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FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Facing revolt on Healthcare bill, Senate Republicans delay vote

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Vol. 30 No. 26 Friday, June 30, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail:

3rd International Day of Yoga in Houston Organizations to form an Alliance to promote IDY in Bayou City by Manu Shah

started the efforts during the event.


bout 400 Houstonians moved in harmony, stretching and breathing mindfully in a guided yoga session at Levy Park. The event was organized to mark the Third International Day of Yoga on June 21st by the Indian Consulate in Houston with the support of over 15 community organizations. Event coordinator and Swayamsevak Sharad Amin thanked the participants and observed that thunderstorm warnings and an overcast sky did not deter the yoga practitioners from attending the group practice. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett made a brief appearance to show his support for the day and noted that “yoga is not just about stretching but a key component in self-realization.” Deputy Consul General of India in Houston, Surendra Aadhana highlighted the fact that “yoga is connecting the world with India.” He also announced an initiative by Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray for the formation of an alliance with yoga institutes and teachers to “bring their synergies and best practices together” with a view to promote yoga in a more organized and concerted manner. HSS volunteers with Anant Samdani kick

After an opening prayer by Madhukar Adi, Continued on page 3

Deputy Consul General of India, Houston, Surendra Aadhana addressing the gathering (Photo: Bijay Dixit)

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett speaking at the IDY at the Levy Park on June 21 (Photo: Bijay Dixit)

Trump and Modi hail friendship at first talks by Jerome Cartillier


ASHINGTON DC | AFP US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embraced each other as friends and partners Monday, pledging their quest for economic growth would strengthen rather than undermine ties between the world’s two largest democracies. While Trump’s relations with some traditional allies had a rocky start, he and Modi appeared to strike up an immediate rapport in their first meeting, exchanging hugs in the White House Rose Garden in front of reporters. Any differences over issues such as immigration Continued on page 10

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their first meeting. AFP photo.

Yoga participants at the IDY. Photo: Bijay Dixit.

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Gandhi returns home, meets Tilak, Gokhale


he Indians now realized what was at stake; but they were unable to decide what to do. They requested Gandhi to postpone his departure and help them. He agreed to stay on for another month and organize re-sistance to the new bill. Late that night the Indians held a meeting ill Abdulla Seth’s house under the presi¬dentship of Seth Haji Muham¬mad, the most influential Indian merchant there. They resolved to oppose the Franchise Bill with all their strength. Telegrams were sent to the Speaker of the Assembly and the Premier of Natal request¬ing them to postpone further discussion on the bill. The Speaker promptly replied that the dis-

cussion would be put off for two days. The Natal Indians then drew up a petition to the Legislative Assembly pleading against the bill. This was followed up by another petition to Lord Ripon, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies. This was signed by more than ten thousand In¬dians. Copies of the petition were circulated in South Af¬rica, England, and India. There was much sympathy for the Natal Indians’ plight, but the campaign had started too late to stop the bill becoming law. However, the campaign did do some good. For the first time, the people of India came to know of the conditions in Natal. An even more impor-

Opinon by Jeffrey Sachs


S health care costs are out of sight, more than $10,000 per person per year, compared with around $5,000 per person in Canada, Germany and France. Obamacare expanded coverage without controlling costs. The Republican plan would ruthlessly and cruelly limit coverage without controlling costs. Of the two options, Obamacare is vastly more just. The Republican plan is ghastly. But America has a much better choice: health for all at far lower costs. This might seem like an outof-reach goal or a political slogan, but it is neither. Every other rich country uses the same medical technology, gets the same or better health outcomes, and pays vastly lower sums. Why the disparity? Health care in America is big business, and in America big business means big lobbying and big campaign contributions, the public interest be damned. Health care is our biggest economic sector, far ahead of the military, Wall Street and the auto and tech industries. It is pushing 18% of national income, compared with 10% to 12% of national income in the other high-income countries. In line with its economic size, it ranks first in total lobbying, with a recorded $152 million in lobbying spending in 2017 and an estimated $273 million in federal campaign contributions in the 2016 election cycle, divided roughly equally between the parties.

America can save $1 trillion and get better health care in a discount clinic outside your provider network.

sible, fair and reasonable measures to limit monopoly power. Our system would look a lot more like that of the other more successful and less expensive nations.

All of these are examples of the vast market power of the health care industry. The sector is designed to squeeze consumers and the government for all they’re worth (and sometimes more, driving many into bankruptcy).

Here’s a 10-point plan Congress should consider. First, move to capitation for Medicare, Medicaid and the tax-exempt private health insurance plans. Under capitation, hospitals and physician groups receive an annual “global budget” based on their patient population, not reimbursement on a fee-for-service basis. Second, limit the compensation of hospital CEOs and top managers. The pay of not-forprofit hospital CEOs and top managers, for example, could be capped at $1 million per year. Third, require Medicare and other public providers to negotiate drug prices on a rational basis, taking account of research and development incentives and the manufacturing costs of the medicines. Fourth, use emergency power to override patents (such as compulsory licensing of patentprotected drugs) to set maximum prices on drugs for public health emergencies (such as for HIV and hepatitis C). Fifth, radically simplify regulatory procedures for bringing quality generic drugs to the market, including through importation, by simplifying Food and Drug Administration procedures.

Christoph Niemann

a limited fraction of household income, as is done in many high-income countries. Eight, use part of the annual saving of $1 trillion to expand home visits for communitybased health care to combat the epidemics of obesity, opioids, mental illness and others. Nine, rein in the advertising and other marketing by the pharmaceutical and fast-food industries that has created, alone among the high-income world, a nation of addiction and obesity. Ten, offer a public plan to meet these conditions to compete with private plans. Medicare for all is one such possibility. There really no mystery to why America’s health industry needs a drastic corrective.

We should aim to save at least $1 trillion in total annual outlays, roughly $3,000 per person per year, through a series of fea-

Seven, in all public and private plans, cap the annual payment of deductibles and cost-sharing by households to

Visit the website of your local not-for-profit hospital system. There’s a good chance the CEO will be earning millions per year, sometimes $10 million or more. Or go to treat your hepatitis C with Gilead drug Sofosbuvir. The pills list for $84,000 per 12-week dose, while their production cost is a little over $100, roughly one-thousandth of the list price. Or go in for an MRI, and your hospital might have an $8,000 billable price for a procedure that costs $500

tant result was the new spirit that now awakened the Indians in South Africa. The Natal Indians pressed Gandhi to remain and guide them for a little longer. Gandhi told them that he was prepared to stay on if the In¬dian community would provide him with sufficient legal work. They gladly agreed to do this. Twenty merchants turned over all their legal business to him. When Gandhi applied for en¬rolment as an attorney to argue cases in court, the entire bar, composed of white lawyers, strongly opposed him. The Su¬preme Court of Natal overruled the objection, however, and he was allowed to practice. Soon Gandhi became one of the busiest lawyers in Durban; but to him law was a subordi¬nate occupation. His main inter¬est was his public work. He felt that merely sending in petitions and protests would not help the Indians much. A sustained agi¬tation was necessary. So he proposed the formation of a permanent organization to safeguard the interests of Indians. A meeting was called to discuss this matter. The spa¬cious hall in Dada Abdulla’s house was packed

to the full. It was there, on that occasion, that the Natal Indian Con¬gress was formed. In 1894 the Natal Government sought to impose an annual polltax on the indentured Indians. These were laborers who had been recruited from India on a fiveyear contract, but on starvation wages. Under the contract they could not leave their employer. They were treated practically as slaves. These men had been taken to South Africa to help the white colonizers in agri¬cultural work. The Indians did more than had been expected of them. They worked hard, pur¬chased land, and started culti¬vating their own fields. Their enterprise did not end there. They soon built houses and raised themselves far above the status of laborers. The white people did not like this. They wanted the Indian workers to return to India at the end of the contract period. To make things much harder for them, the Government now imposed an annual polltax of £25. The Natal Indian Con¬gress started a strong agitation against this. Later, at the in¬tervention of Lord Elgin, then Viceroy of India, the tax was reduced to £3. Still Gandhi considered it an atrocious tax, unknown anywhere else

bring his wife and children to South Africa. Besides, a visit to In¬dia would be useful in gaining more support for the Indians in South Africa. He had arranged his work so well that he could look forward to six months’ leave. In the middle of 1896 Gandhi sailed for India, and after twen¬tyfour days landed at Calcutta. From there he went to Rajkot. It was a happy family reunion when Kasturbai welcomed him with their two sons. But the plight of the Indians in South Africa was so much on his mind that he could not be content to enjoy domestic bliss in peace. He therefore launched a cam¬paign to acquaint the people of India with the real condition of the Indians in South Africa. He met the editors of influential newspapers and important Indi¬an leaders, including Lokaman¬ya B. G. Tilak, the hero of Ma¬harashtra, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale who, like Gandhi, was already famous at the age of 27. Wherever Gandhi went, he tried to make the people aware of the lot of their compatriots in South Africa. Many news¬papers published his views and strongly supported his case. Summaries of these newspaper reports and comments reached South

Both parties have therefore ducked the hard work of countering the health care sector’s monopoly power. Health care spending is now at $10,000 per person per year, roughly twice or more the total of other highincome countries, or a staggering $3.25 trillion a year.

Sixth, facilitate “task shifting” from doctors to lower-cost health workers for routine procedures, especially when new computer applications can support the decision process.

As a result, the sector is awash in profits and compensation levels, and the stock prices of the health care industry are soaring. In the meantime, human and financial resources are pulled away from low-cost (but also low-profit) disease prevention, such as low-cost community health workers and wellness counselors who work within the community, including household visits. The health care sector is a system of monopolies and oligopolies -- that is, there are few producers in the marketplace and few limits on market power. Government shovels out the money in its own programs and via tax breaks for private plans without controls on the market power. And it’s getting worse. Every other high-income country has solved this problem. Most hospitals are government-owned, while most of the rest are not for profit, but without allowing egregious salaries for top management. Drug prices are regulated. Patents are respected, but drug prices are negotiated. None of this is rocket science. Nor is the United States too dumb to figure out what Canada, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Belgium, Korea and others have solved. The problem is not our intelligence. The problem is our corrupt political system, which caters to the health care lobby, not to the needs of the people. (-CNN)

tal ask¬ing him to return immediately. There were some develop¬ments which required his pres¬ence there. So Gandhi set sail for South Africa once more, taking with him Kasturbai and their two sons and also the only son of his widowed sister. However, a message reached Gandhi advising him not to land with the others but to wait until evening, as there was an angry mob of whites at the dock. Kas¬turbai and the children were sent to the house of Gandhi’s Parsee friend, Rustomji. Later, accompanied by Jason Laughton, the legal adviser of Dada, Abdulla & Co., Gandhi went ashore. The scene looked peaceful, but some youths recognized him and shouted, “Look, there goes Gandhi.” Soon there was a rush and much shouting. As Gandhi and his friends proceeded, the crowd began to swell until it was impossible to go any fur¬ther. Suddenly Laughton was pushed aside and the mob set upon Gandhi. They pelted him with stones, sticks, bricks, and rotten eggs. Someone snatched away his turban, others kicked him until the frail figure col¬lapsed. He clung to the rail¬ing of a house. The fury

Great Summer Project For children! Enter Mahatma Gandhi Week 2017 Essay, I-Tribute, Poster and Speech contests. Visit 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 in the world. The Natal Indian Con¬gress continued its agitation, but it was 20 years before the poll-tax was finally withdrawn. In three years in South Afri¬ca, Gandhi had become a well-known figure. And his practice was well established. He real¬ized that he was in for a long stay. He knew that the people there wanted him with them, so in 1896 he asked their per¬mission to go home and

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Africa long before Gan¬dhi returned there. Meanwhile, plague broke out in Bombay and threatened to spread to neighboring areas. In Rajkot Gandhi volunteered to join a group who tried to edu¬cate the people about the need for sanitation and other mea-sures to prevent the spread of the disease. At the end of November, however, Gandhi received an urgent message from Na-

of the white mob was unabated and they continued to beat him and kick him. “Stop, you cowards,” cried a feminine voice. “Stop attacking the poor man.” It was the wife of the Superintendent of po¬lice. She came up and opened her parasol and held it between Gandhi and the crowd. This checked the mob. Soon the po¬lice arrived and dispersed the crowd. — To be continued.



FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Second Front Page


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3rd International Day of Yoga in Houston Mayor Turner, Chief Acevedo Organizations to form an Alliance to promote IDY in Bayou City

host Meyerland safety meeting after infant killed

Houston Yoga teachers at the 3rd International Day of Yoga celebrated at the Levy Park. Photos credit Bijay Dixit.

Meyerland residents meet with Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Art Acevedo. Image credit: CW39 NewsFix

Continued from page 1 well known yoga teachers Vishwarupa Nanjundappa and Lindsay Law guided the group through several standing and sitting postures respectively. Robert Boustany, Houston’s leading yoga teacher and initiator of Pralay Yoga led the group through a guided meditation by encouraging them “to open themselves up to the moment, send out as much love as they could, let gratitude flow through them, and pour out a love for all beings because if we do this, we could change the world.” The meditation session unfortunately was cut short by about 10 minutes due to a sudden downpour but it didn’t discourage the participants from indulging in a lively exchange of powdered colors. Speaking to a cross section of people at the gathering about how yoga helped them, views ranged from it being a “de-stresser and a centering experience” to helping them “make better decisions, focus and keep calm.” Swati Thakkar, a cancer survivor, explained how she was an occasional yoga practitioner but after being diagnosed with cancer became regular which helped her both mentally and physically.

Yoga teachers (L to R) Robert Boustany, Vishwarupa Nanjundappa, Lindsay Law with emcee Madhukar Adi.

Suresh Patel, the first Indo American yoga teacher in Houston recounted how he taught yoga in 1975 to a class of 85 students while Gitesh Desai, a familiar face in Houston’s Indo American community and a certified yoga teacher concluded by explaining how it can help to “harmonize one’s energy within” and bring peace to a violence afflicted world.

Local IDY host organizations’ heads with Judge Ed Emmett and Dy. Consul General of India in Houston, Surendra Aadhana at the Levy Park on June 21, 2017.

Anwar Raza follows Baba Ramdev and underscored the fact that yoga “changed” his life. He added that unfortunately people are ascribing a communal slant to yoga but “yoga has no relation to religion.” President of IMAGH Munir Ibrahim had this to say: “the practice of Yoga helps in the grounding and shifting of the focus of understanding one’s self to live your life without judgement and to love others with peace and harmony. Mark Ram, a veteran yoga teacher with the Brahma Kumaris explained how “Yoga enables an individual gain governing power over one’s

own mind and physical senses” while Zachary Biegun a Yoga practitioner observed that “the most intimate relationship we have is between the mind and body and this relationship is the filter through which we experience everything. Yoga is the practice of undertaking to improve that relationship-thereby improving our whole selves and our whole lives.”

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was killed, but at the same location. Warrants were served by HPD Homicide investigators, HPD officers at the Southwest Tactical Unit and the Westside Gang Unit, along with agents from the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force. “While in custody for those aggravated assault charges, the two suspects were interviewed by our HPD Homicide investigators,” Slinkard explained. “During those interviews, one of those suspects in custody for that previous aggravated assault charge did admit to his involvement in the shooting incident and was also identified by the father as a shooter in the incident resulting in the death of baby Messiah. That suspect is Jared Balogun.” Balogun has prior arrests for possession of marijuana in 2013, delivery of marijuana in 2012 and burglary of a habitation in 2010. Police are standing by Acevedo’s previous suspicion that the shooting was gang-related. The case is still under investigation. Those with any information are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Source: CW39 NewsFix

Features in Section Two of Voice of Asia


Bruce A. Coane

by Alex Green OUSTON-- Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Art Acevedo held a public safety community meeting Monday to address the crime plaguing the Meyerland community. Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Cohen hosted the meeting for Meyerland residents in response to the recent shooting of 10-month-old baby Messiah. The Houston Police Department said the victim’s 22-year-old father was walking with his son in the 5400 block of Braesvalley around at 1:40 p.m. on June 14, when he was approached by three men. An argument ensued and one of the men pulled out a gun and began shooting. One of the bullets struck Messiah, and the father -- clutching the baby -- ran through the parking lot of Nob Hill Apartments and flagged down a citizen, who took them to a nearby Valero gas station. The infant was pronounced dead at the scene. Two suspects were arrested on June 19, for aggravated assault related to a separate incident that occurred nine days before Messiah

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The People’s Lawyer

Payment is “due” on due date

Q. I pay my bills by mail. My due date is the first of the month and I have a ten-day period before they charge a late fee. I always mail my check by the tenth day. The company has begun charging me interest and a late fee. How can I be charged a late fee if I can prove my payment was mailed before the due date? A. First, the “due date” for your payment is the first of the month. That is the date it expects to receive payment. The ten days are a “grace period” to give you time to remit your payment so it can be received before any penalties are imposed. Payment due means payment arrives, not that it is mailed. You chose to mail your payment, and you are responsible for insuring that it arrives before the end of the grace period. The simple way to avoid any penalties is to mail your check promptly after your receive your bill. In my opinion, an even better way is to arrange to make your payments online. Almost every company has a way to pay your bill online and your payment is then received on the day you click “submit.” Check your next statement to see what it says about online payments. Q. I co-signed for someone who bought a car. He stopped paying and I had to pay $3,000 to settle the

account. Can I recover this money from the person I cosigned for? A. As you seem to understand, when you co-sign you must pay in the event the person you co-signed for does not. If you do not pay, it can adversely affect your credit rating and you could even be sued for the debt. If you pay, however, the law gives you the right to be reimbursed by the other party. I suggest you speak with the person for whom you co-signed, and if you can’t work things out, send him or her a certified letter asking for payment. If you still are not reimbursed, file a claim in justice court. This also is a good time to remind everyone about the dangers of co-signing. In my opinion, you should never co-sign unless you are ready and able to pay. When a creditor asks for a cosigner, he is basically saying he has doubts that the other person will pay and wants a co-signer as a guarantor. As a co-signer, you should have the same doubts, and consider the consequences when the person for whom you cosigned defaults. Q. I had a car accident. The person who hit me won’t tell me the name of his insurance company. I don’t believe he even has insurance. The damages to my car are not extensive and I was not seriously hurt, but I will think

he should pay. Am I out of luck? A. This seems to be a common question. I should first point out that driving without insurance is unlawful and the person could be subject to a substantial fine and loss of his license. Promptly reporting the accident to the police is one way to find out if the other party has insurance.

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Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place


Tel: 713-774-5140

FBISD facing $12m budget shortfall, property taxes down Special to Voice of Asia


ort Bend school district has plans to tighten its belt after it had to use nearly $12 million from a reserve fund in order to balance its budget for the 2017-18 school year. But in spite of that, the board of trustees intends to lower the district’s property tax rate by two cents, from $1.34 to $1.32, counting on the raise in the average home value to bring in higher local tax . Several members of the board of trustees blamed the shortfall on the Texas Legislature for failing to provide sufficient funding for public schools. The Legislature’s attempt at overhauling the school finance system died when the Senate and House could not agree on a version of House Bill 21, which, in its original form, would have funneled $1.64 billion of additional funding into school districts. Fort Bend ISD would have received $8.5 million in revenue from the state this coming year if the bill had passed, according to information from the district. Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special session to reconvene the Legislature beginning July 18. Among the 20 issues to be addressed are several that might affect Fort Bend ISD’s upcoming budget, including a possible mandatory $1,000 raise for teachers, school finance reform, school choice for special needs students, rollback elections for property tax increases, caps on state and local spending as well as the so-called “bathroom bill” that would put restrictions on school bathroom use for transgender students.

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Since Fort Bend ISD designated $23.9 million in raises for teachers and staff in the proposed budget, district officials are hoping that, even if the Legislature passes a $1,000 raise, it wouldn’t be mandated on top of the existing raise. If it is, the district would have to increase its budget by $5 million.

The district increased its revenue this year over last year by $22 million, mostly due to the increase in property values, and added $36 million in expenses due to teacher and principal pay increases, hiring additional teachers for new schools and additional staff, as well as pay increases for nonteaching staff.

Another issue that strained Fort Bend ISD financially this year is that local property tax growth came in lower than expected just as the district plans to open three new elementary campuses this coming school year to keep up with enrollment growth.

The $12 million required to balance the budget comes from an economic stabilization fund that the board of trustees created in 2015 to aid the district should it come up on hard times. While the fund made it possible to balance the budget for 2017-2018, the district could be looking at an $11.5 million deficit in 2018-2019 and a $13 million deficit in 2019-2020 if nothing is changed.

Fort Bend ISD has a proposed operating General Fund budget of $633.4 million for 2017-2018, which amounts to about $8,405 for each of the district’s 75,355 students. The district’s revenues will come mainly from local sources, making up 63 percent of the revenue, with state revenues making up 35 percent and federal revenues making up two percent of the total $619.9 million in revenues. The district’s proposed expenditures would go primarily toward instruction and instructional related services, making up 61.2 percent of the expenses. Expenditures on non-studentbased support services make up 13.3 percent of the budget, student-based support services make up 12.1 percent and instruction and school leadership expenses make up 9.7 percent. Administrative support services and intergovernmental services together make up less than four percent of expenses as proposed.

The board is set to the tax rate in September 2017.

Elkins High School Cadets recognized for outstanding achievement


ORT BEND ISD – Fourteen Elkins High School Air Force JROTC cadets were among more than 300 students throughout Texas to attend the third annual Houston Area Air Force JROTC Cadet Leadership Course, held June 11-17 at the University of Houston Main Campus. During the weeklong training, the cadets completed one of three physically demanding courses – including Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. The training gave the cadets an opportunity to develop their leadership, decision-making and communication skills, while building self-confidence. Elkins AFJROTC cadets participating in the leadership course included: Discovery Basic Course – Cadets Royce Carrizal, Victor Chang, Jose Falcon, Jason Jumawon, Adrian Melchor,

Meghna Paul, Sharon Samuel, James Smith, Destiny Swafford and Paulavion Williams Challender Intermediate Course – Cadet Jack Rosner Endeavor Advanced Course – Cadets Seth Owens, David Perches and Tanmay Shah The event also recognized recent graduates Cadet Victor Chang and Cadet Adrian Cadet Victor Chang (Photo: Facebook) Melchor for their achievements. Chang received recognition as a Distinguished recognition as an Honor Gradu- Graduate for being among the ate at the Top 15 percent of his Top five percent of his graduatclass; and Melchor received ing class. (-FBISD)

Mayfield Park expansion to begin soon


ugar Land City Council recently approved approximately $1 million for the expansion of Mayfield Park.

the Imperial Redevelopment Agreement. Along with an existing 1.5 acres, there are approximately 4 acres of developable parkland.

The park is located behind the former Imperial Sugar refinery site near U.S. Highway 90A and Brooks Street.

The design of the park was completed in March. The design phase included a public meeting to obtain feedback from residents regarding park amenities. Improvements will include trails, sidewalks, a pavilion, signage, playground equipment, a basketball court, lighting and landscaping.

Johnson Development provided 2.6 acres for the expansion as part of parkland dedication required by the City and stipulations included in

munity to provide an area for active recreation that includes field activities, court games, fun spaces for children, picnicking and more.”

Graphic: City of Sugar Land “We’re excited to begin the expansion of a neighborhood park to serve one of our oldest neighborhoods,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Joe Chesser. “It’s a continuation of our partnership with the com-

Construction is expected to begin in July, and the new additions are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The park will be closed during construction. (-City of Sugar Land)



FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Monumental welcome to HH Mahant Sugar Land woman goes to prison for stealing Swami Maharaj in North America $42,000 from employer


TLANTA, GA - On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, devotees, community members, and dignitaries gathered to welcome His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The scene at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Atlanta, GA was one of deep joy and excitement, as this is Mahant Swami Maharaj’s first trip to North America as Guru of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, continuing the life work and mission of his guru His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj following his earthly departure. The event was also webcast live and viewed by thousands of devotees who could not make it to the event.

Special to Voice of Asia


ICHMOND - A local woman who stole $42,500 from her employer to buy a luxury vehicle and go to hair and nail salons has been sentenced to 4 years in prison. Samia Alam Quddusi, age 24, was convicted of felony theft in April and sentenced this month after she wrote a series of checks to herself while working as an administrative assistant at a Stafford business, which as unnamed by Fort Bend County officials. Quddusi told the company president that she needed the money for school loans and her brother’s bail bonds. She told the court that the money was a gift or a loan to family.

Following his arrival, a welcome His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, during his visit in the US.

However, evidence presented in court showed that Quddusi’s tuition was paid by financial aid, and that she bought a luxury vehicle, often dined out and went to hair and nail salons using the stolen funds. Quddusi was convicted of felony theft on April 21 in the 434th District Court in Richmond, Texas. Although Quddusi was eligible for probation, Judge James H. Shoemake told Quddusi that she was not a good candidate and gave her prison time instead, because she had a prior theft conviction and had stolen from a previous employer. During the punishment hearing, prosecutors called the business owner, who testified about the stress he was placed under when it was discovered his employee stole from the company checking account. He described how his professional reputation and the reputation of the company was at stake due to the offense. He also stated that he lost trust in employees and spent significant time to resolve the matter with the bank and the police. The defense called three witnesses – the Quddusi’s sister, mother, and Quddusi herself, who each testified that she was an “honest and caring�

Spectacular welcome to His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj by his followers.

Samia Alam Quddusi, 24, was sentenced to 4 years in prison on June 9, 2017, for stealing $42,500 from her Stafford employer. (Photo: FB Jail) person. Quddusi stated she disagreed with the jury’s verdict and maintained the money was given to her voluntarily. She stated for the first time that she had a special relationship with her employer that allowed for her to get large sums of money in a short period of time. When pressed for details regarding that relationship as well as for the dates the checks were given to her, she stated could not remember the specific details. When asked about what she did with the stolen funds, the defendant stated she spent or loaned about $20,000 of the $42,500 but could not account for or remember what happened to the remainder. Theft in this case was a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Assistant District Attorneys Abdul Farukhi and Grayson Miller prosecuted the case. Attorneys Eddrea McKnight and Alfonso Anderson represented Quddusi.

Summer Camp Offerings Photography Summer Camp (Houston Center for Photography) During this camp, you will learn how to capture your surroundings and never lose a moment: discover portraiture and performance, storyboard, layout, and how to visually interpret your surroundings using not only your eyes, but all of your senses. Houston Center for Photography’s summer camp will also teach you about the history of photography while you build your own collection of great photos. US Congressman Rob Woodall presenting Congressional Certificate to HH Mahant Swami Maharaj. assembly was held by BAPS community members on June 23, 2017. The welcome assembly marked a special occasion for devotees, young and old, who had worked together for several months planning for Mahant Swami Maharaj’s arrival. The theme of the welcome assembly focused on the presentation of a Hindu Vedic pujan to officially greet Mahant Swami Maharaj. This pujan consisted of the recitation of scriptural shlokas and various offerings. Following this pujan, BAPS youth from performed a traditional swagat dance. The welcome assembly concluded with blessings from Mahant Swami Maharaj. The welcome assembly included US Congressman Rob Woodall, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, and Mr. D.V. Singh, Head of Chancery, Consulate General of India in Atlanta. Also present were leaders of the city of Lilburn as well as leaders of numerous Hindu and non-faithbased organizations. “You can tell a lot about a place and its people, and you make me swell with pride with this warm greeting. This congregation and its people welcome everyone. Everyone has been invited. That’s not easy to do to reach out and make them feel welcomed. BAPS has done that,� said Rob Woodall, U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. Rep. Woodall also remembered the life motto of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj (In the joy of others, lies our own) when he mentioned, “While I had never heard the phrase before in my life, I can tell you now with conviction that the joy in these faces is truly found in the joy of others in our community.� While meeting Mahant Swami Maharaj before the assembly, Woodall shared, “I am in awe internally of the spiritual fortitude of your volunteers.� As part of Mahant Swami Maharaj

three-month tour across North America, he will visit eight cities in the United States. He will attend numerous celebrations including the ten-year anniversaries of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs in Atlanta, Toronto, and San Jose as well inauguration of the Ghanshyam Maharaj Abhishek Mandapam in Robbinsville, NJ. Special celebration days for children, young adults and women are planned in each location. Devotees have spent months developing dynamic cultural programs and preparing facilities to support thousands of attendees at each event.

No previous photographic experience required! Camp includes lectures, hands-on activities, creative writing, indoor and outdoor photo sessions and group discussions. Camp Details: July 17 - 21 // 9:00am - 3:00pm Located at KIPP:CONNECT middle school $25 per child

Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s vision continues to be his driving force behind guiding spiritual activities and organizational efforts. Throughout his life, Mahant Swami Maharaj has emphasized the importance of unity as the foundation for families, organizations, and communities. His life communicates the core values of BAPS rooted in mutual understanding, tolerance, respect, and love for all individuals and communities. During his tour, he aims to continue to inspire devotees throughout North America to live a balanced life, filled with spirituality, morals, family values, and respect for others.

STEM Camp (Rice University)

In this amazing Rice University Computer Engineering Design camp, students will learn the basics of computer aided design by exploring online resources and learning how to use 3D modeling software, eventually moving on to completing design challenges and modeling objects of their own choosing. The final project is a team challenge, where they will model either a zoo or a park. Camp Details: July 31 - August 4 // 9:00AM 3:00PM Located at KIPP:CONNECT middle school $25 per child Ages 6th - 8th grade

An opportunity for young actors and actresses to explore new worlds! Build confidence and have lots of fun! In this camp, kids will play lots of theater games and learn to work together as a group. We’ll create a story based on ideas that you think. You do not need experience, just imagination and willingness to work with a fun group to create a fun adventure! Camp Details: July 31 - August 4 // 9:00am 3:30pm $25 per child Ages 3rd through 5th grade Final performance August 4 at 2:00pm For registration and more information, contact Janet Horn: 713-9070332

Ph: 832-532-2080 Fax 281-980-4142 Email: 3695 Highway 6 South, Sugar Land, TX 77478




AB TOYZ & More

SAFE SHIP is now a very popular Packing and Shipping Store that has become a house hold name in Sugar Land, TX. This is a mom and pop business and LWZDVHVWDEOLVKHGRQ1RYVHOI¿QDQFHG and is marching ahead with an upward trend. More to be done and we are strong and determined. We offer the following services in our SAFE SHIP Packing and Shipping Store in Sugar Land, TX: • Domestic and International shipping Carrier options include primarily FedEx, USPS and DHL. • B/W and Color Printing and Copying, Scanning, Faxing (Local, long distance and international) • Other services include: Notary service, Mail Box Rental, Document destruction (Shredding). • We accept FedEx, DHL and USPS drop offs with no charges. • Moving Assistance. • We buy Text Books We are the authorized drop off center of UMAC FORWARDERS EXPRESS, INC. serving, Sugar Land, Richmond, Missouri City and Stafford for shipping BALIKBAYAN Boxes to Philippines. (Ships leave for Philippines two times a month).

For more details regarding His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s North America visit, please visit or follow #MahantSwami on social media.

Read these more articles on Community Visit

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FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Ram Leela 2017 Kuchipudi dance ballet - Part II On July 15th 2017 at the Stafford Civic Center, Stafford TX.

Scenes from the ballet Ram Katha Saram by Sudesh Pillutla & Sangeeta Pillutla ast week’s Part One gives a gist of Sri Rama Katha Saram. The epic Ramayan is characteristic of the numerous characters that contribute to this powerful drama written by sage Valmiki, who illustrates life’s basic principals for an ideal living through his characters in the play. This year the play is in the form of a Kuchipudi dance ballet which shall be presented at the Stafford Center on Cash Road on the 15th July 2017. Sri Rama Jaya Niketan The play this year is also a fund raiser. All proceeds from this play will go towards assisting Sri Rama Jaya Niketan, a 501 C (3) non profit organization to build a temple in the Katy area. The mission of the Sri Rama Jaya Niketan is to provide a place of worship and be the spiritual resource center for the Hindu Community living in the Houston area in general and Katy in particular. Priest Sriman Hanuman Swamy of Sri Rama Jaya Niketan already provides all types of Vedic /religious Services for all the occasions to people living in the Greater Houston area. A temple will further enlarge these ser-


Fourth of July events in and around Houston and Fort Bend


here are plenty of other Independence Day festivities happening around town. Here are a select few:


Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular: Four nights of concerts at CityCentre, plus fireworks on July 4. 7 p.m. Saturday-Tuesday; CityCentre, 800 Town and Country; free; 713629-5200, Star-Spangled Salute: Patriotic music performed by the Houston Symphony and the booming cannons of the 1812 Overture with a fireworks display. 8 p.m. Monday at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins, The Woodlands; 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive; 713-224-4240, Fourth of July Celebration at Bayou Bend: The annual festival at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens offers Americana performers, crafts, activities, refreshments and a giant replica of the Declaration of Independence for everyone to sign. Noon-5 p.m. Tuesday; Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, 6003 Memorial; free; 713-639-7300, Kidpendence Day: Scouts will present the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the national anthem. Meet the embodiments of American patriotism, Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday; $12; Children’s Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz; 713-522-1138, Bellaire Fourth of July Parade and Festival: Event features a parade and a superhero-themed festival with carnival games, rides, petting zoo and more. 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday; Bellaire Town Square and Loftin Park, 7001 5th, Bellaire; free; 713-662-8276, Friendswood Salute to America, Texan Style: Celebration includes entertainment from Bee Gees Gold, food, amusement rides, game booths, a parade and a fireworks finale. Day program, 10 a.m.3:30 p.m. and night program, 7:30-9:20 p.m. Tuesday; Centennial Park, 2200 S. Friendswood Drive, Friendswood; $10-$15; 281-996-3220, Katy City of Katy Freedom Celebration: Morning program features activities hosted by the Katy Fire Department and Katy Parks & Recreation Department from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The evening program of fireworks and music will be held in the area near Typhoon Texas and Katy Mills Mall between 8-10 p.m. Saturday, Ave. D and George Bush Drive, Katy; 281-391-4840, LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch 4th Of July Cel-

ebration: Presented by Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, festivities begin with the Kid’s Patriotic Bike Parade starting at the courtyard and ending at Central Green Park. Live music, an interactive Kids Zone at the park, food and fireworks. 4:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday; 23501 Cinco Ranch, Katy; 281-395-5533, Kingwood July 4th Festival and Fireworks: Live music, crafts, food booths, jumping castles for kids, bungee jump and traditional fireworks display. 2-9 p.m. Tuesday; Kingwood Town Center Park, 8 N. Main, Kingwood; 281-883-4279, Missouri City Fourth of July Celebration: Event features activities for kids, including face painting, moonwalks and rides, as well as food trucks and a fireworks show. 6-9:15 p.m. Tuesday; Buffalo Run Park, 1122 Buffalo Run Blvd., Missouri City; 281-4038500, Rosenberg Family 4th Celebration: Event features a carnival area for the children, horse-drawn wagon rides through the park, food vendors, live music and fireworks to cap the night. 6-10 p.m. Tuesday; Seabourne Creek Nature Park, 3831 Texas 36, Rosenberg; free; 832-595-3300, Stafford Independence Day Celebration: Featured activities include a parade, food vendors, game booths, live music and more. 7-11:30 p.m. Monday; Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash, Stafford; 281-2086900, Freedom Rings: Concert by the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, plus a fireworks show. 7-9 p.m. Tuesday; Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash, Stafford; free; 281-208-6900, Sugar Land Red, White, Blues & Brews: Event features a tribute to George Strait band, along with bites and brews from Baker Street Pub. 7-9 p.m. Saturday; Sugar Land Town Square, 15958 City Walk, Sugar Land; 281-242-2000, The Woodlands Red, Hot & Blue Festival & Fireworks Extravaganza: Annual festival with food, children’s activities, entertainment on multiple stages and fireworks. 6-10 p.m. Tuesday; Town Green Park, 2099 Lake Robbins, The Woodlands; 281-2103975, 4th Of July Parade: The 1.3-mile parade, presented by South County Fourth of July Parade Committee, has marching bands, fire engines, clowns, horses, floats and more. 9-11 a.m. Tuesday; Woodlands United Methodist Church, 2200 Lake Woodlands, The Woodlands; 281-210-3800,

vices. Shri Sita Ram Foundation, USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization engaged in several philanthropic activities directly and indirectly. It assists and provides modest funding to Cultural and Educational institutions promoting Vedic Culture. It also provides scholarships to under privileged students and assists disadvantaged persons of the community. The Foundation organizes and/or supports the following annual cultural events in the Greater Houston area: Ram Leela Play in a prominent Theater; the annual Diwali/Dussehra Festival at Skeeter’s Stadium in Sugar Land; the annual Rath Yatra in association with Orissa Culture Center, and Vedic lectures and

activities throughout the year. Shri Sita Ram Foundation in association with Sri Rama Jaya Niketan and the greater Houston Hindu community have come together to bring you this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience grand stage play in the timeless story-telling traditions of India. The play shall be at Stafford Center on Cash Road between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are VIP, $75.00, $50.00 and $25.00. All proceeds will go to establishment of a temple in Katy area. For more information, please go to or For tickets, please contact Sharmila at 713-444-6167.



ASIE held Architectural field trip at Hotel Ylem


he American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects (ASIE), a Houston based organization for engineers, architects, designers, and engineering technicians, held their monthly meeting as a “architectural and business seminar - field trip” to Hotel Ylem located near medical center on Main Street.

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

School to be named after Sunita Williams, first IndianAmerican astronaut by Juhi A. Dasrath


n elementary school in Needham will be named after a famous alumna: astronaut Sunita L. Williams. The Indian-American woman held the record for cumulative spacewalking time by a clocking in at 50 hours and 40 minutes, according to NASA.

The host of the event, the hotel owner Jay Dalwadi and wife Kapila be- ASIE Architect Member Shashi Varia presenting a ASIE Coffee Mug and T gan their journey in Shirts to Dalwadi Hospitality Team for hosting the event hospitality over 35 years ago and have in electrical outlets and USB room mini-bars will go to the instilled their passion for phiports. Painted nightstands nonprofit. The artwork wall lanthropy in their kids and are glazed and distressed. frames displayed by local artdeveloped “Dalwadi HospiGlass-globe pendant lights ists in the lobby for sale, and tality Management Team aka hang from brightly colored 9 percent of the sale of any DHM Team. Today, Sumit, wiring, attached to the wall piece will go to Charity WaAmisha, Shital and Manisha, in an artsy pattern. Closets ter. the all four young profesmade of curved metal pipes sionals with Bachelor’s and As a token of gratitude, the on elevated stands look more Master’s degree from Texas like bellhop carts. The Ar- Certificate of Appreciation A & M, manages the Dalwadi chitectural Student Member was presented to DHM Team Hospitality hotels with pasTanmay Thakker said, “It’s a by ASIE Architect Member sion and compassion. Sumit very different kind of room. Danny Shah, and the ASIE is committed to doing busiNot a brand room by any Coffee Mug and T-Shirt was ness better and he believes, means and though it looks presented by another ASIE “It doesn’t hurt to try. What Architect Member Shashi very unique and appealing.” is the worst can happen? That Varia. is nothing to be afraid of.” So As DHM team has open DHM team decided that it is The program was concluded mind for creative business time to trend in another direcideas, they have the similar with a great feeling of young tion. So the year 2004 Holimind with big heart for giv- generation’s role in business day Inn Express a franchise ing back to the community. world by inheriting the values hotel, they recently reinvented as Hotel Ylem with newest innovative architectural and interior design and novel business ideas.

“Sunita represents a woman in the STEM field ... which is important for young women in the country to see other women involved in,” Heidi Black, chair of the Needham School Committee, told NBC News. Williams is one of two Asian Americans in NASA’s astronaut, which consists of 44 active astronauts. In 1998, Williams was selected as an astronaut by NASA, has spent a total of 322 days in space and previously served in the Navy, NASA public affairs specialist Brandi Dean told NBC News. The school being rebuilt will replace the old elementary school, Williams attended as a child. Williams said that having an elementary school in her hometown named after her is humbling and overwhelming.

Sunita L. Williams, active NASA astronaut. (Photo:Wikiwand) “I hope this will be a new spark and addition to the town. I’m excited for the future of the students there and I hope it opens up their eyes to even greater possibilities than what was obvious from when I

was there,” she told Needham Wicked Local. The construction of the school has not yet begun but Black said the school is expected to be finished by 2019. (-NBC News)

After a brief opening remarks by ASIE President Dinesh D. Shah, the ASIE life member Ben Bansal talked about the ASIE history and growth. The host team with the help of Sarah Shah as a moderator, created a panel discussion instead of sharing the information in speech format. Before the tour started, ASIE members observing the interior design concept of the main lobby Manisha said she wanted their hotel to Multicolored decorative pil- of Indian culture and humanbe more personal, not franchise chain and corporate lows in the guest rooms they ity. As remarked by an engistyle look. They want guests kept it for sale for $35 each, neer and active member of to feel at home in rooms and proceeds go to Share Our ASIE, Avinash Patel, “Not filled with an eclectic mix of Strength’s No Kid Hungry just their hospitality, but they contemporary, vintage and campaign. They buy Illy- also gave a presentation on traditional. Truly, during the brand paper cups from Light- how they give away their time tour members were amazed. house Louisiana, an organiza- and financial help in so many There is a decorative mail- tion that trains and employs great activities to make this box on the wall outside each the blind, and bath products world a better place, in spite room. The entry door of each come from eco-friendly Lath- of their busy work schedule. room are painted in different er. Charity Water might be the It is an excellent example of a colors. Instead, fabric-cov- biggest beneficiary of their noble business owner with Inered headboards have built- efforts. All profits from guest- dian culture family values”.

Fort Bend Co. Animal Shelter offering discounted dog adoptions


UGAR LAND - The Fort Bend County Animal Shelter is hoping hopeful pet owners will step in to help keep two dozen dogs alive. The dogs are set to be euthanized this weekend due to overcrowding. Many of them have been at the shelter since April. The shelter wants to find them good homes and is offering them for a discounted $10 adoption fee. All of the dogs are spayed or neutered, heartworm

tested, microchipped and upto-date on their vaccinations. For more information on these pups, visit the Fort

Bend County Animal Shelter’s website (Animal Services): or our Facebook/FortBendAnimalServices.

From June 21, 2017 through July 1, 2017, the adoption specials is as follows: All PUSH list dogs are $10 All OTIs are $10 All spayed/neutered cats are $1 All pets over six months are $25 All pets six months and younger are only $50 All fees payable with money order or credit card.

Century Choir Summer Camps for Kids! Ages 6-13

Monday - Friday 10:30AM - 1:00 PM Session 1- July 5-14 $90 Session 2- July 17-21 $60 Session 3- July 24-28 $60 - $168 for all three Sessions!!! Ensemble singing encourages children to work collaboratively and help develop listening skills and concentration. The students will explore all different types of musical genres, Disney, rock music, musical theatre, and classical madrigal singing. Each session will conclude with a concert and celebration. Dancing and movement will be added to the choral pieces. For more information:

(281) 201-2991

3527 Highway 6 Ste. #220 Sugar Land TX 77478





FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Maha Rudram celebrations after marathon chanting at Sri Meenakshi Temple by M.K.Sriram

up again, Lord Sundareswara in His most majestic form gave darshan to the devotees. The final Arathi and Upacharam were spectacular. Lord Sundareswara’s divine presence and blessings were felt everywhere.


istory was created at Sri Meenakshi Temple. The great Maha Rudram conducted here this past weekend, took the temple and the city of Houston to new heights, as one of the very few temples and cities in the US to have organized this most important event for Lord Shiva. The status of Maha Rudram is achieved when the count of Rudram chants exceeds the magic number 1331. About 50 ritwiks, under the leadership of the temple priests, took part in the event spread over 2 days. It was a seemingly very difficult goal to achieve, and it took 8 years to get here, but this time with even more energy, total devotion, dedication and team work they climbed this great mountain and attained the Maha status. The event started on Saturday, June 24th at 9 AM. Undaunted by the thunderstorms deluging the Houston area, the Rudram chanters known as ritwiks as well as ardent devotees from far and wide assembled in the Main temple for the initial Sankalpam. The preliminary pujas started with Vigneshwara puja, Punyahavachanam and Kalasa stapanam. Then the all-powerful Mahanyasam chanting was led by the priests to invoke Lord Rudra. The 50+ ritwiks for the next 3 hours went on the intense chanting of Sri Rudram, eleven times, each time followed by an anuvakam of Chamakam. Hundreds of devotees were held in a trance while the vedic mantra was chanted in unison. The second session started at 5 PM, with the continuation of the Rudram chanting till 8 PM. The evening session concluded with a spectacular arathi and upacharam.

MTS priests prepare offering for Lord Shiva.

An abundance of prasadams were offered by the devotees. All the devotees had a sumptuous lunch. All in all, this was a most divine and blissful event that was well organized and conducted by the Temple under the leadership of the Chairman Narayanan, the RAC led Padmini, Priests Manicka Bhattar, Kalyana Sundaram, Balaji and Parameshwaran ably supported by the silpis and staff of the temple. The event coordinators Muthukumar and Sheila and other volunteers put in countless hours of work and co-ordination. Special mention is to be made that the Shankaracharya of Kanchi who personally blessed this event and presented the ritwiks and priests with vastrams. A most

was performed for Lord Sundarewara that was witnessed by over 500 devotees. The curtains were drawn briefly for Alankaram, and when they opened

USTIN , SATA USA, Inc. has partnered with Texas State Technical College (TSTC) to provide job training using a $100,001 Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The grant will benefit workers in the Cameron Texas area.

ing, production processes and precision tool use. Trainees will include forklift operators, purchasing agents, quality technicians, metallurgists, gauge calibration technicians, heat treatment operators, nondestructive testing technicians. Upon completion of training, the workers will receive an average wage of $14.22.

“ This education and industry partnership provides opportunities for Texas businesses to cultivate a skilled workforce and remain competitive in the global marketplace,” said state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.

Since its inception in 1996, the Skills Development Fund grants have created or upgraded more than 342,428 jobs throughout Texas. The grants have assisted 4,238 employers with their customized training needs. The Legislature allocated $48.5 million to the Skills Development Fund for the 2016-17 biennium. Employers seeking more information about the Skills Development Fund may visit the TWC website at www.texasworkforce. org/skills.


“The partnerships between local community colleges and employers continue to develop vital manufacturing growth in Texas,” said state Rep. Rene Oliveira. “A skilled workforce is essential to our workforce and these grant partnerships between community colleges and employers will benefit local economies through job creation and increased worker wages,” said state Rep. Eddie Lucio, III. “We are pleased to make this grant to SATA USA, Inc. and TSTC, which will provide high-quality jobs in the manufacturing industry growth for this area,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth Ruggero Hughs. “This grant is the perfect example of a win-win situation. The employer benefits by receiving a custom-trained workforce that will give them a competitive edge, and the employee benefits by receiving high-quality training and an opportunity to start a career in the best state in the nation.”

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FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Indian American Diaspora Speedy entry into US for are ‘members of family’: some Indian travellers Narendra Modi

The US programme allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in the United States


by Sujeet Rajan

ASHINGTON DC - Low-risk Indian travellers to the US will now experience speedy entry into the country after landing, with India formally entering into an American programme.


rom Lisbon, where he launched a joint international startup hub with his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa – who is of Indian-origin himself, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi came over to Virginia, on Sunday, to address some 600 members of the Indian Diaspora, where he exulted in India’s fight against corruption and terrorism, and lauded Indo-US ties, a day before he met President Donald Trump in the White House. The United States is familiar territory for Modi, starting from his memorable speech at the Madison Square Garden in New York, in 2014, the year Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power and catapulted Modi to head the nation. Addressing the Indian diaspora here as the “members of family”, Modi promised of a developed India in their lifetime. He reminded the audience that their success is due to the supportive environment in the US, and his government is working to provide the same environment back home. “Your heart always asks when would our country be-

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi with some members of the Indian diaspora in Virgina on Sunday, June 25 (Photo: Sujeet Rajan) come like this (the US)… I assure you that this will happen in your lifetime,” Modi said, his speech punctuated by applause and cheers by the appreciative audience.

Modi added that “1.25 crore equally talented Indians are there back in India, they are now getting supportive environment and soon we will develop India soon”.

Saying that Indians in America have not just helped India progress but also the US, Modi said that success and action of the Indian diaspora is still echoing in the world.

He then emphasized: “The biggest change in India today is that every Indian want to do and is already doing something with resolution to change and develop the nation,” he said. “Today, 1.25 crore people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari have resolved to do something for their country. With such a resolve, the country is developing in a pace never seen before.”

“You are the same people but your success story has a simple reason, it’s because you got supportive environment here,” he said.

GOPIO to take up demonetization and Aadhaar Card issues to PM Modi


s Indian Ambassador to the USA holds a community reception for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in McLean, Virginia, a delegation from the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) plans to present a copy of a petition to allow Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship to deposit or exchange their demonetized Indian currencies. GOPIO estimates that over Rs. 5,000 crores of demonetized currencies are in the possession of OCI card holders and those non-OCI card holders with foreign citizenship. Many travelling to India to deposit their currencies were turned away by RBI at five of its branches which still accept the demonetized currencies from NRIs who are Indian citizens. “This is gross injustice to more than 50% of the overseas Indians who have been deprived of their hard-earned income,” said Dr. Abraham. In January 2017, GOPIO launched a PeitionOnline campaign appealing to Prime Minister of India to allow OCI/PIO card holders as well as Diaspora Indians with Foreign Citizenship to deposit or exchange their demonetized Indian currencies at the Reserve Bank of India. Currently, NRIs holding Indian Passport are only allowed to deposit or exchange the demonetized currencies at five Reserve Bank India branches in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur. GOPIO delegation plans to present a copy of the of the issues and comments raised by Diaspora Indians through PetitionOnline. Several thousands of Diaspora Indians signed the petition which is still going on at www.gopio. net. “This is a major issue for the Diaspora Indians and it is a created issue and it needs to be resolved,” said GOPIO International President Niraj Baxi. In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, GOPIO noted that It would be unfair of India to treat OCI card holders differently from NRIs for depositing their hard-earned demonetized currencies. Diaspora Indians with Foreign Citizenship, and PIO and OCI card holders be given the same opportunity for depositing old and obsolete currency notes as given to NRIs (Indian Passport holders) and extend the date to deposit the amount to December 31, 2017. P.M. Modi himself has repeatedly acknowledged the

role of NRIs/PIOs and expatriates in the resurgence of India and their record annual remittances to India, which is the highest compared to any other country in the world. Some of the NRIs and PIO/ OCI card holders have old currency notes safely kept in their residences in India for reasons such as education of their children in India, supporting old age parents, helping family members, etc. GOPIO has appealed to allow RBI and Banks having NRO accounts to accept the old currency notes up to Rs. 2,50,000. “Indians who left India to earn their living should not be deprived of their hard-earned money because they were not in India to deposit the demonetized notes when Indian banks were accepting the notes,” Dr. Abraham added. Alternatively, GOPIO has requested to allow the Diaspora Indians to donate their demonetized currency notes to a registered charity of their choice. In its letter to P.M. Modi, GOPIO has brought to his attention another issue on the recent Reserve Bank of India notification on holding on the bank deposits without an Aadhaar card. NRIs/PIOs who do not live in India less than six months are not eligible to get an Aadhaar card. However, the Reserve Bank of India recently published notifications stating that all bank accounts must be linked to the Aadhaar card number and Pan card by December 31, 2017. Many millions of Indians living abroad have NRE, NRO and fixed bank deposits, and those accounts are generally 5-25 years old. Overseas Indian account holders will not be able to produce Aadhaar and Pan cards to keep their account active after December 2017. GOPIO has requested that as the Income Tax Department has exempted the Overseas Indians from requiring Aadhaar card for filing their tax returns, similar rules must apply for holding bank accounts by NRIs and PIOs in India. Quoting the prime minister has stated at various Indian community receptions and meetings around the world that NRIs and PIOs are the true ambassadors of India, GOPIO has requested in its appeal to remove these hindrances (and resolve such issues) so that the NRIs and PIOs can continue to serve as true partners in India’s development. For more info, contact GOPIO at 203-329-8010

Calling corruption as the root cause due to which “the previous governments were changed in India”, Modi said his government has emerged corruptionfree in the last three years. “Governments were changed because of corruption. The common people hated this… There has been not a single blot on our government for the past three years. And governance is being modified so that honesty becomes an in-build process. Technology is helping with that,” Modi said. The Prime Minister also said the warmth the Indian community gave is memorable. “All my family members are settled in America… The happiness we get after meeting the family is what I am feeling right now,” Modi said. Speaking of change in the functioning of the Indian embassy everywhere, Modi lauded External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her proactive actions to help “Indians anywhere”. “The way Sushma Swaraj has worked and helped every Indian abroad is commendable. It is now well known in India that when anyone in trouble tweets to Sushma, she promptly replies and the government takes prompt action,” Modi said. “The Indian diaspora anywhere

President Donald Trump welcomed India’s entry into the International Expedited Traveler Initiative (Global Entry Program), saying it would facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the US. The India-US joint statement, issued after talks between Trump and Modi, said the US president applauded the entrepreneurship and innovation of Indians and Indian-Americans that have directly benefited both nations. The citizens of Switzerland and the United Kingdom are also part of the programme, which India has now joined. Global Entry is a US CBP programme which allows expedited clearance for preapproved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in the United States. On landing at select airports, the programme members enter the United States through automatic kiosks, instead of queueing up to clear the im-

Travelers walk near a sign for international arrivals at the SeattleTacoma International Airport, Monday, June 26 (Photo: AP) migration by meeting an immigration officer. At these airports, the members proceed to the Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or US permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk then issues the traveller a transaction receipt and directs him or her to the baggage claim and the exit. Travellers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry programme. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrolment, the CBP website says. It says that while Global Entry’s goal is to speed up travellers through the pro-

cess, members may still be selected for further examination when entering the United States. The select US airports that offer the facility include all major ones, including New York, Newark, Washington, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas, Miami and Seattle. Besides those in the US, the airports at Dublin in Ireland, Vancouver and Toronto in Canada and Abu Dhabi are also on the list. These airports have been chosen as an air traveller can clear US immigration at these airports, virtually making their onward flight from there to an American city a domestic one. (-PTI)

Indian-American muslims find some hope in US


rowing up in the western state of Gujarat in India, Harish I. Patel didn’t think being Muslim was out of the ordinary. His early childhood memories include celebrating Hindu and Sikh festivals and living in an inclusive Indian community in the city of Vadodara. Patel moved to Chicago in 1999 at the age of 14 but continued to visit his hometown leading up to the 2002 Gujarat riots, where approximately 1,000 people — mostly Muslims — were killed. He said that was when he realized that things were changing.

NBC News. India is home to roughly 172 million Muslims making up 14.2 percent of the country’s total population, according to the country’s 2011 census. A 2015 study by the Pew Research Center estimates that by 2050, India is expected to have the largest population of Muslims in the world. Pew also estimates that there were 3.3 million Muslims living in the U.S. in 2015 — about 1 percent of the U.S. population —and projects that the religious group will grow to 8.1 million people by 2050.

Times of India. And in the U.S., 60 percent of Muslims reported experiencing some form of religious discrimination in 2016, according to a survey by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). “Abdul S. Raheman Nakadar, founder of the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, dismisses these fears, highlighting the contribution of the Muslim community in the American society. “How can someone alienate us from this country,” Nakadar said, adding that he isn’t concerned about Muslims, but about America as a country because “no country can progress based on hatred.” (-NBC News)

“Those divisions were becoming more visible,” Patel, a community activist, told

But despite the growing number of Muslims in both countries, a recent survey found that only 33 percent of Hindus in India considered a Muslim their close friend, according to the

now has faith that their issues will be resolved.”

tarian force for Indians globally”.


He added “it is for everyone to see how the MEA has, in addition to their routine work, emerged as a strong humani-

Urging the Indian diaspora to “keep the bridge with India”, Modi said that the younger generations of Indians must be kept

“Keep the bridge with India. Your younger generations must continue your strong bond with India,” Modi said. (-News India/IANS)

Trump and Modi hail ... first talks Continued from Page 2 and climate change were kept behind closed doors and they instead vowed to work more closely on combatting terrorism, the war in Afghanistan and defense cooperation. While there were no major announcements, Trump’s administration confirmed it had given the green light to the $366 million sale of a transport carrier to India, along with a separate purchase of around 20 drones. “I would say the relationship between India and the United States has never been stronger, has never been better,” Trump told a beaming Modi as they made statements. “I look forward to working with you, Mr prime minister, to create jobs in our countries, to grow our economies and to create a trading relationship that is fair and reciprocal.” After Trump said it was “important that barriers be removed to the export of US goods into your markets and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” Modi said India was becoming an easier place for American companies to do business. “We consider the United States as our primary partner in India’s socio-economic transformation in all our flagship programs and schemes,” he added.

“I’m sure that convergence between my vision for a new India and President Trump’s vision for ‘Making America Great Again’ will add a new dimension to our cooperation,” added Modi, in reference to Trump’s signature campaign slogan. - ‘New strength’ Commentators had predicted that Trump and Modi would find much in common, with both men having won power by portraying themselves as establishment outsiders. Both men are prolific users of social media, something Trump joked about with his guest. “We’re believers, giving the people... the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials and for us to hear directly from them,” said Trump. Modi in turn made Trump smile by hailing the property tycoon’s reputation as dealmaker. “I’m sure that... your vast and successful experience in the business world will lend an aggressive and bold agenda to our relations.” Their warm words extended into the evening, when Modi became the first foreign leader to enjoy a White House dinner since Trump came to power. “We enjoy a wonderful relationship, but it’s never been

better than it is today,” Trump told Modi at the dinner. While ties with some allies have been strained by Trump’s complaints that Washington has been the loser in trade agreements, Modi appears sensitive to his host’s emphasis on transactional diplomacy. India is currently the world’s fastest growing major economy, a status that Modi is hoping to cement by drawing in more foreign investment -- in part by encouraging manufacturers to do business in Asia’s third-largest economy. - Busy day of meetings Ahead of his talks with Trump, Modi met with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The State Department later announced that it was slapping sanctions on a senior figure in the Kashmiri separatist group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The designation of Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist marks a diplomatic victory for India, which has been battling a decades-long insurgency by separatist groups in Kashmir, a Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. US-India relations were generally cool until the 1990s, but they warmed under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama as India sought greater foreign investment and trade ties.

Shortly after Trump’s election, obstacles emerged on issues such as trade and visas for Indians wanting to work in the United States. Trump then accused India of seeking to profit from the Paris climate accord as he announced the US withdrawal from the deal this month. A proposed overhaul of H-1B visas -- used by thousands of Indian software engineers to work in the United States -- has caused concern in New Delhi. But Indian officials have downplayed those differences, insisting that Modi was alert to Trump’s concerns over jobs and trade. - Afghanistan on agenda Regional security did feature in the talks, including on Afghanistan, as Washington considers deploying up to 5,000 extra troops to help local forces fighting insurgent groups. Trump said he wanted to “thank the Indian people” for their contribution to helping development in Afghanistan. Modi in turn said India “would maintain close consultation and communication with the US” to achieve the joint goal of “peace and stability.” India frequently accuses its arch rival Pakistan of stirring up violence in Afghanistan



Modi hails ‘growing convergence’ of US-India interests


ASHINGTON, | AFP | India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the increasing “convergence” of US-Indian interests and values, as he prepared for his first face-to-face meeting Monday with President Donald Trump. Modi brimmed with optimism about the future of trade and diplomatic relations between the world’s two largest democracies in an opinion piece appearing in Monday’s Wall Street Journal. Following a visit to the United States one year ago, when he addressed a joint session of the US Congress, Modi wrote that he returns “confident in the growing convergence between our two nations.” “This confidence stems from the strength of our shared values and the stability of our systems,” the Indian leader wrote. “In an uncertain global economic landscape, our two nations stand as mutually reinforcing engines of growth and innovation,” he said in the daily. “Whenever India and the US work together, the world reaps

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Pakistan slams US sanctions on Kashmiri militant


Indian PM Narendra Modi braving the rain at Ramabai Ambedkar Park on the International Yoga Day in Lucknow, India. the benefits.” Modi and Trump are due to hold afternoon talks and a working dinner at the White House, though no press conference is scheduled. On Sunday, the Indian leader met with top American executives, painting for them a picture of a business-friendly India with “minimum” governmental encumbrances. That message is expected to resonate with Trump, who has proposed streamlining what he calls business-hampering US regulations and cutting the budgets of several US government agencies. “India believes that a strong

America is good for the world,” Modi told the CEOs, according to the foreign ministry in New Delhi. Despite the upbeat rhetoric, the relationship between the two leaders has hit some initial snags. Trump accused India of seeking to profit from the Paris climate accord as he announced the US withdrawal from the deal this month -- drawing sharp denials from New Delhi. A proposed overhaul of H-1B visas -- used by thousands of Indian software engineers to work in the United States -- has also caused concern in New Delhi.

S L A M A B A D , Pakistan | AFP | Tuesday 6/27/2017 - Pakistan Tuesday strongly criticised the US decision to impose sanctions on Syed Salahuddin, senior leader of the Kashmiri militant group Hizb-ulMujahideen. “The designation of individuals supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists is completely un- Syed Salahuddin addresses a protest rally against the killings in Indian-adminjustified,” the for- istered Kashmir, in Lahore on July 31, 2016 eign office said in a statement. world has witnessed an inten- for Indian forces”. Kashmir has since 1947 been sification of the brutal policies The new sanctions mean divided between India and of repression being pursued by American citizens are generalPakistan but is claimed in full the Indian occupation forces.” ly barred from doing business by both. The sanctions move means with Salahuddin, and all his asHizb-ul-Mujahideen is one the United States now consid- sets subject to US jurisdiction of several homegrown militant ers Salahuddin, also known are blocked. groups that have for decades as Mohammad Yusuf Shah, a The State Department said been fighting troops and police “Specially Designated Global that under Salahuddin, Hizbdeployed in the Indian sector, Terrorist”, the State Departul-Mujahideen has claimed recalling for independence or a ment said in a statement. sponsibility for several attacks. merger with Pakistan. US officials said Salahuddin The designation was anThe Pakistani statement last September vowed to block nounced just before Indian complained of “gross and sys- any peaceful resolution to the tematic violations of human Kashmir conflict, and threat- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was due at the White House for rights” in Indian Kashmir. ened to train more suicide his first face-to-face meeting “Over the past one year the bombers and to turn the dis- with President Donald Trump. puted valley “into a graveyard

Modi jets into Netherlands, ‘India’s gateway to Europe’ Yoga guru Baba Ramdev (R) and Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Acharya Balkrishna perform yoga during a four-day long camp ahead of International Yoga day in India (Photo: Reuters)

Trump wishes Muslims ‘warm greetings’ for Eid but says no to Iftar dinner


ASHINGTON | AFP - US President Donald Trump on Saturday sent warm greetings” to Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan, after his administration broke with the tradition of hosting a White House event to recognize the holy month. “On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr,” Trump said in a statement. “During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill.” “With Muslims around the

world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values.” Since the Bill Clinton administration, the White House has each year hosted either an event to mark the Eid al-Fitr feast -which ends the fasting month of Ramadan -- or a meal breaking the dawn-til-dusk fast, known as an iftar. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly rejected a request by his department’s office of religion and global affairs to hold an event for the holiday. Trump has come under fire for his history of anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail,

that included calls for surveillance of US mosques and an outright ban on Muslims entering the country in the name of national security.


The tanker overturned early Sunday on a main highway from Karachi to Lahore while carrying some 40,000 litres of fuel. It exploded as crowds gathered to scavenge for fuel,


A week after becoming president he issued a ban on travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries, which has been frozen by the US courts after sparking global chaos and outrage.

HE HAGUE | AFP Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jetted into The Netherlands for a oneday working visit on Tuesday (Jun 27) to boost ties between the major trading partners.

Yet during a visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Trump softened his tone on Islam, rejecting the idea of a battle between religions in an address before dozens of leaders of Muslim countries.

Some 20 per cent of India’s exports to Europe flows through The Netherlands and both leaders said the lowlands country is seen as a “major gateway” to the continent.

Pakistan marks grim Eid after oil tanker inferno kills 153 AHAWALPUR, Pakistan | AFP - Pakistan began Eid in mourning Monday as the death toll from an oil tanker explosion rose to 153, with scores more injured after they were caught in a fireball while scooping up spilt fuel.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (right) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting at the Catshuis in The Hague in The Netherlands (Photo: Jerry Lampen /AFP)

“As far as bilateral investments are concerned, until now The Netherlands stands as the fifth-largest source of foreign direct investment,” Modi said after meeting Rutte at his official residence in The Hague. “I don’t think there is any need to repeat the fact that in

India’s economic development and our priorities for development, Netherlands is a natural partner,” Modi added. The Netherlands in particular specialises in water management and the two countries Tuesday signed an agreement which includes cooperation in managing India’s numerous river deltas as well as anti-pollution measures in the Ganges River. New Delhi and The Hague also signed a memorandum of understanding on social security agreements and cultural cooperation. Rutte “commended India for its commitments to renewable energy and to the Paris Climate Agreement” and threw his sup-

port behind India’s bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. “The role of The Netherlands as India’s gateway to Europe is only expected to grow in the coming years,” Rutte said. India remains a major trading partner of The Netherlands, with exports to the subcontinent totalling some €2.9 billion (US$3.2 billion) last year, according to the Dutch central statistics office. Modi’s visit followed his trip to the United States where he and President Donald Trump both pledged to boost their quest for economic growth to strengthen the world’s two largest democracies.

Minutes later the tanker exploded, engulfing the crowd as well as dozens of other vehicles in a massive fireball that sent a plume of thick smoke into the sky.

Dozens of grief-stricken relatives waited outside hospitals in Bahawalpur, the nearest major city to the disaster, to claim the bodies of their loved ones as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived to visit victims. Around a dozen of them, carrying the blackened remains of two victims wrapped in white cloth on charpoys, tried to reach the prime minister in protest but were stopped by security personnel a few metres away. “The day of Eid has become a day of mourning and pain for us,” Sharif told the media outside Victoria Hospital, adding he has ordered an inquiry and compensation of two million rupees ($20,000) for the families of the dead, and one million rupees for the injured. Eid al-Fitr, a normally joyous occasion, marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Pakistani burn victims are treated at a hospital in Bahawalpur (Photo: AFP) Senior police official Raja Riffat told AFP he had been charged with careless driving.

Pakistan Army soldiers stand guard while rescue workers examine the site of an oil tanker explosion at a highway near Bahawalpur, Pakistan, on June 25, 2017 (AP Photo) ignoring warnings to stay away. The accident quickly drew scores of people from a nearby village, many armed with whatever containers they could find despite warnings from the driver and police of the danger.

“The death toll has climbed to 153, and many are in critical condition in various hospitals in Bahawalpur and Multan,” Javed Iqbal, chief of Victoria Hospital, told AFP. The tanker driver survived the crash and was later taken into custody.

He added that, according to the driver’s statement, he “lost control of the vehicle” after trying to avoid a speeding oncoming van. The driver told police he had warned people stay away from the truck because he feared it would catch fire “but nobody listened”. - ‘We have been doomed’ Relatives waiting outside the hospital could not contain their grief. Mumtaz Mai, a 40-year-old

widow who lived with her two nephews, was beating her chest and screaming after both were lost in the fire. “My world has come to an end,” a weeping Mai told AFP, adding that they had been so badly burnt she was unable to recognise their bodies. “Where will I go now, with whom will I live? My life is but a curse,” she lamented. Muhammad Ayub, in his early 50s, lost his brother and nephew. “We have been doomed. How can we celebrate Eid and what would it mean to us when we cannot even recognise the dead

bodies of our loved ones?” he asked. Pakistanis were already grieving for 77 people killed in a series of militant attacks on Friday, unnerving citizens ahead of Eid, one of Islam’s holiest festivals which closes the fasting month of Ramadan. The country has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. It has also long struggled to alleviate a chronic energy crisis, with regular blackouts crippling industry and exacerbating anger against the government.



FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

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CITYWIDE LOCATIONS • 99 Ranch 1005 Blalock Rd, Houston 77055 NEW • 99 Ranch 569 S Mason Rd, Katy 77450 • 99 Ranch Williams Trace, 3430 Hwy 6, Sugar Land 77478 NEW • Acacia Food Mart 11821 Wilcrest Dr. Houston 77031 • Adams Grocery & Halal 122810 Westheimer, Ste 5, Houston 77077 • Afghan Express 5600 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Agas Restaurant 11842 Wilcrest Dr, Houston 77031 • Al Huda Grocers 12090 Veterans Memorial, Houston 77067 • Alladin Grill 12086 Veterans Memorial, Houston 77067 • Allied American Agency 5653 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Almadina International Market 3210 Hillcroft Rd, Houston 77057 NEW • Anjali Center 2615 Cordes St., Sugar Land 77479 • Ann’s Grocers 2215 S. Main, Stafford 77477 • Ann’s Grocers 11901 Shadow Creek Pkwy, #109 Pearland 77584 • Annam Restaurant 1029 Hwy 6 N., Houston 77079 • Apna Bazaar 10223 Broadway St., Pearland 77584 • Apna Bazaar 17926 Hwy 3, Clear Lake 77598 • Apna Bazaar 2437 FM 1092, Missouri City 77459 • Ashneel Travel 6121 Hillcroft Ste T, Houston 77081 • Asian Market 11920 Hwy 6 South, Sugar Land 77479 • Bawarchi Biryani Point, 5922 Hillcroft St Houston 77057 • Balaji Restaurant 5655 Hillcroft, Houston 77099 • Bengal Sweets 5901 Hillcroft St, Houston 77036 • Bhojan Indian Restaurant 5901 Hillcroft St, Houston 77036 NEW • Bijan Persian Grill 5922 Hillcroft St Houston 77036 • Biryani Pot 6509 Westheimer, Rd B, Houston 77057 • Bismillah Café 5696 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Bombay Brasserie 3005 W Loop S, Houston 77027 • Bombay Caterers 2452 Settlers Way, Sugar Land 77478 • Bombay Sweets 5827 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Bombay Tadka 17926 Hwy 3, #101, Webster 77598 • Cafe India 2319 Williams Trace Blvd, Sugar Land 77478 • Chaat & Paan 6121 Hillcroft Ste T, Houston 77036 • Chowpatty Chat Co. 5711 Hillcroft St, A3, Houston 77036 • Chowpatty Chaat 2325 Williams Trace Blvd, Sugar Land 77478 • Clear Lake Grocers 15140 Hwy 6, Webster 77598 • Cuisine of India 803 East Nasa Rd.1, Webster 77598 • Dakshin Restaurant 19752 FM 249, Houston 77070 • DDK Kabab and Grill, 11797 S Texas 6, Sugar Land 77498 • Desi Corner Lounge 6626 Southwest Fwy, Houston 77074 • DGN Factory 5959 Richmond Ave #160, Houston, TX 77057 • Dhakshin Indian Cuisine 19752 TX-249, Houston 77070 • Dolly’s Boutique 5959 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • East West Food 10710 FM 1960 W, Houston 77070 • Famous Food Products 10535 Wilcrest Dr #120, Houston 77099 • Fysa’s grocers 12403 Veterans Memorial, Houston 77074 • Gandhi Bazar 5201 Hwy 6, Missouri City, TX 77459 NEW • Ghazal India Cafe 435 FM 1092 Rd S, Stafford 77477 • Gourmet India 131500 Weistheimer, Houston 77077 • Gurdwara Sahib of Southwest Houston 14811 Lindita Dr, TX 77083 • H Mart 9896 Bellaire Blvd, Houston 77036 NEW • Halal Wok 5680 Hillcroft St, Houston 77036 • Himalaya Restaurant 6652 SW Freeway, Houston 77036 • Himalaya Grocers 14650 FM 529 Road, Houston 77095 • Hot Breads 5700 A Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • India Bazaar Warehouse 9301 Harwin ,Suite G, Houston 77036 • India Gourmet food 870 S.Main Rd # 101, Katy 77450 • India House 8888 W Bellfort St, Houston 77031 • India Mart 5604 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Indian Palace 3330 Hillcroft, Suite T, Houston, TX 77057 • India’s Restaurant 5704 Richmond, Houston 77036 • India Spices 12090 Veterans Memorial, Houston 77074 • Indian Spices & Snacks 7320 Hwy 90 A, Sugar Land 77478 • Indian Wok 18351 Hwy 249, Houston 77070 • Indopak Grocery & Halal Meat 10732 FM 1960, Houston 77070 • JUSGO Supermarket 9280 Bellaire, Houston 77036 NEW • Katy Grocers 1830 S Mason Rd #170, Katy 77450 • Karat 22 5623 Hillcroft Ave, Houston 77036 • Keemat Grocers 3311 TX-6, Sugar Land 77478 • Keemat Grocers 5601 Hillcroft St, Houston 77036 • Keemat Grocers 6911 FM 1960 WEST, Houston 77066 • Keemat Grocers 2133 South Mason Rd., Katy 77450 NEW • Kirti Jewelers 6655 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Kohinoor Halal 12450 Hwy 3, Webster 77598 • Krishna Chat House 5959 Hillcroft St, Houston 77036 • K T Bombay Bazaar 949 S Mason Rd, Katy 77450 • Kurry Walah 1830 S Mason Rd #165, Katy 77450 • Laxmi Sarees 5901 Hillcroft Suite A-1, Houston 77036 • London Sizzler 6690 Southwest Fwy, Houston 77074 • Madina Mart 2940 Gears Rd, Houston 77074 • Madras Pavilion 16260 Kensington Ave., Sugar Land 77479 • Madras Pavillion 3910 Kirby Dr., Houston 77098 • Maharaja’s Jewelers 5821 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Mama Foods 5708 S. Gessner, Houston 77036 • Masala Wok 10001 Westheimer, Houston 77042 • Mayuri Express 1460 Eldridge Pkwy, Houston 77077 • Mayuri Indian Restaurant 5857 Westheimer Rd. Houston 77057 • Mecca Halal Meat & Supermarket 3511 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Meenakshi Temple 17130 McLean Rd., Pearland 77584 • Mezbaan Restaurant 6655 Harwin Suite A-108, Houston 77036 • Mirch Masala 10758 Cypress Creek, Houston 77070


• Mogul Indian Restaurant 2416 Bay Area Blvd, Houston 77058 • Naseeb Indian Rest 11920, Hwy 6 S, Ste 1200, Sugar Land 77478 • Neeta Indian Cuisine 6688 Southwest Fwy, Houston 77074 • New Awami Markaz 5812 Hwy 6.North, Houston 77084 • New Desi Discount Grocers 435 FM 1092, Suite Z, Stafford 77477 • New India SuperMarket 445 FM 1092, Stafford 77477 • Palm India 732 Murphy Rd, Stafford 77477 • Parivar Grocers 6655 Harwin Suite A-103, Houston 77036 • Patel Brothers 5815 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Premier Indian Grocers 12155 Shadow Creek Pkwy #118, Pearland 77584 • Raj Grocers 15210 Hwy 3, #112, Clear Lake 77598 • Raja Sweets & Restaurant 5667 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Rani Foods 12821 Duncan Rd., Houston 77066 • Rani’s World Foods 16711 Hollister St, Houston 77066 • Royal Grocers 11919 Bissonnet St., Houston 77099 • Royal Restaurant 11919 Bissonnet St. Houston 77099 • Shahnai Restaurant 5920 Hillcroft, Suite D, Houston 77036 • Sallam Namaste 10732 W Bellfort St, Houston 77099 • Sanatan Shiv Shakti Mandir 6640 Harwin Dr, Houston 77036 • Saravanaa Bhavan 8350 Westheimer Rd, Houston 77063 • Saree Sapne 5651 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Sari Sansar 5711 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Satya Indian Grocers 6302 Hwy 6 S., Missouri City 77459 • Satya Indian Grocers 12155 Shadow Creek Pkwy #118, Pearland 77584 • Savoy Restaurant 11246 Wilcrest Houston 77099 • Scarsdale Grocers 12415 Scarsdale Blvd. Webster 77089 • Shalamar Sweets 15142 Hwy 3, Clear Lake 77598 • Shahnai Restaurant 5920 Hillcroft St D, Houston 77036 • Sheikh Chilli’s Restaurant 6121 Hillcroft St, Houston 77081 • Shiva Restaurant 2514 Times Blvd., Houston 77005 • Shivangani Rest 14543 Memorial Dr, Houston 77079 • Shiv Sagar Restaurant 6662 SW Freeway, Houston 77074 • Siddhivinayak Temple 5645 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Signature India 14800 Westheimer Rd, Houston 77082 • Spice Bazaar 16338 Kensington Dr Ste-150, Sugar Land, TX 77479 NEW • Standard Sweets 5696 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Subhlaxmi Grocers 6006 SW Fwy, Houston 77074 • Suprabath 5600 Hillcroft, Houston 77083 • Tempura Grill 16305 Kensington Dr, Sugar Land 77479 NEW • Thai Spice Express 8282 Bellaire Blvd, Houston 77036 • Touch of Asia 2253 Smith Ranch Rd., Pearland 77584 NEW • Udipi Café 5959 Hillcroft, Houston 77036 • Udipi café 3559 Hwy 6 S, Sugar Land 77478 • Victor’s Deli 1425 NASA Rd I, Houston, TX 77058 NEW • Vishala Grocers 9410 TX-6, Houston 77083 • Vishala Grocers 5205 S. Mason Rd., Ste #220 Katy 77450 • Vishala Grocers 13314 Westheimer Rd. Houston 77077 • Vishala Grocers 2881 Dulles Ave, Missouri City 77459 • Voss Halal Meat 11920 S Texas 6 # 100, Sugar Land 77498 • Welcome Food Center 9180 Bellaire Blvd, Houston 77036 NEW • Welfresh Market 4635 Hwy 6, Sugar Land, TX 77478 • World Food Warehouse 14625 Beechnut St, Houston 77083

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VOICE OF ASIA 13 Section 2



FRIDAY, June 30, 2017


Tel: 713-774-5140

Avenida Houston to add new restaurant concept, major exhibition planned public art, shopping and entertainment. Grotto – Downtown, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen and McAllister’s Deli all opened in January, just before Super Bowl, as did the local designer-focused retail shop LAUNCH. Bud’s Pitmaster BBQ launched its soft opening last month. The restaurant is expanding its menu throughout the coming weeks and is hosting a grand opening in early August.


OUSTON (June 27, 2017) – Six months after its initial debut, the downtown district known as Avenida Houston continues to expand with the announcement of a new restaurant and entertainment concept and upcoming attractions. Construction will start soon on The Rustic, a successful Texas restaurant, bar and live music concept that will go up just south of the George R. Brown Convention Center at 1836 Polk Street. The 25,000-square-foot venue is slated to open summer 2018.

“In just a few short months, we’ve built incredible energy around this emerging district with spectacular events, innovative art installations and new restaurants,� said Dawn Ullrich, CEO of Houston First. “The Rustic is precisely the kind of establishment that we want to add to Avenida Houston – an interactive experience that will draw patrons seeking everything from live music to great food. This unique concept will help us perpetuate the momentum and excitement of Avenida Houston into 2018.�

Launched in Dallas in 2013, The Rustic has become a popular spot, bringing together farm-fresh, homestyle cuisine, a full bar including 40 beers on tap and live musical acts in a casual indoor/outdoor atmosphere. The Houston location will be the second. “It’s been a long time coming, and I just can’t wait to introduce the great people of Houston – my hometown – to our one-of-a-kind concept!� said Kyle Noonan, co-owner of FreeRange Concepts, which operates The Rustic, alongside partners Josh Sepkowitz and Texas country artist Pat Green. “The Rustic is the perfect venue for fans to see their favorite local and national artists under the stars in an intimate setting like no other. We’ll have live music seven nights a week and our menu will feature all of the Lone Star State’s best cuisines, beers and liquors.� The Rustic is the latest announce-

Meanwhile, construction continues on another previously announced project nearby. Restaurateur Marcus Davis Jacob Sanchez Diagnosed withplans autismto open kulture in late summer. Exploring the cultural contributions and cuisine of the African diaspora through the Caribbean to the southern Houston First working hard to make Avenida a multi-faceted destination (Concept art: Houston First) U.S., kulture will offer a selection of food, spirits, art and music in a posh ment for Avenida Houston, the rein- initiative that included the renovation space garage and a 97,000-square-foot yet comfortable space on the ground vented district surrounding the George of the convention center, the new Part- pedestrian plaza in front of the conven- floor of Partnership Tower, immediR. Brown Convention Center. Houston nership Tower office building, a 1,900- tion center complete with restaurants, ately north of the convention center. First Corporation wrapped construction in December on the $175 million

Why GST could be a‘Game-Changer’ for Indian economy


EW DEHLI - GST is seen boosting India’s GDP growth by 1.5-2% over the long term. From July 1, the country will move to a new indirect tax regime as GST or goods and services tax will subsume nearly a dozen of central and state taxes. From the consumer’s point of view, the biggest advantage would of speech is a be in terms Lack of reduction in overall tax burden on goods. For businesses, it means reduction in a multiplicity of taxes and a much simpler tax regime with fewer rates and exemptions. GST is being hailed as a potential “game-changer� for Indian economy. “GST will definitely change the way in which business operates. To that extent it is a major positive disruption, leading to more transparency and will make doing business easier,� said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist with CARE Ratings, adding that in the short-term there could be some implantation challenges. Goods and services, depending on their nature, have been placed under

four tax rates of 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent while some are exempt. GST helps to eliminate “tax on tax� or the cascading impact of tax, thus bringing down the overall cost of goods. GST shifts the tax incidence near to the consumer and benefits the industry through better cash flows and better working capital management.

Google fined a record $2.7 billion for abusing search monopoly


ONDON - The European Union Commission on Tuesday slapped technology giant Google with a record fine of 2.42 billion euros or $2.7 billion for breaching European Union (EU) antitrust rules by abusing the monopoly it enjoys over internet search.

the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation,� said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competi-

ous 1.1 billion euros record fine Intel was forced to pay in 2009 and the EU might also demand that Google make changes to its search results so that it was not seen to favour its own service, reported.

Google has hinted that it may appeal against the imposition of the mammoth fine -- the biggest ever competition fine in history.

“We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to consign of autism. Learn the others at Input tax credit: The mechanism of tinuing to make our case,� said a input credit under GST is one of the Google spokesperson in response to most important features of GST. This the ruling. means that at the time of paying tax In the investigation spanning seven on output, manufacturers or service years, Google was accused of manipuproviders, for example, can reduce lating its search engine results to fatheir tax payable by the amount they vour its new shopping service at the have already paid on inputs. For ex- expense of smaller price-comparison ample, if a manufacturer’s total tax on websites. output comes to Rs. 5,000 while tax “Google has abused its market dompaid on input (purchases) is Rs. 3,000, the manufacturer needs to deposit only inance as a search engine by giving an Rs. 2,000 (Rs. 5,000 - Rs. 3,000) as illegal advantage to another Google tion policy. tax, thus reducing the overall inci- product, its comparison shopping serThe company must now end the dence of tax on final product. Average vice,� the European Commission said conduct within 90 days or face penalty tax burden on companies is likely to in a statement. payments of up to 5 per cent of the come down which is expected to re“What Google has done is illegal un- average daily worldwide turnover of duce prices and lower prices mean der EU antitrust rules. It denied other Alphabet, Google’s parent company. more consumption. (-NDTV) companies the chance to compete on The penalty has surpassed the previ-

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The investigation dates back to 2010, and was triggered by complaints from other price-comparison websites that said Google had relegated their services in its search results. Google has a 90 per cent share of internet searches in Europe. (-IANS)

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Reviving the music Hindi retro-style

Recipe by Richa Hingle


hese Saucy Tacos with Barbacoa mushrooms are perfect for the Summer. For these Barbacoa tacos, I use mushrooms as the vegan substitute. The Sauce for the tacos is made of guajillo chiles which add a gorgeous color and smoky sweetness to the sauce, some chipotle peppers for additional smokyness and heat, some spices and caramelized onions. The mushrooms are cooked for 30 minutes in the sauce to absorb all of the flavor and get tender. Try not to eat up all the mushrooms right from the pan! You can also use other vegetables or beans with the sauce. Toss veggies in the blended sauce and bake until tender. Or simmer some black beans, chickpeas or lentils along with some chopped veggies in the sauce for 15-20 mins. Serve in tacos or make a Bowl with roasted veggies, onion, lime. Many options! Saucy, Juicy and amazing . Barbacoa is a process of slow roasting meats that are served in tacos. The term has evolved over time to include fusion barbecue styles. Mushrooms make a great substitute to add texture and soak up the sauce. Jackfruit would also do well. Or just some beans/ chickpeas/lentils simmered in the sauce. Make these Tacos to start the Summer. PREP TIME - 10 mins COOK TIME - 30 mins These saucy Barbacoa Tacos are super easy and versatile. Use the sauce with beans, lentils or other shredded vegetables for variation. (Gluten-free, vegan) Makes 6 to 7 tacos, Serves: 3 Serve over warm tortillas with avocado and chopped onion or salsa and baby greens of choice. Add a good dash of lime, freshly ground black pepper and salt and serve. Enjoy!

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

by Narendra Kusnur


ecently, on a busy morning, Saregama India’s managing director Vikram Mehra took time off his busy schedule, to display a new blue gadget that resembles a transistor radio.

INGREDIENTS: 2 large guajillo (mild) or chipotle (medium-spicy) chiles 1 tsp oil 1 large onion, thinly sliced or chopped 7 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (1 for less heat) 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp dried oregano ½ tsp smoked hot paprika or 1 tsp chili powder blend ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves ¼ tsp or more salt ¾ cup water or veggie broth 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp lime juice 8 oz sliced or chopped mushrooms Soak the guajillo in hot water for 15 mins. Prep the rest of the ingredients. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bay leaf, onions, garlic and pinch of salt and cook until translucent. 5 mins. Transfer half of the onion mixture to a blender. Add mushrooms to the remaining onion mixture in the skillet and a good pinch of salt and continue to cook over medium heat. Remove the stem and seed box from the soaking guajillo chile. Add the chile to the blender. ** Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, except vinegar and lime, to the blender and blend until smooth. Add this blended sauce the skillet. Cover and cook for 25 to 30 mins until mushrooms are tender. Stir once or twice in between. Add more water if the sauce thickens too much. Add in the vinegar and lime and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Taste adjust heat, salt and flavor.

is currently a huge demand for retro music. “Though our focus is on film songs from the 50s to the 70s, our cut-off point is the 1990s,” he says. “We also have some ghazals, spiritual and clas-

To keep up with times, Saregama India has tried to stay relevant to its huge music catalogue going. Two years ago, they came out with a classical music app, which was followed

It is in fact a radio set but with a difference. Called Carvaan, the device houses 5,000 pre-loaded Hindi retro songs, both film and nonfilm, and can be operated like a regular radio. There are options for artistes and mood, besides one for archives of the famous Binaca Geetmala, hosted by Ameen Sayani several years ago. Besides these, the Carvaan comes equipped with a USB drive, bluetooth and FM radio. Though it has in-built speakers, you can plug in the The recently launched Carvaan repackages old Hindi music in a device to an external set for sleek new avatar (Illustration: TheHindu) amplified sound. “An added advantage is that during the sical instrumental pieces which by a devotional music app. A warranty period, the servicing for repairs will be done at are likely to appeal to listen- year ago they launched music cards featuring select artistes home,” offers Mehra. “Purchas- ers.” ers will be given details based A listener can choose music whose songs could be played in on their cities.” based on moods (happy, sad and the form of a pen drive. “With 5,000 songs on Carvaan, listenAccording to Mehra, there romantic), categories or artists (singers, directors and ers can tune into their favourite lyricists). There are songs all day,” says Mehra. no announcements The initial response has been and the music titles encouraging. Mumbai-based appear onscreen. “Ef- musician Akash Suvarna says forts have been made it’s a fascinating product. “Beto ensure there is sides my favourites, I also get no overlapping of to hear songs which I haven’t songs,” says Mehra. heard before.” Music lover “A huge team from Vidya Heble is not entirely conSaregama worked on vinced. the selection.” “On its own, it’s a trendy and

Temples transformed: superheroes bolster Buddha’s ranks Focus is on film songs from the 50s to the 70s, cut-off point is the 1990s (File photo)

According to research conducted, many listeners preferred selections of S.D. Burman, R.D. Burman, Naushad Ali, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi. “Since we have many of their songs in our catalogue, we began by shortlisting what we could use,” explains Mehra adding that it can be the perfect gift for those who like retro music and also for people to give it to their parents and grandparents. “Then we chose other songs that people would like in their collections.”

an innovative product,” she says. “However, some moods have been mixed up. I find ‘Roop Tera Mastana’ and ‘Zara Halle Halle Chalo’ in sad (section) and ‘Yun Hasraton Ke Daagh’ in the happy selection.” Another customer, Sandeep Krishna is happy such a product has been launched but has reservations. “When I checked the music director category, I was surprised Madan Mohan didn’t get a separate listing,” he says. “And that Hemant Kumar and Geeta Dutt have been clubbed together, and there are much fewer songs of theirs compared to others.” Hopefully, Saregama India will be able to sort out the glitches soon enough. See for details (-The Hindu)

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ONTHABURI, Thailand | AFP - Superheroes are coming to the rescue of Thailand’s temples, where monks have commissioned giant statues of comic book icons and toy robots to entertain children while parents donate to their coffers. Instead of the traditional tranquil Buddhas and mythical beasts that adorn most monasteries in the land, the shimmering Wat Ta Kien temple outside Bangkok is guarded by three towering Transformer robots. The enormous and intricate sculptures, made from bits of scrap metal and painted bright orange, yellow and blue, “have no spiritual purpose”, explained monk Pra Vichien. “It’s for children so they won’t get bored when they come to the temple with their parents,” he said. Other temples are following

suit in a country whose monasteries compete to draw visitors and keep donations flowing. At least four Buddhist temples across Thailand and a meditation centre have bought superhero statues, according to Pairoj Thanomwong, the Thai artist who runs the workshop where the sci-fi monsters and comic book figures are manufactured. Armed with blow torches, heaps of metal bolts and twisted car parts, the artists piece together the elaborate sculptures in a warehouse in central Thailand called “Ban Hun Lek”, which translates to “House of Iron Robots”. The largest sculptures -around seven to eight metres high -- can be sold for thousands of dollars, he said. The factory also sells its wares to local restaurants and bars but its biggest customer

base lies abroad, especially in Europe, with around 80 percent of sales made to overseas clients who have seen the statues on social media. Pairoj started with comic book classics but has expanded production to to include everything from steely desks and chairs to polished replicas of luxury cars and motorcycles.

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“In terms of the products that people like, it evolves over time,” Pairoj explained. “Over the past 10 years, people used to like (characters from) Aliens and Predator, but now they like the Transformers.”

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Nearly 90 percent of the materials are recycled metal, a cost-cutting measure that also means each piece is unique. Tastes have changed quickly since he went into business, he said.

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Miss India 2017 is Manushi Chhillar from Haryana Following a new format this year, the beauty pageant toured 30 states across India

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

The creepy toys making a killing at the box office by Frankie Taggart


OS ANGELES | AFP - Take away a vampire’s teeth and he’s just a goth that can’t handle garlic. Wait for some decent cloud cover and your average werewolf is about as scary as Lassie.

- Origin story But killer toys have been scaring the bejesus out of theatergoers since Lionel Barrymore played a cross-dressing fugitive selling life-like dolls that were actually shrunken humans in “The Devil-Doll� in 1936.

Poster image: Warner Bros Pictures But there is one enduring horror trope that can have grown men and women gnawing at their fingernails when things go bump in the night: the creepy, haunted child’s toy.

Miss India World Manishi Chillar from Haryana (centre) with first runner-up Sana Dua from Jammu and Kashmir (right) and second runner-up Priyanka Kumari from Bihar (left) (Photo: IANS) MUMBAI - The 54th Femina Miss India World 2017 winner is Manushi Chhillar from Haryana, while the first runner-up is Sana Dua from Jammu and Kashmir and the second runner-up is Priyanka Kumari from Bihar. The event was held at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai on Sunday night. Manushi, born to doctors, studied in St. Thomas School in Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat. In an interview before her win, she said: “The only thing I believe is certain in life is uncertainty and this is

what is amazing about the pageant.� Vinali Bhatnagar won the Miss Active crown whereas Vamika Nidhi won the special award of ‘Body Beautiful’. Following a new format this year, the beauty pageant toured 30 states across the country. This is the first time the participants wore Indian outfits designed by Manish Malhotra at the finale. All 30 participants were mentored by Neha Dhupia, Waluscha De Sousa, Dipannita Sharma and Parvathy Omanakuttan.

The pageant was judged by Miss World 2016 Stephanie Del Valle, along with Bollywood stars such as Arjun Rampal, Bipasha Basu, fashion designer Manish Malhotra, Abhishek Kapoor, Vidyut Jammwal, Ileana D’Cruz among others. While the show was hosted by Karan Johar and Riteish Deshmukh, to ease the stress among participants and to entertain the guests at the audience, Sonu Nigam, Alia Bhatt, Sushant Singh Rajput and Ranbir Kapoor performed live onstage. The finale will be telecast on Colors channel on July 9 from 1pm. (-Source: IANS)

Epic struggle of film about Cairo on eve of revolution get finance came to mirror that of his lead character Khalid, who spends the movie not finishing his own film about Cairo.

This file photo taken on February 12, 2016 shows Egyptian director Tamer El Said posing in an elevator prior to an interview on the sidelines of the Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin (Photo: AFP) by Fiachra Gibbons PARIS, France | AFP - Everyone thought Tamer El Said had gone mad in the decade it took him to make his film “In the Last Days of the City�. “My friends would look at me with a mixture of pity and sarcasm when they asked how it was going,� he told AFP. “And then after a while they stopped asking...� El Said soldiered on even as the Egyptian revolution and counter-revolution seemed to have swept his years of agony and effort into irrelevance. Now finally his award-winning movie about Cairo in the months before the 2011 Egyptian revolution is being released after being hailed as a remarkable portrait of a city on the brink. Just six weeks after El Said finished shooting the impotent rage and surreal suspended reality of everyday life around his home under the geriatric dictator Hosni Mubarak, the same Cairo streets exploded into protest. In one prophetic scene shot on a roof overlooking Tahrir Square -- which would weeks later become the epicentre of the Arab Spring -- the main character Khalid and his Iraqi and Lebanese friends despair of the violence, failure and fatalism the Arab world had sunk into.

But as El Said sat down to edit the movie, the world outside his window had begun to turn upside down. The resigned, melancholic Cairo that he had caught, weighed down by the military regime’s propaganda and police, rose up in revolt. “During the 18 days (of protests that forced Mubarak from power) I didn’t feel the urge to film,� said El Said, who lives five minutes from Tahrir Square. “I wanted to be part of this moment. But under the influence of others, we filmed for half a day, and it felt wrong. “For the two years we had been shooting on the streets it always felt right, but it didn’t feel right to use such a big moment as a backdrop,� the 44year-old added. “We couldn’t use it before we understood it. And to understand it we needed time.� Potential Western backers offered money to finish the film but wanted him to include the revolution. “But I refused, I would have been betraying myself and the film� which was “about something that was ending and the price you pay for being from a place like this,� he added. In an irony that was not lost on him, El Said’s own fate as he struggled to


But like his lugubrious hero, played by Scottish-Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla of “The Kite Runner� fame, El Said had deeper emotional reasons for digging in his heels. “The idea for the film came to me after the death of my father, and around the same time I lost friends in the terrible fire at the Beni Suef theatre festival in 2005� in which 46 people were killed. “It was horrible to imagine people burning inside a theatre and nobody being held accountable. It said everything about the last years of Mubarak’s rule. It was clear we couldn’t continue. “People say the film itself is not a problem... after all we shot it all in Mubarak’s time. There is just no place at the moment for an alternative voice.�


Certified by the State of Texas

From malevolent teddy bears and possessed clowns to murderous porcelain dolls rocking menacingly in their chairs, these evil characters have become a multi-million dollar staple adored by fans and studio executives alike. The killer toy resonates so profoundly because of the cognitive dissonance involved in the idea of a child’s cuddly toy going rogue, according to film experts. “There’s something very primal about absurdist fears, which is something I posit that most of us never completely grow out of,� Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at film industry number cruncher, told AFP. “In a twisted way, that just makes it more fun for adults when it comes to these types of movies.� “Annabelle: Creation,� which has blown away critics and earned a 100 percent rating on reviews website Rotten Tomatoes ahead of its summer release, is the latest example of a genre spanning more than 100 movies.

“Child’s Play� (1988) introduced perhaps the most famous evil doll of them all, Chucky -- a crude, hard-drinking misogynist who went on to appear in four theatrical sequels and two straightto-DVD movies. After a fallow period, Australian filmmaker James Wan resurrected the creepy toy trope to huge success with Billy, the Jigsaw Killer’s puppet in “Saw� (2004) and its sequels, as well as in “Dead Silence� (2007). His most significant contribution, however, has been Annabelle, a haunted porcelain doll first seen in “The Conjuring� (2013). Based on a real, supposedly haunted “Raggedy Ann� doll that can be visited in a museum in Connecticut, Annabelle -- an altogether darker prospect than Chucky -- is regarded by many as the creepiest doll in cinema history. “Annabelle,� a commercially successful but critically unadmired spinoff, came out in 2014. Wan is the producer on the much more impressive origin story “Annabelle: Creation,� due out on August 11. says the movie’s impressive latest trailer has increased optimism for a healthy $25-30 million domestic opening weekend.


Section 2

Young Life


Hong Kong’s disillusioned youth feel they’re worse off 20 years after the handover tiny as 200 square feet (18.6 square meters) typically costs at least HK$10,000 a month. It would take a Hong Konger on average 18 years of saving 100% of his or her earnings in order to buy a home, according to research firm Demographia, compared to 11-and-a-half years in 2010.

by Anjie Zheng


n the 20 years since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, the city has been able to count the numerous economic blessings it receives from being on the doorstep of the world’s second-largest economy. Yet many young people feel they haven’t reaped the benefits of those blessings, and that closer integration with China has actually made them worse off. On the one hand, the semiautonomous region has played a pivotal role in China’s financial liberalization, serving as a gateway for foreign investors seeking access to China’s markets and creating huge business opportunities for financial services companies. The tourism and retail sectors have thrived on the millions of Chinese visitors who come to Hong Kong to buy up luxury items and drugstore essentials alike, and maybe take in Disneyland as well. GDP growth hit 4.3% earlier this year.

“I don’t want to work for others. Salaries are low. One person has to do the job of two people,” says Ng, who started his own business selling socks he designed after feeling disillusioned as a retail worker. He now makes HK$12,000 (US$1,540) to HK$13,000 a month, similar to what he earned before, but says he prefers the freedom and responsibility of owning his own business. “There is no happiness in work in Hong Kong.” Even though Hong Kong is basically in a state of full employment, real wages for those aged between 20 to 24 have

Prices are kept high in part by billionaires, including mainland Chinese ones, buying up luxury homes, as well as a currency that is pegged to the US dollar, meaning local policymakers cannot set their own interest rates to curb property prices. Most young people live at home with their families in tight quarters, which makes it difficult, as one young former lawmaker remarked, for couples to have sex. High retail and commercial rents also stymie the entrepreneurial ambition of Hong Kong’s young. Entire neighborhoods have catered to Chinese tourists, pushing out small businesses and driving rents in some parts of Hong Kong to the highest in the world. But the retail sector also shows the double-edged sword of close ties with the mainland: Hong Kong’s growth sank last year when fewer Chinese visited.

“There is no happiness in work in Hong Kong”

Yet it would take someone like Tyrus Ng, a 29-year-old entrepreneur, over 34 years to pay for a single parking spot recently bought by a Hong Kong tycoon for well over half a million US dollars.

risen just 3.4% since 2004, according to government data. The median monthly wage for someone up to age 24 is HK$11,900. Graduate starting salaries have actually fallen since 1993. - Out of reach Much of the anger felt by Hong Kong’s youth centers around real estate. Renting a home—let alone buying a property—is out of reach for most young people. A flat as

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

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Federal student loan interest rates to rise Saturday by Darla Mercado


ollege students and their families can expect to pay more as they borrow for the fall semester. Starting Saturday, interest rates will rise on new federal loans for 2017-2018. Rates were set based on the Treasury Department’s May 10 auction of 10-year notes. For new loans disbursed from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, undergraduates will pay 4.45 percent. That’s an increase from this year’s rate of 3.76 percent. Graduate students can also expect to pay higher financing costs after Saturday. They will pay 6 percent for a direct unsubsidized loan — which begins accruing interest as soon as the borrower takes out the loan — an increase from 5.31 percent this year. Finally, rates on direct PLUS loans, which both graduate students and parents of undergrads can use, will rise to 7 percent from the current 6.31 percent. The increases don’t apply to private student loans. Last year, the average college graduate owed $37,172, up 6 percent from 2015, according to data from Student Loan

Last year, the average college graduate owed $37,172, up 6 percent from 2015 according to data from a loaner (Photo: iStock) Hero.

let’s student loan calculator.

Students currently in college already estimate that they’ll owe a median of $30,000 to $39,999 by the time they graduate, according to a recent survey of 1,040 undergraduates by College Ave Student Loans.

With the rate increase, a student who borrows the same amount next academic year at 4.45 percent can expect to pay almost $1,000 more in interest.

Total student debt in the United States is now over $1.4 trillion — the majority of which is from federal loans. - Rates are up for everyone An undergraduate who borrowed $25,000 at this year’s rate of 3.76 percent would pay $5,032 in interest over 10 years, according to NerdWal-

“The financial impact of this increase is on the order of a few dollars a month on a 10year repayment plan for every $10,000 borrowed,” said Mark Kantrowitz, vice president of strategy for college and scholarship search site “This increase doesn’t affect existing loans, just the ones that are disbursed starting July 1,” he said. (-CNBC)

Underpinning the resentment is the feeling that Hong Kong’s government is not accountable to its people, least of all to its young. This discontent was a chief catalyst behind the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests, which saw tens of thousands of people, mostly youth, camped out on major Hong Kong streets for almost three months.

Harry Potter: 20 years of The Boy Who Lived

The protests were sparked by Beijing’s decision that Hong Kong will not be given full universal suffrage to elect its leader in 2017. (

arry Potter was born to the world 20 years ago on Monday, but how has his story continued to live on with each new generation?

A celebration of the wizard’s anniversary, looking at the reasons which make his franchise such a timeless success. by Duarte Garrido


18-year-old Formula 1 driver beats world champions

When author J K Rowling arrived in Edinburgh, in 1993, she had with her three chapters of what would become the highest grossing franchise in the world of literature.

Young Canadian just beat Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to claim a third place finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Eight years later, the boy wizard would find his way to the big screen, thus creating another billion dollar franchise only surpassed by the full extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The boy wizard turns 20, but will he ever get old?

But while the films will eventually grow old, grainy and uninteresting to the younger generations to come, her books have proved timeless, enchanting young and old alike.

Whether you are more of a Hufflepuff or a Gryffindor, there is enough room at the Hoggwarts School of Witchcraft to accommodate every personality.

by Alan Dawson


AKU, Azerbaijan - Lance Stroll, an unheralded BelgianCanadian racing driver, just secured his first ever podium finish in Formula One. What makes Stroll’s accomplishment remarkable is that he is just 18 years old and has barely finished High School. Stroll, a mere novice in F1 racing, finished third in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday and becomes the youngest rookie to race to a podium. Though he was pipped to the Baku finish line by accomplished drivers like Daniel Ricciardo and Valterri Bottas, Stroll still managed to do something unthinkable. This is because Stroll kept a cool head to beat two of the faces of Formula 1 — Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Mercedes athlete Lewis Hamilton. “I’m lost for words,” Stroll said. “I can’t believe what just happened. It was a crazy race but we stayed out of trouble.” Vettel and Hamilton may have been involved in some of that “craziness” as the title rivals shared a flash-point in the middle of the race when Vettel seemingly rammed Hamilton’s car. Vettel was consequently struck with a ten second penalty. Later, Hamilton was forced into an unscheduled pit-stop amid safety concerns over a malfunctioning headrest. Both incidents clearly hampered Vettel and Hamilton’s chances of success. Vettel, after all, finished 5.97 behind race winner Racciardo, with Hamilton adrift by 6.188 seconds. In the end, Ricciardo may have been the one to win a chaotic race but Stroll, at 18, undoubtedly won the event.

The young sorcerer’s road to stardom was a rocky one, having been rejected by a number of literary agents before receiving an answer.

In a crazy Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Lance Stroll may have provided the zaniest result. (Photo: Sky Sports) Stroll, the 18-year-old Canadian who drives for Williams, gained a reputation for crashing in his rookie season. Worse, he seemed flippant about it. The son of billionaire investor Lawrence blamed his crash at the Monaco Grand Prix in May on failing to learn from his mistakes on the PlayStation. “It really p***** me off, because every time I play the PlayStation game, it’s always those corners that I can’t get right, and in reality it’s still those two corners,” Stroll said. Three of his first five races in Formula One ended in retirements. In Baku on Sunday, Stroll emerged from a race that resembled a videogame intact, as the second-youngest rookie ever to make the podium in a Grand Prix. Three safety cars and a red flag gave an opportunity for the

slower cars and teams to score points, with title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel engaged in a running battle that likely has more episodes to run. While Stroll may have benefited from a stop-start race, he has also been improving. This month he took his first points in Formula One, with ninth at his home Canadian Grand Prix. “It was such an intense race, a crazy race, and so much happened, the red flag and hopping out the car and hopping back in and having to reset. It happened so quickly,” the European Formula 3 champion told after the race. Jacques Villeneuve, the great Canadian winner of the 1997 F1 World Championship, had suggested Stroll might be one of F1’s “worst rookies in history” - even after he took points in Montreal.

“It was the best letter I had ever received in my life,” she said. Bloomsbury agreed. The books have been a consistent bestseller for the publisher, scoring more than 500 million copies worldwide. It allowed Bloomsbury to reposition itself as an academic and professional publisher, while holding on to its golden goose. Last year, it launched an illustrated version of the first book, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, and saw its children book’s revenues grow by 57%. But what makes this young

No Canadian had taken points in a Grand Prix between Villeneuve in Germany in 2001 and Stroll on Sunday. Stroll is likely never going to reach Villeneuve’s heights. But the boy with the silver spoon has mettle to go with his privilege. (-Newsweek/Business Standard)

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adult story of a boy predestined for magic such an intergenerational success?

much, is that they are often more violent and serious than any other young adult series.

1. Everyone can relate to it

Tackling issues like childhood trauma, death, fear, evil, deceit and the danger of losing yourself in front of a magic mirror, the books have a very mature approach to coming of age.

Even among the three main characters, Harry, Hermione and Ron, there are three very dissimilar moulds for the young reader to relate to. And the “Potterverse” is full of well-crafted secondary characters, which often steal the spotlight from the young hero. 2. It balances politics and morals While most young adult series are set in an alternate future where the hero has to fight an oppressive regime or a corrupt government, J K Rowling managed to very wisely base Potter’s politics in moral, not in ideals. While you can see Hermione Granger fighting for the rights of house elves, or an evil lord trying to rid the world of the half-blooded, you never read heartfelt political speeches or radical militias trying to bring down an empire. Even Dumbledore’s Army, arguably the most organised movement in the books, is just a group of wizards coming together to fight evil. This is because the politics in Harry Potter are not about left or right, but right or wrong. This has not stopped many real life groups from appropriating Potter themes for their political campaigns. From anti-Trump to anti-Corbyn, Potter references have been used by both sides to criticise the other. 3. It is too violent for children One of the reasons why children love the Potter books so

Killing not one, not two, not three, but four of its most beloved characters in just seven books is as bold as it is honest. 4. It has great villains Just like in comic books, a hero is only as captivating as the sum of his baddies. Spider-Man is hardly the best comic book hero, but has undoubtedly the best villains. In the Potter series, we are just as attracted to the complex characters from the Order of the Phoenix, as we are to the followers of the Dark Lord. The mad Bellatrix Lestrange, the evil educator Dolores Umbridge, the miserable Peter Pettigrew and, of course, Lord Voldemort himself. He Who Should Not Be Named is not a two dimensional villain who wants to inflict chaos in the world, he was once a very intelligent boy, who grew up in an orphanage. His hate for muggles (non wizards) derives from his hate for his own origins, since he is a half-blood himself. 5. It is really, really good Let’s be fair, most YA novels will never be considered literary classics. But Rowling, while not among history’s greats, does have a writer in her. The Potter novels are not just a commercial formula crafted cunningly by their author, they are great because they are original, beautiful, creative, wellwritten books. Because words, you see, are “our most inexhaustible source of magic”. (Sky News UK)


Section 2

Bollywood Masala


Miranda Kerr hands over $10m jewels tied to Malaysia corruption case


OLLYWOOD - Supermodel Miranda Kerr has handed over $US8.1 million worth of jewelry from her Los Angeles deposit box to US government agents.

Ravi Teja’s brother dies in road accident


YDRABAD (PTI) - Telugu film actor Ravi Teja’s younger brother Bharath was killed when his car collided with a lorry in Shamshabad area here, police said today.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday the jewels included a 11.72 carat heartshaped diamond pendant Valentine’s Day gift from former boyfriend and Malaysian financier Jho Low.

Bharath, 45, who also acted in a few Telugu movies, was driving the car when it hit the stationary lorry on the outer ring road near Kothwalguda in Shamshabad late last night, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport’s police station inspector M Mahesh said.

“From the start of the inquiry, Miranda Kerr co-operated fully and pledged to turn over the gifts of jewellery to the government,” Ms Kerr’s spokesman told the newspaper.

Bharath, who died on the spot, was alone in the car.

The jewels were identified in civil-forfeiture lawsuits filed by the US Justice Department pursuing assets allegedly bought with money misappropriated. (-WSJ)

The film will see Alia’s character married to a Pakistani army officer, which will be played by “Masaan” actor Vicky Kaushal. The movie is produced by Junglee Pictures and Dharma Productions and is based on Harinder Sikka’s novel, “Calling Sehmat”, a thrilling saga of

a spy who gave all of herself and that of her family in the service of her nation, so that all may live in peace. Kaushal also expressed his excitement on Twitter and thanked Karan Johar for welcoming him on board the project. “An honour to be a part of Raazi. Thank You sir,” he wrote. While, Alia simply retweeted Karan’s post in which he revealed the details about the movie.

It is something of a tradition in the Hindi film industry for Khan to star in the big release of the Eid holiday to mark the end of Ramadan, which this year is expected to fall on Monday.

However this year’s “Tubelight”, a drama set during the 1962 India-China war, is unlikely to do quite as well, according to movie critic and Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh. “#Tubelight rests on a thin plot... Screenplay lacks the power to enthral and mesmerise... Emotions plenty, but few moments stand out...” he wrote on Twitter.

The transformation of Naznin Akter Happy, shown in her movie star days, from actress embroiled in scandal to ultra-conservative burka-wearing Islamic preacher has fascinated Bangladesh (AFP) in her 2013 debut “Kichu Asha Kichu Valobasha” (Some Hopes, Some Loves). But it was the controversy surrounding shock rape allegations she levelled against star fast bowler Rubel Hossain in late 2014 that made Happy a household name across cricketmad Bangladesh. Happy alleged she was involved in an “intimate affair” with the then 25-year-old cricketer, whom she accused of walking away from a promise of marriage.

“From Happy to Amatullah” — or female servant of Allah — is a rare, extensive interview with the reclusive young woman who today only surfaces to preach a puritanical vision of Islam on social media.

The revelations proved scandalous in the Muslim-majority country, where sexual relationships outside marriage are frowned upon and allegations of coercion can be seen to restore honour.

Readers hungry for celebrity intrigue and divine intervention have rushed bookstores to snap up a copy, with thousands sold since its release in June and publishers scrambling to reprint.

Rubel claimed he was being blackmailed but was remanded in custody. He was released a few days later to play in the World Cup, and a court later found no evidence to convict him.

“We’ve been swamped by orders for the book from all parts of the country,” said Mohammad Obaidullah, owner of Maktabatul Azhar, a publishing house specialising in Islamic books.

Every twist received saturation coverage, spurring gossip long after Happy dropped the charges, saying she had forgiven Rubel.

“Everyone wants to know what prompted her to quit the celebrity lifestyle for the ordinary life of a devout Muslim.”

After so long in the public eye her sudden appearance in the black burka worn by only the most devout Bangladeshis fanned even greater curiosity about the young woman’s life.

Happy was a star in Dhallywood, the Bengali-language film industry, shooting to fame


UMBAI (PTI) - After playing a Bihari migrant in “Udta Punjab”, Alia Bhatt is set to play the role of a Kashmiri girl in Meghana Gulzar’s espionage thriller “Raazi”.

UMBAI | AFP Bollywood bad boy Salman Khan’s latest movie opened in Indian cinemas Friday but film analysts are sceptical it will have the same box office success as his previous Eid blockbusters.

Last year’s “Sultan” broke opening weekend records and currently sits fifth in the all-time list of highest-grossing Hindi language films worldwide, two places behind his 2015 Eid release “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”.

An expose shedding new light on the 22-year-old’s moment of revelation is flying off shelves in the conservative country, where a stricter interpretation of Islamic morals has gradually taken root in recent years.

Alia Bhatt’s next with Meghana Gulzar titled ‘Raazi’ expected


Bangladeshi actress’ film to faith tale proves smash hit


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Bollywood star Khan’s latest Eid release hits screens

“Ms Kerr will continue to assist with the inquiry in any way she can.”

HAKA | AFP - In Bangladesh, where morality tales top bestseller lists, the real-life transformation of Naznin Akter Happy from an actress embroiled in scandal to a fully-veiled ultraconservative Islamic preacher has proved sensational.

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

– Erasing her past –

Happy was weathering the Rubel scandal and part-way

through shooting a new movie when the actress claims she had an “epiphany” that altered her life.

Adarsh added that it would still have an “awesome” weekend at the box office due to Monday’s holiday and Khan’s star power, but doubted it

Salman Khan during his latest film “Tubelight” would eventually make three billion rupees ($46 million) internationally, the benchmark for a major hit. “Tubelight”, an adaptation of 2015 American movie “Little Boy”, is Khan’s fourth straight Eid release and his seventh since 2010. “For audiences Salman Khan is synonymous with Eid and for distributors Eid is synonymous with Salman Khan,” trade analyst Akshaye Rathi told AFP. Khan -- never far from controversy -- enjoys a cult-like status in star-obsessed India, particularly among young men who regularly stand outside his house in Mumbai hoping to catch a glimpse of the superstar. The 51-year-old body-build-

ing actor has successfully shaken off numerous scandals during his career to become one of Bollywood’s most bankable stars. He sparked uproar shortly before Sultan hit screens by saying his heavy training schedule for the film, in which he played an ageing wrestler, left him feeling “like a raped woman”. The movie made around 5.8 billion rupees globally. In 2015 Khan was cleared of killing a homeless man in a hit-and-run more than a decade earlier. That decision is now being challenged in the Supreme Court. Indian authorities are also challenging a court’s decision to acquit him over the illegal use of firearms to kill endangered antelopes in 1998.

Eid Mubarak: Shah Rukh Khan greets fans with AbRam by his side outside

Overnight, she committed to joining Tablighi Jamaat — a Sunni Islam evangelical movement that boasts millions of adherents in Bangladesh — and began severing all ties to her past life. “That night she started deleting thousands of photos of herself she posted on Facebook. She then cut ties with the movie world,” said Abdullah Al Faruque, who co-authored the book with his wife Sadeka Sultana Saqi, who was granted access to Happy for the interview. “She renamed herself Amatullah. She started to wear a full-veiled burka and now even covers her hands and toes with socks.” Happy turned her back on her fans and a stunned film industry to embrace the austerity of a missionary’s life, retreating to a madrassa to study the Koran where nobody would see “even the nails of my fingers”. Determined to erase her past entirely and cement her pious makeover, Happy even fought unsuccessfully to stop the release of her final film “Real Man”, arguing it starred a completely different person. “I felt like a newborn baby,” she wrote in the book, about the moment she donned the burka and abandoned her former name and identity.

Shah Rukh and AbRam wave to the fans.(Ht Photo/Pramod Thakur)


annat. Shah Rukh Khan, keeping the tradition alive this year as well, greeted his fans outside his home in Mumbai on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr. The actor stepped on to the balcony of his house in Mumbai, Mannat, with his youngest son AbRam who also waved like

his father.

“Now, I have no ties with my previous life. That’s the tale of a different person.”

who said they did not want to “embarrass” Happy, who is now married.

The entire incident involving Rubel has been airbrushed from the book by the authors,

“She has turned a new page since then. She no longer wants to dwell on the past,” Al Faruque said.

A fan had tweeted to Shah Rukh, a picture of how a sea of people had gathered outside his home to catch a glimpse. He replied by saying that he would be out to meet them soon. According to a report in DNA, Shah Rukh even held a

press conference on Monday at his residence where he revealed his Eid plans. He revealed how he gives AbRam a toy everyday, which makes everyday Eid for him. He even said that he wished to cook for his older kids Aryan and Suhana who are home from school this time for Eid. Shah Rukh is currently awaiting the release of his next film, Jab Harry Met Sejal. The film is directed by Imtiaz Ali and also stars Anushka Sharma. It will release in August. Actor Salman Khan also greeted his fans from his apartment’s balcony. (-HT)

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FRIDAY, June 30, 2017


Section 2


Lyme Disease: Inside America’s mysterious epidemic by Winona Dimeo-Ediger


n 2004, Kelly Osbourne was bitten by a tick. Her dad burned it off with a match and that, she thought, was the end of that. But in the years that followed, she suffered from persistent body aches, headaches, stomach pain and trouble sleeping. In 2013, she had a seizure on the set of her show, Fashion Police. As her symptoms piled up, so did the prescriptions: Ambien, Trazodone, anti-seizure medications, even painkillers, despite her past addiction issues. The pills robbed her of her energy and emotions. “You know in movies where a mental patient sits in a rocking chair in a cardigan and nightgown and stares at a wall all day?” Osbourne wrote in her new memoir, There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters From a Badass Bitch. “That was me.” As a last resort, Osbourne consulted an alternative medicine practitioner and asked to be tested for Lyme disease. The test came back positive: she had stage III neurological Lyme. Osbourne immediately flew to Germany to receive stem cell therapy. She kept her diagnosis private, she writes, “not only for fear of pharmaceutical companies coming after me because of the cure I found in Germany but also because it seems like the trendy disease to have right now.” As unlikely as it seems that a tickborne illness could ever be deemed “trendy,” Osbourne is right: Lyme disease is having a moment. In recent years, a growing list of celebrities have gone public with their Lyme diagnoses. In the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer, Kathleen Hanna emerged from a nearly decade-long hiatus to reveal her excruciating battle with Lyme disease. “I didn’t want to face the fact that I was really sick,” she told the camera, tearing up. “I wanted to tell everybody I chose to stop [performing], but I didn’t choose.” Then there was Avril Lavigne on the cover of People magazine in 2015, gazing out pensively over the headline, “I thought I was dying.” In 2016, there

Celebrities from Kathleen Hanna to Kris Kristofferson have revealed their diagnoses – and an unprecedented outbreak is expected this summer


Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks (File photo) was the news that Kris Kristofferson’s tragic memory loss wasn’t due to Alzheimer’s after all; it was Lyme. There was the multiple season storyline on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills about Yolanda Hadid’s battle with Lyme and the shocking news that her supermodel daughter Bella and son Anwar had Lyme, too. Lyme has been a known disease for several decades, but only in the past five years has it forced its way into cultural and medical relevance and become something that’s widely discussed. Lyme is now the focus of A-list fundraising galas and E! News headlines. Unfortunately, the increased attention hasn’t translated to a more hopeful prognosis for Lyme sufferers. Roughly 329,000 new infections occur annually, and scientists are projecting a historic spike in infections around the country this summer. For a disease that’s been studied for 40 years, with many prominent people pushing for answers, the truly shocking thing about Lyme disease is how much of a mystery it still is. “There’s an incredible amount of detail and nuance to the Lyme disease story,” says Taal Levi, assistant professor of quantitative wildlife ecology at Oregon State University. “Anyone who tells you there’s a simple answer

by Andrew Bomford, BBC News

toms are visible.


Patricia Latto, who is in her nineties, has Alzheimer’s. Evidence from her diary suggests the disease had begun to take hold more than a decade before being recognised.

Scientists believe this is the best time to be using drugs to stop Alzheimer’s from developing further. Finding a treatment that can combat the disease has been one of medicine’s major challenges. Results from drug trials have repeatedly been disappointing. This new study will involve up to 50 tests on 250 volunteers and will include brain scans, cognitive testing and measure the way people walk. The difficulty that doctors face is that the disease can start to affect the brain several years before the symp-

Facing revolt on Healthcare bill, Senate Republicans delay vote .S. Senate Republican leaders postponed a vote on a healthcare overhaul on Tuesday after resistance from members of their own party, and President Donald Trump summoned Republican senators to the White House to urge them to break the impasse.

Spotting the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s ork is about to begin on a new study to find the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease, many years before symptoms like memory loss and confusion become obvious.

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Patricia’s story: ‘My mind is full of holes’ Patricia Latto was clearly upset and concerned about her mental deterioration in her mid-60s and kept a diary. “I am writing this because I’m afraid I have Alzheimer’s…” the diary entry begins, dated 12 May 1990. “And now I have slipped into a noman’s land - no, a limbo, of not remembering and what has shocked me most - not being able to write clearly.” She seemed to be using the diary as a memory test. It is full of lengthy passages of poetry and Shakespeare.

is lying to you.” The history of Lyme disease in the United States is as eerie as it is complicated. In 1975, something strange started happening to people in the town of Lyme, Connecticut. Children and adults reported skin rashes, swollen joints, severe fatigue and even partial paralysis. Health officials suspected the disease was caused by a biting insect due to the frequency of infections appearing in the summer months and the locations of the victims. “Cases tended to occur among persons living near heavily wooded and sparsely settled areas,” Connecticut’s commissioner of health wrote in a letter to state health directors a year after the initial outbreak. “On some roads as many as one in 10 children were affected.” “What I say to that is when you have people who have the means to get themselves better and they can’t, they become a loud voice for change,” says Santarella. “At the end of the day, many will benefit from wealthy people who can’t get themselves or their children better. Anyone and everyone can get Lyme. No one is immune. If people knew that, they’d be much more willing to accept and support the efforts of people who are suffering from it and organizations like ours trying to solve the problem.” (-Rolling Stone) “Tonight I have quoted Yeats, Masefield, Shakespeare word for word without hesitation… So why do I find it so difficult to sign my own name. It just doesn’t make sense.” In one diary entry she writes: “My mind is full of holes.” Twenty years later Patricia was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The diary was discovered by Patricia’s daughter Cate Latto, when she was clearing out her mother’s things after she was moved into a care home for specialist support. “It must have been so frightening for her,” says Cate, “To have her world shrinking, and being too scared to even talk about it.” Cate is now taking part in separate research by the Alzheimer’s Society that includes people with a family history of the disease. Detecting the earliest signs Patricia Latto’s experience illustrates one of the key challenges of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. By the time it is clinically diagnosed, it can be too late to do anything about it, because by then the damage caused to the brain is irreversible. The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping Study, involving eight UK universities and the Alzheimer’s Society, and led by Prof Simon Lovestone at the University of Oxford, will aim to find the very earliest signs of Alzheimer’s, between 10 and 20 years before the symptoms become more obvious. Range of rigorous tests The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping Study includes regular brain scans, cognitive and memory testing, retinal imaging, blood tests and

The delay put the future of a longtime top Republican priority in doubt amid concerns about the Senate bill from both moderate and conservative Republicans. With Democrats united in their opposition, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes among their own ranks in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been pushing for a vote ahead of the July 4 recess that starts at the end of the week. The legislation would repeal major elements of Obamacare and shrink the Medicaid government healthcare program for the poor.

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Kansas and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, said after the delay was announced that they oppose the current draft.

“We’re going to press on,” McConnell said after announcing the delay, adding that leaders would keep working to make senators “comfortable” with the bill. “We’re optimistic we’re going to get to a result that is better than the status quo.”

Portman and Capito cited the bill’s Medicaid cutbacks and how that would hurt efforts to combat the opioid epidemic that has taken a heavy toll in their states. The Medicaid program was expanded under former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

At the White House meeting with most of the 52 Republican senators, Trump said it was vital to reach agreement on the Senate healthcare measure because Obamacare was “melting down.”

“I think giving time to digest is a good thing,” Republican Senator Bob Corker said after the delay was announced. U.S. stock prices fell, as the decision to postpone the vote added to investor worries about Trump’s ability to deliver on his promises of tax reform and deregulation, as well as changes to the health sector. Those expected changes have driven a rally in U.S. stocks this year.

McConnell, whose party has a razor-thin majority in the 100member Senate, told reporters that Republican leaders would work through the week to win over the 50 senators needed to pass the bill, with a vote planned after the recess. Vice President Mike Pence could provide the crucial vote needed to break a tie. “I think we can get 50 votes to yes by the end of the week,” Republican Senator Roger Wicker said after the White House meeting. REPUBLICAN GROWS


The House of Representatives last month passed its own version of a healthcare bill, but the Senate bill has been criticized from both the left and the right. Moderate Republicans worried millions of people would lose their insurance. Conservatives said the bill does not do enough to erase Obamacare. The bill’s prospects were not helped by a Congressional Budget Office analysis on Monday saying it would cause 22 million Americans to lose insurance over the next decade, although it would reduce the federal deficit by $321 billion over that period. The report prompted Senator Susan Collins, a Republican moderate, to say she could not support the bill as it stands. At least four conservative Republican senators said they were still opposed after the CBO analysis. Three more Republicans, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jerry Moran of

the use of wearable technology to measure movement and gait. Prof Lynn Rochester, from the Clinical Ageing Research Unit at Newcastle University, says tiny, almost imperceptible changes in the way people walk could be a very early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. “People think of walking as a task which involves muscles contracting and relaxing and you get from A to B,” she says. “But in fact walking is now considered as much a cognitive task as it is a motor task and we’ve got a really large body of research that shows that.” The researchers are using small devices, fitted to the small of the back, to measure movement over a period of a week. Small changes to the pattern of walking can be indicative of deeper problems in the brain, eventually

The benchmark S&P 500 index closed 0.8 percent down, and the Dow Jones industrial average finished down as well. “The market likes certainty and now there’s uncertainty. What is this going to look like when this gets out of the next iteration?” said Peter Costa, president of trading firm Empire Executions Inc. Passing the measure would be a win for Trump as he seeks to shift attention after weeks of questions over Russia’s role in last year’s U.S. presidential election. If the Senate passes a healthcare bill, it will either have to be approved by the House or the two chambers would reconcile the differences in a conference committee. Otherwise, the House could pass a new version and send it back to the Senate. Lawmakers are expected to leave town by Friday for their July 4 holiday break, which runs all next week. The Senate returns to work on July 10, the House on July 11. Lawmakers then have three weeks in session before their month-long August recess.

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leading to dementia. Scientists would be looking for variations in walking which could involve changes in speed, balance and unusual movements not explained by normal ageing. “If you think about your footsteps in the sand, and how even and well placed they are. We’re looking at very, very subtle changes in how those footsteps might appear,” Prof Rochester explains. Miniscule changes in a person’s walking pattern could be an early sign of the onset of Alzheimer’s The study, described by the researchers as potentially game changing, will monitor and measure small changes on the 250 volunteers over a period of a year. Some of those involved will be at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease because of their genes or age, and others will not be at risk. (-BBC News)



A huge part of Antarctica is melting and scientists say that’s bad news by AJ Willingham


ntarctica is experiencing weird weather, and the changes have some scientists worried about the future. There’s an area on the west side of the icy continent called the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and last January, scientists found a 300,000-square-mile portion of its perimeter was melting. That’s an area roughly two times the size of California, covered in slush

ice melt two times the size of California. The news also is ominous for another reason: It means the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is essentially being melted from both sides. El Niños push warm water under the sheet. On top, colder westerly winds usually do enough to stave off any approaching warm weather, but in

leak off of the ice structure. Take a look at a recent video of the Nansen Ice Shelf, which is north of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet: The ice melt from 2016 wasn’t as dramatic. It was more of a slush on top of the ice, Nicolas says. Still, he adds, even if the melted slush and water refreezes they can leak into cracks and damage the inner structure of the ice. Remember, these are massive, massive networks of ice that can’t really be thought of as one homogenous, unchanging object. If these shelves are weakened, the could crack and break off, and that would open the floodgates -- literally.

According to recent research published in Nature For more than two weeks in January 2016, a passive microwave Communi- satellite observed surface ice melt two times the size of Califorcations, the nia (Graphic: Ohio State University) melt was “When it caused by comes to the disan unusually strong El Niño the 2016 incident, they didn’t. integration of the ice shelves, event around January 2016. This event also brought about they are like corks in a bottle,” “A melt of this magnitude is another surprise for scientists: says Dr. David Bromwich, another author of the paper and relatively rare in Antarctica,” Rain. a professor at the Ohio State. said Julien Nicolas, one of the “We saw in our observations “They are holding back the paper’s authors at the Ohio that there were some rain, we contents of the bottle, in this State University Byrd Polar heard from some parties on the case the ice sheet, and you take and Climate Research Center. Ross Ice Shelf, and we saw it the cork away and everything “There have been about three on the weather models,” Nico- flows out to the ocean.” or four events of this size in the las said. “That’s very unusual. last 40 years.” Once the ice is in the ocean, We don’t have a record of rain Warmer weather, more melt: in Antarctica, so we don’t know Bromwich says, it could cause Confirmed how often it’s happened in the sea levels to rise dramatically and rapidly. El Niño is a weather event past.” “Rapidly,” of course, means that brings unusually warm Why it matters something completely different water in the Pacific Ocean, and Rain and slush would make on a geological time scale. one of the big takeaways from for a miserable day anywhere, the research is that this strong “We don’t know the time but the weird weather patterns El Niño in 2016 directly conobserved over the two-week scale of this,” he said. “There tributed to the unusually wideperiod in 2016 painted a poten- was one modeling study that spread Antarctic ice melt. tially worrisome picture for the showed quite dramatic changes on the scale of a few hundred For more than two weeks in future. years, and another scenario January 2016, a passive microIf more extreme El Niños would be quite a slow change. wave satellite observed surface occur, ice shelves such as the But a foot of sea rise, or two ice melt two times the size of Ross Ice Shelf on the West feet, (in the order of 100 years California. Antarctic Ice Sheet will melt would be alarming.” (-CNN) For more than two weeks in and be weakened. Sometimes, CNN’s Judson Jones contribJanuary 2016, a passive micro- those ice melts can lead to drawave satellite observed surface matic rivers and waterfalls that uted to this report.)

Ferrari 812 Superfast first drive $308K and worth every penny

The art of ‘naive innovation’ Tips from a tech genius on creative problem-solving

by Clare Mcgrane


hwetak Patel is a certified genius. The University of Washington computer science and electrical engineering professor won a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship, joining the ranks of the MacArthur “geniuses,” as the fellows are informally known. And when you learn about his work, it’s clear why. A serial entrepreneur who has sold startups to companies including Sears and Belkin, Patel has made a career out of finding ingeniously creative solutions to pressing problems. His specialty is using the sensors that exist all around us in unique ways. For example, he figured out how to turn the electrical wiring in a house into an antenna that can help detect water leaks, and now he’s using some creative physics to turn your average smartphone into an advanced medical device. On the first episode of GeekWire’s new Health Tech podcast, we asked Patel how he keeps his creative juices flowing and he explained that it’s all about finding a new perspective. Keep reading for his answer, and listen to the full episode below. Patel said he likes to approach problems through what he calls “naive innovation,” tackling a challenge that’s outside a person’s area of expertise. Patel and his fellow computer scientists working on health problems is a great example of this. “If you get an expert in a particular domain working on [a problem], they’re gonna solve it how they would’ve solved it typically in their own profes-


lying home from driving Ferrari’s 812 Superfast, I tried to maintain my composure, some semblance of journalistic objectivity -- don’t want to sound too nerdy/giddy. That’s not going to happen, as you’ll see when you read on. Sorry, can’t help it. The 812 was first shown to the public at the Geneva motor show. It replaces both the F12 Berlinetta and F12tdf. The Superfast name (love it) traces its lineage back to 1964, when the halo of Ferrari’s America series was the 500 Superfast, shown at the ‘64 Geneva show. That car had a 5.0-liter Colombo V12 producing a thenawe-inspiring 395 hp. This latest Superfast has a mid-front-mounted 6.5-liter, normally aspirated V12 (helping celebrate the marque’s first V12 70 years ago) developing a gobsmacking 800 hp and 530 lb-ft of torque. What’s that mean? It means the 812 is, you guessed it, super-fast: 62 mph arrives in just 2.9 seconds, according to Ferrari, adding the top speed is more than 211 mph. Yeesh..! The company also says those numbers make

this $308,000 rocket the most powerful, fastest road-going Ferrari ever -- well, with the exception of some of its mid-engine 12s. More 812 tidbits from Ferrari: 75 percent of the car is new. New cylinder heads. New injection system. New intake manifold. New crankshaft, rods and pistons. The rear-mounted dualclutch transmission’s shift times are 30 percent quicker. Hold down the downshift paddle and the trans downshifts multiple times when needed if the Manettino dial is in sport mode. The 812 is also the first car in the company’s storied history to use electronic power steering. It works with the company’s Side Slip Control (Ferrari’s stability system), while the Virtual Short Wheelbase 2.0 system uses microchips to tame the rear-drive power and improve response time. Combining the electronic steering with SSC means the 812 lets you know -- with steeringwheel torque -- when you’re about to overcook it. If oversteer starts happening, the system can “give the wheel inputs to help realign the car,” Ferrari says. (-Autoweek)

Computer scientist and electrical engineer Shwetak Patel. His most recent venture is developing apps for smartphones that can help diagnose disease (Photo: Todd Bishop) sion,” he said. “They use their own learnings and findings in applying those concepts instead of taking a different approach. If you take somebody that’s really creative and smart but doesn’t know all the nuances about that domain — if you get them to look at that problem, they’re gonna come up with these wacky ideas, but some of those aren’t that wacky. “If you take somebody that’s really creative and smart but doesn’t know all the nuances about that domain — if you get them to look at that problem, they’re gonna come up with these wacky ideas, but some of those aren’t that wacky.” For example, one of the medical apps he’s working on detects osteoporosis, a condition where bones lose density and become fragile. Normally doctors would use a bone density scan to diagnose the disease, but those scans are expensive and need highly specialized equipment. Patel and his team

wanted to design a smartphone app that people could use in their own home. Here’s how the app works: a person holds a phone in their hand with the app running and taps their elbow against a hard surface. The vibrations in their arm bones are picked up by the phone’s accelerometer and translated into a density measurement, telling the person if they’ve lost density in their bones. That’s something a health expert would probably never think to do, but someone like Patel, well-versed in computer science and physics, can put the same puzzle pieces together in a creative way. “By taking a step back and treating this as a physics problem, then we were able to look at it from a different angle,” Patel said. “You might not know exactly how this works. You’re not an expert in it, but just try it out. Let’s see what happens if you give it a stab.” (-GeekWire)

Anonymous says NASA has evidence of alien life. Does it? by Conor Gaffey ASHINGTON, DC - Anonymous, the global hacking collective, believes that alien life exists—and that NASA is about to confirm it.


dence of alien life, we are on the verge of making one of the most profound, unprecedented discoveries in history,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, the asso-

Space Telescope team said it had found a system of seven planets orbiting Trappist-1. All of which were a similar size to Earth and three were located

The shadowy group made the claim in a 12-and-a-halfminute video published on an unofficial YouTube channel on Tuesday. The video centers around recent findings by the American space organization, including the discovery of 219 new planet candidates—10 of which present similar conditions to Earth—by NASA’s Kepler space telescope team in June, as well as comments made by a senior NASA official during a U.S. government hearing.

Photo credit: Autoweek

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

But while Anonymous is right to point out that NASA is probably closer than ever in human history to discovering extraterrestrial life, it may be a leap to say concrete evidence for it exists.

Not a secret but a refusal of the alien existence claim NASA has made statements recently that suggest that the discovery of aliens is a matter of when, rather than if. “Taking into account all of the different activities and missions that are specifically searching for evi-

NASA makes major announcement after bombshell claims ‘ALIENS are coming’ (Photo: NASA) ciate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, before the House Committee on Science, Space in April. But while Zurbuchen and others at NASA are enthusiastic about the prospect of finding alien life, they have not claimed to have actually done so. It is true that space exploration has made massive advances in recent years. Since the Kepler Space Telescope was launched in 2009 it has discovered more than 4,000 possible planets, including 30 that are a similar size to Earth and could potentially sustain life. NASA has even found evidence of another potential solar system—a collection of planets orbiting around a single star— located just 39 light years from Earth. In February, NASA’s Spitzer

within the so-called “habitable zone” of the star—not so far away that water would freeze, nor too close that the planet would burn up. Researchers have even been able to identify the specific location where life might be most likely to exist outside Earth. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, in the final months of a 20year mission earlier in 2017, pinpointed Enceladus, an icy moon of Saturn, as a key site for further exploration. The surface of the moon is covered by an ocean encased in a thick shell of ice. But the Cassini also observed that plumes of gas, including hydrogen, were spewing out of a geyser and into space. Hydrogen is vital building block for life for micro-organisms, suggesting that some form of life could inhabit Enceladus. (-Newsweek)



Artist Sujatro Ghosh uses cow’s head to ask if women have fewer rights than cattle

Ramadan earns prime spot on Gulf fashion calendar by Natacha Yazbeck

ly next week -- with “long dresses in black, red lace and mimosa yellow that can be buttoned up or down for every woman”.


ubai, United Arab Emirates | AFP - From Dolce & Gabbana to Michael Kors, major brands are catering to lucrative Gulf markets during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is earning its own slot on the global fashion calendar.

“This is a novel market. We are still collecting feedback on our first collection, but generally the client here won’t pay for simple or what would be seen as plain designs,” said Dania Fakhry, regional marketing manager for retailer CH Carolina Herrera.

With Muslim spending on clothing on the rise, mainstream labels are courting the dirham, dinar and riyal in a region home to some of the world’s biggest buyers of fashion. High-end and fast-fashion brands in the United States, Europe and Asia have made an aggressive push to break into the Gulf, where demand for “modest wear” is skyrocketing, fuelled in part by the rise of social media influencers and Muslim lifestyle and beauty vloggers. Photo courtesy the artist


he striking thing about a photography project that has gone viral across India is that it has to raise the following question at all: do women have fewer rights than cows? The series of pictures by Sujatro Ghosh, a 24­year­old ‘‘feminist artist’’ from Calcutta, uses a simple latex cow head to unpick the debate raging across India about how to protect the sacred animals, while women’s safety is neglected and sexual violence rises. Women wearing the cow’s head have modelled in front of tourist hotspots, government buildings and on trains. In one picture, a girl stands still amid a crowd of men playing football. In each shot, the vulnerability, solitude or invisibility of the woman’s body, set against empty public spaces contrasts with the cow’s gormless, slack­jawed gurn. ‘‘Recent incidents started me thinking about what I could do to stand up. I can’t physically fight the extremists so this is a way to make my voice and the voices of Indian women heard,’’ Ghosh said. The project follows a string of controversial initiatives to protect cattle in 2014. Several states have imposed draconian laws on eating beef. ‘‘It’s a delicate subject so I didn’t feel I could approach strangers and some of my friends didn’t want their bodies presented that way,. But people understand what I’m trying to do now. It’s a harmless way to raise the debate and reach out to those who are spreading violence.’’ (-TOI)

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Holidays have long been high seasons for retailers around the world and Ramadan, a month of fasting from dawn to sunset aimed at reflection and modesty, is no longer the exception. The market for the abaya, a long, loose robe worn over clothes, in particular peaks during the holy month, according to Dubai-based designer Aiisha Ramadan, as women strive to avoid outfit repeats at all costs. But while attention to clientele interested in modest wear has been a long time coming, some say the move has brought the good, the bad and the offensive to shelves across the Gulf. - ‘Ramadan ready’ Muslim spending worldwide on clothing and shoes is projected to reach $500 billion (449 billion euros) by 2019, according to Tamara Hostal, the head of fashion marketing at design school ESMOD Dubai.

“They appreciate design, even if it’s not for them. If they like it, they buy it”. - ‘Drop the hem and voila’ -

“International brands are making a smart move by moving into the home of the Arab woman with kaftans and abayas,” - designer Aiisha Ramadan (Photos: Giuseppe Cacace) entirely in Dubai -- where the need to be “Ramadan ready” is turning into a commercial, cultural and complex phenomenon. Instagram is flooded with #ootd (outfit of the day) posts and the pages of Vogue Arabia filled with how to curate a wardrobe of festive, and generally modest, attire. - ‘Respect our culture’ Most popular in Ramadan are evening dresses, particularly in bright colours, for the iftar meal to break the fast. Like the long abaya robe, the maxi dress also provides designers with a versatile canvas for a diverse clientele. Aiisha Ramadan, American singers Christina Aguilera both a creator and and maxis.

who has dressed Jennifer Lopez, and Zendaya, is wearer of abayas

Ramadan has turned into a de facto micro-season in the Middle East, with fashion brands releasing capsule collections exclusive to the region through May and June.

“International brands are making a smart move by moving into the home of the Arab woman with kaftans and abayas,” Ramadan said at her atelier in the UAE emirate of Sharjah.

DKNY launched a Middle Eastexclusive Ramadan line in 2014, and other labels have since jumped on the bandwagon: Dolce & Gabbana, CH Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Mango, Uniqlo and Nike, among others.

“There are so many options. You have the ready-to-wear, which draws in clients looking for a casual, everyday wardrobe.

Dolce & Gabbana filmed a widely publicised 2016 campaign for their abaya robe and hijab headscarf lines

“Then you have the haute couture abayas, which attract the client looking to stand out,” said Ramadan, herself wearing a deep pink kaftan and a gold necklace with Arabic calligraphy. “As long as it respects our culture,

it’s a beautiful thing.” - ‘Eid’ collection The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan is an occasion to go all-out for style-savvy, and image-conscious, Arab customers, and some designers are releasing separate lines for the occasion.

But the trend has its critics among some industry insiders who stand at the crossroads of identity and international marketing. In gold and silver Dior sunglasses on a warm Dubai evening, one of the region’s social media influencers -- an observant Muslim and self-professed “fashion victim” -- spoke out against “the commercialisation without understanding” of her culture. “You can’t just slap a pair of sleeves on a collection and drop the hem and voila, a collection for Ramadan,” she said dismissively, requesting anonymity for professional reasons.

US-Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera in May unveiled a Ramadan line exclusively for the Gulf, featuring four styles of abayas with her trademark polka dot and bow motifs.

But others hold that cultural and religious traditions inevitably spill beyond their origins.

The house’s ready-couture line is separately releasing a Fall/Winter collection exclusive to the region in preparation for Eid -- likely to fall ear-

“I think it’s just a matter of time before we see women in the West incorporating abayas into their wardrobes.”, says Ms. Ramadan concludes.

“Frankly, it’s just offensive.”




FRIDAY, June 30, 2017


“Everything worked Rahane, Kohli shine as India perfectly for me in rout Windies Australia”: Srikanth P ORT OF SPAIN (AFP) Ajinkya Rahane´s third hundred and a blistering assault by captain Virat Kohli took India to a comfortable 105-run victory over the West Indies in the second one-day international at the Queen´s Park Oval on Sunday.

Replying to the visitors’ formidable total of 310 for five in a match reduced to 43 overs per side due to early morning rain and an two-hour delayed start, the hosts were restricted to 205 for six in reply despite a fluent 81 by Shai Hope at the top of the order. Following the rain-ruined no result at the start of the series at the same venue two days earlier, India now take a 1-0 lead into the next two matches in Antigua next Friday and Sunday. Srikanth’s extraordinary smashes and almost perfect net play have swept aside many fancied opponents recently (Photo: TOI)


AGPUR - The last few weeks have been like a dream for Kidambi Srikanth and it seems that he can hardly put a foot wrong on the court. His extraordinary smashes and almost perfect net play have swept aside many fancied opponents recently. On Sunday at Sydney, Chen Long came in the firing line. “I am very happy with my performance today and everything worked perfectly for me. I played very well, but since I arrived in Sydney, I have battled gastroenteritis and have suffered from diarrhoea, so I have not been at my best physically. But since I made the final, I wanted to continue playing as well as I could,” said Srikanth after the triumph. In the previous meeting last month during the Sudirman Cup at Gold Coast, Australia, Long had trounced Srikanth 21-16, 21-17. “I was not thinking of winning or losing. I missed competitive badminton during my injury-break last year and wanted to enjoy the match. These conditions are such that you can’t really attack, it’s a bit slow. You have to be prepared to play a long match. In all the breaks today, I had the advantage and the coach told me to keep it going

and not make simple mistakes which could allow him to get back into the match,” said Srikanth.

Rahane´s well-paced 103 in another dominant opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan (63) set the tone for the tourists after they were put in to bat in heavily overcast and damp conditions.

He thanked the support staff for keeping his body in proper shape while playing two big tournaments in quick succession.

Kohli then picked up the pace even further when Dhawan departed after a first-wicket partnership of 114, the left-hander being deceived by Ashley Nurse to be stumped.

“I’m playing better after the Sudirman Cup. I should thank my physios (Kiran and Solomon Johnson) for keeping me fit for these two tournaments. It was tough for me on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m just happy to be doing well for now,” he said.

It was the off-spinner´s only success of the innings although Nurse was by far the best of the West Indies bowlers, conceding just 38 runs off nine overs.

Pullela Gopichand too was quite pleased with the way his ward performed against Long. “It’s really good to see Srikanth attack so well. And also his net play was classy. More importantly, I think he was able to change strategies and switch from a defensive mode to an attacking mode and attack from the back of the court as well,” said Gopichand. The chief national coach added, “I am absolutely amazed with his consistency and fitness levels,” complimented Gopichand. Srikanth’s elder brother Nandagopal, who also stays at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, witnessed the match at the academy itself with fel-

Rahane eventually reached three figures with a boundary off Miguel Cummins. However the medium-pacer got his revenge in the same over when the batsmen attempted an ungainly heave low trainees. “I am really happy with Srikanth’s back-to-back titles. He always found Chen Long quite difficult. Many times we discussed about how to tackle him. I am glad he finally stopped him. I celebrated with my cousin and friends. This is a special day for all of us,” said Nandu, who is two years elder to Srikanth. During the 2012 Senior National Badminton Championship at Srinagar, Srikanth and Nandagopal had created an unique record of reaching the men’s singles semifinals. Thereafter, Nandagopal shifted to doubles and won several national-level titles in the last couple of years. Srikanth’s parents KVS Krishna and Radha Mukunda watched the match on TV at their residence at Guntur. They distributed sweets to neighbours and relatives after their son’s triumph. Srikanth’s practice partner HS Prannoy is overjoyed by his compatriot’s success. “Looks like it’s getting tough for everyone to clinch titles when Indian boys are in form. Congratulations Srikanth,” said Prannoy (-Times of India)

Captain Virat Kohli took India to a comfortable 105-run victory over the West Indies (Photo: AFP) and was bowled for 103. Rahane´s innings occupied 104 deliveries and was embellished by two sixes and ten fours. Having dominated a 97-run secondwicket partnership with Rahane, Kohli made centre stage all his own in the final assault. He seemed destined to reach another ODI hundred to the delight of a decent contingent of visiting Indian fans when he was caught at long-off by Nurse off Alzarri Joseph for 87 off 66 balls in the penultimate over, a thoroughly entertaining effort highlighted by four towering sixes and four fours. West Indies´ indiscipline in the field added to the challenge and their woes were encapsulated by a horrific final over delivered by their captain Jason Holder.

He conceded 20 runs, bowled three no balls and had to be pulled out of the attack with one ball left because two of those no balls were delivered over waist-high to the batsman on strike. It was left to Jonathan Carter to complete the over and the innings, encapsulating a shoddy effort overall by the home side. Promoted to open the batting, Hope was the lone bright light in the West Indies response, his attacking innings off 88 balls with three sixes and five hours keeping slim hopes alive until he fell leg-before to Kuldeep Yadav. Having his first bowl in ODIs, the left-arm wrist-spinner conceded 32 runs off his first four overs but then tasted success by having Evin Lewis stumped before adding the scalps of Hope and Holder to complete a miserable day for the Caribbean side´s leader.


F1: The gloves are off between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel he gloves are off and the fight is on between Formula One title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Sunday’s explosive Azerbaijan Grand Prix more than made up for last year’s dull race in Baku, bursting the budding ‘bromance’ and replacing it with something much more heavyweight.


Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said as much after a crazy afternoon that saw mutual respect and camaraderie tossed aside amid angry accusations. “Nobody wanted to see the schmoozing anyway, so now the gloves are off,” the Austrian told Sky Sports television after Hamilton had dubbed the Ferrari driver a “disgrace” and suggested they sort things out “face to face”. “The sport needs the rivalry. What we have seen today is the ingredient of a great championship,” said Wolff. The most memorable seasons have been fuelled by controversy, passion and a fierce rivalry sometimes spilling into outright enmity. Baku, with the championship favourites colliding and a podium of drivers who could scarcely believe their luck, provided enough drama to keep the championship bubbling away for months to come. In Spain last May, Hamilton had spoken about how enjoyable it was to be battling a rival who was not a team mate — his main opponent for the past three seasons — and the admiration he felt for Vettel’s speed and consistency.


The Briton had warned then, however, that it might not last and on Sunday he was proven right. The battle lines were drawn the moment Vettel went into the back of Hamilton’s Mercedes during the second of three safety car periods, the German shaking his fists and pulling alongside to bang wheels in a gesture that looked a lot like ‘road rage’. The frustrated and angry man of 2016, who raged at rivals and had to apologise to race director Charlie Whiting in Mexico last November after an expletive-laden radio rant, was back. The stewards were clear in apportioning blame, imposing a 10 second stop-and-go penalty on the German for steering into Hamilton. The championship leader, now 14 points clear of Hamilton after finishing fourth to the Briton’s fifth, was also given three penalty points which could prove significant. They bring Vettel’s tally in the last 12 months to nine and means another such sanction in Austria in two weeks’ time would trigger an automatic race ban for the following round at Silverstone. There were some who felt such a penalty should have been applied already, even if the moment of madness ultimately cost Vettel a victory that would have fallen into his lap after Hamilton had to pit to fix a loose head rest. (-Indian Express)

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FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of June 30, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

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


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

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Use your time with proper planning and spend it with parents & elderly people who need your support & time. It’ll really help you to feel the magic again. Your impeccable charm will help you to handle your responsibilities with strong authority and creative style. Important details may be overlooked by those who do not care. At your work place, You need to oversee everything of any importance. Prepare yourself so that you don’t get too tired or run down.

Your independent spirit should help you find the perfect place for you to enjoy what you do. A little risk-taking could be good for you. Open the doors & be yourself. Take pride in how you handle your time with organization & confidence. Secrets will be revealed & your views and ideas should be brought out into the open. You have the ability to listen, as well as help others to see things clearer. We all need feedback sometimes. Once you let your feelings out, you should be able to enjoy a good time of love and play.

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

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

You’ll have many options to pick from. A show of strength will improve your standing in the community. People with attitude problems shouldn’t even come into the equation, stay clear of them. Your dilemma is that everybody wants a piece of you. There’s usually a reason for everything that you do, but your creativity may be driven more out of necessity than talent. If you want to try to turn this situation around, you’d better start now. Use the raw materials you have on hand to demonstrate your idea of art and beauty.

Focus your energy, exhibit your generous nature & understand other’s feelings. Your rewards will far outweigh the effort. You’ll be able to achieve success, if you trust your gut feelings & remain loyal to your friends & family. Be sure to spend some quality time with those who really matter to you. Your alliances need strengthening, spread your positive influence. If you join forces with others, you’ll be able to produce great results. Try to reflect on positive influences rather than the negative ones.

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

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June It’s time to Choose, right action at right time. You may need to go out slowly, but you’ll have strong support from those in authority. You may need to fulfill a family obligation that you almost forgot about. You’ll realize that your personal relationships need more attention than you’re giving them. Some commitments which you’ve recently pushed away will try to return into your life. Everybody will want to be your friend, but your words may hurt your cause.

It seems that whatever you try to do goes nowhere or gets lost in a haze of misunderstanding. This is not a good time, which can give you personal recognition for your efforts. Taking time off, working quietly, or doing something primarily for the benefit of others without concern for personal gain is favored at this time. At this time, you’re likely to feel that you cannot make your desires or influence felt, and that things go awry when you try to assert yourself, make an impact, or get things done in a forthright way.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Simple pleasures will be needed in order to help you to relax. Strong words will only bring strong re-actions. Realize that tempers may be short in those sensitive areas. You need a break from away from extreme solutions to dealing with simple problems. Stay confident in who you are and you’ll be ensured a smoother ride. Being in between jobs or relationships can make you feel very isolated. A compromise on your part will restart stalled talks. By combining your resources, you’ll be able to find the perfect kind of operation.

Focus yourself on saving money, You may have to speak your mind in a way that challenges some of your past decisions. However, your mind is very active and sharp, and your reasoning power is good, so this is a good time to do mental work. It is easy for you to talk about your feelings now and also to listen sensitively to not only what others are saying but also what they are feeling. This is an excellent time to discuss your feelings and clear the air of any grievances you may be holding on to from the past.

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

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August Think twice before you give any kind of commitment, as it could get you in trouble. Use your head for thinking instead of feeling sorry for yourself. Love speaks to you and through you, you just have to listen. Mixed emotions are the starting point for a moving experience. Try to be more productive, stay focused and ignore the words of those who are jealous of you. Even though there are many things that you can’t control, you need to show your courage and begin to have more fun.

This is a time to attend to details, take care of practical business, and to make your life more stable and secure. It would be beneficial to consult advisors on investments and longrange plans and to put your affairs in order. Eliminating waste and inefficiency is important to you now. There is much activity; you move rapidly from one thing to another and a hectic, somewhat stressful pace is likely. Many errands, phone calls, letters which require a response, and other “busywork” is on the agenda. A minor but rather tense confrontation is likely.

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

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Your timing will be perfect, your style impeccable, but your anger will be counterproductive to your objectives. Others may need to vent their emotions, but it won’t help your situation at all. You need to use your intellect and philosophy to find your answers. You may be asking a question that has no answer. To you, you are stating the obvious, but for others you will be opening previously locked doors. Dialogue is the first step to understanding more about others. You’ll receive an unexpected gift.


You will be hypersensitive and need more attention & pampering of your emotions but will feel shy asking for it. Others’ heartlessness will affect you more than usual, and you are rather unrealistic in your hopes and expectations of them. Your partner will have different ideas, whether you agree or not but it’s not time for arguments, give time everything will be ok. Short trip or work related travel will be possible. You need to pay attention while driving. Listen radio or music to change your mood, this is the only way to freshen-up your mind.



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Job Posting - News Producer We are looking for an aggressive, passionate, cool-under-pressure News Producer who knows what it takes to put together a fast-paced, creative, highly-showcased newscast. KTRK-TV, the ABC Owned Television station in Houston, TX wants a vocal and confident producer who knows how to dig for informative, interesting content, knows how to meet the needs of the ‘new’ news audience, and knows when it’s time to abandon everything for breaking news, weather, or traffic. You must have excellent news judgement and the ability to come up with and pitch unique story ideas every day. You will be required to command the control room and manage an ever-evolving rundown during live newscasts. Candidates must also have complete understanding of how to promote and utilize digital content, including live streaming. Knowledge of ENPS and desktop editing a plus. Will need to show examples of newscasts, and submit tease and headline writing samples. Candidates must have at least three years line-producing experience in a medium or major market. To be considered all interested applicants must apply online at, reference job # 469793BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. Equal Opportunity Employer - Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity No Telephone Calls Please

MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK We’ve all had one of those communication meltdowns where you and your coworker raise your voices or shut down instead of listening to each other. But you won’t be able to find common ground unless you hear the other person out. The next time you and a coworker get into an argument, try listening more than you talk. As you listen, notice: Are you already thinking about your rebuttal? Are you responding with a “yes” followed by an immediate “but”? Or have you already interrupted? Be open to their perspective — and to the chance that you might be wrong. If you’re not listening because you’re worried about not having the perfect reply, you can always say, “I haven’t thought about it that way before. Can you give me a day or so to think it over?” Very few people will complain about someone listening to what they’ve said and taking a little time to thoughtfully analyze and respond to it. (Adapted from “In a Difficult Conversation, Listen More Than You Talk,” by Emma Seppala and Jennifer Stevenson) - HBR.COM

What to Do to Stop Unwanted Phone Calls


hether you use a landline, mobile phone or both, you’ve likely received those pesky robocalls -- phone calls that use a computerized auto-dialer to deliver a pre-recorded message. As a consumer, here is what to know about this common annoyance to your home or personal line. • Robocalls are often illegal. However, keep in mind that some robocalls are permitted, such as companies you have done business with under certain circumstances, medical appointment confirmations and school closing calls. Political and charitable calls are among others that also may be allowed, along with banks and telephone companies, provided those companies make the calls themselves. Remember, many robocalls illegally disguise, or “spoof,” their Caller ID information or violate other rules. • Advocates are working to mitigate the problem. For example, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association and its members of more than 800 independent, community-based telecommunications companies are working to provide information to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Robocall Strike Force to further develop and implement solutions to detect, assess and stop unwanted calls from reaching customers. • Never respond to a robocall. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that if you receive a robocall, simply hang up. They also warn consumers not to press any number to speak to a live operator or to unsubscribe from the list, as this will tell the robocaller

Man speaking on the phone. Photo source: (c) auremar that it’s reached a live number. • Don’t give out personal information: If you receive an unsolicited call from any company, including one you do business with, tell them that you will not give them information until you verify the call is legitimate. Then, call the phone number you know or that you get from the company’s website to confirm. • Ask your phone company to block the number. Your carrier may be able to block certain numbers, although robocallers frequently change and disguise their numbers. • You can use technology to block calls. Various companies offer products or services that help you control what calls ring on your phones. They range from mobile apps for wireless

phones to devices you can plug into your home phone jacks in order to block robocalls to your wireless phone. The FTC encourages consumers to report unwanted calls to or 1-888-382-1222. Complaints may also be filed with the FCC online or 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888225-5322). More information can be found at and guides. As a consumer, you have more power than you may realize to control who calls you and when. Thanks to new resources, you can take concrete steps to help put a stop to robocalls. (StatePoint)

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FRIDAY, June 30, 2017

Voice of Asia Newsweekly e paper June 30 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...

Voice of Asia Newsweekly e paper June 30 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...