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VOICE OF ASIA The Largest Asian-American Newsweekly in Texas
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Vol. 32 No. 18 • Friday, May 11, 2018
Published Weekly from Houston
UNICEF honors Houston's iconic couple at annual gala
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May 11, 2018 InFRIDAY, Section 2 l HEALTHLINE
Cholesterol meds raise diabetes risk in women
l HOME & REAL ESTATE Housing confidence reaches record high as prices skyrocket
Chilld custody decisions; Immigration procession Q&A
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Indian Doctors Association Gala 2018 in aid of scholarships, charity clinic by Shobana Muratee
OUSTON - Indian Doctors Association, (IDA), one the largest local chapters of Association of Physicians of India Origin (AAPI) held its annual fundraising gala on Saturday, April 28 at the Hyatt Regency downtown.
Linda and Jim "Mack" McIngvale (right) were presented with the Global Community Hero award by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. (Photos: Shobana Muratee)
by Shobana Muratee OUSTON – A plethora of Houston’s rich and famous helped UNICEF US raise over $900,000 in donations at their 5th Anniversary fundraiser held at The Post Oak Hotel on Friday May 4, in aid of UNICEF's lifesaving work. Presenting Houston's own Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale and his wife Linda McIngvale with Global Community Hero Award, Mayor
Sylvester Turner said, “UNICEF reminds the world that we are a state of compassion, and resilience.” When it comes to disasters UNICEF and Houston had the same progress: get people to safety as quickly as possible and to always place children’s needs first,” he added. “Astros and heroes stepped up to save the city’s last year. The McIngvales are the first recipients of the award that was specially created by UNICEF after witnessing the extraordinary support received
by heroes during Hurricane Harvey, Mayor Turner said. In his acceptance speech McIngvale said about UNICEF,” Putting children first, what could be greater in this world that we live?” He told a couple of incidences that impacted his life and that of his family’s. One of them was Regina, a child known to the family, who was undocumented, suffered eight years of global and was Continued on page 4
Prasun Jalal, MD, IDA President welcomed the gathering of about 600 guests to “A Night of Celebration,” with comedy, dance and music. Dr. Jalal gave a brief outline of IDA’s objectives as a non-profit, networking forum for physicians of Indian origin to provide mentorship in academic excellence, patient care and promote health education for the Greater Houston. Dr. Jalal recognized IDA officers, IDA’s past president and a few of those in the leadership positions in medicine and healthcare. He thanked sponsors BBVA Compass, New York Life and Southside Pharmacy for their individual contributions of $10,000 each. Sister organizations: India House, IACCGH, IACF and IDCC, and Harris County Medical Society were also recognized on the occasion. “We are not happy with our healthcare,” remarked Keynote Speaker James T. Mcdeavitt, MD, Sr. VP & Dean of Clinical Affairs, Baylor College of Medicine, about US healthcare system, “some of us understand a portion of the vision but not all have the whole vision of healthcare.” “I’m trying to make sense in being optimis-
Prasun K. Jalal, MD, IDA President (right) presenting IDA's Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 to Subodh Bhuchar, MD. Photos credit: Roy Photography. tic and excited in healthcare,” Dr. Mcdeavitt said. Using the urban horse parable, a crisis which crippled New York City with ‘waste, manure and feed that was built up six stories high,’ Dr. Mcdeavitt explained his reasons. “The rate of traffic fatalities during the urban horse era was greater than in the automobile era,” he said. “In 1900 there were 8000 cars
in US. By 1950 there were 2.5 million and in a decade they (horses) were off the streets. That’s why I’m optimistic and excited about health care because we are entering an era of really, truly of developmental change. And there’s something on the horizon that alters the way on how we deliver health-
Continued on page 3
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by Kenneth Megan And Shai Akabas
here is a common narrative that the federal government earns billions of dollars in “profit” from the student loan program. But evidence shows the reality is not quite that simple. Many Americans are sinking under the weight of student debt. Currently, more than one-fifth of borrowers with scheduled monthly payments are over 90 days delinquent, and less than half of new borrowers are able to chip away at their principal balance within three years of entering repayment. Meanwhile, the federal government continues pumping loans into the higher education system, issuing roughly $100 billion each year, which has led to total outstanding debt that now exceeds $1.4 trillion. Given these trends, it should be little surprise that around a one-fifth of borrowers have at least $40,000 in outstanding loans. Members of Congress are also not immune. A recent report by CQ Roll Call revealed that 53 lawmakers have student loan debt. Given these disconcerting trends, the national conversation over student loans has rightly focused on struggling borrowers. But the federal government’s loan portfolio also poses serious risks to taxpayers. This is an issue that has remained under the radar, even as cost estimates have taken a substantial turn for the worse. The latest Congressional Budget Office projections, based on accounting rules in effect for decades, suggest that the federal student loan portfolio benefits taxpayers, generating over $30 billion in savings between 2019 and 2028. This estimate, however, relies heavily on assumptions regarding future repayment trends.
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
College loan debt has risks for students and taxpayers alike incorporates market risk and alters projections considerably. According to the latest CBO estimates, the fair value method leads to $232 billion in costs to the federal government over 10 years, which translates to a $264 billion difference when compared to the other accounting projections.
File photo Default rates could simply be higher, or repayment rates lower, than expected. This would reduce actual savings compared to those projections. In fact, CBO estimates over the past five years show projected savings have dropped considerably. Contributing to this uncertainty is the recent expansion of income-driven repayment plans, which cap monthly payments as a percentage of a borrower’s income, and the advent of public service loan forgiveness, which clears the remaining student debt of borrowers who spend 10 years in public service. These programs are important for reducing risk among students who shoulder high levels of debt, but they have put taxpayers increasingly on the hook. The CBO has indicated as much in its recent savings estimates, revising them downward by billions of dollars, in part due to higher than expected enrollment in these plans.
To make matters worse, the Department of Education’s projections, which inform the president’s annual budget request, have not been updated to reflect current realities. The department continues to use an outdated model that was built when the federal government offered only one income-driven repayment plan. Today, it offers four repayment plans. That means an additional element of imprecision is inherent to any of the department’s budget estimates for student loans. Amid this uncertainty is one constant: Borrowers are less likely to meet their monthly payments during an economic downturn. This “market risk” is not accounted for under current estimates, which are tied to the interest rates of U.S. Treasuries. Those securities are assumed to be free of market risk, so therefore the rules assume the same of student loans. A different approach for estimating loan costs is known as fair value accounting, which
Jumping down the rabbit hole of federal government accounting can be cumbersome, but in this case, Americans need to understand the unpredictability when it comes to the massive student loan program. Borrowers take a risk when they shoulder student loans, and while most students see a return on their investment, federal policy mitigates this risk and provides support for students when the investment doesn’t pan out. The risks facing federal taxpayers are less straightforward, as little agreement exists over how much the federal loan portfolio will end up saving, or costing, the government. Not only is the modeling outdated, but it is sensitive to interest rates, and various forecasting approaches elicit wildly different projections. Given that the government carries over $1 trillion in student debt, it’s time for Congress and the administration to rethink our student loan policies and how the portfolio is estimated. Otherwise, taxpayers may unknowingly be the ones left holding the bag. Kenneth Megan is a senior policy analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Shai Akabas is director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Immigrants commit fewer crimes than US-born peers by Ester Cepedea
here’s an old saw in journalism that when a dog bites a man, it’s just another thing that happened. But when a man bites a dog, well, that’s news. “Criminal illegal immigrants” are a modern-day version of that adage. A large segment of America refuses to accept that legal immigrants, naturalized citizens and other lawfully present people from other countries —
76 percent of all immigrants in the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center — simply work or go to school and lead totally ordinary lives. These immigrants contribute to the economy, fund the Social Security program, etc., and otherwise just mind their own business. The fact of the matter is that a significant portion of our society just wants to believe the worst about immigrants. It’s but a mere detail that only about a quarter of all the
immigrants in the U.S. are living here without the proper authorization (and represent only 3.4 percent of the total U.S. population). After all, even one would be too many in some minds. It’s been well documented in studies going back nearly a century that the foreign-born are involved in crime at significantly lower rates than their U.S.-born peers. New research recently published in the United Kingdom-based journal Migration
Letters delved into arrest and re-arrest data of first-time juvenile male offenders between the ages of 13 and 17 in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and southern California. Frankly, people like a good man-bites-dog story because it’s novel. Immigrants who by and large serve society and just try to carve out a life for themselves are suffering from being unremarkable — probably because they’ve been around since the founding of our nation. (-Washington Post)
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FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Indian Doctors Association 37 Gala 2018 in aid of scholarships, charity clinic Continued from front page care.” Dr. Mcdeavitt mentioned how Baylor College of Medicine research, in collaboration with National Institutes for Health (NIH), was helping patients with answers about the diagnoses of diseases that are unknown. “It’s about peace of mind, a taste of the future personalized medicine,” he added.
Keynote Speaker James T. Mcdeavitt, MD, Sr. VP & Dean of Clinical Affairs, Baylor College of Medicine, being honored by Prasun K. Jalal, IDA President.
IDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 was presented to Subodh Bhuchar, MD, Family Medicine Doctor, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital who has been practicing in Sugar Land for the last 26 years. Dr. Bhuchar said he was ‘shocked’ to learn of the Award only at the event. He dedicated the award to nurses, hospital staff and physicians who dedicate their time and life for patient care. He made a special mention of his brother Vinod Bhuchar and sister-in-law Vijay Bhuchar who guided him when lost his father.
IDA scholarship winners included: Arshia Batra, recipient of VLN Scholarship, Nikita Yashodhan Gidh, Monsterrat Hernandez Guajardo and Fenix C. Longoria. Anish Shah, standup comedian from New York, well known for his charitable work with “Save a Mother’ organization served as emcee. He thoroughly entertained the guests making Indian-Americans the butt of his jokes. KC Metha, Director, representing Indian Doctor’s Charity Clinic received a check for $45,000 from IDA. The Indian Doctors Charity Clinic was established in March 1999 and has successfully completed 15 years of service to Houstonians of all ethnic groups. The clinic sees patients once a week on Saturdays, from 9 A.M to 12 noon. Patients of ALL ethinic groups are seen – Asians, Hispanics, Caucasians and AfricanAmericans are given this service free of charge if they have
Anish Shah, standup comedian performing.
Karmagraphy group performing. no insurance and are indigent. IDCC also received a check for $9,000 from the IndoAmerican Charity Foundation that was presented by Mahesh Wadhwa, president IACF and Shobana Muratee, IACF president-elect. The evening dance entertainment was by Karmagraphy and singing group Rhythm of Dreams entertained with Bolly-
IDA Board of Directors with the Scholarship winners: Photo credit: Roy Photography.
wood songs and music. The taste décor was by Therese Hub and dinner catered by Bombay Brasserie. A video on IDA was presented highlighting the organization’s mission of providing networking forum for physicians of Indian origin, mentorship in academic excellence, patient care and promote health education for the Greater Houston community.
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FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
UNICEF Annual Gala...
Southwest Regional Board Chair Susan Boggio, Honorary chair Leela Krisnamurthy and other Board members. Photo by Shobana Muratee.
Susan and Fayez Sarofim,recepients of the Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award. Photo by Shobana Muratee.
and food is what children need across the world need every night he reminded concluding with Mark Twain’s quote, “Kindness is a language that deaf can hear and the blind can see.” The evening also honored Susan and Fayez Sarofim with the Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award. The Award was presented by philanthropist Margaret Alkek Williams. Mayor Turner introduced Emma Kathleen Hepburn Ferrer, granddaughter of Audrey Hepburn, UNICEF's longstanding ambassador, spoke of her grandmother’s compassion for children’s cause and her passion for supporting UNICEF's mission. Nelson Bowman, Managing Director, Southwest Region, gave an overview of UNICEF’s work serving in
Continued from front page being fed ketchup for 2 years. Touched by her plight, his daughter asked him to have her removed from Child Protective Services. “She is 18 now and has better life. UNICEF steps in to fill in the gaps,” McIngvale said. His second anecdote was in connection with Hurricane Harvey. As the guests listened intently, McIngvale spoke of the incident during Hurricane Harvey when a family showed up at the gates of his business, Gallery Furniture, seeking shelter. “We had about 300 people sleeping on mattresses, sofas and recliners,” he said. A young girl of about 7 years old was at the door her parents and another man. “She was traumatized, crying frightened and shivering, he narrated. “Can we stay here tonight,” she asked him for shelter. Shelter
190 countries and territories. UNICEF works to improve the policies and services that protect all children. Southwest Regional Board Chair Susan Boggio also spoke on the occasion. Honorary chairs Leela and Nat Krisnamurthy, , Penny and Paul Loyd, Jr., Rosanette and Harry Cullen, Margaret Alkek Williams, Randa and Charles Williams were all in attendance on the evening. Gala chairs included: Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Sippi and Ajay Khurana, Leticia and Stephen Trauber, Ileana and Michael Trevino. Deborah Duncan, TV host of the show, Great Day Houston, sang the national Anthem and served as emcee for the evening that featured performance by Professor D. Exciting live auction included presenting sponsor’s
Margaret Alkek Williams with UNICEF officials. Photo by Shobana Muratee.
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tribute to heroes, living legends and those who support UNICEF’s work putting children first.
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FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place
18th Annual Diversity Summit held in Sugar Land, TX by Susan Pothanikat
market looking and feeling their best. Nancy, Susie Cunningham and a small group of founding Board members opened the first Dress for Success in the state of Texas. Twenty years later, Dress for Success Houston has provided more than 75,000 units of service to 40,000 underprivileged women in Houston.
UGAR LAND — On Friday, May 4th, the 18th annual Diversity Summit took place at the Sugar Land Marriott. Executive Director, Cecil Fong, welcomed the sold out crowd for a day filled with speaker sessions to educate professionals on making a diverse workplace inclusive for all. Speakers from various backgrounds educated attendees on the following topics: inclusive leadership, creating a safe and harassment free working environment, supplier diversity, shedding light on gender identity, among others. The first part of the speaking sessions was followed by the luncheon where the 2018 Diversity Summit Champion Award recipients were recognized on stage. Stanley Kazibew, Marketing and Business Development Associate from LNG Bechtel, accepted the award for the Corporate Diversity Champion. Stanley was
In 2012, under Nancy's leadership, Dress for Success Houston completed a successful $6.7 million capital and moved into a 16,000 sq. ft. building located in the Upper Kirby District at 3310 Eastside Street. Houston is proud to be the first and only affiliate, worldwide, to purchase land and build a permanent facility. 2018 marks the 20th anni-
Opening Session: Executive Director: Cecil Fong, Honorary Co-Chair: Joanna Nolte, Manager Equal Opportunity and D&I, Shell U.S., Honorary Co-Chair: Dr. Antonio D. Tillis, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and M. D. Anderson Professor in Hispanic Studies, University of Houston. instrumental in Bechtel being named as 2017 Corporate Partner of the Year by both Society of Hispanic Professionals Engineers – Houston and by National Society of Black Engineers – Houston. Both groups seek to inspire and empower underrepresented communities to pursue excellence through STEM professions. Stanley is always willing to help others and share his insights and has inspired other colleagues to become more involved in this critical mission.
CEO Panel on Inclusion Practices: Moderator: Dr. Dusya Vera, Associate Professor, Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. Panelists: Dr. Cesar Maldonado, Chancellor, Houston Community College, Brett Perlman, CEO, Center for Houston’s Future, Joanna Nolte, Manager Equal Opportunity and D&I, Shell U.S., Debbie W. Ridley, President and CEO of The Organizational Fixer, LLC
Nancy Levicki, President and Co-Founder of Dress for Success Houston was also awarded as the Community Diversity Champion. Dress for Success helps low-income women and war vets from the Houston area enter the job
versary of Dress for Success Houston, and Nancy is proud to have co-founded an agency committed to addressing the needs of women of all ethnicities in the community. After the luncheon, guests networked with the various sponsors at their respected booths. Among the sponsors included: Embridge, Shell Oil, BP, Chevron, Rice University, CenterPoint Energy, ConocoPhillips, University of Houston, Bechtel, HEB, Deloitte, Houston Community College, Memorial Hermann Health System, Cole Chemical, Madras Pavilion, Outreach Strategists, Soaring to Greatness, DoubleTree by Hilton, METRO, Pink Petro and Voice of Asia.
Fort Bend ISD earns high ratings from top credit agencies
ORT BEND ISD (May 7, 2018) – Fort Bend ISD has earned top ratings from two internationally-recognized credit ratings agencies, Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings. The District received an AA+ rating from both agencies during its recent bond sales, marking the District’s strong financial health and the quality of bonds issued. “These top ratings demonstrate Fort Bend ISD’s prudent debt management, keeping our debt costs low and ultimately benefiting tax
payers.” “Our high rating, active debt management and higher property values enabled the District to lower the tax rate, even while we have been issuing debt to fund the projects for the 2014 Bond Program,” said Steven Bassett, FBISD’s Chief Financial Officer. Fort Bend ISD’s current tax rate is $1.32, reduced from $1.34. The tax rate continues to be among the lowest compared to surrounding districts.
VOICE OF ASIA 6
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Indian-Americans push for Sri Kulkarni's US Congressional race
ri Preston Kulkarni is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for US Congressional District 22 on a platform of bringing reason, compassion and decency to politics. Congressional District 22 includes Sugar Land, Pearland, Katy, and surrounding areas.
The New York Times said that if Sri Kulkarni wins his run off he “could be a significant boost to Democrats’ chance to nab this House seat.” The Kulkarni Campaign has mobilized over 500 volunteers throughout the campaign, who together have called or knocked on the doors of 65,000 voters in over 12 languages. Kulkarni’s campaign is likely to also attract swing voters because of his optimistic alternative. Their extensive field operation could help flip this district and elect the first ever Asian American Member of Congress from Texas, says Meera Kapur, a Kulakrni supporter from Sugar Land.
Kulkarni emerged first among five candidates in the Democratic primary election held on March 6 and he is rooting for a win the runoff against Leticia Plummer. Sri Preston Kulkarni, 39, received 9,466 votes (nearly 32 per cent), while his fellow Democrat Letitia Plummer got 7,230 votes (24.3 per cent). As the first Indian-American, if elected he will be representing District 22 which makes up an ethnically diverse community, a mosaic of many cultures from all over the world. Because of Sri’s grassroots campaign, there has been a many fold increase in the Asian American voter turnout since midterm primary election. Kulkarni is a native Houstonian with degrees from University of Texas and Harvard. He spent 14 years in the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer and has extensive experience at the federal level, overseas tours in multiple countries, and proficiency in 6 languages.
Change begins with voters – to vote for Sri Kulkarni is to vote for the change we all hope for, to believe that this country can be better, Kapur says.
Supporters of Sri Preston Kulkarni, the Democratic Party nomination for US Congressional District 22 at the Madras Pavilion in SL. Sri has reduced conflict in warzones, worked on bipartisan legislation in the Senate, and co-founded an initiative to reduce partisan hostility. Voters in the district have been energized by his public
Indo-American Heritage celebrations on May 12
service and public affairs experiences as well as his positive message, according to Kulkarni for Congress campaign. His career has focused on bringing people together and his campaign focuses on giving people
something to be for, not against, which swing voters yearned for in 2016. The Houston Chronicle in their endorsement said, “Sri Preston Kulkarni stands out as the most impressive candidate.” Various
faiths based and community organizations, like AFL-CIO, Fort Bend Tejano Democrats, and the Muslim, Hindu and Chinese communities as well as moderate Republicans have expressed their support.
Sri Kulkarni’s father, who passed away 20 years ago this May, wanted him to be the change we are looking for in our representatives. Just as his father inspired him, he does inspire the community to reach its greatest potential. Early voting begins May 14. The Indian American community by its active participation in electoral process can send a strong signal that the community is poised to lead in civic engagement.
Nursing graduation is a family affair
Graduating nurses on their exciting and well-deserved day. (Photo credit: UTMBG) (FIS-HPL PROJECT TEAM L-R: FIS Directors Raghavender Nednur, Hiren Sharma, Chairman,Krishna Vavilala; HPL Members: Abrego Carmen, Project Lead and Manager,Jennifer Schwartz, Ana Frade, Allen Westrick and Dominick Spinelli of HPL. (Photo credit: Krishna Marepalli)
OUSTON - For the second time in three years, Houston Public Library (HPL) and Foundation for India Studies have once again joined hands to put spot light on the Indo-Americans and celebrate their Indian heritage. The FIS-HPL Project Team met at Jungman Library on April 30, to work out the details of the event. This year's celebration will take place in the Jungman Neighborhood library located at 5830 Westheimer,Tx. 77057. The program will start at 12 noon and end at 4.00PM. The Key Note speaker will be NASA astronaut of Indian origin, Ms. Sunita Williams and the Consul General of India in Houston,Dr. Anupam Ray will
offer remarks on India's heritage, followed by a short Q&A session. Cultural segment of the program will be provided by students of Laasya School of Dance and Music, and Bharatha Darshana School of Indian Classical Dance and music. Nirmanz Restaurant of Sugar Land will provide complimentary refreshments. A fun Quiz will test participant's knowledge about India and its heritage. Recitation and explanation of VEDAs is a new item added this year. Event admission is Free. Limited free parking at the venue is available for early birds on a first come first served basis. For further information, please call Krishna Vavilala 713-795-5169.
ALVESTON, Texas (April 17, 2018) – For six of the 578 graduates receiving their degrees from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston School of Nursing, the day will be extra special since family members either work or teach at UTMB. You might say they are all, “keeping it in the family.” Student Trista Arnold is very excited to have family present for her graduation, and even more excited that her mother will be there not only to support her, but to also receive her own Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Arnold’s mother, Tonya Callender, received her nursing degree 30 years ago and has been a source of support during her time in school. “I could not have asked for better person to go through nursing school with,” said Arnold. “It was great to have my mom to understand and be supportive of me and to push me
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Graduation day also will be special for Trista’s mother as she receives her doctoral hood from her husband, Dr. David L. Callender, UTMB’s president. “I am very excited, it is not very often you get to watch your daughter graduate and also get your husband who happens to be the president to hood you,” said Callender. The hooding ceremony is a memorable time when a faculty member places the doctoral hood over the head of the graduate, signifying their success in completing the graduate program. School of nursing assistant professor Rebeka Watson Campbell will be proudly watching as her husband, Stewart Campbell, receives his Master of Science in Nursing degree. “It is a little different for me because I did this with him four years ago when he got his baccalaureate degree,” said Watson Campbell. “When he got his de-
gree at that time I was also on stage with him, so I have had practice.” Graduate Allison Strawn’s father, Kenneth Strawn, is a software systems specialist at UTMB’s Moody Medical Library and through the years Allison has had quite a number of other family members work at UTMB. When asked how it will feel graduating from an institution where so many family members have worked Strawn said, “I think all of the graduates are proud to be graduating from UTMB, but I do feel it is different when you have family members that work at UTMB and you have grown up hearing about how good a school it is.” There are more UTMB families that will be filled with pride as their family members graduate. School of Nursing assistant professor Tina Mathers a 2011 UTMB graduate will be watching as her daughter Rachel, receives her Bachelor of Science in
Nursing and assistant Professor Jackie Aoughsten will be proud as her daughter, Danielle also receives a BSN. Regardless of their immediate connection to UTMB, the nearly 600 graduates all now become a part of an extended family of more than 12,000 who have graduated from a nursing school institution that began in 1890 as the John Sealy Hospital Training School for Nurses. Commencement will be an exciting time for UTMB’s new senior vice president and dean of the School of Nursing, Deborah Jones. “I am very proud to celebrate the accomplishments of our students with their family who also happen to be our UTMB family. This is truly going to be a family affair!” IF YOU GO: WHERE: Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston WHEN: 3 p.m. Friday, April 20
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FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
BAPS Charities hosts Walk Green 2018 in Sugar Land, TX
ommunity members of all ages came out with their families to support the annual BAPS Charities Walk Green 2018 in Sugarland, TXon Sunday, April 29th. 2018 marks the third year that the annual BAPS Charities walkathonwill benefit The Nature Conservancy and their effort to conserve the lands and waters on earth to sustain life for upcoming generations. BAPS Charities will contribute $165,000, an equivalent of planting 130,000 trees, to The Nature Conservancy to support their initiative to plant a billion trees globally by 2025. In addition to supporting this global effort, this year’s BAPS Charities walkathon also supported Stafford MSD Education Foundation, Behind the BadgeCharities and Ford Bend Education Foundation. Each of these local organizations plays a crucial role in the community and helps support itsimportant members. Altogether, over 1500 participants attended the walk on Sunday morning.“I came here towalk today with the notion of ‘let’sgrow together’. BAPS Charities has made it possible by hosting this walk –where we walk together and unite as one, with one goal” said Anjlika Patel, 15, fromSugarLand. Anjlika has participated in theBAPS Charities Walk Green efforts ever since she was a young child with her family, first in Chicago and now here in Houston.Congressman Pete Olsoncongratulated the volunteers of BAPS Charities for their tremendous efforts during Hurricane Harvey relief work and energized the walkers before kicking off the Walk.BAPS Charities uses these opportunities to
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instill a spirit of service and commitment topreservation and environmental responsibility in community members. Events such as this help instill consciousness in everyonesurrounding their actions,and,in turn, helpinspireglobal harmony with nature.Commenting on activities of BAPS Charities, Bernadette Leaney, one of the sponsors of the Walk,said, “What I witnessed today is truly remarkable. You are a worldwide organization with 50,000 volunteers. I love your mission statement which is;bettering one person, betters the family which betters thecommunity, the world and our future”. BAPS Charities aims to selflessly serve society through a variety of social projects and inspire tens of thousands of others to do the same. In addition to the 54 such annual walkathons hosted across North America this year, BAPS Charities hosts various programs to support and raise awareness for healthy living, environmental sustainability and educational initiatives around the world.
Participants at the start of the Walk Green 2018.
Children getting face paint done at the Walk Green
Congressman Pete Olson cutting the ribbon at the Walk Green in Sugar Land.
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Japan, China, S. Korea search for agreement on Pyongyang by Hiroshi Hiyama / Sara Hussein
OKYO, Japan | AFP - East Asia's major powers meet in Tokyo on Wednesday to search for common ground on North Korea, while Washington's top diplomat was also expected in Pyongyang, as a breakneck diplomatic dance gathers pace. With the focus on the North exposing differences among its neighbours, the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China will be seeking a lowest-common-denominator agreement in the wake of a historic summit last week between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in. After years of isolation and sanctions prompted by its missile and nuclear programme, Pyongyang's relationship with the outside world has rapidly warmed, to the point where Kim could meet US President Donald Trump over the next few weeks. Trump announced late Tuesday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on his way to Pyongyang for talks ahead of the planned summit. "We think relationships are building with North Korea. We will see how it all works out. Maybe it won't. But it can be a great thing for North Korea, South Korea and the entire world," Trump said in a televised address from the White House. Pompeo, who met Kim in Pyongyang about a month ago while still director of the CIA, left Washington on Monday night with a delegation of senior officials, bound first for Japan, then North Korea. Earlier Tuesday, Kim held talks with China's Xi Jinping -- their second meeting in six weeks -- in which the North's leader reiterated a commitment to denuclearization. Kim's unannounced trip to the northeastern Chinese port city of Dalian highlights efforts by the Cold War-era allies to mend relations that cooled as Beijing supported UN sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Beijing, long the North's sole ally and economic buttress, has appeared eager to remain a key player in negotiations over Pyongyang's weapons programme. In comments published on North Korea's official KCNA news agency, Kim said "he would advance hand in hand with the close Chinese comrades in the long historic course of achieving peace and prosperity in the Korean peninsula". - Denuclearisation debated Japan, which has by far the most hardline position of the North's neighbours, has been left watching from the sidelines, uneasy at the pace of events and at what it sees as an unwarranted softening towards Pyongyang. In announcing the three-way summit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he hoped to "thoroughly discuss how we can have North Korea walk on a right path, resolve the abduction, missile and nuclear issues and create a bright future." The historical kidnapping of at least a dozen citizens by North Korean spies remains an emotive issue in Japan. Abe is likely to push for continued pressure on Pyongyang, including for "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation", Japanese media have reported. South Korea's President Moon, however, is expected to bat away such demands. An official in his office last week said Seoul wanted the three countries to simply endorse the Panmunjon Declaration signed by Kim and Moon last month in the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas. In an interview with Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun published Tuesday, Moon said he hoped for "Japan's active support and cooperation on the future road toward the settlement of permanent peace on the peninsula, as well as for the success of the US-North Korea summit meeting."
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Sri Lanka president to seek fresh term without 'murderers'
OLOMBO, Sri Lanka | AFP | - Sri Lanka's president announced Monday he will not retire at the end of his term despite a previous pledge, and said he will seek to form a new government excluding politicians who have committed murder. Maithripala Sirisena told a public rally in the former war zone of Batticaloa that he had unfinished business to attend to and he no longer intends to retire in 2020 when his five-year term finishes.
North Koreaâ€™s Kim Jong Un (left) said he was determined to end the conflict in the region. South Korean President Moon Jae is pleased (Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool Via Reuters) China has welcomed the Panmunjon Declaration and pledged its support for a formal end to the state of war that persists on the Korean peninsula. That all leaves the leaders -- which includes Chinese Premier Li Keqiang -- looking for a formula that no one can take issue with. "Japan may simply say that it wouldn't be prudent to just get all excited and automatically lift sanctions," said Hajime Izumi, expert on northeast Asia and North Korea at Tokyo In-
ternational University. "China and South Korea won't be able to voice outright disagreement with that." Despite huge and important trading relationships, ties in Northeast Asia have long been fraught, weighed down by historical grievances and squabbles over territory. Moon's visit will be the first by a South Korean president to Japan in over six years, with Li the first Chinese premier to visit in nearly eight years.
Delhi police parade 'space suit' scammers after NASA claims exposed
EW DELHI, India | AFP | 5/9/2018 - The alleged scam was out of this world but Indian police brought a father and son duo down to earth Wednesday when they paraded them in the fake space suits used to convince a businessman to hand over more than $200,000. New Delhi police released pictures and video of the two accused wearing the silvery suits, after the men were apprehended over claims that they could sell "magical" copper plates to US space agency NASA. Already on bail accused of selling snakes with "medicinal qualities" for more than $25,000 each, the pair told potential victims they were developing a device which could be used to generate "electricity from thunderbolts". They promised it would be sold to NASA and India's space agency for hundreds of millions of dollars, police said. Images of the accused fraudsters in radiation suits alongside crime branch investigators were widely shared on Indian
social media, where comments compared the duo's antics to "a low budget C-grade Bollywood movie". Police say that in addition to the New Delhi businessman, the father and son may have got money out of up to 30 people across northern India. Their fake device was apparently based on rare copper "that had been struck by a thunderbolt" so that it could magnetise rice, police explained. A copper plate covered in a thin magnetic liquid and rice mixed with iron filings were used to show off the machine. The pair, who employed actors to wear radiation suits and staged fake tests, had said they needed money to develop the invention, detectives said. The New Delhi businessmen became suspicious when promised experiments were repeatedly called off, mainly because of bad weather. He went to police and acknowledged he had handed over more than $200,000. It is not known how much the other victims paid.
"There are many who ask if I will retire in 2020," he said. "I will not retire. There is so much work to be done." The remarks at a rally in the country's east ended speculation about the 66 year-old's political future, and could escalate a clash with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Relations between Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) have soured since both suffered humiliating losses in February's local council elections. Speculation that Sirisena would run again had compounded problems between the parties as Wickremesinghe has signalled his intention to be a candidate at the next presidential election, due by late 2019. The row deepened when the UNP, the senior partner in the coalition, accused Sirisena of supporting last month's failed bid to impeach the prime minister. There was no immediate response from the UNP to Siris-
President Maithripala Sirisena speaking in Colombo (Photo: Colombo Telegraph) ena's announcement, seen as a de facto declaration of his candidacy despite a promise in his 2015 manifesto to be a oneterm president. Sirisena said Monday he wanted to unveil a new plan for the country. "For this new programme that I will unveil soon I don't need the support of politicians who have committed murder, those who are corrupt or have robbed public money," he said. "I ask how many political leaders are in the country who have not committed murder or robbed the people," he said, in a thinly veiled reference to the former regime of Mahinda Ra-
japakse. Former president Rajapakse put down the Tamil separatist struggle in May 2009 through a military assault which sparked allegations that up to 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed by troops. Sirisena had pledged to ensure accountability for war atrocities, but has faced international criticism for being slow to deliver on accountability as well as ethnic reconciliation. The SLFP is split between Sirisena and Rajapakse, but members of the faction loyal to Rajapakse sit with the opposition in parliament.
New violence hits Kashmir as death of tourist condemned
RINAGAR, India | AFP - Hundreds of protestors clashed Tuesday with Indian forces on a third day of deadly troubles in Kashmir as the disputed Himalayan territory reeled from the killing of a tourist drawn into the unrest. A Kashmiri man injured in earlier clashes died in hospital on Tuesday, setting off the new battles. Six Kashmiri civilians have now died in protests since a weekend siege in which security forces killed five militants. As news of the latest death spread in Shopian district, south of the state's main city Srinagar, residents poured onto the streets, throwing stones at security forces who fired shotgun pellets and tear gas, witnesses said. A police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at least three people were critically injured in the clashes.
Shops and schools shut across the Kashmir valley following a protest call by separatists opposed to Indian rule. Hundreds of police in riot gear patrolled the old quarters of Srinagar amid a new curfew. Late Monday, a tourist from India's southern Tamil Nadu state was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by stones as it drove into a protest outside Srinagar. Stone throwing is a regular tactic in battles between young protesters and security forces. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a top separatist leader and chief Muslim cleric, condemned the attack on tourists as hooliganism. "It is totally against our ethos of treating tourists as respected guests and brings a bad name to the people's movement," Farooq said in a tweet. R. Thirumani, 22, was going
to join his family in the tourist resort of Gulmarg when he was critically injured. "He was hit in the head by a stone. On reaching a hospital, he vomited which went into his lungs and choked him to death," Shesh Paul Vaid, director general of police in Indianadministered Kashmir, told AFP. The restive territory has become increasingly tense in recent weeks. Battles between rebels and government forces have left 15 dead, including seven civilians, in the past week. Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in full. Rebel groups have for decades fought Indian forces deployed in the territory. They want independence or a merger of the region with Pakistan.
VOICE OF ASIA 9
Bitter pill for European leaders as Trump abandons Iran deal WASHINGTON | AFP Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the landmark 2015 deal curbing Iran's nuclear programme is a bitter pill to swallow for European leaders and risks a creating a major transatlantic rift.
In a joint statement issued shortly after Trump walked away from 2015 accord, they said they noted the decision with "regret and concern" but they said they would continue to uphold their commitments. "Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case," they said. They noted that this included the "economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement," which means European firms would in theory continue to invest and operate there. This would appear to set the three countries, all signatories along with Russia, China and the EU, on a direct collision course with Washington. European leaders have clashed with the White House already on issues ranging from climate change to trade and Trump's decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton said that European firms would have a "wind down" period to cancel any investments made in Iran under the terms of the accord. "US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately," tweeted the US ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell. Under the 2015 deal, Iran was meant to benefit from increased trade and contracts
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May. (AFP photo) with foreign firms in exchange for accepting curbs on its nuclear activity and stringent monitoring. Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi was invited to EU capital Brussels on Tuesday and the bloc's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said that the 28-member union was "determined to preserve" the deal. - Hands tied? Attention will also now focus on whether a new, tougher agreement can be negotiated with Tehran, which Trump called for on Tuesday during his brief address to the nation. France had already vowed to continue working towards a more comprehensive deal which takes into account concerns about Iran's ballistic missile development and its involvement in many of the crises roiling the Middle East. Macron said Tuesday that he was prepared to "work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle-East, notably Syria, Yemen, and Iraq." But Iran has ruled this out. Amid the threat of new US sanctions, EU businesses will now have to decide whether to continue to work in the country if doing so puts their US operations at risk of huge fines. "Companies are going to have to make a choice between their economic interests in Iran and their interests in the United States, and generally that choice is quite easy," a French diplomatic source told AFP before Trump's decision.
smaller European businesses who want to work with Iran and don't have any exposure to the US, or so-called "blocking regulations" that could exempt EU citizens and businesses from complying with the sanction laws. "We are having conversations obviously and we are working on a number of proposals that could protect European companies and operators," an EU official said before the announcement. - Tense situation European leaders say the stability of the entire Middle East is at stake, since allowing Tehran to resume building nuclear weapons would inevitably spark an arms race with its neighbours. Iran has made no secret of its regional ambitions, intervening in Syria to back President Bashar Al-Assad as well as in Yemen to support rebels opposed to Tehran's arch-enemy Saudi Arabia. Its more aggressive foreign activities have alarmed Israel, heightening tensions already inflamed by the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. France, Germany and Britain called on Tehran to stick with the deal on Tuesday. "We encourage Iran to show restraint in response to the decision by the US; Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal," the three European leaders said in their statement. The leaders of France, Germany and Britain -- all signatories to the Iran nuclear deal -said they will work on keeping the accord in place
One option might be help for
Saudi Arabia 'supports and welcomes' Trump Iran move
Police said Kenneth Viggo Albertsen, a 66-year-old living in Chiang Rai province on a retirement visa, is behind a website and Facebook page called "Burmese Border Chicks for Hire" that sold sex with Myanmar women for 6,500 baht ($200). The business brought women to meet clients on the Thai side of the border in Mae Sai, and also offered to "guide" men into Myanmar for sex services, police said. "He has been operating for at least 10 years," Colonel Jirabhob Bhuridej, deputy commander of Thailand's Crime Suppression Police, told AFP. Police said Albertsen was arrested after arranging for two Myanmar women, aged 25 and 18, to cross into Thailand and meet undercover officers who posed as clients at a hotel in Mae Sai. He and the two sex workers, plus another Myanmar woman who allegedly helped arrange the meet-up, have been charged with procuring prostitution, which carries up to 10 years in prison. The bust comes as Thailand is trying to shake off its reputation as a haven for sex tourists. Yet while prostitution is technically outlawed in the kingdom, it is largely allowed to operate in plain sight, with huge glitzy "massage parlours" in Bangkok and brothels in towns across the rest of the country. Bribes and widespread corruption help to insulate the lucrative industry from authorities. The explosion of social media has also moved much of the business online.
by Marlowe Hood
ONN, Germany | AFP - Domestic and international tourism account for eight percent of greenhouse gas emissions, four times more than previously estimated, according to a study published Monday.
"Tourism is set to grow faster than many other economic sectors," with revenue projected to swell by four percent annually through 2025, noted lead-author Arunima Malik, a researcher at The University of Sydney's business school.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (L) speaks with UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (C) as Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa (R) looks on following a meeting with foreign ministers and military officials from the Saudi-led coalition, in Riyadh, on October 29, 2017. (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine).
"The kingdom supports and welcomes the steps announced by the US president towards withdrawing from the nuclear deal... and reinstating economic sanctions against Iran," the foreign ministry said. Riyadh's allies in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, also issued statements
via their foreign ministries in support of Trump's decision, which has thrown a wrench between the United States, Europe and their allies in the region. The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, strategically located between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Trump on Tuesday announced the US withdrawal from the "defective" multinational nuclear deal with Iran, as Washington moved to reinstate punishing sanctions against the Islamic republic. After consulting with US
"friends" across the Middle East, Trump said his country would "not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail". Following his address, the US leader signed a presidential memorandum to start reinstating US nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. Saudi Arabia accused Iran of "taking advantage of the revenue generated by the lifting of the sanctions to destabilise the region", the foreign ministry said. The Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom is locked in multiple proxy wars with its Shiite rival in the
Former US Olympic taekwondo coach Jean Lopez (left) and his brother Steven, a two-time Olympic champion are seen at the 2008 Beijing Games. (AFP photo/Behrouz Mehri)
OS ANGELES | AFP - Four women athletes accuse the US Olympic Committee and USA Taekwondo of sex trafficking in a federal lawsuit, alleging they were forced to train and travel with known sexual predators. Heidi Gilbert, Mandy Meloon, Amber Means and Gaby Joslin went to court Friday in Colorado over what they called "two decades of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking of Team USA's Olympic taekwondo athletes by the entities, officials, coaches and mentors who were entrusted to protect them". The lawsuit cites former US Olympic taekwondo coach Jean Lopez and his brother Steven, a two-time Olympic champion in the sport. The US Center for SafeSport issued Jean a lifetime ban from all World Taekwondo events. Steven has an interim restriction while his investigation continues. Meloon, a two-time world champion, claimed in a 2007 complaint she was raped by Jean at the 1997 World Cup in Egypt when she was 15. She was left off Jean's 2007 squad, pressing her case to USOC arbitration. "From at least 2007 onward, the USOC and USA TKD have knowingly protected, empowered and clothed Jean Lopez with the authority, legitimacy and trustworthiness of being the official coach of Team USA's taekwondo team and his brother Steven with being the superstar of USA taekwondo," the suit said.
"In doing so, they have exposed hundreds of young female athletes to two adult sexual predators, the coach of USA Taekowndo and his own brother." The suit claims "in their shared lust for 'medals and money,' the USOC and USA TKD have sheltered Steven Lopez from prosecution because he delivers commercial riches." Gilbert said Jean had sexually assaulted her after events in Ecuador in 2002 and Germany in 2003. The suit says women who wanted onto the US taekwondo team "had no choice but to submit to the Lopez brothers' sexual demands. If they refused to do so, they were benched, suspended or kicked off Team USA by the Lopez brothers, the USOC and USA TKD." In a statement to USA Today and the New York Times, USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said the organization "is deeply focused on supporting, protecting and empowering the athletes we serve". He told the Times that several actions being undertaken, including the launch of the US Center for SafeSport, will "ensure that our athletes are better protected from these heinous acts". USA Taekwondo said in a statement to the newspapers that it has not had time to review the details of the lawsuit and so "as this is an in-process legal matter it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time".
Tourism nearly a tenth of global CO2 emissions
The multi-trillion dollar industry's carbon footprint is expanding rapidly, driven in large part by demand for energyintensive air travel, researchers reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.
IYADH, Saudi Arabia | AFP | 5/8/2018 Saudi Arabia, regional rival of Iran and longtime US ally, said it "supports and welcomes" President Donald Trump's decision on Tuesday to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Four women sue USOC, USA Taekwondo over sex trafficking
ANGKOK, Thailand | AFP - An American man has been arrested in a sting operation for allegedly running a online brothel service matching men in northern Thailand with Myanmar sex workers across the border, police said Tuesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has spent the past year cultivating the closest ties with Trump among EU leaders, made saving the Iran deal one of his priorities during his state visit to Washington last month. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also travelled to the US in late April and she worked closely with Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May right up to the last minute.
US retiree accused of running 'sex tours' on Thai-Myanmar border
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Holding the sector's carbon pollution in check will likely require carbon taxes or CO2 trading schemes for aviation, the researchers concluded. As in past decades, the United States is the single largest emitter of tourism-related carbon emissions, with other wealthy nations -- Germany, Canada and Britain -- also in the top ten. But burgeoning middle classes have moved emerging economies up the ranking, with China in second place and In-
Middle East, including in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. Riyadh's ambassador to the United States, and son of the Saudi Arabian king, on Tuesday did not hold back in linking the nuclear deal with his country's interests across the region.
dia, Mexico and Brazil 4th, 5th and 6th, respectively.
are currently covered by the 2015 Paris climate treaty.
International travel involving long-haul flights is among the fastest growing sectors, and could threaten efforts to reign in planet-warming carbon pollution.
In 2016, however, 191 countries struck a deal -- voluntary until 2027 -- under which the aviation industry would curb most of its greenhouse emissions after 2020 by diverting about two percent of its revenue to reforestation and other carbon-reducing projects.
The total number of air passengers is expected to almost double by 2036 to 7.8 billion per year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The aviation industry accounts for two percent of all human-generated C02 emissions, and would rank 12th if it were a country. "We see very fast tourism demand growth from China and India over the past few years, and also expect this trend will continue in the next decade or so," Ya-Sen Sun, a professor at The University of Queensland Business School in Australia, and co-author of the study, told AFP. "Besides the sheer population number, what's worrying is that people with a rising income tend to travel further, more frequently, and with a higher reliance on aviation." - Stay close to home International travel accounts for a quarter of tourism-related carbon emissions.
The 197-nation Paris Agreement calls for capping global warming at "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). With only one degree of warming so far, Earth has seen a crescendo of droughts, heatwaves, and storms ramped up by rising seas. Voluntary national pledges made under the Paris pact to cut CO2 emissions, if fulfilled, would yield a 3C world at best, say scientists. "Our analysis is a world-first look at the true cost of tourism, including consumables such as food from eating out and souvenirs," said Malik. Looking at its full "life cycle", the researchers calculated that carbon emissions from tourism increased 15 percent in five years from 2009 to 4.5 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, a measure that also takes into account other greenhouse gases such as methane.
Neither tourism nor aviation
"Since deal was inked... the (Iranian) regime doubled down on its support for terror, providing dangerous weapons (such as ballistic missiles) to terrorist proxies including the Huthis in Yemen to target civilians in KSA," or Saudi Arabia, tweeted Prince Khalid bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia and the United States say Iran is arming Yemeni rebels, known as the Huthis, who are fighting their country's Riyadh-backed government. The rebels have amped up missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen to the north, in recent months.
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Business Email: email@example.com
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
US stocks end flat after Trump exits Iran deal
EW YORK | AFP | 5/8/2018 - Wall Street stocks finished essentially flat Tuesday as investors tried to assess the potential fallout from President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear accord.
Iran, rose 1.4 percent. Citigroup surged 3.7 percent following news activist fund
Boeing says it will follow US policy on Iran
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session 24,360.21, just a hair above Monday’s close.
EW YORK | AFP | 5/8/2018 - Boeing said Tuesday it will continue to take its cue from US government policy on sales to Iran after President Donald Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Iran nuclear pact.
The broad-based S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1 percent to 2,671.92, while the techrich Nasdaq Composite Index edged higher to 7,266.90. Trump lambasted the 2015 Iran deal as “disastrous” and vowed to reimpose crippling sanctions on Tehran, winning praise from Saudi Arabia and Israel, and much criticism from other sectors, as well as disagreement from traditional US allies in Europe. US stocks were mostly negative throughout the session, but avoided major swings. “Maybe people learned that what Trump says the first time
ValueAct Capital Management built a $1.2 billion stake in the bank.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew). is not what happens at the end of the day,” said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors. “It may be part of the negotiation.” “Anyway, these nebulous things don’t generally have an impact on the market until
we see a concrete event,” she added.
more than 1.0 percent and ExxonMobil advanced 0.5 percent.
Most leading oil-linked shares rose amid prospects that revived sanctions on Iran could lift commodity prices. Chevron and ConocoPhillips gained
Boeing, which had announced contracts with Iranian companies, fell 0.6 percent. But General Electric, which also was pursuing business in
“Following today’s announcement, we will consult with the US government on next steps,” said Gordon Johndroe, a vice president of government operations communications. “As we have throughout this process, we’ll continue to follow the US government’s lead.” The statement was released
by the aerospace giant shortly after Trump’s remarks again lambasting the 2015 agreement as “defective at its core.” Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said last month the company has delayed deliveries of 777 planes to Iran amid the Trump administration’s reconsideration of the nuclear deal. After lengthy negotiations and tight oversight by the Obama administration, Boeing in December 2016 announced a landmark agreement to sell Iran Air 80 aircraft valued at $16.6 billion. The aircraft had been expected to be delivered starting in late 2018.
China, US in ‘extraordinary’ WTO clash
ENEVA, Switzerland | AFP | Tuesday 5/8/2018 - apped accusations in an “extraordinary” exchange at the World Trade Organization on Tuesday ahead of fresh talks between the top two economies on averting a trade war.
to function by the end of next year. Beijing also reiterated its opposition to the proposed US tariffs on steel and aluminium as well as sanctions planned in response to what Washington calls China’s intellectual property theft.
“What I would say about this meeting today is that it was extraordinary in its intensity,” WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell told reporters after a meeting of the body’s General Council. “We had perhaps the two most powerful members of the WTO weighing in with their views on each others policies in a way that I have not seen... in my many years of working here,” he said.
The US ambassador to the WTO, Dennis Shea, argued that the DSB needed sweeping reform as it was exceeding its mandate, trying to establish new trading rules by degree even though they have not been agreed by members, a trade official familiar with the exchange said. The 164-member WTO, which China joined in 2001, is one of several fora where Beijing and Washington have traded barbs over fair play in the global economy. (AFP File photo)
The 164-member WTO, which China joined in 2001, is one of several fora where Beijing and Washington have traded barbs over fair play in the global economy.
The US has threatened tariffs targeting $150 billion in imports, while China has warned $50 billion in goods are in the firing line.
President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping also reportedly spoke by phone on Tuesday, with Xi calling for a solution to their trade spat.
Vice Premier Liu He -- considered Xi’s right-hand man on economic issues -- is due in Washington next week after he led talks in Beijing last week with a high-level US delegation that made little headway in
Shea broadly defended US actions as a justified response
to Chinese trade policy. He said Washington was ready to work with any WTO members interested in comprehensive reform. “It was tense,” Rockwell said of the General Council meeting, adding that “despite the intensity of the discussion, I think this was a discussion that we had to have.” The World Trade Organization is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.
resolving the standoff. At the WTO, China took the floor to again condemn the US over its efforts to cripple the appellate division of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). The US has blocked the appointment of any new judges to the WTO’s internal court. Without a solution to the impasse, the DSB may be unable
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VOICE OF ASIA 14
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Queen Catherine goes for laughs
BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD Section 2
Female Hollywood stars to protest on Cannes red carpet
ANNES, France | AFP Around 100 top actresses and female film directors will stage a protest on the red carpet at the Cannes film festival to support the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, the organisers said Monday. The announcement came on the eve of the opening of the world’s biggest film festival, which like the rest of the cinema industry has been profoundly shaken by the scandal engulfing Hollywood tycoon Harvey Weinstein. The women’s march will take place on Saturday evening, and is likely to include Cate Blanchett who chairs this year’s female-majority jury. “It will be a march dedicated to the women of cinema,” Cannes director Thierry Fremaux told a press conference in the French Riviera resort ahead
of Tuesday’s festival launch. “Not only Cannes but the whole world changed last September” when claims started to emerge that Weinstein had abused dozens of women over the years, he said. Weinstein is accused of attacking four actresses at Cannes, including the rape of the Italian actress Asia Argento in his luxury hotel suite when she was 21. The affair has prompted the film festival to set up an anti-sexual harassment hotline this year. It has also further increased pressure on Cannes to address the glaring gender imbalance in its main competition and overhaul a dress code considered sexist by critics, with women stopped on the red carpet in previous years for not wearing high heels.
But while the jury who will award the Palme d’Or top prize features five women and four men, only three female directors made the shortlist of 21 competing for the coveted trophy. They include French director Eva Husson whose film “Girls of the Sun” will be screened on Saturday evening after the women’s march. Fremaux rejected criticism that Blanchett’s appointment as jury head had been a quick PR fix. “She was first and foremost elected president because she is a great actress,” he said. The festival announced that women would also be in the majority on juries deciding two other major Cannes awards -- the Golden Camera and “Un Certain Regard” prizes, reserved for emerging directors or unexpected or marginal themes. In 2017, along with the 70th anniversary events of the Festival, the issue of changing the rules on theatrical screening caused controversy. The enforcement of theatrical screening in 2018.
Amy Schumer eyeing Christy Martin boxing biopic World champion boxer Christy Martin helped put women’s boxing on the map, and Amy Schumer is in line to play her in an upcoming movie based on her life and career.
hristy Martin helped women’s boxing on map, and helped put ex-husband away for a 25-year term.
put the her jail
Zeta-Jones to star in Facebook comedy ‘Queen America’
EW YORK | AFP - British Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones will star in the dark comedy “Queen America,” the first major series produced by Facebook, which is seeking a foothold in the uber-competitive market for original content. The sultry 48-year-old actress, who took home an Oscar in 2003 for “Chicago,” confirmed her jump to the small screen -- fittingly -- in a Facebook post. The news was first reported by Hollywood industry outlet Deadline. “So excited about my next project!” wrote Zeta-Jones. “I think you’re going to love it!” “Queen America” takes a look at the cutthroat world of beauty pageants in America. Zeta-Jones stars as ruthless coach Vicki Ellis, who is in high demand from girls and women hoping to be the next Miss America.
Winning the Junior Welterweight world championship at the age of 25, Christy Martin showed her mettle in a 1996 title defense broadcast on US TV.
The 10 half-hour episodes will debut on Facebook’s relatively new video platform Watch, according to Deadline. In September, Facebook debuted “Strangers.” Then in late April, it launched “Skam Austin,” an adaptation of a Norwegian program. It also has ordered a half-hour dramedy series starring US actress Elizabeth Olsen. But snapping up Zeta-Jones -- who is also a Tony winner for “A Little Night Music” -- indicates a turning point for the world’s largest social network in its efforts to offer original content to its two billion users. Last year, Zeta-Jones played Olivia de Havilland in the FX series “Feud: Bette and Joan.” Facebook did not respond to AFP requests for further comment on the project.
Sridevi Kapoor: Bollywood star wins posthumous acting gong
She signed with flamboyant promoter Don King in 1993 and by the end of her career had accumulated an 83% win ratio, having administered eight knockouts and 23 TKOs.
ollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor, who died in February, has been named Best Actress at India’s National Film Awards for her last role.
And in 2010, some 21 years after her first professional fight, she survived being stabbed and then shot by her husband and trainer, Jim, who had learned she was leaving him for a woman, current partner and old high school friend Sherry Lusk; Jim, 68, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to a 25-year prison term.
Her husband and daughters received the prize on her behalf. The superstar’s death shocked the Indian film world. Sridevi, as she was known, was 54 when she died during a visit to Dubai to attend a family wedding.
With her self-confidence comedy “I Feel Pretty” releasing April 20 in US theaters, Amy Schumer appears ready to take on the Christy Martin life story, having been approached for the biopic’s lead role. The film has been written by Katherine Fugate, who will make her directorial debut through the project, having been the writer of TV crime thriller “A Killer Among Us” and romcoms “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve,” and the creator of wartime romantic drama series “Army Wives.” (-Relaxnews)
British actress Catherine Zeta-Jones -- shown here at the Golden Globes in January 2018 -- will star in “Queen America” for Facebook (Photo: Facebook)
She was found unresponsive in her hotel bathtub. Initial reports said she had died of a heart attack but police later said it had been “due to accidental drowning following loss of consciousness”. “Sridevi would have been very happy today,” her widower Boney Kapoor told Indian media after the awards ceremony. “We miss her, it is a very proud moment at the same time.” He accepted, alongside their daughters, the prize for her performance in revenge thriller Mom.The actress’s husband Boney Kapoor and daughters Khushi and Janhvi attended the ceremony
Amy Schumer (AFP photo / Frederic J. Brown)
Actor and politician Vinod Khanna, who died last year, was also honoured
at the ceremony in New Delhi. He received India’s highest film prize, the Dadasaheb Phalke award. Sridevi had already won six awards for her final role, which was as a vigilante seeking revenge for her stepdaughter’s gang rape. Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi Kapoor wore one of her saris to the awards ceremony. Fans noticed that Janhvi just not only wore mom Sridevi’s saree but also displayed some gestures just like her mother. Janhvi was spotted wiping sweat off father Boney’s forehead just like how Sridevi used to. Sridevi was seen doing the same at the Filmfare Award function in 2013. The Bollywood star, who began acting at four years old, had featured in 300 films, including classics Mr India, Chandni and ChaalBaaz. She was considered one of the very few Indian female superstars capable of huge boxoffice success without the support of a male hero. Thousands of fans, along with stars from the Indian film industry, turned out to pay their respects during her funeral and cremation in Mumbai. (-BBC News)
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VOICE OF ASIA 15
‘The stigma is overwhelming’: documentary investigates America’s mental health crisis Oscar-nominated film-maker Liz Garbus’s new documentary examines the difficulties of raising children with psychiatric disorders and why we need more empathy for their mothers by Jake Nevins
n 1955, the number of mentally ill Americans in public psychiatric hospitals peaked at 560,000. Since then, that number has been in sharp decline: as a result of deinstitutionalization and the broad transfer of mental health funding from the federal government to states, people – especially children – living with psychiatric disorders and emotional disturbances have fallen through the cracks.
From 2009 to 2012, states slashed funding for mental health services by $5bn while the country got rid of almost 10% of its public psychiatric hospital beds. As the author Andrew Solomon says in the film: “There is the sense that rehabilitation is a luxury.” Garbus, the prolific documentary film-maker behind Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and What Happened, Miss Simone?, took interest in the subject after the 2012 Newtown shooting, in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 27 people. Though she’d previously examined institutional hurdles and the criminal justice system in documentaries like The Farm and The Execution of Wanda Jean, her hope, this time, was to empathize with the mothers who apply what she calls “herculean efforts” in order to care for their children. “There was chatter all over the internet and in water coolers: how could a mother not have gotten that son more help? How could she have let him live like that?” Garbus explains. “A woman named Liza Long wrote a that became very controversial called I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother and she talked about how desperate she had been to get help for her son, how impossible it was to get the care she needed, and how broken the system was.” In that essay, Long, who appears in the film, wrote: “I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.” The mothers featured in A Dangerous Son, Stacy, Edie and Cora, feel similarly. For
Home for the last days: Finding purpose as both carer and caregiver by Yomiuri Shimbun
OKYO, Japan - After graduating from the Nagoya University School of Medicine in 1973, Bunyu Ogasawara, now 69, worked in public hospitals in Gifu and Aichi prefectures. “We had two full-time doctors and about 100 hospitalized patients,” he recalled. This exhausting work ruined his eyesight, prompting Ogasawara to open a clinic.
no slipped on a pair of scrubs. His eyes sparkled with a deep strength. He said, “Here, doctor,” and Ogasawara lied face down on the treatment table that had been placed in the room. Sawano skillfully massaged Ogasawara’s back with his elbows, but it seemed to be stiffer than he would have liked. “What is this? How can you
ers who come to him with injuries. Sawano’s wife died of cancer in February last year. His eldest daughter, Manami Shimizu, 56, suggested home treatment, but his wife chose to fight her illness in the hospital. She was given anti-cancer drugs and an IV. Soon she lost her ability to move in bed,
Yasuhiro Sawano, 81, who is living in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, said, “I met Dr. Ogasawara around 30 years ago.”
Liz Garbus’s new HBO documentary, A Dangerous Son, puts this crisis and the country’s inadequate response in sharp focus. Through the lens of three mothers whose sons suffer from mental illness, the documentary chronicles in intimate, often painful detail the roadblocks families face in securing treatment, as well as the effects of a dismantled and under-resourced apparatus for psychiatric care in the US.
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
At first, it was Sawano who was the caregiver — Ogasawara was feeling unwell and received chiropractic treatment from Sawano. But now Ogasawara is Sawano’s doctor.
Edie and her son William. (Photo: HBO) the film, they granted Garbus unfettered access to their home lives as they perform the grinding task of caring for their children while jumping through a number of bureaucratic hoops to get them proper treatment. At one point Edie must call the cops on her son, William, 15, after they meet with his social worker; in another scene, Stacy’s 10-year-old son, Ethan, is shown punching his younger sister in the backseat of the car. Later, filming is halted so the camera crew can intervene when Ethan is physically violent toward his mother. “One wrong word sends me into a psychotic rage,” says Long’s son, Eric. “It’s like watching myself do things I didn’t want to do.” The specter of mass shootings like the ones in Newtown and Aurora loom large over the film, with one mother expressing fear that she’ll one day see her own son’s face on the news as an example of a child who didn’t get enough help. But Garbus emphasizes the fact that adolescents with mental illness are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of violence. “This is not a film about these mass shooters,” she says, underscoring the fact that, while focus on mental health is often used as a crutch in media coverage of gun violence, stigmas about mental illness frequently come at the expense of families like the ones featured in the film. “People have allowed films to be made about their children suffering from leukemia, and an enormous amount of empa-
thy comes out and donations to childhood leukemia foundations,” Garbus notes. “But when you open your home to somebody whose child is suffering from mental illness, the stigma and the blowback can feel overwhelming.” As noted in the film, 17 million children in the US have or have had a psychiatric disorder, but there are currently fewer than 60,000 beds to accommodate them. In Virginia and elsewhere, such insufficiencies have had fatal consequences: Austin “Gus” Deeds, the son of the Virginia state senator Creigh Deeds, stabbed his father and killed himself just 13 hours after efforts to secure him a hospital bed fell through. Deeds, who spoke to Garbus for the film, later the state of Virginia for medical malpractice and criminal negligence, claiming that his son’s mental health evaluator failed to contact local hospitals that were later revealed to have available beds. Edie has had similar experiences. “Many times a case worker has no experience with mental illness or autism, and so you have to deal with somebody whose job it is to not give money for the institutionalization of the child,” she tells the Guardian. “Even when the case worker is talking to this child’s therapist who says, ‘Yes, this kid needs intensive, 24/7 care,’ they’re very, very reluctant to do so.” In remarks made in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed, Donald
Sawano is unable to Yasuhiro Sawano provides chiropractic treatment to a patient at his home in visit the hospital be- Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, on April 3. “Everyone is happy about it,” he cause of his leukemia, said. (Photo: Yomiuri Shimbun) so Ogasawara has been making house calls since late January this let it get this bad?” Sawano exand then to take food into her year. claimed. mouth. She seemed only to unThis is how the house call on - Parents take different choic- derstand that there was no more March 19 began. es hope. Ogasawara: “Are you alive?” Ogasawara visited Sawano Manami, who tended to look in Ichinomiya on April 3, too. down as she talked, spoke in a Sawano: “I’m still alive.” It had been almost 2½ months low voice, saying: “I saw that Their banter is startling to since he had started making and thought: ‘Is this how it’s hear, but their faces are com- house calls for Sawano’s leuke- supposed to be?’ I don’t want passionate. mia treatments. Sawano, who that.” Sawano complained, “I keep managed a chiropractic clinic, Last December, Sawano’s on getting dizzy, you know, and had started offering treatments condition worsened and he had It’s rather unpleasant.” The ac- again in his home in mid-Feb- trouble standing up. He said companying nurse gave him a ruary. He said his “grip had he lost heart at one point and strengthened” due to the blood thought, “I wonder if my time shot. transfusions. was up.” He chose to stay at Sawano also receives a blood Sawano spoke haltingly dur- home instead of the hospital. transfusion in his home once every two weeks. “I wonder ing the examination. “I can fix Manami, who visits her father’s how long I can stay alive, huh a strained back in one or two home about three days a week doc? It doesn’t seem like I have sessions. For a sprained ankle, I and has carefully observed the can take away most of the pain progress of his examinations, long,” he said. in a day.” is happy about how he’s doOgasawara replied: “I think ing now. “I didn’t think he’d be Ogasawara asked, “What’s it was during my January visit able to work this much again,” that you said you wanted to your unfulfilled wish?” she said. live until March, and it’s al“You know, mothers have We asked Manami if she is ready March. How much lon- said, ‘Take care of my kids unger do you think you have?” til they graduate.’ Even though glad her father is staying home. Sawano answered, “Three to they’re not my grandchildren.” After a while, she looked at five years.” He seems full of concern for Sawano and answered: “I’m not sure. I can’t say yes yet.” After his examination, Sawa- the high school volleyball playTrump the White House was “committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health”. But in his budget proposal for 2019, funding for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was by 30%, from $1.6bn to $1.1bn. “There are very limited funds,” Edie says. “To be honest, the battle starts from the moment they start seeing the dollar signs.” Garbus, whose Trumpthemed documentary series is
being released later this month, says that, despite budget cuts to Medicaid and the NIMH, there are reasons for cautious optimism: last month, a group of three teenagers from Albermarle County, Virginia, for the state to include $160,000 in its 2019 budget proposal to add a mental health professional to the school system. “These are the kinds of movements that have to happen on a local level for there to be a larger shift in our attention,” she says. Until that shift takes place, the mothers hope that the doc-
umentary will go a long way toward building empathy and understanding for their plight. “Since he [William] was three years old, I thought I wasn’t parenting the way a good parent would,” says Edie, who co-parents and remains friends with her ex-husband. “That has followed me throughout my journey with him, even though we were a loving family. Even kids from very good homes are susceptible to mental illness and autism and other issues. And that’s a judgment people are quick to go to.” (-The Guardian)
Indian train offers ticket to life-saving care by Abhaya Srivastava
ALORE, India | AFP | When the Lifeline Express rolled into the sleepy Indian town of Jalore, Bhagwana Ram Prajapat was anxiously waiting to board. The 55-year-old has been desperately looking for treatment for his grandson's cleftlip and the specially converted sky-blue, seven-coach train was the answer to his prayers.
"We were thinking we would have to travel everywhere and spend a lot of money. But it's god's blessing that this hospital came to us," said Prajapat.
Sikka said the Lifeline Express did not just aim to treat and leave, but to educate local doctors and people about the right approach to healthcare.
"I was worried how they are going to conduct the operation in a train. But when we came here and saw the facilities, there was no doubt."
"We had been waiting for the surgery ever since the child was born 18 months ago," said Prajapat as his grandson was wheeled into the operating theatre onboard the hospital-train.
Government-run community health centres form the backbone of rural healthcare in India. But a lack of infrastructure and doctors means 70 percent of its 1.25 billion people have no easy access to treatment.
The Lifeline Express has been providing free treatment to the needy in deepest India for nearly three decades. It has helped more than one million people, treating ailments ranging from cataracts to cancer.
India is the fastest growing of the world's major economies, but a UNICEF report said some 1.2 million children died of preventable causes in India in 2015 before their fifth birthday.
The train criss-crosses India, providing state-of-the-art medical care to those who would otherwise have to travel hundreds of miles to the nearest major hospital.
State-run hospitals are often stretched to breaking point and patients face long delays for even minor treatment and are forced to share beds.
It spends about a month in a district before moving on to a new destination, filling a criti-
"Women were contracting infections only because they were delivering kids outside hospitals."
cal gap in India's public health system.
So many Indians flock to private clinics even though a consultation can cost 1,000 rupees ($15) -- a huge sum for
"We also try to set the example that this is how an operating theatre should look. We make sure a local doctor is there when the surgery is being conducted so that he can do the follow-ups later on."
The Lifeline Express has been providing free treatment to the needy in deepest India for nearly three decades. (Photo: AFP/Chandan Khanna). millions living on less than $2 a day. - Train takes the strain The Lifeline Express took to the rails in 1991 to help patients in far-flung areas who need surgery for cataracts, polio and cleft palates. In 2016, the train expanded its services to include screen-
ing and surgery for oral, breast and cervical cancer. It has two operating theatres and about 20 staff. Many of the doctors work for free. Mehak Sikka, the Lifeline Express medical officer, said she joined the hospital-onwheels after seeing the pathetic conditions at health centres.
"I was traumatised to see the healthcare system -- especially for women -- that we have in the country," said Sikka. "In many places there were no gynaecologists. Having a gynaecologist is very important in any district hospital but the women didn't have access to one.
The Lifeline Express is run by Impact India foundation, a non-profit that works with the government and is helped by the World Health Organization and the UN children's agency UNICEF. Since its launch, more than 130,000 operations have been carried out at 191 stops across the country, said Anil Darse, deputy project director of the hospital-train. "It's a unique concept of taking healthcare to the public," he said. The expected launch of another train this year will help more people like Prajapat.
VOICE OF ASIA 16
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER
Child custody determination and who gets the dog
by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharlene Sharmila Richards
Q: Do I need to mail my immigration forms for filing or can I just use online filing? A Currently, only the following forms can be paid and filed online at www.uscis.gov : N-400 Application for Naturalization, I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card and Form I-131A Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation). Q: I did not receive my permanent resident card. I think is got lost in the mail or was delivered to a wrong address. What should I do? A: Please go to www.uscis.gov and on the home page click on “Check Case Status” and enter the appropriate receipt number for the permanent resident card application (I-485). Normally, if the card was returned to USCIS as undeliverable, it would state so. If the card was in fact delivered to the wrong address, the information may state that the document was delivered on a particular date. Either way, if you did not receive the card, you will need to inform USCIS about it. Scroll down the page to “Submit a Case Inquiry” and click on that box. It will take you to the next page where there are several options to select. Select “Did Not Receive Card by Mail” and it will take you to a page where you will need to fill in pertinent information relating to the card and application type. Submit the application and wait for 30 days for a status update. You may also call USCIS at their National Customer Service Center at toll free number 1-800-375-5283 to do a service request for the missing card and for USCIS to look into the matter. Q: I just arrived as a visitor and at the airport the officer stamped my passport with six months validity to stay but when I went online to retrieve my I-94, it says I have just 1 month validity to stay. What do I do about this? Who at US-
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRATION PROCESSING CIS do I speak with to correct this mistake? A: An error at the Port of Entry by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent can only be corrected by CBP not USCIS. I suggest that you visit the nearest designated Customs and Border Deferred Inspection office to request that they correct this discrepancy in your authorized period of stay. If you are in Houston, the closest designated CBP deferred inspection office is located at 19581 North Road, Humble, Texas 77338. The telephone number is 281-230-4600. Q: I arrived in the US after many years of not visiting this country and was told by Customs and Border Protection that they no longer provide I-94 landing white cards. They said I can go online to get the document. Please advise how I should go about getting the online I-94? A: Go to https://i94.cbp. dhs.gov/I94/#/home. Click on “Get Most Recent I-94” then click on “Consent and Continue”. It will take you to a page where you have to enter traveler information i.e. name, date of birth and passport number. Once done, click on ‘submit’ and your online I-94 will be available for you to print out. Q: My US Citizen wife filed her I-130 petition for Alien Relative for me and at the same time, I filed my I-485 Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident, I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and I-131 Application for Travel Document. My case is still processing and we have just moved. How do I notify immigration about my change of address? A: You and your wife can either call USCIS at their National Customer Service Center at toll free number 1-800-375-5283 to do a service request for a change of address for each of the applications and the petition which was filed or you may do the change of address online. Go to www.uscis.gov. Click on ‘Check Case Status”. Scroll down to “Related Tools” and select “Change of Address” option. It will ask you whether
the change of address is for a petition or an application currently in progress. Indicate “yes”. It will then take you to a page which you will need to complete with the Form information. Be careful and remember that your wife must do the change of address for Form I-130 which she filed for you. Then you will separately do another change of address form for the I-485, I-765 and I-131 which you had filed. Q: I was recently granted E-2 Treaty Investor status. My company wishes to employ an individual who states that he is authorized to work but have not been able to provide any proof of that apart from his Social Security Numbers. I like for them to provide some verification that they are authorized to work for company record. What is the best way and easiest way to do this? A: Have him go to the USCIS website at www. uscis.gov. Under ‘Tools’, he can complete a SelfCheck under ‘MyEVerify’. If he is authorized to work, he should be able to obtain the verification through MyEVerify.
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 email@example.com 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.
Read other LEGAL articles Visit: www. voiceofasiaonline.com
ne of the most heated debates in Family law is who gets to keep the child(ren). There are numerous considerations and factors outlined under Texas law for attorneys and judges to consider, however, the prevailing factor is what is in “the best interest of the child.” This determining factor requires a look at the child’s entire environment which includes each parent’s situation, living arrangements, neighborhood, proximity to loved ones and other important factors to help contribute to the child’s health, welfare, physical safety, and emotional wellbeing. Other factors include, which parent is able to prioritize the child more than the other, how much each parent has contributed to the child’s care including helping the child with school, extracurricular activities, physical and emotional development. Usually, each parent’s attorney work together to devise a “parenting plan” that best satisfies each side’s wishes. If a child is 12 years or older, the child’s preference will also be taken into consideration. If both sides are not able to reach an agreement, a Court will make the decision and must follow the “best interest” standard. However, usually, the Court’s
decision may not be what each parent desires. Under Texas Law, child custody or “conservatorship” must be determined when children are involved in a separation to determine who gets to make decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, extracurricular activities, and more. Texas presumes both parents are fit to be named “joint managing conservators” each with rights to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare instead of a “possessory conservator” who has limited access and rights to the child. Joint managing conservatorship also means no parent may make major decisions without the other’s consent, such as going forward with a medical procedure. Additionally, one parent is given primary physical custody to determine where the child lives during the week vs. weekend. However, Texas courts do not instantly grant joint conservatorship and are given considerable discretion in determining what is in the best interest of the child. External factors or special needs of the child create exceptional circumstances to deviate from the general standard possession order, which outlines the general division of not only child custody, but also child support, property, debts, and even who gets the dog if needed. Thus, joint managing conservatorship most likely will not be granted if, for example, one parent has a history of abuse, other violence, or egregiously hiding assets
Dogs in hot cars: Where is it legal to help them?
e’ve all seen it before. There’s a dog in a parked car in the middle of summer with no owner in sight. Maybe the person ran into a store for a few minutes or maybe he’s been gone for a lot longer than that. In either case, the dog could be in serious trouble. Even when it feels relatively cool outside, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. In just the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open, the temperature in a car can rise almost 20 degrees F, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After an hour, the temperature inside a car can be 140 to 180 degrees F (60 to 82
degrees C). As an animal lover, what can you do? It depends on where you live. The first step is to call 911. Many states allow an emergency responder to break into a locked car to save a dog if its life is in danger. Know your state laws According to Michigan State University’s Animal Legal and Historical Center, these states currently have laws that prohibit leaving an animal in a confined vehicle under dangerous conditions and/or offer legal protection for someone who rescues a distressed animal from a vehicle.
from the other parent. A Court may also deny joint managing conservatorship if such extenuating circumstances of one parent would affect the child’s physical and emotional welfare. Child custody battles are very contentious and difficult on everyone involved. It is highly recommended to get a qualified attorney to navigate and promote a well thought out parenting plan regarding conservatorship and more. In this way, a Court does not need to step in and order what neither parent most likely may not prefer. It is imperative to talk to your attorney and discuss all facts of your case to help you in the best manner possible. About the Author Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. Mala is President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, Board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association. Disclaimer: This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
But the laws differ drastically from state to state. Here’s a look at how things currently stand. In 14 states, only public officials such as law enforcement or humane officers can legally break into a car to rescue an animal. Sadly Texas is not one of those states. They include: Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, and Washington In New Jersey and West Virginia, although it’s illegal to leave an animal in a hot car, no one has the authority to break in and rescue it, not even law enforcement. Alabama and Kentucky have legislation pending. (-MNN. com)
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VOICE OF VOICE OF ASIA ASIA17 17
FRIDAY,May May11,11,2018 2018 FRIDAY,
MAY is Older Americans Health Month
Menus with calorie counts now a must in US as Obama-era rule takes effect
Poor diet delays pregnancy, curbs fertility: study
ASHINGTON, United States | AFP | - An Obama-era rule requiring thousands of US restaurants, stores and movie theaters to post nutritional information for items on their menus kicked in Monday, reminding Americans they are what they eat. The calorie-labeling rules were a controversial provision of former president Barack Obama’s signature 2010 health care law -- which President Donald Trump has pushed to dismantle -- and their implementation has been postponed several times. But the Food and Drug Administration announced last year it would press ahead with the regulation, which requires chains with 20 or more locations as well as grocery stores and convenience chains to post calorie counts for standard menu items. Many major restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell are already complying with the rule, but the federal government will now require it. “National menu labeling could help make a big difference in America’s obesity rates, one of our most vexing public health challenges,” wrote FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, citing research that menu labeling prompts consumers to order 30 to 50 calories less per visit. A number of public health advocacy groups as well as the National Restaurant Association have lauded the move, but some industry organizations have lampooned it as inflexible and anti-business. “Regrettably, FDA’s one-size-fits-
The US government now requires thousands of American restaurants and stores to post nutritional information in a bid to combat obesity (AFP Photo/ Don Emmert) all approach demonstrates a stunning lack of understanding about consumer preferences and the pizza category,” said Tim McIntyre, chair of the American Pizza Community, a coalition of pizza chains. “Pizza’s unique ordering variations create countless combinations making it difficult to accurately deliver information on printed menu boards and costly to maintain,” he said in a statement. But Gottlieb emphasized that the FDA has “worked hard to make sure this new rule can be implemented in a way where the information will be maximally beneficial to consumers
and the new requirements will be minimally burdensome to restaurants and retail establishments.” “Firms won’t need to deal with a patchwork of different requirements for calorie labeling across the country,” he added. Posters, billboards and coupon mailings are exempted, and supermarkets and convenience stores do not have to post calorie information next to each item in self-service buffets and drink stations, Gottlieb said last November. More than a third of Americans are obese, putting them at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Cholesterol meds raise diabetes risk in women Post-menopausal women who take medication to lower their cholesterol face a higher risk of getting diabetes than women who do not take the popular drugs, known as statins, said a US study on Monday.
in the aging female population, it is critical that more studies are done to help understand the association with statins and the development of diabetes,” added Steinbaum, who was not part of the study. Statins have been dubbed “the aspirin of the 21st century” for their perceived benefits in cardiovascular health and relatively few side effects. Worldwide sales total more than $20 billion annually.
he risk was apparent even after researchers adjusted for variables such as age, race/ ethnicity and body mass index, said the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The link appeared regardless of what type of statin, or what dosage, the women were taking, said the study which included 153,000 women with an average age of 63.
Popularly known names such as Lipitor, Pravachol, and Crestor are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States. About 42 million Americans suffer from high cholesterol.
The researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota called for more study on the matter but said in the meantime there was no need to revise the guidelines for statin use in non-diabetic people, pointing out that statins aim to fix the negative heart consequences of diabetes.
should be aware of the need to check their blood sugars, along with their liver function tests,” said Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
“Women who are taking statins
“Due to the extensive use of statins
The drugs help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by lowering a person’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL), sometimes known as “bad cholesterol.” A review published by JAMA in June 2011 showed that high doses of statins were linked to higher numbers of new diabetes cases in patients, leaving doctors to balance the benefits and risks according to each individual patient. (-AFP)
Dozens of victims still coping with lettuce e. coli by Ashley Bailey
he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still advising people not to eat romaine lettuce unless they know where it was grown. It appears the outbreak of E. coli bacteria, which began in March, linked to romaine lettuce grown in Arizona is over, but investigators still aren’t exactly sure what caused one of the worst outbreaks of its kind in recent years. More than 120 people have been reported ill in more than two doz-
en states. One person has died.
Bill Marler is a food safety lawyer based in Seattle. Marler is representing 58 victims who have become ill after eating romaine.
“Most of them would really like to have their health back, but that’s not going to happen. You know, the main thing I need to do is, especially for the some of the children who suffered acute kidney failure — they’re going to have long-term problems — my job is to make sure that they’ve got the financial wherewithal to take care of themselves. If it’s an airborne E. coli outbreak, we need to know that and start thinking about cattle production proximities.” (-NPR)
“This is a pretty significant outbreak. It’s the largest one that we’ve had since 2006, and 14 people have developed what’s known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is acute kidney failure,” he says. “So one person has died from hemolytic uremic syndrome, but several other people have [had to] have dialysis, plasmapheresis
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The results showed a clear link between the avoidance of fruits or a fondness for fast-food fare, on the one hand, and a longer “time-to-pregnancy” or higher risk of infertility, on the other. (Photo: Valentyn Volkov / Shutterstock.com)
omen who shun fruit or eat lots of fast food take longer to get pregnant and are less likely to conceive within a year, according to a study released Thursday. A nearly no-fruit diet compared to one loaded with three or more pieces per day added about two weeks, on average, to the time of conception, researchers reported in the peer-reviewed journal Human Reproduction. And women who consumed fast foods such as burgers, pizza and deepfried chicken four or more times a week compared to those who never or rarely touched the stuff took an extra month to become pregnant. “These findings show that eating a good quality diet that includes fruits and minimising fast food consumption improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant,” said lead researcher Claire Robers,a professor at the University of Adelaide. Earlier research on food and pregnancy has focused mostly on the diet of women diagnosed with, or receiving treatment for, infertility. The impact of maternal diet before conception among women more generally has received scant scientific attention. To help fill that gap, Roberts and a dozen colleagues in Australia, Britain and New Zealand combed through data gathered through questionnaires by midwives between 2004 and 2011
in all three countries for the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) survey. Detailed answers given by nearly 5600 women in the early phase of pregnancy focused on what they ate in the months preceeding conception. All of the women were first-time mothers, and only a relative handful -- 340 -- had received any kind of fertility treatment before becoming pregnant. The results showed a clear link between the avoidance of fruits or a fondness for fast-food fare, on the one hand, and a longer “time-to-pregnancy” or higher risk of infertility, on the other. At the extremes, for example, lots of fast food as opposed to none at all increased the risk of not becoming pregnant by 41 percent. “We recommend that women who want to become pregnant should align their dietary intakes toward national dietary recommendations for pregnancy,” said lead author Jessica Grieger, a researchers at the University of Adelaide. The results were adjusted to take into account the potentially adverse impact on fertility of advanced maternal age, obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption. Information about the diet of the fathers was not collected. (-AFP)
Shingles boosts risk of heart attack, stroke: study
eople who develop shingles -- a re-activation of the chicken pox virus which commonly affects older people -- may face a ballooning risk of heart attack or stroke, South Korean researchers said Monday. Their study found that people with shingles saw an overall 41 percent higher risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke, when compared to an age-matched control group that did not develop shingles. The risk of stroke was 35 percent higher and heart attack 59 percent higher, said the report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The riskiest period was the first year after infection, and the dangers appeared to decline after that. Researchers also found the risk for stroke was highest in those under 40 years old. The study was based on a medical database of 519,880 patients whose records were tracked from 2003-2013. Researchers are unclear why shingles would boost the risk of cardiovas-
cular problems, and said more study is needed. “While these findings require further study into the mechanism that causes shingles patients to have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, it is important that physicians treating these patients make them aware of their increased risk,” said study author SungHan Kim, a physician in the department of infectious diseases at Asan Medical Center in Seoul. Nearly one in three people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infection, which may cause blisters, rash and shooting pain, can affect anyone who has had chicken pox. Shingles is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It can be spread through direct contact with the rash, but not by air. A vaccine against shingles is available and is recommended for people 60 and older, according to the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (-AFP)
VOICE OF ASIA 18
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Frequent sauna use may cut stroke risk: study
New breakthrough paving the way for universal Ebola therapeutic
People in Finland who regularly take saunas may face a far lower stroke risk than those who go less often, said a study Wednesday.
ALVESTON, May 7, 2018 - A new collaborative study has identified and studied Ebola antibodies that could be used to design universal therapeutics that are effective against many different Ebola species. The findings were recently published in Nature Microbiology.
he report in the journal Neurology is the first to assess the relationship between saunas and strokes, and was based on more than 1,600 people who were followed for an average of 15 years. Those who spent time in the sauna four to seven days a week showed a 61 percent lower risk of having a stroke than people who went just once a week, it said. A benefit was also apparent for those who took saunas two or three times a week, with a 14 percent lower stroke risk than those who took saunas once per week. Researchers found the benefits persisted even after adjusting for other factors that could affect stroke risk, including exercise, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes. “These results are exciting because they suggest that this activity that people use for relaxation and pleasure may also have beneficial effects on your vascular health,” said study author Setor Kunutsor of the University of Bristol.
The Ebola virus causes a severe illness with high mortality rates in humans. Several strategies have been developed to treat Ebola infection, including ZMapp, which has been shown to be effective in non-human primates and has been used under compassionate-treatment protocols in humans. People visiting the sauna 4 to 7 days a week show 61% lower risk of stroke than those going just once a week. (Photo: AFP) “Saunas appear to have a blood pressure lowering effect, which may underlie the beneficial effect on stroke risk.” Researchers cautioned that the study was observational in nature. Since it was based on questionnaire answers, it stopped short of proving cause and effect. Previous studies have linked sauna use to a reduced risk of high blood pressure, dementia and death from cardiovascular disease. The study enrolled people aged 53 to 74 years in the east-
ern part of Finland. Since so few participants never took saunas, researchers could not compare sauna-goers to people who did not use them at all. In Finland, saunas are so common that many people have them in their homes. Their relative humidity is usually 1020 percent. Experts say some people should avoid saunas, including those who recently had a heart attack, those with unstable angina, and elderly people with low blood pressure. (-AFP)
“The delay sanctioned by this
new FDA rule is a disappointment. But we are encouraged that several major food manufacturers have publicly committed to meeting the original deadlines of July 2018 and 2019, and we want to thank them for their leadership. As a result, more than 29,000 products on the market already have revised Nutrition Facts labels.
The up-to-date information these new labels provide to consumers is critical. When it comes to diet, it’s important to choose carefully, because eating nutritious foods goes handin-hand with maintaining good cardiovascular health. Having key food facts easily accessible, enables consumers to make informed decisions.
May is the Stroke Awareness Month cause of disability. Stroke reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over.2 • Stroke costs the nation $34 billion annually, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.2
Sudhir Mathuria HEALTHLIFE 360 713-771-2900
May marks National Stroke Awareness Month, and this year the National Stroke Association is turning the spotlight on the 10 modifiable risk factors that account for 90% of strokes globally. Hypertension remains the single most important modifiable risk factor, accounting for nearly 48% of strokes. With eight in 10 people experiencing their first stroke having hypertension, getting your blood pressure checked is an important first step in controlling your stroke risk. Stroke Facts • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 140,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 of every 20 deaths.1 • A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. • Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds • Every year, about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes; 185,000 are recurrent strokes. • Stroke is an important
• You can’t control some stroke risk factors, like heredity, age, gender, and ethnicity. Some medical conditions—including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, overweight or obesity, and previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)— can also raise your stroke risk. Avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol, eating a balanced diet, and getting exercise are all choices you can make to reduce your risk. Common Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg— especially on one side of the body. • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding. • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes. • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination. • Sudden severe headache with no known cause. You can help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices. • Healthy Diet • Eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet can also lower your blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase your chances of having a stroke. • For more information on healthy diet and nutrition, see CDC’s Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program website. • Healthy Weight
• Being overweight or obese increases your risk for stroke. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). • Physical Activity • Physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderateintensity aerobic physical activity, such as a brisk walk, each week. Children and teens should get 1 hour of physical activity every day. • For more information, see CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity website. • No Smoking • Cigarette smoking greatly increases your chances of having a stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for stroke. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit. • For more information about tobacco use and quitting, see CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use website. • Limited or No Alcohol The need for public awareness surrounding stroke prevention and awareness has never been greater. Despite being a leading cause of adult long-term disability, and the fifth leading cause of death, less than one in five Americans can correctly classify all five stroke symptoms. The time to take action is now. This May, during National Stroke Awareness month, get to know your stroke risk factors and learn to better identify the signs and symptoms of stroke. The life you save just might be your own. To choose Medicare or Long Term Care plan contact Sudhir Mathuria, HEALTHLIFE 360, Ph: 713-771-2900
Information on the Ebola virus: According to the Centers for Disease Control, Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries. Some of the different kinds of Ebola viruses are:
• Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus) • Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus) • Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus) • Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus) • Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus) The study was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Institutes of Health. (Source: UTMB)
“The trouble with ZMapp is that although it is effective against the Ebola species that was largely responsible for the last Ebola outbreak, it does not neutralize other Ebola species, including Ebola Bundibugyo, Reston or Sudan,” said virologist Alex Bukreyev, co-senior author and a University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston professor in the department of pathology.
Rising US autism rate an ‘urgent’ concern: health agency
“We identified and studied three naturally-occurring antibodies from human survivors of Ebola Bundibugyo that neutralize and protect against infection with the several different Ebola virus species.”
Calling the neurodevelopmental disorder an “urgent public health concern,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the change represents an uptick from 1.5 percent to 1.7 percent of children.
The newly identified antibodies bond at a different site
Delay of revised nutrition facts labels disappointing, but companies should still comply promptly, says AHA ASHINGTON, D.C., May 3, 2018— American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final rule that extends the compliance date for the revised Nutrition Facts label by 18 months:
on the Ebola virus than other antibodies currently used to develop Ebola therapies.
We urge food manufacturers who are still in the process of putting these labels on their products to do so as soon as possible and follow the commendable example of the companies who are already compliant. When it’s time to dine, Americans should not only enjoy the food they are eating, they deserve to know what’s in it.”
AMPA, Florida | AFP - The autism rate in the United States has climbed to one in 59 children, up from prior estimates of one in 68, a US government report said on Thursday.
The latest figures are “broad and startling,” said Walter Zahorodny, an associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who led the New Jersey portion of the study. The prevalence of autism in the United States was just one in 5,000 in 1975, and has been mounting steadily in recent years, rising 150 percent since 2000, the CDC said. Researchers are still unclear what causes autism, or why it appears to be on the rise. In 2014, the CDC said one in 68 US children had autism, a rate the agency said appeared to remain steady in 2016. “It is now clear that what we saw in 2016 was just a pause along the way,” said Zahorodny. The CDC report said some
of the change in prevalence in recent years “could be due to improved autism identification in minority populations, although autism is still more likely to be identified in white children than in black or Hispanic children.” Autism is also about four times more common in boys than girls. Certain risk factors are linked to autism, such as being born to parents over age 30, maternal illness during pregnancy, genetic mutations, birth before 37 weeks gestation and multiple births. “These are true influences that are exerting an effect, but they are not enough to explain the high rate of autism prevalence,” said Zahorodny. “There are still undefined environmental risks which contribute to this significant increase, factors that could affect a child in its development in utero or related to birth complications or to the newborn period. We need more research into non-genetic triggers for autism.” People with autism may display a range of symptoms including repetitive movements, difficulty communicating, and discomfort in social situations. Some excel at non-verbal skills such as mathematics.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month: how to protect and prevent this summer
he May marks Lyme Disease Awareness Month, reminding us to take care to avoid tick bites when exploring the great outdoors to avoid catching the disease. With the recent news that diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and flea bites tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016, experts are warning that it is more important than ever to protect ourselves from bites to prevent Lyme disease, which is currently the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Here we round up some key steps to take to help protect yourself this summer. How can Lyme disease be prevented? Preventing tick bites can prevent Lyme disease, as the disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which is passed to humans through the bites of infected ticks. To avoid bites keep arms and legs covered with long clothing when out in the countryside, use insect repellent, and reduce time spent in areas where ticks live, in particular long grass, humid undergrowth, prairies, meadows and fields. Once home check your body for ticks, in particular areas such as armpits, folds of skin, the scalp and the navel, so you can remove them as soon as possible. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that Lyme disease is spread to humans only through tick bites, research presented at the 2014 edition of the annual Western Regional Meeting of the American Federation for Medical Research suggested that it may also be passed to partners through sexual intercourse. Although more research is needed to support
By protecting yourself from tick bites you can help to prevent Lyme disease. Image: Sharomka / Shutterstock.com these findings, the study does highlight another reason to always practice safe sex. What should I do if I find a tick? The tick needs to be removed as soon as possible to avoid infection. Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool from a pharmacy to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then, pull it upwards with steady, even pressure and without twisting it, which can cause parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove with tweezers, or if you are having difficulty, leave it and let the skin heal. After removing the tick, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. Don’t forget to check your pets Dogs and cats can also catch Lyme disease so consider protecting your pets as well as yourself. Although Lyme disease cannot be spread from pets to owners, dogs and cats can bring in-
fected ticks into the house, so don’t forget to check them in case they are carrying any unwanted visitors. Look out for symptoms Catching Lyme disease quickly means that patients can be treated with the appropriate antibiotics in the early stages, which usually means a quick and full recovery. Being aware of the symptoms will help you seek treatment as soon as possible. The typical symptoms include a fever, headache, and fatigue, as well as the most frequent and characteristic symptom, a skin rash called erythema migrans. The rash is easily recognizable with a circular, bull’s-eye pattern, at least three to five centimeters in diameter and a white area in the middle. It can take days or weeks to appear, and although it is not painful nor itchy, it is the first stage of Lyme disease. For those concerned about Lyme Disease, more information can be found online from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
VOICE OF ASIA 19
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Are you, or a loved one, living with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor?
India’s new line in budget medical tourism
fter decades of battling depression, former soldier Betty Ann Archer finally flew to New Delhi to complete her gender transition, one of a growing number of foreigners heading to India for budget sex-change operations.
“It may be challenging for physicians to differentiate Parkinson’s disease symptoms from other conditions, such as essential tremor, that can be similar,” said Yaltho.
Born Dale Archer, the 64-year-old American said she felt trapped in the wrong body right from the start, recalling secretly trying on her mother’s dresses as a boy -- much to the horror of her conservative military father. “I attempted to kill myself twice... I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like my body at all. I couldn’t be myself,” said Archer, who is from Arizona. “I became very ill in 2011 and almost died,” she said, wearing a bright blue sari and ornate Indian jewellery that she bought after her gender reassignment surgery in Delhi.
Toby Yaltho, M.D., fellowshiptrained movement disorder neurologist Betty Ann Archer, 64, from the United States speaks during an interview at Olmec Clinic in New Delhi.
“While I was recovering I came to the conclusion that I had to transition or die.”
the figure would continue to rise.
A small but steadily increasing number of transgenders are travelling to socially conservative India for such procedures, which are cheaper than those in their homelands and with no waiting lists, according to industry experts.
“This community is very well connected all over the world... If they are satisfied with their procedures in India, they spread the word.”
Some are even choosing India, which has traditionally shunned its own transgender community, over leading sex-change destination Thailand which is regarded as more accepting on this issue. In November, Archer found herself at the Olmec Centre nestled in a northern Delhi neighbourhood, which she picked over clinics in Thailand which she felt were “just a bit too expensive”. “This is affordable. This is an option that some transgender people can look at and not have to kill themselves because they can’t afford it,” said Archer, who paid about $6,000, a fifth of the price back home, and said India’s conservative views on transgenders had not been an issue when deciding to come. - Shopping trips For up to $22,000, Olmec provides the treatment, but also accommodation, airport shuttles and post-operative care that includes shopping trips and visits to the Taj Mahal and other tourist favourites. Olmec founder and plastic surgeon Narendra Kaushik said he operates on up to 200 mostly local patients a year. But Kaushik said he was also seeing increasing numbers of foreigners: Westerners from countries such as the UK, US, and Australia, seeking lower costs and those from devoloping countries wanting better quality care than they receive at home. The number of foreign nationals having such surgeries has jumped from between five and ten to as many as 20 a year, Kaushik said, predicting
He explained: “The number of surgeries are increasing day by day.
The government is actively promoting India’s booming medical tourism industry, including by recently overhauling a special M-visa, now issued faster and valid for one year. The $3 billion industry is expected to more than double in size by 2020, a report published last year from the Confederation of Indian Industry says. More than 250,000 patients -- seeking everything from hip replacements to facelifts -- are travelling to India annually, according to US-based consulting firm Patients Beyond Borders. The number pales in comparison to Thailand which draws up to two million patients a year, but the firm’s CEO Josef Woodman was confident India would become a future leader in the niche area of gender affirmation surgeries. “I think in another three to five years. It takes time,” Woodman told AFP of the surgeries, performed by less than a dozen Indian surgeons mostly in Delhi and Mumbai. Woodman said, however, some foreigners might question India as a destination given that its own transgender community is vulnerable to discrimination. Known as “hijras”, India several million transgenders are often outcasts. Shunned from society some end up destitute forced to beg or into prostitution. - ‘Wanted the best’ Retired British violinist Rosy Mica Kellett decided to travel to India for male-to-female surgery based on glowing recommendations for her surgeon. It was also 14,000 pounds ($20,000) -- less than half the cost in the UK.
“It’s significantly cheaper here than it is back home and in most countries, even including Thailand,” said the married 50-year-old during a recent follow-up appointment with Kaushik. “Some of the feedback I received for this kind of procedure in Thailand didn’t seem to be as super advanced as my surgeon performs,” said Kellett, formerly known as Michael, dressed in a flowing maxi dress. “I wanted the very best and I got the very best.” Indian surgeons are also developing their own techniques for transgender operations, including for female-tomale surgeries, which are complex and less widely available, according to industry experts. But Shobha Mishra Ghosh, senior director of Indian industry body FICCI, said policymakers need to work harder if India was to become a top destination. She suggested further streamlining of visa and immigration processes, as well as help desks at airports and more language interpreters. “If we can bring the entire ecosystem in place, a lot of traffic that is going to other countries will get diverted to us,” Ghosh said.
Toby Yaltho, M.D., fellowshiptrained movement disorders neurologist at Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center at Sugar Land, can help patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. A movement disorder results from the alteration of communication between the brain, muscles and nerves. “Although Parkinson’s disease produces typical symptoms, its diagnosis may be delayed because symptoms often develop slowly over many years,” said Yaltho. “The risk of Parkinson’s disease increases with age and is more common in people older than 65 years of age.” Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person and can include tremor, or shaking, often in a hand, arm or leg; stiff muscles; slow movement; and difficulty with walking and balance.
“Disorders and diseases of the brain and spine require a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and an individual treatment plan for every patient,” said Yaltho. To schedule an appointment with Toby Yaltho, M.D., or another physician at the Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center, call 281.274.7979 or visit houstonmethodist.org/neuro-sl to request an appointment. FREE PARKINSON’S DISEASE AND ESSENTIAL TREMOR SEMINAR Join Toby Yaltho, M.D., fellowship-trained movement disorder neurologist, and Brian Dalm, M.D., neurosurgeon at Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 12 for a free patient education seminar at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center. They will discuss Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy for Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor including the benefits and risks of surgery and appropriate patient selection. Registration required. Register online at events.houstonmethodist.org/parkinsons-sl or call 281.274.7500.
“In that sense, I think we have a winner out there.” - AFP.
Blood circulatory aid ‘honoured’ at Paris invention fair
ARIS, France | AFP-Services -A Taiwanese doctor has been awarded three AIFF medals for participating at a prestigious invention fair in Paris. Dr. Tien Show Liang from GreenE won the nod from the judging panel at the 117th Concours Lépine (Lépine Contest) for his unique medical fibre which aids blood flow and circulation. The recognition was given for the fabrication of textiles from the fibre with its alongside bandage and medical tape made from it.
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UGAR LAND—(May 4, 2018) — Parkinson’s disease affects more than one million Americans and is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year.
In addition to Parkinson’s disease, Houston Methodist Neuroscience & Spine Center at Sugar Land provides diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of neurological issues, including Alzheimer’s and memory disorders, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), back and neck pain, brain and spinal tumors, epilepsy, migraines, headaches, multiple sclerosis (MS), peripheral neuropathy, muscle and nerve injuries, and stroke.
Speaking after the ceremony he said that he hoped this would “open doors in Europe” for his product. Already approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)in the United States, Dr. Liang’s design is manufactured using precious metals, along with a secret ingredient known as ‘Pi’, to create a fibre that can be woven into blankets, medical tape, mattresses and much more. Dr. Liang perfected the product after ten years of research to find the exact mix of ingredients to best enhance blood circulation. His invention works by absorbing the far infrared rays of the body and emitting the same frequency back, reaching a natural resonance and aiding cellular function. The product has been proven to increase blood flow speed by
more than 50 percent, while blood flow volume increases by almost 43 percent. When textiles made with his patented nanotechnology are in contact with skin, they have also been shown to raise body temperature by 1.3° C. Working in combination, this improves the circulatory system in the same way as massage or exercise, helping oxygenated cells and nutrition reach throughout the whole body. Improved circulation promotes cell growth and organ function, helping to fight off bacteria and infection. People with severe blood circulatory problems often suffer from cold hands and feet, but Dr. Liang says the majority of people in today’s world have some circulatory problems. He demonstrates this at his stall in the Concours Lépine Exhibition Hall using a microscope that’s been wired-up to a small screen. Onlookers are invited to be tested for any issues for free. A quick spritz of oil on the tip of a finger, pop it under the microscope and you can soon see blood cells whizzing through the blood vessels, or not, as was the case for most people. Dr. Liang explains that the tips of the fingers are a good place to spot any issues. “These are the extremities, the areas where it takes blood the longest to reach,” he said. “When the blood flow is poor here, it’s an indication of a problem.” He then wraps one of his products around the person being tested and within the blink of an eye, it is possible to see the rate and flow of blood cells increasing on the screen. Keen to show the benefits of his invention, punters are also asked to point out any parts on their body where they suffer regular aches or pain. Dr. Liang inspects the area before administering a strip of medical tape, made using his special fibre. “This will take away the pain quickly,” he tells one woman. Moments later she responds that she can already feel the ache ease. She’s not the only one. Many of the people at Dr. Liang’s stall are repeat customers. Beatrix Willem was so impressed with the results of the socks and a blanket she bought from him, she came back for more. “I normally can’t sleep at night,” she said, “but three days after using Dr. Liang’s blanket, I’m sleeping very well. And the socks, it’s the first time my feet have been warm for as long as I can
remember.” Another repeat customer is Nicole Chopin, who initially bought some pain relief tape for her father-inlaw. “He’s 90-years-old and has been suffering with pain since having an operation two years ago on his shoulder,” she said. “He put the patch on and the next day the pain was gone!” “My products have no side-effects,” said Dr. Liang proudly. “They are safe for everyone to use, even pregnant women and babies. This is not a medicine; it works naturally with energy in the body to produce a harmonious result.” Dr. Liang is already developing new products from his medical fibre including face masks to promote a youthful glow and underwear for men to help erectile dysfunction. “Many men are suffering from this problem, but they don’t like to talk about it,” said Dr. Liang. “This underwear is a discrete way to combat the issue.” This new underwear product made using Dr. Liang’s medicated fibre has been put through its paces in clinical trials* in Taiwan. The trials were carried out by some of Taiwan’s top experts, including Dr. En Meng, Dr. Shou-Hung Tang from the National Defense Medical Centre in Taipei and Juin-Hong Cherng, an assistant professor at the National Defense Medical. All were also involved in the research and development of the underwear to improve erectile dysfunction. Those trials showed men who wore the underwear were able to engage in sexual activity for longer** and said they were more satisfied***. Dr. Liang is currently looking for a distributor in Europe to help his GreenE business grow. He also wants to find a partner to create an association, similar to one he already runs in Taiwan, which enables people from low income families to access his products at a reduced price or for free. He says he just wants to help more people live pain-free; and for longer. FOOTNOTES: *Trials took place in 2015/16 with 30 subjects (Test group of 20, control group of 10) **PEDT questionnaire showed a reduction from 6.5 to 3 for those experiencing premature ejaculation. ***IIEF5 International Index of Erectile Function showed an increase from 16 to 19.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
VOICE OF ASIA 20
Beyonce, Kanye streaming stats ‘manipulated’ on Tidal: report
Healthy eating, sleeptime sounds, shopping aids: Google’s top Mother’s Day apps
treaming numbers of Beyonce and Kanye West’s respective albums on rap mogul Jay Z’s music platform Tidal have been manipulated, allowing the stars excessive royalty payouts, a Norwegian newspaper said on Wednesday.
Google has put together a selection of great mom-worthy Android apps for Relaxnews in time for Mother’s Day.
In its investigative report, the financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv (DN) claimed the streaming numbers for Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” and Beyonce’s “Lemonade” were inflated through manipulated user play counts on Tidal. Jay Z bought the online service, which has its roots and significant activities in Oslo, through his holding Project Panther for $56 million in March 2015. His wife Beyonce and his former protege West both launched their albums exclusively on the streaming platform in 2016. DN’s revelations suggest that West and Beyonce, along with their record companies, received a disproportionate share of royalty payouts at the expense of other artists on Tidal. This could put the service in a tricky situation, as it has promised to pay rights holders more money than its other streaming rivals including Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer. Based on an analysis provided by the Norwegian Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS), DN reported more than 320 million false plays of songs from the two albums over short periods, a manipulation which affected more than 1.7 million users. User accounts and play counts obtained by the newspaper revealed suspicious listening patterns, such as simultaneous playbacks of multiple songs by the same user or repeated playbacks of the same song at regular intervals. For example, the tracks were restarted every six minutes at the same second and millisecond. Two of the Tidal users contacted by
Tech rally leads US stocks higher
US singer Beyonce Knowles at the 77th Academy Awards. ROBYN BECK / AFP DN appeared to have listened to tracks claims its data has been stolen and in “Lemonade” 180 and 251 times, re- that the media report is false. spectively, during 24 hours. They both Contacted by AFP, the platform denied doing so to the paper. was not immediately available for comment. Tidal’s lawyer Jordan Siev told DN that it denies any manipulation and
Uber shows off its vision for future ‘flying taxi’
EW YORK | AFP | - Wall Street stocks finished higher Monday with technology shares leading the market and oillinked shares gyrating ahead of a key US announcement on Iran sanctions.
The Berkshire executives also said they wished they had bought Amazon and Google. Shares of Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet also rose. US stocks were in positive territory the whole session, continuing the upbeat momentum from Friday when a mixed US jobs report was seen as reducing the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will accelerate interest rate hikes. Petroleum-linked shares, which had been strong early in the session, finished mixed after President Donald Trump said he would announce a stance on the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday before the market closes. Oil prices finished at three and a half year high on speculation Trump would exit the deal, but the commodity later pulled back in after-hours trading. Consumer staples shares were weak, with Walmart shedding 2.4 percent, CVS health 2.1 percent and Costco Wholesale 1.1 percent. Gramercy Property Trust jumped 15.5 percent after sealing a deal to be acquired by Blackstone for $7.6 billion. Blackstone rose 0.3 percent. Athenahealth surged 16.4 percent after hedge fund Elliott Management announced a bid to acquire the company for $6.9 billion.
shopping lists, to do lists and a journal that everyone can share on the go. If you have teenagers with smartphones, Cozi is a great way of ensuring that everyone stays in sync. http://goo.gl/NUPRR MyFitnessPal- FREE Healthy eating is important, for moms, dads and kids alike. MyFitnessPal has the largest nutritional database of any Android calorie counter with over 1,100,000 foods! You can also create custom exercise routines and track your cardio and strength training including sets, reps and weight. http://goo.gl/IkkBA OvuView -FREE OvuView tracks and predicts your period, ovulation and fertility using sympto-thermal methods (STM). This app can be used both as an advanced birth control tool -- or as a simple menstrual calendar -- and replaces STM paper charts with a more convenient, digital way of tracking cycles. http://goo.gl/hhzMz Recipe Search - FREE Got hungry kids? This app provides a quick and simple way to find recipes for the ingredients you have -- or the ones you want. There are over 70,000 recipes in total, including appetizers, main dishes, drinks, side dishes, desserts and ethnic recipes. http://goo.gl/DnkcF RedLaser- FREE Scan faster. RedLaser uses state-ofthe-art barcode recognition that can read virtually any product barcode. Shop smarter. RedLaser searches for low online and local prices from hundreds of thousands of retailers. Watch the dollars and cents add up. http://goo.gl/8Luk0 Sleepy Time - $1.49 Forget about counting sheep -- that’s so analogue! The Sleepy Time app is a digital sound machine designed to help you sleep better. Choose from nature sounds, wild things, urban sounds and all sorts of things that whir, hum, chime, tick and tock. http://goo.gl/PBPgz
Apple will repair or replace iPhone X’s with Face ID issues: report
he famous Face-ID, the 3Dsensing face recognition system, is not quite as perfect as it first appeared to be, as it seems that enough iPhone X customers have had issues to put Apple into motion.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent to end at 24,357.32, and the broad-based S&P 500 also climbed 0.4 percent to 2,672.63.
“I think we’ve been a little too restrained,” Munger told CNBC. “I wish we owned more of it.”
hether your mother is just starting out with her smartphone and needs some tips or she’s a powerhouse Android junkie who doesn’t take her hand off her device, she’s bound to love these helpful apps from the Google Play app store. For busy moms there’s to-do and personal assistant apps to keep her life organized; for new moms there’s apps that will help her find the perfect baby name and baby monitors that will keep a watchful eye on newborns; and for moms with lots of hungry kids there’s shopping and recipe apps. Google’s selection of Mother’s Day apps: 50,000 Baby Names - FREE Searching for the perfect baby name? This app lists over 50,000 names for little boys and girls, and you can search by meaning, country of origin and popularity. The app is also integrated into email, Facebook and Twitter, so you can keep running lists and share favorites. http://goo.gl/0VvkZ Astrid - FREE Astrid is more than just the perfect to-do list -- it’s the personal assistant for busy mums on the go. Get your life organized and never miss a deadline with fun reminders, subtasks, lists, and widgets. Then access your tasks anywhere with automatic syncing across your phone, tablet, and Astrid.com. http://goo.gl/xB9kf Baby Monitor & Alarm - $2.99 This innovative app turns your Android smartphone into a high-tech baby monitor. Highlights include: ‘Phone Alert’ calls a preselected number when there is noise in your baby’s room, ‘Mum’s Voice’ plays a recorded audio file when your baby wakes up and becomes noisy, and ‘Sweet Dreams’ plays media from your music library to help your baby get to sleep. http://goo.gl/ekZOH Cozi Family Organizer - FREE Cozi turns your Android smartphone into the ultimate family organizer with a centralized calendar,
This past weekend Apple sent out a new support document to retail stores, which outlines an update repair process for iPhone X users experiencing issues with FaceID.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.8 percent to close the session at 7,265.22.
Large technology shares enjoyed a buoyant session with Apple gaining 0.7 percent after Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger effused about the company after disclosing last week they bought an additional 75 million shares.
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
A model of Uber’s electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle concept (eVTOL) flying taxi is displayed at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles, California (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)
OS ANGELES | AFP | It’s not a bird, nor a plane. But Uber’s new prototype vehicle unveiled Tuesday shows off its vision of the future of transportation -- a “flying taxi” that aims to alleviate urban congestion.
on demand just like a ridesharing vehicle.
A model of Uber’s electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle concept (eVTOL) -- a cross between a helicopter and a drone -- was displayed at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles.
“The rational choice for transportation will be less and less to own and drive a car,” Allison said.
“Our goal is to radically improve global mobility,” said Uber Aviation product chief Nikhil Goel. Goel said the all-electric flyer can achieve speeds over 300 kilometers (200 miles) an hour with a range of 100 kilometers (60 miles) on a battery charge. “We fly a lot so we can prove to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the public that these aircraft are safe,” he said. Uber has become a global force in transportation with its ridesharing service, but is also working on autonomous vehicles and other forms of transport. Uber plans the first demonstration flights for Los Angeles in 2020 and commercialization of the flying taxis in 2023, saying these could be ordered
Eric Allison, who heads Uber’s Aviation programs, said the flying vehicles are part of an overall strategy allowing people to do without personal cars.
“We want to price it so low, it’ll be irrational to drive your car.” The first flying taxis will be designed with a pilot, according to Allision, but over time can be developed as autonomous vehicles. At the conference at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, Uber showed films and models of a futuristic city with such vehicles, seemingly inspired by the film “Blade Runner.” The concept includes “skyports” that would serve as hubs for the aerotaxis. Several other companies along with Uber are trying to develop similar kinds of aerial devices. Uber operations director Jeff Holen says the obstacles to the new transport mode are mostly around regulations of air space, adding, “The technology exists... we can solve this today.”
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The support document was obtained and the instructions published by MacRumors, which says it instructs employees to begin by running a diagnostics tests to clarify if the customer’s issue with the Face ID could be resolved with a rear camera repair. And should that not be the solution, the customer will receive a whole unit replacement, basically a new phone. The rear camera? Yes, it seems that the dual-lens camera at the back is somehow linked to the Face ID functionality.
According to 9to5Mac, the brand says this is “in order to provide the best customer experience.” However this is not great news for the brand as it follows a recent program to replace the 13-inch Macbook Pro batteries, should they have been sold between 2016-2017 and be facing problems. Meanwhile a petition has also recently circulated via Change.Org to recall and “replace the keyboards on [current-generation Macbook Pro models] with new, redesigned keyboards that just work. Because, these keyboards don’t work.” For anyone experiencing an issue with their iPhone X, visit the company’s support page - Contact Apple Support. - Relaxnews
‘Pokémon Go’ events announced for Germany, US, Japan Three “Pokémon Go” live events are set for the coming months, with Dortmund to host a Safari Zone gathering, Chicago a second annual Pokemon Go Fest, and Yokosuka a Safari Zone event of its own.
fter rolling out seven special events in October and September 2017 for European players of its iOS and Android smartphone game “Pokémon Go,” developer Niantic has announced another one for 2018. A Safari Zone will be set up in Dortmund’s Westfalenpark outdoor space, with the event running from June 30 to July 1, though Niantic promises that “activities will expand to Dortmund’s entire city district ... to explore the city’s cultural history through ‘Pokémon Go.’” Safari Zone events typically provide players with the opportunity to gather in mass numbers and in return use the Augmented Reality game to capture digital Pokémon creatures that are not usually available in their part of the world. The single summer event is perhaps not directly comparable to Fall 2017’s set of seven, but Niantic is anticipating (and encouraging) interest “from all over Europe,” advising that players book their travel and accommodation in advance.
Similarly, Niantic namechecked “hundreds of thousands of Trainers coming together to view breathtaking scenery, catch many types of Pokémon, and enjoy a unique real-world experience” during previous Asian events. A Safari Zone event is being planned for Yokosuka in Japan’s Greater Tokyo area, with a precise northern Summer date to follow, and “an exciting schedule for our Trainers across Asia” after that. In between those two gatherings will be a second run-out for the Pokémon Go Fest, announced for July 14 and July 15 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Single passes will be available for $20 through pokemongolive.com/fest from May 11, with details on hotel accommodation options provided on the site. Niantic indicated that it would prompt a season of heightened “Pokémon Go” activity through “a variety of activities and challenges” for those not present at the three headline events. - Relaxnews
VOICE OF ASIA 21
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Home&Real Estate IKEA launching limited-edition ‘urban lifestyle’ collection
Housing confidence hits record high Home prices skyrocket as most feel they will continue to rise in value by Diana Olick
upply is tight, prices are soaring and mortgage rates are rising. That shouldn’t exactly add up to a happy housing market, and yet, it does. Consumer confidence in housing jumped to its highest level on record in April, according to a monthly sentiment index from Fannie Mae. Of the index’s six components, only the share of those who think it’s a good time to buy fell. No surprise there, given the high competition in most of the nation’s neighborhoods. The share of those who think it’s a good time to sell and those who think prices will continue to rise jumped the most. In addition, more consumers think their incomes will rise over the next year, and fewer think they will lose their jobs. Consumer attitudes remain resilient going into the spring/summer home buying season,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, the upward trend in the good-time-to-sell share seen since last spring has done little to release more for-sale inventory. The tightest supply in decades, combined with rising mortgage rates from historically low levels, will likely remain a hurdle for mobility and a persistent headwind for home sales.” Housing confidence hits record high as prices skyrocket Housing confidence hits record high as prices skyrocket Supply is tight, prices are soaring and mortgage rates are rising. That shouldn’t exactly add up to a happy housing market, and yet, it does. Consumer confidence in housing jumped to its highest level on record in April, according to a monthly sentiment index from Fannie Mae. Of the index’s six components, only the share of those who think it’s a good time to buy fell. No surprise there, given the high competition in most of the nation’s neighborhoods.
The share of those who think it’s a good time to sell and those who think prices will continue to rise jumped the most. In addition, more consumers think their incomes will rise over the next year, and fewer think they will lose their jobs. Consumer attitudes remain resilient going into the spring/summer home buying season,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, the upward trend in the good-time-to-sell share seen since last spring has done little to release more for-sale inventory. The tightest supply in decades, combined with rising mortgage rates from historically low levels, will likely remain a hurdle for mobility and a persistent headwind for home sales.” Home prices made their biggest jump in four years in March, up 7 percent compared with March 2017, according to CoreLogic, which also calculated that half of the nation’s 50 largest metro markets are now considered overvalued. That is based on prices being at least 10 percent higher than the long-term sustainable average. While more Americans are less con-
cerned about losing their jobs, just 18 percent said their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago, according to the Fannie Mae survey. While that is a slight gain compared with March, it doesn’t exactly mean potential buyers are swimming in cash. Home prices are rising far faster than incomes. Demand, however, continues to rise as the largest generation, millennials, moves solidly into the homebuying years. While supply is lowest on the low end of the market, a growing number of first-time buyers are buying move-up homes, instead of entry-level homes. That is because millennials waited longer, following the recession, to become homebuyers, meaning they are likely in higher-paying jobs than previous generations of first-time buyers. Still, if mortgage rates continue to rise, fewer millennials will be able to afford homeownership, and will keep renting or living with family. Millennial homeownership actually fell in the first quarter of this year, after rising solidly during all of 2017, according to the U.S. Census. High prices are clearly taking their toll.
Veterans repair Harvey-damaged Houston home
OUSTON - The house is painted pale purple. Near the front door, a wooden sign adorned with flowers reads, “Live life in full bloom.”
Team Rubicon, a California-based nonprofit made up mostly of military veterans, spent six weeks making Beaudreault’s home livable again. It’s the first of 100 Harvey-flooded homes the national organization plans to repair with the help of skilled volunteers. Monday afternoon, as Beaudreault took her first look at the house at a “Welcome Home” party, the tears started flowing. “If you hadn’t come to my aid, I don’t know what I would have done,” Beaudreault told a group of Team Rubicon volunteers in her front yard. “Seriously, I was ready to give up.” Team Rubicon got started in 2010, after an earthquake decimated Haiti. When established aid organizations were slow to get to Port-au-Prince, CEO Jake Wood and a fellow exMarine gathered up supplies and volunteers and flew into the heart of the disaster just days after the earthquake. Now, Team Rubicon has 80,000 volunteers across the country and has helped people rebuild after 250 disasters—wildfires and tornadoes, flash floods and mudslides, even epidemiological outbreaks such as cholera. “If you’ve heard of a disaster in the past 10 years, we’ve probably done it,” Wood said. About 70 percent of Team Rubicon volunteers are military veterans. People who have served the country in the military often have a desire to keep serving even after their military careers have ended, Wood said, and Team Rubicon can use their skills to help people recover from disasters. Beaudreault’s house represents “the next frontier” for the nonprofit, Wood
OS ANGELES, California IKEA is collaborating with LA-based fashion designer Chris Stamp of streetwear brand Stampd on a limited-edition, streetstyle-themed collection that will hit stores in May.
hat, and clear plastic stackable shoe boxes.
The furniture brand is targeting young, aesthetically-conscious consumers with its new SPÄNST collection, which offers storage solutions that showcase stylish duds, in addition to a skateboard -- IKEA’s first ever -that sells for $89.99.
There’s also a minimalist clothes rack, a black duffel bag, an LED light stick said to be Stamp’s favorite product of the collection, and a tabletop with DJ-ing among its suggested uses.
Monochrome colors, graphic elements and a sports theme characterize much of the collection, which includes a rack that holds both skateboards and shoes, an all-black basketball and hoop, black lacquered armchairs, a
The Houston Chronicle reports that for more than 40 years, Estela Beaudreault had called this modest house in east Houston—1,200 square feet, with tall trees and a converted garage—her home. But when it took on 2 feet of water during Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas last August, she didn’t know if she could ever come back. Beaudreault, 71, has been living in a Federal Emergency Management Agency-provided motel room since the flood that ruined her house and transformed her neighborhood. But now, thanks to volunteers who fixed up her place, Beaudreault is finally able to move back in.
IKEA x Chris Stamp - SPÄNST Limited Edition Collection. (Courtesy IKEA)
“As a fashion designer, I know that people want to show other people their clothes, shoes and accessories,” says Stamp. “Why spend a lot on a pair of sneakers and hide them in the closet?”
Black hoodies, T-shirts, a laundry bag, gray cushion covers and a water bottle are among other offerings in the sleek, sporty line. SPÄNST launched this week at IKEA’s Burbank location and will roll out to stores globally next month.
The holes in the furniture belong there Estela Beaudreault, second from right, hugs Team Rubicon construction site supervisor Teaira Johnson, second from left, on April 20 as she sees her home in Houston for the first time since it was rebuilt. The house was flooded during Hurricane Harvey and rebuilt by members of Team Rubicon. Beaudreault's home is the first of 100 homes that Team Rubicon is rebuilding in the Houston area. (Photo: Associated Press) said. Typically, Team Rubicon moves in just after a disaster and stays for a week or a couple of months, he said. But the organization has plans to expand into long-term recovery projects, and Hurricane Harvey is the group’s first such long-term effort.
hope in Estela’s heart,” she said.
The group plans to repair 100 houses damaged by Harvey. Beaudreault’s is the first.
A few of Team Rubicon’s helpers, like Collum, are fellows or full-time staffers. Most volunteers work in their spare time or take vacations days from work. Team Rubicon has worked locally with the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit that set up an office in Houston after Harvey to help get damaged homes repaired and rebuilt.
“We always say our organization is here to help people on their worst day,” Wood said. This new effort, he said, allows them to “be there not just on the worst day, but in the long run.”
Beaudreault’s neighborhood is still recovering; a home across the street has been boarded up and abandoned, and neighbors have put out furniture and other debris on the curb.
With an enormous pair of scissors, Beaudreault cut a red ribbon and walked inside her finished home.
Repairing 100 homes is “the proverbial drop in a bucket compared to the problem,” Wood acknowledged. But Harvey, he said, is a prime example of how the need can last for months, maybe years, after a disaster occurs.
The last time she saw her house, it was underwater. Now, new vinyl flooring looks like gray-toned wood, smooth and clean. New laminate kitchen counters look like marble. Throughout, the homes walls are painted pale gray with white trim. “Your house is all over my clothes,” Courtney Collum told Beaudreault with a laugh. Collum, a Team Rubicon volunteer and a Coast Guard veteran, has been painting the woman’s house for days, and paint has splashed onto every piece of Collum’s clothing. But it’s been worth it, Collum said, to see what a group of strangers can do for a neighbor in need. “All the volunteers have put sweat equity into her home to restore the
“You have an army of people who want to continue to help,” Wood told Beaudreault on Monday.
he modernist design idea that less is more has a twist. A number of designers are putting cheesehole-style perforations into furnishings to create visual and actual lightness. The technique, often accomplished by smart machines, reduces the amount of material in a piece while boosting the decorative effect. The Italian designer Paola Navone is a member of this holey order. Carve 07, her latest chair for Gervasoni, has a mahogany back with circles of different sizes punched out, an unexpected detail in a piece that recalls African tribal stools. (-NYTimes)
able how your house looks,” Teaira Johnson, a Team Rubicon fellow and an Army veteran, told Beaudreault before they went inside. “It’s my first time seeing it, too.” The “Welcome Home” event seemed too much like an ending for Johnson,
Paola Navone’s Carve 07 mahogany chair. (Credit: Gervasoni)
who goes by “T-Bone.” “I’ll be here to visit, though,” she told the woman. “Don’t worry about it.” Beaudreault gave her a hug. “Any time you feel like it,” she said. (-Associated Press/CNBC)
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In fact, Team Rubicon’s next project is just a few blocks over. More than just “sweat equity” and volunteer work, the project is building relationships. “It’s
“Let Us Inspect Before You Invest”
(home inspection only)
Licensed and Certified Home, Mold, Termite and Energy Inspector serving Houston and surrounding metro areas. Infrared Certified & Licensed Drone Pilot
Amandeep (Andy) Punia
Certified Professional Inspector, TREC #22380
Call for Buyers, Sellers, Warranty, Maintenance New Construction, Pool & Spa, Septic System Phase, TERMITE & MOLD inspections
Email:email@example.com We speak Punjabi, Hindi & English
Conditions apply, see website for more details
7457 Harwin Dr, Ste 364, Houston, TX
VOICE OF ASIA 22
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Personal and Business Tax Returns, Payroll Sales Tax, Income Tax Audits and Representations.
S. Ram and Associates
Tel: 832-877-9625 Free Consultation asu2020.com
M.D. Associates LLP A full service CPA firm
3 Locations to serve you Houston 713-774-6533 Spring 281-251-2205 Dallas 214-722-7545
visit us at: www.mdassociatescpas.com
Accurate Book-Keeping Svcs Inc
l Payroll processing & Payroll tax payments l Filing 940, 941, 1099, TWC reports l Filing of Sales Tax & Franchise Tax Return Manish Gaglani Ph: 346-317-7409. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 7011 Harwin Dr Suite 230 Houston, TX 77036
REAL ESTATE BUY - SELL - INVEST
Your REALTOR ® with over 28 years in Real Estate
Ron Aga 832 - 423 - 6973 Champions Real Estate Group
• 6117 Richmond Ave, Ste #120 Houston, TX 77057
Offering Attractive rates for Website listing of your service and product. Call 713-774-5140
AUTO CARE & SALES B&J Auto Care & Sales
Auto repair (Collision repair (all insurance), Mechanical (Brakes, Oil change, Engine and Transmission). l Used Car Sales lUsed & New Tires lGreat Service Blessy 281-323-9315 3242 5th St., Stafford, TX 77477
With the sun aligning with potent Pluto on Friday, a decision might result in positive changes to your circumstances. You may be itching for new experiences over the weekend.
21 April to 20 May The weekend could see you rebelling against your usual routine. With lively Mercury connecting to restless Uranus, you might prefer to go off and do your own thing. However, you may find that you can settle down and enjoy yourself.
21 May to 20 June Things could take a surprising turn when an unexpected encounter could prove deeply fascinating. Something this person shares with you could change your life for the better.
21 June to 22 July If you need to make an important decision, the sun’s link to Pluto on Friday can help you make the best choice for you. You will be encouraged to seek out new opportunities, but avoid making any impulsive moves.
23 July to 22 August You might be offered an opportunity that involves more work, but if your instincts tell you to go for it, definitely consider it. You will enjoy an impromptu trip, and the more exciting the better!
23 August to 22 Sept You find it hard to see eye to eye with someone. And with restless Uranus also in the mix, you could be feeling independent and unwilling to compromise even if it’s in your own best interests. Don’t upset a close friend; reconsider.
to your service and product listing. Call 713-774-5140
COMPUTER SERVICES Networking and Computer Repair
Home & Business, on site, Microsoft MCSE & A+ certified, low flat rates, free estimates, pickup & delivery, www.PCNetworkGuru.com Call Amit at 832-971-6807
STATEPOINT CROSSWORD THEME: FIRST LADIES
RESTAURANTS India’s Restaurant & Catering
For special parties and corporate events. Preferred Wine list, authentic vegetarian & nonvegetarian dishes, finest Indian cuisine with chef’s special dishes Ph: 713-266-0131/0805
We cater from 10 people to 800 people for all occasions. We deliver to your venue.
Madhuram Mirch Masala 10758 FM 1960 West Houston, TX 77070
281.955.9878 216.338.3940 (cell)
Shiva Indian Restaurant & Catering Specializing in North Indian Cuisine, office & Corporate catering 2514 Times Blvd, Rice Village Ph: 713-523-4753 Visit us online: www.shivarestaurant.com
Week of MAY 11, 2018 21 March to 20 April
Book this space TODAY For a quick reference
23 September to 22 Oct Friends or partners could seem a tad unreliable, perhaps canceling an event at the last minute. If so, use this opportunity to do something you’d really enjoy. It will make you feel much better. A key discussion could lead to a firm decision.
23 October to 21 Nov Escape your usual routine. As expressive Mercury connects with restless Uranus, you may not be content with your normal activities. If so, this can be a good time to experiment with new ideas or sign up for an interesting class or experience.
22 November to 21 Dec You could be a little more rebellious and determined to do your own thing at the end of the week. You might seek experiences that are thrilling but risky. There is no harm in enjoying yourself, but it might be wise let others know.
22 December to 20 Jan Life at home could be hectic over the weekend. Your best-laid plans may come to nothing. It’s possible that unexpected visitors or guests could show up and you might have to attend to them instead.
21 January to 19 Feb It wouldn’t be surprising if the coming days coincided with an encounter or information that changes your perspective on life. You could experience a much-needed breakthrough. You need to be both serious and silly.
20 February to 20 Mar Enjoy a shopping spree and a spot of retail therapy. It would be just as well to give yourself a limit, however, because you could be tempted to purchase certain items on impulse. Small treats are likely no problem; keep the receipts for big ones.
1. Speedy steed
6. Anatomical pouch 9. Be quiet! 13. Rn, a health hazard 14. “I” mania 15. Tax of one tenth 16. “____ Last Night,” movie 17. Dream time 18. Euphoric way to walk 19. *She raised a future President
2. Ali ____ of “One Thousand and One Nights” 3. Air-transported property 4. Skeptic’s MO 5. Have as logical consequence 6. “Que ____,” sang Doris Day 7. *First lady Frances Folsom Cleveland had the lowest one 8. Oxford ____
21. *First First Lady
9. Help to solve a riddle
23. 20-20, e.g.
10. Beehive State
24. Marked by sound judgement 25. Say “no”
11. Not Sunni 12. ____ Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II
28. Strip of wood
15. Bull opponent
30. War over Helen
35. Cheese from Netherlands
22. Marching insect?
37. Ringo Starr’s instrument
24. Challenger or Atlantis
39. *She planted a vegetable garden in South Lawn
25. *Co-founder of eponymous treatment facility
40. Kind of bag
26. Dig, so to speak
41. Bigfoot’s cousins
43. Computer desktop picture 44. Type of fishing net 46. ____-a-sketch 47. After-bath powder 48. Cowardly color 50. “____ and the Real Girl,” movie 52. Bovine hangout 53. Used to be 55. Tiny guitar 57. *Pillbox hat fashion icon 60. *She also raised a future President 64. Bird of prey nest 65. PC brain 67. Wear away 68. Supernatural being 69. Beachgoer’s goal 70. Extend subscription 71. Freight horse cart 72. Giant Hall-of-Famer 73. Lieu
29. *#21 Across’ spouse supposedly chopped one down 31. Final notice? 32. Southwestern hut 33. Soap plant 34. *Founder of “Just Say No” campaign 36. Whimper 38. Muscovite or biotite 42. Woody perennial 45. Subdued 49. Yellow river tributary 51. Whistler Blackcomb visitors 54. Right-hand page 56. Wading bird 57. Opposite of cheer 58. Cantatrice’s offering 59. C in NYC 60. Mom’s sister 61. Top notch 62. Brainchild 63. Raunchy 64. Put together 66. *Most-traveled Lady, pre-Hillary
SOLUTION FOR STATEPOINT FIRST LADIES on PAGE 23
VOICE OF ASIA 23
Houston Community College
Pita Pal Industries Production Mixers & Machine Operators $9.00 - $14.00 Vacation Pay & Benefits Apply in person at the guard shack at the corner of 12 N Palmer, Houston, TX 77003
To place Classifieds Call 713-774-5140
FRIDAY, May 11, 2018
Hiring - Marketing/Web Master/Graphic Designer
Request for Proposals (RFP) Facilities Condition Assesment
Project No. 18-26
Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs.edu/procurement.
TRAVEL The best vacation rentals for all budgets on TripAdvisor
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
STATEPOINT CROSSWORD SOLUTION
TripAdvisor has released a list of their best vacation homes from around the world, a list that includes a condo in Rome for a modest US $65 a night as well as a luxury, full-service villa in Costa Rica that comes with access to a golf course, tennis courts, spas, gym, outdoor pools and beaches. Created to promote their portfolio of vacation home rentals in line with competitors like Airbnb and HomeAway, the second annual Travelers’ Choice awards for Rentals recognize the best holiday homes they offer in three categories: luxury ($300+ USD per night), mid-range ($100 - 150 USD per night), and affordable ($99 USD per night and under). Awards are based on traveler ratings and reviews, and the response times and booking acceptance rates of hosts. Taking the top spot in the luxury category is the Pura Vida House in Costa Rica, a full-service villa that offers its guests a free pass to the local
beach club and its long list of amenities, including golf, tennis, biking trails, restaurants and beaches. The villa itself features four bedrooms and sleeps 12, and comes with a tropical outdoor shower, kitchen, pool, living room, outdoor dining terrace, and 24/7 concierge services. Rates start at US $310 a night. At the other end, the five-outof-five bubble rating for the Minerva Apartment in Rome helped it nab the top spot in the affordable category. Located between the Colosseum and the Termini station, the Minerva is a fully-equipped
condo that can sleep up to five guests in its two bedrooms. And the Traveler’s Choice for best mid-range vacation rental is a condo in Hawaii perfect for couples, with a seaside view, balcony and outdoor pool shared by the complex, for $145 a night. This year’s winners are located in countries like Canada, Costa Rica, England, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Mauritius, Scotland, South Africa, the US and Wales. For the full list visit https:// www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-VacationRentals. - Relaxnews
Theme: FIRST LADIES from PAGE 22
Pura Vida House, Costa Rica. Image: Instagram/puravidahouse
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VOICE OF ASIA 24
FRIDAY, May 11, 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...
Published on May 10, 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...