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VOICE OF ASIA

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28 years dedicated service toCounties the community Serving Harris,ofFort Bend and Surrounding for 29 years

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FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Medicare Advantage plans to receive 0.45% rate hike for 2018

Read on Page 18 or Call 832-806-1000

Vol. 30 No. 22 Friday, June 2, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: voiceasia@aol.com

26 High school seniors receive IACF scholarships worth $35000 by Shobana Muratee

to pursue nursing. Other recipients indicated their interests that ranged from medicine, biochemistry, animal science, business, political science, public health, nutrition, engineering, liberal arts and so on.

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OUSTON (May 31, 2017) It was a very celebratory moment for the 26 high school seniors who received scholarships amounting to $35000 on Tuesday from the non-profit organization Indo American Charity Foundation (IACF) that upholds education as its mission. The Annual Scholarship Day was held at the FBISD Administration Building in Sugar Land where over a hundred people gathered to cheer the recipients from Fort Bend ISD, Alief ISD and SMSD. The scholarships awarded were based on selection by grade point average, SAT/ACT scores, personal essay, recommendation letters, and need to students that had applied. The prestigious David Raj Memorial Award of $2,500 which IACF presents each year to a student pursuing a career in medicine was awarded to Maite Ramos of FBISD who intends

The IACF scholarship committee lead by Venkat Iyer and team members: Dr. Ramesh Cherivirala, Joseph Ellankil, Alpa Shah, Dr. Ratna Kumar, Mahesh Wadwa, Dr. Purvi, Nanda Vura, Premankur Cholia (and assisted by Subha Iyer) did an exceptional job on the lengthy processes of selection and review of the applicants, that seem to be growing in numbers each year. Over a hundred people, mainly parents, teachers, administrators, and dignitaries, attended the formal ceremony that had inspirational messages from various dignitaries. City of Sugar Land Councilman (At Large) IACF Scholarship recipients with IACF members at the Scholarship Ceremony (Photo credit: Roy Photography)

Continued on page 6

Houston Iftar - Annual Ramadan Dinner with Mayor Turner

Impressive turnout at “Houston Iftar 2017”Annual Ramadan Dinner with Mayor of Houston organized by Abu Dhabi, Baku, Basrah, Istanbul & Karachi Sister City Association along with The Islamic Society of Greater Houston and all Collaborating organizations. Read report on Page 7

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presenting the Congressional Certificate to the heads of the host organization while Congressman Al Green and Houston Mayor and Sylvester Turner and other members look on.

193 dead, Sri Lanka appeals for help as floods foul water supply

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OLOMBO, Sri Lanka |Sri Lanka appealed Tuesday for volunteers to help with a massive clean-up after landslides and floods left at least 193 dead and tens of thousands without safe drinking

water. The government sought help to purify wells contaminated by the floods, the worst in 14 years after record rainfall in the island’s southwest.

The Disaster Management Centre said nearly 600,000 people had been forced from their homes. Just over 1,300 houses were completely destroyed in landslides, while nearly 7,000 suffered structural damage, ac-

cording to official figures.

flood-hit areas.

Water supply minister Rauf Hakeem said 40 percent of those affected had no access to piped drinking water, and there was an urgent need to purify contaminated wells in

He said 400 people had volunteered so far for a major cleanup of wells and appealed for donations of water pumps.

& Sugar Land

“Our workers have volunteered to join a major (well)

Continued on page 6

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OP-ED/COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS Zika cases in India: T VOICE OF ASIA

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FRIDAY, June 2, 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 Legal: Nitin Sud Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Health Insurance: Sudhir Mathuria Astrology: Hardik Vyas

VoiceofAsiaOnline.com Editor Online:

Shobana Muratee

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

he surveillance system put in place by the Health Ministry succeeded in identifying three adults infected with the Zika virus between November 2016 and February 2017 in Gujarat.

A shocking cover-up Zika virus transmission, it can also be sexually transmitted from an infected man. As the virus remains present in the semen for a long time, the WHO recommends that couples abstain from sex for at least six months after the onset of symptoms.

But the Ministry acted less than responsibly by withholding the information from everyone. Even the World Health Organisation was informed about the three cases as recently as May 15, more than five months after the first case was laboratory-confirmed. Information regarding the cases came to light when the WHO posted the information on its website on May 26. By not disclosing the information in real time, India behaved as China did in the case of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.

Secrecy about Zika outbreaks, even if seen only in isolated cases, can lead to a public health disaster. Given that local transmission is already present, the A. aegypti is commonly found, and many infected people exhibit no or only mild, non-specific symptoms, up-to-date health bulletins and advisories are vital.

China was then widely criticised by the global community for trying to cover up the outbreak — by doing so, the Chinese government was arguably partly responsible for SARS spreading to other countries.

India has the responsibility to keep the WHO and the global community informed, especially in the case of dreaded infectious diseases, for both global risk assessment and risk preparedness.

That none of the three Zikainfected adults or their spouses or relatives had travelled to any country with Zika virus transmission indicates that the virus was transmitted within India. Based on the local circulation of the virus, the WHO has warned

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.

that “new cases may occur in the future”, particularly as the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the virus is widely found in India. Over 34,000 human samples and nearly 13,000 mosquito samples were tested for the presence of the Zika virus, and there was monitoring for cases

of microcephaly, a birth defect that has been connected to the mother being Zika-infected while pregnant. But it is not clear whether the person who brought the infection into the country (the index case) has been identified. While the bite of an infected A. aegypti is the main route of

The government machinery should have been on overdrive to educate and increase awareness about ways to avoid infection; the decision to keep the information under wraps to avoid creating “panic” is totally unconvincing. (-The Hindu)

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- The Publisher

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THE STORY OF MAHATMA GANDHI A carefree and happy childhood in Porbandar

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his is the story of a man born more than 130 years ago. As a boy, he looked no different from the millions of other children born in India. Yet this was no ordinary child. He was to fight and overcome a great empire and, without taking to arms, set his country free. He was to be called the Mahatma, the Great Soul. Having led his people to freedom, he was to lay down his life for their sake.Voice of Asia will bring to you over the next several weeks, the story of this remarkable man who is still an inspiration to millions of oppressed people around the world. In a small, white-washed house in Porbandar, on the coast of Kathiawad in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Mohandas

The grandfather and father of Mohandas were famous for their ability and for their upright character. Grandfather Uttamchand Gandhi, who belonged to a humble family of merchants, became the Dewan of Porbandar. He was succeeded by his son, Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Kaba Gandhi. Karamchand had very lit-

Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869. His father was Karamchand Gandhi and mother Putlibai. Porbandar is an old seaport, a little distance from the Barda Hills. Even in ancient days ships

Putlibai, Karamchand Gandhi’s wife, was a deeply religious woman, lovable and strong-willed woman. She was widely respected for her wisdom and good sense. People often sought her advice on various matters. Mohandas was the youngest of the six children of Karamchand and Putlibai Gandhi. He was the favorite child of the family and was called ‘Moniya’ by his parents and their friends.

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“Why didn’t you hit him?” she would ask. “How can you teach me to hit people, mother? Why should I hit my brother? Why should I hit anyone?” would be Moniya’s reply. His mother

from a window, and she ordered Moniya to come in at once. “Don’t you know that a highcaste Hindu should never touch an untouchable?” she asked sternly. “But why not, mother?” asked Moniya. “Because our Hindu custom forbids it,” she said. “I don’t agree with you, mother. I find nothing wrong in touching Uka. He is not different from me, is he?” His mother had no answer. She angrily told

meat, so he, too, tried meat. He did not like the taste of meat but as time went on he started to like meat curries. Whenever Mohandas had a meat meal outside, he had to give his mother some excuse for not eating his dinner. He knew that his parents would not forgive him if they knew he had eaten meat. He was not against eating meat then, but he was against telling a lie to his mother. This feeling was gnawing at

Great Summer Project For children! Enter Mahatma Gandhi Week 2017 Essay, I-Tribute, Poster and Speech contests. Visit gandhilibrary.org for registration and more information. All school going children can participate! These contests are being organized to create higher awareness of the inspiring life and work of Mahatma Gandhi to promote universal values of Truth, Non-Violence, Love and Service tle formal education, but his knowledge and experience of state affairs made him a good administrator. He was brave and generous. He had, however, one fault - a bad temper.

Mohandas Gandhi or ‘Moniya’at age 7

Moniya adored his mother. He loved his father too, but he was a little afraid of him. As a child, Moniya seldom liked to stay at home. He would go home for his meals and then run away again to play outside. If one of his brothers teased him or playfully pulled his ears, he would run home to complain to his other.

wondered where her little son got such ideas.

him to go, have a bath and say his prayers.

Moniya was just seven years old when his father left Porbandar to become the Dewan of Rajkot. Moniya missed Porbandar, and he missed the blue sea and the ships in the harbor.

Karamchand Gandhi loved all his sons, but he was specially fond of the youngest. He often said to him: “You must go to high school and college and take up a profession.”

At Rajkot he was sent to a primary school. He was shy and did not mix easily with the other children. Every morning he went to school in time, and ran back home as soon as school was over.

Moniya worked hard, and did his lessons carefully. But he did not like learning by heart and was therefore weak in Sanskrit. Geometry was his favorite subject because it involved reasoning. Once Moniya happened to read the story of Shravana.

His books were his sole companions and he spent all his free time alone reading. He had one friend, however; a boy named Uka. Uka was a sweeper boy and an untouchable. One day Moniya, was given some sweets. He ran at once to Uka to share them with him. “Don’t come near me little master,” said Uka. “Why not?” asked Moniya, greatly surprised. “Why can’t I come near you?” “I am an untouchable, master,” Uka replied. Moniya took hold of Uka’s hands and filled them with sweets. His mother saw this

Shravana’s parents were old and blind, and he always carried them with him in two baskets slung on a yoke. Moniya was deeply touched by Shravana’s devotion to his old parents. Moniya’s brother had a friend named Sheikh. He was tall and strong. Sheik was a meat-eater and he often told Mohandas that if he ate meat he would also grow tall and strong. There was also at that time a reform movement for a change in the orthodox beliefs and practices of Hindus. Mohandas himself had heard that many welltodo people had started eating

his heart and finally he decided not to touch meat again. Mohandas had also taken to smoking with Sheik, his brother, and another relative. He had to pilfer small amounts of money here and there with which to buy cigarettes. One day, in order to pay off a debt which his brother had incurred, Mohandas stole a piece of gold jewelry. Stealing was a great sin. He knew that he had committed a great crime. He resolved never in his life to steal again. He wrote down a confession of his crime and handed the paper to his ailing father. Karamchand Gandhi read the confession. He tore up the paper without saying a word. The bits of paper fell to the floor. He sank back on his bed with a sigh. Mohandas left the room, tears streaming down his face. From that day, Mohandas loved his father more and more. Every day he hurried home from school to wait on him. His father’s condition grew worse and at length he died. The house was filled with sorrow. Mohandas was only sixteen when his father died. (To be continued)


VOICE OF ASIA 3

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FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

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Osmania University Alumni in Houston Celebrate its 100th Birthday with Great Fervor

Harinath Medi presenting a plaque to Vice Chancellor Prof. S. Ramachandran at the OU 100th Birthday celebrations.

Osmania University Vice Chancellor Prof. S. Ramachandran, Guest of Honor with noted Osmania alumni in the Greater Houston area were recongnized by the Osmania University Alumni Association of America (OUAA) in Houston committee during the Osmania Univerity centenary celebrations held at India House on May 27, 2017. Seen from left to right are the alumni association board members: Jivan Pulijal, Showri Nandagiri, Mahendra Korivi, Harinath Medi, Prof. Limbadri Rikka, officer on Special Duty, Osmania University, Alumni Dr. Azeez Jamaluddin, Prof. Ramachandran, Vishnu Vardhan Devraju, Karun Sreeama, Manohar Medi, Ram Reddy Padilla and Arvind Reddy. Photos credit: Jawahar Malhotra.

by Shobana Muratee

when they visit Hyderabad.

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By 7:30 PM the auditorium was full and Mahendra Korivi welcomed the guests and introduced the Master of Ceremonies Ajay Chenchu who set the tone with a typical Hyderabadi style of greetings that was instantly a hit with the audience. A slide show presentation was followed. The entertainment segment was provided by singers Akhila and Adarsh and dance performances by students of Bollywood Dancing Stars with Nitya Hari, its owner and Director in the lead. They danced to Bollywood hits from Devdas and other medleys from popular Hindi movies. This generated the right vibe and mood for everyone in the hall and had them waiting for more items to follow. The entertainment continued with a Qawwali from the Hindi film Waqt ‘Aye mere Zohar Jabeen’ by a famous local singer Vijay Shenoy followed by Mahendra Korivi’s sang ‘Hume aur jeeneki chahat na hoti’ from the film Agar Tum Na Hote was thoroughly engaging and well received. Later, Korivi proposed a Vote of Thanks and extended special thanks to India

OUSTON – The proud, die hard Osmanians, belonging to the Osmania University Alumni Association, Houston paid glorious tribute to their Alma mater celebrating its 100th Birthday at a sold out event on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at the India House, on West Bellfort, here in Houston, Texas. The event resounded in the spirit of celebrations that were held in the city of Hyderabad where the University was established by Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad, in 1917. Harinath Medi, an ardent supporter, founder and President of the OUAA –USA welcomed the Chief Guest and the gathering and gave his opening remarks. Chief Guest, Professor S. Ramachandram, Osmania University Vice Chancellor who was introduced by Manohar Medi was received amidst cheers and a standing ovation from the audience. Medi later shared his experience from his recent visits to the various cities in USA. He made some good suggestions as to what the members can do from here in the US

House and Biryani Pot for providing authentic Hyderabadi dishes: the world famous Biryani and Double-kaMeeta. Thanks went out to Karunakar for décor (free of cost), Astro Printing, singers, performers of Bollywood Dancing Stars, Emcee Ajay Chenchu, Ravi Shanker for photography, media, tickets2events.com and volunteers were also appreciated for their contributions. A surprise item was presented by Nitya Hari interactive dance that was very enjoyable and songs by local and upcoming singer Hemanth

were invigorating. TV6 interviewed the Vice Chancellor and the same was broadcast on TV channel. The event planning committee comprised of Harinath Medi, Manohar Medi, Showri Nandagiri, Mahendra Korivi, Jeevan Pulijal, Kumud Pulijal, Bala Asawa, and D.V. Kumar (who could not be present). Dr. Karun Sreerama, City of Houston’s new Director of Public Works Department, the first Indian American, a Telugu speaking student of OU, College of

Engineering to hold this position was presented with a plaque. Also honored with a plaque was Aziz Jamaluddin, Mechanical Engineer from OU and CEO of Epcon, a muti-million dollar global company. Other guests who accompanied the Vice Chancellor were also presented with a plaque by the planning committee members. The event lasted till 11:30 PM and there were quite a number of people who stayed to enjoy the rest of the memorable evening. (With input from Mahendra Korvi)

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The People’s Lawyer www.peopleslawyer.net

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Pearland Alliance for Arts & Culture present “Visions of India” from Kannappan Museums collection

Landlord must change locks

Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center

Q. I just moved into a new apartment. When I asked the landlord if the door had a new lock he told me it was the same lock the previous tenant had, but he was sure there were no outstanding keys. I told him I wanted a new lock and he said I could change it, but I would have to pay and give him a key. Am I entitled to a new lock? A. Under the law, a tenant who moves into an apartment is entitled to have the lock changed, or re-keyed, as often as the tenant wants. The first time a lock is changed or re-keyed, the landlord must bear the cost of the change. After that, the landlord must make the change, however, he has the right to charge the tenant for any costs incurred. Based on what you say, your landlord must change the lock or re-key it and cannot charge you. I suggest you speak with the landlord and let him know you expect him to do what the law requires. Q. I brought my son’s motorcycle into a local repair shop. Someone broke into the shop and stole several bikes, including my son’s. The police are investigating, but I doubt we will ever see the bike again. Does the shop have to pay to replace the motorcycle? A. Whether the shop is responsible will depend on the nature of the theft. The

shop is not responsible simply because the motorcycle was on its property. For the shop to be liable you must show it was “negligent, “ which means it did not exercise ordinary care in protecting the bike from theft, and that is why the theft occurred. For example, if they left the building unlocked, or didn’t fix broken lights or a broken fence, and that is why the thief was able to get in, the shop could be considered negligent and responsible. On the other hand, if this was just a break-in that could not be avoided, and the shop took all reasonable precautions, the shop would have no liability. Many people believe that if something goes wrong on another’s property, that person is responsible. That is not the law. This is why it is so important for all of us to have comprehensive medical and property insurance. Q. My husband and I signed a one year lease. Shortly after we moved in he became abusive. I have obtained a protective order against him and moved out. Now the landlord says I am still responsible for rent if my husband does not pay. Why should I owe rent if I can’t live there? A. As a general rule, your landlord is correct. Even if a co-tenant moves out, he or she usually remains obligated to pay the rent. The problems between co-tenants are not the fault of the landlord,

and do not terminate the tenant’s obligation to pay rent. Under the law, however, a tenant may terminate his or her obligations under a lease and avoid future liability for rent, if the tenant is a victim of family violence who has obtained a temporary injunction or protective order. To exercise your rights under this law you must move out and deliver a copy of the order to the landlord. The tenant who complies with this law has no liability for future rent but may remain responsible for any delinquent rent or other sums owed prior to termination depending on the language of the lease. The tenant will not owe past-due rent if the lease did not contain language informing the tenant of the right to terminate the lease in certain situations involving domestic violence. If the landlord attempts to collect rent in violation of this law, he is subject to a civil penalty of one-month’s rent plus $500. Q. I am the executor of my mother’s will. In the will, she left $7,000 to her grandchild. There is no money in her estate. Do I have to pay the $7,000? A. No, you do not have to pay. The executor merely puts the will into effect and distributes the assets of the deceased. If there are no assets, the executor is not personally responsible for fulfilling the terms of the will.

Ribbon-cutting opened Kannappan Art Museums

Mayor Tom Reid awarding a certificate to Kannappan

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annappan Art Museums opened on May 26th 2017 in Pearland, Texas. About 100 people attended the inauguration function. Sockalingam Sam Kannappan welcomed the distinguished gathering of many American officials. Pearland Mayor Tom Reid gave a certificate (shown above) to Kannappan giving background of the origin of the museum effort. Deputy Consul General of India at Houston Honorable Surendra Adhana praised the community service by Kannappan. Rathna Kumar explained the dance forms from Tamil Nadu including four thousand year old Bharatha

Natyam. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan spoke about the benefits of museums. S. Narayanan spoke of the photographs of the mansion built by their grand father in 1944 at Nattarasankottai, Tamil Nadu. Executive Director Heidi Wiess talked about the future global city museums including Indian and Chinese museums that are being planned. Museum will be open for public Tuesdays 5:30PM to 7:30 PM, Thursdays 9 AM to 2 PM, Sundays 12 noon to 4 PM or by appointment by emailing heidilodc@sbcglobal.net. Address: 2341 N. Galveston Ave, Pearland, TX 77581.

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Smart Financial Centre to provide community resource for graduating seniors UGAR LAND - The Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land will host families throughout the region during upcoming Fort Bend ISD commencement ceremonies.

its adjacent plaza. A focus on tourism and commercial sources to reduce the property tax burden on homeowners has been a key to maintaining one of the state’s lowest property tax rates.

A facility that accommodates the local needs of the community has been a priority since long before the venue’s conception.

Fort Bend ISD will hold 11 graduation ceremonies at Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land from June 2-3. Given the tight schedule, Sugar Land will activate its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate police and traffic resources needed for an expected increase in traffic around the facility.

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Years of public feedback, including a citizen-led Visioning Task Force and a public vote, affirmed strong support for the expansion of cultural and entertainment opportunities in Sugar Land and a venue that could host a wide range of performances, including national music and comedy artists, theatrical shows and family entertainment. During the process, Sugar Land residents also expressed a desire for a venue that would accommodate community events such as high school graduations. “We are excited to be able to provide a hometown graduation venue for graduating seniors and families in our area,” said Assistant City Manager Jennifer May. “We listened to our residents and provided a venue that meets their expectations and is much closer to their homes.” Many will experience for the first time a state-of-the-art venue that has attracted national attention with sold-out performances by acts such as Jerry Seinfeld, Don Henley, Dave Matthews, Reba McEntire, Sting and more. Conservative estimates project the venue to provide an annual benefit to the community of over $26.1 million. No general fund tax dollars were spent on the Smart Financial Centre or

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

During the graduation ceremonies, westbound Lexington Boulevard will be closed from just west of the roundabout to Taborwood to prevent increased traffic in nearby neighborhoods. Signage will be placed at Sweetwater and Lexington Boulevards alerting motorists of the closure and rerouting those attending graduation ceremonies to U.S. Highway 59 and University Boulevard. The closures will not prohibit access to homes in the area.

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Fort Bend ISD students win big at 2017 State VASE

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ORT BEND – Sixty Fort Bend ISD high school students participated in the State Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE), held recently in San Antonio. The students advanced to state after scoring well at the area event, during which their artwork was evaluated based on originality, technical expertise, interpretation and understanding of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Of the 60 FBISD students to participate in state VASE, 18 of them were honored with Gold Seal medals in recognition of their outstanding artwork.

Only 150 of the more than 32,000 entries received Gold Seal medals. FBISD’s 2017 State VASE award winners are: Benjamin Castillo (Ridge Point), Spoorthi Cherivirala (Dulles, two medals), Nerissa Geng (Clements), Morgan Grigsby (Ridge Point), Betty Lambert (Clements), Maylyn Liu (Dulles), Olivia Ong (Dulles), Landon Richie (Dulles), Kaylah Shepherd (Clements), Chelsea Tang (Dulles), Madison Ward (Ridge Point), Ava Warren (Dulles, two medals), Andy Wei (Clements, two medals), Colton Williams (Clements), Lauren

Yang (Dulles), Yang Yang (Clements), Christina Zhang (Clements) and Anton Zhou (Clements). The following FBISD students also received scholarships ranging from $100-$1,500 for the high quality of artwork they presented: Lauren Yang, Dulles, The Jim Henderson Scholarship; and Clements students Anton Zhou, The Most Expressive Piece Scholarship; Andy Wei, The Sketchbook Challenge Scholarship; and Betty Lambert, Nerissa Geng and Christina Zhang, winners of 2D Drawing Scholarships.

Those not participating in the event are encouraged to avoid the area during graduation weekend. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to showcase our new facility to the community and help provide a memorable occasion during this very special time,” said May. “We are committed to partnering with Fort Bend ISD and the Smart Financial Centre to provide resources necessary to provide a memorable event for families throughout our region. The lessons learned from this new event and others we’ve held during the venue’s brief history will help us improve in the future.” Those participating in the event and other motorists are asked to be patient and pay attention to event signage. Should Fort Bend ISD experience scheduling delays, there may be traffic in the immediate area of the venue late into the night. (-City of Sugar Land)

Student participants of 2017 state VASE (Photo: FBISD)

FBISD Students selected for Duke TIP Grand Recognition

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ort Bend ISD is proud to announce that 37 students in the District qualified for Grand Recognition and 246 students qualified for State Recognition through the Duke Talented Identification Program (Duke TIP) for their exceptional scores on the ACT or SAT. Students Qualifying for Grand Recognition include: Arjun Bhatia (Quail Valley), Doyita Biswas (Quail Valley),

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VOICE OF ASIA 6

26 High school seniors receive IACF scholarships worth $35000

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

HISD partners with Houston METRO to offer free summer rides to students he Houston Independent School District has partnered with METRO to offer free rides this summer to all HISD students as part of their Summer of Fun Pass program.

at RideMETRO.org, by calling 713635-4000, or in person at one of the Metro RideStores, 1990 Main St. or 1001 Travis St. Students must be entering grades kindergarten through 12 this fall to participate.

The Summer of Fun Pass allows students to ride any METRO local bus, Park & Ride bus, or METRORail for free from June 1 to Sept. 1, 2017. The program helps students attend summer programs and jobs without having to worry about transportation.

The card works in the same way as a regular METRO card. Riders must tap their cards on the Q box to receive the free trip. The Q box is located at the front of the bus next to the driver and on all METRORail platforms.

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Dr. Vanitha Poturi. IACF president addressing thegathering at IACF Scholarship ceremony (Photos credit: Roy photography) Continued from page 1 Himesh Gandhi, former Councilman Harish Jajoo, Fort Bend County District Attorney John F. Healey, Jr., Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy E. Nehls, Mayor protem, City of Stafford Ken Mathews and Fort Bend ISD Trustee (Position 5) KP George, Xavier Herrera, Trustee SMSD, Maria Raspberry, Deputy Superintendent, SMSD, Dr. Terry Sheneman, Director FBISD, Career and College Readiness Program, Dr. Crystal Collins, Coordinator of Counseling were among the VIP attendees. IACF Past presidents, heads of IACF’s partnering organizations, supporters and donors were among the presenters on the occasion. The event was efficiently emceed by

Dr. Ramesh Cherivirala, introducing the Scholarship Committee at the event. (Photo credit: Roy photography)

A Summer of Fun Pass is required to participate and can be obtained online

“When Houston’s largest public transit provider comes together to help our students, it showcases the commitment the city has for its children,” HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza said. “METRO is serving our children in a big way, and students will not pass up this opportunity.” After Sept. 1, the card reverts to a standard METRO student fare card, which allows students to ride for half price.

Sri Lanka appeals.... Continued from page 1 Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said many victims had started moving back into their homes as floodwaters receded but authorities remained concerned about the spread of disease.

From far left to right: Saiesh Kalva, Jhanvi Jain, emcees, Dr. Gopala, IACF, Maria Raspberry, Deputy Superintendent of SMSD, Dr. Terry Sheneman, Director, FBISD, Career and College Readiness Program, Dr. Crystal Collins, coordinator of counseling. Dr. Ramesh Cherivirala, Dr. Vanitha and Sreeni Nakirekanti from IACF presenting a token of appreciation to the guests.

DA John F. Healey, Jr., addressing the students at IACF Scholarship ceremony.

“HISD is incredibly grateful to Houston Metro for offering our students free rides throughout the city this summer,” HISD Board President Wanda Adams said. “This will benefit so many of our students by allowing them to stay active this summer and attend their summer activities with ease.”

Saiesh and Jhanvi.

nity to serve the community.”

Sharing her comments on the event with her fellow board members, IACF president Dr. Vanitha Pothuri stated, “Isn’t this the true reason why all of us are here on this board? It is to give back to the community with the knowledge of what a certain change can bring to the future of someone’s life. Is that change a grant, a scholarship, a mentorship, a helping hand? It is a change for the better in the life of someone who needs help. We should feel very blessed to have this opportu-

The Indo-American Charity Foundation has been serving the greater Houston area since 1988 through philanthropic endeavors focused on health, education, and human services. Through scholarships, the IACF supports the hardworking, vastly talented students aspiring to become health care professionals, entrepreneurs, and engineers. The IACF hopes to make a difference in the future of these bright students. For more on IACF visit www.iacfhouston.com/

“We have started sending additional doctors, nurses and medical supplies to prevent any outbreak of diseases such as rat fever (leptospirosis) and diarrhoea,” said Senaratne, who is also health minister. “We could also have a dengue outbreak in about two weeks. We are very conscious of that. Additional medical teams will be checking on mosquito breeding grounds as well.” The military has deployed more service personnel in addition to the thousands already involved in distributing food and other essentials to flood victims in the districts of Kalutara, Ratnapura, Galle and Matara. Sri Lanka has experienced scattered showers in many parts in the past 24 hours but flood waters are rapidly receding, officials said. In addition to the official death toll of 193, another 94 people were listed as

missing as of Tuesday afternoon. In May 2003 250 people were killed and 10,000 homes destroyed after a similarly powerful monsoon. - Aid on its way The government announced Tuesday it would cut back spending on new vehicles to save money as Colombo sought international assistance for the clean-up. “The cabinet decided today that we will not purchase any cars for ministers or the government this year in view of the natural disaster,” Senaratne said. A third aid ship was expected to arrive from India later Tuesday, Senaratne said, adding that three ships from China and another from Pakistan were also expected in Colombo this week. Australia, Japan and Singapore were among the other nations rushing to donate inflatable boats and other aid. The UN was donating water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulins while the World Health Organization will support medical teams in affected areas.

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VOICE OF ASIA 7

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Houston Iftar - Annual Ramadan Dinner with Mayor Turner

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OUSTON: Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner said that diversity in Houston is an asset not a liability and Muslim community is the integral part of this diverse society which is also the beauty and strength of this city. He was speaking to the “Houston Iftar 2017”Annual Ramadan Dinner with Mayor of Houston being organized by Abu Dhabi, Baku, Basrah, Istanbul & Karachi Sister City Association along with The Islamic Society of Greater Houston and 50 plus Collaborating organizations at Bayou City event center. This meaningful multi-cultural event was attended by over 1500 community members, elected officials, Diplomats of several countries and media to show their support and solidarity. Honorary chair Agha khan council Murad Ajani presented the welcome address. The Annual Houston Iftar Ramadan Dinner with Mayor Sylvester Turner showed, this year again, a beautiful portrait of Brotherhood where all races and religions shared and enjoyed peacefully under one roof. The event began with a recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Imam Nihat Yesil. Mr. Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, Coordinator at the Houston Iftar Organizing Committee greeted & recognized and expressed his gratitude

unity of Muslims and other faiths who believe the dignity of all peoples is need of hours. She along with congress man Al Green and Mayor Turner also greeted the audience and presented proclamations to the organizers of the dinner for their hard work towards creating a more diverse and bonded society. All the volunteers at this event were a perfect representation of diversity and unity!

Iftar guests with Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner to all Elected Officials, Dignitaries, sponsors, volunteers and attendees for honoring us with their presence. The Mayor of Houston was introduced by the Guest of Honor and Grand sponsor of Houston Iftar for the past many years, S. Javaid Anwar, President and CEO of Midland Energy & Petroplex Energy. Mayor Turner in his Keynote Address Said that due to the large population of immigrants, Houston is a big diverse family and Muslim commu-

nity is the important part of this diversity. He urged the Muslim community to come forward to help out the less fortune peoples especially those are compelled to sleep under the bridges. As a Mayor I know how to fix the problem but it’s a very hard task to take care of these peoples, he stated and added that without any discrimination as a one faith community it’s our responsibility to share and extend the blessing the God rewarded us. Mayor Turner also paid special tribute to Coordinator Muhammad Saeed

Sheikh and his team. Speaking on this occasion, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson said today Iftar dinner is the true reflection of what the America is. She called upon the community to come to gather for peace and harmony among the different faiths and working collectively against the Muslim ban. We need your unity in Washington and we need your voice in capital as we cannot deal with ugly immigration law without your collective voices, she urged and said

Speaking to the large gathering, Congressman Al Green said that Muslim Americans died and scarified their life’s to protect the American values, for liberty of justice for all and they stood for this great country that’s why we always stood for this great community. Everybody who comes to America firmly believes what the America actually stand for, they comes because they believe no person including judge, Congressman and even the President of America above the law. President of ISGH, M J Khan also spoken on this occasion and highlighted the positive role of Muslim community in this society. Imam Daniel Abdullah Hernandez shared his knowledge on the Significance of Ramadan. Through a video message, Governor of Texas Greg Abbott greeted the guests on the occasion. Maghrib prayers was lead by prominent scholar Shahid Ahmed Rizvi.

Texas lawmakers authorize legislation to keep emissions reduction plan alive

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USTIN - The 85th Legislature gave all Texans a surprising bit of good news when they extended the programs for the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP), which was set to expire in 2019. TERP is the second largest air pollution reduction program in Texas, and since its inception in 2001 it has become the most cost-effective way to reduce air pollution in the state. Only hours before the final deadline to pass a “Conference Committee Report,” the Texas Legislature approved SB 1731, which included an amendment to reform and expand TERP. In response, the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Public Citizen and Environmental Defense Fund — who have supported and worked with legislators and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality since 2001 on TERP implementation — praised lawmakers for their efforts, but issued a warning: the Legislature must actually appropriate the money now. “We salute the Texas Legislature for extending and expanding TERP programs so that Texas actually complies with EPA’s health-based standards for ozone pollution in our major cities,” noted Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter. “However, the Legislature failed to extend the fees that pay for the program, and the budget bill actually cut appropriations for TERP by some $80 million over two years, subject to a possible adjustment by the Legislative Budget Board. This will need to be fixed for the program to work as it should.” Recent polling has found that TERP has strong support in Houston, where air pollution is a constant problem. “We’re glad that the Legislature responded to the concerns of Houstonians,” said Adrian Shelley, director of the Public Citizen Texas office. “One of the major improvements for TERP under SB 1731 is the provision to allow more money to be spent in rail yards and port yards, where we have the greatest air pollution concentrations,” he added. “We’re pleased that TERP has been extended and now includes modifications that will allow more cost-effective projects at ports,” said Christina Wolfe, Manager, Air Quality, Port and Freight Facilities at the Texas office of the Environmental Defense Fund. “There is plenty of work ahead of us to ensure that all Texans breathe healthy air, so we appreciate the Texas Legislature taking this first step in recognizing the importance of TERP. Now we need them to ensure the programs are funded.” The bill to extend and expand the program had a somewhat tortured history. After passing the Senate early in the session, SB 26 by Craig Estes (R- Wichita Falls) was then referred to the House Committee on Environmental Regulation. There, clean air advocates — which included environmental groups like EDF, Sierra Club and Public Citizen, and industry groups like the Texas Chemical Council, the Texas Association of Business and electric utilities — worked with Chairman Joe Pickett (D - El Paso), Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Houston) and Rep. Tony Dale (R- Round Rock) to craft a revised version of SB 26, which put more emphasis on the most costeffective programs, including the re-

vised Seaport and Rail Yards program to clean up pollution from equipment at our ports and railyards. However, the House version of SB 26 was put late on the calendar and the House of Representatives did not get to the bill when the deadine of midnight occurred on May 23rd. Then, versions of SB 26 were added to three other bills as amendments, though two of them were not taken up. Finally, on May 29th, at approximately 9:30

PM, both houses passed the TERP bill as part of SB 1731 by Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas).

per year, and a contingency rider that was supposed to restore funding if a TERP bill passed was not in the final version of the budget.

While the groups behind the TERP legislation were happy with the passage SB 1731, some last-minute confusion on the budget made it unclear how much TERP is actually funded for the next two years. During lastminute budget negotiations, TERP funding was cut from approximately $118 million per year to $78 million

In addition, separate legislation to extend the six fees that actually fund TERP did not pass, meaning the Legislature will need to come back in 2019 to extend them if the programs are to continue. “We call on Governor Abbot to not

only sign SB 1731 into law, but call back the Legislative Budget Board to adjust the budget to reflect its passage and return the nearly $40 million a year that was cut to fund these new programs,” added Reed. “Ultimately, the Legislature is going to have to decide how important it is to get the dirty air in our cities cleaned up and extend the fees — and spend the revenues — to help our children, the elderly and those with asthma to be able to breathe clean air.”


VOICE OF ASIA 8

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

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Indian American envoy defends Kushner, says he will continue to do ‘his work’

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ASHINGTON, PTI | May 31, 2017 - President Donald Trump’s top adviser and sonin-law Jared Kushner, on the firing line for his reported attempt to set up a “back-channel” with Russia, has received support from US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

The Indian-American envoy’s defence of Kushner, 36, came after the American media reported last week that he discussed to open a secret “back-channel” between Russia and Trump’s presidential transition team in a meeting with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, last December.

“I would just say that Kushner’s attorney has said that Kushner has volunteered to share with Congress what he

As per the report, more than 50 million non-immigrants were expected to depart from the US in 2016. Of these, 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay rate of 1.47 per cent. Of the more than 739,000

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he rom-com of the summer? My bet is on debut author Sandhya Menon’s young adult tech-geek love story ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’, a swoon-worthy romance about two teens who meet and fall for each other at an app camp (yep, those exist!). The twist? Only one of them knows that it’s an arranged match set up by their traditional Indian parents.

overstays, DHS said 628,799 were suspected “in-country” overstays, meaning there is no record of these foreign nationals leaving the US. The rest left the country after the expiry of their lawful admission period, which is called out-of-country overstay. According to the figures, more than 1.4 million Indians who entered the US were expected to leave the country in 2016, but more than 30,000 overstayed. Of these 30,000, a little over 6,000 Indian nationals left the US after the expiry of their visas, the report said. In 2016, more than one million Indians who came to the US on business, tourist or pleasure were expected to leave the country. Of these 17,763 have overstayed in the country, it said. Among the overstayed are 2,040 Indians who departed the US only after the expiry of

their visas. Similarly, in 2016, as many as 9,897 Indian students or exchange scholars were expected to depart by the end of the year and of which, 4,575 overstayed their legal period. As per available records, 1,561 Indian students and exchange visitors left the country after their visas expired, while 3,014 of them have overstayed in the country, the report said. There were also 339,076 Indians in various other categories who were expected to leave the country in 2016. Of these, 8,061 overstayed, including 2,402 Indians who left the US after their visas expired. According to the report, more than 881,000 Indians on business or pleasure were expected to leave the country in 2015. Of these 14,348 Indians overstayed, including 1,463 who left the US after the expiry of their visas.

Nearly 80 percent of Indian Americans voted for Hillary 64 percent prefer pathway to citizenship for undocumented US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during an earlier trip to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India (Photo: India Today) knows about these meetings, and he will do the same if he’s contacted and connected with any other inquiry,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters. Both secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser Lt Gen HR McMaster

have discussed that, and “in general terms, back channels are an appropriate part of diplomacy,” he said. Yesterday Politico reported that Kushner is back in the West Wing and he continues to lead meetings despite the rising tide of Russia-related questions.

‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ is the Indian-American YA rom-com you need to read this summer by Sona Charaipotra

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ASHINGTON (PTI), Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - A total of 1.4 million Indians travelled to the US on various visas last year, out of which over 30,000 overstayed in the country, according to an annual official report on departures and overstays released today.

The report covers about 96 per cent of the total non- immigrant visitors.

“There is not a lot that rattles him. So I suspect that he’ll continue doing his work like he always has. He’s said that he will totally comply with the investigation and give every ounce of information that they need. And I think we can expect that,” Haley said in response to a question.

“Well, I haven’t talked to him since all of this came out,” Haley said.The White House too has defended the role of Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump.

Over 30,000 Indians overstayed in America last year: report

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted the report to the Congress on foreign visitors who entered the US on various visas, including including business, tourists, students and visitors exchange, as non-immigrant visitors.

“If you know Jared, he’s a very calm, stable voice,” Haley told MSNBC.

She said she did talk to Kushner often, but has not since the news came out last week that he wanted to open a secret line of communication with Russia bypassing formal channels.

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

eventy-seven percent of Indian Americans who responded to the 2016 National Asian American Survey voted for former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, noted researchers who released results mid-May.

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Eighty percent of Indian Americans view President Donald Trump unfavorably, according to the survey, which was conducted shortly after the Nov. 8, 2016 general election. For the first time, the survey disaggregated data about Bangladeshi and Pakistani Americans. Eighty-eight percent of Pakistani Americans and 90 percent of Bangladeshi Americans voted for Clinton. Almost

all Pakistani and Bangladeshi Americans view Trump unfavorably, according to the NAAS survey results. More than 1,100 South Asian Americans participated. The survey does include questions on Asian Americans’ views about whether undocumented immigrants should be allowed an opportunity to eventually become U.S. citizens, and whether states should provide driver’s licenses to all residents, regardless of immigration status. Here’s what we find. Fully 58 percent of Asian Americans say they support legislation that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States, with Indian Americans’ support

was at 64 percent. The influence of Khizr Khan, father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War, who berated Trump during the Democratic National Convention for his anti-immigrant rhetoric was notable. Almost one-fifth of Indian Americans believed they had been subjected to discrimination at the workplace, based on their ethnicity. Partisan leanings might be behind these findings. Indian and Japanese respondents — who are most supportive of a path to citizenship — are also more likely than other Asian American groups to support Democrats. (-Washington Post)

A NOVEL

Menon is a bright new talent, and she delivers a debut that’s deliciously quirky, funny and nerdy — and a contemporary YA summer romance starring two Indian kids, a story we see very rarely in mainstream media. “Our stories are usually about us being terrorists or rapists or about us overcoming the odds to rise above the slums and become doctors,” Menon tells Bustle. “There’s a danger in that single story because it flattens your perspective of what you can achieve in life. It’s isolating, and it feels like no one really sees you. Brown teens need to see themselves falling in love, making mistakes, dabbling in art, and being happy.” The book is a collaboration between Menon and her Simon Pulse editor Jennifer Ung, who reached out to the author with the idea for the story. “It wasn’t a story about race or poverty,”

Menon says. “Although those are powerful, important stories, I knew I wasn’t the right one to tell them. This story was going to be light and happy — a rom-com

like so many on my bookshelf. And yet, it was unique because it featured Indian-American teens. The story just flowed out of me. (-Bustle.com)

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 10

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

BARC is Overflowing HCC Fashion Fusion: A Springboard for the Fashion Designers of the Future with More Than 190 Cats and Kittens! BARC’s website. “We have hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats that deserve loving homes,� said Rivet. “Houstonians can help by adopting from BARC so these pets can live a full and happy life.� Pets currently available for adoption can be found on BARC’s webHouston-area animal shelters are constantly dealing with site, but BARC enhigh intake and overcrowding. (Photo: KHOU). courages all Houstonians to stop by BARC at 3300 BARC is taking drastic Carr Street, Houston 77026 and meet measures to save more each animal in person. BARC is open for adoptions seven days a week from lives: $1 adoptions for noon to 5:00 p.m. all adoptable cats and

kittens at BARC now through September

Bradford won first place in the category Modern Cuba.

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OUSTON - BARC is overwhelmed with animals: More than 190 cats and kittens are at BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions and many of them are currently available for adoption, rescue and foster. The shelter’s capacity is 550 and nearly 595 animals are currently in its care. BARC is dropping adoption fees for ALL adoptable cats and kittens to $1 from now through September.

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OUSTON [May 31, 2017] – Five Houston Community College (HCC) Fashion Design students have added to their list of accolades the distinction of being the winners of Fashion Fusion 2017. Ebonie Sophus, like the rest of the participating HCC students, drew inspiration from art exhibit Adios Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950. “I was inspired by a butterfly I saw on one of the paintings, said Sephus. “The butterfly symbolizes to me how small beings can overcome great obstacles. I am elated for being chosen as the first place winner for the People’s Choice Award. The art exhibit was on display at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) from March 5 until May 21. To acquire a better understanding about the collection, the students were given a special tour with one of the curators. The experience left an indelible mark on Maite Bradford, who created pieces with clear bellicose tendencies. Bradford won first place in the category Modern Cuba.

“It’s that time of year again,� said Ashtyn Rivet, Deputy Assistant Director at BARC. “Kitten season is officially here and we don’t expect the intake to slow down any time soon. We took in 139 cats and kittens over the past three days of intake.�

“When I researched the art I drew inspiration from, I learned that that the painter was a strong communist,� Bradford said, “That had a huge impact on me, so I put together pieces that respected the artist, but also answered my questions about his philosophy.� Other winners of Fashion Fusion 2007 were Kyndall Bollmeyer, first place winner in the category of Wearable Art, Luisa Nadarajah in the category of Old Havana and Silvia Otaola in the category of Accessories and Jewelry. The winners received scholarships to the Glassel School of Art. For the next few months, the winning gowns will be on display at the MFAH, the Kyndall Bollmeyer, first place winner in the High Fashion Home furniture store, and will conclude with a final display category of Wearable Art at the Houston Public Library. To learn more visit: /www.hccs.edu

BARC’s pet adoption package includes spay/neuter surgery, ageappropriate vaccinations, a one-year city pet license, and a pre-registered microchip with lifetime registration. The adoption package is the best value in town, and could cost hundreds of dollars if purchased independently. Details about BARC’s adoption process and requirements are listed on

If you are unable to permanently adopt a pet but would like to help animals in need, BARC encourages you to consider becoming a volunteer or foster pet parent at BARC. BARC is especially in need of foster pet parents. Many dogs and cats enter BARC with treatable skin conditions, upper respiratory infections and other treatable conditions that must be taken care of outside of the shelter before adoption. Some puppies and kittens that enter BARC are too young for adoption and must be fostered before they can go home with a permanent family. By getting these animals out of BARC and into foster homes, BARC has more space for additional animals as they enter the shelter. Visit www.houstonbarc.com or www.Facebook.com/BARCHouston for more information. The simplest, but most powerful thing you can do to help BARC, and pets throughout our community, is to talk to your friends, neighbors, and family about caring for pets responsibly. To donate to BARC online via the Houston BARC Foundation, click here. To donate to BARC, visit www. HoustonBARC.com.

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VOICE OF ASIA 11

AFP says video of abducted priest a terrorist propaganda

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Mumbai morning moorings

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ANILA, Philippines - The government believes a video showing the abducted Catholic priest appealing for a stop in military offensives in Marawi City was merely a propaganda by terrorists. “The propaganda of the enemy… are indicative of their fighting for survival. They are trapped. They are contained. They are in areas that they will never come out alive unless they surrender,” Armed Forces spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said. “And that’s why we are asking them and we are appealing to these armed men to come to their senses, lay down their weapons and surrender,” he added. Padilla said the military’s technical staff have started examining the video featuring abducted priest Teresito “Chito” Suganob, although there was no information yet if the details in his message were accurate. Padilla said while the video seemed authentic, “there lies in the real reason for coming up with the video, which is propaganda purposes.” In the video, Suganob appealed to the government to halt military offensives in Marawi City. Padilla said Suganob was obviously under duress when he gave the message and the military would not fall for the enemy’s propaganda. Efforts to rescue an estimated 1,000 trapped residents in the

Teresito “Chito” Suganob is pictured in a screenshot from the released video (Photo: Philippines AF) city remain, added Padilla. The option of conducting backchannel talks between the terrorists and non-government organizations willing to help state forces was also being explored. “We are not negotiating. We are merely working closely with organizations whose objective is to save more lives,” he said. As the siege entered its first week, the number of slain terrorists have risen to 89, the government said. The number of civilian casualties remain at 19, although Padilla said there is an ongoing validation of reports of other civilian deaths. The casualties on the government side, meanwhile, is now at 21. Padilla also assured that no civilian died during the air strikes by the military, saying

Surrender or die, forces tell Maute

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ANILA, Philippines (AP) - Give up or face death.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is giving the remaining Maute gunmen still holding out in Marawi City the chance to surrender. “For the terrorists, not surrendering will mean their sure death,” AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said yesterday. Officials said the military is in the final phase of its operations against the Maute group and is expected to retake the entire city by the weekend. “Our ground commanders have assured the public that the end is almost there,” Padilla told reporters. “We’re trying to isolate all these pockets of resistance. As to the call to surrender, we aired this message in the hope of ending this soon and reducing any more loss of lives and property.” Initial reports said the Maute gunmen were left with few areas to maneuver or outflank the government troops that continue to close in. As of Monday night, government forces had killed 63 Maute gunmen in seven days of fighting. “We are in full control, meaning to say we can control who comes in and who comes out, who moves around and who doesn’t. And we’re trying to isolate all these pockets of resistance that have remained,” Padilla said earlier. Security officials have assured lawmakers that the government was in control of the situation in Marawi with the resolve of ending the hostilities. “We appreciate the concern of our senators and the full support that the Armed Forces is getting... In return, the Armed Forces has given the guarantee that we will implement this in the best way possible and in the fastest means,” Padilla told reporters following a closed door session with the senators. Sen. Francis Pangilinan said they were told by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that the situation would return to normal by the end of the week. “The Secretary of National Defense is saying that they are looking at being able to normalize the situation by Friday, by this week,” Pangilinan said. The Philippine National Police (PNP) also assured the lawmakers that Metro Manila is safe from terror threats. “We have not monitored any threats here in Metro Manila.

However, we are continuously conducting monitoring. Intelligence operatives from AFP and Philippine National Police are monitoring critical areas here,” National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde said. Albayalde though admitted some of the Maute gunmen have relatives living in Metro Manila. President Duterte earlier declared the crisis in Marawi City is expected to end by Friday. The President’s announcement was in support of Lorenzana’s declared timetable that the bandits would be defeated by weekend. The military dropped more bombs in the areas where the remaining Maute are believed to be holed up. Troops often encounter sniper fire as they advance slowly to clear Marawi of rebels. Padilla said government forces are working to “clear the city of all remnants of this group.” The city of Marawi, home to some 200,000 people, has been under siege by Islamic State-linked Maute militants since a failed raid Tuesday last week on the suspected hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the notorious Abu Sayyaf. Hapilon got away and fighters loyal to him took over parts of the city, burning buildings and seizing about a dozen hostages, including a priest, Fr. Teresito Suganob, who reports said is appealing on behalf of the Maute gunmen to stop the fighting and withdraw all government forces in Marawi. Hapilon is still hiding out in the city under the protection of the Maute who are desperately trying to find a way to “extricate” him, the military said. “We are on track. I am updated regularly. Timetable is one week from May 25,” Lorenzana said. - Hit and run The military however insists the drawn-out fight in Marawi is not a true sign of the militants’ strength, and that they even held back to spare civilian lives. As of yesterday morning, AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año said the military, working house-by-house, had cleared 70 percent of the city and the remaining militants were isolated. Still, the Maute fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.

government troops are only using a force “commensurate” to the resistance it faces. The military has also taken control of about 90 percent of the city. “However, that 10 percent is most likely going to be the area that will be heavily guarded and defended by any of these armed men if they are protecting any individual of high value,” Padilla said. President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under military rule after government troops clashed with the Maute group and its cohorts in Marawi City. The clashes erupted as state forces tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, considered one of the most wanted terrorists by the US. According to Padilla, Hapilon could still be in Marawi City. (-ABS-CBN)

Officials said the remaining Maute militants, estimated to be 50 gunmen, have shifted to hit-and- run tactics in a bid to lure troops into an ambush. Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon, commander of the AFP- Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, said around 50 Maute gunmen are being pursued by troops in Barangay Mapandi. “Fighting is sporadic in our area. It’s not commensurate to our combat power. They ran when we hit them and we are very careful in entering their so-called established engagement areas,” Parcon said. Aside from Barangay Mapandi, some Maute gunmen are in the city’s commercial district while the rest are holed up along the Agus River bank near the city. Parcon also revealed eight militants surrendered last Saturday. “Just like the President has expressed, you know when you realize that you are not capable of fighting anymore and it’s not worth it on your side. It’s either you’re going to die or you surrender for the sake of peace,” Parcon said, referring to the remaining bandits. Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the Maute are also using civilians as human shields by rejecting appeals for them to stand down to allow the evacuation of trapped civilians. Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan and 1st Army Division, said the focus of government forces is to clear Marawi of militants, rescue trapped civilians and recover civilian casualties and victims in the fastest means possible. The violence in Marawi prompted President Duterte to declare martial law and place the entire Mindanao region under military rule for 60 days. Lawmakers had asked for a joint session of Congress to determine whether martial law is still necessary as required under the Constitution. Even after the mission is accomplished in driving out the Maute gunmen from Marawi, security officials stressed the need to continue the implementation of martial law. National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said it is up to the President to assess when martial law in Mindanao can be lifted. “We will leave that to the decision of the President because it will be the President in the end who will assess based on the report coming from the military, which is the administrator (of martial law),” Esperon said.

Photographer Navtej Singh captured an old tradition with a new angle. Of the action below, he writes, “This is an early morning fish auction, when the boats come in after night fishing at Bhaucha Dhakka, Mumbai. The catch is offloaded by the boat managers and auctioned in lots to the highest bidder, who further sells the same in small lots to small-time fish sellers.”

Japan’s ultralow jobless rate masks grim reality

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OKYO (AFP) -- Japanese employers are scrambling to find staff, unemployment is at its lowest level in more than two decades and the labor market is tighter than it was during Japan’s booming bubble economy years. This should be great news for the world’s No. 3 economy, but analysts are warning not to pop the champagne quite yet because it is mostly due to a shrinking labor force. And many jobs are temporary and pay very little. Japan tied with Iceland in 2016 for the lowest annual unemployment rate -- 3.1 percent -- among 35 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This week Japanese government figures showed the jobless rate at 2.8 percent in April for the third consecutive month and the lowest since 1994.

Another key labor market measurement -- the ratio of job offers to job seekers -- hit 1.48, meaning there were 148 positions available for every 100 job hunters.

“It is a structural phenomenon and, unlike most other developed countries it looks quite independent, or autonomous from the business cycle and economic growth rates.

This is the strongest level in 43 years and is higher than before Japan’s once-booming economy collapsed from a stock and real estate price bubble in the early nineties.

Examples of labor shortages are everywhere in Japan these days. Some 24 restaurants are cutting back their hours because they do not have enough staff, while delivery service Yamato has been forced to trim services citing to a lack of drivers.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may claim Japan’s employment picture as a win for his Abenomics growth policy -- the jobless rate was 4.4 percent in 2012, the year he swept to power on a ticket to reignite the laggard economy. But analysts are not convinced. “Low unemployment is not an achievement of Abenomics,” said Ivan Tselichtchev, an economics professor at Japan’s University of Niigata.

A lack of formal immigration is part of the story. Bringing in foreign workers is a tough sell politically so Tokyo has focused on luring even more seniors and women into the workforce -- many women quit jobs after marrying. But Japan’s population is expected to fall by almost a quarter between 2010 and 2050 to below 100 million.


VOICE OF ASIA 12

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017


VOICE OF ASIA 13

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Email: voiceasia@aol.com

How to effectively grow an early stage business by Ajay Agarwal

E

very entrepreneur knows starting a business is very hard. However, what many entrepreneurs find is that growing a business is even harder. What I’ve learned from my 20 years working inside startups and in venture capital is that founders typically face a common set of challenges as their early stage company shifts into growth mode. Given my experience here are tips for how founders can proactively manage and mitigate these classic “growing pains”. Shift From Optimizing Around Innovation To Optimizing For Repeatability Early stage startups are designed to optimize for innovation. This is reflected in the organizational structure that is very flat; the culture, which is chaotic with a desire to throw lots of things at the wall to see what sticks; and the early employees who are insanely smart and like to work on hard problems. When a startup begins to grow, a founder must find ways to shift the balance away from focusing exclusively on innovation to thinking about repeatability and scalability. What does this involve? First, founders must allocate portions of engineering and product development on features that help improve on-boarding, implementation, and customer training versus just on new, cool innovative capabilities. Second, companies have to design training processes that allow large numbers of new employees to get up to speed quickly without relying on direct apprenticeship from the founder. Third, at this stage, it’s important to implement standard metrics and reporting across the company so that employees who don’t interact with the founder day-to-day can clearly understand if they are making progress. Begin Building A Leadership Team Most founders wait too long to hire and build senior leadership team. As a startup grows, and more people are hired, there is a need to add a layer of management talent. One of the struggles most face is how Lackfounders of speech is a

to think about building that team. Do you promote the early employees? Many of them have added tremendous value to the startup, but are not necessarily qualified to be a manager. Or do you bring in managers from the outside who have experience, but may not mesh with the startup culture and may demotivate the early superstars who are now not working directly for the founder. Given this struggle, many founders simply wait too long before making these hard decisions and this leads to growing pains and scaling challenges. My recommendation for founders is to identify those early employees who have an aptitude and desire to be managers. Founders should find ways to give these employees more responsibility and create some informal roles. Define And Maintain The Company Culture The foundation of any great startup is the culture that is reflected in the company values and in the people who embody those values. One of the most common growing pains for a startup is maintaining that culture as the company scales. I often hear founders and early employees longing for the “early days” when the startup consisted of a small close-knit team that were all personally vetted and hired by the founder. The key to scaling the company is thinking through ways the culture and hiring practices can scale as the company gets larger. It’s important for founders to make sure hiring processes and assessments of “culture fit” are documented with clear frameworks such that folks other than the founder can accurately make these assessments. In addition, it’s critical for the founders to welcome later employees and intentionally build relationships with them such that there isn’t a dynamic where the “old timers” have more voice inside the company. Lastly, it is key for a founder to look at the cultural practices and communication mechanisms inside the company and proactively abandon some of them that may have been critical parts of the fabric in the early days but many not scale as the size and the makeup of the company changes. sign of(-Forbes) autism. Learn the

New one rupee notes to be in circulation soon

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UMBAI (PTI) Tuesday 5/30/2017 - New one rupee notes with predominantly pink-green on obverse and reverse in combination with other colours will be soon put into circulation. The notes bearing the rupee symbol have been printed by the Governm+ent of India. At present, one rupee coins are

minted. Printing of one rupee notes was discontinued in 1994 but was relaunched in 2015. “The Reserve Bank of India will soon put into circulation currency notes in one rupee denomination,” the central bank said in a statement. The note will bear signature of Shaktikanta Das, Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.

Tel: 713-774-5140

Why many Americans are worried about buying a home by Nancy Mann Jackson

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ur economy has come a long way since the Great Recession: Wages are going up, unemployment sits at 4.4 percent (the lowest level since May 2007)— and we’re in the midst of the secondlongest bull market ever. What isn’t growing at an impressive pace? Americans’ confidence in the housing market.

How to protect yourself: Buy in a desirable neighborhood with limited housing inventory, where you’d be happy to live for awhile. And wait until you find something in your price range and you’ve banked a 20-percent down payment. Even if mortgage rates go up, as expected, we’re still near historic lows, so it’s worth waiting till you’re ready. Speaking of which…

windfalls, like tax refunds or bonuses, to the account. 3. Losing a job or having to move Last summer, more than half of Americans said the possibility of a job change or loss makes purchasing a home a lot riskier—and they’re right. “When people buy a home, they are usually investing some money in

Despite other positive economic indicators, rising home prices and uncertainty about the election left the ValueInsured Housing Confidence Index flat last summer. And while optimism briefly shot up post-election— particularly among millennials—it’s dropped again: In March, the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index decreased 3.8 percent overall, with the percentage of Americans who think now’s a good time to buy falling 10 percent. What are we so worried about? Jacob Sanchez Diagnosed with autism

1. Another housing bubble In January, nearly 60 percent of Americans said they thought there could be another housing crisis in their lifetime. While that can be difficult to predict, there are some familiar factors at play: As home prices continue to heat up across the country, borrowers are increasingly pursuing riskier mortgages with toosmall down payments. What’s more, an Owners.com survey found that 55 percent of Americans are willing to bust their home budgets by an average of $40,000. “As housing prices move up relative to income, the harder it can be for people to buy homes [without overextending themselves],” says Bob Phillips, managing principal of Spectrum Management Group. But it’s not impossible.

2. Not having enough for a down payment

Saving up a down payment is a lofty goal—one people in their 20s and 30s in particular aren’t confident they can accomplish. In January, just 44 percent of millennials believed they could afford a down payment, compared to 45 percent of Gen Xers and 52 percent of Baby Boomers. But just like any goal, you can eventually achieve this one by taking a lot of incremental steps in the right direction. How to protect yourself: Estimate how much you’ll need—ideally, 20 percent of the total home price in order to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI)—and set up an automatic transfer to a dedicated high-yield savings account. Every few months, increase your contributions and contribute other

remodeling, and it takes some time for the home price to appreciate enough to recoup the costs,” Phillips says. “Plus, when selling, factor in real estate commission of 5 to 6 percent of the purchase price.” How to protect yourself: If you’re ready to put down roots, establishing firm financial footing and buying a home in a desirable area for resale can assuage these fears. “If you have an emergency fund of at least six months of living expenses, including your mortgage, the odds of losing your home because of a job loss are minimal,” Phillips says. (And you can always rent it out to offset the mortgage and rent someplace else, if you have to.) Having a cash cushion also protects you if you’re hit with an unexpected bill or major repair. (-Grow.com)

India to grow at 7.2% in FY18: World Bank

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EW DEHLI, (AFP) May 30, caused by the government’s decision 2017 - India’s economy is to demonetize a major chunk of the expected to grow at 7.2 per currency in circulation in November cent in the current fiscal and the pace last year, the report noted that India is expected to grow to 7.7 per cent remains the fastest growing major by 2019-20 helped by a continuing economy. others at autismspeaks.org/signs. process of reforms, improvement in ‘’India remains the fastest growing investment climate and strong funda- economy in the world and it will get mentals, says the World Bank’s India a boost from GST, which will reduce Development Report released today. the cost of doing business for firms, The World Bank report bases its projections on an increase in private sector activity resulting from government’s supportive measures.

reduce logistics cost of moving goods across states, while ensuring no loss in equity,’’ said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank country director in India.

‘’Economic activity ought to accelerate at 7.2 per cent in 2017-18 from 6.8 per cent in 2016-17. Growth increases gradually to 7.7 per cent by 2019-20, underpinned by recovery in private investments,’’ said the report.

‘’India’s economy was slowing down in early 2016-17, until the favourable monsoon started lifting the economy, but the recovery was temporarily disrupted by the government’s

‘demonetisation’ initiative,’’ it said in its India Development Update. On the subject of declining female participation in jobs, Ahmad said that the rising incomes allow more women to stay at home. ‘’The evidence, however, shows that fewer jobs in agriculture have not been replaced by alternative jobs considered suitable for women.’’ Senior country economist and the main author of the India Development Update, Frederico Gil Sander, said, ‘’India’s female labour force participation rate is uniquely low for all levels of education.’’ He said 65 per cent of Indian women with college degrees are not working. It is 41 per cent in Bangladesh.

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LIFESTYLE

VOICE OF ASIA 14

BOOK REVIEW

A Snapshot of Modern Indian Design in 200 Objects A Snapshot of Modern Indian Design in 200 Objects by Swapnaa Tamhane and Rashmi Varma (published by Phaidon) Review by Avinash Rajagopal In the 19th century, handwoven woolen shawls from the region of Kashmir became so popular among India’s colonizers that textile manufacturers in Britain began imitating the fabrics’ intricate patterns and colors on mechanized looms—at the expense of the impoverished weavers in the colony. So successful were they that the predominant motif of the Kashmiri shawl is still referred to by the name of a Scottish weaving town, Paisley.

shawls are made in Chinese factories and paisleys are a mainstay of Pottery Barn catalogues. So instead of defining the essence they promise in the book’s title, Tamhane and Varma provide a beautiful survey of 200 objects of everyday use, each one a little lesson to non-Indians on subcontinental approaches to design. Some, like the wire-frame carriers used by tea sellers to ferry glasses, were created by unknown artisans; the perfection of their design has ultimately been proven by their ubiquity. Among those that can be attributed to contemporary designers, attitudes towards function and materiality vary widely. Ayush Kasliwal’s utensils are

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Rolls-Royce builds the world’s most expensive ‘new’ car by Viknesh Vijayenthiran

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olls-Royce has crafted a oneoff car for a customer.

Presented at this past weekend’s 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy, the bespoke car, dubbed the Sweptail because of its swept rear end reminiscent of the design used by Rolls-Royces of the 1920s, is rumored to have cost in the vicinity of $12.8 million. Naturally, divulging the price tag would be uncouth. However, RollsRoyce CEO Torsten Müller-Otvös believes it to be the most expensive new car ever sold, Autocar reports. Rolls-Royce design boss Giles Taylor together with the Rolls-Royce Bespoke personalization department worked closely with the customer over a period of four years on the project. Already the owner of one-off superyachts and private jets, he approached Rolls-Royce with the desire for a distinctive two-seat grand tourer he could add to his collection. Underpinning the Sweptail is a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. The mechanicals were left untouched, meaning there’s still a 6.75-liter V-12 under the hood making 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and drives the rear wheels. But everything you can see and touch has been replaced with bespoke elements. Up front is the largest grille of any modern Rolls-Royce. It’s milled from a single piece of aluminum and painstakingly polished by hand to a mirror finish. More aluminum is used to frame the front and rear fascias as well as the arching roofline. Also on the roof is a large panoramic glass element.

The Spiro terra-cotta speaker dock, designed by New Dehli-based Thukral and Tagra, uses a clay dome to amplify the sound from a wireless speaker. Like a lot of Indian designs, it deftly balances tradition and modern technology. Swapnaa Tamhane and Rashmi Varma, authors of Sar: The Essence of Indian Design (Phaidon, 2016), use this story to illustrate the difficulty of pinning down any easy thesis on the nature of modern design in India. The histories of design in many postcolonial nations are complicated by unique political and socioeconomic factors; India’s designers continue to fight for a foothold in an era when Kashmiri

based on the traditional begging bowls of monks, while IndiaUrban’s Damroo stool discards the cane and jute of the seats that inspired it in favor of steel painted in vivid turquoise. “Designers in this vast, complicated, fast-moving country have a number of issues to work out,” the duo point out, including, among other things, which parts of their past, ancient and recent, to hold on to. (-Metropolis Magazine)

The interior of this right-hand drive car has followed a minimalist theme. Premium materials take precedence here, resulting in a suppression of switchgear to the absolute minimum. The materials include Macassar Ebony and open-pore Paldao wood surfaces joined by and Moccasin and Dark Spice leather areas. In place of the Phantom Drophead Coupe’s rear seats is a vast expanse of wood creating a shelf with an illuminated glass lip. It’s highly polished and inset with luggage rails. Behind the cabin, a feature named the Passarelle can be found. It starts at the rear edge of the windscreen then tapers into a teardrop shape at the rear. This element also includes the only visible presence of the car’s Sweptail name etched into the center line.

Three-hand Perfection Why time-only watches are the collectibles of the future

One final element worth mentioning is what Rolls-Royce describes as the car’s coup de gras. The entire center console now houses a one-off handbuilt mechanism that, at the touch of a button, will deploy a bottle of champagne and two crystal champagne flutes. As the lid of the chiller opens, the mechanical action articulates the bottle to the perfect position to ac-

cess. While we’re unlikely to see many more cars like the Sweptail, RollsRoyce is considering using its RollsRoyce Bespoke division to build more coachbuilt cars. It’s a recipe that’s worked well for Ferrari over the years as well as for some independent coachbuilders. (-Motor Authority)

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he downturn in Swiss watch exports over the past two years has led to some negative balance sheets for watch brands, but also, ironically, to some fabulous new watches. The 26-month slump in exports, due partly to an overvalued Swiss franc and overproduction issues, has resulted in a paring down of new models, yet movements remain state-of-the-art.

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Breguet Classique model 7147

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6 bells and whistles mean lower prices, that does not mean lower quality. On the contrary, there is great value and collector’s potential in the neo-vintage classic look, because it combines iconic design codes with next-generation movements, components and warranties. Lange & Söhne Saxonia for ladies Gone are the massive showpieces of the golden years (2010 to 2015) with high complications, decorative dials and avant-garde designs. The rule now is classic simplicity, with minimalist dials and limited functions - the threehand watch was the hit of the Swiss watch fairs this year, and the preferred case material was steel, the slimmer the better. And while fewer

The technical advances made in watchmaking over the past decade have been applied to new-production mechanical watches, even at the entry level, and they are not going away. Even if you were to find the pre-owned watch of your dreams, untouched, never worn or removed from its original packaging, and stack it up against a modern remake of that model, the remake is likely to be a superior watch with better value. (-Forbes)

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LEISURE

VOICE OF ASIA 15

The Most Romantic Cities In the World You’ll see sparks—maybe even flames—when you visit one of the world’s best cities for romance by Megan Soll

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hen we asked Travel + Leisure readers to rank their favorite cities in the world for romance in our 2016 World’s Best Awards survey, the 20 results covered more than 7,840 miles, ranging from the palm-fringed beaches of Hawaii to the luxury hideouts of Monte Carlo.

No. 1 - Venice, Italy

Italy, unsurprisingly, holds fast to four spots on this year’s list: one even claims the No. 1 title. Paris is a close second, and almost a requisite for any couple traveling in the name of love. Beyond the beautiful but somewhat obvious picks, there are exciting new spots that ascended onto the list. The lavender fields of Aix-en-Provence, for example, and musical hills in Austria’s Salzburg. Cliffside Carmel-by-the-Sea took bronze this year, beating other romantic Californian destinations like San Francisco and Santa Barbara. A popular Hawaiian honeymoon spot climbed the ranks, propelled by a winning combination of flourishing city culture and eternal island beauty. And this year’s No. 1 city in the world, Charleston, didn’t disappoint travelers seeking an easy, romantic weekend getaway. Couples seeking cityscapes and wild nightlife, or those yearning for rugged

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Spiced Chickpea & Fresh Mediterranean Salad by Bisma Tirmizi

The combination of cold and fresh salad with the warm abuli Chanay chickpeas is surprisingly enticing, says Sami Tamimi or chickpeas and Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Jerusalem are truly a subcontinental favourite; across borders, ethnicities, religion, caste and colour, come Ramazan, tea time, dinners, coffee mornings or the ever favourite while out shopping snack.

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One of my favourite things about Kabuli chanay is that all cooks and cuisines make and serve it a little differently, giving it their own personal and cultural twist.

Chickpeas make a great salad Winding waterways and pastel piazzas make Venice an obvious choice for the world’s most romantic city. Cruise the canals by water taxi or take it slow on a quintessential gondola past the Bridge of Sighs. Sip one of the oldest hot chocolate recipes at Cafe Florian, and enjoy the unusual silence permitted by the absence of cars. First-time visitors should hop over to Murano to learn the history of the city’s stunning glassworks. Return travelers, however, should try to get lost off the beaten track. Find your own favorite charming spot to share a pizza and watch the watercolor sunset reflecting over the canals. coasts and uninterrupted countryside, can easily find a destination on this list that satisfies their unique passions.

No. 2 - Paris, France

Even big cities, where we take our vacations surrounded by thousands of other people, can offer some surprisingly romantic retreats. Sharing a Cognac in a historic, wood-paneled New York City bar while gazing over Central Park, for instance, or strolling through the snowy streets of St. Petersburg, past the imperial Russian Winter Palace, has inspired amorous thoughts in plenty of couples (and just as many movie directors). Turn your oneon-one time into an adventure of a lifetime with these most romantic cities in the world. (-Travel+Leisure)

Could there be a list of romantic destinatinos without the City of Light? Paris is ever-changing and yet always true to its lovers. Bike through Le Marais and try as many of the city’s legendary patisseries as you can. However touristy, the staples never disappoint. Lovebirds should explore the endless corridors of the Louvre and picnic with fresh crepes on the lawn by the Eiffel Tower (or with a bottle of wine, at night, when it’s a twinkling glow). Take the metro up to the cobblestone streets of Montmartre and see the view from Sacre Coeur, spend a day marveling at the Latin Quarter’s architecture, or take a stroll through the Tuileries Garden dotted with bronzed sculptures and fountains. Paris is never short on beauty, history, or diversions for even the most discerning couple.

No. 3 - Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

About an hour south of San Jose, voters declared this small California town the best city for romance in the country. Drive through redwood forests or winding vineyards to get to Carmel-by-the-Sea’s picturesque cliffs dotted with cottages and isolated beaches. You won’t find much in the way of street signs, traffic lights, or billboards here, where quaintness is practically cultivated. Go for a drive along the rugged coast to discover tasty bistros, cool boutiques, and petite wineries. End the day watching the sun set over the Pacific with your special someone.

No. 4 - Florence, Italy

A trip to Florence is a necessity for a pair of fashion or art lovers. Venture together to see masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David, or the homes of Gucci and Ferragamo. Almost every hotel here boasts marble fireplaces, classical sculptures, paintings, and frescoes. Visit the new Mercato Centrale for the best souvenirs (cheese, wines, and pasta), and climb the steps to the Duomo’s terrace. Visitors can also ascend Giotto’s Campanile bell tower to share the view of the dreamy terracotta-topped cityscape.

Chickpea salad is a simple salad, loaded with carbohydrates and an explosion of taste. The base could be just chickpeas, boiled potatoes, fried fritters or papri (crackers), dahi bara, samosa, puffed rice, legume or chickpea snacks, served with a variety of chutneys, sauces, tahini sauce and dahi (yogurt), topped with chopped vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, green chillie, green onions, cucumbers, and garnished with cilantro, mint or endless possibilities. The recipe I share with you today is from the cookbook Jerusalem by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi, and serves as a perfect iftar delight. Come this fasting month, I made the spiced chickpea and fresh vegetable salad, and served it as side with chapli kabab, yogurt raita and hot naan, it was a real hit. Here it is from my kitchen to yours. Ingredients 2 cups chanay, soak overnight (preferably 12 hrs.) in 5 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. baking soda. 2 small cucumbers 2 large tomatoes 8 ½ oz. radishes 1 red pepper seeded 1 small red onion 1 bunch cilantro 6 tbsp. olive oil

Lemon zest and 3 tbsp. lemon juice 1 ½ apple cider vinegar 1 tsp. garlic 1 tsp. super fine sugar 1 tsp. ground cardamom 1 ½ tsp. ground spice 1 tsp. ground cumin Greek yogurt (optional) Salt and freshly ground black pepper

This salad is a great way to incorporate more veggies into your diet this Ramazan Method Rinse soaked Kabuli chanay, boil until tender, skimming foam. Drain and cool. Chop cucumber, tomato, onions, radish, pepper and cilantro, drizzle salad dressing and toss lightly (5 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice zest, vinegar, garlic, sugar). Mix cardamom, cumin, all spice and salt and add chanay to it. In a pan put a tbsp. of olive oil, heat and toss chanay. Coat, lightly frying until warm, ensuring that they don’t stick to pan. Spoon warm chanay on one side of the platter, on the other side serve the cold salad, serve with a side of raita or greek yogurt, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Courtesy: Dawn


VOICE OF ASIA 16

Section 2

Young Life

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Chanise Epps (sophomore), Robert Riojas (senior), Kei Takahashi (sophomore) and Michael Marie Thomas (junior) were four of 11 students selected in a national search to participate in the professional development course geared toward HBCU students. Epps, Riojas and Takahashi are art majors and Thomas is majoring in history. Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, director of the University Museum at Texas Southern University and professor of Art History, mentors the students and will accompany them at the eight-day workshop. “Texas Southern has a long history of engaging and supporting young artists in their work,” Thomas said. “By participating in the Yale STITAH pro-

gram, I will be able to shine a light on this fantastic legacy and bring more recognition to the university that continues to impact my vision for the future.” This intensive program Chanise Epps, Robert Riojas, Kei Takahashi and Michael in art conser- Marie Thomas were four of 11 students selected. vation will focus on the protection and care of The HBCU STITAH program presents tangible artifacts and works of art as a multi-faceted approach that includes well as tours of the Sterling Memorial practical workshops and hands-on acLibrary and Archives, the Institute for tivities at both the British Art Center the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, and the Yale School of Art. and the African American Cultural “I’m so proud of these students and Center. Conservation activities for I know that their experiences at Yale participants will include lectures and STITAH will create amazing opportudemonstrations, examination, tech- nities for each of them,” Dr. Wardlaw nique analysis, research and treatment. said.

Why young Afghans are turning to heroin in Swedish asylum limbo

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TOCKHOLME, Sweden (AFP) - Beer cans, newspapers drenched in vomit and aluminium foil litters the ground inside a parking garage where young Afghan asylum seekers smoke heroin as they shelter from the cold in central Sweden.

would not negatively affect an individual’s asylum request. However, criminal acts would.

“When we smoke... we’re calm and don’t worry about anything,” says Mahdi, a 16-year-old Afghan refugee, who started using heroin after he arrived and quickly got hooked.

In order to fund their expensive habit, these young men often turn to a life of crime.

Uppsala, a university town an hour’s drive north of Stockholm, has taken in nearly 1,000 unaccompanied asylum seekers under the age of 18. Around 100 of them, most of them Afghan, have been caught using heroin as they wait for their applications to be processed, which can take more than a year on average. Swedish authorities acknowledge that drug abuse is prevalent among young asylum seekers. In the capital Stockholm, at least 1,000 young asylum seekers received treatment for drug abuse in 2016. Most of them were minors and boys, health authorities said, without specifying their country of origin. Anders Nilsson is a 38-year-old anti-narcotics police chief who’s trying to do something about it. Wearing faded jeans and a baseball cap, Nilsson leads a team of undercover cops scouting for young heroin addicts in the streets of Uppsala. Strolling on a busy shopping street, he approaches groups of boys to see if anyone could be under the influence of heroin, eyeing their pupils and checking their pockets. Authorities want to take action to ensure the young men don’t become a threat to themselves or to society. “It’s tough to find yourself in an asylum application process and having to wait for a decision,” Hilde Wiberg, head of social services in Uppsala, says, adding many asylum seekers feel mentally unstable because of past traumas. Mahdi is one of the lucky ones: he overcame his heroin addiction and received permanent residency in Sweden. Covering his head with a blue hoodie, he said he and his friends smoked the highly-addictive drug, related to opium which Afghanistan produces and distributes around the world, to ease their fear of being deported. “(If) they don’t have permanent residency... they’re forced to go back to Afghanistan,” Mahdi tells AFP. And going home means they’re at risk of being killed by either the Taliban or the Islamic State group. Afghans constitute the highest number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Sweden. Nearly 80 percent of them have their applications approved. Of the 1,321 requests processed so far this year, 200 have been rejected, according to the Swedish Migration Agency. But in a revised security assessment published in December, the agency deemed some regions in Afghanistan such as Panjshir, Bamiyan and Daikundi “less dangerous” despite “increasing violence” in the war-torn country, making it easier to deport rejected asylum seekers to those areas. Daniel Larsson, an Uppsala police superintendent, said a case of occasional possession or use of heroin

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Young Indian cartoonist wins top conservation award

Four TSU students selected for summer workshop at Yale OUSTON (May 25, 2017) – Texas Southern University will be represented by four students at the inaugural HBCU Summer Teachers Institute in Technical Art (STITAH) at Yale University. The Institute will be held June 2-9, 2017 in New Haven, Connecticut.

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

He’s a wildlife and environment-lover (Photo: Rohan Chakravarty/Facebook)

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vid bird watcher, Rohan Chakravarty has turned his love for wildlife and environment into his muse by drawing cartoons centred on conservation issues under the banner of Green Humour, a comic strip that is being distributed internationally His cartoons make you laugh out loud. They also carry a strong message of conservation that leaves an instant impression in the minds of young and old alike. Chakravarty, a wildlife and environment cartoonist from India, has won this year’s International President’s Award for his efforts to change attitudes towards nature. The award is the top accolade given by WWF to recognise leadership in young conservationists who are under the age of 30 from around the world. The award ceremony was held recently in Manado, Indonesia.

Police say they enter luxury clothing boutiques in central Uppsa- File photo of a centre for refugees in Sweden (Photo: Jessica la and snatch Gow/TT). whatever they see. Passersby have also been robbed, according to Anders Nilsson says there’s no other local media reports. alternative for heroin abusers than to They then take the train or bus to receive care. northern Stockholm to buy the drugs, “Instead of sentencing them to prisreturning to Uppsala after making on... we have the possibility to sentheir purchase. tence them to (health) care,” Nilsson If the asylum seekers are caught us- says. ing heroin by the undercover cops, Asylum seekers whose addiction they’re taken to the police station for a has gone too far are committed to care urine test and kept under the supervi- homes across Sweden. But Nilsson sion of social services. But they won’t fears those homes are already overface jail time. crowded.

Hailing from Nagpur (also known as the tiger capital of India), Chakravarty has been an enthusiastic bird watcher since childhood. He was on his way to becoming a dentist when the sighting of a magnificent tigress at a waterhole at Nagzira Tiger Reserve threw his planned career off gear. It fired up the wildlife lover in him, compelled him to leave dentistry and instead use doodling as a conservation tool. It was a stark and risky career shift in a country where traditionally a lot more emphasis is given to academics rather than creative pursuits when it comes to choosing a profession. Today, this young cartoonist and illustrator has made his mark for sketching passionately and consistently on wildlife, climate change and other environmental issues and has many national and international magazines and newspapers lining up for his works. With over 400 cartoons, Chakravarty

probably has one of the largest online cartoon repositories — under the banner of Green Humour — that centres around environmental issues. Green Humour, which is also the country’s first comic strip to be distributed internationally, showcases how artistic skills can become an effective communication tool to highlight green issues. And for those who like quirky collectibles, there are cartoon mugs and T-shirts available on the website. “I am honoured to receive the title, which, more than an award, is a reminder of my responsibility to both my art and my muse — wildlife. Cartoons and humour ensure that a reader not only retains a message but also responds to it, and are hence indispensable tools in both communication and conservation,” Chakravarty said. “Rohan represents the younger generation of conservationists in India, one who combines his talent for fun, positivity, nature and science through his art, visualising forests and wildlife in a refreshing yet compelling form,” said Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India. “Through his work and dedication and his added ability to mentor, Rohan inspires individuals in a way that each person can make a positive difference with expression and knowledge.” From gossiping Arctic Terns — the bird species that encircles the whole planet on its migratory route — to fun maps of tiger reserves in the north-east Himalayan states of India, to portraits of various raptors, to a stressed-out frog who refuses to kiss a fairy-tale princess, to laughing at his own fun caricatures, Chakravarty has doodled them all. Many of his cartoons also give insights and interesting details about the behaviour of various wild species while others address burning environmental issues. (-Indian Express)

A Gurukula Graduation at Chinmaya Prabha by Vinod Sharma

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hinmaya Mission Houston Bala Vihar celebrated the Bala Vihar graduation for the class of 2017 on Saturday, May 20. This milestone marked the culmination of the journey for twenty four students who have attended Bala Vihar regularly every Sunday and for as long as 14 years. Consistent with the scriptural education they received at Chinmaya Mission, students experienced a sendoff that was decorous, solemn, and emotional – much like the millennia old graduation ceremonies celebrated at Gurukula in ancient India. Excitement about the next chapters in these students’ lives was tinged with sadness of their impending parting with their teachers - Bala Vihar, language, slokathon, orchestra, Gita chanting and choir – and the beloved Acaryas, Gaurang Nanavaty and Darshana Nanavaty. After a sacred puja at Saumyakasi Sivalaya, the students offered their prostrations at the feet of Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s pratima at Chinmaya Smrti before the Vedic commencement began. Then, Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty inspired the audience with the evergreen and relevant scriptural commands, instructions, and advice from the Taittiriya Upanisad, a Sanskrit Vedic text composed almost 3000 years ago. As was the case then and now, the parting advice at a significant juncture like graduation was firm as much as it was heartfelt. As the graduating students left the shelter of their teachers and parents to embark on the next chapter of their lives as young adults, they were reminded that their new freedom was a double edged sword that had to be wielded responsibly. This choicest advice was the essence of the spiritual values that the students had imbibed every Sunday from teachers who were carefully trained in the comprehensive K-12 Bala Vihar curriculum mindfully

Bala Vihar Graduation Day:Batch of 2017 with acaryas Gaurang Nanavaty and Darshana Nanavaty (Photo: Jayesh Mistry) designed for over thirty years by our dear Acarya Darshana Nanavaty. Using relevant examples, Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty – reminded students of the three tenets for living an ethical life with integrity – “speak the truth; stay within the bounds of dharma; and, given the constant buffeting of worldly temptations that seek to erode one’s values; reinforce convictions daily through the study of scriptures.” Also, the students were reminded to not forget their responsibility toward supporting the institution where they were taught their values and also the spiritual institutions near where they lived – for making it to the top brings

with it the responsibility to share the blessings with the generations that follow. Finally, the students were urged to honor their mother, father, and teachers – as they would God – as they served as God’s agents in protecting, providing, and guiding the students through childhood. Following Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty’s memorable discourse, students were individually honored for their diverse and impressive accomplishments. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, and as the day closed with a benediction and prayers, there was the sense of celebration and gratitude for the grace of Gurudev and

the dedicated acaryas Gaurang Nanavaty and Darshana Nanavaty for forming and sustaining this scriptural village for the children of Houston families for over a generation. With that memorable ceremony, the Bala Vihar Class of 2017 were poised to aim for a better standard of life along with the standard of living they were setting out to achieve in their educational journey ahead. For more information on Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities visit www.chinmayahouston.org, www.saumyakasi. org or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059


VOICE OF ASIA 17

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Bollywood -Hollywood

Section 2

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Diane Kruger may have to get tattoo after losing Cannes bet

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ANNES, France (AFP) Kruger, who won best actress in Cannes on Sunday, apparently bet Fatih Akin the movie would never screen at the festival. Diane Kruger might be taking more home from Cannes than just an award. The German star, who won best actress at the French film festival on Sunday for her performance in Into the Fade, may also have to to make room for some ink.

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Konkona Sen Sharma

“I love being an outsider” Diane Kruger (Photo: Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

According to Into the Fade director Fatih Akin, Kruger made a bet with him months ago that their film would never make it to competition in Cannes, much less win an award. If it did, Kruger agreed she’d get a traditional anchor tattoo, done

in Akin’s home town of Hamburg, Germany. Speaking to AFP, Akin said he planned to hold Kruger to the bet and already has a tattoo studio in mind. “It’s not far from where I live (in Hamburg). There’s good!”

the director said. While an anchor tat might not match Kruger’s stylish image, it’s perfectly suited to the character she plays in Into the Fade: a tough streetwise mother and wife who vows revenge after her family is brutally murdered in a neo-Nazi terrorist attack.

George Clooney says people can “Make a Difference” amid humanitarian crises

Clooney, who was in Yerevan last year when he presented the award at the inaugural Aurora ceremony, is co-chair of the award’s prize selection committee. A co-founder of humanitarian organizations The Sentry and Not on Our Watch, he has highlighted humanitarian crises in Sudan, Darfur and other parts of Africa. Sunday’s $1.1 million Aurora Prize went to American doctor Tom Catena, a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, N.Y., who has saved thousands of lives working as the sole doctor permanently based in Sudan’s

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The film opened at the boxoffice with a collection of Rs 7.18 crore, followed by Saturday and Sunday’s collections of Rs 7.75 crore and Rs 9 crore respectively. The film’s Monday collection thus takes the total of its Hindi version to approximately Rs 27.69 crore.

Asked if she had ever felt constrained as an actor to execute her vision and hence decided to take plunge into direction, Konkona said, “I would say there had been some films where I felt constrained. In other films I felt this was really an opportunity to get to work in a great film.”

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“I felt very strongly about this film (A Death In The Gunj). That’s why this particular story came about,” she said. Konkona said she always believed in detaching herself from other aspects of filmmaking when onboard as an actor. “By and large one has to detach oneself from all processes when one is acting. They have to respect director’s vision,” she said. Talking about her directorial venture, Konkona said it is difficult to make such films as the support is less from the industry and the audience. “If they do not come out and support different kind of films, how can we provide alternative content. It has to be supported by everyone, not just the director,” she added.

on Boxofficeindia.com. While its second weekend collection stands at approximately Rs 4.75 crore, the total collection of the film now reads Rs 50.75 crore. ‘Half Girlfriend’ is an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel of the same name. The love story explores the complicated

relationship between Bihari boy Madhav Jha (Arjun) and rich brat Riya Somani (Shraddha), as their paths cross in a prestigious college in Delhi. The film then traces how their relationship evolves over the years, against the backdrop of three distinct worlds of Delhi, Patna and New York. (-TOI)

Your OB-GYN of Choice: Dr. Rachna Bhala, M.D George Clooney (Photo: Getty Images) war-ravaged Nuba Mountains. “As violence and war continue to threaten people’s spirits and perseverance, it is important to recognize, empower and celebrate people like Dr. Catena who are selflessly helping others to not only survive, but thrive,” Clooney said. “Dr. Catena is a role model to us all, and yet another example of people on the ground truly making a difference.” Speaking to the press after Sunday’s award, Catena said: “It is very helpful that we have people like George Clooney… that are very dedicated to the struggle [in the Nuba Mountains].” Catena received a $100,000 grant to support his work with the $1 million shared between three charities of his choice: the U.S.-based African Mission Healthcare Foundation and the Catholic Medical Mission Board; and Germany’s Aktion Canchanabury. The founders of the Aurora

Sachin Tendulkar’s biopic crosses 25cr mark achin: A Billion Dreams’, based on the life of cricket master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, has had a great run at the boxoffice since its highly anticipated release on Friday. The biopic’s Hindi version collected an estimated Rs 3.75 crore (nett) on its first Monday, according to a report on Boxofficeindia.com.

“I am not in the middle of things. I am not in the thick of things and I don’t want to be. I am not interested in industry trends,” she added.

rjun Kapoor-Shraddha Kapoor starrer ‘Half Girlfriend’ that had cast its spell at the box-office in the first week of its release, showed signs of slowing down over the second weekend. The Mohit Suridirected love story collected approximately Rs 2 crore on Sunday, according to a report

George Clooney renewed his endorsement of a million- dollar peace prize Sunday when he spoke of the power of “individuals to make a difference” in addressing the world’s various humanitarian crises.

Clooney’s wife, Amal, a prominent international human rights lawyer whom he married in a private ceremony in Venice in September 2014, is due to give birth in June, though pediatricians say twins often come early.

“In both Kolkata and Mumbai film industries, I am an outsider and I love this position. It gives me a great perspective,” Konkona said after the special screening of her directorial debut ‘A Death In The Gunj’.

“So I have all kinds (of films) and I don’t feel restricted in my own acting career.” Konkona said she decided to take the plunge as she felt strongly about the story.

‘Half Girlfriend’ crosses the 50cr mark

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he star jokes that if he attended this year’s Aurora Humanitarian prize ceremony in Armenia, and “my wife had twins while I was there, I could never come home.”

In a video address at the awards ceremony of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, held late Sunday in Yerevan, Armenia, the Oscar-winning actor, humanitarian activist and father-to-be, to laughter and applause quipped: “I really would have been [in Yerevan] but if I came there and my wife had twins while I was there, I could never come home.”

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ctress-director Konkona Sen Sharma loves being an outsider in both Hindi and Bengali film industries. The actress said the position of an outsider gave her a different perspective about things.

The biopic also released in Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and English. Written and directed by James Erskine, ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is one of the only documentary films in the last 20 years, which has collected more than Rs 10 crore within two days of its release. Apart from highlighting how Sachin became one of the greatest cricketers of all time, the biopic also gives a glimpse of his childhood which has otherwise been kept private. The rumor that Sachin demanded a 35-40 crore fee have been shot down as baseless with a statement of support for the docu-drama (-AFP)

Prize, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and former Brown University president Vartan Gregorian, American businessman Noubar Afeyan, both of whom are of Armenian descent, and Yerevan-born, Moscow-based entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan, designed the prize-money split as an “opportunity to continue the cycle of giving.” The Aurora prize, launched last year, was set up to honor the survivors of the Armenian genocide of 1915-1923 and to inspire others today to follow the example of people of all nationalities who at that time came to the aid of people suffering in one of the earliest and, at the time, biggest humanitarian crises of the 20th century. (-Hollywood Reporter)

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VOICE OF ASIA 18

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

HEALTHY LIVING VOICE OF ASIA

Section 2

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This is what happens to your brain when you don’t get enough sleep “We show for the first time that portions of the synapses are literally eaten by astrocytes because of sleep loss,” Mr Bellesi told the New Scientist. He added that it is not necessarily a bad thing as it could just be the brain’s way of “cleaning” up old brain “debris.” The study also looked at the effect on microglial cells which account for around 15 per cent of cells found within the brain. These cells scavenge around for plaques, damaged or unnecessary neurons or agents in the brain and are also found in the spinal cord. by Olivia Blair

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hen you feel particularly exhausted, it can definitely feel like you are also lacking in brain capacity. Now, a new study has suggested this could be because chronic sleep deprivation can actually cause the brain to eat itself. New research, conducted by Michele Bellesi of the Marche Polytechnic University in Italy and published in the Journal of Neuroscience, analy-

sed the brains of mice who had regular sleep, spontaneous wake, sleep deprivation and chronic sleep deprivation. Using block-face scanning software, the scientists measured the synapses and cell processes in the mouse’s frontal cortex. Specifically looking at cells called astrocytes cells, the researchers found that the sleep-deprived mice showed more activity with these cells. The findings suggest astrocytes start breaking down more of the brain’s debris.

The study showed that chronic sleep restriction (which in this case was five days of being kept awake) led to increased signs of microglial activation. Because low-level sustained activation of the microglial cells can lead to serious brain disorders, Mr Bellesi said these results were more concerning. “We already know that sustained microglial activation has been observed in Alzheimer’s and other forms of neurodegeneration,” he said. (-The Independent)

Tobacco kills seven million a year, wreaks environmental havoc: WHO ENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) - Smoking and other tobacco use kills more than seven million people each year, the World Health Organisation said today, also warning of the dire environmental impact of tobacco production, distribution and waste.

century.

tion in several countries.

“By 2030, more than 80 per cent of the deaths will occur in developing countries, which have been increasingly targeted by tobacco companies seeking new markets to circumvent tightening regulation in developed nations.”

This is largely due to the amount of wood needed for curing tobacco, with WHO estimating that one tree is needed for every 300 cigarettes produced.

The UN agency said tougher measures were needed to rein in tobacco use, urging countries to ban smoking in the workplace and indoor public spaces, outlaw marketing of tobacco products and hike cigarette prices.

Tobacco use also brings an economic cost: WHO estimates that it drains more than US$1.4 trillion (RM6 trillion) from households and governments each year in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity, or nearly 2 per cent of the global gross domestic product.

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“Tobacco threatens us all,” WHO chief Margaret Chan said in a statement. “Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air,” she said. In a report released ahead of World No Tobacco Day tomorrow, WHO warned that the annual death toll of seven million people had jumped from four million at the turn of the century, making tobacco the world’s single biggest cause of preventable death. And the death toll is expected to keep rising, with WHO bracing for more than one billion deaths this

In addition to the health and economic costs linked to smoking, the WHO report for the first time delved into the environmental impact of everything from tobacco production to the cigarette butts and other waste produced by smokers. “From start to finish, the tobacco life cycle is an overwhelmingly polluting and damaging process,” WHO Assistant Director-General Oleg Chestnov said in the report. The report detailed how growing tobacco often requires large quantities of fertilisers and pesticides, and it warned that tobacco farming had become the main cause of deforesta-

WHO also highlighted the pollution generated during the production, transport and distribution of tobacco products. The report estimates that the industry emits nearly four million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually — the same as around three million transatlantic flights. And waste from the process contains over 7,000 toxic chemicals that poison the environment, including human carcinogens, WHO said. Once in the hands of the consumer, tobacco smoke emissions spewed thousands of tonnes of human carcinogens, toxic substances and greenhouse gases into the environment. Cigarette butts and other tobacco waste make up the largest number of individual pieces of litter in the world, the agency said. Two thirds of the 15 billion cigarettes sold each day are thrown on to the street or elsewhere in the environment, it said, adding that butts account for up to 40 per cent of all items collected in coastal and urban clean-ups. WHO urged governments to take strong measures to rein in tobacco use.

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Medicare Advantage plans to receive 0.45% rate hike for 2018

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he federal government bumped up average pay raises for 2018 Medicare Advantage plans and modified several of the program’s policies in favor of the health insurance industry.

Payment rates for insurers that sell Medicare Advantage plans will rise by 0.45% on average for 2018, the CMS said in its final rate notice Monday. That’s a slight bump from the 0.25% rate increase proposed in February. The average Medicare Advantage payment rate will increase by 2.95% after taking into account the way health plans code their members’ diagnoses, the CMS said. That’s up from February’s estimate of 2.75%. In 2017, payment rates rose by 0.85% on average. The Medicare Advantage payment rate increased by 3.05% in 2017 after taking into account the way health plans code their members’ diagnoses. The better-than-expected final rates are “a big sigh of relief” for the insurance industry, said John Gorman, a former CMS official who is now a healthcare consultant in Washington. The rates are “further proof that (Medicare Advantage) is the only safe game in all of health insurance these days.” Medicare Advantage payment rates are based on trends and utilization in fee-for-service Medicare as well as adjustments to beneficiaries’ risk scores, among other variables. Under the Medicare Advantage program, the private managedcare version of Medicare, the government pays health plans monthly amounts for every member they cover, and those taxpayer-funded payments are adjusted based on how sick someone is. Members who have more chronic conditions have higher risk scores, and plans that cover them therefore receive higher payments. Risk scores were created to incentivize plans to cover all seniors regardless of their health status, but the program has faced accusations of fraud and manipulation of those risk scores. The CMS is also putting the brakes on plans to increase the use of encounter data, or information about the care an enrollee received from a provider, to determine risk scores for plans. In the proposed notice it had suggested again using the ratio set up in 2017. In that, 75% of Medicare Advantage risk scores are based on traditional fee-for-service data and 25% are based on encounter data. But after stakeholders such as the American Hospital Association argued that encounter data should not be used at all following a January 2017 report from the Government Accountabil-

Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6776 Southwest Freeway, Suite # 178 Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com

ity Office that found such data is often not accurate, the CMS changed course. The agency will now use a risk score blend of 85% of fee-for-service data and 15% of the encounter data in 2018. The insurance industry also won another battle. Last year, the CMS had proposed terminating the bidding process for employers and unions that offer Medicare Advantage plans to their retirees, also known as “employer group waiver plans.” Instead, those plans would have received a lump sum payment based on countylevel individual bids, which would have lowered plan revenue. In the 2017 final notice, it instead decided to phase that policy in over two years. Half of employer Advantage plan payments will be based on their own bids, while the other half will be based on county benchmarks. The CMS at the time said it planned to have this change for all such plans in 2018. Trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans has said the policy had the potential to disrupt care for the more than 3.6 million beneficiaries enrolled in these plans. In the 2018 proposed notice, the CMS is asking the industry to comment if it should maintain the split it had in place in 2017. Following comment from industry, the CMS finalized that decision. Medicare Advantage plans were projected to receive $198 billion in 2016, accounting for 27% of total Medicare spending, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office. Since 2004, the number of beneficiaries enrolled in private Medicare plans has more than tripled from 5.3 million to 17.6 million in 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. To choose right Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.


SCIENCE & TECH

VOICE OF ASIA 19

NASA announces first mission to ‘touch the sun’

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OUSTON (AFP) - NASA has announced its first mission to fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere, in a bid to unlock the mysteries of the corona.

At closest approach, Solar Probe Plus will be hurtling around the sun at approximately 450,000 miles per hour. The spacecraft will go close enough to the sun to watch the

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The mission will see a solar probe swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun’s surface (Photo: NASA) solar wind speed up from subsonic to supersonic, and it will fly though the birthplace of the highest-energy solar particles. The primary science goals of the mission are to trace the flow of energy and understand the heating of the solar corona,

and to explore what accelerates the solar wind. Solar Probe Plus will contribute to NASA’s ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space.

Will future autonomous cars fly like birds or tunnel like moles? by Rob Enderle

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t is kind of amazing how much advancement is going on in the autonomous car space. A year ago, we were mostly talking about cars that seemed comparatively boring, because they just drove on the surface. How quaint -- how 2016. Now when we mention “boring,” we may be talking about Elon Musk’s new underground tunneling idea. However, a little company called “Airbus” -- yes, the one that likely made the plane you last few in -- disagrees. It plans to start testing its autonomous flying car this year in Silicon Valley -- I expect so it can buzz Musk’s Tesla plant there. That kind of explains why Ford just fired its CEO (who wasn’t planning to tunnel or fly), and why Toyota is looking at blockchain for automotive security (because you sure as heck don’t want flying cars to have Hitchcock Birds). Read on for more about the future of cars, er people-carrying drones, er automated sleds -- ah, personal transportation this week! I’ll close with my product of the week: a new drone using Intel’s Movidius Myriad 2 technology from DJI, the Spark. (No, it won’t carry you to work, but it may become your favorite summer toy.) - Flying or Tunneling? This is really both pretty amazing and pretty annoying. I mean, why the heck doesn’t someone just invent the Star Trek. Transporter and call it a day? In one corner there’s Musk, who has been badmouthing flying cars and just bought an automated tunnel-making machine, arguing that the future is underground. At the same time, a ton more people -- including Google’s founders (who are Musk’s neighbors) -- a number of start-

ups, and at least one huge aerospace company are arguing for flying cars. Oh, and given that Amazon is developing heavylift delivery drones that aren’t far removed from this, it’s no doubt working on something similar in secret. - Underground Approach So, who is right? Will we soar into the heavens or scurry underground? Well, flying is both easier and more problematic. If we were talking greenfield, I think Musk would be right. The reason is that tunneling is certainly (well, except for earthquakes) safer. His idea of using sleds that would carry cars at high speed is basically a more advanced elevator, and elevators currently are the safest way to travel at speed. You are basically on a rail in a tunnel, so any accidents likely would be either computer- or act-of-god related. There could be a weather impact, resulting from a combination of flooding and pump failure. It happens to subways, but very infrequently. Still, you have to dig the damn tunnels -- and that’s expensive and complicated. You’d have to dig them under buildings and under areas where you have power lines, aging waste disposal systems, water pipes, gas pipes and subways. Oh, and there are skyscrapers, which often have support structures that are drilled down into bedrock, and if you break those structures, they will fall over. Even if you could get the permits, which is really iffy, the time it would take to build all of those tunnels likely would be measured in centuries. By the time you were even 20 percent done, you’d likely find the tech you were planning to use and that you designed around had become obsolete. Now, if you were building

a new city and could drop the tunnels in first, that would be a different story -- so on Mars, if we ever go there, I’d expect Musk’s concept to be top of the list. Here on Earth, though, it would just be too expensive and too slow to get to critical mass. This is largely why Musk stands alone, at least for now. - Flying High That is not to say that flying doesn’t have issues. Granted, earthquakes wouldn’t be a concern. (According to Musk, they wouldn’t be in tunnels either, but...) However, weather is a real problem if you are up in the air. Let’s say you’re in a flying transport with a top speed of 70 miles per hour and a storm hits with 75 mph winds. You’d be pretty screwed, because you wouldn’t be able to land, you wouldn’t be able to fly out of the storm, and eventually the batteries would run out. (That parachute, instead of saving you, likely would kill you.) That means any hint of a storm like that, and the system would be grounded -- but we don’t always get a ton of warning.

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China’s expanding activities in polar regions is a focal point as Beijing hosts the annual meeting of the Antarctic Treaty for the first time. Some 400 delegates from 42 countries and 10 international bodies were attending the forum, which kicked off Monday and ends June 1. “There is still a gap between the goal of peaceful development of Antarctica’s resources and our understanding of Antarctica,” Lin Shanqing, deputy head of the State Oceanic Administration, told reporters on the sidelines of the forum. Lin did not answer a question on what he meant by peaceful resource development but he stressed that China’s Antarctic expeditions “focus on boosting our understanding of the Antarctic and to better conserve the

Antarctic environment.” “According to my knowledge, China has made no plans for mining activity in Antarctica,” Lin added. Experts have raised concerns that China harbours a long-term goal of extracting resources from the continent, which the Antarctic Treaty currently forbids. However, a protocol of the treaty forbidding raw material removal activity from the continent comes into review in 2048. “2048 seems like a long way away, but ... there have been concerns raised that Beijing is pursuing a long-term ‘hedging’ strategy in case the continent is thrown open to resource development, including mining and oil and gas drilling, in the future,” Marc Lanteigne, lecturer on Chinese foreign policy at Massey University, told AFP. “However, at present China is taking great care to stress the scientific aspects of its polar policies, promote cooperation with other governments, and dispel concerns that it is a re-

In a new threat, a malware called ‘Judy’ is now infecting millions of Android smartphones globally, says a report from security solutions firm Check Point. The widespread malware campaign aimed at Google Play, Google’s official app store, is possibly the largest malware campaign found on the play store, says Check Point in its blog. What is Judy malware? ‘Judy’ is an auto-clicking adware which was found on 41 apps developed by a Korean company that uses infected devices to generate large amounts of fraudulent clicks on advertisements, generating revenues for the perpetrators behind it. An adware is a software that automatically displays advertising material when a user is online. How bad is the reach of Judy? According to Check Point, dozens of malicious apps have

“Hosting the meeting in Beijing is an opportunity for China to acquire international acceptance of their (newly) prominent position in Antarctic affairs,” said Anne-Marie Brady, specialist in Chinese and polar politics at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. China may not be seeking any changes to existing Antarctic law in the immediate future, Brady told AFP. But she noted they have been “reluctant to expand conservation measures, as demonstrated by their opposition to proposals for marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean.”

The oldest app of the second campaign was last updated in April 2016, meaning that the malicious code hid for a long time on the Play store undetected. The nefarious nature of the programmes went unnoticed in large part because its malware payload was downloaded from a non-Google server after the

What has Google done about this? After Check Point notified Google about this threat, the apps were swiftly removed from the Play store, the blog said. It is unclear how long the malicious code existed inside the apps, hence the actual spread of the malware remains unknown. Just to be sure, you can check the blog for the full list of the malicious apps. Previously, Android-based devices were hit by similar malwares like “FalseGuide” and “Skinner” that also infiltrated through Google Play. (-PTI)

The annual survey of roughly 5,000 beekeepers showed the 33% dip from April 2016 to April 2017. The decrease is small compared to the survey’s previous 10 years, when the decrease hovered at roughly 40%. From 2012 to 2013, nearly half of the nation’s colonies died.

One in every three bites of food, van Engelsdorp said, is directly or indirectly pollinated by honeybees, who pollinate about $15 billion worth of U.S. crops each year. Almonds, for instance, are completely reliant on honeybee pollination.

“I would stop short of calling this ‘good’ news,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland. “Colony loss of more than 30% over the entire year is high. It’s hard to imagine any other agricultural sector being able to stay in business with such consistently high losses.”

“Keeping bees healthy is really essential in order to meet that demand,” said vanEngelsdorp. He said there are concerns it won’t.

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The research, published Thursday, is the work of the nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership and the Apiary Inspectors of America. Cheerios gave away flower seeds to save the bees, but they could do harm

Given that we have to solve the same problems for heavylift flying drones, the cost of this advancement is spread over far more firms, the problems are being worked by far more com-

China currently has four research stations on the continent and a fifth is planned for 2019, which would put China on par with the US in number of bases.

How come it was unnoticed for so many years?

programmes were installed. The code would then use the infected phone to click on Google ads, generating fraudulent revenue for the attacker.

city of bees available for pollination. It’s a trend that threatens beekeepers trying to make a living and could lead to a drop-off in fruits and nuts reliant on pollination, vanEngelsdor said.

There are trials going on now, while Musk is still drilling his first test tunnel. We likely can find a way to tunnel faster, but dealing with all the crap we already have underground -- or

Various countries maintain bases in Antarctica, a shared space for scientific research under the 1959 international treaty, which China joined in 1983.

been downloaded nearly 4.5 million to 18.5 million times. The total spread of the malware campaign on Google Play may have reached between 8.5 and 36.5 million users, Check Point said in its blog. Some of the malware-affected apps have been discovered residing on Google Play for several years, says Check Point.

merica’s beekeepers watched as a third of the country’s honeybee colonies were lost over the last year, part of a decade-long die-off experts said may threaten our food supply.

just the fear that one of these things might topple a skyscraper -- makes his tunneling idea a non-starter outside of a greenfield city where you could tunnel first.

visionist power in Antarctica,” Lanteigne said.

Some of the malware-affected apps have been discovered residing on Google Play for several years (Graphic:TechBubble)

A third of the nation’s honeybee colonies died last year. Why you should care

Musk’s tunnel could be hardwired for power, but flying transports would operate off batteries that would have to be recharged. This technology has been advancing, but it still means not only that they would be severely range-limited, but also that they often would be out of service for charging. An alternative could be expensive battery-swapping stations (with some automated way to move batteries around in order to balance inventory). Ironically, Musk himself has a decent solution for the battery swap, but logistics remain an issue.

China says no mining planned in Antarctica EIJING, China | AFP - China sought to dispel concerns about its ambitions in mineral-rich Antarctica on Monday, with an official saying Beijing has no plans to start mining in the vast continent.

‘Judy’ malware infects 36.5 million Android users globally he world is still recovering from the malicious ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack, which spread across the globe hitting government departments, universities and companies in nearly 100 countries.

The mission, called Solar Probe Plus, will see a NASA probe swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun’s surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it. Launching in 2018, it will use seven Venus flybys over nearly seven years to gradually shrink its orbit around the sun, coming well within the orbit of Mercury and about eight times closer than any spacecraft has come before.

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

The death of a colony doesn’t necessarily mean a loss of bees, explains vanEngelsdorp, a project director at the Bee Informed Partnership. A beekeeper can salvage a dead colony, but doing so comes at labor and productivity costs. That causes beekeepers to charge farmers more for pollinating crops and creates a scar-

So what’s killing the honeybees? Parasites, diseases, poor nutrition, and pesticides among many others. The chief killer is the varroa mite, a “lethal parasite,” which researchers said spreads among colonies. “This is a complex problem,” said Maryland graduate student Kelly Kulhanek, who assisted with the study. “Lower losses are a great start, but it’s important to remember that 33% is still much higher than beekeepers deem acceptable. There is still much work to do.” “Bees are good indicators of the landscape as a whole,” said Nathalie Steinhauer, who led data collection on the project. “To keep healthy bees, you need a good environment and you need your neighbors to keep healthy bees. Honeybee health is a community matter.” (- USA Today)

panies, and the speed of deployment likely will be far faster. (Dubai is expected to be in limited service next year.) So, flying should win. Now if we build a city on Mars... Hmm, this may explain why he suggested nuking the planet. So, why did I mention Corning? Whether you are talking Musk’s sleds or people-carrying drones, you’ll need a light trans-

parent material -- either to protect the car on Musk’s sled or to see out of in the drone. Right now, the best material for that is Gorilla Glass. This is why it is used in supercars. It is far lighter and far more robust than regular glass, and it doesn’t scratch or mar like plastic does, so it wouldn’t have to be replaced as often. So, Corning may be the one sure bet in all this mess. Go figure. (-TechNewsWorld.com)

Lyme isn’t the only disease ticks are spreading this summer

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t started with vomiting and a fever. But a few days later, five-month old Liam was in the emergency room, his tiny body gripped by hourly waves of seizures. X-rays and MRIs showed deep swelling in his brain. When an infectious disease specialist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center diagnosed Liam with Powassan virus in November, he became the first recorded case in state history. Doctors think Liam picked up the rare neurological disease from a tick his father brought back after a deer hunting trip. The toddler survived with some scar tissue—but not everyone who gets Powassan, POW for short, is so lucky. With no treatment available, half of all people who contract the virus suffer permanent brain damage; 10 percent die. And while POW is nowhere near as prevalent as that other tick-borne summer scourge—Lyme—it is starting to show up more often. Scientists disagree if that’s because doctor awareness and improved testing tools are just turning up more cases, or whether anthropogenic forces like climate change, reforestation, and suburban developments are

Photo: Ed Reschke/Getty Images

driving up the likelihood that humans will come in contact with POW.

has expanded its territories from a few northern pockets into half of all US counties.

As far as emerging diseases go, Connecticut has had more than its fair share. Liam lives in the town of Griswold, just 30 miles down the road from Lyme, where in 1975 a mysterious outbreak of swollen knees, skin rashes, headaches, and severe fatigue swept through the town. Lyme disease has reached epidemic proportions in recent years; cases have tripled in the US over the last two decades as the tick that spreads the illness

The most public health officials can do is recommend wearing long sleeves and pants when hiking, and using repellents on your skin, gear and clothing. That, and staying away from high-tick areas. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Because most health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, don’t have great ideas about where and when disease-carrying ticks are going to be out in full force. (-National Geographic)


FASHION & CULTURE

VOICE OF ASIA 20

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

20 years after The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy on The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Daphne Beal (VOGUE) n the top floor of a small building on a quiet lane in central Delhi, the writer Arun­dhati Roy greets me at the door of her apartment, accompanied by two eagerly barking dogs, whose names, she tells me, translate as Mrs. Filthy Darling and Beloved of the Earth. “Filth and Dirt,” Roy says cheerfully as she welcomes me into her large, sunny kitchen and starts making coffee in an Italian moka pot—“It’ll be weak, South Indian–style, OK?” she says with a laugh.

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It’s been fifteen years since we first met—I came to Delhi in 2002 to write about Roy’s fearless political activism for this magazine—and at 57, she seems virtually unchanged. Her curly hair may be grayer (“Gray pride,” she likes to joke), but her wide eyes, lined lightly in kohl, remain merry, and her easy laugh is the same. She’s in a fine mood, having been up much of the night overseeing “the comma wars” between her American and British copy editors at Knopf and Penguin UK over the proofs of her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, her first since 1997, when The God of Small Things was published. To say Roy’s latest venture into fiction has been long awaited is an understatement. An instant best seller, The God of Small Things—which Junot Díaz calls “one of the single most important novels written in English”— won the Man Booker Prize and quickly went on to become a global literary phenomenon. After working on the new novel for ten years, last August Roy texted her British agent, David Godwin, with one word: “Done.” Godwin got on the first plane to Delhi. He was nervous when she handed him the manuscript. “But then I read the opening,” he says, “and thought, Yeah, we’re back.” When The Ministry of Utmost Happiness comes out this month, it will be published in 30 countries.

Shirt and suit by Viren Rathore, Summer 2017 collection (Photo: Facebook)

IN THE PINK: Arundhati Roy, photographed in a quiet corner of Delhi, to which she retreated often while writing her new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Photographed by Rena Effendi) imagined, intimate family novel slashed through with politics, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, though primarily set in Delhi, encompasses wildly different economic, religious, and cultural realms across the Indian subcontinent and as far away as Iraq and California. Animating it is a kaleidoscopic variety of bohemians, army majors, protesters, police chiefs, revolutionaries, and lovers. “She has the instinct of sympathy for the underdog,” says Roy’s friend the writer Pankaj Mishra. “It’s a rare gift. She’s always with the people who are powerless.”

From the novel’s beginning—“She lived in the graveyard like a tree”— one is swept up in the story. “She” is Anjum, born a hermaphrodite in Old Delhi, who, after being raised as a boy named Aftab, goes to live as a woman in a nearby home for hijras (the South Asian term for transgender women). Headstrong and magnetic, she becomes the spokes­person for the hijra community. But after barely surviving a Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, Anjum renounces everything to set up a solitary new life in a cemetery, where she builds a guesthouse among the gravestones that gradually becomes home to a colorful cast of characters.

With her exquisite and dynamic storytelling, Roy balances scenes of suffering and corruption with flashes of humor, giddiness, and even transcendence. In one poetic passage a baby is found “on the concrete pavement, in a crib of litter: silver cigarette foil, a few plastic bags and empty packets of Uncle Chipps. She lay in a pool of light, under a column of swarming neon-lit mosquitoes, naked. Her skin was blueblack, sleek as a baby seal’s.” To read the book is to hear Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, and all kinds of English, and to be flooded with impressions of India right now. As Díaz says, “If you really want to know the world beyond our corporate-sponsored dreamscapes, you read writers like Roy. She shows you what’s really going on.”

More than 400 pages long, The Ministry is a densely populated contemporary novel in the tradition of Dickens, Tolstoy, and García Márquez. If The God of Small Things was a lushly

It’s hard to imagine Roy’s new novel existing without her nonfiction. “I’m pretty sure that I’m fundamentally a fiction writer. Nonfiction is the fretwork,” she says. “Politically, whatever

positions I’ve taken, I’ve taken. That was a march. This is something else. This is a dance.” Despite her numerous circles, Roy sees herself as a creature of solitude. “The most un-Indian thing about me is how alone I am,” she says. She keeps a place to write in the winding alleys of Old Delhi, about a half-hour’s drive from her apartment. “Don’t call it a writing studio,” she says as we head there one afternoon. “That sounds so New York. Call it a refuge.” Leaving the car at Turkman Gate, one of the original portals to the old city, she pulls me deftly through an oncoming barrage of auto-rickshaws, motorbikes, and cars. “These streets are in me, and these goats,” she says, as we pass one dressed in a burlap sack eating from the gutter. On my last visit to Roy, I find her at home in a meeting with a young leader in the Dalit-rights movement. The Supreme Court has met to say it will discuss Roy’s case in a month’s time but later postpones it. (“The process is the punishment,” she says wryly.) And she is about to go to the London Book Fair to give a reading from The Ministry to 1,000 Penguin UK employees at the Barbican Centre, to deliver 26 carefully marked proofs of the book cover to her publishers with all her notations, and to meet with her many translators to discuss the nuances of the prose. “You end up thinking in so many languages and dialects,” she says. “We are living in Babel now.”

India Luxury Style Week Men’s Edition 2017 splash Report by Revano Wilson ANGALORE, Wednesday, May .30, 2017 - Akshay Kumar did not fail to show off his martial arts skills and extol the virtues of fitness even as he walked the ramp at India Luxury Style Week Men’s Edition

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Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar wowed attendees with his style and charisma at the opening of the second edition of The India Luxury Style Week Men’s Edition 2017 at Indiranagar Club Grounds recently. The star, who walked the ramp for designer Ramesh Dembla in a threepiece grey and black suit, flaunted his accessories for the occasion – shades and a Nunchaku, with which he showcased some of the martial arts skills he is known for, much to the appreciation of his fans. The event also saw Dembla present his latest collection, ‘Grunge’, where he experiments with colours

and fabric types to bring a contemporary take to the style. Akshay took some time to speak about his relationship with Bengaluru. “Bengaluru is very special to me, as my first film was shot here and it was Ramesh’s father who financed it,” he said, adding, “We’ve been good friends for quite a long time,” before proceeding to banter with the designer on whether his films had caused the latter’s father any loss. The actor also stressed the importance of fitness.“I performed with the Nunchaku to promote fitness because I want everyone to be fit and to stay healthy.” The five-day India Luxury Style Week Men’s Edition, 2017, which concluded on Sunday, brought together the most illustrious designers from across the country to showcase the hottest looks in menswear. (The Hindu)

Stylish struts

(-Excerpt from Vogue, magazine, June issue)

Shilpa Shetty shows desi brides how it’s done in Saira Rizwan’s latest shoot Are Bollywood divas and Pakistani fashion the next Pak -India cultural exchange trend? After strutting the ramp for designer Ramesh Dembla at the 2017 India Luxury Style Week Men’s Edition, Akshay Kumar is set to hit the global runway next year. Talking about the fashion week, which concluded on Sunday, Dembla, also the curator and managing director of the show, says, “We plan to take the show to a global audience. For the timebeing, we are targeting Dubai, UK, USA, Canada and Australia. A concrete plan is yet to be chalked out.” (-Photo/Report: mid-day.com)

Shilpa Shetty in Saira Rizwan’s bridal collection. After Pakistani designer Tena Durrani bagged the chance to dress Kareena Kapoor-Khan for her first post-baby shoot in Asiana Wedding magazine, fellow designer Saira Rizwan roped in Shilpa Shetty to model for her latest bridal collection. (Photo credit: Images)

“It was really exciting to shoot with Shilpa, one of my favourite personalities from across the border. Her image resonates perfectly with our brand and that made her ideal choice for this shoot.” - Saira Rizwan

Global fashion giants fret over India cow crackdown

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EW DEHLI | AFP | Tuesday 5/30/2017 - Indian exporters were scrambling Tuesday to assure global clients like Zara and Giorgio Armani their shipments would arrive despite a government crackdown on cattle slaughter which threatens the lucrative leather industry. The government last week declared

a nationwide ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter, startling major fashion labels who buy billions of dollars worth of leather from India every year to make high-end shoes, handbags and jackets. “They’re calling and writing emails and asking what the consequences of this will be, and I don’t know what to tell them,” said Mohammad Zia

Nafees, whose Kolkata-based business sells finished leather to Zara and Marks & Spencer for shoes. The controversial ruling effectively chokes off India’s supply of beef and leather, and industry groups and some states where cow slaughter has previously been permitted have vowed to fight the decree. India is the world’s second-largest

producer of footwear and leather garments and sold $13 billion worth of goods last year -- nearly half to clients abroad who are growing skittish, industry groups say. “My family has been working with Radley and Armani for the last few decades and now they’re asking us if we can fulfil our commitments to them,” Imran Ahmed Khan from the Council for Leather Exports told AFP. “The industry is in panic mode at the moment. We have been handed a death certificate by the ruling Modi government.” Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and the new ban was justified on the grounds of avoiding animal cruelty. But critics have accused the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of pursuing a hardline religious agenda. The BJP has pushed for stronger protections for cows during the lead-

ership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There has been a surge in vigilante attacks on cattle handlers and curbs on the meat industry since he took office in 2014. Industry figures said the latest decree ran counter to Modi’s goal of creating jobs and luring foreign investment, and said retailers could look next door if the disruption continued. Neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan -- both major garment producers -- are mainly Muslim and cow slaughter is not an issue. The industry hopes the ruling -which affects not just cows but the trade in bulls, bullocks, buffaloes, calves and camels -- will be rescinded or amended to exclude buffalo, an animal not considered sacred but valued for its leather. The slaughter of cows, as well as the possession or consumption of beef, is banned in most but not all Indian states. Some impose up to life imprisonment for infringements.


SPORT

VOICE OF ASIA 21

Soccer

Man United lost due to ‘lack of consistency’: Mata

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ANCHESTER, England (AFP) - Juan Mata says a “lack of consistency” cost Manchester United any hope of lifting the Premier League title this season, but he has “high hopes” for next term after ending the 2016-17 campaign with Europa League success.

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Cricket

Hashim Amla breaks Virat Kohli’s record, becomes fastest to 7000 ODI runs

United finished the season sixth in the Premier League table, 24 points behind champions Chelsea. Jose Mourinho’s side beat both Chelsea and second-place Tottenham at Old Trafford but drew 15 games, more than any other team. But after winning the EFL Cup, the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League, Mata, 29, is con-

Juan Mata is looking forward to next season (Photo: AFP) fident of challenging for the title next season. “We won the Community Shield right after the preseason, we lifted the EFL Cup trophy in London, in a very

special game for me, and of course the final in Sweden,” he wrote in his blog. “But we are aware of our lack of consistency and effectiveness in the Premier League that prevented us from fighting for the title, which is what Manchester United is supposed to do. Hashim Amla reached the 7,000-run mark in his 150th innings while Virat Kohli had taken 161 innings to get there (Photo: AFP)

Tennis

Tiger Woods sorry after arrest, says alcohol not involved

outh African batsman Hashim Amla has overtaken Virat Kohli as the fatest to reach 7,000 ODI runs in the course of the third and final ODI against England at Lord’s.

The 14-time major champion blamed his arrest on a reaction to a mixture of prescription medication he has been taking, insisting in an apology to fans that alcohol was not involved in the incident.

Incidentally, Kohli had eclipsed another Proteas batsman, AB de Villiers, when he made the record his own during a match against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Club in January, 2016.

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IAMI (AFP), Wednesday, May 30, 2017 - Golf superstar Tiger Woods was charged with driving under the influence by police in Florida on Monday, dealing a fresh blow to the former world number one as he struggles to resurrect his career. The 14-time major champion blamed his arrest on a reaction to a mixture of prescription medication he has been taking, insisting in an apology to fans that alcohol was not involved in the incident. Woods, 41, was arrested by police near his home in Jupiter, Florida, around 3:00 am (0700 GMT) before his release later Monday after being charged with driving under the influence. A police mugshot of Woods looking bleary-eyed and unshaven rapidly went viral, underscoring the protracted fall from grace which has befallen the superstar athlete once renowned as a clean-living, corporate pitchman. “I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Woods said in a statement quoted by US media outlets, which stressed that “alcohol was not involved.” “What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly,” Woods said. “I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too.” The TMZ.com entertainment news website had earlier cited law enforcement sources as saying that Woods was stopped after being spotted “driving erratically, all over the road.” The website said the golfer refused to blow into a breathalyzer.

Amla took only 151 innings to get to the landmark while Kohli had taken 161 innings. Before him, de Villiers had reached the coveted 7,000-run mark in 166 innings while former India skipper, Sourav Ganguly, had held the record for several years, having reached there in 174 innings. West Indian legend Brian Lara got there in only 183 innings.

Woods hasn’t played competitive golf since pulling out of the Dubai Desert Classic in February after one round because of back pain.

Haris Sohail: ‘IndiaPakistan just a game’

He had spinal fusion surgery on April 20 -- his fourth surgery in three years to treat his troublesome back which has limited him to three tournament starts worldwide in the past two years.

- Personal life torment Woods wrote on his website last week that since his latest procedure he was feeling better than he had in years and remained committed to returning to competitive golf. “My surgeon and physiotherapist say the operation was successful. It’s just a matter of not screwing up and letting it fuse,” Woods wrote. “I’m walking and doing my exercises, and taking my kids to and from school. All I can do is take it day by day. There’s no hurry. But, I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again.”

He even cancelled a planned press conference at the Los Angeles tournament saying doctors had advised him to “limit all activities”. He pulled out of the Masters in early April, missing the first major of the year on the 20th anniversary of his epic 1997 victory at Augusta National that marked his first major title and signalled a new era in the game. (-AFP)

“It’s frustrating – it’s the third time I have been ill this year,” he admitted. However, he said he was surprised that he hadn’t been laid low by sickness on many more occasions over his career.

The left-hand batsman, who is replacing teammate Umar Akmal in Pakistan’s Champions Trophy squad, is confident of his team’s chances against India but urged them to not get carried away by the hype surroundig the rivalry (Photo: AFP)

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IRMINGHAM, England (PTI), May .30 , 2017 - Pakistan does not need any added motivation for its Champions Trophy opener against India but batsman Haris Sohail insists his team has to forget about the opposition it is facing in the marquee clash on Sunday.

Murray, the 2016 runner-up at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic, admitted he had been sick since arriving in the French capital on Sunday.

On clay, he lost in the third round in Monte Carlo, made the semis in Barcelona, was a third-round loser in Madrid before an opening defeat in Rome to Fabio Fognini.

The 34-year-old had started 2017 in great style, smashing a classy 154 against Sri Lanka in Centurion in February. (-TOI)

Woods made his comeback in December after missing all of the 201516 season.But his return quickly ran aground as he withdrew from the PGA Tour event in Los Angeles in February, the Honda Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.

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He suffered a shock fourth round defeat to Mischa Zverev at the Australian Open.

Amla was in fine form in the recently concluded Indian Premier League, smashing two hundreds for Kings XI Punjab, who failed to reach the playoffs despite his brilliance.

Woods hasn’t played competitive golf since pulling out of the Dubai Desert Classic (Photo: TMZ.com/PBC Sheriff’s Office)

ARIS, France (AFP), Wednesday, May 30, 2017 – World number one Andy Murray said he considered himself lucky despite seeing his season torpedoed by shingles, flu, an elbow injury and now a pre-French Open fever.

Murray’s poor form this year has, not surprisingly, reflected his physical travails.

Hashim Amla scored 55 before being bowled by debutant Toby RolandJones and Quinton de Kock (34) fell in the next over to Jake Ball. But JP Duminy (28 not out) and AB de Villiers (27 not out) saw their side through to victory with 20.1 overs to spare while chasing a paltry target of 154.

The arrest is the latest gloomy episode to hit Woods, who once towered over his sport before being engulfed by turmoil in his private life and a series of debilitating injuries.

Flu, shingles, fever – I’m lucky, says Murray

“I felt sick in the afternoon and didn’t feel great on Monday but I feel better. Now it’s just a cough,” said the 30-year-old British star who thinks he caught a bug training in the wet and cold of London earlier this month.

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South Africa (156/3) won by seven wickets but lost the series after defeat in the first two games as both countries prepared for the start of the Champions Trophy this week.

Rain at Edgbaston curtailed Pakistan’s final warm-up game before the start of the tournament, with Australia making 57 for one batting first in 10 overs yesterday. Andy Murray’s poor form this year has, not surprisingly, reflected his physical travails (Photo: AFP) “To be honest, it should happen more really. We are in the locker rooms with lots of players, lots of sweat, lots of germs, you know, in airplanes all the time. “I have been pretty lucky with that over the last couple of years. “I have not had too many bad illnesses. So maybe they have just come in a small space of time.” Murray has been drawn to face 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in the last four at this year’s Roland Garros. He starts against Russia’s world number 85 Andrey Kuznetsov and

could face dangerous Juan Martin del Potro in the third round. Injury-plagued del Potro, who lost to Murray in the 2016 Olympics final, is playing Roland Garros for the first time since 2012 when he made the quarterfinals. If the seedings work out, Murray would face Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the last eight.

For Pakistan, the focus now shifts to taking on arch rival India in the opening pool encounter at the same ground. While these matches usually provide a little extra spice, Sohail urged his team not to get carried away with the

rivalry. And when match day rolls around, the 28-year-old, who came in as a replacement for Umar Akmal, is confident his team will have adjusted to the weather conditions, having had spent a fortnight on English soil. “We have had a good couple of days of practice. It is a huge game against India, a really big game but it is just a game.We are preparing ourselves for all the hard encounters,” Sohail said. “Our strength is our bowling and fielding and we are working on all these aspects of our game.” “It is difficult for us but we have been here for 10 days before our first game and that should hold us in good stead,” he said.


HOROSCOPE

VOICE OF ASIA 22

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of June 2, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

by Hardik Vyas, Astrologer Cell : 832-298-9950

ONLINE WWW.VOICEOFASIAONLINE.COM

Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Normally you allow others opinion, to make sure that everybody is on the same page. It’s not that you are inflexible, but you need some assurance. If a smile and a handshake make you suspicious, maybe your intuition is working overtime. A solid presentation of your ideas will generate instant success for you. Your word will be accepted as the unwritten law. What’s obvious to you may be brilliant to others. Your future is looking better all the time. Weigh the options you have and ask yourself if it’s worth the trouble.

Refuse to get dragged into the middle of an argument Or Don’t take sides of anyone. Though your intentions are good to help others but nobody will understand it & it may cause problem for you. Need to go out and socialize with colleagues. If you can combine some work with pleasure, you will gain respect and help from those in a position to help you get ahead. If you made a promise to your family, you must not renege. Put everything else on hold. Emotional problems with family members will be disheartening.

Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

Your sense of humor will make the atmosphere positive around you. Try your best to get along with the majority and everything should run smoothly. If you sense a reluctance from others, don’t push it. If you like to help others, you can expect to have a rewarding time, this week. If you feel your patience is slipping away, you should avoid confrontation, at all costs. Invite someone special to visit an important place with you. Share ideas, that way, you will be in charge of future plans.

You need to control your anger, it’s not difficult if you try for it. You will assess your life events & will realyze that it caused more losses due to anger. Use wisdom to get the work done. Don’t blame others for your own mistakes or unhappiness. New opportunities will come on your way if you are happy and positive about yourself. You need to make some personal changes in your life. Don’t be depressed. You need to concentrate on your creative projects and not worry so much about what other people are saying or doing.

Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June You need to express both your fears and your imaginations. Once you admit to the limitations you have, you’ll be able to communicate your dreams and perhaps even make some of them come true. The world is far too exciting for petty or personal issues to interfere. Your energy will attract the attention of others. They’ll stand up and take notice of you. Many may want your friendship, but few are willing to pay their dues. There may be Question about other’s loyalty, as secrets may surface which show you their true colors.

Work on the projects that don’t require a lot of travel or communication. Take things in stride. You are best to busy yourself with personal projects. You should be thinking about a career move. Someone you work for is probably trying to hold you back. Protect your reputation and prepare yourself for unexpected changes. It’s time to take a serious look at getting into shape before time and you have to shed some of those layers of files which are pending. Get busy talking to those individuals who can offer you mental stimulation.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Others may be concerned with adding to your purpose, but you need to focus on your immediate objectives. You’re playing for progress, so you’ll have little patience for detours or changes in plans. Somebody may try to slip something past you, be aware but don’t let on. Family and old friends are the best company for you right now. You’ll learn an important lesson. Sharing will be necessary. The messages will become clear and positive. Many will vie for your attention and some will insist on becoming a part of your entourage.

You can avoid emotional issues with loved ones by being affectionate, fun loving and active. You’ll be able to make money if you investment in yourself. Your lover may not understand of your feelings. Be discriminating when discussing work. You won’t be able to trust some of your colleagues or clients. Keep your ideas to yourself for the time being. Find out all you can about your present position and the changes going on around you. Work hard to complete projects that might make a real difference to your professional future.

Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August A long-term relationship will prove once again to be a source of security and delight for you. Your feelings have been mixed and you’ve been keeping them hidden. Loved ones will sense your mood and question you. It’s important that you keep youself cool and explain how you feel. Conversations could get out of hand if you are too quick to assume what others think. Ask the questions and you’ll get the truth. You’ll feel unsettled if you say something before you know how they really feel. Share your dreams and listen to theirs.

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September You’ll be receptive to new ideas and concepts. Friendships could develop into serious partnerships. You must act quickly if you want to meet your deadlines. Don’t hesitate to ask others for favors owed. You have more allies than you think. Don’t let boredom stand in the way of doing a good job. Put some flair back into your work or move onto greater challenges. Attend motivational seminars that will help you to reach your potential. Don’t be angry with those who don’t show the same excitement regarding your projects.

BD

Take care of your family responsibilities first, spent time with them or include the ones you love in the events you attend. You may want to look into the nature of an organization before you donate or join it. Your partner will not put up with your possessiveness. Expect to get into a heated discussion. Self-improvement should be your goal. Sudden romantic infatuations may send you for a loop. You must take your time if you wish things to work in your favor. Be honest and direct and don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions.

Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March Travel for business or pleasure will be rewarding in many ways. Use your fame to get what you want. You’ll be surprised by the response you receive. Check out some of the courses offered in your community. You will need to start learning new skills if you want to keep up with the never-ending technological changes at work. Don’t become involved in dubious financial schemes. Don’t sign anything unless you understand the repercussions. It is best to hold tight and observe what everyone else is doing. You can gain some insight if you talk to those with more experience.

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JOB AVAILABLE

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PET of the WEEK ARIANNA - ID#A006448

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FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Job Available - Office Clerk We are offering a position of office clerk at a 266 unit property, located at: 13011, North Borough Dr, Houston Texas 77067 This will be a Full Time Position. Minimum One Year Experience is a must. For details, call Mrs Anna at: 832-282-3914 Email resume to: thickhouston11@gmail.com

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Houston Community College Invitation for Bid (IFB) Sale of approximately 23.402 acres of land (WESTHEIMER)

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VOICE OF ASIA 24

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017

Voice of Asia Newsweekly e paper June 2 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...