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VOICE OF ASIA
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
28 years dedicated service toCounties the community Serving Harris,ofFort Bend and Surrounding for 29 years Vol. 30 No. 19 Friday, May 12, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: email@example.com
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FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
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28 years dedicated service toCounties the community Serving Harris,ofFort Bend and Surrounding for 29 years
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
How the new Trump Care bill could affect health care consumers Read on Page 18 or Call 832-806-1000
Vol. 30 No. 19 Friday, May 12, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian-American doctor shot dead in Michigan
Mayor Turner, 70 faith leaders kickoff public awareness campaign to address panhandling
OUSTON - – Mayor Sylvester Turner met with over 70 faith leaders representing diverse congregations from across Houston to launch the Meaningful Change- Not Spare Change campaign to address panhandling. The campaign is supported by faith leaders, non-profit agencies, civic associations, and the business community, and encourages Houstonians to donate to organizations that are ending homelessness instead of giving to panhandlers. “Houstonians are compassionate and love helping people in need, but sometimes we can end up doing more harm than good,” said Mayor Turner. “The Meaningful Change campaign lets Houstonians know that there is a better way to give. By contributing our “spare change” directly to organizations that are working to get our homeless neighbors off the streets and into housing, we can make “meaningful change” in the lives of our homeless.”
Read report on page 10
KP George wins Position 5 seat on FBISD school board
Houston Mayor Turner and faith leaders gather to launch Meaningful Change campaign Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees, Principal and Teacher receive 2017 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards
Dr. Rakesh Kumar. Image credit: Henry Ford Hospital.
etroit, May 7 - A 32-year-old Indian-American doctor has been shot dead under mysterious circumstances in a car in the US state of Michigan. Rakesh Kumar, who worked in the Urology Department of the Henry Ford Hospital, was found dead on the passenger seat of a car in a rest area, some 90 miles out of Detroit, on late Thursday evening. Police are investigating the case to ascertain the cause of his death. The family members of Kumar say they do not suspect anyone and have ruled out the possibility of it being an incident of hate crime. “We do not know (the reason for his murder). They (The police) are yet to find out,” his father Narendra Kumar, a former president of the influential American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), told PTI. “We do not suspect anything. We do not think, it was a hate crime,” said a shocked Kumar. Rakesh was a medical graduate from the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi. When he did not show up for his work, a hospital doctor called his father to enquire about him. “This was quite unusual,” the father said. He said he made several phone calls and sent text messages to his son, but there was no response.
KP George. Photo credit: FBISD
ORT BEND - KP George is the Position 5 representative on the Fort Bend Independent School District school board in Texas. In the race for the Position 5 seat, incumbent KP George defeated challenger Lorena Dueñas. First elected in 2014, George won a new term in the by-district general election on May 6, 2017. KP George grew up in a tiny village in South India. He began his education learning the local language as he walked barefoot to get to school. As he did his homework in his straw hut by the light of a kerosene lamp and helped his parents farm before and after school, KP dreamed of achieving his greatest goal: coming to the land of opportunity and living the American Dream. His hard work propelled him out of the poverty of his hometown. He arrived in the U.S. in 1993 to work for a financial firm, and has since earned multiple financial certifications and licenses. KP is currently self-employed as a Board Certified Financial Planner and owns and manages an independent financial planning practice with six other advisors.
The father went to his son’s apartment and called the police when he did not find him there. After hours of search, police found the dead body of Rakesh in the passenger seat of a car at a rest area. By late night on Thursday, the body was identified as that of Rakesh. Shown during announcement of the School Board award are (from left): Board Members Kristin Tassin (President), Jim Rice, Addie Heyliger (Secretary), Jason Burdine (Vice President), Dave Rosenthal, Grayle James, KP George; and Senior Public Affairs Advisor Nancy Porter, Chief Communications Officer Veronica Sopher, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre.
Read report on page 9
Millions of Pakistanis receive blasphemy warning texts
There has been a surge in hate crimes against the Hindu and Sikh communities in the US after Donald Trump became the President of the country. PTI
Voice of Asia wishes Moms
A Pakistani cellphone user reads a text message circulated by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on their mobile device in Islamabad on May 10, 2017. Pakistan’s telecom regulator has circulated a warning via text messages reminding people that sharing blasphemous content was an offence and asked them to report such content, a step criticised by rights activists. / AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI
Since 1999, KP and his wife Sheeba (an FBISD educator) have raised their three children in Sugar Land. One of his children is a recent graduate, and two are currently attending Fort Bend ISD schools. KP took the lead in establishing the Hightower High School Academies’ Booster Club in 2013 and served as its first president. He has also served local Indo-American groups, the Sugar Land Rotary Club, and the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the FBISD Parents Advisory Team and State Elections Policy & Affairs Team for State Representative Rick Miller.
The police have refrained from making any comments about the incident.
SLAMABAD, Pakistan | AFP 5/10/2017 Millions of Pakistanis have been receiving text messages from the government warning them against sharing “blasphemous” content online, a move rights activists said would encourage more vigilante attacks.
It comes amid a surge in mob violence linked to accusations of insulting Islam including three attacks within the past month.
pta.gov.pk for legal action,” read the SMS sent by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to all mobile phone subscribers.
“Uploading & sharing of blasphemous content on Internet is a punishable offense under the law. Such content should be reported on info@
A similar note was posted on the agency’s website in Urdu. A PTA spokesman said the
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PET of the WEEK
SLOAN - ID#A006169
I need a loving home
by Senator John McCain
ASHINGTON, D.C. - SOME years ago, I heard Natan Sharansky, the human rights icon, recount how he and his fellow refuseniks in the Soviet Union took renewed courage from statements made on their behalf by President Ronald Reagan. Word had reached the gulag that the leader of the most powerful nation on earth had spoken in defense of their right to selfdetermination. America, personified by its president, gave them hope, and hope is a powerful defense against oppression. As I listened to Mr. Sharansky, I was reminded how much it had meant to my fellow P.O.W.s and me when we heard from new additions to our ranks that Mr. Reagan, then the governor of California, had often defended our cause, demanded our humane treatment and encouraged Americans not to forget us. In their continuous efforts to
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Why we must support human rights
by Paarth R Sharma, Economic Times
o back to your country,” mutters the man in line at Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Palo Alto, California, as I head out of the shop with a coffee in hand. It was the third time that week. First the kid in the chemistry class in my high school. Then the man on the street I bumped into.
That hope was the mainstay of our resistance. Many, maybe most of us, might have given in to despair, and ransomed our honor for relief from abuse, had we truly believed we had been forgotten by our government and countrymen. In a recent address to State Department employees, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said conditioning our foreign policy too heavily on values creates obstacles to advance our national interests. With those words, Secretary Tillerson sent a message to oppressed people
Our values are our strength and greatest treasure. We are distinguished from other countries because we are not made from a land or tribe or particular race
To view foreign policy as simply transactional is more dangerous than its proponents realize. Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three. Were they not, we would be one great power among the others of history. We would acquire wealth and power for a time, before receding into the disputed past. But we are a more exceptional country than that. We saw the world as it was and we made it better. John McCain is a Republican senator from Arizona
View: One of the main reasons why Indian-Americans are subjected to racial abuse in US
He didn’t get one. I walked out of the store, punched the nearest stairwell and left. “Go back to your country.” The phrase echoed through my head. These would be the same words that Deep Rai, a 39year-old Sikh in Kent, Washington, heard before a masked assailant put a bullet in his arm on March 3. “Go back to your country.” These were the last words that Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a software engineer who had recently immigrated to the United States from India, would ever hear. He was gunned down in a Kansas bar after being called racial slurs all evening. Not much earlier, Kuchibhotla’s wife had begged him to leave the country, as she was wary of the growing racism against Indian Americans. His response? “Good things happen in America.” America’s response? “Go back to your country.” Indian Americans in the US find themselves in an increasingly strange situation.
It seems that Indian Americans are treated less and less like people, and more and more as living jokes and memes; to be made fun of and ridiculed. The image of the modern Indian American is truly depressing. We are seen as weak, both physically and mentally, stereotypically nerdy and incredibly awkward. The spread of this stereotype alongside the normalisation of racism against Indian Americans can be attributed largely to the
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The way the TV shows portray Indian Americans is not only racist, but provides a depressing image for youngsters (Photo credit: Jessie Wiki. Ravi Ross played by Karan Brar) portrayal of them on American television shows. Just take a look at Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb. At first, it seems like any other children’s television show — two brothers work with their friends on wacky inventions that often end up accidentally saving those around from the evil dealings of Dr Heinz Doofenshmirtz, a mad scientist. However, upon taking a closer look at the show, one young man stands out. Baljeet Tjinder, an Indian-American boy, rarely fits in with the other characters. He is comically awkward, spends excessive time doing maths and studying while other children are on summer vacation, and is constantly bullied by those around him. If this weren’t enough, Baljeet comes from a self-described “long line of losers”. His great-grandfather, grandfather and father have all been killed in tiger attacks and, as if that wasn’t all, he literally dirties his pants when presented with physical confrontation. Really? Making fun of Indian Americans doesn’t stop there. Television shows repeatedly mock Indian culture, a phenomenon exhibited by Disney Channel’s Jessie. The show portrays Ravi as a young Indian-American
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When his babysitter finally sticks up for him, she is comically unable to pronounce the word “sherwani” — yet another jab at Indian-American culture. Other shows, including CBS’s critically acclaimed sitcom The Big Bang Theory also have characters who play the stereotypical Indian-American image. Television is an integral part of American culture. It shapes how we act in our everyday lives as well as how we view ourselves. The way the television shows portray Indian Americans is not only racist, but provides a depressing image for youngsters. This relentless attack in the name of comedy has real world impacts — on the way we are viewed in real life, both by members of our group and society as a whole. This portrayal of Indian Americans as awkward shells of human beings tells the next generation that we must fit this image — that these people on television are our future.
Those who defend this portrayal argue that this is “just a joke”.But it stops being a joke the moment people are killed in hate crimes. It stops being a joke the moment an Indian American embraces the stereotype and becomes a real-life Ravi in order to get laughs. It stops being a joke the moment a fifth grader gets bullied like Baljeet because his classmates think it is acceptable, even normal, to treat him that way. This blatant stereotyping and racism is somehow normalised and considered acceptable in the name of comedy. While stereotypes can be funny, there is a line that is crossed when an Indian-American character on television, after being tied to a door in a sleeping bag by his abusive friends, awakens and yells, “Great Ganesha! I am a human samosa!” We get it, you think we are funny. But the truth is that Indian Americans are more than jokes. We are people with lives and emotions and, no, we aren’t all antisocial, awkward weirdos who are bizarrely obsessed with traditional aspects of our culture. We are just people, and all we want is to be treated as such. Is that too much to ask? The writer is an eleventh grade student at Palo Alto High School in California
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character who maintains an excessively strong Indian accent. Much like Baljeet, Ravi is awkward, weak and constantly bullied by other characters on the show. Upon wearing a traditional Indian sherwani, Ravi is humiliated by fellow characters, being described as looking like a “nightclub act” and a “traffic cone with hair”.
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There are those who will credit Mr. Tillerson’s point of view as a straightforward if graceless elucidation of a foreign policy based on realism. If by realism they mean policy that is rooted in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be, they couldn’t be more wrong.
or creed, but from an ideal that liberty is the inalienable right of mankind and in accord with nature and nature’s Creator.
Now him. I turned and stepped towards the man, ready to yell some obscenities at the latest attack on my racial background. But his back was turned. Obviously, he didn’t expect a response, not from a weak Indian like me.
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everywhere: Don’t look to the United States for hope. Our values make us sympathetic to your plight, and, when it’s convenient, we might officially express that sympathy. But we make policy to serve our interests, which are not related to our values. So, if you happen to be in the way of our forging relationships with your oppressors that could serve our security and economic interests, good luck to you. You’re on your own.
infect us with despair and dissolve our attachment to our country, our North Vietnamese captors insisted the American government and people had forgotten us. We were on our own, they taunted, and at their mercy. We clung to evidence to the contrary, and let it nourish our hope that we would go home one day with our honor intact.
A “model minority”, we are well educated, with 70% above the age of 25 holding a college degree. We also face a unique form of discrimination.
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FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
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VOICE OF ASIA 5
COMMUNITY VOICE OF ASIA
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Second Front Page
India House and SOS partner to host a Town Hall An Engaging Discussion of Hate Crimes, Immigration and Fake News Houston: The political landscape in the United States has undergone an unprecedented transformation since the 2016 presidential election.
body knows what will happen tomorrow, but everybody here should go home with the feeling that if anything happens that shouldn’t happen, at least we are a united front. The Town Hall is not against anybody; it is not a political forum; but educational, and it is about unity amongst diversity.”
The new administration has signed numerous executive orders restricting immigration and called into question the authenticity of the mainstream media. Concurrently, there Panelist on Hate Crime held at the India House on on Sunday, April 30, 2017. has been a rise in hate crimes against South Asians and other minorities. Share Our Secrets (SOS), a 10-year-old educational organization focusing on lifelong learning, partnered with India House to present a Town Hall on hate crimes, the immigration crisis and fake news on Sunday, April 30 afternoon.
Sewa International raises a $1m, spreads its reach across the world
The Town Hal brought together a panel of immigration and law enforcement professionals, academics, community activists and media professionals, to discuss, share, and provide guidance on how to deal with such current affairs. SOS graduate Preity Bhagiya welcomed the audience of about 100 people and introduced India House Executive Director Col (retd.) Vipin Kumar, who presented an informative video of activities underway at India House. Then, SOS Founder and Chairman Emeritus Ranvir “Biki” Mohindra took the stage to provide background about SOS and the reason for the Town Hall. “This afternoon is about unity.” said Mohindra. “No-
O U S T O N (May 7, 2017) - Speaking at the just concluded annual meeting, Sewa International President, Dr. Sree Sreenath said that the charitable organization raised nearly $ 2 million , and disbursed $ 1.86 million in the year ending December 2016 on a variety of outreach programs and projects to provide support to those
in dire need, like in Colombia after floods and landslides, and on local community outreach in cities like Houston, Atlanta, and Cleveland. “Yes, we are doing good work not because we are just compassionate and concerned citizens, but because in such work we also have the selfish interest of making ourselves better human beings,” he said.
“We will have our first dedicated building in Nepal, at the end of May, to house and take care of the nearly 350 children who were orphaned after the disastrous earthquakes in 2015,” he announced to cheering volunteers. Dr. Sreenath said that Sewa volunteers had logged more than 140,000 hours last year working on such projects as “Sponsor a Child”, disaster relief
and rehabilitation after the disastrous floods and landslides in Colombia, emergency support services to needy families in cities across the United States, and in encouraging young people to join in serving those in need. The Houston chapter of Sewa International set the benchmark by logging in more than 40 percent of the volunteer hours. Nearly 80 participants
from 18 of the more than 40 chapters across the United States attended the two-day national convention. Leaders from the more active chapters shared their insights on raising funds, training volunteers, and acknowledging the generosity of donors with leaders from the newer and smaller chapters who were eager to expand their reach and excited in serving their communities
The panel discussion got underway with another SOS graduate and immigration attorney, Denise McGettrick, serving as the moderator. Addressing the question of hate crimes, HPD officers drew a distinction between hate crimes and hate incidents. “For a hate crime to occur, there has to be an offense,” explained Officer Vasquez. “If you are assaulted with bias motivation because of your gender, gender identity, or ethnicity, then it is a hate crime. A hate incident relates to an expression of views that are different in terms of politics, religion or culture, but no crime or offense took place.” “You should still report such incidents to the HPD by either calling the non-emergency 911 or the Hate Crimes Hotline (713 308-8737) and let the police make the determination,” Vasquez continued. “Hate crimes and incidents are vastly under reported. Continued on Page 8
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FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER
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www.peopleslawyer.net Sharlene Sharmila Richards
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Lottery winnings may be community property
Q. I buy lottery tickets every week. If I win the lottery does my spouse have any interest in the money I win? A. Assuming you purchased the ticket with money you earned while you were married, the lottery winnings would be considered community property, jointly owned by you and your spouse. The major exception would be if you have a premarital agreement saying otherwise. Q. Can a landlord in Texas require a tenant to pay rent through an automatic withdrawal from his bank account each month? A. I don’t know of any law in Texas that prohibits a landlord from asking for payment by direct withdrawal, or any other payment form if that is what he wants. A lease is a matter of private contract and consists of the terms agreed to by the landlord and tenant. If you want to pay in a different manner, you have the right to refuse to agree to the landlord’s payment term and propose your own term. If the landlord does not agree, you can refuse to rent and find a different apartment. Q. If a guardian is ap-
pointed for an incapacitated person, what is the authority of a second person holding a durable power of attorney. Is the power of attorney automatically revoked? If not, can the new guardian revoke the power of attorney? A. The appointment of a guardian automatically terminates any grant of authority given under a power of attorney. Q. Is it legal for a person to have a dog riding in the bed of a pickup truck? It seems very dangerous. A. In my opinion, it is not a good idea to let a dog ride untethered in the bed of a pickup and it is very dangerous for the dog. According to the Texas Police Association, it is estimated that at least 100,000 dogs die this way each year. But Texas has no law prohibiting a person from driving a pickup with a dog in the bed of a pickup. Although some cities, such as Austin, have city ordinances prohibiting untethered dogs from riding in the bed of pickup, most, including Houston, do not. Q. Is an oral lease valid? I want to move early but my landlord says we have a valid lease for a year. A. This is a question I am often asked, and I think the answer surprises people. An
oral lease for a year or less is just as enforceable as a written lease. Of course, the person who is trying to enforce the lease must prove the oral agreement. Maybe you can get the landlord to agree to terminate the lease by forfeiting the security deposit or paying a month’s rent. Q. I filed a claim in small claims court. I was told that before my trial I would have to mediate the case. What is this? Do I have to do it? How much does it cost? A. In most small claims courts, before hearing a case the judge will ask the parties to “mediate” their dispute. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that gives the parties an opportunity to work things out before a trial. The mediation is conducted by a trained mediator, and is designed to try and help the parties reach a mutually agreeable settlement. If the parties cannot agree, the matter will proceed to trial. The mediator cannot force the parties to settle. In my opinion, mediation is usually a good idea. It usually does not cost anything, and settling a claim is almost always better than taking the chance on a trial.
Do you want to know more about your legal rights? Check out my website, www.peopleslawyer.net
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A: You should file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative for him. Once the petition has been approved and prior to him going for his Immigrant Visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in his home country, he will need to file the I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver to waive his unlawful presence here in the United States. For the I-601A, he will need to demonstrate extreme hardship to his qualifying relative(s) if denied admission to the U.S. Qualifying relatives includes the U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse and or U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident parent(s), if applicable. If the unlawful presence waiver is approved, he will then submit his Immigrant Visa application and finally attend the interview at the Consulate. Provided that there are no other grounds of inadmissibility present, he should be able to receive his Immigrant Visa at the Consulate in quite a short time and return back to the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident. Q: My brother came to the U.S illegally in 2001. He was ordered removed and deported in 2007. He returned to the U.S. illegally again two months later. He is married to a U.S. Citizen and prior to his deportation, his wife had filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative for him and it was
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Q: My husband came here to the U.S illegally in 2002. He has remained in the U.S. since then. I am a U.S. Citizen. We got married last year and we wish to know what options are available for him to lawfully live here in the U.S? My husband does not have any convictions and has never been arrested. We now have one U.S. citizen child, aged 7 months.
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A: The only option for them is to wait until their 17 years old U.S. Citizen child turns 21 years of age to petition for them and at that time they should be able to file for their adjustment of status to Lawful Permanent Resident. Other options, only if applicable may be to file for asylum based on changed country condition for example. Q: My father came here illegally in 2003 and he was given voluntary departure (not deported) in 2006 and returned home. He came back illegally again in 2006 and
Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case. My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713623-8088 or by email at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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Q: I am a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient. My parents came here legally on a tourist visa many years ago and they are currently out of status. They have a U.S Citizen child who is 17 years of age. Are there any options for them right now?
A: He can seek the relief of Cancellation of Removal under INA Section 240A(b) if he has been physically present in the U.S for continuous period of not less than 10 years immediately preceeding the date of the application; been a person of good moral character during such period and has not been convicted of certain qualifying offences; and can demonstrate exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his qualifying relatives. For this relief, the qualifying relatives must be a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident parent, spouse or child under the age of 21 years. If the application is granted, he will become a permanent resident.
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A: Because your brother was deported, he was required to remain outside the U.S. for at least 10 years before reentering. Since he returned illegally within the 10 year period, he will technically be subject to 20 years bar from re-entry. For his case, if he wishes to lawfully return to the U.S., he must depart the U.S., remain outside of the country for at least 10 years and upon having achieved the 10 year wait time, he can apply for consent to reapply for admission using Form I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission Into the United States After Deportation or Removal. If the I-212 application is granted, he will then apply for his Immigrant Visa. He may still be required to submit an I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility to waive the further 10 year period which he need to complete because of his unlawful presence in the United States.
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VOICE OF ASIA
VOICE OF ASIA 7
Connect with us today! Visit us Online @ www.voiceofasiaonline.com
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
FORT BEND VIEW
Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place
BAPS Charities holds Walk Green 2017 in Sugar Land
UH Katy hires director for engineering programs
The University of Houston has hired Phaneendra Kondapi to lead its engineering programs at the new Katy campus opening in 2019 (Photo:UHSystem)
Walk Ribbon cut by Rep Ron Reynolds, TX District 27 with sponsors of the BAPS Charities walkathon (Photo: BAPS)
ost of Sugar Land residents woke up to cool breezy Sunday morning, but one 6 six-year-old had been planning for this day for the last 1 month. She had decided to raise funds for the BAPS Charities annual walk. For her birthday, this year she had told her family and friends that she did not want any gifts instead wanted them to donate to the walk. In total, she had raised $351 and was excited to participate in her first walkathon. Sanvi Desai is just one of 1200 community members who supported the annual BAPS Charities’ Walk Green 2017 walkathon in Sugar land, TX on April 30, 2017. Building off an existing relationship with The Nature Conservancy, this year’s walkathon had participants of all ages come out and
support the Nature Conservancy and its Plant a Billion Trees campaign. The Nature Conservancy’s efforts focus on protecting habitats and preserving biodiversity across the world. Its current campaign aims to plant one billion trees by 2025 to which BAPS Charities contributed $100,000 to plant 70,000 trees in 2016. In addition to targeted conservation efforts, The Nature Conservancy also invests in research related to conservation and climate change to drive international efforts. Additionally, with a firm belief to think globally, act locally, this year’s BAPS Charities Walkathon also supported Fort Bend Education Foundation, Stafford MSD Education Foundation and Behind the Badge Charities. All the local beneficiaries
aim to ensure a brighter future for our students and residents of Fort Bend. Through the efforts of BAPS Charities’ volunteer base, who come together to participate in service projects throughout the year, Sanvi’s hard work not only inspires her friends but encourages participants of all ages to get involved in BAPS Charities initiatives. Many sponsors like Piping Technology & Products, SDB group, BioUrja group, CH Curve Hospitality, Red Scope Studios, Swami Shriji Properties, Lespreance Construction, Dr. Harish and Manju Chandna, Pershant and Nidhika Mehta and many others to contribute to this year’s walkathon. Representative Ron Reynolds, Texas Continued on page 8
ATY - The University of Houston System recently hired Phaneendra Kondapi, director of subsea engineering at Texas A&M University, to oversee engineering programs at a UH System campus opening in Katy in 2019. “(UH) has hired a very strong person with a commitment to grow the program in the Katy area,” said Richard Phillips, associate provost for outreach and community engagement at UH. Phillips was involved with the site selection of the new Katy campus. “Engineering is going to be one of the flagship programs in Katy.” Before working at A&M, Kondapi helped develop America’s first subsea engineering program at UH. The new System campus in Katy, which is expected to initially include an 80,000square-foot building and serve about 2,000 students, will be constructed on 46 acres at the northeast corner of Interstate 10 and Texas 99. The new campus is replacing a 36,000-square-foot UH System location at Cinco Ranch and is expected to
equally serve both UH Main Campus students and UH-Victoria students. Officials have said engineering would be a focus given the Katy area’s ties to Houston’s Energy Corridor, which employs many engineers. Last fall, the UH System began offering two energy-focused engineering courses through Katy’s Houston Community College campus in advance of the courses that will be offered at the new UH campus. Officials said the HCC campus will offer five graduate-level engineering courses this fall, with Kondapi teaching a subsea engineering course. In 2011, Kondapi taught UH’s inaugural course in subsea engineering. He spent more than 20 years managing engineering projects at energy companies FMC Technologies and KBR. The Texas Legislature in 2015 approved $46.8 million for UH’s purchase of land for the new campus, as well as for costs to construct the campus’ first building. UH System regents approved the land purchase last May.
VOICE OF ASIA 8
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
India House and SOS partner Fort Bend ISD claims victory in the Million Mile Month challenge to host a Town Hall Continued from Page 5 Retired KPFT General Manager Duane Bradley described a bombing took place at the radio station about 18 years, and more recently, a shot fired from an AK 47 assault rifle. “There was a lot of fear among the volunteers. However, we stood together as a community against hate organizations.” “A thousand hate crime incidents took place in the first month after the presidential elections,” said Manpreet Kaur, with the Sikh Coalition, which was formed after 9/11 to disseminate information about the Sikh community. “We have to energize our base., talk to our elected officials. They care about our votes. The South Asian population has grown 900% since the 1980s. Funds are allocated city and statewide on the basis of reported incidents, so it is important to report.” Community activist and former Houston City Councilman Jew Don Boney framed the hate crimes conversation in terms of five great ethical revolutions of the 20th century, “The first revolution was for moral and ethical reform epitomized by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal when social security was established along with other economic rights. Second was the race revolution in terms of the dismantlement of racial segregation through civil rights legislation and the Fair Housing Act. The third revolution was about gender, the rights of women. The fourth was the green revolution for ecology or the environment,” asserted Boney. “We’re now in the midst of a fifth revolution, a counter revolution to undo the first four revolutions.” “Putting the current issues of hate crimes, immigration and fake news in this framework allows us to understand what we’re up against. We need to use the modern technology tools, such as social media, to fight it,” urged Boney. ADL Board Chair George Gibson cited the Holocaust and how it came to be in Germany. “It happens slowly, and happens legally by taking away certain rights of a targeted community. It is easy to dismiss it as a little thing. When you indoctrinate the police, the lowerlevel officials and judges, the society can get to that state of industrilized mass murder.”
TSU Professor Jay Aiyer had a different take on restrictive immigration policies. “A lot less has happened than what people have realized. We haven’t had comprehensive immigration reform, but a series of executive orders that have been either nullified or put on hold. What we have seen is increased enforcement against people who do not have legal status, and also a chilling effect on how immigrants are treated. “We talk about the increase in hate crimes, but not about why it is occurring,” Aiyer continued. “I don’t believe that a third of Americans are racist. What we do know is that there is greater apprehension about the cultural changes that are taking place in the United States. The country looks a lot different to many people. There is more discomfort in communities that are less diverse. For example, many people are completely unaware of what it is to be Muslim. Their awareness is based on stereotypes. This creates an environment of hostility. I would suggest that it is important for our community to do a better job of introducing ourselves to our neighbors. It is important for us to not remain in silos. Over time, such interactions through things such as potluck dinners can change attitudes and a culture.” “Once people form individual relationships, it is much easier to have a dialog, I think increasing our knowledgebase about other cultures helps reduce tensions,” said Kirk. “Racism does exist in our communities. For example, there is systematic manipulation of voting rights laws in the City of Pasadena to maintain the existing power structure. We can’t be complacent,” said Gibson. “Black people understand the nature of victimization,” said Boney, arguing for speaking out against discrimination. “Martin Luther King said there comes a time when silence is betrayal. By our silence, we become co-conspirators with evil. I suggest that we all speak up against injustice.” “We all need to stand together and work together with other minority communities,” agreed Manpreet Kaur. “My testifying on behalf of the LGBT community was a big teaching moment for myself about the LGBT and for them to learn about Sikhism.”
“Do I think we’re at the same stage as Nazi Germany?” Gibson asked. “Of course not, but we have to stay vigilant. For example, theere are now laws that restrict the people’s right to vote.”
Duane Bradley provided a fitting conclusion to the panel discussion. “I think there is an intrinsic fear about the unknown and of others. I grew up in an insular commnuity in New Jersey. In my personal experience, my uncle took me to coal mining towns of Kentucky. I didn’t know people lived like that. I learned how to embrace other communities and become a better citizen.”
On the subject of immigration, Natoinal Immigration Forum’s Brenda Kirk said she was working with large employers to get their immigratn employees to transition from Green Card to citizenship. It helps to have a US passport to avoid travel restrictions.”
Speaking of fake news, Bradley said the system of news dissimination has become so fragmented that now we’re being fed news algorithmically that reinforces our existing beliefs. The challenge is to broke down such walls and explore other news and other cultures. The choice is between
ORT BEND ISD (May 9, 2017) – Victory is not new to FBISD in the Million Mile Month challenge. The District once again claimed the win with the most miles walked by an organization during the month of April. This is the fourth year that FBISD has won first place.
This year, FBISD had more than 135,000 miles. This substantial number beat participating organizations and Houston-area school districts. “The real winners are our employees who have committed themselves to a healthy, active lifestyle,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre.
BAPS Walk Green... Continued from page 7 House of Representative, District 27, energized the walkers during the opening by saying, “Your planting trees will help keep our environment green. That’s why I am so excited to be here today. And to welcome you, to congratulate you, and to commend you on your commitment for the environment and your commitment for education. And for the charitable giving that you are doing today.” He also presented a proclamation to BAPS Charities. BAPS Charities uses these opportunities to instill a spirit of service and commitment to preservation and environmental responsibility in community members. Through participation in events and fundraising activities like the walkathon, participants are actively engaged in
Million Mile Month is designed to promote a culture of wellness by challenging a community to complete one million collective miles of physical activity. Plan on participating next year to help FBISD keep its title and to join the community in staying active.
conversations and actions around sustainability and conservation, becoming owners rather than bystanders. BAPS Charities is a global charity active in nine countries across five continents. Volunteers drive its efforts, dedicating a portion of their lives in selfless service of others, both in their local neighborhoods as well as globally. Working in five key areas, BAPS Charities aims to express a spirit of selfless service through Health Awareness, Educational Services, Humanitarian Relief, Environmental Protection & Preservation and Community Empowerment. From organizing Walkathons that raise funds for local and global needs, to supporting humanitarian relief in times of urgent need; from hosting community health fairs to sustaining hospitals and schools in developing countries, BAPS Charities provides an opportunity for individuals wishing to serve locally and globally.
Read more Community reports Visit us online www. voiceofasiaonline.com faith and fear. If we choose faith, we have an opporunitiy to grow as a society and enhance each other.” The Town Hall organized by SOS graduates
Rishi Goswami and Denise McGettrick under the mentorship of Mani Subramanian and Vish Murrali. Snacks and beverages were catered by Madras Pavilion. For more information about SOS, visit www.shareoursecrets.org
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VOICE OF ASIA 9
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees, Principal and Teacher receive 2017 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards
ORT BEND ISD (May 8, 2017) – Fort Bend ISD’s three finalists are winners in the 16th annual H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards! This is the first year in the program’s history that FBISD has received three of the top awards. This year’s award recipients are: FBISD Board of Trustees; School Board award; Julie Diaz of Travis High School, School Principal Secondary award; and Richard Embrick, Crockett Middle School teacher, Rising Star Secondary award. Each of the honorees were announced May 7 at an awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Combined, the FBISD winners received $70,000 in cash prizes. “I could not be more proud of our educators who were recognized. Much like our District Teacher of the Year program, I know Julie and Richard are representatives of ALL the high quality educators in FBISD,” said Dr. Charles Dupre, Superintendent of Schools. “While we have long known that Fort Bend ISD has the best professionals in the state, it is wonderful to see members of our team honored at the state level.” “The recognition of our
Board of Trustees is also significant because our work to inspire and equip all students to pursue futures beyond what they can imagine would not be possible without their vision and governance,” added Dr. Dupre. “Our Board provides support to our teachers and students while holding me – and our District – accountable for the success of our youth.”
at Crockett and is passionate about making sure that science, technology, engineering and math education is available to all students – including female and minority students.
As the winning public school board, recognized for its outstanding leadership at the Board level, the FBISD Board of Trustees (which includes Kristin Tassin, President; Jason Burdine, Vice President; Addie Heyliger, Secretary; and members KP George, Grayle James, Jim Rice and Dave Rosenthal) received a $25,000 cash prize for the District.
Students enjoy his classes so much that that they often spend their lunch break in his classroom, working on projects or just having fun. “It makes me feel very proud that my students feel safe in my classroom. They are invited to come and be themselves,” said Embrick.
As a winning principal, Diaz received $10,000 in cash for herself and a $25,000 grant for Travis High School. “It was such an honor and privilege to accept this leadership award in a room full of amazing educators,” said Julie Diaz. “At Travis High School, we have a mantra – We are ONE, We are FAMILY, We are TIGERS. When one wins we all win. It is truly Travis High
“When you only have afterschool clubs, you leave out a lot of untapped talent,” said Embrick. “I keep pushing to bring STEM opportunities to all students.”
The FBISD H-E-B Excellence in Education award winners: (front row, from left) Board members Dave Rosenthal and Jim Rice; Julie Diaz, Travis High School Principal; Board members Kristin Tassin (President) and Jason Burdine (Vice President); Richard Embrick, Crockett Middle School teacher; Board member KP George; and (back row) Board members Addie Heyliger (Secretary) and Grayle James; and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre. School who wins this award. It is an exceptional place and our purpose is to develop leaders at all levels. I would not have won if it wasn’t for all that we have accomplished together.”
As recipient of the Rising Star Secondary award, which recognizes teachers with less than 10 years of experience, Embrick received a $5,000 check for himself and a $5,000
grant for Crockett Middle School. He teaches Robotics and Engineering II and PLTW gateway to Technology classes
In January, H-E-B announced that the FBISD Board of Trustees was one of five Texas Public School Boards to be recognized as a finalist. In February, Diaz and Embrick received news of their selection as finalists in the awards program. Each of the FBISD winners were selected from a pool of 58 finalists from across the state by judges representing former winners, school administrators, and university and community leaders.
Over 4,500 attend Lupus Foundation of America-Texas Gulf Coast Chapter Walk to End Lupus Now & 5K Run - DISCOVER YOUR POWER! Over 70,000 walkers in more than 60 cities - all unified for one purpose -TO END LUPUS!
Oxford University honors Dr. Krishna Dronamraju
Lupus 5k Run-Walk. Photo Credit: Alex Gabriel ay is Lupus Awareness Month. The Lupus Foundation of America, Texas Gulf Coast Chapter hosted the Walk to END Lupus Now & 5K Run on Sunday, May 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Over 4,500 attended the event in front of Minute Maid Park – 501 Crawford, Houston, Texas. Funds raised at the event will help raise funding for lupus research, education programs and patient assistant grants for under-insured lupus patients.
Houston walk/run has raised over $158,000 to date. Supporters have until July 31, 2017 to donate to the walk. All those who fundraise more than $500 will join the Walk to END Lupus Now 500 Club. Visit www. LupusTexas.org to find the Houston walk website. While most Americans have become aware of the signs and health risks associated with breast cancer and heart disease, relatively few are aware of how the chronic autoimmune disease, lupus, affects approximately 30,000 individuals in the Houston metro area. May is Lupus Awareness Month, World Lupus Day is May 10 Put on Purple is Friday May 19, 2017. Wear purple proudly l on Friday, May 19 and tell people why! Individuals can also create and share their own video telling people why are wearing purple and what they KNOW LUPUS. Ask your friends, l family, coworkers and employer to Put On Purple on May19 to help raise awareness of lupus and support those who are impacted by the disease. Consider organizing l office-wide or company-wide participation. What you need to know about Lupus. 1.
What is lupus? Why
is it a cruel mystery? Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. Symptoms of lupus come and go, change over time, and often imitate other illnesses, making lupus difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, overwhelming fatigue, and fevers that last for days or weeks. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is complex and hard to define, with no known causes or cure. It strikes without warning, and affects each person differently. It is debilitating, devastating, and can be fatal. For more information about the different types of lupus, symptoms, impact, and treatment, visit www.LupusTexas. org 2. Who is at risk of developing lupus? Lupus can strike anyone at any time, but 90 percent of the 1.5 million Americans living with lupus are women. Women of color are at especially high risk and are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with lupus. The onset of lupus symptoms typically occurs in women of childbearing age, 15-44. 3. Currently the Lupus Foundation of America, TXGCC has an awareness campaign in Houston, Beaumont, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Victoria and Harlingen? Despite the prevalence of lupus, new opinion research commissioned by the Lupus Foundation of America shows that 61 percent of all Americans have never heard of lupus or know little or nothing about the disease beyond its name. Even more disturbing is that among Americans ages 18-34, 72 percent have never heard of lupus or know little or nothing about the disease beyond the name. This is the age group at greatest risk for the disease. 4.
Who is the Lupus
Foundation of America and how do they support people living with lupus? The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of Research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus. The Lupus Foundation of America introduced Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery as its rallying cry to increase awareness of lupus.
Dr. Dronamraju, President of the Houstonbased Foundation for Genetic Research, was recently honored at Oxford University in Great Britain. Oxford University Press, a branch of the University, published his latest (and 20th) book: “popularizing science: The Life and Work of JBS Haldane”. The Press organized a reception Dr. Dronamraju with Sir David Weatherall at Oxford University, U.K. Photo and book sign- by Michele Wambaugh. ing in Oxford for Dr. Dronamraju, ologist, who taught his son the died in Bhubaneswar, Odiswhich included principles of scientific experi- ha. He became an Indian citia discussion about the mentation from an early age. zen, shortly before his death. book by his friend Sir Da- The younger Haldane grew up vid Weatherall, Founder to be a famous scientist without Dr. Dronamraju is a Visitand Director of the Weath- an academic degree in science. ing Professor of the Univererall Institute at Oxford All his scientific knowledge sity of Paris and the Albert University. The book is a was self-taught. Another aspect Schweitzer International chronological biography of of Haldane’s life were a series University in Geneva. He was the great British polymath, of experiments in physiology an advisor to the U.S. GovJ.B.S. Haldane, who was when he tested the effect of ernment in Biotechnology, Dr. Dronamraju’s mentor. breathing various poisonous and DNA technology. He reBesides being a brilliant gases such as carbon monoxide ceived the Nayudamma Prize scientist, Haldane led an upon his own body in tightly in science, and the National exciting, colorful life which sealed metallic chambers. The Research Service Award of makes him an ideal subject results are of great importance the U.S. National Institutes for a biography. Descended to underwater diving as well as of Health, U.S. Public Health from Scottish aristocracy, space flight. They were danger- Service. He is the author of Haldane was the son of John ous experiments which required over 20 books and 200 reScott Haldane, an eminent much courage. In his last years, search papers in Genetics Oxford University physi- Haldane moved to India and and Biotechnology.
VOICE OF ASIA 10
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Thirukalyanam
18-Year-old elected to Pearland school board
Grand finale to Chithirai Thiruvizha Mahotsavam by Kamala Raghavan
EARLAND, (May 7th , 2017) - The festival of Meenakshi Chithirai Thiruvizha is one of the most important annual festivals held at the famous Meenakshi Temple at Madurai, and the same traditions are followed by Sree Meenakshi Temple. The festival has many highlights including the coronation of Sri Meenakshi (Pattabhishekam) and her handing over the scepter to the Chairman, the daily homams and evening processions, cultural events, and the grand finale of the Thirukalyanam of Lord Sundareswarar with Goddess Meenakshi, and the Ratham festival. The Mahotsavam began with dhwaja-arohanam (flag hoisting) on April 28th and concluded on May 7th with dhwaja avarohanam. The festival is
Mike Floyd. Photo: Facebook.
EARLAND, Texas (KTRK) May 08, 2017. -- A Pearland ISD senior will be sworn in to a new job just before graduating from Dawson High School this month. Mike Floyd is just 18 and was elected to Pearland ISD trustee position 2. MangalyaDharanam. Photo credit: Srini Sundarrajan
The senior has been involved in student council, debate, government clubs and the tennis team.
Devotees at Sri Meenakshi Temple. Photo credit: Srini Sundarrajan believed to shower all of God’s creations with health, wealth, happiness and prosperity. More than 1600 devotees filled the hall and enjoyed the divine wedding ceremony. A beautifully decorated podium was set up inside the main temple by the silpis, where the utsavamurthys of Meenakshi and Sundareswaran resided throughout the festival to indicate the gruhasta ashrama (married life) of Lord Shiva with
his consort Parvathi, and their son Ganesh and Karthikeya. Sri Meenakshi personifies the female energy (Shakti) as illustrated by the coronation in the beginning of the Utsavam. The daily homams were performed at an outside tent (Yaga Sala) in accordance with the basic guidelines established by the Shastras. Since the temple has been designed according to the principle of Vaastu Shastra, these daily rituals are
performed to request the deva paarshadas (attendants of the deities) to safeguard the temple premises and the devotees. The divine wedding celebration started with a seervarisai procession from Ganesh temple accompanied by Nadaswaram. Malai Matruthal (garland exchange), pidi sutruthal and oonjal seva was done with pomp and splendor by the priests with many of the ladies participating in the
pidi sutral and mangala Aarthi at the entrance to the Kalyana Mandapam. The silpis outdid themselves in constructing the wedding mandapam on the stage and the priests followed the traditional steps for a beautiful celestial wedding of Sri Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, Devotees were involved in performing rakshabandanam and kanyadhanam. The event was broadcast on MTS radio show 3 times during the ceremony to
He’ll be attending the University of Houston, majoring in political science, but he will certainly get some experience outside the classroom in the Pearland community. “Feeling good. We worked hard and it’s good to see it pay off,” Floyd told Eyewitness News. “It’s really humbling to feel your community, neighbors, friends and family come together and put you somewhere. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”
He won 54 percent of the vote in what was a somewhat surprise upset of an incumbent.
Floyd says transparency and fiscal accountability are among his priorities.
give an opportunity to all devotees to partake in the blessings of the deities. MTS board representatives attempted to provide explanations in English during the event for the benefit of the young devotees and nonIndian attendees. The chanting of the mantras from all 4 vedas reinforced the bhakti vibrations in the hall, and the recital by the priest was absolutely mesmerizing. After the wedding, utsava murthis procession with Ratham and all the vahanas was a beautiful sight to watch. The Nadhaswaram music brought the Madurai Temple atmosphere to all the devotees in Pearland, Texas.
nana leaf sit down lunch with the traditional wedding menu prepared by the temple staff and served by more than 150 volunteers. The post lunch cultural program was a visual treat for the devotees, and the performances by graduating seniors was a wonderful conclusion to a grand celebration. MTS Chairman S. Narayanan thanked all the staff and volunteers. Kudos to the Mahotsavam coordinator C. Vijayarajan and RAC Sheila Sriram, Food Committee Rani Chilukuri, Sit down Lunch Committee Kumar Bashyam, the cultural committee Mala Gopal, Audio & Video committee Sundar Arun, Electronic Committee Nachal Sethuraman, Rathotsavam Committee Tupil Narasiman, Secretary GN Prasad and Treasurer Sasi Pillai for job well done.
The sunny, cool weather was perfect for the outside activities, and made the whole event immensely enjoyable. The attendees enjoyed the grand ba-
Houston Mayor .....Launch Meaningful Change Campaign “It is important to give, and equally important to give the right way. There is not a better way to give dignity to the homeless, than helping them to not be homeless in the first place,” said Father Anil Thomas, Holy Name Catholic Church. “The Meaningful Change Campaign gives the homeless the dignity of housing.”
Continued from Page 3 The Meaningful Change campaign is just one part of the City’s holistic approach to addressing homelessness. The Way Home, a collaborative of more than 100 partnersincluding the City of Houston - are working together to solve homelessness by getting homeless individuals into permanent housing as quickly as possible, and then providing them with voluntary supportive services to help them remain in housing. The Way Home is leading the nation in solving homelessness; since the collaborative began, more than 8,000 homeless individuals have been placed into permanent housing, and overall homelessness has decreased by more than 57% in Greater Houston.
“While we are called to help the least among us, we must work together to educate the community that our spare change does not help individuals off the streets, or get them the help they need the most,” said Bishop E.L. Usher, Greater Outreach Grace Church. “The Meaningful Change campaign enables my congregation to transform lives.” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner with faith leaders unveils Meaningful Change billboard.
campaign asks Houstonians to resist the urge to give to panhandlers, and instead invest in The Way Home. Houstonians can donate to the Meaningful Change campaign online at www.meaningfulchange.org . One-hundred percent of all donations will go directly to The Way Home’s Welcoming Home Fund to help homeless individuals move off the streets into permanent housing by providing furniture, household basics, and housing deposits. To reach all Houstonians, the campaign will utilize social media, 1,500 radio advertisements, and 55 signs and billboards to generate over 13.5 million impressions. The campaign is generously funded by iHeart Radio, Clear Channel Outdoor, and the business community.
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AAPI observes Legislative Day on Capitol Hill Highlights healthcare, visa, physician-patient relationship, hate crimes, insurance issues during Legislative Day
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Indian-American Seema Verma shares podium with Trump
ASHINGTON, DC: (May 6, 2017) The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, (AAPI) brought to the fore some of the major concerns of the Indian-American community, and particularly those affecting the physicians and their patients during AAPI’s Legislative Day on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., on May 3rd, 2017. Attended by nearly 30 Congressmen and women from both the major political parties, the event held at the Rayburn House Office Building, had a historic 100 representatives of AAPI in attendance at the annual event, highlighting healthcare, Green Card, physician-patient health relationship, hate crimes, and insurance issues. In a show of support for AAPI, all the four IndianAmerican House members, Reps. Ami Bera, D-California, Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington; Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois; and Ro Khanna, D-California, addressed the AAPI delegates and listened to their concerns and promised support.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, (D-California), addressing the gathering on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., on May 3rd, 2017. AAPI members look on. Considered to be one of the key architect of the new healthcare bill, Verma was the only non-politician to be asked to speak from the podium at the Rose Garden.
ASHINGTON: PTI, (MAY 05, 2017) IndianAmerican Seema Verma, the key architectect of the US’ new healthcare bill, shared the podium with President Donald Trump who hailed her contribution in convincing several lawmakers on the need to repeal and replace Obamacare.
A White Paper outlining demands and concerns was submitted to lawmakers who addressed the delegates. Some of the issues outlined in the White Paper included, increasing residency slots; passing hate crime laws; the Green Card backlog; reforms to the Stark Law to improve physician-patient health care; and the ability of insurance companies to sell health plans across state lines. “We are pleased with the enormous turnout of both AAPI members and the showing of bipartisan members of Congress at this year’s Legislative Day,” said Dr. Ajay Lodha, AAPI President. “It is a testament to the strength of AAPI’s reputation as strong leaders, with our physicians proudly serving as health care providers in all 50 states. With this event, we are building a strong foundation for future advocacy and legislative successes at both the federal and state level,” said Lodha. “This immensely successful event, including our partnership with the Indian Embassy, has showcased AAPI’s strength relationship building and maintaining ties with our elected officials,” said Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Legislative Committee Chairman. “From our work combating hate crimes, to supporting reforms to the legal immigration process, AAPI continues to serve as a shining example of leadership among Indian American community organizations,” said Shivangi. AAPI members would like to see the Green Card backlog addressed, which it says has adversely impacted the Indian American community. So the focus was on “The Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017, or House Resolution 392, a measure which has already garnered more than 200 signatures from members of Congress and seeks to remove the 7 percent cap on Green Cards on every country regardless of their size. It “will address many of the concerns facing the Indian American community,” AAPI said in its list of demands. According to AAPI, there is an ongoing physician shortage, which affects the quality of care provided to American patients. There are patients who face lengthy delays in various specialties, a situation which will worsen over time. Legislation was introduced in previous sessions of Congress that would add 15,000 residency slots, training up to 45,000 more physicians, AAPI points out in its White Paper. “By adding more residency positions today, Congress can train more physi-
The AAPI members, led by Dr. Lodha and Shivangi, meet Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, (D-Hawaii). cians to treat patients in the future,” AAPI stated. The bipartisan members of Congress discussed ways to reform health care delivery, to ensure its cost-effectiveness, and the negative effects of defensive medicine, which has driven up the cost of health care. Tort reform and immigration reform was also discussed, with AAPI members expressing their viewpoints. Additionally, many AAPI members expressed concerns over legislation that would prohibit international medical graduates from securing residency positions in the U.S. AAPI members told the gathering of both Republican and Democratic congressmen how important it was to increase the number of residency positions to address the upcoming physician shortage. This includes providing opportunities for all qualified doctors of Indian origin to secure residency slots and the opportunity to become fully trained to practice medicine. On the hate crime issue and H-1B, Rep. Jayapal told the gathering she had been an immigration attorney for 15 years and would be trying her best to push through legislation relating to both issues. AAPI sent a letter to Kansas legislators calling on them to pass a hate crimes law named in honor of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the young Indian techie shot to death by a white man in a bar in Olathe, Kansas. More than 50 AAPI members gathered for dinner at the Bombay Club the night before the legislative fly-in, which was organized by Dr. Sudhir Sekhsaria, the past president of AAPI’s local chapter, the Greater Washington AAPI chapter. The Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. held a reception
for AAPI’s delegation and for federal and state lawmakers and other prominent members of the Indian-American community including activists May 3 evening. The organization also recognized the four Indian-American lawmakers, as well as Rep. Gabbard, with appreciation awards. The AAPI members, led by Dr. Lodha and Shivangi, met Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Greg Harper, R-Mississippi, in part to press AAPI’s case to bring Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, to address the June annual convention of the organization. AAPI’s lobbying efforts on some of the issues affecting the broader Indian American community and other immigrant groups is also a testament to its growth and reach. Being one of the oldest Indian American organizations, it’s also among the most influential, as was evident from the number of members of Congress who took time out of their busy schedule to address the group. The growing influence of doctors of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research and administrative positions across the nation. With their hard work, dedication, compassion, and skills, they have thus carved an enviable niche in the American medical community. AAPI’s role has come to be recognized as vital among members and among lawmakers. “We had a very fruitful discussion
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Verma as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is one of the highest ranking Indian American in the Trump administration after Nikki Haley, who is the US Ambassador to the United Nations. In this capacity Verma made innumerable trips to the Capitol Hill and many a times accompanied the Vice President Mike Pence convincing top American lawmakers on the need to fix the current healthcare system by repealing the existing Obamacare and replacing it with a new health care bill. Considered to be one of the key architect of the new healthcare bill, Verma was the only non-politician to be asked to speak from the podium at the Rose Garden as speaker as Trump rejoiced the passage of the legislation by the US House of Representatives that repealed Obamacare and replaced it with a new one. “Thank you, and congratulations to the President, the Vice President, the Speaker and all the Republican leadership and all the Republicans in the House, for what you did today,” she said. “I’ve spoken to a lot of moms across the country like me, and they are so concerned about the rising cost of health care, paying for expensive premiums and high deductibles, having an insurance card that they can’t use because it’s still unaffordable,” Verma said. “What happened here today was an important step towards addressing that problem. And for the Medicaid pro-
and we are very hopeful that Congress will act on the issues raised in our white paper,” Dr. Lodha, President of
gramme, I’ve working in the Medicaid programme for over 20 years. The Medicaid programme is our aged, our blind, pregnant moms, kids, disabled and the poor,” she said. “These are people that have no other place to go but the Medicaid programme and the status quo in the Medicaid programme is not acceptable. We can do better. And the big step that was taken today is a very important stride towards making that programme work better, towards giving governors the flexibility to design programmes that are innovative and actually improve health outcomes,” Verma said. “I’m so excited about this big step forward and I think it’s a great day for our country. So thank you for everybody that was involved in this,” she said in her brief remarks. Both Trump and the Vice President Mike Pence have hailed Verma for the important role she has played in the new healthcare plan. “We will have great, great health care for everyone in our nation. We have an unbelievable country, unbelievable country,” Trump said on the occasion. Verma who now lives in Indiana, received her bachelor’s degree in life sciences from the University of Maryland College Park in 1993. In 2001 she founded the health policy consulting firm SVC Inc.The company has worked with state insurance agencies and public health agencies in preparation for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and assisted Indiana and Kentucky, as well as other states, in the design of Medicaid expansion programmes under the ACA. Verma established her reputation with her work on Indiana’s redesigned Medicaid programme. AAPI, summarized the day long event. For more information on AAPI please visit: www.aapiusa.org
VOICE OF ASIA 12
Betting odds of Trump impeachment jump after Comey firing United States and so the odds likely do not reflect a significant share of American views. The betting odds are also not probabilities for any outcome -- but do reflect the weight of money that punters have staked.
Democrats have claimed the sacking of Mr Comey is a cover-up
ASHINGTON, | AFP | 5/10/2017 - President Donald Trump’s sudden dismissal of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday has seen the betting odds of a Trump impeachment skyrocket, bookmaking sites told AFP on Wednesday. Opposition Democrat lawmakers have ramped up calls for an independent investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow since Trump’s surprise firing of the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday. The shocking news drew immediate comparisons to former President Richard Nixon’s dismissal of the independent Wa-
tergate investigator Archibald Cox in 1973. Nixon resigned the following year after a congressional panel voted for impeachment. By Wednesday, the odds for a Trump impeachment during his first term had risen from 2/1 to 4/6, representing a 60 percent chance, according to Lewis Davey, a spokesman for the Irish betting site Paddy Power.
This 32-year-old is the third Indian-origin victim to be killed in a week. Jagjeet Singh, who was a clerk at the Hatch Food and Gas convenience store, came to the US 18 months ago and stayed with his sister and brother-inlaw in Modesto. Singh, who hailed from Punjab’s Kapurthala city, reportedly had an altercation with one of the customers when he came to buy cigarettes. Another clerk at the store Sukhwinder Singh, describing the events that led to the fatal encounter, said the outburst began apparently over being asked for an ID and Jagjeet had refused to sell cigarettes to the unidentified person as he did not show any proper ID. The man then reportedly left the store in a hurry, mouthing racist abuses and warning Jagjeet of dire consequences. The entire sequence was captured by a CCTV camera installed in the store premises. The customer then returned
“There’s someone who’s looking to place a hundred thousand pounds on Trump to leave,” she told AFP, a
The unnamed gambler had already staked 30,000 pounds and was seeking to add another 70,000, but no one had so far taken that bet, Totten said.
Jagjeet was soon rushed to the hospital, where he struggled for his life for nine hours, before finally succumbing to his injuries. On Sunday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Indian ambassador in the US Navtej S Sarna in the wake reports of killing of the Sikh man in a suspected hate crime.
Devotees mark Buddha’s birthday in Malaysia
The award by the US-India Business Council would be presented to Naidu during the USIBC West Coast Summit in the Silicon Valley on May 8, a statement said. Devotees mark Buddha’s birthday in Malaysia
POH, Malaysia, (May 10, 2017, AFP) - Thousands of devotees gathered in Malaysian temples Wednesday to celebrate Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment -- a festival marked on different days across the region, which is also known as Wesak day. In the idyllic city of Ipoh in western Perak state, surrounded by limestone hills, hundreds of people came to seek Buddha’s blessings. Jonas Wong Wai Leong, 30, came with his new bride to pray for a baby and wealth. As an offering, he carried a Buddha statue and placed it on the altar of Ipoh’s “Enlightened Tibetan Buddhist” temple.
“He’s a hard worker, nice guy... he never was threatening, never yelled at a customer,” said Monica Rodriguez, another clerk at the store.
“I just got married. Today we prayed for prosperity and we asked for a newborn healthy
This was the third such incident involving killing of Indian-origin people in California since Wednesday night in two separate incidents. (PTI).
Millions of Pakistanis receive blasphemy ... Continued from page 3 agency was acting on a court was killed and five others were order. wounded when a mob attacked Blasphemy is a hugely sensi- a police station in an attempt tive issue in conservative Mus- to lynch a Hindu man charged lim Pakistan, with unproven with blasphemy for allegedly allegations leading to dozens of posting an incendiary image on mob attacks or murders since social media. 1990. Weeks earlier a mob attacked The law was originally in- a mentally ill man claiming to herited from Pakistan’s former be a prophet at his local mosque. colonial masters Britain, but He was later saved by police. strengthened by former dictator The issue of blasphemy came Zia-ul-Haq in 1986 to include to the fore in January when five a provision for capital punish- secular activists known for their ment in cases of insulting the outspoken views against reliProphet Muhammad. gious extremism and the powActivists said the initiative erful military were disappeared, would likely encourage lynch- presumed abducted by state ings, such as the killing of a agencies according to opposi23-year-old student known for tion parties and international his liberal views at the hands of rights groups. hundreds of fellow students last Four of them were later remonth. turned to their families weeks “This mass messaging will later, but not before they were only further fuel hatred among tarnished by a virulent camdifferent sects and segments of paign to paint them as enemies the society. It is a very very bad of Islam deserving execution. move,” digital rights activist One of them later told AFP Shahzad Ahmad told AFP. they had been held and tortured “PTA’s mass texting on ‘blas- by the shadowy Inter Services phemy’ smacks of insincerity Intelligence agency which had & political exploitation of reli- conceived the blasphemy camgion; it will embolden public to paign in order to silence critical greater violence!,” tweeted pop- voices. ular television anchor Moeed The agency denied involvePirzada. ment. Last week a 10-year old boy Source: AFP.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. (File Photo) Washington: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has been selected for the ‘Transformative Chief Minister Award’ in recognition for his role in advancing the US-India partnership at the state level.
Modesto police are yet to determine the motive behind the attack and there is no official word about the killer.
Meanwhile, Rights group - The Sikh Coalition said it has urged the Modesto Police Department to leave no stone unturned in their investigation into the killing, including examining the possibility of this being a hate crime.
The award by the US-India Business Council would be presented to Naidu during the USIBC West Coast Summit in the Silicon Valley on May 8.
Since Comey’s firing, bets have been lighter on whether Trump will leave before the end of his first term in January 2021, she said, “but they have been big enough to move the odds from 15/2 to even money.”
Online gambling is still largely prohibited in much of the
angry, 30 minutes later, and stabbed Jagjeet when he was about to close the store, Singh said.
Chandrababu Naidu bags award for advancing USIndia partnership
In the hours following Comey’s ouster, the odds that Trump will leave office before the year is out went from 9/1 to 3/1, according to Totten.
“We can attribute this to the news of Comey’s sacking,” said Davey, adding that the current four-to-six odds were “the shortest we’ve been for Trump to be impeached in his first term.”
Sikh stabbed to death in US for refusing to sell cigarettes EW YORK, (May 08, 2017) - A 32-year-old Sikh man was stabbed to death by an unidentified person allegedly over cigarettes outside a grocery store in California on Friday.
Naomi Totten of Betfair, a separate British betting platform owned by the same corporate parent as Paddy Power, said the Comey firing had customers eager to wager on a Trump downfall.
sum currently equal to about $129,000.
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
baby,” Wong, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, told AFP. Like many other devotees, he also lit candles as a mark of respect. “I am so happy today. The temple gave us rice and sugar. I am going to consume them for strength and good health,” he added. Perak was once a rich state, with the tin rush of the 1880s resulting in a boom. But now many locals migrate to the capital Kuala Lumpur for jobs. Buddhism is the second largest religious denomination in Malaysia after Islam. There are approximately 5.4 million Buddhists in Malaysia, most of them ethnic Chinese, out of a total population of 30 million.
The summit will convene 150 industry leaders from sectors such as information technology, banking, food processing, healthcare, clean energy, digital payments, manufacturing and Government of India officials to explore the impacts of manufacturing in India, digitisation, India’s move towards a cashless society and the future of the US-India trade relations, USIBC said. Participants will discuss key issues such as how Internet of Things (IoTs), smart city planning, and manufacturing issues are shaping the future of the US-India technology partnership, it said. Led by USIBC chairman and Cisco Executive Chairman, John Chambers, the summit among others will feature Union Cabinet Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Secretary,
Ministry of Electronics and IT Aruna Sundararajan. The summit will also honour Sundararajan with the ‘Transformative Leadership Award’ for excellence in public service and for her commitment to advancing US-India cooperation and Digital India. Last year’s recipient for this award was Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog. “India is changing rapidly due to digitisation and this in turn is changing how Indian consumers access information, public goods and services, and create opportunities for innovation,” said USIBC president Mukesh Aghi. “Moreover, India’s digital economy has the potential for doubling to USD250 billion, contributing 7.5 per cent of the country’s GDP in the next three years,” he said. “The summit will bring together top minds in the industry and the government of India to discuss these possibilities and the future of the USIndia technology partnership,” Aghi said. The companies which will attend the summit include Amazon, Paypal, Deloitte, Facebook, Nuveen, Mastercard, Dell, TransAsia, Varian Medical, Visa among others
VOICE OF ASIA 13
voiceofasiaonline.com Section 2
Business VOICE OF ASIA
India finding it hard to end love affair with cash by Megha Bahree
EW DELHI (AFP) - Fat wads of bank notes move across counters in Old Delhi’s gold and diamond district in one of many challenges to six months of Indian government efforts to suffocate the black market. Cash has been king in the musty narrow streets of Chandni Chowk since the jewellery market was set up by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. The owners now largely shrug off “demonetisation” by modern day ruler Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a shock move on November 8 last year, Modi cancelled all 1,000 ($15) and 500 rupee notes in circulation, rendering about 86 percent of India’s currency void. Amid street protests, the decision triggered massive queues outside banks as the authorities struggled to print enough new notes.
percent higher than for the same month last year. It insists it is looking for longterm change. - Cash piles But the action so far has not deterred wily and wary Indians. All sales witnessed by an AFP reporter during a visit to the gold market on a recent afternoon were in cash. “Demonetisation has had no impact at all,” said the proprietor of a store who declined to give his name. “You can never remove cash from our system.” New Trendmaker Homes in Houston & Austin Trendmaker Homes Sponsored Cash withdrawals from bank machines are rising. In March the figure stood at 2.2 billion rupees, up 0.6 percent from the same month last year.
Chandni Chowk is not alone in resisting the digital economy. At least 80 percent of business in India is estimated to be conducted in cash, much of it avoiding tax as well as fuelling corruption.
And the government action hit the economy, at least temporarily. India’s impressive growth fell to 7.0 percent in the final quarter of 2016 from 7.3 percent in the previous three months. That could yet be revised down as the full picture emerges.
“I’m sticking to cash,” one gold and diamond dealer, Kapil, who declined to give his last name, told AFP at his store in the backstreets.
Agriculture and real estate are as sensitive to the cash economy as Old Delhi gold dealers.
“There have been many raids on the shops here so I don’t keep as much stock of ready jewellery as I used to, but I don’t take any cheques or cards,” he said. “Only cash.”
“Property sales have slowed in Delhi, but not just because of demonetisation,” said a real estate agent in the capital, who asked that his name not be revealed.
Most of the gold, silver and diamond dealers approached in Chandni Chowk told AFP that while a percentage of their transactions had switched to digital cards, cash still dominates. Last year Kapil sold jewellery worth nearly 10 million rupees ($155,000) but declared sales of just 500,000 rupees ($7,770). But it is not just the sellers who prefer the tax-friendly cash system. “Customers still want to pay in cash to save paying tax,” Ranjeev Panjali, whose family has been in the jewellery business for the past 60 years.
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
“Cash is more difficult, but more often than not there are big piles of notes on the table,” he added.
US small businesses worry about American trade policy
OS ANGELES (AFP) - Small business owners trying to break into international markets say US trade policies and the strong dollar affect their ability to export, states a report released Tuesday. The exchange rate “has been a big one,” said Jamie Deering, whose parents started Deering Banjo in 1975 in San Diego, California. Exports of the iconic American folk instrument account for 30 percent of the company’s business. Many of the 16 small businesses featured in the report entitled “The New Faces of American Trade” also cite the strong US dollar as a factor weakening their potential to export, a complaint they share with larger manufacturers. A strong dollar makes US products more expensive, and thus less competitive, in overseas markets. Wei-Shin Lai, who with her husband Jason Wolfe invented SleepPhones -- wearable headphones in a flexible headband -- said the company had to pull out of the Boots convenience store chain in Britain because they could no longer compete due to the unfavorable exchange rate.
A strong dollar makes US products more expensive, and thus less competitive, in overseas markets Innovation Forum, a nonprofit connecting small businesses with policymakers and resources to join the global marketplace, examined how these companies use internet resources to expand their export presence. Like bigger companies, small businesses favor open trade and consistent rules. And trade negotiations are key to keeping markets overseas open to American products.
“It became untenable for us to make money,” she said at a forum on the report Tuesday. Her company is based in the struggling Rust Belt city of Erie, Pennsylvania.
“If we’re not at the table another voice will step in,” Lai said. “We need to be there,” she said of international trade negotiations.”
The report, produced by the Global
Deering told the forum about chang-
India passes new law to tackle bad debt
thin to lend for fresh investments.
Ironically, jewellers made money in the initial days of the government cash ban as stunned consumers swapped suddenly worthless notes for gold, a traditional safe haven.
EW DEHLI (AFP) - India on Friday gave greater powers to the central bank to intervene in cases of bad loans, seeking to tackle a mountain of debt that experts say is holding back the economy.
“There is not a single shop in this entire market that didn’t make money during demonetisation,” one shop owner, who declined to be named, said with a laugh.
The move authorises the Reserve Bank of India to order banks to take specific measures to deal with bad debts under the provisions of the existing bankruptcy laws.
“It’s another tool amongst the many the government has launched without success in the past, and I’m not sure how much it changes things,” Ashish Gupta, Credit Suisse’s head of equity research, told AFP. “We need to see how RBI moves on this.”
The owner said he doubled sales last year to 20 million rupees owing to the government action.
In its executive order, it said the “stressed assets in the banking system have reached unacceptably high levels and urgent measures are required for their resolution.”
India’s bad loan problem received national attention last year in March when beer and airline tycoon Vijay Mallya fled to the UK to avoid paying nearly $1 billion in loans that he owed banks.
India remains the world’s fastestgrowing major economy, but its banks are saddled with some of the highest levels of bad debt in the emerging markets according to the International Monetary Fund.
According to Credit Suisse, some 12 trillion rupees ($185 billion) have soured, the bulk of it at public-sector banks.
The government followed up the bank note action by banning all cash transactions above 200,000 rupees in March. It has promoted e-wallets and offered incentives for businesses that adopt digital payments.
The government’s “longer-term success will depend on whether Indians return to cash in large numbers,” the Stratfor consultancy said in a recent report.
The government said that the amount of tax collected in February was 10
It predicted that Modi will not give up attempts to “steer India’s economy away from cash.”
That means banks are stretched too
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But industry experts said it was not clear that the latest move would be sufficient to tackle the problem.
The 10 largest corporates in the country are also the most burdened with debt and owe a collective 7.5 trillion rupees.
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FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Here’s how Coach is Ayurveda in prominence creating a ‘house’ of luxury as never before brands, analyst says Has Baba Ramdev managed to market the ancient formulae for the masses? Coach’s strategy of late has incorporated pulling out of department stores, acquiring smaller brands and cutting back on discounts by Lauren Thomas
Further, the analyst pointed out that owning multiple brands allows a company like Coach to “grow and succeed, even when a brand is missing a trend.” It’s why the European luxuries companies, for example, are viewed differently than those in the U.S., Siegel added.
onday’s major mergers and acquisitions news likely isn’t Coach’s last deal, one retail analyst predicts. The luxury handbag maker announced Monday its agreement to buy smaller rival Kate Spade in a proposed transaction valued at $2.4 billion. Rumors had already surfaced that the deal was looming, with many analysts writing in recent notes about Coach’s acquisition strategy and how it could help the retailer boost sales.
Coach has made no secret of its push to make itself known as a global, multibrand luxury company. Though the Kate Spade brand reso-
Coach is creating a “house of modern luxury brands,” which will be operated entirely independent of each other (File photo) “I think Coach is buying a customers’ list ... that helps penetrate a larger audience,” Nomura Instinet analyst Simeon Siegel told CNBC’s ‘Power Lunch’ in an interview Monday. “[It’s] buying a status.” Instead of focusing on one brand, Coach is creating a “house of modern luxury brands,” which will be operated entirely independent of each other, Siegel said. In 2015, Coach bought designer footwear company Stuart Weitzman for as much as $574 million, at a time when handbag sales were particularly weak and competition was strengthen-
nates particularly well among millennial shoppers, the company has been struggling lately, as a whole, to generate sales. A more favorable macroeconomic environment, though, could give Kate Spade “a bit more headroom to execute its growth strategy,” and it will help Coach grow its reach globally, Siegel has said about the combination of the two. “From my perspective, it’s looking to shift the burden of success from lying squarely on fashion trends and instead merging the backends of multiple brands to be able to leverage the infrastructure ... supply chain,” Siegel added. (-CNBC)
Super luxury car sales are booming
A Bentley Motors Ltd. EXP 12 6e concept convertible hybrid automobile sits on display at the Auto Shanghai 2017 vehicle show in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 (Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg) by Niall McCarthy
HANGHAI, China - Given that the world’s billionaire club has continued its relentless expansion over the past decade, it’s little wonder that sales of their favorite toys have also grown significantly during the same time frame. Super luxury cars are almost an obligatory status symbol for ultra-rich individuals, and according to JATO statistics, a record 28,500 of them were sold in 2016. That’s a 15.9 percent increase on 2015 with demand fueled by China in particular. Bentley and Ferrari were the heavyweights in the super luxury car segment in 2016, commanding a market share of 37 percent and 24 percent respectively. Lamborghini came third with 11 percent while Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin had 10 percent each. The top three selling super luxury car models last year were all Bentleys:
the Continental came first, followed by the Flying Spur and the Bentayga. Demand was highest in the United States which accounted for 30 percent of the global sales volume, equating to 8,377 vehicles. The UK came second with 4,600 units sold, while China followed closely behind with sales surpassing 4,400. JATO reported that demand for super cars is red hot in China at the moment with sales skyrocketing 54.2 percent between 2015 and 2016. In 2016, the highest geographical concentration of billionaires was in Asia-Pacific region and in the United States. With 609 individuals worth more than one billion U.S. dollars in 2017, China was the country with the biggest billionaire population worldwide. Its capital Beijing alone had 94 billionaire residents, and it was a city with the most billionaires in 2017. (-Fortune.com)
by Nantoo Banerjee
ew will disagree that making a Rs.1,00,000-crore-plus branded fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market, led largely by multinational companies and their associates, suddenly busk in the glory of nearly 5,000-year-old India’s own home-grown Ayurvedic formulae products is no joke. A Yoga-guru-turned-marketing-mahaguru from Haridwar, Baba Ramdev, has not only made it happen in just about 10 years, but, in the process, has put some of India’s 100-plus-yearold MNC brands and their associates such as Hindustan Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Glaxosmithkline, Horlicks, L’Oreal, Colgate, ITC, etc, at their wit’s end about how to fight the Baba’s Patanjali onslaught in the market. The name, Patanjali, an ancient Rishi, as described by Paramhansa Yogananda in his ‘Autobiography of a Yogi,’ defined ‘yoga’ as a process to ‘control the fluctuations of the mindstuff’. The word Ayurveda combines two Sanskrit words — Aayush and Veda. In english, Aayush means life and Veda is knowledge. Thus, Ayurveda means ‘knowledge of life’. Seemingly, Ayurveda may have little to do with some of Ramdev’s so-called Patanjali herbal products — from Marie and Digestive biscuits to a host of cooking aids, Rice, atta, mustard oil and cosmetic products such as face wash. Never mind that. The modern yoga guru is going strong with newer and newer FMCG products under the Patanjali belt that is targeted to reach a Rs.20,000-crore plus business within the next four years. Patanjali is posing a threat to MNCs not only in India but also in other countries with large Indian or Indian-origin population where the Indian brand has already made an inroad. According to the latest UN survey on international migrant trends, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world with 16 million of them living outside their country in 2015. Patanjali finds a great export opportunity in some of those countries. Patanjali seems to be focussing more on FMCG products than initial Ayurvedic medicines, which face intense competition from other big local firms such as Dabur, Baidyanath, Himalaya, Hamdard, Emami, Zandu, Charak, Vicco, Surya Herbal and Arya Vaidyashala of Kotakkal (Kerala). The annual turnover of India’s branded Ayurvedic drug and cosmetics industry is not very large. It is said to be only around Rs.5,000 crore. Exports account for nearly Rs.500 crore. However, multi-product Patanjali is said to have already crossed Rs 10,000 crore sales in last fiscal. Processed food products may have largely contributed to such a massive turnover. The company is now having global ambitions. Recently, Patanjali Ayurved managing director Acharaya Balkrishna said the FMCG major is looking to double its share in the country’s food processing market in the current fiscal. The company plans to invest Rs 5,000 crore on expansion of its various verticals. It would be putting aside a substantial portion of funds to open new units and ramp up existing capacity. Patanjali plans to set up as many as five mega food parks, including one in Madhya Pradesh and an-
Along with herbal products, Patanjali seems to have taken the sails off some of the traditional branded grocery products in the market (File photo) other in Maharashtra, both ruled by Bharatiya Janta Party, with which the Baba enjoys a special relation. The Ramdev company also has plans to grow medicinal herbs in a big way for dual use, medicines and modern beauty treat. Alongside aloe vera and amla, Patanjali wants to produce a host of herbs such as Tulsi and Ashwagandha. For instance, the company plans to sell 100 tonnes of aloe vera juice per day, up from 40-50 tonnes, currently. The list of Patanjali products is long, covering some 800 items. No other FMCG firm is known to have such a large number of products. Patanjali seems to have taken the sails off some of the traditional and well-entrenched branded grocery and processed food products in the market, which are faced with low sales growth and even lower sales margin in the face of growing competition. Patanjali, whose grocery, processed food products and cosmetics are cheaper than MNC brands, is certainly giving the established players in the business a big competition. Going forward, there is nothing to believe that Patanjali will continue to have a free run for long in the crowded FMCG market led by some of the old big-pocket multinational and domestic tsars. Questions are also being raised about Patanjali’s sources of funds to sustain and grow such a large operation, so fast. In just 10 years time, Patanjali has given competitors like Hindustan Unilever, Emami, Godrej Consumer, Colgate and several others, a run for their money. According to reports, the
company has, so far, been taking short term loans to meet its working capital needs. In the past, public sector banks like Punjab National Bank and SBI have lent credit to the company. While brand Patanjali’s meteoric rise is expected to interest market researchers and faculties in leading management institutes, the company itself may have to revisit its growth strategies in the face of no-holds-barred competition from established entities, which may leave no stone unturned to put hurdles to its business ambition. An unfavourable test report by the Central Food Lab in Kolkata has led the defence canteen stores department (CSD) to recently suspend sales of Patanjali’s Amla juice. In a letter dated April 3, the CSD is said to have asked all its retailing depots to make debit notes for their current stock of the product so that it can be returned to the company. Incidentally, the same lab in Kolkata had detected high lead levels in Nestle’s Maggi noodles samples two years ago, that led Nestle to temporarily withdraw the brand across India. It is not the first time that the Ramdev company is locking horns with the regulators. It has been questioned for selling noodles and pasta without the requisite licences, and had faced flak from the food regulator, FSSAI, over the allegedly misleading advertisements for its edible-oil products. Hopefully, Patanjali will soon learn how to overcome such business obstacles to maintain its growth and focus on the market. (-IPA)
VOICE OF ASIA 15
Movie Review: Loev Review by Deepali Singh, Mumbai
he story follows Jai (Shiv Pandit) and Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh) and 48 hours in their life. Film: Loev Starring: Shiv Pandit, Dhruv Ganesh, Siddharth Menon Directed by: Sudhanshu Saria What’s it about The story follows Jai (Shiv
friction between him and Sahil. It’s never clear whether the two are friends or lovers but there is a lot of sexual and emotional tension between them. Then Alex introduces them to a much younger male colleague Junior (Rishabh J Chaddha), leading to further complications. What’s hot First of all, it’s commendable for a director to make a film on a taboo subject like homosexuality. And to do it without stereotyping the lead protago-
formance. Check him out in the airport scene near the end of the film and you’ll see what we mean. All the actors, including Siddharth are comfortable in their roles. This is a film where a lot is conveyed through silences. A special mention for cinematographer Sherri Kauk, who provides the film with a number of visually memorable scenes. The scene where Jai and Sahil sit atop a mountain and all one can hear is the wind, is clearly one you will think about long after the movie is over. What’s not
Cartoonists ‘first victims’ of crackdowns on press
ARIS, France | AFP Ten countries including Russia, Turkey and India have been condemned for censoring, locking up or threatening cartoonists in a new report published Friday. The Cartooning for Peace group said cartoonists were increasingly becoming the victims of repressive crackdowns on free speech. The watchdog’s first annual global report also documents attacks on freedom of expression in Kenya, Venezuela, Egypt, Malaysia, Jordan, Ecuador and Burkina Faso. Its founder, the French cartoonist Plantu -- who set up the group a decade ago with former United Nations chief Kofi Annan -- told AFP that his peers were in danger across the globe. Cartoonists were the canary in the mineshaft, he said, “often the first to be threatened” by authoritarian governments.
Pandit) and Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh) and 48 hours in their life. New York-based businessman Jai visits Mumbai and he and music producer Sahil head out for weekend trip to Mahabaleshwar. Sahil is going through a low phase with his boyfriend Alex (Siddharth Menon). While Jai is slightly busy with his business meetings, it leads to a little
nists, is another. The film may have homosexuality as the main subject, but at the heart of it, it is about love and friendships among men. Sudhanshu never lets the viewer forget that and it works beautifully for the movie. Although, both Shiv and Dhruv do justice to their roles, it is the latter who tugs at your heart with his vulnerable per-
Since the subject matter being dealt with is offbeat, the makers will find it hard to many eyeballs. Which, will be a shame. What to do Loev is about missed chances and you don’t want to miss the chance of watching it. Because no matter how you spell it, this is a film about love. (-DNA)
Fancy a noodle burger? East meets West in Indonesian fusion food
Indonesian food stylist Dade Akbar displaying some of his food in Jakarta.(Photo: Adek Berry.) by Dessy Sagita
AKARTA, Indonesia | AFP |- From a restaurant serving burgers and pizzas made with local noodles to a social media star giving street food a touch of haute cuisine, a new wave of innovative chefs are putting a modern twist on Indonesia’s traditional fare.
colourful packaging that are sold at almost every grocery store and supermarket -- to make Western dishes. Among the most popular are the “mizza”, a pizza whose base is made out of noodles, and a “merger”, a burger which has buns fashioned from Indomie. It also serves burrito, quesadillas
- Gourmet street food While the “Mammamie” cafe uses Indonesian ingredients to spice up Western dishes, Jakarta chef Dede Akbar is taking local dishes as his starting point, and seeking to make them more classy. In his brightly-decorated kitchen, the 34-year-old carefully placed two blocks of tempe -- a traditional soybean patty -- onto a plate. He blowtorched a hard-boiled egg, and added small flowers as a garnish before artistically dripping sauce across the dish. Satisfied with his creation, he took out a camera and snapped pictures from various angles, before uploading them to Instagram. It was his popular Instagram account “Warteg Gourmet”, which currently has about 40,000 followers, that catapulted him to fame.
A burger made from noodles at a restaurant in Jakarta (Photo: AFP) New eateries have sprung up rapidly in recent years in the capital Jakarta offering a wide array of foreign foods to cater to a growing consumer class which has emerged after a long economic boom. But rather than focus entirely on cuisine from overseas, some chefs decided to fuse the new influences with age-old Indonesian foods. One eatery offering fusion food is “Mammamie”, whose name is a playful take on an Italian expression of shock combined with the local word for noodles, “mie”. It uses the country’s favourite instant noodles, Indomie -- cheap blocks of fodder in
and sushi dishes made with the noodles. Cafe owner Muhammad Luqman Baehaqi said he was trying to appeal to young Indonesians who were keen to try Western foods but still enjoyed Indomie. “There isn’t a single Indonesian person that doesn’t know Indomie,” the 39-year-old said. “It’s tasty and familiar to all of us.” The small cafe can seat about 20 people on chairs designed to look like Indomie packing cases and has a distinctly hipster vibe, with young office workers enjoying dishes that cost the equivalent of about two to four dollars under an image of late Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Wartegs are modest stalls or kiosks selling cheap food, often cramped spaces on street corners where blue-colour workers stop for a bite and to smoke a cigarette. But rather than drab dishes for people earning low incomes, Akbar said he celebrates warteg food as it has “different textures and a wide range of colours that we can play with”. Akbar was inspired to make haute-cuisine, warteg-style food after becoming annoyed at the careless presentation of dishes at the traditional streetside eateries. What started off as a hobby became an obsession, and eventually Akbar found he was receiving so many invites to be a “food stylist” at events that he quit his day job as an advertising agency art director to become a full-time chef.
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
French cartoonist Plantu, a founder of Cartooning for Peace, says his peers are increasingly in danger across the globe (AFP Photo/ Joel Saget) The report was also highly critical of Malaysia’s Sedition Act, which it said has been used to try to silence journalists. It said the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has been subject
sensitive subjects,” the group said in a statement. Cartoonists are always on the front line, it said, the victims of “censorship, attacks, imprisonment, exile, disappearances and, in the worst cases, even
“Finally for the last few days we in Europe are worrying about what has been happening in Venezuela,” added Plantu, whose work appears on Page One of the French daily Le Monde. “For six years we have been trying to defend the cartoonist Rayma,” who was first targeted by Hugo Chavez and has since fled to Florida after being threatened by his successor, President Nicolas Maduro. The report also highlights the case of Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart, who has been jailed since October with colleagues from the liberal daily Cumhuriyet on accusations of “collusion with a terrorist organisation”. The newspaper incurred the wrath of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for running a story about a shipment of arms intercepted at the Syrian border, allegedly bound for Islamic extremists.
Illustration by Semih Poroy (Turkey) courtesy Cartooning for Peace’s website to nearly a decade of persecution, travel bans and harassment for his work criticising official corruption. “Whether their cartoons concern politics, the economy, sports or religion, cartoonists are confronted with the same threats as journalists who cover
murder.” Last week the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders warned that the media has never been as threatened as it is now, undermined by increased surveillance and the rise of authoritarian leaders across the globe.
VOICE OF ASIA 16
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Young voices chant the ancient Bhagavad Gita at CMH competitions
The winners of 2017 Gita Chanting competition with Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty (Photos by: Jayesh Mistry and Nilesh Shah) by Subhashree Hariharan
OUSTON. In the “Cintan Dainandini,” Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda gives a beautiful example of the power of chanting – “The child may be in any part of the house; it need not know where the mother is; but the moment the child cries ‘ma ma’, the mother appears and gathers the child to her bosom.” In the same way by repeatedly chanting the Bhagavad-Gita with a pure and innocent heart, like that of a child, the Guru’s grace and Sri Bhagavan Krishna’s blessings will be constantly present. In honor of Pujya Gurudev’s 101st birthday (May 8), Chinmaya Mission Houston held its annual Gita competition on May 6th where over 115 children offered the best of themselves to the great Master who lived and spread the message of Gita every day of his glorious life. To watch young children chant verses from Chapter 14 – The Yoga of Gunas –and adolescent minds present their analysis of the chapter was both mesmerizing and transcendental. While reciting the Gita creates a positive vibration within the body and the environment around, it also teaches control and voice modulation which improves pronunciation as well as vocal musical skills. The regular chanting of the Gita also helps children with concentration, discipline, time management,
responsibility, public speaking finesse, comprehension and deliberation. Just as sending our children to start school at kindergarten, similarly learning the Bhagavad-Gita at a very young age has numerous benefits, some of which can be seen immediately and some in the future. When the winners of the Gita Chanting event were celebrated the next day, Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty emphasized that Gita was for everyone and it was best learned when young to be applied in a lifetime. He appreciated the enthusiastic spirit of all children who participated. The winners of the Gita Competition are: Group 1 (KG-2 grade): • 1st place – Vashi Banavalikar (KG) and Ahana Rao (1st Grade) • 2nd place – Samarth Srivatsan (1st Garde) • 3rd Place – Anshula Thandra (KG) Group 2 (Grades 3-5): • 1st place – Aditi Chaubal (5th Grade) • 2nd place – Chinmayee Madhava (5th Grade) • 3rd place – Sanvi Sudarshan (3rd grade) and Veda Suresh (5th Grade) Group 3 (Grades 6-8): • 1st place - Ayush Manoj (7th Grade) • 2nd place – Karthik Chitta (7th Grade) • 3rd place – Megna Prabhakaran (6th Grade) Group 4 (Grades 9-12): • 1st place – Bhavya Kathireddipalli
(10th Grade) • 2nd place – Saaketh Rao (11th Grade) • 3rd place – Aarushi Das (9th Grade) Along with those who won recognition for Gita chanting, there were also a select group of four Bala Vihar children who were specially awarded their trophies for the Slokathon – a marathon effort to learn and chant over two hundred verses from various important stotras. The Slokathon is a cornerstone program of Chinmaya Bala Vihar at Houston which encourages children to learn at their own pace and master the art of devotional chanting in Sanskrit. Slokathon Trophy winners are: • Nitheesh Chander Kodarapu • Nithya Kodarapu • Chinmayee Madhava • Pranav Sriram Every year, the celebration of Pujya Gurudev’s birthday reinforces the learning and living of Gita – marked by the children’s voices against a silent and strong supportive teamwork of Chinmaya volunteers’ dedicated actions. Hari Om! For more info www.chinmayahouston.org, www.saumyakasi.org For more information on Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities visit www.chinmayahouston.org, www.saumyakasi. org or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059.
Slokathon Trophy winners (L to R) : Nithya Kodarapu, Nitheesh Chander Kodarapu, Pranav Sriram and Chinmayee Madhava
Indian student made to remove bra over exam cheat fears
EW DEHLI, India| AFP - An Indian student said Monday she was made to remove her bra in public by school authorities over exam cheating fears, minutes before sitting a crucial test. Authorities issue strict dress codes to tackle widespread cheating on the entrance test for India’s prestigious medical colleges. But there is no mention of bras on this year’s prohibited articles list which includes dark clothes, long sleeves, brooches, badges, closed shoes and socks. The student, who has not been identified, told media she was at the test centre in Kerala state on Sunday when a metal detector started to beep during a security check. “At that time, they told that without removing my innerwear I cannot enter the exam hall since they (bra hooks) are made of metal. So, I took off my bra there itself and gave it to my mom, she was waiting outside,” the student told NDTV news network. The girl was quoted in The Times of India as saying that she lost all her “confidence and composure when I was asked to remove it in front of everybody”.
Another student’s parent said his daughter was forced to remove the button on her jeans after it set off the metal detector. “She was sent back, she came back and told me ‘Papa, the jeans button has to be removed, the button is an objectionable item’. Promptly I removed the button,” the father told NDTV. “Then I went to a shop about three kilometres from the exam centre and bought a new dress for her after getting the shop opened.” The school principal said he was unaware of the student’s underwear ordeal but admitted his school stuck to the rules. “We have clear instructions that if the metal detector beeps, no one can be allowed inside. Whenever it beeped, we told students to remove what they have,” Jalaluddin K. told NDTV. Cheating in exams is common in India including paying large bribes to buy test papers, although there have been more elaborate ruses. Hundreds of people were arrested in eastern Bihar state in 2015 for scaling the walls of schools and providing crib sheets and study materials to their relatives during exams.
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VOICE OF ASIA 17
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
‘Wonder Woman’ to release in India on June 2
Launch of Hindi film ‘Half Girlfriend’ in Mumbai
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman looks fierce in her character.
UMBAI, May 8 (PTI) - After her brief appearance in “Batman V Superman”, actress Gal Gadot is all set to return as the title character in “Wonder Woman”.
Believe it India, Justin Bieber is coming
he latest teaser from Mohit Suri’s ‘Half Girlfriend’ introduces us to Madhav Jha, played by Arjun Kapoor, a typical Bihari boy who comes to Delhi to
Gadot plays a fierce Amazon warrior with incredible strength, grace and wisdom in the movie, which is slated to release in India on June 2. Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, the superhero film by Warner Bros is directed by Patty Jenkins. Jenkins says Wonder Woman was the “coolest” superhero for her while growing up. “Growing up, my friends and I were obsessed with being Wonder Woman on the playground. I first became aware of the character when I was in elementary school and watched the 1970s television show Wonder Woman, starring Lynda Carter. “Wonder Woman was just the coolest, most beautiful and most exciting female character I had ever seen,” the director said in a release. Jenkins is confident that Wonder Woman will turn out to be a great superhero film. “... I have tried not to only focus on the fact that it’s a female character and but also ensure we make Wonder Woman a great superhero movie.” Apart from Gadot, the film has an A-list star cast of actors like Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen and Elena Anaya. Wonder Woman grows up as Diana, the princess of the Amazons and a great warrior. She learns about a massive conflict raging in the outside world and decides to leave her home to fight in the war where she realises her true potential. “Wonder Woman” is the fourth film in the DC Extended Universe.
Indian Bollywood actors Shraddha Kapoor (2L), Arjun Kapoor (2R), writer Chetan Bhagat (L) and director Mohit Suri (R) attend the trailer launch of the Hindi film “Half Girlfriend” in Mumbai on April 10, 2017 (Photo: AFP)
Singer Justin Bieber (Photo: Getty Images)
UMBAI, May 9 (PTI) The stage is set and the excitement in Beliebers is high for international pop sensation Justin Bieber’s maiden India concert. After rocking the stage in Dubai on May 6, the “Love Yourself” singer is set to perform in Mumbai tomorrow. “Dubai is incredible... India you are next. Amit Bhatia, you ready? Purpose Tour Stadiums,” Bieber, 23, tweeted on Tuesday. A rage among the youth, especially the teenagers with his experimental and fresh music, Bieber is touring to promote his critically-acclaimed album “Purpose”. Titled the “Purpose World Tour”, around 45,000 Beliebers are expected to be in attendance for the Grammy-winning singer’s first-ever show at Navi Mumbai’s D Y Patil Stadium, where a huge stage has been constructed. Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale has confirmed the deployment of 500 personnel along with 25 officers to ensure proper security at the stadium, with drone cameras keeping a constant watch. Apart from the local police standing on guard for the pop star and his own personal security, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s personal bodyguard Shera has also been roped in to ensure Bieber’s safety. “Harry Potter” actress Elarica Johnson will host the highlyanticipated event of the year in the country.
The opening acts for Bieber’s gig include artistes such as DJ Sartek, DJ Zaeden and Norwegian DJ Alan Walker. The performances will begin at 4 PM with DJ Sartek opening the concert. Bieber is getting a royal treatment during his India stay. He will be treated to cuisines representing 29 states, people close to the organisers of the tour said. After the show, Bieber is expected to attend a private yacht party with live karaoke singing. The “Cold Water” singer is expected to spend the next two days of his trip to India visiting New Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Bieber will be showered with custom-made presents which include exclusive autographed sarod as a goodwill gesture from Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Swarovski-studded couture by Rohit Bal and Anamika Khanna-designed floor length chanderi silk jacket for his mother, Pattie Mallett, among others. Bieber embarked on the tour on March 9 last year.
make it big. He joins the elite St Stephens college, where adventures await him. Watch him talk about Riya Somani who, means more than a friend to
him but, is not his girlfriend. The movie is based on Chetan Bhagat’s popular novel of the same name and is set to release on May 19, 2016 (-Reporting by AFP)
Telugu actor Pradeep Kumar allegedly commits suicide!
Telugu actor allegedly committed suicide at his residence in Hyderabad’s Alkapuri colony on May 3, police said, reports news agency PTI. Pradeep Kumar’s wife Pavani and one of his friends saw him hanging from a ceiling fan after which they admitted him to a hospital where doctors pronounced him as dead, Narsingi Police Station Inspector P Ramchander Rao said. “Though the exact reasons behind Pradeep’s extreme step are still not known, the couple had a minor quarrel last night,” the Inspector said. There are no visible injuries on the body, the police officer said adding only after postmortem, the cause of death will be determined.
The late actor Pradeep Kumar A case has been booked under section 174 of the CrPC and further probe is on. Police officials also said that Pradeep, 29, did not leave any suicide note but his wife claimed that the couple had an
argument following a party at their house, which, The Times Of India reports, might be considered as a possible cause of his death. Pradeep Kumar featured in serials like Sapthamathrika and Aruguru Pathivrathulu.
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FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
HEALTHY LIVING VOICE OF ASIA
Statins don’t cause muscle pain: study
Statins are prescribed to lower cholesterol in people at high risk of heart attack or a stroke. complaining of muscle ailments -- 41 percent more compared to those not taking the drug.
Since the patients are already aware of the side effects of the statins drugs and have read multiple reports around the same, they expect to feel them too. But the lead author of the study, Peter Sever, believes that this is dangerous as it has led to a lot of people quitting these medications which can prove to be fatal. by Mariëtte Le Roux
ARIS, France | AFP | Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may have been wrongly blamed for muscle pain and weakness, said a study Wednesday that pointed the finger at a psychological phenomenon called the “nocebo” effect. It happens when people suffer sideeffects because they expect to -- the opposite of the “placebo” effect when a patient gets better on a dummy drug they believe to be the real thing. “Patients can experience very real pain as a result of the nocebo effect and the expectation that drugs will cause harm,” said Peter Sever of Imperial College London, the lead author of a study published in The Lancet medical journal. In this case, multiple reports of alleged side-effects from statins appear to have convinced people to experience them -- and prompted many to stop taking the drug. A large-scale quitting of statins is estimated to have resulted in “thousands of fatal and disabling heart attacks and strokes, which would otherwise have
been avoided,” wrote the research team. “Seldom in the history of modern therapeutics have the substantial proven benefits of a treatment been compromised to such an extent by serious misrepresentations of the evidence for its safety.” Statins are prescribed to lower cholesterol in people at high risk of heart attack or a stroke. Known side effects include an increased diabetes risk, the study said. But muscle pain and weakness has remained contentious, with some studies finding a link, and others none. The latest study offers an explanation for the apparent contradiction. - Benefits outweigh risks Data gathered from about 10,000 people in Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia between 1998 and 2004, showed that patients who did not know they were given a statin in a drug trial did not report significantly more muscle complaints. It is only when they were told they were taking a statin that people started
US task force recommends against thyroid cancer screening
The muscle symptoms thus appeared “unlikely to be due to the drug itself”, Sever told AFP. “Just as the placebo effect can be very strong, so too can the nocebo effect.” The researchers also found no evidence for a heightened risk of erectile dysfunction or sleep disturbance from statin use. “We hope that patients will understand this and be prepared to take the statin,” said Sever. “The problem is that patients and doctors are not prescribing statins or patients are not taking them for fear of side effects. They need to weigh up the benefit of the statins and the risks. The latter are minimal.” -, said the study showed that “muscle pain is very common, but far less commonly caused by statins.” “If you are at high risk of cardiovascular disease or have had a heart attack or stroke and a statin is recommended, fear of muscle-related side effects alone should not prevent you taking a statin,” Banerjee, who was not involved in the study, commented via the Science Media Centre in London. One limitation of the study was that it considered a single statin, atorvastatin. The trial was funded by Pfizer, which markets atorvastatin under the trade name Lipitor.
Next Ebola outbreak ‘inevitable’, world better prepared: WHO
ONAKRY, Guinea | AFP | A new outbreak of the Ebola virus is “inevitable” but a new vaccine and rapid-response measures mean it will be more effectively contained, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday. The Ebola crisis that began in December 2013 killed 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and has left thousands more survivors with long-term health problems. The WHO was criticised at the time for responding too slowly and failing to grasp the gravity of the outbreak.
The rate of thyroid cancer has risen faster than any other type of cancer in the last decade in the United States, climbing 4.5 percent per year. (AFP Photo)
creening for thyroid cancer is not recommended for adults with no symptoms, because there is no evidence it boosts survival and can lead to over-diagnosis and complications, an independent US medical task force said Tuesday. “The US Preventive Services Task Force concludes with moderate certainty that screening for thyroid cancer in asymptomatic persons results in harms that outweigh the benefits,” said a statement updating the group’s 1996 guidelines. The rate of thyroid cancer has risen faster than any other type of cancer in the last decade in the United States, climbing 4.5 percent per year, said the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). But the mortality rate from thyroid cancer has not changed substantially, despite the increase in diagnoses. Often, patients have a good prognosis. More than 98 percent of people diagnosed will survive the first five years. Experts reviewed 67 studies on the accuracy of screening, whether by ultrasound or by feeling for lumps in the neck, and the benefits and harms of treatment of screen-detected thyroid cancer. It found “inadequate evidence” to judge the accuracy of either screening technique in people without symptoms. The panel also found “inadequate
direct evidence to determine whether screening for thyroid cancer in asymptomatic persons using neck palpation or ultrasound improves health outcomes.” Any benefit would be small, because thyroid cancer is relatively rare. The task force did, however find “adequate evidence of serious harms of treatment of thyroid cancer and evidence that over-diagnosis and overtreatment are likely consequences of screening.” An accompanying editorial by Anne Cappola of the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, pointed to research done in South Korea, where low-cost ultrasonography screening for thyroid cancer was widely offered after 1999. “Since then, thousands of thyroid carcinomas have been detected, resulting in a 15-fold increase in the diagnosis,” she wrote. “Importantly, the number of deaths from thyroid carcinoma in South Korea during this period has remained unchanged at 300 to 400 per year.” Meanwhile, two percent of patients have reported complications of thyroid surgery, including vocal cord paralysis; and 11 percent emerged with damaged glands -- numbers she described as “not trivial.” The USPSTF recommendation does not include people at high risk due to having been exposed to radiation in the head or neck in the past.
Speaking at an event in the Guinean capital dedicated to individuals who fought to control the disease in their communities, WHO chief Margaret Chan also thanked the Guinean government for its role in developing the vaccine, announced in December, but added a note of caution. “Scientists do not yet know exactly where in nature the Ebola virus hides between outbreaks, but nearly all experts agree that another outbreak is inevitable,” she said, speaking to an audience of scientists, Ebola response coordinators and dignitaries. “When this occurs, the world will be far better prepared,” Chan added. In a major clinical trial using an innovative “ring”, or group method, nearly 6,000 people in Guinea were given the test vaccine in 2015, during which not one of them contracted the disease.
How the new Trump Care bill could affect health care consumers
ere are some key takeaways about the newest version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also referred to as Trump care. Pre-existing conditions Technically, people with pre-existing conditions may not be barred from obtaining insurance coverage under the AHCA. However, their coverage options could be seriously affected by this bill. States would be permitted to apply for waivers to exempt insurance companies from a community rating provision and allow them to charge far higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. The community rating provision is a way of setting premiums and is designed to ensure risk is spread evenly across a larger pool. Under the AHCA, people in certain states could face far higher premiums for pre-existing conditions. States that apply for this waiver would have to implement high-risk insurance pools to accommodate them. But health care experts are skeptical that these high-risk pools would have enough money to fully cover people in need. High-risk pools The newest version of the bill allocates $8 billion over five years for states that apply for the waiver, to help cover the costs of care for people with pre-existing conditions. Most likely, the states would use this money to help fund a highrisk insurance pool for residents with pre-existing conditions. Pollitz said it’s unclear why $8 billion was picked as an appropriate number to fund a high-risk insurance pool, especially since it’s unknown how many states would apply for the waiver and how many people with pre-existing conditions would need help paying for care. “Eight billion is not a number that bears any resemblance ... to what this would cost,” she told ABC News. Before the Affordable Care Act, 35 states had high-risk pools to cover residents who otherwise would not be insured because of pre-existing conditions. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that state high-risk pools often had significantly higher premiums and likely included just a small fraction of people who needed coverage. Health care mandate The Trump care bill does away with the mandate under the ACA that requires people have health insurance or pay a fine. Under the
In early 2014, however, a handful of infections in southern Guinea mushroomed rapidly into an epidemic. Chan emphasised that another positive outcome of the Ebola crisis was renewed focus and funding for vaccines against other contagious diseases, including the fatal Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as well as the Lassa and Nipah viruses.
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new bill, people who go 60 days without health coverage would be penalized if they rejoin a health plan; they would face a 30 percent penalty on their insurance policy for one year. Christine Eibner, a senior economist and professor at the Pardee Rand Graduate School, told ABC News in an earlier interview that some people would likely not view insurance as a necessity and be more willing to bet that they could afford the 30 percent surcharge on health insurance down the line. “It doesn’t seem that punitive,” she said. “You’re still guaranteed that you can get health insurance ... For some people, that might be affordable, and you might end up with employer coverage in the interim.” Essential health benefits Under the ACA, certain essential health benefits — including maternal care, prescription coverage and mental health care — must be a part of any insurance plan. Under the new Trump care bill, states could apply for a waiver to exempt insurance plans from including these benefits in their plans. To qualify, the states would need to prove they could either lower the cost of health care for people or increase the number of people covered by insurance. Health experts say that if this provision is enacted, costs for people in need of specific essential health benefits will likely face higher premiums. “If somebody needs maternity care, it will be much more expensive,” Eibner said. To choose right Healthcare OR Medicare plan contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900. “These significant spillover effects strengthen the world’s collective defences against the never-ending threat from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases,” she said Also speaking at the event, President Alpha Conde said it was “time Africa benefited from cutting-edge technology, notably in the field of biomedical sciences,” and called on industrialised nations to share their expertise.
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Even with an “initially limited” first batch of the vaccine, Chan said, health authorities had another option in their arsenal “beyond isolation and quarantine”. First identified in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola virus erupted periodically in outbreaks of up to a couple of hundred cases, mainly across west and east Africa.
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SCIENCE & TECH
VOICE OF ASIA 19
Deadly secret: The illegal abortions killing Myanmar’s women by Caroline Henshaw
ANGON, Myanmar | AFP - Thiri’s heart started pounding and her whole body shook after she swallowed the final dose of pills that would end her unwanted pregnancy in a Yangon hotel.
run by untrained quacks who use anything from umbrella shafts to twigs or bamboo to try to dislodge the foetus. Experts say there are dozens of illegal surgeons in the commercial capital Yangon alone, charging between 30,000 and 100,000 kyats ($20-75) for a
New nano material discovered; may lead to faster, powerful electronics
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Arctic sea could be ‘free of ice’ by 2040, warn scientists As per the new research, the Arctic sea has been thawing at a rapid pace over the past three decades, making the ice to fall by more than half
cientists, including those of Indian origin, have discovered a new material with highestever conductivity in its class, which could lead to smaller, faster and more powerful electronic devices. What makes this nanoscale thin film material so unique is that it has a high conductivity, which helps electronics conduct more electricity and become more powerful, said researchers led by the University of Minnesota.
Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/DPA/PA Her boyfriend had abandoned her after finding out she was pregnant -- a familiar story in Myanmar, where many consider women “ruined” if they have sex before marriage. With no other option in sight, she joined the hundreds of thousands of women in the country who risk their lives every year seeking out illegal backstreet abortions. “My heart was beating very fast (after taking the final dose) and I was trembling all over... then the bleeding started and I had a pain in my stomach,” 28-year-old Thiri, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, told AFP. “Now I worry about my womb, about whether I can get pregnant.” Abortion is banned in Myanmar unless a woman’s life is at risk and doctors who defy the law can face up to 10 years in jail. Even talking about sex is taboo in the Buddhist-majority country, where there is no proper word for vagina in the Burmese language spoken by most people. While contraception is technically available, few women know how to use it and many young people are too ashamed to buy it. “Women don’t talk about sex,” said Thiri, who has still not told her new fiance she had an abortion two years ago. “It’s like a secret.” She says the doctor who told her she was pregnant made her feel ashamed for sleeping with her boyfriend out of wedlock, and urged her to “get married fast”. Experts say this culture of silence and scandal around sex could be driving more than a quarter of a million women a year to seek out clandestine and often unsafe abortions. With 282 fatalities per 100,000 pregnancies, Myanmar’s maternal death rate is the second-highest in Southeast Asia and twice the regional average. Officially around 10 percent are caused by induced abortions, but experts say the reality is likely higher as deaths from infections are counted separately. “Up to a third of all the maternal deaths in Myanmar will be related to abortions,” said Sid Naing, country director for reproductive health NGO Marie Stopes. - Bamboo and bicycle spokes Like Thiri, many desperate women resort to taking black market pills they know little about. Others visit backstreet clinics
procedure. Dr Ni Ni, the country director of the reproductive rights advocacy group IPAS, described one case where a 14-year-old girl had to have her uterus removed after it was ripped by a bicycle spoke. Some women bleed to death straight away, while others are left with internal infections that can become fatal. Records from the Yangon Central Women’s Hospital seen by AFP showed almost 300 women were admitted with abortion-related septicemia -- a blood infection -- between January and September last year. “If they don’t come early we cannot help,” said Su Su, who used to work at the hospital. “Normally they come late, because they are afraid.” Activists say many married women end up pregnant because they have no power to refuse their husband’s advances or make them use contraception. Most of the hospital records listed women in their mid-20s and 30s, along with several in their 40s. Only a handful had “single” written next to their entry in red pen. “Women get threats if they don’t agree to have sex with their husbands,” said Htar Htar, founder of women’s rights group Akhaya Women. “They cannot say no to sex and also cannot negotiate to use condoms.” - Family planning Birth control was shunned by Myanmar’s former junta, which tried to encourage Buddhists to have children out of fear of the huge populations of neighbouring India, China and even Thailand. That changed under the quasi-civilian government that took over in 2011, which implemented a scheme to give more married women access to contraception. “Before that even the words ‘family planning’ were taboo,” said Kaori Ishikawa, deputy representative for the UN Population Fund in Myanmar. NGOs like IPAS are making long-term contraception more available to women, particularly in rural areas where maternal mortality rates are over twice as high as in the cities. The UNFPA has spent almost $10 million in two years to improve maternal health and family planning. But public attitudes are proving harder to change. Htar Htar said she pushed for abortion to be decriminalised as part of a raft of new laws to protect women’s rights, but was rejected because of concerns it
The material also has a wide bandgap, which means light can easily pass through the material making it optically transparent, they said. In most cases, materials with wide bandgap, usually have either low conductivity or poor transparency. “The high conductivity and wide bandgap make this an ideal material for making optically transparent conducting films which could be used in a wide variety of electronic devices,” said Bharat Jalan, professor at University of Minnesota and the lead researcher on the study. This includes “high power electronics, electronic displays, touchscreens and even solar cells in which light needs to pass through the device,” Jalan said. Currently, most of the transparent conductors in electronics use a chemical element called indium. The price of indium has gone up tremendously in the past few years significantly adding to the cost of current display technology. As a result, there has been tremendous effort to find alternative materials that work as well, or even better, than indium-based transparent conductors. In the new study, researchers developed a transparent conducting thin film using a novel synthesis method, in which they grew a BaSnO3 thin film (a combination of barium, tin and oxygen, called barium stannate), but replaced elemental tin source with a chemical precursor of tin. The chemical precursor of tin has unique, radical properties that enhanced the chemical reactivity and greatly improved the metal oxide formation process. Both barium and tin are significantly cheaper than indium and are abundantly available.
The third edition of “Seed & Chips: The Global Food Innovation Summit” will be held May 9-11, focussing on new technologies for feeding the globe,
from agriculture to distribution. More than 200 speakers from around the world are expected to attend, with Obama giving the keynote address on May 9. He will also participate in a discussion with Sam Kass, a former White House chef and the former president’s advisor on nutrition policy. Advocating healthy eating was a particular concern of Michelle
EW DEHLI - A new report estimates that the Arctic sea would be almost free of sea ice by 2040 – the earlier estimate was 2070.
as fast as the rest of the world for the past 50 years, the report found.
As per the new research, the Arctic sea has been thawing at a rapid pace over the past three decades, making the ice to fall by more than half.
According to the scientists, while the point of no return for the ice has passed, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could help mitigate some of the predicted impacts of climate change on the Arctic and the rest of the world.
The latest evaluation conducted by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, which includes more than 90 scientists, found that projections for the melting of the Arctic sea have been “underestimated”. Instead the region had been warming twice
The report also found that snow cover in the Arctic regions has significantly decreased.
The melting of glaciers in the Arctic has impact on rising incidence of droughts, floods and heat waves. The warming in the Arctic affects the ocean
n unpiloted military space plane, launched by an Atlas 5 rocket in May 2015, glided to an unannounced landing on the long shuttle runway at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, closing out a 718-day mission. It was the first Florida landing of a returning spacecraft since Atlantis flew home in the program’s final mission in 2011. Sonic booms rumbled across central Florida around 8 a.m. and a few minutes later, the Air Force tweeted that the Boeing-built X-37B space plane -- a compact, delta-wing craft equipped with a payload bay, a solar power boom and a sophisticated computer control systems -- had returned from orbit and landed safely. “Today marks an incredibly exciting day for the 45th Space Wing as we continue to break barriers,” Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander, said in a statement. “Our team has been preparing for this event for several years, and I am
extremely proud to see our hard work and dedication culminate in today’s safe and successful landing.” It was the fourth clandestine flight of the X-37B, the longest in the program and the first to end in Florida, where Boeing has taken over two former shuttle processing hangars that have been modified to handle the secret spycraft. The first three missions ended with landings at Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles. “This mission once again set an on-orbit endurance record and marks the vehicle’s first landing in the state of Florida,” Lt. Col. Ron Fehlen, X-37B program manager, said in the Air Force statement. “We are incredibly pleased with the performance of the space vehicle and are excited about the data gathered to support the scientific and space communities.” The program’s fifth launch is expected later this year.
For women like Thiri, however, it can be a question of life and death. “If it were legal it would save so many lives,” she said.
Obama’s while she was First Lady, including her Let’s Move initiative to fight childhood obesity -- which dovetailed with the president’s landmark health care reforms. The speech comes shortly before Obama is scheduled to hold a public discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on May 25 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Scientists say the production of carbon dioxide must be cut as it warms up the environment. Meanwhile, NASA had said that sea ice loss in the Arctic was on average 8,300 square miles per year between 1976 and 1996, compared with 19,500 square miles per year between 1996 and 2013, showing it had more than doubled in that period. (-ZeeNews)
Two X-37Bs, also known as OTVs, or orbital test vehicles, are known to exist. OTV-1 flew the program’s first and third missions while OTV-2, flew the second and fourth, which began with launch atop an Atlas 5 rocket at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 20, 2015. The spacecraft are believed to fly as orbital test beds for advanced technology sensors and other systems but the program is classified, and the Air Force provides almost no details on the nature of the space plane’s missions, what might have been accomplished or when the reusable craft might fly again. But before OTV-2 took off on its just-ended flight, the Air Force acknowledged two experiments: a NASA materials science project and one to test an Aerojet Rocketdyne Hall-effect thruster, which generates low but steady thrust by accelerating electrically charged xenon ions. (-CBS News)
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would go against Buddhist beliefs that all life is sacred. “Changing the law about abortion will be really sensitive, especially with Ma Ba Tha,” she said, referring to Myanmar’s most prominent hardline Buddhist group.
currents and the winds which affect the monsoon across the world, thereby affecting food production and cropping patterns. This would also cause sea level to rise, which in turn affects the coastal cities.
Air Force space plane lands after secret mission
“We were quite surprised at how well this unconventional approach worked the very first time we used the tin chemical precursor,” said Abhinav Prakash, graduate student at U. of Minnesota. (-PTI)
Obama to back healthy eating at Milan food conference ILAN, Italy | AFP - Barack Obama will be the keynote speaker at a food innovation conference this month in Milan, the latest move by the former US president to help foster healthy eating.
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FASHION & BEAUTY
VOICE OF ASIA 20
Afghan beauty parlours are a sanctuary for city women scooped backs and even -- in the summer -- tank tops.
by Anne Chaon
ABUL, Afghanistan | AFP - The photos in the window promise much: languorous, kohlrimmed eyes and bright, bold nails -- but once you enter the beauty parlours of Kabul, it becomes clear the images outside are a pale reflection of the vibrant reality inside.
Scraps of conversation between women of all generations mingle with the sound of hairdryers and the smell of varnishes and lotions. - â€˜Add more, add more!â€™ â€œThe families who bring their girls here, they are happy
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Its Summer... Everyone looks hotter in sunglasses
Muzhdaâ€™s sister will marry tonight, and the women of her family are gilding themselves in make-up, manicures, blowouts and henna. Most have already donned their richly embroidered evening gowns -- but wait until the last moment before donning
tâ€™s that time of the year when we try and answer the eternal style conundrum: Why does nearly everyone instantly look more attractive with sunglasses on? A new research has tried to put science to sensibility.
After the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001, small oases began to flourish in the Afghan capital -glittering feminine spaces in stark contrast to the dusty, dangerous, male-dominated streets outside. (AFP Photo/Rebecca Conway) After the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001, small oases of glamour began to flourish in the Afghan capital -- glittering feminine spaces in stark contrast to the dusty, dangerous, male-dominated streets outside.
that itâ€™s just for girls, so... they know itâ€™s very safe,â€? says Athena Hashemi, owner of the upmarket salon â€œHennaâ€?. The 32-year-old beauty, her long hair loose and her face barely made up, opened her salon two years ago after training in Dubai. She now employs 17 aestheticians.
In Kabulâ€™s city centre they line entire streets, their interiors protected from the male gaze by windows papered over with images of outrageous make-up and sophisticated hairstyles, their entrances barred by a screen or a simple curtain.
â€œThey are the best in town,â€? customer Muzhda asserts, a hairdresser intent on the complex architecture of her curly chignon. Frequented by the wealthy and local celebrities, Henna is also the most expensive: the â€œspecial bride packâ€? is 9,000 afghanis ($136) and includes full body waxing (6,000 af-
Once the thresholds to these sheltered boudoirs are crossed, veils and scarves are shed: girls emerge from the burqas to reveal leggings and necklines,
their high heels. â€œAfghan women are now very fashionable,â€? explains one customer. Make-up that challenges traditional Afghan notions of decency is favoured: foundation caked on, eyes framed in false eyelashes and iridescent, bold powders. â€œThey tell me, â€˜Add more! Add more!â€™â€? sighs Athena. A woman enters with her face blanked by white powder, like a sort of Afghan Pierrot, seeking help from the masters at Henna with her make-up disaster. â€œLook what they are doing in other salons!â€? Athena laments.
Vanessa Brown, senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and author of Cool Shades: The History and Meaning of Sunglasses, found in her research that shades make everyone look attractive. Her conclusion: sunglasses give instant symmetry to your face. The dark lenses cover up any asymmetrical oddities, and research Hama, a doctor in a large maternity hospital in the city, arrives with her daughter who is paying her first trip to the salon ahead of a cousinâ€™s wedding. After the ministrations, now adorned in false eyelashes, golden eye shadow, and with
on facial attractiveness shows a clear link between symmetry and our perception of beauty. A GLASS ACT Designer Ritu Beri concurs, â€œThe right pair of sunglasses help you focus on the jawline, and make it look sharp and chiselled. They hide your eyes and add a certain mystery.â€? Lady Gaga uses sunglasses to flaunt her quirky identity. Kanye West, Victoria Beckham, most rappers are almost never seen without their sunnies. SHADES OF STYLE To put the theory to test: click
lips the colour of petunias, little Mariam -- aged 16 -- looks 30. Weddings are a rare oppportunity to go out, says her mother, the pins in her hair scaffolding for her heavy locks. With kidnappings and militant attacks on the rise in Ka-
a selfie with and without sunglasses. More often than not, the latter will get more likes. Once you shade the eyes, you grab the eyeballs, as designer Esha Sethi Thirani puts it. â€œThe eyes are a big source of vulnerability. Wearing sunglasses is like keeping a secret, a mystery from the world,â€? she adds. Style blogger Samantha Rathore calls them a truly modern accessory. â€œSunglasses give you emotional protection as well,â€? she says. And adds how celebrities wear it all the time to hide their vulnerability and people deploy it to hide tears too. (-Femina.in)
bul Hama and her family, like many others, no longer frequent restaurants, avoid large gatherings, and do not travel outside the city on roads infested with Taliban. So for weddings, she says, the sky is the limit.
Make-up artists showcase peacock beauty in Malaysia
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The three-day annual beauty exhibition kicked off Saturday at the convention centre in the shadows of the Petronas Twin Towers, drawing experts from across the industry (Photo: AFP)
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batik -- ethnic Malay wedding headdresses and costumes -- as others dazzled with boundarypushing make-up. Joy Hussin, a make-up artist with nearly 10 yearsâ€™ experience, said the response to this yearâ€™s event -- themed â€˜peacock-cum-traditional Malayâ€™ -was â€œoverwhelmingâ€?, drawing visitors from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. â€œI would like to see Malaysia emerge as the makeup capital especially for the Muslim world,â€? she told AFP. A little over half of Malaysiaâ€™s 30 million population are
Malay Muslims. She said the makeup industry in Malaysia was a lucrative business, with some clients paying up to $230 per session. â€œEveryone deserves to be beautiful. My mission is to make everyone beautiful,â€? she added. â€œI think with Malaysians having more money to spend, they are spending money to look nice.â€? Malaysia is the third-richest country in Southeast Asia behind Singapore and oil-rich kingdom Brunei.
VOICE OF ASIA 21
Meet the table tennis star hoping for para-athletic success
AKU, Azerbaijan | AFP - Parathlete George Wyndham says he is determined to secure medal success for Sierra Leone at the Islamic Solidarity Games – even if he will not be able to participate in his favoured event.
“I’ve been doing track and field for over 15 years, but this is just the second time I will be doing it for my country, after the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville,” Wyndham explained. He admitted that he had endured a “tough time” two years ago, against some stiff competition, but that he had learned from his mistakes. “I went home and worked very hard to do what was necessary
Parathlete George Wyndham (AFP Photo) to be a champion one day. I’ve worked though my mistakes and now everything is okay. I’m here to win one of the medals!” Wyndham acted as Sierra Leone’s flag bearer in Rio, and has been given the same honour in Baku. He described it as both a “big achievement” and a “big responsibility”.
2017 NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships in Houston
Eighteen conferences have been granted automatic qualification and the remaining four teams were selected on an atlarge basis from conferences and the remaining independent institutions. Six individuals, not from selected teams, also were selected for the championships. The championships will consist of both team and individual competition conducted concur-
rently. Following 54 holes of competition, the field will be cut to the top 15 teams and top six (6) individuals not on one of those teams to compete the final day. In the team competition, the low four scores from each team for each day will count in the team’s total score. The championships will be conducted May 9-12 at Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Harris County-Houston Sports Authority will serve as hosts. For more information about the 2017 NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships, log on to www.ncaa.com.
Sakshi Malik to fight at Asian Championship The onus will be on Sakshi Malik, Sandeep Tomar and Bajrang Punia to help India improve on last year’s performance at Asian Championship.
EW DEHLI (PTI) Rio Olympics bronze-medallist
Wednesday. Sakshi, who won bronze medal in Rio in the 58kg cat-
“When you are the flag bearer, the country expects a lot from you. Their hopes are on you. You have to do your best, fight hard, and raise the name of your country higher.” Wyndham was left disabled after contracting polio as a boy, and has overcome adversity through sport.
ONDON, May 8 (PTI) Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar says “Sachin: A Billion Dreams” helped him revisit the key moments of his life and share them with his fans, who have been an important part of his journey.
“I hope the film will be yet another avenue for fans who have showered their love and blessings on me to cherish the journey that we undertook together for over 24 years,” Tendulkar told reporters at a promotional event here.
The movie chronicles the 44year-old cricket icon’s journey from a young boy to one of the most celebrated sportsmen of all time.
The film, directed by James Erskine, also features fellow team members such as M S Dhoni and Virender Sehwag offering their insights into Tendulkar’s life and legacy.
“This film has helped me relive the important moments of my life through its making. I remain a private person but realised that there is much I have not revealed or spoken about to those who have been instrumental to my life and career, especially the fans.
Erskine, who is known for directing several award-winning films on sports, says it was an honour for him to bring alive the story of a sports legend like Tendulkar. “Directing the film was a wonderful experience. Com-
ing from the UK, I knew that Sachin was a cricketing legend but, even then, it was an eyeopener to see the adoration and respect that Sachin commands across the globe. Erskine says he interacted with Tendulkar, his family and other cricketers to get an insight into his life. “Sachin is both gracious and a perfectionist, and being able to make this film for the Indian people and many more across the globe was a true honour,” he says. AR Rahman has given music for the film which is set to release on May 26. The film has been produced by Ravi Bhagchandka of 200NotOut.
UGAR LAND – (May 04, 2017) — Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Sugar Land offers annual student physicals for Fort Bend ISD, Alief ISD, Stafford MSD and any other student athlete needing a physical. The physicians have been associated with local school districts for more than 17 years and have donated more than $500,000 back to those communities. The University Interscholastic League (UIL) requires all high school athletes to undergo and pass a physical examination prior to participating in sports. Physical evaluations include examining height, weight, vision, blood pressure, pulse, ears, nose, throat, heart, lungs, abdomen, spine, and all joints in the upper and lower body. Physicians discuss the athletes’ medical history and consult with them and their parents if further evaluation is necessary prior to releasing them to participate in sports. “I grew up in the area and attended Elsik High School, so it is an honor to come back and support the players. We look forward to continuing to support these school districts,” said Vincent Phan, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and team physician. “We truly enjoy working with the schools in these districts.” “Performing physical examinations is just part of being the team physician. Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine physicians support coaches, athletic trainers and
“The world wrestling body has accepted their requests and Sakshi will now fight in a new weight category,” said Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) assistant secretary Vinod Tomar.
egory, will now fight in 60kg category while Sarita will take her place in the 58kg.
In the absence of some of the leading grapplers such as Yogeshwar Dutt, Sushil Kumar and the famous Phogat sisters – Geeta and Babita – the onus will be on the likes of Sakshi, Olympian Sandeep Tomar and Bajrang Punia to help India improve on last year’s performance at the showpiece event.
In a late development, the duo
India had bagged a total of
Sakshi Malik at last year’s Games (Photo: PTI)
The trailer of ‘Sachin – A Billion Dreams’ was launched on Thursday in a packed Juhu auditorium. (Source: PTI).
Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to host annual sports physicals
decided to change their weight categories by mutual consent.
Sakshi Malik will be the star attraction and spearhead the Indian challenge in a new weight category at the Asian Wrestling Championship, starting here on
Film helped me relive important moments of life: Tendulkar
he NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Committee announced 22 teams and six individuals that will participate in the 2017 NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships.
by H S Rao
The 27-year-old, a table tennis specialist, was his country’s sole representative at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. But with no para table tennis on the agenda in Baku, Wyndham will instead compete in several para-athletic events: javelin, shot put and discus.
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Dr. Nader Ayub performing exam on student. players throughout the school year,” added Timothy Sitter, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and team physician. “Partnering with Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine provides a convenient, inexpensive opportunity for our athletes to complete this important physical exam. This partnership continues to provide access to some of the finest doctors in our community and a safer environment for our amazing students as they participate in our athletic programs,” said Richard Gregoire, head district athletic trainer for Fort Bend
nine medals including a gold, three silver and five bronze when the tournament was held in Bangkok, Thailand last year. Sandeep (mens’ 57kg freestyle) was the lone Indian to have
ISD. “I thoroughly enjoy the relationship we’ve developed with local school district staff,” said Sitter. “It is a privilege to work together with an exceptional group of athletic trainers and coaches, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.” On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon on July 29, Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will host student physicals in their building at 16811 Southwest Frwy., Sugar Land, TX, 77479. Orthopedic, sports medicine and cardiology physicians will be won a gold metal there. This is the first major competition for the Indian wrestlers this year and the country will field a strong 24-member team for the Championship with eight each
on-site to provide additional clearance as needed. The cost is $20 (cash only) for ages 12 through 18. Be sure to bring a completed UIL Physical Evaluation form, which can be printed from events.houstonmethodist.org/physicals-sl along with the Houston Methodist release form. Proceeds generated from the physicals are donated back to the athletic training program of the school the student attends. Students receiving a physical will also get a free T-shirt. For more information, email athletictrainer@ houstonmethodist.org or call 281.275.0447.
in freestyle, women and GrecoRoman categories. During the competition, 112 freestyle, 103 Greco-Roman and 83 female wrestlers will be vying for 24 gold and silver medals.
VOICE OF ASIA 22
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Your Horoscope for the Week of May 12, 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
You will think of something thrill and excitement, and you want to do something new and out of the ordinary. Your mind soars to a broader, more encompassing view and perspective. You should not rein your thoughts in; the only warning is to be careful when making practical decisions based on these ideas. You can easily overlook the importance of practical details needed to successfully carry out a plan. There will be peace & harmony in the family life, that will help you to concentrate about better planning for future.
A sense low confidence to effectively compete and assert your own will. Some anger and resentment over the frustrations and obstacles you confront now may further complicate matters. This is not a good time to begin a new venture or to ask for a promotion or try to expand your activities in any way. Patience and perseverance are required now. But, Be willing to wait. Your problems and inadequacies seem more real and difficult than they actually are, so try not to become too discouraged.
Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May
Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov
Your more conventional ways and habits may need reconditioning or updating in order to achieve your objectives. Issues of self-worth, confidence, and determination may cause you to neglect important responsibilities at this time. You are apt to put yourself down or compare your talents and skills to other individuals now. You may also experience frustrations or setbacks to your ambitions like creativity, business skills or intellectual talks. That may create resistance from superiors or some kind of instability in your work environment.
During this time period you may begin planning big things for the future. You become excited about an idea that promises much greener results for you. Your enthusiasm and optimism are so strong that it is difficult for you to realistically evaluate the situation. If others question or doubt your plan, you quickly brush their concerns aside, as you pursue a grander vision. Hopefully, you have done your homework or else your grand dream can go up in smoke. This is an excellent time to spread your wings, to travel and visit new places.
Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec
Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June Your imagination and intuition are very keen now. If you are involved in an imaginative area such as art, music, theater, or writing fiction, you will find that fresh, new insights and creative inspirations give added touch and originality to your work. Whether you are directly involved in these areas or not, you will encounter imaginative works that inspire and uplift you now. Your sense of creativity and wonder expands now, allowing you to appreciate life to a greater extent.
You will be sharp, clear & decisive. You can’t stand being idle now; you are ready for challenging, intellectual activities and attacking difficult problems on the job. Selfconfidence and courage run high, so this is a fine time to undertake any project or challenge that confronts you, especially if it involves competition or asserting yourself vigorously. You are inclined to take charge or assume a leadership role at this time.
Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan
Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July You will use charm, humor, and a light touch to get your point across now. And your friendly attitude makes a favorable impression on others. Your artistic sense is heightened now and interest in literature, poetry, and culture is strong. Serious and demanding mental work should probably be put off for another time, as either your mind is more on matters of the heart or you simply want to relax and think of lighter topics. Your relationships are especially affectionate and friendly at this time,
Unsolved or puzzling problems and the hidden or behind the scenes aspects of a situation interest you most, until you discover the truth. An interest in psychology or other peoples’ talk comes to the top. A goal or vision you have been working toward comes into fruition now, or gains momentum and positive recognition from others. You feel expansive and inclined to take risks, and you may be overly extravagant now. You are inspired creatively, artistically, or spiritually at this time.
Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb
Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August You are more detached from your daily affairs than usual, and you step back to reflect on the overall course of your life. You are very concerned with your responsibilities to important people in your life and you may give a special gift or provide practical assistance to parents, spouse, or children. You may also feel very strongly that a relationship has fulfilled its purpose and decide to end a long-term relationship, or perhaps you allow greater autonomy and individual differences between you and the other person.
Your drive for freedom, independence, and absolute authority over your own life is quite strong. You tend to be very sensitive of others. It’s best for you not to try to cooperate too much or slow down your pace to suit other people too much. You need to follow your own rhythm. You are likely to actually act on some of the more unusual or strange impulses you feel from time to time: you crave excitement. This is a time for getting a little loose and ignorant with friends, going dancing, or doing something out of the ordinary that is real fun.
Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March
Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September You will realize that being with people and especially giving something of yourself and your talents to others with benefit you in the long run. However you want to be seen and noticed. You receive appreciation and a positive response and possibly an opportunity or personal contact which will be quite beneficial. There are opportunities for deep sharing and powerful, meaningful contacts with others, especially people who share common goals or ideals. An opportunity for a leadership role is also likely.
You will become emotional at this time, especially about people, places, or causes you have a strong attachment to from the past, such as your alma mater or your home town. You care more passionately and respond instinctively and emotionally to whatever happens to you at this time. Also, you are energized and refreshed now and eager to be involved in projects that benefit your children, family or home. Feelings of tenderness and love for family is very strong at this time. You will plan for a small vacation or family get to gather, in coming future.
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VOICE OF ASIA 23
Job Posting â€“ News Photographer/Live Truck Operator - Temporary
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Job Posting â€“ Web Producer
Equal Opportunity Employer â€“Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity. No Telephone Calls.
Are you a digital content guru? Are you obsessed with major news and top trending stories of the day? Do you have a knack for producing creative digital content that generates high engagement? KTRK TV, the ABC owned station located in Houston, Texas is looking for a full-time digital producer to be part of the team leading the charge to take our digital efforts to the next level. Ideal candidate must have: â€˘ Gift for recognizing and creating impactful, innovative and distinctive digital content â€˘ Extensive newsroom digital background (supervisory skills a plus) â€˘ Unerring news judgement â€˘ Ability to shoot and edit video â€˘ Knack for writing powerful and accurate copy and headlines â€˘ Ability to manage multiple projects at one time â€˘ Proven social media expertise in both content creation and strategic optimization â€˘ Working knowledge of digital publishing tools and analytics â€˘ Ability to excel in fast-paced news station environment and willing to work under deadlines â€˘ Strong leadership, organizational and communication skills â€˘ Flexibility with work schedule depending on station needs and projects We are a 24/7 news operation, so digital producers must be willing to work any day or shift, as needed. To be considered, candidates must apply on-line at www.disneycareers.com by uploading a resume ÂżOHFRYHUOHWWHUDQGOLVWRIUHIHUHQFHV3OHDVH5HIHUHQFH-RE,'%5RQDOOPDWHULDOVVXEPLWWHG Equal Opportunity Employer â€“Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity. No Telephone Calls.
Job Posting â€“ Part Time Broadcast Technician
Job Posting â€“ News Producer
KTRK-TV, the ABC O&O located in Houston, TX, has an opening for a temporary News Photographer/Live Truck Operator. Candidates should have a minimum three years experience in all facets of television news photography including lighting, audio and editing, and show exceptional knowledge and creativity in these areas. Applicants should have a good eye for QHZVSKRWRJUDSK\EHDEOHWRZRUNLQWKHÂżHOGXQVXSHUYLVHGRUZLWKYDULRXV reporters and be able to work in deadline situations. The ideal candidate will have experience or be able to operate a microwave live truck and must be able to lift and carry 30 lbs. of equipment. All interested applicants must apply on-line at www.disneycareers.com by XSORDGLQJDUHVXPHÂżOHFRYHUOHWWHUDQGOLVWRIUHIHUHQFHV5HIHUHQFH-RE ID: 451084BR on all materials submitted.
The KTRK-TV Production Department is looking for a part time Broadcast Technician who is a self-starter and works well with others. Duties will include but not limited to building graphics with Adobe Photoshop, robotic camera operator, audio assistant, and Ă€RRUPDQDJHUIRUOLYHDQGUHFRUGHGSURJUDPPLQJ7KLVSRVLWLRQPLJKWDOVREHXVHGIRU YDULRXVSURGXFWLRQUHODWHGGXWLHVDVDVVLJQHGE\WKH3URGXFWLRQ0DQDJHU3ULRUEURDGFDVWH[SHULHQFHLQDOLYH&RQWURO5RRPHQYLURQPHQWLVDSOXV 4XDOLÂżHGFDQGLGDWHVPXVWEHDEOHDQGZLOOLQJWRZRUNĂ€H[LEOHKRXUVHDUO\PRUQLQJV ODWHQLJKWVZHHNHQGVDQGKROLGD\V:HHNO\ZRUNKRXUVZLOOYDU\$SSOLFDQWVPXVWEH DEOHWROLIWXSWRSRXQGVDQGVWDQGRQ\RXUIHHWIRUORQJSHULRGVRIWLPH$VWURQJ ZRUNHWKLFDQGSRVLWLYHDWWLWXGHLVUHTXLUHGDVLVWKHDELOLW\WRKDQGOHPXOWLSOHWDVNV 7REHFRQVLGHUHGLQWHUHVWHGDSSOLFDQWVPXVWDSSO\RQOLQHDWZZZGLVQH\FDUHHUVFRP E\ XSORDGLQJ D UHVXPH ÂżOH FRYHU OHWWHU DQG OLVW RI UHIHUHQFHV 3OHDVH UHIHUHQFH -RE 5HTXLVLWLRQ%5 (TXDO2SSRUWXQLW\(PSOR\HUÂą)HPDOH0LQRULW\9HWHUDQ'LVDELOLW\6H[XDO2ULHQWDWLRQ *HQGHU,GHQWLW\1R7HOHSKRQH&DOOV
Job Posting â€“ Executive Producer, News & Digital KTRK-TV, Houstonâ€™s leading news organization, is looking for an Executive Producer with a proven track record in broadcast and digital. This person must be a strong team-leader, effective communicator, with a â€˜can doâ€™ attitude. Consistently able to solve problems, turn visions into reality, meet deadlines, and work well under pressure, especially in breaking news situations. Must have exceptional news judgement. Will be required to do some hands-on producing, writing, and publishing for all digital platforms. Needs to be passionate about the news. Quick at identifying, promoting and executing great content. Must be orgaQL]HGHIÂżFLHQWFDSDEOHRIMXJJOLQJPXOWLSOHSURMHFWVDQGVWDIIHUV Candidates should have at least 5 years producing experience in a major market, and some managerial experience. Will be supervising and motivating a diverse group of broadcast and digital employees, as well as mentoring and coaching less experienced staff. Must be willing to work overnights, early mornings, weekends and/or holidays. To be considered all interested applicants must apply online at disneycareers.com, reference job # 451364BR. Please upload a cover letter, resume and list of references. Equal Opportunity Employer â€“Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/ Gender Identity. No Telephone Calls.
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 FRQÂżGHQW SURGXFHU ZKR NQRZV KRZ WR GLJ IRU LQIRUPDWLYH LQWHUHVWLQJ FRQWHQW NQRZV KRZWRPHHWWKHQHHGVRIWKHÂľQHZÂśQHZVDXGLHQFHDQGNQRZVZKHQLWÂśVWLPHWRDEDQGRQHYHU\WKLQJIRUEUHDNLQJQHZVZHDWKHURUWUDIÂżF<RXPXVWKDYHH[FHOOHQWQHZV MXGJHPHQWDQGWKHDELOLW\WRFRPHXSZLWKDQGSLWFKXQLTXHVWRU\LGHDVHYHU\GD\<RX ZLOOEHUHTXLUHGWRFRPPDQGWKHFRQWUROURRPDQGPDQDJHDQHYHUHYROYLQJUXQGRZQ during live newscasts. &DQGLGDWHV PXVW DOVR KDYH FRPSOHWH XQGHUVWDQGLQJ RI KRZ WR SURPRWH DQG XWLOL]H GLJLWDO FRQWHQW LQFOXGLQJ OLYH VWUHDPLQJ .QRZOHGJH RI (136 DQG GHVNWRS HGLWLQJ D SOXV:LOOQHHGWRVKRZH[DPSOHVRIQHZVFDVWVDQGVXEPLWWHDVHDQGKHDGOLQHZULWLQJVDPSOHV&DQGLGDWHVPXVWKDYHDWOHDVWWKUHH\HDUVOLQHSURGXFLQJH[SHULHQFHLQD PHGLXPRUPDMRUPDUNHW 7REHFRQVLGHUHGDOOLQWHUHVWHGDSSOLFDQWVPXVWDSSO\RQOLQHDWGLVQH\FDUHHUVFRP UHIHUHQFHMRE%53OHDVHXSORDGDFRYHUOHWWHUUHVXPHDQGOLVWRIUHIHUHQFHV (TXDO2SSRUWXQLW\(PSOR\HUÂą)HPDOH0LQRULW\9HWHUDQ'LVDELOLW\6H[XDO2ULHQWDWLRQ Gender Identity. No Telephone Calls.
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MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK Rethink What You Want to Do vs. What You â€œShouldâ€? Do Are you doing the things you want to do? Or the things you think you should? Sometimes, other peopleâ€™s wishes tamp down our true desires for our jobs and careers. But dutifully fulfilling othersâ€™ expectations is unlikely to make you happy over the long run. To figure out what youâ€™re truly passionate about, try this experiment: 1. Identify one specific activity to examine, whether itâ€™s something youâ€™re unhappy with or something you want to grow and develop in. 2. Take a quick inventory of your personal values and passions. What drives you? What would you love to do if there was nothing in your way?
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3. Compare your passions with the activity youâ€™re examining. Is there any overlap between them? If not, it might be time to make a change â€” and to redirect where you focus your time and effort. Source: Adapted from â€œFree Yourself from What You â€˜Shouldâ€™ Be Doing,â€? by Andy Molinsky Harvard Business Review
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VOICE OF ASIA 24
FRIDAY, May 12, 2017
Published on May 11, 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...