VOICE OF ASIA 1
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FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
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Vol. 30 No. 34 Friday, September 1, 2017 • Published Weekly from Houston • 713-774-5140 24 Pages ( 2 sections) 50 cents E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
HARVEY HITS HOUSTON Harvey damage estimated at $42 bn, among most costly US storms 200 Indian students at University of Houston left marooned
wo hundred Indian students are marooned in the Houston floods, with the University of Houston submerged in neckdeep water, and two of them are in an intensive care unit, according to the Indian embassy spokesman in Washington. Efforts are on to ensure that relatives of the two students in hospital – identified as Shalini and Nikhil Bhatia – are able to reach them at the earliest. US emergency officials said tropical storm Harvey affected 450,000 people when it battered Texas, leaving floods and a trail of destruction in its wake. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Monday that India’s consulate in Houston had informed her “that 200 Indian students at University of Houston are marooned. They are surrounded by neck deep water... We made efforts for delivery of food but US Coast Guard did not allow as boats were required for rescue operations.” Continued on Page 7
People walk down a flooded street in Houston on Monday, Aug. 28. The city has dealt with deluges before, but elected officials, meteorologists and emergency managers all say there has never been anything like this before, and the downpour could last for days. Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images by Douglas Gillison ASHINGTON | AFP | Tuesday 8/29/2017 Damage from Hurricane Harvey could put it among the top five most costly US storms ever, with failing dams and levees driving up loss forecasts, data modeling showed Tuesday.
Estimates for total economic costs and damage shot up overnight to $42 billion from $30 billion, as flooding began to spread to Louisiana and flood control measures became overwhelmed, according to Chuck Watson, founder of the disaster modeling firm Enki Research. While authorities still focused on
rescuing survivors on Tuesday, the question of the storm’s aftermath -and its expected long-lasting hit to the Texas and US economies -- was only beginning to come into view. Recent research also shows natural disasters can result in more concentrated poverty in former disaster areas.
“If Harvey were your normal hurricane it would be probably a $4 billion event,” Watson told AFP. “That would be tragic for the people affected, but for the effect on the macroeconomy, we wouldn’t be talking about it at all.” Continued on Page 11
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VOICE OF ASIA 2
by Oscar J. Martinez
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Mexico’s negotiators, who mostly represent business interests, will strive to retain the country’s “competitiveness,” and that means keeping wages at the lowest level possible. This is long-standing government practice. How did Mexico get into a posture that calls for its people to work for meager earnings? Much of the answer has to do with the fact that Mexico is highly dependent on the powerful U.S. economy. This condition accords Mexico little room to maneuver in any bargaining.
VoiceofAsiaOnline.com Editor Online:
s NAFTA negotiations proceed, will Mexico advocate for improvement of the paltry wages in its export-oriented assembly manufacturing sector, namely the maquiladora industry? That issue should be a matter of high priority, but I doubt it will be.
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That weakness stems from Mexico’s inability to build a strong domestic industrial sector, one free of foreign controls. Before NAFTA, Mexico mostly exported agricultural products, precious metals, and industrial minerals. In the 19th century silver led the way and for most of the 20th century it was oil. In the age of liberalized trade, Mexico turned to its most abundant natural resource – cheap human labor.
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
NAFTA negotiations and wages capacity and easier access to advanced technologies.
The problem with that system is that natural resources, whether commodities or lowwage workers, are greatly undervalued in international markets and cannot be counted upon to generate genuine national development. Only strong domestic industries that produce high value goods and a robust services sector that provides high-end expertise can accomplish that. Mexico has neither of these attributes. The reliance of Mexico on natural resources is a direct outcome of the structure of trade that long ago took shape under the asymmetrical relationship with the United States. Mexico lacks the ability to produce, and therefore to export, 100 percent Mexicanmade high-end manufactured products. U.S. companies can make such goods much more efficiently and at a lower cost owing to greater productive
U.S. products have always easily penetrated Mexican markets both legally and illegally, constantly undermining homegrown Mexican industries. The result is that Mexico’s economy has historically lagged way behind that of its neighbor. Why can’t Mexico extricate itself from its dependence on the United States and pursue development on its own terms? Basically, the powerful U.S. economy is physically too close for Mexico to escape its overwhelming dominance. Another major impediment to Mexico’s home-grown industrial development is problematic internal geography. Mexico’s landscape is dominated by mountains, deserts, and jungles, and there is a serious shortage of arable land. These conditions have diminished Mexico’s ability to generate capital, made the building of railway and road infrastructure difficult and costly, and created an unbalanced urban system. Mexicans have been able to overcome some geographic
obstacles, but countless others continue to impede progress. How much can the Mexican government do to mitigate the economic challenges posed by the country’s intractable geography and the asymmetrical relationship with the United States? Truthfully, not a whole lot. In my book, “Mexico’s Uneven Development,” I show that underdevelopment has persisted regardless of the economic model adopted or policies enacted by Mexico’s leaders. Leftist, centrist, and conservative governments each in their own way have strived to move the county forward. Yet backwardness remains conspicuous, there is still overwhelming poverty in the country, and external dependence keeps growing. These realities put Mexico in a weak bargaining position in the NAFTA talks. My bet is that negotiators will aim to keep Mexico “competitive,” thereby reinforcing existing external dependence and perpetuating worker exploitation. I hope Mexico’s representatives prove me wrong. Oscar J. Martínez of El Paso is a professor and author of numerous books on Mexico and the borderlands.
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THE STORY OF MAHATMA GANDHI
Visit, programs of Prince of Wales are boycotted
uring the latter part of 1920 Gandhi advocated a triple boycott. He wanted an absolute boycott of the Government and all government institutions, including schools, colleges, and courts. If the people were free of these they could easily have their own schools, colleges, and courts, and the power of the British would collapse at once. There was much laughter and ridicule from the moderates and the supporters of British rule. But Gandhi paid no attention. Now read on: Gandhi’s activities made the British government panicky. They issued a warning that anyone who overstepped the bounds of law would be arrested and imprisoned. Gandhi thought that this warning was a victory for the campaign. He issued instructions which the people were to follow if he were arrested. On December 26, the Congress session was held in Nagpur. Though there were signs of opposition to Gandhi’s policies, his resolution was passed with an overwhelming majority. The adoption of the new program at Nagpur
was the signal to start the mass movement. Gandhi felt that the complete boycott of all government organizations would give a chance to the Congress to set up a parallel organization, a State within a State which would lead India to Swaraj. The Duke of Connaught was sent to India in 1921 to try to pacify the Indians. He came to open the four legislatures in the country which had been introduced as a result of the reforms announced by the King. His
Great Summer Project For children! Enter Mahatma Gandhi Week 2017 Essay, I-Tribute, Poster and Speech contests. Visit gandhilibrary.org for registration and more information. All school going children can participate! These contests are being organized to create higher awareness of the inspiring life and work of Mahatma Gandhi to promote universal values of Truth, Non-Violence, Love and Service passed off without any material change in the attitude of Indians towards Britain. Gandhi travelled far and wide, propagating the ideals of nonviolence and noncooperation. Day by day the Indians were getting more and more excited over carrying out Gandhi’s program. Many students left their institutions, many officers resigned their posts. The boycott movement gained momentum. As the people’s morale grew, the morale of the government went down. Repression started. Gandhi advised the people to have patience, and he insisted on nonviolence. He saw the weaknesses of Indians and he urged them to improve. He wanted social reforms and constructive work to be intensively followed. It was announced that the Prince of Wales was to visit India. Functions were arranged at many places to enable him to meet his loyal subjects. Gandhi was indignant when he read the announcement in the newspapers. “Do the British think we are children?” he said. “Do they believe that parades for the Prince will make us forget atrocities in the Punjab or the perpetual delay in granting us Home Rule?” On Gandhi’s advice the Congress declared that all parades, receptions, and celebrations in honor of the Prince were to be strictly boycotted. “We have no grudge against
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales,” said Gandhi, “but our ideas are against him as a symbol of oppression. We can show the world that such noncooperation is just the reverse of the European doctrine of the sword. Let us act in accordance with the holy prophets of old. Noncooperation without violence is the battle of the brave.” Fearing that there would be disorder when the Prince of Wales visited various places, the government began severe acts of suppression. Thousands of people were arrested. The Indian people were so agitated that in city after city bonfires burned and the bonfires were made with foreign cloth, especially British cloth. On November 17, 1921, the Prince of Wales landed in Bombay. Loyal stooges of Britain went to greet the royal visitor. Those who were observing nonviolent noncooperation did not molest them. However, passion suddenly blazed out. Religious and political hatreds fanned the flames. Riots started, many were killed, much property was destroyed. There was panic in the city. Gandhi was in Bombay, and he rushed to the scene of disorder to stop the rioting. Order was finally restored. “Every man has the right to his religion and his own political opinion. Satyagraha will never succeed until man understands that,” Gandhi an-
nounced bitterly. In other cities the boycott of the Prince’s visit was peaceful. As the unfortunate Prince of Wales visited city after city, he- was greeted with empty streets. Not a shop was open. The people remained behind closed doors and drawn curtains. This infuriated the British and they called upon the government of India to act. Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal, and other leaders were arrested and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. Yet the determined courage of the people did not abate. They were ready to suffer any penalty for the cause of Home Rule. Demands had been made to Gandhi that he should start a mass movement for the attainment of Swaraj. Gandhi decided to act. Preparations were made to start satyagraha in Bardoli. But Gandhi had to stop the campaign suddenly because of what had happened ill Bombay and other places. In Chauri Chaura, near Gorakhpur in U.P., some policemen fired on a crowd which was holding a demonstration against the government. This annoyed the demonstrators so much that they became very violent. They chased the police. The police took refuge in the city hall. The angry mob surrounded the hall and set it on fire. Some policemen were burned to death. Others, trying to escape, were killed by the furious mob outside.
Gandhi was very upset. He thought that it was clear that the people were still not prepared for satyagraha. He stopped the intended satyagraha at Bardoli. His co-workers did not agree with him, but he was adamant. He wanted his followers to start constructive programs. Many Indians were sorry for Gandhi’s action. They thought that Swaraj was now within their reach and the movement should therefore continue. The Government was playing a waiting game. Instead of thanking Gandhi for stopping the mass movement, they arrested him on charges of sedition and sentenced him to six years’ imprisonment. He was removed to Yeravda Central Jail in Poona. In prison Gandhi settled down to a regime of spinning, writing, and meditation. The people were disappointed and the government tightened its hold. Almost all the leaders were put in jail. Then, in 1924, Gandhi fell ill. He was suffering from appendicitis and was in great pain. The government was alarmed. What would happen if Gandhi died in prison? An urgent operation was arranged, and Gandhi agreed. The operation was successful, but his recovery was very slow. The government thought it best to release him, so he was set free. He went to Juhu, near Bombay, for recovery. — To be continued
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COMMUNITY VOICE OF ASIA
VOICE OF ASIA 3
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Second Front Page
Inspired training workshop for Bala Vihar teachers
Houston Indian American organizations help Harvey victims, initiate fundraising efforts
he Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACCGH) and Member Madras Pavilion delivered meals to George R Brown Convention Center today. Members Swapnil Agrawal , Abeezar Tayebji and Jiten Agrawal were all making efforts to help in many ways. IACCGH Advisors Dr. Durga Agrawal, Dr Renu Khator and Dr. Anupam Ray have shown exemplary leadership during this storm the Chamber eported . Judge Ed Emmett and Mayor Turner have led the community working non stop round the clock to mobilize resources to help the community. Acarya Darshana Nanavaty during the Balavihar Balavihar Teachers’ Training workshop Photos by Jayesh Mistry by Satchitananda
UGAR LAND - During the weekend of August 19-20, 2017, Chinmaya Mission Houston hosted the much awaited Balavihar Teachers’ Training workshop that drew over 190 onsite and 150 online participants. The online live streaming feature was a first-time add-on to benefit teachers from other parts of the country. Acarya Darshana Nanavaty, fondly adored as Darshana Aunty, shared her decades of wisdom with the eager Balavihar teachers who ranged from the experienced to aspiring beginners. In the two-day event that began promptly with a prayer dedication to Pujya Gurudeva Swami Chinmayananda, Aunty eloquently elaborated on the philosophy behind Balavihar training. She highlighted how freedom is our natural state and how Balavihar equips both the teacher and the taught to gradually build a truly free paradise in life based on scriptural wisdom. With concepts that have grade-wise sequential answers to a set of five questions: Where is God?; Why can’t I see HIM?; How can I see HIM?; What should I do?; and, What is the result of this knowledge?, the curriculum is designed to guide children from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The Acarya described the teaching methods which blend in age-appropriate hands-on arts and crafts, singing, chanting, and other funfilled options to keep every
child excited. This variety in instruction caught the attention of the second generation aspirants among the attendees. All the training methods were centered on Gurudev’s simple instruction – “Tell, not teach.” Being rooted in Dharma, being compassionate and loving to the children is a must if a Balavihar teacher aspires to be effective. The Acarya stressed the need to be mindfully responsible – to walk the talk and to be committed from the heart. Acharya Darshanaben explained in detail the syllabus of each grade, using the teachers from the Houston Bala Vihar team who shared tips from her books: Alphabet Safari, Bala Ramayana, Sri Hanuman, Bala Bhagavatam, My Twenty four Teachers, Symbolism in Hinduism, India, the sacred land, P.O.Box Mr God, Yato Dharmah Tato Jayah, Hindu Culture, and Gita for me. These books are widely acclaimed and followed across the world by a multitude of Chinmaya missions and Hindu institutions. Her youth-friendly way of explaining Bhagavad Gita could inspire both high school students and adults alike. As the acharya weaved her magic, the rapt audience busily took notes of the various teaching aids she presented, be they charts, games or props used by Balavihar teachers. The ease with which she made complex spiritual ideas simple enough to be grasped by children was extraordi-
nary. Acarya Darshana Aunty reminded all participants that spiritual study and harmonious cooperative effort with discipline was a must for Bala Vihar success. Acarya Darshana Aunty provided living proof of Gurudeva Chinmayananda’s continuing inspiration as she concluded her workshop. Many eagerly signed up for volunteering as Balavihar teachers for the first time, even as many bought several books for their farflung centers. One could only wonder that Pujya Gurudeva was orchestrating this impeccable workshop through the several sincere teams of volunteers who worked in the yajna spirit and made every aspect of this training memorable! For more information visit CMH website at www.chinmayahouston.org or contact Bharati Sutaria at 281-9330233 or Jay Deshmukh at 281565-1108.
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need of them during the storm. The American Society of Indian Engineers (ASIE) gathered necessary and useful information to several helplines and businesses that provide assistance to those in need. Several others members too pitched their efforts to help those in need. Texas Gov Greg Abbott recently mentioned that everyone should register at : disasterassistance.gov. To be covered in case of insurance and federal assistance claims. Sewa International is requesting all the Houstonians to join hands and help Texans get through this difficult time. You can help by donating money or registering as volunteer. Sewa is putting together a list of volunteers. Once the storm calms down, Sewa volunteer team will help in relief / cleanup efforts. To volunteer, please call: Anuja Deshpande (281) 546 8202, Achalesh Amar (713)
357-8216 or Gitesh Desai (281) 300-7346. The India House has established a FUND to help our brothers and sisters who need everything to re-start their lives as many have not only been flooded out of their houses but have lost everything. We request all members, supporters and friends of India House to generously donate so we can also do our part in giving back to this wonderful community that has given us so much opportunity. India House is a 501 3 organization and all donations are tax deductible. You can mail checks, or donate by Credit Card on phone or on line to INDIA HOUSE. (Details on Web site). Please indicate that the Donation is for. HURRICANE DISASTER RELIEF FUND Address is India House, 8888 West Bellfort Blvd., Houston, Texas 77031. Web site; www. INDIAHOUSEINC.ORG or contact:vipin@indiahouseinc. org. or Tel: 713-929-1900
AARP Foundation establishes relief fund for older victims of Hurricane Harvey Secure website now accepting donations to aid victims; AARP and AARP Foundation to match dollar for dollar contributions up to $1 million to provide much needed disaster support
ASHINGTON, DC—AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson today an-
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nounced that AARP Foundation has created a relief fund to help the victims – especially those age 50 and older –as relentless rains and unprecedented flooding devastate Houston and the southeastern Texas region. AARP Foundation and AARP will match contributions, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million for the fund, which will provide relief and recovery support to victims of Hurricane Harvey. “The devastation and loss in Houston and surrounding areas is staggering, especially when the hardest hit are those who were already struggling to make ends meet. In many cases, low-income older adults have neither the financial resources nor the ability to escape the catastrophe,” said Ryerson. “AARP members respond quickly to help those in need and we know they will again. As a trusted organization we also know that every dollar counts. We will ensure that do-
nations collected through the disaster relief fund go directly to aid victims.” Hurricane Harvey struck the coast of Texas as a massive Category 4 hurricane. But the destruction has only begun, as relentless rains and catastrophic flooding pummel Houston and other areas across southeastern Texas. The flooding will continue — and potentially worsen — throughout the week, with an estimated 13 million people under flood watches and warnings stretching from Corpus Christi to New Orleans. Once the storm finally passes, it will be days before the waters recede and people will be able to fully assess the damage and destruction to their homes and communities. AARP Foundation is currently accepting donations through its secure website, where 100 percent of donors’ tax-deductible contributions will be used to help the victims of this disaster.
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VOICE OF ASIA 4
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWYER
The People’s Lawyer
by Sharlene Sharmila Richards, Immigration Lawyer Email at email@example.com
A Debt Collector Cannot Harass You
Richard M. Alderman Interim Dean of the Law Center
Q. A debt collector is harassing my mother for her brother’s credit card debt. The last call scared her because they threatened to take her house. How can I stop the collector from harassing her? She never signed anything agreeing to pay his debts. He is getting her very upset, and she even missed work one day because she couldn’t sleep. A. There is a federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that strictly regulates debt collectors. Based on what you say, the debt collector has violated this law in several ways. First, this law prohibits a debt collector from contacting anyone other than the debtor, except in very limited circumstances. A debt collector may not call anyone except the debtor unless it is to get location information about the debtor. In other words, merely talking to your grandmother about paying her brother’s debt is unlawful. A debt collector is also violates the law by harassing or threatening anyone. In your case, your mother does not owe the debt, and any attempts to collect can be viewed as harassment. Additionally, even if she owed the debt, the debt collector could not take her house and the treat to do so is unlawful. I suggest your grandmother make it clear to the
debt collector she knows the law and expects he will immediately stop contacting her. My guess is that this will resolve the problem. If it doesn’t, this sounds like the type of case a consumer attorney would be willing to assist her with. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, your mother’s attorney would recover his or her fees if your mother won the lawsuit. For more information about this law, take a look at “Debt Collection” in the “Legal Topics” section n my website listed below. Q. My neighbor is building a house. The contractor backed into my fence and knocked down a large section. Who is liable for the damage, the neighbor or the builder? A. The fact that your neighbor is building the house does not make the neighbor responsible for acts of the builder. Your neighbor did not engage in any wrongful conduct and Texas law does not make an owner liable for acts of contractors. On the other hand, the builder owes you an obligation to not damage your property. By backing into your fence the builder was negligent and should be responsible for the cost of replacing the fence. I suggest you talk with the builder and ask for compensation or a new fence. If he refus-
Sharlene Sharmila Richards
es, this sounds like a good case for justice court. Q. Will my son be responsible for my outstanding balance of my student loan in the event of my death? A. As you may know, government backed student loans are the most “collectable” type of debt. There is no limitation period, wages may be garnished, and they generally are not discharged in bankruptcy. The debt, however, does not pass to your heirs. After your death your estate will be responsible for the debt. If there is not enough money in your estate the debt will remain unpaid. Q. In 2013, my ex-husband was ordered to pay child support. Since that time he has changed jobs, and is making much more money. Shouldn’t he be paying me more for support? A. He probably should be paying more for child support, but until you get the order modified, he has the legal right to keep paying as originally ordered. Either party may go back to court to have a child support order modified whenever there is a substantial change in circumstances. A new job with a higher salary should entitle you to a larger payment. I suggest you speak with a family law attorney about modifying the order.
Do you want to know more about your legal rights? Check out my website, www.peopleslawyer.net
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT TEXAS SB4 AND KNOW YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THIS LAW –PART II
Q: When SB4 is implemented on September 1st, 2017, please can you advise what we should do when arrested by the police, in particular if the individual does not have any papers? What about for those with valid nonimmigrant visas? Upon a lawful arA: rest, SB4 will require the local law enforcement agency to inquire about the individual’s immigration status and to share the information with immigration authorities. As such, if you do not have any papers or are undocumented, try to remain calm and ask for a lawyer. Also do not sign anything or discuss your immigration status unless you have a lawyer present. You still have the right to remain silent. For individuals who are legally in the US and have valid nonimmigrant status such as employment based or student and tourists visas, please remember that you are required to disclose you immigration status if asked by federal immigration officers. It will be in their best interest to do so. Q: Under SB4, how are rights of crime victims and witnesses affected? A: For victims and witnesses of crimes, they will need to be aware that during the course of reporting the crime, the local law enforcement has broad discretion to inquire into the immigration status of the victim or witness of the crime if they have probable cause to believe the individual has committed another crime and to further the investigation into the crime or related crimes. Entering the US illegally is a crime. As
such, for those victims and witnesses who are undocumented and have immigration issues, if possible, it is best to consult with an immigration lawyer first before reporting the crime. The immigration lawyer may be able to determine if the victim and or witness qualifies for possible protections under our Immigration Law such as battered or abused spouse protection under the Violence Against The Women’s Act or as a victim of a qualifying crime and will be helpful in the prosecution of the offender (U visa) or if there are other available forms of relief from removal. Q: When SB4 is implemented, will the school authorities report to immigration that my children and I are illegal? My children have been attending school without any problems for the past 3 years but now I am worried and I think I may have to keep them home. Under SB4, all pubA: lic and charter schools are deemed safe places. The police are not permitted to go into the school to ask about the immigration status of children in attendance and their parents. If the school official asks about your immigration status or that of your children, you should contact an attorney to help safeguard your interest. Q: Under SB4, apart from public and charter schools, are there other safe places? A: Yes, there are. All Community Centers, federal, state and local hospitals, mental health facilities and places of worship are safe places. Security guards and locally contracted police personnel in such places are not permitted to inquire into the immi-
gration status of people who attend these places to seek medical treatment, to pray and attend religious service or to access community support services. College campuses and universities are not It is imsafe places. portant to note under SB4, police officers including university or campus police can ask about your immigration status if detained or arrested. Q: If one is arrested and taken to the police station for questioning and it has been determined that the individual is undocumented, what actually happens to the individual? A: In such a situation, the law enforcement authorities will contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to surrender the individual to their custody for further action. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
Sharlene Sharmila Richards Attorney at Law
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FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
FORT BEND VIEW Sugar Land, Katy, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg and Meadows Place
Fort Bend ISD to open second emergency shelter at Kempner High School Marshall High School at capacity, nearest shelter located at B.F. Terry High School in Rosenberg
ORT BEND ISD (August 28, 2017) – On Tuesday, August 29, Fort Bend ISD, in coordination with the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management, opened Kempner High School as an emergency shelter for those who have been displaced as a result of Tropical Story Harvey.
Fort Bend ISD to remain closed through Tuesday, September 5
ORT BEND ISD (August 27, 2017) -- Due to widespread flooding and the continuing threat of more severe weather, Fort Bend ISD will remain closed for the remainder of the week. All campuses and facilities will reopen on Tuesday, September 5. All FBISD staff members and families are urged to continue monitoring local media and follow the advice of our emergency officials.
The shelter opened at 11 a.m., and is located at 14777 Voss Road, Sugar Land (77498), offering shelter to those in need. Meals will be provided as these services become available. Fort Bend ISD, in coordination with the American Red Cross, previously opened a shelter at Marshall High School Monday afternoon. Please note that the Marshall High School shelter is now at capacity, and Kempner High School on Voss Road, Sugar Land opens as an emergency shelter on Tuesday until 11 a.m. Tuesday, those seeking shelter can go to B.F. MHS location. As a reminder, please refer Terry High School (5500 Aveto the District’s website and nue N, Rosenberg, TX 77471). Members of the public who social media accounts to get wish to donate can also drop off the latest information. A seFor comfort and conve- items at the shelter locations, if vere weather hotline is availnience, families who are seek- they can do so without risking able to parents to learn about ing shelter may want to consid- their own safety. In addition to the latest information from ICHMOND - Richer bringing bedding/sleeping the items listed above, diapers, the District regarding a severe mond residents were bags/mats/cots as bedding will wet wipes and drinks are also weather occurrence. forced to evacuate not be provided. Families may requested as they are typically due to threatening, rising waalso want to consider bringing in high demand. Please call (281) 634-4636 ter from the Brazos River. snacks, children’s games, charfor information about schedThe Fort Bend County gers, water, paper plates and Fort Bend ISD encourages ule changes due to weather. town southwest of Housdisposable silverware, towels all families to remain vigilant and flashlights. Pets will only and monitor local media, as For area residents looking to ton is part of a mandatory be allowed in crates/kennels, the tropical system continues make an immediate donation: evacuation zone because with the exception of docu- to threaten the greater Hous- unitedwayhouston.org/flood of its proximity to the Brazos River and its creeks that mented service animals. If you ton area, as well as Fort Bend or text UWFLOOD to 41444. are overflowing their banks. would like to donate a kennel/ County. The Grand Vista neighborcrate, please drop it off at the
“As the largest employer in Fort Bend County, with over 10,000 staff members, we have many who have been significantly impacted by the storms and flooding,” said FBISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre. “And with the rain and flooding forecasted to con-
tinue for another day or two, we know some will need time to return home after having evacuated, and others will be attending to damage that may have occurred at their home or homes of family members.” As a reminder, please refer to the District’s website and social media accounts to get the latest information. A severe weather hotline is available to parents to learn about the latest information from the District regarding a severe weather occurrence. Please call (281) 634-4636 for information about schedule changes due to weather. Should families need emergency assistance, please call 9-1-1, or Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management at 281-342-6185.
Richmond residents evacuated due to water from Brazos River
hood is now only accessible by boat. One man who was helping with rescues said the water was at his chest.
cue. It was really bad,” said Ijay Igwegbe. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m speechless. It’s just like a dream.”
First responders and people with boats who want to help have been plucking people from their homes. Several boats came in with kids on board and elderly people who were desperate for help.
Getting rescued is only half the battle. Once on dry ground, the question is where to go next.
“We thank God for the res-
One woman who made it out of her flooded neighborhood fortunately found another place to stay. (-FOX4.TV)
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Fort Bend County issues evacuations
ORT BEND - 8/29 10 a.m: The Rec & Tennis Center, 2701 Cypress Point Dr, is NOT a shelter; it is being used as a staging area for residents who are being transported there to wait to be transferred to a shelter. Please do NOT go there for shelter; you must be transported there by our public safety officials. In addition, Missouri City Middle School is also not a shelter; Kempner HS, 14777 Voss Rd Sugar Land will open as a shelter
at 1 p.m. Brazos River is anticipated to hit its crest of 59’ on Thursday, Sept. 1. Residents may view up-to-date river levels here. An interactive GIS map is available for residents to check on the status of streets in Missouri City. Once residents enter their address, they can click on the “Near Me” button on the top right of the screen to see which streets might be flooded in their area.
As a reminder, all City Offices will be closed again on Tuesday, Aug 29; this includes all City Hall offices, Municipal Court, the Recreation & Tennis Center and Quail Valley Golf Course and Grille.
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Legal Q&A: Handing employment issues when a natural disaster hits Question: I am an employee who has been unable to go back to work because my employer’s business has literally been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, and it may be a long time before I can get back to work. Can I apply for unemployment benefits?
Municipal Court will be closed through Aug 31. Please contact court by telephone only on Friday, September 1 for rescheduling at 281.403.8669. WCA Waste will also not provide service on Tuesday, Aug 29.
Pondering Pregnancy? Zika update and planned seminar panic,” said Utsavi Shah, M.D. “Right now, we’re counseling patients more on the travel advisories — not traveling to places like Brownsville and Mexico — and writing letters to airlines to get our patients out of their scheduled trips. This also affects significant others, because if they are infected, they could sexually transmit the virus to their loved one. In fact, the experts are recommending waiting six months after traveling to an affected area before trying to conceive.” Are you at risk?
Utsavi Shah, M.D.
UGAR LAND – On Nov. 28, 2016, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported the state’s first case of local mosquitoborne Zika virus infection in Brownsville, Texas. While that’s far from the Fort Bend County area, those who are pregnant might still be feeling apprehensive about the news, given the birth defects linked to the virus. “In our area, there’s really no need to
Anyone who hasn’t had Zika before can be infected; being pregnant doesn’t make you more susceptible. In addition to mosquito bites and sexual transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s likely Zika can be spread through blood transfusions. Many people who are infected don’t know they are because Zika doesn’t always produce symptoms. Common symptoms included fever, rash and joint pain, among others. Since there’s currently no vaccine for Zika, the best way to prevent it is to follow these tips: • Avoid areas where the virus is present (available on the CDC website) •
Use EPA-approved insect
repellents (such as those containing DEET or picaridin) Wear clothing treated with • permethrin (insect repellent) that covers your arms and legs Spend time indoors or in • spaces protected by window and door screens Be diligent about removing • areas of standing water around your home, where mosquitoes can lay eggs To learn more about the Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land, go to houstonmethodist.org/ childbirth-sl. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information. PONDERING SEMINAR
If getting pregnant is a matter you are seriously considering, don’t miss our expert panel discussion about your preparation for a healthy pregnancy including improving your fertility, pregnancy after age 35, Zika update, a pregnancy to-do list and caring for your newborn. Join us at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 14 at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center. Registration is required. For more information or to register, visit events. houstonmethodist.org/pondering-sl or call 281.274.7500.
Attorney Nitin Sud
urricane Harvey has disrupted millions of workers and businesses in the greater Houston area. Employees and employers may have several questions arising out of this disaster. My business has Question: been shut down for several days, and just one employee worked a few hours on one day. Nobody else has worked. Do I still have to pay my employees? It generally deAnswer: pends on whether they are hourly non-exempt employees or salaried exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An employer is generally not required to pay non-exempt employees who are unable to work due to a natural disaster. They only need to be paid for the actual hours worked. However, with respect to exempt employees, employers may not deduct for partial day absences. If the exempt employee is unable to work, then the employer may deduct for full day absences or require that employee to use any leave time (such as PTO) in order to receive pay for the day.
Answer: The Texas Workforce Commission provides for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), and you may be able to get limited benefits depending on specific circumstances. For more information, visit the TWC website here: http:// www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/ disaster-unemployment-assistance. FEMA’s Disaster Unemployment Assistance program will likely provide support. Question: I was in a mandatory evacuation zone and had to leave. As a direct result, my employer fired me because I didn’t come to work. Is this legal? Answer: No. Chapter 22 of the Texas Labor Code prevents employers from discriminating against employees for participating in an emergency evacuation. You would be entitled to recovery of lost wages and reinstatement. Disclaimer This article is for general information purposes and is not to be construed as specific legal advice. Every situation is different and a qualified attorney should be contacted to evaluate each specific circumstance. Bio Board Certified Labor and Employment Attorney Nitin Sud represents employees, executives, and small businesses in a variety of labor and employment matters, including litigation in state and federal courts. For more information, visit www.sudemploymentlaw.com
VOICE OF ASIA 7
Comptroller Glenn Hegar postpones tax deadline in counties affected by hurricane damage, announces closures of some agency offices
USTIN, (August 25, 2017) — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced today that taxpayers in declared disaster areas affected by Hurricane Harvey can postpone paying state taxes while they recover from storm-related losses. Businesses located in those areas can call the Comptroller’s office and request up to a 90-day extension to file and pay certain monthly and quarterly state taxes. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people who are dealing with this catastrophic weather event,” Hegar said. “This storm is forecast to bring significant damage to large areas of our state, and we know businesses and taxpayers will need to focus on cleanup and recovery in the weeks and months to come. Giving folks in these disaster zones the opportunity to request a filing and payment extension should allow them to focus on those recovery efforts without the worry of a looming tax deadline.” In addition to allowing the Comptroller to extend tax-filing deadlines, Texas law exempts certain recoveryrelated expenses from sales tax, including: -The cost of labor to repair stormdamaged, nonresidential property, including office buildings and stores. Labor charges must be separately stat-
HCC’s new TV show “Global Outlook” begins Sep. 4th Features FIS Founder-Chairman, Krishna Vavilala
ed on the repair bill. Texas does not impose sales tax on labor for residential repairs; -Services used to restore stormdamaged tangible personal property, including dry cleaning of clothing and draperies, rug and carpet cleaning, and appliance repairs regardless of whether the property is residential or nonresidential. For more information or to request a tax filing extension, call the Comptroller’s toll-free tax assistance line in Austin at 800-252-5555, or go to the Comptroller’s website for answers to frequently asked questions. Hegar also announced the following Comptroller enforcement and field offices will be closed until at least Tuesday, Aug. 29: Corpus Christi Audit Corpus Christi Enforcement Brownsville Enforcement Katy and Beaumont Audit Houston Northwest Enforcement, Houston Southwest Enforcement, Houston North Audit, Houston South Audit and Houston West Audit Calls to the affected enforcement and audit offices will be automatically transferred to other enforcement offices or the Austin call center.
Jasumati Ramanlal Upadhyay Born 10/23/1933 Died 07/24/2017 Mumbai-Houston Nobody can take place of mother. Your body depart from this world. But memories are still with us. It is impossible to live without you and your guidance. God bless your soul and rest in peace. Sons Priyavadan, Kaniyalal, Sharad. Daughters Kusum, Shila, Gita, Bakula. InLaws Kokila, Manjula, Vaishali, Deepak, Ashok. Grandkids Pooja, Purvi, Kunal, Siddhi, Shail, Siddharth, Himanshu, Jignesh, Vidya, Smita, Aditya, Arya, Diya, Ayan, Malvika, Riya, Pari
200 Indian students at University.... Continued from page 1 In a series of tweets today, Swaraj further informed that two Indian students Shalini and Nikhil Bhatia are admitted in the ICU and the government was trying to arrange for their relatives to reach there. “Indian students Shalini and Nikhil Bhatia are in ICU. We are ensuring that their relatives reach there at the earliest,” the minister said. The Indian consulate general in Houston is arranging the rescue of the marooned students, officials said. Anupam Ray, the consul general in Houston, posted on Facebook: “Monitoring a serious incident involving 2
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Anchor Ms. Mary hoding a plaque to be presented to Krishna Vavilala
ouston Community College’s TV Show “Global Outlook” will feature FIS Founder-Chairman, Krishna Vavilala. Beginning Friday, Sept. 4. it will air every Friday and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.for the whole month. Shows the anchor, Ms. Mary presented to Krishna Vavilala, by the US Customs and Border Protection at the Houston Texas Area Support for his inspiring presentation on the topic of “Walk together, Embrace Differences and Build legacies” and participation in the department’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage celebration. HCCTV is the premier content provider for Houston Community College System, producing radio, television, web and social media ads in addition to a wide range of local programming committed to producing high-quality programming and remaining an integral part of Houston and surrounding areas’ educational, economic and cul-
Indian nationals at College Station. I have reached India in USA (Consulate General of India, Houston) and we are trying to provide whatever help we can. One of our consular officers will try and make it to College Station.” In a subsequent post, he wrote that embassy officials had established contact with the students, adding that they would be evacuated by Tuesday. Meanwhile, the met office warned
tural life. According to HCCTV website, the TV Channel reaches to more than 700,000 basic cable television subscribers daily in Houston’s city limits and beyond. It is broadcast on AT&T U-verse Channel 99, Comcast Channel 19, TV Max Channel 97, Phonoscope Channel 77 and Cebridge Channel 20. Foundation for India Studies (FIS) is a 501(c3) non-profit community organization established in 2005. It produces oral histories of Houston’s first generation Indo-American immigrants with HCC support and stores them for posterity in the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, which is an archival branch of the Houston Public Library (HPL). For participation in the Indo-American Oral History project, please call Mr. Ravi Brahmbhatt, 813413-3416 (Cell) or Krishna Vavilala,713-795-5169.
that Harvey, the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, was set to result in more rain in Houston. “What we’re seeing is the most devastating flood event in Houston’s recorded history,” said Steve Bowen, chief meteorologist at reinsurance company Aon Benfield. (With inputs from agencies)
VOICE OF ASIA 8
India says military stand-off with China ends
ohtak, India | AFP | - An Indian court on Monday sentenced a controversial spiritual leader to a total of 20 years in prison for raping two of his devotees, days after his followers went on a rampage that left 38 dead. The riots broke out on Friday when Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 50, was convicted of raping the two women at the sprawling headquarters of his hugely popular Dera Sacha Sauda sect in the northern state of Haryana in a case that dates back to 1999.
The foreign ministry said it had reached an “understanding” after talks with Beijing about the tense confrontation in an area near the Indian border that is claimed by both China and Bhutan.
“We had earlier in the day announced that following diplomatic communications, expeditious disengagement of border personnel of China and India at the face-off site was
A Chinese soldier gesturing next to an Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India’s northeastern Sikkim state (AFP Photo/Diptendu Dutta) ongoing,” the Indian statement said.
“This process has since been almost completed under verification.”
Pakistan bank faces $629mn penalty in the US
ARACHI, Pakistan | AFP | Monday 8/28/2017 - Pakistan’s largest private bank is facing a $629 million penalty in the United States over accusations of non-compliance with financial standards and practices at its New York branch. HBL, formerly known as Habib Bank Limited, came under the radar of New York’s state Department of Financial Services (DFS) over the bank’s financial practices in December 2015. A press release from US financial authorities identified significant breakdowns in the branch’s risk management and compliance with applicable federal laws, rules, and regulations relating to anti-money laundering compliance, including the Bank Secrecy Act. In a letter to the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Monday,
Indian court jails rapist ‘godman’ for 20 years amid tight security by Prakash Singh
EW DEHLI | AFP India said Monday it had agreed with China to end a months-long military stand-off at a strategically important disputed area in the Himalayas and troops were disengaging.
China’s foreign ministry said only that Indian troops were withdrawing. But New Delhi later made clear that both countries were pulling back their border forces.
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
the bank accused the DFS of “still not appreciating or recognising the significant progress that HBL had made at its branch.” Its company secretary Nausheen Ahmad said the hefty fine -- which if imposed would be the largest ever penalty handed out to a Pakistan bank -- was “unjustified, capricious and unreasonable”. She vowed to “vigorously contest” the decision in US courts and announced it would be closing down its New York branch. The State Bank of Pakistan issued a statement late Monday saying it was aware of the situation and that there were no immediate risks to HBL’s operations and Pakistan’s banking industry. “State Bank of Pakistan reiterates its determination to protect the interests of depositors
and to protect the health and safety of the country’s banking system,” it said. HBL was founded in 1947 and now has over 40 percent of market share in Pakistan’s banking sector.
“He has been sentenced for 10 plus 10, which is a total of 20 years of imprisonment,” said Abhishek Dayal, spokesman for India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), after the sentencing hearing. I have the judgement which details the sentence.” A lawyer for the victims earlier told AFP that Singh had been sentenced to 10 years in jail. In fact, he was given two consecutive 10-year sentences. Authorities had imposed a security clampdown on the city of Rohtak where Singh is being held due to fears of a repeat of Friday’s violence, when tens of thousands of his supporters set fire to cars and clashed with security forces.
It was part-privatised in 2004, with the Agha Khan Foundation buying the bulk of the shares.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the violence but his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which is also in power in Haryana, was criticised for failing to anticipate the riots.
In April 2015 the Pakistan government approved divesting all of its state-owned shares in HBL for $1.02 billion, in the country’s largest-ever equity offering.
Police were taking no chances Monday in Rohtak, where mobile internet has been cut, roads barricaded with barbed wire and soldiers deployed to man checkpoints.
It had received a licence to open a branch in China last year, making it the first South Asian lender to operate in the world’s number two economy.
More than 100 of Singh’s senior loyalists had been placed in detention as a precautionary measure, said Rohtak police chief Navdeep Singh Virk.
It currently has more than 1,700 branches in Pakistan and an international network spread over 25 countries.
He said his officers would use “whatever force is required” against the guru’s devotees should they again resort to vio-
Followers of the flamboyant Ram Rahim Singh, who is known as the “guru in bling” because of his penchant for bejewelled costumes and customised superbikes, continue to insist upon his innocence (AFP Photo/PUNIT PARANJPE) lence. “If the situation so arises that (we) need to use firearms, my officers have complete authority,” the police chief told broadcaster NDTV. A judge was flown in by helicopter to sentence the spiritual leader, known as the “guru in bling” for his penchant for bejewelled costumes. The rape case was brought after an anonymous letter was sent to then-prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002, accusing Singh of repeatedly raping the sender and several other women in the sect. A judge asked the federal Central Bureau of Investigation to look into the accusations, but it took years to trace the alleged victims and it was not until 2007 that two women came forward and filed charges.
Utsav Singh Bains, a lawyer for the victims, said there could be dozens more cases of abuse involving women at the sect. “We believe there are at least 48 more victims who were sexually abused and who may have been killed or are too scared to come out and testify against Ram Rahim.” Singh also stood trial for conspiracy over the murder in 2002 of a journalist investigating the rape allegations. He denied the charge and the case is ongoing. Over the weekend thousands of followers congregated in the spiritual headquarters of his sect at Sirsa, despite calls from police and troops for them to disperse. Devotees eventually began trickling out one by one from the compound Sunday, under the supervision of hundreds of soldiers and riot police.
Bangladesh offers Myanmar military aid against Rohingya rebels
HAKA, Bangladesh | AFP | Monday 8/28/2017 - Bangladesh on Monday proposed joint military operations with Myanmar against Rohingya militants fighting in Rakhine state, where thousands of villagers have fled fresh violence in recent days, an official said. An upsurge in fighting in Rakhine, an impoverished state neighbouring Bangladesh, has been raging since Friday when Rohingya militants staged coordinated ambushes against Myanmar’s security forces. More than 100 people, including around 80 militants, have been confirmed killed in the fightback, which has seen thousands of Rohingya villagers fleeing for Bangladesh. A Bangladeshi border guard stands next to fleeing Rohingya refugees resting under a makeshift shelter near Ukhiya on the Bangladesh border on August 27, 2017 (AFP Photo/Sam JAHAN)
More than 3,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar, where the stateless Muslim minority faces
persecution, in the past three days, the UN refugee agency said Monday. Bangladesh has said there are thousands more Rohingya massed on its border with Myanmar, where it has stepped up patrols and pushed back hundreds of civilians who have tried to enter. In a meeting with Myanmar’s charge d’affaires in Dhaka, a top Bangladeshi foreign ministry official proposed joint military efforts against the militants along the border. “We proposed that if Myanmar wished, the security forces of the two countries could conduct joint operations against the militants, any non-state actors or the Arakan Army along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border,” a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity, as he was not permitted to speak to the media.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is a militant group that says it is fighting to protect the Muslim minority from abuses by Myanmar security forces and the majorityBuddhist Rakhine community. There was no comment from the Myanmar diplomat. At the weekend, as violence in Rakhine worsened, Bangladesh’s foreign minister summoned Myanmar’s charge’d affaires in Dhaka to express “serious concern” at the possibility of a fresh refugee influx. There are already some 400,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in squalid camps near its border with Myanmar. Bangladesh is waging a bloody crackdown on homegrown Islamist militancy and has vowed ‘zero tolerance’ towards violent extremism, domestic or otherwise, on its soil.
VOICE OF ASIA 9
Indian-origin former CEO charged with fraud, ordered to pay $294,000 EW YORK: An Indian-origin former CEO of a penny stock company, charged with making false claims in press releases and engaging in manipulative trading, has been ordered to pay a hefty fine of USD 294,000.
The final judgment, entered by consent on August 17 in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, permanently enjoins Tyagi from violating federal securities regulations and imposes a conduct based injunction.
Adesh Kumar Tyagi was the former CEO, sole director, and majority shareholder of Systems America, subsequently renamed Cloudeeva.
In addition, the final judgment orders Tyagi to pay approximately USD 294,000 in disgorgement and interest. The court’s entry of judgment against TTyagi resolves this litigation in its entirety.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) obtained a final judgment against Tyagi who had been charged with making false claims in press releases and engaging in manipulative trading in company stock.
The SEC’s complaint had alleged that Tyagi falsely claimed in press releases he issued between July, 2010 and September, 2011 that the company had hundreds of customers and supported customer op-
erations in nearly 20 countries when, in fact, the company had only two main clients in 2010 and did not support operations in any foreign countries in 2010 and 2011. Tyagi also allegedly falsely claimed in an initial disclosure he published on behalf of Systems American in 2010 that he was not a party to any material litigation. He further claimed that no officer or director of the company had been named as a defendant in a criminal proceeding, when he had been named as a defendant in two pending criminal proceedings. Tyagi had pleaded guilty in November last year to certain aspects of the misconduct at issue in the SEC’s complaint.
Prominent Indian-origin journalist ousted as LA Times editor
EW YORK: A prominent journalist of Indian- descent has been fired as the editor of the Los Angeles Times after serving 28 years at the news organisation, as part of a significant shake-up of the American daily’s top management. Davan Maharaj, who served as both editor and publisher since 2016, was terminated along with other senior editors of the daily. “Maharaj was terminated along with a handful of other
senior editors, including Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin, Deputy Managing Editor for Digital Megan Garvey and Assistant Managing Editor of Investigations Matt Doig,” a report in the LA Times said.
A native of Trinidad, Maharaj began his journey at the paper as a summer intern in 1989 and worked as a reporter in Orange County, Los Angeles and East Africa. He had later served as assistant foreign editor, business editor and managing editor.
“They are indomitable, and I wish them well in their continued fight to serve our community. I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” he added.
A six-part series ‘Living on Pennies’ done by Maharaj in collaboration with photographer Francine Orr, won the 2005 Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing and prompted readers to donate tens of thousands of dollars to support aid agencies in Africa. While Maharaj was editor, The Times won three Pulitizer Prizes, including for breaking news reporting of the 2015 terrorist attack in San Ber-
“During the last 28 years, it has been an honour working with the best journalists in a great American newsroom,” Maharaj said in an email, quoted in the LA Times report.
Ross Levinsohn, a veteran media executive who worked at Fox and had served as interim chief of Yahoo, was named publisher and chief executive of the 135-year-old LA Times. Jim Kirk, who was publisher and editor of the Chicago SunTimes until last week, was named interim editor. The move was announced by Justin C Dearborn, chief executive of Tronc, the parent company of The Times and eight other daily newspapers as part the organisation’s plans to invest more resources towards ushering it into the digital age.
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
13-yr-old Indianorigin boy gets top score in Mensa IQ
PakistaniAmerican artist Anila Quayyum Agha talks belonging by Ryah Cooley
ou don’t simply look at artist Anila Quayyum Agha’s art, you walk through it. At 5 cubedfeet, the painted metallic cube easily takes over the room. A single bulb inside casts intricate designs and shadows onto the walls and floors, and when viewers walk through it, they become part of the art. “I see myself as an artist talking about my world and how I can make it better,” Agha said. The Pakistan-born artist’s work deals with themes like global politics, cultural multiplicity, mass media, and gender roles. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1999, she left her homeland to move to the U.S., where she attended graduate school to study fiber arts at the University of North Texas. She is now a professor at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. Her current focus on cubes and symbols is influenced by a combination of modern Islamic art and architecture. Agha’s creative process is typically kickstarted by an idea and she then finds the shape or medium to express that concept. For the show at Cuesta College, Agha took the idea of feeling uncomfortable in a space that is supposed to be safe. In the current divisive political climate in America, where phrases like “Black Lives Matter,” and “neo-Nazis,” are thrown around with equal amounts of frequency, Agha said she is looking to create a conversation. “Maybe our rituals are different, but we’re the same,” she said. “I hope they take away the idea that it’s not about any one thing.” (-New Times)
Dhruv Garg ONDON (Aug. 28, 2017, PTI) - A 13-yearold Indian-origin boy in the UK has got the highest possible score of 162 on a Mensa IQ test, placing him in the top one per cent people in the world who achieved this feat.
do over the summer holidays and so I thought I’d try taking the test, but did not expect to do so well,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to the new school year, I really like school and want to use the app to help people,” Garg said.
Dhruv Garg, from Wokingham in south east England, was looking for something to occupy his time during the summer holidays and decided to try out for the intellectual society.
His mother, Divya, said the whole family is proud of their young prodigy, whoes favourite subjects are maths and chemistry. “When he got the maximum score they told me it’s the highest mark possible but I didn’t realise what it meant. It was only when I spoke to Mensa that they told me I said ‘oh my God’ this is special, this is really something worth celebrating,” she said.
The schoolboy achieved 162 in his entry IQ test - the maximum possible, which places him in the top one per cent of people in the world, the Daily Mirror reported. He also scored in the highest mark in the second test, known as the Culture Fair scale, getting 152. This score qualifies him amongst the rare one per cent of the population who take the Mensa exam worldwide in both the exams. Garg, who goes to Reading School, a grammar in Berkshire, has also been developing an app to combat social isolation by helping lonely people meet up. The app connects people who live in the same area who want to meet new people. “I was just so surprised to get the result. I was looking for something to
A keen cricketer and table tennis player, Garg can also complete a Rubik’s Cube in under 100 seconds. “In year one was when we started to realise he was gifted as his teachers said he was very sharp and had to have special lessons, so all along he was always special. He is an avid reader and reads a lot of journals,” Garg’s mother said. Mensa is believed to be the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. Membership is open to anyone who can demonstrate an IQ in the top two per cent of the population.
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FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
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VOICE OF ASIA 11
Double punch Texas will soon have two new laws that could hurt residents already reeling from Harvey
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
William, Harry lead tributes to mother Diana, 20 years on by Robin Millard
ONDON, United Kingdom | AFP | Tuesday 8/28/2017 - Two decades on from the death of princess Diana, her sons Princes William and Harry are working to keep her legacy alive with unusually emotional tributes after years of silence. In the build-up to the 20th anniversary of her death on August 31, the brothers have opened up for the first time about their mother, her life, and her impact on them and on the causes she championed. William was 15 and Harry 12 when Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. How deeply their loss affected them is something they have only recently begun to discuss.
A family is evacuated from their home as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28th in Spring, TX (Photo: David J. Phillip/AP) by Inae Oh
ALLAS, 8/28/2017 - With the worst of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction yet to be seen, two new laws—one that will limit the right of homeowners to sue insurance companies, and another that aims to crack down on sanctuary cities and undocumented immigrants— will go into effect in Texas on Friday. Both carry the potential to seriously harm vulnerable residents in the state already battered by the catastrophic storm, and some lawmakers are calling for a special session to roll back the implementation date of both measures. The relatively obscure law, House Bill 1774, was passed in May and is designed to discourage so-called “abusive” lawsuits that occur when policyholders sue insurance companies over certain weather-related claims. Proponents say the law will target scams and frivolous lawsuits that have caused insurance premiums to skyrocket in the state. But critics argue that the law guts important homeowners’ protections, while relieving insurance companies from having to pay for penalties such as late fees incurred with overdue insurance claims. “It’s a David v. Goliath battle from the start,” Dallas lawyer Brian Lauten told the Dallas Morning News. “They have basically taken away David’s slingshot.” The law has become especially relevant this week, when Texans attempt to assess the colossal damage in Harvey’s wake, and forecasters predict the state will be battered by a second wave
of flooding mid-week. Displaced Texans may be unable to return home before the law’s September 1 implementation. Some lawmakers are now calling for a special legislative session in order to delay the law from going into effect before the full extent of Harvey’s catastrophic damage can be assessed: SB 4 already has received national attention thanks to the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. The Texas law will allow police officials to inquire about a person’s immigration status once they are legally detained. It also targets so-called sanctuary cities—Austin, for instance—that refuse to cooperate with federal efforts to lock up undocumented immigrants. Immigration groups fear that the law will dissuade undocumented immigrants from seeking government assistance both during the storm and in its aftermath. Speaking at a press conference Monday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged Texans to place the law on hold as relief efforts continued. “I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what your status is,” Turner told reporters. “I do not want you to run the risk of losing your life or a family member because you’re concerned about SB 4 or anything else.” He added: “If someone comes and they require help and then for some reason [someone] tries to deport them, I will represent them myself.” Despite the encouraging message, the state’s border patrol stations have remained open for business during the storm. (-Mother Jones)
Harvey damage estimated at $42 bn, among most costly US storms Continued from Page 1 As yet, the storm is nowhere near as costly as 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which took a $118 billion bite out of the regional economy. But at $42 billion in unrecoverable economic losses, Harvey would be about as damaging as Hurricane Ike, which struck Texas and parts of the Caribbean at a cost of $43 billion in 2008, and Hurricane Wilma, which tore through North America in 2005, with a cost of nearly $38 billion, according to Watson’s estimates. And the Harvey estimate could still go up. - Fleeing the wreckage, deepening poverty A US energy hub with $1.6 trillion in annual economic output, Texas accounts for nearly nine percent of America’s GDP, the second largest state economy after California -- and larger than Canada or South Korea. Goldman Sachs estimated Monday that Harvey’s disruptions to the energy sector alone could shave as much as 0.2 percentage points off of US GDP growth in the third quarter of this year. Leah Boustan, professor of economics at Princeton University, said that over time natural disasters tend to cause wealthier residents to flee the devastation, leaving poorer inhabitants to face the economic fallout. Boustan co-authored a recent study which examined data from 5,000 US floods, earthquakes and storms spanning the 20th century. “Translating our results into the context of Houston would suggest that 23,000 residents would move away from the area over the next 10 years,” she told AFP. “We also found that very severe disasters tend to increase the poverty rate in an area by around one percentage point, which for Houston would be an increase from 25 percent to 26 percent of the population living below the pov-
erty line,” she added. The Texas Gulf coast, home to nearly a third of the US oil refining capacity, has been ravaged by the most powerful hurricane to hit the state since 1961, which shuttered least 15 percent of US refining capacity, according to The Wall Street Journal. In addition to oil and gas producers, Texas is home to defense contractors, computer components makers, manufacturing and a sprawling agricultural sector. Natural disasters like floods and hurricanes can force entire towns into unemployment, interrupt tax collection and disrupt supplies of food and fuel for months, jacking up costs and reducing demand elsewhere. - Facing reconstruction uninsured According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 12 percent of homeowners in designated flood areas in the United States were covered by flood insurance in 2016. Loretta Worters, a spokesperson for the institute, told AFP the uninsured could be looking at ruin without government assistance. “It could be total loss for them,” she said. But Watson of Enki Research said the federal maps that designate floodprone areas -- where homeowners usually are required to obtain flood insurance -- are inaccurate and obsolete, meaning the share of people insured against damage from Harvey will be minimal. “Our initial estimate is that twothirds of the flooding happened outside flood zones,” he said. Recovery will be especially difficult for the poorest wage earners, whose income stops the moment they are unable to work. “They’re not getting paid. They’ve got bills stacked up. Their homes are damaged,” he said. “That’s where the real humanitarian disaster is going to happen.”
“Twenty years on, Harry and I felt that it was an appropriate time to open up a bit more about our mother,” William said. “We won’t speak as openly or publicly about her again.” The pair featured in a 90-minute programme entitled “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy” broadcast by British channel ITV. “This is the first time that the two of us have ever spoken about her as a mother. Arguably, probably a little bit too raw up until this point. It’s still raw,” said Harry. Harry recently revealed that he sought help in the last few years as he struggled to deal with his suppressed grief. - Celebrating Diana’s life In 2007, the princes staged a 10th anniversary benefit concert at Wembley Stadium and a memorial service at which Harry gave a tribute. But this year marks the first time that the brothers have spoken in such emotional depth.
Photo: Mario Testino
children have said ‘no, there’s lots of good to remember, let’s celebrate her life’.” - ‘Making her proud’ The brothers have commissioned a statue of Diana which will go in the public grounds of Kensington Palace, their home which was also their mother’s base. A garden has been created at the London palace in her honour.
In those tense days 20 years ago, many Britons voiced anger at a perceived lack of empathy from the royal establishment.
The princes also attended a private service on July 1 to rededicate their mother’s grave at her Spencer family ancestral home on what would have been her 56th birthday.
Some feel the royals have been happy to see Diana replaced in the limelight.
In their royal duties, William, 35, and Harry, 32, have taken up the baton for their mother’s causes.
Patrick Jephson, Diana’s former private secretary, said the princess had been airbrushed out.
In Sunday’s BBC documentary, “Diana, 7 Days”, William told how he decided his mother’s death would make him, not break him.
“There had been a period since her death during which the royal establishment has been uncertain how to treat the memory of Diana,” he told AFP. “For much of the last two decades she has been the name that cannot be spoken in royal circles. “Therefore it is with a note of slight defiance and determination that her
Harry said: “All I want to do is try and fill the holes that my mother has left. That’s what it’s about for us: trying to make a difference, and in making a difference, making her proud.” Diana’s 1997 visit to a minefield in Angola helped the movement towards the landmine ban treaty later
that year. In the 1980s, during bedside visits to AIDS patients, she made a point making physical contact. It was a remarkable gesture at the time that helped break down the stigma attached to the disease. Harry’s push on landmine clearance and HIV testing are directly aimed at continuing his mother’s campaigns, as is William’s work with homeless shelters and on child bereavement. Their joint work on mental health -- which saw Harry reveal his need for treatment to cope with the trauma of her death -- also touches a cause Diana championed. Harry said the princes wondered what Diana would be doing now were she still alive. “There’s not a day that William and I don’t wish that she was still around. We wonder what kind of a mother she would be now and what kind of a public role she would have and what a difference she would be making,” he said. Jephson said Diana’s greatest legacy was her sons. “We can see in them many of the attributes that she had -- principally her ability to combine royalty with the common touch.”
Iran pilgrims flock to Saudi in diplomatic icebreaker by Ali Noorani with Nadera Bouazza in Jeddah
EHRAN, Iran | AFP | Tuesday 8/28/2017 - In a diplomatic icebreaker between political foes, tens of thousands of Muslim faithful from Iran have flocked to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites. This week’s hajj marks Iran’s return after their absence last year following a massive stampede in 2015 that killed around 2,300 people, including 464 Iranians. The tragedy sparked bitter recrimination from Tehran over the kingdom’s custodianship of the sites in Mecca and Medina, western Saudi Arabia. For the first time in nearly three decades, Iranian pilgrims were barred from the hajj last year, after several rounds of negotiations between the two Gulf heavyweights failed to overcome political and procedural differences. Adding a further obstacle, the Sunni kingdom cut all ties with Shiite Iran in January 2016 after its diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad were torched by protesters angered by Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite figure. But under a deal struck in March, about 86,000 Iranians have now arrived in Saudi Arabia for the hajj, joining two million Muslims from across the globe in converging on Mecca. “I’m happy to see so many Iranians here... Political issues shouldn’t interfere in a religious duty, especially the hajj,” Abbas Ali, a 54-year-old Iranian, said Monday at Jeddah airport that is the main entry point for pilgrims.
Last year’s demonstrations against Saudi Arabia in Iran (Photo: Reuters) Tehran and Riyadh stand on opposing sides in several regional disputes, including the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, as well as this year’s Gulf diplomatic crisis between Qatar and a Saudi-led Arab bloc. The pilgrimage now seems to be acting as an icebreaker between the two powers. In the absence of diplomatic relations and with its missions in Iran closed, Saudi Arabia agreed to issue electronic visas for Iranian pilgrims. Saudi Arabia has also allowed Iran’s national carrier Iran Air to fly in most of the Islamic republic’s pilgrims, while some were transported by the kingdom’s carrier.
“It’s very difficult to describe my feelings. We shouldn’t stop coming here because all of us are Muslims,” the newly-arrived “haji” from Zahedan in eastern Iran told AFP.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that visas have been issued for diplomats from the two countries to visit and inspect each other’s empty embassies and consulates.
The breakthrough came after several months of negotiations during which the two countries traded accusations of obstructing an agreement.
“We are waiting for final measures to be taken so diplomats from both countries can visit,” he said. “This will probably happen after the hajj.”
Iran has set up temporary consulates in the kingdom to assist its pilgrims, and it has instructed them to avoid “arguments” with Saudi staff at airports and pilgrimage sites. “We have tried to separate the bilateral relations between the two countries from the pilgrimage,” a former Iranian culture minister, Seyed-Reza Salehi Amiri, said last month. In another key gesture, Tehran is to hold Shiite prayers, normally accompanied by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”, inside hotels rather than outdoors, to avoid “security problems”, according to Ali Ghazi Askar, an aide to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei. In 1987, more than 400 people, most of them Iranian pilgrims, were killed in clashes with Saudi security forces at an anti-Western rally in Mecca. The hajj, which starts this year on Wednesday, is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in a lifetime if he or she has the means to do so.
VOICE OF ASIA 12
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
VOICE OF ASIA 13
VOICE OF ASIA
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Nandan Nilekani lays out his agenda at India’s Infosys “My goal is to
get the stability to the company and take it forward.”
Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani, seen in 2014, ran the business from 2002 to 2007 and remains highly respected in the technology world (AFP Photo/ Manjunath Kiran)
ANGALORE, India | AFP Nandan Nilekani, the newly appointed chairman of troubled Indian software services giant Infosys, said Friday he wanted to find a new chief executive, reconstitute the board and stabilise a business roiled with conflict in recent months. As an Infosys cofounder who ran the business from 2002 to 2007, Nilekani was named chairman late Thursday night in an effort to calm investor unrest and steady the share price. His return comes in the wake of chief executive Vishal Sikka’s surprise decision last Friday to quit amid tensions between the company’s board and its founders. Sikka was the first Infosys chief who wasn’t one of the company’s founders.
ingly personal attacks,” he said in his resignation. The antagonism, Sikka said, had taken a “heavy toll personally” and had become “untenable”. Nilekani remains highly respected in the technology world and analysts said his return would help end the risk of distraction and might even help the company attract external candidates for the top job -- something that looked unlikely in the immediate aftermath of Sikka’s resignation. The company said Friday it had appointed executive search firm Egon Zehnder to look for a new chief. Nilekani made it clear that he had come to broker peace.
The turmoil saw shares plunge as much as 15 percent this week.
“My priority is to make sure the Board and the employees are all on the same page,” he said.
Nilekani said he was asked to return by the co-founders, former employees and India’s top 12 mutual fund investors and he agreed “because there was nobody else”.
“I will be there as long as it takes and will work as hard as necessary to make sure Infosys is on its path of full potential.”
“I have a set of tasks to accomplish -- the next CEO search has to be done, the Board has to be reconstituted and the business has to be stabilised,” Nilekani told reporters Friday. “My goal is to get the stability to the company and take it forward.” Sikka had come under fire in recent months from some of the founders of the company on issues related to corporate governance and salary increases for its top executives. “Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious and increas-
Last month Infosys reported an increase of 1.4 percent in consolidated net profit year-on-year for the first quarter, marginally beating analysts’ expectations. India became a back office to the world in the early 2000s as companies subcontracted work to firms such as Infosys, taking advantage of the country’s skilled English-speaking workforce. The $150-billion IT sector remains one of the country’s flagship industries, but it is facing upheaval in the face of automation and US President Donald Trump’s clampdown on visas.
Wells Fargo donates $1M to support Harvey relief
ALLAS, August 28, 2017 – Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) announced today it is donating $1 million to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey and the extensive flooding in its wake. Wells Fargo is donating $500,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, and an additional $500,000 to local nonprofits focused on recovery and relief efforts in Texas in the coming days and weeks. “Wells Fargo is deeply concerned for all of those affected by the devastating flooding in Texas, and we’re committed to helping our customers, neighbors, team members and communities get through this,” said David Miree, lead region bank president. Wells Fargo customers across the country may donate to the American Red Cross’ hurricane relief efforts at Wells Fargo ATMs nationwide, beginning Tuesday, Aug. 29.Customers will not be charged a fee for using this service, and 100 percent of the donations will be sent to the American Red Cross. Also beginning Aug. 29, Wells Fargo’s Go FarTM Rewards customers nationwide can begin to redeem any amount of their available rewards and donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund through Tuesday, Sept. 12. Customers can access their rewards account at GoFarRewards.wf.com or by calling the Go FarTM Rewards Service Center at 1-877-517-1358. In addition, Wells Fargo is waiving ATM fees for our customers in the affected areas, as well as reversing other fees – such as late fees – for all of our consumer products, including credit cards and checking accounts. Wells Fargo’s mobile response unit also will enter the affected areas once the situation there is stabilized, so we may begin to help customers receive and process insurance checks, as they begin to rebuild. Wells Fargo customers and clients affected by the severe weather and flooding in Texas may discuss their financial needs with Wells Fargo by calling 1-800-TO-WELLS (1-800869-3557), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Likewise, Wells Fargo Home Lending customers can call 1-888818-9147, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST, to discuss potential payment and disaster assistance options.
Bad news: Harvey drives up gas prices
OUSTON - A senior petroleum analyst has indicated the recent surge in gas prices is expected to continue as Tropical Storm Harvey drives up gas prices nationwide. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. com, said gas prices are up in many places and motorists should be gearing up for more in the coming weeks, thanks to Harvey inundating significant refineries along the Texas coastline, leading to closures and tilting the delicate balance of supply and demand. “Prices will likely rise nearly country wide heading into Labor Day, from rural towns in the Rockies to major cities in the Midwest and West Coast — nearly everyone will feel a bit of a
Amazon shocks, cuts Whole Foods prices
EATTLE - Amazon cut prices at Whole Foods Market on Monday as it completed its acquisition of the high-end grocer. That’s just the first chapter in its playbook as it doubles down on groceries, analysts say. Amazon.com sells refrigerators, socks, power drills and books from its perch at the top of online commerce. But it doesn’t sell much produce. Amazon reintroduced itself to the grocery-shopping public with 69-cent organic bananas among other price cuts at Whole Foods Market on the day it completed the $13.7 billion takeover of the high-end grocer. Slashing prices on popular items is nothing new for the grocery industry. Supermarket chains have long kept prices of select staples low to draw people into their stores, banking that the discounts would pay off as increased foot traffic sends other items flying off shelves. Thanks to Amazon, Seattle is now America’s biggest company town Amazon’s booming South Lake Union still awaiting its dinner crowd That’s a playbook Amazon itself
Mark Zuckerberg welcomes second daughter in Facebook post
AN FRANCISCO | AFP Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife welcomed their second daughter -- August -- to the world on Monday with a post on the leading social network. As they did with after the birth of their first daughter, Maxima, in late 2015, the couple wrote the girl a let-
ter, but this one spoke of reveling in the wonder of childhood instead of visions of a better world on the horizon. “You only get to be a child once, so don’t spend it worrying too much about the future,” said the letter signed by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.
“You’ve got us for that, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to make sure the world is a better place for you and all children in your generation.” A Zuckerberg Chan Initiative established by the couple has pledged billions of dollars to improving life for their children’s generation with goals such as eliminating disease.
pinch at the pump from Harvey,” DeHaan said. “The impact could linger for several weeks or longer, depending on how long it takes Texas refiners to return to normal operations. In addition, the situation could worsen should more shutdowns or outages happen in the coming week as Harvey continues to drop feet of rain on already flooded Texas.” (-HBJournal)
The Facebook co-founder is among billionaires who have vowed to donate most of their wealth to charitable causes. “With all the advances in science and technology, your generation should live dramatically better lives than ours, and we have a responsibility to do our part to make that happen,” the couple wrote, referring back to a
has used in the digital realm as it expanded from book sales to clothing, appliances and electronics. Amazon, which says it aims to match in its online store the lowest price offered by competitors, has long put a priority on gaining new customers over immediate profits. Analysts expect much of the same as Amazon doubles down on groceries. Monday’s lower prices on some items at Whole Foods were “just the opening salvo,” said Neil Stern, an analyst with retail consultancy McMillanDoolittle. “It’s the thing they could do right away to create a little impact. “But can they withstand it if Whole Foods becomes twice the size they are? That’s going to be problematic. Amazon didn’t buy Whole Foods to keep them the same size” There’s plenty of cutting to be done at Whole Foods. The chain, sometimes called “Whole Paycheck” for its high prices, has profit margins higher than the average grocer. Before the acquisition, Whole Foods had projected that it was on track to post a profit of $409 million this year and $470 million in 2018. (-Seattle Times)
letter written to their first daughter after her birth. “But rather than write about growing up, we want to talk about childhood. The world can be a serious place. That’s why it’s important to make time to go outside and play.” And, like many parents, they expressed hope their new baby would sleep soundly and take frequent naps.
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VOICE OF ASIA 14
Two million pilgrims converge on Mecca for the hajj
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Meet the British banker who turned Buddhist nun in Bhutan The unusual story of Emma Slade
mma Slade is an unlikely Buddhist nun in the Himalayas. In red monastic robes, flashing an eager smile, the tall British woman has been shadowing people around the corridors of the Royal University of Bhutan where book lovers have congregated for Mountain Echoes, Bhutan’s annual literary festival.
A pilgrim uses her cellphone on arrival at Jeddah airport on August 26, 2017, ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage (AFP Photo/Karim Sahib) by Nadera Bouazza
EDDAH, Saudi Arabia | AFP - Two million Muslims from across the globe are converging on Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the hajj pilgrimage, a religious duty and for some pilgrims the journey of a lifetime. This year sees the return of pilgrims from Shiite Iran, regional rival to Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, and comes with the Gulf mired in political crisis and Islamic State group jihadists squeezed in Iraq and Syria. “I’m so excited because many people dream of coming to this place,” said 47-year-old Eni from Indonesia, her face framed in a sand-coloured veil trimmed with lace. “We feel more religious when we leave this place,” she said. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and it also provides the largest number of pilgrims for the hajj. Eni’s compatriots throng Jeddah airport 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Mecca, as tens of thousands of pilgrims pass through the gateway to the hajj every day. But Eni is almost oblivious to the hubbub that surrounds her as she studies her Koran in the oppressive heat, pearls of sweat beading her face. “After my first pilgrimage I felt I wanted to come back to feel myself close to him,” she said of the Prophet Mohammed before returning her attention to Islam’s holy book.
It was the worst catastrophe in the history of the hajj, with 464 people from the Islamic republic among the dead. Following the disaster, Tehran railed against Saudi Arabia’s organisation of the pilgrimage. The two countries then severed diplomatic relations in January 2016 after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was ransacked by a crowd protesting against the execution in the kingdom of a Shiite religious dignitary. Analysts say that neither Riyadh nor Tehran has any wish to prolong the dispute. “To politicise an event like this does no good,” according to Slimane Zeghidour, author of “La vie quotidienne à La Mecque: De Mahomet à nos jours” (Daily Life in Mecca from Mohammed to Today). Accusations of the hajj being politicised have marred the region for some time. For nearly three months, the Gulf has been embroiled in its worst ever political crisis, with Saudi Arabia and its allies facing off against Qatar, which they accuse of being too close to Iran and backing extremism. A boycott imposed on the small but gas-rich emirate since June 5 has resulted in Qatar’s land, sea and air links being badly affected. This has also had a knock-on effect on hajj-related travel, although Riyadh announced it was relaxing certain restrictions for pilgrims. - ‘Every time it’s different’ -
The hajj is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in a lifetime if he or she has the means to do so.
In the arrivals hall at Jeddah airport, determined pilgrims walk hastily to avoid losing contact with other members of their group.
“This year we expect around two million pilgrims,” Abdelmajeed Mohammad Al-Afghani, director of hajj and umra (lesser pilgrimage) affairs, told AFP.
“I’m so happy to be a part of it this year,” said 43-year-old Nigerian Mohammed Said, in the seamless twopiece white garment or “ihram” worn by male pilgrims.
- Politics and the hajj Iranians are back after not attending in 2016 following a deadly Mecca stampede the previous year that killed nearly 2,300 pilgrims.
“I want to do it every year if I can afford it,” added Said who is in Saudi Arabia for his third hajj. “Every time it’s different -- it’s like I’m doing it for the first time.”
VOICE OF ASIA
Raising money for charity Slade, 51, is using the money she raises from books in a charity that she founded in Bhutan two years ago. “I just built a hospital for specially-abled Bhutanese children and I didn’t build it with bananas. Money is important but you also need to ask yourself, how much is enough,“ deadpans the Buddhist nun. Chronicling the tale of her life Her book, ‘Set Free’, narrates the tale of her own astonishing life and its changing course after Slade, a Cambridge-educated, high-flying banking analyst was taken hostage during a business trip to Jakarta. Being taken hostage In a violent September afternoon in 1997, Slade had a gun was pushed into her chest by a stranger in her hotel room. She remained curled up on the floor, pleading for her life until rescued by the police. Yet, afterwards being showed a photograph of her attacker,a gambler looking for money slumped and held down by cops, she had felt a strange sense of “compassion“ for him. Her ability to care for someone who
For author Zeghidour, going on the hajj takes pilgrims to another level altogether. “The pilgrim has to run, move, and perform several stages” of the ritual. “It is so physically and mentally demanding that he doesn’t have time to think about the crisis in the Gulf. For him this is literature. “Many pilgrims come from Asia or Africa, far from the Middle East, and they come to a place where they can try to forget their lives back home.” Murderous jihadist attacks across the world in recent years will be on the minds of many pilgrims, especially those from Iraq and Syria where the IS has suffered a series of setbacks.
Emma Slade (Photo credit: ET)
had caused her pain surprised her. Money not enough for happiness She returned to her desk in Hong Kong but could not escape the posttraumatic stress disorder that had started to set in. Upon discovering that money does not make one safe, she resigned. Her transition into a monk was not entirely surprising when she looks back today . I had my room painted saffron yellow, insisted on not wearing shoes and always talked about Bhutan.“ First woman to be ordained in Bhutan In 2012, she became the first Western woman to be ordained in Bhutan. Shaving her head was not a big deal
for Slade, who as a 22-year-old, had cut off all her hair on an impulse. “I had liked the freedom it gave then and I still do.“ While becoming a nun, I thought about the cycle of relationships in my life, particularly the feeling of lusting after someone. But how peaceful it’s been to take a vow of celibacy. Pema Daki: The fun nun! The “fun nun“ who believes that humour is essential to Buddhist practice is underneath a serious practitioner who has been studying texts in Tibetan. She continues to live in Whitstable, England, the small seaside town once famous only for oysters is now recognised as the home of the ‘nun’ who goes by the name of Pema Deki (lotus blooms). (-Economic Times)
But the threat from extremists has not put off pilgrims such as Fatima, from Perpignan in southern France.
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This ridiculously beautiful resort is the best in Jamaica
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Loveless monkey adopts chicken at Israeli zoo
And it’s reasonably priced, too. by Melanie Lieberman
EGRIL BEACH, Jamaica - Considered one of the top resort hotels in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas, Jamaica’s legendary Rockhouse resort, in the beach town of Negril, is one of the most ridiculously beautiful properties on the island. “Everything about this place is magical,” said one traveler in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards survey. Others agreed. “It is spectacular,” raved another reader. “I’ve never stayed anymore more beautiful.”
A four-year-old Indonesian black macaque named Niv holds a young chicken at the Ramat Gan Safari Park near Tel Aviv on August 25, 2017 after she adopted the bird when it wondered into their enclosure. (Jack Guez/AFP)
While Rockhouse has garden villas, studios, and standard rooms in a traditional hotel-style block, travelers will want to book one of the 34 thatched-roof bungalows. Photos courtesy of Rockhouse/Design Hotels
These individual villas — the so-called “rock houses” — are built straight onto rocky outcroppings on a turquoise-blue cove. They have private patios or sundecks, and a few have ladders that lead straight into the sea. Some are specifically designed to maximize their sunset views. In 2015, Rockhouse debuted an open air, cliff-top spa pavilion, where guests can enjoy signature bath rituals with a tea ceremony while watching the Caribbean. Opt for a restorative, anti-inflammatory aromatherapy blend with spices or a detoxifying island mint treatment. In the popular winter season, rooms at the property start at $180 a night, and the rock houses $495 a night. (-Travel + Leisure)
Last Americans rush to North Korea ahead of travel ban South Korea conducted their annual joint military exercises on Friday, Pyongyang fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Two missiles flew successfully while a third exploded moments after launch.
by Will Ripley and Amy La Porte, CNN
YONGYANG, North Korea (CNN) - A looming US travel ban has prompted some daring American globetrotters to fast-track their vacations to North Korea. Beginning September 1, United States passports will be invalid for travel to the hermit kingdom.
The US ban was issued a month after the mysterious death of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old college student from Ohio who was imprisoned for nearly a year and a half, and returned to his parents in a coma from which he never woke up.
“With the upcoming travel ban I felt like it was now or never,” said Virginia resident Nicholas Burkhead, who lamented that he had run out of time to learn Korean before the travel ban. For Burkhead and others like him, the threat of arrest and imprisonment in the totalitarian state is seemingly not a deterrent, nor is the looming threat that Pyongyang could become the staging ground for a nuclear war. As the United States and
AMAT GAN, Israel | AFP - A lonely monkey at an Israeli zoo has found a way to soothe her maternal urges: by adopting a chicken. Niv, an Indonesian black macaque, has spent the past week caressing, cleaning and playing with the bird at the Ramat Gan Safari Park near Tel Aviv. “It seems that Niv, who is four years old and has reached the age of sexual maturity, has difficulty finding a partner,” the zoo’s spokeswoman Mor Porat said. “This probably explains the maternal instinct she expresses to this chicken.” The bird, which doesn’t have a name, could easily escape through the bars but chooses to stay near Niv. “These kinds of relationships are rare,” Porat told AFP. “Sometimes macaques kill and eat chickens that enter their pens or play with them until they die.” To avoid such a tragic end, officials separated Niv and her
feathered companion from the other macaques -- apart from her mother, who is often the target of hostilities from other females. Porat said the chicken “seems very happy to have found a surrogate mother. At night they sleep together.” A few months ago, Niv attempted to adopt a previous chicken, but it spurned her advances. Seemingly unlikely animal friendships are often the result of different species being put together by humans. A bear, lion and tiger discovered during a drug raid in the United States remained inseparable for life after they were moved to an animal sanctuary. But Porat said it wasn’t clear where the chickens at the zoo had come from. The black macaque is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The domesticated chicken is the most common bird in the world.
World’s largest samosa record smashed in London The fried BIG treat took 15 hours to make and served hundreds. An aid charity benefited from record at London mosque
There may be exceptions to the ban, though, at the discretion of the State Department. Journalists are one example. Washington, D.C. resident Ali Karim quit his job as a Medical Doctor and decided to travel the world. He pushed North Korea up on his itinerary by several months to beat the travel ban (Photo: Amy La Porte/CNN)
Kendrick Lamar gives fiery start to MTV awards
“US passports will be invalid for travel to, through and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea,” said Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman. Despite the recent tensions and missile launches, tourism to North Korea continues, though a recent flight was a little emptier than usual. There were eight Americans on board, among the last to be allowed in under tourist visas before the ban. “It’s a pity for anyone curious to go, but especially for North Koreans who might want to know what American visitors are really like,” said Simon Cockerell, who was on the flight. Cockerell is the general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours, which specializes in helping tourists get to North Korea. It was Cockerell’s 165th trip to the reclusive country. “At the end of the day, everybody is exactly the same,” said Washington, DC, resident Ali Karim.
Kendrick Lamar opens the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards with a fiery performance of “HUMBLE.” (Photo: AFP/MTV Networks)
OS ANGELES | AFP | Monday 8/27/2017 - Rapper Kendrick Lamar offered a fiery start Sunday to the MTV Video Music Awards, setting his stage ablaze in a martial-arts-themed performance. Lamar, who leads the evening with eight nominations, performed his song “HUMBLE.” as he appeared initially in red on a dark stage lit by lasers. Showing his new fascination with martial arts, two ninjas appeared to chase him
across the floor in Los Angeles. By the end of the song, a man was ablaze and the dancers were climbing a fence that was full of fire. Lamar, one of the most critically acclaimed forces in hip-hop, is followed by pop superstar Katy Perry and R&B singer The Weeknd, who each have five nominations. Perry, the evening’s host, floated onto stage from the roof in the spacesuit of the awards’ “Moonman” statuette -- this year rechristened “Moon Person” as part of a gender-neutral push.
Karim, a former doctor traveling the world with a message of unity, said he moved up his trip to North Korea by several months to beat the ban. The State Department does not track the number of American travelers to North Korea, but tour operators have estimated that it is about a few hundred each year. CNN’s Will Ripley reported from Pyongyang, North Korea, where he is currently the only Western journalist. CNN’s Amy La Porte wrote from Atlanta.
Adjudicators from Guinness World Records were on hand to oversee the process and certify that the mega-samosa passed the required tests (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall) by Robin MILLARD
ONDON | AFP - The world record for the largest samosa was smashed in London on Tuesday by a whopping version of the popular Asian snack weighing in at 153.1 (337.5 pounds) kilogrammes. A dozen volunteers from the Muslim Aid UK charity built the giant samosa then deepfried it in a custom-built vat at an East London Mosque. Adjudicators from Guinness World Records were on hand to oversee the process and certify that the mega-samosa passed the required tests. The previous record of 110.8 kg was set by Bradford College in northern England in June 2012. The samosa was built on a giant wire mesh, then winched into a vat of cooking oil before being hauled out to be weighed. “My heart was beating really fast,” said Farid Islam, 26, the project organiser. “It was very tense. It looked like it was going to slide off. A crack appeared and I feared the worst,” he told AFP. - Thumbs-up verdict Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel spelled out the rules. “It’s got to be triangular; contain flour, potatoes, onions and peas; be fried, and retain
the shape when cooked,” he told AFP. “It’s got to look and feel like a samosa; it’s got to be edible by humans. “The critical record is the net weight. Plus it all has to be eaten. No wastage!” After the team carefully made the triangle-shaped super-snack, it was hauled up to the industrial winch by the biggest men available and slowly plunged into the vat. Once it was winched out, and after the nervy weigh-in, the independent food safety officer, who had overseen proceedings, gave it the taste test. A simple thumbs-up triggered cheers around the hall. It was then down to Patel to tie up all the certification and deliver the verdict: 153.1 kg. “It’s an absolutely great achievement,” he declared. Organiser Islam said it was a tough challenge. “Initially I thought it would be a piece of cake: stuff it together, tie up the end and fry it,” he said. “When I realised there was not a single pot in the country that could hold that weight, we had to get something tailor made.” The samosa took around 15 hours of work and was dished up into hundreds of portions distributed to the local homeless via the Salvation Army.
VOICE OF ASIA 16
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
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2017 USA Karate Nationals GISO Independence Day Champions named in Fort Bend ISD Celebrations at U. of Houston Students earn gold, silver and bronze medals after competing in various forms of karate
Cougars: Dr. Renu Khator and GISO Team celebrate India’s Independence Day Dr. Anupam Ray. by Ravi Shankar Chandrasekar, President-GISO.
Top from left to right: Sensei Andres Sanabria, Sensei Nizar Albagdadi, Sensei Cassie Pham-Korman, Sensei Ramon Veras and Sensei Nathan Works and Bottom row left to right Charlize Lopez , Christina Korman, Nalika Nana, Tyler Lopez, Jayden Goodman, Akira Santoso, James Goodman Jr. and Elaina Lan.
ORT BEND - Last July 19-23, 1700 karatekas (karate atheltes) from across the country came to compete at Greenville, South Carolina among them is a group of twelve team member from Traditional Karate Center 7 of which are Fort Bend ISD student athletes. This is the largest and most prestigious competition in karate the “2017 USA Karate National and Team Trials. Forming the team from Fort Bend ISD were students James Goodman (Palmer elementary), Jayden Goodman (Palmer Elementary), Elaina Lan (Quail Valley Middle School), Charlize Lopez (Settlers Way Elementary), Tyler Lopez (Sullivan Elementary),
Nalika Nana (Oyster Creek Elementary) and Akira Santoso (Austin Parkway Elementary). The FBISD students competed in Kata (which demonstrates the choreographed sequence of karate techniques), Team Kata and Kobudo (the weapon). Earning awards were: Goodman, • James Gold Medal (Kobudo) and Bronze Medal (Kata) • Jayden Goodman, Silver Medal (Kobudo) and Bronze Medal ( Team Kata) • Elaina Land, Bronze Medal (Kata) • Charlize Lopez , Bronze Medal (Kata) • Tyler Lopez , Silver Medal (Kata) Bronze Medal (Team Kata)
• Nalika Nana, Silver Medal (Kata) and Bronze Medal (Team Kata) • Akira Santoso, Bron Bronze Medal (Kata and Kobudo) Other team members who receive awards include: Rylan Garza (Silver, Kobudo); Christina Korman, (Gold, Kata and Kobudo), Sensei Cassie PhamKorman (Gold, Goyu Ryu Kata), Sensei Andres Sanabria (Gold Kumite) Sensei Clarissa Villanueva (Silver, Goyu Ryu Kata and Bronze, kata). Team member who also competed were Sensei Benny Garza and Sensei TJ Lopez. The students train at Traditional Karate Center under the instruction of Sensei Ramon
n August 15, 2017, Graduate Indian Student Organization (GISO) at University of Houston celebrated India’s 71st Independence Day and the event was graced by our esteemed dignitaries, Consul General of India Dr. Anupam Ray and Chancellor of the University of Houston System Dr. Renu Khator. Their words inspired graduate students to better themselves in every aspect, remembering to honor their families and nation. After their galvanizing speeches, a fusion dance performance showcasing different dance forms from India elicited awe
Veras (Chief Instructor), Sensei Nizar Albagdadi (Senior Instructor) Sensei Nathan Work (Senior Instructor), Sensei Pedro Gutierrez, Sensei Cassie Pham-Korman and Sensei Andres Sanabria. A total of 18 medals were won by the team, 4 gold med-
Dr. Anupam Ray and Dr. Renu Khator with GISO Team. From left Aparna, Suma, Niharika, Sindhur, GISO President Ravi, Kaushik, Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Baala, Chancellor of the University of Houston System Dr. Renu Khator, Abhinay, Harsh, Sarah, Vishal, Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana and brought back memories of home for all of us.
The event was also attended by other organizations namely Hindu Yuva, Sewa International, Bridges International, Houston Maharashtra Mandal and International Student and Scholar Services office at UH amongst
Various musical performances themed ‘reminiscence of home’, games and flavorful Indian uniting us in the spirit of happiness, sport and unity. The event was attended by over 300 students whose presence made the event a grand success.
als, 5 silver medals and 9 Bronze. This hard end medals are the results of countless
hours training and sacrificing of both athletes and their families.
VOICE OF ASIA 17
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
BOLLYWOOD - HOLLYWOOD
Mark Wahlberg named Russell Brand Laura Gallacher world’s top paid actor
Disha Patani will shave her head for a film only if...
wedding has India-themed reception
Mark Wahlberg is the world’s highest paid actor, according to Forbes magazine, which said the 46-year old former rap star earned estimated $68 million before taxes over the past 12 months (AFP Photo/Niklas Halle’n)
OS ANGELES | AFP - Rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg was named the world’s highest paid actor on Tuesday, earning an estimated $68 million before taxes over the past 12 months.
huge margin -- $488.5 million compared with just $172.5 million -- a disparity Forbes attributed in part to the preponderance of superhero movies and action blockbusters that offer few starring roles for women.
The 46-year-old star won his place at the top of the list compiled by Forbes magazine, thanks to earnings from “Transformers: The Last Knight” and comedy sequel “Daddy’s Home 2,” due out in November.
Oscar-winning Emma Stone, 28, topped the list of actresses published last week with a relatively modest $26 million.
“The former may have scored a miserable 15 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the lowest gross of the franchise to date, but Wahlberg need not worry -- fixed compensation means he benefits even when movies don’t do well,” said Forbes. Dwayne Johnson, who placed first in 2016, is in second place with $65 million, after starring in the big screen reboot of lifeguard actioncomedy “Baywatch” and starring in HBO comedy “Ballers.” The former wrestler appears in fantasy adventure remake “Jumanji” in December and “Rampage,” a monster movie based on the 1980s arcade game, in April next year. The top ten men continue to outearn their female counterparts by a
Research by the University of Southern California’s journalism school found last year that women comprise just 28.7 percent of all speaking roles in Hollywood. Vin Diesel, who co-stars with Johnson in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, came in third on men’s list with $54.5 million, just ahead of comedy actor Adam Sandler, who made $50.5 million, largely because of a deal with Netflix that allows him to produce his own movies.
Russell Brand (Photo: Reuters)
ONDON - Comedian-actor Russell Brand married Laura Gallacher, the mother of their daughter Mabel, at a Remenham Church near their home in Henley-on-Thames, following it up with an India-themed reception party. Brand is said to have spent 2,300 pounds to hire a New Orleans paddle steamer to transport the wedding party to an India-themed reception where staff wore saris, reports dailymail.co.uk. The wedding ceremony, held on Saturday, had a guest list including musician Noel Gallagher and comedian David Baddiel, reports The Sun. A source told The Sun, “They wanted a very small, personal affair, with their daughter Mabel, family and close friends rather than a circus. It was a lovely occasion. Mabel was the guest of honour.”
Rounding out the top five is Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan, still hugely popular in China, who made $49.5 million over the last 12 months.
Brand’s fascination with India is not new. The comedian had married singer Katy Perry in 2010 in Rajasthan, India. But they divorced two years later.
Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise and Bollywood kings Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar rounded out the top ten.
He has been involved with celebrities like model Kate Moss, former Spice Girl Geri Horner and Australian actress Teresa Palmer.
Disha Patani says that she is willing to go bald for a role, but only if she feels that it will “benefit the narrative” of the project.
o think of it, my decision will be based on how passionate I am about the script. If I strongly feel it will benefit the narrative, I will go ahead with it,” Disha told IANS when asked if she will ever shave her head if the character demands. Talking about why actresses are not so fond of experimenting with hair looks, the ‘MS Dhoni The Untold Story’ actor said, “Most actresses have multiple commitments, from films to endorsements, that require us to maintain a particular look over a long period.” (-India Today)
KBC 2017 season 9 premiere: Amitabh Bachchan hosts an engaging first episode
‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ director Tobe Hooper dies
OS ANGELES | AFP - Movie director Tobe Hooper, best known for “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and “Poltergeist” horror films, died in California on Saturday, US media reported. He was 74. The cause of the director’s death in the town of Sherman Oaks was not announced, the Hollywood industry magazine Variety reported.
Amitabh Bachchan from Kaun Banega Crorepati season 9. he iconic 17-year-old quiz show, in its first few minutes, started off with a motivational monologue (against gender, cast, economic and social discrimination; the basics, basically) that trailed on with Amitabh Bachchan’s voice.
Hooper, a native of Austin, Texas, was a college professor and documentary producer before branching out in 1974 to direct “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” one of the most influential films of the horror genre. The film, shot for less than $300,000, was banned in several countries for its extreme violence but nevertheless was one of the most profitable independent US films of the 1970s, Variety said.
Purple hues populated the lavish quiz set, and the dramatic, albeit familiar, background score took us back to our school days, when KBC used to be your family’s dinner habit. Together, you would watch Bachchan bond with the contestants and bring his charm to everybody’s favourite show (that potentially gave him a second lease in his career, back in 2000). Tobe Hooper, the horror director (Photo: Bei/Rex/Shutterstock)
Kaun Banega Crorepati brought back a familiar format, of starting with 10 contestants playing Fastest Finger First. The contestant to first make it to the hot-seat was Hisar’s Saroj Verma. On winning, and getting a chance to sit next to Bachchan while playing a game, all of them come charging at the veteran actor for a hug (and he always obliges). Saroj Varma, who is a teacher from Haryana, did the same.
Such bans only added to the film’s aura, but it was Hooper’s stylish directing that really got the box offices moving.
The game format stands the same; 15 question from Rs 1000 to Rs 1 crore. On reaching the 10th question, the 16th question gets unlocked, which is a jackpot for Rs 7 crore. There’s a 45 second timer for each question (now surreptitiously called ‘Kaanta’ ben).
The movie was in part based on the true story of a serial killer, called “Leatherface” in the film, who skinned his victims and used some body parts as household decorations.
Saroj Verma went on to play five questions, and used all four of her lifelines in the first three itself. She finally went home with only Rs 10,000, but not in cheque form. This season KBC has decided to digitally transfer the money to contestants (with a subtle Axis Bank plug).
William Friedkin, who directed that other iconic 1970s horror movie “The Exorcist” described Hooper, in a tweet, as “a kind, warm-hearted man Who made the most terrifying film ever. A good friend I will never forget.”
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” told cinemagoers what they could expect.
Hooper also directed the 1986 sequel, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” which had a more lighthearted approach.
lion budget and grossed $76.6 million, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).
In 1982, Hooper directed the supernatural horror movie “Poltergeist,” a film written and produced by Steven Spielberg. The movie had an $11 mil-
With his beard, oval glasses and gentle smile, Hooper did not appear to be the kind of person to strike fear into anybody, but his films certainly
The second contestant, Shri Krishna Yadav, also came from Haryana (Bhojawas), and was quite the mustache enthusiast. There is a palpable effort to make sure the contestants on the show are representatives from all diverse corners of the country.
did and his films have become classics of the genre. He went for a very realistic cinematic approach, with the attention to detail as important as the violence on screen and the chilling soundtrack which accompanied it.
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Both contestants got fairly easy questions (mostly about India, the current government, mythology and Bollywood films), but Yadav was easily the more entertaining contestant, winning up to Rs 12,50,000, with an impressive trail of correct answers. The episode ended with a buzzer indicating time ending. The 90 minute long episode was engaging, and had many light moments courtesy Amitabh Bachchan. Kaun Banega Crorepati will air Monday-Friday 9 pm on Sony TV.
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VOICE OF ASIA 18
Voice of Asia
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Brain recovery ‘lagging’ after sports concussion by Marlowe Hood
brain to interact.
In athletes that took longer than usual to recover, the tests also spotted anomalies in areas of the brain associated with movement.
ARIS, France | AFP | Thursday 8/24/2017 - Changes in brain structure and function after a concussion remained visible in university athletes even after they were medically cleared to resume competitive sports, researchers reported Thursday. Using advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scientists detected lingering alterations in the brain’s white matter, and changes in zones linked to vision and planning, they reported in the journal Scientific Reports. White matter consists of nerve fibres, called axons, that allow various parts of the
“This is the first concrete evidence we have that the brain is lagging behind in terms of recovery from a concussion,” said lead author Nathan Churchill, a post-doctoral fellow at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada. “Our study shows that the neurobiological consequences of concussion may outlast the symptoms we’re typically looking for when determining whether an athlete is ready to return to play,” he said in a statement.
In making a “return-to-play” determination, trainers and doctors monitor symptoms reported by the athlete, perform fitness tests, and follow a step-by-step protocol for the resumption of intense physical activity. The findings, however, suggest that longer recovery times may be needed to reduce the chances of repeat injuries in athletes who have been knocked out. Concussion in sport and recreation is a growing health concern worldwide. In the United States alone, up to 3.8 million such injuries occur each year in professional, amateur and school sports.
Arsenic in Pakistan groundwater ‘alarmingly high’
IAMI | AFP | Wednesday 8/23/2017 - Levels of arsenic in the groundwater of eastern Pakistan are “alarmingly high” and pose a significant health hazard to tens of millions of people who drink the water, researchers said Wednesday. The study in the journal Science Advances is the first to create a comprehensive map of arsenic in the groundwater across Pakistan, and follows earlier, smaller studies that showed high arsenic levels in
some places. Groundwater samples were taken from nearly 1,200 sites throughout the country, and researchers used a model to project the likelihood of increased arsenic concentrations for all of Pakistan. Areas in eastern Punjab -which includes Lahore -- and around Hyderabad were especially likely to have groundwater that exposes large numbers of people to arsenic contamination. Many parts of the densely
populated plains along the Indus River and its tributaries showed arsenic concentrations in groundwater were higher than the World Health Organization guideline of 10 micrograms per liter, said the report. “Very high concentrations, above 200 micrograms/liter, are found mainly in the south,” it warned. Overall, 50 to 60 million people use groundwater which very likely contains more than 50 micrograms per liter, or five times higher than WHO guidelines.
HEALTHY Staying Healthy After the Storm
Manjula Raguthu MD,FAAFP,ABAARM
Finally – relieved of the storm, but whats next? Sickness after a Storm? Everyone is relieved that the storm is over, but we are not aware of the Health consequences that occur after a hurricane or a storm. Many diseases can occur due to the storm waters, that are lingering for days around us. Lets plan for Better Health, in the aftermath of the recovery from Tropical Storm Harvey. 1. Use safe drinking water – bottled or boiled water. Diarrhea from Viral or bacterial infections can occur. Norvovirus, Rotavirus or Enterococci are main culprits. If u get sick, seek help immediately to prevent bad infections. Vibrio infections are a possibility in open cuts for those who were exposed to floodwaters 2. Avoid making Ice with unfiltered water - use
boiled water for cooking as well as making ice. 3. People who have been displaced and were in Shelters, get evaluated for Tubercuclosis, as mass contamination is possible in overcrowded situations. If people close to you are coughing – use a mask. 4. Avoid water logged areas around the house, these can breed mosquitos and pests. 5. Never walk barefoot in the storm waters – potential snakes, gators and sharp objects. 6. If you get hurt cuts, bruises etc during transport or recovery – get evaluated for Tetanus Vaccination. Use mosquito repellents or sprays around the house and on the kids whenever going out. 7. Avoid eating out till you know that the places are using clean water and foodcontaminated food can cause food poisoning, Gastroenteritis, and Hepatitis A (Jaundice). 8. If you are ready to take a stroll again in the park – use bug spray to prevent mosquito borne illnesses – Zika is still a risk now, as well as Yellow Fever or Dengue Fever. 9. Follow your county and
Department of Health Notices on Health Hazards. 10. Fever, vomiting and Diarrhea in the aftermath of a Storm is not normal – definitely seek Medical help 11. Do not walk close to loose wires, risk of electrocution with water is high. 12. Use hand hygiene at all times, and if you use nebulizers or masks or insulin and or any medications, keep them clean and safe. Dr. Manjula Raguthu has been a family physician for 26 years. She is specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, American Physicians of Indian Origin, Texas Academy of family Physicians and American Anti-Aging Academy. She takes a holistic approach to health, uses Bio identical hormones and integrative therapies to achieve optimal health for her patients. Visit www.medwinfamily.com for more details.
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If you think your health could be seriously harmed by waiting the standard 14 days for a decision, ask your plan for a fast decision. The plan must give you its decision within 72 hours if it determines, or your doctor tells your plan, that waiting for a standard decision may seriously jeopardize your life, health, or ability to regain maximum function. If the plan won’t cover the items or services you asked for, you’ll get a notice explaining why your plan fully or partially denied your request and instructions on how to appeal your plan’s decision by requesting a reconsideration. If you appeal the plan’s decision, you may want to ask for a copy of your file containing medical and other information about your case. Your plan may charge you for this copy. What if you disagree with the organization determination? If you disagree with your plan’s initial decision, you can file an appeal. The appeals process has 5 levels. If you disagree with the decision made at any level of the process, you can generally go to the next level. At each level, you’ll get instructions in the decision letter on how to move to the next level of appeal. Medicare health plan appeals - Level 1: Reconsideration If you disagree with the initial decision (also known as the organization determination) from your plan, you or your representative can ask for a reconsideration (a second look or review). But, you have to ask for a reconsideration within 60 days of the date of the organization determination. If your appeal is for a service you haven’t gotten yet, your doctor can request a reconsideration on your behalf and must notify you about it. You, your representative, or your doctor must file a written standard or expedited (fast) request, unless your plan allows you to file a request by phone, fax, or email. Include this information in your written reconsideration request: • Your name, address, and the Medicare number shown on your Medicare card. • The items or services for which you’re requesting a reconsideration, the dates of service, and the reason(s) why you’re appealing.
Sudhir Mathuria Licensed Professional Health Life 360 6776 Southwest Freeway, Suite # 178 Houston TX 77074 713-771-2900 www.MyMedicarePlanning.com
• If you’ve appointed a representative, include the name of your representative and proof of representation. Include any other information that may help your case. Keep a copy of everything you send to your plan as part of your appeal. How long your plan takes to respond to your request depends on the type of request: • Expedited (fast) request—72 hours • Standard service request—30 days • Payment request—60 days You’ll get a fast request if your plan determines, or your doctor tells your plan, that waiting for a standard service decision may seriously jeopardize your: • Life • Health • Ability to regain maximum function The time to complete standard and fast service requests may be extended by up to 14 days in some cases. For example, your plan needs more information from a noncontract provider to make a decision about the case, and the extension is in your best interest. Your plan will notify you in writing if it decided to take an extension. Your plan will notify you of the reasons for the delay and inform you of your right to file an expedited (fast) grievance if you disagree with the plan’s decision to take an extension. If the plan decides against you (fully or partially), your appeal is automatically sent (To Be Continued) to level 2.. To choose right Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Supplement Plan or Medicare Prescription plan contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.
VOICE OF ASIA 19
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Scientists launch virtual reality game to detect Alzheimer’s
ONDON | AFP | Monday 8/28/2017 - Sea Quest Hero is more than just the usual computer game in which players find their way through mazes, shoot and chase creatures -- it also doubles as scientists’ latest tool for studying Alzheimer’s disease. The game -- downloadable from Tuesday in its virtual reality version -- seeks to stimulate players’ brains through a series of tasks based on memory and orientation skills, while gathering data to research dementia.
One of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s is loss of navigational skills. But data comparing cognitive response across a broad spectrum of ages is rare, and this is what the game seeks to provide. The game -- billed as the “largest dementia study in history” -- has been developed by Deutsche Telekom, Alzheimer’s Research UK and scientists
from University College London and the University of East Anglia. The mobile version, which came out in 2016, has already been downloaded three million times in 193 countries. Playing the game for just two minutes, the website said, generates the same amount of data scientists would take five hours to collect in similar lab-based research. With the equivalent of 63 years already played, scientists now have some 9,500 years worth of dementia research to go through. “That gave us an enormous amount of information and it really allowed us to understand how men and women of different ages navigate in the game,” David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, told AFP. Resolving the tasks requires the
use of “different parts of your brain and different parts of your brain are used in different ways by different types of dementia -- so it allows us to link what someone can do to what is going on in their brain,” Reynolds added. - 50 million sufferers The addition of virtual reality will provide yet another layer of data. “The headset technology is helping to track where the person is looking at all times as well as where they’re going,” Lauren Presser, one of the game’s producers, told AFP. “So we get to know whether people are lost and how they behave in those situations... Every single one of those experiments is helping us gather data around spatial navigation.” Nearly 50 million people around the world suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s according to the latest
Flooded Texas faces higher risk of disease, experts warn by Kerry SHERIDAN
The long-term picture could be even more dire, as communities grapple with immense amounts of polluted water in the streets, in homes and businesses.
People can get sick simply by wading through dirty floodwater with a scratch or an open wound. “The biggest issue is the release of sewage and bacterial-related infections,” said Howard Selinger, chair of family medicine at the Frank H. Netter MD School at Quinnipiac University. Dirty water can also infiltrate the drinking water system, raising the risk of contaminated water and with it, cholera. Cholera causes acute diarrhea, causing some three to five million cases of illness and more than 100,000 deaths each year worldwide. “The spread of cholera is one of the most significant dangers following any natural disaster, but especially flooding after a hurricane,” said Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “Cholera is quite contagious, and can be transmitted person to person by infected feces after dirty water is swallowed, or from contaminated food with vibrio cholera bacteria.” Cholera is rare in the United States and other industrialized nations, but has been on the rise worldwide over
There is no cure for the disease, but the game’s creators hope it could eventually enable diagnosis and treatments of patients far earlier than is currently possible.
Texans battling through floodwaters in the city of Houston may face health problems as bacteria get into drinking water or open wounds (AFP Photo/ Brendan Smialowski) the past decade, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. - Dirty floodwater Studies of multiple floods worldwide have shown a spike in the incidence of a disease called Leptospirosis, which is caused by caused by rodent, pig and horse urine, and can be fatal. The bacteria can enter the body through the skin, mucous membranes, or by drinking water. Symptoms occur within two days to four weeks, and may start off as flulike, with fever, vomiting, chills and diarrhea. Some people get progressively sicker, and may have liver and kidney failure along with meningitis. “The elderly and disabled are really, incredibly highly vulnerable,” said Mishori. “Also sick people and children are highly vulnerable. They will the first victims.” People can even get sick from washing or bathing in contaminated water. “It’s essential to boil all water for bathing, brushing your teeth, or drinking after a flood. Bottled water remains the safest water source in this setting,” said Glatter. - Mold, mental health Being forced to evacuate, live in a makeshift shelter, and losing one’s possessions can all cause mental trauma that lasts long after the event, experts say. Hospitals may fill up quickly, and people may have a hard time getting
lifesaving medications and health care. Over the weeks and months to come, soggy buildings will grow mold, which can be toxic and can cause a host of health problems for people exposed. “One of the legacies of (2005’s Hurricane) Katrina was the mold that remained for a long, long time in schools and other buildings,” said Mishori of the devastating storm that lashed Louisiana. “There is no question that the mold is going to present itself at some point.” Viral illnesses such as West Nile and Zika could also begin to spread in the coming weeks, as mosquitos take advantage of all the extra standing water to breed.
“Starting in 2018, we will begin implementing a new broiler chicken antibiotics policy in markets around the world,” the company said in a statement issued Wednesday. By 2018, HPCIAs will be eliminated in broiler chicken for the Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the US, and Europe. An exception will be made for the antibiotic colistin for Europe only. The policy will be extended for Australia and Russia by the end of 2019, when the colistin exception for Europe will be made phased out. It will be fully implemented globally by January 2027, although the firm said: “Our goal is to have this policy implemented before this date.” Scientists have for decades argued there is a link between antibiotic use in animals and the dwindling effectiveness of these drugs in human medicine. Industrial-scale poultry farmers often use antibiotics not to treat outbreaks of disease in their flocks but to prevent it from occurring. Some also use the drugs to help
Multiple studies have analyzed the long-term health effects of disasters, and have found that the struggle is far from over once the floodwaters recede. “Most of them have found that a year out in the communities affected there are much higher rates of mortality in general, of heart attacks and strokes,” said Mishori.
Reynolds said playing the game could in itself help with prevention. “We know keeping your brain fit and active, like keeping your body fit and active, is good and is helping to reduce your risk of dementia or slowing its progression down if you have it,” he said.
McDonalds to limit use of antibiotics in chicken supply
It applies to drugs that are also used in human medicine, called Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials (HPCIA) by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Immediate risks from floods include death by drowning -- often people drown in their cars as they try to flee -- electrocution, and hypothermia.
“We are talking hundreds of different types of bacteria and viruses that could contaminate that water,” she added.
This figure could balloon to 132 million by 2050.
“There is sewage, all kinds of pesticide, waste, herbicides and toxins that we don’t even know of -- are all going to wash in,” Ranit Mishori, a family doctor and a professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine.
EW YORK | AFP | 8/24/2017 - McDonalds says it will start globally rolling back use of antibiotics in its chicken products from 2018 as part of efforts to curb microbial resistance to drugs and the rise of superbugs. The decision follows a similar move undertaken in the US market in 2016.
IAMI | AFP | 8/28/2017 Sewage-laden floodwaters dumped on Texas by Hurricane Harvey bring a higher risk of disease, such as bacterial infections and mosquito-borne illnesses, and the fallout may linger for years, experts warn.
When floodwater washes over a heavily populated metro area like Houston, it is sure to be dirty and dangerous, experts say.
The game — billed as the ‘largest dementia study in history’ — has been developed by Deutsche Telekom, Alzheimer’s Research UK and scientists from University College London and the University of East Anglia.
birds gain weight more quickly. Certain antibiotics destroy bacteria in the gut, which means that the chicken can convert feed to muscle faster. Among humans, causes of resistance include the overprescription of antibiotics and patients failing to take the correct dosage, which allows a residual population of germs to survive and rebound. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least two million people in the US become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics every year, leading to 23,000 deaths. According to some estimates, drugresistant bacteria may within decades be causing more deaths than cancer. The US Consumers Union, a nonprofit advocacy group, hailed the decision. “The widespread use of antibiotics on livestock that aren’t sick is contributing to a global public health crisis with potentially dire consequences,” said Jean Halloran, director of the organization’s food policy initiatives. She added: “We commend McDonald’s for setting these goals and urge all fast food chains to use their market clout to protect public health before it’s too late.” The WHO’s list of HCIAs falls into five categories: quinolones; third-generation cephalosporins; macrolides and ketolides; glycopeptides; and polymyxins. These drugs are notably frontline medications in the fight against salmonella, enterobacter and E. coli infections.
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ART & CULTURE
VOICE OF ASIA 20
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Italian Protestant church Naked models become living art at S. Korea festival says I do to gay ‘blessings’
OME, Italy | AFP - The Waldensian Evangelical Church on Friday became the first Protestant church in Italy to formally offer to “bless” same-sex couples in civil partnerships, a common practice in Protestant churches across Europe. While same-sex couples in the country are not allowed to legally marry in a church, gay and lesbian couples will now be able to mark and celebrate their civil partnerships in a church service -- or “blessing” ceremony. At least one partner must be a member of the Waldensian church however.
The bodies of dozens of female models were turned into living canvases at a festival in Seoul this weekend, as delicate brush trokes and flamboyant illustrations covered up their bare skin (AFP Photo/Ed JONES) AEGU, South Korea | AFP | Monday 8/27/2017 - The bodies of dozens of female models were turned into living canvases at a festival in South Korea this weekend, as delicate brush strokes and flamboyant illustrations covered up their bare skin. Near-naked women -- wearing only panties and strategically placed pieces of tape on their breasts -- packed the 2017 Daegu International Bodypainting Festival, surrounded by teams of artists and onlookers.
Top artists from across the world took part in the event South Korea’s southeastern city, as their female subjects strutted across the stage in high heeled shoes and exotic headdresses to display their dazzling
body art before the cameras. “I’ve never been naked anywhere but around my husband,” American participant Neome Mullenberg told AFP as artists, equipped with spray paint and brushes, diligently worked on her body. “The weirdest part is that I feel like I’m fully clothed,” Mullenberg said, adding that the camera flashes and gazes from strangers did not bother her. “It’s amazing how paint can make you feel like you’re clothed.” In just six hours, the models were turned into walking works of art as they strutted down an open air stage in front of hundreds of spectators.
One model was transformed into an elegant blue and green peacock, while another looked as if she had just popped out of a fantasy novel, adorned with a pharaoh-like headpiece and with images of the Greek gods painted on her body. Italian artist Anna Chapovalov said recommendations from her colleagues and photos from previous events were enough to get her to jump on a plane from Austin, Texas for this year’s festival. “I loved how the event was organized. It’s worth it,” Chapovalov said. The artists, who compete for cash prizes, are judged on a range of criteria including the use of colour, painting techniques and originality.
Anger over UAE jailing of Singaporeans for ‘dressing feminine’ INGAPORE | AFP- The family of a Singaporean man jailed with a transgender friend in the United Arab Emirates for dressing in a “feminine” way called Friday for their release, as activists raced to raise funds for legal fees.
Fadli, 26, told his family that he was wearing earrings and a tie at the time of his arrest, Saiful added.
their legal and other fees and reached their target just after midday Friday, according to their Facebook page.
“We want them released and back to Singapore as soon as possible,” he said, adding his brother was a “friendly, happygo-lucky and jovial person.”
The money has been sent to a law firm in Abu Dhabi, the activists said.
Fashion photographer Muhammad Fadli bin Abdul Rahman and transgender friend Noor Vitriya Kistina Ibrahim were arrested at a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi at the weekend and sentenced to a year in jail, according to relatives.
“We were informed that he was arrested for looking feminine, but looking feminine is very broad. It was emotional, my parents broke down when they heard the news,” he added.
Fadli’s brother Saiful told AFP from Singapore that the pair were detained by the tourism police for “looking feminine”. Advocacy group Detained in Dubai said they were convicted of charges related to “inappropriate behaviour over their clothing”. The group confirmed both were sentenced to a year in jail.
Noor is described by activists as a transgender person who has not yet undergone sex change surgery to become a woman.
Singapore’s foreign ministry said officials from the city-state had met with the pair four times since their detention and were providing consular assistance.
Radha Stirling, head of London-based advocacy group Detained in Dubai and managing partner at the Stirling Haigh law firm, said Thursday her organisation will appeal the verdict and request the sentence be reduced to a fine and deportation.
However, the ministry also reminded citizens to “respect and abide by the local laws when they travel overseas”.
The United Arab Emirates criminalises sodomy, as well as both pre-marital and extramarital sex.
Rights activists in Singapore launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise Sg$25,000 (US$18,000) for
Article 358 of the penal code also criminalises “indecent attire” as an act of public indecency.
Kung Fu nuns strike back at rising sex attacks on women in India
Gay blessings have been offered by the church since 2010 on a case-by-case basis, but with this position, the synod formally recognised “the plurality of different models of coexistence and family life in society”. The move follows Italy’s adoption in October 2016 of civil unions for gays and lesbians, which came despite the Catholic Church’s opposition. With that legislation, Italy became the last country in
Same-sex couples in Italy are not allowed to legally marry in a church, but gay and lesbian couples will now be able to mark and celebrate their civil partnerships in a church service -- or “blessing” ceremony (AFP Photo/FILIPPO MONTEFORTE) Western Europe to legally recognise same-sex relationships. Founded in the 12th century, the Waldensian Church preached the Christian Gospel in the countryside and was persecuted by the Catholic Church. The world’s oldest Protestant community founded some 350 years before Luther’s reformation, Waldensians were repressed by the civil and re-
ligious authorities until the middle of the 19th century when modern-day Italy came into being. The community now numbers between 25,000 and 40,000 believers, mostly in the north of Italy. Gay marriage blessings are common in Protestant churches in the north of Europe, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
Pet-friendly China acupuncturist gets tails wagging again by Matthew Knight INGAPORE | AFP Looking like a furry brown pincushion, eight-month-old French bulldog “Dan Jiao” whimpers nervously as he waits for the end of a Chinese acupuncture session aimed at curing partial paralysis caused by a puppyhood injury.
“Dan Jiao” (“Egg Dumpling”), would obviously rather be chewing on a bone somewhere than sitting strapped against his will into a harness that resembles a medieval torture device, pricked by several long needles hooked up to a mild electric current. But the Shanghai clinic of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner Jin Rishan at least provides hopeful owners an alternative to putting down the beloved family dog or cat, the typical fate of pets immobilised by severe spinal and nervous-system injuries. “We’re getting more and more customers,” said Jin, 53, whose Shanghai TCM Neurology and Acupuncture Animal Health Centre is operating at full capacity of around 20 patients per day, and growing. Many dogs suffer from tough-to-treat back injuries or spinal deterioration that can render them unable to walk. A range of breeds including Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Collies, Basset Hounds and Shi Tzus are particularly prone. “Seventy percent of the animals here suffer from spinal disc herniation, leading to paralysis of the hind legs or all four legs,” Jin said, adding that acupuncture is “more effective” than modern medicine. “Western medical practices can’t do much,” he said. - Signs of hope -
Partially paralysed dog Lulu receives acupuncture treatment at a Shanghai clinic which provides owners an alternative to putting down the beloved family dog or cat, the typical fate of pets immobilised by severe spinal and nervous-system injuries (AFP Photo/Chandan Khanna) It appears to be working for “Dan Jiao,” who was completely paralysed when his owner Michael Xu first brought him in for treatment after a fall that broke his back. “After three days of acupuncture, he was slowly able to crawl on his front paws. By the seventh day he was able to limp on all four legs.” On Friday, patients ranging from a gangly black Labrador to a tiny teacup poodle were carried in by their owners or carted in baby prams. They were eventually strapped into harnesses before the thin acupuncture needles were inserted into their problem spots. Others sniffed nervously as smoking moxibustion cups -- a form of heat therapy that involves burning aromatic plants -- were applied to their hides. But the place had not completely gone to the dogs. The day’s sole feline patient looked particularly put out, being completely strapped down to pre-
vent it squirming around. Wang Ping, the owner of “Mei Mei” (“Little Sister”), has fresh hope of getting the fivemonth-old teacup poodle back on her tiny feet after a paralysing neck injury suffered three months ago. “I went to traditional clinics with “Mei Mei” but the vets said she was too small for surgery,” Wang said. Doctors initially recommended euthanasia before referring Wang to Jin’s clinic. “So I came over and she’s much better, at least she can lift her head and crawl a bit now.” Jin’s practice is based on the feeling that a pet is like a human member of the family, entitled to the same loving care. “In the past, Chinese people had a very weak notion of what a pet was. But now more and more families treat pets as a companion or family member. So they care so much about their pets, it is not like in the past.”
by Nita Bhalla
ADAKH, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As dawn breaks, the sun edges over the expansive jagged mountains of Ladakh - a remote Buddhist exkingdom in the Indian Himalayas bordering Tibet - to reveal a world where time appears to have stood still.
said 19-year-old Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo, one of the Kung Fu trainers, as she rested after an intense two-hour session in Hemis village, 40 km (25 miles) from the northern city of Leh.
The chant of monks in a centuries-old monastery can be heard in the distance. Villagers slowly emerge from whitewashed stone cottages to tend to their wheat and barley fields, and ready their goats to search for pasture.
“Kung Fu will make them stronger and more confident,” she said, adding that they decided to teach self-defense after hearing of cases of rape and molestation.
Complete with its pictureperfect temples precariously perched atop rocky mountain outcrops, giant shrines and mantra-engraved walls, Ladakh’s age-old Tibetan Buddhist way of life appears almost untouched by modernity. Until, that is, you hear the energetic yells of scores of young women, clad in sweatpants and trainers. Fanned out in front of a majestic white temple-like
“We walk the talk. If we act, people will think if: ’If nuns can act, why can’t we?’”
Buddhist nuns share a joke during a self-defense class in Ladak, in the Himalayas (Photo: Reuters)
structure, they stretch, lunge, jump, kick and punch on the orders of nuns. Meet the Kung Fu nuns women from an age-old Buddhist sect who are using their martial arts expertise to challenge gender roles in this conservative culture and teach women self-defense, as reports of rapes rise in India.
Unlike other nuns, their chants and prayers are followed by jabs and thrust kicks. Between meditation sessions, they attend gender equality lessons. Even their traditional maroon robes are periodically swapped for martial arts attire, with black belts. “Most people think nuns just sit and pray, but we do more,”
Wangchuk is one of around 700 nuns globally who belong to the Drukpa lineage - the only female order in the patriarchal Buddhist monastic system where nuns have equal status to monks. Traditionally, nuns are expected to cook and clean and are not permitted to exercise. But this changed almost a decade ago when the leader of the 1,000-year-old sect, His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa,
encouraged the nuns to learn Kung Fu. Inspired by his mother to advocate for gender equality, he also gave the nuns leadership roles and helped them study beyond Buddhist teachings to become electricians and plumbers. The nuns are active in the communities where they live, mainly in Nepal and India, treating sick animals and organizing eye care camps for villagers. They trek and cycle thousands of kilometers through Himalayan mountain passes to raise awareness on issues ranging from pollution to human trafficking. Following a massive earthquake in April 2015 in Nepal, they refused to leave but trekked to villages to remove rubble, clear pathways and distribute food to survivors. Carrie Lee, president of Live to Love International, a charity which works with the Drukpa
nuns to support marginalized Himalayan communities, says they are exceptional role models. “The Kung Fu Nuns are heroes of the Himalayas,” she said. “They are fiercely compassionate and brave. Not even earthquakes, avalanches, monsoons and cloudbursts can stand in their way.” The nuns are now taking on one of the biggest threats facing women and girls in India today. Rape. Stories feature daily in Indian newspapers and television channels of girls being raped on their way to school, students molested in taxis, and women stalked heading home from work. “It’s been tough and my whole body is aching but the nuns were very inspiring. All girls should learn Kung Fu,” said one participant Tsering Yangchen, a 23-year-old student. (-Reuters)
VOICE OF ASIA 21
BASEBALL: Astros’ upcoming series may be affected by Harvey
OUSTON, Monday 8/28/2017 - With the catastrophic rains of Tropical Storm Harvey inundating much of southeastern Texas, it is unclear if the Astros will play baseball this week.
las and really just sit there and wait to see what happens,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
what everybody is suffering through.” The severe flooding and dam-
“We’re going to fly to Dal-
OUSTON, Monday, August 28, 2017 ouston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt posted a video message and donated $100,000 to an online fundraiser that he started Sunday while Houston was being hit by flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey.
Sports figures and teams took to social media to offer thoughts, prayers and wellwishes to the city of Houston as it deals with a catastrophic tropical storm.
“At this point, our focus is on the safety of our fans, our players, and their families and our front office staff and their families,” Astros President of Business Operation Reid Ryan said.
The Astros and Rangers canceled their plans to travel to Houston on Sunday night, according to the Associated Press. Both teams spent the weekend in California playing scheduled road series and are flying to Dallas instead to await an official decision on if the Astros’ home games for the week will be played.
NFL: J.J. Watt donates $100k for Houston relief
n Monday, the Texans and the NFL both gave a $1 million donation to the Red Cross.
The Astros are slated to host the Rangers for a three-game set starting Tuesday and the Mets over the weekend, but the organization is yet to confirm if the games will be as Harvey is expected to linger over the area for a few more days.
“As we continue to monitor the conditions, we have been in communication with Major League Baseball and the Texas Rangers and will provide an update on Monday.”
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
The Texans could not get back to Houston after Saturday night’s preseason game in New Orleans and flew to Dallas to wait out the storm. The Astros have not been home at Minute Maid Ballpark since Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall on Friday night. (Bob Levey/Getty Images) “Really, I think everything is up in the air. We might get to Houston sometime in the next couple of days and play. We might not, so I don’t know what’s possible. “The most important thing is (that) baseball is secondary right now,” Hinch added. “Our schedule, our flight times, where we’re going to be, the buses, like all that stuff is meaningless compared to
age from Hurricane Harvey Minute Maid Park, where the Astros play, does have a retractable roof, but it is not known if the stadium has been as severely affected as other buildings in the area have. The storm has reportedly claimed the lives of five people. Forecasters believe the region can see as much as 40 inches of rain over the next few days. (-NY Daily News)
CRICKET: Bangladesh dismiss Aussies for 217
HAKA, Bangladesh | AFP | Monday 8/28/2017 - Shakib Al Hasan claimed five wickets to help dismiss Australia for 217 and give Bangladesh the upper hand on the second day of the opening Test on Monday.
Watt posted a message on social media, urging everyone in Houston to stay safe. “I’m sitting here watching the news and checking the internet and seeing everything that’s going on with Hurricane Harvey and the damage it’s causing back home,” Watt said. “It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult not only because we have family and friends back there, some guys have young kids, some guys have wives and families. “But that’s our city. It’s very tough to watch your city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help. Not be there to help with the recovery. Not be there to help with the process. It’s very tough.” Watt upped his goal of $500,000 in funds for flood relief after raising $200,000
JJ Watt’s donation adds to NFL and Texan’s million dollar gift. (Photo: AFP/File) in two hours. Watt personally gave $100,000 to the fundraiser, tweeting the message, “Your support is phenomenal!” The Texans will remain in Dallas on Monday and will hold practice at The Star, the Cowboys’ training facility in Frisco. The team said no decision has been made on plans for the rest of the week or Thursday’s
preseason game against the Cowboys, which is scheduled to be played at NRG Stadium. The Cowboys have offered to host the game, and the league will make the final decision on where the game will be played. “Everybody in Houston stay safe,” Watt said. “We’re thinking about you. We’re going to come back. We’re going to help you out.” (-ESPN)
SEA Games: ‘Little Mermaid’ splashes to seven golds
Australia, who resumed the day on a precarious 18-3, were bowled out early in the final session for 217 to hand the hosts a 43-run first-innings lead. By stumps they had increased that to an 88-run advantage for the loss of one wicket. Shakib, who finished with 5-68 and also top-scored in Bangladesh’s first innings with 84, was ably supported by offspinner Mehedi Hasan. Mehedi claimed three wickets for 62 including the prized scalp of skipper Steve Smith for eight. “By grace of Allah the match is in our hand. Hopefully we will also do well tomorrow,” said Mehedi, a practising Muslim. “If our batsmen take responsibility and put a good total it will be challenging for them. I don’t think the wicket is very difficult. But we bowled well.” The hosts reached 45-1 at stumps in their second innings, with opener Tamim Iqbal on 30 and nightwatchman Taijul Islam yet to score. Slow left-armer Ashton Agar ended a confident 43-run opening stand when he had Soumya Sarkar (15) caught by Usman Khawaja at long-on after sev-
Shakib Al Hasan five-for helped dismiss the Aussies (File photo) eral attempts. Australia also had Agar to thank for helping get them close to Bangladesh’s first innings total of 260 after their regular batsmen struggled against spin. Agar, batting at number nine, made an unbeaten 41 and shared a crucial stand of 49 with Pat Cummins, taking Australia past the 200 mark after Shakib and Mehedi had the visitors on the ropes. Agar and Cummins came together after Mehedi had Matthew Wade plumb leg-before for five and Shakib drew Glenn Maxwell forward for a stumping on 23 to leave Australia struggling on 144-8. When he was on 11 Cummins survived a dropped catch by Shafiul Islam at cover off Shakib and was then reprieved by the third umpire after being given out caught behind.
Shakib finally bowled Cummins for 25 in the evening session and then had Josh Hazlewood caught by Imrul Kayes at short leg to end Australia’s innings and complete his 16th five-wicket haul in Tests -- at least one against each of the nine Test teams he faced. But the left-handed Agar frustrated the Bangladesh bowlers during a 97-ball stay at the crease that included two fours and a six. “We’re positive. We’ve had a pretty good fightback today and anything can happen on this wicket,” Agar told reporters. “Things happen so quickly when the ball’s spinning and turning and as you saw tonight a few of them really jumped, so we’re confident that if we get on a bit of a roll tomorrow we can knock them over.” The 23-year-old took the attack to the opposition but ran out of partners.
MMA: Smiles all around as fighters savor bout
AS VEGAS | AFP | Monday 8/28/2017 - Conor McGregor was drinking Irish whiskey and acting like he had won. Floyd Mayweather Jr. was reminiscing about his early days as a fighter and looking forward to a different kind of business at his strip club.
Fans of both boxing and mixed martial arts had to be
UALA LUMPUR, Malaysia | AFP Vietnam’s “Little Mermaid” Nguyen Thi Anh Vien clinched a swimming double to reach seven golds at the Southeast Asian Games on Friday, helping her country stay on Malaysia’s tail on the overall medals table. The shy 20-year-old won the women’s 200m individual medley by nearly five seconds, and then added the 50m backstroke. Anh Vien, a captain in the Vietnamese army, has cut a swathe through the women’s events for the second straight Games after she also won eight titles in 2015. She shared the limelight with
fighter. “I enjoyed it very, very much,” McGregor said. “It was an honor for me to showcase my skills.” They go their separate ways now, after a fight that had a little something for everyone. Mayweather won by battering McGregor around late until it was stopped in the 10th round, but in reality McGregor was a big winner too.
There were smiles all around, and with good reason. They pulled off an audacious gamble Saturday night, and all that was left to do was to count the money rolling in. Mayweather estimated his take at $300-350 million. McGregor said he likely would clear $100 million, and said he had his accountants on speed dial to make sure it was collected.
Nguyen Thi Anh Vien of Vietnam competes during the women’s 400M individual medley final of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur on August 25 (Photo: AFP)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (left) and Conor McGregor embrace during a news conference after their much-ballyhooed meeting Saturday in Las Vegas. Mayweather won by TKO in the 10th round (Photo: AP/Isaac Brekken) happy, too. They got a reasonably entertaining fight that
settled nothing about the two sports but embarrassed neither
her 15-year-old compatriot Nguyen Huu Kim Son, who won a thrilling men’s 400m individual medley in a Gamesrecord time of 4min 22.12sec. The three swimming golds added to four on the track as Vietnam kept pace with Malaysia on the medals table, although the hosts remained 18 ahead with 63 late on Friday. Le Tu Chinh provided shades of Usain Bolt as she clinched the women’s sprint treble, running a powerful anchor leg as Vietnam won the women’s 4x100m relay in a Games record of 43.88. Vietnam’s Bui Thi Thu Thao leapt 6.66m to win the women’s long jump, and Nguyen Thi Oanh timed 17:23.20
of boxing like he predicted before the fight, but he won millions of new fans and will now likely return to the UFC as its unquestioned star. And Mayweather?
He was reasonably competent as a boxer in his first pro fight. He actually controlled the first few rounds, and was never off his feet despite taking a beating in the late rounds.
Well, 50-0 has a nice ring to it, passing the 49-0 record of Rocky Marciano that serves as a benchmark in the sport. He got a knockout that helped erase the stain from his fight with Manny Pacquiao two years earlier. And, after earning nearly $1 billion in his 21-year career, he can get on with his varied businesses and maybe even train a few fighters himself.
Mayweather eventually figured him out, and exposed him for the boxing novice he was. McGregor didn’t become king
“You won’t see me in the ring anymore,” Mayweather said. “Any guy calling me out, forget it. I’m OK. I had a great
to take gold in the women’s 5,000m. Duong Thi Viet Anh shared high jump gold with Singapore’s Michelle Sng, after they both cleared 1.83m. Sng lost a jump-off with Viet Anh, but she was awarded joint gold on appeal. Elsewhere, Malaysia picked up two gold medals in ten-pin bowling, another two in lawn bowls and one in pencak silat, a martial art, to inch towards their target of 111 golds. And English-born Singaporean Peter Gilchrist, a four-time billiards world champion, won his fifth straight SEA Games singles title, beating Myanmar’s Chi Ko Ko 3-0.
career.” Indeed, he did, winning every time he got into the ring and building his brand wisely so he could make a fortune off of it. No boxer has ever marketed himself like the man who calls himself Money, and he can now relax and enjoy his private jets, mansions and courtside seats to NBA games around the nation. The criticism of the Pacquiao fight will now fade away, and the last image of the best defensive fighter of his generation will be of him coming forward boldly and going for one final knockout. “I felt like I owed the fans a last hurrah,” Mayweather said. “I told you guys I’d come straight ahead and I told you the fight would not go the distance.”
VOICE OF ASIA 22
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Your Horoscope for the Week of September 1, 2017 The Week’s Horoscope courtesy: GoToHoroscope.com
READ YOUR COMPLETE HOROSCOPE ONLINE WWW.VOICEOFASIAONLINE.COM
Libra (R,T) 23 Sept to 22 Oct
Aries (A,L,E) 21 March to 20 April The first ten-day period of the month will be particularly successful for married Arians. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to take a small vacation during this time and go on holiday with loved ones. You don’t need to go far or abroad – a little house in the country will be more than enough. In the first ten days, you need tranquility, the peace of mind which will awaken creative notes within you, and enable you to clean your subconscious of unneeded junk.
In the area of personal relationships, this will prove to be quite a calm period, which means that you’re unlikely to have to deal with any fundamental problems. The sphere of work and finances will require a certain level of concentration, but the end result will also be simply incredible. However, in this regard, it would be appropriate to remember Mars, who will, in all likelihood, be strengthened by the position of aggressively aligned Uranus. You shouldn’t try to deal with matters forcefully, but you mustn’t slow down.
Taurus (B,V,U) 21 April to 20 May
Scorpio (N,Y) 23 Oct to 21 Nov
You will have to distribute your resources properly, investing only in the most important directions. This may not be easy, but no dramatic challenges are foreseen, especially since the “heavenly leader” of your element, the Sun, will help you in a difficult situation, there’s no doubt about it. As far as developments which could take place on the “romantic front” are concerned, here it would make sense to focus on your own feelings, your instinctive feelings.
It would make sense to be as proactive as possible, and sometimes it will even be profitable to take risks when you only have minimal information at your disposal. When it comes to the area of work, the risk will really be minimal, although we will examine several nuances in more detail. The only thing is that you mustn’t forget that Venus, who in her normal position is not very friendly, will be especially strong right now. So be careful when showing your emotions. Don’t trust people you don’t know
Sagittarius (BH,F,DH,TH) 22 Nov to 21 Dec
Gemini (K,CHH,GH) 21 May to 20 June It’s important to point out that the current “celestial leader” of the element of air, the Sun, will cooperate with Saturn, who is Gemini’s primary helper. Altogether, this combination will give a surprising characteristic: in order to really mess something up, you will have to do nothing, that is, nothing whatsoever! Under any other circumstances, you are guaranteed consistent success, confident movement from one position to another. And this doesn’t only concern the area of work; the business sphere will stand out as being particularly dynamic.
It would be more logical right now to just do your job, although if there are initiatives, you definitely should set them in motion. In this regard, you shouldn’t be afraid of losing something if you aren’t risking anything, especially since in your close circle you will definitely find people who will support you. Be particularly attentive to situations which require a lot of resource expenditure. Don’t move forward if you’re not confident, and control your emotions properly, although there is a good chance that someone could provoke you.
Capricorn (KH,J) 22 Dec to 20 Jan
Cancer (D,H) 21 June to 22 July Mistakes are likely, and several could be fatal, but in order to do this, you would have to make a considerable effort. On the whole, we’re talking about a month which will let you move on to the next level. For some, this will involve a new job, others will probably take the relevant step and will decide to get married, whereas others will have to think about “eternity” and come to an important conclusion. In any event, you will attain some specific end result; don’t stress out if the end result does not correspond to your assumptions.
Act according to your convictions, but don’t let others (not even loved ones) influence your principles. A person must come to serious, truly fundamental conclusions on their own, and this is clearly not the time. You would do better to enjoy what you have. Be as actively involved in family discussions as you can, because this will enable you to neutralize any potential negativity, and at the same time to deal with a host of long-standing conflicts. Don’t even mention financial matters,and don’t borrow anything from anyone.
Aquarius (G,S,SH) 21 Jan to 19 Feb
Leo (M) 23 July to 22 August If a problem stands before you, you must not deal with it statically, but by moving, for example, going out to events, or organizing meetings with people could shed some light on the situation. It’s hard to say anything more specific in this regard because we are dealing with extremely unique aspects. This concerns the sphere of personal relationships and the work sphere equally. At the current stage of life, it would not make sense to clearly differentiate these two spheres, because they will be intertwined like never before.
Virgo (P) 23 August to 22 September There is a real chance that you could move your achievements to a fundamentally new level. For some people, this could involve exclusively work-related achievements, but others could take a broader look at the matter, and achieve even greater results. Circumstances will develop in their own way in any particular case, so it would make sense not to be formulaic, but rather to act as originally as possible. Don’t pay any particular attention to what is happening elsewhere, if you don’t want to trip.
In the sphere of personal relationships, significant metamorphoses are likely, but they will not concern you directly. These will be changes going on with your loved ones and friends. Of course, this will require certain actions from you, but more about this below. It’s important to point out that even with all the positivity of the present stage, you will sometimes have to act very cautiously. Don’t rush to make important decisions; focus on teamwork, otherwise, everything could become significantly more complicated.
Pisces (D,CH,Z) 20 Feb to 20 March The first ten-day period will be on the verge of risk, but only from your clearly biased perspective at the time. Later you will get all the necessary information, and you will understand that the situation was developing in a purely favorable way, especially considering that the end result was very much to your liking. Don’t shy away from opportunities, don’t doubt yourself or the people who are near to you. there’s no need to make any particularly exceptional efforts. The current initiatives will get the needed development but at the end you will definitely attain the results you need.
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VOICE OF ASIA 23
JOB POSTING – REPORTER KTRK-TV, the ABC Owned Television station in Houston, TX is looking for a full time General Assignments News Reporter. Candidates should have at least 5 years’ experience in major market TV. We are searching for a great story teller who brings energy and creativity to every report and live shot. Must have the ability to consistently land exclusive stories. Must be comfortable digging through data. Must be able to report on all platforms. Must be highly engaged in social media. If you are able to shoot your own material that is a plus. Must be willing to work any shift. To be considered interested applicants apply on-line at www.disneycareers. com by uploading a resume file, cover letter and list of references. Please reference Job Requisition # 482407BR. Equal Opportunity Employer –Female/Minority/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity. No Telephone Calls.
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
For Classified Advertising Call 713-7745140 MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK Check Your Mindset Before a Difficult Conversation
National Preparedness Month: Keep Your Family Safe in an Emergency
aging director of LifeStraw, a manufacturer of water filtration systems.
Convert a water bottle into a portable filter for safe, instant hydration. StatePoint photo.
hen it comes to emergency and natural disaster preparation, clean, uncontaminated water should be top-ofmind. September, which is National Preparedness Month, is an ideal time for individuals and families to make certain that they will be able to hydrate safely throughout the duration of an emergency.
Natural disasters, such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, can compromise local water sources. Flooding can be especially dangerous, when harmful bacteria and contaminants that transmit life-threatening diseases can be present in nearby waterways. Unfortunately, flooding can occur after a number of emergency scenarios,
from heavy rains to hurricanes to situations when snow melts too quickly. “Contamination in fresh water sources continues to be a public health problem domestically and worldwide. During emergency scenarios, the issue is amplified as water can become unreliable for consumption,” says Alison Hill, man-
Consumers need to have the ability to filter their water following an emergency situation. Be sure your emergency supplies include a portable filter which can fit onto a wide variety of popular water bottle brands such as LifeStraw Universal. This versatile filter fits on most bottles you already own and offers two-stage filtration to remove 99.999999 percent of bacteria and 99.999 percent of protozoa, while also reducing chemicals, bad taste and odors. The LifeStraw Universal kit is available online and at specialty retail stores.
“We’ve developed portable filtration technology to give consumers greater confidence that, in an emergency situation or natural disaster, they can have access to safe water for days, weeks, even months following a situation where their water supply is compromised,” says Hill. While most people don’t like to dwell on worst case scenarios, the right preparation can help you remain healthy and safe during an emergency. This National Preparedness Month; be sure that you equip your family with practical means to have safe drinking water.
If you’re preparing yourself for a conversation that you’ve labeled “difficult,” you’re more likely to feel nervous, stressed, angry, or upset. To minimize these negative emotions, reframe how you’re thinking about the conversation: You’re not saying no to your boss; you’re offering up an alternative solution. You’re not giving someone negative feedback; you’re starting a constructive conversation about their development. This isn’t sugarcoating. Be honest with yourself about how hard the conversation might be, but frame it as constructively as possible. You might tell yourself: We may have to talk about difficult things, but we’ll work through them together because we’ve always respected each other. And focus on what you stand to gain from the conversation — assume you have something to learn. By entering the discussion with an open mind, regardless of your coworker’s stance, you’re more likely to find common ground. Source: www.hbr.org
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VOICE OF ASIA 24
FRIDAY, September 1, 2017
Published on Aug 31, 2017
Voice of Asia Newspaper is based in Houston since 1987. We reach South Asian and Asian American families in Houston and surrounding cities i...