VOICE OF ASIA 1
VOICE OF ASIA
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
28 years dedicated service toCounties the community Serving Harris,ofFort Bend and Surrounding for 29 years Vol. 30 No. 15 Friday, April 14, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congressman Al Green on the United Airlines Debacle
United offering compensation to all passengers on flight man was dragged off HICAGO --AP (April 12, 2017) United Airlines sought to quell the uproar over a man being dragged off a plane by announcing on Tuesday that it would no longer ask police to remove passengers from full flights and would compensate customers who were on the flight when the man was removed.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” aired Wednesday, United
parent company CEO Oscar Munoz said he felt “ashamed” watching video of the man being forced off the jet. He has promised to review the airline’s passenger-removal policy. Munoz, who leads United’s parent company, apologized again to Kentucky physician David Dao, his family and the other passengers who witnessed him being taken off the flight. “That is not who our family at
United is,” he said. “This will never happen again on a United flight. That’s my promise.” In the future, law enforcement will not be involved in removing a “booked, paid, seated passenger,” Munoz said. “We can’t do that.” In an effort to calm the backlash, United also announced that passengers on United Express Flight 3411 would be compensated equal to the cost of their tickets.
ASHINGTON, D.C. (April 12, 2017) - Today, Rep. Al Green (D-TX) issued a press statement about the United Airlines Debacle stating, “The recent passenger-removal actions of United Airlines were an injustice. Regardless of a person’s background, ethnicity, religion, race, sexuality, creed or color, no one should be dragged from a plane. I believe the regulatory protocol for the removal of passengers when a flight is overbooked or sold out must be reviewed.
United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said Wednesday that the passengers can take the compensation in cash, travel credits or miles. The flight was loaded and preparing to leave Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Sunday when the man was dragged off. Video shot by passengers showing the man’s bloodied face went viral on social media, prompting a storm of protest.
Vedic Fair 6 - A Cultural Extravaganza on India
United’s current policy is bad. It’s bad for the customer,
Rep. Al Green (D-TX) bad for the employees, and bad for United Airlines. All persons should be protected from this type of forcible removal. If this can happen to any one of us without liability, it can happen to every one of us with impunity.
Tax deadline - Tuesday, April 18
IRS to extend call service hours
he Internal Revenue Service is extending its customer service hours of its toll-free call center to meet the current demand. According to a press release, the first two weeks of April are typically some of the busiest times of the year for the IRS telephone assistors, with the center receiving thousands of calls per hour. To meet the demand, the IRS toll-free telephone lines will be available on Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The toll-free line is 800-829-1040.
Vedic Fair - Divine Surprise: 6 Mannequin Challenge depicted Goddess Laxmi in her pure love form and her eternal union with the supreme. Read full story on Page 9
The tax deadline for this year is Tuesday, April 18, which is later than most years. The usual April 15 deadline falls on a Saturday, which means taxpayers would have until Monday to file.
Monday, April 17, is Emancipation Day, which is a holiday in the District of Columbia, so filing was moved to April 18. Taxpayers requesting an automatic six-month extension will have until Monday, Oct. 16, to file. The IRS reminds taxpayers that most questions can now be answered online at IRS.gov and there are a variety of tools that can be used also. Tools include the “Where’s My Refund?” tool which tracks where a refund currently stands and a “Get Transcript” tool, which helps taxpayers receive a summary of their tax return. The summary is needed for non-tax reasons, such as student or mortgage loan income verification.
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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS Media reaction to Syria VOICE OF ASIA I
VOICE OF ASIA 2
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Publisher: Associate Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Austin Correspondent: Print & Media Marketing: Marketing Director: Office Manager:
Koshy Thomas Sherly Philip Shobana Muratee Sherine Thomas Jacob David Susan Pothanikat Priyan Mathew
Columnists: Legal: Richard M. Alderman Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Health Insurance: Sudhir Mathuria Astrology: Hardik Vyas
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t would have been hard to guess that the one thing to unite the media and President Donald Trump’s administration would be a military strike. Nevertheless, that seemed to be exactly what happened as the nation’s press responded to Trump’s order Thursday night to bomb Assad regime military targets at the Al Shayrat Military Airfield north of Damascus. Trump made the decision after reports emerged about the Syrian government using chemical weapons on its own people, as it has done several times before. And the way the media has appeared to reconcile itself to the president on this issue has the potential for even greater harm to the nation’s journalistic institutions than a president often hostile to reporters. Pundits at outlets like Fox News were predictably supportive of the Republican administration’s actions, with Jeanine Pirro of “Fox and Friends” praising Trump’s actions as “swift” and “decisive” Friday. But even a fair number of those journalists who typically find themselves in disagreement with the president were willing to switch sides to praise the Syrian airstrike. The word of the moment seemed to be “presidential.” “I think Donald Trump be-
It is the policy of Voice of Asia to publish letters to the editor which evidence a variety of viewpoints. The opinions expressed in any particular letter to the editor are not necessarily those of the management. Voice of Asia welcomes letters in reply to issues raised in letters to editor. In as much letters to the editor are not articles written or researched by members of Voice of Asia, it is not the policy of the Voice of Asia to perform any investigation or confirmation of any facts or allegations contained in letters to the editor. Moreover, Voice of Asia reserves the right to edit letters to the editor as necessary to correct errors of fact, punctuation, spelling and to comply with space constraints. Although paid advertisements may appear in Voice of Asia Group Publications in print, online, or in other electronic formats, the Voice of Asia Group does not endorse the advertised product, service, or company, nor any of the claims made by the advertisement. - The Publisher
strike jumps to conclusions self repeatedly voiced opposition to military intervention in Syria during last year’s presidential campaign. And the rush among national TV journalists to praise Trump’s military action doesn’t reflect a genuine reaction to the facts of the story, so much as happiness that any decision was made at all. The reaction feels like it’s just the media’s attempt to jump on a lucrative story — and that’s cause for serious concern. Illustration by Tom Bachtell came president of the United States [Thursday night]”, CNN pundit and prominent Trump critic Fareed Zakaria said of the strike hours after it happened. Even more extreme, MSNBC news host Brian Williams quoted lines from a Leonard Cohen ballad to describe the president’s airstrike. “They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments,” Williams said in an almost dreamy tone of footage of the missiles’ launch as he presented news of the strike Thursday night. “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen, ‘I am guided
by the beauty of our weapons.’” Williams’s reaction to the bombing was unquestionably absurd — but the only real difference between his reaction and that of the rest of the media was how obvious the absurdity was. Trump’s action in bombing Syrian government targets was presidential only in the sense that presidents before him have also bombed Middle Eastern countries. The decision to make the strike appears fairly arbitrary itself — Trump him-
Peaceful believers victimized by terrorists again
ers killed at least 44 people in separate attacks on Coptic Christian churches Sunday in Alexandria and Tanta.
Islamic State suicide bomb-
These scenes were the latest reminders of how dangerous it
he photograph showed upturned pews, stained by the blood of believers after a Palm Sunday attack in Egypt.
In a Facebook post Friday, veteran journalist and former CBS anchor Dan Rather deplored the reaction among the likes of Zakaria and Williams as “concerning.” “War must never be considered a public relations operation,” Rather said. “It is not a way for an administration to gain a narrative.” A media reaction that instantly labels a military strike as “presidential” falls into precisely this trap. If media outlets are unwilling to use a critical eye in reporting on a story of as much importance as Thursday night’s bombing in Syria, they might as well not report the story at all. (-Pitt News)
History offers countless examples of religious minorities being singled out for their beliefs.
can be to practice one’s faith, especially a minority faith. A similar scene unfolded Jan. 29 in Quebec City, Canada, when a zealot opened fire in a mosque, killing six.
Thousands are harrassed and intimidated but continue to pray, worship and persevere. The world should treat this evil as beneath our common humanity. Because it is. (-Omaha.com)
As if it matters...
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Second Front Page
“Sewa Dancing Stars” Dazzle Houston with their Scintillating performances
ewa International’s power packed dance competition based fundraiser “Sewa Dancing Stars” captivated the Houston dance landscape on Sunday, April 2nd at Houston Durgabari. 3 Genres, 4 age groups, 15 dance schools, 20 sponsors, 30 volunteers, 49 performances, 204 participants, 600 attendees and over $25,000 raised by the end of the 7 hour program tell you the magical story of an event which drew unparalleled support from Houstonians. This fundraiser was organized to raise funds exclusively for “ASPIRE Tutorials”, an education initiative undertaken by Sewa International for close to 100 kids from refugee / low income / under-served community background. These kids are from Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kenya, Syria, Eritrea, Columbia, Guatemala and Mexico. The event emcees Mallika Ghei and Amit Pandya kept the audience engaged as performers in 2 different genres – Bollywood and Classical were subjected to scrutiny by an expert panel of 8 judges. The grand prize winners in different categories were: 2 Teams from Sunanda Nair’s Performing Arts Center in (5-8 yrs) and (9-12 yrs) age categories respectively, Oorjita Vijaykumar and Shivangini Academy of Performing Arts Team in (13 – 17 yrs) age category, and Dance With Dolly team in (18+ yrs) age category. Judges critical acclamation award went to Odissi Dance Academy Richard Rodriguez, the director of Brays Oaks Management district, who was the Guest of Honor, acknowledged the amazing work Sewa International’s team does and said he has seen the difference ASPIRE tutorials team has made in the lives of the students.. He exhorted the community to step-up and support the ASPIRE tutorials.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the illustrious author, educator and speaker, who was the chief guest of the event said she truly enjoyed the show and being an educator herself, of ASPIRE tutorials’ cause is close to her heart. She said “Being an immigrant I and my family were helped by others to settle in this country and I amvery happy that Sewa extends a similar support to the community.” Nikhil Jain, Houston Chapter Co-coordinator, and Sachin Jain urged the audience to support such initiatives and give back to the Houston community by either volunteering or by funding the projects. Kavita Tewary, Project Coordinator for Sewa International, thanked the patrons for their generous donations and introduced the “Sewa Dream Team” responsible for putting together this spellbinding event. Achalesh Amar, Anuja Deshpande, Hasita Kartick, Noopur Sapatnekar, Sharda Gadiya, Lekha Vasanth, Vaishali Bhalerao, Nisha Mirani and Mariet Coutinho worked tirelessly for last 2 months on this event. They were ably supported by Lynn Arsenault, Laura Fry, Alexandro, Atreya Tewary, Asim Deshpande, Camilla Escobar, Vivek Sharda, Sandeep Bhalerao, Anusha Jain, Hema Venkat, Swagatika Nayak, Sachin Jain, Vidyadhar Jangale, Manisha Jangale, Smita Singh, Rajesh Thatte and 3 volunteers from Senior Citizens of India on the event day.
HCC’s Dr. Ritu Raju Named American Council on Education Fellow
Dr. Ritu Raju. Photo IACCGH.
Performers in the Bollywood style category
Performers in the Classical style category
About Sewa International Sewa International is a nonprofit charity registered under the Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3). Mission of Sewa is to serve humanity in distress, aid local communities, and promote volunteerism. Contact: Achalesh Amar (Houston Chapter Coordinator) - firstname.lastname@example.org/713357-8216. Visit http://www. sewausa.org
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (2nd from left) being honored.
HOUSTON, TX (April 7, 2017)—The American Council on Education (ACE) named Dr. Ritu Raju, Division Chair, Speech, Communication, and Sign Language at Houston Community College (HCC) an ACE Fellow for the 2017-18 academic year. The ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration. Forty-six Fellows, nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, were selected this year following a rigorous application process. Nearly 1,900 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program since 1965, with more than 80 percent of Fellows having gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities. The 2017-2018 class will kick off its work this fall as ACE prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018. “Fulfilling higher education’s 21st century mission depends upon a visionary, bold and diverse global community of institutional leaders, and the ACE Fellows Program plays a key role in cultivating these leaders,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. In addition to her faculty role, Raju is the treasurer of the Faculty Senate. She holds a Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University and a master’s
degree in English from Sam Houston State University. Raju has over 15 years of experience in teaching, as well as in developing and implementing academic programs. She also has a long and extensive track record of service and has served on a number of committees and councils at HCC, such as the Web Governance Committee, Technology Council, and LMS Committee. Raju was a board member at-large for the Council for Programs in Scientific and Technical Communication from 2012-2014. Raju was honored with a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013. She was nominated for Best Dissertation Award in Technical Communication in 2011 and has several academic publications and conference presentations to her credit. Raju served the IndianAmerican and the Houston community in various capacities. A proud graduate of Leadership Houston, she serves on the Board of Asian Scholarship Program Inspiring Results and Excellence (ASPIRE) and will be honored at the organization’s annual gala in September. Raju served on the boards of the Indo-American Charity Forum and Youth Leadership Development Program. She is an avid lover of classical music and dance, and she writes poetry and reviews. The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities and visits to numerous campuses. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institution and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement. At the conclusion of the fellowship year, participants return to their home institution with new knowledge and skills that contribute to capacitybuilding efforts, along with a network of peers across the country and abroad.
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER
The People’s Lawyer
by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
www.peopleslawyer.net Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center
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Security deposit must be returned Q. I just moved out of my apartment. I gave proper notice and left it cleaner than when I moved in. I have been told this landlord does not return security deposits. How long do I have to wait to find out if mine is being returned? What can I do if it is not?
Q. I have a debt collector calling me at work. I have told him that my employer prohibits such calls and I could lose my job. His answer was, “then you better pay me because I am not going to stop calling you.” How can I stop these calls?
thing in Texas as a legal separation. If you want to insure property you obtain is not community property, you and your spouse should sign a partition and exchange agreement. You should have a family law attorney assist you with this document.
A. First, be sure to give your landlord a forwarding address. Assuming that you were current in your rent, gave your landlord proper notice before you move out and a forwarding address, the Texas Security Deposit Law offers you substantial protection. Under this law, a landlord must either return your security deposit or send you written notice why it is not being returned, within thirty days after you move out. If the landlord does not act within this time period, the law presumes he is acting in bad faith. A tenant who sues under this law is entitled to up to three times the deposit plus an additional $100 and any attorney’s fees.
A. Under a federal law, called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have the right to stop all calls from a debt collector, or, to stop just calls at work. Under this law, once you notify a debt collector in writing that you want him to stop all future communication, the collector essentially must stop all calls, letters, emails and any other form of communication. He can contact you just once more to tell you what steps he will take next. If you want to continue communicating with the collector, but not at work, you can tell the collector you are not allowed to receive such calls at work, and the law says he cannot continue to call. If the debt collector violates this law, you have a claim for damages and penalties.
Q. I inherited $50,000 from my aunt. How much will I have to pay for inheritance taxes?
I also should point out that a landlord cannot just arbitrarily withhold money from your deposit. The landlord can withhold only for damages caused by a breach of the terms of the lease, such as excessive damage, but he cannot withhold for damage caused by “ordinary wear and tear.” If you don’t hear from your landlord within the thirty days limit, let him know you know your legal rights. My guess is that you will get back your deposit. If you do not, consider filing a claim in justice court. For more information about this law, check out the landlordtenant section on my website, www.peopleslawyer. net.
I suggest you let the debt collector know you know about this law and expect he will stop calling. My guess is that will end the calls. If he doesn’t stop you should immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You also should consider speaking with a private consumer law attorney. Q. My spouse and I are separated. What do we do to make the separation legal and insure that property we obtain is not community property? A. There really is no such
A. The person who inherits property does not pay taxes. It is the estate that pays taxes. Most estates, however, do not have to pay estate taxes. Under current law, estate taxes are due only if the value of the estate is over $5.49 million Q. I signed a contract to buy a car. The dealer backed out and sold it to someone else. Luckily, the next day I found the car for the same price at another dealer. Now I want to sue the original seller who backed out of our deal. How much can I sue for? A. This is an interesting question and show how damages for breach of contract work. You probably cannot sue for anything. The law does not punish people for breaching a contract. The measure of damages for a breach of contract is the difference between the contract price and what you ultimately paid. Because you purchased the car for the same price, you have no damages. It may not be “fair” that he sold it to someone else, but as far as the law is concerned his conduct did not cause you any damages. If you were forced to pay more for the car, the dealer would have been responsible for the increase in the price.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRANT VISA PETITIONS FOR CHILDREN AND SPOUSES OF LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS
Q: Can a Lawful Permanent Resident petition for Green Card for his spouse and children? How much does the petition cost?
the immigrant visa through a process known as consular processing – getting the Immigrant Visa from the US Consulate (if living abroad and outside of the US).
two unmarried sons over the age of 21 years. Will the change in my status significantly delay them receiving their Immigrant Visa?
A: A lawful permanent resident can petition for his or her spouse and children under 21 years of age to immigrate to the United States. The petition will be classified under family preference category F2A. If your child is over the age or 21 and is unmarried, the petition will be classified under family preference Category F2B. The petition form to use is Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. The current Filing Fee for Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative is $535.00.
Q: I filed an I-130 Petition for my unmarried daughter when she was 19 years of age. The petition was approved and she was informed that she may not be eligible to immigrate under the F2A preference category because she already turned 21 years of age and has not received her visa.
A: Most likely not. If you become a US Citizen, the Preference category for both your sons will change from F2B to F1 – unmarried sons and daughters of US Citizens. The Visa Bulletin for April 2017 shows that there is presently not much difference in waiting time for preference F2B and F1 for all countries. For example, the priority dates for all chargeability areas except for China, India, Mexico and Philippines are October 15th, 2010 for F1 and September 15th for F2B. For now, the difference is waiting time between these two categories appear to be negligible.
Q: If a Permanent Resident files I-130 Petition for his wife and two minor children, how many petitions does he have to file? What is the process involved to immigrate? A: Since it is a preference category, the Permanent Resident will only need to file one I-130 Petition for his spouse and include the two minor children as her derivative dependents in the same petition. Upon filing, the petition will be assigned a priority date. Once the petition has been approved, they will have to wait for their priority date in their immigrant visa category (F2A) to become current before they are able to immigrate. When the priority date in the visa category becomes current, they can either file for their adjustment of status to permanent resident (if they are living in the US and are maintaining nonimmigrant status) or apply through the National Visa Center for issuance of
A: If an unmarried child of the permanent resident turns 21 years of age before the priority date becomes current, the child may no longer qualify to immigrate under Preference Category F2A and the petition will automatically be converted to preference category F2B for unmarried sons and daughter of a lawful permanent resident. Please note however that in certain cases, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) could apply to allow your daughter to retain the classification of ‘child’ despite the fact that she has already turned 21 years of age. If the CSPA applies, your daughter will still be able to immigrate under Preference Category 2A. Q: My son who is the beneficiary under my petition filed under Preference Category 2B is now married. What happens to the petition? Can he still immigrate? A: No, you son can no longer immigrate. There is no preference category for married sons or daughters of permanent residents. You will have to notify USCIS of the change in his marital status. Q: I am a Permanent Resident and I like to apply to become a US Citizen. I have filed I-130 petitions for my
Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713623-8088 or by email at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
Sharlene Sharmila Richards Attorney at Law
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
FORT BEND VIEW
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Sugar Land’s Wine & Food Affair: The Grand Tasting Sip and Stroll at Imperial by Misha Morê
he Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair’s popular Sip & Stroll at Imperial is back again with an expanded schedule and all you can indulge experience per day. Enjoyed sumptuous bites from over twenty of the area’s best restaurants, carefully crafted cocktails and an expansive selection of wines. Favorite food and beverage selections swapped out between Saturday and Sunday! Brew aficionados enjoyed the exciting beer garden.
The Grand Tasting at the Sugar Land Marriott. Photos credit: Misha Morê
by. Misha Morê he Grand Wine & Food Affair is one of the largest celebrations of epicurean delights in Texas and The Grand Tasting is its signature event. On April 07, the ballroom of the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square was transformed into a food connoisseurs oasis. The culinary superstars showed off their wares along-
Ice Sculpture of Sugar Land Marriott Town logo.
side some sought-after wines. The Grand Tasting hosted The Grand Auction, a silent auction that featured collectable wines, weekend getaways, vacations, winery tours, art, and exclusive dining experiences and helped raised money for the Grand Wine & Food Affair Scholarship Endowment at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Manage-
ment. The Grand Tasting, a cocktail lovers party inside Sugar Land’s Marriott Town Square is where the wineries poured their best varietals alongside chefs looking to impress with their culinary creations. The Grand Tasting also featured 45 wine tables serving up to six varietals Continued on Page 6
Chefs were on hand to create and serve their finest.
Guests enjoying their wine.
Chef and his daughter were serving.
Himesh Gandhi, City of Sugar Land Councilman at Large with wife Farrah.
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Fort Bend ISD joins nation in celebrating Assistant Principals Week, April 10-14
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
The Grand Tasting..... Continued from page 5
each. New this year, the Bartender’s Challenge became part of The Grand Tasting as three finalists selected from over 50 plus submittals mix specially crafted cocktails using specific liquor requirements decided on by Hendrick’s Gin and named the official cocktail of this year’s Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair.
Some offerings were unexpected — sausage roll wrap puff pastry from The Sugar Refinery Grub & Grogs, the savory shrimp and cheese grits from Marriott’s The Burning Pear, scallops with creamy chipotle dressing from Santacafé in Santa Fe, NM and black barrel paloma cocktails from Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila. Other favorites: St. Regis
A display of the variety of beverages included some American whiskey. Photos credit: Misha Morê. chipotle-braised beef shortrib sweet potato saffron risotto, cardamom honey roasted carrots at Riel was flavorful and crunchy, lobster mini pizzas at Academe at The Kennebunk Inn, foie gras ganache from Rooster & The Till and a delicious tuna avocado bhel at Lehja in Richmond, VA.
Assistant Principal Constance Hawkins received a special treat for her dedication and service to students and staff at Burton Elementary.
ORT BEND ISD (April 10, 2017) – Fort Bend ISD joins the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators in observing National Assistant Principals Week, April 10-14, 2017. The annual celebration is held to honor and recognize the many contributions of assistant principals to the success of students in schools across the United States. Fort Bend ISD has approximately 150 associate/assistant principals, representing all school levels, who work to ensure high standards of student performance in a safe learning environment. Assistant principals work closely with their campus principals to: analyze data and develop plans to improve student achievement; monitor student behavior and enforce discipline rules; coordinate a system for tracking student attendance and tardiness by enforcing attendance policies; select and evaluate school staff; maintain effective communication and form positive relationships with school customers; and more. Although the job can be challenging at times, being an assistant principal has many rewards. Read what some
of our assistant principals have to say about their roles in education: “As an assistant principal, I feel that I am in a role that fits who I am as a person. I love to problem solve and look forward to what each day will bring. This position has helped me gain a better understanding of the full picture of the school environment and structure. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. My biggest joy is being able to support all stakeholders in ensuring the success of our students.” – Sherifat Ilo, Assistant Principal, Bush High School “I enjoy many aspects of my job as an assistant principal. However, what I enjoy most is interacting and having conversations with students. Getting to know who they are, and hearing about their dreams and aspirations encourages me in my role and reminds me of the tremendous impact educators make in students’ lives each day.” – Lisa Jones, Assistant Principal, Progressive High School “By being assigned to a group of students as they enter in sixth grade until they leave our campus, I’m able to witness their growth as they navigate through the various challenges that
HEB chef at the Sip & Stroll. Photos credit: Misha Morê.
It was a food, wine and booze-filled night to remember and most guests seemed to leave the ballroom reluctantly. – Dr. Jennifer Williams, Assistant Principal, Fort Settlement Middle School “What I enjoy most about being an assistant principal is being able to make a difference in the lives of our students by giving them a sense of hope and confidence to achieve their personal and professional goals.” – Troy Hodge, Assistant Principal, Lake Olympia Middle School
Parks Elementary Assistant Principal Jennifer Spears (left) joined Tammie Campbell of the Honey Brown Hope Foundation in honoring student poster contest winners. middle school students face, both academically and socially. One of my favorite quotes displayed at our campus, ‘Enter to learn. Exit to lead,’ captures what we hope for
all students. I want all students to know they have value and someone in their corner. After all, students are the reason I show up for work every day.”
“Being an assistant principal is such a rewarding job. I appreciate the opportunity to work closely with my campus principal, staff, students, and community stakeholders to evaluate and promote student learning, quality instruction, and growth. I feel lucky to be an integral part of a team that allows me to inspire and equip both students and teachers beyond what they can imagine.” – Stephanie Viado, Assistant Principal, Brazos Bend Elementary School Share your excitement in celebrating National Assistant Principals Week 2017. Join the conversations on Twitter using #apweek17.
VOICE OF ASIA 7
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day on June 2
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
New technologies mean faster, more accurate radiation treatment at Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land
TrueBeam Linear Accelerator. Photo credit: Houston Methodist Sugar Land.
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Cancer Survivors Day Celebration 2016
UGAR LAND—(April 5, 2017) — Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is joining nearly 15.5 million American cancer survivors celebrating the 30th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day® this year. Also being recognized are the many family members, friends and health care providers whose contributions to, and support of, cancer survivors help make the celebration possible. “Surviving cancer is more than just living. It’s an attitude about life and living each day to the fullest,” said Amy Sebastian-Deutsch, director of oncology services. “You will find our Cancer Survivor’s Day event filled with laughter, camaraderie, hope, compassion, faith, love and music as we honor cancer survivors for their strength and courage.” “National Cancer Survivors Day is a great opportunity for cancer survivors, caregivers, friends and family to come together and affirm there can be quality of life after a diag-
nosis of cancer,” added Clive Shkedy, M.D., medical director of radiation oncology. Anyone living with a personal history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life – is a cancer survivor, according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation®. Additionally, the foundation says that more people are surviving cancer than ever before, thanks to advances in prevention, early detection, treatment and follow-up care. Cancer, however, does come with many challenges, such as hindered access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments, inadequate or no insurance, financial hardships, employment problems and psychological struggles. “Despite these difficulties, cancer survivors can live active, productive lives with the support of other survivors,” said Shkedy. Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land welcomes all local cancer survivors and one caregiver to join us as we honor cancer survivors. Entitled
Survivors: Let’s Wipeout Cancer, the Cancer Survivors Day Celebration and Resource Fair will have a tropical theme and be held Friday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. News anchor, Shern-Min Chow from KHOU 11 will emcee the event and this year’s keynote speaker is LaDonna Gatlin. Born into a “showbiz” family, Gatlin grew up performing with her brothers, the well-known Gatlin Brothers. Her presentation, “Sometimes You Just Gotta Laugh!” will combine humor with music. You will also be able to have a tropical photo taken, and gain new knowledge through our resource fair. Recognizing the importance of wellness, you will be invited to participate in physical activity prior to enjoying a healthy Hawaiian style lunch. Feel free to wear a floral shirt, grass skirt or colorful lei. Registration is required. Register online at events.houstonmethodist.org/ survivorluncheon-sl or call 281.274.7500.
3527 Highway 6 Ste. 220 ! Sugar Land, Texas 77478!
firstname.lastname@example.org! Musical Theatre Camps Ages: 6-18 Session I - June 5-16 Aladdin Jr. Auditions: June 5th 12pm Hours: 1:00pm- 4:00pm, Mon-Fri Performance; June16, 2017. Attendance is free Tuition: $400 *Promotional Rate
For some patients, that means effective doses of radiation can be delivered to selected patients in just five treatment sessions – with reduced damage to surrounding tissue – compared with the 26 or even 44 separate sessions that other hospitals and clinics utilize. “This is a major advancement in the treatment of prostate cancer,” said Clive Shkedy, M.D., medical director of radiation oncology services at Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land. “Not only is it more convenient for patients, whose visits to the hospital are substantially reduced, but we are also able to be much more precise and significantly eliminate damage to surrounding tissue that can typically occur in prostate cancer radiation.” The new approach combines the hospital’s ultra-modern TrueBeam linear accelerator with advancements in radiation delivery. The first advancement is a unique hydrogel called SpaceOAR, developed by Augmenix, which is injected between the prostate and the rectum prior to the beginning of radiotherapy. The hydrogel pushes the rectum away from the prostate, protecting it from the radiation beam throughout
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UGAR LAND – (April 3, 2017) — Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land will soon be the first in Fort Bend to offer a unique blend of technology that can significantly reduce the number of radiation treatments needed to destroy prostate cancer.
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Session II - June 19-30 Beauty and the Beast Jr Auditions: June 19th, 12 pm Hours: 1:00pm- 4:00pm, Mon-Fri Performance: June 30, 2017. Attendance is free Tuition: $400 *Promotional Rate Century Choir- Starts: July 5-28th Ages: 7- 13 Class: 10:00am - 12:30pm Mon-Fri Performance on the 28th Schedule: Class: 10:00 am- 11:15am - students will learn vocal technique, rhythms and note reading. Ear training development exercises, solfeggi and symbols of the Kodály method to learn how to sing in Harmony. Class: 11:30am - 12:30pm- Rehearsal: Students will work on music. Selections made based on class. Tuition: $400 *Promotional Rate Music Ensembles- 10:00-12:30 Mon- Fri All Ages July 31- August 11th (Performance of all the ensembles Aug, 11th)This will be based on registration and interest. Ensemble will decide their repertoire within the first couple of days. Schedule:
10:00am -11:15am- Theory and sight-reading 11:30am -12:30pm -rehearsal time and coaching with our trained professionals Tuition: $200 **Promotional Rate
the full course of treatment. After three months, the gel is absorbed harmlessly and passed through urination.
26 sessions for certain patients, depending upon the stage and risk level of their specific tumor.
“Because of the proximity of the rectum to the prostate, tissue damage during radiation can occur,” said Shkedy. “Being able to separate the two, even slightly, enables us to directly target the tumor as needed while protecting the rectum and surrounding tissue.”
“Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land is the only hospital in Fort Bend with the TrueBeam linear accelerator and the only hospital to use these technologies to improve delivery and spare healthy tissue,” said Shkedy. “This is a significant advantage for patients and one that we are pleased and proud to offer.”
The second advancement is a GPS-like tracking system called Calypso™, developed by Varian, which gives the radiation oncologist a 4-D view of the prostate and allows for the greatest possible accuracy. With the Calypso system, a urologist places three tiny transmitters in the prostate with a tool similar to a biopsy needle. The transmitters send real-time location data to a monitor in the radiation lab, allowing the radiation oncologist to see even the slightest movement of the prostate and precisely target the tumor. “The combination of these therapies enables us to deliver a higher dose of radiation and do so more accurately,” said Shkedy. “A traditional dose has about 180-200 units of radiation per treatment; we will be able to deliver as much as 700 units of radiation per treatment in the same amount of time. And we will spare healthy tissue much more effectively.” These technologies are supported by new guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network that call for treatment regimens of five to
Shkedy says that Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land is already reducing the length of its radiation for other types of cancers, including lung, liver and spinal tumors. “Depending on the stage and location of the tumor, we can successfully treat many of these cancers in five or so treatments,” said Shkedy. “It’s not something that every hospital can do as it requires advanced technology and highly skilled physicians, physicists and therapists.” Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is Fort Bend County’s only hospital with American College of SurgeonsCommission on Cancer accreditation. The Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land treats a wide range of cancers and provides high quality, specialized services — including screenings, diagnostics, genetic testing, advanced technology, clinical trials and patient support — close to home. For more information, visit houstonmethodist.org/cancer-sl or call 281.242.CURE (2873).
MIST Production – Ebar Rajar Pala – A major hit by Basu
engali theater l o v ers in Houston were going through withdrawal symptoms awaiting the next MIST (Masks, Issues, & Stages Traversed) production. MIST came through and provided the much needed high with their latest production, Ebar A scene from the play Ebar Rajar Pala. Pics courtesy: Sushanta Bose Rajar Pala. The play written by Banku’s life is turned topsy was very convincing and real. eminent actor, director and turvy. Drawing parallels with Some of the other characters writer Utpal Dutt is based in the Emergency as one of the worth mentioning The supthe Emergency time period in most controversial periods of porting cast of Souvik Ghose, India. independent India’s history, Aurko Dutta, Shantanu MukThe play was enacted at the Banku decides to defy author- hopadhyay, Swati Mukherjee, Katy Performing and Visual ity and rule by decree, allow- Anirban Mukherjee, Koushik arts Center the past weekend ing elections to be rigged and Kundu, Md. Tareque, Sujoy April 8 and 9, to sold out au- civil liberties to be curbed, Kahali, and Partha Sen were diences. Beautiful ladies wel- imprison political opponents all very precisely effective in comed all at the ticket counter and censor the press. Several their own right. and arrangements were made other human rights violations The actors were very ably for wine and cheese in the are ordered and the power supported by singers and mugets to Banku’s head. With lobby before the show. the help of his erstwhile man- sicians including Nahid, NuSet in the backdrop of ru- ager Noni Da, who now be- pur, Chandrani and Deepayan ral Bengal, the play revolves comes his political advisor, he on vocals, Arani on the violin around a troupe of Jatra ac- is misled to emasculating the and Shyamal and Nirmalya on tors. Jatra is a very popular council of ministers. Banku percussion. traditional folk-theatre form also goes on and tries to forge The rest of the production of Bengal. The troupe is in- alliances with capitalists like crew worked tirelessly to get vited by a local landlord for Chamariya, and takes other the sound, light and stage to a performance in his village. repressive measures. all work in seamless harmony. Amongst all the actors, the The ending is quite gripping Thanks to the excellent teamlead actor, Banku, always and emotional. The physical, work, the production went off used to claim that he was the smoothly and ended up being son of the king and everyone compelling acting of Rahul a very fulfilling experience for Chakaraborty , who played used to make fun of him. He all. The community will now suddenly finds out, while the the role of the main protago- look for such outstanding pronist, Banku was par exceltroupe is at the village that he ductions from MIST in future actually is the eldest surviv- lence. I noticed a few women and there are already requests with tears in their eyes foling heir of the princely state lowing the show, leading from the Houston Durga Bari of Mechgir. proof to the fact that the play members to restage the show since many had to miss it. Major mayhem ensues and
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
From A Non-Universal Religion to the HGH to host its 7th Hindu Youth Awards and Fundraiser on April 22 Universal Dharma - Celebrating 26 Years of Arya Samaj Greater Houston
2016 Youth Award winners with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett (4th from left)
DAV Montessori and Sanskriti Schools reciting Vedic slokas by Dr. Harish Chandra
rya Samaj Greater Houston (ASGH) celebrated its 26th Anniversary Sunday, 9th April 2017. It began with hoisting of the saffron flag symbolizing OM - the supreme lighthouse of knowledge and peace for the entire humanity. Durga Agrawal, leading industrialist, philanthropist and educationist was at the flag mast with Dr. Devbala Ramanathan, MD, FACOG, the chief guest speaker from New York, and our own Dev Mahajan. After a brief havan, Dr. Devabala reminded the audience to see the larger world outside and treat it as the Karma-Bhumi, taking inspiration from the slogan of Arya Samaj - Krinvanto VishvamAryam Make the Entire World Noble, as implored in RigVeda. As she thundered like a lioness, it remarkably reminded of the event exactly 150 years ago, when
Maharshi Dayanand roared like a lion in the Haridwar Kumbh fair to enlighten the masses with the true message of the Vedas to remove the prevailing darkness of religious rituals that selfish hypocrites had invented to exploit the gullible masses. A brief presentation on the accomplishments of ASGH was given by Dr. Bhushan Verma in which he showed the fascinating journey of this institution from a humble beginning in 1991 to the present. Major milestones were the addition of DAV Sanskriti & Montessori schools, a DAV library & a Yagyashala. Besides the weekly Satsang, ASGH offers classes for Yoga, meditation, Sanskrit & Vedic scriptures, as well as an impressive outreach program. Numerous charitable projects have been undertaken by ASGH to help the underprivileged in India & the US.
After that, the children of the DAV Montessori and Sanskriti Schools took the onerous task of delivering the spiritual message via Vedic recitations, songs and dance. It took everyone by surprise how little children of DAVMS learn Hindi and so many other skills beyond their regular curriculum. Not to be left behind, there was a great sense of awe about the children of the DAVSS, the Sunday School – how they pick up so much in mere two hours a week. The grand finale was a befitting tribute to Maharshi Dayanand and his mission of Arya Samaj, the chorus song – Suraj ban jisne door kiya ghor andhera, vah Dev Dayanand hai mera! As children sang in unison, the adults in audience fought to stop their tears, truly mesmerized. The event ended with Rishi Langar consisting of delicacies from different parts of India.
The Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) is proud to announce the 7th ‘Hindu Youth Awards and Fundraising Gala’ on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. The objective of the Youth Gala is to identify and recognize the future Hindu leaders, to encourage them to preserve and persevere its proud legacy, and to groom them with the needed understanding, tools and resources to achieve that goal. The Hindu youth award allows each of the awardees to share their contribution to the Hindu society while exchanging the experiences with other awardees, thus allowing a stronger and well-knit Future Hindu Leaders of America. The highlights of the evening would include listening to the inspiring stories of the winning youth and recognizing the donors and organizations for their commitment and support of the important cause and enjoy a cultural program. Sri Pujya Kaivalyamurti will be the Guest speaker for the evening. He is a renowned
This year we will recognize six youth representing the Hindu organizations in Houston, who have provided outstanding service to community in education and volunteered their time. Hindus of Greater Houston organizes this event every year, the last one was hosted by Sri. Meenakshi Temple. Smriti Ahuja, an awardee from last year quotes “It was truly an honor receiving the Hindu Youth Award. I am blessed to have been a part of Arya Samaj and a very vibrant Hindu community in Houston which has taught me that wherever
we may be in our lives, it is extremely important for us to stay connected to our roots and continue to practice the core values of Hinduism so we can lead by example for the coming generations. I continue to stay engaged with our culture and values at my university.” Vinod Mantri, HGH joint treasurer, the event chair this year is excited and says: “Given the professionalism, meticulousness in the planning of this event with team BAPS, I am extremely confident with I will come out with flying colors.” Please save the date, August 12, 2017 for our 28th Janmashtami celebrations, a signature event that Hindus of Greater Houston has been celebrating in a grand style. Hindus of Greater Houston also host and support a variety of events on an ongoing basis, with the generous help of patrons in the community. We are always looking forward to more sponsors and support. For more information call Vinod Mantri at 281-804-2740 or Richa Dixit at 832.451.7206.
India House, SOS to partner for town hall meeting on immigration, racism and media’s trustworthiness HOUSTON -- The 2016 presidential election has resulted in the dawn of a new age of populism. Rise of the Trump administration has broken the conventional thinking on politics, immigration, racism and media’s trustworthiness.
Dr. Devbala Ramanathan, MD, FACOG,cHIEF chief guest speaker from New York, being honored with a shawl by ASGH’s Dev Mahajan.
young Swami recognized by BAPS Sri Swaminarayan Sanstha, born and raised in Texas, and currently overseeing the Southwestern United States regional youth activities. The Keynote speaker for the evening is the Ms. Suhag Shukla, Executive founder, Legal Counsel and Co-founder of Hindu American Foundation, who will inspire and encourage our youth with her inspiring speech. She will also meet in a youth only session from 5:155:45 pm.
Historically, this is the first time that the South-Asian community is facing such unprecedented changes in the way that they are being perceived by the majority. Many social issues like hate crimes, fake news and, rapid yet confusing changes to immigration policies are on the rise and, the South-Asian
community is at crossroads and, finding it difficult to cope with these changes. The number of the incidents related to hate crimes; especially in the South-Asian community is rising at an alarming rate undermining even the American-born South-Asians. The rise of social media dependency for information has paved a way for anyone to create unverifiable news anytime from anywhere. At Share Our Secrets (SOS), we call this “The New Normal.” India House and SOS are partnering to bring together a team of immigration and law enforcement profes-
sionals, business owners, and other community movers to discuss, share and provide guidance on how to deal with issues such as hate crimes, the identification of “fake news” and immigration policy changes in a town hall style meeting. This vital discussion and thoughts exchange will take place on Sunday, April 30th, 2017, from 4PM-6PM at India House. For more information, visit http://www.shareoursecrets.org/SOStownhall. You may also contact Mani S(email@example.com), Pramod K(pramodhk2000@ gmail.com) or Vishnu M(firstname.lastname@example.org).
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Vedic Fair 6 - A Cultural Extravaganza on India By Shobana Muratee ATY, TX – The relevance of a Vedic culture in the 21st Century especially thousands of miles away from its place of origin, may seem confusing for some but phenomena success for the Vedic Fair held each year at Cinco Ranch High School by Ashirwad A Blessing tells a different story. The 6th Vedic Fair held on Saturday April 8th, 2017, showcased India’s culture, the birthplace of the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures written in early Sanskrit. Whether or not you are familiar with the Vedic culture, the Vedic Fair was meant to give an experience to celebrate India and its lifestyle, enjoy the food and learn something phenomenal. The free for all Fair started from 3:30 PM until 9:00 PM at Cinco Ranch High School. An enormous diorama of “Samudra Manthan”, The Churning of Ocean made with 108 Lotus petals and lily pads in an ocean, with 11’ tall Mount Mandara as churning stick on the back of Turtle Avtar of Lord Vishnu and Snake Vasuki as rope depicting a famous episode of the Hindu mythology was the spot where visitors were seen taking pictures with families. Inside another lotus was the idol of Goddes Lakshmi seated, depicting her birth as a result of the churning of the ocean. On the lotus petals were written 1000 names of Lord Vishnu by students of Ashirwad Indian Lifestyle Class of Katy. Vedic Fair 6 was invoked with energized recitation of Lakshmi Astotharam by Ashirwad Indian-LifeStyle Class teachers and students which filled the hall with positive vibrations and felt the grace of Mother Lakshmi. Beaming parents looked on as youngsters dressed up in Indian attire presented about Indian Heritage in Celebrate India Exhibits contest. Youngsters of age 9 yrs and above showcased varied exhibits on Vedic heritage with confidence. Sai Parthu Aki was the Champion of Vedic Fair 6 –Celebrate India Exhibits for his high quality presentation on Yoga & Meditation, in which he displayed his own creativity built Surya Namaskar poses with Legos. Past the main attraction was an array of exhibits depicting many aspects of India that were well researched:India’s who is who, Bhakthi Yoga, Bhagwad Githa - The Divine Song Vishwaroopam - Cosmic Form of Lord Krishna, Indus Valley Civilization, Chandragupta Maurya, 9 Famous Temples of Goddess Shakthi, Rama - Lord of 16 Super Qualities, Ramayana, Samudra Manthan - Churning of the Ocean, Goddess Lakshmi, Dances of India,
Diorama of “Samudra Manthan”, The Churning of Ocean made with 108 Lotus petals greeted the visitors at the Vedic Fair 6
students, teachers volunteers and vendors that made the event a grand success. Special mention went out to Priya and Ravi Sethuraman, Priya Muralidharan, Deepika Maharaj, Sri Ravula, Sailesh and Radhika Kaparaju, Ashutosh and Sonali Sapru, Anish Kumar, Vikas Ahuja, Uma Chidambaram, Mahima Bhat, Manisha and Mahesh Halapeti, Sachin Joshi, Suresh Napa and Ashirwad Young Wingz comprising 35+ high school volunteers who served ardently. She also thanked Sam Merchant from Congressman Al Greens office, Sarojini and Subhash Gupta and all supporting organizations – Interfaith Ministries, ISKCON, Sanatan Hindu Center, Abhinaya
Sai Parthu Aki - Celebrate India Exhibits 2017 Champion
Goddess Laxmi arrival from Samudra Manthan in Goddess Laxmi - The Divine 8 play.
Mahatma Gandhi, Dwarka, 27 Nakshatras and their influence, Kumbh Mela, 4 Vedas, ISRO - Indian Space Research Organization, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism made up the amazing line up of 20+ exhibits. In addition, free ‘How 2 Workshops’ on Rangoli, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Yoga, Meditation and Classical Dance kept the visitors engaged. There was ample for young audience: Kids show “Rise of Fortune” illustrating the origin of Goddess Laxmi, was intriguing while “Sloka-Thon” Live on stage contest was invigorating for the young minds. “As a teacher, it’s a great satisfying moment to see participant’s present well researched topics from the heritage with excitement and confidence. This year close to 40 high school volunteers served passionately from 8:30 AM till 10:30 PM,” Geetha Ravula, Vedic Fair chair and founder of Ashirwad - A Blessing, Houston based non-profit organization had to say. The Vedic Bazaar at the Vedic Fair had a choice of Indian ethnic apparel, jewelry, henna, face painting and variety of vegetarian food delicacies from savories to street foods like the samosa chat, vada paav and even soya biryani.
Among the highlights was the play “Goddess Laxmi – The Divine 8” directed by Geetha Ravula who played the lead role, was presented in Hindi with English narration. The magnificent 8 forms (avatars) of Goddess Lakshmi were brilliantly portrayed: as Adi Lakshmi, she supports the Universe, as Dhanya Lakshmi she gives Food, as Gaja Lakshmi she bestows Strength, as Dhairya Lakshmi she blesses with Courage, as Santana Lakshmi she blesses with Children, as Vijaya Lakshmi she bestows us Success, as Vidya Lakshmi she dispels our ignorance and fill us with true knowledge and as Dhana Lakshmi she blesses us with Wealth for our material pursuits Expressing her passion behind promoting Vedic culture, Ravula said, “These values when reflected and perceived without distortion can evolve a human being into higher consciousness. This is a start of their beautiful journey and I have seen kids who have been attending Indian Lifestyle class at Ashirwad evolving to a more achieving and yet balanced individuals.,” hoping to involve more youth and parents in the future. This year’s Vedic Fair was even more encompassing involving other religious groups as well. The Sikh
UT Longhorns meet after almost fifty years
From left: (Husbands standing behind spouses): Standing: Chandrasekhar Tammareddi, Ramakrishna Bhimaraju, Dinesh Pejaver, Guntur Rao, Raj Mashruwala, Sam Kannappan. Sitting: Vijaya, Aruna,Vrinda,Denya, Zarine, MeenakshiThis covers early immigrants of 1960s in Texas. Six University of Texas at Austin Alumni met after nearly fifty years in Houston on April 8, 2017. Their spouses joined them for the special get together. They talked about life at the University of Texas in Austin during 1968 and 1969 when the Long Horns were national champions in football for two consecutive years on the one hand and social activism such as anti-Vietnam war protests and opposition to cut trees to expand the memorial stadium were in vogue. Other topics of interested included typical immigrant student activities such as cooking individually or in groups and supporting each other in succeeding at school. For questions, please call Sam Kannappan 713 724-4399 (M)
community of Houston had a stall where they were speaking of Vaisakhi – vibrant festival and announced that Mayor Sylvester Turner will be proclaiming Vaisakhi Day in the city of Houston at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 13 at Houston City Hall. At the same time, the city will also be showcasing select images from the Sikh Project, a photography exhibition highlighting Sikh American stories of
perseverance, progress and determination. The photography exhibit will be on display in the city hall rotunda from April 10-30. The Vedic Fair is a finest example of Houston metropolis diversity and coming together of communities. With a few dedicated individuals like Ravuala, who focus on preserving Indian culture, the future of the young especially their attitudes towards peaceful co-existence can be impacted in a positive way. Ravula expressed her thanks to the
School of Performing Arts, Universal Door Meditation Center, Islamic Society of Greater Houston, JVB Preksha Meditation Center, Sikhs of Greater Houston. From the start, with invocation recitation of Lakshmi Astotharam by Ashirwad Indian-LifeStyle Class teachers and students till the end was felt the positive vibrations and synergy generated in the hall. Vedic Fair 7 will be happening in February 2018. For continued updates visit facebook.com/VedicFair.
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
VOICE OF ASIA 11
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Houston Malayalee Association express shock over death of student in Kerela, seek justice
Donald Trump nominates Indian-American Vishal Amin as his ‘IP czar’
Mishel Shaji Varghese, 18
OUSTON – Members of the Malayalee Association of Greater Houston (MAGH), a nonprofit organization with 40,000 strong members, gathered with leaders at St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral on Sunday, April 9, 2017 to seek justice in the case of the mysterious death of Mishel Shaji Varghese, an 18year-old student in Kerala on March 6. Mishel Shaji Varghese was a CA student at Logic School of Management in Ernakulam, and was living in a convent near Kacheripady. She went missing on March 5, and was last spotted at St Antony’s Church in Ernakulam’s Kaloor in Kerala that day (CCTV footage confirmed this). Her family filed a man missing case at the Central Police Station after learning Mishel has not returned to her hostel. Next day morning, Mishel’s dead body was found drowned in Willington Island in Kochi. The postmortem report said she died due to drowning and reports say there were no suspicious wounds on the body. Family’s stand led to people on social media calling for
Vins Varghese, Mishel’s uncle, speaking at the MAGH gathering at St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral on Sunday, April 9, 2017. further investigation. #JusticeForMishel hit the Kerala internet and even movie stars demanded a clearer picture. An online petition has been filed on Change.org seeking thorough probe on the case. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan ordered an investigation by a special Crime Branch team and assured perpetrators will be severely punished. Vins Varghese, Mishel’s uncle, speaking at the MAGH gathering, explained how the police were negligent, causing delay when the family was trying to file the case. The MAGH expressed unanimously that they were against the actions of police in this case as they did not respond as they should have to make a true difference. MAGH leader and dignitaries who attended included: Thomas Cherukara, MAGH President, H. G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Thevodoros Metropoli-
tan, Very Rev. Fr. Gheevarghis Aroopala Cor-Episcopa. Ken Mathew, City of Stafford, ProTem Mayor, Koshy Thomas, President, Voice of Asia, G. K. Pillai, MAGH Director, Board
Chairman, Shanmukan, Kerala Hindu Society President, Rev. Fr. Philip Mathew, Rev. Fr. Joel Mathew, Dr. Mathew Vairamen MAGH Vice President and Vins Varghese, (uncle of
Mishel Shaji Varghese). It was announced that a petition would be sent to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan with a copy to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi requesting for further investigation into the case.
Wife comes to US techie’s funeral, beaten by in-laws
YDERABAD, India (TOI) : Angry and anguished, the family of Madhukar Reddy Guduru who committed suicide in the US, beat up his wife Swathi, in Bhongir on Tuesday. The body of Madhukar Reddy was brought to his home town for last rites. When Swathi arrived at the house, her in-laws and relatives beat her up in full public view alleging that she was responsible for Madhukar’s death.
According to sources in Seattle, no complaint was lodged with the local police when Madhukar was found dead at his house. “No police investigation was carried out here,” a source from the US told TOI.
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After the attack, Swathi lodged a complaint with the Bhongir police. Dismissing her in-laws’ allegations of foul
Swathi said Madhukar responded to her text message on April 4. In the afternoon also he replied cheerfully . “However, when I went home in the eve-
Swathi said she had medical records of Madhukar to prove that he was undergoing psychiatric counselling. She said one of the reasons for his depression was that the family was losing land in Bhongir, and the main reason was `work related’ as he himself had told doctors. She also said he had worried that his siblings had not returned large sums of money that they had taken from him. “The down payment for the house we bought in the US was made from my earnings,” she said.
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She told a TV channel that she herself had asked for divorce because of his mood swings. “I told his parents to come to the US and observe him. If his behaviour towards me was abnormal, it meant that he was no longer interested in me and the way out was divorce,” she said.
ning, I found him hanging,” she said.
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Swathi and Madhukar Reddy Guduru. Both Madhukar Reddy, an IT professional, and Swathi, were employed in the US and they have a seven-year-old daughter. Madhukar was found hanging in his home in Seattle on April 4.
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WASHINGTON: PTI (April 8, 2017) President Donald Trump has tapped IndianAmerican Vishal Amin as his new ‘IP czar’ to coordinate US law-enforcement strategy around copyright, patents and trademarks. Amin has been nominated to be the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in the Executive Office of the President, the White House said yesterday as Trump made a number of key administrative appointments. If confirmed by the US Senate, Amin would succeed Daniel Marti. Amin is currently a Senior Counsel on House Judiciary Committee. He also served in the administration of President George W Bush at the White House, as Associate Director for Domestic Policy, and at the US Department of Commerce, as Special Assistant and Associate Director for Policy in the Office of the Secretary, a statement said. Amin received his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University and his law degree from Washington University in St Louis. The Recording Industry Association of America welcomed his nomination. “The prompt appointment and consideration of this position is critical, and we commend President Trump for his choice.
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
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Indian police arrest mastermind behind US tax scam
UMBAI | AFP | Monday 4/10/2017 - Indian police have arrested the alleged mastermind of a multi-million dollar racket in which callers posing as US officials tricked Americans into paying bogus tax bills, officials said. The scale of the scam could be gauged from the fact that US department of justice charged 61 people and business entities who charged taxpayers based in America for non-existent dues. Sagar Thakkar, 24, was making more than 10 million rupees ($155,000) a day at the height of the scam, which operated for nearly a year before it was exposed. (See story, right) Thakkar is accused of calling victims in the United States and berating them for not paying phoney tax bills, threatening them with jail if they did not cough up immediately.
He fled to Dubai after the scam was exposed but was arrested early Saturday when he flew back to India where he planned to revive his operation, police said. “He has confessed to his crimes,” Parambir Singh, commissioner of police in the Mumbai suburb of Thane, told AFP, adding the accused would face court on Thursday. Mumbai police in October detained more than 770 people suspected of defrauding Americans by impersonating agents from the US Internal Revenue Service and demanding payments. The US Justice Department subsequently charged 61 people for involvement in India-based schemes that defrauded nearly 15,000 American citizens. “We are extremely vigilant when the names of US government agencies are used to per-
petuate fraud for the purpose of victimising so many innocent American citizens,” US Attorney Kenneth Magidson had said in a statement. The con artists would use altered caller ID numbers to make it appear they were phoning from the US, and often quoted IRS badge numbers to trick their victims. Those conned would sent money through pre-paid debit cards, such as Walmart supermarket vouchers or Apple iTunes gift cards. The scam prompted Apple to issue a global warning against giving card numbers to strangers. The IRS has for years warned about similar scams. In January the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said it was aware of at least 5,000 victims who
Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train clears major land hurdle
EW DEHLI (PTI) - The railways have crossed a major hurdle in rolling out the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project as the Maharashtra government has agreed to give land at the Bandra-Kurla complex (BKC). The starting point of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor at BKC was a bone of contention between the railways and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) as the latter was strongly opposed to giving land to the public transporter. The proposed bullet train will start underground from BKC and travel 21 km in a tunnel passing through the sea before emerging overground at Thane. The MRDA had wanted to use the BKC land for the proposed International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at BKC. The state urban development department had also asked the railways to explore alternatives near Bandra Terminus and Kurla. However, the railways had rejected the suggestion and managed to convince the
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
had been defrauded of more than $26.5 million via such schemes since late 2013. India became the call centre capital of the world in the early
2000s as foreign firms, drawn by its educated and cheaper English-speaking workforce, farmed out jobs answering customer phone inquiries.
Scammer Sagar Thakkar spills the beans In his interrogation, call centre scam mastermind, Sagar Thakkar, has revealed that many of his counterparts ran scams in the pharmaceuticals, banking and grants sectors. Explaining the grants scam in detail, he said that this was operated mostly from Russia and China. In this, the call centres would call up citizens from English-speaking nations, including the USA, and inform them that they had won a certain sum under a scheme or policy and for the same they needed them to deposit an initial sum and divulge their account details. The Thane police arrested 25-year-old Thakkar early on Saturday morning after he surrendered to the immigration authorities in India. He is said to be the mastermind behind a multi million-dollar scam that duped thousands of US nationals by
Sagar Thakkar (File photo from video) making them pay huge fines to fake IRS employees. According to sources in the Thane police, Thakkar is revealing details about numerous scams not just in India but also in various parts of the world. (Deccanchronicle.com)
Post-demonetisation, 90% Indian travellers book via debit/credit cards By Anumeha Chaturvedi
EW DELHI: Online travel portal Yatra. com conducted its annual summer survey which showcases the trends of Indian travellers planning a vacation this summer. The latest survey shows that demonetisation has had no major impact on travel plans. Nearly 90% respondents are planning a summer vacation this year as opposed to only 83% in 2016. Another key finding from the survey estab-
lished that there has been more than 100% increase in Indians looking to travel to USA since last year and 208% increase in Indians travelling to Europe since post Brexit. As an alternate solution to minimize the impact of demonetization on vacations over 80% Indians are opting to reduce the number of days to travel and compromise on accommodation. Ironically, luxury travel has also witnessed a rise with 48% Indians willing to spend
more than Rs 50000 per person on travel this summer versus 18% last year. While nearly 80% Indians are looking to stay in hotels this summer, only 4% prefer staying with friends/relatives. Homestays, a trend is rapidly gaining popularity in India and has seen an increase in preference by over 100% this summer. This states that new age travellers seek out unique experiences in the course of their travels and selfexpenditure is a priority for the travellers while vacationing.
The proposed 508 km Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train is estimated to cost the Railways about Rs 97,636 crore (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) MMRDA that India’s first high speed rail project should be constructed at an underground terminus at BKC, a senior railway ministry official said. Since the station is planned to be built underground, the above space can be utilised for IFSC construction, the official said. There are a total of 12 stations on the 508-km route — four of which are in Maharashtra and eight in Gujarat. A formal announcement is likely to be made by the railways and Maharashtra soon ending the uncertainties over location of the starting point
of India’s first bullet train project, the official said. The total land available at BKC is about 67 acres and the project needs about 10 acre land. Passenger area, platforms, escalators, lifts among others will be constructed underground at BKC. Estimated to cost about Rs97,636 crore, 81% of the funding for the project will come by way of a loan from Japan. The project cost includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction and import duties. Maharashtra and Gujarat will also share 25% cost each for the project.
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VOICE OF ASIA 14
The rise of the emoji
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Living in Cuban time
Modern-day pictographs or wordless garbage?
by Magandeep Singh
hile I always fancied myself a riveting orator, I was never cut out for drama school. I could deliver speeches, inspire, make them cry, make them think, maybe even laugh. But cast me in an on-stage role and I was as convincing as B-grade porn. It was about getting into character and my failure therein; my method acting mantra was simply, don’t do it, any of it, ever! My social score card may have suffered on account of this inability to connect, but I survived, without ever wishing to express any angst. Back then, most of us didn’t feel the need to emote; it just wasn’t done. Everyone had their moments and you kept them precisely there – to yourselves. Sure, a bit of a heel-click and a dance wasn’t out of place, but to show sorrow out in the open, why you’d sooner hang out your unwashed Yfronts to air in the front yard. Today, if simply talking about your last garden gala doesn’t tear you up publicly, you are prescribed therapy. It is de rigueur to cry often, the more inexplicable the circumstance the better. It’s called being in touch with your soft side. I think it’s for people who are softly touched in the head. Which explains why emojis, or emoticons, or wordless garbage by any other name, are so relevant in times today. It isn’t enough to merely say something and assume that people will get the embedded humour. You have to make it explicitly clear, like that mutual fund fine print. I didn’t squirm half as much when people wore Crocs anywhere
outside the house, as when an emoji which looks like a yellow egghead crying and laughing at the same time was inducted as Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015. A pictograph as a word; the modern-day Shakespeare is going to be a mixed-arts sophomore. The end of civilisation is truly nigh. I believe that the reason why emoticons came into being is because 140 characters of an SMS don’t accommodate for punctuation. Without italics or the right pauses, one is reading the thoughts of a robot – seamless but also soulless. Emojis help fill that gap. They convey your general state while reading or responding, even if the words bely that humour. So, if you ever see an intelligent one allowing self to use emoticons, it is because s/he is trying to keep the message undistorted for the simpler minds. Sarcasm is a wasted virtue in the written form of any language. Except emojis, where you can sign off with a sly winky. But then, there are the lazy millennial lot, the kind for whom emojis are a natural linguistic evolution; for the set that can’t tell their ‘theirs’ from their ‘there’s’, and if you had to read that again, then you are part of the problem, kiddo. Screw learning, just suffix a smiley and it’s good to go. My acquired-English sensibilities never allow me to lend myself to hyperbole. ‘It’s alright’ is a very positive review in my mind. To be ‘absolutely stunningly awesome’ in my mind, you’d have to be a young Brigitte Bar-
Tourists can rent a joyride in an old American car in Havana, on March 31, 2017.In Raul Castro’s Cuba it seems time stood still in the sixties. The reforms undertaken a decade ago changed the Cuban scenery without imposing a new rhythm on the island. (AFP photo)
AVANA I AFP - April 10, 2017 - In Cuba, it sometimes seems time stopped in the 1960s.
bean and because of the whole legacy of socialism,” said the writer Wendy Guerra, a rising star of Cuban literature.
in 2012 with a piece where a troupe danced backward up a Havana avenue, symbolizing Cubans’ peculiar relationship with time.
Despite a succession of sweeping changes in recent years -- rapprochement with the US, Fidel Castro’s death -- the rhythm of life on the island remains as languid as ever.
“Time isn’t money here. Very few people produce anything for themselves. The country stopped producing a long time ago. People act like they’re working, and the state acts like it pays them,” the 46-year-old novelist and poet told AFP.
But things have been evolving since President Raul Castro came to power in 2008.
In Old Havana, locals still watch life go by from the balconies of their dilapidated colonial buildings, as classic American cars putter down cobblestone streets and seemingly endless games of dominoes play out on sidewalk tables. Tourists love the island’s timelessness, which gives it the aura of a living postcard immune to change. For Cubans, who have made standing in line an art form and bureaucracy a way of life, this vestige of communism is less charming. “We live in slow motion -- because we’re an island, because it’s the Carib-
dot, riding a unicorn, a la Godiva. And even then… I have done a whole piece on emoticons, yet I haven’t used one insofar. For posterity, let the record show that I couldn’t find the keystroke for the emoji of a bald man tut-tutting softly under his breath while he nods in despaired dissent. This column is for anyone who gives an existential toss. (-TheHindu.com)
“There’s no schedule. No one ever has to be somewhere urgently. There’s no traffic, and public transportation problems have made us all officially unpunctual.” In her novel “Everyone Leaves,” Guerra’s heroine ends up frozen on Havana’s famous seaside boulevard, the Malecon, “stuck in the immobility of Cuba.”
Since he replaced his big brother Fidel, tourism has boomed, WiFi hotspots have flourished, and private restaurants and hotels have gone from banned to blossoming. Besides the long-unthinkable rapprochement with Washington, Raul Castro has sought to modernize Cuba’s Soviet-style economy by allowing small private businesses, the sale of cars and homes, and international travel.
Cuban artist Alejandro Campins also addresses the island’s lethargy in his work.
“Time has accelerated in Cuba as a result of the economic reforms,” said Arturo Lopez-Levy, a professor at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
“Every Cuban’s subconscious is a waiting room,” he said.
Still, the country is not exactly jumping to light speed.
Standing in line “is in our DNA,” said port agent Daniel Rios, 36, whose job involves a lot of queuing.
“Time may be moving quickly by Cuban standards, but not by the standards of the rest of the world,” said Michael Shifter, president of the InterAmerican Dialogue research institute.
Many artists have found inspiration in Cuban time. “Coming to Cuba is like traveling back to the past. Time doesn’t move here,” said the artist Dagoberto Rodriguez. He and a collaborator made waves
“For most Cubans, life remains unchanged even to this day.” Cuba is stuck in “a different dimension of time,” said Cuban economist Pavel Vidal, who teaches in Colombia.
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VOICE OF ASIA 15
Adventures in Lebanese cuisine By Anneka Manning
didn’t know how lucky I was at the time, but my true introduction to traditional Lebanese food happened in the early days of dating the man who would become my husband – Paul. Made with love by his grandmother and steeped in family history, dishes like kibbeh nayyeh – finely minced lean raw lamb combined with bulgur (cracked wheat) and eaten like steak tartare – were made especially when we visited. I’ll admit this wasn’t one of my favourites, and I ate it just so I wouldn’t offend, but the food that was brought from the oven, that was entirely another extremely delicious story!
with a rice and/or minced lamb stuffing) in a tomato sauce, vermicelli rice (broken vermicelli noodles and rice cooked with cinnamon, pine nuts and ghee), toum (garlic sauce) and hum-
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Light Festival bathes mosque in blue
ingredient in many Lebanese dishes, including earthy and delicious kibbeh bil sayneyeh (baked kibbeh). Also known as Lebanese seven spice blend, baharat is typically a combi-
Baked falafel with tomato herb salad & baked kibbeh (Right). (Photo: Alan Benson)
Paul’s paternal grandparents moved to Australia from Lebanon in the 1950s, and with them came the food traditions of their homeland. Paul’s mum, Hazel, saw how much her children loved their grandmother’s food and made a point of learning as much as she could from her mother-inlaw. Paul remembers their fam-
mus, which were made in plentiful quantities so there were always leftovers to enjoy. I have loved continuing the tradition of this wonderful cuisine that is so full of flavour, colour, life and generosity. Lamb is the favoured protein; rice sometimes takes the lead role or is often the supporting
nation of cloves, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, white pepper and nutmeg, but might also contain paprika, white pepper, coriander seed and/or cardamom. Fish and seafood also feature frequently on a classic Lebanese family menu. And over the years I’ve always looked forward to the seeyadeeyah – a traditional fish dish with rice, caramelised onion sauce and pine nuts – that Hazel always makes for Good Friday lunch. But you knew I was saving what I think is the best to last. When it comes to sweets, Lebanese cooks will often add the unique flavour of aromatic flower waters, such as rose and orange blossom, to biscuits and pastries such as ghraybeh (Lebanese butter cookies), znoud el sett (pastry fingers with ashta cream) and the ever-popular baklava.
Lebanese butter cookies (ghraybeh) ily Sunday lunches fondly – the equivalent of the Sunday roast was a generous and flavoursome spread of Lebanese food. His favourites were kibbeh bil sayneyeh (a baked version of kibbeh), vine leaves (grape leaves with a rice stuffing), stuffed marrows (zucchini
act. Pulses such as chickpeas also feature extensively in dishes such as falafel and hummus. Garlic, lemon, herbs and olive oil are the cornerstones; spices not only add highlights but also give depth to many of the amazing dishes. Aromatic baharat is the secret
This makes eating these Middle Eastern sweets an extremely sensual experience. Definitely an option to consider when you’re trying to impress someone in the early stages of dating, believe me. Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish. (-SBS.com.au)
Al Noor Mosque, Sharjah, UAE (Photo courtesy National Geographic) Photographer Alan Millin writes of his image “The Sharjah light festival is a great opportunity to capture landmark sites in unusual lighting. Al Noor mosque, set against the lagoon and corniche, is just too good to miss.”
The 3 safest places to travel in the Middle East by Lindsay MacNevin
eautiful mountain ranges, untouched beauty, warm waters and some of the oldest history in the world makes the Middle East a perfect place to visit. Unfortunately finding a safe place to explore here is often compared to finding a needle in a haystack. With political unrest, terrorism and travel advisories; travelers are often avoiding this beautiful part of the world but as you will soon discover; you don’t have to stay away. Although these destinations are safe at the time of writing, we highly suggest doing your research and keeping up to date with the information on any place you are planning to visit. The Nile, Egypt With all the political unrest in Egypt over the past year it was just as surprising to us that Egypt has made our list! When we dove deeper into the safety of Egypt we discovered that there are not only safe places to visit; but now may be the
best time to go. From the uncrowded pyramids of Giza to the tourist empty Valley of The Kings; travelling along the Nile is a safe and plentiful option for travel right now. We do recommend sticking to cities such as Luxor and Aswan if you are going to travel alone without a guided tour. If you are going to see the Pyramids of Giza a cruise of the Nile with a guide is our best suggestion. Qatar Scheduled to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup; Qatar is slowly but surely becoming noticeable as a tourist destination. Surrounded by the sea and being a safe Middle Eastern Country to visit makes this country number four on our list. For a western approach on water sports make sure to try kitesurfing, or take a page from the locals and jet-ski right next to the beaches. Visit the Museum of Islamic Art, the cultural village of Katara and Souq Waqif; the traditional marketplace of Qatar. Don’t miss the chance to watch the traditional sport of
the sheiks, known to us as camel racing. Head over to Qatar’s popular camel racetrack where this expensive sport continues even today. Cyprus Home to more than two million visitors a year, Cyprus is known as a relatively safe place to travel; and therefore puts this island on the list. Couple those facts with the sizzling sun, spectacular coastlines and top quality mountain treks and you have your next vacation destination. We suggest going out of your “comfort zone” and exploring this island rather than sticking to the popular tourist towns such as Pafos and Agia Napa. The north coast boasts some of the best golden beaches around as well as ruins of medieval castles that will bring forth the fairytale daydream in all of us. A bathing suit, a pair of hiking boots and some sunscreen will go a long way in helping you explore this beautiful land. (-EscapeHere.com)
UAE is issuing visa on arrival to Indians with American visa or Green card by Disha Roy Choudhury
ndians, with valid American visa or Green card, will now be able to obtain a UAE visa on arrival, announced the UAE cabinet. The visa will be valid for 14 days, with a single extension possible for a fee. ‘’Citizens of the Republic of India who are holders of normal passports with a six-month, or
more, valid green card or visa issued by the United States of America shall be granted entry visas to the UAE from all ports for a period of 14 days, subject for a single renewal for the same period upon payment of applicable fees,” an official decree stated. The decision has been taken to boost the UAE-India relations in economics, politics and trade. Simultaneously, it is also
being regarded as a step forward in fulfilling UAE’s vision of becoming the leading country in global tourism. Last year, UAE received around 1.6 million Indian tourist arrivals. 50,000 UAE tourists visited India on the same year. There are about 143 flights per day between UAE and the Indian cities which further eases accessibility. (IndiaToday.in)
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Indo-American youth in bluegrass To woo young moviegoers, AMC thinks more boy band on national TV show like McDonald’s
he Salty Dogs, a group of pre-teen bluegrass all-stars, brought down the house and delighted millions of television viewers on last night’s edition of Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey. The hit show follows the tried-and-true formula of pairing cute and talented young people with the wit and presence of Steve Harvey, one of America’s most beloved celebrities. This wasn’t the first time that Harvey has featured young grassers on his show, having helped make Fiddlin’ Carson Peters a star in a previous episode of the program. But this time, the kids were highlighted pickin’ and singin’ for the audience, who were clapping and stomping along to the bluegrass beat. The band includes future phenoms Presley Barker on guitar, Mason Ruble on banjo, Giri Peters on mandolin, Braden Chunn on fiddle, and Kyser George on bass. They don’t perform together as a rule, given the distances between their homes in North Caro-
by Brooks Barnes
AS VEGAS — Adam Aron, the chief executive of AMC Theaters, the largest multiplex chain in the world, sat in a hotel suite here last month and sang the praises of a new menu item he called “the Bavarian Beast.”
Giri Peters (L) plays mandolin in The Salty Dogs (Photo:NBC) lina, Tennessee, and Kansas – and the fact that none of them can drive – but were assembled in this form through the work of the International Bluegrass Music Association in Nashville. Paul Schimiger, Executive Director of the IBMA, says that it all started with a call from an NBC casting director almost two years ago, before Little
Big Shots had even been accepted for air. She was looking for young kids who played bluegrass, likely as a result of the sensation that Mountain Faith had created on America’s Got Talent that summer. They had all flown out to Los Angeles to film the show, but were sworn to secrecy until just last week. (-Bluegrass Today)
Malala receives highest UN honor to promote girls education EW YORK: (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai a UN Messenger of Peace on Monday to promote girls education, more than four years after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head on her school bus in 2012.
It’s a pound-and-a-half salted pretzel the size of a steering wheel. “There’s also a new jalapeño-flavored Southwestern dog that’s to die for,” he said. But Mr. Aron was most effusive about another new AMC offering, a juicy chicken sandwich with waffles as buns. “Sounds fattening just to hear it described,” he said with a smile, “let alone when you eat it.” Popcorn, candy and soda? How quaint. The concession counter at your local AMC is about to turn into a fullfledged fast-food restaurant. It’s part of a strategy to attract younger audiences and stay relevant in the streaming age of HBO Go, Netflix and Amazon Prime. While small theater companies like the 25-location Alamo Drafthouse have been offering full-restaurant cinemas for years, this effort will bring greatly expanded menus to more than 400 theaters in the United States. Beating its national competitors to
the punch, AMC Feature Fare will include cheeseburger sliders, four types of stone-fired pizza, chili dogs, salami bites, chicken tenders, three new popcorn flavors and — for the health-conscious — seven gluten-free snacks. “And, yes, we now have a curly fry in the portfolio,” said Nels Storm, AMC’s senior culinary director, sounding like a proud papa. “We wanted to think more like a restaurant company.” Mr. Storm promoted the offerings as the most important advancement in multiplex concessions since the invention of the armrest cup holder. AMC Feature Fare, which will begin rolling out nationwide this summer, comes with risks, starting with the cost of installing equipment and retraining staff. Mr. Aron said AMC planned to spend $700 million on theater upgrades in 2017. Some patrons may not be thrilled to find themselves seated within sniffing distance of those curly fries and salami snacks. “Time to pack a bottle of ketchup in my purse, I guess,” Jeanine Basinger, founder of Wesleyan University’s film studies program, said with a dose of sarcasm. “And wet wipes.” Under pressure to increase profits, multiplex chains can increase ticket prices only so much before driving attendance down. (-NYTimes.com)
Campus making free speech ‘in-your-face’ bold
At 19, Yousafzai is the youngest Messenger of Peace, the highest honour given by the United Nations for an initial period of two years. She was also the youngest person to win the Nobel peace prize in 2014 when she was 17. “You are not only a hero, but you are a very committed and generous person,” Guterres told Yousafzai.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and her father Yousafzai (L). (Photo credit: Reuters).
Other current Messengers of Peace include actor Leonardo di Caprio, for climate change, actor Charlize Theron, whose focus is prevention of HIV and elimination of violence against women, and actor Michael Douglas, whose focus is disarmament.
last July to highlight the plight of refugee girls from Burundi and Somalia.
Yousafzai has become a regular speaker on the global stage and visited refugee camps in Rwanda and Kenya
The Pakistani education activist came to prominence when a Taliban gunman shot her in the head in 2012 as she was leaving school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, north-west of the country’s capital Islamabad. She was targeted for her campaign against efforts by the Taliban to deny women education.
“The extremists tried all their best to stop me, they tried to kill me and they didn’t succeed,” Yousafzai said on Monday. “Now this is a new life, this is a second life and it is for the purpose of education.”She now lives in Britain, where she received medical treatment after she was shot. Yousafzai said that when she finishes secondary school, she would like to study philosophy, politics and economics at university
Young people are less likely to view refugees as threat: survey finds
ASHINGTON D.C. Young people in the US are less likely to view Iraqi and Syrian refugees as a danger to the country, a survey has revealed.
This marks a decrease in the presumed threat over the past 10 months, with the share of adults who said refugees from Iraq and Syria posed a major threat falling by nine percentage points between April 2016 and last month, especially among younger adults. The survey also showed high school students were considerably more likely than college graduates or post grads to consider refugees as a danger to the US, with exactly half of them considering it
by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
Healy said the group also intends to ask liberal speakers to visit campus.
OSTON, April 10, 2017 - As movements to protest and silence controversial campus speakers have become common, the president of a new Harvard University student group intends to “saturate” the campus with those types of talks -- to challenge established ideologies that he said administrators there blatantly promote.
Already, the group of roughly 25 students, Healy said, has secured commitments from two right-leaning, controversial figures to address the campus. One, writer Charles Murray, made headlines in March after his lecture at Middlebury College was drowned out by student chants, forcing him to stop. Murray is often accused of promoting racist ideals. Open Campus Initiative has not yet pegged a day for his talk.
Six out of 10 Americans aged over 65 view large numbers of refugees from Iraq and Syria coming into the US as a major threat, compared with less than a third (31 per cent) of people younger than 35.
Overall, 46 per cent of the public said “a large number of refugees leaving countries such as Iraq and Syria” was a major threat to the well-being of the US, while about a third (35 per cent) considered this a minor threat and 16 per cent said it was not a threat at all.
A new group of Harvard undergraduates seeks to highlight First Amendment rights by inviting the most controversial speakers possible to address the campus.
Open Campus Initiative was organized this year, its president, Harvard sophomore Conor Healy, said in an interview Friday.
by May Bulman
The survey, conducted by Pew Research in January, meanwhile reveals that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of under 35s believe these refugees are “not a threat”, while 11 per cent of those aged between 50 and 64 and just eight per cent of people over 65 considered this to be the case.
Majority of Americans aged over 65 view refugees coming into the US as a major threat, compared with less than a third of people younger than 35, according to findings (Photo: AFP) a major threat compared to 35 per cent of the older age group. In terms of political leaning, about twice as many Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (63 per cent) as Democrats and Democratic leaners (30 per cent) said they considered refugees to be a major threat to the country. Ideological differences were even more pronounced, with 70 per cent of conservative Republicans and Republican leaners saying refugees represented a major threat, compared with just 19 per cent of liberal Democrats and Democratic leaners. Fewer than half of Republicans younger than 35 (45 per cent) said these
refugees were a major threat, compared with 78 per cent of Republicans aged 65 and older, while among Democrats, just 21 per cent of those younger than 35 saw refugees as a major threat, compared with 41 per cent of those 65 and older. Divisions over attitudes towards refugees appear to have widened in the US since Donald Trump took office. Vast crowds have attended marches and protests across the country in support of those fleeing conflict. Meanwhile the Trump administration has maintained a relentless anti-refugee sentiment. Mr Trump signed an executive order in late January that banned entry to the US for 90 days by citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen and indefinitely halting refugees from Syria. The socalled travel ban sparked numerous lawsuits, including US District Judge James Robart in Washington state who blocked the ban on 3 February. (-TheIndependent. co.uk)
The pick of Murray was deliberate, Healy said. He was horrified by the disruptions at Middlebury and said he wanted to prove Harvard could serve as a role model institution for free expression. “Most of the community wants to hear from the people we’re inviting, they want to critique them, ask them hard questions, and they’re willing to be convinced,” Healy said. “If they’re not convinced, their perception of the truth can be reinforced by the opposing view.” The other speaker, University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson, is due to lead a discussion this week. Late last month, Peterson also faced protesters -- equipped with cowbells and air horns -- at his speaking engagement at McMaster University in Ontario. Peterson has been criticized for his perspective on gender identity. He has rejected a Canadian policy that would have offered protections for gender nonconforming people and refuses to use gender-neutral descriptors, such as “they” as a singular pronoun, as a matter of policy. Healy debated whether to invite exBreitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, a deeply divisive media personality who resigned from the conservative website in February after a video emerged of him seemingly endorsing sexual relationships between men and underage boys. But Healy said Yiannopoulos has been known to occasionally heckle students from stage. “That’s not really what we’re about,”
Inspiration for the group came after Healy enrolled in a freshman seminar course on free speech last year. A Canadian, Healy was struck by the integral part that freedom of expression played in America’s history and found himself mulling what he considered to be threats to open dialogue on Harvard’s campus. Healy, who subscribes to libertarian philosophies, including a distaste for government interference in people’s personal lives, said some students try to curtail opposing viewpoints with “shut it down” mentality and behaviors. Ousted pharmaceutical mogul Martin Shkreli came to Harvard in February, but his scheduled speech was halted when someone intentionally set off the fire alarm in the building. Protesters later interrupted Shkreli, who has been indicted on federal stock fraud charges, but he did continue with his talk. Healy attended that event and said he was offended that other students would try to completely shut down Shkreli. “That is so profoundly misguided in my opinion,” Healy said. Dangers to First Amendment rights manifest in other ways, and the Harvard administration seems to endorse left-leaning values, Healy said. He referenced a December 2015 controversy, in which Harvard distributed laminated place mats in the dining halls with tips on how to address hot-button issues with family members during the holidays. The Harvard Undergraduate Council wrote at the time that university officials shouldn’t prescribe “party-line” talking points for such concepts as Islamophobia. “We do not think the offices of the university should be in the business of disseminating ‘approved’ positions on complex and divisive political issues,” the council wrote. Administrators later apologized for the “Holiday Place Mat for Social Justice.” For the Peterson event, the group has paid for two security officers and five officers from the campus police force, costing about $1,000, Healy said. He anticipates “some sort of problem,” though not to the same level as Murray’s Middlebury talk. Thus far, the group has raised about $9,000, (-HigherEd.com)
VOICE OF ASIA 17
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Ghost in the Shell’s whitewashing: Does Hollywood have an Asian problem? by Steve Rose s social-media marketing strategies go, Ghost in the Shell’s promotional site was a bit of an own goal. Visitors were invited to create their own personalised tweet of empowerment by uploading an image and writing a slogan starting with the words “I Am …” Suggestions included “Strong”, “A Fighter”, and “Whoever I Want To Be”.
was a Himalayan high priest, with long, white facial hair, a bald head and a penchant for Buddhist aphorisms. In the movie, the role went to Tilda Swinton, who, for all her versatility, is possibly the whitest actor out there. “There’s a frustrated population of Asian Americans who feel the role should have gone to a person of Asian descent,” wrote actor Margaret Cho to Swinton in an email exchange she
HALF GIRLFRIEND: Dear Bollywood, why is your accent so terrible? It’s a carefully cut trailer of Half Girlfriend which tries its best to hide Arjun Kapoor’s accent. In fact, it looks like an
extension of director Mohit Suri’s another film Ek Villain, thanks to a similar background score and editing aesthetics.
he trailer of Half Girlfriend is out now. It has Arjun Kapoor playing Madhav Jha, a clueless, head-over-heels in love fellow. Also, he is a Bihari who struggles with English and English-speaking crowd of Delhi.
Since it’s a film based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller of the same name, somebody had to play a high-class, stylish woman. In this case, Shraddha Kapoor, who plays Riya Somani, a rich Delhi girl. So, Mr Jha, who as per the book hails from a royal family in Bihar and knows a thing or two about basketball, wants to study in Delhi University’s St. Stephens college.
Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell (Image: Hollywood Reporter) The fans had other ideas. Ghost in the Shell is a live-action Hollywood remake of one of the most successful Japanese anime movies ever. The decision to cast Scarlett Johansson as its cyborg heroine, originally named Motoko Kusanagi, has not gone down well. This was “whitewashing”, the fans complained. The role should have gone to a Japanese actor. To date, more than 100,000 of them have signed a petition saying so. They also made a mockery of the Ghost in the Shell promo site. Examples include an image of Johansson with the slogan “I Am Totally a Japanese, Yeah”, Japanese actor Rinko Kikuchi with “I Am The Woman That Should Have Been Cast” and, over an image of kids painting a picket fence white: “I Am Hollywood Making Any Movie Ever.” Hollywood has only just finished congratulating itself on its progress over African-American diversity, after Moonlight’s Oscar win put all that #OscarSoWhite unpleasantness in the past. Does the industry still have an Asian problem? Ghost In The Shell is just the latest iteration of a story that has been replaying with increasing regularity and visibility recently. Offending the Arab world in the past few years, we have had ancient Egypt-themed epics Exodus: Of Gods and Kings and Gods of Egypt, neither of which contained Egyptians. Before that, there was Jake Gyllenhaal’s blue-eyed, Swedish-surnamed Prince of Persia, Rooney Mara’s non-Native American Tiger Lily in the reimagined Pan, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Star Trek’s “Indian” adversary, Khan. But east Asians have particular reason to feel aggrieved, having seen their culture regularly plundered, appropriated, stereotyped and ethnically cleansed. Ghost in the Shell comes in the wake of Emma Stone playing Chinese-Hawaiian “Allison Ng” in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha, Matt Damon at the heart of Chinese epic The Great Wall, and white-dominated Hollywood versions of Asian stories such as The Last Airbender and Dragon Ball Evolution. Ghost in the Shell arrives into a pop-culture conversation still ringing with previous whitewashing outcry: Marvel’s Doctor Strange. This time, the problem was The Ancient One, the superhero’s mystical mentor. In the original comics, the Ancient One
later made public. “Our stories are told by white actors over and over again, and we feel at a loss to know how to cope with it.” Swinton replied that Dr Strange’s writers were seeking to avoid the tired Orientalist stereotype of the “wise old Eastern geezer” or “Fu Manchu type”. “Wanting to switch up the gender (another diversity department) and not wanting to engage with the old Dragon Lady trope, they chose to write the character as being of (ancient) Celtic origin and offered that role to me,” she wrote, adding that Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Wong were also in the movie. In other words, it was whitewashing in the name of diversity. “Erasure is not the answer to stereotypes,” says Keith Chow, editor of The Nerds of Color blog, which views pop culture through a non-white lens. “When the excuse is, ‘We were trying to not offend you’, well, denying my existence I find more offensive! It’s basically saying we can’t exist as anything other than stereotypes.” Chow makes the point that the Ancient One turned out to be pretty much the most interesting character in Doctor Strange – likely as a result of Swinton’s casting. “If Tilda Swinton had read the part and it was like in the comics, she would not have taken the role. So what they did, by changing the character to fit Swinton, they made that character more complex.” Had the character been played by an Asian actor, it would have been just as complex, Chow suggests. Part of the problem with comicbook characters in particular is that they were created decades ago, at a time when their American creators had little awareness of the stereotypes they were peddling. Just as Doctor Strange found enlightenment in the Himalayas, so Tony Stark became Iron Man in Vietnam in the original comics (transposed to the Middle East for the movie). During the 1980s, comics writer and recovering Orientalist Frank Miller sent Batman, Wolverine and Daredevil to Japan for various forms of ninja/samurai/martial arts training as he refashioned their backstories. Those stereotypes have needed some retooling for the modern movie era. Marvel’s movie midas Kevin Feige admitted there were “things to cringe at” in the old comics but claimed: “For
China and Hollywood: relationship trouble? by Bill Dorman
two and a half billion dollars.
Early last year, the same company spent about three and a half billion dollars to buy a controlling stake in Legendary Entertainment—producer of movies including “Jurassic World.”
OS ANGELES - When President Trump met with Chinese officials this weekend, North Korea was at the top of the agenda. There are a series of other issues when it comes to U.S. China relations. And that includes a high-profile business relationship that is continuing to evolve. Most Americans know that products manufactured in China have come to dominate the shelves of Wal-Mart and other stores around the country. And Chinese capital plays a role in everything from financing the debt of the U.S. government to running New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Chinese investment has also become a major player in Hollywood. But lately there have been some complications. Nearly five years ago, China’s Dalian Wanda Group bought the AMC Theaters movie chain for more than
Other Chinese companies have invested in films and in studios—but several recent deals have stalled. Last fall, Dalian Wanda offered about one billion dollars to buy Dick Clark Productions—the folks who bring you programs like the Golden Globes. But the deal collapsed a little over a week ago. And now the South China Morning Post reports several other pending deals between China and Hollywood are in trouble. Reasons remain unclear and could range from corporate issues to a broader trend of the Beijing government starting to slow the pace of capital outflow. (-Hawaii Public News)
This is where the trailer and Jha’s ordeals start. His English isn’t fluent, but that’s the least of worries. He will anyway get admission despite not looking like a college student. His real problem is accent, which is so forced that you refuse to take it seriously. He begins with words like Arjun Kapoor plays a simple Bihari guy named Madhav Jha in Half Girlfriend (Photo: ‘saanjh’ (evening), uttar (an- Balaji Motion Pictures) swer) and goes on to deliver dialogues that will anyway fit remain themselves. work and enthusiasm to play a characinto a typical Bollywood love story. Who cares if the lead’s friend speaks ter belonging to a certain social strucIt’s a carefully cut trailer which tries a different dialect than him! Every- ture. Everyone got it right in Gangs Of its best to hide Kapoor’s accent. In fact, thing is fair in love, war and Bolly- Wasseypur and Alia Bhatt was pheit looks like an extension of director wood. Recently released Badrinath Ki nomenal as a Bihari migrant in Udta Mohit Suri’s another film Ek Villain, Dulhania saw Varun Dhawan huffing Punjab. thanks to a similar background score and puffing. The interest or the lack of it towards and editing aesthetics. shaping up a character with the help Even a director like Prakash Jha We don’t get to hear much of Ka- who set a benchmark for Bihari accent of the language it uses is confined to poor’s accent as other lines are regular in films like Gangaajal and Apaharan, only a few directors. Vishal Bhardwaj, and so run-of-mill. But whatever we faltered in Aarakshan and Jai Gangaa- Anurag Kashyap are among them. see is enough to realise his forced, put- jal. The other directors probably don’t on accent. find it important enough. But the forAnd it’s been a while since Shool mula may not work everytime, espeKapoor isn’t the only one in an in- (1999) released. And it had a Bihari cially if your lead is expected to speak dustry notorious for fake accents. Be actor in the lead. in a certain way. (-HindustanTimes. it Salman Khan in Sultan or Akshay On second thoughts, it’s about hard com) Kumar in Rustom, our stars mostly
Kim Sharma ‘Penniless’? ctress Kim Sharma returned from a Coldplay concert in Thailand to reports that she’s been left ‘penniless’ after her marriage ended. Kim posted a series of tweets addressing reports that she’s bankrupt and struggling for financial equilibrium after her husband Ali Punjani was unfaithful.
of this is ‘rubbish’ as Kim says. Kim Sharma and Ali Punjani married in
“There is much ado about nothing,” Kim Sharma tweeted, adding: “I can’t wrap my head around all these different angles and “ground-breaking” details everyone seems to know so much about.” Alleged details of Kim’s private life were revealed by DNA which quoted a source as saying that “Ali left Kim as he got attracted to another woman” and that Kim Sharma is struggling to establish a business in Mumbai. The actress is reported to have moved back to Mumbai from Kenya, where she was living with her former husband and lacks financial security at the moment. It’s not clear how much
featuring in headlines after the report published in DNA, in which a source also adds that Ali is now involved with another woman. “Ali left Kim as he got attracted to another woman. The irony is that when Ali met Kim, he was plump and not great-looking but now because he is in love, he has lost weight and looking great. But Kim is left with no money or financial security. Right now, she is looking to establish her business in Mumbai to provide for herself financially,” DNA quoted the source as saying. The source also added tht Sharma, who was the CEO of a Punjabi chain of hotels, has resigned from her position
2010. On Monday, Kim Sharma started
Although she starred in many films beginning in 2000, she was last seen in a special appearance in 2009’s Telugu hit Magadheera. (-DNA.com)
us, it’s important that we don’t feel like a completely white-European cast.” It’s also important that they don’t annoy the lucrative Chinese market, which means it’s often the Asian characters who lose out. There has been some reverse-whitewashing, too, to be fair: Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury in The Avengers movies and Will Smith as Deadshot in Suicide Squad, for example. Chinese-American actors Chloe Bennet (nee Chloe Wang) appeared in the TV series Agents of SHIELD, and French-Cambodian Elodie Yung played Elektra (who was originally Greek) in Daredevil. All of these characters were originally written as white. Whether or not integration and inclusiveness will prevail over simple appropriation, protests against movies such as Ghost in the Shell are making filmmakers and performers think twice about what they do, and whether they want to spend every interview tackling questions about whitewashing, appropriation and stereotyping, as actors such as Johansson, Swinton and Finn Jones have. It doesn’t look as if it will stop any time soon, though. Last week, Netflix aired its first trailer for Death Note, another popular Japanese manga that has been entirely transposed to the US. Its hero is played by the American actor Nat Wolff. (-TheGuardian.com)
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VOICE OF ASIA 18
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
HEALTHY LIVING VOICE OF ASIA
Learning from our parents’ heart health mistakes
Why 70 is New 65 for Retirement
by Jane E. Brody
arrowed, aging blood vessels, which put most older American adults at risk for heart disease and strokes, are not inevitable. This fact was underscored by a newly published study of a population in the Bolivian Amazon. Among these indigenous South Americans, known as the Tsimane (pronounced chee-MAH-nay), coronary atherosclerosis was found to be five times less common than in the United States. CT scans of the hearts of 705 Tsimane adults aged 40 to 94 revealed that nearly nine in 10 had clean coronary arteries and faced no risk of heart disease. The research team estimated that an 80-year-old in the Tsimane group has the same vascular age as an American in his mid-50s. I’ll return to the likely reasons and the lifesaving lessons we can all learn from them even now after a discussion of a half-century of improvements in the heart health of Americans. In the early 1960s, when I began writing about science and health, American hearts were in dismal condition. Heart disease, an uncommon cause of death at the turn of the 20th century, had become the most common cause of death by midcentury. Coronary mortality peaked in 1968, when it was not unusual for Americans to die of a heart attack in their 50s or 60s. At the time, about 40 percent of adults smoked, doctors deemed a cholesterol level of 240 milligrams per deciliter to be “normal,” and nearly half of young adults had blood pressure readings now considered high. Had the coronary death rate continued its meteoric rise, today more than 1.7 million Americans would succumb to heart disease each year. Instead, there’s been a significant decline, to some 425,000 deaths a year, with a commensurate increase in longevity of 8.7 years between 1970 and 2010. More than 70 percent of the rise in life expectancy is attributable to fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease, primarily heart attacks and strokes. The countless millions who have escaped a premature cardiovascular death can thank in part a half-century of public health measures and other preventive medicine initiatives that are now threatened by proposed cuts in the nation’s budget. The fall in cigarette smoking alone had a major impact, having declined to about 15 percent of adults. (Alas, teenagers, whose smoking rates were once well below those of adults, have all but caught up.) Smoking by itself increases the risk of heart disease; it raises blood pressure, diminishes exercise tolerance, decreases protective HDL cholesterol,
Image: Shutterstock and increases the blood’s tendency to clot. But when smoking is combined with other coronary risk factors, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity or Type 2 diabetes, the risks of a heart attack, stroke and an early coronary death are greatly increased.
ing the vessels from closing down, at a cost of $30,000 to $50,000 for each procedure. But while having a stent in place can indeed be helpful for those in the throes of a heart attack, at least eight randomized clinical trials found that for people with stable coronary artery disease, they offer no benefit over standard noninvasive medical treatment — diet, exercise and perhaps treatment with an inexpensive statin.
A decline in average blood levels of cholesterol also played an important role in the drop in coronary deaths. Today only about 12 percent of American adults have high total cholesterol levels — 240 milligrams or greater, although nearly a third still have elevated levels — 130 milligrams or more — of arterydamaging LDL cholesterol.
So what can we learn from the Tsimane? Yes, if millions of Americans continue to spurn changes in their living habits that have been shown over and over again to be protective.
People with high total cholesterol face nearly twice the risk for heart disease as those with ideal levels (200 milligrams or less), and a high level of LDL cholesterol – above 100 milligrams — is even more problematic. Yet even now, fewer than half of adults with elevated LDL levels are being treated to reduce it.
The Tsimane have a forager-horticulturist lifestyle. Tsimane men are physically active for an average of six to seven hours a day — accumulating about 17,000 steps a day — and Tsimane women are active for four to six hours a day, walking about 15,000 steps a day. Smoking is rare in this population.
Recognizing and treating high blood pressure, based on the findings of a slew of studies of promising medications, has helped to save the hearts and lives of countless Americans who might otherwise have succumbed to coronary disease since its peak incidence.
The Tsimane diet derives 72 percent of its calories from carbohydrates, though not the overly refined starches and sugars consumed by most Americans. The Tsimane eat unprocessed complex carbs high in fiber, like brown rice, plantain, manioc, corn, nuts and fruits.
Nonetheless, today one adult in three has high blood pressure, and of those only half have it under control. Another third of adults have blood pressure that is higher than normal, though not yet in the high blood pressure range. Thus, poor treatment remains a serious contributor to cardiovascular disease and deaths. Too often, the American approach to heart disease amounts to shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped. Once in trouble with life-threatening arterial damage, patients are usually treated with stents in hopes of keep-
But the Tsimane are not vegetarians. Protein accounts for 14 percent of their calories and comes primarily from animal meats that, unlike American meats, are very low in artery-clogging saturated fat. This does not mean we must return to hunting and gathering or subsistence farming to protect our hearts. But we’d do well to adapt the Tsimane example and modify our modern high-fat, highly processed, low-fiber and high-sugar diet and our extremely sedentary lifestyle. (-NYTimes.com)
ge 70 is becoming the new target retirement age in the U.S. Half of all workers age 60 and older plan to retire at age 70 or not at all, a recent survey by CareerBuilder found. But we can’t just keep adding the extra years of life to our retired years, so planning to work longer is a realistic goal. And there’s evidence that most Americans will enjoy a health status that could enable them to continue working well into their 70s. In addition, working longer is a good option (and maybe the only option) for aging workers with meager retirement savings, for a number of reasons: • It enables you to delay starting Social Security benefits, which significantly increases your expected lifetime payout and improves the financial security of your surviving spouse if you’re married. • You might receive health insurance from your employer at a reduced cost, compared to the cost of buying it on your own. • Working can help maintain your health, particularly if your employer offers a wellness program. • You might enjoy valuable social connections that research shows help enhance your health and well-being. However, unless you take steps to maintain your ability to continue working, delaying retirement may be more of a hope than a realistic strategy. These steps include maintaining your health, keeping abreast of new career opportunities, updating your job skills and refreshing and updating your job network. Let’s look at one example that shows the impact of delaying retirement from age 65 to 70 for a married couple, both age 65, who have that $500,000 in savings. Let’s also assume that the primary wage-earner makes
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about $75,000 per year. • Using Social Security’s quick online calculator, this couple’s combined worker and spousal Social Security annual income increases from about $29,400 to about $45,200 by delaying the start of Social Security benefits to age 70. • Buying a low-cost, fixed-income annuity often generates the highest amount of initial retirement income, compared to other retirement income products. If this couple were to buy a 100 percent jointand-survivor annuity at age 65, their annual income would be about $28,000 per year, according to annuity payout rates from Income Solutions. Now let’s assume their savings earn 3 percent per year from age 65 to age 70, they make no additional contributions between age 65 and 70, and instead they buy the annuity at age 70. Given all that, their estimated annual income would be about $36,000 at age 70. So can you make up your mind whether to work until age 70 or start enjoying blue skies ASAP. To choose right Medicare plan including Drugs contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.
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VOICE OF ASIA 19
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
SCIENCE & TECH
VOICE OF ASIA 20
The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: Present and Future - Part I
Dr. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Rice University, Houston TX by Meenakshi Bhattacharjee
rom the beginning of the history of computers, scientists have dreamed of creating an electronic brain. Of all the modern technological quests, this search to create artificial intelligent (AI) computer systems has been one of the most ambitious and, not surprisingly, controversial. Scientists and doctors alike were captivated by the potential such a technology might have on medicine. With intelligent computers able to store and process vast amounts of knowledge, the hope was that they would become the perfect â€œDoctors in the boxâ€? assisting or surpassing clinicians with tasks like diagnosis.
repetitive jobs to medication management or drug creation. And it is only the beginning. Mining medical records: The most obvious application of artificial intelligence in healthcare is data management. Collecting it, storing it, normalizing it, tracing its lineage â€“ it is the first step in revolutionizing the existing healthcare systems. Recently, the AI research branch of the search giant, Google, launched its Google Deep mind Health project, which is used to mine the data of medical records in order to provide better and faster health services. Designing treatment plans:
With this motivation a small but talented community of computer technologists and doctors set about shaping a research program for a new discipline of study called Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIM).These researchers had a bold vision of the was that AIM would revolutionize medicine. Much has changed since then and today this definition would be considered narrow in scope and vision. Today the importance of diagnosis as a task requiring computer support in routine clinical situations receives much less emphasis.
IBM Watson launched its special program for oncologists which is able to provide clinicians evidence-based treatment options. Watson for Oncology has an advanced ability to analyze the meaning and context of structured and unstructured data in clinical notes and reports that may be critical to selecting a treatment pathway. Then by combining attributes from the patientâ€™s file with clinical expertise, external research and data, the program identifies potential treatment plans for a patient.
Peak into the uses of AI
Assisting repetitive jobs:
Artificial intelligence already found several areas in healthcare to revolutionize starting from the design of treatment plans through the assistance in
IBM launched another algorithm called Medical Sieve. It is an ambitious long-term exploratory project to build a next generation â€œcognitive assis-
tantâ€? with analytical, reasoning capabilities and a wide range of clinical knowledge. Medical Sieve is qualified to assist in clinical decision making in radiology and cardiology. The â€œcognitive health assistantâ€? is able to analyze radiology images to spot and detect problems faster and more reliably. Radiologists in the future should only look at the most complicated cases where human supervision is useful. Getting the most out of inperson and online consultations: The British subscription, online medical consultation and health service, Babylon launched an application this year which offers medical AI consultation based on personal medical history and common medical knowledge. Users report the symptoms of their illness to the app, which checks them against a database of diseases using speech recognition. After taking into account the patientâ€™s history and circumstances, Babylon offers an appropriate course of action. The app will also remind patients to take their medication, and follow up to find out how theyâ€™re feeling. Through such solutions the efficiency of diagnosing patients can increase by multiple times, while the waiting time in front of doctorâ€™s examining rooms could drop significantly. Continued next week
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US lets 23andMe market genetic health risk reports
AN FRANCISCO, AFP | 4/6/2017 - US regulators on Thursday granted Silicon Valley biotech firm 23andMe permission to become the first company to market reports showing customersâ€™ health risks based on their genetics. The first reports will be made available this month in the United States, indicating genetic propensities for conditions such as Parkinsonâ€™s disease and late-onset Alzheimerâ€™s disease, according to the Food and Drug Administration. â€œConsumers can now have direct access to certain genetic risk information,â€? said Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDAâ€™s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. â€œBut it is important that people understand that genetic risk is just one piece of the bigger puzzle, it does not mean they will or wonâ€™t ultimately devel-
op a disease.â€? 23andMe extracts genetic data from saliva samples sent in by customers.
genetic health riskâ€? tests for ten diseases or conditions in a first-of-its-kind service direct to consumers.
The private company had been focusing on providing ancestry information after the FDA reined in efforts to offer genetics-based health information about four years ago.
Test results could help people make more informed decisions when it comes to lifestyle or spur more insightful discussions with health care providers, according to the FDA.
â€œI am proud to say we are the first and only company to receive FDA authorization to market genetic health risk reports without a prescription,â€? said 23andMe co-founder and chief Anne Wojcicki, the exwife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
The agency stressed that factors other than genetics, such as lifestyle and pollution, play roles when it comes to health. The 23andMe tests were specifically barred from serving as the sole basis for major medical treatment decisions, the FDA said.
â€œItâ€™s a defining moment -giving individuals direct access to more information about how their DNA could impact their health.â€?
23andMe was founded in 2006 and is based in Mountain View, California, where Google also has its headquarters.
The FDA said it granted permission for 23andMe to market â€œpersonal genome service
The 23andMe â€œHealth + Ancestryâ€? report costs $199. A genetic test focused on ancestry alone is $99.
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospitalâ€™s new arts program for cancer survivors provides opportunity for expression â€” and healing
UGAR LAND â€“ (April 6, 2017) â€” Fort Bend-area cancer survivors now have a new artistic outlet to help with emotions surrounding their lifechanging experience. Thriving Through Creative Arts is a complimentary expressive art program designed for local cancer survivors and administered by Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital cancer survivors The program gives survivors the opporpression and healing that can few of the mediums planned. tunity to express their thoughts provide significant benefits to Go to houstonmethodist.org/ and feelings about being diag- survivors.â€? events to register for a class. nosed, treated and surviving The art program is designed For more information about cancer through art. to help cancer survivors view Thriving Through Creative â€œCancer survivors â€” being Houston Methodist Sugar Land Arts, please contact Melissa De anyone who has been diagnosed not only as a place that delivers Los Santos at mdelossantos@ with cancer â€” need time to pro- care for the body and eliminates houstonmethodist.org or call cess their emotions and doing cancer, but also as a center of 281.414.8027. so through creative artistic ex- emotional and spiritual health. Houston Methodist Sugar pression can be a stress-relievâ€œItâ€™s really about offering a Land Hospital is Fort Bend ing outlet for them as well as a means of coping,â€? said Melissa more holistic approach to health Countyâ€™s only hospital with De Los Santos, breast and gyne- care, something that is often American College of Surgeonscologic oncology nurse naviga- missing in todayâ€™s technology- Commission on Cancer accreditor, who developed the unique driven approach to medicine,â€? tation. The Cancer Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land program along with the Direc- said De Los Santos. Thriving Through Creative treats a wide range of cancers tor of Oncology Services, Amy Arts will debut May 3, 2017. The and provides high quality, speSebastian-Deutsch. cialized services â€” including â€œThriving Through Creative class will take place at Houston screenings, diagnostics, genetic Arts provides the softer side of Methodist Sugar Land Hospital testing, advanced technology, cancer care â€“ the much needed, on the first and third Wednesday clinical trials and patient supbut often forgotten element, and Thursday of each month port â€” close to home. of wellness,â€? said Sebastian- starting at 12:15 p.m. The meFor more information on the Deutsch. â€œThrough this pro- diums used will vary at each meeting along with the project. Cancer Center, visit us at housgram, Houston Methodist Sugar Photography, painting, jewelry tonmethodist.org/cancer-sl or Land is helping to provide the making and journaling are just a call 281.242.CURE (2873). important components of ex-
VOICE OF ASIA 22
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Your Horoscope for the Week of April 14, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE
by Hardik Vyas, Astrologer Cell : 832-298-9950
Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April
Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct
Things seem just too good to be true, and you wonder when someone will pull the rug out from under your feet. Rest assured, all is well and things are set to go from good to better. When tension mounts, or you feel tired or unmotivated at home, it’s time to get to the bottom of it all. You will discover just where all that energy is draining away to. As soon as you have a little cash to spare, your spending goes wild and you’re broke again! Try to break this cycle and put some cash away this week.
Expect to be feeling more enthusiastic for home affairs, as a new form of domestic energy takes hold of you, allowing you to deal with matters which are usually overwhelming for you. Watch out, you may have a tendency to be overly idealistic about your career situation this week. Face up to reality. When you do, you will realize that some things need to be changed. A professional acquaintance whom you look up to may have a decisive influence on your career. This person just has to say the word and new doors will open.
Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May
Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov
You will soon recover your wits and come up with the right response. Plutonic and intimate relationships come into the spotlight this week, as you are asked to make a greater commitment or prove your feelings. You come through all tests with flying colors. Luck is on your side, which means that games of chance are likely to bring dividends of some sorts. Take a few risks (well thought out ones of course) and you could double your money. Your urgent attention is required, as neglect at home could be causing you frustration or irritation. T
As you look ahead to the next few months, you wonder where you are heading. Now is the time to lay the groundwork for a new personal project. There is a new opening for you, but you don’t know enough about this matter to make the most of it. Gather more information and don’t be afraid to ask questions whenever you can. Financially you may feel that you are working flat out just to make ends meet, with little left over for fun and games. Deep down inside you there is a burning ambition which you do not dare to confess.
Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec
Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June You are currently on an interesting path, paved with good intentions. Be warned, as you move on, you may be in for a bumpy ride. This will be a learning experience, but one which could take you by surprise. You are full of energy and ready to party this week, but try not to burn the candle at both ends. You need some rest and peace and quiet if you want to keep the pace. Progress has ground to a halt this week and you may begin to think that progress is impossible. Don’t despair, new opportunities are just around the corner.
Some of the people you care for most may prove difficult to get along with, through no fault of your own. That’s just the way the planets are lying and you will all have to learn to compromise. A forthcoming family gathering or reunion could be causing some strain. Don’t worry, all will go well. All you have to do is remain detached and not let others tell you what to do. Travel and distant places are high on your list of priorities at the moment. You are likely to be submerged with a whole load of small tasks.
Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan
Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July You’ll just end up going round in circles. When it comes to dealing with domestic affairs, just go with the flow. Don’t try to push things through when it becomes obvious that there is resistance. Wait for a new opportunity. Communication improves and so does understanding, as you make a decision to compromise and to adapt to existing circumstances. A badly thought out financial plan could go wrong this week, so make sure you think long and hard about your moves before going into action. Caution is advised.
Conflict or misunderstanding is a possibility in love matters. A family situation is becoming increasingly complex, leaving you feeling baffled and confused. The air has to be cleared, but you will not be the one to make the first step. You’ll be compensated for your ability to compromise. Others recognize that you are making an effort and will do the same. Your ability to communicate is at a peak. Although you may not receive the answer to all your prayers this week, you will be rewarded with a financial bonus of sorts.
Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb
Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August Your personal relationships require faith, trust and confidence, if you feel this is lacking, don’t take it out on the other person. When you have some time to yourself, don’t shut yourself away others. Stay with friends, seek out crowds and parties. Other people’s energy will recharge your batteries. Once you are re-charged, you will be unstoppable. Even the most challenging situations will be walkover for you. A seemingly negative situation regarding your finances can be turned into a great opportunity.
A part of you is avoiding commitment, preferring to keep all your options open. There comes a time when you have to choose, and a decision will have to be made in the next few weeks. No matter what others have to say, you are perfectly entitled to change your mind. Don’t be afraid to make a U-turn. You may be breaking your word but the outcome will be positive for all concerned. You have what it takes to make a key decision this week, and one which will make your future look considerable brighter. Don’t be afraid to be daring in this matter.
Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March
Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September You have been struggling for too long, and now you’ve had enough. Support comes in both financial and moral forms, to give you new energy as far as home is concerned. Start doing research now and it will serve your well. Recent developments have meant that a decision has to be made, and you have put this one off for too long. You’ve had enough time to think. You will be rewarded for your patience this week, as you finally receive a positive answer to a request or application you have made. Wait until next week before taking any new initiatives.
You could have the feeling of being under siege, as several social events end up at your place, or people invite themselves around at the last moment. Don’t let your space be invaded. Learn to put your foot down. Make a new resolution, not to let others get away with making hurtful remarks. Some people simply don’t realize they’re hurting your feelings, so make sure you let them know. Don’t let your financial situation get you down, once you snap out of this mood, you’ll find a solution. When it comes to professional plans, traveling is essential this week if you want to get ahead.
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VOICE OF ASIA 23
JOB POSTING â€“ Web Producer â€“ Part Time KTRK-TV is looking for a part time Digital Producer who can do it all to be part of the team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. The ideal candidate will have three yearsâ€™ experience working in major market television or print news internet operation, the ability to shoot and edit video and working experience of Photoshop. Additionally have proven VRFLDOPHGLDH[SHUWLVHDQGPXVWEHĂ€H[LEOHZLWKZRUNVFKHGXOHZKLFKPD\ vary depending on station needs and projects. â€˘ Candidate must be able to handle many projects simultaneously. Candidate must be a self-starter and have a â€˜Do It Nowâ€™ mentality to excel in our fast-paced environment. We are a 24/7 news operation, so digital producers must be willing to work any day or shift, as needed. â€˘ To be considered interested applicants must apply onOLQHDWZZZGLVQH\FDUHHUVFRPE\XSORDGLQJDUHVXPHÂżOHFRYHUOHWWHUDQG list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 441352BR. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please.
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FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
NOTICE TO PROPOSERS: Request for subcontractor proposals for the Houston Community College (HCC) â€“ North Forest Campus Automotive Technology Building Project â€œDurotech, Inc., as Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) for Houston Community College System, will receive proposals from subcontractors and vendor trades for the HCC â€“ North Forest Campus Automotive Technology Building Project, based on documents - NORTH FOREST CAMPUS â€“ AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY TRAINING CENTER EABPRJB6819920 - ISSUED FOR BIDDING dated January 23, 2017, issued by PGAL Architects. Proposals and qualification statements will be received by Durotech, Inc., until 2:00 P.M. local time on Thursday, April 20, 2017, in the presence of the Owner and Architect at the offices of Durotech, Inc. at 11931 Wickchester Lane, #205, Houston, TX 77043-4501. Proposals may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 281-4965637. Prevailing wage rates in conformance with Texas law will be paid on this project. All proposals shall remain valid for sixty (60) days. Durotech, Inc. is committed to meeting the SBE goals set for this project and encourages all SBE firms to submit a proposal for this project. Drawings and Specifications will be available for review at the offices of Durotech, Inc., and at the plan rooms of AGC, Dodge Data & Analytics, Virtual Builders Exchange, Brazos Valley Contractors Association, Construction Data and CMD Group. Contact Alan Montgomery (email@example.com) at 281-558-6892 for information on this project. The Owner, Architect/Engineer and Construction Manager reserve the right to reject any and all proposals, to waive any informalities and irregularities in the proposal process, and to make the awards in the best interest of HCC. By submitting a proposal, each proposer agrees to waive any claim it has or may have against the Owner, the Architect/Engineer, Construction Manager and their respective employees arising out of or in connection with the administration, evaluation, or recommendation of any proposal; waiver of any requirements under the Proposal Documents, or the Contract Documents; acceptance or rejection of any proposals; and award of a Contract.â€?
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Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs. edu/procurement.
Houston Community College Request for Proposals (RFP) Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance Services
Project No. 17-11 Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11A06, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Documents can be obtained at: www.hccs. edu/procurement.
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VOICE OF ASIA 24
FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Published on Apr 13, 2017
Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...