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VOICE OF ASIA
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
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Vol. 27 No. 20 Friday, May 16, 2014 Published Weekly from Houston 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: email@example.com
HCC announces Dr. Cesar Maldonado as Chancellor
KP George wins Fort Bend ISD Trustee, Position#5 with six colleagues. George is currently the president of the Hightower High School Academy Booster Club. He and his wife, Sheeba, have three children who have attended district schools. “We DID it! I could not have done this without GOD, my family, and my 100’s of friends who supported and helped me. They worked relentlessly and without rest to help me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am ready to serve on this Board for our children’s future.”
KP George by Shobana Muratee
P George is the member-elect for the Position 5 seat on the Fort Bend Board of Trustees in Texas. He won election against incumbent Patsy Taylor and challenger Kris Allfrey in the general election on May 10, 2014. Position 5 is one of three seats selected from residents of eastern Sugar Land. Each member represents the entire district. He was previously a 2012 Democratic candidate who sought election to the U.S. House to represent the 22nd Congressional District of Texas. George was born in southern India and completed his undergraduate degree before arriving in the United States in 1993. He has since worked as a ﬁnancial planner and currently co-owns a planning practice
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“I have been a resident of Fort Bend County for 15 years and have educated three children through the system. Furthermore, my wife has been a teacher with FBISD for 12 years and this has brought me direct exposure to the strengths and weaknesses of the public school system,” KP George wrote on his website. Some of the themes listed on George’s campaign website were: Teacher morality, Taxes, Excellence in Education, Vocational (Trade) School Learning Programs, Promote Healthy Lifestyle in Schools, Promote Healthy Lifestyle in Schools, and Accomplish the True Purpose of Education. “Teaching our kids the basics of life and how to apply that into their daily lives is the primary purpose of education, and I wholeheartedly believe in this purpose,” he wrote.
Accomplished business leader and academician selected as next chancellor
ouston, TX (May 13, 2014) – Today the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E., PMP, as the next Chancellor of Houston Community College. The institution conducted a nationwide search for the next leader of the institution and selected Dr. Maldonado, who successfully transitioned his private industry management expertise into public higher education administration. Dr. Maldonado is an accomplished engineer, civic and business leader, and higher education administrator. Prior to HCC, he served as President of Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, where he was responsible for many important accomplishments and advances for the college and its students since 2008. Trustee Neeta Sane, HCC Board Chair stated, “The Board of Trustees has worked judiciously and diligently in taking one of the most important decisions for HCC’s future. We are proud to select Dr. Maldonado as HCC’s next Chancellor and we look forward to his leadership as we navigate and address many important opportunities that will help to deﬁne the HCC of the future. He is an accomplished academician, but one with three decades in business. His deep understanding of academia is framed in the context of community and industry. He is prepared for the complex issues we face and will work diligently to build teams and innovative solutions to move the College forward. We are excited with the leadership that he will bring to our College.” Some of the early issues Dr. Maldonado will face include identifying new funding sources and innovative partnerships, as well as to determine the best, most appropriate allocation of the funds generated from the bond passage so that we can build the most efﬁcient and effective college of tomorrow.
COMMUNITY - Pgs. 3 - 12
AAPI Convention in San Antonio.
Incoming HCC’s Chancellor Dr. Maldonado with Trustee Neeta Sane, HCC Board Chair (rt) going over the formalities.
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Continued on Page 9
HCC Board of Trustees speak about the new Chancellor seen on far right.
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VOICE OF ASIA 2
Daya Inc. responds to recent Murdersuicide in Sugar Land, TX
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The Staff and Board of Daya Inc. (serving Houstonâ€™s South Asian families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault since 1996) are saddened by the murder-suicide on May 5 of Nikhat and Karim Kamdar in what is described by the media as a â€˜domestic disturbanceâ€™ incident. Reportedly, Mr. Kamdar, residing in the afďŹ‚uent New Territory subdivision in Sugar Land, used a handgun to shoot and kill his wife, injure his two children, ages 15 and 11, and then kill himself. In the absence of information suggesting the involvement of a third-party assailant, the Fort Bend/Southwest Star (May 7, 2014) reported, â€œIn short, the neighborhood can rest at ease because the incident began and ended inside that household.â€? The Staff and Board of Daya are startled by this statement. They urge the community not to â€˜rest at ease.â€™ Domestic violence is a pervasive problem that crosses the barriers of class, race, religion and education. The rate of abuse in the South Asian community is on par with that of the mainstream. One in four American women are victims of partner violence and one-third of female homicide victims are killed by their partners. In fact, an assailant who is from inside the household is often more dangerous than an unknown assailant.
Columnists: Legal: Richard M. Alderman Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Medical: Sabina K. Cherian, MD Medical: Kesavan Shan, MD Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Health Insurance: Sudhir Mathuria Astrology: Hardik Vyas
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Murder-suicide due to domestic violence happens because the perpetrator of violence wants total control over his victims even if it means killing them. The need for control is that desperate in a perpetrator, and it is a miracle that the Kamdar children were spared. We extend our thoughts, prayers and offer our support to the children and their loved ones, for they face a rough road ahead.
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FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
India election 2014: Narendra Modi eyes power as Obama makes pledge to new India leader US President Barack Obama pledged to work closely with the new Indian government as Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi was forecast on Tuesday to have pulled off a crushing victory in the worldâ€™s biggest election. â€œModi at Delhi Gateâ€? said a headline in the Mail Today, while the Hindustan Times read simply â€œExit Polls: Enter Modiâ€? after a ďŹ‚urry of surveys released after voting ended on Monday pointed to a decisive result. All the polls showed Modiâ€™s right-wing opposition alliance trounced the left-leaning Congress party, which has been in power for a decade, and most indicated that it had scraped enough votes to form a new coalition without having to seek fresh partners. Modiâ€™s top aide predicted that the margin of victory would be even wider when the results are announced on Friday, while emphasising that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was open to forging new alliances. Modi struck a conciliatory tone by saying it was time for â€œhealingâ€? after an often bitter ďŹ ve-week contest which saw 551 million voters cast their ballots, making it by far the worldâ€™s biggest election. While a BJP victory had been expected, the apparent scale of defeat for Congress was still striking with exit polls showing support for the party which has ruled India for most of the postindependence era at a nadir. Obama, leader of the worldâ€™s second biggest democracy, said
India had â€œset an example for the worldâ€? as he hailed the contest as â€œa vibrant demonstration of our shared values of diversity and freedomâ€?. â€œWe look forward to the formation of a new government once election results are announced and to working closely with Indiaâ€™s next administration to make the coming years equally transformative,â€? he added. Modiâ€™s election however presents something of a headache for the US, which refused to deal with him for years in the aftermath of religious riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002 shortly after Modi became its chief minister. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the violence which critics say Modi did little to stop, even though he has been cleared of involvement by the courts. Washington only ended its boycott of Modi in February when Nancy Powell, the outgoing US ambassador to India, met him for talks in Gujarat. European countries also refused to deal with Modi for years in the wake of the 2002 riots, for which Modi has refused to apologise. While some of his most ardent supporters are drawn from the ranks of hardline Hindu groups, Modi fought a campaign based on pledges to revive economic growth, which is at its lowest rate in a decade, and increase development. Congress also suffered a backlash after a spate of corruption
Dayaâ€™s mission is to aid South Asian survivors of family violence and their children regain their right to live without fear and abuse. No one deserves to be abused, least of all children. On this sad occasion, Daya reafďŹ rms its commitment to end all forms of violence against women and children and help the South Asian community cope with this great loss and, together, ďŹ nd ways to stop domestic violence before it even starts.
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 conďŹ rmation 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
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FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Second Front Page
Friday, May 16, 2014
Houston Helps Eradicate Illiteracy in Rural India: Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation USA, Annual Fundraising Event Houston Chapter
Right to Left: Naren Chavda, President Ekal Houston Chapter, Ashok Danda, Past President Ekal USA, Yogi Patel, Keynote Speaker.
he Ekal Vidyalaya Houston Chapter held its Annual Fundraising Event on May 4, 2014 at the Stafford Performing Arts Center. The event was attended by over 1000 guests and raised over $ 400,000. The Houston community pledged their support to over 1100 schools across rural India. This annual event raises funds to help eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal regions in India. The Ekal Foundation supports “one teacher schools” throughout rural India using the power of the largest grassroots organization within the country. The Ekal Foundation’s “one teacher school” model has had enormous success in rural India and is now used to promote village health, hygiene and socio-economic development. The Foundation was awarded the prestigious S. R. Jindal Prize – 2012 for Peace, Social Harmony & Social Development. Guests were entertained with Bollywood and Suﬁ songs by the Vibhavari Group led by Vibhavari Yadav, “the Nightingale of Gujarat” and Sunil Menon, ﬁnalist 2005 SaReGaMa contest. The evening was highlighted by speech-
es from prominent members of the IndoAmerican Community including Mr. Jugal Malani, President of India House, and Mr.Yogi Patel, co-founder and Ambassador of Pratham USA. Ms Renu Khator, Chancellor of The University of Houston was among the distinguished guests. Mr. Patel made an inspiring appeal for donations citing how the giving spirit of the NRIs from East Africa facilitated his educational journey. He presented the vicious cycle of poverty that begins with the lack of education: “illiteracy – early marriage - population growth – poverty”. Ekal Vidyalaya is making a difference by removing the key link, illiteracy, from that cycle thus positively affecting the lives of 100’s of millions living in rural India. A large number of youth volunteers helped to make this event successful. To donate please click www.ekal. org. To register to volunteer please call: 281-668-5982 / 1-855-Ekal-USA (1-8553525-872). Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA is a 501(c)(3) non-proﬁt organization. www. ekal.org
by Lakshmy Parameswaran
ince 1996 Daya Inc. has been serving Houston’s South Asian families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. On April 27th, Daya held its 18th annual gala at the historic Rice Hotel in downtown Houston where over 200 people gathered to help the organization raise $131K. The amount, representing 35% of Daya’s 2014 budget, will be used to continue the important work that Daya does: to assist women and children reclaim their right to lead abuse-free lives. The women who seek Daya’s help know only too well that living in the ‘land of the free’ does not automatically guarantee one’s freedom. It can be snatched away easily by those in their own homes who choose to abuse and batter them. Daya empowers these women to regain the freedom and respect that they never should have lost. Started as a grass-roots level allvolunteer organization with only a voicemail, Daya has evolved into a staff- and volunteer-run agency with three full-time and two part-time paid staff and an eleven-member volunteer board at the supervisory level, with a nine-member advisory board providing guidance. The staff and board together manage individual and group counseling, education and job training for clients, legal advocacy and transitional home, educational seminars, outreach events and volunteer training, grant-writing, book-keeping, fundraising, marketing and website management. Daya’s services are given free-of-charge. The need for Daya’s services has been steadily increasing. In 2013, the organization ﬁelded 5837 calls (22 calls per work day) translating into 310 clients, of which 265 were new. The average age of a Daya client is 34 and the types of abuse include not only the familiar physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse but also immigration abuse (using immigration status as a tool to threaten and subdue the woman), in-law abuse (monitoring via Skype; conﬁscating of passport by the in-laws) and the very latest cyber abuse (hacking into emails and texts, monitoring the whereabouts via GPS). With 46% of its clientele originating from India, 25% from Pakistan,
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Shaila Patel (Board member); Annu Naik (Gala co-chair); Sapna Singh (emcee); Lakshmy Parameswaran (Founder/Board member) 5% from Bangladesh and the rest from other Asian countries, Daya crosses national, religious, linguistic and regional divides of South Asia in empowering women and children affected by domestic violence. True to its South Asian focus, the gala was graced by the presence of Indian Consul General P. Harish and Mrs. Nandita Harish, and Pakistan Consul General Afzal Mehmood and Mrs. Mehmood. Harris County Judge Steven Kirkland, Fort Bend County DA John Healey, HPD Ofﬁcer Muzaffar Siddiqi and Delhi-based writer/activist Githa Hariharan were also present. Dr. Sapna Singh and Mustafa Tameez emceed the event smoothly. Dance instructor Anjali Thakkar led the audience into disco dancing with DJ Yogi belting out the tunes. The event included a silent auction of selected jewelry items and a Lotus of Hope board which people could color by donating toward a client’s need: bus pass, groceries, driver’s education, degree evaluation etc. Volunteer Anand Ramaswamy deserves a special mention for the Lotus Board idea that raised $9000. The evening showcased the sincere efforts of cochairs Annu Naik and Charu Verma, and staff Abhilasha Vineet, all ably backed by the entire staff, board and advisory board. The crucial role Daya plays in making Houston a bet-
ter place for everyone was exempliﬁed in the generosity of the donors and the personal stories shared by two brave clients who made the gala an all-time success. With its service area covering Harris, Fort Bend and surrounding counties, cities outside Houston and even into neighboring states of Louisiana and Oklahoma (where no organization like Daya exists), Daya has carved a special place for itself with its culture-sensitive approach combining professionalism with an extended family model that is familiar to South Asians. Daya’s unique model was recognized by the Dept of Justice Ofﬁce of Violence Against Women (OVW) with a two-year grant (2014 -2015) to continue and expand its invaluable services to the community. Daya also relies on grants from the Houston Endowment, George Foundation, Simmons Foundation, Indo-American Charity Foundation and Asian-American Bar Foundation as well as ‘mini’ fundraisers throughout the year to meet its yearly budget. In terms of client volume, Daya ranks high among the 26 South Asian Women’s Organizations operating across the United States. For information and volunteer opportunities, visit: www.dayahouston. org; Phone: 713-981-7645.
VOICE OF ASIA 4
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
The People’s Lawyer www.peopleslawyer.net Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center
Property inherited is not community property. Q. I have been married for ten years. I am currently considering divorce. Last month my father passed away and I inherited a large sum of money. If I ﬁle for divorce will my husband be entitled to half of the money I inherited? A. Generally, when you ﬁle for divorce, you split all of your “community property.” Community property is basically everything you or your spouse acquires while you are married. Money you inherit, however, is considered “separate property” and does not get divided. You should be able to keep the money you inherited, even if you get divorced. I suggest you speak with a family law attorney to make sure you take the proper steps to protect your rights. Q. Almost two years ago, I had a car accident. Now the other driver has ﬁled a lawsuit against me in justice court. I have full coverage, but after the accident my insurance company refused to pay, saying it was his fault. What should I do? Why didn’t he sue my insurance company?
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A. The reason he sued you rather than your insurance company is because under Texas law you are the proper party to sue. He does not have a direct claim against your insurance company. Your insurance company, however, is responsible for your defense and liability. The ﬁrst thing you should do now is contact your insurance company. It will provide you with an attorney to defend the lawsuit. If your insurance company refused to pay because it did not believe you were responsible, you probably have no liability, and the insurance company will pay the costs of defending you. On the other hand, if your insurance company was wrong and you are responsible, your insurance company will pay your liability and the cost of your defense. Either way, you should not have any individual liability beyond any deductible. Q. Who can serve as a judge in justice court? Do you have to be an attorney? My friend just went to justice court and told me she didn’t think the judge was a lawyer. A. Justice court, the real “people’s court,” is presided over by a justice of the peace. Justice court now hears all the cases that were heard in small claims court. In Texas, anyone may be elected as a justice of the peace, and serve as a judge in justice court. There is no requirement that the justice of the peace be an attorney. In fact, many justices of the peace are not lawyers. Q. I owe a lot of money and can’t pay my bills. I have been told that even if I ﬁle bankruptcy, I will still owe my student loans. Is this true? They are my largest debts. A. As you seem to know, when you ﬁle bankruptcy, most of your debts are “discharged.” This means that you no longer have any obligation to pay. Not all debts, however, are discharged. Student loans are discharged only if paying them would be an “undue hardship” on the debtor. In most cases, it is very difﬁcult to get a student loan discharged in bankruptcy. If your largest debt is a student loan, bankruptcy may not be a good idea. I suggest you speak with a consumer bankruptcy specialist and discuss your options. Q. Is it true that someone who doesn’t pay child support may lose his driver’s license? A. It is true that you may lose your driver’s license if you do not pay support. Under the law, a court has the right to suspend any professional license, including a driver’s license, of a person who doesn’t pay child support as ordered. In fact, a court may even throw the person in jail.
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Article and photos by Ananda Addy and Birendra Das Biswas
t started with the garlanding ceremony of the Tagore statue in Tagore Grove at the Ray Miller Park on the evening of May 7 (Ponchishe Baishakh), Tagoreâ€™s 153rd birth anniversary. Chorus songs, â€œHey Nuton, Jodi tor daak shuneâ€?, and recitation of poems, â€œEndless Time, Stream of Lifeâ€? and planting of rose bushes made the evening memorable and reverential. The celebrations continued into the evening of May 10 at the HDBS Sur auditorium where the audience was treated to enjoyable musical programs, dances, and shruti natok. Ruma Acharya, president of TSH (Tagore Society of Houston) welcomed the audience and emphasized Tagoreâ€™s borderless vision and its relevance to the modern times. Emcee Sanchali Basu took over and introduced the opening group of Kamalpriya Roy who presented a selected combination of solo and chorus songs from Tagoreâ€™s â€œPrem o Basantaâ€? segments of the Gitabitan. The songs were soulfully rendered and touched the hearts of the audience. The
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Rabindra Jayanti celebrations by TSH Society of Greater Houston (BASGH) then took the stage and their childrenâ€™s choir did an excellent job with Momo chitte and Aamra shobai raaja. What was extremely commendable was the perfect pronounciation and diction of the language by second generation Bengalis. All credit goes to teacher Rupa Ghosh, who also led the adult choir who followed next and sang a couple of Rabindra Sangeet. Their dance number performed by 9 beautiful young dancers, choreographed by Shrabana Nath was well received by the audience. The major attraction of the evening was an audio-drama â€œPhire Dekhaâ€? based on Tagoreâ€™s Shesher Kobita, by the Baithaki group from Dallas.. The adaptation was beautifully put together by Sambit Raha and exceptionally well executed by the actor couple Rajarshi and Sayanhika Bhattacharyya. They connected with every member of the audience and after the pin drop silence during the enactment were met with the loudest applause. The next invited artist was Koel Sen Bakshi, from Beaumont who is a Sangeet Visharad TSH members at the statue of Tagore at the Tagore Grove at the Ray Miller Park in Bharatnatyam and Rabindrik dance forms. Her presentation, â€œAamar mukti aloy aloyâ€?, was a beautiful audio visual ensemble of dance to poetry, letters and songs of Tagore that resonated different aspects of the poetâ€™s life including love, death, sorrow, protest, agony and liberation.
The evening ended with another international popular artist from Bangladesh, Elora Ahmed Shukla who is famous in her own right, being proďŹ cient in three different genres Rabindra Sangeet, Dwijendra geeti and Atulprasadi songs. She kept the audience engaged with her soothing harmonious renditions of Rabindra Sangeet
and an Atulprasadi song at the end on audience request. Raja Banga and Bidyut Ghosh provided able accompaniment on the tabla and mandira, respectively. Boxed dinners were sold and saree, jewelry and TSH stalls drew crowds to make the evening complete and worth remembering.
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FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
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Indian-American made judge ‘NRI honeymoon murder suspect Dewani not yet ﬁt for trial’ in Massachusetts
ASHINGTON: Indian-American, Indira Talwani has been conﬁrmed by the U.S. Senate as a federal judge in Massachusetts, making her the ﬁrst Asian - American federal judge in this state. Ms Talwani, who is in her 50s, was conﬁrmed by the Senate by 94-0 votes. She is the ﬁrst person of Asian descent in the First Circuit, which includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hamp-
shire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island to serve as a judge. Ms Talwani is also the second female judge of South Asian descent nationwide. “Indira is a committed attorney with an exceptional record. She is admired by her peers. We are extremely excited that another deserving South Asian has been nominated to the judiciary,” Nadeem Bezar, president of the South Asian Bar Association North America, said in a state-
ment. Daughter of immigrants from India and Germany, Ms Talwani is graduate of Harvard University and was later named the Order of the Coif at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California Berkeley. Ms Talwani is a partner at Segal Roitman LLP in Boston, where she focuses her practice on civil litigation at the state and federal trial court at the appellate levels.
25,000 Hindus migrated to India in ﬁve years: PML-N leader ISLAMABAD: About 25,000 Hindus in Pakistan have been forced to migrate to India due to religious violence over the last ﬁve years, a PML-N leader from the minority community said today. Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, who is also the patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, alleged that the situation in Sindh province was acute and the migration is taking place from there. “I had asked a written question in the National Assembly after which I was informed that about 25,000 Pakistani Hindus have migrated to India in the last ﬁve years,” Vankwani told PTI. He said at least six incidents of religious disturbance occurred within the last two months in Sindh. The last such incident was on May 7 when two religious books of the minorities were burnt.
“There is law and order problem in Khyber Pathtunkhwa and even Balochistan. But, Hindus are migrating from Sindh,” Vankwani said. The major incident that took place was in March when a frenzied mob attacked a Hindu temple and set a dharmashala on ﬁre over alleged desecration of a holy book, prompting authorities to impose a curfew in Sindh’s Larkana city. The incident had marred Holi celebrations. “People are even afraid to go to melas,” Vankwani said. Speaking in the National Assembly yesterday, he said inﬂuential people were forcefully converting religion of Hindu girls in interior Sindh and urged the government to take steps to counter such attempts by the Muslim majority. Dawn News quoted the ruling party’s lawmaker as saying that it was the teaching of all the religions to respect
other faiths but the minorities had failed to get equal rights in Pakistan. Vankwani suggested that the government should set up a parliamentary committee to discuss the issues related to minorities. Later, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said the government will ensure the protection of minorities at all cost as it is mentioned in the Constitution. Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Shazia Marri urged the government to protect the rights of religious minorities in the country. She said it was the government’s responsibility to focus on the law and order situation for the progress of Pakistan otherwise foreign tourists and investors will not come to the country.
ape Town: Indianorigin businessman Shrien Dewani, extradited to South Africa from the UK to face murder charges in the killing of his Indo-Swedish wife, today appeared in a court brieﬂy with his lawyers successfully arguing that he was not yet ﬁt to stand trial. Dewani, 34, wearing a dark suit and tie, made a brief appearance before Cape Judge President John Hlophe for a pre-trial conference.
We have been told by the treating psychiatrist not to consult with him for more than 30 minutes and even that proved frustrating because he can’t even concentrate for 30 minutes,” Van Zyl was quoted as saying by Independent Online. The judge ordered Dewani to appear in court again on June 20. Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock agreed to the postponement.
Dewani’s mental condition has improved since he has been receiving treatment at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital, the Western Cape High Court heard.
Dewani appeared to have lost weight since his last court appearance. He seemed bewildered and confused as Judge President Hlophe addressed him and his eyes scanned those present.
“I am informed that he has been fully co-operative and that his condition has improved,” Dewani’s lawyer lawyer Francois van Zyl told the court.
Dewani, if not found ﬁt to face trial within 18 months, will be returned to Britain under the terms of his extradition.
Van Zyl argued that the honeymoon murder-accused battles to concentrate during consultations. “I’ve been informed that he has been fully co-operative and that his condition has improved.
The courtroom was packed to capacity with members of the public, a large media contingent and members of the ANC Women’s League, who called for justice for the victim. Sitting directly in front of the dock were his brother and par-
ents. Dewani is charged with the November 2010 murder of his bride Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town. He is charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice. His new wife Anni died when she was shot in the neck as the couple travelled in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town. Dewani claimed he and his wife were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town. He was released unharmed, but his wife’s body was found in the abandoned car the next day. Dewani was brought to South Africa a month ago after ﬁghting extradition for three years, claiming that he has severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is being voluntarily detained at Valkenberg Hospital under 24-hour police guard. (PTI).
U.S. University Honors Indian Engineer
angalore: Anil Rajvanshi, a renewable energy pioneer of India, was honoured by the University of Florida, one of the leading universities in the U.S. for his “groundbreaking” work in rural development. Rajvanshi is the ﬁrst Indian to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honour the University of Florida can bestow on persons who have graduated from the
university and have excelled in their chosen ﬁeld. A mechanical engineering graduate of IIT Kanpur, Rajvanshi earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1979. He joined its faculty for two years before returning to India in 1981 to run his own rural non-governmental organisation, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), at Phaltan in Maharashtra.
The award was presented to Rajvanshi by Cammy Abernathy, dean of the University’s College of Engineering, at the commencement convocation in Gainesville, Florida, in a glittering ceremony webcast alive via internet. “NARI has done groundbreaking work in agriculture, renewable energy and sustainable development,” the university said in a statement read out during the presentation.
VOICE OF ASIA 8
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Miss USA Nina Davuluri To Lead Women’s Forum Session and Be Fit Be Cool Walkathon During AAPI’s 32nd Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas
AN ANTONIO, TX:
Surrender your mind and body to sports activities in the Exhibit Hall and the favorite Yoga, Zumba and meditation sessions. Let’s top it all with the health walk with celebrities”, Dr. Vijay Koli went on to elaborate.
Nina Davuluri, the ﬁrst ever Indian American to be crowned Miss USA will lead AAPI Women’s Forum Session and the “Be Fit Be Cool’ Walkathon during the 32nd annual convention of AAPI,” announced Dr. Jayesh Shah president of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic association of physicians in the United States, representing over 100, 000 physicians of Indian origin. Over 2,000 physicians and their families are expected to gather and deliberate on ways to enhance their own professional growth and identify ways to network and stay united and offer a uniﬁed voice to protect their rights as well as explore possibilities to give back to the society, at the Convention to be held from June 25th through June 29th 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Childhood obesity Awareness Campaign, a pioneering preventive health initiative of AAPI in collaboration with local chapters across several states. This unique educational program has been going on for months, especially this national program was launched in San Antonio by the Texas Indo-American Physicians Society (TIPS) South West Chapter at the Collins Garden Elementary School in Texas, said Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, co-chair of San Antonio convention team. The obesity prevention initiative is one of the top priorities for AAPI, Dr. Jayesh Shah stated. “The Be Fit. Be Cool campaign aims to involve at least two Elementary schools in each state to launch the educational program for youth to adopt simple easy to follow tips to eat more vegetables and fruits, engage in at least one hour of daily physical activity, limit recreational screen time and eliminate sugary drinks,” he added. In its efforts to spread awareness of healthy behavior, for the ﬁrst time in its history, AAPI is organizing the ‘Be Fit. Be Cool’ Walkathon as part of the annual convention, stated Dr. Malathi Koli Chair of women’s forum. “And we are so fortunate to have Miss Nina Davuluri, the ﬁrst Indian American to be crowned as Miss USA to lead this noble cause and spread the message of healthy living. We are also excited about celebrities, Heroes fame Sendhil Ramamurthy and one of our own San Antonio Spurs who are invited” she explained. Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, co-chair of the convention committee stated. “In keeping with the theme the Maternal Child Health Symposium titled “Born too soon or too early: Challenge for Subsequent Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome.” will feature nationally renowned speakers who will address pregnancy inﬂuences on childhood Obesity. AAPI also offers a forum for medical Students, Resident doctors and faculty to compete in research presentations for the coveted cash awards. The deadline for receiving abstracts is May 11, 2014. “Deep from the heart of Texas, on behalf of the AAPI Executive Committee and the San Antonio Convention Team, I invite you and your family to the 32nd AAPI Convention,” said Dr. Vijay Koli, the convention organizing committee chairman. “The preliminary program is in place preserving AAPI Convention’s tradition of successful cutting edge CME, thought provoking women’s forum and the best of Bollywood entertainment. Add to that an alumni extravaganza on the Arneson River Theater, a one of a kind fashion show and a showcase of the AAPI Charitable Foundation in the Exhibit Hall.
Nina Davuluri, the reigning Miss America will be leading the Women’s Forum at the AAPI Convention
“I and the Co-Chairs, Drs. Anupama Gotimukula, Rajam Ramamurthy, Hormazd Sanjana and Aruna Venkatesh are fortunate to have a dedicated team of convention committee members from San Antonio and surrounding areas helping us. We are expecting a record turnout and hence I would encourage early registration to avoid later disappointment,” Dr. Koli added. “Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospital staff. The AAPI Convention offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their ﬁelds and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services,” Dr. Seema Jain, Vice President of AAPI, said. “AAPI members represent a variety of important medical specialties. Sponsors will be able to take advantage of the many sponsorship packages at the 31st annual
APPI’s educational program
convention, creating high-powered exposure to the highly coveted demographic of AAPI’s membership,” Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, president-elect of AAPI, who will assume charge as President of AAPI during the convention, noted. “The AAPI Convention is where you can reach your target audience of several thousand under one roof.” The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States. AAPI is an umbrella organization which has nearly 130 local chapters, specialty societies and alumni organizations. For over 30 years, Indian physicians have made signiﬁcant contributions to health care in this country, not only practicing in inner cities, rural areas and peripheral communities but also at the top medical schools and other academic centers. Almost 10%-12% of medical students entering US schools are of Indian origin. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, AAPI represents the interests of over 100,000 physicians and 15,000 medical students and residents of Indian heritage in the United States. AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the nation, serves as an umbrella organization for over 160 professional associations. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org and www.aapiusa.org.
VOICE OF ASIA 9
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Sri Vasavi Jayanthi at Meenakshi Temple - A celebration of Dharmam, Seelam (Chastity) and Ahimsa
ince the time immemorial India (Bharatha Desam) is well known as Dharma Bhoomi. At different times in the past Adharmam was eradicated and Dharmam was re-established. But, in recent times it was also established in a unique way, namely non-violent way, by people, such as Mohan Das Gandhi in India, Martin Luther King in the U.S.A., and Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
What is less known is the fact there lived a young woman, named Vasavamba.
The deity at Sri Meenakshi Temple.
HCC announces Dr. Cesar Maldonado as Chancellor Continued from Page 1 Dr. Maldonado brings a strong awareness of college and workforce readiness and is active in working with the state legislature on education initiatives regarding school ﬁnance and education in science, technology, engineering and math. “What an honor and privilege it is to be named Chancellor of one of the leading community colleges in the country,” states Dr. Cesar Maldonado. “We have some real opportunities ahead of us to create what HCC can and will be for our students our community and our region. I will work diligently to understand the issues and the culture of HCC while identifying solutions to propel our college to a new standing. This is a new day at HCC – and one that centers around the important work in the classrooms and in the broader community.” Dr. Maldonado’s business experience includes strategic planning, project management, infrastructure design, industrial systems and software design. Dr. Maldonado holds Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University, a Doctorate in Systems and Engineering Management from Texas Tech University, and is an alumnus of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Cesar and his wife of 38 years, Liz, enjoy their children, Kristin, Marcus, and Laura and Jason Rocha, and grandchildren, Julianne and William. On a professional level, Dr. Maldonado has worked with the state legislature on education initiatives regarding school ﬁnance and science, technical, engineering and math education. In addition to his demonstrated business acumen, he led legislative efforts to create high school/college dual enrollment opportunities in Texas, and has served as a board member (twice as president) of the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District (TX) since 2003. He served as the interim Chairman of the Border Governors Conference on Science and Technology, where he worked to foster bi-national research and technology exchange with scientists across the U.S. and Mexico border. He was also appointed by the governor to serve as a Regent of the Texas State Technical College System. About HCC HCC is one of the country’s largest singly-accredited, openadmission, community colleges offering associate degrees, certiﬁcates, workforce training and lifelong learning opportunities for 75,000 students each semester. HCC is composed of six colleges that serve the greater Houston area’s diverse communities by preparing individuals to live and work in today’s increasingly international and technological society. To learn more go to hccs.edu.
Vasavi Puranam gives a detailed account of her life. In brevity we may state here that She was born into a royal family of Penugonda in Godavari basin, India, in the last millennium. . She grew into an intelligent, beautiful girl well versed in ﬁne arts and philosophy and well founded
in strong religious values. As revealed later her life had a different divine driven purpose. When forced to marry a visiting Emperor – much against her desire to be a virgin in the service of God as well as against the societal dharma -- She chose an approach of non-violence and self-sacriﬁce (Athmarpana). With the co-operation of her parents She got the participation of other parents to join her in the self-sacriﬁce to avoid war. Just before jumping into the Homagundam She revealed her true self, to their surmise, as the incarnation of Adi Parashakthi. She declared that She came in Kali yuga to safeguard the women’s dignity and to protect Dharma. In her message to the gathering She emphasized on three core values for life: Dharmam, Sheelam and
Ahimsa. Having said that, She took the plunge along with the other 102 parent couples into the holy ﬁre and entered the other world. On hearing the news of Atma Balidana the Emperor fell and lost his life.
Devi formed Sri Vasavi Pooja Sangam in Her devotion. Under the auspices of the temple we worship her as a group on every last Friday of the month. We also celebrate her Athmarpana as well as the Birth (Jayanthi) days.
Thus, Sri Vasavi became well-known amongst her community for her faith in religious values as She rejected the worldly pleasures. She also became immortal as the champion of peace and non-violence. In this regard Bharat Ratna Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, past President of India, has indeed very rightly described Goddess Vasavi as the First ever known personiﬁcation of Non-violence in the world. She was also remembered for defense of status of women.
For 2014 we have planned to celebrate the Jayanthi Celebrations at the Meenakshi temple on the coming Sunday the 18th May. The celebrations will start at 9 am and end by 1 pm. We start with Homam followed by Abhishekam, Alankaram and Pooja/Aarathi. After Utsava Vigraha procession there will be a distribution of Prasadam and Lunch. You are all cordially invited to join us in the festivities and seek Her blessings. Contributed by by Sri Vasavi Jayanthi Celebration 2014 Team, Sri Meenakshi Temple, Pearland, Texas.
In greater Houston area we the devotees of Sri Vasavi
VOICE OF ASIA 10
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
ISKCON of Houston’s new Temple Opens on May 17 -18
India House Strengthens its Commitment to Promote and Unite Cultures by Shikha Sinha
urturing the soul of Indian culture, India House is thrilled to bring about many fun, ﬁtness and learning events to its members and the residents of Houston & Greater Houston community. India House’s mission is to promote and unite cultures and serve human needs by bringing resources, education, services and Indian culture together in an optimal measure. To accomplish this India House is involved in weekly activities that advocate social, cultural, recreational and community programs, thereby showcasing the Indian community, and raising awareness about Indian culture in the local community.
India House is hosting Spelling Bee competition on May 31, 2014 with a grand prize of $1000 to the winner, spelling aﬁcionados register before the deadline for a chance to win many attractive prizes. The purpose of the Spelling Bee is to help students develop memorization proﬁciency, approaches to skill practice and mastery, collaboration, and poise in a public forum. Dance away those extra pounds in a fun way on the beats of Bollywood numbers. India House is bringing the Bollywood Zumba “Jhoom” - Shake & Shrink workshop on June 28th, 2014. Have a blast and enhance your social life with a slew of alluring dance moves. Attend Yoga for Positive Mind and Body on June 06, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. by Dr. H.R. Nagendra Vice Chancellor, SVYASA University, Bengaluru, India, a former space scientist at NASA. Make this summer vacation a fun learning holiday for your kids for as low as $20 a week– India House is organizing a summer camp starting June 02, 2014 to August 15, 2014. To improve the health of the medically underserved and uninsured
Houstonians, India House provides quality, affordable healthcare starting at $20 admin fees, people can walk in to avail service. A team of dedicated volunteer doctors run the clinic every Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Sareen Clinic (Harris Health System) housed within India House is open on weekdays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. The clinic has become an instant success and has exceeded its target trafﬁc, usually expected after 8 to 12 months of operation. India House offers free Yoga Classes every Tuesday & Thursday from 11:00 am -12:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. The classes are conducted by Shri Vishwarupa Ji of VYASA. The class has gained lot of popularity in the last few months. India House provides an afterSchool Tutorial program. More than 50 children attend this community program every Monday to Friday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The children pay as low as $5 per week which goes toward refreshment & minimum school supplies. For religious and spiritual fulﬁllment, India House organizes Nirankari Satsang every Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm. India House also collaborates with Our Redeemers Church in organizing prayer meetings every Sunday from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm. For more details visit www.indiahouseinc.org/programs
The new ISKCON Temple of Houston
new chapter opens in the history of ISKCON of Houston when the grand opening of its new temple takes place on May 17 -18 at its location on 1320 West 34th Street, Houston. Complete with bright blue domes with the central dome standing up to 90-feet high. Covering 24,000 square feet, the temple is truly majestic with its Vedic style architecture, sprawling landscape that is inviting. The grand opening will feature a rare three-day appearance in Houston of the famous traveling Festival of India (FOI), which annually sets up in New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles & Toronto. The festival stage will also host internationally renowned traditional and contemporary musicians such as BB Govinda Swami, Mayapuris, United Nations Association International Choir, as well as dance and drama. The new temple is the dear project of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj, as an offering to Srila Prabhupada and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. By his blessings, it is ﬁnally opening its
doors. An estimated 15,000 people are expected to be present in Houston for this long-awaited celebration, as ISKCON of Houston invites devotees from around the country, including sannyasis, GBC members, and other dignitaries for this auspicious celebration. This celebration marks the culmination of nearly forty years of dedication and hard work at ISKCON of Houston. An inspiring vision of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj and his dream to carry on Srila Prabhupada’s and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission of spreading the holy names of Lord Krishna is ﬁnally coming to fruition through the opening of this new temple – a place for celebrating, promoting, and educating people in the science of Krishna consciousness. The presiding deities of Sri Sri Radha-Nilamadhava will have already been moved to the new temple before the grand opening celebration. This is due to the constructional complexities of the building process. However, at the grand opening of the new temple, there will be a celebra-
tion of the return of Sri Sri RadhaGiridhari. Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari deities were stolen a few years ago and they are returning at the grand opening festival. With the vision and inspiration of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj as its driving force, ISKCON of Houston has many more developments on its way. It will soon be opening a new vegetarian restaurant in its current facility, a preaching lounge where people can learn about bhakti-yoga, a primary school for children, an apartment community, and a boutique which will sell devotional items, books, clothing and much more. Syamasundara Das, President of ISKCON of Houston, said, “Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the US which makes the City of Houston unique in so many ways. We hope that ISKCON of Houston can add to the unique landscape of this city and unite its diverse population through Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.” For details visit http://templeopening.com/ or check the Ad on Page 12.
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FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
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VOICE OF ASIA 13
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
ONLINE .COM voiceofasiaonline.com
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Earthredz Showcases Culture and Cause with Class Ez on the earth.....Ez on the soul...
Earthredz owner Mercedes O Monasterio makes out receipts during the sale.
L-R: Consul General of India P. Harish and Nandita Harish (3rd from left) with with Earthredz owners Mercedes O Monasterio, Kalpana Peck and Vandana Prakash. Photos by Shobana Muratee, VOA by Shobana Muratee
arthredz, launched its line of organic, hand woven handbags on Saturday, May 10th at a ‘Pop-Up Shop’ on Kirby and River Oaks, Houston and held its one-day exhibition and sale. Consul General of India, Houston, Hon. P. Harish and wife Nandita Harish did the honors of the formal launch of the collection. Inspired by folk art and tribal crafts from all over the world, Earthredz collection is a blend of cultures woven with pleasing colors and designs that are appealing. This dream project is a collaborative effort of three highly talented women Vandana Prakash, Kalpana Peck and Mercedes O Monasterio who have travelled extensively and have found a way to express their experiences and explores through their collection. “A lot of the collection has traditional handlooms from India, from Japan Indonesia and northern Europe,” Kalpana Peck spoke of the collection, “You will ﬁnd a lot of hand- loomed Ikat, designs that are tribal and of folk crafts,” she said. Earthredz uses weaves and colors by combining natural ﬁbers with re-cycled saris, hand-loomed Ikat, embroidery and soft leather, all made in India. “Ikat is techniques where each thread is individually dyed then woven into. The concept of the design is
already ﬁgured and then woven,” she explained. The banana ﬁber used in these bags is harvested and produced just outside Bangalore (India). “Our main focus is to empower women,” Kalpana spoke of the social cause that three owners passionately support. “Earthredz supports the selfreliance of the underprivileged women of rural India. We encourage them by giving them the tools and opportunity to be able to support themselves and their families with conﬁdence and dignity. With this in mind, we have started the initiative “Project Loom”. Starting with one loom at a time, we hope to help these women create a self- sustaining industry that will provide them with a regular income. For every banana ﬁber product that we sell, a percentage of the proﬁts will go towards the purchase of a loom.” Kalpana explained. The event was well attended and especially since it was on the eve of Mother’s Day it was a great opportunity for many to get a gift with a meaningful cause. Mercedes O Monasterio was busy with the sales while Vandana Prakash and Kalpana gave the guests some insight into the project with help of some exhibits in the shop. Houstonians got a potpourri of cultures spanning from the Middle East to the primitive, tribal shores of Papua New
Guinea, from the land of the Morning Calm to the East Indies Spice Islands. It was an excellent way to showcase the intricacies of the arts and crafts of some remote tribes of Indonesia, Africa and South Paciﬁc by incorporating their motifs and at the same time bring out the vibrancy of colors from India and Mexico giving the collection a playful touch. There was a bag for every mood and every occasion in the Earthredz collection. For the fashionestas it was the right accessary for summer with its ﬂowery colors, textures and shapes that would match perfectly with any summer outﬁt. It is the ideal gift for a friend who would be thrilled at the thought that she is a part of the program that empowers underprivileged women. To learn more about Earthredz, visit their website: www.earthredz.com
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Some of the bags on display at the sale.
A pictorial presentation of harvesting, looming and production in India.
VOICE OF ASIA 14
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Go to Your Room, Mother ! Memorial Weekend Fun
Yeh Hai Bakrapur movie review: too goat to be true
OUSTON - Imagine that. The last of your brood is ﬁnally and ﬁrmly established in a college dorm. Ahh, the space and the quiet! Evenings a deux, candlelight and romance beckon again. Will it be Bali or Barcelona?
Direction: Janaki Vishwanathan Actors: Anshuman Jha, Asif Basra, Faiz Khan, Yoshika Verma Rating: ***
emember the ‘milk miracle’ of the 1990s? Apparently when a spoonful of milk was held up to the trunk of a Ganesha idol in Delhi, the deity ‘drank’ it. Soon, believers all over the country were offering milk to Ganesha, and the statues were gladly obliging. A scientiﬁc explanation was found, of course, but not before Delhi’s milk sellers did roaring business, and NRIs had lined up outside temples abroad as well.
But what if these back-to-romance plans are nipped in the bud by two unexpected and unruly additions to the family? SAMSKRITI ….. presents an EnActe Arts production Go to Your Room, Mother! (GTYR,M!) a laughout-loud comedy about an emptynester couple who ﬁnd two new notso-spring chickens in their coop just when they think their parenting job is done! GTYR,M! is written by Sanjiv Desai . The play is set in the familiar milieu of modern day Delhi, where he currently resides. It is a comedy that carries no moral, no meaning, and no message, save one – laugh till you drop! “Sometimes people should come to see theatre purely for fun,” says Sanjiv, “I wanted to write a play about people just like me and you.” GTYRM! is a brand new play and one, perhaps, that pushes the boundaries of comic sensibilities in the Houston Area. “Everything we are doing at EnActe right now is new material,” says Vinita Belani, Artistic Director
Poster of GTYRM and Founder of enActe Arts. “I am thrilled to be able to provide a platform not just for actors to explore their craft but also for contemporary South Asian and diaspora playwrights to showcase their works.” ‘ SAMSKRITI , now in its’ 20 th year of promoting and presenting the best of Indian Performing Arts in Houston area is very proud to host this fun ﬁlled theatrical piece’ said Rathna Kumar, Artistic Director of Samskriti.
If one is looking for a side - splitting evening out, that too during Memorial Weekend - head on to Kaplan Theatre at Jewish Community Center, Sunday May25th ,6-8pm. Tickets $25, $50 and $100. Visit Sulekha. com for on-line ticketing or call 832 275 9656. Better yet, become a member of SAMSKRITI and see the entire 2014 season of programs free – visit samskritihouston.org for further details.
Five Centuries of Printmaking: Houston Arts Alliance Presents 1511-2014 \in conjunction with PrintHouston 2014 May 22 – June 27, 2014 in the Alliance Gallery
ouston, TX – Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) will present 1511-2014, an eclectic and bold exhibition of intaglios, etching, lithographs and woodcuts spanning almost 500 years, in the Alliance Gallery, 3201 Allen Parkway, Suite 125. On display from May 22 until June 27, the exhibition is part of PrintHouston 2014, a citywide celebration of original prints, the artists who create them and the people who collect them. The exhibition will include prints by such masters as Georges Braque, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Albrecht Dürer, Francisco de Goya, James Ensor, Dan Flavin, Rockwell Kent, Louis Legrand, Bruce Nauman, Francis Picabia, Joseph Powell, Rembrandt van Rijn, Ed Ruscha, Max Slevogt, Hermann Struck, Lucas van Leyden and Andy Warhol. Contemporary regional artists represented are Terry Allen, Mel Chin, Benito Huerta, Lucas Johnson, Patrick Masterson, Devon Christopher Moore, Kyle Olson, Aaron Muñoz and Magda Boltz Wilson. The opening reception will be 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, and an Artists’ Talk will be held on Tuesday, June 24, from 5:306:30 p.m. Regular gallery hours for the exhibition are Wednesday - Friday, 3:30 – 5 p.m. Houston Arts Alliance thanks Gus Kopriva for providing many of the works from his private collection. For more information, visit houstonartsalliance.com.
by Sarit Ray
Ye Hai Bakrapur is a social satire, set against the backdrop of rural India. The Replace milk-hungry Ganeﬁlm’s story revolves around the family of sha with a “farishta” goat, and the Qureshis and their pet goat. the absurd premise of Yeh Hai Bakrapur seems only too real. Young Zulﬁ loves the family goat, ered to endorse products. That the goat Shahrukh (an oblique reference to the has no agency of its own only makes it Bollywood star), and is desperate to the more ridiculous. keep it from being sold. Jaafar (AnOf course, no celebrity is without shuman Jha), the witty hairstylist – his share of controversy and neither, it city-trained, no less, and in love with turns out, is Shahrukh. With a premise Zulﬁ’s sister – comes to the rescue. this absurd, you expect the madness Not to spoil the plot, a miracle feature and chaos to reach a crescendo. Unforemerges and the goat isn’t sold. tunately, this story remains painfully But in a bizarre turn of events, he is simplistic, almost parable-like. turned into a star overnight. He even Also, in highlighting the satire, the gets a pair of cheap, blue shades, be- character-building gets sacriﬁced. The cause, you know, all stars must wear characters feel real, but one-dimenshades. The family cashes in and me- sional. It doesn’t help that the support dia reports spread, not unlike in the cast runs through its lines monoto‘milk-drinking’ Ganesha incident. nously. The satire isn’t on blind faith alone, Still, Bakrapur has more originality but on the construct of celebrity too. than your run-of-the-mill star-studded Not unlike a Bollywood star, Shah- ﬁlm. Now if only the goat could make rukh is soon being invited to store a Bollywood career out of this, the openings, aiding candidates in elec- satire would be complete. Courtesy: tion campaigns, even being consid- Hindustan Times.
Book Review: India in Love Book: India in Love Author: Ira Trivedi Publishing House: Aleph Cost: Rs. 595, 416 pages
Three women — one married, the other just so and the third, single —review Ira Trivedi’s India in Love Difﬁcult agenda, marred plot Rama Sreekant
exual revolution is an oft-used but rarely justiﬁed word. Pour love and marriage into the revolutionary cauldron, and the task of justiﬁcation becomes that much more difﬁcult. But it is precisely this difﬁcult task that the author takes on, trying to understand the complex and layered processes by which India is moving from age-old social mores and sanctiﬁed practices to a liberal culture that has its own highs and lows. Trivedi divides the book into two parts — sexuality and marriage. Putting sex before relationships is a smart move to hold the reader’s attention, but the author does not really attempt to study India’s sexual past, and how the liberal became the illiberal. She draws an apt comparison between the stereotypes of Sita and Radha, and shows how this dichotomy is shaping the sexual behaviour of Indian women. If the ﬁrst chapter focuses on love marriages, the second sees the machinery which ‘arranges’ marriages. Trivedi tries too hard to offer a scholarly outlook, which isn’t welcome when the narrative gets personal. For someone concerned with historical validity, she uses some words rather callously — “Sex for sale, for both men and women, is easily available….reputable ﬁve-star hotels across Indian cities are being used as modernage harems”. Finally, her use of statistics breaks the narrative in certain places, thereby marring the ‘plot’ somewhat. Where’s the love? Averil Nunes India in Love seems a bit of a misnomer for a book that drifts from mythology to confused contemporary notions of love, through porn, the queer revolution, academic research, history and legislation, without capturing the magic of love. The 416-page tome overﬂows with details and interesting nuggets of information, but fails to draw connections that could strike a chord. It attempts to be pan-Indian and tries to move past Delhi and touch on cosmopolitan Mumbai, the matrilineal northeast and south, but keeps meandering back to Delhi. Case studies add a human touch that keep you hooked while historical backdrops and inputs from international historians add heft to conclusions that have not been drawn. The author’s descriptions
of people are graphic to the point of being harsh and her own history ﬁnds space in the text occasionally. And then there is the suggestion that the court judgment following the Shah Bano case had something to do with the Babri Masjid riots, which makes me rethink the version of history I studied. One can’t help but wish that this patchwork of history, personal narrative, academic research and case studies was woven together more artfully, edited more thoughtfully and given enough space and time for conclusions to be drawn. While we have to admire Ira Trivedi’s honesty in admitting that she couldn’t “wrap everything up with a pretty red bow”, it’s a tad disappointing to reach the end of the book and realise that the book isn’t saying much that you didn’t already know. Too Ambitious Anam Rizvi Sex sells.But Ira Trivedi may have taken on too ambitious a task in writing a book about the way Indians view marriage, love and sexuality. There is information – a lot of it – with the author bringing together research, anecdotes, interviews and statistics in this 416 page book. The problem is that most of this is stuff that the average Indian is already aware of. However, India in Love does capture one’s attention in places. The advent of pornography, prostitution and the business of escorts is eye-grabbing reading matter, enriched by citations and quotes from books, historians and seminal texts. Who will India in Love appeal to? Western readers are likely to lap up the tome that aims to show the Indian view and approach to sex and love. The many references from mythology, tantra and the Kama Sutra and the interviews with young urban Indians are likely to capture their imagination, even if the regular Indian reader ﬁnds nothing new in the information doled out. Young Indians might want to read the book to get an idea of what other people their age are thinking about. The gay community, for instance, may be interested in learning about the experiences of how people came to terms with their sexuality and how they dealt with their families. Trivedi, who wrote the book on returning to India from the US after her studies, tries hard to include myriad aspects in her book. But the scope is just too vast.
VOICE OF ASIA 15
Friday, May 16, 2014
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding by MATT Richtelmay (The New York Times, 10, 2014.) ILL VALLEY, Calif. — Seven-yearold Jordan Lisle, a second grader, joined his family at a packed after-hours school event last month aimed at inspiring a new interest: computer programming. “I’m a little afraid he’s falling behind,” his mother, Wendy Lisle, said, explaining why they had signed up for the class at Strawberry Point Elementary School. The event was part of a national educational movement in computer coding instruction that is growing at Internet speeds. Since December, 20,000 teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade have introduced coding lessons, according to Code.org, a group backed by the tech industry that offers free curriculums. In addition, some 30 school districts, including New York City and Chicago, have agreed to add coding classes in the fall, mainly in high schools but in lower grades, too. And policy makers in nine states have begun awarding the same credits for computer science classes that they do for basic math and science courses, rather than treating them as electives. There are after-school events, too, like the one in Mill Valley, where 70 parents and 90 children, from kindergartners to ﬁfth graders, huddled over computers solving animated puzzles to learn the basics of computer logic. It is a stark change for computer science, which for decades was treated like a stepchild, equated with trade classes like wood shop. But smartphones and apps are ubiquitous now, and engineering careers are hot. To many parents — particularly ones here in the heart of the technology corridor — coding looks less like an extracurricular activity and more like a basic life
Imran Khaliq, 12, helped his brother Farhan, 7, left, and Aidan Brown, 6, at a school computer coding event in Mill Valley, Calif. Credit Jason Henry. skill, one that might someday lead to a great job or even instant riches. The spread of coding instruction, while still nascent, is “unprecedented — there’s never been a move this fast in education,” said Elliot Soloway, a professor of education and computer science at the University of Michigan. He sees it as very positive, potentially inspiring students to develop a new passion, perhaps the way that teaching frog dissection may inspire future surgeons and biologists. But the momentum for early coding comes with caveats, too. It is not clear that teaching basic computer science in grade school will beget future jobs or foster broader creativity and logical thinking, as some champions of the movement are projecting. And particularly for younger children, Dr. Soloway said, the activity is more like a video game — better than simulated gunplay, but not likely to impart actual
programming skills. Some educators worry about the industry’s heavy role: Major tech companies and their founders, including Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, have put up about $10 million for Code.org. The organization pays to train high school teachers to offer more advanced curriculums, and, for younger students, it has developed a coding curriculum that marries basic instruction with video games involving Angry Birds and hungry zombies. The lessons do not involve traditional computer language. Rather, they use simple word commands — like “move forward” or “turn right” — that children can click on and move around to, say, direct an Angry Bird to capture a pig. Across the country, districts are signing up piecemeal. Chicago’s public school system hopes to have computer science as a graduation requirement at all of its 187 high schools in
ﬁve years, and to have the instruction in 25 percent of other schools. New York City public schools are training 60 teachers for classes this fall in 40 high schools, in part to prepare students for college. “There’s a big demand for these skills in both the tech sector and across all sectors,” said Britt Neuhaus, the director of special projects at the ofﬁce of innovation for New York City schools. The city plans to expand the training for 2015 and is considering moving it into middle schools. The movement comes with no shortage of “we’re changing the world” marketing fervor from Silicon Valley. “This is strategically signiﬁcant for the economy of the United States,” said John Pearce, a technology entrepreneur. He and another entrepreneur, Jeff Leane, have started a nonproﬁt, MV Gate, to bring youth and family coding courses developed by Code. org to Mill Valley, an afﬂuent suburb across the Golden Gate
Bridge from San Francisco. Parents love the idea of giving children something to do with computers that they see as productive, Mr. Pearce said. “We have any number of parents who say, ‘I can’t take my kid playing one more hour of video games,’ ” he said. But if the children are exploring coding, the parents tell him, “ ‘I can live with that all night long.’ ” The concept has caught on with James Meezan, a second grader. He attended one of the ﬁrst “Hour of Code” events sponsored by MV Gate in December with his mother, Karen Meezan, the local PTA president and a former tech-industry executive who now runs a real estate company. She is among the enthusiastic supporters of the coding courses, along with several local principals. Her son, she said, does well in school but had not quite found his special interest and was “not the fastest runner on the playground.” But he loves programming and spends at least an hour a week at CodeKids, after-school programs organized by MV Gate and held at three of Mill Valley’s ﬁve elementary schools. James, 8, explained that programming is “getting the computer to do something by itself.” It is fun, he said, and, besides, if he gets good, he might be able to do stuff like get a computer to turn on when it has suddenly died. His mother said he had found his niche; when it comes to programming, “he is the fastest runner.” Other youngsters seemed more bewildered, at least at ﬁrst. “The Google guys might’ve been coders, and the Facebook guys — I don’t know,” said Sammy Smith, a vibrant 10-year-old girl, when she arrived at the coding event at Strawberry Point. But well into the session, she and her ﬁfth-grade friends were
digging in, moving basic command blocks to get the Angry Bird to its prey, and then playing with slightly more complex commands like “repeat” and learning about “if-then” statements, an elemental coding concept. The crowd had plenty of high-tech parents, including Scott Wong, director of engineering at Twitter. His 7-yearold son, Taeden, seemed alternately transﬁxed and confused by the puzzles on the laptop, while his 5-year-old brother, Sai, sat next to him, ﬁdgeting. The use of these word-command blocks to simplify coding logic stems largely from the work of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, which introduced a visual programming language called Scratch in 2007. It claims a following of millions of users, but mostly outside the schools. Then, in 2013, came Code. org, which borrowed basic Scratch ideas and aimed to spread the concept among schools and policy makers. Computer programming should be taught in every school, said Hadi Partovi, the founder of Code.org and a former executive at Microsoft. He called it as essential as “learning about gravity or molecules, electricity or photosynthesis.” Among the 20,000 teachers who Code.org says have signed on is Alana Aaron, a ﬁfth-grade math and science teacher in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. She heard about the idea late last year at a professional development meeting and, with her principal’s permission, swapped a two-month earth sciences lesson she was going to teach on land masses for the Code.org curriculum. “Computer science is big right now — in our country, the world,” she said. “If my kids aren’t exposed to things like that, they could miss out on potential opportunities and careers.”
VOA © 2014
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VOICE OF ASIA 16
Friday, May 16, 2014
BOLLYWOOD MASALA Section 2
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Bollywood Superstar Farhan Performs at Houston’s Arena Theatre
n April 27, 2014, Houston had the privilege of welcoming one of Bollywood’s most famous superstars, Farhan Akhtar, to the Arena Theatre, where he put on a special concert to beneﬁt Magic Bus USA. Farhan is an ardent supporter of Magic Bus and serves as one of its spokespersons. His performance, for which he received no fee, attracted almost two thousand ﬁve hundred Houstonians, who together raised over $175,000 for the Magic Bus charity for unprivileged children.
Johar, John Abraham, Sachin Tendulkar and others. Amidst the thunderous applause and chanting of excited fans, Farhan took the stage and captured the audience with his familiar Bollywood hits and an unforgettable display of energy, including doing ﬁfty push-ups on stage between songs, as the audience counted down and cheered him on in a frenzy. Fellow vocalist Shannon Donald also shared the stage with the Bollywood superstar, performing a variety of musical scores. Along with Shannon Donald, Farhan was accompanied by his talented band members: lead guitarist Sarosh Izedyar, bass guitarist Dibyajyoti Nath, drummer Darshan Doshi, and keyboardist Umaang Doshi.
Magic Bus is a nonproft organization (MagicBus.org) based in Mumbai with over 8000 volunteers and operations in fourteen states in India that impact over 250,000 children. The organization’s goals are simple – to change the course of children’s lives, one game at a time. Speciﬁcally, Magic Bus uses a unique, activity-based methodology to teach children about education, gender equality, health, and social issues by engaging them in games that reinforce positivity. Sunday’s show began with
Farhan Akhtar performing at the Arena Theatre, Houston.
Farhan with Magic Bus Houston Council. Masala Radio’s Sunil Thakkar engaging the audience with amusing banter, followed by spectacular dance performances by Naach Houston and the Infused Performing Arts group. Rahul Brahmbhatt, Executive Director of Magic Bus USA, provided the audience with a brief overview of Magic Bus’ award winning charitable
Nalini Kannan of Décor One provided decorations for the evening at no cost, Mahesh Shah of Madras Pavilion provided refreshments at no cost and Faisal Kamal of Embassy suites provided complimentary rooms. A private reception for major donors preceded the concert.
programs through a short ﬁlm, highlighting the transformative nature of the organization’s activities on children. The real rockstar of the evening, though, was Matthew Spacie – the Founder and CEO of Magic Bus. Matthew was working in Mumbai when, on a whim, he invited children from slums to join in a game
Matthew Spacie – the Founder and CEO of Magic Bus. of rugby. This simple gesture showed Matthew how participation in sports could be used to teach valuable life lessons and help kids develop physical, social, and personal skills. That rugby game sparked Matthew into action, and he, with other volunteers, soon began transporting street kids from the slums in buses to various
destinations near Mumbai for a day of fun and mentoring via a sports-based curriculum; hence, the “Magic Bus” was formed. Matthew was followed by the president of Magic Bus Houston Council, Amit Bhandari, who articulated how he and his wife Arpita, and their children,
spent time in Mumbai slums to understand how Magic Bus worked. Clearly impressed with Magic Bus, Amit Bhandari requested Houstonians to donate, noting that the sum of just $25 a month can change the life of a street child in Mumbai. Magic Bus India is endorsed by Abhishek Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Karan
In the aftermath of a massively successful show in Houston, Magic Bus USA plans to host more fundraiser events through gala, concerts and sports related activities. The magic created by Magic Bus foundation USA and Farhan will be etched in the memories of the audience for a long time to come.
Bollywood called to arms against climate change
AMPA, FL - Bollywood’s glitterati on Thursday heard an appeal to use their star power to ﬁght climate change as they opened their ﬁrst awards ceremony in the United States.
mate Change, which recently issued its latest stark warning, said that average sea levels have risen 19 centimeters (seven and a half inches) over the past century and could rise as high as 98 centimeters by the
Bringing a somber note in the midst of Bollywood’s trademark festive dancing, Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian scientist who leads the Nobel Prize-winning UN climate panel, took the stage in Tampa, Florida, to urge stars to channel their inﬂuence for the planet.
end of the century without action. Pachauri said that he spoke before the Bollywood ceremony to Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican who has expressed doubt about the
“What I would like to urge all the stars who are here is to see that they associate themselves with the larger problems that humanity, and all living species of the world, face,” he told Bollywood celebrities assembled in a heavily air conditioned hotel ballroom.
Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Cli-
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The International Indian Film Academy awards will take place Saturday at the 66,000capacity stadium of American football’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers after several days of events including a forum with Indian investors. The award organizers each year choose a site outside India in hopes of showing Bol-
“We are all residents of spaceship Earth and anything we do -- anything that happens on that spaceship -- has implications for everybody else,” said Pachauri, who was invited to Bollywood’s annual awards extravaganza as a special guest.
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l y w o o d ’s g l o b a l clout, but had never before held the event in the United States, even though the country has become Indian cinema’s larg- Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernest overseas mental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). market.
VOICE OF ASIA 17
‘Children of War’ to release in Bangladesh and India on May 16 DHAKA - The much talked-about Indian ﬁlm `Children of War: Nine Months to Freedom`, will have its trans-border release in Bangladesh and India on May 16. Starring Indian actors Raima Sen, Indraneil Sengupta, Victor Banerjee, Pawan Malhotra, Tilottama Shome, and newcomers Rucha and Shatrunjay, besides the late Farooque Sheikh, the ﬁlm, which has been directed by Mrityunjay Devvrat, reveals the pains and pangs of people, particularly women, revolving around the war between India and Pakistan that eventually led to the creation of the new nation of Bangladesh in 1971-72. The ﬁlm shows how Pakistani soldiers used rape as a weapon. The ﬁlm depicts some heart-breaking scenes, incidents of ruthless torture and abuse of women According to Mrityunjay Devvrat, this subject has been brushed aside because of vested interests in powerful governments. He told the Bangladesh daily New Age over the weekend that he felt extremely compelled to tell the story to the world, and the primary purpose of making the ﬁlm, was to honour the sacriﬁce of millions and to carry their cry for justice across the globe.
The ﬁlm, produced by Pencil Cell Movies, was originally titled “The Bastard Child”, but was changed to “Children of War: Nine Months to Freedom” because of objections raised by the Indian Censor Board. However, the Bangladesh Censor Board has cleared the ﬁlm without any cuts. In Bangladesh, the ﬁlm has been dubbed in Bangla and will go with the title `Juddho Shishu`. Bengali subtitles will appear on the screen, whenever the actors speak in Urdu, reports a leading daily. The Liberation War of 1971 claimed the lives of 30 lakh people and saw the rape of four lakh women. Actress Raima Sen, who worked continuously for 21 nights, said that she felt the trauma and the experience of repression of women subjected to brutalities at the hands of Pakistan troops 43 years ago. The ﬁlm has been banned in Pakistan. Soumya Deorath, the ﬁlm`s producer, said that ten per cent of the revenue, would be spent on the welfare of war babies across the world. Social media too has welcomed the forthcoming release of the ﬁlm, with a majority describing it as pure genius and very realistic. Courtesy: ANI.
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Million Dollar Arm (2014) Jon Hamm plays a sports agent who helps mold two young Indian cricket players to be good enough to play for an American MLB team. by Nicole Sperling
on Hamm is a sucker for baseball movies and a die-hard Cardinals fan, but that’s only part of the reason he chose to make Million Dollar Arm. Directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl), the ﬁlm, inspired by true events, tells the redemption tale of sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Hamm), a real-life Jerry Maguire who strikes out on his own only to have the ace defensive lineman he’s been trying to land as a client ditch him for a big corporate agency.
AMERICAN DREAM That is, if you count being taken out of your native land to a foreign country and molded into a baseball player to make money for the guy who brought you there as the American dream. Image credit: John Johnson
So in a Hail Mary pass to save his business, Bernstein hightails it to India with a mission: to ﬁnd cricket players he can morph into Major League Baseball’s next superstars. He ﬁnds two (Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma and Slumdog Millionaire’s Madhur Mittal), but air-dropping these boys from remote Indian villages smack into the middle of the
American dream forces Bernstein to realize that he is responsible for more than just making a commission. He is responsible for them. ‘’He learns how to be a better human being,’’ says Hamm, who saw the role as an antidote to his Don Draper on Mad Men. ‘’I spend the majority of my year playing not the best human be-
ing on the planet.’’ The production shot in India for almost a month, often in 120-degree heat, which gave Hamm perspective on what Bernstein had achieved. ‘’Once you see India, you see what J.B. met with on day one,’’ Hamm says. ‘’If it were me, I would have been like, ‘Nope, this is never going to happen.’’’
HK director reflects city’s souring mood with new film by Mathew Scott
civil liberties not guaranteed on the mainland.
DINE, (AFP) - The director of a post-apocalyptic thriller that has taken Hong Kong’s box ofﬁce by storm says the ﬁlm has struck a chord in a city grappling with its identity under Chinese rule.
The mood has soured since 1997. Protest marches are a frequent sight amid perceived erosions to Hong Kong’s status, a sense of declining press freedom and fears that Beijing will row back on promises that the city -- whose current chief executive is appointed by a pro-Beijing committee -- will see a transition to universal suffrage by 2017.
“People are getting very angry about the government. This ﬁlm is their voice,” said Fruit Chan, whose “The Midnight After” has so far collected more than HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) at the local box ofﬁce, making back more than four times its budget.
This has been coupled with a rising tide of anti-mainland Chinese sentiment as Hong Kong experiences an inﬂux of about 40 million visitors from across the border every year, pressuring services and space in a territory of seven million.
The horror-comedy is a return to form for one of Hong Kong’s few commercially successful independent directors, boasting typical Chan ingredients of ultra-violence and distinctly local, black humour.
Chan references both issues in “The Midnight After”, which makes some subtle jibes at the leadership of unpopular Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and touches on a perceived marginalisation of Hongkongers within their own city, where a soaring property market is out of reach for many.
Adapted from an online novel, “The Midnight After” places a group of people in a mini-bus late at night. When the bus emerges from Hong Kong’s Lion Rock Tunnel, they ﬁnd the streets deserted after an unexplained calamity hits the city.
- Changing audience -
The ﬁlm is rich with allusions to current events in Hong Kong, and is one of a handful of recent movies tapping into a sense of collective confusion and rising anger over where the territory is headed. “After Hong Kong joined China, many things have changed in our town,” said Chan. “I follow very closely what is happening, and that’s why I included in my ﬁlm elements that certainly have to do with politics,” said the director, speaking to AFP at the 16th Far East Film Festival in the northern Italian
“The Midnight After” has so far collected more than HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) at the local box ofﬁce. city of Udine. Under an agreement between Britain and China before Hong Kong was
returned to Chinese rule in 1997, the “One Country, Two Systems” maxim would see the territory retain its semi-autonomous status and enshrine
understood this ﬁlm had to do with politics, then it might be ignored. But there’s been a great reaction to the ﬁlm, many debates, many opinions raised by it. The change was not in my approach, the change was in the audience.” The Far East Film Festival is the second international event “The Midnight After” has played after it made its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. The makers are currently in discussions over international distribution. “Other audiences might not understand everything that is going on in the ﬁlm but we hope it can help inform them about our city,” said Chan, who is planning a sequel. “The Midnight After” is one of a number of current Hong Kong productions steeped in nostalgia for a city - or even a society - ﬁlm-makers feel is fading from view. Pang Ho-cheung’s yet-to-be-released drama “Aberdeen” is another, and one that highlights through its characters a collective confusion about what the future will hold.
Chan, 55, has long been one of his city’s most socially aware directors, his acclaimed Hong Kong trilogy of “Made In Hong Kong” (1997), “The Longest Summer” (1998) and “Little Cheung” (2000) examining the effects the handover was having on the lives of everyday people.
The bawdy comedy “Golden Chickensss” makes constant reference to the effects “mainlandisation” is having on the city in which it is set.
Chan said audiences in Hong Kong have become increasingly politicised since 1997, when his “Made in Hong Kong” did not chime as well with its audience at the box ofﬁce as his current release.
“Young ﬁlm-makers all want to be commercial straight away,” he said.
“We were afraid that when people
Chan welcomes the trend and hopes the city’s next generation of moviemakers will continue to follow suit.
“But I am saying to them, make a short ﬁlm and tell your stories ﬁrst. Don’t rush. Talk about people before you rush around and make action ﬁlms.”
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Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital performs county’s first hybrid coronary intervention
UGAR LAND—(May 12, 2014) — A local resident is back to mowing his lawn after undergoing two different heart surgeries on the same day— a practice made possible by minimally invasive coronary intervention. Two Houston Methodist Sugar Land physicians, Yassir Sonbol, M.D., an interventional cardiologist, and Uttam Tripathy, M.D., a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, were the ﬁrst in Fort Bend County to perform a same day hybrid coronary intervention, which is a combination of percutaneous intervention and minimally invasive heart surgery. This allows the patient to have two different heart surgeries on the same day, thereby minimizing the invasiveness of the procedure. John Strong called his primary care physician, Tayma Shaya, M.D. after experiencing chest pain, a heavy feeling in his chest and trouble walking. He had no previous history of heart problems but did have an elevated blood pressure at times. After a stress test and angiogram, Strong was diagnosed with a blockage in need of surgical intervention. “After consultation with Tripathy, it was decided that he was a candidate and had the right anatomy for the same day hybrid coronary intervention,” said Sonbol. “This procedure is an approach that is used when the anatomy of the blockages meets the right criteria and there is a double
L-R: Yassir Sonbol, M.D.; John Strong and Uttam Tripathy, M.D. or sometimes triple vessel disease.” Sonbol performed a catheter based coronary intervention ﬁrst, and placed three stents in the arteries to help restore normal blood ﬂow. Strong was immediately taken to the OR where Tripathy performed minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery from the left side of the chest, repositioning the left internal mammary ar-
tery to the front of the pumping chamber of the heart. The left internal mammary artery is usually the life line of a coronary artery bypass procedure. “Neither of these procedures is new, but by being able to perform both on the same day allows for several conveniences, such as less stress than having two separate procedures done on separate days,” explains Tripathy. “It is minimally invasive,
without a major incision, which allows for a much faster recovery time.” Strong was able to be discharged in four days. Strong is back to walking on the treadmill and mowing his lawn. To learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit our website at houstonmethodist.org/sugarland or call 281.274.7500 for a physician referral.
he Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC), located on the Harborview Medical Center campus, is a worldwide leader in injury research, education, outreach, and training. Founded in 1985, HIPRC is supported by the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. HIPRC faculty and staff are devoted to programs aimed at diminishing the personal impact of trauma and broadening the effectiveness of injury prevention and treatment
programs regionally, nationally, and internationally. The Center, with its interdisciplinary faculty, has a clear focus on work in traumatic brain injury, safe transport, trauma care and violence, development and evaluation of prevention programs, and training of next generation leaders in the ﬁeld.
education, government action, and environmental modiﬁcation.
HIPRC directs its programs towards groups at greatest risk of injury: children, the elderly, the poor, underrepresented minorities, and residents of rural areas. HIPRC aims to reduce the rates of injury and death among these groups from unintentional events such as car crashes and drowning and from purposeful acts such as suicide and murder. Efforts span the continuum of medical care, from epidemiological research to determine injury causes, to acute care of trauma patients, to rehabilitation in the hospital and home. HIPRC works to:
• Improve tion strategies.
• Translate injury research into policy. • Develop and evaluate new injury prevention programs using behavior change,
• Use principles of biomechanics to study injury causes and treatment. • Develop more effective ways to resuscitate and treat injury victims. rehabilita-
• Train new investigators in injury research and educate health professionals, policy makers, and the public about trauma’s magnitude, costs, and prevention. Stakeholders in the University of Washington School of Medicine, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Social Work and UW Medicine selected Monica S. Vavilala, MD director for HIPRC effective April 1, 2014. Dr. Vavilala is Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics and Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery and Radiology at the University of Washington. She received her undergraduate education from
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the University of Houston and her medical degree from University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas. She completed two residencies, her ﬁrst in pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School and the second in anesthesiology at the University of Washington. Dr. Vavilala is an expert in the care of injured patients, has authored over 150 peer reviewed publications related to injury, and is internationally known for her work in traumatic brain injury. As a 20 year faculty member in the UW School of Medicine, she has mentored over 27 fellows across UW, has current research support from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, and is the co-director of the NICHD sponsored UW Pediatric Injury Training Program. Dr. Vavilala is the ﬁrst anesthesiologist in the nation to lead an injury research center and the only anesthesiologist on the Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines working group pertaining to the acute care management of patients with severe traumatic brain injury. “Dr. Vavilala brings to the Center the energy and commitment to move it ahead and keep it at the forefront of injury research and prevention,” said Dr. Frederick P. Rivara, UW Professor of Pediatrics and founder of the Center.
CMS Ensures Higher Value and Quality for Medicare Health and Drug Plans by: Sudhir Mathuria
ince the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, Medicare Advantage premiums have fallen by 10 percent and enrollment has increased by 38 percent to an all-time high of more than 15 million beneﬁciaries. Today, nearly 30 percent of Medicare beneﬁciaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Furthermore, enrollees are beneﬁting from greater quality as over half of enrollees are now in plans with 4 or more stars, a signiﬁcant increase from 37 percent of enrollees in such plans in 2013. After careful consideration of public comments, key changes and updates ﬁnalized by CMS, in the Rate Announcement and ﬁnal Call Letter include:
Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center Names New Director
Monica S. Vavilala, MD
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
•Lower Out-of-Pocket Drug Spending: Beneﬁciaries in the Part D prescription drug coverage gap, or “donut hole,” will beneﬁt from greater savings on prescription drugs. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, in 2015, enrollees who reach the donut hole will receive coverage and discounts of 55 percent on covered brand name drugs and 35 percent on covered generic drugs, an increase from 52.5 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in 2014. The Affordable Care Act’s Coverage Gap Discount Program has provided discounts to more than 7.9 million Medicare beneﬁciaries, saving $9.9 billion on prescription drugs, or an average of $1,265 per beneﬁciary. •Greater Protection for Beneﬁciaries: CMS intends to again use its authority, provided by the health care law, to protect Medicare Advantage enrollees from signiﬁcant increases in costs or cuts in beneﬁts, and, for the 2015 contract year, ﬁnalizing the permissible amount of increase in total beneﬁciary cost to $32 per member per month (down from $34 per member per month for the 2014 contract year). CMS also continues to require plans to reﬁne their offerings so that beneﬁciaries can easily identify the differences between their options •Increased Protections for Beneﬁciaries Affected by Changes in Medicare Advantage Plan Networks: The ﬁnal Call Letter strengthens tools used to ensure compliance with established provider access requirements and establishes best practices for Medicare Advantage Organizations to follow when they make signiﬁcant changes to their provider networks.
Contact: Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6650 Southwest Freeway Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com
•Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans: •CMS estimates that the overall net change to plan payments between 2014 and 2015 to be +0.4 percent, compared to the estimated overall net change to plan payments of -1.9 percent for the proposals in the Advance Notice Individual plan payments will vary by plan based on, but not limited to, its location and star rating. •Before the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage plans were paid more than 10 percent compared to traditional Medicare, costing the program more than $1,000 per person each year, while quality and health outcomes were similar to those enrolled in traditional Medicare. The changes underway reduce excessive payments to Medicare Advantage plans, while incentivizing quality improvements by basing part of Medicare Advantage payment on plan quality performance. •To provide for continued stability in the Medicare Advantage program, CMS will implement a new phase-in schedule for the Part C risk adjustment model introduced in 2014.In addition, to improve payment accuracy, CMS has reﬁned its risk adjustment methodology to account for the impact of the inﬂux of baby boomers. In addition, for 2015, CMS will not ﬁnalize the proposal to exclude diagnoses from enrollee risk assessments. •Other policies that are not being ﬁnalized as proposed include: ◦Delayed implementation of new Part D Risk Adjustment Model. ◦Not implementing some proposed changes to the Star Ratings. ◦Not implementing the proposal to require additional coverage in the gap for generic and brand drugs in Enhanced Alternative plans. For your Medicare OR Obama Care Health Planning contact 713-771-2900.
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New test for chemicals sus- Lucid dreams can be induced, scientists claim pected to damage sperm
ARIS, May 12, 2014 (AFP) - German and Danish scientists on Monday said they had identiﬁed dozens of chemicals, including some used in hygiene and consumer products, that interfere with male fertility by damaging sperm. Writing in the journal EMBO Reports, the team said a third of 96 compounds they tested using a new technique had an adverse effect on sperm. The chemicals included 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), which is an ultraviolet ﬁlter used in some sunscreens, and the anti-bacterial agent Triclosan, used in some kinds of toothpaste, they said. Outside commentators praised the research but noted it was only carried out on sperm in a lab, a context far removed from the more complex environment of the human body. Health watchdogs are keeping a close eye on the so-called “en-
docrine disruptor chemicals”, hundreds of which are present in food products, textiles, hygiene products, toys, cosmetics and plastic bottles. But there were previously no tests that could decisively demonstrate the suspected side-effects on sperm. The researchers said this problem has now been solved. “Our study provides scientiﬁc evidence to assist forming international rules and practices,” said Timo Struenker of the Centre of Advanced European Studies and Research in Bonn, the former West Germany capital, who led the study. It suggested that exposure to the chemicals increases calcium levels in sperm, altering their swimming behaviour and hampering its ability to penetrate the egg’s protective coat. “For the ﬁrst time, we have shown a direct link between exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals from industrial
products and adverse effects on human sperm functions,” said Niels Skakkebaek of Copenhagen University Hospital. In a commentary carried by Britain’s Science Media Centre, Colin Berry, a professor of pathology at Queen Mary University of London cautioned against extrapolating results for humans from only lab-dish tests. Lab rodents should be the next step for experiments to validate the ﬁndings, he said. Another expert, Allan Pacey of the University of Shefﬁeld, said men were exposed to “relatively few chemicals or lifestyle factors” that affected their semen quality. The strongest evidence to back the case against endocrine disruptors would come from a widespread study conducted among the population, he said. EMBO Reports is published by the European Molecular Biology Organisation
Alcohol kills one person every 10 seconds worldwide: WHO
by Kashmira Gander
ightmarish dreams, from losing your house keys to falling into a pit of spiders, may one day be a thing of the past thanks to a new study. By applying an electrical current to a sleeping person’s brain, scientists claim they are able to induce so-called ‘lucid’ dreams. During this type of dream, depicted in the Oscar-winning ﬁlm Inception, a person becomes aware they are unconscious, and can sometimes control their visions. Scientists believe their ﬁndings are an important leap towards understanding the connection between lucid dreaming and brain waves of a speciﬁc frequency. To make their ﬁndings, the team built on lab studies which measured electrical activity in the brains of volunteers as they slept. Those who took part in
by Kerry SHERIDAN WASHINGTON, May 12, 2014 (AFP) - Certain chemicals that are common in everyday life have been shown to cause breast cancer in lab rats and are likely to do the same in women, US researchers said Monday.
They include chemicals in gasoline, diesel and other vehicle exhaust, ﬂame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, paint removers, and disinfection byproducts in drinking water.
by Nina LARSON
ENEVA, May 12, 2014 (AFP) - Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined, the World Health Organization said Monday, warning that booze consumption was on the rise. Including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse, and a multitude of diseases and disorders, alcohol causes one in 20 deaths globally every year, the UN health agency said. “This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds,” Shekhar Saxena, who heads the WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, told reporters in Geneva. Alcohol caused some 3.3 million deaths in 2012, WHO said, equivalent to 5.9 percent of global deaths (7.6 percent for men and 4.0 percent for women).
In comparison, HIV/AIDS is responsible for 2.8 percent, tuberculosis causes 1.7 percent of deaths and violence is responsible for just 0.9 percent, the study showed. More people in countries where alcohol consumption has traditionally been low, like China and India, are also increasingly taking up the habit as their wealth increases, it said. “More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” Oleg Chestnov of the WHO’s Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health unit said in a statement launching a massive report on global alcohol consumption and its impact on public health. Drinking is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. Alcohol abuse also makes people more susceptible
US reports second case of MERS virus WASHINGTON, May 12, 2014 (AFP) - A second case of the dangerous Middle East respiratory virus, called MERS, has been found in the United States, health authorities said Monday. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDC and Florida Department of Health are investigating the “imported” case and will release details during a press conference at 2 pm (1800 GMT), a CDC statement said. The United States announced its ﬁrst case last week, in a healthcare worker who had traveled to Riyadh at the end of April.
among older people and those with pre-existing health problems. Some 30 percent of the several hundred people infected with it have died, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus ﬁrst emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and recent research has suggested it may originate in camels. According to the World Health Organization’s latest count on May 9, MERS has killed 145 people out of 536 lab-conﬁrmed infections.
He was released from the hospital on Saturday and is considered “fully recovered,” the Indiana Health Department said.
The vast majority of cases have been in Saudi Arabia, but MERS has also been found in 16 other countries. Most cases involved people who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia.
Middle East Respiratory Virus, or MERS, causes fever, cough and shortness of breath, and can be lethal particularly
The World Health Organization is planning to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the MERS crisis.
to infectious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and pneumonia, the report found. Most deaths attributed to alcohol, around a third, are caused by associated cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Alcohol-related accidents, such as car crashes, were the second-highest killer, accounting for around 17.1 percent of all alcohol-related deaths. - China, India drinking more Binge drinking is especially damaging to health, the WHO pointed out, estimating that 16 percent of the world’s drinkers abuse alcohol to excess. While people in the world’s wealthiest nations, in Europe and the Americas especially, are boozier than people in poorer countries, rising wealth in emerging economies is also driving up alcohol consumption.
The results from electroencephalograms revealed that those dreams were accompanied by tell-tale electrical activity called gamma waves – usually linked to higher-order thinking, and awareness of one’s mental state. Scientists led by psychologist Ursula Voss of JW Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, used the outcome to hypothesise that lucid dreams could be brought on by exposing a sleeping person to gamma waves at the same frequency documented in the volunteers. When the correct gamma wave frequency was applied, the 27 volunteers reported that they were aware that they were unconscious. The volunteers were also able to control the plot of their dream, and said they
“The study provides a road map for breast cancer prevention by identifying high-priority chemicals that women are most commonly exposed to and demonstrates how to measure exposure,” said study author Ruthann Rudel, research director of the Silent Spring Institute. “This information will guide efforts to reduce exposure to chemicals linked to breast cancer, and help researchers study how women are being affected,” she said. Some of the biggest sources of mammary carcinogens in the environment are benzene and butadiene, which can come from vehicle exhaust, lawn equipment, tobacco smoke and charred food. Other concerns are cleaning solvents like methylene chlo-
ride, pharmaceuticals used in hormone replacement therapy, some ﬂame retardants, chemicals in stain-resistant textiles and nonstick coatings, and styrene which comes from tobacco smoke and is also used to make Styrofoam, the study said. Carcinogens can also be found in drinking water, researchers said. - Every woman exposed “Every woman in America has been exposed to chemicals that may increase her risk of getting breast cancer,” said coauthor Julia Brody. “Unfortunately, the link between toxic chemicals and breast cancer has largely been ignored. Reducing chemical exposures could save many, many women’s lives.” Brody described the paper as the ﬁrst to comprehensively list potential breast carcinogens and detail ways for experts to measure them in women’s blood and urine. The study also recommends seven ways for women to avoid these chemicals: - Limit exposure to exhaust from vehicles or generators, don’t idle your car, and use electric lawn mowers, leaf blowers and weed whackers instead of gas-powered ones. - Use a ventilation fan while cooking and limit how much burned or charred food you eat.
Counting only those who drink though, that rises to 17 litres of pure alcohol each year. But far from everyone indulges. Nearly half of all adults worldwide have never touched alcohol, and nearly 62 percent say they have not touched a drink in the past year, the report showed. Abstinence especially among women, is most common in low-income countries, while religious belief and social norms mean many Muslim countries are virtually alcohol free.
The method may help people with post-traumatic stress disorder, who often have terrifying dreams in which they re-play a harrowing experience. If they can dream lucidly, they might be able to bring about a different outcome. “By learning how to control the dream and distance oneself from the dream,” Voss said, PTSD patients could reduce the emotional impact and begin to recover. Source: The Independent, Monday 12 May 2014. Additional Reuters
- Do not buy furniture with polyurethane foam, or ask for furniture that has not been treated with ﬂame retardants. - Avoid stain-resistant rugs, furniture and fabrics. - If you use a dry-cleaner, ﬁnd one who does not use PERC (perchloroethylene) or other solvents. Ask for “wet cleaning.” - Use a solid carbon block drinking water ﬁlter. - Keep chemicals out of the house by taking off your shoes at the door, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efﬁciency particulate air) ﬁlter, and cleaning with wet rags and mops. The research was funded by the Avon Foundation. The Silent Spring Institute is a 20-year-old organization made up of scientists who focus on the environment and women’s health. It is named after the best selling environmental book “The Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson, who died of breast cancer in 1964, two years after the book was published. Dale Sandler, chief of epidemiology at the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, described the paper as a “terriﬁc” resource for epidemiologists who study environmental causes of breast cancer. “This paper is a thorough review of toxicology data and biomarkers relevant to breast cancer in humans,” he said.
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Still, Eastern Europe and Russia are home to the world’s biggest drinkers.
On average, every person above the age of 15 worldwide drinks 6.2 litres of pure alcohol in a year, according to the report.
While safety concerns surrounding applying electrical currents to the brain mean that dream-controlling machines are unlikely to be on sale in the near future, the technique could soon be used to treat debilitating mental illnesses.
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Drinking in populous China and India is rising particularly fast as people earn more money, the WHO said, warning that the average annual intake in China was likely to swell by 1.5 litres of pure alcohol by 2025.
Russian men who drink consumed an average of 32 litres of pure alcohol a year, according to 2010 statistics, followed by other Western countries including Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia and South Africa.
felt as if their dream self was a third party whom they were merely observing.
Study lists dangerous chemicals linked to breast cancer
The paper in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives lists 17 chemicals to avoid and offers women advice on how to minimize their exposure.
People sip cocktails at a bar in New York on May 9, 2014 in New York City (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)
the experiment reported that they had experienced lucid dreams during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.
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Free market America? Yes, but with limits by Jeremy TORDJMAN
ASHINGTON, (AFP) - The United States portrays itself as a bastion of the unfettered free market, but when foreign ﬁrms launch takeover bids for American businesses things are not always so laissez faire. The United States is the world’s top destination for foreign investment. Business leaders here scoff at protectionism, such as the French government’s opposition to US engineering giant General Electric’s bid for the energy business of French rival Alstom. “There’s a sense here that the highest bidder should prevail,” said Mitchell Marks, a mergers and acquisitions specialist at the University of San Francisco. Last year, Softbank of Japan acquired Sprint, the third largest American mobile phone carrier. And Smithﬁeld Foods was bought by a Chinese investor for around seven billion dollars. - National securityBut there are limits to this openness, ﬁrst because of concerns over competition but mainly when the transaction involves assets linked to “national security” or “crucial infrastructure” under current law. In these cases, takeover bids are examined by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). This panel brings together representatives of the Treasury, State and Defense departments as well as domestic intelligence
services. After an assessment period that can last up to 75 days, the committee can approve the bid, require changes or, in the most extreme case, recommend that the president simply nix it. In September 2012, President Barack Obama blocked Chinese companies from acquiring wind power farms in Oregon on that grounds that they were located near a US military base. “It is a unilateral, non reviewable decision and he doesn’t have to justify it,” said Samuel Thompson, author of a book entitled “Fusion, Acquisition and Tender Offers”. - Political pressure A review does not even have to go as high as the White House. Political pressure can also inﬂuence the process, especially when the takeover bid comes from a country with delicate relations with the United States, such as China or Russia. “Many foreign buyers are surprised by the number of takeover defenses that are available to US companies,” said James Hanks, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer with the ﬁrm Venable LLP in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2006, facing opposition from Congress even though it had the green light from the White House, the United Arab Emirates ﬁrm DP World had to give up on a bid to acquire management business at six American seaports including New York. Opponents of the deal had noted that two of the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001
terror attacks were born in that country, and this was enough to trigger a media reaction. In 2005, the Chinese company CNOOC withdrew a takeover bid for the oil ﬁrm Unocal, saying it was the victim of the “political climate” in Washington. The state-run press in Beijing complained at the time that the US economy was not free and open.
EW DELHI, - Indian companies may get to issue depository receipts (DRs) in foreign over the counter (OTC) markets going by the recommendations of the Sahoo Panel, whose report has been accepted by the Government.. Issuing DRs in foreign OTC markets would mean that such receipts need not necessarily be listed in a stock exchange in that foreign jurisdiction. This is signiﬁcant as till now the law required DRs issued by Indian ﬁrms to be necessarily listed on a formal international
exchange. The Sahoo panel, which reviewed the depository receipt scheme put in place in India in 1993, has recommended that the law should not require DRs to be listed on any international exchange. Restricting listed Indian companies from issuing DRs in foreign OTC markets will be a step backwards, the Sahoo Panel said in its report. Therefore, DRs issued on the back of any Indian securities— listed or unlisted—may be listed on international exchanges as well as traded on OTC systems abroad.
Since 1990 nearly half of foreign takeover bid by foreign ﬁrms that were subjected to study were abandoned by these companies without even waiting for a verdict, this agency said. It said companies do not want to be associated with anything that smacks of a threat to US national security. In 2008, the investment fund Bain Capital, allied with the Chinese group Huawei, dropped its bid to acquire the American high tech ﬁrm 3Com, fearing objections from the CFIUS. But allied countries like France, for instance, generally ﬁnd less resistance on American soil. In December 2006 the telecoms group Alcatel won permission, albeit with strings attached, to take over the US ﬁrm Lucent. “If it’s a company placed in a country that is as close to the US as France or the UK, I think that the chances of the transaction being barred are very, very small,” said Thompson.
However, two members of the committee—G Padmanabhan and S Ravindran –were strongly of the view that the DRs on listed securities must be listed only on an international stock exchange of comparable standard of major stock exchanges in India. Prior to the Sahoo panel recommendations, the existing scheme allowed DRs to be listed on overseas stock exchanges and OTC exchanges. Now the revised scheme put out by the Sahoo panel allows DRs to be issued on all OTC systems abroad and not the OTC exchange alone.
Google Glass now in open beta, can be bought by anyone in US for $1500 by Umair Mohammad
oogle Glass can now be bought by anyone residing in the US for $1500. Unlike the previous one day sale, users don’t need an invite to buy it. According to a post on Google+, Glass Explorer Edition is now up for sale but only in the US. The company claims it received overwhelming response to its one day sale of Glass. The post further states, “We almost ran out of inventory and had to close things down early. We’ve since built our inventory back up and plan to continue to accelerate new ways to expand the program.” Google wants optometrists,
Google Glasses sports lovers, online retailers, cooks and travellers to try out the Glass, and also looking forward to their feedback to improve the product. As of now the product is still in the beta stage, and a commercial launch
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The mere fact that a takeover bid can be assessed by US authorities is enough to cool foreign ﬁrms’ acquisition appetite, the Congressional Research Service said in a report published in March.
Indian ﬁrms may be allowed to issue DRs in foreign OTC markets by K. R. Srivats
is expected later this year. The Google+ post hasn’t mentioned the number of units available for sale. But it does say that the sale will be on as long as stocks last.
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VOICE OF ASIA 21
McDonald’s debuts new fry concept — shake and season
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
‘Flood fighter’ game teaches Asian kids survival tips
YUTTHAYA - Dodging electrocution, drowning and even crocodiles, the Thai virtual hero of a new mobile game called “Flood Fighter” aims to educate children across Asia about the perils posed by Mother Nature. More than 800 people, including dozens of children, were among the victims of devastating ﬂoods that hit Thailand in 2011, affecting 65 of 77 provinces.
Fast food joints are pimping out their fries in the latest attempt to draw customers. The latest from McDonald’s: Shakin’ Flavor Fries.
OS ANGELES — McDonald’s US has imported a popular concept from its franchise cousins in Asia that will allow customers to punch up their fries with different seasonings. After debuting in Hong Kong in 2005, the ﬁrst Shakin’ Flavor Fries has hit restaurants in Northern California, where customers can season their fries with ﬂavors like garlic parmesan, spicy buffalo or zesty ranch. Much like the US chicken seasoning concept Shake ‘n Bake, which comes with a bag and seasoning spices, Shakin’ Flavor Fries also comes with an additional ‘Fry Bag’ and seasoning packet. Customers
are to throw the fries and spices in the bag, and shake. Known as Shake Shake in Asia, the menu item has been available for years in China, India and Australia. The product is being launched locally, but could expand nationally. It’s the latest move out of the fast food burger industry to pimp up the standard burger accompaniment. Last fall, Burger King reduced the calorie and fat content to launch its new Satisfries, while Wendy’s revamped its spuds, pitching them as ‘naturally-cut” fries cooked with the skin on, and sprinkled with sea salt.
Italian ‘emblem’ Nutella turns 50 with parties
In an effort to prevent further deaths, the UN Educational, Scientiﬁc and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) hatched the idea of a free education mobile game app to spread the word. “In Thailand everybody has a mobile phone, so why not convey our message through an application?” said Ichiro Miyazawa, who oversaw development of “Sai Fah: The Flood Fighter.” The free download for smartphones and tablet computers has proved a hit in a country which in 2012 had almost 130 mobile telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, according to the International Telecommunication Union. Just a few weeks after its launch in January, the game topped the charts for educational apps in Thailand, with more than 22,000 downloads. The concept is simple: the house of lead character Sai Fah, whose name means “lightning,” has ﬂooded. He must complete missions during 22 episodes before, during and after the rise in the waters, each one carrying a message of prevention. Avoiding snakes, crocodiles The tasks include stocking essential items, putting important belongings high up, not drinking unboiled water, cutting the electricity supply, as well as avoiding snakes that have been forced from their natural habitat and crocodiles that have escaped from farms.
Ferrero produces around 365,000 tonnes of Nutella every year. Nutella.
OME, (AFP) - Italian sweets maker Ferrero on Wednesday unveiled plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nutella -the chocolate hazelnut spread that has conquered palates worldwide and created Italy’s biggest fortune. The ﬁrst pot of the addictive mix was made in Alba in northwest Italy in April 1964. “The Nutella story is an emblem for Italian business,” Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi said at a news conference in Rome with Ferrero executives. It began as “a story of poverty”, Guidi said. Company owner Michele Ferrero, the son of a small-
time pastry maker, started from humble beginnings and used hazelnut in the spread to save money on chocolate. Ferrero now produces around 365,000 tonnes of Nutella every year in 11 factories around the world. The biggest market is Germany, followed by France and Italy. The anniversary celebrations begin in Alba on Saturday and events are also being planned in 50 countries, including Canada, Germany, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, ending with a concert in New York on Monday. The 89-year-old Ferrero and his family are estimated by Forbes to hold Italy’s biggest fortune at $20.4 billion (14.9 billion euros) in 2013.
Curbing bad habits can stop 37 mn premature deaths: study
ARIS, (AFP) - Curbing smoking and drinking, salt intake, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity can prevent more than 37 million premature deaths by 2025, according to an analysis published on Saturday. If globally-adopted targets for reducing these risk factors are met, the risk of dying prematurely from heart or lung disease, stroke, cancer or diabetes will fall by 22 percent in men and 19 percent for women in 2025, compared with 2010, a team of researchers wrote in The Lancet medical journal. “Worldwide, this improvement is equivalent to delaying or preventing at least 16 million deaths in people aged 3070 years and 21 million in those aged 70 years or older over 15 years,” they said. The targets are to reduce tobacco use by 30 percent, alcohol consumption by 10 percent, salt intake by 30 percent, high blood pressure by 25 percent, and to halt the rise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. A more ambitious 50-percent reduction in smoking by 2025 would reduce the risk by more
than 24 percent in men and by 20 percent in women, wrote the team. They used national population data and epidemiological models for their calculations. “Most of the beneﬁts will be seen in low-income and middle-income countries where as many as 31 million deaths could be prevented,” said coauthor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London. Not reaching the targets would result in 38.8 million premature deaths in 2025 alone -- 10.5 million more than in 2010, the team said. Premature mortality is deﬁned for the purposes of the study as the probability of dying between the ages of 30 and 70. The United Nations is targeting a 25-percent reduction in premature death from noncommunicable diseases from 2010 to 2025. This group of diseases is caused in large part by unhealthy lifestyles, including tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.
Ayutthaya province, where the game is set, was particularly badly affected by the 2011 ﬂoods.
In this picture taken on March 13, 2014, a Thai child plays a new mobile game called ‘Flood Fighter’ at a school in the province of Ayutthaya. — AFP pic Homes, temples and car factories were underwater for weeks. In the district of Ban Praek, where UNESCO visited to promote the game, memories of the disaster are still raw. “The water came up to my head,” said Nittaya Soponpit, the director of a local community education center. She believes the game will help children to be ready for any repeat. “They will know how to prevent, how to prepare, how to handle ﬂoods”. Some of the game’s lessons appear to have already been learnt. Next time, “I will prepare drinking water,” 17-year-old student Kitkanok Klungnumkoo said after trying out the game at a demonstration by UNESCO. Pornnamphet Sainet, 10, added: “I will follow the advice of the game by cutting the electrical circuit.” “I was scared the water would not decrease,” she said. “I still don’t know how to swim.” Asia next target
“Sai Fah” is not meant to be a substitute for swimming lessons or life jackets, in a country where most children cannot swim. But its message is simple: “Just stay away from the water as much as possible,” said Miyazawa. In the game, the small boy wearing a red umbrella hat must use a stick to test the ground in front of him and avoid falling into a hole or being swept away by ﬂoodwaters. After its success in Thailand, a recently launched Englishlanguage version of the game aims to spread the message in other Asian countries affected by ﬂoods, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines. At least 4,000 downloads were recorded in the initial weeks. Those countries are drenched by annual monsoon rains that regularly cause ﬂoods, with rapid urbanization, deforestation and poorly designed infrastructure aggravating the problem. While the new version is not in their mother tongue, children who play video games are usually capable of understanding
instructions in simple English, according to Nathalie Sajda, project manager at Opendream which developed the game for UNESCO. And while some cultural and environmental references might be speciﬁc to Thailand, “there are some lessons that are universal,” she added. “They might not know the temples of Ayutthaya, but at least the design is very cute. It’s playful and fun, and that is the most important - that people enjoy playing.” The biggest challenge for developing a video game is how to win people’s attention, Sajda said. “Children these days have very high expectations of games.” While the game developer has previous experience on similar projects, such as a sex education game, for UNESCO it was uncharted territory. “There is a big potential in gamiﬁcation,” said Miyazawa. “Why not create a game which can promote peace, or about gender violence? We can do a lot through mobile phones and applications.” - AFP
VOICE OF ASIA 22
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Your Horoscope for the Week of May 16, 2014 by Hardik Vyas, Astrologer Cell : 832-298-9950
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.
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Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April
Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct
All eyes will be on your recent accomplishments. Take advantage of this opportunity to You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish once you get started. It’s not easy blow your own horn a little. You are full of ideas, not to mention vim and vigor. You may to put anything over on you, but someone may try to do just that. It may come in the surprise everyone by becoming a bit of a chatterbox. Try to conﬁne what you say to the form of a secret about someone close to you. You could be a little bit gullible now, don’t work at hand. Not everyone has to know your personal business. You may be called on to supervise necessarily believe what you hear. After all, who knows them better than you do? You some people. If you are not used to being the boss, you could learn much through this experience. may decide to have less to do with the person who tried put something over on you. You’ll be able to grin and bear it, whatever it turns out to be.
Scorpio (N,Y)23 Oct to 21 Nov
Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May Good communications will continue to lead you in the discussions. You will be getting geared up to plunge into a new project. You could quickly get all the background information you need. If it isn’t work that occupies you, it may be a hunt for bargains in the house and property market. You may have a dream place in mind, but you are not going to ﬁnd it without putting in some long hours of research. You may be a bit anxious about the thought of a big move, remembering past experiences.
Your positive energy will help you to meet tight deadlines. Make the atmosphere more pleasant for entertaining family and friends. You could experience a special emotional fulﬁllment from cooperation on the job. Your optimism is justiﬁed as some projects involving property bring great ﬁnancial success. Be sure you don’t put a rotten apple in the barrel, however, just because you don’t know your own power. Screen other investors carefully and put a high value on your own abilities.
Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec
Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June You will realize that you are very important to others plans. Whether you are preparing ﬁne dining or simple comfort food, your past experience give you that little edge on your competition. Feel conﬁdent about your public or professional image. Though your ambition may be keen, others could be in the same frame of mind as you. If an obvious power play on someone’s part disturbs you, act as if it has nothing to do with you. It doesn’t, really. The problem is that you may have seen it coming, and now that it has come to a head, you ﬁnd yourself annoyed.
Changes may be afoot on the home scene. Do your best to stay on an even course, plan to spend some time unwinding. In this situation, the best way to nurture yourself is to nurture others. You will be able to speak tenderly. Sharp words should not be exchanged. Someone, possibly an older relative, could express discontent with how they perceive you are handling your affairs, it’s not polite, but you may be inclined to say, “It’s none of your business”.
Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan
Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Experience the fact all roads you take this week will lead you to a sort of spiritual awakening. It will be clear to you, however, that the usefulness or viability of what you give up, has gone. You’ll be in the mood for romance, with someone new, someone old, or with that very special person who is always there for you. No tears or regrets, just be glad that whatever it was is now over. Because you are in overdrive, an emotional explosion could be a decisive and constructive action on a long-term work project that you are now determined to bring to a head and complete.
An opportunity may be ‘handed’ to you but possibly some kind of failure to ‘act on it’ right away, could cause a small setback. A big project at work could keep you working after hours and your mate may not be too pleased at a break in the normal schedule. Perhaps they may not be as adaptable as you are. Smooth things out, try not to talk about money concerns, if possible. Better days are ahead. You are sharp as a tack, but try not to be too sharp. Watch what you say to co-workers, because you may offend someone.
Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb
Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August
Use the time to refresh and rejuvenate your positive energy. You will be able to get success by magnetism of your personality. Alone it could be a force to be reckoned with, however you’ll be sharp in the job arena. A long hoped for raise could come through, or at least an acknowledgement by a boss or other higher-up that you are worth more. You are also in a mood to improvise. Your spur-of-the-moment creations really ﬁll the bill. You’ll feel like celebrating.
Your insights are almost ‘scary’ this week, when they are powerful and when they are ‘useful’ and could save time, money and a lot of ‘grief/work’ for yourself and/or others. The strategic alliance with someone who may ﬁgure big in your future success. It may be a new romantic relationship, or perhaps it is business progress that is at issue. Whatever your situation, put some feeling into the encounter to show that this is not just another meeting. Be sure to follow up, whether the issue is personal or professional.
Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Need to value the instinctive powers that you possess. Sharing your enlightenment with younger people will help you to progress. Lead yourself by your extreme sensitivity to whatever environment you ﬁnd yourself in. As you pick up the vibes, be sure to separate what’s real from what is simply your imagination. What is deﬁnitely true, is that your mate is eager to see you and should be in an excellent frame of mind. Give him or her your best, too.
Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March
The bright expectations that may turn out not to be enough true information. Like Always, relatively small matter that you would normally pass off as “things happen”. But this one will send you to the edge. One cause may be a recent, rather impractical move on the part of your mate or partner. Though you may be tempted to pick up the phone and tell them off, you are likely to be far too busy to start World War III.
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FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Houston Community College Notice of Procurement Opportunities
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR MARINE ENGINEERING
JOB ORDER # 6277794
Managerial control over all aspects of the company’s technical operations, marine engineering, technical services, business enhancement and development, marketing, servicing, managing and supervising the needs of maintenance, vessel schedules, drydocking and repairs as a professional Marine Consultant. Supervising and directing business development and marketing for marine and power plants, spare parts for marine engines and turbochargers built under high quality control and supervision: developing, enhancing and strengthening the customer base with quality high end shipowners / managers and power plants in the USA, Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, far East and Middle East market; building a target, and developing strategies for achieving servicing and marketing targets; monitoring progress on a monthly basis and making required changes as may be necessary from time to time in close consultation with customers, visiting new manufacturing plants and liaising with them for advancements in technology, exploring avenues of procuring reliable parts, as well as ensuring, quality control, maintenance and R&D process development; building up riding and repair service teams for meeting emergency requirements of customers at short notice for shipboard and shore service; offering consultancy services to customers for troubleshooting, assisting in the choice of right turbochargers and marine engine parts; utilizing ship operation and ship maintenance experience in minimizing loss of time for customers as well as providing quality service at most competitive prices; preparing energy efﬁciency management plans for compliance with new regulatory requirements for customers; developing, implementing and monitoring plans and procedures for complying with 2015 and 2020 Environmental Control Area requirements. Visiting ships periodically in the USA and other countries and in possession of a valid TWIC (Transportation Workers Identiﬁcation Card). Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Engineering/Maritime Management or its equivalent with 60 months (5 years) of experience in Marine Engineering/Maritime Management/ Marine Administration. Salary with No Relocation allowance. Job Location: 10650 W. Airport Blvd, Ste 175, Stafford, Tx 77477. All interested applicants, please send your resume to: Mr. Golton Shi, President, via fax at 832-243-5697 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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RFP 14-22 – ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT PLANNING SERVICES Submittal Responses Due: May 22, 2014 at 3:00 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: 713718-5014 Sealed responses will be received in Procurement Operations, 3100 Main Street (11th Floor), Houston, TX 77002, until 3:00 pm (local time) on the submittal date, May 22, 20014, 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.
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VOICE OF ASIA 24
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014
Published on May 15, 2014
Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...