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FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

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Vol. 30 No. 10 Friday, March 10, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: voiceasia@aol.com

Asia Society Texas Center raises $1m, salutes Magnificent India at sellout Tiger Ball by Shobana Muratee

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OUSTON, (March 6, 2017) – A life-sized ornamental elephant, Dhol drummers, dance and feast, all symbolic of India’s culture were a part of ‘Magnificent India’ on Friday night as Asia Society Texas Center held its annual Tiger Ball in celebration of India. This year, the black-tie and national dress gala was a sellout and the 650 patrons and guests celebrated the culture of the subcontinent. That evening, Bollywood visited Houston with guest in elaborate, traditional Indian dresses were led by Dhol drummers who strolled through the massive reception tent, leading guests, while women dressed in India’s different regional dresses lined the two-story Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall and greeted them. The evening also provided a series of exciting events designed to highlight the Indian arts. After an award presentation in the Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center, guests feasted on Seared Sea Bass with Saffron Beurre Blanc and Grilled Continued on Page 12

Bonna Kol, President, Asia Society Texas Center with Honorees Sushila & Dr. Durga Agrawal, Raj & Jugal Malani, Drs. Renu & Suresh Khator. Photo credit Asia Society Texas Center.

Co-chairs Angela & Chowdary Yalamanchili. Photo credit Asia Society Texas Center.

Dharmendra Pradhan leads Indian delegation at the 36th CERA week in Houston

Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan (3rd from left) Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, was among those to address an international gathering of industry, policy and financial leaders at CERAWeek 2017. Seen with him are Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray (far left) and other Indian delegates.

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OUSTON, (6th March 2016): A senior delegation led by Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan accompanied by senior officials of

Government of India participated in the 36th edition of the CERA week in Houston, World’s energy capital with the objective of informing prospective investors about the abundant investment opportunities available, given the significant policy level

changes that have been brought in by the Government of India. Minister emphasized that his Ministry has introduced several progressive reforms in the Indian Upstream sector, driven by Hon’ble Prime Minister’s goal of reducing import dependency

Honorable Dharmendra Pradhan Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, visits Houston to attend CERA Week, convenes the first meeting of his international think tank, meets energy ministers from across the world, meets Governor Greg Abbot, witnesses an agreement between University of Houston ‘a Renu Khator and Oil India and meets the Indian community. Photo credit: Indian Consulate FaceBook. on oil and gas by 10% by 2022. He also mentioned that as per India’s Hon’ble Minister, the focus of energy is on 4 pillars namely; energy access by providing new connections, expanding national gas grid network and PNG, energy sufficiency by increasing capi-

tal investment in railways and opening up of new inland waterways routes, energy sustainability by increase in production of renewable energy, and use of cleaner fuels, energy security Continued on Page 12

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Koshy Thomas Sherly Philip Shobana Muratee Sherine Thomas Jacob David Susan Pothanikat Priyan Mathew

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All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the consent of the publisher. Voice of Asia assumes no liability resulting from action taken based on the information included herein. Published weekly by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713-7745143. Email for editorial submissions: voiceasia@aol.com; Email for advertising inquiries and submissions: ads@ voiceofasiagroup.com Voice of Asia (USPS 010-215) (ISSN#10705058) is published every Friday (for a subscription rate of $30 per year) by Free Press LLC, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074. Tel: 713-774-5140. Fax: 713774-5143. Periodical postage paid at Houston, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Voice of Asia, 8303 SW Freeway, Suite # 325, Houston, TX 77074

It is the policy of Voice of Asia to publish letters to the editor which evidence a variety of viewpoints. The opinions expressed in any particular letter to the editor are not necessarily those of the management. Voice of Asia welcomes letters in reply to issues raised in letters to editor. In as much letters to the editor are not articles written or researched by members of Voice of Asia, it is not the policy of the Voice of Asia to perform any investigation or confirmation of any facts or allegations contained in letters to the editor. Moreover, Voice of Asia reserves the right to edit letters to the editor as necessary to correct errors of fact, punctuation, spelling and to comply with space constraints. Although paid advertisements may appear in Voice of Asia Group Publications in print, online, or in other electronic formats, the Voice of Asia Group does not endorse the advertised product, service, or company, nor any of the claims made by the advertisement. - The Publisher

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he portrayal of Hinduism in a CNN show on Sunday night has drawn strong protests from many Indian-American groups that found it negative and devoid of adequate understanding of the religion. The episode on Aghoris in the CNN serial ‘Believer’ made by religious scholar Reza Aslan had graphic images of the marginal sect’s extreme forms of practicing their faith. “Eating human corpses? How far would you go to prove your faith? Enter the world of the Aghori,” the CNN said in a tweet promoting the show. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD) were among the organisations that protested. Democratic Congressman from California, Ro Khanna, also expressed his disappointment. “Aslan has free speech! But sad he has made a career of sensationalism over scholarship re: Christianity & Hinduism,” he said on twitter. Mr. Aslan’s works on Christianity have been found offensive by many Christian groups in America. Shock religion porn: HAF chief HAF leader Suhag Shukla termed the show “shock religion porn.” “What does it mean to live without fear? It means CNN and “experts” like ‪@ rezaaslan don’t engage in shock

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Hindu groups, Ro Khanna object to CNN docu’s negative portrayal of religion

Made by Reza Aslan, it featured the extreme forms of practice of the Aghoris, including eating of human corpses. a preview of the episode. An HAF statement said the show perpetrates stereotypes about Hinduism and Hindus. “There is the stereotyped image of a naked Aghori sadhu, drinking alcohol from a human skull, literally eating what is ostensibly human flesh, taking Reza on as his disciple, threatening to behead him if he talks any more, and then throwing his own freshly excreted urine at him, all on camera for viewers to see,” said an HAF statement.

The CNN show ‘Believer with Reza Aslan’ explores the facts and myths behind the Aghori, a mystical Hindu sect known for extreme rituals.(Photo credit: @rezaaslan on Twitter). religion porn,” she said. “It will promote ignorance about Hindu traditions and promote ridicule of Hindu children in the schools. For example, a teacher has requested CNN on Facebook if the Hindu-related episode will be available for teaching ancient Indian history to her sixth grade class! … this will have wider Hinduphobic societal impact,” Ajay Shah, convener of AHAD said. At a time when racial prejudices may be increasing and violence targeting Indians is on the rise, such portrayal of

‘Will he make a film on Islam?’

Hinduism is unhelpful, these groups have said. HAF and AHAD also argued that caste system was not a scripturally sanctioned part of Hinduism and accused Mr. Aslan of mirepresenting the community. The episode showed caste as part of the Hindu belief system and the Aghori sect as a rebellion against the notion of the purity-pollution binary that forms the basis of caste system. HAF representative Mat McDermott had met with Mr. Aslan and had

It’s time for us geeks to stand up and be heard Too often computer scientists are left out of public debates about computer science by Nadya T. Bliss Hacked emails. Compromised political organizations. Flawed and vulnerable apps and phones. I’ve felt a lot of déjà vu lately. So, I decided to take a look at my course syllabus for Computer Science 513 from the spring of 2002 during my master’s program at Cornell University. Cyber wasn’t the thing back then. Still, the topics from my class are incredibly relevant: bogus servers, bogus clients, voting systems security. It’s worth pointing out that Prof. Fred Schneider – a computer security legend and someone who was talking about cyber

information faster and specialized to our needs.

way before it was cool – taught the class. He was certainly a visionary, but he didn’t have a crystal ball.

So, does that mean the demand for shipping new products and software will always outpace cybersecurity? It doesn’t have to.

It’s just that many of the problems we had 15 years ago are the same problems we have today. As a matter of fact, computer scientists have been aware of many of these issues for decades – and we often have good ideas for solving them.

But if we’re going to really change cybersecurity, really make our gadgets safer, the geeks are going to have to get a lot louder. And if you’re not a geek, start listening to us. We know stuff.

But our society has prioritized gadgets and speed over our security and privacy. We want more connectivity, more networking, more options. We want fancier phones, automated cars, and Barbies connected to the internet. We want all our

For many engineers and computer scientists, it may feel unnatural to be the loudest person in the room. We’re trained to deliver facts in dispassionate ways. We’ve been taught to present algorithms, results, system architectures without ringing alarm bells.

As if it matters...

Both organisations also wondered whether Mr. Aslan would make a similar film on Islam, the religion that he practices. The filmmaker, an Iranian American, told Mr. McDermott that he had to abandon the plan to shoot an episode on the Ashura festival in Pakistan as no insurer was willing to cover the crew. “If and when there’s a second series of Believer, Aslan assured that Islam would definitely be included,” the HAF statement said. Courtesy: The Hindu. But we have to make our points heard. We need to make sure that developers, executives, and policymakers hear us. We can do this without being alarmist or having people think we all wear tinfoil hats. Let’s arm people with useful knowledge that can protect them. And we need to seek out the venues where people will listen. I often come across cybersecurity panels and committees without any computer scientists. We should be consistently represented. In August, for example, the Democratic National Committee formed a Cybersecurity Advisory Board after its recent breach. It was a wise move. But while it included experts in national security, internet and media policy, technology, and law and governance, there was a glaring omission: None of them had classical computer science cybersecurity training. That’s just one example. Computer scientists are all too often left out of the public debate about computer science. Part of the reason we’re in the current cybersecurity mess is because no one listened to computer experts in the first place. We were ignored and disregarded. This, of course, is not just a computer science issue – experts are often not included in public discourse. But as connectivity and automation are poised for a dizzying expansion, it is that much more important for computer science voices to be heard. It’s not too late to begin working together. So, this geek is speaking up. I hope you’ll listen.

“I have the results of yesterday’s checkup”

“Do you want the good news, bad news or fake news?” © 2017 Cartoon by Shobana Muratee

Nadya T. Bliss is the director of the Global Security Initiative at Arizona State University. Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics is a unit of GSI.

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FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Second Front Page

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Maha Sivarathri celebrations at MTS Pankaj Desai is Ekal

Vidyalaya Houston Chapter’s new President

by Muthukumar & Sriram

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aha Sivarathri, or great Sivarathri is celebrated on 13th night (waning moon) and 14th day of the month Phalguna (Magha). Sri Meenakshi Temple gave their devotees a very unique and rare opportunity to make a holy pilgrimage to five important Siva Kshetras (Panch Bhootha Sthalams), all under one roof in Houston to experience the divine bliss of Lord Siva on the auspicious Maha Sivarathri on Friday Aug 24th. The event was attended by a steady stream of around 2,000 devotees from 6:30pm to 6:30 am on the 25th. According to legend, Maha Sivarathri is the night when Siva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction. Maha Sivarathri is celebrated at night as a solemn event filled with introspective focus, fasting, meditation on Siva, self-study, social harmony and overnight vigil at the Siva temples. The celebration includes maintaining a “jaagaran”, an all-night vigil and prayers, to signify that the night is for “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in one’s life and the world. Devotees brought fruits, flowers, leaves, sweets as “prasadam”, and milk, yogurt and honey for “abhishekam”. The authentic chanting if Rudram and bhajans by the priests and devotees made the event a thrilling experience for all. This year’s event was even more special since pradosham also fell on the same day. The main event consisting of homam followed by 108 sanku abhishekam and gold bilva archana was from 6:30PM to 9 PM. And a special cultural program was organized for this event. The temple was open all night for the stream of hundreds of devotees who stayed up for the chaturkala pujas at midnight, 1:30 AM, 3 AM and 4:30 AM. ). MTS was awash in divine splendor – Sarvam Siva Mayam. Pancha Bootha Sthalams: The temple silpis (artisans), priests, staff and volunteers worked hard to create a spectacular display of the Five Pancha

customers made this resolve only stronger.

Pankaj Desai, Ekal’

Athamalinga-Abhisekam Bhootha Sthalams i.e. sacred Siva temples in South India dedicated to the Five Earth Elements, namely Prithvi (earth), Appu (water), Agni (Fire), Vayu (air or wind) and Akash (space). They are located at Thiruvanaikaval (Water), Kanchipuram (Earth),Tiruvannamalai (Fire), Sri Kalahasti (Air) and Chidambaram (Space) respectively, with 3 of the 5 temples-Chidambaram, Kanchipuram and Sri Kalahasti all situated on a straight line exactly at 79 degree 41 minutes East longitude - truly an engineering, astrological and geographical wonder. Jambukeswarar Temple at Tiruvanaikkaval near Thiruchirappali, Tamil Nadu – Appu Stalam (WATER) Swamy – Jambukeswarar and Ambal – Akhilaandeswari. This ancient temple celebrates Siva as Jambukeswara, an embodiment of the element “WATER” and is often referred as Appustalam. Even today water oozing out near the Sivalingam in the temple. Ekambareswarar Temple at Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu Prithvi stalam (EARTH) Swamy – Ekambareswarar and Ambal - Elavar Kuzhali (Kamatchi). Kanchipuram a

Vayu stalam (WIND)

Pancha Bhootha Sthalams

temple town is considered to be the foremost among the seven prime pilgrimage centers in India. Arunachaleswarar Temple at Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu - Thejo stalam (FIRE) Swamy – Arunachaleswarar and Ambal - Unnamulai Amman. Tiruvannamalai is the Thejo (Fire) sthalam where Lord Siva (Annamalayar or Arunachaleswarar) manifests himself as a column of “FIRE” in the Annamalai hills to bring light to the world and eliminate the darkness (“ego”). Sri Kalahasthiswarar Temple at Kalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh -

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Swamy – Kalahasthiswarar and Ambal - Gana Prasoonamba. Srikalahasthi is known as Kailash of South and the temple here dedicated to Siva (Kalahasthiswara). It is said to be the place where Kannappa Nayanar (one of 64 Nayanmars) was ready to offer his eyes to cover blood flowing from the Siva linga before the Lord Siva stopped him and granted him mukti. Thillai Natarajar Temple at Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu Aagaya Stalam (SPACE) Swamy – Natarajar and Ambal – Sivagamasundari. The word Chidambaram refers to the sky of consciousness (chit, meaning “consciousness”, and ambaram, meaning “sky”). Lord Siva (Nataraja) manifests his Ananda Tandava pose (the Cosmic Dance of bliss) in the cosmic golden hall (the hall of consciousness called Chit Sabha). This successful event was coordinated by Mr. M.K. Sriram, Mr. Pandurengan, Mr. Muthukumar, and Dr. Padmini Nathan.

by Manu Shah

E

kal Vidyalaya’s Houston Chapter has a new President and he’s charged about his role to bring education to India’s remote and rural areas. Pankaj Desai has been prepping for this role as a volunteer for the last 10 years and served as Vice President in 2016. This year he takes over the mantle from Naren Chavda. Ekal’s new President knows what it’s like to struggle for educational opportunities. Pankaj recalls studying in the park as the family lived in a one room house in Mumbai but says his mother’s “can-do attitude” probably rubbed off on him. This, coupled with a quick mind helped him secure several scholarships and graduate with an engineering degree from IIT, Mumbai. Two other factors, Pankaj elaborates, shaped his thinking about the value of education. Reading biographies of great men brought him to the conclusion that “education is a must to bring about a difference in society.” The image of his father struggling to deliver heavy loads of merchandise to

Pankaj acquired a Masters from NC State University and worked with several multinational corporations stacking up over 30 years of consulting experience. He is presently with BP and is described by colleagues and superiors as “thorough,” “detail oriented” with “the ability to bring different personalities together.” They also highlight his excellent project management abilities – skills bound to come in handy in his new role. Pankaj was introduced to Ekal’s cause by his neighbor, Prakash Shah. Initially wife, Urmi started volunteering with the organization but it wasn’t long before Pankaj was also drawn to the organization’s commitment and drive to educate India at the grass roots level. More importantly, he explains, joining Ekal was also an opportunity to give back to the community. The husband wife duo served in multiple capacities from organizing events, spreading awareness, selling tickets to fundraising - even “cold calling” on occasion to get Houstonians to donate for this good cause. Every accomplishment, small or big, Pankaj reflects, made him realize he could make a difference and spurred him to work harder. He credits his wife for getting him involved and admits that “she keeps him on his toes to ensure Ekal’s work is done.” Relating his interaction with the Ekal children in India, Pankaj says he was deeply moved at their aspirations for the future. Some wanted to be soldiers or doctors when they grow up while others wanted Continued on Page 4


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 4

The People’s Lawyer www.peopleslawyer.net Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center

You do not owe taxes on debts discharged in bankruptcy Q. I filed bankruptcy. I have now received a 1099 form from one of my creditors. Am I responsible for taxes on the money that was discharged? A. When a debt is discharged, cancelled or written off, this may constitute “income” to you. That is why you received the form 1099-C. Creditors are required to send a 1099-C under certain circumstances, but it does not mean you have to pay a tax on the discharged amount. Not all cancelled debt must be included as income. The IRS Code provides that if the debt is discharged in Bankruptcy, or you are insolvent at the time the debt is written off or discharged, you do not have to pay taxes. I suggest you visit the IRS website, www.irs.gov, and look for information about “cancellation of debt,” topic 431.You also might want to speak with a CPA or tax preparer to make sure you properly file your taxes. Q. I received a letter from a debt collector telling me that if I didn’t make arrangements to pay he would take all the money in my bank account. The only money in that account is my Social Security check, which is all I have to live on. What can I do to protect myself? A. It is not necessary for you to do anything to protect yourself; Congress already has protected you.

First, no creditor can take any money from your bank account without first suing you and getting a judgment against you. More importantly, under federal law, your social security check is protected from your creditors even if they sue and win. A creditor cannot take Social Security funds when they are in the bank. I suggest you let the debt collector know that you know your legal rights and you expect he will stop making unlawful threats. Be sure to inform him that the only money in that account comes from your Social Security check. If the debt collector continues to threaten to take the money in your bank account, he probably is violating both federal and state debt collection laws. My guess is he will stop threatening once he knows you know your rights. Q. I don’t own very much besides my house and car. I am thinking about writing my own will. Is a handwritten will valid? Does it have to be witnessed or notarized? A. A handwritten will, called a “holographic will,” is valid in Texas. Basically, all that is required is that the will be written completely in your own handwriting. A holographic will cannot be typed or printed. Unlike other forms of wills, a holographic will does not need to be witnessed to be valid. There is no requirement in Texas that any form of will be notarized. Most wills are

notarized, however, because this makes it easier to probate the will. Although a holographic may seem simple and is legal, in my opinion it generally is not a good idea. One mistake can end up costing your loved ones a great deal in time and money. Many attorneys will prepare a simple will for a very reasonable fee. Also, some online companies, such as LegalZoom, provide very inexpensive wills with clear directions. As far as I am concerned, having an attorney assist you with your will or using an online provider is money well spent.

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

IACF supports Literacy Advance’s Book Drive, donates 200 books OUSTON, (February 26, 2017) - On a perfect Sunday afternoon over 200 books were donated by Indo-American Charity Foundation’s (IACF) Board Members and supporters in a little over 2 hours. Plus, supporters donated money to buy more books! The book drive was in support of Literacy Advance’s Family Events where children get to pick out new books to take home with them and continue their love of reading. Their mission is, “transforming lives and communities through the doorway of literacy.”

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Left is Kushboo Bansal, Outreach Program Manager with Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, IACF president.

Since 1964, Literacy Advance of Houston has been

Q. I bought a house with my former girlfriend. She is now living there. How do I get my name off the mortgage? A. Unfortunately, questions about major purchases between partners are not uncommon; and most do not like the answer. The only way to get your name off the mortgage or other major debts is for the other person to refinance in his or her own name, or, get the lender to agree to release you. As a practical matter, refinancing is your only option. Buying things such as a car or house during a relationship often sounds like the right thing to do. Terminating the legal obligations that arise is not as easy, however, as ending the relationship.

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Members of the IACF volunteering at the Book Drive assisting adults to achieve personal goals and self-sufficiency through improved literacy.

generous donors and supporters, to the volunteers who are at the heart of who we are and what we do.

Trained volunteer tutors help deliver a variety of free programs at multiple locations across the Houston area. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a United Way agency for more than 30 years, Literacy Advance is grateful for the widespread support of the Houston community, from our

Kushboo Bansal, Outreach Program Manager, who was at the book drive representing Literacy Advance spoke about the adult literacy programs as well as the family literacy nights. Check out more about Literacy Advance @ www.literacyadvance.org

IACF partners with local charitable organizations in support of their cause especially in the areas Education, Family, General needy and Healthcare. Volunteers are welcome to join in any of IACF’s activities. IACF’s next event Walkathon I Walk I Care will be on April 22, 2017. Please check out their website http://www.iacfhouston.com/ for details and to register.

Ekal Vidyalaya Houston... Continued from Page 3 to become teachers and teach in the village. He was both amused and amazed to see the children familiar with India’s Prime Minister’s full name – Narendra Modi. The classes under the village tree were clearly working! Ekal runs 54,000 schools in India touching 1.5 million children of which 17,000 schools are supported by US

donations. Pankaj does acknowledge that the work of teaching India’s primarily rural population is a “slow process” tied to several socio economic factors but he is optimistic that rapid advances in technology are expediting the process. As President, he would like to create more awareness about Ekal and work towards greater engagement between

diverse groups in Houston. He has several ideas he is working on to get Houston’s young generation involved in the cause. This year, Ekal hit on a novel idea to raise funds. Tribal artists from India are on a 4 month road trip to showcase their talent across the US. The shows have been spectacularly successful everywhere and will regale Houstonians on 7th May at Cullen Performance Hall.

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Sugar Land Ballroom • Ample parking • Dance floor • Close to Highway 59 & 90 • Seating capacity: 350 people Ask for special package price!

Call Gopal Aggarwal: 832-539-1589 869 Dulles Ave. Stafford, TX 77477


VOICE OF ASIA

VOICE OF ASIA 5

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713-774-5140

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

FORT BEND VIEW

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

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SLP - A unique and successful US prep school in the heart of Sugar Land tory Academy (SLP) is a school where self-directed middle and high school students take control of their education. SLP opened in 2009 and has quickly become one of the most unique and successful schools in the U.S. catering to high achieving students with outstanding character.

F

ORT BEND We asked Carol Appelbaum, the founder of Sugar Land Prep, why she decided to open a school for middle school and high school students. She replied without hesitation, “My daughter and the other bright, motivated students like her who deserve a school that is exceptional both academically and socially. A school that doesn’t settle for mediocrity. A school that coaches’ students as young as 6th grade to prioritize, set goals, take responsibility and ownership of learning, and manage oneself in a manner that will create their success. A school that requires its students to master content before moving forward. A school that seeks to enroll only students with outstanding character.” Carol continues, “In school, my daughter waited for others to grasp a subject or watched as kids misbehaving took much of her teachers’ attention. She was a student who worked hard and always did her best as instructed. It was difficult for my daughter to understand why so many of her peers didn’t do the same.” Three decades ago, Carol Appelbaum and her husband co-founded a worldrenown teacher training company, ATIseminars. org that now trains 40,000 teachers annually. At age nine, their daugh-

Ms. Siddique assisting Ananjay and others with the structure of college courses.

Tutors sharing their expertise with self-paced work. ter, Ciara Appelbaum, presented a speech to nearly 1,000 teachers where she told teachers how much she appreciated what they do for their students. She then pleaded with them not to forget about students who do everything right. “I do everything I am supposed to do. At the end of most days, my teachers have not thought to say, good job to me. They gave

their attention to all the students who misbehave or have trouble learning a concept because they didn’t follow instructions,” Ciara said. As a parent, Carol’s purpose became clear. She had been part of training teachers how to have a model classroom for 20 years. If anyone knew how to start a school, it’s Carol Appelbaum. Sugar Land Prepara-

Prospective students are interviewed and screened. SLP’s curriculum is not typical; it is challenging and rigorous, and students are required to earn “A’s.” They have digital courses and assignments that are self-paced that prepare students for the tech-savvy future. High school students are only accepted if they are transferring “A’s” from their previous schools. SLP has an open concept-learning environment that is reminiscent of university libraries and collaborative “group think” style businesses like Google. Their students schedule their days like they are running a business, intertwining coursework with lessons in life-skills, planning, goal setting, and mentoring. SLP students learn how to be pro-active thinkers. They work on a block schedule to closely parallel the structure of college courses. SLP does not use test taking shortcuts like true-false or multiple choice. Essay tests are the norm. Students participate and manage professional

meetings and speech contests to learn and practice the art of articulating knowledge and passion. SAT and ACT prep is included in SLP’s standard curriculum. Students begin taking and practicing PSAT, SAT, ACTs as early as 6th grade. SLP has a high percentage of 7th graders who have earned DUKE TIP State and Grand recognition. SLP offers students a youth engineering graphics design class where they learn computer-aided design software called Creo Parametric. The philosophy of Sugar Land Preparatory Academy is to deliver academic success through a uniquely individualized curriculum schedule and low teacher to student ratio. This philosophy is directly related to their belief that “assembly line” education, in which every student in every class is following a predetermined schedule, is an outdated model. Sugar Land Preparatory students are thriving with the model of individualized curriculum. Many of their students are doing coursework one to two grades above age level. The SLP graduates do well in college. In fact, Carol Appelbaum’s daughter graduated from SLP three months after turning 17 and will graduate college at age 20. She also was accepted to study

99 percent of SLP’s 7th graders earn DUKE TIP recognition for ACT scores in the top 1-5 percent of the nations Juniors and Seniors in high school.

Students working on robotics. at The University of Cambridge in England. A full 90% of SLP’s graduates have earned their university’s Dean’s List or the equivalent. Sugar Land Prep is conveniently located just off the Southwest Freeway (Hwy 59) near the Beltway. If you have a motivated child who loves to learn, NOW is the perfect time to

ask yourself: Is your child receiving the all-around education you desire? If you are a parent who desires to give your child academic success, call 281-303-5590 to learn more. Visit Sugar Land Preparatory Academy’s website SugarLandPrep. com to register for Summer Camp sessions and RSVP for the Open House March 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm.


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 6

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

IACF hosts Healthcare Networking Wall Street and the Dinner with Memorial Hermann New Administration

Seshadri Nonavinakere

What’s Really Different This Time Around?

Brian Dean and Memorial Hermann team with IACF members and guests. Photos by Shobana Muratee. by Shobana Muratee

H

OUSTON – The Indo-American Charity Foundation (IACF) strengthened its partnership with the Memorial Hermann at a recent Healthcare Networking Dinner it hosted on Thursday, March 2 at the Seasons 52 Restaurant City Centre. Welcoming a select gathering of physicians and healthcare professionals, Dr. Ajay Jain IACF Director and Event Chair spoke about IACF’s healthcare initiatives which included: a flu vaccine camp at Turning Point center, funder of Indian Doctors Charity Clinic, funder of India House Charity Clinic and one of the most outstanding events, being one of the key seed donors of Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN). “Our reach in healthcare in Houston is possible with the network of healthcare providers we have access to, as well as the generous donations of the supporters of IACF,” Dr. Jain said. Other IACF members of the Health Committee including IACF president Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, Dr. Sushovan Guha, Dr. Purvi Parikh, Nanda Vura, past President, Dr. Gopala and

Directors were also present on the occasion. Speakers that evening included Mr. Brian Dean, Senior VP & CEO of Memorial Hermann – TMC, KC Mehta, Dr. KT Shah and Dr. Ravi Chundru from Indian Doctor’s Charity Clinic (IDCC) and Dr. Manish Gandhi, President of Indian Doctor’s Association (IDA). While Mehta spoke of IDCC’s origin and growth, Dr. Shah gave an insight into its operations. Dr. Chundru who was instrumental in opening the IDCC Charity Eye Clinic recently by donating equipment for the eye clinic, spoke of his commitment to IDCC. Dr. Manish Gandhi mentioned the IDA’s upcoming gala on Friday, March 24, 2017. Mr. Dean gave an overview of the Memorial Hermann Health System, “We continue to grow by leaps and bounds all over with 16 hospitals in the Houston area at the end of this month we will be in Cypress,” he said. The largest not-for-profit health system in Southeast Texas, Memorial Hermann has numerous specialty programs and services conveniently located

L-R: Dr. Guha, Shelby Pulvarenti, Dr. Pothuri and Bela Thacker.

throughout the Greater Houston area. “The work that IACF does and Mem o r i a l Hermann are linked in many w a y s , ” Dean said, “It’s an honor for L-R: Shoba Chandrashekar, MD, Manju Badam, us organi- MD and Soma Jyothula, MD were some of the zationally guests that attended the event. to partner with IACF to provide the work that we do Purvi Parikh thanked the guests for those who can’t otherwise and made a special mention of afford it,” he added. Shelby Memorial Hermann, the key Pulvarenti, Director of Market- sponsor of the IACF gala last ing Memorial Hermann Health September. “The gala was atSystem was also present on the tended by 400 people and was a night of dinner, entertainment occasion. and heartwarming stories of Dr. Pothuri, briefly touched giving,” Dr. Parikh said. on the organization’s 2017 iniThe evening’s event was tiatives highlighting its motto, “we live here, we give here.” sponsored by Dr. Bharat PothuOur reach in healthcare in ri, MD of Gastro Doxs PLLC. Houston is possible with the Save the date for IACF’s upnetwork of healthcare provid- coming event Walk-A-Thon ers we have access to, as well on Sat, April 22nd, Further as the generous donations of information can be found on the supporters of IACF. their website, www.iacfhousIn her Closing Remarks Dr. ton.com

It happens at least every four years, and most recently the trend is every eight years. The resident party is sent packing and a new President moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500. Along with the new chief executive comes a whole new group of cabinet members, advisors and White House staff members. One group that never seems to change, however, is what C. Wrights Mills originally dubbed Washington’s “power elite,” and what members of the media refer to as “the establishment.” Mr. Mills was, of course, referring to those long-term senators, members of congress, Supreme Court justices and others who hold the positions of power in our nation’s capital. Although it is somewhat customary for the power elite to express their dissatisfaction with the new people moving into the White House, Jefferson Morley of Alternet claims the establishment has “never been so united in their dismay about the man occupying the Oval Office.” What’s different this time around, claims Morley, is that many members of this group are united in their concern that the Trump administration seems ill prepared to deal with the affairs of the country and the world. He reports that “the opposition to Trump is spilling across partisan and ideological boundaries ... and its nuclear arsenal is now controlled by a band of amateur renegades who are out to dismantle the American state.” How Are the Three Leading Indices Reacting to the Change in

Washington? Although there are many who think the new President has us on what singer and song writer Barry McGuire called “The Eve of Destruction,” the people who vote with their money seem to be in favor of the election results. They also appear to like how these “neophytes” are using the biggest bully pulpit in the world. The “smart money” as they say, is overwhelmingly positive at this stage of the game. If we look solely at the numbers represented by Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500, there is an overwhelmingly positive response to the election results and the first few moves of the new administration. Here are the facts: • Dow Zooms over 1200 Points since election As of December 2016, Wall Street was reacting very positively with the Dow just under 15,000 and “within striking distance of 20,000.” The Dow “powered through” 20,000 on January 25th, three days after the inauguration and as of this writing, is comfortably sitting at 20,241 in the 21st century for the first time in history. • NASDAQ Hits All Time High - “Stocks notch record close as Trump promises ‘big league’ tax announcement.” On February 10, 2017, the NASDAQ composite index closed at 5,734. • S&P 500 moves past 2,000 - Here again, the Standard and Poor’s 500 stands at 2,313, and the chart has done nothing but go up with the new administration coming to town. The power elite may be concerned about where the new administration is headed, but Wall Street seems to be looking forward to the future with great excitement. The establishment is using the power of the pen while the financial community is voting with their money. It will be very interesting to see which group has the better insight into the future.

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 7

Sur Olakhiche: Old Marathi Melodies With New Sounds Of Music by Vivek Chitale

C

YPRESS, TX (March 6, 2017) - Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) presented fundraiser concert, Sur Olakhiche on 12 Feb 2017 at Berry Center, Cypress. Chief Guest Avadhoot Gupte, a Mumbai based music composer, singer, movie director and TV show host drew a loud applause from the audience for the two songs “Wrong Number” and “Say you love me” from the latest Marathi movie “Fugay”. He later answered questions from Rashmi Joshi (Radio DJ) and Samir Karandikar. HMM has purchased 11.5 Acre property near Rosenberg, Texas and plans to build Shri Siddhivinayak Temple and Community Center. HMM Vastu Division executive committee members Rahul Deshmukh, Prasanna Rao and Swati Joshi conducted the program. Sur Olakhiche program was delivered as promised! Names and faces of majority of the very talented artists were unfamiliar to most in the audience. But it did not matter. Houston’s own- no longer a child prodigy, Nitish Kulkarni and his team gave an unforgettable musical treat. Nitish conceptualized and directed this program, which featured a team of “rather new to Houston” artists such as the singers Shreyas Bedekar, Amit Parchure, and Deepali Kulkarni as well as the instrumentalists Varad Gaikwad (Flute), Sangeeta Panse (Sitar), and Anand Desai (Guitar). Also the sweet, charming and fully confident little princess “Surabhi Phatak!” Sur Olakhiche included some of the greatest Marathi melodies composed by stalwarts such as Sudhir Phadke, Hridayanath Mangeshkar, Ashok Patki, Jitendra Abhisheki, and Shridhar Phadke. All singers and accompanying artists performed at professional level. Program novelty was the contemporary accompanying music composed by Nitish who accompa-

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Police Extend Application Deadline for Teen Academy

S

UGAR LAND, TX – The Sugar Land Police Department is extending the application deadline for its first ever Teen Academy to April 3 at 5 p.m. The Teen Academy is a new program intended to engage students in a variety of topics designed to foster relationships, trust and understanding between officers and teens. Participants will have an opportunity to gain an understanding of police operations through specialized presentations and hands-on activities. The two week academy will be held at the Sugar Land Police Department from June 12 through June 23. Those interested must commit to attend

Local artists and organizers at the Sur Olakhiche program.

Nitish on keyboards

HMM honored Chief Guest Avadhoot Gupte. Photo by Bhagyasree Dixit

nied on keyboards, tabla, piano and his favorite keytar, while maintaining the sweetness of the golden melodies. A uniquely noteworthy piano interlude was played by Nitish for the song “Hi Vaat Dura Jaate” sung by Deepali. The Nivedan written and narrated by Manasi Bedekar was deeply meaningful and appealed to the audience to help preserve and enrich the Marathi Culture. The music group as well as the production support team had worked hard to deliver good sound engineering, attractive stage set up and costumes, purposeful lighting effects and the high esthetic appeal. Music exists in our minds as an ornamentation of silence created by the swaras (Swami Chinmayananda). It makes our minds peaceful and joyful. Nitish has succeeded in designing and producing Sur Olakhiche such that it is melodious (shravaniya) as well as pleasing to the eyes (darshaniya). Let me conclude by congratulating the entire team of Sur Olakhiche for presenting a very enjoyable and novel musical program. They maintained high professional standards as well as entertained and pleased all.

all sessions, which will be held Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to noon. Students between the age of 14 to 18 who are enrolled in public or private schools within the city of Sugar Land and its extra-territorial jurisdiction will be considered. Applications are available at https://volunteer.sugarlandtx. gov. Other requirements for consideration include a parental release, medical release and application questions. Classes are limited to 20 students per session. For more information, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/PDteenAcademy or contact Officer Lauren Stockholm at (281) 275-2956.

Houston Health Day event to feature health demos, services offered by Houston Health Department The Houston Health Department will showcase its health services and programs during the second annual Houston Health Day, a free event full of activities, games and prizes that encourage exercise.

lead poisoning prevention, farmers’ markets, community gardens and child vision screening and referrals. They will also highlight services related to chronic disease prevention, tuberculosis and colorectal cancer.

The event will offer Houstonians a chance to learn how to access the department’s programs and adopt healthy living habits. Set for 10 am to 2 pm April 1 at the Judson Robinson Community Center, 2020 Hermann Drive, Houston Health Day kicks off local observance of National Public Health Week.

The department’s mobile units will offer free testing for HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases and family planning services.

Houston Health Day will feature demonstrations on healthy eating and cooking, yoga, Zumba, hip hop fitness, line dancing and a leisurely fun walk through nearby Hermann Park. Prizes will be awarded hourly. Interactive stations will help participants learn about health conditions and engage with the department’s programs and services including immunizations, dental health, free diabetes center, nurses home visitation, childhood

Participants will learn how the department can connect families to medical care, adolescent health services and an array of community and human services. They will also learn to prepare for emergencies and disasters. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will highlight the free nutritious foods and nutrition education it provides to pregnant women. Registration for the event and its prizes drawings is at https:// www.eventbrite.com/e/houston-health-day-2017-tickets32292540859?aff=eac2. For more information, call 832-3935169.


VOICE OF ASIA 8

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017


COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 9

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

MahaShivaratri celebraHouston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital honors outstanding nurses tions at the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands with the DAISY Award (liquid prasadam or offerings) as well as fruit prasadam to the devotees, the temple was closed until evening.

her. I wouldn’t have made it this far without her.” In honor of the DAISY Award selection, Cantos and Reddy received a certificate of appreciation, a DAISY Award pin, a beautiful sculpture titled “A Healer’s Touch,” hand-carved by artists of the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe and a reserved parking spot.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., Ekadasa Dravya (or eleven materials, in this case being eleven types of fruit juice) was the next type of Abhishekam. Also the Tamil traditional purée with bananas, dried fruit and other items was used at this time. The alankaram (adorning of the Lord) consisted of wreaths of many different types of fruits and vegetables, draped around Lord Shiva.

The DAISY Foundation was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died in 1999 from an autoimmune disease. The care the Barnes family received from nurses inspired this unique award as a way of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. Today, more than 1,300 hospitals across the U.S. participate in the program. DAISY Award Recipient, Ranjeetha Reddy, RN, with the DAISY Award Committee

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UGAR LAND—(March 6, 2017) — Lee Cantos, RN, and Ranjeetha Reddy, RN, were named Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s DAISY Award winners, a national honor that recognizes the contributions of extraordinary nurses.

“We are proud to be among the hospitals participating in the DAISY

Alankaram (adorning) of Shiva Lingam.

Cantos was nominated by a number of patients, who praised her kindness and willingness to provide compassionate care. One patient wrote that she was scared during her first night in the hospital, but Cantos went out of her way to make her feel secure. “I was worried about being left alone because my family was unable to spend the night,” the patient wrote on her nomination form. “Lee quickly calmed my fears. She kneeled down at the side of my bed and explained everything about the unit. She was kind and considerate. She listened and answered all the questions that my daughters and I had. By the time she finished, I knew I was in good hands and my daughters felt better having to leave me alone. Throughout that night she kept her promise. She was there constantly monitoring my heart rate and blood pressure. She took great care of me. My family and I thank her for being a nurse committed to excellent patient care.” Reddy was also nominated by several of her patients, who commented on her comforting and gentle nature. One patient in particular spoke of her recent diagnosis of acute leukemia, and the struggles she faced in dealing with the

During the evening, some devotees chanted Vedic mantras and groups from children to seniors led Bhajans for Lord Shiva.

by Beth Kulkarni he Hindu Temple of the Woodlands (HTW) held a magnificent celebration of MahaShivaratri, the night of Shiva, on February 24, 2017 continuing until Saturday morning at 8 am.

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DAISY Award Recipient, Lee Cantos, RN, with her children and the DAISY Award Committee reality of both the illness and the treat- Award program,” said Janet Leatherwood, Chief Nursing Officer. “Nurses ment. like Lee and Ranjeetha are everyday “Ranjeetha is amazingly comforting heroes who demonstrate excellence as she cares for you,” the patient wrote. through clinical expertise and compas“Her care and concern for every detail sionate care, and we are excited to be is extraordinary. She has taken the time able to recognize them – and our future to get to know me and how I respond to winners – as outstanding role models things. She anticipates my anxiousness for the nursing profession.” and heads it off with encouragement I To learn more about Houston Methcan trust. I feel so confident when she cares for me, and it allows me to re- odist Sugar Land Hospital, please visit main positive with my treatments. My houstonmethodist.org/sugarland, and doctor is so pleased with my response visit our Facebook page at fb.com/ to the chemotherapy, and I owe that to methodistsugarland to congratulate these nurses on their award.

The celebration began at 8:30 a.m. on Friday with Rudra Abhishekam. The Abhishekam, or bathing, of Lord Shiva was done with the traditional substances by the presiding priest. Following this was the alankaram (adorning) of Shiva Lingam. Meanwhile, devotees, in addition to observing the Abhishekam as performed by the priest, were able to pour milk and then water, doing their own personal Abhishekam on a smaller murthi of Lord Shiva located temporarily on a platform between Lord Ganesha and Maha Shiva. This opportunity was again available beginning from 6:00 p.m. and continuing throughout the night. Following the first Abhishekam of the day and the distribution of tirtham

Bhasma (holy ash) Abhishekam followed at 10 p.m., with Chandana (sandalwood) Abhishekam held on early Saturday morning. After each, the priests did a beautiful and colorful alankaram, using bhasma and dried fruit for the respectively. The final Abhishekam was of cooked rice which was served as prasadam for devotees on Saturday morning. The final alankaram for the celebration was of many different types of beautiful flowers. The celebration for all was one of great beauty, devotion, and religious fervor, to be long remembered. The next major HTW festival is Holi - Festival of Colors on Saturday, March 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the temple’s premises. It will include playing with colored powders, music, dance and moderately-priced, freshly made Indian snacks and sweets. There will be a short Fun Run at 11:30 a.m. with the $10/ adult fee (children are free) going to the Montgomery County Food Bank. All are invited to attend. Bring your friends and neighbors! The Hindu Temple of The Woodlands is located at 7601 S Forestgate Dr, just off Woodlands Parkway, in The Woodlands (Spring), TX 77382. It serves the religious, cultural, educational, and social needs of the surrounding community, More information is on the temple’s website, www. woodlandshindutemple.org.


DIASPORA

VOICE OF ASIA 10

Dr. Beena George among Houston’s Most Influential Women

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he latest South Asia travel advisory, which notes the presence of ‘active’ extremist elements in India, may affect incoming travel to the country, although the warning will likely have only a temporary business impact. “Such advisories do have a short-term impact and leisure travelers believe they should not take a chance,” said Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) at travel portal Yatra.com. “Typically, the impact is marginal.”

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OUSTON - 3/3/2017Dr. Beena George, dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of St. Thomas, is among Houston Woman Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2016. Marianne Ivany, wife of the University of St. Thomas President Dr. Robert Ivany, nominated her. Beverly Denver, publisher of Houston Woman Magazine, describes the list of women as having an”enviable reputation for their expertise in a particular field or arena.” She added that the ideal “influential woman” is one whose accomplishments and thoughts encourage and influence others. As dean, George has led the school through a rigorous review process to successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the oldest and most prestigious accrediting body in business. She is also actively involved in the accreditation efforts of the university, serving on peer review teams for the regional accrediting association. The review teams visit peer schools to assure and advance the quality of higher learning. George balances a commitment to the growth of existing programs with a focus on

initiating creative and innovative efforts to prepare tomorrow’s business leaders. She has been instrumental in the launch of the Master in Clinical Translation Management program, a unique graduate program focusing on technology commercialization in the life sciences; the program was developed by the University of St. Thomas in collaboration with the Houston Methodist Research Institute. In recognition of her efforts, George accepted an appointment as an Associate Affiliate Member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. “We believe that our actions should make an impact on society, whether it is in teaching our students, developing programs or conducting scholarly work,” George said. “We educate our business students in moral reasoning so they are mindful in their business decisions. When developing programs, we deliberately identify areas that could be advanced by the application of the principles of business administration. We work with partner institutions in Houston to make a difference in our community.” George says that her passion for the pursuit and sharing of knowledge brought her to academia. She continues to teach and enjoys offering courses on business strategy and sourc-

Indian-origin businessman shot dead in US

USA’s latest South Asia travel advisory may affect short-term visits to India by Anumeha Chaturvedi

Dr. Beena George

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

On Monday, the US issued a warning for its citizens travelling to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh while making the reference to India. Simultaneously, US President Donald Trump signed a new executive order, restricting travel privileges of citizens from six nations. “The US government assesses terrorist groups in South Asia may be planning attacks in the region possibly against US facilities, citizens and interests. US citizens should avoid travel to Afghanistan... A number of established terrorist organisations, indigenous sectarian groups and other militants pose a danger to US citizens in Pakistan. Extremist elements are also active in India as outlined in a recent emergency message,” the State Department said. India received 9.83 lakh foreign tourists in January 2017, compared with 8.44 lakh in Jan-

ing management. With her research on the sourcing of business services, George has bridged the areas of academia and practice. In addition to publishing articles on the practice and teaching of sourcing management, she is also participates in industry organizations, such as the International Association of Outsourcing Pro-

uary 2016: The US (15.01%), Bangladesh (14.91%) and the UK (11.11%) made up the topthree source destinations. “Travel advisories do have an impact as travellers might have to forego their insurance. It is unfortunate that the new advisory includes India, which is largely a peaceful and democratic country. Isolated incidents happen everywhere, including in countries like France,” said Subhash Goyal, chairman of the aviation and tourism committee at the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Goyal said while NRIs and business travellers will continue to come to the country, leisure travel will likely decline by a maximum 10%. “Going by the recent hate crimes against Indians, India should be issuing an advisory against the US,” Goyal added. Rakshit Desai, managing director of FCM Travel Solutions, said travel advisories have been issued by a number of governments in the past. While repeat travellers don’t get affected by such advisories as they are aware of the diverse nature of the country and sporadic incidents don’t determine the outcome for them, first-time travellers dither and such advisories affect their confidence. “At times like these, we get in touch with the airlines, and hotel partners to provide them flexibility. We find ways to reschedule their plans without significant consequences.” (-Economic Times) fessionals. George is the lead co-chair of the Tools & Technology Innovation chapter and a member of the leadership team of the Texas chapter of the association. “Dr. George is an extraordinarily accomplished woman,” Dr. Dominic Aquila, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said. “She is a vital member of the Univer-

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EW YORK, PT,: MARCH 04, 2017 Sheriff Barry Faile says the Indian ethnicity of Harnish Patel does not appear to be a factor in the crime.

“Who would do anything like this to him, as good as he is to everybody,” Nicole Jones, a frequent customer at Patel’s store, told WBTV.

A 43-year-old Indian-origin store owner in the US has been shot dead outside his home, just days after an Indian engineer was killed in Kansas in a hate crime shooting that had sent shockwaves across the country.

Mr. Jones and other friends said Patel was not always worried about the bottom line of his business.

Harnish Patel (43), the owner of a convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina, was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home on Thursday, coroner and police officials said.

Mario Sadler, another customer and friend, said Patel had offered him jobs before, and did anything he could to help out in tough times.

Patel closed his store and drove in his silver minivan to his nearby home where authorities believe he was confronted by his killer. The store is about 6 km from his house, The Herald reported.

From day one he’s been amazing, just awesome, and I just don’t understand the sense behind it,” Mr. Sadler said.

He had locked up his nearby store less than 10 minutes before he was found dead, police said. Patel was found in the yard a few minutes before midnight, according to a statement from the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office. Lancaster County police received calls at 11:33 PM after people called 911 to say that they heard screaming and gunshots. - To him, this is not racism Sheriff Barry Faile said the Indian ethnicity of Patel does not appear to be a factor in the crime. “I don’t have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated,”Mr. Faile said Friends and customers were in shock and were visiting Patel’s home to offer condolences to his family.

sity of St. Thomas’s team of deans. Insightful, articulate, and creative—she serves St. Thomas’s students and faculty with distinction and selfless-

- He was a kind person -

“If you didn’t have the money, he’d let people have food,” Mr. Jones said.

“He’s watched my kids grow up, which is why it’s painful.

- For a better life -Dilipkumar Gajjar, a close friend of Patel and the owner the ABC store next to the Speedee Mart, said Patel came over to this country to better his family’s life, and did that. Patel’s death comes close on the heels of the shooting in Kansas of a 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed when 51-yearold US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani at a bar before yelling “get out of my country.” The shooting last month had sent shockwaves across the Indian-American community with people expressing concerns over their safety in an enviornment of xenophobic and racist rhetoric in the country. US President Donald Trump had condemned the Kansas shooting. He had said America stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.

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COMMUNITY

VOICE OF ASIA 11

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Japa Retreat 2017 concludes at ISKCON Houston

His Holiness Romapada Swami giving his discourse. Photo(s) credit: Thejas Rajaram. by Ravinder Yerram

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ast weekend (March 3-5), 150 devotees from Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Oklahoma city and New Oreland had a joyful and spiritual Japa Retreat (Chanting of Holy Names) with His Holiness Romapada Swami and His Grace Bada Hari Prabhu at Greater Houston area, ISKCON Hare Krishna Dham temple. This Japa Retreat is an annual event and for this year the theme of the Japa Retreat was “Taking Shelter of Holy Name – Saranagati!” Romapada Swami gave very informative lectures with scriptural evidences and realizations from his decades of scriptural studies and dedication to the chanting of the Holy Name, Maha mantra (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare). This retreat was a perfect opportunity to enhance the relationship with the Holy Name! The attendees were also drowned by ecstatic kirtan by world renowned devotee musician HG Bada Hari Prabhu and his students from Chicago. It is also a common practice in all religions like Hinduism, Christianity and Islam to worship God by chanting the holy names. Similarly, devotees of the Lord Krishna chant the holy names in the form of the Hare Krishna Maha mantra, which is a call to the Lord to help us in self-realization and reestablishing our eternal relationship with Him. The natural desire for wanting to understand and having a relationship God is in all of us but we generally have no time nor the opportunity to pursue it. This Japa Retreat gave the perfect opportunity to overcome the material obstacles to enter into a spiritual relationship with God (Krishna). It was so amazing to see that so many people were more than willing to reconnect to the holy name of Krishna and gained tremendous spiritual benefit. The second day was full of lectures and ecstatic kirtans on the theme “Saranagati” or total surrender to Lord Krishna. Romapada Swami said in the beginning of the lectures that when many devotees come together and chant the holy names, they will help each other focus deeply and achieve deeper shelter of holy name of Krishna. This is called congregational chanting. He also quoted Srila Rupa Goswami, the foremost of the six Goswamis of Vrindavan, that when the word ‘Krishna’ is uttered in a Mantra, the very moment the first syllable – ‘Krish’ is vibrated, it immediately attracts the attention of Lord Krishna Himself! The Swami also gave great detailed explanation on six ways of surrender: (1) Humility (2) Dedication of the self (3) Acceptance of the Lord as one’s only maintainer (4) Faith on Krishna that He will surely protect one (5) Execution of only those acts favorable to pure devotion and (6) Renunciation of conduct adverse to pure devotion. In the poem Sri Namastaka written by Raghunatha das Goswami, another of the six Goswamis, the shelter of holy name is so beautifully and poetically explained. “O Harinama! The tips of the toes of Your lotus feet are constantly being worshiped by the glowing radiance emanating from the string of gems known as the Upanishads, the crown jewels of the Vedas. You are eternally adored by liberated souls such as Narada and Sukadeva. O Hari-nama! I take complete shelter of You.” HG Syamasundara Prabhu then discussed the meaning of what taking the shelter of the Holy Name meant. And later

HG Radha Krishna Prabhu discussed how the participants can also serve the Holy Name in various ways. Both these discussions helped the participants to practice the chanting the Holy Name with greater care and understanding and in forming a better relationship with the Lord as well. In between the lectures and discussions, HG Bada Hari Prabhu and his students sang “Saranagati” songs written by Srila Bhakti Vinoda Thakura melodiously which were overwhelmingly enjoyed by all the retreat attendees as they stood up and danced and chanted in unison. On Sunday, the final day, the highlight of the retreat was the 64 rounds of the Holy

Devotees join in the kirtan.

HG Radhakrishna Prabu addressing the gathering.

Names where 64 rounds is the equivalent of chanting the Holy Names for 6,912 times. It usually takes the chanter about 8 to 9 hours. To avoid distractions and to not waste valuable time, the attendees all took a vow of silence or ‘mouna vrata’. The day ended with many attendees sharing their realizations which were appreciated by all. Unlike other retreats that one might attend, this spiritual retreat provides one of the rarest gifts and unveils to you the treasure of spirituality, love of God, in its purest form. We wish to take this opportunity to welcome you all to the Hare Krishna Dham Houston at 1320 W 34th St, Houston TX 77018 (713 686 4482). For further details please visit http://www. iskconhouston.org HG Bada Hari Prabhu and his students from Chicago during the kirtan


ASIA/WORLD

VOICE OF ASIA 12

Asia Society Texas Center .... Continued from Page 1 Lamb Chop Masala, catered by City Kitchen. Bollywood dancers performed in the reception tent after dinner and taught the crowd a few dance moves. The evening concluded with dessert and dancing. This year’s Tiger Ball honored Sushila & Dr. Durga Agrawal for their dedication to the community and longtime support of Asia Society Texas Center. “We owe our gratitude to this community that has supported us in a big way and made this this event a success,” Sushila Agrawal said reflecting on the evening. She also mentioned that the Asia Society went to great extents to make the event as authentic as possible. Kiran Verma, Executive Chef and owner of Kiran’s restaurant gave her input to on the food, and like her there were others who assisted in putting the event together, Mrs. Agrawal said. Serving as co-chairs: Gina & Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Dr. Marie & Vijay Goradia, and Angela & Chowdary Yalamanchili. Drs. Renu & Suresh Khator, Raj & Jugal Malani, Nalini & Dr. Virendra Mathur, and Nidhika & Pershant Mehta served as honorary co-chairs. Also among the supporters in attendance: Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn & Eddie Allen, Joni Baird, Muffet Blake, Mina Chang & Jake Harriman, Donna Cole, Lily & Charles C. Foster, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Gordon Quan, Dr. Amit Ray & Consul General of India Dr. Anupam Ray, Y. Ping Sun, Margaret Alkek Williams, and Bill King. Once again, Chevron served as Tiger Ball’s Presenting Sponsor. The more than $1M dollars raised will benefit exhibitions and programs at Asia Society, which promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and the East and strengthens partnerships of all of Houston’s diverse communities. Tiger Ball 2018: Celebrating the Diversity of Asia will honor Sylvia and Gordon Quan. (With inputs from Asia Society Texas Center)

Dr. Marie & Vijay Goradia with Bonna Kol.

CERA Week in Houston Continued from Page 1 by increasing oil and gas production in upstream sector. The Ministry has introduced landmark changes in the entire value chain such as setting up of National Data Repository, launch of Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy through Open Acreage Licensing. Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP) will open up India’s entire sedimentary basin for domestic and foreign players providing an investor friendly regime. The new policy aims to provide investors a ready access to huge amount of seismic data through the National Data Repository (NDR), flexibility to carve out exploration acreages through an open acreage licensing process and increased operational autonomy through a new revenue sharing model. The National Data Repository (NDR) manifested through an open acreage licensing (OAL) process will be a key facilitator by providing seamless access

to India’s entire E&P data process through a digital medium to all investors with the objective of harnessing the potential of India’s large basin area. The Ujjwala program was also discussed which aims to provide 50 million families with access to cooking gas, expanding the national gas grid network from its current length of 15,000 Km to 30,000 Km and extending PNG to 10 million houses in the next 5 years. Minister also spoke about the success of recently concluded Discovered Small Fields Bid Round 2016 in a period of crude oil price volatility. The bid round received a total of 134 bids from 47 companies for 34 contract areas and finally, the Government has approved the award of 31 contracts areas. Earlier in the day, the Minister attended a breakfast meeting with Indian Scientists and CEOs. He also interacted with H.E. Mr. Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Energy from Saudi Arabia to discuss bilateral partnerships in the energy domain. The Government delegation

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Business and Economic Development Committee Meeting held by Southwest Management District

Members of the Southwest Management District discuss business and economic development agendas. Photo: by Jacob David. by Jacob David

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ELLAIRE, TX (Mar. 8, 2017) - The Southwest Management District held a business and economic development meeting at 11:30 A.M on Wednesday March 8, 2017 at the district office, in the Greatland Business Center, located on 6588Corporate Drive, Suite 168, Houston, Texas 77036. The meeting was open to the public. The committee members gathered to discuss agendas and take action regarding issues affecting the Southwest District of Houston. It was chaired by Don Wang and assisted by Annie Trinh, Director of Services.

visited LyondellBasell Refinery and Petrochemicals center near Houston to understand global good practices in the aforementioned domain. The prelude of HELP has also been scheduled where the Indian delegation would be sharing the salient features of the policy over the dinner meeting.

A strong recommendation by Don Wang, seconded by the board was passed to consider $500 sponsorship request from the Sharpstown High School ROTC Banquet to be held on on March31 st at the Braeburn Valley Country Club. The ROTC helps boys and girls in the area to get a good education and advance in life meaningfully. Col. R. P.S. Bhalla D.V.M, M.S. (Ret) representing India Culture Center made his case to install the solar power facility to light up the Mahatma Gandhi Monument, for a cost of $1925. The agenda will be moved to the second round to be discussed and considered by the committee members. The committee discussed the Houston City Mayor Sylvester Turner’s strategies to handle the increasing problem of the Homeless and For-Profit Panhandlers. The city of Houston is planning to let the public know by taking billboards that spare change should be directly donated to non-profits in Houston who can then take it upon themselves to handle helping the homeless in Houston get meaningful change by placing

them in jobs and giving them housing. Alice Lee,Executive Director of the Southwest Management District made it possible for Voice of Asia News Group to present its newsweekly Voice of Asia and HealthLine magazine to help feature South Asian businesses and medical professionals practicing here in the city of Houston. Mr. Koshy Thomas, Publisher and CEO of the Voice of Asia News Group made the brief presentation about how Asian Americans and South Asians are a dominant immigrant force here in Texas, making their strong presence felt by their high education and professional jobs, contributing positively to Houston’s economic development. Updates on upcoming events were then announced. Shopping and Dining in the District and Bus Tour with Chinese Community Center will be on March 16, 2017.Wealth Seminar workshop with East West Bank, March 18, 2017. A decision to establish a subcommittee to plan upcoming Micro-lending workshop in 2nd quarter was also approved.


VOICE OF ASIA 13

voiceofasiaonline.com Section 2

Business VOICE OF ASIA

VOA

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Notes ban hits ultra-rich, 11 lose billionaire status

Tel: 713-774-5140

IACCGH hosts free Tax Seminar for guidance and empowerment

E-commerce entrepreneurs Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal dropped out of the Global Billionaires list (Photo: PTI) EW DELHI, PTI - Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s super rich club has shrunk by 11 people since the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s demonetisation move last November, while Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani remains the richest Indian with a net worth of $26 billion, according to a report by Chinese business magazine Hurun.

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The country now has 132 billionaires with a net worth of $1 billion or more and the cumulative wealth of the ultra-rich people stood at $392 billion, according to Hurun Global Rich List India.

on November 8. â&#x20AC;&#x153;India had a tough year because of disruptive government policies such as demonetisation drive. However, on a long-term perspective, we do believe that such transparent currency economics will have a positive impact for the entrepreneurs,â&#x20AC;? Hurun Report India managing director and chief researcher Anas Rahman Junaid said. Among cities, Mumbai is the capital for Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s super rich as the city is home to 42 billionaires, followed by

The country now has 132 billionaires with a net worth of $1 billion or more and the cumulative wealth of the ultra-rich people stood at $392 billion Though there has been a fall in number of billionaires in the country since demonetisation, the aggregate total wealth of the ultra-rich people has increased by 16 per cent over last year, the report said.

Delhi (21) and Ahmedabad (9).

In the list of top 10 richest people, Mr Ambani was followed by S P Hinduja and family at the second position with a net worth of $14 billion, and Dilip Shanghvi at the third position with a wealth of $14 billion.

Almost a third of the list has been replaced with 27 new additions and 31 dropouts vis-a-vis last year.

Others in the top 10 billionaires include Pallonji Mistry at the fourth place with $12 billion, Lakshmi N Mittal (at the fifth position with $12 billion), Shiv Nadar (6th, $12 billion), Cyrus Poonawalla (7th, $11 billion), Azim Premji (8th, $9.7 billion), Uday Kotak (9th, $7.2 billion) and David Reuben and Simon Reuben at the 10th place with $6.7 billion.

In terms of billionaire spread state-wise, Maharashtra topped the list with 51 billionaires, followed by Delhi (22), Gujarat (10) and Karnataka (9).

E-commerce entrepreneurs Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal dropped out of the Global Billionaires list, while Acharya Balakrishna of Patanjali was the wealthiest new face at the 29th position with a net worth of $3.7 billion. Kiran-Mazumdar-Shaw of Biocon is the only self-made woman billionaire with a wealth of $1.9 billion. Regarding billionaire outflow, the report said that 32 individuals migrated from India and the UAE was the most preferred destination with 13 immigrants.

L to R: Rajiv Bhavsar, Jagdip Ahluwalia, Swapan Dhairyawan Mark Warren, Allen Richards, Ajit Thakur, Mahesh Desai, Mike Jain, Kershaw Khumbatta, Atul Kothari. Photo credit: Bijay Dixit by Manu Shah OUSTON - IACCGHâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Outreach Program â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a tax seminar designed to educate the community on various tax issues attracted over 130 members of the Indo American community on Sunday, February 19th at India House. Held for the sixth year in a row, IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia described the event as part of the Chamberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts â&#x20AC;&#x153;to empower the community with the right knowledge.â&#x20AC;?

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President Allen Richards thanked the distinguished panel of 6 CPAsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and IRS Assistant Special Agent Mark Warren for volunteering their time on a Sunday afternoon and emphasized the Chamberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment of bringing â&#x20AC;&#x153;value to the communityâ&#x20AC;? through such events. Moderator and IACCGH Past President, CPA Ajit Thakur highlighted the fact that henceforth spouses must be careful about signing tax returns as IRS is sending separate notices to spouses. He also cautioned the gathering about the growing menace of identity theft. Panelist IRS Special Agent Mark Warren noted that the IRS was cracking down on international tax fraud with the help of international tax treaties. Countries were bound by these treaties to provide information about assets owned by American citizens. He allayed fears about â&#x20AC;&#x153;mistakesâ&#x20AC;? in tax returns versus â&#x20AC;&#x153;fraudâ&#x20AC;? and stated that â&#x20AC;&#x153;intention is what makes the difference.â&#x20AC;? He encouraged the gathering to file tax returns even if they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the money to pay the taxes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; IRS can be lenient on that score and may offer an installment option.

CPA Mike Jain anticipated bold tax laws both at the Corporate and Individual level to come into effect under the Trump administration and proposed /LIHLVEHDXWLIXOZLWKWKHFRPSDQ\\RXNHHS deferring taxes

According to the report, India lost 11 billionaires since demonetisation

into future years to take advantage of these tax cuts. CPA Kershaw Khumbatta presented different Retirement plans such as Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Simple IRA and the Solo (One person) 401(k) plans. However, the IRA fund cannot be used as security for a loan or to buy property for personal use. The Supreme Court has also ruled that creditors may not seize IRA assets in bankruptcy proceedings. CPA Mahesh Desai highlighted Forms 114 and 8938 that must be filed by taxpayers holding more than $10,000 in an overseas account. The OVPD and the SDOP are two other IRS schemes to voluntarily disclose foreign accounts. He also added that rents and stock market returns in India must be reported. Chairperson and CPA Swapan Dhairyawan shed light on the different scams affecting taxpayers such as inflated refund claims, fake charities and

identity theft. The phone scam plaguing taxpayers was busted in October 2016. The FAST Act, he stated, could result in denial of a passport for certain tax delinquencies. He emphasized the importance of informing the IRS about address changes and suggested calling the friendly Tax Advocate Service at 877-777-4778 for tax advocacy. An entity is any way, shape or form to limit liability for businesses â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a topic covered by CPA Atul Kothari. There are two different types of entities â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the No Liabilities Protection and Liabilities Protection. Options to save tax will be based on the entity you own. LLC, he observed, is the most suitable entity for small businesses as it has one level of taxation and offers both liability protection. The seminar concluded with a Q & A session. Disclaimer: The IACCGH tax seminar is for advisory purposes only.

MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK Adapt Your Leadership Style to the Situation Different work situations call for different leadership styles, and most managers use one of two approaches: dominance or prestige. When you lead through dominance, you influence others by being assertive and leveraging your power and formal authority. This approach works best when your job is to get everyone aligned and moving in the same direction. When there is a clear strategy for a new product launch, for example, and the challenge is in getting your team to enact that vision, dominance is an effective way to create a unified front. Prestige, in contrast, means influencing others by displaying signs of wisdom and expertise and being a role model. This approach works best when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to empower the people who report to you. If a marketing team is charged with creating an innovative advertising campaign, for example, a prestigious leader can release the constraints on team members and encourage them to think outside the box. Maturing as a leader means being able to diagnose what type of leadership is needed and deploying the strategy that is likely to work best. Source: Adapted from â&#x20AC;&#x153;Good Bosses Switch Between Two Leadership Styles,â&#x20AC;? by Jon Maner

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LIFESTYLE

VOICE OF ASIA 14

World marks women’s day with rights under attack

FASHION

Rashmi Varma’s woven looks

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esigner Rashmi Varma says her clothes are utilitarian yet elegant, with luxury in the crafting and details.

by Jessica LOPEZ

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ARÍS, France | AFP | - No selfcongratulations but calls to action will mark many celebrations of the 40th International Women’s Day on Wednesday, as the fight for equality faces new threats. Murders of women in Latin America, anti-abortion movements in Europe, and machismo talk from men in power are among the growing concerns that have brought millions of women into the streets of world capitals these past few months to defend their rights.

Demonstrators gather on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the Women’s “March 8 is not only to march on January 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds) commemorate suffragettes and to celebrate successes LEFT: from the past, but more to reWomen flect on the present situation,” gather on said Barbara Nowacka, a Polish Tower politician and representative of Bridge as the committee “Save Women”. they take part in a “There is still a lot to do congender cerning women’s role in the laequality bour market, society, politics,” march. she told AFP ahead of the global day highlighting women’s rights started by the United Nations in 1977. Some recent developments have feminists worried about such key issues as abortion rights, pay equity and genderbased violence. In Nowacka’s own country, the ruling conservative party is trying to curtail laws on abortion rights, already among the most restrictive in Europe -- one of several signs of rising antiabortion movements across the continent. These groups “are uniting, are very present on social media and have political weight,” said Christine Mauget, in charge of international matters at France’s Family Planning agency. “In 2017, there is still a major problem of machismo,” Mauget added. “It is difficult to move things forward, but we try to prevent them from going backward.” - Anti-Trump marches The worries about women’s rights in the face of sexist male attitudes were on display in the huge women’s marches following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in late January.

Two million women took to the streets in cities around the globe, especially in Washington, where protesters in pink “pussy hats” voiced their opposition to Trump’s policies and his sometimes sexist and vulgar comments about women seen on videotape during the campaign. Two days after those marches, Trump acted on his anti-abortion stance when, surrounded by male advisors, he signed a decree banning the financing of international charities that support abortions. “The problem isn’t abortion but unwanted pregnancies,” said Mauget, calling for more extensive sex education to help prevent such circumstances. - Paychecks, abuse When it comes to women’s pocketbooks, the long-running struggle for equal pay still has a way to go. Worldwide, women earn on

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Rashmi Varma, who worked on her new collection for spring in collaboration with Varanasi-based weaving company Loom to Luxury. It’s a working relationship at the cutting edge of contemporary Indian fashion, where fresh interpretations of weaving and craft articulate a new Indian aesthetic. Meaning beautifully-detailed clothing that crosses continents: speaking a global language of fashion with uniquely Indian inspirations encompassing local dress, craft and weaving. Her experience as a costume designer on films, including Deepa Mehta’s Heaven on Earth in 2008 and Cooking with Stella in 2009, honed Varma’s ability in creating storytelling through a character’s clothing. (Photo by Pinky Patel)

average 23 percent less than men. At that pace it would take 70 years to close the gap, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). The statistics are also dire regarding violence against women. According to the United Nations, about 35 percent of women around the world have been victims of physical or sexual violence. Some 200 million women and girls have been subjected to a form of genital mutilation and 700 million have been married before the age of 18. All over Latin America in October the movement #NiUnaMenos (“Not one less”) rose up against “femicide” and abuse of women after the brutal murder in Argentina of a teenage girl who was drugged and gang raped. Ariadna Estevez, a university researcher in Mexico, described the mass women’s movement as “a wake-up call” in the region.

Ageing cheerleaders offer glimpse of world’s longest-living women Adara COMMUNITIES

‘Cheer Mommy’, a 30-member cheerleading squad with an average age of 75: South Korean women’s life expectancy is rising rapidly. by Hwang Sunghee

Korea’s east coast.

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Life expectancy in Asia’s fourth-largest economy is accelerating rapidly, and for women born in 2030 it could stretch to nine decades on average, the longest in the world, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal.

AMCHEOK, South Korea - Waving white pom poms in the air, dozens of grey-haired cheerleaders in matching red and white uniforms hop and skip to K-pop music that fills the practice room. Halfway into their two-hour practice session, most of the elderly dancers are panting and sweating, but do not let their bad knees or back pain stop them from what they say is keeping them healthy and youthful. “Because I come here, I don’t need to take any medicine,” said 82-year-old Oh GeumNyu. “Although I’m ageing on the outside, this keeps me young at heart.” Oh is one of the oldest members of Cheer Mommy, a 30member cheerleading squad with an average age of 75, based in Samcheok, on South

- ‘Second chapter’ The study by researchers at Imperial College London noted improved nutrition and broader access to health care as some of the reasons behind the phenomenon. Some South Korean experts also point to social factors behind longevity. “Their love for informal gatherings and forging new personal bonds can be a source of energy,” said Chung SoonDool, a social welfare professor at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul.

Most South Korean women in their 60s and older spent much of the lives in a strongly patriarchal society where women were expected to stay at home and raise the children. Some are now embracing pursuits of their own choosing for the first time after retiring as the “caretaker”. “I was done raising my seven grandchildren when my friend told me about this place,” said Cheer Mommy member Ahn Young-Ja, 65. Lee Pal-Soon, 82, who also takes singing classes when she is not cheerleading, said she was enjoying the “second chapter” of her life after marrying off her five children. Some are choosing to keep their brains active by going back to school, such as 88year-old Kim Soon-Sil, who is among some 370 students aged 60 and up studying at Ilsung Women’s School in Seoul.

Kim, who grew up under Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of Korea, had to leave school at 13 and it was not until seven decades later that she could fulfill her longing to continue her studies in history and English. “I can feel small changes to my health every day, but if my health permits, I want to enroll in university,” said Kim. - Demographic crisis South Korea’s government has rolled out various welfare programmes to accommodate its rising senior population -its men are also set to become the world’s longest-lived, according to the Imperial College study -- including opening more community centres and organising leisure activities for the elderly. But experts say the cost could become crippling in the face of a looming demographic crisis in the country with the world’s lowest birthrate.

Around 6.5 million out of the country’s 50 million population were 65 years or older in 2015, and in the next 10 years, one out of five South Koreans will be retired, according to a Statistics Korea report in December. The country’s working age population started declining last year, it said, and by 2065 it will be overtaken by the number of retirees. “It’s the question of who will cover the increase in social security cost,” said Professor Chung. “It wouldn’t be a problem if the number of young people were also rising, but that’s not the case.” Authorities need to consider raising the retirement age, said Ha Jung-Hwa, social welfare professor at Seoul National University. “It’s important the government introduces new policies to keep healthy and skilled se-

nior citizens longer in the job market,” she said. Cheer Mommy started out as a local authority leisure programme, but the elderly squad now regularly travels across the country to compete in national tournaments against rivals decades their juniors. With the youngest member aged 63, the choreography lacks dynamic stunts like back flips or somersaults. It takes them twice as long to remember the routines, and instructor Yoon Bok-Ja said: “They are slow like turtles but they don’t give up until they are perfect.” The bubbly grannies quickly changed into their next uniform -- graffiti-printed jerseys, white tracksuit bottoms and black baseball caps -- for a number set to Gangnam Style star Psy’s latest hit Daddy, chanting: “Hip hop! Youth! To 100 years!”


LEISURE

VOICE OF ASIA 15

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Japan’s ‘fake food’ more appetising than the original

Air India makes history by sending an all-women crew on around-the-world flight by Erika Owen

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ith International Women’s Day on the horizon, Air India has made history by sending an all-female crew around the world. On Friday, the team completed an around-the-world trip after they touched back down in New Delhi. The trip took the crew to San Francisco from New Delhi on Monday, February 27, making the journey over the Pacific Ocean. On the way back to New Delhi, the crew flew over the Atlantic, bringing them full-circle around the globe. The airline has submitted an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records (fingers crossed!). This was much more than a group of female-focused flight attendants. Not only were the pilots and flight attendants all women, but the air traffic controllers in charge of the flight departure and arrival were women, as well as the engineers who certified the airplanes,

Photo: Vipin Kumar / Getty Images / Pintrest according to BBC. Air India isn’t going to stop with just one all-female crew. To help celebrate International Women’s Day—which

lands on March 8 every year—Air India will be sending additional women crews to places all around the world. (Travel+Leisure.com)

The healing power of baseball in Japan America’s national pastime is the most popular sport in Japan, but it’s also more than that. On a four-city tour of stadiums and historical sites from Tokyo to Fukuoka, one fan discovers how the game can act as a balm for the country’s collective psyche. by Todd Pitock

had produced a son, now 14, who had chosen the Tigers.

Cozy spring breeze

“He’s a good boy,” Katsura said with the unmistakable tone of a victor.

Over the grassy ground How I want to play ball! - Shiki Masaoka (1897) Day 1: Tokyo At the start of the Japanese baseball season this past spring, the breeze over the grassy ground at Tokyo’s historic Meiji Jingu stadium was not cozy. It was a brisk, moist wind that swept over the diamond and crashed into the stands. Fans rubbed their arms with gloved hands. Even so, it was time to play ball, and nothing was going to dampen their spirits. It was the opening series between the Tokyo rivals, the host Yakult Swallows and the visiting Yomiuri Giants. In Japan, baseball is the national sport, but even that description doesn’t quite capture the intensity, emotion, and enjoyment the Japanese attach to its rituals. I travel not to see sights but to see what the people who live where I go really care about, and that’s what I was looking for when I set out on a short journey across Japan. In Tokyo, I had met up with Katsura Yamamota and Nao Nomura, friends of friends from home, who were helping get me started. Built in 1926, Meiji Jingu is a cherished venue like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. The Swallows’ faithful wore the team’s alternative home jersey, a Day-Glo lime green that made the stands appear as if they’d been streaked with highlighter. Fan club captains, looking like martial artists in happi coats and black headscarves, shouted cheers through bullhorns. Fans serenaded players, such as the Swallows’ superstar second baseman, Tetsuto Yamada: Ya-ma-da! Ya-ma-da, Yamada Tetsuto! Ya-ma-da, Yamada Tetsutooooo! Yamada and the Swallows jumped on the Giants’ pitching early, and the fans stomped, highfived, banged plastic bats, blew horns, and opened and closed plastic miniumbrellas as players crossed home plate, a Swallows custom that made all of Meiji Jingu twinkle—except in left field, where Giants fans, wearing their team’s bright orange, sat, still and subdued, at least until the Giants came up to bat, when they raised such a ruckus that you might have thought their team was winning. I hailed a “beer girl,” as the exclusively female purveyors of fresh brew in the stands are known. They run the stadium steps with kegs of Asahi, Sapporo, and Kirin in backpacks for threeplus hours, but even more impressive than their inexhaustible legs are their indefatigable smiles. “The pretty ones make more money,” Nao said. “Some of them have been discovered and became models or actresses. If they work for the Giants they’re on television all the time.” The Giants are Japan’s oldest and most beloved team. They’ve won 22 Japan League championships since the circuit was created in 1936. The Giants are also Japan’s most despised team, and Nao and Katsura, historians in non-baseball life, love to hate them. Nao’s team is the Hiroshima Carp— her late father was from Hiroshima— while Katsura adores the Hanshin Tigers, the Giants’ archrivals, who play near Osaka. During the game, she frequently checked her phone for Tigers updates. Her love affair with the Tigers had not prevented her from marrying a devotee of the Chunichi Dragons, the team in Nagoya. Their intermarriage

Other good boys sat throughout the section. They wore school uniforms and filed down the aisles to their seats with the correctness of parliamentarians shuffling into session. Despite their formal clothes and posture, they were having fun. But they were not just any students on a school trip. They were survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear accident. The Swallows had brought them as special guests, and when they were announced on the PA between innings, the entire stadium, including the players, stood and cheered. There was something quintessentially Japanese about the experience. The baseball stadium is where harmonious, courteous, rule-abiding Japan lets down its hair. Almost from the beginning, when an American missionary named Horace Wilson introduced the sport here in 1872, Japan adopted baseball as its own. As one Japanese writer put it, “If the game hadn’t already been invented in America, it would have been invented in Japan.” But the ballpark here serves other purposes, too: it is a cultural inheritance transmitted through bloodlines, a meeting spot, and, as I would discover soon enough, a place of emotional refuge. Day 2: Osaka-Koshien My friend Shutaro Suzuki, a devoted member of the Swallows’ fan club, insisted that that I see Osaka’s team, the Hanshin Tigers. “They are the most crazy!” he told me. So I boarded the Shinkansen, a.k.a. the Bullet Train, west to Osaka. The train is state of the art, with airy compartments redolent of leather that offer an ideal vantage from which to watch the landscape of coastlines, forests, and mountains streak past. The Tigers’ field, Koshien, has special meaning to Japan because it hosts a two-week, 49-team school tournament that, each year since 1915, has crowned a national champion. Koshien fans were certainly colorful, many in black and yellow, with tiger masks, tiger whiskers, tiger socks, and tiger tails. Some had dyed their hair with streaks of yellow. I took my seat in center field. No one around me spoke English, but once they saw I was an ally—as a matter of baseball-travel policy I always root for the home team— they offered me cold chicken tempura and whiskey highballs, and high-fived and fist-bumped me. When the Tigers chased the opposing Bay Stars’ pitcher and the fans bid him sayonara with “Auld Lang Syne,” I sang along, even though everyone else was singing in Japanese. Outside, I found Koshien’s monument to Babe Ruth, a plaque set in a block of stone mounted in a pavilion. Ruth played here while leading a legendary 1934 tour of American all-stars across Japan. It was a spectacular success and critical event in the history of Japanese ball, helping launch the country’s professional league two years later. “Ruth was very important to Japan,” Robert K. Fitts, author of Banzai Babe Ruth, a superb history of the tour, told me. “He was the most popular athlete in the world. He was like Muhammad Ali. The Japanese considered amateur ball as pure, and professional as tainted. The Ruth tour showed it could be honorable. It also showed the economic potential.” Japan was good for Ruth, too. His

skills were in decline, his career drawing to a close. But in Japan he magically found his swing, and his youth, again, mashing 13 home runs in 18 games. Crowds lined streets serenading, “Banzai Beibu Rusu!” Ruth even shared his hosts’ fantasy that the tour would restore deteriorating U.S.-Japan relations. He returned to America full of optimism, his trunks packed with rare Japanese objets d’art. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor seven years later, he opened the windows of his apartment above New York’s Riverside Drive and pitched the Japanese treasures one by one onto the street below. The disaffection was mutual. For the Japanese, banzai turned into a different kind of rallying cry. Their soldiers in Burma were said to have charged into battle screaming, “To hell with Babe Ruth!” Day 3: Hiroshima My next stop was Hiroshima, where the war ended when American bombers silenced those battle cries and really sent this Japanese city to hell. It is, somewhat incongruously, a cheerful place of 1.2 million people. It has wide, busy streets, pedestrian-only districts with fashionable boutiques, artsy cafés and teahouses, good restaurants, a red light district that has become somewhat standard in large Japanese cities, and an expansive public park along the Ota River with striking sculptures and statues recalling that it was here, on the morning of August 6, 1945, that in a hot flash of light 140,000 lives were extinguished, with tens of thousands more perishing later. Hiroshima’s team, the Toyo Carp, was off for the week, but I wanted to see the city, which had risen from the ashes, a revival in which baseball played a role. Even after the war, the Japanese never considered abandoning their American sport. On the contrary, they seemed to embrace it even more warmly.

Norihito Hatanaka says Japan’s ‘fake food’ gives restaurant customers a better idea of what to expect when ordering a dish, as photos cannot give a sense of volume (Photo: AFP/Toru Yamanaka by Karyn Nishimura-Poupee

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OKOROZAWA, Japan (AFP) - They may look good enough to eat, but Japan’s mouthwatering food replicas are only for show as restaurateurs compete for the attention of hungry customers. They’re common sights in this foodobsessed nation, with everything from sudsy beers and perfectly glazed sushi to hamburgers and deep-fried pork cutlets, known as tonkatsu, on display. Making fake food is a craft that Noriyuki Mishima has spent the last six decades perfecting. “I haven’t counted but I must have made tens of thousands of these dishes,” said the 79-year-old, as he painted a plastic roast of beef. “The toughest thing is probably getting the colour right.” There are no complex machines or special tools at Hatanaka, an eightperson firm in a Tokyo suburb where veterans like Mishima see themselves as artists. It’s just simple cutting tools, paint brushes, airbrush guns, and drying ovens at the little company with a “Fake Food Hatanaka” sign out front. They don’t use wax anymore -- it’s durable silicone these days -- but the practice has otherwise changed little since the first replicas were made in Japan about a century ago. During the early 1920s, artists producing models of human organs for doctors, were approached by restaurants to do the same thing for the food they wanted to sell. The idea spread rapidly as eating out soared in popularity and rural people flocked to the cities. Unused to what city restaurants had to offer, the models gave country dwellers and locals alike a quick visual rundown of the chef’s specialities

I visited the A-Bomb Dome, the former Hiroshima Prefecture Industrial Promotional Hall near ground zero that somehow withstood the blast, before arriving at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The opening exhibit is a diorama of three figures, a woman, a girl, and a boy, their skin hanging like wax from their bones, an exact depiction of physical torment not even imagined by Dante. All of

They’re also a handy point-andorder option for foreign tourists in a country where most menus are in Japanese only. “Photos don’t really give a sense of volume -- the replicas are the actual size so customers know immediately when they go into a restaurant what to expect, even before they’re served,” said Norihito Hatanaka, who runs the family company which was founded in the mid-sixties. Hatanaka doesn’t worry much about new technologies, such as 3-D printers, taking over the food replica business. “3-D printers cannot recreate an artist’s touch and it would ultimately be more expensive because the materials are pricey and you’d still have to keep painting them,” he says. “It’s a job for humans who have the creativity that machines lack. They don’t know what is beautiful and appetising.” For veteran Mishima some the hardest work is reproducing raw products like sushi. “When it’s grilled fish, the characteristic colours are easier to recreate,” he said. “But creating the colour of freshness -- that’s tough.” Any food can be recreated from a silicone mold, whether it’s a spongy cake or sizzling hamburger. Each bit -- bun, meat, tomato, cheese -- is made separately before they’re painted and assembled piece by piece. The last step is a coat of varnish to give food a glistening look sure to catch the eye of peckish passers-by. But replicas don’t come cheap. A single dish can cost several hundred dollars, so some restaurants rent food model sets by the month for upwards of 6,000 yen ($50).

the exhibits were unspeakably sad, but perhaps none more so than the tricycle beloved by a three-year-old rider who perished. His father, feeling the boy was too young to be left in the cemetery by himself, had buried him in his backyard with the tricycle. A dozen years later, when the boy’s remains were finally interred in a cemetery, the tricycle was moved to the museum. (-Travel+Leisure.com)

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In 1946, the Japan Baseball League resumed play and in 1949 announced an expansion from eight teams to twelve. Hiroshima wanted a squad, but the city was so devastated and impoverished that it couldn’t attract one of the corporate sponsors that typically fund Japanese teams. So its people raised a campaign, collecting public donations, and in 1950 fielded a team on their own. The city named the team for the abundant koi in the Ota River, but chose the English word, carp. Another name that was considered was the Atoms.

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Young Life

VOICE OF ASIA 16

Section 2

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New Executive Order leaves student’s situation uncertain by Jeff Todd

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Khademian’s wife came to the U.S. with him from Iran two years ago. She went back home to help successfully treat her father’s cancer. “We needed to renew her F-2 visa in order to get her back. We did that at the embassy in Armenia,” Khademian said. But now officials have slowed approving Visas

Zoheir Khademian and his wife (Photo: CBS) and the new Executive Order all but blocks any chance for Zoheir to get his wife back into Colorado. He still has two years left of studying injection related earthquakes. “It’s been eight months, I couldn’t focus on what I’m doing. And I’ve done my best to do what I’m supposed to do but it’s not easy to focus at this point. I asked her to come here so we can build our lives in a better environment in terms of academia, in terms of scientific envi-

ronment. I owe her. It’s not fair to leave her alone over there and I’m here,” Khademian said. “Is it fair to stay here? Should I leave and go back home. How much is it worth staying here? The executive orders from Pres. Trump have left other students at mines in precarious positions. Zoheir is hoping the new order’s clause for “hardship relief” could be a way to get his wife back to Colorado. “We are here to make a

While the school has been supportive of international students the Trump Administrations stance has already been felt on campus. Zoheir said he’s heard of two Iranian students who had their visa’s denied. And with the potential for the most recent Executive Order to also be challenged in court, students remain in an uncertain area. “I don’t want to live in an unknown situation. Just tell me she’s going to come in four months, in eight months, nine months, give me a number,” he said.

SCOTUS defers to Trump on transgender student rights What does the Supreme Court transgender bathroom directive mean for trans kids? by Alania Romain

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n a simple one-sentence order today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of transgender Virginia student Gavin Grimm being able to access the bathroom that accorded with his gender identity. It instead instructed the Fourth Circuit to reconsider the case in light of the Trump administration’s withdrawal of its predecessor’s interpretation of federal anti-discrimination laws. The rights of transgender students in America to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity has been a majorly controversial issue, with advocates arguing that schools are unfairly discriminating against trans students, and critics arguing that trans rights put others at risk. In May 2016, former President Barack Obama issued a directive including gender identity as part of the anti-discrimination law Title IX. What does the Supreme Court transgender bathroom directive mean for trans kids? It mostly means that the debate will continue to be ongoing. But supporters of Obama’s stance on Title IX worry that it signals a return to state-based decisions over transgender student rights, which will result in discrimination against them. According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court decided Monday not to issue a ruling in an anti-discrimination case involving transgender Virginia high school senior Gavin Grimm. Grimm challenged the Gloucester County school board’s 2014 decision to bar transgender students from using the bathroom that matches their gender identities, and Grimm ultimately won a court order in his favor by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which argued that the Obama administration’s guidance on Title IX meant that the school board had “impermissibly discriminated against him,” according to The Hill. rights for transgender students in public schools, whether or not the administration agrees with that position. But such a finding is unlikely, and students like Grimm will have to hope for vindication in that “open and inclusive process to take place at the local level” instead of the federal courts.

Tel: 713-774-5140

Fewer teen suicide attempts in states with gay marriage: study

contribution, an everlasting contribution and you will see that. We are not dangerous. We are assets. Concentrating on research is not easy when you have such a thing in your mind. Is there any logical way to show this is hardship? it’s not clear what hardship means,” he said.

OLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – After President Donald Trump signed a new Executive Order, international students say there’s still uncertainly around their education and life off campus. “The school is really supportive actually. They try to talk to us, which is important which is what we need,” said Zoheir Khademian who is trying to get his PhD at Colorado School of Mines.

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Gavin Grimm and his mother (Photo: ACLU) Otherwise they are just another example of collateral damage from the events of last November 8. The case was expected to be heard by the Supreme Court later this month, but after the Department of Justice and the Education Department rescinded the Obama directive, the Supreme Court chose to throw out the lower ruling that sided with Grimm. The case is now expected to go back to a Virginia court, which will have to reassess Title IX and its implications for transgender students independent of the Obama Administration’s guidance. According to the Associated Press, similar cases are pending

in other parts of the country, and will likely receive the same ruling. One major difficulty with administering a ruling in these cases is that Title IX’s position in regards to transgender students depends on legal interpretation. The Obama directive argued that the law, which protects students from discrimination in all federally-funded schools, also “encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status,” according to The Advocate, and that “a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats

other students of the same gender identity.” In addition to allowing transgender students from using the appropriate bathroom, the directive also noted that schools had an obligation to use transgender students’ preferred names and gender pronouns, regardless of what appears on their official school records. That was an important step ahead for LGBTQ rights, but the directive was not legally binding, and 12 states responded by filing injunctions against it, according to CNN. Two states have since won national injunctions (which are currently still in place), and now that the Trump administration has signaled it’s desire to move away fromi transgender rights. (-Romper. com)

by Jeff Fantich

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Thursday: Holi oin us in welcoming spring Celebrate Holi, the festival of by participating in comeand-go arts and crafts dur- colors, by drawing traditional ing the week of March 13-17! A rangoli with bright chalk. different themed activity will be Friday: Koi Fish featured each day. Try your hand at making origami koi and create a paper pond Monday: Cherry Blossoms Create a hanging scroll featuring for them to live in. a blooming cherry blossom tree. Education and outreach programs at Asia Society TexTuesday: Lotuses Make a faux clay tea light holder as Center are made possible through generous funding from shaped like a lotus. the George and Mary Josephine Wednesday: Nowruz (Persian Hamman Foundation. Additional support provided by the Friends New Year) Decorate egg ornaments to cel- of Education & Outreach at Asia Society Texas Center. ebrate Nowruz.

States that legalized gay marriage saw a 14 percent decrease in suicide attempts among gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents (AFP Photo/NICHOLAS KAMM)

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ASHINGTON, | AFP | US states that implemented samesex marriage legislation prior to its legalization at the federal level saw a drop in suicide attempt rates among high school students, new research shows. States that legalized gay marriage saw a 14 percent decrease in suicide attempts among gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents, with a seven percent decline among students overall, according to the research published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. The researchers compared 32 of the 35 states that legalized same-sex marriage prior to January 2015 with those that had not. The US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage at the national level in June 2015. States that did not imple-

ment such policies prior to federal legalization did not see suicide attempt rates drop, the study said. “Permitting same-sex marriage reduces structural stigma associated with sexual orientation,” said study leader Julia Raifman of John Hopkins University. “There may be something about having equal rights -- even if they have no immediate plans to take advantage of them -- that makes students feel less stigmatized and more hopeful for the future.” After unintentional injury, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 24 in the United States. The rate of suicide attempts among America’s youth continues to rise, with those cases requiring medical attention jumping by 47 percent between 2009 and 2015.

The study shows that 29 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual students reported having tried to commit suicide in the past 12 months, compared to six percent of heterosexual students. Researchers used data taken between January 1999 and December 2015, examining trends starting five years before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004. The US Department of Health and Human Services aims to reduce adolescent suicide rates by 10 percent by 2020, as part of its Healthy People 2020 program. Study authors suggest that legalizing same-sex marriage has helped that effort. “We can all agree that reducing adolescent suicide attempts is a good thing, regardless of our political views,” Raifman says.


VOICE OF ASIA 17

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Bollywood -Hollywood

Section 2

Email: editor@voiceofasiaonline.com

Jackie Chan: foreign ‘pressure’ good for Chinese films EIJING, (AFP) - Action star Jackie Chan said opening up China’s heavily-restricted film market to more foreign works would put positive pressure on local filmmakers, as rumours swirl Beijing will expand its quota on imported movies.

of “Jurassic World” and “Godzilla.”

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Since 2012, China has permitted 34 films to be imported from overseas each year, but the state-run Global Times newspaper reported last month that Chinese and US officials are renegotiating the limit. A shakeup in domestic movie offerings would challenge Chinese filmmakers to produce better work, Chan told reporters at a Tuesday press conference during the annual gathering of China’s political advisory committee, of which he is a member. “Their technology is more advanced than ours, but on the other hand, we will have more opportunities to watch their films and learn from them,” he said.

This move was followed by Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma’s investment in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and a reportedly $1 billion agreement between Paramount and two Chinese companies.

Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan poses as he arrives on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California (Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss) “We are concerned — very afraid — but I believe that this kind of pressure is a positive thing…the more films that come in, the more we will ourselves improve.”

Several Chinese executives also made investments in major Hollywood studios in 2016, drawing attention to China’s growing influence over US film.

Hollywood films accounted for more than half of China’s 45.3 billion yuan ($6.6 billion) in ticket sales last year.

The Beijing-based Wanda Group broke records last January by paying $3.5 billion for Legendary Pictures, the maker

Leading ladies in the West have spoken about the existing disparity in pay on the basis of gender. Here are some excerpts.

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There have been many actors who have voiced their concerns over this disparity. Here’s taking a look at some of the revelations that shows nothing but Hollywood’s sexist mindset when it comes to paying their female stars. Jennifer Lawrence In 2015, after a hacker leaked Jennifer Lawrence’s nude pho-

Bollywood celebrity becomes father to twins via surrogacy

The deals have been accompanied by concerns that Hollywood is increasingly pandering to Chinese audiences.

International Women’s Day Jennifer Lawrence and other actors ask where’s the money? iscrimination on the basis of gender has been prevalent in Hollywood. In 2015, after it was revealed that actor Jennifer Lawrence got paid less than costars Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in American Hustle (2013), Cooper agreed with the disparity and said that he was proud of his co-star Lawrence, for speaking her mind about the pay gap.

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tos, he also released some of the emails which showed that the Oscar winning actor had received a far less remuneration for her role in American Hustle (2013), as compared to her male co-stars Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale. “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with d**ks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need,” she was quoted as saying. Carey Mulligan Following J Law’s comments about the pay disparity based on gender, The Great Gatsby

(2013) actor agreed with the discrimination and said a conversation about the issue was long overdue. “The discrepancy is inherently unfair and it’s a long overdue conversation. This is an age-old issue that’s in every part of society,” Deadline.com quoted her as saying. Sandra Bullock In an interview with Variety, the Oscar winning actor said that she was surprised when she found that she was treated differently because of her gender.“It’s a bigger issue than money. I know we’re focused on the money part right now. That’s just a by-product. I keep saying, ‘Why is it that no one is standing up and saying you can’t say that about a woman?’ We’re mocked and judged in the media and articles,” she

Sushant Singh Rajput’s ‘Raabta’ inspired by Hollywood flick ‘300’?

Chan said he frequently fields collaboration requests from firms eager to exploit the country’s burgeoning box office, now the world’s second-largest movie market after North America. “I recently attended a meeting with several major executives who said ‘okay’ to every suggestion I gave,” he said. “My assistant told me, ‘You’re so awesome.’ I said, ‘I’m not awesome. It’s today’s Chinese market that is awesome.’ Everyone wants to do business here.”

was quoted as saying. Jessica Chastain Jessica Chastain, the Interstellar (2014) actor agreed with Jennifer Lawrence’s comments on the pay disparity and said that the discrimination had been happening for a long time. “There’s no excuse. There’s no reason why a female star should do a film with other male actors and get paid less. It’s completely unfair. It’s not right. It’s been happening for years now. I think it’s brave to talk about it and everyone should talk about it,” she was quoted as saying by Variety.com. Sharon Stone Stone made a big name for herself in the movie Basic Instinct (1992), but in an interview, the actor revealed that she still got paid so much less than men in Hollywood. “It has

Filmmaker , Karan Johar ,. AFP photo.

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EW DELHI - Bollywood superstar Karan Johar announced Sunday he had become a father to twins through surrogacy, as India moves closer to controversially barring single people from becoming parents. The 44-year-old filmmaker, who is single, said he was ecstatic to become a parent “with the help of marvels of medical science”, but did not disclose the identity of the surrogate who gave birth to his children -- a boy and a girl.

In his autobiography “An Unsuitable Boy”, Johar had expressed a desire to adopt or pursue fatherhood through surrogacy. He’s not the first Bollywood star to chart the course, with actor Tusshar Kapoor fathering a son last year to a surrogate. Surrogacy is a hot-button issue in India, where the “renta-womb” industry is worth between $500 million and $2.3 billion annually, making it the top destination worldwide for the procedure.

“This was an emotional yet a well thought out decision which I have taken after considering all the responsibilities and duties that come with being a parent,” he wrote on Twitter.

India caused an outcry last year when it drafted a law making surrogacy only available to married Indian couples without children, barring single people and homosexuals from this option.

Johar, one of Bollywood’s most successful film producers, said his children were his “world and priority” and he was ready to raise them.

The bill is pending before parliament but if passed would outlaw commercial surrogacy in India.

His newborn son was christened after his late father Yash Johar, a celebrated Bollywood filmmaker. His daughter has been named Roohi.

The bill drew broad criticism from doctors and some political parties but supporters maintain the commercialisation of “motherhood” sees surrogate mothers exploited.

to start with regular pay, not just for movie stars, but regular pay for the regular woman

in the regular job. It’s a sort of economic blackmail,” she was quoted as saying.

Indian censors block release of ‘lady-oriented’ film UMBAI, | AFP | India’s censor board has refused to certify a film it describes as “ladyoriented”, sparking a furious response from the director, in the latest case to highlight fears over creative freedom in the country.

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In a letter, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) told the makers of “Lipstick Under My Burkha” that it would not clear the Hindi film for general release. “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above (sic) life. There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused under guidelines (sic)...” it read. The letter was sent last month and came to light this week after Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted about it. A copy of the letter was seen by AFP on Friday.

UMBAI - (DNA) - Dinesh Vijan’s Raabta, that travels between two eras, is visually inspired in parts by 300, a Hollywood fantasy war drama. Recently, the trailer was shown to a few industry seniors who applauded the effort with words of praise.

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One of the seniors who saw the trailer, on condition of anonymity, told BT, “It’s beautifully done and looks larger-than-life. Sushant (Singh Rajput) and Kriti (Sanon) look great. The eras have been neatly etched out.” Even Sushant, in an earlier interview had revealed the

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same. “There is something like that. We’ve tried our best to make the film look great. There is a part of the film that is set in another era. And there is no reference for that time period. There’s no image.So,we’ve created something of our own. We just hope it resonates with the audience. We’ve put our heart into it,” he had explained.

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“Lipstick Under My Burkha” is directed by Alankrita Shrivastava and tells the secret lives of four women -- including a college student who wears a burka, and a 55-year-old who rediscovers a sex life after the death of her husband. It won an award at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year and also aired at the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in October.

Poster of the film “Lipstick Under My Burkha”

Shrivastava described the CBFC’s ruling as an “assault on women’s rights”.

of freedom of expression?,” Shrivastava added.

be issued’ is a ban. Let’s call it that.”

The filmmakers can approach the CBFC’s appeal panel and Shrivastava said she would fight the ruling.

India’s censors have a long history of barring movies and cutting scenes, including those deemed too racy or capable of causing religious offence, and filmmakers accuse them of intolerance.

“For too long the popular narrative has perpetuated patriarchy by objectifying women or minimising their role in a narrative,” she said in a statement carried by the Press Trust of India news agency on Thursday. “So a film like ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ that challenges that dominant narrative is being attacked because it presents a female point of view. Do women not have the right

Social media users took to Twitter to mock the film board’s ruling. One, Heena Khandelwal, told the CBFC to “grow up” while Neeraj Ghaywan, a film director, wrote: “Privileged men have an issue with sexually liberated women. ‘Cannot

In 2015 the CBFC blocked the release of a toned-down version of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and deemed two James Bond kissing scenes unsuitable for an Indian audience.


VOICE OF ASIA 18

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

HEALTHY LIVING VOICE OF ASIA

Section 2

Email: voiceasia@aol.com

Is it possible to be healthy and obese? by Ann Robinson

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oes stress make you fat, even if you don’t overeat? That is the question researchers from UCL have been trying to answer by giving volunteers of different shapes and sizes a haircut and measuring levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their hair. Long-term stress raises cortisol levels, and the researchers found that the larger volunteers had higher levels in their hair. So does this mean we can attribute obesity to stress and, if so, what can we can do about it? The idea itself isn’t new. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. It plays a vital role in keeping glucose levels in the bloodstream in a steady state. When we are stressed or threatened, cortisol levels rise to release more glucose from stores in the liver, so we have more fuel to fight or run for our lives. Too much cortisol means too much glucose floating around and if it doesn’t get used, the excess is stored as fat. But it has been hard to measure long-term cortisol levels reliably because they fluctuate over time. Traditionally, they have been measured in blood, urine or saliva but this new study used hair cut as close to the scalp as possible to measure accumulated levels over a two-month period. Researchers found that obese individuals with a BMI in excess of 30, or waist circumference above 102cm (40in) in men and 88cm (35in) in women, had the highest cortisol levels. Dr Sarah Jackson, of UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, explained: “People who had higher hair cortisol levels also tended to have larger waist measurements, which is important because carrying excess fat around the abdomen is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and premature death.” Yet there are important unanswered questions; does this research, carried out in white, over-50’s, mostly male volunteers, apply to other groups? Is the raised cortisol a cause or an effect of obesity? Will lowering levels prove an effective treatment? And will we ever be able to stem the rising tide of obesity? Furthermore, is it actually that bad to be fat? Some might point to a study showing that older people who are overweight (BMI 25-30) live longer than those of normal weight and that the optimal BMI is 27. What they don’t say is that many of those will tip into being obese (a BMI of more than 30) as time goes on. And few would deny that extreme obesity is bad for health; not only do you die younger, but there is the discomfort,

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The House GOP Obama Care Repeal and Replace Plan: Key Points

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ouse Republicans introduced their proposal for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, with agebased tax credits at its centerpiece. The legislation would also eliminate the individual and employer mandates as well as expand health savings accounts.

Age-Based Credits

It is possible to be obese and healthy; just like it’s possible to smoke and not have lung cancer (Photo: File photo) chafing, difficulty walking, having sex and medical problems such as diabetes to put up with. It is possible to be obese and healthy; just like it’s possible to smoke and not have lung cancer. Genes may explain why some people are obese and healthy, while others develop diabetes and heart disease. Professor Haja Kadarmideen, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen, has identified three genes that seem to influence whether fat is compartmentalised and stored around the outside of the body on hips, thighs and arms, or whether it spills into the circulatory system, causing diabetes and fat deposits around internal organs such as the heart and liver. But Professor John Mathers, of Newcastle University, says that when it comes to obesity, “Genetics is not as important as we thought. A few individuals who are obese will have an inherited condition such as Prader-Willi syndrome [causing weak muscle tone, developmental delay and an inability to control appetite]. But most plump people you see on the high street don’t have a particular genetic tendency to account for their obesity.” Mathers explains that genes mostly act on pathways in the brain that influence appetite and satiety. It may seem, for instance, that all the children in a family are eating the same, but they are almost certainly not: it is notoriously hard to accurately rate how much you yourself eat, let alone how much a child is eating. In fact, he says, researchers increasingly use objective measures of food intake andenergy expenditure and rely less on self-reported food diaries. Interestingly, lean people tend to be better at accurately reporting their intake whereas over-

weight people are much more likely to underestimate how much they eat. But is it a question of how much we eat – or what we eat? Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London, says that to avoid obesity, we need to nurture a healthy gut biome (the genes in the millions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in our gut). We don’t consume more calories or do much less than previous generations, yet people around the world are getting fatter, and Spector thinks it is because we are not looking after our biomes. That means eating a range of fibre and vegetables, including artichokes, leeks, onions and garlic. Polyphenols in nuts, seeds, coffee, dark chocolate, red wine, olive oil and berries provide energy for microbes, while pre and probiotics that boost or contain microbes include yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso. Jackson says that the link between stress, cortisol and obesity is interesting but not fully understood. “We don’t know what comes first. Does being overweight make you stressed, which in turn raises cortisol? Or does stress raise cortisol, which makes you fat?” In time, drug treatment to lower raised cortisol may be used to treat obesity. But for now, she says, recognising a link between stress and obesity means there is a case for teaching stress management techniques to everyone. Mathers, meanwhile, says the answer to curbing obesity lies in creating buildings, streets and outdoor spaces that encourage activity. Government measures to cut the sugar content of food and drink are a start, but not the whole story. “There’s no point blaming individuals. We got into this mess because of the society we’ve created,” he says. (-The Guardian)

Republicans would offer tax credits that are based on age, not income-based as they are for the Obama Care exchanges. But they would be phased out starting with individuals earning more than $75,000 and for households making over $150,000. There would be no credits for individuals earning more than $215,000. Medicaid Expansion The legislation would keep the Medicaid expansion program running until 2020. As of Jan. 1, 2020, rolls would be frozen and Medicaid would be funded on a per capita basis vs. the fee-forservice model. Taxes Plan repeals Obama Care taxes on upper-income earners, capital gains, insurance plans and medical device manufacturers. It would not tax employer-based coverage, as an earlier version had proposed. It does keep the “Cadillac Tax” on high-end insurance plans, but would delay implementing it until 2025. Individual Nudge The legislation would keep the ban on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. It would repeal the individual mandate to get insurance, but would charge those who don’t keep continuous coverage a one-time renewal fee of up to 30% more.

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The plan would also eliminate the employer mandate to provide coverage. Health Savings Accounts The GOP bill would expand the annual contribution limit on health savings accounts tied with high-deductible insurance plans to $6,550 for an individual or $13,100 for a family. Health Equity (HQY), a major pure-play HSA provider, rose 1.5% in late trading. What’s The Score? Republicans do not say how many people would likely add or lose coverage as a result of the plan. The Congressional Budget Office has not released any estimates on costs.

To select right health care plan, such as Medicare Supplement, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, OR Medicare Advantage Plan contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.

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Healthy living during 4 wounds we all walk around with Revealing those painful but transformational moments we all have in common the child-rearing years by Becky Blades

by Margaret Marshall

their growing family.

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Your body sustains your life. Therefore, if a long healthy life is your objective, you must sustain your body. Lifeexpectancy is longer now than ever before. The key to a healthy life is to practice self-care throughout. Through the blur years, while concentrating on meeting the needs of your growing family, take time to take care for yourself. By doing so, you set yourself up to enjoy many healthier years.

s I look through my Facebook feed, I see all the wonderful pictures that parents post of their beautiful children on the first day of school, birthdays, holidays, etc. It doesn’t matter the age of the child the pictures are fun to look at. If I opened my photo albums I would see many of the same pictures of my children each year, until of course, they were too old to indulge me in my need to take photos. The child-rearing years fly by too quickly and they blur together. During these years, some parents never make the time to care for themselves. Busy parents have various responsibilities, and are pulled in countless directions, causing them to falsely believe that there is no time available for self-care. At the birth of my first child, my mom, who had raised five children, said, “After you have raised your children, you will look back, and all those years will be a blur.” Now those years are behind me, she was right! They are a blur! Unfortunately, many parents lose sight of themselves while raising their family. They face the stress associated with kids, jobs, finances, and extended family members. Later on in life they are overweight, suffer with chronic pain, and rely on medications to counteract the effect of years of neglect or abuse on their own bodies. They ignored their health, ate poorly, and were physically inactive. There has been a constant rise in childhood obesity, and I believe that young parents are over-taxed with time-constraints and responsibilities that often cause them to neglect their well-being, as well as that of their children. Young parents despite their hectic schedule need to focus on not only themselves, but also the well-being of

Because when you are healthy, your family dynamics are as well; When you care for yourself, you also care for your relationships; • When you are focused, success in your chosen profession will skyrocket; • When you are mindful, you are able to meet challenges and handle responsibilities; • When you are organized, you will have more time for yourself; • When you are present, your family becomes closer; • When you are a healthy eater, you teach your family to do so also; • When you are active, your family is more energetic; • When you are fun-loving, your family will laugh more; • When you are peaceful, your family is more loving; • When you are understanding, you family will thrive; • When you play together, you will work together. The benefits to you and your family will multiply through the years in ways that seem unimaginable, but are attainable. Put your self-care into motion so both you and your family will benefit! (

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ounds that heal, either slowly over a lifetime or rather quickly if help is requested Here are the main ‘wounds’: 1. The Hole We Poured Our Hearts Into

A few times in life, if we are lucky, we meet an opportunity that seems so right for us that we will pour our hearts out to get it. A life-changing something that will keep us up late, get us up early and make us dig deep to give our best 100 percent—and then go back to give more, just for insurance. When these big things don’t pan out, when we don’t get into the college, or make the team, or get the grant, or win the part, we are left with a wound in the shape of the thing we made a part of us, just by wanting it so badly. But the hole fills— eventually in ways we can’t expect. We learn so much by giving our all that we are forever changed. We learn our limits and how to push through them—if only to help us with our next dream. 2. The Bruise of Rejection As a kid, I was a train wreck as an athlete. I was gangly, uncoordinated and nervous. And I fell...a lot. By two weeks into the school year, everyone had learned the truth, and I became the very LAST kid to be picked—every time. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. My husband says that’s nothing compared to asking a girl on a date and getting turned down or, worse, laughed at. Part of life as a grown-up is being turned down and turned away. But early rejection can batter our ever-fragile egos in ways that could leave us playing injured or sitting on the bench throughout our lives. Being picked last for the fourth-grade kickball team, not being picked for the first summer job, or being dumped by the love of a lifetime are differently shaped bruises, but they hurt in the same place.

Photo: Shutterstock In living to tell about it, though, we learn not only how to withstand rejection but also how to hold and extend empathy for others who have been dismissed, overlooked or otherwise rejected. 3. The Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda Mistake We Can’t Forgive Ourselves For

got away...being told how much better it was or could have been. This is one of those wounds it helps to be aware of so we can be sure to treat the people in our lives like grand prizes and first choices—and not like backup prom dates. 4. The Secret Under the Band-Aid

In our memory, it was perfect: that job, that relationship, that apartment. Except we goofed. We made a tiny error (on something we’d gotten right a thousand times before!). Or we flamed out massively due to one small miscalculation (if we’d just waited five more minutes...). And it aches every time we think of what we should have, could have and would have done differently to get and keep it.

A neighbor friend often has a BandAid on the back of her hand, even though she has no sore there. “A bandage reminds me to protect my wounds. Today, my sore spot is my sister, who is fighting cancer,” she told me. “Wow,” I thought. Instead of trudging through the day with free-floating pain, wondering why she felt a bit fragile and tender, she just marked the wound and treated herself with TLC.

The loss can pack a sting for years to come. Because, it seems, when we get something similar to the perfect thing that got away, we often can’t help but mess it up. We compare the real, wonderful thing we actually have to the imaginary perfect thing that got away, and we feel shortchanged.

“And maybe it’s all in my head,” she said, “but wearing a bandage also makes me feel like other people are cutting me a little more slack.”

This is a wound that hurts not only us but also the unsuspecting people who care about us. Imagine how it feels to be compared with the one that

There it is, friends. How different might the world be if we saw one another’s sore spots? What if we remembered—even without seeing a bandage—that we are all walking wounded, and that a little attention, kindness and caretaking is always what the doctor orders. (-Huffington Post)


HEALTH, SC & TECH

VOICE OF ASIA 19

Why are pandas black and white? California biologists think they know by Ben Guarino,

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Bears, by and large, stick to the muted program. Then there is the panda.

The purpose of the pandas’ black limbs, black ears, black eye patches and white bodies was a particular curiosity to scientists at the University of California at Davis and California State University at Long Beach. “Understanding why the giant panda has such striking coloration has been a longstanding problem in biology that has been difficult to tackle because virtually no other mammal has this appearance, making analogies difficult,” Tim Caro, a biologist in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology department on the Davis campus, said in a news release. Caro knows a bit about animal color. He made a compelling case that zebras evolved stripes as a defense against biting flies and has also investigated the colors of skunks and coconut crabs. The biologists reached their conclusion by combing through photographs of many different animal coats, representing 195 land-dwelling carnivores as well as nearly 40 different types of bears. They isolated fur colors over different parts of the body: back, legs, ears and head, and also divided the animals’ faces into separate regions. “The breakthrough in the study was treating each part of the body as an independent

According to the latest information, polluted environments take the lives of 1.7 million children under the age of five. UC Davis scientists have learned that pandas are black and white because the coloration changes enable them to hide in both snow and forests (Photo: Steve Schaefer-AFP-Getty Images) area,” Caro said. The scientists compared the panda patterns to animals living in a variety of environmental and geographic conditions, including snow cover, shade, sun glare and temperature. Because the study was comparative in nature, it had a few limitations, as the authors noted: “It is always possible that a patch of fur has evolved for a different purpose than in other carnivores.” Animals that grew winter coats, the scientists found, had significantly lighter fur in the cold. But there were few relationships between eye markings and an environment’s brightness – which is to suggest that dark patches around the panda eyes did not come about as a defense to the sun along the lines of NFL eyeblack. Two environmental measures, forest shade and snow, appeared to influence the panda’s coat. Pandas, unlike other bears, cannot slumber through the winter. (Blame the poor nutritional value of bamboo, as the scientists pointed out in the paper, as the reason pandas “cannot lay down sufficient fat reserves to hibernate.”) Instead, the creatures must constantly prowl the Chinese wilds for their bamboo fix.

This means that their surroundings change relatively rapidly between light snow and dark forest shade. The pattern, then, is something of a camouflage compromise. Pandas’ white bodies and heads blend into snow, whereas the black limbs can disappear into the shadows of trees and vegetation. As for the panda faces, the scientists said they found “links between contrasting ears and pugnacity,” which is to say that the bears’ black ears may serve as a warning to wouldbe predators. The eye contrast, too, could work similarly as aggression displays. But there was another possible reason for the eye marks. Carnivores active during the daytime tended to have somewhat darker coloration around the eyes, suggesting that other animals were meant to see the patches, though the evidence for this was “weak.” More compelling was a 2008 study in which two young pandas identified subtle differences in artificial eye-mask patterns. The panda pair recalled the different masks a year later. The distinctive face markings might work a bit like panda nametags, then, allowing individual bears to recognize one another. (-University of California, Davis)

Lithium-ion co-creator’s new battery with up to 3x the juice by Stephen Edelstein

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ithium-ion battery-cell chemistry is currently dominant in electric cars, not to mention consumer electronics and other fields. But what seems to be an army of researchers thinks it can be improved. That includes one of the people who helped create lithiumion batteries in the first place. John Goodenough, a 94-yearold professor at the University of Texas Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering—and the co-inventor of the lithiumion cell—recently led a team that developed what is purported to be a better alternative. As discussed in a paper published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science (via Scientific American), Goodenough and his colleagues claim their new battery can charge faster than current lithium-ion designs, and is noncombustible. The latter quality is due to the battery’s solid-state design, which replaces the flammable liquid electrolyte used in current lithium-ion battery cells with a solid material. In this case, the solid electrolyte material is glass, which researchers believe would lower the cost of any commercialized battery based on their design. That’s because it would allow

Polluted environments kill 1.7m children each year, UN health agency reports EW YORK, March 6 2017 – Unhealthy environments are responsible for one-quarter of young child deaths, according to two new reports from the United Nations health agency, which reviewed the threats from pollutants such as secondhand smoke, UV radiation, unsafe water and e-waste.

ammals are a mostly drab bunch. Due to camouflage, a nocturnal lifestyle and other evolutionary demands, dull and earthy tones reign supreme.

Why are pandas black and white? The authors of a new study think they might have the answer: Panda patterns serve as a combination of communication and camouflage, a group of biologists wrote recently in the journal Behavioral Ecology.

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

The Nissan Leaf’s 30-kWh battery offers an EPA-rated 107-mile range, a number which is expect to increase next year. for the use of cheaper sodium, extracted from seawater, for the electrolyte rather than the lithium used in other solid-state batteries.

As with all research, it’s worth noting that a technology that looks promising in the lab, may not necessarily be commercially viable.

The researchers also claim better performance than current lithium-ion cells.

Even if it is, the transition from research project to consumer product can take years.

They say the glass-electrolyte solid-state battery can charge and discharge faster, and will have a longer lifespan than batteries with lithium-ion chemistry.

Some companies already market solid-state batteries, albeit of somewhat different designs to one proposed by Goodenough and his colleagues.

The experimental battery is also three times more energy dense, according to the researchers.

Solid state cells are used in the BlueCar electric cars deployed by French firm Bolloré in car-sharing services in the U.S. and Europe.

Energy density represents the amount of energy that can be stored in a given volume.

QuantumScape and Sakti3 have also sought to commercialize solid-state batteries.

Greater energy density is desirable because it allows for increases in range without increasing the storage volume needed.

Sakti3 was purchased by Dyson, the U.K. company famous for its bag-less vacuum cleaners, in 2015 for $90 million. (-Green Car Reports)

“A polluted environment is a deadly one – particularly for young children,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO). “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.” In one of the two reports, Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment , WHO announced that many of the common causes of death among children aged between one month and five years of age are preventable with safe water and clear cooking fuels. These include diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia. The main pollutant is in the air, resulting in 570,000 deaths each year among children under five years old. Air pollution can stunt brain development and reduce lung function and trigger asthma. In the longerterm, exposure to air pollution can increase the child’s risk of contracting heart disease, a

WHO said many deaths are caused by environmental hazards like electronic waste that exposes kids to mercury, lead and other toxins. Air pollution is another obvious problem, especially in large cities like Beijing and Paris which affect a larger population (Photo: Philippe Wojazer / Reuters) stroke or cancer. To counter such exposure, WHO recommends reducing air pollution, improving safe water and sanitation, and protecting pregnant women and building safer environments, among other actions described in Don’t pollute my future! The impact of the environment on children’s health . “Investing in the removal of environmental risks to health, such as improving water quality or using cleaner fuels, will result in massive health benefits,” said Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. One of the emerging environmental threats to children is electronic and electrical waste,

according to the second WHO report. Appliances such as old mobile phones that are improperly recycled “expose children to toxins which can lead to reduced intelligence, attention deficit, lung damage, and cancer,” the UN agency reported. At the current rate, the amount of such waste is expected to increase by 19 per cent between 2014 and 2018, up to 50 million metric tonnes. The reports also point out harmful chemicals that work themselves through the food chain – such as fluoride, lead and mercury, as well as the impact that climate change and UV rays have on children’s development. (-Source: United Nations World Health Organization)

Yelp blames Google for its failed international business by Chris O’Brien

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elp made the surprising decision last fall to shutter its international operations and focus on North America. Over the course of 12 years, the company had made astonishingly little progress growing its overseas business. So what went wrong? In the company’s recently filed annual report, Yelp identifies one of the culprits: Google. In discussing the decision to wind down international operations, Yelp added a section that reads: Google has previously made changes to its algorithms and methodologies that may be contributing to the slowing of our traffic growth rate, particularly in our international markets where we have less content and more competitors. We believe this headwind on our ability to achieve prominent display of our content in international unpaid search results disrupted the network effect we expected in our international markets based on what we experienced domestically, whereby increases in content led to increases in

traffic. This was a contributing factor to our decision to reallocate our international sales and marketing resources. Yelp has had a long-running feud with Google, accusing Google of manipulating search results to favor its own products over Yelp’s. Indeed, Yelp was one of the chief sources of complaints leading to aggressive anti-trust investigations of Google by the European Commission. Google has steadfastly denied Yelp’s allegations. Last year, Yelp’s European policy chief, Kostas Rossoglou, said in an interview that anti-trust intervention by governments would be essential to letting the company compete. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman even testified in front of Congress back in 2011 about the harmful impact of Google’s practices. Whatever the case, Yelp struggled over the years to gain traction outside of the U.S. and Canada. In 2013, international revenues represented 4.6 percent of its business. That fell to 2.2 percent in 2015. On an earnings call with analysts last month, the company said rev-

enues had fallen to 1 percent by the fourth quarter of 2016 and that the company had fewer than 500 international advertisers. “That’s a pretty small portion of the business,” said Yelp CFO Charles Baker. “Remember, international revenue is about 1 percent of the total. We did, I think, about $2 million of revenue from international in the fourth quarter, and that gives you scaling of the advertiser base there.” Although Yelp said it would lay off 175 employees from its international operations, its overall headcount grew last year to 4,256 employees, from 3,825 in 2015. Investors, in general, have proven to be quite patient with Yelp. But since the past earnings report, the company’s stock fell to $33.37 per share at the close of trading on Friday, from $41.49 on Feb. 9 when Yelp reported earnings. Still, that’s well up from a year ago, when the stock dipped to $15.69 amid rumors that the company was possibly going to be sold. (-Venturebeat.com)


CULTURE

VOICE OF ASIA 20

Kathak dancer Rekha Mehra tries to make the world a better place, one step at a time

The mesmerising art of living sculpture of Mari Katayama Born with tibial hemimelia, Japanese artist Mari Katayama chose to have her legs amputated at the age of nine. Now she uses her body in her dazzling work, adorned with crystals, seashells and lifesize dolls by Chris Campion

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Kathak dancer Dr. Rekha Mehra wants to bridge the gap between the have and the have-nots. She has recently been honoured with the International Women’s Day Award 2017 by Delhi Government (Photo: Ruchika Garg) by Ruchika Garg

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ending a helping hand to the destitute, Delhi-based classical dancer and singer Rekha Mehra aims to make the world free from the divide that exists between the haves and the have-nots. The 45-years-old says, “I want to make things better for all. To begin with, I trained children of my helper and then went to various schools to make kids aware about these free classes that I run at Safdarjung.” For her contribution, the dancer was felicitated with International Women’s Day Awards 2017 by the Delhi government. There are around 150 kids at her institute, where she teaches dance, music, tailoring and stitching, thrice a week. Mehra says, “I work with a team of other teachers who help me train them. The kids are low on confidence, and they need encouragement.” The artist also provides a platform

to these kids to showcase their talent. “I want them to believe that they are equally talented like anyone else. The Delhi government is organising an event, and six of our students will be participating in it,” she says. In addition to this, she has also choreographed a few dance and thematic events for social awareness for the promotion of physical, social and mental well-being of women and children like HIV-AIDS, global warming, save girl child and many more. Mehra has been training the kids for the last five years, besides doing her own shows. She is known to present the Indian mythology and tradition through her dance. “I have performed at several Indian and International festivals that include Lucknow Mahostave, Mahakhumbha, International Trade Fair, Khajuraho Festival, Festival of India, Common Wealth Games Programme, Sharjah festival,Onam festival in Maldives,” she says. (-Hindustan Times)

Maestro is taking Indian classical music to the masses by Sudha G Tilak, BBC News

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EHLI - India’s southern Indian city of Chennai (Madras) is witnessing a musical revolution of sorts. Leading the way is celebrated classical musician and Ramon Magsaysay award winner TM Krishna. The Carnatic music vocalist has critiqued the south Indian classical music industry for being under the dominant preserve of the upper-caste Brahmin community. He wants to create more inclusive egalitarian spaces where the arts of all communities come together in the city. To that effect Krishna has been seen across Chennai, on various platforms, taking his music outside the hallowed portals of the city’s prestigious sabhas or music halls, setting a personal example. Krishna took his music, spoken of in sacred terms by most performers, to a fishing village on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Chennai. Open to the sky and sea, the entire village served as a concert hall for the alternate festival, the Urur-Olcott Kuppam Vizha that “celebrates oneness” this month. Krishna has joined hands with Nityanand Jayaraman, a prominent social activist, to make the village a venue for holding open-air concerts with the aim of “bringing down barriers, equalising spaces and de-classing the arts”. “Krishna is using art to heal differences and break stereotypes and liberate the art to new spaces,” says Mr Jayaraman. The festival included a coming together of different forms of music and art alongside Carnatic music. The music of the marginalised - devotional music by a community of transgender people and dirges of Chennai’s slums, for example - are being taken to “a concert space for the first time,” says Krishna. He has even hosted “concerts in spaces symbolic of day-to-day life”, such as in crowded public buses and and railway platforms across Chennai. Krishna believes that this effort is an important step “in addressing many cultural and artistic hegemonies and hierarchies”. Krishna is an unusual Indian maestro who has taken the traditionally uppercaste classical music to the lower-castes

and disprivileged. He has travelled to war-ravaged Jaffna in Sri Lanka to perform and engage with Tamil students. And back home, he has engaged in unconventional activities, like setting the lyrics of song by a local alternate rock band called Kurangan to Carnatic ragas (The basic musical modes which denote “moods” in Indian classical music) and releasing a video to highlight the environment degradation unfolding in a local creek. “Such collaborations from the traditional world of Carnatic music with other genres and current issues make it more accessible”, says Kaber Vasuki of Kurangan. Coming from the orthodox traditions of the south Indian classical music world, Krishna’s outreach programmes are, many believe, a first of its kind. David Shulman, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the languages of India, writes of Krishna as one, “for who music is a medium for public moral statement and an instrument for making peace”. Krishna’s Magsaysay award citation read that Krishna saw Carnatic music “was a caste-dominated art that fostered an unjust, hierarchic order by effectively excluding the lower classes from sharing in a vital part of India’s legacy. He has questioned the politics of art and made an active effort to widen his knowledge about the arts of the Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) and non-Brahmin communities.

ari Katayama stares out from the centre of the photograph, looking like a mannequin with a Louise Brooks bob. Lit by fairy lights and surrounded by all her personal artefacts, she is wearing a cream corset and reclining in a Louis XVI-style loveseat. Beside her sits a lifesize doll, a handsewn replica of herself – and on the floor in front, decorated with images of leaves and butterflies, lie her discarded prosthetic legs, each shoe adorned with a sparkling light.

“You can’t separate my body from my work,” she says, when we meet at Gateau Festa Harada, a sweet factory in Gunma that doubles as a gallery and is hosting a retrospective of her work. “But,” she insists, “I’m not making art out of my disabilities.” However, given that she uses her body as a sort of living sculpture, she acknowledges that the subject is complex. Still in her 20s, Katayama is a star in the making, her work already attracting notice from collectors and curators in Europe and America – a rarity in the vibrant but insular world of Japanese contemporary art. Remarkably, Katayama never set out to be an artist. Her intricately embroidered and stuffed objects – inlaid with lace, seashells, hair, crystals and collaged images – were made purely for her own amusement. And art was far from her mind when she began to take portraits of herself. “I was only taking photos to show my friends on MySpace what I’d made,” she says. The retrospective is one of two major Katayama shows taking place in Gunma, to the north of Tokyo. The other, an exhibition of new work called On the Way Home, is at the prefecture’s Museum of Modern Art. In person, Katayama is nothing like the fierce, singular character suggested by her photographs. She is sweet, unassuming and girlish, sitting in her wheelchair with a face mask on to ward off a cold, yet rising to almost 6ft tall on her prosthetic legs when she gets up to open a box full of the seashells she uses to decorate her work. Her retrospective is called 19872017, the year of her birth to now, which reflects how entwined Katayama’s life and work are. “Creating and living are the same thing for me,” she says. “There is no separation. I really don’t know where my work ends.” She grew up 45 minutes from the sweet factory in a small city called Ota, where she still resides in an apartment that also serves as her studio. In fact, it is more of a constantly evolving installation. Simon Baker, curator of photography at Tate Modern, was struck by Katayama’s work when he first saw it at the Unseen pho-

Carnatic music “season” - held from December to January - is a century old.

Carnatic music, traditionally set to songs composed by Hindu devotional poets of the 17th Century and beyond, is a genre associated with southern Indian classical music.

Musical concerts are held across Chennai and these concert halls are frequented by the upper castes.

From the temples it found its audiences in the courts of kings and by talented performers. Later it moved to concert halls across the southern cities. Chennai’s famous

tography fair in Amsterdam last year. “It really stood out,” he says. “There are ideas about identity and performance, as well as obvious references – art historical references to previous artists.” He cites Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall and Matthew Barney. At the same time, he adds, Katayama’s work stands alone. “She’s touching on things without being derivative of them. There’s also this incredible personal story.”

At the age of nine, of her own volition, she decided to have her lower legs amputated. It seems a remarkably mature decision for somebody so young but Katayama says it was entirely practical: “It was a choice between being bound to a wheelchair for the rest of my life – or being able to walk but losing my legs. I chose to walk.” Afterwards, she underwent a year of training that seemed to last for ever. Relearning how to walk on prosthetic legs instilled in her a discipline and focus that, she believes, carried over into her artistic practice. Able to wear regular clothes and shoes, she became interested in fashion, hoping she could fit in by

Katayama was born with tibial hemimelia, an extremely rare condition that stops bones in the lower legs from fully developing, often leaving them foreshortened. In her case, the condition also caused club feet and a cleft left hand that resembled a crab’s pincers. Consequently, crab motifs recur in the work of the Japanese artist, who was also born under the sign of Cancer.

Moved by the persecution of Tamil novelist Perumal Murugan whose writings on caste angered Hindu groups, Krishna set to music and sang an evocative poem of the writer.

Dated more than 2000 years ago, it evolved from the devotional canon of hymns and verses set to tune as musical prayer offerings in temples across southern states.

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

A century later Krishna is calling out his community of classical musicians to make their music more meaningful by sharing its beauty with all kinds of people.

For this work, Katayama photographed the hands of members of an all-female traditional puppet theatre group, printed them on to material and made them into a many-handed doll As a child, Katayama wore special shoes buckled to her legs with braces, which meant she couldn’t wear regular clothes. She recalls three generations of women in her family – great grandmother, grandmother and mother – constantly sewing clothes for her, and encouraging her to make her own. “I learned to hold a needle and thread before I could hold a pencil,” she says. “It was like: if you want something, you make it.” Sewing became second nature. Inevitably, her disability set her apart at school. The bullying started in third year. Far from offering sympathy or support, Katayama’s teacher suggested that she had provoked her tormentors by looking at them with disdain. The bullying got so bad she began to skip school and, for a while, was even kept away by her parents.

dressing like other kids. But the bullying continued. When she was 16, Katayama caught the eye of Tatsuya Shimada, then a fashion student, now a stylist for Vogue Japan. He was putting together his graduation show, using unconventional, non-professional models of all ages and body types, and came across Katayama through her blog. As she was completing the project, another new body presented itself, this one living inside her. Katayama is pregnant – and tickled that her child will be born under the sign of the crab, though she is uncertain how this will affect her art. She sums up with the words: “All human bodies – including ones like mine that have been altered by human hands – are perfect.” (-The Guardian)


SPORT

VOICE OF ASIA 21

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The sweetest victory for Pujara, Rahane turn the tide usâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Virat Kohli proclaims Cricket

with subtle adjustments AUSTRALIA TOUR OF INDIA, 2017 by Vishaal Loganathan

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ndiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s batting plight in the series so far was such that Mitchell Starc had outscored all the Indian batsmen barring KL Rahul. And, coming into the third innings of the Bengaluru Test, and perhaps their most important of the series, India needed a combined batting effort to bail the side out of trouble and into a winning position. Rahul has been the lone warrior with the bat so far for India, but it needed the others to bat as well, if not better, than he had done to give India a sniff. Rahul continued to impress, before he threw his wicket away chasing a wide delivery, but the most impressive aspect of Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s batting on Day 3 was how Cheteshwar Pujara (79*) and Ajinkya Rahane (40*) teamed up for an unbeaten 93run stand to put their side in the ascendancy. Having it all to do, India came into the innings with a different plan and approach. Rahul was already in fine nick, and simply continued in the same vein. All his boundaries came off the pacers, with the spinners earning a more cautious approach. Gone were the sweeps and reverse-sweeps as he concentrated more on rotating the strike and asking Nathan Lyon and Steve Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Keefe to change their plans consistently. Only once during his innings of 51 did Rahul try to sweep the ball. It didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work out and he decided to shelve it. He was more content using the depth of his crease to either push the ball to the leg-side for a single, or if there was width, then to the vacant sweeper cover region. Doing what Rahul did would have proved to be nigh impossible for Pujara. Where Pujara nurdles, Rahul uses his arms to swivel and push. Where Pujara caresses, Rahul powers. And where Pujara patiently fends, Rahul punches. Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Test No 3 had his own plans in place. He had been guilty of crouching too low to play the spinners in Pune and in the first innings in Bengaluru. It allowed Lyon and Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Keefe to trouble him and made it more difficult to score. With a low stance, the batsman has to really get up quickly and into a good position to counter turn and bounce. On tracks where the bounce is lower and the spin slower, it works perfectly. But if a track has some extra bounce, something that can be increased with overspin, a more upright stance presents the batsman with more time to play the ball off the track. Lyon had run riot in the first innings thanks to the Indian batsmenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s penchant to stay low. Pujara himself was out caught

Only six of Pujaraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 30 runs off Lyon came through the off-side. Photo: Š AFP) as he edged a ball that bounced and turned a tad more than expected. In the second innings, he came out standing more upright. So when Lyon got the ball to turn in from the rough, Pujara neatly got into position to nudge it away to the leg side. The only problem would have been if the ball had hit the rough, turned sharply and kept low, but thankfully for Pujara, there were no such alarms. Pujara also allowed himself to play Lyon much better by opening up his stance to the rightarmer. He was able to swivel his body to a side-on position much quicker this way. With Lyon bowling predominantly into the rough, a straighter ball would do no damage. If it did turn, Pujara was already upright and side-on to play it effectively. Out of the 79 balls Lyon bowled to Pujara, the batsman was able to score 30 runs. Only six off the 30 came on the offside, when Lyon dropped short and wide. The other 24 came on the leg-side. More importantly, 18 runs came square on the leg side, with Pujaraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stance allowing to even pull Lyon to the boundary once. When the offie pitched the ball up, trying to put Pujara in trouble, the batsman was classy enough to spot it early and jump down the track. He was able to score runs to long-on easily as well, but when he couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, he either defended with ease, or offered more of the pad to protect his wicket. If Pujaraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tactics were based on an upright stance and nimble feet movement, Rahaneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s was more about ensuring he took the right position and got his bat in front of his pad. Rahane was less fluent than his partner, but he executed most of what he wanted. There were three defining features in his innings. He moved closer to the off-stump to ensure that if he missed his defensive prod, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be struck outside the line; he put his bat in front of pad to take away whatever little chance there was of LBW; and

opened the face of the bat just a little to the on-side to take the close-in fielders on the other side out of play. It helped him tackle the spinners without much fuss. When he had gotten himself to a comfortable position, he started to try and assert himself. He willingly took on the spinners and swept them for runs on the legside. And when the ball was too short, his wrists came into play. Rahane went into such a zone that he even sent back the 12th man when he wanted to come on to the field just before the final over. The ploy was a timewasting tactic to ensure that the following over would be the last of the day, but Rahane did not want anything wavering his focus. He was batting well as it was, the last he needed to do was to distract himself over how much time was left for the day. Speaking at the press conference at the end of the day, Sanjay Bangar, Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s batting coach, spoke about the teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s batting plans. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The batting group got together and then we had a chat about how our approach had been. We also looked into the past of how we negotiated spin and what were the areas where we could have adapted better in the first three innings. It was a good chat and we came out with solutions. We also reinforced quite a bit of what they have been doing. Probably, I think the batsmen really applied themselves, used their feet well and were trying to get to the pitch of the ball as much as they could as also playing on the backfoot. All in all, they have put up a better show than what they did in the first three innings â&#x20AC;&#x153; The third day in Bengaluru saw the number one Test team in the world show how they can fight back. Having been behind the eight-ball, they stormed back with some tactics they learnt from the Aussies and some that their own staff and team put together. More of the same will see them take control of the Test, and possibly the series. (-Cricbuzz)

Anurag Thakur apologies to Supreme Court by Rica Roy, NDTV

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Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s comeback began on the second day, when they took six wickets and only conceded 197 runs to stifle the momentum Australia had built on the first day. Kohli was full of praise for his bowlers for their efforts.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of people were talking about the head of the snake, but I think the snake did pretty well by itself, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just about one individual. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m pretty hap-

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think the first session on day two where we gave away only 45-odd runs [47 runs] and picked up two wickets when they could have taken the game

give more than 200 runs as we picked up six wickets. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think that for us was quite important, and something that you look for as a team. Someone has to step up and do the job for you. I think [Ravindra] Jadeja was outstanding in the first innings along with our fast bowlers. Their spell again was very, very good, relentless pressure from one end by Umesh [Yadav] and Ishant [Sharma] and then Jadeja picking up those wickets later on. (-ESPN Cricket)

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! VE LI Y N LL TE to WI E

Thakur, like former BCCI supremo N Srinivasan, had tried to fiercely protect his flock. He gave them voice and pursued their case in the Supreme Court.

need to keep that in mind, but I thought [this was] the sweetest victory for us.â&#x20AC;?

Kohli also said Australia had been too focussed on taking his wicket - referencing Nathan Lyonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s comment after day one comparing it to cutting off the â&#x20AC;&#x153;head of a snakeâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;then hopefully the body will fall awayâ&#x20AC;? - to the detriment of planning against Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s other players.

RG

The only respite given by Justice D.Y Chandrachud is that Thakur does not have to appear in person for future hearings.

away from us, I think that was probably the momentum change that we needed, and throughout the day we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t

Virat Kohli leading his team to victory (Photo: Š AFP)

S LI

Thakur tendered an unconditional apology for having committed perjury. His counsel, the additional solicitor general PS Patwalia, explained, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I (Anurag Thakur) never intended any-

Thakur had sought an earlier date to clear his name and return to public life but the court has set the date for hearing for April 17.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;For sure. Till now, this is the best one definitely,â&#x20AC;? Kohli said of the win in his post-match press conference. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to say too much, because the game panned out the way it did, and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not much left to say. It was a quite emotional game for us, quite draining as well. Everyone got along together, we showed team spirit.â&#x20AC;?

EO

Thakur once held sway over a

Thakur was seen on Monday on a back row seat of the crowded Courtroom No.2 in the Supreme Court. His companion, Krishna Popaley, once his administrative assistant at the BCCI, is out of a job too.

thing... There is nothing in it. An impression somehow has got created.â&#x20AC;?

V

G

ormer BCCI president Anurag Thakur, who battled long and hard against the restrictions recommended and ultimately imposed on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), finally tendered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court on Monday on the perjury charges slapped on him by the former Chief Justice TS Thakur last year. On January 2 of this year, the Supreme Court had stripped one of the most powerful men in world cricket of all his powers.

5000 crore empire (The BCCIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s net worth was Rs 5,436.897 crore in 2013-14), when he was sacked, along with BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke.

py if they keep focussing on the head of the snake, and the snake can sting from a lot of directions. I think some people

irat Kohli has called Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s series-levelling victory in Bengaluru the â&#x20AC;&#x153;sweetestâ&#x20AC;? of his 16 Test wins as captain. Having lost the first Test in Pune and been bowled out for 189 on the first day at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, India came back to complete a 75-run win on the fourth day.

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HOROSCOPE

VOICE OF ASIA 22

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of March 10, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

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

ONLINE WWW.VOICEOFASIAONLINE.COM

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

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Find your place within our surrounding. You will be silent observant about everything. Your insight will have a greater impact if you deliver it with a little more passion. You may have felt a little out of the loop, lately, but that was only because your mind was in a solo mode. Get out there enjoy the wonderful wealth of family and friends you possess. Focus on the project at hand. Don’t allow a deadline to pressure you into something less than perfect. Learn to appreciate how far your persistence will take you.

Hold the ground with confidence. Use your sense of humor to get your point across. Loud, rude people should stay clear of you. Your patience will be tried but your logic will prevail. You really do know your stuff and now’s the time to show it. You are exactly where you need to be. Everybody has been rallying around something new and improved. However news this week, will pronounce you the winner. Accept the prize but be the first congratulate others for their effort. Stop looking ahead so far and try to lose yourself in the heat of the moment.

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

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

Step back and see the picture from different angles. Illusion or Reality will be always confusion in your mind but handling the situation as it comes will matter. You will have ability to Be willing to cooperate when others want to do things differently. Don’t spend too much energy planning a schedule that will be revised more than once. You’ll be moved by a sudden passion for justice, but you need to take your time and think things through before you act.

Reach your goals, with hardly any effort on your part. You like the way things are and want to order more of the same. Try to calm yourself down, go about your business and don’t be jealous of those on top. Your constant support will encourage others to go the distance for you. Cherish your friendships and you’ll never feel alone, again. A friendship could even turn into something stronger. Exciting events should prove to make fun week-end plans. No walls will be able to contain your excitement. No limitations will seem to apply.

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

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June Your need to adjust to some changes in your life. You will have an opportunity to do something great, this week. Problems in your personal and professional relationships could hamper you from reaching your goals. Old routines will make you feel old and dull. Break away from the way things used to be. Awake and find new ways to enjoy yourself. Stop beating around the bush in relationships, express how you feel. Others need to communicate their feelings, as well.

Think quickly like a high speed computer. Questions will be asked and you’ll have to have all the right answers. Dare to dream your dreams but your ideas may need to be presented in a more creative fashion. You’ll get a lot more if you use honey instead of vinegar to attract your audience. Use your mind and body to display your talents and achieve what is beyond other’s range. This certainly is the time to be noticed. By week’s end, you’ll be able to go back to business as usual. Allow others take care of their own problems, for a while.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Your ability to keep everybody happy is awesome. You know that the most important person to keep happy is yourself. If you play your cards right, you’ll be able to do both. Reorganize yourself before taking on any additional responsibilities. Step up to bat for someone who really needs a break. Encourage others to spread themselves as well. Try to be a positive force rather than a negative one. Once you feel more like a mentor, your creative juices will flow. Your perfect mate may walk right into your life.

Try to find your own little dream world in reality. You want to be the one who will make the final decisions in your personal life. You not only will find but you will be able to perfect your own career. You’ll be riding high with confidence. Your impulses will fuel the positive flow. Be rid of friends or partners who cannot agree on what direction they are going in. Instead of wasting your time and energy, try going solo in a more focused way. Continue to nurture other friendships that could help you in the long run.

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

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August Intense emotions will lead your world, but you know you can’t reveal your feelings to others. A little issue you bring up could trigger something much larger. Others will be hurt if you do so. Focus on ways to use your new found information, in a positive light. Get back to doing the things that you love to do. By week’s end, you should try to stay out of trouble by keeping to yourself. A debt will be repaid in an astonishing manner. Time will be on your side. The longer you wait to decide, the better.

Seem confident, reliable and intelligent at all times. Especially when you feel you’re in over your head. Don’t blow it all by wishing for the stars. Aim high, but be more realistic. Keep your ears open for the topics that you have stronger knowledge on. Think before you talk and all will go well. Pay closer attention to others and they will acknowledge your good standing in the community. Don’t allow someone’s attitude to put a damper on good spirits. Your weekend plans with loved ones is just what you need.

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

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Get yourself on schedule. Take the time to put everything into a better perspective before you go any further. Your ambitions and hopes are one in the same, right now, to get ahead. Others may threaten to put your plans on hold, but you’ll be able to change their minds with your charm and wit. You’ll be able to come up with all the right answers to their questions. Your style will shine. A good challenge will reaffirm your convictions. Go ahead with full steam ahead. The energy you feel will help you to reach your goals.

BD

Eat Healthy, Think Healthy & Stay Healthy. Normally your approach is covered with hesitation, however this week you will like to be in the limelight. Work your magic with your positive attitude and contagious smile. Tired, old concepts could block the possibility of something completely wonderful. Push away the negative and take a different approach. Express your feelings clearly before allowing assumptions to start to work against you. Say it and get it out of the way. Staying busy is your key to staying happy. You can’t sit still for too long. Cooperate with others and listen to original their ideas.

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SALES/NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Gulf Pacific Rice Co., is looking for a highly motivated individual for OUTSIDE SALES / NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT for our Specialty feed & Pet food markets. We need a self-starter who can help us expand our business nationally with our conventional and organic rice ingredients. The main responsibility will be to develop new business by establishing contact, meeting with potential buyers, showing the products we offer and closing the sale. We want to establish long term relationships with our customers and build customer loyalty. Position located in Houston, TX with travel outside Houston as new business is established. Food ingredient sales experience and Bi-lingual Spanish a big plus! Salary/compensation commensurate with experience. Generous benefits package including 401 K, medical, dental, vacation and holidays…plus, paid travel and cell phone expenses. Please send resumes to Deborah Shriver, H.R. Manager at dshriver@gulfpac.com.

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VOICE OF ASIA 24

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017

Voice of Asia Newsweekly e paper March 10 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...