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VOICE OF ASIA 1

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FRIDAY, March 28, 2014 Avoid Penalty, Enroll Promptly. Read More On Obama Care Extension On Page 18 Or Call 713-771-2900.

Vol. 27 No. 13 Friday, March 28, 2014 Published Weekly from Houston 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Hats Off To Mothers Luncheon Benefiting Easter Seal’s Houston By Shobana Muratee

E

ater Seals of Greater Houston gave a fitting tribute to 15 distinguished Houston mothers who have made significant contributions to their families and the Houston community, by honoring them at their 15th Anniversary ‘Hats Off to Mothers’ Luncheon. The event was held at the elegant River Oaks Country Club on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 where close to 200 guests attended and enjoyed the seated luncheon. The bold and the beautiful flaunted their trendy hats and caps: the Fedoras, the floppies, the Derby hats and bucket hats, some organza hats with ribbons, and feathers, all for a great cause. Adding to the glamor of the event were sponsors Neiman Marcus Galleria, who presented an informal fashion show of their spring collection, which blended luminous bright with gentle lace. An inspirational short video on each of the 15 honorees was presented as friends and family members testified to the works, the qualities and their contributions ,and what made them stand out and so deserving of the honor that day. Indian American

Leela Krishnamurthy (rt) being honored by Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein. Photo by Shobana Muratee, VOA Leela Krishnamurthy, a philanthropist, a community volunteer for many charitable organizations, and recipient of several awards was among the 15 Eater Seals honorees this year. She serves on several prestigious boards like UNICEF, Houston Habitat for Humanity, Ek Disha, and is Trustee of Sankara Netralaya Om Trust. Mother of three - two daughters Sujata and Gita and one son Sanjay Leela and husband Nat Krish-

namurthy raised their children to recognize the importance of community service. Other honorees included Sofia Adrogué, Jana Arnoldy, Suzette Caldwell, Patricia Hamilton Dewhurst, Andi Fry, Kelli Kickerillo, Mary Kickerillo, Audrey Lawson, Katherine Le, Kristen Nix, Amy Pierce, Kathi Rovere, Karen Susman and Ileana Treviño. They were awarded the honors by Chairmen Gina Gaston Elie and Dr. Kelli Co-

Leela Krishnamurthy with husband Nat (far lt), daughters Sujata and Gita, son Sanjay, daughter-inlaw and grand kids at the event on Tuesday, March 25th 2014. Photo by Shobana Muratee. hen Fein, who also served as emcees. Gina Bhatia and Millette Sherman were the Raffle Chairmen. The raffle featured fabulous prizes such as black

onyx and diamond chandelier earrings with a ruby accent valued at $4,860, courtesy of AvaLe. In addition one night stay in one of Hotel Zaza’s magnificent

Seven Suites was raffled off and much more items. In all, Hats Off To Mothers was an inspirational and memorable experience.

Colorful Holi celebrations at Radha Madhav Dham, Austin, TX

People celebrating Holi at Radha Madhav Dham seen at the food stalls for a treat of the variety of vegetarian savories. Report on Page 9

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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS

VOICE OF ASIA 2

by Rod Liddle, (The Spectator)

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Koshy Thomas Sherly Philip Shobana Muratee Sherine Thomas Jacob David Susan Pothanikat AR Vadlamani Priyan Mathew

Columnists: Legal: Richard M. Alderman Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Legal: Yasmin Kutty Medical: Sabina K. Cherian, MD Medical: Kesavan Shan, MD Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Health Insurance: Sudhir Mathuria Astrology: Hardik Vyas

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

For the latest on South Asia and Community stories Visit our website www.VoiceofAsiaOnline.com Voice of Asia (USPS 010-215) (ISSN#10705058) is published every Friday (for a subscription rate of $30 per year) by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713774-5143. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Voice of Asia, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074 It is the policy of Voice of Asia to publish letters to the editor which evidence a variety of viewpoints. The opinions expressed in any particular letter to the editor are not necessarily those of the management. Voice of Asia welcomes letters in reply to issues raised in letters to editor. In as much letters to the editor are not articles written or researched by members of Voice of Asia, it is not the policy of the Voice of Asia to perform any investigation or confirmation of any facts or allegations contained in letters to the editor. Moreover, Voice of Asia reserves the right to edit letters to the editor as necessary to correct errors of fact, punctuation, spelling and to comply with space constraints. - The Publisher

T

here is a beautiful symmetry to all things, I think, and probably related somehow to the concept of karma. Only two weeks ago, a bunch of researchers at Durham University came up with a report which insisted that dyslexia is a meaningless term. You and I know that, of course, but we dare not say so in public. For decades now dyslexia has been the crutch upon which middle-class parents support themselves when they discover that their children — Oliver, eight, and Poppy, ten — are actually denser than a ton of highly enriched uranium, contrary to their expectations. The fact that these kids cannot spell their own names is the consequence not of a magnificent, breathtaking stupidity, but is the result of a disease, or an affliction or an illness — something which does not reflect too badly upon the parents and which the state has a duty to combat and put right. ‘Poppy is such a brilliant, intelligent child,’ they will tell you, ‘it’s just that when it comes to words, she is stricken with this terrible disorder.’ Nope. Afraid not. She’s a dingbat who finds stuff like spelling ‘cat’ a bit on the taxing side; lower your expectations for the child. Given the appropriate parental support, she’ll end up stacking shelves in Waitrose, rather than Aldi (‘Remind me again, how do you spell hummus?’). Anyway, the team from Durham — that most middle-class of all universities, just to rub it in — suggested that the word ‘dyslexia’ be consigned to the history books. It is utterly

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Dyslexia is meaningless. But don’t worry – so is ADHD

How many illnesses of modern childhood are excuses for bad behaviour, stupidity or parental neurosis? meaningless. It is a pretentious word for ‘thick’. And then, this week, as if in the form of a riposte, an American neurologist stuck it to the working class. Dr Richard Saul, who has been investigating this area for many years, has come to the conclusion that ADHD is a meaningless term, too. Again, you and I both knew this instinctively, but even more so — even more than with dyslexia — we dare not say it. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the other crutch, the crutch which has been supporting workingclass parents when their offspring — Jayden, ten, and Kayleigh-Anne, 12 — have stabbed several fellow pupils and two members of staff in their ghastly secondary school’s teacher support unit, where they have been placed for being perpetually vile. ‘Sorry about Latifah, she’s got ADHD,’ has become a familiar mantra whenever Latifah has done something truly appalling: not any more, not now. Latifah is just an unpleasant, over-indulged, half-witted brat with a crap diet: sort it out, quickly. Dr Saul believes the expensive and horrible drugs — such as Ritalin — with which these devil-monkeys are chemically restrained are more injurious than helpful. Give the kids a proper diet rather than drugs, he argues, try not to feed them an almost continuous supply of

brown, deep-fried, fat-soaked, filth. And look after them properly — read them Auden and Eliot and get them working on Fermat’s last theorem. A refusal to pay attention is not a disease, not a medical condition — it’s a character flaw, and one which could be stamped out given the necessary willpower from the parents. As I say, we probably knew this, deep inside our nasty little minds. Shall we go a little bit further, without the benefit of scientific research, just a bit of guesswork? Food allergies: balls. If you are over the age of 40, think about this: do you remember any kids being ‘coeliac’? Perhaps back then your classmates were secretly suffering and it’s simply that there was no medical terminology appropriate to their illness. No, I don’t think so. It’s a modern affliction, the consequence of over-indulgence and hypersensitivity to what the headstrong and idiotic child tells you it wants. I had a coeliac kid over for one of those unspeakable kiddy birthday parties not so long ago — everything had to be gluten-free, nut-free, lactose-free, according to its neurotic, mimsy halfwit of a parent. I gave it bread and peanut butter and a glass of milk and it was as happy as a sandboy. I’m not absolutely sure what a sandboy is, but either way, the

child didn’t die or retch or collapse or erupt in boils. It was perfectly fine when it went home, although it wheezed a bit. Hell, I don’t know, maybe it died later, but I think I would have heard. My guess is that 98 per cent of children whose parents have, with the connivance of incredibly weary GPs, diagnosed some form of food intolerance for their charges, are nothing more than averse to eating proper food. Shall we continue with this trope? We are getting into dangerous territory, believe me. Asthma? Doctors these days hand out the inhalers in the manner of a paedo with a bag of lemon bonbons. And then there are the multifarious conditions supposedly afflicting adults — such as fibromyalgia and that other thing, yuppie flu, or ME as they like to call it. The last time I wrote about this the police and the Press Complaints Commission got involved, so maybe for safety’s sake I should draw a line in the sand. Leave it for another day. The sufferers alleged that it was a hate crime to suggest — as most medical practitioners do, in private — that both ‘illnesses’ were rooted squarely in the noggin. Uh-oh, let’s draw a veil, I can see my inbox filling up already and the plod calling round. (Courtesy: The Spectator magazine, pub. date 15 March 2014)

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C OMMUNITY VOICE OF ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 3

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Second Front Page

Friday, March 28, 2014

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Tel: 713-774-5140

Chai Pe Charcha for NaMo energizes Houstonian NRIs by Ritesh Seal

pour in such large numbers to take active part in CPC with Modi live from Dabhadi village of Yavatmal district, Maharashtra where the recent untimely rains and hailstorm have damaged crops. While sipping tea and munching snacks, 125+ enthusiastic Houstonian NRIs, GIBV volunteers and media personnel connected directly with the heart and soul of India and its villagers with Modi at the helm conducting his live Chai Pe Charcha which can be mentioned as synonymous to ‘footpath parliament’.

H

OUSTON - Little did the Congress party realize its greatest mistake when it hurled the ‘tea-seller’ jibe at its rival BJP’s prime ministerial candidate that catalyzed the launch of one of the largest and most successful campaign in Indian electoral history. This unique techno-driven grass root election campaign stems from the remark made by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on 17th January where he mocked Modi and said that he could not become Prime Minister but could certainly serve tea at the AICC Session. Soon the think-tank technocrats behind Modi’s campaign launched ‘Chai Pe Charcha with NaMo’ (a discussion with Modi over tea) on 12th February. It is an interactive session with people across India and Modi over video conference via a combination of multiple communication technologies. Chai Pe Charcha with NaMo (as Modi is fondly called by his fan base) is a unique initiative to create a platform for Modi and the general public to interact directly, through video conferencing facilities across 1000 locations in 300+ cities. These locations are common tea stalls, not only to highlight Modi’s humble origins as a tea vendor, but also because tea stalls in India are a hub of conversations where India’s most grassroots level issues emerge. Buoyed by the success of its first

Volunteers and supporters at the Chai Pe Charcha with NaMo’ meet in Houston. phase and hoping to connect with maximum people in the second phase of CPC, BJP decided to broaden its scale and made it international by adding 30 locations in 15 countries where NaMo brigades got together to connect with Modi and interact with him over a sip of tea. It is heartening to refer here the launch of Global Indians for Bharat Vikas (GIBV.org) platform created by a group of NRIs who keep India very close to their heart. With great-

est desire of having a strong, prosperous and developed India championed under the dynamic, honest, visionary and decisive leadership of Modi, they started the “reference calling” campaign in support of NaMo, with close to 1200 volunteers all over USA and with 600+ amongst them being our lovable Houstonian brothers and sisters of Indian diasporas. Houstonian NRIs are surely getting hooked up to the ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ big time with 2 to 3 CPC events get-

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Following the above grand success, on Sunday 22nd March, the Houston air waves were buzzing with NaMo NaMo as “Music Masala”, one of the most popular Indian music radio channels in Houston, detoured from its normal Bollywood beats and invited GIBV national coordinator Gitesh Desai and one of the leading community activists Vijay Pallod to discuss about the upcoming elections in India and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. This special segment on the radio channel hit the chord with its listeners and the radio host Sunil extended the hour long special segment to 90 minutes. Many avid listeners shared their personal positive experiences with Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister. GIBV.org further intends to maximize the fervor of Houstonian NRI volunteers by facilitating them on 29th March again at India House between 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. This grand program synonymous to being the biggest CPC event in Houston would be leveraged with a 4-point agenda; enhance reference calling effort, capitalize calling effort in focused constituencies to maximize the gains for BJP, recognize volunteers traveling to India with sole intention to galvanize the voters in favor of NaMo, and last but not the least, felicitate the hard work of its core group members working hard for this cause since January, 2014.


COMMUNITY/LEGAL

VOICE OF ASIA 4

YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER

The People’s Lawyer

Answers to your Immigration Questions by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer: email at srichardslaw@aol.com

www.peopleslawyer.net Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center

You can’t prevent a divorce

Q. My husband wants a divorce. I do not think we should get divorced. I believe we can work out any of our problems. What can I do to contest the divorce? A. If you mean, “what can I do to stop the divorce,” the answer is, “not much.” Texas is what is known as a “no fault” divorce state. This means that you do not have to prove one someone was at fault in causing the marriage to fail. If one party wants a divorce, there will be a divorce. In Texas, all that is required to obtain a divorce is proof that “the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities” that has destroyed the “legitimate ends of a marriage relationship,” and that there is “no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” If one party, for example your husband, testifies with respect to this test, there are adequate grounds for the judge to grant the divorce. You may be able to delay or postpone a divorce, but you cannot prevent it. The only way to prevent the divorce is to try work things out with your husband. Perhaps you can get him to agree to speak with a counselor before he speaks with an attorney.

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Sharlene Sharmila Richards

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT AH-1B VISA (cont...) Q: What are the fees associated with the filing of a new H-1B Petition and can we, the employer recoup those fees from the employees’ wages?

A: The fees for an H-1B petition payable to US Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) are as follows: First, the petition base filing fee is $325. Second, there is a Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee of $500. Third, there is the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Fee (ACWIA) which is $750 or $1500. This fee is to be paid unless the employer is exempt as being an institution of higher learning or is a non-profit entity or organization related to or affiliated with an institution of higher learning. Your attorney handling the H-1B petition will be able to advise whether your organization is exempt from this fee of not. The ACWIA Fee of $750 is payable if the employer has 25 or less full time employees in the US including those at any US affiliates or subsidiaries. If the number of employees exceeds 25, then the ACWIA fee payable is $1500. Lastly, and where applicable, there is the Public Law Fee of $2000 to be paid if the petitioning employer employs 50 or more employees in the United States and more than 50% of those employees are either in H-1B or L non-immigrant status and the petition is filed before October 1st, 2014. These fees including the attorney’s fee for preparing the H-1B petition must be paid by the employer as federal regulations require that the employer treat these fees as business expenses of the employer. The employer may not recoup these costs from the H-1B employee’s wages.

Q. I walked out of the grocery store and found a shopping cart up against my car. It was very windy, and it obviously had gone quite a distance to get there because it left a nice dent. Is the store liable for the damage to my car?

Q: I am currently holding F-1 OPT (Optional Practical Training). My OPT expires on June 28th, 2014 i.e. before October 1st, 2014 but after April 1st, 2014. I have an offer of employment from my employer and they intend to sponsor me for the H-1B. Can I continue to stay here in the US while the H-1B petition is pending?

A. I am surprised how often I am asked this question. The store’s liability will depend on how the accident occurred. Simply because the store owns the cart and the parking lot does not mean it is liable. In order to place liability on the store, it is necessary to show that the store was “negligent” in dealing with the shopping carts. If it was simply an accident, or the fault of another customer, the store is not liable.

A: Yes, you will qualify for what is known as an automatic cap gap extension but this is only if your employer files the H-1B petition during the validity period of your OPT. In your case, your employer should try to file your H-1B petition on 04/01/2014. If your H-1B petition is approved, your extension will continue until your H-1B status commences.

For example, if someone had just used the cart and left it in the parking lot where it promptly blew away and rolled into your car, the store has no liability. In fact, the person who left the cart is probably liable because he or she was negligent in just leaving the cart where it could roll into your car. On the other hand, a store has an obligation to routinely patrol the lot and pick up loose carts, or provide a location for customers to drop them off. If the store failed to do so and that was why the cart was in a position to roll into your car, the store could be liable. The bottom line is that a business does not guarantee the safety of patrons or their property. To impose liability, you usually must establish that the business was in some way responsible for causing the damage.

Q: We wish to hire an H1-B an employee who has been working with us on OPT. His OPT (Optional Practical Training) expires on March 1st, 2014, which means before April 1st, 2014. Can we file the H-1B petition for him as soon as possible or do we have to wait to file on April 1st, 2014? A: In this case, the employee has an additional 60 days grace period after the expiry of his OPT which takes him right to the end of May, 2014. It is advisable to file the H-1B petition for this employee on 04/01/2014 as it is still within the 60 day grace period after the expiry of his OPT. You may not choose to file the petition any earlier than 04/01/2014. As for the employee, he has to find a way to continue to maintain his status in the United States until his H-1B petition has been approved to commence work under H-1B status. For example, he may enroll back in school for that duration after the 60 days grace period has ended or return back to his home country during that time to wait to receive his H-1B visa.

Do you want to know more about your legal rights? Will you be in Houston on Saturday, April 5th? On that day, the Center for Consumer Law at the University of Houston Law Center will present the latest session of the People’s Law School. This free program is your chance to learn more about your legal rights, and get help with basic legal problems.

Q: What happens to our filing fees if our H-1B petition for our employee has not been selected for filing?

At the People’s Law School, there will be classes in fourteen different areas of law. We will teach classes in everything from consumer law and debt collection, to family law, basic business and landlord-tenant rights. There will be classes in finding the law on the Internet and using small claims court, as well as specialists teaching you about bankruptcy, health insurance, employment and immigration law. A local volunteer judge, attorney or law professor will teach each class, and everyone receives extensive written material.

Q: I have a Master’s Degree from an Indian University. Am I still subject to the 65,000 visa cap or do I qualify for the advanced degree exemption?

The People’s Law School will be held at the Law Center on the main campus of the University. Everyone may select three courses to attend. As I said, the program is free, but you must register in advance. To register or get more information, go to www.peopleslawyer. net Class begin promptly at 9am, but arrive early for complimentary coffee and donuts. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, April 5th.

A: The H-1B petition package will be returned to the employer and the employer will not be charged any filing fees.

A: You are subject to the 65,000 visa cap. Only those with Master’s or higher degrees from US institutions of learning qualify for the advanced degree exemption which has 20,000 visas. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. Sharlene Sharmila Richards 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 srichardslaw@aol.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Also you can visit www. houstonimmigrationattorney.com

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 5

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Alief ISD recognizes Sewa’s efforts UH President Renu Khator Receives 2014 NASPA President’s Award

Khator Honored for Advancing Quality of Student Life on Campus

K

hatorUniversity of Houston President Renu Khator is the recipient of the 2014 President’s Award from NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. According to NASPA, the award gives special recognition to a college or university president who has, over a sustained period of time, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and programs. Khator received the honor this week at the 2014 NASPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Md.

L-R: Superintendent H.D. Chambers, Umesh Kapur, Kiran Bhatia, Alexis Angelo, Laura Frye, Delores Jones

O

n Tuesday, March 18th Sewa International was recognized in front of the Alief Independent School District’s Board of Trustees at their monthly School Board meeting. Ms. Delores Jones, AISD Business Partner Specialist, presented an extensive list of Sewa activities and accomplishments in the district. Sewa representatives Kiran Bhatia and Umesh Kapur along with Sewa AmeriCorps VISTAs Alexis Angelo and Laura Frye then stepped forward to accept a certiďŹ cate of thanks from the AISD superintendent, H.D. Chambers. Sewa’s relationship with Alief ISD was ďŹ rst developed summer of 2013 when many of Sewa’s summer interns served as tutors for Alief’s Summer Language Institute. These interns worked with both intermediate and high school students many of whom were learning the English language and American culture for the ďŹ rst time. Sewa’s Public Health team of interns also helped plan and coordinate an immunization drive with Texas Children’s Mobile Clinic Program; providing over 154 children with the proper immunizations

over the course of the summer. The partnership between Sewa and Alief’s LINC program continued into the school year when Sewa helped coordinate an after-school program for LINC students at the Hastings Annex who were struggling in their English course work. This program, held twice a week, serves between 20-25 students on a weekly basis. Sewa has tirelessly worked to recruit volunteer tutors to assist in this program so students can receive more personalized oneon-one attention. In January 2014 Sewa coordinated and facilitated a College Career Day for LINC students in the Annex where bilingual speakers presented to LINC students about their careers, college, future planning, and motivation. Eight bilingual speakers from the community spoke to over 150 LINC students who have been in the United States for less than two

years and speak a collective seventeen different languages. The Sewa team of AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers has committed both time and effort to programs in AISD and hope to expand programs further in the upcoming school year. Through extensive meetings with LINC administrators and teachers Sewa hopes to provide a mentorship program to offer students guidance during their time in LINC and after they transfer to their home campuses as well as providing academic, moral, and future building support. Sewa works with Alief LINC students weekly in an afterschool tutorial program and plans to develop a mentorship program to further beneďŹ t LINC students in the Fall of 2014. To get involved with Sewa and programs impacting recent refugee and immigrant students please contact vista@ sewausa.org

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“Since Student Success is our top priority at the University of Houston, I am especially gratiďŹ ed to be recognized by an illustrious organization made up of Student Affairs professionals,â€? said Khator. “This award is really a tribute to the dedication and hard work of our faculty and staff, who help our students shape their future and achieve their goals. The NASPA honor is another wonderful reminder

of that.â€? In choosing Khator for this annual award, NASPA pointed to Khator’s many initiatives to enhance student and residential life on campus including championing the $80 million renovation to the University Center and increasing the number of students who live on campus by 4,000 students since she assumed the duel post of UH president and chancellor of the UH System in 2008. Khator has also led efforts to improve customer service on campus and is actively engaged with student government leaders, whom she meets with each month. “President Khator ďŹ rmly believes in the role that students and student affairs staff play in guiding and improving programs and services within the Division of Student Affairs and throughout the institution. She supports an environment of innovation and creativity in meeting the needs of students,â€? said Richard Walker, vice chancellor for student af-

Dr. Renu Khator fairs at UH. Each semester, Khator visits with more than 9,000 students in their classes. She is active on Twitter, with almost 12,000 followers—many of them students. Khator took to Twitter to thank UH students for the award. “Thank you students for this national honor!� she tweeted.

Priests wake up to sounds of burglar inside southwest Houston church HOUSTON -- A group of priests sleeping inside a southwest Houston church woke up as a man broke into their building early Friday. One of the priests at St. Mary’s Knanaya Catholic Church on W. Fuqua said the break-in happened in the early-morning hours. They turned on a TV with a security camera to see what was going on. “We had a prayer meeting yesterday evening, and then we went to bed about 11 o’clock,â€? he said. “Then this morning around 2:13 we heard somebody hitting the door. We woke up, and we noticed on the TV – somebody was in front of my ofďŹ ce room. Then I called the police, and he

One of the priests at St. Mary’s Knanaya Catholic Church on W. Fuqua said the break-in happened in the early-morning hours. Credit: KHOU. ran away.� Police said an HDTV was taken from the church’s front lobby.

An investigation is underway. (Courtesy: by KHOU.com. Posted on March 21, 2014 at 11:53 AM.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 6

IACAN Cancer Survivors Look Good Feel Better

Make up class by Lynn Hill of Mary Kay Cosmetics in session.

I

ACAN recently held a program to help women cancer patients and survivors improve their appearance and self-image, by teaching them hands on beauty techniques to manage side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments on their appearance. On March 12th, The Survivors Group of IACAN came together for a Make up class by Lynn Hill of Mary Kay Cosmetics. There was lively discussion on different types of moisturizers, toners, cleansers, foundations and cosmetics. Participants learned how to match various cosmetics with skin type, color and tone. Each member had a make over where they played with primers, foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks and the works!! One doting husband also accompanied his wife to the meeting. And as the only male present was very happy to give his critical appreciation with much humor. The session was lead by a beauty professional, Lynn Hill from Mary Kay who volunteered her time graciously through a practical, hands-on experience. Each participant

got a free makeup kit to use during the session. There is so much to learn about makeup, skin care, nail care, and ways to deal with hair loss such as with wigs, turbans, and scarves that one session is never enough! The American Cancer Society also has these programs on an ongoing basis. For patients or survivors and families who are unable to go to a group workshop, a free, one-time individual salon consultation with a volunteer cosmetologist might be available in their area. Trained beauty experts help each patient manage her skin, nail, and hair needs and also help her ďŹ nd ways to feel better about how she looks during treatment. Survivors are our strength. One of our goals at IACAN is to enhance their quality of life and build a strong network of cancer survivors from the Indian subcontinent so that they may connect with other survivors of the same cultural origin, discover new resources, draw strength from each other, cope better and support one another. Studies show that attending

Patel

support groups make a huge impact on reducing stress, strengthening coping and improving quality of life. We will strive to expand the IACAN Survivor Group and work together to reach out, strengthen and support as many Indian American/ South Asian people touched by cancer. We encourage every cancer survivor from the Indian subcontinent to join the IACAN Survivor Group and take the lead on some initiatives to make this a uniquely supportive program for patients and families from South Asia. Self-help resources: Free self-help materials can be ordered through the Look Good Feel Better toll-free number, 1-800-395-LOOK (1-800-3955665). Or visit the Look Good Feel Better website at www. lookgoodfeelbetter.org. IACAN is a cancer resource network that educates and supports Indian American community. Please contact IACAN for more information. Email: iacannetwork@gmail.com or by calling 713-370-3489. Visit our website www.iacannetwork.org

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FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Sri Gaura Purnima festival at the Gaudiya Matha Temple

Caitanya Mahaprabhu in this semester. This included sloka recitations, power point presentation and narration of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes. Vishnu prabhu explained the reasons of Mahaprabhu’s appearance and also invited different children to speak. It was wonderful to see such poised, conďŹ dent and articulate youth. Abhishekam of the Abhishekam of the Lord Sri Caitany being performed by a devotee Lord was performed while the conch-shell ri Govindaji Gaudiya religious status of the person. Matha celebrated Gau- Sri Caitanya and His closest was blown accompanied with ra Purnima over the associates travelled all over melodious kirtan. Maha-aarti last two weekends to honor India spreading the message was performed at sunset folthe appearance of Sri Caitanya of pure love and devotion. lowed by a truly sumptuous Mahaprabhu – who appeared Many scholars of the Hindu feast. Over three hundred dev500 years ago in Bengal. The renaissance and its renewal otees attended the programs on Supreme Lord Krishna incar- of Vedic culture trace it to the March 16th and March 23rd. nates in every yuga to annihi- presence of Sri Caitanya half a The program was broadcast late the demoniac and deliver millennium ago. He predicted live on radio. the devout. However, in His that one day the Holy Names The presiding Deities at the special form as Sri Caitanya, of Krishna will be chanted in temple are: Sri Radha GovinKrishna came to annihilate every town and village of the daji; Sri Gaura Nitai and Sri the ‘demoniac tendencies’ in world. And today that proph- Sita Rama Laksmana Hanueveryone’s heart by teach- ecy has come true as many man. There are six regular ing them how to love God by great spiritual teachers in His aarati and darshan every day. chanting His Holy Names. It is line have spread His message Visitors are warmly welcomed described in Sri Caitanya Cari- all over the world. and are especially encouraged tamrita: “Sri Krishna’s desire One of them is our founder, to attend our Sunday services. to appear was born from two Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana You will ďŹ nd traditional Vedic principal causes. He wanted Maharaja, who travelled to teachings, worship and values to taste the sweet essence of over 50 countries introducing in an American setting. the liquid mellows of divine the teachings of Sri Caitanya Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha love (prema-rasa), and He Mahaprabhu to thousands and wanted to propagate bhakti in thousands of people. (Several temple is located between the world on the platform of of his lectures are available on the Katy Freeway (I-10), the Northwest Freeway (290), and spontaneous attraction (raga- www.purebhakti.com) Highway 6. Every Sunday we marga).Thus He is known as The devotees spent an entire have: bhajans and kirtan at 5 rasika-shekhara, the topmost relisher of transcendental mel- week cleaning and decorat- PM; Hari kathaa (English) at lows, and as parama-karuna, ing the temple for this special 5:45; sandhyaa aarati at 7:00 festival. The program started PM; and delicious healthy the most merciful of all.â€? with singing of beautiful prasadam afterwards. GurukuSri Caitanya has been hailed bhajans and kirtan glorifying la for children in grades K-12 as the most merciful incarna- Sri Caitanya. The highlight of is at 5:45. Hindi classes are at 4 tion because He freely distrib- the program was the presenta- PM. uted the love of God to every- tions by the Bhakti Gurukula For more information, please one without any consideration (Sunday School) children who of caste, community, social or have been learning about Sri see our website: www.sggm.org

S


DIASPORA

VOICE OF ASIA 7

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Indian Diaspora in USA launches ‘Vote for India’ Campaign ernment under NaMo in India. These flyers describe Modiji’s vision of India, BJP’s agenda for elections, Gujarat Model of Development and all-round prosperity. Hundreds of volunteers are reaching out to NRI’s here and urging them to talk to their families and friends in India and convince them to vote for BJP during the next elections.

Narendra Modi

‘NaMo for PM’ fever has gripped the Indian Diaspora of United States with thousands of volunteers working round the clock to lend a hand to ensure a BJP government with 272+ seats and Shri Narendra Modi as the prime minster after the next elections. Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP, Global Indians for Bharat Vikas (GIBV) and many other community organizations have been spearheading the Mission 2014 under various types of programs such as NaMo Chai Pe Charchas, Vote for India campaign, Run for Unity, Yoga for Unity, Community Outreach, Google hangouts and phone conferences with BJP leaders and other similar programs across many cities all across USA. The groups’ four-point agenda calls for enhancing reference calling effort, focus the calling effort in select constituencies to maximize the gains for BJP, planning volunteers traveling to India with sole intention to galvanize the voters in favor of NaMo, and facilitating the hard work of its core group members who have been working hard for the Mission 2014 since January, 2014. Enduring harsh winter conditions, volunteers of these organizations have been distributing flyers/hand-outs in Indian markets and convincing NRI’s about the need for a BJP gov-

As the elections are nearing, volunteers from several organizations are coming together this coming weekend (March 29th/30th) and organizing over 100 Chai Pe Charchas/ Chai Parties across major cities and towns in US under the slogan ‘Vote for India’ and ‘Namo for PM’. Chai parties will be organized across US in the following cities: Edison, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Parsippany, Mahwah in New Jersey, Washington D.C, Tampa and Orlando in Florida, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas in Texas, Chicago in Illinois, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, Los Angeles and San Francisco in California, Boston in Massachusetts, New York and other cities and States where there is considerable Indian population. So far over 100 chai parties have already been organized since start of 2014.These Chai parties have been big hit; be it NorthEast, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kashmir, Bihar or UP, everyone wants a BJP government with Modi as the Prime Minister. NRI’s have voluntarily formed their own NaMo groups cutting across their language, region or state and organizing chai parties in support of NaMo. Hundreds of volunteers have already signed up to travel to India to participate in the election campaign.

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 9

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Colorful Holi celebrations at Radha Madhav Dham, Austin, TX

Children perform dance as part of the Holi celebrations opened their hearts in sharing the joy and celebrating the human values of compassion, forgiveness and love, that underlies the spirit of Holi. In the words of a visitor, Holi at Radha Madhav Dham was a

Holi revelers at Radha Madhav Dham in Austin, TX Continued from Page 1 It was a beautiful day at Radha Madhav Dham, where over 4000 people gathered to celebrate the Indian festival of Holi despite weather forecasts of thunderstorms and tornadoes. Although the day started with showers in the morning, it stopped by 2 PM when the actual festivities began. The festival of Holi marks the onset of spring, and is celebrated in unique ‘Braj’ style at Radha Madhav Dham every year. People assembled on the grounds of the Ashram, and enjoyed the tastes, sights and sounds of India as they were greeted by peacocks, deer and singing birds. Throngs of people flocked around the food booths eager to taste the delectable Indian dishes like freshly made dosas, paav bhaji, chhole bhature, chaat, samose mango lassi and hot jalebis, not to mention delicately spiced hot chai for a cold rainy day. Inside the prayer hall, the deities of Radha and Krishn looked stunning in special Holi Shringar (adornments) that included charming hues of holi powder

MS. WHEELCHAIR TEXAS Leadership, Advocacy, Education Houston, Texas (March 14, 2014) The Board of Directors of the Ms. Wheelchair Texas Foundation seeks the next spokeswoman of the mobilityimpaired community through its annual competition the Ms. Wheelchair Texas Gala. Ten contestants from across the state will compete for the honor of serving as Ms. Wheelchair Texas 2014. The winner’s responsibilities are varied and include speaking to legislators about the need for mobility access; visiting with school children to share their story of achievement and persistence, and competing in the national Ms. Wheelchair America Program in August 2014. The program will be held at the Marriott Westchase March 27-30, 2014. The event kicks off with a Welcoming Reception on Thursday evening. A full day leadership and advocacy conference will be held at TIRR Memorial Hermann on Friday. TIRR Memorial Hermann is a proud supporter of Ms. Wheelchair Texas and shares our passion for advocacy. Breakout sessions, interviews, and a spa treatment are held during the day Saturday. The Saturday evening Gala includes a Little Miss Wheelchair Texas crowning ceremony, a 2-3 minute platform speech

HCC Southwest is connecting, students, alumni and the community, with a Spring 2014 Employment and Internship Fair.

For more on this Holi event, check out their facebook page for event photos at www.facebook.com/RadhaMadhavDham.

by each contestant, and an impromptu question from the panel of judges. The crown is awarded to the contestant who displays her passion for sharing the concerns and needs of people within the disabled community. The weekend concludes with a relaxed and affirming Queen’s breakfast for all the contestants, families and supporters. Tickets for the Ms. Wheelchair Texas Gala on Saturday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Westchase Marriott at 2900 Briarpark Dr., Houston, 77042, are available on-line for $75 per person at http://www.mswheelchairtexas.org. 2014 contestants include: Angel Arredondo of Mason; Pam Bullock of Spring; Dana Carpenter of Austin; Deborah Carpenter of Houston; Breanne Garza of Humble; Laura Halverson of Plano; Lacy Jones of Cooper; Jenna Luzzo of Austin; Meena Outlaw of Sugar Land; and Sorayda of Tyler. Little Miss Wheelchair Texas is ten year old Chloe Short of Spring, Texas who is a 5th grader at Tom Cox Intermediate School. The Ms. Wheelchair Texas Foundation, a not-for-profit 501© (3) organization strives to improve the lives of people with disabilities through its mission of advocacy and education.

Thursday, March 27, at HCC’s Stafford Campus at 10041 Cash Road. Everyone is invited! This event is hosted by the Career Planning and Resources Department of HCC Southwest. For more information, call 713-718-7718.

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on their cheeks, beautifully decorated pichkaris placed at their feet, painting a colorful depiction of the festival of Holi that originated in the land of Braj (Vrindavan) in India, 5000 years ago. Programs throughout the day included Swami Nikhilanand ji’s explanation of the spiritual significance of “Braj Style” Holi, spectacular enactment of the legendary story of young Prahalad’s victory over Holika and Hiryanakashipu and a cultural program showcasing children’s performances of folk and classical Indian dances. Around 6 PM, people started gathering at the Maharas Mandal to play with colors. Loud cries of “Ho Ho Ho Ho Holi Hai” were heard from the grounds. The atmosphere quickly turned exuberant and joyful colors of spring could be seen flying everywhere creating clouds of pink, purple, blue and red hues in the air. A live band played the saxophone and guitar on ancient Braj tunes and got everyone dancing in excitement and merriment. People from all walks of life, young and old, Indian and Western

HCC’s March 27 Job Fair Looking for a J-O-B?

magical experience that will be remembered for a long time to come. “Thank you for allowing Gabriel and me to be a part of Holi. It was a very magical experience for both of us. Gabriel is still talking about it”- Face-


SOUTH ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 10

India Congress manifesto pledges ‘millions’ of jobs

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Pakistan opens direct talks with Taliban

by Bhuvan BAGGA

N

EW DELHI India’s embattled ruling Congress party promised Wednesday to create millions of jobs and revive a sliding economy as it unveiled a populist manifesto aimed at averting electoral defeat. Reaching out to Congress’s traditional constituency of poor voters, party leader Rahul Gandhi pledged “growth for all” as he released the manifesto at a rally for the general elections which kick off April 7. Gandhi declared $1 trillion would be spent to improve India’s decrepit infrastructure, roads and railways if his party was returned to power for a third term. “We are going to construct a manufacturing backbone that will give millions of people jobs,” and “ensure everybody has access to quality health care,” Gandhi, scion of the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty which has given India three prime ministers. Opinion polls suggest Congress, which has dominated Indian politics since independence from Britain in 1947, could lose more than half of its seats in the lower house of parliament when results are announced May 16. The right-of-centre Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is widely expected to come to power with the help of small regional parties. Gandhi’s mother, Sonia, who is party president, told the same gathering in the capital that Congress would confound pollsters’ predictions of a humiliating defeat. Sonia Gandhi, who led Congress to a come-from-behind victory in 2004, said she was confident the party would win the elections which will be held in nine phases. Results are due in mid-May. “Opinion polls? I frankly must admit I don’t have much faith in them because they have been proved wrong again and again,” said the Italian-born party matriarch. “If you remember in 2004 the story was Congress was

Pakistani activists shout slogans and wave placards as they take part in a peace rally in Lahore on March 6, 2014 (AFP/File, Arif Ali)

M

Indian Congress Party vice-President Rahul Gandhi speaks during the release of the party’s election manifesto in New Delhi on March 26, 2014 finished -- we were going to lose badly” and it turned out otherwise, she said. She also said Congress stood for a “secular” India, in a pointed reference to Modi whose critics accuse him of failing to stop 2002 riots in Gujarat state that claimed the lives of at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. Modi has consistently denied allegations of wrongdoing over the riots which took place just after he took over as Gujarat’s chief minister. - Modi mocks Congress Modi, whose national political star has risen on the back of his state’s strong economic growth, mocked the manifesto as “a bunch of lies” that merely repeated past pledges that Congress had failed to deliver. “For other parties, the manifesto is a serious document but

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D s of d n sa

for Congress, it’s just a joke. They are just trying to make fun of the common man,” the BJP leader told thousands of party supporters in New Delhi. “If you look at the manifestos from 2004 and 2009, there’s hardly any difference. They have just repeated the pledges that they failed to fulfill.” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 81, whose party has come under fire from critics who say he did nothing to stop a string of corruption scandals that occurred under his watch, said the next Congress government would be free of graft. “In a developing economy, corruption cannot be wished away but every effort has to be made to overcome these tendencies which give rise to corruption,” Singh told the crowd.

spokesman told AFP after the meeting that he had no news to share.

The government opened negotiations with the Tehreeke-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) last month and meetings so far have been conducted between gobetweens for the two sides.

The government last week formed a new four-member committee for the direct contact, which met with four members of the Taliban Shura (council).

Extending a Taliban ceasefire due to expire next week was seen as a top priority in Wednesday’s talks held in the tribal region of North Waziristan -- the first to directly involve government officials and Taliban leaders. But the militant group’s

Singh defended his government’s record, saying 140 million people had been pulled out of poverty. But Singh and Gandhi conceded much more needed to be done to overcome still endemic poverty for tens of millions and reform the business environment to revive the economy running at a decade low of 4.7 percent.

“I am yet to see Shura members who held talks with the government team and I will share the details later once I have a meeting with them,” said Shahidullah Shahid.

Wednesday’s talks took place in a border village in the restive North Waziristan tribal district, according to one security official. A government official in Islamabad said committees on both sides were “expected to exchange a list of demands”. The manifesto pledged to return the economy to eight percent growth within three years and provide 100 million young people with the skills needed for employment within five years. Congress also focused on its traditional welfare policies for the poor, saying millions would be given access to affordable medical care and housing, and

The Taliban have asked the government to release from jail 300 people, including women, children and men they say are non-combatants. The peace talks were a key campaign pledge for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before he was elected to office for a third time last year. But analysts are sceptical about their chances for success, given the Taliban’s demands for nationwide sharia law and a withdrawal of troops from the lawless tribal zones. Many regional deals between the military and the Taliban have failed in the past. Moreover, attacks claimed by splinter factions have continued during talks and despite the Taliban ceasefire. that all Indians would have a bank account within five years. The ruling party received a boost late Wednesday when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), based in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, said it would lend its support to Congress “for a secular government at the centre”, according to local media reports.

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VOICE OF ASIA 12

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Sherman Tang, MD • Toussaint Smith, MD


LIFESTYLE

VOICE OF ASIA 13

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

  

Vol. 27

No. 13

Friday, March 28, 2014

Section 2

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com Tel: 713-774-5140

Once an Arab model, Baghdad Starbucks announces new drink Oprah Chai now world’s worst city

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz with host Oprah Winfrey

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A group of Iraqis paint concrete walls used to protect buildings from explosions, in Baghdad, on March 19, 2014 (AFP Photo/Ahmad Al-Rubaye). by Salam FARAJ As recently as the 1970s, Baghdad was lauded as a model city in the Arab world. But now, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, it is the world’s worst city. That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime and pollution, placed Baghdad last. The Iraqi capital was lumped with Bangui in the conflict-hit Central African Republic and the Haitian capital Portau-Prince, the latest confirmation of the 1,250-year-old city’s fall from grace as a global intellectual, economic and political centre. Residents of Baghdad contend with near-daily attacks, a lack of electricity and clean water, poor sewerage and drainage systems, rampant corruption, regular gridlock, high unemployment and a myriad other problems. “We live in a military barracks,” complained Hamid al-Daraji, a paper salesman, referring to the ubiquitous checkpoints, concrete blast walls and security forces peppered throughout the city. “The rich and the poor share the same suffering,” the 48-year-old continued. “The rich might be subjected at any moment to an explosion, a kidnapping, or a

killing, just like the poor. “Our lives are ones where we face death at any moment.” It was not always so for the Iraqi capital. Construction of the city on the Tigris River first began in 762 AD during the rule of Abbasid caliph Abu Jaafar alMansur, and it has played a pivotal role in Arab and Islamic society ever since. In the 20th century, Baghdad was held up as a gleaming example of a modern Arab city with some of the region’s best universities and museums, a highly-educated elite, a vibrant cultural scene and top-notch healthcare. Officials still note how their counterparts from the region would hold up Baghdad’s international airport as a model, and oil cartel OPEC was founded in the Iraqi capital. And it was home to a diverse population of Muslims, Christians, Jews and others. “Baghdad represented the economic centre of the Abbasid state,” noted Issam al-Faili, a professor of political history at the city’s Mustansiriyah University, an institution which traces its own history back nearly 800 years. “It was used as a base for taking control of neighbouring areas in order to

strengthen Islamic influence.” “It used to be a capital of the world,” Faili said, “but today, it has become one of the world’s most miserable cities.” In February alone, 57 violent incidents struck the Iraqi capital, including 31 car bombs. As recently as March 5, a dozen shootings and bombings across the city killed 20 people. The very next day, four more bombings left 11 dead. Security forces typically respond with heavy-handed tactics reliant on setting up new checkpoints to add to the plethora already scattered around Baghdad, and restricting movement as much as possible. Massive concrete walls, designed to withstand the impact of explosions, still divide up confessionally-mixed neighbourhoods, while the government sits in the heavily-fortified Green Zone, which is also home to parliament and the US and British embassies, access to which is difficult for ordinary Iraqis. - Uphill task Some are working to clean up the city and beautify it, but even they acknowledge the uphill task facing them. “I am actually hurt that Baghdad ranked among the worst cities in the world,” said Amir al-Chalabi, head of the Humanitarian Construction Organisation, an NGO

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EW YORK, (AP): Starbucks turned its shareholders meeting into an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show on Wednesday. The celebrity talk show host appeared on stage to announce a drink called the Oprah Chai that will be sold at Starbucks cafes starting April 29. The drink will also be available at the small chain of Teavana tea shops Starbucks recently bought. The splashy move comes as Starbucks Corp. looks to tap into tea as a new sales driver. Starbucks cafes are still enjoying strong sales growth, but the company is also facing intensifying competition as fast-food chains and others crowd the coffee market. Before welcoming his surprise guest on stage at the annual meeting, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz noted that he wanted to “ignite and transform” the tea category. Schultz has said repeatedly in recent months that he wants to make tea as popular as he helped make coffee with Starbucks. Teavana had about 300 locations when Starbucks acquired it. The stores are located mostly in shopping malls and sell packaged and loose leaf teas, rather than prepared drinks or food.

But Starbucks has said it plans to open more free-standing locations. It recently opened a Teavana tea shop in New York City that looks more like a cafe and serves a variety of small dishes. The idea for the collaboration came after Winfrey shared her love of tea with Schultz at a wedding they attended last summer, the two said in an interview after the shareholders meeting. He sent chai tea to her hotel room and asked if she wanted to create her own tea for the chain. “The passion Oprah has for chai tea is not a casual preference,” Schultz said. “I’ve texted him about 100 times since we were at the wedding this summer,” Winfrey said. Starbucks said “a portion” of the proceeds from the sales of the Teavana Oprah Chai will go toward the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation to help youth educational opportunities. The company didn’t specify how much will go to charity. The drink’s price hasn’t yet been determined, but Schultz said it should be comparable to other drinks sold at Starbucks. (Courtesy Associated Press).

which runs civic campaigns aimed at improving the city’s services. “Successive governments have not worked to develop Baghdad,” he said. “It has become deserted, and it suffers from instability. At night, it turns into a ghost town because of the lack of lighting.” Messes of electrical wires run along

neighbourhood streets, as privately-operated communal generators work to make up for the shortfall in provision from the national grid, albeit at a price. Poor drainage means that even moderate levels of rainfall during the winter lead to flooding, as pools form on the city’s potholed streets, while scorching summer heat forces the government to regularly declare national holidays.


VOICE OF ASIA 14

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014


VOICE OF ASIA 15

Young Life

Friday, March 28, 2014

Section 2

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Tel: 713-774-5140

Startup scene flourishes in US capital by Rob Lever

ing an entrepreneur.”

I

n a large warehouse-type office, software coders work on apps, as “angel” investors and mentors help budding entrepreneurs figure out strategy for their startups.

Some startups in the city are also flocking to warehouse-style shared workspace offered by WeWork, which has nearly filled up its office location in the Chinatown section with some 200 startups in technology and other sectors.

This technology “incubator” called 1776 in downtown Washington has some 200 startup firms, and many more seeking to get in to the collaborative workspace which provides desks, connectivity, technical assistance and importantly, connections for those with a dream or a mobile app.

WeWork, which operates in several US cities and is expanding abroad, is opening two more locations in Washington capable of hosting as many as 1,000 startups. “When you join WeWork you join the whole network,” said Carl Pierre, who manages the Washington offices. “So you can arrange for a conference in New York, you can spend a week in San Francisco and work out of our space there.”

A few years ago, the notion of Silicon Valley on the Potomac might have evoked ridicule. But the capital city in recent years has become home to thousands of entrepreneurs and a tech ecosystem supporting them. “The ingredients we need for startups are right in our backyard,” says Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776, which opened last April and quickly filled up.

- Big fish, medium pond Some of the credit for the startup ecosystem goes to people like Peter Corbett, who moved to Washington a decade ago to launch design and consulting firm iStrategyLabs, and has since become an angel investor, mentor and adviser to the mayor’s office on tech policy.

With 15,000 square feet (1,400 square meters) in the downtown K Street corridor, 1776 accepts about half those applying for membership in the tech incubator.

“Being located here gave us the ability to be a very shiny small fish in a medium-sized pond and it allowed us to build national and international recognition,” Corbett told AFP.

“It’s not just capital that people need. They need connections,” Harris said. By some measures, the District of Columbia has a startup scene which is bursting at the seams.

“There’s plenty of capital, and the community is incredible.”

A survey last year by Fast Company magazine found the district had a higher number of venture-funded startups per capita than any of the 50 US states. PriceWaterhouseCoopers ranked the city in the top 10 for business investment in the fourth quarter, with more than half of the $300 million going into software and IT services. - Startup scene ‘vibrant’ “The startup scene in DC is vibrant, it’s growing,” says Christopher Etesse, chief executive of FlatWorld Knowledge, a startup for digital textbooks and online educational services, which has grown to 32 people in the 1776 offices and is now preparing to

Corbett began hosting meetups, hackathons and cocktail events for the tech community and has seen attendance grow from a handful of people to hundreds.

Employees of start-up companies work at their designated spaces at the offices of 1776 business incubator in Washington DC, February 11, 2014 (AFP/File, Mladen Antonov) move into its own offices. Etesse says Washington “has some of the best universities and deep technical talent,” and notes that “we’re able to attract that talent but we don’t have as much competition as New York City or Silicon Valley.” Mrim Boutla relocated to Washington from Indiana and moved into the

“Every year you have 20,000 young people moving to DC,” he said.

1776 for her e-learning and job placement startup saying the city “has both the nonprofit, the profit and government sectors that can interact and intersect in social innovation.” She said the shared workspace puts her in contact with “a great fellowship of changemakers” and “helps me stay energized in the lonely journey of be-

“The way you build an ecosystem is having the density of brains, so there is friction. And the friction turns into ideas. That typically happens in Silicon Valley but it is happening here now too.” While startup activity has grown around the United States and globally, entrepreneurs get assistance in the city of Washington, where 1776 has support for the city government, Micro-

soft and other corporate sponsors who help with coaching, financing and other startup issues. “There has been tremendous growth of both the support system and the community around entrepreneurs and startups” in the area, says Michael Chasen, a veteran of the city’s technology scene who founded the education technology firm Blackboard -- sold in 2011 for nearly $2 billion -- and this year launched a social networking app called SocialRadar. Chasen said Washington benefits from tax incentives, incubators like 1776 and the growing tech community which feeds new ideas. The most prominent tech startups coming out of the capital include Blackboard and LivingSocial, the online deals group which grew quickly to some 4,500 employees globally before streamlining. But LivingSocial still has more than 500 employees in the city. The region “features one of the country’s most vibrant and creative start-up cultures and benefits from having a highly educated and techsavvy population,” notes LivingSocial spokeswoman Sara Parker. The shared workplace is not a new concept but tech-friendly locations like 1776 and WeWork are attracting startups by offering services geared to them. This ranges from kitchen space and coffer to help with media, search optimization and financing. “There’s a certain vibe here,” said Ian Reis, who is developing an app called Responder to assist local firefighters and emergency personnel, in the WeWork office. “We’ve made contact with a lot of people we never would have met otherwise.” At 1776, collaboration is easy among the startups, says John Gossart of Ridescout, an app which helps people find the best commuting solutions. “There are a lot of people with shared interests,” he said. “There’s a wealth of talent walking around the streets, and walking around in 1776.”

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VOICE OF ASIA 16

BOLLYWOOD MASALA

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Section 2

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Tel: 713-774-5140

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Nagarjuna to support Singh – meet the new Kajol and Narendra Modi Shahrukh Khan of Bollywood!

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heir reel life chemistry has garnered as much attention as their real life love story

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh seem to be the new ‘it’ pair in Bollywood. After Shahrukh Khan and Kajol’s jodi rocked the celluloid with their chemistry, looks like Dippy and her alleged beau Ranveer have rightfully taken over this empty slot. With everyone from Karan Johar to Sanjay Leela Bhansali trying to rope in this real life couple for their film, it’s not wrong to compare this jodi to SRKKajol who have several hit films and awards under their belts. Here are few reasons why we thinks that RanveerDeepika are the modern day KajolSRK, Amitabh Bachchan-Rekha, Dharmendra-Hema Malini and Dilip Kumar-Madhubala of B-town. After Dilip Kumar and Madhubala sizzled the silver screen with their mere presence and cinematic brilliance. They featured together in Mughal-E-Azam, Tarana, Sangdil, Amar, however it was their real life chemistry that added to their reel life pairing. While Deepika and Ranveer have only one movie together they will soon be playing husband and wife in Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny Fernandes and are also amongst the front runners for Karan Johar’s Shuddhi and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani. Big B and the enigmatic Rekha became the next onscreen couple that managed to grab eyeballs. Amitabh Rekha started their cinematic journey with Do Anjaane and went on to feature in movies like Khoon Pasina, Ganga Ki Saugandh, Suhaag, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Ram Balram, Mr Natwarlal and Silsila. A lot was talked about this duo’s reel and real relationship. And just like the mystery around Bachchan Sr and Rekha continues even today, Dippy and Singh are trying to keep the suspense around their relationship alive. Shahrukh Khan and Kajol proved to be a hit pair of their times. Not only

March 24, 2014 - The South superstar will meet the Gujarat Chief Minister today in Ahmedabad

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Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh was their onscreen chemistry great, but the Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge jodi rocked at a recent event when they relived their DDLJ moment on stage after almost 19 years. The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai pair went on to deliver several hit films like Baazigar, Kabhi

Khushi Kabhie Ghum and My Name is Khan. While Ms Padukone and Ranveer will have to have a few more hits together as couple on 70mm, their on and off screen camaraderie can be easily compared to Shahrukh -Kajol’s, hai na?

fter Pawan Kalyan, another popular Telugu actor Nagarjuna is set to declare support to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Nagarjuna left for Ahmedabad to call on Modi Monday evening, sources close to the actor said. The star is also likely to seek Lok Sabha ticket for his wife Amla. For last few days, political and film circles were abuzz with speculations that the actress-turned-activist is keen to contest Lok Sabha elections from Vijayawada. The actor held talks with senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu during last few days. It was immediately not clear if Nagarjuna would also

take a plunge into electoral politics. Son of thespian Akkineni Nageswara Rao, who died recently, Nagarjuna is one of the top actors of Tollywood. Nageswara Rao was never interested in politics but the family maintained good relations with TDP and Congress when they were in power. Nagarjuna is meeting Modi two days after Pawan Kalyan met the Gujarat chief minister in Ahmedabad to extend his support. Pawan, youngest brother of central minister and Congress leader K. Chiranjeevi, floated a political party Jana Sena March 14 and called upon people to bury the Congress. (Courtesy: IANS).

Humshakals releases on June 20, 2014 Salman Khan to play double role

in ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’

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UMBAI: Superstar Salman Khan will be seen in a double role in Sooraj Barjatya’s film ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. The actor, who will be teaming with Sooraj Barjatya after almost 15 years, will be seen playing the characters of Prem and Vijay in the film. In his earlier three films with Barjatya - ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’, ‘Hum Saath-Saath Hain’ - Salman’s on-screen name was ‘Prem’.

Humshkals poster

‘Hamshakals’, produced by Vashu Bhagnani, stars Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor. The three actors will be seen playing a triple role. It

also stars Esha Gupta and Bipasha Basu. The film has been shot in some very exotic locations and is set to release on 20th June this year.

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friend. Sanjay Mishra and Anupam Kher too will be seen in the film in interesting roles,” the source said. The film’s music will be composed by Himesh Reshammiya. The shooting will start from June this year and the film is set for Diwali 2015 release.

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VOICE OF ASIA 17

ENTERTAINMENT

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

KTRU welcomes a unique local fusion group - Hamdelan by Helia Forouzan

K

TRU strives to bring local talent to the forefront by giving them the needed platform. Ktru’s Navrang show host Varsha Vakil organizes on-air conversation to introduce hidden talents to Houstonians. She sought out Houston’s fusion band Hamdelan that welcomes the Indian Tabla as its percussion instrument. Hamdelan means “Unified Souls” in the Farsi language and their aspiration is to apply that approach to their music and reverberate through the listeners. Hamdelan’s two members interviewed on the Navrang show on March 15th were Justin Lasiewicz and Ali Tarkesh. Justin and Ali play the Tabla and Daf respectively. During the live conversation Ali the group maestro explains that the Daf is of Kurdish origin. Ali refers to Tabla as one of the complicated instrument to play and therefore selected it for the fusion group. The live conversation ensued with Varsha welcoming both the artists to ktru. Justin elaborated on Indian classical music by explaining his version of a raga. According to Justin the raga is the coloring of the mind played at different motions of time such as seasons. “Music for me is a meditation” says Justin. Varsha’s exuberant interview-

Justin Lasiewicz, Ktru’s Navrang Show host Varsha Vakil and Ali Tarkesh ing style helps artists’ to feel at ease and reveal their artistic dreams and ambitions. Ali Tarkesh started the conversation by describing his passion for music which started as early as four years of age with the Iranian classical instrument Tombak. Ali later learned the powerful Daf instrument that has been compared to the body’s central point of energy as in the pulses of the heart. Justin, a Chicago born continued his Tabla training in Houston under the tute-

lage of Houston’s reputed Tabla instructor David Courtney. As the fusion band Hamedalan prepares to celebrate the Persian Nowrooz, they embark on their journey with the coming of spring traditionally believed to be the beginning of all new things. The Persian New Year is an archaic holiday based from the Zorastrian traditions. Varsha educated the ktru listeners about the Iranians that migrated to India. Based on the mesmerizing live Daf and Tabla performance Varsha encouraged Houstonians to expand their musical experience by watching a live Hamdelan performance.

Hollywood film ‘Warrior’ to be made in Hindi

Los Angeles: `Warrior` will be made into Hindi by Lionsgate and Endemol India. The two leading entertainment companies will co-pro-

duce the film under `Eyedentity Motion Pictures`.

“Warrior is the kind of locally-produced property based on timeless themes that we expect to resonate with mainstream commercial audiences in India, and our partnership with Endemol`s Eyedentity Motion Pictures will bring valuable local expertise to our venture,” said Lionsgate COO of International Distribution Andrew Kramer. “We are pleased to partner with Lionsgate in their initial film venture in India by co-producing Warrior,” said Deepak Dhar, Chief Executive Officer of Endemol India. “Action-filled and emotionally powerful with themes of

forgiveness and the enduring bonds of family, Warrior will be a quality film made with top-of-the-line production values that we believe will strike a responsive chord with Indian audiences.” The original film, directed by Gavin O`Connor, the film tells the story of two estranged brothers and deals with their struggling relationship with each other and their father as they are set to get pitted against each other in a ring. The production is slated to begin in December this year and the companies are in the process of finalising the star cast for the Indian version. PTI

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HEALTHY LIVING   HEALTH 

VOICE OF ASIA 18

Friday, March 28, 2014

Section 2

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Algal Astaxanthin – A potent health promoting molecule and extensive tissue damage from protein and lipid glycation.

Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee by Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee, Rice University, Houston TX.

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lesser-known carotenoid called astaxanthin is now believed to be the most beneficial antioxidant nature has to offer. Astaxanthin is a red pigment molecule that is a member of the carotenoid family found in certain marine/ fresh water algae. When eaten by shrimp and crustaceans, the pigment lends its reddish hue to their shells. As astaxanthin makes its way up the food chain, the color becomes still more concentrated, creating the beautiful reds and pinks we see in fish such as salmon and in marine birds like flamingos. Researchers have sought to explore the use of astaxanthin as a topical sunscreen because of its powerful ultraviolet lightabsorbing properties. They soon found, however, that astaxanthin has many additional benefits. Health benefits of Astaxanthin: Effect on diabetes related obesity: Diabetes and obesity are so closely intertwined that scientists now speak of them together as one entity, diabesity. Diabesity is a major component of metabolic syndrome. Astaxanthin holds multiple benefits in managing diabesity, with its resulting oxidative stress, high levels of chronic inflammation,

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In addition to preventing the main elements of diabesity, astaxanthin helps alleviate the long-term consequences faced by diabetics. Studies show that astaxanthin supplementation slows the development of diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease), reduces cataract formation and diabetic retinopathy (both preventable forms of blindness in diabetics), and reduces the many cardiovascular complications of diabesity. Improve and protect cardiovascular health. In humans and animals, astaxanthin is known to help normalize lipid profiles, reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels while boosting beneficial HDL-cholesterol. These effects reduce the risk of clot formation within a major blood vessel. Astaxanthin also reduces inflammation and decreases the production of certain enzymes that destabilize plaques and make them vulnerable to rupture which blocks blood flow. People with cardiovascular disease are at risk for vascular dementia, a form of cognitive decline caused by decreased brain blood flow and damage to cerebral vessels. Astaxanthin supplements in animals reduce the rate of complications such as strokes, and improve cognitive performance, allowing the animals to live more vigorous and active lives. Slows down brain aging: Astaxanthin exerts multiple beneficial effects in the brain. Unlike many other antioxidant molecules, astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to saturate and protect brain tissue. These features have led experts to label astaxanthin a “natural brain food.” Astaxanthin also directly combats the oxidative impact of abnormal proteins in both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. A human study has determined that

doses of astaxanthin as high as 20 mg once daily for 4 weeks are free of side effects and suggested that the supplement was effective for age-related decline in cognitive and psychomotor functions. 12 mg/day astaxanthin improved cognitive health and learning scores in a study of healthy middle-aged and elderly subjects with age-related forgetfulness. Major eye health stimulator: Astaxanthin has been found to prevent or slow three of the most common eye diseases: age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. The human retina naturally contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, molecules closely related to astaxanthin. Supplementing these three carotenoids (astaxanthin 4 mg/day, lutein 10 mg/day, zeaxanthin 1 mg/day) has been shown to improve visual acuity and contrast detection in people with early agerelated macular degeneration. In laboratory studies, astaxanthin supplementation protects retinal cells against oxidative stress and significantly reduces the area of destructive new blood vessel growth on retinas, a hallmark of advanced macular degeneration.Studies of patients with age-related macular degeneration reveal significant improvements in retinal electrical outputs following supplementation with astaxanthin and other carotenoids. Glaucoma, an increase in the pressure of fluid inside the eyeball, eventually results in retinal cell death from oxidant damage and loss of blood flow. Astaxanthin restores retinal parameters to normal in eyes with experimentally-induced glaucoma. Early stage cancer prevention: Epidemiological studies reveal that dietary intake of astaxanthin along with other carotenoids is associated with the reduced risk of many different types of cancer. Increased intake of carotenoids such as

astaxanthin typically lowers cancer risk. Unlike many pharmaceuticals already being used, astaxanthin shows beneficial effects against cancer at each stage of its development. Boosts Immune system: Studies demonstrate that astaxanthin helps balance the immune system by stimulating its infection- and cancerfighting components while also helps to suppress the overactive immune responses that create needless inflammation. Human studies reveal astaxanthin’s beneficial actions on the overactivated immune system in patients with allergies and asthma. When astaxanthin (along with ginkgo extract) was applied to white blood cells from asthmatic patients, it suppressed reactive cell activation as well as or better than the antihistamine drugs cetirizine (Zyrtec®) and azelastin (Astelin®). A subsequent study showed that combining these compounds with the drugs resulted in improved antihistamine activity. Potent Skin Protector Even though astaxanthin is widely distributed through most organs in the body, it accumulates in the skin, where it makes its way into all skin layers (topical sunscreens can reach only the outermost layers). This can provide potent protection against ultraviolet radiation, the most powerful environmental risk factor for skin cancer. Recent studies show that astaxanthin can rejuvenative skin from within. Astaxanthin is among the most powerful and versatile marine plant antioxidants known, and as such, it has the ability to scavenge skin-damaging free radicals. Human studies demonstrate that 6 mg/day of astaxanthin for 6-8 weeks reduces crow’s feet wrinkles, water loss, and age spot size while enhancing moisture content, elasticity, and skin texture in both men and women, particularly when combined with topical astaxanthin application.

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Obama Administration Extends Obamacare Enrollment Deadline Via Online ‘Honor system’

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xcerpted from WASHINGTON POST: The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health-care plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline. Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth. The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period. The change, which the administration is scheduled to announce Wednesday, is supported by consumer advocates who want as many people as possible to gain insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. But it’s likely to be criticized by Republicans who oppose the law and have denounced the way the administration is implementing it. Administration officials said the accommodation is an attempt to prepare for a possible surge of people trying to sign up in the final days before the deadline. Such a flood could leave some people unable to get through the system.

Sudhir Mathuria

Contact: Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6650 Southwest Freeway Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com

“We are .?.?. making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment — either online or over the phone,” said Julie Bataille, director of the office of communications for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the federal healthcare exchange. The extra time will not be restricted, though, to people who wait until the last minute to try to sign up. Although no one will be asked why they need an extension, the idea is to help people whose applications have gotten held up because of the Web site’s technical problems — or who haven’t been able to get the system to calculate subsidies to help them pay for coverage. According to a Health and Human Services official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about decisions that have not been made public, an exact time frame for this extension has not been set, and depends in part on how many people request it. Nor have officials decided precisely how long people will have to select a health plan after they get the extra time. For prompt enrollment contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713771-2900.

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HEALTH, TECH & SCIENCE

China risks in 140 characters? Weibo needs 56 pages

tent and “verified” Sina Weibo users, the thought leaders of Chinese cyberspace, has hurt microblogs -- which other companies also offer -- along with the rapid rise of instant messaging platform WeChat, which has accumulated more than 300 milLast year, Chinese-American investor Charles Xue, who had around 12 million followers on his Sina microblog which was heavily critical of the government, was arrested on charges of soliciting prostitutes and paraded on state television. In 2012, Sina disabled the comment feature on the Weibo platform for three days following rumours of a coup after the dismissal of high-flying politician Bo Xilai, and shut down specific accounts which carried the speculation.

by Bill SAVADOVE

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HANGHAI - While Internet giants like Twitter and Google champion free speech, the US listing document for Chinese microblogging platform Weibo is littered with 56 pages of warnings on the risks of operating in a country which seeks to control information. Weibo Corp., a subsidiary of Chinese Internet behemoth Sina, has filed for a $500 million stock offer in the United States, the ultimate exercise in capitalism, as it seeks funds to grow users in the face of pressure from newer competitors. But Chinese authorities maintain a vast censorship machine to delete content considered objectionable while at the same time manning the so-called Great Firewall of China to block access to sensitive outside sites. Banned services include Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, which enable individuals to communicate with each other on a mass scale. Weibo’s listing contains a 40page section on “Risk Factors”, and another 16 pages on the effects of laws and rules in the People’s Republic of China. “Regulation and censorship of information disseminated over the Internet in China may adversely affect our business and subject us to liability for information displayed on our platform,” it said. Banned content includes anything that “impairs the national dignity” of China, “disturbs social order or disrupts social stability”, is reactionary, obscene, superstitious, fraudulent or defamatory, among other categories, it explained. On page 138, Weibo Corp. admits to censoring posts to conform to Chinese law. “We have adopted internal procedures to monitor content displayed on our platform, including a team of employees dedicated to screening and monitoring content uploaded on our platform and removing inappropriate or infringing content,” it said. It is required to verify the identities of all those who post on its platforms, it added, and may have to register its encryption software with Chinese authorities. “Western (Internet) companies, part of their image and reputation, lies on the fact that they are bastions of freedom of expression,” said Jason Q. Ng, a research fellow at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and author of “Blocked on Weibo”. “That Weibo disclosed the fact that they censor... speaks to the reality of the facts on the ground -- disclosing to their potential investors that this stuff is a risk.” - Government crackdown In contrast Twitter, which Weibo is often compared to, was hailed as a tool of free expression during the Arab Spring. Twitter -- whose CEO is currently in China on what the firm called a private visit -- has long proclaimed itself a defender of freedom of speech, although it too has faced controversy over censorship after announcing it can block tweets on a countryby-country basis if legally required to do so. But analysts said such issues might not matter to investors, saying the success of the Weibo share offer will hinge on buyers wanting a stake in a technology play in a country with more than

600 million Internet users. Its parent Sina Corp. -- which holds just over two-thirds stake in Weibo before the share offer -- is already listed on the technology-heavy Nasdaq market with a market value of $4.5 billion. “Content censorship and related regulations have been the norm for China’s Internet industry through its development the past 20 years. It’s not a fresh issue,” said Hu Yanping

of independent research institute DCCI. “The capital market will be focused on the company’s operations, its ability to generate income and profits,” he said. Zhuo Saijun of consultancy Analysys International, added: “I think there will still be fervent interest from investors,” citing Weibo’s value to companies for marketing. Nonetheless analysts say a government crackdown on con-

Weibo Corp. said in the listing filing it had more than 129 million monthly active users and more than 61 million daily active users in December, both rising steadily since 2012. It recorded a net loss of $38.1 million in 2013, narrowing from $102.5 million a year earlier. But the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center estimates that microblog users fell nine percent to 281 million last year. One foreign fund manager, who declined to be named, said: “It just does not have that dynamism compared to messaging.”

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Electrical engineering is child’s play with littleBits by Glenn CHAPMAN VANCOUVER - Ayah Bdeir is out to make creating Internet Age gadgets as fun and easy as playing with LEGO blocks. The engineer behind littleBits kits that make a game of piecing together modular circuitry used a Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference to debut a piece to the puzzle that lets creations talk to the Internet. “It is about allowing people to understand electronics which govern our modern lives and to let people become creators and makers,” she said of her motivation to start the company behind littleBits about two years ago. “The Internet of Things is too important for it to be governed by only big companies telling you what you should purchase.” Generic items ranging from jewelry to door locks, cars or household appliances are enhanced with computer chips to go online for information or instruction under the Internet of Things. Bdeir’s kits come with arrays of rectangular modules with buttons, lights, buzzers or other little bits that can be stuck together to create working electronic devices. It is simple to make new creations, even for those with weak geek skills. LittleBits blocks are magnetized so that modules can only be stuck together in ways that will work. - Innovate and create Two basic rules of play are that magnets are always right, and that one always needs a blue and

a green piece for success. Pink pieces are optional. “On the one hand, you can play and learn about electronics,” the littleBits chief told AFP while snapping together modules on a cushioned sofa at TED, the conference renowned for innovative minds that ended on Friday. “But on the other, you can invent and prototype without being an engineer or a programmer.” She spoke of users snapping together creations ranging from window displays made of littleBits and craft material to hardware prototypes entrepreneurs have used to pitch investors. The addition of a “cloud” module to link module creations to the Internet opens the door to using littleBits to create such gadgets as wireless speakers, smart thermostats and security systems. The module is expected to be available later this year. “You can really start to prototype complex things with no engineering knowledge whatsoever,” Bdeir said. “Kids, entrepreneurs, artists or anyone else can invent with electronics the way they would invent with LEGOs.” Kits were such hits when the New York-based startup introduced them that they sold out in two weeks. LittleBits are now available in scores of countries and used in about 1,800 schools, according to the company. Kits range in price from $100 to $200, with “bits” also available for individual purchase.


VOICE OF ASIA 20

BUSINESS

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Section 2

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

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MassMutual and AAHOA help Asian-Indian hotel Apple in Comcast talks owners sustain business through boom and beyond about streaming TV: report

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EW YORK - Apple is in talks with US cable and Internet giant Comcast about a streamingtelevision service that would use an Apple set-top box, a report said Sunday.

Talks are in their early stages but any deal would allow Apple to get special treatment on Comcast’s cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the web, The Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. “But the deal, if sealed, would mark a new level of cooperation and integration between a technology company and a cable provider to modernize TV viewing,” the WSJ said. “Apple’s intention is to allow users to stream live and ondemand TV programming and digital-video recordings stored in the ‘cloud,’ effectively taking the place of a traditional cable set-top box.” Apple hopes the tie-up will

Mass Mutual team with AAHOA members.

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PRINGFIELD, MASS., Mar. 24, 2014—Hotel owners are experiencing one of the best business cycles in decades, thanks to a slowly rebounding economy, and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) teamed up with the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) at its 2014 Annual Convention & Trade Show last week to help ensure these businesses grow and prosper over the long term to both boost the economy and help Asian Indians pass their legacy on to the next generation. According to AAHOA, its more than 12,000 members own more than 20,000 hotels totaling $128 billion in property value, making this organization a vital one to local and national economies. Through its sponsorship of AAHOA, MassMutual brings essential financial education to its members to help them begin planning for the long-term, includ-

ing helping them attract and retain the best employees, as well as to prepare for their own exits from their businesses. “Asian Indians have a long tradition of entrepreneurship and have a great business sense, which speaks to their current success” said Nilesh Patel, financial professional with Water Tower Financial Partners, a MassMutual general agency in Chicago, Ill., and participant in an educational panel discussion at the AAHOA conference. “What I’d like to be able to help these successful owners do is take a more holistic view of their businesses, to think about their business 10 years from now and to plan for their own and their families’ futures,” he said. “Our sponsorship of the 2014 AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show is a key component of MassMutual’s support of the Asian-Indian market and goal to help families and business owners plan for their own and their families’ futures,” said Nimesh

Trivedi, Asian-Indian Market lead at MassMutual. “In fact, a recently released study commissioned by MassMutual, the 2013 State of the American Family Study, took an in-depth look at Asian-Indian families and the challenges that they face in this uncertain economic recovery. It indicated that the two financial priorities for their savings are for their children’s college education and keeping the family financially shielded. As a result, one quarter of Asian Indians struggle between saving to pay for their children’s college education and saving for their own retirement,” he added. For more information about the work that MassMutual does with the Asian-Indian market, visit massmutual.com/ asianindian. To read more of the findings of MassMutual’s 2013 State of the American Family Study, visit massmutual.com/soaf. To learn about a financial services career with MassMutual, contact Nimesh Trivedi at 413.744.1244.

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VOICE OF ASIA 21

FEATURE/FOOD

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Celebrity DJ Kalkutta Sets the How adding spice to your diet Stage for Spotlight Asia Featuring can reduce your intake of salt Houston’s Creative Culinary Stars by Anna Foret

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OUSTON - On Friday, April 4, 2014, Asia Society Texas Center, in collaboration with Zulu Creative and event chairs Janae and Kenneth Tsai, will host the third annual Spotlight Asia: Cocktails and Cultural Fusions. The Tsais will be joined by a host committee of Houston’s most energetic and best connected social scene patrons. Presented by American First National Bank, the lanternthemed event will light up the night in the Texas Center’s internationally acclaimed Yoshio Taniguchi-designed building at 1370 Southmore Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77004 from 8:00 pm to midnight. The glimmery evening will feature New York-based turntablist and producer DJ Kalkutta, back by popular demand. When she’s not opening for acts like Ke$ha and Ludacris or performing on SNL, Ellen, GMA, and The Tonight Show, she’s working at New York’s highest-profile nightclubs and venues, including the opening of the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as 1Oak, The Boom Boom Room, and Riff Raff’s. Surrendered to a Mother Teresa-founded orphanage at just two days old, Kalkutta was adopted by an American woman and given a chance at a brighter future. Today, she is known for her deep knowledge of a myriad of genres and formats, and shares bills with some of the world’s hottest DJs. Kalkutta also spins events for brands such as Betsey Johnson, Ted Baker, Steve Madden, Maserati-Ferrari, and Sephora. With beauty, talent, and a cross-cultural understanding, Kalkutta shines as an ambassador for all things music, style, and nightlife. Casting a mesmerizing musical glow on the dancefloor is Vietnamese-American Houstonbased Baohaus. An eclectic, fun, and soulful DJ born and raised in Los Angeles with sounds synonymous to her vibrant energy, Bao-

Spices and herbs Cooking lessons to show people how to use spices and herbs help cut their salt intake, say researchers.

DJ Kalkutta. (Gavin Thomas) haus has been featured at clubs from LA and San Francisco to Honolulu and Houston, moving crowds with 80s, 90s, nu-disco, hip-hop, funk, and soul. Her art of spinning is a platform to share musical talent and to introduce the world to artists who have impacted her creativity, old-school to new. Baohaus brings a brilliant talent for capturing moods with the right touch to create any type of ambiance. Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar will ignite a sense of culinary wonder with signature appetizers, and sushi will be offered courtesy of Glen Gondo & Sushic. An open bar will also be available with signature cocktails. For $25, guests may also purchase a “Sparkling Pass” at the event only for unlimited bubbly, curated by 13 celsius. Decadent luxuries provided by Monica Pope’s Sparrow Bar + Cookshop are sure to capture the essence of the season. A series of luminary lounges hosted by Houston’s leading restaurants and media will allure guests with respites from the party-going limelight. Little Soya and Uchi will dazzle guests with unexpected textures and

flavors that push the boundaries of Japanese cuisine. Guests can also pose for photos at the PaperCity Photo Hotspot. Texas Hookah Lounge will offer guests relaxing draws from hookah pipes in the Jasmine Garden, while FlashBox photo booth captures the fun inside. For guests seeking the ultimate enlightening experience, a raffle will be held for two Business/ BusinessFirst® round trip airfare tickets from Houston to Taipei, courtesy of United Airlines. Raffle tickets can be purchased only at the event for $25 each or five tickets for $100. Airfare tickets must be used before December 31, 2014. For event tickets, Asia Society members pay $60 in advance through March 28th or $75 at the door. Non-member tickets, which include a one-year Asia Society membership, are $85 in advance through March 28th or $100 at the door. To purchase advance tickets or for more information, visit AsiaSociety. org/Texas/SpotlightAsia2014 or contact Bronwyn Walker at 713.496.9937 or bwalker@asiasociety.org. The event is open to ages 21 and up.

They found teaching people how to flavour food with spices and herbs was more effective at lowering salt intake than having them do it on their own. In a new study, 55 volunteers ate a low-sodium diet for four weeks during which time researchers provided all foods and caloriecontaining drinks. Salt is the main source of sodium in food. In the second phase, half of the volunteers participated in a 20-week behavioural intervention aimed at reducing their sodium intake to 1,500 mg (1.5gms)a day by using spices and herbs. The other half reduced sodium on their own. More than 60 per cent of the participants in the study had high blood pressure, almost a fifth had diabetes and they were overweight. The researchers found in the first phase, sodium intake decreased from an average 3,450 mg a day to an average 1,656 mg a day. In the second phase, sodium intake increased in both groups. But those who received the behavioural intervention consumed an average 966 mg

a day of sodium less than the group that didn’t receive the intervention. Cheryl Anderson, lead author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California San Diego, said helping people cook differently gave them control over their diet. She said ‘People in the intervention group learned problemsolving strategies, use of herbs and spices in recipes, how culture influences spice choices, how to monitor diet, overcoming the barriers to making dietary changes, how to choose and order foods when eating out and how to make low-sodium intake permanent.’ Those assigned to the behavioural intervention group had cooking demonstrations and had a chance to share how they were changing traditional recipes to remove salt and include spices. The researchers didn’t emphasise specific spices, and encouraged participants to try different things to find out what they liked most. Prof Anderson said average salt intake in the US - and other western countries - was much higher than what is recommended for healthy living, partly due to its presence in many different manufactured

food products. She said ‘We studied the use of a behavioural intervention where people learn how to use spices and herbs and less salt in their daily lives. ‘Given the challenges of lowering salt in the American diet, we need a public health approach aimed at making it possible for consumers to adhere to an eating pattern with less salt. ‘This intervention using education and tasty alternatives to sodium could be one solution.’ The research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/ Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014 in San Francisco. Excess salt is a major contributor to high blood pressure, leading to heart disease and stroke. Although UK intake has fallen in recent years, it remains above the target level of 6g a day. At present, average consumption is 8.6g per person per day which is too high, according to campaigners. A spokesman for Blood Pressure UK which has campaigned for salt reduction said it advised people not to add salt when cooking, and this includes things like soy sauce, curry powders and stock cubes. He said extra flavour could be provided with herbs and spices, and from seasonings like chilli, ginger, lemon or lime juice.


HOROSCOPE

VOICE OF ASIA 22

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

Your Horoscope for the Week of March 28, 2014 by Hardik Vyas, Astrologer Cell : 832-298-9950 Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April Take on more responsibilities in your life. Opportunities to expand your horizons and your income will arrive on the scene from nowhere. Someone who had taught you lessons in the past will now help you to show your worth. Get out there and prove yourself to the real world. Use your past experiences to build your confidence and overcome any obstacle put in your way. A good relationship will provide you with a solid anchor, as your success also depends on your loved ones.

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May Need to ignore your worries and let your sense of adventure take over. Go for it without any further hesitation. Things will turn out exactly the way you wanted them to. Communication will help you to be more objective in your thinking. Someone with a heart of gold will smile on your efforts and help make things happen in a big way. Think things through before announcing your grand plans. Others can help you to tune the finer details later but, you can only rely on yourself to get the job done right.

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June You need to do some changes in your family structure will now help you to cope with other changes in your professional life. You might still be able to profit from this experience if you try early in the week. You can share joint responsibilities without feeling all the stress on your shoulders. You just have to remember what your real priorities are. A vital relationship will thrive with a burst of fresh energy. Start from the beginning and see what you can build from there. Your presence will be required to complete the cycle.

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Use your imagination in a more practical way. Normal is for people who lack creative imagination. Despite all of your troubles, you’ll manage to impress someone who thinks that you are special. A little stress is sometimes a good motivator for you. You’d feel empty if you weren’t learning something new all the time. You have your own ideas about how the world should evolve. A sudden change of course won’t throw you off the track. Your reach will become more fluid and less structured.

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August

Slow down the pace and concentrate on one thing at a time. Emotional logic is nonexistent, but with a more strategic plan, you’ll be able to reach new areas of understanding. If challenged, you’ll be glad to oblige. Is it you or them? One way or another, someone is going to get hurt. Rumors or secrets can be very harmful to other’s reputations. Focus on the truth rather than passing along misinformation. Hold your head high, knowing that you have not caused the damage. Someone may be trying to confuse the issues.

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Pull ahead of everyone else in the race. You are the authority on matters of domestic comfort and joy. Bring along your sense of home wherever you go. Fresh ideas and interesting people will appear from nowhere. Don’t allow them to distract you from your winning strategy. Emotional distractions may threaten to weaken your impact on others. Seek out the advice of an understanding mentor who understands your strengths and can help you to clear the path. You’ll be able to regain your comfort zone, once you decide which path you’re going to take.

As per Indian Vedic Astrology the Moon sign is considered, in which every Rashi has control over certain letters, which are initials of your name. Whereas in Western system of Sun Sign, all the people born in one month belong to the same sign. For example, every year approximately around 21 of March to 20th April, the Sun is moving in the Aries Constellation. So all the people born in that month belong to the Sign of Aries. If you were born in between those two dates then you are a Aries born.

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct Get back on the horse that threw you off. You and only you know why you feel so pressured. Try to be a good host at home or a helpful guest while visiting. Don’t allow pettiness turn into hasty words or rash decisions. The extra stress you feel may cause you to be more bull headed than usual. That could really cause someone close to you to get their feelings hurt. Emotional turmoil will result in more stress. Use your strong personality as a social anchor. Your charm will help keep them focused on the business at hand.

Scorpio (N,Y)23 Oct to 21 Nov Need to work out details on your own, You may be wearing your emotions on your sleeve, so react only if you are ready to listen to others feelings, as well. Only give your heart to those who take you at face value. Others will try to be part of the judging committee but you need to make your own decisions. Create a diversion to keep them busy, while you work alone. Once you get lost in the details, you won’t be able to hear anything else. Brilliant ideas will have a way of arriving out of necessity.

Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec You may sense that there may be something missing from the mix. Your intuitive feelings may cause you to want to scream. Hold your tongue, as negative displays of emotion will only hurt your reputation. Others may try to introduce themselves as friends, but they are not sincere. Only you know if you’re walking into their trap. Independent thinkers will find different ways to get their ideas across. If the time is right, the magic will happen. Try your best to separate your personal and professional lives.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan Face your fear of being alone, You may feel overwhelmed, but you’ll still be able to stand up for your beliefs. You’d prefer to delegate orders to others but if you must, you’ll put your time in the trenches. Whatever it takes to feel part of the team. You’ve done very well with what you have to work with, but now it’s time to do even better. Use your sense of humor rather than trying to make a serious point. You have to keep them interested or they’ll look elsewhere. Past experience has shown you that you have to be careful in relationships.

Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb Keep your finger on the pulse and your feet firmly on the ground. You have to be ready for sudden changes and must avoid taking sides. Your leadership fills a void instead of just boosting your ego. Your sunny personality is your ticket to discovery. Your cheerful dedication to the cause will be noticed by both peers and higher ups. If you are quick to react, you’ll be able to tackle problems before they become issues. You’ll have the strength to turn things around alone, if necessary. Everyone will appreciate you for your honesty.

Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March

Put a positive spin on everything you do. Your role feels well established in the community. Good luck will smooth over any of the rough spots you hit. Your energy is far too electric to spend on routine everyday business. A new chapter of your life is about to begin. Someone new may appear on the scene, looking for attention and admiration. Be realistic and don’t make promise that you can’t deliver. Make plans to do something special with friends or family. They’ll appreciate the gesture and treasure it forever. Friendship is the key to bigger and better things for you. It’ll be surprisingly easy to give others what they want.


VOICE OF ASIA 23

Houston Community College Notice of Procurement Opportunities RFP 14-09 – MOVING AND STORAGE SERVICES Submittal Responses Due: April 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm (local time) RFP 14-15 – JOB ORDER CONTRACT SERVICES Responses Due: April 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm (local time) RFQ 14-20 – PARKING LOTS AND PARKING GARAGES CLEANING SERVICES Responses Due: April 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm (local time) To obtain a copy of the solicitation documents go to our website at: www. hccs.edu (Click on: Business & Community / Doing Business with HCC / Procurement / Current Bids and RFPs). For assistance call: 713-7185014 Sealed responses to each Moving and Storage Services solicitation will be received in Procurement Operations, 3100 Main Street (11th Floor), Houston, TX 77002, until 2:00 pm (local time) on the submittal date, April 10, 2014, and publicly opened in Room No. 11A07 at that time. HCC is an equal opportunity/ educational institution, which does not discriminate based on race, color religion, national origin, gender age or disability.

CLASSIFIEDS

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014

LEGAL NOTICE Neighborhood Centers Inc. (AGENCY), a nonprofit human services organization, announces a Request for Proposal (RFP) #14-08 for Pest Control Services. A “mandatory” Vendors Conference is scheduled for Monday, April 14, 2014 @ 10:00 a.m. (CST) at 3838 Aberdeen Way, Houston, TX 77025. Interested Vendors can submit a proposal for RFP #14-08 Pest Control Services. The deadline for submitting a proposal is Monday, May 5, 2014 by 12:00 p.m. (CST). To receive RFP #14-08, e-mail Ashia Brown, Supply Chain Manager, abrown@ neighborhood-centers. org. NEIGHBORHOOD CENTERS INC. ENCOURAGES SMALL AND HISTORICALLY UNDERUTILIZED BUSINESSES TO APPLY.

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WEB PHOTOGRAPHER/ EDITOR/ PRODUCER - Temporary KTRK-TV is looking for a temporary multimedia web producer who can do it all for its Internet department. The ideal candidate will have the following: • Three years experience working in major market television or print news Internet operation • Experience on Final Cut Pro • Experience on Photoshop • Experience shooting with both still and video camera • Experience creating and editing video for distribution on multiple platforms Candidate must be able to handle many projects simultaneously. Candidate must be a self-start and have a ‘Do It Now’ mentality to excel in our fast-paced environment and must be able to easily adapt to changes. No beginners. This position may include weekends and evenings. All interested applicants must apply online at www.disneycareers.com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please Reference Job ID: 173202BR on all materials submitted. No phone calls please, and no third parties. Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/V/D.

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Voice of Asia Mar 28 2014  

Voice of Asia Newspaper has been reaching South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities in Texas since 1987. To...

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