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FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
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FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
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Serving Harris, Fort Bend and Surrounding Counties for 30 years
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017 Star Ratings for 2018 health and drug plans for Medicare Open Enrollment Read on Page 18 Call 832-806-1000
Vol. 30 No. 42 Friday, October 27, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: email@example.com
Sherin Mathews case: Police confirms finding body after father’s confession
Governor celebrates Diwali at Mansion with India’s Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray
body from the house. The affidavit was released on Tuesday morning by the Texas Police. Wesley Mathews “had been trying to get the three-year-old girl to drink her milk in the garage” early on 7 October, the affidavit said. “Wesley said she wouldn’t listen to him.” At that point, Mathews said he “physically assisted” Sherin in drinking her milk and the girl choked on the drink. “She was coughing and her breathing slowed. Eventually, Wesley no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died.”
Wesley Mathews, 37, is shown in a Richardson Police Department jail booking photo (Richardson Police Department) In a dramatic turnaround, the father of the three-year-old North Texas girl, who disappeared on 7 October, told the police that he watched his daughter choke on milk and die. An arrest affidavit said that he later removed her
The police further said that Mathews admitted to removing the girl’s body from the home. At that point, Mathews said he “physically assisted” Sherin in drinking her milk and the girl choked on the drink. “She was coughing and her breathing slowed. Eventually, Wesley no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died.” Continued on Page 11
Local radio host pleads guilty to sexual assault of a child
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his wife Cecilia, light a lamp, marking the Diwali celebrations at the Governor’s mansion in Austin on Oct. 22. Seen in picture are Indian Consul General Anupam Ray, left, and Texas Secretary of State Ronaldo P. Pablos and his wife Dr. Laura San Martin. Among those who attended from Houston area included Dr. Durga Agrawal, Jiten Agarwal, Sujeet Draksharam Bal Sareen, Viral Amin and Siva Gajula, with their spouses.
Sunil Thakkar. Photo credit: Harris County District Clerk’s Office.
OUSTON, Oct. 25, 2017 - Sunil Thakkar, the music Masala Radio show host was charged with a Sexual Assault of a Child (14-17 years old) on December 7th, 2015. This charge is a second degree felony that carries with it a punishment of 2 to 20 years in jail and a punishment up to $10,000. Thakkar was represented by a prominent criminal defense and municipal judge, Asha Reddi, Voice of Asia has learned. Sunil’s case was set for trial in January of 2017. Today, Thakkar appeared in court before Judge Ramona Franklin along with his attorney, Ms. Reddi for the sentencing. He pled guilty to 5 years Deferred Adjudication along with some other conditions
including 10 days in jail and a lifetime sex offender registration. Deferred Adjudication which essentially is a probation that is not a conviction on one’s record. Ms. Reddi said these kinds of case are tough cases to represent and one has to make an informed and educated choice. She said that State did not produce any medical evidence/ scientific evidence such as DNA in this case. This case was based on circumstantial evidence such as diary and other informa-
tion dating back to February 2014. There were flaws and inconsistencies with the case. She said that there is more to this case than meets the eye. The Harris county defense bar applauded Ms. Reddi’s aggressive and competent defense and deemed this result on the case as a victory for the defense. Ms. Reddi said Thakkar wanted to go to trial and we were set for trial since January of this year. Going to trial on these kinds of case in not easy because of the very nature
of the charge and the social stigma attached to it regardless of whether the allegations are true or not. She said that the defense brought enough information to the district attorney’s office to where Sunil was offered the four years Deferred Adjudication which essentially is a probation that is not a conviction on one’s record. After much thought and deliberation, to avoid a media buzz and spare both families the agony and the uncertainty of a trial, a decision was made to take this offer.
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VOICE OF ASIA Publisher: Associate Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Austin Correspondent: Print & Media Marketing: Marketing Director: Office Manager:
October 25, 2017
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FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
For the sake of the Indo-Pacific
S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit Rex Tillerson’s India visit should occasion a review of Washingto New Delhi this ton’s immigration policies. New Delhi needs to remove barriers to week comes at an important innovation. moment for both countries and governments. The US-India ing 100 per cent funding from relationship occupied high priforeign venture capitalists — a ority and visibility during the recent reform implemented by Obama administration. The the government of India. As Donald Trump administraIndia continues its economic tion, too, has shown its comreforms, Indian and global mitment to the relationship, companies look forward to hosting Prime Minister Narenfurther improving India’s ease dra Modi in Washington DC, of doing business, removing earlier this year. Last week, infrastructure bottlenecks, and Secretary Tillerson articulated encouraging entrepreneurship the importance of India and and value creation in Indian of US-India ties. He spoke of businesses. maintaining stability, security and prosperity across the In- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) A recent report predicts drado-Pacific region in the coming matic shifts in the global ecodecades. nomic order by 2050 — six of cial ties have seen an uptick in nies create jobs in India, Indian the seven largest economies The US and India will inrecent years with PM Modi’s companies too are responsible will be emerging economies creasingly need to work togethmarket-oriented reforms. India for direct and indirect job cre- led by China and India. At the er on the political and security is currently the US’ ninth larg- ation in a range of sectors, cre- same time, India will need $4.5 challenges across the Indo-Paest goods trading partner. India ating innovation labs, extensive trillion in investment by 2040 cific region, from mounting is also one of the fastest grow- nationwide STEM education for infrastructure and economtensions with North Korea, ing sources of foreign direct programmes, and academic ic growth. In this regard, Secrethe Rohingya crisis, and Ininvestment in the US, at nearly partnerships. It would benefit tary Tillerson’s remarks pin the dia’s own standoff with China $11 billion. In a groundbreak- the economic relationship if the arc of the next generation of over Doklam to the lingering ing development illustrating US government, in its review US-India ties. India’s position challenges in Afghanistan. In growing economic conver- of immigration programmes, in a part of the world that cona welcome move, the strategic gence, the US delivered its first could reassure job creators tains the most important trade and security partnership beshipment of crude oil to the about high-skilled workers corridors necessitates deeper tween our nations seems set for Paradip port a few weeks ago. from around the world who economic linkage with the US. greater advancement, with the This will lay the foundation for contribute to American busi- It is crucial for India to be able announcement of a ministerial a burgeoning cooperation in nesses’ growth and expansion. to develop its infrastructure, dialogue which will bring Secthe energy sector. This contribution enhances the attract capital and cutting-edge retary Tillerson and US SecreDuring this week’s US Trade job opportunities for all sorts of technology, grow its economy tary of Defense General James American workers and makes and advance opportunities for Mattis into direct engagement Policy Forum, US and Indian the US more competitive. its people. India will only benwith their Indian counterparts, leaders will have an opportuSecondly, the US-India com- efit by working with American Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala nity to generate a constructive dialogue on challenges Ameri- mercial dialogue and Novem- businesses in order to attract Sitharaman. can businesses encounter as ber’s Global Entrepreneurship private investment in a way However, as Secretary Tilthey compete in the Indian Summit in Hyderabad, will that follows global standards lerson noted in his speech, the market: Market access barriers present another opportunity to for international development. geo-economics of the Indofor medical devices, tariff and discuss convergent interests The time to act on shared Pacific are as important as the non-tariff barriers on ICT prod- and multilateral issues — par- goals and shape the destiny of region’s geopolitics. He was ucts and agricultural goods, ticularly in entrepreneurship, the Indo-Pacific region will beblunt in reminding us all about and the need for a strong in- tourism and setting global gin this week. A fully realised the need to put options on the tellectual property framework standards for trade. When PM US-India economic partnertable in order to encourage prithat benefits innovation and en- Modi announced his vision for ship is necessary to accomplish vate capital and cutting-edge trepreneurship. On the US side, “Startup India” in early 2016, that goal. technology to invest in the removement — even incremental the buzz reverberated throughgion. While two-way trade, and The writer is president of the — on a totalisation agreement out Silicon Valley. Start-ups investment, between the two would be a welcome relief for have the potential to create 3.5 US-India Business Council countries has increased sigtemporary Indian workers and million jobs in India and con- and former US Assistant Secnificantly in the past five years, Indian companies from paying tribute billions to the economy retary of State for South and there is much room to expand an annual social security pay- in the next decade. Indian start- Central Asia. the economic partnership. ment. Just as American compa- ups are now open to receivThere is much anticipation about the discussions between India’s Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at the US-India Trade Policy Forum, in conjunction with the US-India Commercial Dialogue. These parallel talks place a centrality on economic cooperation, giving both governments an opportunity to talk in a comprehensive manner on some of the outstanding trade issues. First, it is important to note that US-India commer-
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VOICE OF ASIA 5
COMMUNITY VOICE OF ASIA
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Second Front Page
Grand Diwali and Annakut at ISKCON of Houston
Srila Prabhupada was taken around the temple general area being followed by estatic kirtan
SKCON of Houston extravagantly celebrated Diwali, or Dipavali, on October 19th showcasing their magnificent deities, Sri Sri Radha Nilamadhava. This festival commemorates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after valiantly defeating the demon, Ravana, saving the people of Lanka from his reign of terror. The altar was decorated by hundreds of candles that illuminated the temple room during the special candlelight arati, that was attended by over 1,500 revelers. The ecstatic chanting of the Lord’s holy names lifted everyone’s spirits into ecstatic
ghee, and more. This sweet concoction of liquids would be served as “Charanamrita” to everyone. Thousands of food preparations adorned the altar, and was thereafter served as prasadam. Govardhan Puja was met with great satisfaction by all the attendees who savored the great tasting prasadam, and the wonderful kirtan. On Sunday evening, the temple held Diwali cultural program, when the devotees began with chanting and dancing of the Lord’s holy names, or “Harinam”, in a parade across the temple grounds and onto the streets, while carrying Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada visited the newly completThe altar in front of Sri Sri Giriraj Govardhan and Sri Sri Radha Giridhari decorated with lamps together to build a replica of the Govadhan Hill in Vrindavan. It was done with a mountain of carob cakes. The length of the hill was approx 16ft and 2 ft wide. The mountain by itself was made with over 100 lbs of carob cake. Then decorated with carob frosting, ponds around the lake made of agar agar , the grasses were made from dry coconut powder. The other decorations included edible flowers, glitters,cookies, many different varieties of cup cakes, traditional indian sweets and savories. The mountain of food was made to commemorate the pastime of offering food to Govardhan Hill who is none other than Lord Krishna. When the inhabitants of Vrindavan were in danger because of torrential rains poured by Lord Indra, the king of heaven, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill and saved them. This pastime of lifting the Govardhan hill was enacted as a musical by the Sunday school chil-
Sri Sri Giriraj Govardhan was brought to Gaurganga Hall for the mountain of sweets festive mood. Govardhan Puja, or “Annakut” was celebrated the day after Diwali, and was met with another wave of devotees. On this day, Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill for the protection of his devotees from Lord Indra’s torrential rainfall upon the inhabitants of Vrindavan. This pastime was celebrated by the abhishek of Sri Giriraj, by bathing him in lavish liquid items such as milk, honey, variety of juices,
ed apartment complex and soon to be completed Goswami Academy building. Shortly after, the attendees of Sunday Feast were treated to a Govardhan Puja Musical by the children of Sunday school. Enacting the pastime of the lifting of Govardhan Hill, the children of Sunday school were met with great praise and appreciation. The Sunday School Parents and Students came
dren of ages between 12-16yrs. The musicals included pop, hip pop, rap and other forms of music to enact the pastime. The program concluded with the Sunday school children leading the kirtan and performing Arati to the Govardhan Hill. Later all the offered food were distributed to the children and guests. The festival of lights is here, and while Diwali in itself is a grand celebration, there are several other occasion that precede and succeed ‘the’ day. This year, Diwali was celebrated on October 19, and it is followed by Govardhan Puja on October 20. All these days have wonderful stories and significance attached to them, along with their distinct rituals. Govardhan Puja, also known as Annakut/Annajoot, which means mountain of food, is commemorated by Hindus all across the world. Visit us: 1320 West 34th Street in Houston. There is a Sunday Feast – happens every Sunday. Visit: isckonhouston.org
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VOICE OF ASIA 6
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, R
Unity and Togetherness at Diwali
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan celebrates!
TAFFORD - Diwali is that time where neighbors, friends and families come together to forget and forgive by wishing each other joy and prosperity. A celebration when we teach our young about the festivities and stories of Diwali. A young baby marvels at the spectacular wonderment of twinkling lights and extravagant decorations arranged in the Mandir’s main chamber and throughout the greater Mandir campus. New parents tied to the Hindu diaspora, seeking to preserve and pass on heritage and religious teachings to their children in the United States, find a place of learning and cultural preservation at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir’s Annual Diwali Celebrations. Diwali, a five-day celebration of various rituals and practices, welcomes the New Year for Hindus and celebrates the triumph of good over evil in scriptural events. This year the Mandir featured a 5 day Diwali lights and music show for visitors to view. For many visitors, the most popular attraction and a highlight of the festivities is the Annakut festival on the fifth day. As practiced by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs all over the world, the Annakut is a unique and awe-inspiring sight of devotion where hundreds of different traditional Indian foods as well as fusions with western cuisine are prepared by devotees in the community and arranged in front of the Mandir’s sacred images. In the evening, the offered dishes are served at dinner to everyone. This year, over 850 unique items were prepared and displayed in the Annakut.
or Strength in Unity. Families enjoyed food, games and fun activities, which included train rides, mini ferris wheel, bounce houses and various other activities for the family. The evening ended with a magnificent fireworks display, filling the eyes of all those present. Hardik Desai said, “I remember those days in Diwali in India, where there is colorful lights, fireworks on the street.” He added, “Coming to the BAPS Mandir brings that same joy as I celebrate with my family.” “The best part of these festivals is that it’s all done as one team. The entire program, the decorations, and the annakut are all prepared by volunteers of all ages.” said, Babubhai Patel, a BAPS volunteer. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s commitment to preserving the Hindu cultural and religious practices is inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. Their life teachings compliment the richness of the Diwali celebrations and embody Hindu history, practices, and principles. Through involving youth in the preparation and execution of the celebrations, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs also provide a forum for young people to learn and lead the community in cultural preservation and practice.
Lights and Fireworks Diwali Celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Photos courtesy BAPS)
In addition to the Annakut, the BAPS’ Diwali celebrations featured spiritual and cultural themed events, which engaged both children and adults, in order to bring positive energy into the New Year. Visitors and members learned about scriptural events related to Diwali, and observed traditions such as rangolis and other traditional forms of decorations. Finally, all children were invited to participate in the Kids Diwali Celebration themed “Sanghe Shaktihi”
Grand Annakut on New Years at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Children enjoy games with friends at the Kids Diwali Celebration
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital achieves prestigious Magnet® recognition
UGAR LAND – (October 9, 2017) — Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital has earned Magnet® Recognition — the highest and most respected national honor for nursing excellence – from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
proving the quality and delivery of care. Research shows that hospitals that earn Magnet recognition have increased patient satisfaction, higher levels of patient safety and care and higher rates of job satisfaction among nursing staff.
Houston Methodist Sugar Land is the only hospital in Fort Bend and one of just 42 in Texas to receive Magnet designation. Nationwide, just 461 hospitals hold the prestigious honor, which is awarded to hospitals with superior nursing professionalism, teamwork and patient care following a rigorous credentialing process. “This is a tremendous honor and a well-deserved recognition for our staff, which exemplifies the very best in nursing care every single day,” said Janet Leatherwood, vice president and chief nursing officer. “Achieving Magnet recognition is a lengthy, challenging journey, and one that we’ve worked on for several years. At the heart of the process, however, are the day-to-day interactions we have with each other and with our patients. The patient care
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital
and commitment to quality that our nurses and interprofessional staff demonstrate is second-to-none, and all of us are grateful for the ongoing support of our entire leadership team, physicians and staff.”
The credentialing process evaluates a number of factors related to nursing, including the quality of nursing leadership; coordination and collaboration across specialties; and processes for measuring and im-
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we have worked so hard to build and maintain here – the cornerstone of how we serve the community,” said Chris Siebenaler, senior regional vice president and chief executive officer. “It is the ‘gold standard’ for nursing excellence and acknowledgement of the outstanding care that our patients receive every day. I am extremely proud of our team!” Visit the website at houstonmethodist.org/sugarland to learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information. About ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program The Magnet Recognition Program — administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the largest and most prominent nurses credentialing organization in the world — identifies health care organizations that provide the very best in nursing care and professionalism in nursing practice. The Magnet Recognition Program is the highest national honor for nursing excellence and provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark for measuring quality of care. For more information about the Magnet Recognition Program and current statistics, visit nursecredentialing. org/magnet.
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VOICE OF ASIA 7
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place
Fort Bend ISD announces new Ridge Point High School Assistant Principal
ORT BEND ISD (October 25, 2017) - Mharbe Masculino was named the new assistant principal of FBISD’s Ridge Point High School at the October 23 Board Meeting. Masculino began her career with FBISD at Dulles High School as a science teacher in 2006. She recently served as an administrative intern after receiving her principal certification in 2016. Her leadership experience includes serving as a new teacher mentor, a team leader for the DHS Chemistry Department and student council advisor. She also was named the 2014 District Teacher of the Year. Mharbe Masculino earned her Bachelor of Science at the University of Texas at Austin and her Master of Education at Lamar University. Photograph (right): Ridge Point High School Assistant Principal Mharbe Masculino
U.S. Navy Band jazz ensemble to perform free concert on Saturday in Katy
Fort Bend ISD hiring crossing guard after local mother hit, killed by SUV
ISSOURI CITY -- A spokesperson for Fort Bend ISD says the district is adding a paid crossing guard at the intersection where a woman was killed while walking her son to school. The incident happened Oct. 19 at Neuces Creek and Sienna Ranch Road. Lisa Smith was a dedicated mom, a passionate wife and a loyal friend to all who knew her. “I knew pretty quickly that she was the one,” said her widower, Elliot. He remembers fondly, yet painfully, his bride of nearly 11 years. “I saw a strength in her that was very attractive,” he said. She had a smile and a way about her unlike anyone else, he shared. “Her constant and endless positive energy. Her ability to put people together, a group of strangers and make them into a group of friends.” The couple had two sons together. The boys are aged 3 and 6. Lisa was walking their oldest to kindergarten when they were struck by that SUV. They were right in the middle of the
The scene of the accident crosswalk. While her injuries were fatal, her son was also seriously hurt. Logan Smith is now home from the hospital and recovering. He suffered a broken femur and five other fractures. He’s in a wheelchair for now. Investigators still have not said if the driver of the SUV which hit them will face criminal charges or even any kind of citation. That driver stopped after the incident and has cooperated with the investigation. Elliot Smith is trying to remain patient, waiting for the results of the investigation before concluding anything about it. In the meantime, he asks a single question, one he hopes will lead to change: “How do
we prevent something like this from happening again? She would want there to be something that came from this,” he said. For now, volunteer parents are trying to ensure safe passage to and from school for everyone at this intersection a half mile from Schiff elementary. It’s around the corner from Smith’s home and the only way to get his kids to class. “We will...walk to school again one day,” he said. Fort Bend ISD asked that we publicize the open job for a part-time crossing guard posted on its website. If interested, you can call (281) 634-5510 for more information.(-Photo image, story: KPRC)
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America’s Navy is coming to Katy, one of 17 cities in six states to host a performance by the United States Navy Band during its 2017 tour — one of the signature outreach programs of the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Navy Band Commodores jazz ensemble performance is scheduled for Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center of Katy High School, 6331 Hwy Blvd, Katy, TX 77494.
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VOICE OF ASIA 8
Diwali is about Family
by Namita Pallod
et another year has passed, and here we are again with the annual Pallod Parivar Diwali letter! We hope that the past year has brought everyone immense joy! The highlight of this past year was the joyful union of didi (Kavita) and Vibhav Jijaji. The wedding was on November 24th in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Didi had been dreaming of getting married in Udaipur as long as I can remember, and it was so exciting to watch her get her dream wedding, complete with a perfect Rajkumar. It was truly a Bollywood experience, from the rock concert at the sangeet, to the nail-biting cricket match between the two families, topped off with a shoe chase for the ages! Don’t worry though, we got the shoes in the end! This past May saw the end of the 11 year streak of having a Pallod at UT Austin, because somehow Mummy and Papaji convinced me that I had to move on from college! I spent the summer staying busy with Hindu Heritage Youth Camp as one of the directors. After traveling a bit, I recently started my career as a consultant for IBM! As much as I already miss college, I am excited for new professional endeavors. Bhaiya also began a new stage of his career as he joined Star Pipe Products! Feel free to make jokes about other stages of life we’re hoping him and Sheeba Bhabhi will join,
we’ve been sharing for generations. This year, we were also excited to welcome baby Juhi Bhutada (daughter of Rishi and Shradha Bhutada) to the fam, and you can bet that I’m going to be her favorite bhua! Our dear cousin Sushant BhanPallod Family dari will also be getting married this December, he has an impressive array of and we are all looking forward comebacks. to welcoming Nikita bhabhi to This year saw a recurrence the family (and filling her in of Modiji getting the chance to on all the crazy shenanigans take Papaji to exciting places. of bhaiya and Sushant bhaiya). Papaji visited Israel for the first https://www.youtube.com/wat time and was able to see Modiji ch?v=m9nclFJA7Zc&feature= speak. Asking him about GST youtu.be or Demonetization continues to This past August, Houston be a great way to get Papaji’s was hit by the devastating Hurheart racing . He plan’s on do- ricane Harvey. We were very ing the MS 150 (Houston to lucky that our home remained Austin cycle ride) next year. untouched through the devasMom’s maintained everything tation, and thank all of you that that makes her Mom - putting thought of us through a diffiup with Papaji, teaching yoga cult time. We were blessed, but to her loyal students, and feed- we’ve been humbled in seeing ing everyone who has crossed how real the damage has been her path. She continues to pow- for so many of our loved ones. er through cooking for both We’ve done our best as a famHHYC camps, and we think ily to volunteer through Sewa it’s the secret match-making International, and encourage that she does in the kitchen you to do the same. Houston that gives her energy!! One of is an amazing place, and we’ve the highlights of this past sum- been so inspired by the outmer for all of us was having pouring of support and help. Sarla badi mummy visit us in We hope that all of the regions Houston. It was wonderful be- of the world that are hurting ing able to show her around right now will find the same the US, and getting to learn her experience of love and empaamazing acchar recipes in our thy that we did here. downtime! Thank you for taking the We also had our 4th Pal- time out to read this little relod Parivar reunion. Over 125 cap of our year! We hope the members of the Pallod fam- upcoming year is filled with ily got together to take a tour blessings and joy for you all, around Kerala. The 20 hour and we can’t wait to hear all train journey and the days af- about it! ter it were action packed with Lots of Love, games of antakshari and mom’s paan. We are so blessed to have Diwali greetings from the such an amazing extended fam- Pallod’s: Vijay, Sushma, Kaviily who always takes time out ta & Vibhav Sekhsaria, Bharat of their busy lives to come to- & Sheeba Pallod, and Namita. gether and celebrate the values
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Halloween Safety 2017 from Crime Stoppers
Children dressed in Halloween costomes Photo: Crime Stoppers Pumpkins adorn sidewalks, store shelves are filled with candy and spooky décor hangs from home and business entry ways. That can only mean one thing, Halloween is fast approaching! Sure, this holiday season ‘kickoff’ event is chiefly about the treats like fun costume parties and of course the sugar overload of Halloween candy, but Halloween can sadly mean scary times if you don’t take steps to protect you and family. Ironically, while many think of October as the month for Halloween, it is also National Crime Prevention month. So here is important information to keep you and your family safe on this Spooktacular day. When it comes to Halloween safety, of course much of it is centered around trick or treating. At the heart of it all, is proactive planning and staying alert and vigilant. Auto pedestrian accidents top the list of Halloween safety hazards related to trick or treating. According to the Center for Disease Control and Preven-
tion (CDC) children are 14 times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween, than any other day. So, what steps can you and your family take to avoid being a tragic statistic? For starters, make sure trick or treaters are clearly visible to drivers. Look for costumes that come with reflective fabric or markers. If that’s not possible, always carry flashlights while trick or treating. Trick-or-treating in a group can also be helpful. So, gather up your friends and neighbors and make it a true trick-ortreating affair! Fire hazards are also something to keep top of mind. The two C’s; Costumes and Candles, are the biggest culprits. The National Fire Protection Association suggests buying only costumes that are labeled “flame resistant” or “flame retardant”. When it comes to those spooky Halloween candles and glowing Jack-o-Lanterns, make sure lit candles are never left unattended. As for the flickering orange glow of those Jack-o-Lanterns, keep trick-or-treaters at a distance,
and admire that lit pumpkin artistry from afar. Of course there is another ‘C’ to think about on Halloween..(drumroll please)…CANDY! Being smart and vigilant with your treats is just as important as trick-or-treat street safety, costumes and candles. First, never accept candy from strangers…and that goes for both children and adults. Parents, remember to check your children’s candy before they dive in and enjoy their stash. Finally, here are a few other tips to think about as the ghoulish night approaches. First, if you’re hosting a party, make sure you’re well aware of everyone who comes to your home. Halloween provides an opportunity for people to hide behind costumes and disguises which unfortunately can create dangerous scenarios for people looking to do others harm. Second, don’t answer the door if you’re not certain that trick-or-treaters or party guests are on the other side of it. Halloween night can pro-
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VOICE OF ASIA 9
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
1000 LIGHTS FOR PEACE
The Honorable Consul General of Bharat, India Dr. Anupam Ray addressed the audience on his idea of peace and non-violence and his inspiration from the Father of modern India, Mahatma Gandhi. The Keynote Speaker for the evening Rev Michael Gott, Senior pastor of Unity Houston, spoke about how relevant the practice of Non-Violence was in today’s strife ridden world and that Gandhi’s message of “Be the change you want to see in the world” as his primary influence for entering public service. He said he was Christian with a Hindu soul.
The finale of the evening celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s 148th birthday as 1000 Lights For Peace at the Miller Outdoor Theatre was candle lighting by all present as pledge to practice peace in their own lives. It was initiated by Consul General of India, Dr, Anupam Ray.
ahatma Gandhi Library presented the spectacular 1000 Lights for Peace, a celebration of the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, on Sunday, October 1st at Miller Outdoor Theater. The spirit of Houstonians attending the program was truly visible during this auspicious celebration. The gorgeous day started with 5K Walk for Peace, coordinated by Mr. Sesh Bala. The participants walked around Hermann Park voting for peace with their feet, many proudly displaying signs depicting peace. They visited the life size statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Houston Garden Center to pay homage to the apostle of peace. The Grand Marshalls were Kristen Lee Ohanyan, of Vegan Society for PEACE, Bob Fleming of Compassionate Houston and Ramesh Shah of Ekal Vidyalaya. The walk was led by Vinod Arora dressed as Mahatma Gandhi for the first time. The walk culminated on stage at Miller Outdoor Theater to kick off the 1000 Lights for Peace program. The 1000 lights for Peace program started at 6pm with an invocation by Dr. Kavita Vachaknavee of Arya Samaj of Houston with Vedic prayer. This was followed by Rev Siedo Francavilla of the St. Nichiren Temple with the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, translated Devotion-MysticLaw-Cause & Effect-Sound.
Neha Srivastava and Akash Gupta, the MCs, kept the evening flowing with historical perspectives on not only Mahatma Gandhi, but also social reformers including Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, and Desmond Tutu. The Gandhi Darshan Exhibit portraying the chronologically lifetime of Gandhiji with actual photographs from that era was also on display as were booths for arts and crafts, balloons, and henna painting, which the children lined up for. Annesa Patel, a 10th grader, had a display of her paintings for silent auction. The Vegan Society for Peace and the Indo-American Senior citizens club were active participants throughout the day. Youth volunteer from Arya Samaj led by Sanjay Ahuja helped out from start to finish. Kudos to all the adult volunteers, too many to name, make this yet another great celebration.
Honorable Consul General of Bharat, India, Dr. Anupam Ray and Rev Michael Gott presented the awards to the many winners of the city-wide contests held by Mahatma Gandhi Library. Please see the picture. The finale of the evening celebrating 148th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi was candle lighting by all present as a pledge to practice peace in their own lives.
Next was a fabulous performance by the adorable children from Houston’s St. Catherine Montessori Catholic Choir directed by Tim and Mindy Snow. They brilliantly sang “Kumbaya.”
Dr. Manish Wani, member of the Board of trustees of Mahatma Gandhi Library, announced an unprecedented collaboration of MGL with Birla group in India to bring Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum to Houston. It is one the world’s first digital multimedia museums preserving the historical events of Gandhiji’s life. A 3-acre parcel of land has been secured for the museum in South Houston near Beltway 8 and Hwy 59. The last international performance of the evening was a dynamic performance called Nsati by the KoumonKe’le’ African Dance & Drum Ensemble, directed by Ms. Christina Gerard.
The evening started with a melodious rendition of Ganesh Vandana by choir directed by Smriti Srivastava. Khushi Kawedia, winner of the younger speech contest, inspired the crowd by reciting her winning speech “Love never claims, it ever gives.”
The Ismaili Dance Ensemble presented an elegant performance featuring Turkish and Syrian folk dances directed by Fareeda Chagani
Mahatma Gandhi Week 2017 contests award winners with Guest of Honor Consul General of Bharat, India Dr. Anupam Ray and Keynote speaker Rev. Michael Gott of Unity of Houston. Next was a high-energy, dynamic performance by the Folklorico International from Mexico, directed by Nelly Fraga.
The students of Anjali Center of Performing Arts, directed by Dr. Rathna Kumar, performed a classical Indian dance called Mahaganapathim.
Tony Jha then treated the crowd to his brilliant winning speech in the older category discussing Peace is the goal, non-violence is the way.”.
The spectacular evening concluded with the lighting of a candle by all as a symbolic pledge to observe peace in their own lives. The crowd reflected on how to emulate Mahatma Gandhi’s life listening to the soothing song “Imagine” by John Lennon. Please see the picture. To learn more Lights for Peace, gandhilibrary.org Dr. Manish Wani 6979.
Crime Stoppers of Houston Gala Celebrates Houston Post-Hurricane Harvey Welcomes Bob Woodruff and Alissa Parker to Houston Celebration recognized Houstonians for Hurricane Harvey efforts, inspired many on hope after tragedy and reinforced the importance of community collaborations focused on solutions lie was like, about how things transpired the day of the shooting and what she felt find out that her daughter, along with 19 other first-graders, had been killed. She closed her speech with a photo of her daughter Emilie and empowered guests to join her and Crime Stoppers of Houston to continue to work together on important issues like school safety.
Keynote Speaker Bob Woodruff and Guest Speaker Alissa Parker. Photos credit: Catchlight Group/ Michelle Watson
he 2017 Crime Stoppers of Houston Gala on Thursday, October 19th at the Hyatt Regency Houston celebrated Houston, honored Houstonians and shared inspiring keynote speakers’ messages of hope after tragedy from ABC International Correspondent Bob Woodruff and Alissa Parker, the mother of Emilie Parker, one of the twenty first grade children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The annual gala, which serves as the organization’s largest fundraiser, welcomed more than 460 guests from all industries and raised more than $308,000 for Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line and crime prevention programs, which for almost four decades have empowered, educated, and engaged the community in im-
portant conversations about crime, public safety and the protection of society’s most vulnerable citizens. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Crime Stoppers shifted the focus of the evening to celebrate all the wonderful and brave individuals who did so much to get Houston and surrounding areas through the storm. The evening began with a cocktail reception with silent auction to support Crime Stoppers’ mission. Live music was provided by the Houstonian Big Band. Houston Media Icon Dave Ward and mistress of ceremonies KPRC News Anchor Dominique Sachse kicked off the night in the Imperial Ballroom where a song specifically made for Houstonians following Hurricane Harvey by Steve Tyrell titled “Hand in Hand” was played as a start to the ‘Celebration of
Houston’. Crime Stoppers Executive Director Rania Mankarious continued by offering a warm welcome, moment of silence and a series of thanks to all the who made this special night possible. Gala Chairs Soraya and Scott McClelland delivered brief remarks about their commitment to public safety. Speeches from both keynote speakers left guests incredibly moved and inspired by their personal stories of hope after tragedy. Woodruff talked about his career, his family and story of recovery following the injuries he sustained after being hit by an IED while on assignment in Iraq. He concluded by touching on the importance of being surrounded by family and friends during difficult times. Parker talked about her family of five (then, before the shooting), about what Emi-
Thursday’s celebration was supported by many generous underwriters, including Amerapex Corporation, H-E-B, Hyatt Regency Houston, Becker Family Foundation, Buffalo Specialties, Paula Goldstein, Michelle and Mike Heinz, Margaret and Ben Morris, Jill and Charles Talisman, CenterPoint Energy, The Lewis Family, Portfolio Resident Services/ Inter-Faith Texas, Tena and Tyson Faust/Faust Distributing, plus many others.
Norma and Tony Najjar with Xocolla Chocolates
Guests included Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Susan Boggio, Sima Ladjevardian, Nick Florescu, Carol and Dr. Tom Sawyer, Norma and Tony Najjar, Joella and Steve Mach, Mauri Oliver, Vicki Rizzo, Roula Christie, Tasos Katsaounis, Koshy Thomas, Gail and Norman Stalarow, Tama Lundquist, Marge Lundquist, Twila Carter, Ruchi Mukherjee, and many more. Notable elected officials included Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle, State Representative Al Green, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Council Members Brenda Stardig, Jack Christie, Ellen Cohen, Dave Martin, Karla Cisneros, Mike Knox, Michael Kubosh and Amanda Edwards. Also in attendance were Harris County Pct. 1 Constable Alan Rosen and Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan.
Omar and Maha Khan
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VOICE OF ASIA 10
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Tools of the trade donated to HCC students recovering from Hurricane Harvey
HCC students of Interior Design.
OUSTON (Oct. 23, 2017) – Kevin Hamby, director of the Interior Design program at Houston Community College (HCC), knew many of his students took a devastating blow from Hurricane Harvey. Classes were about to begin and students, many of whom were displaced by the storm, were in need of supplies necessary for their coursework. With help from interior design faculty members Shasta Beveridge and Jackie Barry, Hamby planned a nationwide supply drive for his students. In coordination with the national office of the Interior Design Educators Council, they used social media and email to ask local and national industry partners and professionals for help. Within a matter of days, they started receiving donations. Texas Art Supply and Barnes & Noble gift cards began arriving. Soon, college interior design programs from across the country were also donating drafting and art supplies. Those donors included West Virginia University, Texas Christian University, Iowa State University, Southern Illinois University, Texas Tech University, Stephen F. Austin University and Pensacola State College. Monetary donations
also made their way to the HCC Foundation to support the Interior Design program’s Disaster Relief Fund. “It is a humbling feeling to receive support from people and schools from around the country that just want to help our students,” Hamby said. “I know as the students move forward with their education here at Houston Community College they will remember the thoughtful gesture of compassion that these colleagues made to help improve a desperate situation.” Supplies and textbooks are being distributed to HCC Interior Design students and will continue to be distributed throughout the semester. According to Hamby, HCC was able to assist approximately 25 percent of the interior design students. “I lost everything, and I was very nervous about starting classes and getting all of my supplies,” shared an HCC student who wished to remain anonymous. “Thanks to Kevin and everyone who donated, I feel a sense of relief knowing that I can be successful in my interior design classes.” Following the storm, HCC established Eagles Helping Eagles, a funding program for students struggling to recover from Hurricane Harvey.
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VOICE OF ASIA 11
Indian origin woman left to die in blazing car
EW YORK: (PTI) - A 25-year-old Indian-origin woman was left to die in a blazing car by her driver following a fiery crash in the US, police said.
gravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and speeding.
Harleen Grewal was burned to death on Friday after Saeed Ahmad, 23, slammed his luxury Infiniti 35G into a concrete barrier on the BrooklynQueens Expressway, the New York Daily reported.
Ahmad had been allegedly driving in and out of the traffic on the expressway before his car hit the barrier, it said.
The driver left the woman passenger to die in the fireball after hailing a cab to take himself to a hospital, it said. When firefighters put out the flames, they found a badly burned woman in the passenger seat. She was pronounced dead at the scene. While the car was still in flames, Ahmad took himself to Maimonides Medical Center, police said. He was being treated there for burns to his arms and legs, the report said. Cops caught up with him at the hospital and charged him with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident, ag-
His arraignment was pending in Brooklyn Criminal Court, the report said.
Ahmad, who lives in Flatlands, admitted to having a few drinks before the crash but was not legally drunk when his blood was tested at the hospital, police said. Ahmad’s brother Waheed, however, claimed that his sibling had tried to rescue the passenger. “He said the girl that was in the car was stuck in there and he tried to get her out, that s why his arms were burned.” The grieving boyfriend of Grewal, who worked for a catering company, said she was a selfless soul who always looked out for others. “She would do anything for people,” Karan Singh Dhillon was quoted as saying.
Soon, portal for NRI, foreign applicants to track adoption status
EW DELHI (PTI) - The central adoption body CARA is planning to set up a portal to help prospective parents from outside India track the status of their applications instead of relying solely on their country’s authorised agency.
CARA CEO Lt Col Deepak Kumar.
The move will help nonresident Indians (NRIs), Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) as well as foreign nationals who apply for inter-country adoption.
Prospective parents will also be able to track whether their application has been approved by CARA, their place in the waiting list and will be able to find out when children are referred to them for adoption as well as access their profiles, et al.
While domestic applicants can register on their own on the website of Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) , candidates from outside India have to route their applications via an authorised foreign adoption agency (AFAA) or a central authority (CA) which then registers them on the CARA website. Once it is ready, the new portal will allow parents to access information after they register with an AFAA or CA. “The online module will give such parents direct access to information which until now they could not get on their own. Parents often get anxious when an authorised foreign adoption agency (AFAA) or a central authority (CA) which then registers them on the CARA website. Once it is ready, the new portal will allow parents to access information after they register with an AFAA or CA. “The online module will give such parents direct access to information which until now they could not get on their own. Parents often get anxious when an authorised foreign adoption agency fails to update them on important information and we are trying to bridge that that gap,” said
Overseas applicants will be given a username and a password and they will be able to check whether details filled by an AFAA such as age of the child are according to their requirement.
“We will be able to ensure greater transparency and provide better services to parents who often complain about how the agency they are dealing with is clueless on the status of their application and is not able to provide information on time. We will also have fewer grievances,” Kumar said. The move to provide an information window to foreign applicants follows requests from both AFAA and prospective parents during a recent interaction with the CARA CEO on Facebook. A member with one of the AFAAs in Spain, Sandrine Perrotton, asked Kumar for a “tool” which would help parents track their place in the waiting list “so that we could comfort the families in their wait and keep them informed”. “Please activate or introduce an option where Indians residing abroad can keep a track on their application online,” an NRI applicant requested CARA last week on the same forum. According to the CARA website, in 2016-2017 there were a total 578 inter-country adoptions and 3,210 domestic adoptions.
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Diwali at Times Square - 2017
EW YORK, October 11, 2017 - On October 7th, New York City witnessed the most amazing congregation of thousands of people at the center of universe Times Square, to witness history repeating itself – Diwali at Times Square 2017. SANKARA EYE FOUNDATION and EVENGURU INC brought to us a fun-filled day that highlighted cultural dances and musical performances, Diwali Bazaar and mouth-watering Indian cuisine, interactive Diya lighting ceremonies and the world’s best digital fireworks display. The vision of the creator of Diwali at Times Square Mrs. Neeta Bhasin was to showcase India’s rich culture, art, heritage and diversity became reality on October 7th when performances of various local artists like Avish Jain, Rianjali, Masala Bhangra, Bollywood Axion, NYU Garba group, Columbia Raas Garba and the famed Shiamak Davar Group and many other groups performed on. Diwali Festival started with the Diya Lighting ceremony on stage and followed by the auspicious Ganesh Vandana by the child prodigy Sparsh Shah.
Diya lighting ceremony: Seen in pic are Consul General of India Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Borough President Gale A. Brewer, representative from NYC Comptroller office, District Leader Ms. Neeta Jain and others. facebook photo. Photo
“The Light-Up Times Square Concert” that commenced from 6 PM following the Diya Lighting Ceremony on stage and on the tallest screens of Times Square was attended by the glitterati and the dignitaries such as the Consul General of India Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Borough President Gale A. Brewer, representative from NYC Comptroller office, District Leader Ms. Neeta Jain and others. The Light UP Times Square Concert showcased dazzling performances by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry! Sanjeeda Sheikh and Aamir Ali, the romantic duo that has swept India away with their performances in Nach Baliye, presented scintillating dance routines for the attendees at Times Square. The attendees also enjoyed - Chammak Chhalo famed, the maverick singer Hamsika Iyer, who made the audience dance to her tune and Hey Baby singer Raman Mahadevan; the crowd was left gasping for more by none other than the master dancer, the “chumeswari”
judge and performer Master Terence Lewis. The event was brought to an end by the new-age performer Mickey Singh, who made the young crowd sing along. This historic event was brought to us with the support of SANKARA EYE FOUNDATION, a not for profit organization that is committed to eradicate curable blindness from India.
An event of this stature could not have been possible without the sponsors like Air India, McDonalds, Yupp TV, DirecTV Now, Hotstar and others. Diwali at Times Square 2017 was also immensely supported by the media at large – mainstream media partner Daily News, broadcasting partners TV Asia and Jus Punjabi, radio partner Mera Sangeet and
many more. SANKARA EYE FOUNDATION and EVENTGURU INC is extremely grateful to the sponsors, the media, the celebrities, the volunteers, and the amazing crowd who came and supported this monumental event and help us create history once again in the heart of New York city, Times Square.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott to lead trade delegation to India next year HOUSTON: PTI - Texas Governor Greg Abbott is planning to take a trade delegation to India next year as part of his effort to further increase trade and economic ties between the two countries. Abbott made the announcement in this regard during Diwali celebrations for members of the Indian-American community at the Governor’s Mansion in Texas capital, Austin on Sunday. Abbott and first lady Cecilia welcomed over 30 Indo- American community members from Austin, Houston, Dallas and other places, at their sprawling mansion and lighted the ceremonial Diwali lamp. “Diwali lamp has found a
permanent home at the governor’s mansion in Austin, this is the third year in a row,” Abbott said. “Diwali and India community’s spirit of victory over evil, light over darkness inclusiveness is very similar to the values of the Americans,” he added. During the celebration, Abbott announced about his plans to lead a trade delegation to India next year as part of his effort to increase bilateral trade and economic ties between the two countries. The mission will focus on increasing trade and investment between Texas and India in a range of sectors. He also expressed admiration
and appreciation for the Indian-Americans contribution and voluntarism during Harvey. The way Texans came together and responded to affected people during Harvey is an example, he said. 700 Indian-American volunteers dedicated more than 24,000 hours to Texas during Harvey and together they distributed over 28,000 meals to the locals in need. No rescuer asked about the race or the colour of the person he or she is going to rescue. It was just a service to a fellow human being and that is what matters, he said. Consul General Anupam Ray thanked the governor and the first lady of Texas for
opening doors of their mansion on Diwali. Ray also highlighted the accomplishments of Indo-American community in Texas in 2017, including honouring Ian Grillot, having first successful Houston India conference in March 2017 where Texas and Indian businesses, think tank experts came together to increase bilateral trade and investment. India’s purchase of first USD 1 billion worth of gas from Texas, Texas community colleges led by Indo-American firm Cambridge Education partnering to work with Skills India mission, and purchase of USD 100 billion worth of defence equipment and helicopters.
Sherine Mathews case.... punishment for not finishing her milk. When he went to check on her about 15 minutes later, she was not there.
Continued from Page 3
He told the police that after doing an initial search once he realised his daughter was missing, he went inside and did laundry while waiting for her to come home or for daylight so that he could continue looking. Police were not alerted to her disappearance until about five hours
later. The police further said that Subsequently, he was arMathews admitted to removing rested on a charge of abandonthe girl’s body from the home. ing or endangering a child. A day later, he was released from Mathew’s previous claim custody after posting $2,50,000 Mathews had initially said bond. that he told his daughter to stand He told the police that the girl by a tree near an alley outside their home in Richardson as was developmentally disabled
and malnourished when he and his wife adopted her and that they had to put her on a special diet that included feeding her whenever she was awake, including in the middle of the night, to help her gain weight. Sherin’s body found The police on Tuesday confirmed that the body found on 23 October is Sherin’s. It was found about half a mile from Mathews’ house. As part of their search operation, officers blocked off an area near Spring Valley and Bowser roads, east of Central Expressway. The body was found in a culvert beneath a road around 11 am with the help of search dogs. Police said the medical examiner had not yet determined a cause of death, and an autopsy hasn’t been released. Response to Sherin’s death External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also expressed concern over the case and
tweeted that the Indian embassy in US is actively involved. Officials from the Indian Embassy in the US and the Indian Consulate in Houston tweeted late last week that they are in contact with police regarding the investigation and actively helping. Neither office has released a statement since the body was found. Police confirmed they are working with the consulate to obtain adoption records and other documents. Officials from the Indian Embassy in the US and the Indian Consulate in Houston tweeted late last week that they are in contact with police regarding the investigation and actively helping. Neither office has released a statement since the body was found. Police confirmed they are working with the consulate to obtain adoption records and other documents.
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VOICE OF ASIA 12
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Delhi chokes on toxic haze India appoints new envoy despite Diwali fireworks ban for Kashmir resolution by Jalees Andrabi
EW DEHLI | AFP New Delhi was shrouded in a thick toxic haze Friday after a night of frenzied Diwali fireworks sent the air quality plummeting despite a ban on their sale aimed at thwarting a repeat of last year’s ‘airpocalypse’. India’s Supreme Court had banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of the Hindu festival of lights to prevent a repeat of last year’s post-Diwali air pollution crises that left Delhi’s 20 million residents gasping for weeks. But late Thursday the readings for PM10 pollutants hovered around 1,100 microgram per cubic metre in some parts of the city -- 11 times above the prescribed air quality levels of World Health Organisation. PM10 particles measure less than 10 microns or 10 millionths of a metre -- several times thinner than a human hair.
medical journal said pollution had claimed as many as 2.5 million lives in India in 2015, the highest in the world. Globally the number of deaths due to environmental pollution stood at nine million - three times more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, the study said. Delhi’s air quality typically worsens at the onset of winter, due to pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, industrial emissions and atmospheric dust. Levels of PM2.5 -- the finer particles linked to higher rates
Despite suggestions the cases may have been fabricated or fuelled by hysteria, the consequences have been all too real.
- Delhi’s woes The spike in levels came on a day when a report in the Lancet
Dineshwar Sharma, a former intelligence chief with experience of insurgencies in India’s northeast, has been named special envoy to open talks with
“As a representative of government of India, ...Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of Dineshwar Sharma (Photo: AFP) the people of Kashmir,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh resolve the intractable conflict have failed. told reporters in New Delhi. Kashmir has been divided Similar efforts in the past to between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947, but both claim the territory in full.
Critics have accused India -- which maintains a standing force of half a million soldiers in Kashmir -- of extending an olive branch while refusing to loosen its grip on the Himalayan territory. The army this year launched “Operation All-out” to hunt insurgents fighting against Indian rule in the restive state. At least 166 militants and 59 security personnel have died so far this year.
One 70-year-old man has been killed by vigilantes since the alleged incidents started a month ago, and there are near-daily reports of groups attacking suspected so-called “braid-choppers”. Authorities have avoided confirming or denying the accounts of women from across the Himalayan region, which bears deep mental scars from a decades-old uprising against Indian rule. Groups armed with iron rods and knives patrol the capital Srinagar and other towns after dark looking for suspects. Five people were wounded
For decades rebel groups have fought soldiers deployed in India’s only Muslim-majority state in a bloody insurgency, demanding independence or a merger with Pakistan. There is no suggestion Pakistan will be involved in this latest effort at peace in Kashmir.
Residents of Delhi, rated the most polluted city by WHO in 2014, showed little consideration for the ban, purchasing crackers illegally or using those bought earlier.
“Delhiites continue to choke on pollution. It is a reflection of our dismissive & disrespectful attitude towards society, law & justice. When will we learn,” he wrote on Twitter.
Last year’s Diwali festivities took pollution levels to a record high, forcing the government to shut schools and close down a coal-fired power plant.
It is the first such initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an ardent nationalist, to address tensions in the restive territory since his rightwing party took power in 2014.
Kashmir’s various factions.
by Parvaiz BUKHARI RINAGAR, India - A wave of brutal, deadly panic has swept Indian-administered Kashmir after more than 100 women said they were victims of attackers who chopped off their hair.
India’s Nobel peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi said he was pained by Delhi’s nonchalant attitude.
The court on October 9 had banned sale of firecrackers across the city in anticipation of last year’s catastrophic levels of pollution. But it did not put any restrictions on the bursting of fireworks.
EW DELHI | AFP ndia appointed Monday a special government representative to pursue talks in Kashmir aimed at easing a decades-long conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.
Mystery ‘braid-chopping’ cases add panic to trauma in Kashmir
Air quality data from the staterun Delhi Pollution Control Committee showed pollution levels in a crowded neighbourhood hit 1,179 around midnight as firework displays reached a crescendo.
The levels had subsided through the night but were still “severe” in several districts across the capital Friday afternoon.
of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart disease -- have soared since the beginning of this month when millions of farmers in the city’s north burn post-harvest crop residue.
Kashmiri resident Tasleema (right), and the victim of a ‘braid chopping’, reacts as she is surrounded by relatives and neighbours in the Batamaloo area of Srinagar. PHOTO: AFP Wednesday when Indian sol- chopper. diers opened fire on a stoneOn Friday, police said they throwing crowd who thought rescued a “mentally challenged” troops were protecting a braid- man accused by a mob that was
trying to set him ablaze and run him over with a tractor. At least a dozen police and soldiers have been beaten up.
Modi -- whose government has not engaged with separatists since 2014 -- struck a conciliatory note in August, saying the restive state needed a healing touch “not bullets and abuses”. Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and an outspoken government critic, welcomed the initiative but reserved judgement until talks had begun.
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
VOICE OF ASIA
The government will infuse this sum over the next two years to “strengthen the lending capacity of banks to spur growth”, finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters.
The plan is “significantly positive for the public-sector banks”, Anil Gupta, vice president at ratings agency ICRA, told AFP. “It will address both the issues of growth capital and capital required to absorb losses arising out of elevated provisioning requirement on (soured loans),” he added.
UMBAI | AFP | Tuesday 10/24/2017 - Indian software giant Infosys on Tuesday reported a 3.3 percent yearon-year rise in profits for the second quarter, in its first earnings results since its CEO quit amid a boardroom coup. Net profit for the three months to September 30 rose to 37.26 billion rupees ($573 million) from 36.06 billion rupees for the same period a year earlier, the firm said in a statement. A Bloomberg survey of analysts had projected the company’s earnings at 35.3 billion rupees. Infosys veteran and interim chief executive UB Pravin Rao said the company responded quickly to board and management changes, “minimising any negative impact to the business”.
Indian banks have some of the highest levels of debt in emerging markets.
Infosys share prices plunged in
According to Credit Suisse, some 13 trillion rupees ($200 billion) in loans have soured, the bulk of them at public-sector banks. The mountain of debt means that banks have been stretched too thin to lend for fresh investments, holding back economic growth. The government’s push comes at a time when the Indian economy, hit by tax overhauls and a black market clampdown, has slumped to a threeyear low of 5.7 percent in the first quarter.
India’s bad loan problem received national attention last year in March when beer and airline tycoon Vijay Mallya fled to the UK to avoid paying nearly $1 billion in loans that he owed banks. In May New Delhi gave the central bank greater powers to intervene in cases of bad loans and to order banks to take specific measures to deal with bad debts under the provisions of the existing bankruptcy laws.
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August after chief executive Vishal Sikka suddenly quit the software giant amid boardroom tensions. Sikka had come under fire from some founders over his style of corporate governance and salary increases for top executives. Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani was quickly named nonexecutive chairman to calm investor unrest and steady the share price, but the company remains without a CEO.
Infosys veteran UB Pravin Rao, pictured here, was appointed interim chief executive after chief executive Vishal Sikka suddenly quit the software giant amid boardroom tensions (File photo)
In the first set of earnings since the unrest, Infosys also announced that revenue for the
quarter rose to 175.67 billion rupees. (-AFP)
Lack of investment could lower oil supplies: Aramco chief Jacob Sanchez Diagnosed with autism
Photo: AFP File Photo)
Attending A Job Fair? Improve your Chances of Getting Hired
Profits rise 3.3% for India’s Infosys, above expectations
India approves recapitalisation plan for state-owned banks EW DEHLI | AFP | Tuesday 10/24/2017 - India approved on Tuesday a $32 billion recapitalisation plan for state-owned banks in a move to help them clean up their books and revive investment in a slowing economy.
VOICE OF ASIA 13
IYADH, Saudi Arabia | AFP | Tuesday 10/24/2017 - The head of oil giant Saudi Aramco said Tuesday that a lack of recent investments in the oil sector could lead to a shortage of supplies. “Not much investments have been going into the energy sector... $1 trillion has been either deferred or cancelled” amid the price slump of recent years, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said at an investment conference in Riyadh. Of that, $300 billion was due for investment in oil exploration and $700 billion for project development, he said. “This will have an impact on the future of energy if nothing happens,” Nasser said, pointing to additional needs due to “natural depreciation of fields and normal rise in demand.” Nasser also said renewable energy will not threaten the position of oil and natural gas as the main global energy sources.
The logo of Saudi Aramco is seen at the 20th Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MOES 2017) in Manama, Bahrain, March 7, 2017.(Photo: Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo) agreed last year to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day. The initial six-month deal was further extended by nine months until the end of March.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exothers “We at areautismspeaks.org/signs. witnessing a transforma- porter, made the largest cut of around tion... But it will be decades before re- 500,000 bpd. It has said it will increase newable energy takes a major share in the reduction to 560,000 bpd in Nothe energy mix,” he said at the Saudi vember. Future Investment Initiative conferThe kingdom has lost hundreds of ence. billions of dollars in oil revenues since Global oil prices more than halved mid-2014 and as a result posted huge in 2014 because of oversupply and budget deficits. weak global economic growth.
It has launched a package of economic reforms that include a plan to sell up to five percent of state-owned Aramco. Speaking at the conference, the managing director of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Public Investment Fund, Yasir al-Rumayyan, reiterated that an Aramco initial public offering is on track for next year. Nasser said on Monday that the IPO, expected to raise $100 billion if Aramco is valued at $2 trillion, will take place in the second half of 2018.
The prices have made a partial recovery after producers from OPEC and nonOPEC countries
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LIFESTYLE / LEISURE
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Putting elegance into age: US granny beauty queens
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Padma Lakshmi’s shares travel diary
hether she is penning her debut cookbook that won her the Best First Book award (1999) by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards or working on Top Chef, which got her nominated for an Emmy Award, Padma Lakshmi is always foraging good food experiences. Below: a recent entry... So cute!
by Jennie MATTHEW
TLANTIC CITY, New Jersey | AFP - Beauty pageants may conjure up images of young women in bikinis, but in Atlantic City a roomful of sequined grandmothers and great-grandmothers are putting their best stiletto forward. From an ex-CIA employee to Whitney Houston’s childhood choir director to a marathon runner, Ms Senior America celebrates women aged 60 and above who defy stereotypes of what it means to be ladies of a certain age who in past years may have sunk into a rocking chair. “This is our age of elegance. It’s the beginning. Not our end,” beamed 73-year-old Carolyn Slade Harden, a former recording artist crowned Ms Senior America 2017, resplendent in cream silk. With some members in their 90s, Ms Senior America is a family of sisters who have experienced not just the pleasures of life but the pains -surviving cancer, going through divorce, losing husbands. But if Ms Minnesota needed crutches to get on stage, Thursday’s finals showed no one is ever too old to tap dance, sing or show off their curves in a sequined gown with a crown glittering on coiffed hair. Senior America Inc. was founded in 1971 “to promote the positive aspects of aging” and has championed women in their “age of elegance” ever since. There were 47.8 million people aged 65 and over in the United States in 2015, or 15 percent of the population -- a number projected to rise to 98.2 million, or nearly one in four residents by 2060. Glittering in strapless gowns, mermaid dresses and princess frocks, state finalists from across the country flashed winning smiles, bedecked in a haze of sequins, hair spray and immaculate make-up. - Hip hop “That’s our mama!” yelled one man in the crowd as Ms Florida took the microphone. “I’ve never seen so many rhinestones in my life,” confided another.
Ms. New Jersey Carolyn Slade Harden is crowned Ms. Senior America during the 38th Annual National Ms. Senior America 2017 Pageant at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, October 19, 2017 (Photo: AFP) Judging spans four categories: an interview, 35-second “philosophy of life” nuggets -- for example “let’s all be the reason someone smiles today” -- evening gown and a talent. It was the talent segment that elicited the biggest wolf whistles from adoring friends and family in a hotel theater in southern New Jersey. Ms Tennessee danced ballet, complete with pirouettes and arabesques to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” Ms Massachusetts dressed up in a can-can skirt to sing “Jumbo Italiano,” while Ms Virginia donned a Julie Andrews-style Alpine costume to perform from the Sound of Music. Then there were the guest dance troupes: ladies in pink hats jiving to Shania Twain “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” and seniors doing hip-hop in blonde wigs and black leggings to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk. “I love it! I love it!” yelled one man at the back. “Hollywood thinks youth,” purrs Ms Senior District of Columbia Frances Curtis Johnson, 68, a community activist and executive assistant, who has no intention of retiring until at least 70. “They need to look at the beauty of growing old. To live is to get older,
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and we should take that and use it and embrace it.” Ultimately it was Ms Senior New Jersey with a mega-watt smile and enviable skin, who carried the day, buoyed by a home-state crowd two years after the death of her husband of 51 years.
Harry Potter showcased with bones and cauldrons
ONDON | AFP | The British Library has conjured to life the magical world of Harry Potter in a new exhibition featuring the oldest objects in its collection alongside never-seen items from J.K. Rowling’s personal archive. “Harry Potter: A History of Magic”, which opens in London on Friday, includes Chinese oracle bones from 1192 BC -- the oldest datable items in the library’s vast collection -- as well as annotated sketches, notes and books by the author. Marking the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the world-famous series, the display brings together nearly 100 other historic treasures, including cauldrons and scrolls, with original material provided by Potter publisher Bloomsbury.
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A drawing of Harry Potter and his broomstick are displayed during a preview of ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ exhibition at the British Library
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
VOICE OF ASIA 15
The People’s Lawyer
YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER
by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you signed the lease you are responsible for the rent
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT EMPLOYMENT BASED PERMANENT RESIDENCE REQUIRING LABOR CERTIFICATION
Sharlene Sharmila Richards Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center
Your roommate’s agreement to pay “the full amount” is just between the two of you, and does not involve the landlord. In my opinion, you owe the landlord unpaid rent, but if you pay you have the right to be reimbursed by your roommate based on his promise to pay.
Q. I signed a one-year lease with my roommate, each of us paying half the rent. About seven months into the year I wanted to move in with my girlfriend. I discussed this with my roommate and he said, “no worries, go ahead, I’ll pay the full amount.” He also said he was actually happy to have the place all to himself. Everything was fine until the last month when he failed to pay the rent. The landlord has now sent me a notice that I owe the full amount and will be sued if I don’t pay. I didn’t even live there. Do I still owe rent?
Q. I was hurt in an accident at work. I spoke with my boss about being compensated for my medical expenses and lost time. He said he didn’t have workers’ compensation, and the accident was not the company’s fault. Doesn’t every employer have to have workers’ compensation? Can I sue to collect? A. Let me begin by briefly explaining how workers’ compensation works. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment. Basically, workers’ compensation allows an employee to recover regardless of how the accident occurred or who was at fault. There is no requirement you show the employer was negligent. The amount of compensation, however, is limited and is determined by a schedule of payments. The trade-off is that in exchange for this “no fault” recovery, the employee must give up the right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence. Although workers’ compensation usually benefits both employers and employees, in Texas, it is not mandatory.
A. When a tenant signs a lease it is a contract between the tenant and the landlord. The terms of the contract are the terms of the lease. The first thing you need to do is carefully read the lease. My guess is that each of you are responsible for the full amount of the rent, and the agreement to each pay half is between you and your roommate. If, however, the lease says you are responsible for only one-half of the rent, that would be the most you would owe. The fact that you did not live there does not change your obligation to pay. It is your apartment and you owe rent as stated in the lease.
If your employer does not have worker’s compensation, you have the right to sue to recover your lost wages and medical expenses. To recover, however, you must show more than simply the fact you were injured in a workplace accident. To successfully sue your employer you must show the accident was caused by the employer’s negligence—that is not acting as a reasonable employer would. For example, if your accident was caused by a defective machine that your employer knew was broken and did not fix, you would be able to show the employer was negligent and recover damages. On the other hand, if you simply tripped and fell over a machine and were not injured due any fault on the part of the employer, you would have no legal basis to sue your employer. Q. I work for a small business. Yesterday, I was laidoff ten minutes before my workday ended, and told not to come to work the next day. Doesn’t the law require I be given some prior notice? A. In Texas, unless you have an employment contract you are considered an employee “at will.” That means you may be laid-off or fired, or you may quit, at anytime, with no prior notice. I agree the right thing to do would be to give you prior notice, but the law does not require it.
Do you want to know more about your legal rights? Check out my website, www.peopleslawyer.net And if you have a question about a legal problem related to Hurricane Harvey, call 713-743-2165.
Immigration Law Willy, Nanayakkara & Associates Member - American Immigration Lawyer’s Association since 1989.
Q: My wife currently holds H-1B status and her employer is interested in hiring her permanently in the United States. She has a Bachelor’s Degree. What are the employment preference categories?
then perform various recruitment activities to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S workers willing and able to take the job. Once these have been completed, the PERM Labor Certification for the prospective employee can then be filed with the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor will certify that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the specific job with the employer. The Labor Certification must be certified before the employer is able to file the I-140 Petition for permanent residence for the prospective employee.
A: The employment based (EB) categories that at available for immigration are divided into five subcategories. They are: First Preference (EB1) category is for aliens of extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers and professors. Second Preference (EB2) category is for members of the professions holding advanced degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability. Third Preference (EB3) category consists of Skilled Workers, Professionals and other workers. The remaining two categories are EB4 for religious workers and certain special immigrants and EB5 for investment green cards. In your wife’s case, depending on her degree and experience, the employer will most likely have to file for her under EB2 or EB3. It is advisable for the employer to consult with an immigration attorney to decide which preference category will work best for your wife’s situation.
Q: What is required to apply under EB2 Preference Category?
Q: What is PERM labor certification? A: The employment green card process begins with the PERM Labor Certification. PERM Labor Certification is required for most employment based second preference (EB2) and all third preference (EB3) immigrant petitions. To file PERM Labor Certification (ETA Form 9089), the petitioning employer must first obtain what is known as a prevailing wage determination for the specific job from the Department of Labor. Once the prevailing wage has been determined, your employer must
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A: Typically, you must first have an approved PERM Labor Certification unless you are applying under the National Interest Waiver category. Under EB2 you must also have an advanced degree or a bachelor’s degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession. In addition, the qualification you have must be one that is warranted as a minimum requirement for the designated job. If you are possess ‘exceptional ability; meaning having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered, the Labor Certification is waived. Your exceptional ability will be determined by factors such as the type of degree you hold, your extensive experience in the particular field, recognition for your achievements including contributions to your industry or field etc. Q: My employer’s PERM has already been approved. Can I now file for permanent residence? A: Before you can file for permanent residence (adjustment of status to permanent resident), your employer must first file a Form I-140 Petition to classify you as an Immigrant Worker. You can file the application to adjust status concur-
rently with the I-140 petition only if your priority date is current at the time. If it is not current, then your employer must only file the I-I40 petition and you have to wait until your priority date becomes current before you can file your adjustment application. For PERM Labor Certification cases, the priority date is the date the PERM Labor Certification was received by the Department of Labor. The waiting period for the priority date to be current depends on your preference classification (whether EB2 or EB3) and your country of chargeability. Q: My case was filed under EB1 Preference Category and did not need PERM Labor Certification. What is my priority date if I my case did not need a PERM Labor Certification? You priority date is A: the date when your immigrant petition was filed. For EB1, it is the date when your Form I-140 was filed. Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.
My Bio Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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VOICE OF ASIA 16
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
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Young women are better than men at ‘adulting’ in every way - except this one by Shawn M. Carter
men are paid.”
And the future looks promising. Since 2000, one-third more women more women than men have graduated college, according to a Pew Research study. Because of that, some predict they could soon become their generation’s top earners and their wages could surpass men’s by 2020.
EW YORK - The results are in: Millennial women are better than men at “adult-
That’s according to financial website Earnest, which conducted a survey of more than 1,000 young adults to see how women match up against their male peers in terms of financial responsibility and acting like, well, grown ups. Young women outperform in every way — except one: Earning more money than their parents. About 31 percent of young men and young women report that they’ve hit that milestone. Earnest asked millennials to list specific goals they find important — having a steady job, buying a home, doing taxes — and to check off the ones they’ve achieved. “Across the board, millennial women are more likely than men to say they have already reached a milestone [that] they said represented fi-
Overall, Catherine New, senior editor at Earnest, thinks that a good chunk of male and female millennials earn more than their parents because of where they live. “There is the question of greater geographic mobility, which is related to following higher paying jobs,” she tells CNBC Make It. “Earnest’s 2015 study shows that nearly 60 percent of recent graduates who went top schools and live in Silicon Valley, went to school in a different metro region before moving west. In other words,” she explains, “graduates these days are much more likely to move for a new job and it’s lifestyle changes like this that can im-
Privacy groups warn of perils in smartwatches for kids Activist and consumer groups fear that smartwatches for kids, instead of keeping children safe, could make them vulnerable to hackers or criminals
ASHINGTON, DC | AFP | - Smartwatches designed to help parents keep tabs on children could create privacy and security risks, activist and consumer groups said Wednesday as they called for probes by regulators. A coalition of child protection, consumer, and privacy groups asked the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate the risks posed to children by the devices and also called on retailers to stop selling the watches. The groups said consumer organizations in Europe were expected to file similar complaints with EU regulators. The organizations contend that the devices, instead of keeping children safe, could make them vulnerable to hackers or criminals. “By preying upon parents’ desire to keep children safe... these smartwatches are actually putting kids in danger,” said Josh Golin of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in a statement. “Once again, we see Internet of Things products for kids being rushed to market with no regard for how they will protect children’s sensitive information. Parents should avoid these watches and all internet-connected devices designed for kids.” The actions come after research by the Norwegian Consumer Council highlighted security flaws in smartwatches designed for children, which transmit and store data without encryption.
“Across the board, millennial women are more likely than men to say they have already reached a milestone [that] they said represented financial adulthood,” the survey says. (Photo: Shutterstock) nancial adulthood,” the survey says.
“The gap between men and women was particularly wide in the areas of independent living, taxes, insurance and transportation. Women are [also] doing slightly better than their male counterparts when it comes to paying off student loans, home buying and investing.”
Young men and women overall are also better with money than older people. A national survey tracked how 1,000 Americans aged 21 to 75 manage their wealth. It found millennials are better than older generations at financial planning, financial awareness and having confidence in being able to reach financial goals.
So why aren’t more young women also outperforming when it comes to making more money than their parents? It could be due to the gender pay gap. According to the Institute For Women’s Policy Research, women are paid 20 percent less, on average, than their male counterparts performing the same job. For millennials, especially right out of school, though, the gap is lower. Data from the American Association of University Women says women typically earn about 90 percent of what men do until the age of 35. “After that, median earnings for women are typically 74–82 percent of what
Another survey found that, if millennials keep pace with their responsible financial habits, some could even retire $1 million richer than Baby Boomers and those in Generation X. “Even as the millennial narrative says this generation is being overly spendy on things like avocado toast,” the survey says, “it turns out people ages 22 to 37 are actually doing much better than the average American at managing their money on a daily basis.” So young and women alike seem to be trending in the right direction. (-CNBC)
Most professionals (including senior professionals) visit a Job Fair without adequate preparation and do not realize that the lack of response has to do with their inadequate preparation. This workshop runs attendees through various areas that one may drop the ball. The free workshop is geared to provide an overview of what a recruiter expects at a job fair and how you can
Photo: AFP/File / Guillaume Souvant With two of the watches, an attacker was able take control of the watch, eavesdrop on conversations, communicate with the child, and access stored data about the child’s location. The Norwegian group also found that a “geofencing” feature meant to notify parents when a child leaves a specified area did not work as advertised, according to the organizations. The study examined smartwatches sold under the Caref brand, marketed as Gator in Europe, SeTracker, Xplora and Tinitell. “The devices implicate not only the data privacy of children, but also their personal safety,” said a letter to
the FTC by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Public Citizen and the US Public Interest Research Group. “The devices create a new vulnerability that allows a third party to find a young child at precisely the time when the child is separated from a parent or guardian.” The same coalition warned last year of similar risks from internet-connected dolls, prompting an FBI warning and leading to many retailers taking the products off their shelves.
Medical students in limbo as young immigrant program ends
HICAGO - Medical student Alejandra Duran Arreola dreams of becoming an OBGYN in her home state of Georgia, where there’s a shortage of doctors and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the U.S. But the 26-year-old Mexican immigrant’s goal is now trapped in the debate over a program protecting hundreds of thousands of immigrants like her from deportation. Whether she becomes a doctor depends on whether Congress finds an alternative to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump phased out last month. Zarna Patel, 24, is a third-year student at Loyola who was brought to the U.S. from India as a 3-year-old without any legal documents. Her DACA permit expires in January, and she’s trying to renew it so she can continue medical school rotations that require clinical work. If she’s able to work in U.S., Patel will work in disadvantaged areas of Illinois for four years, part of her agreement to get school loans.
Free Workshop on improving your chances at a Job Fair! OUSTON - ‘IPAYITFORWARD’ & American Society of Indian Engineers & Architects invites anyone looking for a new job to a free workshop on “IMPROVING YOUR CHANCES AT A JOB FAIR” conducted by Ramesh Anand, President American Personnel Resources LLC on October 27, 2017 - 5.00PM to 7.00PM at Suite 115, 13131 Dairy Ashford Rd, Sugar Land, TX 77478
be better prepared. Seats are limited. RSVP is needed for this free workshop. RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ improving-your-chances-at-a-job-fair-tickets-39101539758 About the speaker: Ramesh Anand has been a search consultant since 1980 and has recruited for major corporations across the world. His clients have included Halliburton, McDonalds, Monsanto, DHL, etc. He has participated in several job fairs in various countries and has been privy to reasons why his clients have rejected candidates. He shares some of his observations during this workshop in a simple down to earth format. Contact for more information: email@example.com
Zarna Patel (Photo: AP) “Growing up, I didn’t have insurance,” she said. “I knew what that felt like, being locked out of the whole system.”
For others, there’s added worry of being stuck with debt they can’t repay. (-VOA News)
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VOICE OF ASIA 17
BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD
Selena to receive star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Pooja Bhatt writes book on how she overcame alcoholism
OS ANGELES -Selena Quintanilla, known to her fans as the “queen of Tejano music,” is finally getting her Hollywood star! More than 20 years after her tragic death, the Tejano music breakout star will join the ranks of iconic celebrities on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Mayor Eric Garcetti and actress Eva Longoria are expected to speak at the unveiling, joined by Selena’s family. That ceremony is set for Nov. 3, which will be proclaimed “Selena Day” in the city of Los Angeles. Selena’s star, the 2,622nd on the Walk of Fame, will be located in front of the Capitol Records building at 1750 N. Vine St. “Before there was JLo, Shakira or Beyonce, there was a transformative female artist called Selena,” said Otto Padron, president of Meruelo Media and the official sponsor of the tribute. “Selena is one of the most influential music icons of the 20th century; her music, style and smile are timeless and now her star will grace our city forever.” Selena was named Billboard Magazine’s “Top Latin artist of the ‘90s,” the “Best selling Latin artist of the decade” and in 2016 charted as the 2016 “Top Latin Album of the Year, Female Artist,” according to a new release from Walk of Fame officials.
EW DELHI, Oct 24 (PTI) Actor-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt is writing a book on how she overcame alcoholism and hopes she can help others deal with their problem by talking about her journey.
The Grammy Award-winning Mexican-American singer was 23 years old when she was fatally shot by the president of her fan club in March 1995. (File photo) She debuted in the music scene in 1980 as the lead of the family band “Selena y Los Dinos” with her siblings A.B. Quintanilla and Suzette Quintanilla. Her popularity exploded after she won the Female Vocalist of the Year in the 1986 Tejano Music Awards - a feat she would repeat nine consecutive years. Selena began recording professionally in 1982, and in
1989 she signed with the newly-formed Los Angeles record label EMI Latin and released her first of five record setting albums. Some of her most popular songs include: Bidi, Bidi Bom Bom, Dreaming of You, No Me Queda Mas, Amor Prohibido and Como La Flor. Today, she ranks among the most influential Latin artists of all time and is credited for catapulting the Texas sound into the mainstream national market. (-KABC)
Politics on display as Letterman receives Mark Twain Prize
She, however, says it is not her autobiography. The book is co-authored with Roshmila Bhattacharya and will be published by Penguin Random House India next year. “I would like to emphasise that it is not an autobiography. At 45, I am too young to write my memoirs. As they say in filmi terms, Picture abhi baki hai, mere dost. But I can help others like me deal with their problem by talking about my journey,” says Bhatt. She points out that she has not touched liquor since 10 months. “It hasnt been easy but it hasnt been too difficult either.
Several of the comedians honoring Letterman took shots at President Donald Trump and the general state of the country. More than one comedian quipped that the Kennedy Center’s funding was about to be cut off mid-show. Meanwhile, the center announced that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was a Kennedy Center benefactor. Kimmel jokingly blamed Letterman for helping to bring Trump to power. “It’s like you went out for cigarettes one day and left us in the hands of our abusive, orange stepfather,” Kimmel quipped. He praised Letterman profusely, recalling a monologue he delivered on his show shortly after the 9/11 attack. “You let us know it was OK to move on and OK to laugh again,” Kimmel said. “Dave, you led the way for all of us.” But Kimmel also noted that in that same monologue, Let-
terman offered glowing praise to then-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who went on to become a vocal public Trump supporter.
Mulaney credited Letterman’s appeal with his determination to mine humor from ordinary people, and occasionally their pets.
“Well Dave, we all make mistakes sometimes,” Kimmel said.
“The Johnny Carson show said, ‘Take a break from your weird life and watch these famous people have fun in show business,’” Mulaney said. “Dave’s show said, ‘Your weird life is just as funny as show business.’“
Comedian-turned-senator Al Franken thanked Letterman for a post-retirement series of videos that he and Letterman recorded together designed to raise awareness on climate change. Comedians Martin Short and Steve Martin, a previous Mark Twain honoree, needled Letterman about his bushy white retirement beard with a line touching on the country’s current divisive political atmosphere. “Dave has always had excellent instincts. What better time than now to choose to look like a Confederate war general,” Steve Martin said. Speakers Sunday night included comedians John Mulaney, Amy Schumer and Jimmie Walker of the 1970s television series “Good Times.” Walker gave Letterman one of his first jobs as a joke writer in Hollywood. Schumer poked fun at Letterman’s famed reputation for grumpiness, saying she performed on his show three times. “By the end of my third appearance, Dave was no longer totally indifferent to me,” she said.
The 70-year-old Letterman spent 33 years on late-night TV, hosting long-running shows on NBC and then on CBS. His final broadcast on May 20, 2015, was episode No. 6028 that Letterman hosted. It shattered the record of his mentor, Carson. Former First Lady Michelle Obama sent in a video tribute and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder thanked Letterman for being a longtime “friend to music” and performed the song “Keep me in your heart” by the late Warren Zevon, a Letterman favorite. Letterman’s run on NBC in particular was hugely influential, introducing a sardonic, smartly silly comedic style that influenced a generation. His time slot immediately following Carson’s “The Tonight Show” allowed Letterman to draw a huge following of young, largely college-age viewers seeking an alternative to the somewhat staid Carson model.
Swati Chopra, Commissioning Editor of Penguin Random House India, says the book is an incredibly brave one, about a topic that most people, especially women, would be hesitant to talk about in India. “Pooja writes about overcoming alcoholism with courage and honesty that is rare, especially in image-conscious Bollywood, making this a truly groundbreaking book. We, at Penguin Random House India, are proud to publish this book that will definitely not be a runof-the-mill celebrity memoir,”
UMBAI - PTI, Oct 24 2017 - Superstar Shah Rukh Khan has offered condolences on the death of his fan, Aruna PK, who was struggling with cancer.
The 51-year-old actor took to Twitter, where he posted a heartfelt message for Aruna’s children Akshat and Priyanka Khot and wished the family strength to handle the tough times.
Aruna was an ardent fan of the “Jab Harry Met Sejal” actor and he got to know that she wanted to meet the superstar as her last wish.
“May Allah give you strength to deal with the loss of your beautiful mother. I know how sad it is to deal with the loss of
ASHINGTON: David Letterman was never known as a particularly political comedian, preferring a detached ironydrenched tone that favored the surreal and silly over topical humor. But there was an unmistakable political tint to much of Sunday night’s ceremony to present Letterman with the Mark Twain award for American humor.
“It wasnt planned but we have announced the book on Bhai Dooj, when traditionally Indians have just ushered in a new year. As the Diwali lights continue to sparkle around us, please support me on this journey the way you always have through all my films,” she says.
she says. In an interview in March, Bhatt had spoken about her battle with the bottle saying, “If I didnt quit now, Id have drank myself to the grave.”
Nawazuddin gets in on the book act too! ctor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who has also decided to speak in detail about his love life in his autobiography, admits that he was selfish about his relationships with women and not shy of confessing that he gave in to his carnal needs many times. (-Daily Pioneer)
Shah Rukh Khan mourns the death of cancer-battling fan
David Letterman (left) is interviewed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Owen Sweeney/ Invision/AP)
A series of chapters in a book called life,” Bhatt asserts.
“Know that she is always with you and henceforth do things that give her reasons to smile in heaven,” Shah Rukh wrote.
Shah Rukh later took to social media to send a video message to Aruna through his fanpage. “I’m made to understand through your son Akshat and
daughter Priyanka that you are fighting with an illness. I want to say this that me, my whole family, all our friends whoever knows about you, we are praying for your wellness,” he had said in the snippet. The actor also promised Aruna that he would meet her soon and will also perform for her. “You are in a state where meeting you is perhaps not a possibility. I know this for a fact, with the positivity that you carry around that you will get well soon and we will meet very soon,” he had said.
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FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
We know some of the causes of breast cancer. But what’s missing? by Judith Potts ONDON, 23 October 2017 • We have reached the middle of ‘pink’ October, during which the charities work overtime to raise awareness of breast cancer and funds for research. With the enormous media coverage – not just during Breast Cancer Awareness Month – it always seems astonishing that people are still unaware of the symptoms of breast cancer. The myriad causes – about which there is still controversy – are, therefore, even less likely to be known or considered. Top of the list is whether or not the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) adds to the chance of developing breast cancer. The answer changes from year to year. The breast cancer prevention charity, Prevent Breast Cancer (which used to be called Genesis), sums up the current understanding like this: HRT use increases the risk of breast cancer for current users – particularly with oestrogen/progesterone combinations. Once HRT has been stopped, the risk reduces back down to the average risk over the following few years. The risk rises with the more years of HRT use. For women who have never used HRT, the risk of breast cancer is 45 per 1000 women between the ages of 50 and 70 years. The additional numbers of breast cancers diagnosed between these ages per 1000 women who began to use HRT at age 50 is an extra two cases (after 5 years use) 6 cases (after 10 years use) or 12 cases (15 years use). As a general rule, women for whom breast cancer risk is a concern should limit their use of HRT to perhaps no more than about 5 years. That seems reasonably clear – but no one makes the decision for you. It is entirely up to the individual and if – like me – you decide to use HRT for 15 years, you live with a little nagging doubt about
HEALTHY Regional pain syndrome and its treatments
Surya Raguthu, M.D, ABIPP, ABPMR, CIME
by Dr. Surya Raguthu
Surely environmental factors must play a part – in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink CREDIT: PA
how much it influenced the onset of breast cancer. However, there are so many other factors and possible causes. Ruling out a genetic link. Prevent Breast Cancer argue that (for women) the risk is raised or lowered depending on many factors – some of which are out of your control. A mammogram Surely environmental factors must play a part – in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink CREDIT: PA They include menarche, which is the age at which a woman’s periods started, with a seven per cent reduction in risk per year after the age of 12; the age you reach the menopause (the younger the better); the age at which you have your first child. The number of children you have and the time you spend breast feeding both lower the risk. Like the above, too many Xrays, previous breast lumps, Hodgkin’s Disease and breast density are risk factors, but not a personal decision. Whereas too many glasses of wine, carrying too much weight, smoking, taking HRT and the contraceptive pill are now firmly on the risk list. Following my breast cancer experience, on the advice of the nutritionist at the Breast Cancer Haven I left dairy food and red meat behind and be-
gan to eat more of a Mediterranean diet. A western diet is also mentioned as a risk, yet it is so often ignored by doctors as an important role in treating cancer or helping to prevent its recurrence. I have always suspected that there must be something else involved in the cases of breast cancer in so many people that I know – and have known – than any of the factors recognised officially. A friend who died recently had lead an entirely exemplary life – no bad lifestyle choices were made – yet breast cancer ended it far too soon, in her early fifties. Surely environmental factors must play a part – in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Whilst this is not verified by Prevent Breast Cancer, it is the belief of Breast Cancer UK that there are too many carcinogenic, hazardous and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in everyday products. The charity supports scientific research into links between these chemicals and breast cancer. Emma Wrafter, Development Director of Animal Free Research UK said: “In 2016, over four million animals were used in medical research. What many people do not know is that much of the research is less effective when translated into humans and the animals are destroyed afterwards.” (-Telegraph UK)
Pain does not feel the same for everyone. Describing your pain clearly will help your doctor or nurse find the best treatment for you. Tell your healthcare team where the pain is, what it is like (for example dull, sharp, burning), how bad it is and when it happens. Keeping a pain diary can help you explain your pain to your doctor or nurse. How do you define Pain: Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. Nature of pain • Pain is subjective and highly individualized. • Its stimulus is physical and/or mental in nature. How pain is caused? When we feel pain, such as when we touch a hot stove, sensory receptors in our skin send a message via nerve fibers (A-delta fibers and C fibers) to the spinal cord and brain stem and then onto the brain where the sensation of pain is registered, the information is processed and the pain is
perceived. All this transference happens in a split second. Classification of pain: Classifying pain is helpful to guide assessment and treatment. There are many ways to classify pain and classifications may overlap. The common types of pain include: Nociceptive: represents the normal response to noxious insult or injury of tissues such as skin, muscles, visceral organs, joints, tendons, or bones. Examples include: Somatic: musculoskeletal (joint pain, myofascial pain), cutaneous; often well localized Visceral: hollow organs and smooth muscle; usually referred Neuropathic: pain initiated or caused by a primary lesion or disease in the somatosensory nervous system. Sensory abnormalities range from deficits perceived as numbness to hypersensitivity (hyperalgesia or allodynia), and to paresthesias such as tingling. Examples include, but are not limited to, diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, spinal cord injury pain, phantom limb (post-amputation) pain, and post-stroke central pain. Inflammatory: a result of activation and sensitization of the nociceptive pain pathway by a variety of mediators released at a site of tissue in-
flammation. There are different types of pain: • acute pain starts suddenly and is short-term • chronic pain lasts for a longer period of time • breakthrough pain often happens in between regular, scheduled painkillers • bone pain happens when cancer is affecting a bone • soft tissue pain happens when organs, muscles or tissues are damaged or inflamed • nerve pain happens when a nerve is damaged • referred pain is when pain from one part of your body is felt in another • phantom pain is when there is pain in a part of the body that has been removed • Total pain includes the emotional, social and spiritual factors that affect a person’s pain experience. Dr. Surya Raguthu, M.D, ABIPP, ABPMR, CIME, has 15 years of experience in Pain Management and excels in Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Medicine. His mission is to enhance the health and well-being of seniors, adults, and children in our communities to help them lead a quality life. His motto is “Live Pain Free.” Please visit www.acepain. com for details. Office phone 832-532-0040
Medicare releases Star Ratings for 2018 health and drug plans for Medicare Open Enrollment The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Star Ratings for the 2018 Medicare health and drug plans. With the release of the Star Ratings, people with Medicare will have improved access to high-quality health choices for their Medicare coverage in 2018. This news comes on the heels of the recent release of the benefit and premium information for Medicare health and drug plans which shows that there will be more health coverage choices and decreased premiums in 2018. “Medicare is committed to empowering seniors to choose high-quality health and drug plans that fit their needs and the needs of their families,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “More high-quality choices mean improved quality care and better customer service at lower cost. Medicare Open Enrollment has begun and the star ratings helps people with Medicare shop to find the best choice possible.” In 2018, people with Medicare will have more choices and options for their Medicare coverage. Access to the Medicare Advantage program remains strong. The number of Medicare Advantage plans available to individuals to choose from across the country is increasing from about 2,700 to more than 3,100 – and more than 85 percent of people with Medicare will have access to 10 or more Medicare Advantage plans. Most areas across the country have Medicare Advantage and Part D plans with four or more stars. In 2018, approximately 73 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees with prescription drug coverage will be in plans with four and five stars. Compared to 2017, approximately 69 percent of these enrollees were in four and five star plans. Approximately 44 percent of Medicare Advantage plans that offer prescription drug coverage will have an overall rating of four stars or higher in 2018. Medicare Part D prescription drug plan enrollees are also benefiting from improved access to high-quality plans. In 2018, approximately 47 percent of enrollees in stand-alone prescription drug plans will be in plans with four and five stars. Compared to 2017, approximately 41 percent of enrollees were in four or five star plans. Approximately 52 percent of stand-alone prescription drug plans will have a rating of four stars or higher in 2018. CMS estimates that the Medicare Advantage average monthly premium will decrease by $1.91 (about 6 percent) in 2018, from an average of $31.91 in 2017 to $30. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of Medicare Advantage enrollees remaining in their current plan will have the same or lower premium for 2018. CMS previously announced that the average basic premium for a Medicare prescription drug plan in 2018 is projected to decline to an esti-
Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6776 Southwest Freeway, Suite # 178 Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com mated $33.50 per month. This represents a decrease of approximately $1.20 below the average basic premium of $34.70 in 2017. The Medicare prescription drug plan average basic premium is projected to decline for the first time since 2012. The Star Ratings system helps people with Medicare, their families, and their caregivers compare the quality of health and drug plans being offered. Medicare health and drug plans are given a rating on a 1 to 5 star scale, with 1 star representing poor performance and 5 stars representing excellent performance. People with Medicare can compare health coverage choices and the Star Ratings through the online Medicare Plan Finder tool available at Medicare.gov (http://www. medicare.gov). Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018 Medicare health and drug plans begins on October 15, 2017, and ends December 7, 2017. Plan costs and covered benefits can change from year to year. People with Medicare should look at their coverage choices and decide the option that best fits their health needs 2018 Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Program Landscape Both the Medicare Advantage and the Part D prescription drug programs continue to grow and provide high quality care and services to more than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to strengthening Medicare Advantage and the
Continued on next page
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
VOICE OF ASIA 19
LIVING Child obesity grows tenfold since 1975: study by Mariëtte Le Roux
ARIS, France | AFP | 10/23/2017 - The world had 10 times as many obese children and teenagers last year than in 1975, but underweight kids still outnumbered them, a study said Wednesday. Warning of a “double burden” of malnutrition, researchers said the rate of increase in obesity far outstripped the decline in under-nutrition.
Obesity grew from 0.7 percent to 5.6 percent among girls and from 0.9 percent to 7.8 percent in boys. In Nauru, the Cook Islands and Palau, more than 30 percent of children and teenagers were obese in 2016. In some countries in Polynesia and Micronesia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Caribbean and the United States, more than one in five children were obese. - Make healthy food afford-
Happier marriages linked to healthier hearts: study
ARIS, France | AFP - Men whose marriages grow stronger over the years have healthier cholesterol and blood pressure than peers whose unions fall apart, said a study Tuesday that hinted at unexpected health perks of relationship counselling. Researchers got more than 600 men in Britain to rate the “quality” of their marriage at two points in time -- when their child was three, and then again aged nine. The men could describe their union as consistently good, consistently bad, improving, or deteriorating. Another 12 years later, the team measured the participants’ health. Men who had described their marriages as “improving” had better cholesterol readings and a
healthier weight years later, the team found
“If post-2000 trends continue, child and adolescent obesity is expected to surpass moderate and severe underweight by 2022,” researchers wrote in The Lancet medical journal. The team found that there were 74 million obese boys aged 5-19 in 2016, up from six million four decades earlier. For girls, the tally swelled from five million to 50 million. By comparison, there were 117 million underweight boys and 75 million underweight girls last year after the number peaked around the year 2000, the study said. Almost two thirds of the underweight children lived in south Asia. Obesity ballooned in every region in the world, while the number of underweight children slowly decreased everywhere except south and southeast Asia, and central, east and west Africa. The prevalence of underweight children decreased from 9.2 percent to 8.4 percent of girls aged 5-19 over the study period, and from 14.8 percent to 12.4 percent in boys.
able Experts divide people into body mass categories calculated on the basis of their weight-toheight ratio. These range from underweight, normal weight, overweight and three categories of obese. Obesity comes with the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, while underweight children are more at risk from infectious diseases. Children in either category can be stunted if their diet does not include healthy nutrients. “There is a continued need for policies that enhance food security in low-income countries and households, especially in south Asia,” said study author Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London. “But our data also shows that the transition from underweight to overweight and obesity can happen quickly in an unhealthy nutritional transition with an increase in nutrient-poor, energydense foods.” The team used the height and weight data of 129 million people older than five to estimate body mass trends for 200 countries from 1975 to 2016.
Medicare... Continued from page 18 Part D prescription drug programs by providing additional flexibilities and efficiencies so that organizations are encouraged to continue developing innovative plan offerings that provide Medicare enrollees with high quality healthcare services. The data released with the 2018 Medicare Advantage and Part D plan landscape provides important and premium information for both programs: • Enrollment in Medicare Advantage is projected to be at an all-time high in 2018 with 20.4 million Medicare beneficiaries. This represents a 1.7 million (nine percent) increase from 18.7 million in 2017.
• CMS estimates the Medicare Advantage average monthly premiums will decrease by $1.91 to $30 in 2018. Over the past three years, the average monthly premiums in Medicare Advantage have decreased, from $32.91 in 2015. • Access to Medicare Advantage will remain nearly universal, with 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries having access to at least one health plan in their area. • More than 85 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to ten or more Medicare Advantage plans in 2018. • The average number of Medicare Advantage plan choices per county will increase by 2 plans – up to approximately 29 plan choices per county
They analysed such measures as blood pressure, resting heart rate, weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar -- potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Men who had described their marriages as “improving” had better cholesterol readings and a healthier weight years later, the team reported in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Unions described as “deteriorating”, on the other hand, “were associated with worsening diastolic blood pressure.”
marital relationship appear to predict CVD (cardiovascular disease) risk,” the study authors concluded. Little change, however, was noted for men who had reported being in a consistently good or consistently bad marriage, said the team, and speculated this may be due to “habituation” to their situation. The researchers warned their study was merely observational and could not show conclusive-
ly that an improving marriage results in better health.
health risks would translate into actual disease.
But assuming this was the case, “then marriage counselling for couples with deteriorating relationships may have added benefits in terms of physical health over and above psychological well-being,” the authors wrote.
Previous studies had already shown married men to have a lower risk, on average, for cardiovascular disease such as heart attack or stroke.
Given that the men were still relatively young when taking part in the study, it is too early to know how their relative
“Further research needs to determine if effective marriage counselling, or when appropriate, abandoning a deteriorating relationship, has longer-term physical health benefits,” said the team.
“Changes in the quality of a
While obesity in children and teens appears to have plateaued in rich countries, its rise continued in low- and middle-income countries, they found. “Very few policies and programmes attempt to make healthy foods such as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables affordable to poor families,” Ezzati said in a statement. “Unaffordability of healthy food options to the poor can lead to social inequalities in obesity, and limit how much we can reduce its burden.”
– and access to popular supplemental benefits, such as dental, vision, and hearing, continues to grow. • Approximately 77 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees in 2017 will have the same or lower premium in 2018 if they continue in the same plan. • The average monthly premium for a basic Medicare prescription drug plan in 2018 is projected to decrease by $1.20 to an estimated $33.50 per month. The basic premium for an average Medicare prescription drug plan is projected to decline for the first time since 2012. To understand various Types of To choose right Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, OR Medicare Supplement Plan for 2018 Contact Sudhir Ma-
thuria @ 713-771-2900.
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FASHION & STYLE
VOICE OF ASIA 20
Japan’s ‘living artwork’ invents new fashion style by Mary-Ann Russon & Griesham Taana
By using her body as a canvas, Minori is essentially a “living artwork”, and her art is primarily depicted in photos. Minori designs and creates all her outfits from scratch (Photo: Teppei Takazawa)
- Lady in white -
In her teens, Minori was just one of the many young women who frequented Harajuku, a district in Shibuya, Tokyo where people go to see and be seen in quirky, unusual and of She used to enjoy wearing Elegant Gothic Lolita fashion, but over time she didn’t feel that the style suited her.
entertainers - began to appear. Then, during the Showa era from 1926 to 1989 - the word “Shironuri” was first coined.
Minori has evolved Shironuri into an art form, applying unusual false eyelashes and intricate make-up that matches the themes of her outfits.
A fashion artist has garnered a cult online following internationally after inventing a quirky Japanese street fashion style eight years ago. Inspired by the ultra-nationalism at the time, people wore male and female Japanese school uniform styles gakuran and sailor fuku, carried Japa-
She grew up in the Japanese countryside, and considers nature to be one of the main inspirations for her art. “The pattern of fallen leaves
“I always felt a sense of discomfort that my skin colour and make-up did not match my clothes,” she tells the BBC.
The trend was later adopted by women in the 17th century, when geisha - high class female
As you reach the peak of your work life, make sure you step out in your sartorial best. Adopt classic styles in luxe fabrics to nail dressing at the workplace. Striking a balance between trendy and sophisticated can be a task, but we’ve got you covered. Here everything you need to get started. Know before you go With the years gone by, your nine-to-five dressing should be the easiest decision of the day. Finally done juggling with multiple checklists, its finally time to take a step back from the responsibilities and create
“You get all sorts of reactions, some very positive and some very negative,” said Mr Lismore, who is an ambassador for Tate’s Circuit Programme, which helps young people gain access to museums across the UK.
Minori designs and creates all her outfits from scratch
From the 9th to 11th Centuries, a time known as the Heian period, men from aristocrat families painted their faces as a mark of their status.
ften, hitting 50 means reaching a comfortable place in your life, personally and professionally. After achieving a healthy work-life balance, there’s no reason for you to give up on playful printed and colourful separates. Gone are those days of cost-per-wear calculation. As you hit your ’50s, your wardrobe must already be brimming with timeless classics that you must have collected over the years.
thought that it was boring. I really wanted to create something that no one had seen before, had never done before.”
“Once I painted my face white, I could make my face from my imagination, and that felt wonderful. ‘This is it!’ I thought.”
In Japan, there is a long tradition of using white make-up that dates back to medieval times.
With age comes wisdom, and by the time you touch your big five-o, you are fully aware of the dos and don’ts of formal dressing, but just a refresher. One, resist the urge to step inside bodycon dresses, two, steer clear of anything sheer or strappy, and three, keep cropped hemlines for the after hours.
Minori, 26, lives in Tokyo. The white make-up offers her anonymity, and only her friends and family know her real identity, which means that when she is not dressed up, she can live a private life away from prying eyes.
How to dress for work in your 50s by Yashna Chopra
OKYO, Chiba City, Japan - Minori combined Shironuri (which means “painted white”) powdery make-up with vintage clothing to form a new style.
Her creative expression has inspired other young women to adopt the trend.
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Minori says she is inspired by nature and the blank canvas white make-up offers (Photo: Teppei Takazawa) nese war flags, and painted their faces painted white using geisha make-up. - Inspirations Instead of a political expression or entertainment tool,
and tree branches, the shape of flowers - I thought that it would be beautiful if I combined white paint with such motifs in make-up,” she says. “At the time, only geisha make-up was mainstream, but I
“There’s a lot of fear in people. It’s fear of the unknown, and fear via lack of culture. A lot of people won’t like what you do and won’t be able to understand it, but the right people will love you for who you are and what you do. Everyone else is irrelevant.” (-BBC News)
What you should do Ditch the structured outfits and opt for effortless and easy pieces that will help you get through the long hour of hectic meetMadhuri Dixit on her Instagram account. ings. While planning your an impact with your stylish look, make sure to keep the surprise meetings in mind. Make wardrobe. room for sleek accessories and Borrow from the stars a smart change of footwear for If you are looking for some out-of-office meetings and iminspiration, then who better portant work lunches. Curate a than these always-stunning balanced collection of footwear 50-something A listers to guide with some flat mules and clasyou through this. From versa- sic peep toes for varied work tile crisp shirts to smart turtle occasions. The formal section necks, Sridevi’s wardrobe has of wardrobe should be your no shortage of classics. Have a best friend by now. Think trouwork meeting? Pair your pencil sers, striped shirts, midi dresses skirt with a white button-down and relaxed kurtas. Invest in or try a formal wrap dress, or designer bags to amp up your style your formal pants with a formal look. sleek blouse. Madhuri Dixit, Invest in key pieces too, serves a masterclass in Scroll through our gallery of dressing for work events in colourful pant suits and structured the best pieces to add to your workwear arsenal; there’s jumpsuits. no going wrong with these. What not to do (-Vogue)
Ace this Festive Season with Indo Western Fusion
he festive season is here, it is that time of the year when every day is filled with celebrations, card games, meeting friends, dolling up the house, trying different sweets and most interesting of all is dressing up. Indian festivals are incomplete without some ethnic dressing up, but with the changing time, nobody wants to look all traditional, that is why fusion or Indo Western has gained popularity. It
is a mix of traditional and modern fashion wear. It is easy to carry and more enjoyable. To keep up with the trend, we feel like buying new clothes, but this festive season I have decided to dig in my closet and create something really extraordinary, fun and a fusion of the clothes in my existing wardrobe. I am sure you will like it! - Tanya Mahendra
Off Shoulder Top with Heavy Embroidered Lehenga Photo courtesy Tanya Mahendra (Fashion Oomph blog)
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
The NFL is now one of the most divisive brands in the US by Kevein Quealy
bout three weeks ago — before President Trump said that N.F.L. owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem — Democrats and Republicans held relatively similar views about the league. About 60 percent said they viewed it favorably, while about 20 percent said they viewed it unfavorably, according to daily online surveys conducted by Morning Consult, a polling, media and technology company.
Some of the difference may be a result of our collective filter bubbles, which make Americans more likely to engage with and share articles that reinforce their views. Both Democrats and Republicans were more likely to report seeing negative news about the N.F.L. around the time of Mr. Trump’s remarks in Alabama and the protests that followed. But Trump voters were much more likely to do so, while respondents who said they voted for Mrs. Clinton were more mixed in the coverage they reported seeing. One possibility is that the two groups are not reading the same kinds of articles, avoiding those they disagree with. Another is that people are simply taking different attitudes away from the same articles, tweets and Facebook posts. The shifts are not limited to professional football. After LeBron James tweeted his support for Stephen Curry, whose invitation to the White House
Baltimore Ravens strong safety Tony Jefferson (23) and Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Matt Judon, left, kneel down with teammates during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday Sept. 24, 2017. (Photo: was rescinded by Mr. Trump (after Mr. Curry indicated he wouldn’t attend), the share of Trump voters who said they held very unfavorable views of Mr. James more than doubled, to 23 percent from 11 percent. For Clinton voters, the opposite was true: The event made them like Mr. James more. In other polls, Americans’ views on the N.F.L. protests depend largely on how the questions are asked, and whether they emphasize patriotism, free speech or race. And while N.F.L. ratings are down compared with previous years, protests are probably not the main reason. A helpful way to consider Americans’ attitudes toward the N.F.L. and the N.B.A. is to compare them with their views on other things. Every day, Morning Consult conducts large online surveys of about 5,000 adults in the United States, asking respondents their opinions about hundreds of brands and companies. Most of the time, ratings are consistent among people of different political parties. For
example, Americans have favorable views of Oreos, Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, regardless of who got their vote in 2016. (And, on the whole, both Trump and Clinton voters have slightly negative views of companies like Goldman Sachs and Philip Morris.) But a tiny fraction of these companies are divisive, with politics shaping how Americans perceive them. The N.F.L. has moved near the top of this list in recent weeks: The N.F.L. is now among the nation’s most divisive brands, behind Trump Hotels and a handful of media companies, including The New York Times. It’s hard to know if or when Americans’ views of the N.F.L. will go back to how they were before these protests. Brand favorability data comes from Morning Consult’s daily online surveys of about 5,000 adults in the United States. Kyle Dropp, the chief research officer at Morning Consult, is an occasional contributor to The Upshot. (-New York Times)
Venus Williams survives 3 hour epic battle
INGAPORE| AFP World number three Karolina Pliskova booked a berth in the semifinals after delivering a masterclass to overwhelm Garbine Muguruza in a straight sets demolition in the WTA Finals on Tuesday. Pliskova continued her stranglehold over the world number two with a 6-2, 6-2 victory in just 62 minutes. It was
World Series Fever! Astros middle infielders Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa inseparable on and off field OS ANGELES – The image from the pennanttrophy presentation neatly captured the Jose AltuveCarlos Correa dynamic.
Since Mr. Trump’s remarks, though, many of his supporters have changed their attitudes. Trump voters are now much more likely to say that they view the N.F.L. negatively, reflecting a sharp change around Sept. 23, when Mr. Trump criticized the players at a speech in Alabama. The views of Hillary Clinton voters have not changed appreciably over the last few weeks.
VOICE OF ASIA 21
Pliskova’s victory means she will finish top of the White Group and knocks out winless number seven seed Jelena Ostapenko.
cess rate with her first serve in the early going and relentlessly targeted Muguruza’s body. The 25-year-old cruised through the first set in just 26 minutes and the one-sided rout continued. Pliskova won the first five games of the second set before Muguruza saved some face by winning consecutive games.
Pliskova came out firing with her trademark serve providing lethal. She had a 70 percent suc-
But it wasn’t long until Pliskova deservedly sealed her spot in the final four.
her seventh victory from nine starts over the Spaniard, who appeared hampered by an upper leg injury, which required strapping early in the match.
On the stage during the onfield ceremonies after the Houston Astros claimed the American League championship, both middle infielders wore expressions of satisfaction as the 6-4 Correa draped his arm over the shoulder of the 5-6 Altuve. They looked like brothers whose parents were about to reward them for a good deed. Their positions on the field bring them together, as do their spots in the lineup as the No. 3 and 4 hitters in Houston’s potent attack. But it’s their mutual affinity off the field that forms the strongest bond. Altuve and Correa have lockers next to each other, hook up for dinner on the road and gather at times for family barbecues. It may not be true that Altuve and Correa are inseparable, but it takes some effort to pry them apart. “This team gets along very well. We have very good chemistry,’’ Altuve said on the eve of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series, pitting the Astros against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “But Carlos and I have a little extra. I don’t know if it’s because we’re a shortstop and a second baseman or because we’re both Latin guys, but it’s really a very good relationship.’’ It began in the spring trainings before Correa reached the majors in 2015 as a former No. 1 overall draft pick out of Puerto Rico. The Venezuelan-born Altuve, who had broken in in 2011, showed the heralded prospect the ropes, where to go, how to behave in a major league clubhouse. Their partnership has helped lift an Astros team that lost 111 games as recently as 2013 to two playoff berths in the last three years and the franchise’s second World Series appearance since its inception in 1962. As a second baseman, Altuve has always made a point of establishing a rapport with his double-play partner that goes beyond their play around second base. He also got along well with previous Houston shortstops Jed Lowrie, Jonathan Villar and Marwin Gonzalez, believing such connections benefit the team. “But he and Correa take it to another level,’’ Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “They can almost anticipate each other’s moves, which allows them to do things other combi-
Photo: MLB.com nations aren’t able to do. It’s like watching art unfold before your eyes.’’ Besides anchoring the infield at positions that traditionally oriented toward fielding, Altuve and Correa form the nucleus of an offense that scored the most runs in the big leagues. Altuve, 27, just won his third batting title with a .346 average and led the AL in hits for a fourth year in a row while finishing third in the league in on-base plus slugging percentage at .957, tops among major league second basemen. No other second base-shortstop combination had both players with an OPS of .900 or above. The Indians’ Jose Ramirez (.957) and Francisco Lindor (.842) came closest. “Throughout the history of baseball, middle infield is one of those positions where you haven’t always had to hit really well. You can get by with your glove,’’ Astros pitcher Collin McHugh said. “But they’ve come to the forefront as middle infielders who are maybe batfirst. Not so say their defense isn’t spectacular. They’re probably going to have multiple Gold Gloves by the end of their careers. But what they’re able to do offensively sets them apart from everybody else.’’ And, as often happens in brotherly-type relationships, they push each other to succeed. Correa, the 2015 AL rookie of the year, finds inspiration in Altuve’s persistent desire to improve. After overcoming the bias he frequently encountered because of his stature, Altuve made the All-Star team in his first full season of 2012, when he batted .290 with a .740 OPS for a lastplace team that lost 107 games. But when he got caught stealing a league-high 13 times in 2013, Altuve decided to focus on his baserunning the next season and led the AL with 56 steals while batting .341. The next year he wanted to improve his fielding and wound
up winning the Gold Glove. In the last two seasons, Altuve has made more of an effort to drive the ball while adding a leg kick. That paid off in back-to-back seasons of 24 homers and more than 81 RBI. “He’s never pleased,’’ said Correa, who views Altuve as an older brother. “If he gets three hits in a game, he wants four. He has four and wants five. That impresses me.’’ Even though some metrics rank Correa as merely a slightly above-average defensive shortstop, Altuve often calls him the best player in baseball. Certainly, few possess his combination of athleticism and canon arm, let alone the offensive prowess. In addition, Correa has long displayed maturity beyond his years, one of the reasons the Astros were so taken with him when deciding whom to choose with the top pick in the 2012 draft. In Game 2 of the AL Championship Series, facing the majors’ hardest thrower in New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, a poised Correa drilled a double that drove in Altuve with the winning run in a 2-1 walkoff victory. Four games later, it was Altuve’s turn to play the hero, with a little help from his compadre. Altuve’s two-run single off Yankees starter Luis Severino was the key blow in a rally that set the Astros on course for a 7-1 victory that tied the ALCS. He also homered in the 4-0 win in Game 7. “I think at least 100 of the 200 hits I had this year were because of Carlos,’’ Altuve said. “He would come up to me in the on-deck circle and say, ‘Hey, this guy throws this stuff, try to do this.’ So I would do that and get a hit. On that hit I got against Severino with the bases full, he gave me some encouragement and told me, ‘Let’s go. You’re the one to deliver this hit.’ That meant a lot to me. I went up to home plate and got the hit.’’ (-MLB.com)
VOICE OF ASIA 22
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Your Horoscope for the Week of October 27, 2017 READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE
by Hardik Vyas, Astrologer Cell : 832-298-9950
Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct
Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April If possible, try to get an extension on your work deadlines. 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.
Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov
Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May Set the standards, keep the flow positive & don’t try to preach your morals to others. Keep your private life private and your social life social. Your impatience might put you in awkward condition of saying or doing something inappropriate. Others may not be in a mood to have their limitations challenged. The closer you get to someone, the less your differences matter. Allow room for variation. Mutual literary interest could bond a relationship. Take the lead & enjoy a fulfilling end to a great week.
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.
Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec
Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June You will 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. Be careful with whom you share personal secrets, as the consequences of your actions could tarnish your reputation.
Enjoy the learning and bring the light 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. You’ll be able to put things into a better perspective.
Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan
Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July A chance meeting will be the start of a fresh new deal. 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.
Don’t jump to 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. Another native figures prominently. 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.
Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb
Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August 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 in marketing field, you are likely to close the deals and get top dollar. People are your life, as well as a source of your wonder. You could ruin your chances by using your most effective aggression too early in the week.
Your energy level is high. You need to be cautious about who you trust with your personal & financial matters. Time is on your side, so don’t rush any big decisions. 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.
Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March
Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September 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 an opportunity 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. You may never want this to happen again, but if it does, you’ll be better prepared to handle it.
Read your Weekly Horoscope Online
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. You’ll be able to achieve your immediate goals if you learn to listen closely to others.
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Invitation for Bid (IFB) 18-10 Sale of Approx 0.717 Acres of Land (Delano) Project No. 18-10
Request for Proposals (RFP) Cisco Maintenance and Support
Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Wednesday 29, 2017.
Sealed proposals will be received in Procurement Operations (3100 Main Street, Room No. 11B01, Houston, Texas 77002) until 2:00PM (local time) on Tuesday, November 28, 2017.
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Project No. 18-04
Looking for M/WBE Subcontractors Munsch Hardt is bidding on RFQ # 18-07-17 for Legal Services for the Houston Independent School District. Our company is looking for possible M/WBE subcontractors to provide legal services in the areas of Business/Commercial, Construction, General Litigation, Immigration, Real Estate, Tort Claims Litigation, and Workers’ Compensation to HISD. If you are interested in providing the above listed services please contact Gina Geohegan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.222.4031 by Monday, October 30, 2017. We invite all Houston M/WBE law firms to attend a networking breakfast on Oct. 30 from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. at Munsch Hardt Houston (700 Milam, Suite 2700) to discuss a potential partnership on this opportunity.
Qualified Book Keeper Needed
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Please contact: 713-505-4499 Houston Community College
VOICE OF ASIA 23
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PET of the WEEK
MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK Be Kind to Yourself When You’re Feeling Stressed Out Burnout is a serious problem at work. It can make you feel emotionally exhausted, cause cynicism, and hinder your job performance. If you notice these signs of extreme stress, resist the urge to beat yourself up — that will only make the situation worse. Instead, have some empathy for yourself and what you’re going through. Start by considering how you might be creating unnecessary stress: For example, are you setting unrealistic expectations for yourself? Remember that we all have only a certain number of hours in the day. When you feel overly stressed, acknowledge it and recognize that others would feel similarly in the same situation. Being kind to yourself, instead of laying on the self-criticism, can shift your mindset from feeling threatened to being self-compassionate, strengthening your resiliency and making you more likely to bounce back from a stressful time.
I need a loving home
MARCO - ID#A007139
FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
Shelter staff named me MARCO. I am a neutered male, gray tabby Domestic Shorthair. The shelter staff think I am about 2 years and 1 month old. I have been at the shelter since Sep 13, 2017. For more information about this pet, call: City of Sugar Land Animal Services at (281) 275-2364
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FRIDAY, October 27, 2017
7 Questions you were too embarrassed to ask about Halloween by Lisa Marie Segarra
alloween is almost here, which means you don’t have much time to figure out this year’s costume — or grab a bag of candy for trick or treaters (or yourself). But the holiday’s traditions, like planning Halloween costumes, buying Halloween candy and ringing doorbells to trick or treat, indeed have a long-standing history. From Halloween’s Catholic and Celtic backgrounds to what the most popular Halloween costumes of 2017 are, we’re here to answer all your burning questions.
Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
This is everything you need to know about Halloween, including how and why we celebrate it. What is Halloween?
Halloween is typically celebrated as a secular holiday in the U.S. Many people celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes ranging from their favorite character in a movie, a pop culture reference or their favorite animal (more on that below). Some people, often children, will spend the evening hours of the holi“I think parents should make their own deciday trick or treating for candy. sion before God as to what they’re going to alWhen is Halloween? low their kids to participate in and why,” Ham told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interHalloween falls on Oct. 31 each year. view. “More and more Christians are recogniz- Halloween 2017 lands on a Tuesday. ing that this is an opportunity to use this time to This year, October also had a Friday witness to others.” the 13th, which is considered by some to The President of the Creation Museum and be unlucky, according to American folkthe Ark Encounter pointed out that many lore. While the history of how Friday the churches have alternatives to Halloween, like “trunk-or-treating” events.
hould Christian parents allow their children to celebrate Halloween? Answers in Genesis (AiG) president Ken Ham says that before making such a decision, parents should ask what the holiday is “really all about.”
13th came to be considered unlucky isn’t completely clear to some historians, others like Dr. Phil Steven, an anthropology professor at the University of Buffalo, believe it comes from the Last Supper, where 13 people sat together. Why do we celebrate Halloween? The earliest origins of Halloween can be difficult to trace. Some, like Halloween expert and author Lesley Bannatyne, link the holiday to the Celtic celebration of Samhain. The day marked “the turning of the year,” noted Bannatyme, author of Halloween Nation. However, others such as historian Nicholas Rogers, a professor at York University, say there are actually no traditions carried over from the festival. “The reason people think it’s related to Halloween is because when you go to look at Irish Folklore Commission of the 1940s, Samhain and Halloween and a number of other words are used interchangeably to describe the end of October,” Rogers said, adding that both celebrations have supernatural and magical elements associated with them. Both Bannatyne and Rogers noted Halloween as we know it today has much more direct connections to the Christian holiday of All Saint’s Day, which ended up falling on Nov. 1, after a series of date changes. What does trick or treat mean? On Halloween night, children can be heard saying “trick or treat” after ring-
Another way to share the gospel this Halloween, he said, is to hand out Bible tracts along with candy to trick-or-treaters who knock on the door.
Others engage in “reverse trick-or-treating,” Ham explained, where they dress up in costumes, knock on doors, and gives their neighbors candy or home-baked goods along with a gospel tract. He concluded: “I think it comes down to, parents have to make a decision, they’re the ones responsible of their kids. As Christians, I think we need to ask, ‘What is Halloween really all about and how can we use it to reach others with the message of the truth of God’s word in the Bible?’”
“As popular and pervasive as Halloween has become, there is still a sizable minority that avoids at least some elements,” said Scott McConnell, vice president of Nashville-based LifeWay Research. “More than two-thirds of evangelicals welcome the candy, costumes or community interaction surrounding the holiday, but the majority are unwilling to label ‘the pagan elements of Halloween’ good,” McConnell said. On its website, AiG provides “Halloween Learn & Share Kits,” which include “A Biblical and Historical Look at Halloween” tracts, a copy of Halloween, Paganism, and the Bible, and two different kinds of dollar-bill sized tracts. “Halloween has its obvious downsides, but we can use this day to share the hope of Christ with others by welcoming trick-or-treaters with some candy (or maybe a healthier snack!) and a gospel booklet,” reads the website. “Our A Biblical and Historical Look at Halloween booklets are a great way to introduce older trick-or-treaters or their parents to the history of this day, fascinating facts about Halloween, and, most importantly, the gospel message.” (Article compiled by Leah Marieann Klett/Gospel Herald )
Depicting Pakistan’s internal struggle through Art
aira Wasim was a shy kid who grew up drawing all over the walls of her house, years later she is now one of Pakistan’s most prominent miniature artists who has had her work displayed at the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art. Saira who was born in 1975 in Pakistan’s cultural center of Lahore is known for her Persian-Mughal style miniatures, an art form that came to India from Persia in the sixteenth century and flourished during the Mughal dynasty. A miniature painting is made of ten different layers of glue (made from seashells), paper, and pigment, which artists make from stones. The paintbrushes are made from squirrel hair—just one hair. Her work addresses issues of power, politics, and reflects the transition ‘in between’ her old
and new homes – Pakistan and the United States – and the political coalition and contradiction between them. Antidote defines Saira’s work as “modern imagery that is steeped in political and cultural discourse”. She has wittily subverted the traditional centuriesold themes of miniature painting to create a rift between the Western culture and the Islamic world and Western cultural imperialism. She graduated in 1999 from National College of Arts (in Lahore). Due to restrictions on her Ahmadi faith in Pakistan, Saira has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. where she continues to bridge the gap between east and west, as a female South Asian artist, a gap she says is widening every day. (-Rabwah Times)
On All Saint’s Day, and other Christian holidays, people would go door to door giving prayers in exchange for treats, Rogers said. The practice became popular in America as an effort to stop vandalism and mischief. Bannatyne notes that in the 1940s, people tried hosting parties to discourage the mischief and when that didn’t work, homeowners began meeting children with their lights on and giving out candy or money. “It was a whole campaign on how to trick or treat,” Bannatyne said. “Then it caught on.” How old is too old to trick or treat? There’s no specific cutoff age for trick-or-treating in most places, though Food & Wine notes that some towns are actually making rules that give trickor-treaters a cut-off age. Lizzie Post, co-president of the Emily Post Institute, which
gives advice on etiquette, says the most important thing is ensuring that younger children are given the priority when trickor-treating on Halloween. “You want to make sure younger kids are getting the chance and the opportunity, but I don’t want to discourage teens from enjoying this as long they’re behaving well,” Post told me What are the most popular Halloween costumes this year? Movies are lending a lot of costume inspiration this year. Wonder Woman is the mostsearched Halloween costume on Google followed by Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn, the super villain that appears in DC comics; a clown; and Disney heroine Moana. A Unicorn was the fifth-most searched Halloween costume on Google. The most popular couple’s costumes are Bonnie and Clyde, Beauty and the Beast, Forrest Gump and Jenny, Lilo and Stitch, and Tarzan and Jane, according to Google. (-Time)
The Essence of Diwali : Light, Listen, Learn, Care
“When people come to the door -- this is what my wife and I do -- we have a big bucket of candy and we also have some special gospel tracts that we give to them with the candy,” he said. “We believe we are doing our best to get the message of God’s truth to people.”
According to a 2015 study from LifeWay Research, 54 percent of Christians in America believe that Halloween can be celebrated “all in good fun,” while 18 percent of them avoid the holiday because of its pagan elements. Around 23 percent of Christians avoid Halloween for its pagan origins and other reasons.
ing their neighbors’ doorbells in hopes of getting some candy.
by Dr. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee, Rice University, Houston TX CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK’S ISSUE: Krishna Killed Narakaasur: The Bhagavata Purana tells us about Narakasura, an evil demon king who had managed to acquire awesome powers. Unrivalled in prowess, he conquered both the heavens and earth and was tyrannical in his reign. Addicted to power, he even stole the earrings of Aditi, the heavenly mother goddess, and usurped some of her territory. When Lord Vishnu was incarnated as Krishna in the Dwapara Yuga, he killed Narakasura on the day preceding Diwali and rescued 16,000 women whom the demon had imprisoned in his palace. The deliverance from the terrible Narakasura was celebrated with much grandeur, a tradition that continues to this day. However, another version of the story credits Lord Krishna’s wife Sathyabhama as the one who eliminated Narakasura. It is said that Narakasura could only be killed by his mother Bhudevi and as Satyabhama was an incarnation of the same Bhudevi, she only could kill him. Before death, however, Narakasura realized his mistake and requested a boon from Satyabhama that everyone should celebrate his death with colorful light. To commemorate his death, the event is celebrated in some parts of India as Naraka Chaturdasi, two days before Diwali day. The Return of the Pandavas: The great Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’ reveals that it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ (the new moon day of the Kartik month) when the Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The five Pandava brothers, their mother and their wife Draupadi were honest, kind, gentle and caring in their ways and were loved by all their subjects. To celebrate the joyous occassion of their return to Hastinapura and to welcome back the Pandavas, the common people illuminated their state by lighting bright earthen lamps everywhere. And the tradition is maintained to this day. The Victory of Rama: The great Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’ describes how Lord
Ram (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Treta Yug) conquered Lanka after vanquishing the evil King Ravana and after passing a period of of fourteen years in exile returned to his capital Ayodhya on a new moon day of Kartik with wife Sita and brother Lakshman. To celebrate the homecoming of their beloved king, the people of Ayodhya burst crackers, lit up their houses with earthen lamps (diyas), and decorated the entire city in the grandest manner. Year after year this homecoming of Lord Rama is commemorated on Diwali with lights, fireworks, bursting of crackers and merriment. The festival gets its name Deepawali, or Diwali, from the rows (avali) of lamps (deepa) that the people of Ayodhya lit to welcome their King. The citizens of Ayodhya decorated the entire city with the earthen lamps and illuminated it like never before.
Coronation of Vikramaditya:
Special Day for the Sikhs:
It is also said that Vikramaditya, the legendary Indian king famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity was coroneted on the Diwali day following his victory over the Sakas in 56 BC. This was marked by a grand celebration which is still maintained annually. One of the greatest Hindu monarchs, Vikramaditya ruled the greatest empire in the world from modern-day Thailand in the east to the borders of modernday Saudi Arabia in the west. Diwali, thus, apart from being a religious festival also has a historical association.
For Sikhs, Diwali holds a special significance for it was on a Diwali day that the third Sikh Guru Amar Das institutionalized the festival of lights as an occasion when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Gurus blessings. It was also on a Diwali day in 1619 that their sixth religious leader, Guru Hargobind Ji, who was held by the Mughal Emperor Jahengir in the Gwalior fort, was freed from imprisonment along with 52 Hindu Kings (political prisoners) whom he had arranged to be released as well. And it was also on the same auspicious occasion of Diwali when the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid in 1577.
Special Day for the Arya Samaj: Diwali also marks the auspicious occasion when on a new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) Swami Dayananda Saraswati, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism attained his nirvana (enlightenment) and became Maharshi Dayananda, meaning the great sage Dayananda. In 1875, Maharshi Dayananda founded the Arya Samaj, “Society of Nobles”, a Hindu reform movement to purify Hinduism of the many evils it became associated with at that era. Every Diwali, this great reformer is remembered by Hindus all over India. Special Day for the Jains: For Jains, Diwali commemorates the enlightenment of Vardhamana Mahavira(the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankaras of the Jains and the founder of modern Jainism) which is said to have occurred on Oct. 15, 527 B.C. This is one more reason to engage in Diwali celebrations for pious Jains and other than the purpose of commemoration, the festival stands for the celebration of the emancipation of human spirit from earthly desires.
Goddess Kali: Kali, also called Shyama Kali, is the first of the 10 avatars(incarnations) of Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva’s consort. According to legend, long ago after the gods lost in a battle with the demons, Goddess Kali was born as Kal Bhoi Nashini from the forehead of Goddess Durga. Said to be a personification of Nari Shakti (female power), Kali was born to save heaven and earth from the growing cruelty of the demons. After killing all the devils, Kali lost her control and started killing anyone who came her way which stopped only when Lord Shiva intervened. The wellknown picture of Ma Kali, with her tongue hanging out, actually depicts the moment when she steps on the Lord and repents. That momentous day has been commemorated ever since and the main purpose of celebrating Kali Puja is to seek the help of the goddess in destroying evil both external and internal to us as also to get her blessings for general happi-
ness, health, wealth, and peace. On Diwali Bengalees pray to Ma Kali. The Harvest Festival: Diwali also falls in the time of the Kharif crop, a time when rich rice cultivation gives its fruits. India being an agro-economic society, the significance of a rich harvest gives a new meaning to the celebrations. Diwali is also the Hindu new year, Hinduism being the third largest religion of the world. It is at this time that Hindu businessmen offer pujas, start new books of accounts, and pay off all debts to start a new year afresh, a good enough reason alone to indulge in the festivities. The Pope’s Diwali Speech: In 1999, Pope John Paul II performed a special Eucharist in an Indian church where the altar was decorated with Diwali lamps, the Pope had a ‘tilak’ marked on his forehead and his speech bristled with references to the festival of light. Diwali is also the festival of joy so make it special especially if there has been any unpleasantness with your family or friends in your past. Shed all your inhibitions and misgivings and make a fresh start. Wish them a ‘Happy Diwali’. Make your Diwali special for yourself, your family and your friends. To conclude, there are several reasons behind Diwali celebrations and almost every region of India has its own reason to observe the occasion. All of these however, matters little to the festival itself. Whatever the cause behind its celebration, Diwali is undoubtedly a national festival of India, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians. Hope your Diwali was special!
Published on Oct 26, 2017
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