and outlined
The European Union said a first assessment indicated the new steps announced by Iran did not constitute a violation of
- Enmity with Israel On Monday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the Europeans that "Iran will never tolerate both suffering from sanctions and nuclear restrictions" and called for preparations to speed up uranium enrichment. Iran insists its nuclear programme is for civilian uses only, but opponents in the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia accuse it of seeking to build an atomic bomb. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted swiftly to Salehi's announcement, declaring that the Islamic republic's aim was "unlimited enrichment of uranium to create an arsenal of nuclear bombs" to destroy his country.
If Iran chooses to abandon the deal, it has stated it could "within days" return to enrichment of 20 percent -- still within the limits of civilian use but allowing for a much quicker jump to military-grade levels of around 90 percent. Under the 2015 agreement, Iran can only enrich uranium to 3.67 percent. - Businesses leaving Iran was already seeing limited economic benefits from the deal even before the US withdrawal, thanks to the reluctance of international banks to facilitate trade and a raft of non-nuclear US sanctions that were not touched by the agreement. European governments have been scrambling to protect their businesses from renewed US sanctions in order to keep Iran in the deal. But several large firms have said it will be impossible to continue operating in Iran except in the unlikely scenario that they win bulletproof exemptions from Washington. France's PSA, which manufactures Peugeot and Citroen cars, on Monday became the latest to announce its plans to pull out of Iran, where it sold nearly 445,000 cars last year. French energy giant Total is also preparing its departure from a $4.8-billion gas project in Iran, with the chances of a US exemption were very slim.
VOICE OF ASIA 10
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
VOICE OF ASIA 11
Business Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Canada’s Trudeau rejects US TiE Houston explores the future of oil & gas proposal for bilateral trade pact
or the last 4 years, TiE Houston has put together a dynamic panel together to talk about the future of the oil & gas industry and this year was no exception. TiE Houston members and guests gathered at the HESS Club on May 30th to listen to, learn from, and network with panelists Bruno Courme, VP Exploration Americas for Total E&P Americas, LLC, Kirk Coburn, Head of Ventures for Shell, and Charles Leykum, Founder of CSL Capital Management. Moderating the panel were TiE Houston board members, Dr. Roopa Gir, President IEducate USA, and Vinita Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, Apex Resources.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
TTAWA, Canada | AFP | Wednesday 6/6/2018 - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday rejected a US proposal to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement in favor of a bilateral trade pact. “We have, on various occasions, heard the president speak about his interest or his musings about a bilateral deal instead of the trilateral NAFTA that we have,” Trudeau told reporters before heading into a caucus meeting. “Canada’s position is, and always has been that the trilateral approach is actually better for Canada, for Mexico and for the United States,” he said. “We think that demonstrating the strength of NAFTA as a solid community as we take on the world is very much in all three of our advantages and we’ll continue to negotiate that way.” Canada, Mexico and the United States have been holding talks on the
two-decade old NAFTA since last August, negotiations spurred by US President Donald Trump’s criticisms of the deal which he said was bad for his country.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that he presented the idea of a bilateral trade deal to a senior Canadian official on Monday and was awaiting a response to press ahead. He noted that the talks to revamp NAFTA have “dragged on” so separate deals “might be able to happen more rapidly,” and expressed hope the response from Ottawa will come “as soon as possible and move the whole process forward.”
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg insists the “transatlantic bond” remains strong (AFP Photo/Dirk Waem)
From Left to Right, Vinita Gupta, Co-CEO APEX Resources, Moderator, Dr. Ram Shenoy, TiE Houston Board Member, Charles Leykum, Founder of CSL Capital Management, Kirk Coburn, Head of Ventures for Shell, Bruno Courme, VP Exploration Americas for Total E&P Americas, LLC, Dr. Arun Pasrija - TiE Houston President, Dr. Roopa Gir - iEducate President, Moderator
But the negotiations have bogged down amid efforts to satisfy Trump’s demands for better terms, including a larger share of US-made components in North American autos, and a clause that would end the trade deal after five years unless it is renewed by the parties.
EU-US trade row looms over NATO defence meet
by Damon Wake RUSSELS, Belgium | AFP | 6/6/2018 - NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday he was battling to stop the increasingly bitter row between Europe and the US spilling over into the alliance, warning of “serious disagreements” among member countries. European countries are at loggerheads with Washington over punishing new US tariffs on steel and aluminium as well as President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord. NATO defence ministers will meet in Brussels on Thursday to approve plans to beef up the alliance’s ability to mobilise forces quickly in the event of a crisis, as concern about the threat from Russia shows no sign of abating. They will also sign off on two new command centres -- one to protect Atlantic shipping lanes, based in Norfolk, Virginia, and another to coordinate troop movements around Europe, located in the southern German city of Ulm. But the meeting, just five weeks out from a full summit of NATO leaders, looks set to be overshadowed by the spat between European countries and
Before the panelists went on stage, guests had a chance to network with them. TiE Houston believes that the key to building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is to build a strong network so networking is always a part of their events. The crowd included students from UH, seasoned executives, and brand new entrepreneurs.
their longtime ally across the Atlantic. “There are now serious disagreements with NATO allies on serious issues,” Stoltenberg told reporters, saying he was working hard to minimise the fallout for the alliance. “As long as they’re not solved I have to be focused on how to reduce, limit the negative consequences for NATO.” - ‘Strong together’ Stoltenberg, who held talks with Trump in Washington last month, insisted the “transatlantic bond” remained strong and pointed to the way NATO survived major differences among members over the Iraq war in 2003 and the Suez crisis of 1956. “What we have seen again and again is that we have been able to unite around NATO’s core task, to protect and defend each other despite those differences,” he said. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that it was too early to start talking about a trade war -- “you know, there is always give and take on these things.” “What we are looking for is fair and reciprocal trade,” Mattis said en route to Brussels, adding: “I don’t anticipate any effect on the security arena.”
As everyone sat for dinner, Ana Rojas Bastidas, TiE Houston Executive Director, shared upcoming events and TiE Global Initiatives. This year, all chapters are focusing on growing their angel investor groups and seeing what ways they can promote women entrepreneurs in their community. TiE Houston president, Dr. Arun Pasrija welcomed all of the guests and shared the TiE mission. TiE was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals. There are currently 11,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 60 chapters across 17 countries. The newest chapter being TiE Miami! TiE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through
He said he was going to Brussels “to listen to them, to take notes, to work these things forward and to find a common ground to work at.” The leaders of all 29 NATO members will meet in Brussels for the summit in July when all eyes will be on Trump, who has repeatedly attacked European countries for not pulling their weight in the alliance. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has suffered the worst of Trump’s wrath for its failure to live up to a pledge by all NATO countries to try to spend at least two percent of gross domestic product on defence. - ‘Four 30s’ plan NATO is modernising its command structure and beefing up its defences in response to growing fears about Russia, following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Thousands of NATO troops are already stationed on standby in the Baltic states and Poland as deterrent and on Thursday defence ministers will give the go-ahead to a new US ini-
mentoring, networking, and education. Dr. Gir opened the panel by introducing the panelists, and setting the stage by outlining recent events in the oil and gas industry – the advent of the shale revolution; the recent downturn in commodity prices; the increasing concern expressed by governments about climate change and carbon emissions; recent macroeconomic analyses about peak hydrocarbon demand because of growing traction of renewable energy sources; and the growing global demand for energy thanks to population growth.
was asked about the energy outlook and the focus of his company on US energy services company. Kirk Coburn and Bruno Courme described the long term strategic directions of their respective companies, and teased out some insights for entrepreneurs. A second part of the panel session concerned technology directions and advice for entrepreneurs. Charles Leykum emphasized the importance of first impressions and clear “value propositions on unit economics” explaining his company’s focus on energy services firm serving land US onshore production. Kirk Coburn talked about the importance of entrepeneurs being able to demonstrate solid execution. Bruno Courme emphasized the importance of innovation as something large corporations found difficult to do, and something that could help entrepreneurs distinguish themselves. In closing, the general remarks from the panelists pointed to a period of increased opportunity for the energy sector, where there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to be successful in the next 2-3 years.
The first few questions posed by the moderators to the panelists were about then energy trends. Charles Leykum
To find out more about TiE Houston and how to get involved, visit www. houston.tie.org. Their next event, Women Mean Business, will be in partnership with the Indo American Chamber of Commerce on June 20, 2018 (Photo/article courtesy TiE)
tiative called “30-30-30-30” or “four 30s”. Under the plan, by 2020 NATO will have 30 batallions, 30 air squadrons and 30 warships ready to be used within 30 days to back up existing
rapid response forces. “This is about establishing a culture of readiness and we need that because we have a more unpredictable security environment, we have to be prepared for the unforeseen,” Stoltenberg said.
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VOICE OF ASIA 12
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD Section 2
Bollywood greats Bachchan, Kapoor reunite after 27 years!
Reese Witherspoon tipped to star in ‘Legally Blonde 3’ Reese Witherspoon is reportedly in talks to reprise her starring role as the spirited and sassy lawyer Elle Woods in a third instalment of the “Legally Blonde” franchise.
OLLYWOOD, California - If the deal sticks, Witherspoon will also produce the film through her Hello Sunshine production company, along with original producer Marc Platt and his Platt Productions president Adam Siegel, who are also attached to the project.
wo of Bollywood’s greatest stars, Amitabh Bachchan (R) and Rishi Kapoor, will share a screen together for the first time in almost three decades. The movie, directed by Umesh Shukla, sees Bachchan play a 102-year-old who dreams of becomming the world’s longest-living man by making it to 118. But to do so, he decides he has to put his downbeat 75-year-old son, played by Kapoor (who is 65 in reality), into an old people’s home. The two actors last paired up for a film in 1991. “Getting together after a gap of 27 years with Rishi ji, was just like getting off a bicycle and getting on it again,” said Bachchan. (Photo: AFP)
According to Variety, MGM is also courting scribes Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith and Karen McCullah — who wrote the adapted script for the 2001 original — for the third film, and is close to settling on a screenwriting deal with the duo. They are keeping the plot under wraps, but I’m told it will be much in the spirit of the first film, in which Woods’ idealism and pink-dominant wardrobe prevailed over the cynicism and snootiness all around her after the freshly dumped former sorority sister heads to law school.
Brother of Bollywood star Khan summoned in IPL betting case
The sequel brought her to D.C. to join the staff of a congresswoman to pass a bill to ban animal testing. The intention here is to make this more about female empowerment, a message that hits at a fortuitous time in the culture. The feeling is to draw back in the audience that grew up with the original film and find a new global audience. The original “Legally Blonde” movie — which introduced Witherspoon as a pink-clad sorority sister turned Harvard Law prodigy — was was a popular hit with audiences worldwide, grossing US$141.8 million across
Actress Reese Witherspoon. (AFP Photo/Mark Ralston) global theatres, with the sequel released in 2003 (“Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde”) bringing in
US$124.9 million at the worldwide box office, surprising many in the industry. (- Relaxnews)
Pakistani actress shames Swara Bhaskar akistani VJ, Urwa Hocane hits back at Swara Bhaskar for calling Pakistan ‘a failing state’
Dubai: Veere di Wedding actress Swara Bhaskar has blundered into yet another social media controversy by declaring Pakistan a ‘failing state’ in an interview. The video has gone viral. In an interview with Indian film critic, Rajeev Masand, Bhaskar talked about the recent ban in Pakistan on Veere Di Wedding. The film also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor and Shikha Talsania. She said: “They’re [Pakistan] a nonsecular state. I’m not surprised at all. Why should we hold up Pakistan, which is a failing state — I don’t understand why we keep taking pleasure and feeling a sense of self-worth from all the silly things that happen in Pakistan. “Apologies to all my Pakistani friends right now. Rest assured, Pakistanis have way worse vocabulary than we do. I know.” The Pakistani VJ, model and actress who uses the handle @VJURWA on Twitter, responded: “Pakistan is the country that you, Swara Bhaskar, referred to, in 2015, as the “best country you have ever visited”, and it has only gotten better in the last few years in every aspect along with when it comes to having bigger hearts and welcoming our guest.
UMBAI, India | AFP | Indian police summoned a brother of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan Friday for questioning over illegal gambling on Indian Premier League cricket matches.
The IPL has been dogged by gambling controversies since it started in 2008, and police say they have smashed a number of betting syndicates across India during this year’s season, which ended Saturday.
Found guilty of killing rare antelopes while on a safari in Rajasthan state, Salman is currently appealing a five-year jail term.
“We have summoned Arbaaz Khan for questioning in connection to the IPL betting scam,” Thane police spokesperson Sukhada Narkar told AFP. “Further details will be available once his questioning is done and his statement is recorded,” Narkar added.
Swara Bhaskar (L) and Urwa Hocane embroiled in controversy. (File photos) “This only reflects on you as an ignorant person who is also quiet contradictory in her own statements. It’s not a failing state for sure but you come across as a “Failing Human Being”! @ReallySwara From the citizen of the Phenomenal Pakistan”. Ironically, an old video of Bhaskar’s visit to Pakistan in 2015 has resurfaced. At the time, she told Mohsin Abbas Haider, in the show Mazaaq Raat: “My friend and I came here and found that the state which is often viewed as the
enemy state, is absolutely not like that at all. The amount of love we have received here.... I have travelled to a lot of places, London, New York, Paris, Istanbul, they are all nothing compared to Lahore.”
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Arbaaz Khan (L), brother of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, was summoned by police Friday for questioning over illegal gambling on Indian Premier League cricket matches (AFP Photo/STRDEL)
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Media reports said Arbaaz’s name surfaced in an investigation into highprofile bookie Sonu Jalan, who is said to run an international gambling operation stretching from India to the
Arbaaz is an actor and younger brother of Bollywood megastar Salman Khan, known for his moneyspinning movies, but who also faces his own legal troubles.
Gambling is illegal in India but the lucrative IPL has tempted speculators both on and off the pitch. A 2013 spot-fixing scandal led to the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals being suspended for two seasons and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, a Rajasthan Royals bowler, receiving a life ban along with teammates Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila. Scores of bookies were also arrested as part of the probe into allegations that players had underperformed in return for cash.
VOICE OF ASIA 13
National Spelling Bee winner Karthik Nemmani out-spellsrecord 515 contestants
oinonia,” a Greek word meaning Christian fellowship or communion that appears a number of times in the Bible, put 14-year-old Karthik Nemmani of McKinney, Texas, over the top at the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night.
Boular was only 16 when she made contact with British-born IS fighter Naweed Hussain, 32, discussing marriage and how they would don his-and-hers suicide belts.
“I had confidence, but I didn’t think it would really happen,” Nemmani was quoted as saying by The Dallas Morning News, of his win.
Contestants fielded such words as “glossodynia,” which could result (literally) from be-
Karthik Nemmani, 14, from McKinney, Texas, holds the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship Trophy with Scripps President and Chief Executive Officer Adam Symson after winning the annual competition in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP) coming tongue-tied, and “triturate” – meaning “to chew or grind.” “It’s really, really scary, but at the same time, I feel really lucky that I get to go up there in the first place,” Modi, a seventh-grader from Reynolds Middle School in Prosper, Texas, said.
“She’s a really, really good speller. She deserved the trophy as much as I did,” Nemmani told The Associated Press. “I got lucky,” he said, acknowledging that there were eight or nine words during the final rounds that he didn’t know.
Hundreds abused in Chicago schools after systemic failures: report
Nemmani actually lost at the county level, which in past years meant automatic elimination from the national competition. This year, however, he made it in through a new, second-chance rule known as “RSVBee.” In addition to the trophy, Nemmani will receive $25,000 in cash, trips to New York and Hollywood as part of a spelling bee media tour, a pizza party for his classmates at Scoggins Middle School and a complete Merriam-Webster reference library. (- Courtesy: NPR)
Even in cases where school employees acted swiftly, they subjected young victims to repeated interrogations, inflicting additional psychological pain on the survivors. The Tribune cited the case of a teacher hired in 2009 despite a prior prowling charge and a “window peeping” conviction at the home of a little girl.
Investigators have discovered “credible evidence of misconduct” in 230 reports. (File photo)
Since 2011, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) investigators have discovered “credible evidence of misconduct” in 230 reports of sexual abuse involving adults and students, according to Chicago Tribune, which carried out a wide-ranging investigative report entitled “Be-
trayed.” But the newspaper estimated the actual figure could be much higher because the CPS did so little to understand and tackle the problem. The school system employed “ineffective background checks,” the Tribune said, which failed to weed out employees with criminal convictions and arrests for sex crimes. More than 370,000 students are enrolled in CPS, which employs nearly 36,000 people. CPS chief Janice Jackson responded to the report by promising a “top-to-bottom review” of the school system’s safety
procedures, to be conducted by an independent lawyer. “Like many parents this morning, I’m sick to my stomach,” Jackson said on Twitter. “And like many parents, when I send my children to school, my expectation is that they are safe from harm.” A Tribune investigation identified 72 school employees who were alleged to have committed offenses over the past decade. They included school deans, teachers, coaches, counselors, security guards and others. When students reported abuse, the results of internal probes were kept secret despite
In 2016, he was charged with unauthorized videotaping and one count of child pornography after he installed a motionactivated camera in a school bathroom. In another case, a high school security guard was allowed to keep for years his job despite multiple convictions linked to groping. Jackson said the district will work to “ensure that our hiring practices, background checks, training, and handling of sexual assault and misconduct allegations are the best policies and practices to protect our students.” Among the changes the district outlined were better screenings of athletic staff and periodic background checks for all employees.
Nearly $1 million awarded to 13 colleges and universities to host STEM camps
USTIN, (June 4, 2018) – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) awarded 13 grants totaling $992,526 to Texas universities and community colleges for summer youth camps that focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through the Governor’s Summer Merit Program. The grants provide 1,047 scholarships for students ages 14 to 21 to attend camps that will help prepare them for future high-skill, high-demand jobs. “The complex challenges of tomorrow require us to prepare today, and Texas’ continued investment in the fields of science, technology, engineer-
ing, and math are an essential part of that preparation,” said Governor Abbott. “The Governor’s Summer Merit Program and the Texas Workforce Commission provide valuable tools in training students to excel. As our state’s workforce becomes more technologically advanced, the success of Texas depends on the skills of our youth to contribute to the growth of our workforce.” Administered by TWC, the effort is part of the Governor’s Summer Merit Program, which aims to inspire Texas youth to pursue STEM-related careers. The camps introduce students to advanced technologies and manufacturing, aerospace and
defense, biotechnology and life sciences, information and computer technology and energy. “The Governor’s Summer Merit program inspires Texas youth to learn high demand STEM skills in fields that will position them for success in the industries of the future,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “I commend the continued commitment from our colleges and universities to offer and deliver high quality learning opportunities for these students.” Several of the camps are specifically targeted to encourage young women and minorities to pursue further education and careers in STEM fields.
But her hopes of joining him were dashed when she was stopped at the airport in August 2016 following a family trip to Morocco, and her passport was confiscated. Instead Boular decided to plan an attack in Britain, detailing it in coded language -- grenades were “pineapples” -- to online contacts who were in fact undercover agents. Hussain was later killed in a drone strike. When Boular was charged with preparing terrorist acts in April 2017, she passed the baton to her sister Rizlaine, 22, and their mother Mina Dich, 44, who hatched their own plan. The trio were taped talking about an Alice in Wonderlandthemed tea party, which the prosecution argued was code for an attack. Rizlaine and her mother were
the state’s mandated reporter law, and students often did not get the proper care they needed to deal with trauma, according to the newspaper.
undreds of Chicago students have been sexually assaulted over the past decade after the third largest public school system in the US failed to implement basic safeguards like conducting adequate background checks or reporting abuse to authorities.
ONDON | AFP A London teenager was found guilty Monday of preparing an attack on the British Museum as part of the country’s first all-female cell linked to the Islamic State group, police and prosecutors said.
She is the youngest female to be charged with planning an IS attack in Britain.
Third place contestant, Abhijay Kodali, is also from Texas.
Nemmani out-spelled a record 515 contestants on his way to the Scripps Bee trophy. That compares to 291 spellers at last year’s competition.
London teen found guilty of plot with all-female terror cell
Safaa Boular, 18, plotted the grenade and gun attack in her home town after the authorities intervened to stop her travelling to Syria to marry an IS fighter she had met online.
Nemmani’s win came after fellow Texan, 12-year-old Naysa Modi, was unable to correctly spell bewusstseinslage, a German word meaning “a state of consciousness or a feeling devoid of sensory components,” according to MerriamWebster. She was participating in her fourth consecutive national spelling bee.
The three finalists dispatched such words as “pareidolia,” “miarolitic” and “Mnemosyne” on their way up the ladder at the annual event, held at Oxon Hill, Md., and broadcast by ESPN.
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
“Our goal is to provide young Texans interested in STEM with the necessary tools needed to prepare for future careers in innovative industries,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs, “Through the Governor’s Summer Merit Program, students acquire STEM-related skills that play in the continuance of economic progress for Texas.” Some students will have the opportunity to take field trips that will give them access to high-tech equipment, such as 3-D printers and electron telescopes, while others will visit science and engineering facilities and have the opportunity to
This picture released by the British Metropolitan Police Service in London shows Safaa Boular (AFP Photo)
arrested after being tracked by police visiting potential sites around Westminster and buying knives. They pleaded guilty to terror offences, along with a fourth woman, Rizlaine’s friend Khawla Barghouthi, 21, who later admitted failing to alert the authorities. Safaa Boular denied the plot but was found guilty on Monday after a trial. Dean Haydon, Britain’s top counter-terror police officer, said the plot “involved a family with murderous intent, the first all-female terrorist plot in the UK connected to Daesh (IS)”. He added: “All three women were filled with hate and toxic ideology and were determined to carry out a terrorist attack. “Had they been successful, it could well have resulted in people being killed or seriously injured.” Rizlaine, her mother and their friend will be sentenced on June 15, although a date has not yet been set for Safaa Boular’s sentencing.
Read other relevant articles Visit: www. voiceofasiaonline.com meet and speak with industry professionals. “TWC proudly supports programs that allow students to develop a deeper connection and understanding of STEM related skills and careers. Science, technology, engineering and math help to drive innovation and participation in the Governor’s Summer Merit Program will allow students to build an edge in these areas while still at school,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. The Summer Merit Program scholarships awarded to 13 grant recipients are: Tarrant County College, $76,793 – 83 scholarships for STEM-focused summer day camps at three of the College’s five physical campuses. Camps include: Biotechnology, EKG Certification, Arts and Technology, Career Exploration, Entrepreneurship, Mathematics and STEM Career Exploration/ Student with Disabilities. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, $66,854 – 70 scholarships for STARS Camps with concentrations in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Biotechnology.
Experiment Station (TEES), $84,304 – 72 scholarships for the TEES BioFORCE camps. Students will learn about cutting-edge research, medical discoveries and bio manufacturing to prepare them for college programs. Lamar University, $100,000, - 56 scholarships for a 20-day residential summer camp for high ability/high achieving students and high potential low social economic status minority students in grades 10, 11 and 12. Victoria College, $23,187 – 25 scholarships for the Texas Pre-freshman Engineering Program (TexPREP), a math-based learning opportunity for junior high students to learn about STEM careers while earning high school elective credits. The University of Texas San Antonio, $100,000 – 160 scholarships for 8 Engineering and Rapid Prototype Design camps. St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, $69,515 – 80 scholarships for engineering summer camps that will raise student’s interest in STEM areas. The instruction will include robotics, programming and operations research.
Cedar Valley College, $95,235 – 120 scholarships for STEM related Camps. Camps include: Black Girls Code, Coding with Drones, Bringing Math to Life, Cyber Defense Camp and Mobile Virtual Reality.
South Texas College, $49,263 – 60 scholarships for Robotics and Automation camps.
The University of Texas at Austin, $100,000 – 200 scholarships for UT Austin to host camps in engineering and sciences that strive to increase the number and diversity of students studying STEM fields of computer science, engineering and geology. Camps include: First BYTES camp, GeoFORCE and Introduction to Engineering.
Houston Community College, $98,609 – 50 scholarships for STEM camps focusing on cyber security/application development.
San Jacinto Community College, $44,879 – 80 scholarships for the week-long ROC/Aero day camps.
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, $83,887 – 51 scholarships for summer camps including the Summer STEM Camp, the High School Summer Biomedical Research Program and the Summer Biomedical and Health Careers Academy.
VOICE OF ASIA 14
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
Family Law and Personal Injury
YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at email@example.com
SHOULD I GET A PRENUP?
exas Law allows parties to have a premarital agreement, or prenup, between both people so they may enter into a contractual agreement regarding property issues and other matters prior to marriage. This contract remains in effect during marriage and in the event there is a divorce, the prenuptial agreement will govern how property will be divided as separate or community property at the divorce or death of a spouse. The prenup may also address issues such as spousal support or alimony. That is, a prenup may include that one spouse will pay alimony to the other spouse if that spouse did not attend marital counseling before filing for divorce. A prenup can also ensure financial stability if one spouse enters the marriage with debt and the other spouse does not have debt and would like to protect their income as separate property. A prenup may also protect separate property upon death of a spouse. However, a prenup may not include terms that violate public policy or impose criminal penalties. A prenup cannot waive a spouse’s 401k or other defined benefit plan. This may only be waived by agreement after the divorce. Further, a prenup is not designed to protect against creditors. That is, you cannot make your separate property your spouse’s
separate property to avoid paying your debts. Also, a prenup may not waive one parent from child support which would be court ordered. However, a higher amount of child support than the Texas Family Code requires may be agreed to. Visitation and conservatorship may be included but a Family Court will review those terms in light of what is in the child[ren]’s best interest.
at the time it was signed. An unconscionable term is when one spouse fails to inform the other spouse of property, other assets, and debts if the other spouse did not waive their right to this information. Also, a prenup may not be pressured the night before or day of the wedding, especially without any notice. Both spouses should have separate counsel to review the agreement and ensure it is fair and equitable to both parties.
If there is no prenup, then any property, not separate property, including property acquired during marriage, income obtained during marriage, income from separate property, will be characterized as community property. Community property will be divided in a ‘just and right’ manner and not always equally. This includes salary, 401K benefits, and pensions. Income from separate property, such as distributions from separate property, investment growths in stocks or mutual funds, rental property income, is considered community property. Separate property prior to marriage or property received by gift, devise, or descent will remain separate property.
Thus, as Kanye West might say in Texas, “We want prenup! We want prenup!”
About Mala Sharma Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala is President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association. This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
A prenup is enforceable only if is made properly and meets the requirements outlined in the Texas Family Code. To be enforceable, a prenup must be (1) in writing, (2) signed by both parties, (3) both spouses disclosed assets and liabilities prior to signing the agreement, and (4) both spouses waived the right to further disclosure. An oral agreement is not acceptable. A prenup may be rejected by a court, for example, if some evidence supports the finding that one party signed involuntarily or any clause in the agreement was unconscionable
Disclaimer: This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
A new privacy problem could deepen Facebook’s legal trouble by Nitasha Tiku
n Sunday, The New York Times revealed that Facebook had deals with phone manufacturers including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Blackberry going back a decade that gave the device makers access to copious amounts of personal data about users and their friends in order to re-create a mobile version of Facebook on their devices. The Times report again raises
questions about oversight of a consent decree Facebook signed with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 that was supposed to protect users from having their data shared with third parties without consent. “It raises some huge red flags. I don’t really know how Facebook is going to justify this kind of sharing under the consent decree,” says David Vladeck, former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection
who oversaw the Facebook investigation that led to the 2011 decree. A Facebook spokesperson said the company considered the device makers “service providers,” which were treated differently than other outsiders in the consent decree. Under the decree, Facebook was permitted to share data more liberally with service providers than with other outsiders, such as app makers. (-Wired)
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n May 10th, 2018, USCIS posted a policy memorandum that will in effect change the existing policy on ‘unlawful presence’ for individuals holding F (student), M (vocational student) and J (exchange visitor) status. This new policy will make it easier for those holding student and exchange visitors to accrue what is known as ‘unlawful presence’. Unlawful presence accrues when an individual overstays in the US beyond the date granted at time of their admission. Generally, an individual who has been unlawfully present in the United States for a period of more than 180 days but less than 365 days is barred from re-entry to the United States for a period of three years and individuals who have been unlawfully present in the United States for more than 365 days will be barred from re-entry for a period of 10 years. This unlawful presence bar is triggered when the unlawfully present individual departs the United States. Waivers for the unlawful presence bars can be obtained but to be eligible for these waivers, the individual seeking the waiver must demonstrate extreme hardship to his or her US Citizen and Permanent Resident spouse or parent only. Note that US Citizen and or Permanent Resident children are not included as qualifying relatives for such waivers. In many circumstances, these waivers will be available for international students and exchange visitors who do not have established ties to the United States. Students and exchange visitors are usually admitted to the United States on what is known as “Duration of Status” (D/S) which means that they are permitted to stay for the length of their educational program. Under current policy, because these individuals who have been admitted for Duration of Status do not have a specific end date to their status, they cannot accrue unlawful presence unless USCIS or the Immigration Judge makes a formal finding of a status vio-
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lation, whichever comes first. However, under this new rule which will come into effect on August 9th, 2018, unlawful presence for this category of individuals will be calculated as follows: • F, M and J visa holders who failed to maintain their status before August 9th, 2018 will automatically start accruing unlawful presence on August 9th, 2018 unless such individual has already started accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following: --USCIS has denied a request for an immigration benefit, if DHS made a formal finding that the individual violated his or her nonimmigrant status during the course of adjudicating for another immigration benefit; --The day after Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, expired, if the individual was admitted with an end date; or --the day after the immigration judge or in certain cases, the Board of Immigration Appeals ordered the individual excluded, deported or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed). • F, M and J visa holders who fail to maintain their status on or after August 9th, 2018 will start accruing unlawful presence on or after August 9th, 2018 on the earliest of any of the following: --the day the individual no longer pursues a course of study or the authorized activity or the day after he or she engages in unauthorized activity; --the day after completing the course of study or program (including any authorized practical training plus authorized grace period) --the day after the Form I-94 expired if the individual was admitted with an end date or date certain; --the day after an Immigration Judge or in certain cases the Board of Immigration Appeals orders him or her excluded, deported or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed) The effect of this policy on international students and ex-
change visitors is that these individuals will (after August 9th, 2018 effective date) begin accruing unlawful presence the day after they violated their nonimmigrant status rather than before a final determination has been made by USCIS or an Immigration Judge that there was a status violation. A status violation can occur for example if the student is not pursuing a full course of study or has unwittingly engaged in unauthorized activity such as working without work authorization; etc. The individual may not know that a status violation has occurred and would start to accrue unlawful presence from that date. In addition, this rule also applies to the dependent spouse and minor children of the principal who committed the alleged status violation. There are also questions as to how the individual would go about challenging the status violation allegations many years later and being unaware in the first place that they have been accruing unlawful until informed that they have been doing so and that the re-entry bar applies to them. Unlawful presence should not be triggered unless there is clear notice that remaining beyond an expiration date of authorized stay has occurred and not when a status violation has occurred. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration Lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. If you require advice or assistance, you may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.
Sharlene Sharmila Richards Attorney at Law
www.richardsimmigration.com E-mail: email@example.com
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VOICE OF VOICE OF ASIA ASIA15 15
FRIDAY, FRIDAY,June June8,8,2018 2018
Options for Paying for Long Term Care
June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
US Medicare, Social Security finances worsening
ASHINGTON | AFP, 6/5/2018 - Finances for Social Security and Medicare, two linchpins of the US social safety net, worsened last year, according official projections released Tuesday. The solvency of the Medicare trust fund, the main US public health insurance program, deteriorated over the last year and could be exhausted by 2026 -- two years earlier than previously estimated. Meanwhile, for the first time since 1982, costs for the Social Security retirement system will exceed revenues this year. This would leave the fund depleted by 2034, matching last year’s forecast.
While recognizing that some “longterm issues” persist, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that both programs remained “secure.” “The administration’s economic agenda -- tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements -- will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path,” Mnuchin said in a statement. The updates on the health of the two largest US entitlement programs were the first since December’s sweeping tax cuts, which the White House said would increase growth, offsetting lost tax revenues, something economists doubt. The world’s largest economy has
so far not reached President Donald Trump’s target of three percent growth on an annual basis. Officials conceded Tuesday at a news conference at the US Treasury that the tax cuts had reduced revenues for Medicare and Social Security. Medicare costs will rise from last year’s 3.7 percent of GDP to 5.8 percent by 2038. A forecast last year saw costs rising more slowly, reaching 5.6 percent by 2041. Social Security spending, which amounted to 4.9 percent of GDP in 2017, will climb to 6.1 by 2038, an improvement over last year’s forecast, which predict it would reach this level a year earlier. Some 58.4 million Americans depend on Medicare while 62 million receive Social Security benefits (of whom 45 million are retirees, six million are dependents and another 10 million are disabled), according to the government.
Lack of sleep linked with nighttime snacking and junk food cravings finds new research New US research has found that a lack of sleep may increase the risk of obesity and diabetes by increasing cravings for junk food and nighttime snacks. ters around the waist, with those sleeping six hours per night carrying up to three centimeters more than those getting nine hours’ sleep. Another UK study also found that children and teenagers who fail to get the recommended amount of sleep for their age have a higher risk of developing obesity, while research published last New research has linked a lack of sleep to increased cravings for junk food and nighttime snacks, po- year found that Chinese chiltentially increasing the risk of obesity.(Photo: OcusFocus / Istock.com) dren who go to bed later and sleep less are arried out by researchers at then leads to weight gain. This study more likely to be overweight than the University of Arizona, provides important information those who slept longer, with BMI inthe study looked at respons- about the process, that these labora- creasing slightly for every hour later es taken from a nationwide, phone- tory findings may actually translate that a child goes to bed. based survey of 3,105 adults from to the real world,” noted one of the A third of US adults report that 23 US metropolitan areas. study’s authors Michael A. Grandthey usually get less than the recomner. “This connection between poor The survey asked participants mended amount of sleep according about their sleep quality and any sleep, junk food cravings and un- to the Centers for Disease Control healthy nighttime snacking may repexisting health problems, if they and Prevention. regularly ate a nighttime snack, and resent an important way that sleep helps regulate metabolism.” The findings will be presented at whether lack of sleep led them to crave more junk food. Previous research has also linked SLEEP 2018, the 32nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional The researchers found that around a lack of sleep to an increased risk Sleep Societies LLC (APSS) which of obesity, with a UK study find60 percent of those surveyed reporttakes place June 2-6 in Baltimore, ed that they regularly had a night- ing that sleep-deprived adults were U.S.A. (-Relaxnews) more likely to carry extra centimetime snack, and around two-thirds reported that a lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. Poor sleep quality also appeared to be a strong predictor of junk food cravings. Having junk food cravings also doubled the likelihood that the participants would have a nighttime snack, which in turn was associated with an increased risk for diabetes. Participants with junk food cravings were also more likely to report health problems such as diabetes and obesity. The researchers commented on the findings saying that the results represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity. “Laboratory studies suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to junk food cravings at night, which leads to increased unhealthy snacking at night, which
Options for Paying for Long Term Care
ong-term care is expensive and is becoming more so every year. With individuals facing a high probability of needing longterm care at some point in their lives, finding a way to pay for long-term care services is not trivial. In very general terms, the funding for an individual’s long-term care needs comes from two types of sources: public and private. On the public side are two government programs: Medicare and Medicaid. On the private side are an individual’s own resources and assets, including long-term care insurance. The high cost of long-term care services and the high probability of needing them make it imperative that individuals evaluate carefully the various potential sources of long-term care funding. Many people mistakenly think that Medicare covers long-term care costs. In fact, Medicare’s coverage of long-term care is very limited: it does not pay for personal or custodial care, which is the type of long-term care most people need. Medicare primarily covers medically necessary care provided either while the individual is an inpatient in a skilled nursing facility or in the individual’s home. It covers skilled nursing facility care only if the individual was hospitalized for at least three days before admission to the skilled nursing facility for the same medical condition that requires the skilled nursing care. Medicare covers medically necessary, physician-ordered home health care only (1) if the individual is homebound and the care is provided by a Medicare-certified agency, and (2) if the personal care is provided in conjunction with and during the same period that skilled medical treatment is provided. Medicaid covers long-term care costs, and it has even expanded from its original policy of paying only for facility-based care to the point where it now also pays for home-based and community based care. To meet Medicaid’s eligibility requirements, an individual must be impoverished. Certain protections against impoverishing a Medicaid recipient’s community spouse have been put in place, but assets must still be spent down to low levels before Medicaid will pay for an individual’s long-term care. In addition, after a Medicaid recipient dies, a state’s Medicaid agency can seek to recover the amount of Medicaid benefits paid to the individual from the individual’s estate. However, as we have learned, both have their drawbacks. Medicare covers care on a very limited basis for a limited time, and only if it is provided in conjunction with covered medical care and services. Medicaid does cover a wide spectrum of long-term care needs, but its eligibility requirements limit its application to those who are basically impoverished (or must become so to
Sudhir Mathuria HEALTHLIFE 360 713-771-2900 qualify). Relying on government programs for long-term care also means that an individual may be forced to give up choice as to where and how care is received and delivered. The other source of paying for longterm care is personal resources, which can encompass a wide variety of financial vehicles and financial options. Sources of long-term care funding: 1) Personal savings and investments 2) Life insurance 3) Annuities 4) Reverse mortgages 5) Long-term care insurance Hybrid Annuities Innovations in annuity designs over the past few years have led to hybrid annuities, which are intended to meet two objectives: 1) Provide a means to cover the cost of LTC insurance and to generate LTC benefits if that need arises 2) Accumulate funds on a tax-deferred basis for any future purpose, if LTC is not needed. Typical hybrid annuity product is a single premium fixed deferred annuity with a long-term care insurance rider. Like a conventional deferred annuity, the product is credited with a certain amount of interest on a regular basis, which accumulates on a tax-deferred basis. Then, also on a regular basis, the annuity’s accumulating cash value is charged an amount for the cost of the LTC insurance rider. The amount of the long-term care benefit, the product will deliver is typically set at some multiple of the annuity’s cash value when the first claim for long-term care benefits is made, such as two or three times the value. For example, an individual who deposited $100,000 in a hybrid annuity that grew to $150,000 by the time an LTC claim occurred would have $300,000 to $450,000 of long-term care coverage, depending on the multiple. To learn more about Long Term Care contact Sudhir Mathuria 713771-2900. Read complete report online:www.voiceofasiaonline.com
Dove wants more dads in the US to get paternity leave
#DearFutureDads | Dove Men+Care - 1:10 Subtitled on youtube © dovemencareus / youtube.com
ove Men+Care, the brand’s men’s division, is launching a global campaign that aims to challenge stereotypes about dads and kickstart a cultural movement regarding paid paternity leave. According to research by the brand, only 15% of dads in the US have access to paid paternity leave benefits, and most of those do not take the full amount of time off. “By supporting this important initiative, our goal is to increase utilization rates of paid paternity leave for those men who have access to it and encourage other companies to come together and offer men paid paternity leave so they can take the time to care for their families,” said Nick Soukas, VP of Skin Cleansing & Baby Care for Unilever, in a statement. The campaign will focus on raising awareness of the issue, encouraging employers to set an example by making full use of their own paternity leave time, and helping to improve policies via corporate collaboration. A film dubbed “Dear Future Dads” will shed light on the issue, and the brand is also launching the “Dove Men+Care digi-
tal hub,” a resource that offers parents information and guidance about taking paternity leave. It also plans to ramp up its existing ‘New Dad Care Package’ hospital program -- which provides fathers with skin, hair and deodorant essentials and “Baby Dove Tip to Toe” wash -- by reaching 20,000 new fathers over the next year. While it might not seem like an obvious wellness issue, Dove reports that 87% of men who have and use paternity leave benefits feel more satisfied overall with their lives. Research by the brand suggested that some 71% of men feel that there is little workplace support for fathers, with a fifth even declaring that they would be afraid that taking the full amount of paternity leave offered could lead to them losing their jobs. This is not the first social campaign undertaken by Dove Men+Care; back in March, the brand teamed up with a series of of basketball heavyweights on its mission to promote the theme of caring. For more information, see DoveMenCare.com/PaternityLeave - Relaxnews
VOICE OF ASIA 16
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
California on front line as STDs run rampant in US
Scientists unveil the world’s first antimicrobial medical gloves
billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood screams out a stark warning: “drugresistant gonorrhea alert!” The words are set against a black background and accompanied by a microscope shot of the gonococcus bacteria, which causes the illness now running rampant in California. Sexually transmitted diseases have made an alarming resurgence across the United States, where 2016 saw a record two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, including 628 cases of congenital syphilis. But California, the most populous US state, stands out for its willingness to tackle the crisis head-on, with cases of the three ailments up 45 percent in 2017 from five years ago. An innovation in medical gloves could help reduce the risk of infection that can come with medical gloves currently in use. (Photo: dblight / Istock.com)
he gloves are the result of a joint mission between research company Chemical Intelligence UK and the world’s largest producer of nitrile gloves, Hartalega Malaysia. Hartalega funded and backed the new project, which has been in the research and development phase for over six years, helping scientists from Chemical Intelligence UK to develop the revolutionary new technology along with input from chemist Dr Paul Wight and microbiologist, Professor Richard James from the University of Nottingham. Previous research has shown that although medical gloves provide a protective barrier for healthcare workers to help reduce the spread of infection, they can still transmit bacteria to hospital surfaces if gloves that have become contaminated are not changed or removed. However, the new gloves contain a non-leaching antimicrobial technology which has been proven to prevent the spread of infection. Independent testing has shown that the gloves kill up to 99.9% percent of bacteria within just five minutes of contact, helping to prevent the transmission of microbes to and from surfaces and people and
without the need of any surface cleaners or additional chemicals. The European launch of the gloves took place in London on Friday, with sales expected to reach the billions as healthcare organizations continue to battle with fighting infection and antimicrobial resistance. Thanks to a low manufacturing cost, the gloves are also set to become available in hospitals around the world helping to prevent the spread of infection globally. “These gloves will be a gamechanger for the healthcare industry, both public and private,” commented Professor James. Mr. Kuan Mun Leong, Managing Director of Hartalega Holdings Berhad, also adding, “In the European Union alone, cross-contamination in hospitals results in 37,000 deaths a year at an additional cost of 7 billion euros. By renovating a medical device that has not been remodelled in over 30 years, our innovation is set to make waves in the healthcare industry and save lives across the globe.” Hartalega now has plans to make the new technology a medical industry standard across the globe. (-Relaxnews)
Exercise can help offset a genetic susceptibility to obesity in older women says news study
Thirty babies were stillborn amid 300 reported cases of congenital syphilis, more than in any other US state last year. “These are incredibly alarming numbers,” said Heidi Bauer, chief of the STD control branch of the California Department of Public Health. She said it amounts to an epidemic. Congenital syphilis had been essentially eliminated from the United States, as it had in developing countries such as Cuba, Thailand and Moldova in the former Soviet Union, said Jeffrey Klausner of the UCLA school of medicine. “But you know the fact that congenital syphilis is roaring back in the states and in California is a shameful reminder of our inadequate public health programs,” he said. The cases of the stillborn babies are 100 percent preventable and this is “a slap in the face,” he added. Herein the problem seems to lie: the US health system is more reactive than preventive. And there is a lack of prevention and public awareness campaigns in a society in which people do not like to talk about sex. - Government not a help The striking billboards in Los Angeles are sponsored by an NGO called the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which aims to prevent or diagnose HIV and provide medical care for those who have it or other sexually transmitted diseases in free clinics. Another sign about syphilis shows a torso ravaged by open wounds.
were modified by exercise and age. The results showed that both age and physical activity had a modifying effect on BMI genetic risk score, with the genetic effect on BMI stronger in sedentary postmenopausal women. However, they were weakest in women who reported high levels of recreational physical activity, with the effect more profound in the oldest age group.
New US research has found for the first time that exercise can help to mitigate the effect of a genetic predisposition for obesity in women over the age of 70.
ed by the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions along with researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Rush University Medical Center, University of California, Davis, and The Ohio State University, the study looked at 8,206 women of European ancestry who participated in the Wom-
en’s Health Initiative, a long-term national health study that focuses on how heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and osteoporosis can be prevented in postmenopausal women. The researchers calculated a BMI (body mass index) genetic risk score for each participant and then evaluated whether genetic associations
The foundation’s president, Michael Weinstein, said the NGO’s campaign has boosted visits to its clinics by 50 percent in Los Angeles. By comparison, in south Florida, where cities such as Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale as considered hotbeds of STDs, such campaigns are barred because they are deemed to be bad for tourism. “You educate, you prevent, you test. You treat. You contact partners,” said Weinstein. “We’re not doing any of those things adequately.” The discouraging figures will keep rising and “the government is not helping,” he warns. The financial crisis of 2008 -- at the time STDs were not of particular concern -- led to deep cuts in health care spending, so many clinics shut down. Add to this an increase in poverty, homelessness, drug use and pregnancies undertaken without proper healthcare -- all considered risk factors for congenital syphilis. California has the world’s fifth largest economy but the budget for fighting STDs is a paltry $20 million, which includes money that comes from the federal government. “There’s a fire burning in California. And when a fire is burning, you don’t ask how much it costs to put it out. You supply whatever’s needed to put it out,” said Weinstein, insisting this is not happening in the case of STDs. He said most of the NGOs patients
are under age 25, and that with gonorrhea and syphilis -- which are harder and harder to cure because of bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics -- a higher proportion of cases involve gay men. - Not enough talk about sex Sex education is mandatory in California schools. Many teachers are reluctant to talk about it, but not Leticia Jenkins. She speaks of it freely to her high school freshmen in the Los Angeles suburb of North Hills, who are working on posters to draw attention to STDs. They use precise scientific language and are not at all skittish. They write down symptoms of STDs and ways to treat or prevent them. Jenkins said STD figures are out of control these days, and that talking about sex is essential. “Schools don’t talk enough about sex. We do,” said Jenkins. Some students said that in fact they do not talk about sex with their parents. “They’re old,” said Norberto Osorio, 14 -- although he had talked about sex with his older brother. “We didn’t talk and I wouldn’t like to talk now. I think it would make us both uncomfortable,” fellow student Jessie Flores said of his parents. “I didn’t know any of this stuff before I had her,” the 15 year old said of his teacher. (-AFP)
Colon cancer treatment costs 2x more in US than Canada: study ASHINGTON | AFP | Friday 6/1/2018 - People diagnosed with advanced colon cancer pay twice more per month for treatment in the United States than in Canada, but do not live any longer, researchers said Friday.
The findings “may help us improve care and potentially lower health care costs,” he added.
Canadian residents of British Columbia paid an average of $6,195 per month, compared to patients in the northwestern US state of Washington who paid $12,345, said the study released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago.
The median age of the patients in Canada was 66, while in the United States it was 60.
“Our work suggests that in older age, we can overcome our destiny for obesity -- given to us by our parents --through exercise,” said the study’s lead author Heather Ochs-Balcom. “The message here is that your genetic risk for obesity is not wholly deterministic. The choices we make in our life play a large role in our health.”
The two regions are about 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) apart, have similar income levels, and a racial makeup that is mainly white with a significant Asian minority.
Both groups were treated with similar kinds of chemotherapy.
“For the elderly, exercise is important for preventing muscle loss, which helps reduce the risk of falls,” says Ochs-Balcom. “Plus, there are many other benefits of exercise in older adults.”
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to directly compare treatment cost and use, along with health outcomes, in two similar populations treated in different health care models,” said lead author Todd Yezefski, a senior fellow at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.
The study is significant as until now little had been known about the effect of obesity genes later in life, and whether genetic predisposition could be offset by healthy behaviors such as physical activity.
Exercise could help mitigate a genetic susceptibility to obesity in postmenopausal women according to new research.© Alija/Istock.com
A billboard from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is seen on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown / AFP)
In addition, the study also adds to the growing body of evidence that being physically active in later years can help boost healthy aging.
The study can be found published online in the journal Menopause. (-Relaxnews)
Canada has a single payer heath system, while the United States has a mix of private insurance and governmentfunded health insurance.
The study tracked 1,622 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer in British Columbia and 575 in Washington state.
More patients in the US (79 percent of those diagnosed) than in Canada (68 percent) opted to undergo the most aggressive treatment available.
Despite paying about twice as much, US patients lived an average of 21.4 months after diagnosis. Canadian patients lived an average of 22.1 months. Among those who decided not to pursue treatment, the average survival was 5.4 months in Washington and 6.3 months in British Columbia. “As oncologists, we see the burden of high costs on patients and their families every day,” said ASCO chief medical officer Richard Schilsky. “This study adds important context to the ongoing national conversation about rising treatment costs.”
VOICE OF ASIA 17
Immunotherapy cures late-stage breast cancer in world first: study by Mariëtte Le Roux
ARIS, France | AFP | A woman with an aggressive form of breast cancer which defied chemotherapy and spread to other organs, was cured with an experimental treatment that triggered her immune system, researchers said Monday. The woman has been cancerfree for two years, reported the US-based team, presenting their results as “a new immunotherapy approach” for the treatment of patients with a late-stage form of the disease. Other experts not involved in the work hailed it as “exciting”. So-called “immunotherapy” has already been shown to work in some people with cancer of the lung, cervix, blood cells (leukaemia), skin (melanoma) and bladder. But an immune breakthrough for bowel, breast and ovary cancer has remained elusive. In the latest study, a team extracted immune cells called lymphocytes from the patient, tweaked them in the lab, then reinjected them. The woman was 49 when she signed up for the clinical trial after several attempts at a cure through conventional treatments had failed, said the study
published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine. The cancer had spread to various parts of her body, including the liver.
da’s Ontario Institute for Cancer Research said the woman’s response to the treatment was “unprecedented” for such advanced breast cancer.
A person’s immune system is designed to kill invaders, including rogue, cancerous cells. But it can fail, often because it cannot recognise cancer cells containing the patient’s own DNA.
This work showed “we are now at the cusp of a major revolution in finally realising the elusive goal of being able to target the plethora of mutations in cancer through immunotherapy,” he wrote.
Immunotherapy trains a patient’s own immune cells to recognise and fight cancer.
In a reaction via the Science Media Centre in London, immunotherapy professor Alan Melcher of The Institute of Cancer Research said the trial was “fascinating and exciting”.
For the new study, researchers took lymphocytes from a tumour in the woman’s body and scanned them for specific types which reacted to mutant, cancerous cells. - Complete regression These were reactivated or “switched on” in the lab and injected back, along with a so-called “immune checkpoint inhibitor” -- another type of immunotherapy that has shown success in other types of cancer. This resulted in a “highly personalised” anti-cancer therapy that yielded “complete tumour regression,” the researchers wrote. In a comment also published by Nature Medicine, expert Laszlo Radvanyi from Cana-
The work “provides a major ‘proof-of-principle step forward, in showing how the power of the immune system can be harnessed to attack even the most difficult-to-treat cancers,” he said. Peter Johnson, an oncology professor at the Cancer Research UK Centre, said the study confirmed the immune system can recognise some cancers, and “if this can be stimulated in the right way, even cancers that have spread to different parts of the body may be treatable.” The technique is “highly specialised and complex”, he cautioned, and may not be suitable for many patients.
Delhi slum drowning in plastic as Environment Day focuses on India
Bad air day: Indian city chokes on world’s worst pollution by Bhuvan Bagga
ANPUR, India | AFP | Tuesday 6/4/2018 Soot turned the white handkerchief around Abhash Kumar Sharma’s face to black as the police officer tried to direct gridlocked traffic in the Indian city with the world’s dirtiest air.
It was all he had to ward off the pollution blamed for filling Kanpur’s hospital beds with growing numbers of chronic lung and cancer cases. “It is the same story for everyone who spends such long hours out in this city,” said Sharma, who does not get a mask for his duties.
In this photograph taken on May 31, 2018, smoke rises from chimneys in an industrial area in the Indian city of Kanpur. (AFP Photo / Chandan Khanna)
“The pollution gets into your eyes and it often stings.”
suffering more, he added.
The city of three million people has been smarting since a World Health Organization (WHO) report last month put it at the head of 14 Indian cities in the world’s top 15 with the dirtiest air. The pain has building up for much longer, but as the world marks Environment Day, the fallout has reached crisis point for many in Kanpur. Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner with Greenpeace India, said “the models available to us make it certain that hundreds of thousands of people are dying in India each year because of air pollution”. A senior doctor at the Murari Lal Chest Hospital, Anand Kumar, said the number of patients has jumped from about 40,000 in 2015 to 64,000 last year. - ‘Where are the trees?’ “More than 50 percent of these patients, maybe more, come with breathing-related issues,” the doctor told AFP. “Even the severity is worsening. Many who earlier recovered in a day or two now need days and much stronger medication to get better.” The number of chronic pulmonary disease and lung cancer cases is rising among nonsmokers, particularly women, he added. “There is no reason for it (other) than primarily atmospheric pollution.”
EW DEHLI, India | AFP - A sea of plastic spreads through the New Delhi slum of Taimur Nagar, a symbol of the grime and waste that makes the Indian capital one of the world's most polluted cities. The plastic bottles, bags, food wrappers and other detritus have gushed out of a drain that ends in the shanty, leaving stinking sewer water clogging the roads. Stray dogs, goats and cows munch the plastic waste as toddlers run around trying to
India is to be the focus of World Environment Day on Tuesday, but it is far from the minds of the long-suffering inhabitants of Taimur Nagar. "You can see how bad the conditions are here. It's completely choked with plastic," said Bhola Ram, shaking his head. Taimur Nagar is one of many slums in Delhi and countless other Indian cities struggling to cope with waste, particularly the plastic pollution that is the main theme of World Environ-
“With all the greenery gone, we are only breathing what is available -- pollution,” he said. “I’ve never had it this bad before. I only used to feel breathlessness and discomfort in bad winters, when there was smog. But it has been hard even in summers for the last two or three years,” he added. In the crippling traffic, it took an hour to drive the seven kilometres (four miles) from the hospital to the Uttar Pradesh state pollution control office where chief officer Kuldeep Misra also took aim at the 1.15 million vehicles on city roads. “This is an industrial city but vehicles here pollute more than industry,” he said. Misra was sceptical about Kanpur being the world’s dirtiest city as the UN report was based on “old data”. “The report caused ripples,” he acknowledged. “But we’re not sure about the tag.” - ‘No magic wand’ -
Misra believes Kanpur’s water pollution is worse than the air because of its huge leather industry and tanneries. The tanneries are often blamed for polluting the revered Ganges river, which passes through the city. Misra said the authorities planned to take action, but it would take time. “There is no magic wand,” he added. Time may not be on the side of 50-year-old Shiv Kumari, a patient at the overcrowded chest hospital who wears an oxygen mask to help her breathe. “Pollution, dust or smoke makes me breathless. I feel that I am choking. I cough and feel as if something sharp is pinching my throat,” she told AFP. “It has become too difficult to live in this kind of an atmosphere. Look at this machine,” she said, pointing to her automatic breathing aid that cost more than $1,500. “How can a poor person afford something like this, especially when it’s so important for survival in this pollution?”
the water supply and the animals sat around.
recent World Health Organization survey.
Used to the filth, residents say they are resigned to their fate.
Delhi improved its ranking to sixth from the most polluted city in 2014.
But the ban is rarely enforced. Plastic bags are still the staple for carrying vegetables, fruit, meat and restaurant takeaways.
"It's like living in hell. You can see there is plastic garbage everywhere. We are poor and we have no choice but to live and die here," said Shreepal Singh, a waste dealer.
"I don't think the city will ever get cleaned. The conditions will never improve," said Sallu Chowdhary, who wore a black mask as he set out for college.
Taimur Nagar's residents know little of the hazards of non-biodegradable plastic to
India, Asia's third-largest economy, had 14 of the world's 15 worst cities for dirty air in a
"No one is serious about this problem, not even the locals who have to suffer every day."
The city banned plastic bags in 2009 and later expanded it to all plastic packaging and single-use disposable plastic.
retrieve footballs and water bottles.
“Where are the trees now? We only have vehicles, pollution and traffic jams.
It said Kanpur had an average PM2.5 concentration of 173 micrograms per cubic metre -- about seven times the normal safe level.
“The government should do something to fix this,” she added before readjusting her mask as she started feeling breathless again.
ment figures, with Delhi among the worst cities for plastic consumption.
by Abhaya Srivastava
In one overcrowded ward, 74-year-old Ram Lakhan, who spends long periods in hospital barely able to breathe, blamed his suffering on cars.
The WHO report was based on 2016 Indian data on the number of particles under 2.5 micrograms -- the smallest and most dangerous.
Children under five are also
Taimur Nagar is one of many slums in Delhi and countless other Indian cities struggling to cope with waste (AFP Photo/Dominique Faget)
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
ment Day. India is to organise beach cleanups, an exhibition of green technology and art installations -- symbols of its growing economic clout. One engineer, Rajagopalan Vasudevan, has developed a process where plastic waste is shredded up and used in new roads. - A plastic hell But a sweeping look over Taimur Nagar underlines the challenges the country faces with its waste. India generates around 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, according to govern-
Read up on what’s changing in the world of health
US sets up task force on diplomats sick in Cuba, China ASHINGTON | AFP, 6/5/2018 The United States has set up a task force to oversee the response to mystery ailments among its diplomats in Cuba and China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.
The State Department has previously said brain injuries suffered by 24 US officials and family members posted in Havana could have been the result of a “health attack,” perhaps from an unidentified secret weapon. Washington has said in the past that Cuban authorities must take responsibility for the safety of US diplomats on their
soil, but the Havana government denies any knowledge of an attack. Last month, another American employee fell ill with similar symptoms in China, reviving fears that a US rival has developed some kind of invisible acoustic or microwave device. Announcing the task force, however, Pompeo said: “The precise nature of the injuries suffered by the affected personnel, and whether a common cause exists for all cases, has not yet been established.” According to the State Department, the “Health Incidents Response Task Force” will co-
ordinate both the investigation and the treatment of the victims and work with several government and military agencies. The statement makes no reference to the possibility of a deliberate attack. But it warns that US diplomats should alert their mission’s medical staff “if they note new onset of symptoms that may have begun in association with experiencing unidentified auditory sensations.” “Reported symptoms have included dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping,” it adds.
Voice of Asia brings you the latest in medicine, medical technology, nutrition, pharmacy, and other health related articles. Also visit www.healthlinemag.com
VOICE OF ASIA 18
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
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STATEPOINT CROSSWORD THEME: FATHER’S DAY
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Week of JUNE 8, 2018 21 March to 20 April No matter how much you feel pulled to control or manipulate a situation, letting it go can have far more beneficial results. Your social life could make up for any disappointment.
21 April to 20 May And if you haven’t had a chance to connect for some time, your emotions could reach fever pitch. Truth to tell, you’ll have a better chance of talking with this person if you seem less eager. A calm and quiet approach can net positive results.
21 May to 20 June You might be eager to purchase a certain item. The urge could even be so strong that the price may not matter. If you find that your finances are in disarray as a result, you’ll likely regret it.
21 June to 22 July You tend to spend a lot of time joking around and taking things as one grand adventure. But at the same time, you would benefit from giving a loved one more of a sense of security. They are not sure if you really mean what you say.
23 July to 22 August Set up a reward system for yourself. Tell yourself that if you make a certain goal, you can have a ten-minute break, eat a special treat, make a personal phone call, etc. Then set another goal and another reward.
23 August to 22 Sept You have the benefit of the doubt this week, thanks to influences in your area of politics and groups. A dream you’ve held close to your heart has a chance to develop as your social networks connect you to the very people you need.
23 September to 22 Oct The best kind of exercise is exercise you enjoy. You may not feel like doing the same thing every day, but it is sometimes easier to follow a routine. Just make sure that what you do is appealing enough so that you don’t skip your workout.
23 October to 21 Nov The aspect of the day gives you a feeling that anything is possible - and it is. But you are reminded by your body everyday that whatever you do is greatly enhanced by a feeling of physical vitality. You may be surprised by how good you feel.
22 November to 21 Dec Go easy with your finances over the days ahead because there could be a temptation to splurge on something you don’t really need. A family member could make you feel guilty for having fun.
22 December to 20 Jan It’s disappointing if the other person shows up an hour late or in jeans and a tee, but you can’t control everything. Try to enjoy yourself despite any less than ideal circumstances. Take some “me time” over the weekend to reflect.
21 January to 19 Feb This is a very positive time for any new start, particularly in established areas that need revision. This is also the best time to apply for a new job. Do your best to stay organized and on task. For some, love could be in the air.
20 February to 20 Mar It’s a strange week for you. Although there will be forward movement in your life and fewer concerns with technology, there are issues on the home front with unexpected expenses. Meanwhile, changes come to the workplace.
1. Diner staples
1. *Dad to J. Lo’s twins
6. Attorneys’ org.
9. “____ farewell,” past tense
3. Like a doily
13. Fully informed
4. Spam destination?
14. Got a blue ribbon
5. Anatomical partition
6. Military no-show
16. Short version
7. *Ziggy Marley’s father
17. Geisha’s sash
8. Liquorice flavor
9. Charlie “____” Parker
19. *”Father’s Day” (1997) star
10. Jessica ____ of “Dark Angel”
21. *Actual day for dad
11. June 6, 1944
23. Center of activity
12. Literary “even”
15. Adjust, as in piano
25. Joe Louis’ punch
20. Perpendicular to the keel
22. Coffin alternative
30. Eggnog spice
24. His buddy was Gilligan
35. Tangerine/grapefruit hybrid 37. Home to China 39. *Mercer Ellington’s dad played it 40. Old paint hazard 41. Canada’s favorite tree 43. Japanese restaurant staple 44. Garment insert 46. 2nd word in fairytale 47. Outback birds 48. Capital of Canada 50. Largest volcano in Europe 52. “I can ____ clearly now...” 53. Affirm with confidence 55. Last month 57. Rainy season streambeds, in Africa 60. *Kirk Douglas’ son 64. Wrinkle-prone fabric 65. Declare
25. *Enrique Iglesias’ father 26. ____ provocateur 27. “____ from the past” 29. *Isaac’s firstborn 31. *Most precious gift? 32. Disfigures 33. Follow as a consequence 34. One in a gaggle 36. It comes to mind 38. Loads 42. Tedium 45. Mark and Shania 49. Reverential salutation 51. Greek poetry meter 54. Bacon piece 56. Oar holder 57. *Jaden Smith’s father 58. Dwarf buffalo 59. Hold as a conviction 60. Bigfoot, e.g. 61. “Si, mi chiamo Mimi,” La Bohème
67. Blood line
62. Greek Hs
68. Medicinal house plants
63. Add booze
69. Rocker Adam 70. Hipbone-related 71. Chowder protein
64. Lake in Provence 66. Nurses’ org.
72. Kum Ba ____ 73. This and desist
SOLUTION FOR STATEPOINT SUMMER FUN on PAGE 19
VOICE OF ASIA 19
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
Hiring - Marketing/Web Master/Graphic Designer
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Voice of Asia is looking for a Marketing / Web Master / Graphic Designer person who can do it all to be part of the team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. Interested applicants can email their resume to email@example.com
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Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Friday, June 29, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www. hccs.edu/procurement.
STATEPOINT CROSSWORD SOLUTION To advertise on our newsletter Call 713-774-5140 or email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heat illnesses can be fatal; would you know what to do?
here are several heatrelated illnesses, including heatstroke (the most severe), heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Those most at risk include: Infants and young children l Elderly people l Pets l Individuals with heart or circulatory problems or other long-term illness l People who work outdoors l Athletes and people who like to exercise – especially beginners l Individuals taking medications that alter sweat production l Alcoholics and drug abusers l
Heatstroke Heatstroke can occur when the ability to sweat fails and body temperature rises quickly. The brain and vital organs are effectively “cooked” as body temperature rises to a dangerous level in a matter of minutes. Heatstroke is often fatal, and those who do survive may have permanent damage to their organs. Someone experiencing heatstroke will have extremely hot skin, and an altered mental state, ranging from slight confusion to coma. Seizures also can result. Ridding the body of excess heat is crucial for survival. Move the person into a half-sitting position in the shade l
Call for emergency medical help immediately l
If humidity is below 75%, spray the victim with water l
and fan them vigorously; if humidity is above 75%, apply ice to neck, armpits or groin l Do not give aspirin or acetaminophen l Do not give the victim anything to drink
Workers or athletes with pain or spasms in the abdomen, arms or legs should not return to work for a few hours. Instead: l
Drink cool water or a sports drink. l
Heat Exhaustion When the body loses an excessive amount of salt and water, heat exhaustion can set in. People who work outdoors and athletes are particularly susceptible. Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and can include severe thirst, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting and, sometimes, diarrhea. Other symptoms include profuse sweating, clammy or pale skin, dizziness, rapid pulse and normal or slightly elevated body temperature. Uncontrolled heat exhaustion can evolve into heatstroke, so make sure to treat the victim quickly. Move them to a shaded or air-conditioned area l
l Give them water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages l Apply wet towels or having them take a cool shower.
Heat cramps Heat cramps are muscle spasms that usually affect the legs or abdominal muscles, often after physical activity. Excessive sweating reduces salt levels in the body, which can result in heat cramps.
VOICE OF ASIA
Sit or lie down in the shade.
Stretch affected muscles.
l Seek medical attention if you have heart problems or if the cramps don’t get better in an hour.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more information on heat-related illness in this FAQ.
Theme: FATHER’S DAY from PAGE 18
The best way to avoid a heatrelated illness is to limit exposure outdoors during hot days. Air conditioning is the best way to cool off, according to the CDC. Also: l Drink more liquid than you think you need and avoid alcohol l Wear loose, lightweight clothing and a hat l Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks l Avoid spending time outdoors during the hottest part of the day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. l Wear sunscreen; sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool itself l Pace yourself when you run or otherwise exert your body.
For more on safety visit https://www.nsc.org - The National Safety Council (NSC) .
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VOICE OF ASIA 20
FRIDAY, June 8, 2018
Home&Real Estate 3 Awesome backyard party ideas Harris County receives $26.5
million for home buyouts
HCFCD to receive first allocation of funding to support voluntary home buyouts in response to Hurricane Harvey
ince Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August 2017, the Harris County Flood Control District has been working with its many local, state, and federal partners to address the flood risk reduction needs of the county. This includes responding to and addressing volunteers for the Flood Control District Home Buyout Program by maintaining a Home Buyout Hotline, collecting information from thousands of home buyout volunteers, reviewing and identifying properties that meet the Flood Control District Home Buyout eligibility criteria, and submitting grant applications for funding to support home buyouts in response to Hurricane Harvey.
(Photo credit: Shaiith/stock.Adobe.com)
hrowing a party and need an idea? With just a little planning, you can turn your ordinary backyard into anything you want it to be. A Water Park Who says you need a pool to cool off on hot days? Create a backyard water park with stations like Slip ‘n’ Slide, sprinklers, inflatable water play pools and water balloons. Serve guests popsicles, funnel cake, hotdogs and other waterpark treats. Be sure to have plenty of beach towels on hand and a designated area for those guests who’d prefer to stay dry. A Movie Theater Host a film night under the stars by moving your home theater out-
side. Create “stadium seating” by putting blankets towards the front of the viewing area, reclining chairs behind those, and then regular lawn chairs in the back. Decorate your backyard in theme with the movie you are screening and serve popcorn. To get the real movie theater experience, use a high-quality projector, such as those from Casio, which combine a laser and LED light source to produce optimal visuals. Their Intelligent Light Control feature senses ambient light and automatically adjusts the projection brightness accordingly to ensure that no matter the time of day or lighting conditions, you’ll have good visuals. With these same ideas and just a few snack and decoration swaps,
you can host your friends for any big televised event! Summer Camp Relive the camp experience with some friendly competition. Assign all your guests to teams and then start keeping score. A prominent score board with the current stats and some motivating music will keep guests on top of their game. Include classic feats of strength and coordination like tug-of-war and a threelegged race, but don’t be afraid to branch out to include games that use the mind, such as trivia. Complete the day with an awards ceremony. Take your backyard party to the next level. Pick a theme and go all out to create a fiesta your guests won’t soon forget. (StatePoint).
From patio furniture to tools: Land prices in Texas on the rise DIY rust repair made simple
exas has seen substantial economic growth as well as an influx of new residents, according to research by Texas A&M Real Estate Center. As a result, the price of land is growing while the supply continues to shrink. Land costs now account for an increasingly larger share of homes in Texas, while remaining low compared to national levels. About 20 percent of the cost of an average single-family home in Texas went to land alone in 2016. From 2011 to 2016, that number increased 5 percent.
(Photo credit: (c) Boonchai/stock.Adobe.com)
et’s face it; rust is unavoidable. It’s unsightly and if left unchecked, it can lead to costly damage to homes and automobiles. From lawn mowers and shovels to fences and furniture, if it’s metal and exposed to moisture, it is vulnerable to rust. However, just because an item has corroded does not mean it’s time to pitch and replace. In fact, rust repair can often be a simple project that makes for a great summer weekend DIY project. Rust occurs when moisture and metal mix with carbon dioxide in the air. This combination causes immediate damage to the metal. It’s important to address rust spots as soon as they appear. Once rust becomes so extensive that holes develop, it becomes necessary to replace the item entirely. Along with some mild weather and a little elbow grease, a rust-free backyard is just a few tools and simple steps away. First, use a wire brush, steel wool or sandpaper to remove any loose rust, flaking paint and debris from the surface. This step is where you can determine if what you are work-
ing on is salvageable. Surface rust can be stopped and sealed without much trouble. However, if corrosion has eaten through the surface, leaving a hole in the substrate, it’s most likely time to replace the item. For surfaces with an identifiable grain pattern, be sure to brush with the grain. For harder-to-reach surfaces, such as intricate wrought iron, railings or fencing, a drill can help clear out loose rust and debris. The next step is to seal the surface from oxygen to stop the corrosion process. Once the surface is free of loose rust and debris, a coating designed specifically for rust prevention, such as RustProof M/D from Martin Senour Automotive Finishes, is ideal. For maximum protection, apply a second coat after two to five hours. If necessary, wait another two to five hours before applying an additional topcoat layer for extra UV protection. Before tossing rusted items, remember, this process is not only easy, but applicable for countless common household items prone to rust, including garden tools, appliances, auto parts, gutters and downspouts and even basement window frames. (StatePoint).
Houston in particular saw a 25.1 percent share increase from 2011 to 2016, up roughly 7 percent. Among other large Texas markets, this is the steepest incline observed. Not only are land prices rising, but municipal fees, such as impact fees intended to cover the cost of water infrastructure, are also rising.
Home buyouts are used by the Flood Control District to reduce flood damages in areas hopelessly deep in the floodplain where structural projects to reduce flooding are not cost effective and/or beneficial. Since the Flood Control District’s voluntary buyout program began in 1985, more than 2,075 structures have been purchased with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants and more than 960 properties (with and without structures) have been purchased with local Flood Control District funds. As announced by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Harris County will receive its first allocation of FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds in response to Hurricane Harvey. Twenty-five million six hundred thousand dollars are estimated to be received out of the total $163.5 million that the Flood Control District requested for home buyouts through HMGP. The Flood Control District will be able to purchase approximately 169 homes with $8.6 million required local matching funds and the $25.6 million in HMGP funds. Additional funding allocations from the same grant application are expected later this year. In April 2018, the Flood Control District submitted a grant application to Texas Division of Emergency Management and FEMA to request funding through the HMGP. This grant application included approximately 1,000 homes for potential home buyout (totaling approximately $163.5 million in federal funding requests to the State). To utilize the new HMGP funding, the Harris County Commissioners Court must first authorize a local funding match of $54.5 million, or 25 percent of the total amount needed (approximately $218 million total) to support purchasing the proposed 1,000 homes. The 1,000 homes were included in the grant application because they meet the Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program eligibility requirements, including: • The home is located in Harris County, Texas. • The home’s flooding is from a bayou, creek, or smaller tributary that feeds into the bayou system.
• The home is located in a mapped floodplain and/or subject to repetitive flooding caused by out‑of‑bank bayou flooding. • A home buyout must be the most beneficial solution to a home’s flooding problem (as opposed to a structural solution, such as a channel conveyance improvement or stormwater detention basin). • The home is strategically located for potential or future flood damage reduction projects and/or floodplain preservation. • The home is located in a community that has expressed general support for buyouts. The first funding allocation of $25.6 million will support the purchase of approximately 169 homes dispersed throughout the county. These homes were initially selected because they meet the Flood Control District Home Buyout Program eligibility criteria, and these homes were prioritized because they have been designated as “substantially damaged” by building code officials at the Harris County Engineering Department or the City of Houston’s Public Works & Engineering Department. Once a property has received a “substantially damaged” designation, homeowners have limited options to bring homes back into compliance with current floodplain regulations, as a “substantially damaged” designation means the cost to repair the home is assumed to be equal to or more than 50 percent of the market value of the home itself. The remaining funds requested by the Flood Control District in the April 2018 grant application are still under review by the Texas Division of Emergency Management for future authorization, and subsequent funding authorized by the Texas Division of Emergency Management will be used to purchase additional homes that were included in the April 2018 HMGP application. “I recognize the determination of the residents of this county, and we are continuously working on our residents’ behalf to secure every avenue of federal, state, and even local funding available to move people out of harm’s way before the next storm or flooding event. This is just the first allotment of FEMA funding for home buyouts, and we are looking forward to the ability to do more work for our residents,” said County Judge Emmett. The Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program is ongoing, and home owners may volunteer to be considered for the program at any time. The Flood Control District is continually reevaluating and reassessing the needs for home buyouts across the county as additional funding becomes available. For more information about how to participate in a potential home buyout, please contact the Flood Control District at (713) 684-4020 or visit www. hcfcd.org/homebuyout. (-HCFCD)
The median home price in the Lone Star State comes in at $230,500 as of April, up from $138,000 in 2011, according to the real estate center. Houston saw a similar spike from $136,950 in 2011 to $240,000. The cause of the substantial price surge is not unique to Texas. A limited supply of homes and shortage of construction workers are the culprits and plague other large areas across the country. “It’s a common-sense, obvious thing — as you grow the number of people and households, they’re going to need housing somewhere,” Jim Gaines, the real estate center’s chief economist, said to the Houston Chronicle. “The supply of the land is fairly plentiful, but supply is always relative.” While the economy and population is Texas continues to expand, land prices are likely to continue to rise. Land prices, at 20.4 percent, in Texas are still relatively cheap compared to other places in
The price of land is growing while supply is shrinking (Image: Google)
the U.S. “Until we figure out how to develop and convert that raw developable
land into developed land, and do it at a cost-efficient ratio,” Gaines said, “we’re going to have to have this continuing thing.”
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Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...
Published on Jun 7, 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...