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FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

28 years dedicated service toCounties the community Serving Harris,ofFort Bend and Surrounding for 29 years Vol. 30 No. 12 Friday, March 24, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail:


FRIDAY, March 24, 2017




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

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Know Seema Verma, New Head of Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services Read on Page 18 or Call 832-806-1000

Vol. 30 No. 12 Friday, March 24, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail:

Indian Americans in Houston raise IACCGH honors Asif Dakri funds for American hero Ian Grillot on his appointment to FDIC Advisory Committee

by Shobana Muratee


ven as the day approaches to the India House Annual Gala on March 25th, 2017, a clarion call was sent to community leaders to raise funds for Ian Grillot who will be honored on the occasion. India House plans to hand over a check of $150,000 to Ian at its annual gala, which will help buy a house for him, according to India House statement. India House is raising funds for Ian Grillot, the American hero who took the bullets to chase a racist shooter away and save a fellow human being (an Indian, Alok Madasani) in the unfortunate Kansas shooting incident last month. Another Indian, Srinivasa Kuchibhotla died in this incident. Continued on Page 5

Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray addressing members of the Indian American community at his residence in Houston on March 20, 2017. Photo by Shobana M

Butcher shops razed amid crackdown on beef in India


EW DELHI, India | AFP | Wednesday 3/22/2017 - Indian police said Wednesday they were not ruling out arson after fire gutted three butcher shops in Uttar Pradesh state, where a firebrand Hindu leader has taken office promising a crackdown on slaughterhouses. The meat industry is a magnet for religious violence in India, where Hindus consider cows sacred and accusations of beef being sold by Muslims can trigger violent mob reprisals.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath arrives at Parliament to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday.(AFP photo)

Police were investigating the “mysterious” overnight blaze that reduced the three butcher shops to ashes in Hathras district, local police chief Dilip Kumar told AFP. Continued on Page 4

Wallis State Bank CEO Asif Dakri presented with a plaque by University of Houston, Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator. Photo credit - Bijay Dixit. by Manu Shah


n 27th February, IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed “the roomful of friends and supporters” who had gathered to honor Wallis State Bank’s Vice Chairman and CEO Asif Dakri’s appointment to the prestigious FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations) Advisory Committee on Community Banking. Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Chancellor and Chief Guest for the evening Dr. Renu Khator, Dr. Suresh Khator, Jay Guerrero and Minesh Patel from Tampa’s Chamber of Commerce were also present. In his introductory remarks, Past President Ashok Garg underscored the strong relationship shared by the Chamber and Wallis State Bank and their longstanding support as Gala Underwriters and sponsors of the

IACCGH Business Outreach programs. He also highlighted the welldeserved honor bestowed upon Asif Dakri and stated that he “had ticked all the boxes in terms of leadership, business acumen, cordiality and helpfulness.” Appreciating the Chamber’s gesture of honoring Asif Dakri’s appointment, Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray remarked that Wallis State Bank is a story of “entrepreneurial drive and spirit” and added that he was struck by Asif Dakri’s focus in giving back to the community. Describing Asif Dakri as a “great role model,” Dr. Renu Khator also drew attention to the honoree’s generosity and support of UH programs and lauded his accomplishments in making Wallis State Bank the number one Continued on Page 5

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American Healthcare - A Privilege or a Right

VOICE OF ASIA Publisher: Associate Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Austin Correspondent: Print & Media Marketing: Marketing Director: Office Manager:

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Columnists: Legal: Richard M. Alderman Legal: Sharlene Sharmila Richards Research: Prof. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee Health Insurance: Sudhir Mathuria Astrology: Hardik Vyas Editor Online:

Shobana Muratee

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

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

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An Unending Debate and Dilemma for American Political System welfare benefits to citizens. Chandra K. Mittal, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., FCP

by Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D. As America engages in active healthcare debate in an effort to reform it yet again by repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare), it sounds much like an old chorus on a broken records except that the new generation is hearing it for the first time. Substantively speaking there is really nothing new in it that has not been discussed or debated before in the United States. And predictively, nothing new is likely to emerge out of the debate this time around. It was only short six years ago that President Barak Obama had overhauled the American healthcare system and introduced major progressive changes in it to include some 45 Million Americans who were not insured and did not have health insurance previously. One would think that fixed the problem of the uninsured. But that is not so. America is again back at it with the election of President Donald Trump who won the Presidency on the campaign- promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The history of American healthcare reform literally goes back to 1800s when US Congress began discussing and legislating on health care issues of Americans. One of the earliest federal health care Bill passed by the US Congress was in 1854 called Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane, which was vetoed by the US President under the pretext that federal government should not provide social

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Since then almost all US Presidents and elected Representatives regardless of their party affiliations have attempted to create a healthcare system that could provide quality health services to all citizens at reasonable (affordable) costs while maintaining the “third” party (insurance) payer system. But the goal of a “better” system has continued to elude America while costs have kept on escalating, health outcomes slipping, and many left out of coverage altogether. In 1960 American health care was 5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 17% in 2013. Healthcare cost became so prohibitive that prior to the Affordable Care Act, 2010 many Americans stood only one serious sickness away from personal bankruptcy. Of the top ten most industrialized nations, United States spends the most amount of money on health care both in absolute amount as well as percent of its GDP. Per the Government data, US spent about $10,345 per person on health care in 2016 compared to industrialized European nations or Canada which spent $40005000. For United States this amounts to about 20% of United States GDP compared to 10-12 % of Canada or Europe whose health outcomes are superior to the United States. Given the comparatively higher cost of American health care system one wonders how and why America is behind Europe in both the access as well as the health outcomes. Some believe that European system is predominantly socialized where governments pays for the health services, so costs are low compared to United States where capitalistic free-market system of private insurance compa-

nies and providers makes total costs higher. This explanation is, however, over simplistic and does not reflect the complete picture of the American health scene. Perhaps it is the superiority of the European health outcomes, lower costs and equitable access to health care that motivated President Barak Obama and the Democratic Party to restructure and mandate healthcare for all Americans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. The Act also provided federal financial support by way of government subsidies to the lower income groups to achieve the “party” in health outcomes in America. But ACA did not curb the cost escalation in health care. While ACA has allowed approximately 20 Million uninsured to have access to healthcare, it has increased the overall cost of healthcare for other Americans contrary to the promises made prior to ACA. And this is the principal bone of contention between Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress today, which has led Speaker Paul Ryan to propose the 2017 American Health Care Act (AHCA) to repeal and replace ACA 2010, and reduce healthcare costs for all. While the Bill is being debated, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts the proposed legislation (AHCA) to reduce health coverage to some 24 Million Americans in 10 year time – a poison pill that is toxic to political health of any elected representative. Also, President Trump is not willing to give his assent to a healthcare law that is not inclusive of all Americans. So, due to lack of consensus even among the Republicans, the fate of AHCA hangs in the

balance. At the root of dissentions and disagreements are some basic “philosophical conflicts” that are effecting the conduct of this debate and will influence its final conclusion. First, is healthcare a right or a privilege for Americans? Second, how to control costs in a capitalistic free-market system and enhance shareholder value? Third, how to support medical innovations and research with shrinking revenue base in the private sector. These are important economic and moral issues that divide Republicans and Democrats. Unless they can address these and comes to an understanding, it likely to remain in the predicament it is in for last many decades, i.e. escalating costs, lack of access and low health outcomes. Perhaps the best course of action for America at this juncture is to borrow some aspects of Obama’s ACA 2010 on the delivery side and marry it to some aspects of AHCA 2017 on the cost side to create a hybrid that allows access to all while keeping the private sector intact for robust medical innovation and development – key to American leadership in medicine. This will placate people in both political camps as well as prevent revolt among radicals. Through this approach America is likely to achieve health outcome parity with other industrialized nations as well as stabilize costs without jeopardizing new discoveries and developments for healthcare in the future. Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College and Co-Founder of Indo-American Association, Houston. He can be contact on

Butcher shops razed amid ......... Continued from page 1 “We are not ruling out anything,” he said. The fire comes just days after a hardline Hindu priestturned-politician took control of Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state with a bloody history of violence between Hindus and Muslims. Yogi Adityanath is known for his polarising and inflammatory speeches against Muslims, and has called for harsher penalties for the slaughter of cows, which is already illegal in most Indian states.

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FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

He was chosen to lead Uttar Pradesh after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party swept state polls earlier this month, in part on a pledge to close unlicensed traders and illegal beef outlets.

have alleged that beef is being passed off as buffalo. - Sense of fear Since the BJP’s thumping election victory less than a fortnight ago, dozens of butcher shops have been sealed off across the state in what authorities say is a crackdown on unlicensed vendors. Meat traders fear legitimate businesses could be swept up in the hysteria. “The way the entire issue is being twisted is hurting our business. There is fear in the minds of the public,” said Imran Qureshi, whose abattoir in Uttar Pradesh exports buffalo meat to Europe and the Middle

East. Only eight of India’s 29 states allow cow slaughter. The rest have slowly stiffened penalties, including life imprisonment, as Hindu hardliners agitate for a total bans. Modi’s home state of Gujarat Wednesday proposed raising the penalty for cow slaughter to ten years prison. Millions from India’s huge minority populations -- including Muslims, Christians and lower-caste Hindus -- eat beef, although it is not widely available. India has witnessed a rise in vigilantism by Hindu extrem-

ists since Modi -- whose rightwing party is strongly aligned to Hindu nationalist groups -was voted to power in 2014. Armed gangs have been known to enforce an unofficial beef ban in some parts, forcibly inspecting trucks for any sign of livestock or carcasses. Drivers accused of transporting cows to slaughterhouses have been lynched. Even rumours of transgression can spar deadly violence. In 2015 a 50-year-old Muslim man accused of eating beef was dragged from his home in 2015 and beaten to death by a mob. Police later said it was mutton.

As if it matters...

India is a significant global exporter of meat from buffalos, which are not seen as sacred beasts, with Uttar Pradesh housing half the country’s abattoirs. But most butcher shops in the powder-keg state are run by Muslims, and Hindu hardliners

© 2017 Cartoon by Shobana Muratee



FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

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Indian Americans in Houston raise funds for American hero Ian Grillot

Karun Sreerama is Houston’s new PWE director

IACCGH honors Asif Dakri on his appointment to FDIC .... Continued from Page 3 SBA lender in the Houston region. Asif Dakri’s new role, she continued, will offer him the opportunity in doing “something bigger” in terms of advising the Government on regulatory and monetary policies. She also lauded Asif Dakri’s efforts in helping UH’s SURE program which has been championed by Professor Dr. Saleha Khumawala and promotes entrepreneurship among underprivileged children. Asif Dakri’s appointment to the FDIC Advisory committee is a matter of pride for the South Asian community and he with a panel of 13 members will provide advice on policy issues that impact small community banks throughout the country. He represents FDIC’s Dallas region which oversees 8 states.

Karun Sreerama Dr. Virendra Mathur, speaking to Indian American community leaders at the CG’s residence on March 20, 20117 Continued from Page 3 ‘Honoring Ian will send a strong message of peace, inclusiveness and support by the Indo-American community to all communities across the world’, stated the press release from India House. Consul General of India, Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray, extending his full support to the cause, joined India House and invited noted community leaders to his residence on Monday, March 20. “The Indian community is known to be most successful; now it needs to be known as most generous,” he said, addressing nearly a dozen leaders. Building on the narrative that an American risks his life for an Indian and the Indian American community gives back to him would be reflected of what the Indian American community stands for, Dr. Ray said. In addition, the Consul General is said to have extended an invitation on behalf of the Indian Government to Ian to visit India. Jiten Agarwal, Board Member and 2017 Gala Co-Chair of India House said (when he spoke to Ian a couple of times in connection with the gala) that Ian stated that he wasn’t expecting anything, just a simple request that his parents accompany him to Houston as he was still recovering from his wounds. Agrawal said they needed about $45,000 more to meet the target.

Dr. Virendra Mathur, India House Trustee said, “Everything that we are able to do today is because of the hospitality of this country which accepted us and gave us the opportunity to grow.” Dr. Mathur was speaking of the first generation Indians like him that came with bare minimum of $8 or $10 dollars. “So it is our moral duty to give back, something that Mahatma Gandhi has been telling all the time. And that is one of the main visions of India House.” Dr. Durga Agrawal, India House Trustee, Brij Agrawal, Dr. Arun Verma and Abezeer Tyabji also spoke on the occasion and expressed their gratitude and support to the American hero, Mr. Grillot. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please act now. You can pay by credit card, check or by phone. You can contact via email: indiahouse@ If you are planning to attend the India House Gala, you will have the opportunity of being present when Ian is honored. India’s Ambassador to USA, Former USA Ambassador to India, Former US Assistant Secretary of State, and the Mayor of Houston are some of the dignitaries attending the gala this year. For Gala sponsorship and details please visit


OUSTON - Mar 17, 2017 Veteran Houston engineer Karun Sreerama is Mayor Sylvester Turner’s pick to head the Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering (PWE). Sreerama is a highly respected engineer with 28 years of experience managing multi-million dollar capital projects across the U.S. and abroad. He is a registered Professional Engineer and holds a doctorate in civil engineering as well as a Master’s degree in business administration. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Dale Rudick, who has led PWE since 2014. Pending council approval, the new appointment is to be effective April 3. In the interim, PWE’s Deputy Director for Engineering and Construction Carol Haddock will manage the department. “Karun has developed an impressive 100-day transition plan,” said Mayor Turner. “He is focused on the organization’s culture and spending as well as collaboration with City Council, neighborhoods and the engineering community. He definitely understands the important role the city plays in boosting the quality of life for all Houstonians. He will be able to build upon the excellent progress made during Dale Rudick’s tenure. I want to thank Dale for his service and wish him well in this next chapter of his life.”

In his Keynote, Asif Dakri offered a brief overview of Wallis State Bank and its successful streak as the number one SBA lending Bank in Houston for the past three years specializing in small business lending. He also presented an interesting in-

Sreerama comes to the city from ESPA Corporation where he served as president and CEO. Under his leadership, the firm secured contracts with the Harris County Hospital District, Harris County Toll Road Authority, the City of Houston, Pearland, Missouri City, Rice University, University of Houston, Houston Independent School District, Aldine Independent School District and the Texas Department of Transportation. Prior to joining ESPA, Sreerama was senior vice president and chief engineer for Professional Service Industries, Inc. Sreerama serves on the boards of the Houston Downtown Management District, Houston Community College Foundation, American Council of Engineering Companies of Houston and the Indo-American Political Action Committee of Greater Houston. Mayor Turner also announced the appointment of Lisa Johnson as interim director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Johnson

sight about Houston’s economy which highlighted where we were, where we stand and where we are going. Pre 2014, Houston, he elaborated, had a tremendous run up in employment rates, real estate prices and construction but when OPEC refused to limit oil production in November 2014, the markets took a dive. This led to a loss of thousands of jobs and a real estate decline in multifamily and office markets among other casualties. The exceptions were retail, healthcare and education that were making money. Today, oil prices have stabilized but a likely Fed interest rate hike could crimp growth and make it harder to “keep the American dream alive.” As for the future, he remarked that his guess about where it was headed was “as good as anyone else’s” but was optimistic that despite the bumps on the road, Houston’s future is still favorable. Asif Dakri concluded by appealing to the gathering to become more “involved and proactive” not only in their Indo American or South Asian communities but the American community at large.

has worked for 31 years exclusively in the public section as a Parks and Recreation professional. She has been employed by the city of Houston since 2002, most recently serving as division manager in the General Services Department with oversight of parks department’s multi-million dollar capital program. She has been involved in the renovations of Bethel Park, Gragg Park, Emancipation Park and Lake Wilderness Park and numerous other neighborhood park projects including the construction of the Memorial Park Living Bridge, Bayou Greenways and hike and bike trail connections. Johnson is a graduate of Texas A & M University and has completed post-graduate training programs at Southwest Texas State University, the National Park Planning and Maintenance Safety School and the National Playground Safety Institute. She will replace Joe Turner, who is retiring, effective April 30, 2017.

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FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Texas Supreme Court Differentiates Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Workplace

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

Medical debts are the same as any other Q. Is it true that medical bills or accounts are not allowed to remain on your credit report for more than 4 years in the state of Texas? A. It is not true. Medical bills are basically the same as any other debt. They stay on your credit report for seven years. There is a four year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for a debt, however, the fact that you cannot be sued does not mean you no longer owe the debt, and it will not become “obsolete” and removed from your credit report for seven years. Q. Am I entitled to a paid leave when I have a child? My employer has told me any leave will be without pay. A. Although many people know there is a law providing that certain employees receive a medical leave, there is some confusion about what the law says. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be entitled to up to 12 weeks leave, depending on the size the company and how long you have worked there. Basically, the law applies to employers with 50 or more employees and the employee must have worked for at least one year. The law, however, does not require that the leave be with pay. All you may be legally entitled to is an unpaid leave. To learn more about this law, visit the Department of Labor website, https://

compliance/whdfs28.htm Q. I just got a call from a debt collector saying that if I did not promptly pay, he would garnish my tax refund before I received it. My wife and I have been counting on this money to pay some other expenses. We have been paying the debt collector all we can afford. Can the debt collector do this? A. The debt collector cannot garnish your federal tax refund. Creditors may take tax refunds in only very limited circumstances. For example, a refund may be taken for a debt owed to the federal government, a debt owed to a state, or a debt for past-due child support. Threatening to garnish your tax refund also violates state and federal debt collection laws. Under these laws, a debt collector is prohibited from making threats to take legal action he has no right to take. I suggest you let the debt collector know that you know your legal rights and continue to pay what you can afford. My guess is the threats will stop. If they don’t, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and consider speaking with a consumer attorney. Q. I signed a contract to buy a car. The dealer backed out and sold it to someone else. Luckily, the next day I found the car for the same price at another dealer. Now I want to sue the original seller who backed out of our deal. How much can I sue for? A. This is an interesting question and show how damages for breach of contract

Nitin Sud, Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney

work. You probably cannot sue for anything. The law does not punish people for breaching a contract. The measure of damages for a breach of contract is the difference between the contract price and what you ultimately paid. Because you purchased the car for the same price, you have no damages. It may not be “fair” that he sold it to someone else, but as far as the law is concerned his conduct did not cause you any damages. If you were forced to pay more for the car, the dealer would have been responsible for the increase in the price. Do you want to know a lot more about your legal rights? Will you be in Houston Saturday, April 1st? That is when the Center for Consumer Law at the University of Houston Law Center will present the latest session of the People’s Law School. This free program is your chance to learn more about your legal rights, and get help with basic legal problems. There will be classes in fourteen different areas of law. The People’s Law School will be held at the Law Center on the main campus of the University. Everyone may select three courses to attend. As I said, the program is free, but you must register in advance. To register or get more information, go to, I look forward to seeing on April 1st.

As background, in 2010, the Texas Supreme Court issued a decision, where it had ruled that the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (“TCHRA”) is the exclusive way to pursue a claim of workplace sexual harassment.


In last month’s Steak ‘n Shake case, the Texas Supreme Court essentially ruled that sexual assault by a supervisor at work is

This decision is practically common sense and fixes an unfortunate application of a prior decision. More employees will be able to assert common law assault claims immediately, are more likely to have their day in court much sooner, and be able to recover higher damages in appropriate circumstances. Disclaimer This article is for general information purposes and is not to be construed as specific legal advice.

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The problem with this 2010 decision was that lower courts had been interpreting it to prevent employees who may have been sexually assaulted at work from bringing an immediate civil action in court to try to hold the employer liable. So, for example, if an employee was in a fist-fight with a supervisor and hurt, he/she could immediately sue the employer to hold it liable for the assault. However, if a woman was raped by a supervisor, she was apparently prevented from filing a civil lawsuit based on this 2010 decision. Instead, she was forced to go through the EEOC/TWC administrative process, and then by the time she got to court, her damages would be severely capped by statute.

different than sexual harassment. Accordingly, a woman who is sexually assaulted by a supervisor is permitted to immediately sue the employer for the assault, and not forced to first proceed through the EEOC/TWC administrative process and not subjected to the damages caps under the TCHRA.

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On February 24, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court (in B.C. v. Steak ‘n Shake Operations, Inc.) issued a much-awaited decision, ruling that employees who are sexually assaulted at work by a supervisor can bring a lawsuit immediately against their employer for a common-law assault claim, rather than first having to navigate through the employer-friendly, time-consuming, often futile process of first asserting an administrative claim of harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Texas Workforce Commission, followed by a difficult standard to prove in court that the employer should be responsible.

The TCHRA requires the filing of a charge of discrimination with the EEOC/TWC (which, for practical purposes, means waiting at least six months while government employees twiddle their thumbs supposedly “investigating” the allegations) before filing a lawsuit, followed by a high, employerfriendly, standard of proof and strict damages caps.

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Next-generation Target store to debut in Aliana community by David Garvin


ICHMOND – While visions of a robot-filled store of the future are still a future dream, Target CEO Brian Cornell on Monday unveiled in Las Vegas a next-generation store that the company will open in a suburb of Fort Bend this fall.

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

next to the company’s headquarters, will also get some of these elements from the next-generation prototype.

dreds of stores in the next few years and would have 600, or a third of its stores, “re-imagined” by 2019.

While the focus of the conference

He also laid out a strategy that included lowering prices and launching

SL distracted driving ordinance now in effect

The construction is currently in phase three at Grand Parkway and Harlem Road in the coming shopping center, anchored by a recently-opened H-E-B, next to the Aliana community. The new store prototype includes two separate entrances, similar to what it currently has at its SuperTarget stores. One will be aimed at inspiring customers with merchandise displays showcasing apparel and home goods. The other will be about convenience, with online order pickup close by and food and beverages near the doors for quick in-and-out trips. “Expect lots of flexibility, open sight lines and discovery moments throughout the store,” Cornell told hundreds of e-commerce leaders at Shoptalk, a digital commerce conference. “We’re going to take what we learn in Houston to help guide us as we customize and remodel hundreds and hundreds of stores over the next three years.” The Richmond store will include an outdoor space where customers can sit with friends, store fixtures that are rounded instead of having sharp angles, and some products such as beauty, jewelry and accessories displayed together instead of separately. Groceries, as well as beer and wine, will be moved to the front of the store. There will be dedicated parking spaces outside where employees can bring online orders straight to customers’ cars. The store will also have a different look with stenciled concrete floors, unique lighting treatments, and woodpaneled walls and beams. About 40 Target stores being remodeled this fall, including the Nicollet Mall store

Sugar Land’s newly approved distracted driving ordinance takes effect (Photo: SLPD) Target CEO Brian Cornell talks about the retailer’s prototype store Monday at the Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas (Photo: Texas Tribune) was on digital retail, Cornell used the keynote speech to argue that stores will be a big part of the landscape for years to come.

more than a dozen exclusive brands in the next couple years as a way to help overcome this past year’s sales slump and lower store traffic.

“The future of retail is digital,” he said. “And people will also be shopping in stores for a long, long time.”

In addition, Target said it would ramp up its new store openings to 30 this year and 40 a year by 2019 when it will have more than 100 smallerformat stores, mostly in city centers and near college campuses.

Right now, about 30 million customers visit Target’s 1,800 stores every week. Five years from now, it’s unclear how many people will continue to shop in stores. It could be 80 percent of that, or even 70 percent, he said. “Whatever it’s going to go be, it’s still going to be a really big number,” he said. “So that means we need to keep investing in our stores to give guests every possible reason to shop.” Cornell told investors last month that the company will remodel hun-

Earlier this year, Target scrapped a store of the future planned for Silicon Valley just weeks before it was slated to open. It was to include robots and a community gathering space, and would be a showroom where customers could pick up items on their way out. The initiative was one of a number of innovation projects Target killed as it has looked to reverse the sales decline and focus on more immediate growth.


ugar Land’s newly approved distracted driving ordinance is now the law within the city

limits. The new City law prohibits the use of portable electronic devices while driving a vehicle in Sugar Land unless the device is in hands-free mode or being used for an emergency. Portable electronic devices include mobile phones, personal digital assistants, MP3s or other hand-held music players, electronic reading devices, laptop computers, pagers, electronic game devices and more. “Wireless Communication Devices” are defined in Texas Code section 545.425. Drivers will be issued only warnings during the first 90 days. Following the grace period, any person found guilty of violating the ordinance will be fined up to $500 for each offense. Community awareness activities will include media releases, social media, print materials, community meetings, signage and events.

City Council approved the distracted driving ordinance on Feb. 21 following an extensive education campaign and public review process. The public was presented with the following three options: * Divers may not text and drive, but phones may be held while driving to make phone calls; * The operator of a motor vehicle may not use a portable electronic device while the vehicle is in motion - unless the device is in a hands free mode; * No ordinance. Citizens chose the second option. The Texas Legislature is currently considering a number of bills related to the use of portable electronic devices while driving. The proposals prohibit texting and driving and allow cities to enact ordinances containing regulations more stringent than those proposed in the bills. Sugar Land’s new ordinance is consistent with those being considered by legislators.


FRIDAY, March 24, 2017



FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Fort Bend Educations Foundation’s Serial robber seen on “Off to Oz” Gala is Over the Rainbow! surveillance footage by Nappinnai Natarajan


he 24th Annual Fort Bend Education Foundation “Off to Oz . . . the Emerald City Awaits” Gala was held at the Sugar Land Marriott Hotel on March 4, 2017. This event, presented by Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott LLP, set a new record netting over $311,000 for Grants to Teachers and Schools. Close to 900 people were in attendance, and every school in Fort Bend ISD participated by providing a Silent Auction basket. Gala Co-Chairs Giulia Hattan and Lisa Kulhanek toasted the guests for their efforts to support the Fort Bend Education Foundation to enrich and enhance the quality of education for all Fort Bend ISD students. Supporters were entertained by the Ridgepoint High School Theater Arts Department and the music of Password while bidding on a variety of auction items.

Gala Co-Chair Lisa Kulhanek and husband Charles with Gala Co-Chair Giulia Hattan and Francesca Hattan.. Photos credit: Courtesy of Mary Favre and Liz Furman

Photo: Video capture/SLPD


Alison and Greg Haralson with Heather and Jim Brown

Seeju and Charles Dupre with Tanya and Rick Pal

ugar Land police are looking for a gunman who robbed four businesses on March 13.

The man entered Lifetime Fitness, 1331 Highway 6, just after 6:15 a.m., approached a service counter at a café in the gym, displayed a pistol located in his waistband and demanded cash from the register and safe. The employee was unable to open the register and managed to escape while walking to the safe. No one was injured, and the man was last seen leaving the business. The same man entered Walmart, 345 Highway 6, a short time later, approached the service counter, displayed a pistol and demanded cash. There was no money in the employee’s register, and the man was last seen exiting the

store. Police believe the same man committed similar crimes at a Kroger in Fort Bend County and a Walmart in Houston later the same day. The suspect is a white man, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He had a military-style haircut and was wearing a black baseball cap, a purple shirt, a grey zip-up sweatshirt, dark pants and dark shoes. Surveillance video posted at www. Anyone with information should call the Sugar Land Police Department at (281) 275-2540 or Fort Bend County Crime Stoppers at (281) 342TIPS (8477).

Natural gas increase may hit Rosenberg Harry Munday, Mani Subramanian, Manmeet and Paul Likhari

Carol Evans, Nappinnai Natarajan, Co-Chair Lisa Kulhanek, Renu Narang and Co-Chair Giulia Hattan

Read this and more community stories on our website:





ORT BEND - At Rosenberg City Council on Tuesday, council members will consider taking action on denying a natural gas rate increase proposed by CenterPoint Energy. CenterPoint has asserted that it is entitled to a 10.4 percent increase over current adjusted revenues, and at the Dec.

6 meeting, council members suspended the effective date of the rate increase. Residential natural gas prices in Rosenberg in November 2016 averaged 18.47 dollars per thousand cubic feet, which was approximately 72% more than the national average rate of 10.76 $/Mcf (November 2016).

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FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

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Pratham Houston Annual Volunteers Meeting

Bollywood Shake ready to crown the new winners for its 5th Annual Bollywood Pageant USA


ollywood Shake will be hosting its 5th Annual Bollywood Pageant USA 2017 on March 26, 2017 at 6PM at Stafford Civic Center (1415 Constitution Ave, Stafford TX).

Pratham Young Professionals ably led by Darel D’Souza, met at the Madras Pavilion by Nirali Shah


his year’s Pratham Gala volunteer’s meeting hosted at the Madras Pavilion in Sugar Land was, per usual, a wonderful success. Volunteers from across the Houston area ranging in age, background, profession, and experience came together to be incorporated into the final details and logistics of the event. Darel D’Souza, the president of Pratham Houston Young Professionals, had a masterful presentation prepared to ensure that each volunteer understood not just their own, but also everyone else’s roles and responsibilities to ensure that the event runs flawlessly. The meeting began with a short video about the effects of Pratham as an organization, to remind everyone why they were there and how their time and efforts directly and indirectly affect the lives of thousands of men, women, and children through Pratham. The development of this organization over the years has been nothing short of remarkable, having taken the motto of “Every child in school and learning well” and expanding its reach to focus on girl’s education, vocational training, research, advocacy, technology education, and so

much more. It humbled us all to become equals in that room and remember that we are all volunteers for the same cause and making a difference in the same way. With the wonderful changes and new programs Pratham is always striving to develop, it only makes sense that we also found new ways to efficiently do our programming in the states! With exciting developments that the Pratham team has been working on, the volunteers were walked through the event structure and individual roles and responsibilities, and also introduced to an updated method of the check in and ticketing process for this year’s gala. With the training in motion, we are all working diligently to implement it smoothly this upcoming April 1st to ensure that the guests have a wonderful experience! Gearing up for an event like the Pratham gala each year is always rooted in excitement! Having been able to see how much the event has grown over the past 12 years has been a pleasure, and having been a volunteer for the organization for many years, I can truly say that being a young professional and in the mix of an extraordinary non-profit organization such as Pratham has been a

wonderful growing experience personally as well. This year, as with many years before, the Pratham Young Professionals, Houston (PYP) has taken the majority role in the planning process of the gala. They have done an exemplary job in planning new and creative methods of guest involvement, and efficiency in the standard processes. With passionate individuals in the organization, always looking to find a way to make things better, Pratham is sure to grow further in the years to come, and the youth plans to continue it’s unwavering support. As an organization, there is always room for new and enthusiastic volunteers; so if you or anyone you know would be interested in getting involved, please contact the Pratham Houston Office. This year’s gala features our special guest former Miss Universe and actor Sushmita Sen, our Honorable Dr. Anupam Ray, Consulate General of India as well as our Master of Ceremonies Casey Curry, Meteorologist KTRK TV. So if you haven’t gotten your ticket to this year’s Pratham Gala yet, be sure to go online to chapter/houston and book your tickets, it’s going to be a night you don’t want to miss!

Mayor Turner urges Congress to maintain Meals on Wheels


OUSTON - Mayor Sylvester Turner issued the following statement regarding proposed federal budget cuts that would seriously reduce funding for the Meals on Wheels program in Houston. “As Honorary Chair of the Advisory Board of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, the largest Meals on Wheels provider in the Greater Houston area, I know firsthand the importance of this program. Interfaith Ministries serves Approximately 4,000 homebound seniors and disabled adults receive Meals on Wheels from Interfaith Ministries each day.

Judge Emmett delivering meals for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s Meals on Wheels campaign (Photo courtesy Judge Ed Emmett)

“Even more Houston residents are served by other agencies such as the YWCA and the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.

the federal poverty level. They depend on the hot meal provided by Meals on Wheels for sustenance.

they receive. Without this vital program, thousands of our most vulnerable citizens will be left alone and hungry.

“More than 90 percent of these clients have annual incomes that place them below

“For many of these residents, the driver delivering this meal is often the only regular visitor

“I am calling on our Congressional delegation to not let this happen.” (-Office of the Mayor)

Houston-area surgeon murdered during SWAT standoff

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

This year’s show will feature contestants from all over the United States. Bollywood Shake conducted its auditions and extensive search for the last 6 months all over the US to find the best ladies to compete for this year’s crown! The contestants will be arriving in Houston this weekend and are ready to set the stage on fire in the Teen, Miss & Mrs. Bollywood categories! This year’s competition will feature contestants from New York, California, North Carolina, Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Dallas, Austin, Houston and a surprise contestant all

diqi, Actor Mahesh Sriram, Vice President of Pratham USA Asha Dhume, Miss NAM Teen Colorado 2016 Serene Singh, Celebrity Chef Roshni Gurnani, Miss Mexico Houston Samara Perez, Miss Bollywood USA 2015 Hinna Akhtar, Amir Dodhiya and Realtor Shaneel Mitha. This year’s performances will include singer Salman Mithani, Bollywood Pageant Theme Song by rap artist and motivational speaker Rocko Stedy Narvios and a spectacular fashion show by Dress Galaxy. Emcees will be Mrs. Bollywood 2015 Shruthi Bekal and Mr. Bollywood 2014 Waqas Syed. Bollywood Shake is also hosting a Kids Bollywood Pageant earlier in the day on March 26th from 11am-1pm and Jalwa Talent Show featuring a Singing and Dancing Competition

successful Bollywood dance school and hosting their own radio show, Bollywood Shake has always promoted local talent through its events. The Bollywood Pageant has featured renowned Bollywood celebrity guests in the past including Preity Zinta, Raveena Tandon, Neha Dhupia and Meenakshi Seshadri. Bollywood Shake has also hosted events like Mandira Bedi’s designer fashion show, Reality Dance Competition with Naved Jaffri, Vatsal Sheth and Omi Vaidya and New Year’s Eve Galas. Ruchika Dias, Founder & CEO of Bollywood Shake, has successfully organized the Bollywood Pageants for the past 5 years. This year’s team includes Pageant Coach Niharika Nag, Contestant Manager Bindhya Babu, Judges Coordinator Pa-

Winners of last year’s Annual Bollywood Pageant USA the way from Germany!! Special celebrity guest, actress and ex-Miss India Pooja Batra will be a judge at the event along with an esteemed panel of judges including Founder & CEO of HumFM Rehan Sid-

on March 26th from 1-4PM. Entry for the Kids Bollywood Pageant and Jalwa Talent Show is FREE! There will be food by Universal Bakery & Snacks and vendor booths for shopping! In addition to running a very

vana Gadde, Fitness Coach Anu Krish, Backstage Manager Lisa Savage, Varun Gupta, Saritha Ethirajan, Mousumi Banerjee and a big group of volunteers who are working hard to put on an incredible show!



ICHMOND, TX -- A gifted Houston area surgeon was one of two people killed during an apparent murder-suicide on Sunday afternoon. Dr. Sherilyn Gordon-Burroughs, 48, and her husband, Daniel Burroughs, 60, were found shot to death after a stand-off with SWAT officers. The standoff began at 10 a.m. in the 1400 block of River Cliff Court in Richmond when family members called and asked for deputies for a welfare check on Sherilyn Gordon-Burroughs. Officials said family members became concerned after Daniel Burroughs called them early Sunday morning and made comments indicating that Dr. Gordon-Burroughs had been injured or killed. Sheriff’s deputies were fi-

Transplant surgeon Dr. Sherilyn Gordon-Burroughs (Photo:HMHS) nally able to speak with Daniel Burroughs early Sunday afternoon, and asked if they could come in and check on his wife.

According to deputies, they heard a single shotgun blast as they came into the home. (-Patch)

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Indian-American 4th on list of overpaid CEOs in US



The list of 100 overpaid CEOs in the US published by ‘As You Sow’ has Mathrani in No. 4 spot with his total earning estimated at $39.2 million in 2016. The report says the amount he is currently earning is more than $26 million than what he is entitled to get. As You Sow, which works in the field of environmental and social corporate responsibility also keeps a close watch of the CEO pay. They use several indicators such as the portion of pay that is offered in options and returns on corporate capital, The report, which consists of the names of 100 overpaid CEOs, is signaling at the dichotomy between their performance and the payment received. According to the report, the most overpaid CEO is Leslie Moonves of CBS. He currently gets an annual compensation worth $56.7 million. Following him is Marc Benioff of Salesforce with the total compensation of $32,4 million. The third CEO of to feature in the list is David Zaslav of Discovery Communication who has an annual compensation of $32.4 million. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “CEO pay grew an astounding 943% over the past 37 years, greatly outpacing the growth in the cost of living, the productivity of the economy, and the stock market, disproving the claim that the growth in CEO pay reflects the ‘performance’ of the company, the value of its stock, or the ability of the CEO to do anything but disproportionately raise the amount of his pay.” For the past two years we have highlighted the 100 most overpaid CEOs of S&P 500 companies, and the votes of large shareholders, including mutual funds and pension funds on their pay packages. What has changed since the first report? Not much. Executive pay has continued to increase. Although mutual funds and pension funds are doing bet-

Irish woman Trump nominates Indianmurdered in American Amul Thapar Goa: police to top judicial post UMBAI, India | AFP | Wednesday 3/15/2017 - Indian police said Wednesday they had launched a murder investigation after a young Irish woman was found dead in the popular tourist state of Goa.

OUSTON: PTI | Sunday, March 19, 2017 - An IndianAmerican CEO of a Chicagobased property firm has been ranked fourth on a list of top 25 overpaid CEOs in the US, according to a new report.

The body of 28-year-old Danielle McLaughlin was discovered in a field on Tuesday and an autopsy is being conducted to ascertain whether she was sexually assaulted, deputy superintendent Sammy Tavares of the Goan police told AFP. Matharani, with a total compensation of $39.2 million in 2016, is overpaid by $26 million, according to the report (Photo: Economic Times) ter at exercising their fiduciary responsibility by more frequently voting their proxies against some of the most outrageous CEO pay packages. Of the mutual funds with the largest changes in voting habits from last year, all of them opposed more of the pay packages than they had the prior year. The study has also found that the companies run by the CEOs have been underperforming and they also cause a great threat to the shareholders. Out of the 25 top overpaid CEOs, 15 of them are making into the list for the second time and 10 have featured as many as three times. Mr. Sandeep Lakhmi Mathrani has been the Chief Executive Officer at General Growth Properties, Inc since January 17, 2011, and also has been its Director since January 24, 2011. Mr. Mathrani was previously with General Growth Properties Inc. as a consultant. Prior to this, he served as the President of Retail Real Estate at Vornado Realty Trust from March 2002 to January 14, 2011, and was responsible for all retail real estate activities in the United States and India Mathrani was earlier considered for one of the key positions in the Trump administration. General Growth Properties, headquartered in Chicago, operates close to 126 retail properties in 40 states across the US and has 1,800 employees working in different offices.

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

“Her body was found in a naked state. A case has been filed under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder),” he said, adding that a suspect had been arrested. Several foreigners have died in Goa over the past decade or so, including 15-year-old British schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling, whose bruised and semi-naked body was found in shallow water on a beach in 2008. The deaths, many in suspicious circumstances or from drug or alcohol abuse, have blighted the picturesque state’s reputation as a tourist haven. In a brief statement, McLaughlin’s mother Andrea Brannigan said the family were “finding it very difficult at this trying time. “Danielle will be sadly missed by all.” A fund created by McLaughlin’s friend Christy Duffy to fund the repatriation of her body quickly raised more than 15,000 euros ($16,000). “Anyone who knew her knew that she was a beautiful and kind hearted, funny young lady who loved life and was a loyal and devoted friend, sister and daughter,” Duffy said. “They say the brightest stars burn the quickest and no other analogy could describe Danielle’s life better.” Ireland said Glasgow-born McLaughlin also held a British passport, while Britain’s consulate in Mumbai told AFP it was working closely with local authorities. Last September, two Indian men were cleared of the rape and murder of Keeling, whose death became international news, shining a spotlight on


resident Donald Trump nominates Indian-American Amul Thapar to top judicial post

Thapar was among the 20 judges whose names Trump had released during his presidential campaign as shortlisted candidates for his Supreme Court nominees. Amul Thapar, an Indian-American legal luminary, has been nominated by US President Donald Trump to a key judicial position on the powerful US court of appeals. Thapar, 47, who in 2007 became the first South Asian Article III judge when he was appointed as a US District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, is the first Indian-American to be nominated by Trump for the top judicial post yesterday. If confirmed by the Senate, Thapar will be part of the powerful US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan.

Amul Thapar has been nominated to a key judicial position on the powerful US court of appeals (-File photo) mally critical of Trump, lauded Trump for his intent.

Thapar was among the 20 judges whose names Trump had released during his presidential campaign as shortlisted candidates for his Supreme Court nominees.

“Judge Thapar is a respected and thoughtful jurist who has long served as role model for the South Asian and greater legal community,” said Vichal Kumar, SABA president.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell applauded Trump for announcing his intent to nominate Thapar to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Despite being among the youngest judges in the federal judiciary, Judge Thapar quickly established a reputation as a top legal scholar among his peers. His nomination furthers SABA’s mission of ensuring a judiciary that reflects the diversity of our country and we anticipate that his eminent qualifications will earn him a swift confirmation,” Kumar said.

“Throughout his already impressive career of public service, Amul has shown an incredible intellect and an unshakable dedication to the law,” McConnell said. “He has earned the respect of his colleagues, and I know that he will bring to the Sixth Circuit the same wisdom, fairness, and ability that he has shown on the District Court. President Trump made an outstanding choice and I look forward to the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Thapar,” the Senate Majority leader said in a statement. The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) which is northe seedy side of the resort which is popular with Westerners and drawing attention to India’s sluggish justice system.

Prior to joining the bench, Thapar, winner of SABA’s Pioneer Award, served as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky from 20062007, where he was one of the first American Attorneys of South Asian descent. During that period, Thapar was appointed to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) and chaired the AGAC’s Controlled Substances and Asset Forfeiture subcommittee. He also served on the Terrorism and National Security subcommittee, the Violent Crime subcommittee, and Child Exploitation working group.




Section 2


FRIDAY, March 24, 2017


Electronics travel ban enrages business travelers

Tel: 713-774-5140

Houston India Conference to be held on Friday, March 24th


by Harriet Baskas ravelers are trying to figure out how to deal with new government rules placing an indefinite ban on electronic devices larger than smartphones from the cabins of commercial aircraft flying to both the United States and the United Kingdom from certain countries.


he Houston India Conference is being held on Friday, March 24. It is being organized by Consulate General of India in association with Greater Houston Partnership, Indo American Chamber of Commerce, University of Houston and other prominent organizations.

- Panel 2: Investment Climate, Opportunity and Ease of doing business with India

Friday, March 24, 2017 | 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Details of the Conference can be accessed on the link

Canada is also considering joining the electronics ban for flights, the Globe and Mail reports.

Venue: Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Blvd Houston, TX, 77004

In the United States, the ban covers nine airlines (Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabia Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates Air and Etihad Airways) and direct flights to the U.S. from 10 specific airports listed here.

Panel 1: Recent Political Developments in India: Implications for Economic and Foreign Policy

In the United Kingdom, the ban covers inbound flights from six countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. “The ban means there is probably intelligence indicating a terrorist group or individual has been planning to detonate a device on board a commercial airplane, using an electronic to either hide an explosive, or as a triggering device for an explosive,” said aviation safety and security expert Jeff Price. How to Protect Your Valuables? The ban also means that, for the foreseeable future, travelers booked on more than 125 affected flights a day to the U.S. and U.K. will have to put devices such as tablets, e-readers, cameras, laptops, portable DVD players, and video games in checked baggage. Travelers are concerned not only about how they will spend their time during flights, but the fate of the devices checked in airplane holds. “Am I seriously going to check a $5,000 camera? Not a chance,” said Washington, D.C.-based writer and photographer Emily Troutman, via Twitter.

Photo: Shutterstock As the bans begin to go into effect, experts are sharing advice and tips for those currently booked — or about to be booked — on the affected flights. “Back up all your data and save it to the cloud, arrive at the airport early, bring your phone charger or buy one at the airport, and bring some good material,” suggests travel pro Johnny Jet. Try switching to connecting instead of a direct flight from one of the affected airports. “If you’re booked on the Emirate non-stop from Dubai to the U.S., see if they’ll move you to one of their one-stops through Milan or Athens,” he said. Other travel experts suggest loading work files, books, games and other entertainment onto phones and purchasing or bringing along an external keyboard to make typing and accessing the information easier. “Upgrading to a larger memory phone might be in order,” said Farecompare CEO Rick Seaney, whose research shows the ban will initially affect over 40,000 potentially inconvenienced fliers. New Costs, Burdens for Business Travelers While in-flight entertainment on a long flight is helpful, it won’t replace

Oil prices slide on bulging U.S. crude inventories By Edmund Blair


ONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices slipped back to threemonth lows on Wednesday after data showed U.S. crude inventories rising faster than expected, piling pressure on OPEC to extend output cuts beyond June. A deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017 has had little impact on bulging global stockpiles of oil.

Benchmark Brent crude was down 82 cents at $50.14 per barrel at 0936 GMT, after dropping to $50.05, its lowest level since OPEC announced on Nov. 30 its plan for cuts. The deal with non-OPEC states was reached in December. U.S. light crude was down 70 cents at $47.54 a barrel, also slipping towards a three-month low. “The lower the price goes, the higher the pressure on OPEC to extend cuts,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

laptops for many travelers. The ban “is simply unworkable for most business travelers. They need to be productive during their trips,” said the Business Travel Coalition in a statement. “Many business travelers do not check luggage, even on long flights as it slows them down upon arrival at baggage claim. Now they will have to check their electronics with many paying for the privilege.”

- Panel 3: Economic Diplomacy – US India Relations - Panel 4: Soft Power and rise of India

The Conference audience include prominent businessmen, industry leaders, intellectuals, journalists, government leadership, and a substantial number from amongst those who have an informed interest in India.

India’s youngest billionaire is cashing in on no-cash

For those concerned about gear getting lost or stolen, insurance coverage from the airlines, travel insurance providers and certain credit cards may be helpful. “The primary concern for most business travelers regarding the theft of electronic devices isn’t the value of the device itself, it’s the value/ sensitivity of the data stored on the device,” said Max Leitschuh, iJET International Airline Safety Analyst. Another option? Not checking electronic devices at all. “My recommendation is to ship your electronics to your destination,” said aviation security and safety expert Jeff Price, “There’s no way I’d put my laptop in checked baggage. And those little locks they sell can be defeated in about 15 seconds with a good paperclip.” (-NBC News) Sources have said OPEC is inclined to extend but wants backing from non-OPEC producers, including Russia, even though such countries have yet to deliver fully on existing cuts. On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported U.S. inventories climbed by 4.5 million barrels to 533.6 million last week, a bigger rise than the 2.8 million analysts forecast. Investors now want to see whether Wednesday’s figures from the Energy Information Administration, a unit of the Department of Energy (DoE), confirm the rise. “A look below $50 (for Brent) is quite possible today if DoE data show a similar pattern, but it’s impossible to say how far below $50,” Commerzbank’s Fritsch said. U.S. shale oil producers have been adding rigs,

Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma: “We are on a mission to change this country for good” (File photo) by Kate Vinton, EW DEHLI - “Two thousand seventeen will be ours! How could it not be?”

graduating. In 2001, he cofounded the mobile-marketing firm One97 Communications, which became Paytm’s parent company a decade later.

Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, lit by spotlights and shouting into his microphone to wild applause at his mobile-payments startup’s annual party in January, has reason to celebrate.

Backed by Alibaba, Paytm began as a simple mobile wallet and has expanded into a platform for buying groceries, booking flights, paying home electric bills and more.

Paytm is cashing in big on India’s fitful move away from paper currency, minting Sharma, 38, as India’s youngest billionaire. Forbes estimates his net worth at $1.3 billion following a December 2016 funding round that valued Paytm at $4.86 billion.

When India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, announced the demonetization of 86 percent of the country’s paper currency last November—an attempt to crack down on tax evasion and money laundering—Sharma recognized an opportunity. Paytm immediately launched a major ad campaign and rolled out versions of its app in 11 languages, hoping to bring Paytm into rural areas where it had less traction. It worked: The number of daily transactions on the platform doubled to 5 million within 10 days and has since risen to 8 million.


Sharma finished high school at 14, but had to wait a year to enter college because he was too young to take the entrance exam for Delhi Technological University. While there, he built his first Web company, web portal, selling it for $1 million after

pushing up the country’s oil production to about 9.1 million bpd, from around 8.5 million bpd in late 2016. “OPEC’s market intervention has not yet resulted in significant visible inventory drawdowns, and the financial markets have lost patience,” U.S. bank Jefferies said in a note. The bank said OPEC-led cuts

would start having an impact in the second half of 2017, but added that U.S. crude production was expected to grow by 360,000 bpd in 2017 and 1 million bpd in 2018. U.S. bank Goldman Sachs warned its clients in a note this week that a U.S. shale-led production surge “could create a material oversupply in 2018-19”.

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Tourism to food, Buddhist Thailand hunts halal gold


rom hotels with segregated swimming pools to jelly made from seaweed instead of pig bones, Buddhist Thailand is chasing halal gold as it welcomes Muslim visitors and touts its wares to the Islamic world. Inside the cavernous dining hall of the five-star Al Meroz hotel in a Muslim suburb of Bangkok, an elderly man with a wispy beard recites verses of the Koran as a nervous-looking groom awaits the arrival of his bride. The young man bursts into a smile as his soon-to-be wife appears, clad in a brilliant white dress with matching headscarf. The ceremony is one of dozens of marriages held over the last few months at the Al Meroz -- the city’s first entirely halal hotel. Thailand has long been a draw for the world’s sun-seekers and hedonists, drawn to its parties, red-light districts, cheap booze and tropical beaches. But it has also seen a huge influx of visitors from Muslim countries, part of a quiet but deliberate strategy by the Southeast Asian nation to diversify its visitor profile. “Considering there are 1.5 billion Muslims around the world, I think this is a very good market,” explains Sanya Saenboon, the general manager of the hotel, one of a growing number of businesses serving a boom in Islamic tourists. The hotel opened its doors last year, setting itself apart with its attention to all things Islamic.

For a start there is no alcohol on sale, while the top floor swimming pool and gym has specific times for when men and women can use the facilities.

Thailand routinely places in the top two for non-Muslim majority nations alongside Singapore in Crescent Ratings’ annual survey of halal destinations.

Everything in the building has been ticked off against stringent checklist for practicing Muslims, from bed linen washed in a particular way, to ensuring toiletries are free of alcohol or animal fat -- making everyday goods “permissible” for the faithful.

“They’ve really recognised the Muslim consumer market is worth tapping into,” he explains, adding medical tourism, shopping and high quality hotels are the primary draws.

Sanya, who is Muslim, says such checks give visitors “peace of mind” so clients never have to ask themselves “can I eat this?” - ‘Ahead of the curve’ Despite a decade of political turbulence, Thailand has seen an explosion in tourist arrivals, from 13.8 million annual visitors in 2006 to a record 32.5 million last year. Western arrivals have largely remained a constant. The biggest increase in arrivals comes from China, skyrocketing from just 949,000 arrivals 10 years ago to 8.7 million visitors in 2016. But Muslim countries are also sending their citizens. An AFP analysis of government figures shows visitors from key majority Muslim nations in the Middle East and Asia have risen from 2.63 million in 2006 to 6.03 million last year. “Thailand was ahead of the curve,” says Fazal Baharden, founder of the Singapore-based Crescent Rating, which rates which countries are most welcoming to Muslim travellers.

He estimates the number of Muslim travellers has surged from around 25 million a year in 2000 to 117 million in 2015. But it is not just at home that Thailand has gone halal. - Food gets halal makeover From chicken and seafood to rice and canned fruit, the country has long been one of the world’s great food exporters. Now a growing numbers of food companies are switching to halal to widen their customer base. Against a backdrop of humming machines churning out butter, Lalana Thiranusornkij, a Buddhist, explains how her family turned their three factories -- under the KCG Corporation banner -- halal to access markets in Indonesia, Malaysia and in the Gulf. But going halal sometimes required some clever workarounds, such as how to avoid animal based gelatin to make jelly.

by Rob Lever


ASHINGTON | AFP - An Ohio man claimed he was forced into a hasty window escape when his house caught fire last year. His pacemaker data obtained by police showed otherwise, and he was charged with arson and insurance fraud.

Vast amounts of data collected from our connected devices -- fitness bands, smart refrigerators, thermostats and automobiles, among others -are increasingly being used in US legal proceedings to prove or disprove claims by people involved. In a recent case that made headlines, authorities in Arkansas sought, and eventually obtained, data from a murder suspect’s Amazon Echo speaker to obtain evidence. The US Federal Trade Commission in February fined television maker Vizio for secretly gathering data on viewers collected from its smart TVs and selling the information to marketers. The maker of the smartphone-connected sex toy WeVibe meanwhile agreed in March to a court settlement of a class-action suit from buyers who claimed “highly intimate and sensitive data” was uploaded to the cloud without permission -- and shown last year to be vulnerable to hackers. - ‘Privacy is dead’ Trying to come to grips with data collected, stored and analyzed by all these devices can be daunting. “When one looks at the expectation of privacy today it is radically different than it was a generation ago,” said Erik Laykin, a digital forensics specialist with the consultancy Duff & Phelps and author of a 2013 book on computer forensics. “Privacy is dead.” Laykin has consulted or testified in cases of insurance fraud, divorce and other legal proceedings where digital evidence can be relevant. He said the “always on” nature of “internet of Things” devices means huge amounts of personal information is circulating among companies, in the internet cloud and elsewhere, with few standards on


Baharden says the Islamic travel market is one of the world’s fastest growing thanks the growth of cheap flights and booming Muslim middle classes.

Secrets from smart devices find path to legal system

In Pennsylvania, authorities dismissed rape charges after data from a woman’s Fitbit contradicted her version of her whereabouts during the 2015 alleged assault.

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Photographer D. von Schoen has n ongoing project to capture ‘100 faces of Vietnam’. Of this image he said: “At the bend of an alley, I discovered a magnificent light accentuated by the yellow facades”. (Photo courtest of National Geographic / D. von Schoen)

Why some U.S. classrooms are replacing traditional world maps by Talia Avakian

classes, as it “more accurately reflects the size of the world,” Dan O’Brien, press secretary for Boston Public Schools, told Travel + Leisure.


hildren in Boston’s public schools were introduced to a new world map last week, offering a comparison to the traditional Mercator projection map commonly used in classrooms.

The Mercator map, created by Gerardus Mercator back in 1569, has been noted for its size exaggerations of continents in the northern hemisphere, including a North America and Europe that

Boston’s public schools have been rolling out the Gall-Peters projection maps in social studies

placed to make the change.

“In the past we used gelatin from pork but... we changed our gelatin from the pork source to be from a seaweed source,” she said.

Five percent of its population is Muslim and -- outside of the insurgency plagued southern border region -- is well-integrated within the Buddhist majority.

Thailand’s junta has set the goal of turning the country into one of the world’s top five halal exporting nations by 2020.

It was local Thai Muslims who first began asking for the country’s halal testing centre, a business that scours products for any banned substances and has since boomed.

Some outsiders might be surprised to see an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation embrace halal. But Dr Winai Dahlan, founder of the Halal Science Centre at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, says Thailand was well

“Fifteen years ago there was only 500 food plants that had halal certification. Now it’s

are larger than South Africa and a South America that’s roughly the same size as Europe, as The Guardian points out. The move is meant to help “decolonize” the current system by locating curriculum areas that may have implicit biases and finding ways to better create content that addresses its diverse range of students.

6,000,” Winai told AFP as female lab technicians in headscarves tested food products for traces of pork DNA. Over the same period the number of halal certified products made in Thailand has gone from 10,000 to 160,000, he added. It’s paid off. The government estimates the halal food industry is already worth $6 billion a year. As Thailand has quickly learned, there’s gold at the end of the halal rainbow. (-AFP BeautyNews)

A surgeon implants a pacemaker to a patient

how the data is protected or used.

criminal and civil litigation.

“The net result of these technologies is that we are forgoing our personal privacy and our personal autonomy and even sovereignty as humans and relinquishing that to a combination of state, harvesters of big data, omnipresent institutions and systems.”

Privacy activists meanwhile worry that these devices can unleash new kinds of surveillance without the knowledge of users, and that the legal system must define limits for constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.

A report last year from Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for internet studies pointed out the range of new connected devices that can yield evidence for law enforcement, “ranging from televisions and toasters to bed sheets, light bulbs, cameras, toothbrushes, door locks, cars, watches and other wearables,” which “are being packed with sensors and wireless connectivity.”

Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said gathering data from connected speakers such as the Amazon Echo should face the same standard as wiretaps, which need a warrant from a judge based on probable cause of a crime, rather than a more streamlined law enforcement subpoena.

“The audio and video sensors on IoT devices will open up numerous avenues for government actors to demand access to real-time and recorded communications,” the report said. John Sammons, a Marshall University professor of digital forensics and a former police officer, said this new abundance of evidence can be good for law enforcement if investigators can find relevant data. “You have to be aware it’s even there,” he said. “Most police officers would not even think to look at a Fitbit or a thermostat.” Another problem is the sheer volume of data and computing resources needed to obtain specific data, often requiring weeks of computing time. Sammons presented research on use of connected cars this year at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, saying newer vehicles with improved connectivity offer “a significant new source of potential evidence” for both

- Privacy in the cloud? -

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“In your house you should have absolute privacy,” Stanley said. One gray area in the law is that conversations recorded on home speakers may be sent to the cloud; in that case the holding of the data by a “third party” may wipe away constitutional privacy protection. “We think there needs to be jurisprudential and legislative means of addressing these issues,” Stanley said. “The privacy invasions are so significant.”






Jules Polonetsky, chief executive of the non-profit Future of Privacy Forum, said that while legal issues are still being debated, “you should always know if you have a device that is sending data elsewhere.” Polonetsky said it’s important to set a legal and constitutional privacy framework to reassure consumers. “It’s critical we get the balance between data utility and law enforcement access right,” he said, “or people won’t trust these devices.”

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Laptop, tablet bans on flights: What we know

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Video games linked to sexism in teenagers: study


RENOBLE, France | AFP | 3/17/2017 - The more time a teenage spends on video gaming, the likelier he or she is to display sexist attitudes and gender stereotypes, a study of thousands of French gaming aficionados has found. The study carried out by a team of French and US researchers compared the time spent by 13,520 young people playing video games and their attitudes to women and gender roles. The results published on Friday in the Frontiers in Psychology journal suggest that increased exposure to video games is associated with higher levels of stereotyping and sexism among teenagers.

Travellers at the airport. AFP Photo.

by Dario Thuburn ONDON, AFP | - Britain and the US on Tuesday banned laptops and tablet computers from the passenger compartment of flights from several Middle East and North African nations. The restrictions are different in the two countries and only Britain specified the maximum size of device allowed -- 16 by 9.3 centimetres (6.3 by 3.7 inches). A French civil aviation agency spokesman said France was considering whether to impose similar measures.


Here is what we know so far: - Airports affected The US ban applies to flights from 10 airports in eight countries. The airports affected are: - Queen Alia International in Amman, Jordan - Cairo International in Egypt - Ataturk in Istanbul, Turkey - King Abdulaziz International in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - King Khalid International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Kuwait International - Mohammed V International in Casablanca, Morocco - Hamad International in Doha, Qatar - Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates The British ban affects all the airports in six countries -- Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey. - Banned devices Britain said it would be banning “phones, laptops or tablets larger than a normal-sized mobile or smartphone” from direct inbound flights from the countries named. It specified that the ban would apply to devices bigger than 16 centimetres in length, 9.3 cm in width and 1.5 cm thick -- smaller than some ereaders like Kindles. The United States said its ban ap-

plied to all electronic devices larger than an average-sized mobile phone, including game consoles. - Affected airlines Since US airlines do not have direct flights from the airports affected, its ban affects nine non-US airlines: Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. The British ban affects six British airlines, including charters -- British Airways, EasyJet,, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson. It also impacts eight foreign carriers, including Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Turkish Airlines. - Timing of bans Airlines in the United States have been given 96 hours, beginning at 3:00 am (0700 GMT) on Tuesday, to inform travellers. Officials were not able to say when the order would end. The British ban applies immediately from Tuesday and also has no end date. - Why impose bans? Officials in both Britain and the United States would not give any details on what exactly prompted the bans. The US Department of Homeland Security, however, said extremists were seeking “innovative methods” to attack jets. It cited an incident in Somalia in February last year in which the Shabaab insurgent group said it had managed to place a bomb in a plane leaving Mogadishu for Djibouti. The device exploded shortly after takeoff, ripping a hole in the plane’s side, but killed only the suspected bomber before the aircraft landed safely. American authorities also cited the downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt in 2015, as well as attacks at airports in Brussels and Istanbul. A government source in London only said Britain was “privy to the same intelligence” as the United States. British Transport Minister Chris

“Sexist representations saturate advertising, television and cinema. Video games are no exception,” Laurent Begue, co-author of the study from Grenoble Alps University, told AFP. “Content analysis has shown that women are under-represented in popular video games. They have passive roles, they are princesses who need to be saved or secondary, sexualised objects of conquest,” he added. Although women are the main victims of stereotyping, men are also affected, being portrayed as “more active, armed and muscular”. According to the Entertainment Software Association, in 2014 almost half of video game players were female. Both boys and girls participated in the study (51 and 49 percent respectively), but results indicated that sexism was higher among males. Playing time varied from one to 10 hours a day. Researchers from Savoie Mont Blanc


OUSTON — When it comes to finding something good to eat — and something healthy to eat, as well — George Bush Intercontinental Airport is one of the top airports in the United States, according to a top travel industry website. ranked Bush Airport No. 5 overall in its 2017 Airport Dining Scorecard released this month, and ranked tops among the top 20 most trafficked airports for

Grayling said: “We face a constantly evolving threat from terrorism and must respond accordingly.” CNN quoted a US official as saying the ban was believed to be related to a threat posed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

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University in France and Iowa State University in the United States also collaborated in the project. Previous experiments had shown that playing specific video games for a few minutes can reinforce sexist attitudes, but the new study is the first large-scale examination of the phenomenon among teenagers. The survey questioned teens aged between 11 to 19, living in the southeastern cities of Lyon and Grenoble. Begue cautioned that despite the “statistically significant” link between sexism and video games, the influence of gaming on teenagers’ attitudes remains limited. Religious fervour was a greater de-

Bush IAH recognized as a top choice for airport dining in US

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Increased exposure to video games is associated with higher levels of stereotyping and sexism among teenagers, a French study found (AFP Photo/ FRANCK FIFE)

vegetarian and vegan dining options. The top 20 most trafficked airports in the United Stated were determined using 2015 North American Passenger data from the Airports Council International. determined the final overall rankings using three indicators: satisfaction, price and quality. Satisfaction rankings were determined by measuring the average

terminant of sexism, the researchers noted. Television, on the other hand, had a smaller impact than video games. Experts also worry that violent video games could negatively affect its users, triggering aggressive behaviour. The scientific community remains divided over the controversial link between violent video games and aggression. Begue said it would be “unfair” to tar all video games with the sexism brush, saying the main offenders were the bestsellers. He called on developers to avoid trapping characters into gender stereotypes. “And that is true for men, too!”.

Yelp score per venue and the average Yelp score per reviewer at each airport. Price scores were calculated using Yelp pricing data. Quality was evaluated using a cumulative average of data from Zagat reviews, PCRM healthiness ratings and JD Power rankings. In the categories judged, Bush Airport was ranked as the best airport in the U.S. for vegetarian and vegan options. The website noted: “Situated in a meat-loving state, it may be surprising that Houston’s Bush Airport is such a haven for vegetarian eaters.


Section 2

Young Life


Homeschooling gains steam as US debates school choice by Maggy Donaldson


ASHINGTON | AFP | - As her eldest son conjugates French verbs with a tutor, Emily Bradley coaches her three-year-old in speech, while her daughter tackles math drills in the kitchen using colored rods that represent numbers. None of Bradley’s four children -- the eldest of whom is nine -- have ever attended school. She plans to keep it that way as she seeks both to personalize their education and lay a Christian foundation for them. The Bradleys are among the roughly 1.8 million US students who are homeschooled -- a fast-growing community whose approach may find a champion under Donald Trump’s controversial new education secretary, Betsy DeVos. Their 36-year-old mother is no fan of the incoming president, but she is all “in favor of alternatives to education” -- which DeVos strongly supports. “I don’t think that the American education system is very good,” she said. “I can do it better.” Bradley’s kids join some 20 other homeschooling families in the capital Washington for weekly enrichment courses with “a biblical worldview.” After opening the day with a psalm and the pledge to the American flag, kids disperse for parent-taught lessons in subjects including math, literacy and the arts.


ARIS, France | AFP | Tuesday 3/14/2017 - 21year-old woman with Down’s Syndrome, broke new ground for the disabled on Tuesday by presenting the weather forecast on French national TV.

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Tel: 713-774-5140

Down’s woman presents weather on French TV

Segard provided a summary of the weekend weather on France 2, achieving a personal goal that she hopes will also boost awareness for people with Down’s. She soared to prominence after an advocacy group, UNAPEI, launched an awareness campaign ahead of World Down’s Syndrome Day on March 21, entitled “Melanie can do it.” Roughly 1.8 million US students are currently homeschooled (AFP Photo/) In nearby Northern Virginia, some 350 families take a similar, albeit secular, approach, supplementing their homemade diet with weekly classes at Compass Homeschool Enrichment. - Minimal oversight While many early homeschoolers cited religious reasons for their choice, today they comprise a wide range of demographics -- some three quarters of whom cite their dissatisfaction with the other school options available to them. Individual US states govern homeschooling families with a patchwork of policies that generally include minimal oversight, and there are concerns from some critics who fear children could lose out on a rounded education, or even be exposed to neglect or abuse. Less than half of states mandate testing for homeschoolers, according to

investigative website ProPublica. Approximately one-third do not require teaching specific subjects, and most of those that do have no means to ensure parental compliancy. Christopher Lubienski, an education policy analyst at Indiana University, has described the level of deregulation as “concerning.” “There is a larger societal responsibility to all children. I don’t think that precludes homeschooling as an option, but we have a responsibility to make sure that parents are doing right by their kids,” he told AFP. The classes at the Compass homeschool program are a way for families to address two oft-voiced concerns about homeschooling: that it limits children’s socialization, and that older kids need input from specialized teachers, especially in science and technology.

Kids ages four to 18 choose from an array of courses -- taught by hired experts -- including foreign language, chemistry, chess and acting. Kristin Yashko, 47, brings her three children here, and homeschools the rest of the week. “The benefits are off the charts,” said Yashko, who worked as a speech therapist in public schools for several years. “I encourage the teachers -- I support them -- but I just thought that we would be able to provide a better experience.” - ‘Outside the box’ Yashko’s 13-year-old daughter Aldrin said she “wouldn’t have thrived as much” at a traditional school. Gripping a book of short stories, Aldrin described her typical day as “pretty lax” -- she works on math, peruses the newspaper, studies several languages and sometimes watches a

On her Facebook page, Melanie announced that her dream was to present the weather, and vowed to do it if she scored more than 100,000 “likes.”

On her Facebook page, Melanie announced that her dream was to present the weather, and vowed to do it if she scored more than 100,000 “likes” (AFP Photo) cameras.

France 2 heard of the buzz and gave her a chance.

Segard, shy and clearly moved by the event, was flanked by the channel’s forecaster, Anais Baydemir, who paid tribute to her flawless delivery, as did her fans on Twitter.

Before her broadcast, the channel showed her rehearsing her lines and being made up for the

“A magical television moment,” said one. “Bravo, Melanie, we are all equal,” said another.


Yashko is confident about her children’s higher education prospects.

About 3.4 percent of US students are homeschooled, according to the latest 2012 estimates from the National Center for Education Statistics -- a population that has more than doubled since 1999.

“Colleges are looking more for kids who can kind of think outside the box,” she said. “Instead of just memorizing facts and spitting them out for a test, we want our kids to actually be ready for the work world.”

Trump’s newly minted education secretary is a forceful advocate of school choice, a movement that calls for US government funds to be diverted to families who leave the public school system.

Within 10 days, she had picked up 200,000 “likes” and drawn a following of thousands on Twitter.

She does plan to attend college: “a little bit of exposure to the school structure would be good.”

Melanie herself tweeted, “That’s it, I’ve done it, I’m finally a weather girl,” adding: “I am different, but I can do lots of things.” Down’s syndrome is the most common genetic form of intellectual disability. Also known as trisomy 21, the condition is caused by the presence of an extra, or third, copy of chromosome number 21. Humans normally have 23 pairs of chromosomes, which together contain up to 25,000 protein-coding genes. Around one in 1,000 people have Down’s, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In France, there are an estimated 65,000. A 19-year-old Down’s woman, Laura Hayoun, who presented the headlines on news channel BFMTV in 2013.

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FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Bollywood -Hollywood

Section 2


Sanjay Dutt gets injured during ‘Bhoomi’ shoot, continues filming GRA, India (PTI) | Tuesday Mar 21, 2017 - Sanjay Dutt has suffered a hairline fracture while filming his comeback project ‘Bhoomi,’ but the actor has decided to not take a break from the shoot.


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Vidya Balan on nepotism: Let’s not forget human beings have favourites

The Omung Kumar-directed movie marks the 57-year-old star’s first bigscreen outing after he completed his jail term and the actor wants to wrap the film as per the schedule. “Sanjay sir has had a hairline fracture in his hand but he wants to complete the major chunk of the film by the end of March. He is taking rest, but will not be taking a break from the film’s schedule as he doesn’t want to disturb the shoot,” a source from the production unit said. The revenge drama revolves around the relationship between a father and daughter. Actress Aditi Rao Hydari is cast in the role of Dutt’s daughter. Actor Sharad Kelkar will be seen in the role of the antagonist.

Kangana Ranaut had called filmmaker Karan Johar the flag-bearer of nepotism in Bollywood during her appearance on Koffee with Karan. The spat became uglier when Johar retorted later, saying Kangana doesn’t know the meaning of nepotism. (Photo and report: Hindustan Times)

The film is being shot in an old haveli in Bamrauli Katara, a village on the outskirts of the city, along with Taj Ganj streets and Mehtab Bagh across the river Yamuna. ‘Bhoomi’ is slated to release on August 4.

ver since actor Kangana Ranaut refused to mince her words on nepotism in Bollywood when she appeared on director Karan Johar’s Koffee with Karan show, everybody’s been talking about the “menace” in the industry. Now, Vidya Balan, the poster girl of selfmade women in Bollywood, has now jumped into the fray.


Sanjay Dutt (File photo)

Jayasudha’s husband Nitin Kapoor commits suicide


ayasudha’s husband Nitin Kapoor, who is a producer was found dead at his office in Mumbai on March 14. Though any detailed information about the incident is yet to be revealed, news broke that Nithin Kapoor has committed suicide. “Kapoor was jobless for the last 18 years. His family resides in Hyderabad and he was staying in Mumbai at his sister’s house,” said DCP Ashok Dudhe, a police spokesperson. He was under depression for the last one-and-a half years and undergoing treatment in a private hospital since February, he said. No suicide note was recovered from the spot, Dudhe said, adding there was nothing suspicious in the incident. A case of accidental death report has been registered with the Versova police station, the senior official said.

In a conversation with Pinkvilla, she said, “I personally haven’t experienced that. I have absolutely no one in the film industry but I did have the luxury of choice because I am a Bombay girl. My parents and sister were extremely supportive. I didn’t have to run away from home and survival was never an issue and therefore I am saying that it is a luxury of choice.”

The reason for Kapoor taking the extreme step was not yet known, police said. Nitin Kapoor is the cousin of Bollywood actor Jithendra and got married to actress Jayasudha in the year 1985 after two years of love. The couple had maintained a low-key profile always and used to appear together at many events that take place within the industry, including weddings. In one of the interviews the couple gave to a leading newspaper earlier, Jayasudha was quoted saying, “From day one I was impressed by his good looks and the way he used to converse. If I say I wasn’t attracted towards him, I would be lying. But, it was not love at first sight. But, yes, I liked him and his company.” And Nitin was quoted saying, “We were good friends with no sparks flying. Our exciting story actually began when I started travelling between Mumbai and Chennai.

She added,“But having said that, Kangana feels that way. To each his own. Everyone has different experiences. I am no one to comment but my experiences are different. There are camps but let’s not forget that human beings have favourites.” Jayasudha and Nitin Kapoor at Sreej’s wedding reception. Photo credit: Sharestill

Kangana had called Johar the flagbearer of nepotism in Bollywood in

the chat show. To which, Johar retorted that Kangana doesn’t know the meaning of nepotism and she always plays the victim card. Not the one to take things lying down, Kangana hit back, replying she was playing the badass rather than a woman or a victim. A lot of actors including Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Anupam Kher have expressed their opinions on the ongoing debate since then. Veteran actor Anupam Kher says talking about nepotism would mean either taking the side of Karan Johar or Kangana Ranaut as their name is now associated with the debate. “Now, nepotism is what Kangana has said or what Karan is saying. So, anything that I’ll say will be either taking her side or his side. But, I think a lot of self-made people are there,” he adds. Kangana kick-started the debate in Bollywood by calling Johar the “flag bearer of nepotism” on his chat show, which led to a war of words between them. It seems the nepotism debate is not going to die down anytime soon.

That was when we felt a void in our lives and started missing each other.” The couple seemed very much in love and were married for 30 years and were survived by two sons-Nihar and Shreayan, who are into film industry. More details are awaited

Happy to be part of ‘Padman’, says Twinkle UMBAI, Mar 21 (PTI) Actress-producer Twinkle Khanna says her upcoming film “Padman” will encourage people to talk about things like menstruation and sanitary napkins, which are still considered taboo in Indian society.


“Padman” is based on life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, who invented first low-cost sanitary napkins in the country. “It (shoot) is going very well and Mr Muruganantham was also there. It’s a wonderful project. It’s a film which will bring awareness about something which has so far been cloaked and shamed and I am very happy to be a part of the film,” Twinkle told reporters here at an event. “Padman” stars Akshay Kumar as Murugunathan, while Radhika Apte plays his wife in the movie.

Twinkle Khanna Actress Sonam Kapoor will also be seen in a special role in the film to be directed by R Balki. Twinkle was talking on the sidelines of launch of French Browns, by L’Oreal Professional.

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FRIDAY, March 24, 2017


Section 2


Climate change ‘makes deadly China pollution worse’



ARIS, France | AFP | - Global warming has boosted the frequency and severity of deadly air pollution peaks in northern China, scientists said Monday. Toxic particles in the air cause nearly a million premature deaths in the country every year, according to earlier research. “Climate change increases occurrences of weather conditions conducive to Beijing winter severe haze,” a team reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The trend is set to worsen if warming continues unabated. Persistent episodes of health-wrecking haze would become another 50 percent more frequent -- and last nearly twice as long -- during the second half of this century, the scientists found. The main danger, experts agree, is particle pollution, especially toxic, microscopic flecks smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter -- about 40 times thinner than a human hair. The burning of coal, along with vehicle emissions and dust, are the main sources of these ultra-fine specks, which can cause severe respiratory problems and increase the risk of heart disease. Small enough to enter human cells, they can also affect the immune and nervous systems. - Number One concern In major cities across northern China, the number of days with “severe haze” jumped from 12 to 18 to 25 during the winters of 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. Severe haze days happen when the

New gene test may tell onset date of Alzheimer’s


IAMI | AFP | Tuesday 3/21/2017 - International researchers said Tuesday they have found a way to assess a person’s genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by a given age, a tool that could lead to better diagnosis and treatment. The report in the journal PLOS Medicine was based on genetic data from more than 70,000 Alzheimer’s patients and elderly people without the disease participating in several major global studies on dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting some 47 million people worldwide, and has no cure and no effective treatments. Most people with the disease begin to show symptoms in their 60s, but rarer cases of early onset Alzheimer’s can begin as early as the 30s. “For any given individual, for a given age and genetic information, we can calculate your ‘personalized’ annualized risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD),” said co-author Rahul Desikan, clinical instructor at the University of California San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging. “That is, if you don’t already have dementia, what is your yearly risk for AD onset, based on your age and genetic information.” More research is needed before the test can be made available to the public. Also, researchers noted that their databases mainly included people of European descent, and therefore they could not accurately predict the risk of Alzheimer’s in other ethnicities, including African Americans or Latinos.

The main danger, experts agree, is particle pollution (Photo: Greg Baker / AFP) concentration of small particles exceeds 150 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

ture differences between the lower and upper atmosphere, faint winds, and certain patterns of atmospheric flow.

In January this year, a thick blanket of sun-dimming haze settled over the Beijing-Tianjin basin -- home to more than 100 million people -- for eight consecutive days, causing tens of thousands to flee cities and vent their anger on social networks such as Weibo and WeChat.

The researchers, led by Wenju Cai of the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, combined these elements to create a “haze weather index”, which they matched against 60 years of weather records.

For several days running, the density of particles 2.5 micrometres or less was higher than 500 micrograms per cubic metre, more than three times the danger threshold set by the World Health Organization. “I would rank air pollution as the number one or number two concern of ordinary people in northern cities in China,” co-author Hong Liao, a researcher at Nanjing University’s School of Environmental Science and Engineering, told AFP. A report by China’s environment ministry last year showed that 265 of the country’s 338 biggest cities failed to meet new health standards for smallparticle pollution in 2015. The perfect storm of geographic and weather conditions that favour lungsearing smog include sharp tempera-

Averaging across 15 climate models, they also calculated a sharp increase in the number of smog-inducing days from 2050 to 2100. After a particularly bad episode in January 2013 -- which sparked protests and caused $3.4 billion (3.2 billion euros) in health and production losses -- the Chinese government took sharp measures to reduce air pollution, but with limited success. “In spite of stringent emission controls, severe haze days in Beijing have continued to increase, as clearly seen over the past three winters,” Renhe Zhang, a researcher at Fudan University, said in a commentary also published in Nature Climate Change. “A global effort to slow down global warming is also urgently needed to decrease the risk of heavy air pollution in Beijing,” he added.

Your Kidneys Deserves The Best by Dr. Rita Sequeira

HERE ARE THE TOP 6 CAUSES OF KIDNEY DISEASE: 1. Delaying going to a toilet; Keeping your urine in your bladder for too long is a bad idea. A full bladder can cause bladder damage. The urine that stays in the bladder multiplies bacteria quickly. Once the urine refluxes back to the ureter and kidneys, the toxic substances can result in kidney infections, then urinary tract infections, and then nephritis, and even uremia. When nature calls – do it as soon as possible. 2. Eating too much salt; You should eat no more than 5.8 grams of salt daily. 3. Eating too much meat. Too much protein in your diet is harmful for your kidneys. Protein digestion produces ammonia – a toxin that is very destructive to your kidneys. More meat equals more kidney damage. 4. Drinking too much caffeine Caffeine is a component of many sodas and soft drinks. It raises your blood pressure and your kidneys start suffering. So you should cut down the amount of coke you drink daily. 5. Not drinking water Our kidneys should be hydrated properly to perform their functions well. If we don’t drink enough, the toxins can start accumulating in the blood, as there isn’t enough fluid to drain them through the kidneys. Drink more than 10 glasses of water daily. There is an easy way to check if you are drinking enough water: look at the colour of your urine; the lighter the color, the better. 6. Late treatment; Treat all your health problems properly and have your health checked regularly. Let’s help ourselves... Doctors in the United States have found new cancer in human beings, caused by Silver Nitro Oxide. Whenever you buy recharge cards or Scratch Lotto tickets, don’t scratch it with your finger nails, as it contains Silver Nitro Oxide coating and this can cause skin cancer if ingested unknowingly. Important Health Tips: 1. Answer phone calls with the left ear. 2. Don’t take your medicine with cold water.... 3. Don’t eat heavy meals after 5pm. 4. Drink more water in the morning, less at night. 5. Best sleeping time is from 10pm to 4 am. 6. Don’t lie down immediately taking medicine or after meals. 7. When phone’s battery is low to last bar, don’t answer the phone, bcos the radiation is 1000 times stronger. Can you forward this to people you care about? Teach your children early in life about these health hazards. Rita Sequeira is a Clinical Psychologist Specialist in Santa Ana, California. She graduated with honors in 1995. Having more than 22 years of diverse experiences, especially in Clinical Psychologist, Rita Sequeira affiliates with no hospital, and cooperates with other doctors and specialists without joining any medical groups.



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Made from original dabeli spices from Kutch, Gujarat We also take orders for homemade Thepla & Roti Party as well as personal orders All natural ingredients Always made fresh

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Know Seema Verma, New Head of Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services ast Thursday morning, the Senate Finance Committee held a confirmation hearing for Seema Verma, the Trump administration’s pick to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Though relatively breezy by confirmation-hearing standards at just under three hours and relatively low on theatrics, Verma’s low-key hearing will help determine the health outcomes for over a third of all Americans.

by Marlowe Hood

In Beijing and other major northern cities, the number of days each year with weather tailor-made for extreme smog rose from 45 to 50 in the period 1982-2015 compared to the previous three decades, a ten-percent jump, the study found.

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Verma is best-known for her role in reshaping the Indiana Medicaid program under then-Governor Mike Pence. Despite Pence being an ardent critic of Obamacare, Indiana made the choice to expand Medicaid anyway. But they utilized a pathway known as the 1115 waiver to craft a program that diverged significantly from the guidelines under the standard Obamacare program, and quickly created the most conservative Medicaid expansion program in the country. That program, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, was the brainchild of Verma and her health-care consulting company, SVC, Inc, then recommended as an experienced expert and consultancy firm with knowledge of the minutiae of CMS regulations. 1. Seema Verma received her bachelor’s degree in life sciences from the University of Maryland— College Park and has a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University. 2. She founded Indianapolisbased health policy consulting firm SVC Inc. in 2001. The company has worked with several states (Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) to set up Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. 3. Verma is credited with designing the Healthy Indiana Plan, an insurance program for low-income Indiana resident that was created under then-Gov. Mike Pence. 4. The Indianapolis Star raised concerns in 2014 over a potential conflict of interest stemming from Verma being both a health care consultant for Indiana and an employee of a Hewlett-Packard unit that was among the state’s Medicaid vendors. 5. In 2016, Pence awarded Verma the Sagamore of the Wabash, an honorary award in Indiana that “is

Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6776 Southwest Freeway Suite # 178 Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor.” 6. In financial disclosures, Verma reported that within 90 days of her confirmation, she will sell SVC Inc. to Lansing, Michigan-based Health Management Associates. 7. Verma would be in charge of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which spends more than $1 trillion annually on programs that provide health care to Americans. 8. During her hearing before the Senate Committee on Finance in February, Verma referenced her Indian-American heritage: “I am extremely humbled as a firstgeneration American to be sitting before this committee after being nominated by the president of the United States. It is a testament to the fact that the American dream is very much alive for those willing to work for it.” 9. “She grew up in a Democratic household,” says Jugal Verma, Seema’s father. “I am a staunch Democrat.” 10. Verma’s husband, Sanjay, is a doctor as well. The couple has two children, Maya and Shaan. To choose the right Medicare Supplement Plan, Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.

What women need to know about painful periods by Dr. Elena Poloukhine


f you’re a woman who experiences significant pain during menstruation, particularly if that pain has worsened over time, it’s important to know that it may be a sign of a condition called endometriosis, and that there are treatments available so you don’t have to suffer. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, often around the fallopian tubes, ovaries and walls of the pelvis. Occasionally this tissue may be found in areas outside the pelvis as well. The tissue acts as it normally would inside the uterus, swelling and bleeding during menstruation, but the bleeding has no way to exit the body. Over time, scar tissue can develop, which can cause organs to bind together. Symptoms may include very painful menstrual cramps, which may progressively worsen over time; excessive menstrual bleeding; painful bowel movements or urination; diarrhea or constipation; bloating or nausea; pain during or after sex; and infertility. It is estimated that roughly 11 percent of women, or about 6.5 million women in the United States, have this condition.

If these symptoms sound familiar and you suspect you may be one of them, you should see your gynecologist for an evaluation. He or she will perform a pelvic exam and may order an ultrasound or MRI. If endometriosis is suspected your doctor may be prescribe hormonal therapy (such as a birth control pill, as one example) to try and ease symptoms. If symptoms persist, your doctor may perform a laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves making a tiny incision and inserting a thin, lighted scope to view the structures of the pelvis. This is the only way to know for sure if you have endometriosis and if you do, the abnormal tissue may be removed laparoscopically as well. However, if the endometriosis is severe and widespread, traditional open surgery may be necessary. In the most severe cases a hysterectomy and removal of the ovaries may be the best treatment, although this is reserved as a last resort. Dr. Elena Poloukhine is a gynecologist and medical director of OB/ GYN services at Day Kimball Medical Group



Spider venom may offer hope to stroke victims


YDNEY, Australia | AFP | Tuesday 3/20/2017 - A protein in the venom of potentially deadly funnel web spiders could minimise the effects of brain damage after a stroke, researchers in Australia said on Tuesday.

Lead researcher Glenn King told AFP this led them to see what they could find in funnel webs, which carry one of the world’s most dangerous toxins. Three were caught on Fraser Island on the Queensland coast and taken back to the lab to be milked. This involved administering an electric charge to their fangs, causing the muscles to contract and the venom to be squeezed out. “The small protein we discovered, Hi1a, blocks acidsensing ion channels in the brain, which are key drivers of brain damage after stroke,” he


EW DEHLI | TNN | Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 - The US based Team Original Gravity - which had proposed to brew beer on the Moon as part of its yeast based experiment - has not been finally selected to fly on the TeamIndus spacecraft.

Funnel-web spiders have the potential to be crucial in the treatment of stroke patients. (Photo: Gary Brown) said after injecting a synthetic version into rats. “We believe that we have, for the first time, found a way to minimise the effects of brain damage after a stroke.” The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, with King saying the small protein showed great promise as a future treatment. “One of the most exciting things about Hi1a is that it provides exceptional levels of protection for eight hours after stroke onset, which is a remarkably long window of opportunity for treatment,” he said. “Hi1a even provides some protection to the core brain region most affected by oxygen

deprivation, which is generally considered unrecoverable due to the rapid cell death caused by stroke.” Royal Melbourne Hospital Brain Centre director Stephen Davis said the pre-clinical work was encouraging. “A safe and effective neuroprotectant could be given in the ambulance to most stroke patients before hospital arrival and enable many more stroke victims to be treated,” he said. “The next step is to determine whether these very encouraging results can be translated into successful human benefits in clinical trials.” King said he hoped human trials would be possible within two years.

China’s demand for medicine fuels African donkey slaughter Donkey-hide gelatin has no commercial value in Africa, but is highly sought after in China as an ingredient for traditional medicine by Sibongile Khumalo


OGOSANI, South Africa | AFP | Tuesday 3/20/2017 - Under a cloudless sky in South Africa’s northwestern farming region, donkeys still amble along muddy paths, pausing to nibble on grass, oblivious to the threat from a demand for Chinese medicine. The gelatin found in the animals’ skin has made them a target, leading to a growing wave of donkey slaughtering in several African countries, as gangs seek to fuel a lucrative, and in South Africa illegal, trade. Animal rights groups say the docile beasts of burden are often cruelly bludgeoned to death before being skinned in backyards and clandestine slaughterhouses. Around Mogosani village, in South Africa’s North West province, residents say syndicates catch the animals in grazing fields and pens. Soon after, skinned carcasses with hooves chopped off are found nearby. “The thieves are after the skins,” donkey keeper George Sising told AFP. “We never used to have this problem, donkeys here used to roam free, but now people are afraid of what might happen.” Like many of the village’s poor and unemployed, Sising, 65, relies on the animals to make a living, using a donkeydrawn cart to collect recycling material, firewood and sand for sale. The donkey-hide gelatin has no commercial value in Africa but is highly sought after in China as an ingredient for traditional medicine to treat health problems such as anaemia and menopause-linked ailments. Hooves also contain gelatin, while the meat, consumed in parts of China, is believed to be more nutritious than beef and is enjoyed in burgers or stewed. - ‘Our animals ‘ “Many people here don’t eat donkey meat, they are just our animals,” said Sising. The gelatin, known in China

TeamIndus spacecraft won’t be brewing US beer by Vishwa Mohan

Strokes claim six million lives worldwide each year, and five million survivors are left with a permanent disability. Scientists from the University of Queensland and Monash University said spider venom was always a good place to look for proteins to help in medical treatments as they have evolved to target the nervous systems of insects.

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

as ejiao, is dissolved into hot beverages, or mixed with nuts and seeds as a snack. The industry is said to be worth millions of dollars and China is increasingly looking to Africa to satisfy demand after its own donkey population dropped sharply. Donkey numbers in China have nearly halved from 11 million in the 1990s to six million in 2013, according to the country’s national animal husbandry yearbook. “Jobs are scarce here, and donkeys are our source of income, if you own donkeys you can work for yourself,” said Ikgopeleng Tsietsoane, 25, another Mogosani donkey owner. In October, six of his nine animals were stolen and the perpetrators never found. “The theft is taking away our livelihood. If nothing is done, this village will soon have no donkeys left,” he said, adding his family had begun keeping the animals in 1991. He said the long-eared creatures were normally bought or sold for 400 rand ($30, 29 euros), but the price had surged to up to 2,000 rand. Tsietsoane was adamant that he would never let go of his remaining three animals. Two months ago, police in Johannesburg uncovered a storage container with more than 5,000 donkey hides, in what was described as the biggest bust so far. The collection is believed to have come from across the country and police have made several large finds in the city this year, suggesting a growing trend. “In one instance, donkey skins were found inside the yard of a tavern owned by a Chinese man,” said North West province police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone. After the police busts prompted a public outcry, the Chinese embassy in January issued a statement insisting no formal trade existed with South Africa. “There is no Chinese company importing donkey skins from South Africa through legal

channel(s),” it stated. But plans revealed in September to formalise the trade between North West province -- believed to have the country’s biggest donkey population -- and China’s Henan region may change that. Donkey prices shot up after the announcement. - ‘A cruel death’ “The aim was to create commercial opportunities for people in rural areas who own these animals,” said Patrick Leteane, director general at the North West provincial government’s agriculture department. “We wanted to unlock a whole value chain that would involve breeding, feedlots, slaughtering and export,” he said. China produces 5,000 tons of ejiao each year, requiring some four million hides, according to the China Daily. Speaking to AFP, Kabelo Nkoane, of the Highveld Horsecare Unit, said the animal welfare group’s staff began noticing donkey killings two years ago and now discover piles of donkey hides and meat in backyard slaughterhouses at least four times a week. “The animals are killed in a very cruel manner, bludgeoned in the head with a hammer or stabbed,” said Nkoane. “They are then skinned and, according to our sources, their skins taken to China, where they harvest the gelatin used in medicines. “If nothing is done, we might find ourselves with a similar situation to the rhino poaching crisis in the country.” South Africa’s landlocked neighbour, Botswana, currently legally exports donkey meat to China, as does Kenya, and Namibia is in the process of setting up an abattoir to service the Chinese market. But formalising the trade has not stopped illegal, cruel killings. After facing an unsustainable donkey slaughter, Burkina Faso last year announced a ban on the export of donkey meat and skins to Asia.

An international jury has, however, selected other innovative entries from India and different parts of the world. The successful entries include an experiment to test the effectiveness of using a colony of Cyanobacteria as a shield against harmful radiation in space and another one to explore photosynthesis in space. The Bengaluru-based TeamIndus is the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE which is a global competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. Explaining the latest development, the TeamIndus in a statement said, “Earlier this month, an international jury comprising K Kasturirangan, former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, Alain Bensoussan, former President of Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales

Participants in the Lab2Moon competition (Photo: AFP) (CNES) and former Chairman of Council, European Space Agency and Priyamvada Natarajan, Professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University examined in granular detail the prototypes of these experiments that came in from all over the world. “Team Space4Life, which proposed an experiment to test the effectiveness of using a colony of Cyanobacteria as a shield against harmful radiation in space and India based Team Z?I, which proposed an experiment to explore photosynthesis in space, have been shortlisted to fly aboard the TeamIndus

Spacecraft”. According to the statement, six other teams and their experiments that have qualified. “The US based Team Original Gravity which had proposed a yeast based experiment, is not in the final shortlist of teams that has qualified to fly on the TeamIndus spacecraft”, said the statement. The issue had figured in the Parliament last week when the Trinamool Congress member Sisir Kumar Adhikari wanted to know whether an Indian Spacecraft is planning to brew beer on the Moon.

New Facebook bot for visitors to Anne Frank museum by Maude Brulard


MSTERDAM, Netherlands | AFP | Tuesday 3/21/2017 Seven decades ago, the young Jewish diarist Anne Frank is unlikely to have imagined that her story would be kept alive for new generations via a computer-generated bot.

want to know the opening times of the museum, or know more about Anne Frank?

fer, and hid out for some two years until being discovered in August 1944 and deported.

Do you want to learn about her diary, or the annex in the Amsterdam canal house where Anne hid with her family? Or are you looking for more information about the family’s

“The generations that lived through the horrors are slowly disappearing, so it is important to find new ways to tell a story that should never be for-

But now visitors to the Amsterdam museum, lodged in the house where the teenager wrote her famous diary as she hid from Nazi occupiers, can learn about her history thanks to a unique collaboration with Facebook. “In these troubling times we live in, the story of Anne Frank is more relevant than ever,” said museum director Ronald Leopold, unveiling the initiative. “We are concerned about the fact that more the 70 years after the war, half of the visitors are under 30 and they know less than my generation. So it’s important to give more historical context and more historical information to connect with that history,” he added. The chat-bot programme is an information technology software that allows users to talk directly with the museum via Facebook messenger. Based on artificial intelligence, the programme is designed to improve over time as it learns from the questions users pose. So far it is limited, and only offers a few options. Do you

ounger generations know less about Anne Frank and her amazing diaries (Photo: AFP) capture and fate? Born in Germany on June 12, 1929, Anne Frank and her family fled for The Netherlands in 1933 to escape the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party. They arrived in Amsterdam and later went into hiding in a small apartment concealed behind a false bookcase on the top floor of the house, number 263 Prinsengracht. They were also joined by the Van Pels family and Fritz Pfef-

gotten,” said Prince Constantijn, the brother of the current Dutch king, who also attended the launch. Anne’s diary is one of the most widely read books in the world. It has been translated into 67 languages and has sold more than 30 million copies. Anne died from typhoid in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, just a few days after her sister. Her father Otto was the lone survivor of the annex.

Five frozen, gutted tigers found in Vietnam ANOI, Vietnam | AFP | Tuesday 3/21/2017 - Five frozen tigers have been discovered in a Vietnamese man’s freezer with their organs removed, according to official reports Tuesday, in a country seen as a global hub for the illegal wildlife trade.

The five tigers were discovered in the central province of Nghe An on Monday, according to a report from the official provincial newspaper.

Tiger organs and bones are used for medicinal purposes in the communist country, where a thriving local market drives the illegal sale of animal parts including ivory and rhino horn.

The tigers were Indochinese, according to Vietnam News Agency, but officials said police would investigate further.

But Vietnam is also a key transit route for wildlife parts destined for elsewhere in Asia, including neighbouring China.

Tiger bones are commonly boiled down and mixed with rice wine in Vietnam, a mixture believed to treat arthritis and


“The authorities found inside a freezer five dead tigers, with the skins intact but the internal organs removed,” it said.

Police refused to comment.

promote strength. Conservationists say Vietnam is one of the world’s worst countries for trade in endangered species, an accusation which it denies. Police regularly seize hauls of ivory, rhino horn and exotic species including pangolins, but conservation groups say these represent just a small part of the trade passing through the communist country. Britain’s Prince William delivered an urgent plea in Vietnam in November to end wildlife trafficking to save critically endangered species.



FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Asia’s biggest art fair South Korea closes foundations at centre of political scandal will test market With more art bought through private sale than at auction in 2016, there could be a lot of action at art fair. ONG KONG (AFP) - Top dealers, billionaire collectors, museum directors and maybe even a few Hollywood film stars will congregate at the Hong Kong Convention Centre from Tuesday as Art Basel Hong Kong kicks off.


The high-octane annual event is Asia’s biggest art fair by sales and attendance, and it will test the market for high-end art amid a slowing mainland Chinese economy, tighter curbs on capital flows from the country and other international economic and political concerns.

pected to get a bigger piece of the art market overall as more art was bought through private deals than through auctions last year, according to the latest TEFAF Art Market Report. Art Basel Hong Kong will open its doors to the public on Thursday after two days of exclusive previews when the 242 participating galleries expect to do most of their selling. Among the artworks on show, Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin’s Summit (2010) is guaranteed to be a conversation piece. This work, one of

EOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea’s Culture Ministry said on Monday (March 20) it had cancelled licences for two non-profit foundations at the centre of a political scandal that led to the ouster of President Park Geun Hye.


Ms Park was thrown out of office on March 10 when the Constitutional Court upheld a parliamentary vote to impeach her over accusations of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon Sil, to pressure big businesses to donate to the two foundations, Mir and KSports, set up to back the president’s policy initiatives. She is also accused of allowing Choi to exert inappropriate influence over state affairs. Ms Park is set to appear before prosecutors for questioning for the first time on Tuesday. Both Ms Park and Choi have denied wrongdoing. Ms Park has apologised for exercising poor judgment in her ties with Choi. The Ministry Of Culture, which grants licences to foundations, questioned the motives behind corporate donations to the two foundations, which had come to the attention of parliamentary investigators and prosecutors.

A still from a performance by Cao Fei entitled ‘Housebreaker’. Amalia Dayan and Daniella Luxembourg, founders of their eponymous galleries in New York and London, have taken a booth at Art Basel Hong Kong for the first time because they see art fairs as increasingly important channels for meeting new clients – even if sales do not necessarily materialise. “Other galleries that have been coming here say that it can be harder to sell in Hong Kong [compared to other art fairs], that it takes more follow-up calls and longer to penetrate the market. “We also take part in Art Basel in Basel, and there we know everyone. We don’t know Hong Kong and everyone says it takes a few years to build up your profile,� Luxembourg said. “But apart from people walking into our galleries, art fairs are the only major way to expand our business and Asia is a growing market.� Recent signals from other art sales are encouraging. There were fears at the start of the year that collectors from mainland China would buy less outside the country because of capital controls. But spring auctions in London and New York have seen active bidding by the country’s super-rich, suggesting they have enough cash stashed away outside the country to continue to invest in multimillion-dollar art and other assets. Last week, Christie’s attributed its strong sales during New York’s “Asian Art Week� to strong demand in particular from mainland China, Hong Kong and the United States. Sales during art fairs are not transparent, as galleries rarely divulge how much they manage to sell. But fairs such as Art Basel Hong Kong are ex-

17 large-scale works in the Encounters section, features very realistic models of Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Vladimir Lenin, Kim Jong-il and Fidel Castro encased in glass coffins. For the first time, Art Basel is bringing its Kabinett concept to Asia. A total of 19 galleries will feature a mini, curated project displayed separately within their booth. Massimo De Carlo’s Kabinett exhibition will feature local star Lee Kit’s video installation It Was a Cinema (2016). Virtual reality artwork will also be a major feature this year as the fair has partnered with Google Arts and Culture to present works by artists made with the internet giant’s Tilt Brush feature. There will be works on show by artists Boychild, Cao Fei, Robin Rhode, Sun Xun, and Yang Yongliang, as well as a VR recreation of Chinese artist Lin Yilin’s Safely Manoeuvring Across Lin He Road (1995) by Nonny de la Pena, known as “The Godmother of Virtual Reality�. The event’s opening heralds what many refer to as Hong Kong art week, as a flurry of satellite art fairs and free exhibitions open to capture the attention of the art world elite flying in for Art Basel, such as a show on Hong Kong popular culture at the M+ Pavilion and a group exhibition on how the internet influences art-making in mainland China and the West by the K11 Art Foundation and the US-based MoMA PS1. - It all makes for a good excuse for some serious partying, which culminates with the March 25 Foundation for Aids Research gala, attended by celebrities including US actress Charlize Theron.

“It turned out corporations that funded the foundations made contributions not voluntarily for the sake of public good, but out of pressure or in order to give bribes,� the ministry said in a

Ms Park Geun Hye was thrown out of office over accusations of colluding with a friend to pressure big businesses to donate to the two foundations, Mir and K-Sports (PHOTO: REUTERS) statement. The ministry also quoted the ruling by the Constitutional Court, which found that the non-profit foundations were run for the sake of private interests under the control of Choi. Ms Park, 65, lost her presidential immunity when she was ousted from office and could now face criminal charges of bribery, extortion and abuse of power. Mir, or “dragon�, was set up in October 2015 to promote cultural exchanges with other countries. K-Sports was set

up in January 2016 and was involved in sports-related projects. “Their swift liquidation serves public interests in a situation where nationwide and social confusion is serious because of them,� the ministry said. The ministry said it would begin the process to liquidate the foundations and would make a decision later on their assets, depending on the outcomes of related trials. Both foundations declined to comment.

Mark your calendar for Diwali at Times Square, October 2017


ew York, NY (March 20, 2017) – EventGuru Inc. is delighted to announce Saturday, October 7, 2017 as the date for this year’s DIWALI AT TIMES SQUARE celebration. Mark your calendars! Diwali is the “Festival of Lights,� is the one holiday that unifies the diversity of Indian regional cultures.

Diwali at Times Square was established in 2013 by Neeta Bhasin - a nationally recognized business leader specializing in multicultural marketing . She wanted to bring the most vibrant, national festival of India to the “Center of Universe� – New York’s Times Square - to showcase India’s rich culture, heritage, and arts to the world, while invoking a sense of pride among South Asians. This historic event is managed by ASB Communications, a New York-based multicultural marketing agency now celebrating its 20th anniversary which was founded by Ms. Bhasin. Advertising

and sponsorship opportunities for Diwali at Times Square are available for businesses and organizations looking to deepen relationships with the South Asian community. For Sponsorship opportunities contact: sponsorship@diwalitimessquare. com. This annual celebration is the largest Event Guru World Wide is a premier celebration of Diwali outside of India, full service event company specializand it brings the South Asian coming in festivals, concerts, trade shows, munity together for a fun-filled day gala dinners and press conferences. showcasing cultural dance and musiWe conceptualize and implement cal performances, a Diwali bazaar, and events of all sizes and statures. mouth-watering Indian cuisine. The celebration lights up Times Square with interactive, traditional Diya (lamp) lighting ceremonies, and the world’s best digital fireworks display. There will be a Bollywood celebrity filled .FNCFS"NFSJDBO*NNJHSBUJPO-BXZFST"TTPDJBUJPOTJODF evening concert ,and opportuniATTORNEY AND COUNSELORS AT LAW ties to interact with your favor56 Sugar Creek Center Blvd., Suite 100, Sugar Land, TX 77478 ite stars. The fun will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 7, 2017 in Times Square! r Over 30 years of Immigration Law Practice.


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Dipa Karmakar’s achievement has been awe-inspiring: Nadia Comaneci


EHLI - This year’s Mahindra Scoprio Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) 2017 is proud to feature the world’s first perfect 10 gymnast, the legendary

doesn’t matter what they decide to do later. Kids want to play gymnastics; they want to be Simone Biles. They want to fly and gymnastics in the best place to go. If they want to

So, in your case it wasn’t hard to make any sacrifices? I don’t call it sacrifices. I call it choices. I don’t think you should see it as a sacrifice. It is

Superstar gymnast Dipa Karmakar and legend in the sport Nadia Comaneci (Photos: AFP/Getty) Nadia Comaneci as mentor, asshe talks about life, philosophy, Dipa Karmakar and of course sports. Excerpts: You had the chance to meet and interact with Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar. What was the interaction with her like? The impact Dipa has made is big. It is amazing for the young generation of girls, and for parents who have girls. They watch Dipa and they see an opportunity that their kids can to do gymnastics as well. She is motivating and influencing a lot of young Indians. She has proved that you don’t have to be born in Romania or the US to make an impact here in gymnastics. She was really nice to talk to, and something interesting happened during our conversation. We were watching her Rio Olympics vault together and I was asked to make some comments on areas she needs to improve, and I said I like to hear from her on what she needs to improve on and she talked about the same things that I was thinking about. I told her that she has another vault to do (apart from Produnova) which she needs to improve and make it perfect so that judges cannot have deduction on that one. I feel her vault is 80-90 percent there, she just needs to work on the details, like how to put your feet while landing, and we talked about speed and all the gymnastics techniques that I still remember. You started training at the age of six. It is difficult life. In hindsight you ever thought probably you wanted a more normal life? And you now train kids in your academy; do they train as hard as you did? I didn’t want a normal life. I think no kids want a normal life. gymnastics in United States is defined and designed to be a sport for all kids. It is a good base for all kids and it

choose to go further and want to be competitive and want to go to the Olympics they have to spend five-six hours. But they would not know that unless they have the opportunity to see what is going on and how far they can go. I wanted to do more hours because I wanted to win and I realised to be better I have to do more repetitions which means I had to stay longer in the gym. I was tough with myself, because I knew I could do this better. But it depends on the child, but don’t think that the kid is in the gym because he wants to go to the Olympics. In the US there are 4 million kids who do gymnastics and have 2,500 clubs and only four go to the Olympics. So if you want to do gymnastics only to go to the Olympics that is not a right reason. Just go do it. My good friend Carl Lewis was a gymnastics and he became a track and field legend. I meet a lot of people who have had a lot of success in sports and they are thankful that I teach gymnastics as a base. As someone who at an early age you were so focused on what you wanted to achieve, what advice you will give a young kid when we talk about the mental strength - sure they have the physical attributes but how important is to switchoff and focus? Well that is the secret of the champion, how you do that. You have train for that. You have to understand why you are doing this, what brought to that. You have to always discover the love for what you are doing to be able to have to focus to do all those things. I was so drawn by what I was doing as a kid that I could not think that there was anything more important than going to the gym and train. My parents knew this was the most important thing for me, but my mom said that but if I don’t have good grades in school, that gym will be cut off so that forced me to be a good student as well.

an inner thing that makes you do that and you want to be better. So some kids have it, some don’t. Some have it for sports, some have it for something else. There are some kids who have so much desire to do and you can push that kid forward, but you can’t force someone who doesn’t want to do it. What are the Olympics moments outside of gymnastics that has inspired you? There are a lot of moments like that. But a few that I can remember are Michael Phelps moment ... moments, (Usian) Bolt is another. You try to think of what are people looking for while watching the Olympics. They want to see Bolt, Phelps, gymnastics finals. So, for me it is somebody who has done more than you can ever imagine a human being can do, so in that regard I will choose Phelps. You are settled in America now after leaving Romania. With the kind of policies that is coming in to force, particularly in the US, like the travel ban, do you think sports will suffer because of that? I hope the sport ‘doesn’t suffer because of that. I see sports as something that breaks barriers. Sports brings people together, I have seen that and I have made friends through sports. It is just what people to do to have success. They have the opportunity to travel and meet new people. I met my husband because of sports And I could have never thought that I will leave Romania and come to the States. I never thought I will marry someone from the other part of the world. We met in 1976 when I was just 14, though I was not interested in boys at that time, but met in the =America Cup in 76 and we went on to see each other in competitions years later. We became friends and all that happened because of the connection we have had with sports. (-Times of India)


Manchester United plan a 5-game US tour


anchester United have confirmed this summer’s pre-season tour will take place in the USA.

Pakistan’s plan to host internationals again After the successful staging of the PSL final in Lahore, Pakistan says they will host a World XI in September


AHORE (AFP) - Pakistan cricket officials are confident of hosting a team of international players in September as part of efforts to revive home fixtures following the deadly militant attack in 2009. After the final of the Pakistan Super League was held in Lahore without incident last weekend, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan said it has paved the way for the return of international matches. “I have received a letter from Giles Clarke, the head of a (International Cricket Council) task force on Pakistan, who has praised the successful staging of PSL final and has promised to bring a World XI in September,” Shaharyar told AFP. The Guardian had earlier quoted Clarke, who is also the president of the England and Wales Cricket Board, as saying: “The terrorists cannot win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan.” “The desire is to give the cricket-starved Pakistani supporters the chance to see some of the world’s finest players in live action,” Clarke said. “The world of cricket needs to help Pakistan, who cannot continue to play their home fixtures overseas. “The youth need inspiring, and the national teams need far more cricket played in familiar terrain.” It comes as Pakistan’s World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan caused social media outrage at home for labelling the international players who took part in the PSL final as “third-class”. Sunday’s final, featuring several overseas players, was held amid security that resembled a military operation, involving more than 8,000 heavily-armed police and paramilitaries. Nine foreign players, including West Indies stars Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels, travelled to Lahore for the final, however several international players withdrew from the match in Lahore due to security fears. A leaked video of Khan criticising the standard of the international players in Lahore quickly went viral online, where many rushed to defend

Photo credit: SkySports

Spectators take a ‘selfie’ prior to the start of the final (Photo: AFP)

Zalmi wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal (L) makes a successful stump out of Quetta Gladiators batsman Muhammad Nawaz (R) during the final (Photo: AFP) the foreign stars “Sammy was captain but he is not a big player,” Imran later said on the local TV network Geo News. “Had Chris Gayle come, had Kevin Pietersen come, I would have said they were big international stars.” No major international team has toured Pakistan since Islamist militants attacked a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers in 2009, killing eight people and wounding nine including six visiting cricketers. Visits by minnows Afghanistan and Zimbabwe did little to calm the nerves of bigger opponents. Shaharyar added: “Clarke had come to Pakistan in January this year and was impressed with the security arrangements which we showed him for future matches.” It’s planned that the World XI would play four Twenty20 matches against a Pakistan XI

on September 22, 23, 28 and 29. The visiting team could feature the likes of Sammy and fellow West Indian Samuels as well as England’s Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan. Sammy had earlier told AFP he had felt safe playing in Pakistan. “I had my doubts and fears before coming to Lahore and when I spoke to my mother she said ‘Go, boy, and play and I will be on my knees praying for you’, and my wife said the same thing,” he said. “I am glad that I came for a cause and it was as safe as playing in St Lucia or India or anywhere in the world. Pakistan fans deserve to see their players playing, which they have not done for a while.” The PCB is also hoping Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - whose security delegates visited Lahore for PSL final - will consider touring Pakistan later this year.

Tourists’ mistakes are quickly punished in India Analysis by Peter Lalor ou come to the ground with a 90-odd run lead on the first innings needing four wickets to bank a handy advantage. A win is on the cards. You come the next day and the tables have turned. You are two down and 120 odd in arrears. Basically you are on life support and fighting for your life with all the odds stacked against you.


It was a fine effort to get away with a draw, but it shouldn’t have even come to this. You played good cricket, like you did in the second Test, you had it their to win but in the end all your energy was spent attempting to save the match. There’s a lot of positives to be gained, but you shouldn’t have had to fight so hard.

The tour will see Jose Mourinho’s men play five games in five cities over a two-week period in July. The schedule including matches in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Santa Clara and Washington DC with a fifth city to be confirmed.

FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Winning in India is the hardest thing to do in cricket. Kim Hughes, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke failed to take series points on visits to the subcontinent. The last two mentioned couldn’t muster a win in the 11 matches they captained.

Oh Indian can frustrate you for sure. She can promise you a temple, or a snow peaked ridge and deliver dreadlocked traffic, cars that don’t arrive, phones that don’t work, promises that aren’t kept, food that ambushes, yesses that mean no, confusions and contradictions that leave the mind exhausted. Let it get to you and you will find yourself terminally frustrated. A prisoner of your hotel and your anxieties. You have to stay light on your feet, flexible and alert at all times. They almost had it in their grasp in the second Test and they let it slip away. They blinked and their bags were gone. You don’t leave your valuables lying around anywhere, you especially don’t when you are playing an Indian side. Beating Australia is a jewel they love to snatch. Indians know better than anyone on earth that opportunities are rare and have to be pounced on. Indian youth cricket trials are something to behold. The best in the state are called up and formed in a queue that stretches hundreds and hundreds long. This

group have been chosen from a crowd of kids that defies the imagination. Getting a spot is like a space on the commuter train at Calcutta station. Each bowler can be given the chance to bowl just one over. Each batsman the same. Fail and that’s you done for a year. I know a batsman who held the record opening partnership for his state’s university. He got his one over at the trials, despite a wet pitch he smoked the first two balls but was hit in the nose by the third. Couldn’t go on. That was that. No time for him there were hundreds lined up to take his spot at the crease. Come back next year. Pujara’s innings appeared to continue in the third Test. They’d let him get his eye in at Bengaluru and by Sunday you could have sworn he’d opened the one in the middle of the forehead. Still, he should not have been able to put India into that position. You don’t give a mug an even chance. You certainly don’t give this very good Indian cricket team a sniff. (



FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

Your Horoscope for the Week of March 24, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE

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


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

Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct

Set the ethics, keep the flow positive & don’t try to preach your morals to others. Keep your private life private and your social life social. Your excess energy might create some problem of saying or doing something inappropriate. Others may not be in a mood to have their limitations challenged. Romance your opponent until they are firmly in your camp. The closer you get to someone, the less your differences matter. Allow room for variation. Mutual literary interest could bond a relationship.

Stress your independence, creativity and style. Your personality will be bubbling. Take on the leadership role & make sure you listen your own words. Relax and make yourself feel at home. Be aware of the limits to which a business relationship can be stretched. Be open to new experiences, and remember to say thank you. By week’s end you’ll have an extra burst of energy. You’re eager to ask questions and not afraid of the answers. You’ll be the life of the party. The attention you receive will be encouraging rather than distracting.

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

Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov

You will require to try to get an extension on your deadline. Hasty actions could be worse for you than not acting at all. If you have more time, try to devote it to getting it right. Someone close to you will disappoint you. There’s no point in pretending to be objective, but at least you can be fair with your feelings. Partners in an intense friendship have many ways to communicate. Once you’re able to express your pent up feelings, you’ll be able to forgive then move on. Get out and find new projects that interest you.

Regrets have a way of softening the hard edges. An old wound may be slow to heal. No one ever said it was going to be easy, but you know it’ll be worth it. Open your eyes to the reality that exists not what you perceive through your rose colored glasses. Look deeper and you will be able to make needed changes. Family affairs will work out if you look at the situation through others eyes. Investigate all promising secondhand information for yourself. Everyone will be fascinated with your conversations.

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

Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June Social gathering or a chance meeting will be the start of a fresh new partnership. Spend some quality time & realize how special you feel. Your entire outlook will be transformed. Gatherings may be heated, refuse to take sides in family disagreements. It’ll only cause you to make bad feelings. Don’t allow negative comments you hear to discourage your progress. Watch for opportunities that could soon become available to you. Take a moment to study the situation from all angles. Opportunities for travel & communications.

No need come with any conclusions right away, allow some time to soften your overall view of things. You’ll need the time to digest your thoughts & emotions. Patience will be required in order to understand others perspective. Reconnect with what excites you and rejoin the life that’s going on outside your door. By week’s end, you should make time to enjoy some peace & quiet at home. You’ll feel more confident in who you are. Volunteer work looks good on your resume, which can not only help others, but yourself, as well.

Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan

Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July You will have ability to transform information and data into a valuable opportunity. Take the time you need to streamline procedures and improve techniques. Once you do, you’ll be able to reap rewards beyond your expectations. Gather together with others who share your passion and want to succeed. Your ability to encourage them will pay off in many ways. Their gratitude will be overwhelming and surprising. Family members will try to bring you into their web.

Enjoy the learning & earning, that will bring success to those who share your ideas. Check security issues and viable solutions will come to you. Everything will seem to be going in the opposite direction from what you had anticipated. Instead of letting it get to you, look on the bright side and be dazzled by what you see. Quick thinking could save everything. Strategy will take over once you can no longer accept the way things are. It’s possible to make changes without causing damage.

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

Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August A high level of confidence will announce to others that you’re ready to get down to business. Communicate your intentions clearly from the very beginning. The secret to your success will lie in finding a compatible partner to bounce off. If you continue to argue on every point, then you may need to look elsewhere. You need to know when you’re wrong and when to admit it. Accepting a defeat or a setback with grace will make a bad moment much shorter. Invite others to join you while you step into a new realm of learning.

Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September Exhibit the benefits of the new venture. Peers may try to question your motives, respond with positive financial data. Collect & study the facts, you may be tested to remember, later. Don’t be too ready to accuse someone without knowing the facts, but you probably shouldn’t trust everything you hear. If you are selling something, you are likely to close the deals and get top dollar. People are your life blood, as well as a source of your wonder. You could ruin your chances by using your most effective ammunition too early in the week.


By removing money from the equation, you allow yourself new avenues of exploration and expression. New friends can lead you to new avenues of social & professional exposure. Be yourself & you’ll be accepted & loved by all. Encourage others to pursue their talents. Community spirit might be upstaged by individuals who lacks rational. Listen to them, but don’t put too much stock into their sad story. Push the positive flow that will keep you and your ideas floating. Verify your information and obtain written reference material.

Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March You need to be cautious about sharing & trusting with your personal & financial matters. Time is on your side, so take decision wisely after proper planning. Remember that a relationship is as much about friendship as it is about obligation. If you and your partner aren’t having any gains, it’s time to ask why. If the two of you were too much alike, there’d be no spark. Use your imagination & you’ll come up the winner. You are a survivor. Try looking up in reference books or on the internet. Remind others of how inventive you can be when you have to be.


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FRIDAY, March 24, 2017

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To Build Your Legacy, Think About Your Predecessors As a leader, leaving a great legacy is arguably the most powerful thing you can do in your career, because it enables you to have influence well into the future. To make sure you’re keeping your legacy in mind as you go about your everyday work, think about your predecessors and how their actions have affected you. What resources did they leave behind for you? How did they change the organization to provide you with opportunities? How did they shape the company’s culture? Research shows that when we know we have benefited from someone else’s legacy, we think about what we want to leave for future generations and we tend to make better long-term decisions. While you can’t repay the deeds of the former generation, you can pay them forward by helping the next one. A generation from now, maybe someone will be looking to your example to shape their own legacy. Source: Adapted from “How to Think About Building Your Legacy,” by Kimberly WadeBenzoni



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Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...