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Vol.5 No. 32 November 24-30, 2012 60 Cents
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Hamas cries victory; truce with Israel holds
Jerusalem: Hamas leaders and thousands of flag-waving supporters declared victory over Israel on Gaza's first day of calm under an Egyptian-brokered truce Thursday, as Israeli officials flew to Cairo for talks on easing a blockade on the Israeli operation against Hamas targets battered Palestinian in the Gaza Strip was provoked by Hamas territory. rocket launches into Israeli cities. The sentiment in Tel maxim of guerrilla war: “The guerAviv was mixed, perhaps acknowl- rilla wins if he does not lose. The edging Henry Kissinger’s cardinal Continued on page 4
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, met President Barack Obama at the East Asia Summit and retreat in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh Nov 20. Also see a pictorial feature ‘Obama in Asia’ on pg 15.
Stocks soar on Black Friday roaring sales
New York: The US stock market shared some Black Friday cheer with shoppers, rising sharply as people braved the annual postThanksgiving rush. Major stock indexes closed one of their best weeks of the year. Traders were encouraged by positive economic news from Germany and China, two engines Continued on page 4
INDIA TIES SPECIAL TO US: OBAMA TELLS MANMOHAN
On Board Air India One, Nov 20: President Barack Obama said he attaches "special significance" to relations with India during his brief "very friendly and frank" talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Phnom Penh Tuesday. During their "pull aside" meeting on the sidelines of the East Asia summit in the Cambodian capital, Manmohan Singh congratulated Obama on his re-election. "India is a big part of our plans," Obama told Manmohan, said the sources. Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who was present at the Continued on page 4
Black Friday shoppers thronged malls and stores everywhere.
2G spectrum row backfires on BJP: Sonia
New Delhi: The row over 2G spectrum allocation losses has backfired on the BJP, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said
BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi is accused of influencing CAG report on 2G spectrum.
Friday, after a former auditor blamed BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi for influencing the draft CAG report. "Absolutely. I think so," Sonia told reporters in the parliament complex when asked if the BJP’s accusations had backfired on the party. This followed a disclosure by Continued on page 4
Dr. Manmohan Singh with the Heads of ASEAN countries, at the10th ASEAN-INDIA summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov 19.
Op Ed 19
Spiritual Awareness 30
excellence in journalism
November 24-30, 2012
November 24-30, 2012
Priyanka Chopra builds anticipation about her debut music album
By Vikas Girdhar New York: Bollywood superstar and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra, who in September made a huge splash in the American entertainment industry by landing the NFL-theme gig for this season, is building the anticipation for an entire music album. Chopra, who released “In My City” as the first single and the theme of one of America’s most popular sport, now has revealed that she will be releasing a full-length album in the future and it will feature many big-name artists on collaborations. In an exclusive interview with The South Asian Times, Chopra said her album will reflect her own taste in music and thus feature many different varieties—but remained mum when asked about who those artists are. “It’s got every genre of music possible,” said Chopra. “I have an extremely eclectic taste in music—dance, electronic, little bit of rap, little bit of Bollywood—little bit of everything but I can’t talk about that right now.” She also said it was extremely humbling for her music to have been chosen to represent American football. “That was a big honor, not just because I’m Indian but also for new artists themselves. It’s a great sport and I’m really happy that it happened to be my first song. I’ve always liked Western music, Bollywood music and Indian music. What stands out most about pop is that the music is so global today. You can pick up music from any part of the world. It’s a great time to be a part of the music business from India.” Chopra, 30, is hoping that the same support she has received in her film and modeling careers will translate to American success.
Obama names Vishakha Desai to museum board
Washington: In yet another appointment of an Indian American to a key administration post, President Barack Obama has named former Asia Society president Vishakha N. Desai as member, National Museum and Library Services Board. At over a score, the Obama administration has more IndianAmericans working in top positions than any other previous administration with USAID administrator Rajiv Shah currently being the highest ranking Indian American. Announcing the appointment of Bombay University graduate Desai with nine others, Obama said: "I am pleased to announce that these experienced and committed individuals have agreed to join this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead." According to the White House announcement, Desai is president emeritus of Asia Society, an organization she led as president and CEO from 2004 to 2012. From 1977 to 1990, Desai worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in a variety of roles, ultimately serving as assistant curator of Indian, Southeast Asia, and Islamic collec-
Well-known to New Yorkers as president of Asia Society
The cover of Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra’s first single “In My City”.
Anticipation for the album is being attributed not only to Chopra’s relative silence about its details, but also to an entire country waiting for the breakthrough of one if its biggest stars in a new country on a new platform and career. Chopra acknowledges that singing for her is not as new as others believe it to be. She says that she was singing even before she learned the alphabet and it was always her father’s dream for her to be a professional singer. Since she now has her first taste of singing success and has embarked on what promises to be a bright career, she has the standing to offer advice to those who want to make the same transition. “Dream your dreams and make them happen,” she said.
tions from 1981 to 1990, and, simultaneously serving as the head of academic programs from 1981 to 1988. Desai has been a visiting professor at numerous universities and was an assistant and associate professor at the University of Massachusetts from 1988 to 1990. She is on the board of The Brookings Institution and is an advisor and reviewer for the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs. Desai received a BA from Bombay University and an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Brings Cheer to Storm-Hit NYC
New York: The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off in New York on Thursday, putting a festive mood in the air in a city still coping with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The young, and the young at heart, were delighted by the sight and sound of marching bands, performers and, of course, the giant balloons. The sunny weather quickly surpassed 50 degrees. Airports, train stations and highways were expected to remain busy Thursday as people made their way home to reconnect with family and friends for Thanksgiving — though some reunions might be bittersweet because of the damage and displacement caused by Superstorm Sandy. The popular Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, attended by more than 3 million people and watched by 50 million on TV, includes such giant balloons as Elf on a Shelf and Papa Smurf, a new version of Hello Kitty, Buzz Lightyear, Sailor Mickey Mouse and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Real-life stars were to include singer Carly Rae Sandy's havoc, and volunteers planned to serve thousands of turkey dinners to people it left homeless or struggling.Mayor Michael Bloomberg was reflective Thursday as he praised police, firefighters, armed services personnel, sanitation workers and volunteers involved in the storm response. After stopping at the parade, Bloomberg was heading to a firehouse in the hard-hit Rockaways area of Queens.
One of the many giant balloons at Macy’s Thanks giving Parade in Manhattan Thursday. Jepsen and Rachel Crow of "The X Factor." Greeley Square offered a perfect view of floats making the turn from Sixth Avenue onto 34th Street. Other cities planned to have showy marching bands, cartoon character balloons and musical extravaganzas, as well. Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit were among the big cities hosting parades. Among the scheduled highlights were a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey spectacular in Chicago; Phillies star Ryan Howard and Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler in Philadelphia; and a group of 2012 U.S. Olympic champions in Detroit. The holiday came as portions of the Northeast still were reeling from
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House in Washington, Wednesday. After the ceremony, "Cobbler" will head to George Washington's historic home in Virginia to be part of the "Christmas at Mount Vernon" exhibition.
November 24-30, 2012
End to AIDS in sight, says UN report
London: As the numbers infected with incurable human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) keeps falling, experts are hopeful that AIDS could be eradicated in future due to better access to drugs that can both treat and prevent it, according to a UN report. Some 34 million people had HIV by 2011. Worldwide, the number of people newly infected with the disease, which can be transmitted via blood and by semen during sex, is falling, it said. At 2.5 million, the number of new infections in 2011 was 20 percent lower than in 2001. Deaths from AIDS also fell to 1.7 million in 2011, down from a peak of 2.3 million in 2005 and from 1.8 million in 2010. The report said this allowed the "foundation to be laid for the eventual end of AIDS". In 2012, over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Of these, a quarter do not know they are carrying the virus, according to the Daily Mail. However, sub-Saharan Africa is the most severely affected region with almost one in every 20 adults infected with it, nearly 25 times the rate in Asia. There are also almost five million people with HIV in South, southeast and east Asia combined. "Although AIDS remains one of the world's most serious health challenges, global solidarity in the AIDS response during the past decade continues to generate extraordinary health gains," the report said. Since 1995, AIDS drug treatment - known as anti-retroviral therapy (ART) - has saved 14 million lifeyears in poorer countries, including 9 million in sub-Saharan Africa, the report said.
India a hot spot for pink travelers
Kolkata: Thanks to Indian gaytour operators, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community across the world is vying for India as the ultimate 'pink' tourist destination. "LGBT tourists want the same things as any traveler: to feel safe and welcome. India is becoming more popular with gay travelers since the high court decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. Feeling welcome is not only a reference to local hospitality, but also to larger issues of governmental rights," said John Tanzella, president and CEO of International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), which has a presence in 83 countries. Pink tourism caters exclusively to the LGBT community and the new age pink tour operators are unique in that they try to make gay travelers feel welcome in an unknown land and also bridge the gap between them and the locals. "An LGBT company caters to gay travelers, so their tour packages will often include gay nightlife or interactions with local gay business people," Tanzella said. Pink Vibgyor, a gay-friendly destination management company, sends out advisories to their clients about the Indian scenario and also how to manage interactions with new acquaintances. Apart from the normal sightseeing, the pink tourists get a flavor of the country through multifaceted experiences tailored to meet their cultural curiosities and adventurous escapades. "We also introduce our clients to LGBT-run or managed NGOs and encourage them to contribute by understanding the set-up. Contribution can be in the form of a service or monetary contribution," said Mehta of Pink Vibgyor. According to the tour operators, besides the metros, smaller cities are also on the radar of the pink travelers. Cities like Udaipur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Khajuraho, Varanasi, locations like back waters of Kerala, Marari Beach, Bangalore, foothills of Himalayas are quite popular, they say. According to Mehta, Udaipur has a number of gay friendly restaurants and cafes, Jaipur has gay friendly neighborhoods and people, whereas down south, Kerala provides good opportunities for travelers looking for a therapeutic getaway.
India ties special to US story Continued from page 1 meeting along with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, spoke to reporters on board the aircraft returning from Phnom Penh. Manmohan and Obama also had "very friendly and frank exchange of views" over dinner Monday night and at another face to face meeting. Menon met his counterpart Tom Donilon and discussed bilateral and regional issues. Obama had flown in to Cambodia from Thailand and Myanmar. His visit to Myanmar and Cambodia are a first for any US president and marks the growing importance the US attaches to engaging with countries in the Asia Pacific. Hamas cries victory story Continued from page 1 conventional army loses if it does not win.” Eight days of punishing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and a barrage of Hamas rocket fire on Israel ended inconclusively. While Israel said it inflicted heavy damage on the mili-
tants, Gaza's Hamas rulers claimed that Israel's decision not to send in ground troops was a sign of a new deterrent power. "Resistance fighters changed the rules of the game with the occupation (Israel), upset its calculations," Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, who attended the rally, said later in a televised speech. "The option of invading Gaza after this victory is gone and will never return." Thousands of Israeli soldiers who had been sent to the border during the fighting withdrew Thursday, the military said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the offensive's aims of halting Gaza rocket fire and weakening Hamas were achieved. "I know there are citizens who were expecting a harsher response," he said, adding that Israel is prepared to act if the cease-fire is violated. In a development that could complicate cooperation on the cease-fire, Israel on Thursday arrested an Arab-Israeli man connected to Hamas and Islamic Jihad on accusations he planted a bomb on a bus in Tel
Aviv that wounded 27 people in the hours before the agreement was announced Wednesday, police said. And on Friday, Israeli soldiers fired warning shots and then at the feet of some Palestinians who tried to cross the border fence into Israeli territory, killing one person and injuring nine others. But the truce was holding Black friday story Continued from page 1 of global growth. Technology stocks soared after a few weeks of selling. And early reports from retailers suggested strong consumer spending. Many stores opened earlier than ever this year allowing for earlier informal reports about their performance. The Nasdaq ended up 40.30 points, or 1.4 percent, higher at 2,966.85. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 172.79, or 1.4 percent, to 13,009.69, the first time since election day that the Dow closed above 13,000. The S&P 500 added 18.12, or 1.3 percent, to 1409.15. The rally gave the S&P 500 its VP - Strategy and Marketing: Namit Narain C: 516.303.2075 Namit@TheSouthAsianTimes.info
biggest weekly point gain since last December 49 points, or 3.6 percent. The Dow gained 3.4 percent and the Nasdaq almost 4 percent for the week. The market closed early, at 1 p.m. EST 2G Spectrum story Continued from page 1 R.P. Singh, former director general of CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India), that the report was influenced by Joshi. The BJP leader is also the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chief. R.P. Singh told TV channels that the CAG's 2G report had been influenced by Joshi and the loss figure mentioned in it was presumptive and was restored even after he deleted it in the draft. I&B Minister Manish Tewari also hit out at Joshi. "What is extremely important is that (in) May 2010, when the draft report is prepared by R.P. Singh, the loss is quantified at Rs.20,645 crore. But in November 2010, (when) the report is presented in parliament, the loss jumps to Rs.1 lakh 76 thousand crore," Tewari said. Bhagwati Creations, Rahul Sahota Web Editor: B.B.Chopra News Service: HT Media Ltd. IANS Newswire Services Printing: Five Star Printing, NY Richner Publications Contacts Editor@TheSouthAsianTimes.info Subscribe@TheSouthAsianTimes.info Advertisements Advertise@TheSouthAsianTimes.info P : 516.390.7847 F : 516.465.1343 Website: www.TheSouthAsianTimes.info
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November 24-30, 2012
IALI annual Diwali Food Drive raises $36,000 for Interfaith Nutrition Network
Dr. Kishore Kuncham was praised for his vision and leadership in heading the food drive project, setting a new fundraising record every year for the last four years.
Hempstead, NY: The India Association of Long Island (IALI) completed its 17th year of fundraising for humanitarian community service projects. The 17th year presentation took place on November 18 at the Mary Brennan INN Soup Kitchen, Hempstead, NY. This year, the annual Diwali Food Drive benefit raised over $36,000 in cash and two truckloads of food items for The Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN), which operates 19 soup kitchens, 3 emergency shelters and a long term housing program on Long Island. More than 6,000 people are fed each week. In addition, over $20,000 worth of medicines were collected to support RotaCare, which facilitates free health care for the relief of pain and suffering to those who have the most need and the least access to medical care. Diwali Food Drive donors included many generous community members, corporate sponsors, merchants, and partner organizations including The
From left: Mrs. Darshan Ranu, IALI President Dr. Sukhvinder Ranu, Peter Bheddah (Grand Sponsor), Councilman Anthony Santino, Vijaya Nyayapathi, Raghava Nyayapathi (Honoree), Rob Kelly, Jean Kelly, Executive Director, the INN, Raji Kuncham, and Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Chairman, IALI Community Service Projects.
Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Chairman, IALI Community Service Projects, and IALI President Dr. Sukhvinder Ranu, accepting a Citation from Councilman Anthony Santino of Town of Hempstead.
Dr Kishore Kuncham: Chairman, IALI Community Service Projects
Telugu Literary Cultural Association (TLCA), Art of Living Foundation, Arya Samaj, Sai Mandir, Hicksville South Rotary, and AAPI-QLI. The chairman for the IALI community service projects, Dr. Kishore Kuncham, welcomed the dignitaries and thanked the sponsors and other community members for their generosity. In his remarks, Dr. Kuncham reminded all of the significance of Diwali as described by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Dr. Sukhvinder Ranu, President of IALI, congratulated Dr. Kuncham for his tremendous efforts, vision, and leadership in heading this project and for setting a new fundraising record every year. He reminded everyone that Dr. Kuncham has been involved in community service projects on behalf of IALI for the past ten years. The Food drive had humble beginnings with contributions of only 500
cans of food. Under the past leadership of Dr Sunil Mehra, and spearheaded by Mrs. Suda Sharma from its inception, the food drive is a known fund raising program. For the past four years, under Dr. Kuncham, the food drive has continued to reach greater heights. In the past four years, the campaign has raised over $120,000 in cash, eight truckloads of non-perishable food, and, with the support of many physicians from the community, over $120,000 worth of medicines which have been donated to RotaCare. Dr. Kuncham requested that. Peter Bheddah and Dorothy Bheddah light the first lamp for their outstanding and continued support to the INN and for being a Grand Sponsor of this annual project. Other dignitaries and sponsors followed the Bheddahs. The second Grand Sponsor was AAPI-QLI and a special acknowledgement was
made on behalf of it and its President, Dr. Sunil Mehra for their contributions to this wonderful cause. Continuing the tradition of recognizing the services of an individual or institution for supporting IALI community projects, Raghava Nyayapathi, a long term supporter, was presented Outstanding Community Service Award by Dr. Ranu and Dr. Kuncham. Attending the reception were the Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony J. Santino, Mr. Kamlesh Mehta, Nassau County’s Director of Business & Economic Development, Mr. Jim Reed, county’s former Deputy Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, Past IALI Presidents, Mr. Nagendra Gupta, TLCA President, Dr. Dev Ratnam, Trustee INN, and community members. Jean Kelly, INN’s executive director, thanked IALI and the entire community for bringing this Diwali light to the lives of those who are less
fortunate, and especially in these difficult times as we are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Other sponsors included the Raghava & Vijaya Nyayapathi family, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Chandra Sekhar & Radhika Gajulapalli family, Pavan & Rama Darsi family, Ram & Kalpana Vanam family, Dr. Vijaypal & Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Dr. Rajiv & Aruna Saxena family, Ajay Choudhary (ATM Pizza, Inc.), Dr. Dev & Dr. Runi Ratnam & family, and Mr. Giri & Indu Chhabra family. Mr. Diku Mody & family once again graciously donated two truckloads of non-perishable food. Food drive committee members and volunteers were thanked for their outstanding support and dedication. Mr. Harry Aurora of TheETutor.com and Mr. Kamlesh Mehta were acknowledged and thanked for providing lunch for the event.
Indian Health Camp of NJ to celebrate “Volunteer Appreciation Day”
AIF Clinton Fellowship recruits for Class of 2013 – 2014
bout 200 people including volunteers, committee members, dignitaries and invited guests are expected to attend “Volunteer Appreciation Day” organized by Indian Health Camp of New Jersey - IHCNJ at Piyush Patel’s Park Theater, 843 Park Avenue, Cranston, Rhode Island on Saturday, December 8, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. onward.
The appreciation day is to celebrate and recognize dedicated services from the volunteers of IHCNJ during the health camp activities throughout the New Jersey at various locations from the past 13 years. IHCNJ is a 501 © (3) nonprofit organization in New Jersey to provide health screening and disease prevention educa-
tion and counseling for the people between the ages of 45 and 64 without any medical insurance. Approximately 20-25 volunteers will be recognized by the IHCNJ Committee Members and other invited guests and dignitaries. The management officials from Secaucus Temple, Yogi Divine Society, Accurate Diagnostics Labs, Bala-
ji Temple and community leaders like Anil Patel, J.P. Patel, Tushar V. Patel, Mac Shah, Pinakin Pathak, Deepak Trivedi, Kaushik Amin and leaders from various other community organizations such as Indian Cultural Society of NJ, Santram Bhakat Samaj USA, AIANA, Gujarat Foundation and IACFNJ are among the invitees.
s the current Fellowship class settles into their new homes and begins work at partner NGOs, AIF begins recruitment for the 2013 – 2014 class. With the goal of reaching a 50-50 ratio of US to Indian citizens in the Fellowship, the program is conducting rigorous recruitment at Indian universities and professional institutes. To pass on the news to potential applicants or learn more about the application process, visithttp://www.aif.org/w-j-clinton-fellowship/apply.html.
November 24-30, 2012
Queens mosque attack victim alleges hate crime
New York: A Muslim man in Flushing, Queens survived a brutal stabbing right in front of mosque. In an interview with CBS Television the victim said that the motive was pure hate. The attack happened just before 5 a.m. Sunday at the Masjid al-Saalihdeen, located in a strip mall at 72-55 Kissena Blvd. in Queens. On Sunday night, staples and stitches covered the body of the 57-year-old Bashir Ahmad. “He hit me, hit me, hit me, hit me. For like six or seven — I don’t know how many,” Bashir said. He said the man who stabbed him repeatedly, was also repeatedly cursing and shouting messages of hate. He said the man told him: “(Expletive) Muslim. I will kill Muslim.” The victim said it happened while he was at the front door. He had the key in the lock, but it was giving him trouble and was sticking. So as he focused on fixing the key, the assailant came up from behind. The suspect, whom Bashir describes as dark haired, with a medium complexion and in his 40s, ran away after Bashir fought back. At one point, Bashir held down his attacker’s arms and the suspect bit him.
300 pound statue stolen from Wayne Hindu temple
Wayne, NJ: A 300-pound statue of the Hindu God Shiva has been stolen from the Indian Cultural Society Hindu Temple and Mahatma Gandhi Center, according to temple officials, who plan to offer a reward for information leading to an arrest. The statue, valued at around $6,200, was perched on a hill on the temple grounds on Preakness Avenue and is made of a five-metal alloy, including copper, gold and silver. The statue was last seen around 11:30 p.m. on November 13, and it was discovered missing at about 10:15 a.m. November 14, police said. The thieves left a fresh tire track in the grass and boot prints could also be seen, authorities said. The temple’s camera system was not working, police said. The theft occurred the night after Diwali.
Lord Shiv’s statue values around $6200 is made of five-metal alloy
“The knife hand, I take the hand. He takes a (bite) like that, takes my nose in his mouth,” Bashir said. The police are investigating the case. A sketch of the alleged culprit has been released as well.
As worshipers arrived for the New Year ’s celebration on November 14, they were stunned to learn that the statue had been stolen.
Under India's presidency, UN Security Council Assemblyman introduces bill to make Diwali a school holiday adopts Presidential Statement on Piracy
United Nations: The UN Security Council held an open debate on Nov 19 on the key issue of Piracy. Subsequently, the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement (PRST) on the subject, which was initiated by the Indian delegation, and incorporates the concerns of several countries relating to the welfare of seafarers taken as hostages by pirates. The highlights of the PRST included: Expresses serious concern on the continued violence employed by pirates against seafarers, and the need for cooperation between private sector, States and relevant organizations for the exchange of evidence, information and intelligence in the investigation and prosecution of pirates as well as exchange of such information and intelligence aimed at liberating seafarers from the captivity of pirates; stresses the need for a comprehensive response by the international community to repress piracy and tackle its underlying causes for a durable eradication; calls upon member States, particularly concerned States, to criminalize piracy under their domestic laws; stresses that the coordination of efforts at the regional level is necessary for the development of a comprehensive strategy to counter the threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea; highlights the need to keep the High Risk area under regular review in a transparent manner based on the actual incidents of piracy, which was an absolute necessity for the coastal States in the region; encourages international community through Flag states, port states and
Bernard, NJ: Towns with a high percentage of IndianAmerican residents are being urged to observe the Diwali holiday by closing school on the first day of the five-day festival, under a legislative measure unveiled Friday. Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula (D-Somerset), the only South Asian lawmaker in the 120-member state Legislature, said in a release that Diwali is the most popular Indian festival celebrated by the majority of the state's Indian-American population, including Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs. "Closing schools with high Indian-American populations on the first day of Diwali, would honor an important tradition of a growing segment of our state's population, and would provide all Indian-American children with the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful festival with their family and friends," Chivukula said. Parents in Bernards have submitted a petition in the past encouraging the local school board to observe Diwali as a school holiday, according to The Star-Ledger. "It would allow for time to celebrate as the holiday is meant to be celebrated: by going to the temple, calling relatives in India or simply celebrating with immediate family and friends throughout the day," Saniya Waghray, a graduate of the township’s Ridge High School, previously told The Star-
Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, Permanent Representative of India to UN
coastal states to further consider the development of safety and security measures on board vessels, including regulations for the deployment of privately contracted armed security guards on board vessels through a consultative process.Addressing the open debate Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, Permanent Representative of India to UN emphasized that India accorded the highest priority to combating piracy, and had actively supported international efforts at the operational level, including through anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since 2008, as well as deployment of ships in the Eastern and North Eastern Arabian Sea. He also pointed out that operations by the Indian Navy had helped neutralize several attempts of piracy. Ambassador Puri emphasized the urgent need for the international community to address the serious problem of seafarers being taken as hostages and consequent humanitarian problems faced by them and their families, which requires active cooperation in the sharing of information, evidence and intelligence in the investigation.
Ledger. According to Susan McGowan, board of education president, the board policy committee is currently reviewing the district calendar for several issues that have been identified. "Many issues impact the calendar, including the school start dates, the number of week-long vacations and breaks negotiated into the teacher contracts," she told The StarLedger. "We also need to be cognizant of the impact of staffing and absentee rates for days that we choose to have school where many other local schools have off. Additionally, we do our best to be respectful of national holidays and religious observances," she said. Under current state law, Diwali is included in the list of religious holidays that students are permitted to be absent from school. The statute ensures that a student's absence on a religious holiday will be recorded as an excused absence, and that the student cannot be deprived of any opportunity for any award or of the right to take an alternative test of examination, according to a release. McGowan said in Bernards, the policy committee will bring a recommendation to the board for the calendar in the coming months.
MoneyGram launches ‘Bringing You Closer’ global holiday campaign
oneyGram, a leading global money transfer company, has launched an integrated, multi-platform advertising and marketing campaign for the holiday season. MoneyGram’s “Bringing You Closer” campaign is designed to build consumer preference for the company’s money transfer services during the holiday period, which typically experiences seasonal increases as consumers around the world send money to loved ones. “We are committed to bringing customers closer throughout the year, and the holidays are an especially important time when the gift of money takes on a cultural significance for our global audience,” said Juan Agualimpia, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of MoneyGram. “This campaign represents a comprehensive effort to generate consumer awareness and reinforce our brand positioning through a variety of marketing assets and channels that foster consumer preference during the season.” MoneyGram will deliver its global message to consumers through a combination of television, print, and radio spots, point-of-sale marketing, grassroots public relations, and interactive online components. MoneyGram is also expanding outside of traditional marketing activities into the online space through various inter-
active activities. video contest on MoneyGram’s Facebook page will invite consumers in select countries to share their favorite holiday memory. Two winners will be selected to each receive a round-trip airfare voucher to bring them closer to friends and family. A Holiday Card promotion to enable Facebook users to send a fun and creative photo or video greeting card to friends and family through MoneyGram’s Facebook page. Consumers will be invited to sing favorite holiday songs for a chance to appear in a video “mash-up” of recordings from events in the U.S, U.K. and Italy. The final version will be uploaded to YouTube, highlighting the cultural diversity of MoneyGram consumers during the holiday season. “As many of our customers look to connect with their friends and family around the holidays, MoneyGram services continue to bring people closer together,” said Agualimpia. “MoneyGram is dedicated to serving the needs of consumers so families around the world can enjoy this cherished time of year.”
November 24-30, 2012
India-born Autar Kaw is US Professor of the Year
Washington, DC: Autar Kaw, one of the most significant an India-born professor of obstacles to engineering stumechanical engineering at the dents being successful by proUniversity of South Florida, is viding students everywhere among the four recipients of the free access to supplemental 2012 US Professor of the Year lessons, the release said. award. "Dr Kaw's selection reafThe sponsors US Council for firms what the University of Advancement and Support of South Florida and his students Education (CASE) and the have long known about this Carnegie Foundation for the exceptional professor and outAdvancement of Teaching standing individual: his comProf Autar Kaw declared Kaw, a USF professor mitment to education and his for 25 years, Outstanding Doctoral and dedication to his students knows no bounds," Research Universities Professor. said USF President Judy Genshaft. This annual prestigious award recognizes Kaw is a fellow in the American Society of exceptional professors for their ability to Mechanical Engineers and a member of the engage and influence students, according to a American Society of Engineering Education. media release from the Tampa Florida based In 2011, he was awarded the National university. Outstanding Teaching Medal from the Kaw, an early adopter of new technologies American Society for Engineering Education. and social media to teach complex mathematiBorn in India, Kaw received his bachelor's cal calculations, is one of four professors - degree in mechanical engineering from Birla selected from more than 300 nominees - to Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, receive the award that is considered the India, and his master's and PhD in nation's highest honor for undergraduate Engineering Mechanics from Clemson teaching. University. Kaw is known to tens of thousands of engiKaw said his use of technology stems from neering students around the world as the a basic concern for student learning: he saw "Numerical Methods Guy" through his students struggling with the same concepts Holistic Numerical Methods Institute website, semester after semester. If that was happening his blog and YouTube video lectures. in his classroom, it was probably happening He has dedicated his career to eliminating elsewhere, he surmised.
Sunita Willams returns from space with new record
Washington, DC: IndianAmerican astronaut Sunita Williams returned to earth after 127 days in space with a new record under her belt - the most spacewalking time by a female at 50 hours and 40 minutes over seven career excursions. Williams, who was commander of Expedition 33 on the International Space Station returned home with two space-going colleagues aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule that landed at 8:56 p.m. Sunday night northeast of Arkalyk in the steppes of Kazakhstan, according to US space agency NASA. Williams logged 322 days during two space flights making her second on the list of most experienced US female astronauts. She also holds the record of longest spaceflight (195 days) for female space travelers. Williams, Aki Hoshide of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and
Sunita Williams smiles after landing in a Soyuz capsule outside the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan.
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko spent 125 of their 127 days in space circling Earth onboard the ISS. The trio blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 15. While on the outpost, they welcomed SpaceX's Dragon capsule making its first official cargo delivery, which included fresh apples and chocolate-vanilla swirl ice
cream. Williams and Hoshide also carried out two spacewalks. Kevin Ford, the new ISS commander and his crewmates-Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin-will run the outpost as they await the arrival of three more crew members, including American Tom Marshburn, in December.
Sanjay Sarma appointed first digital director of MIT
Washington, DC: An Indian American professor of mechanical engineering and IIT alumni has been appointed as the first director of digital learning of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In his new capacity, Sanjay Sarma, the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will work closely with the Institute's faculty, staff and students to assess how new models of online instruction might become integral parts of MIT students' on-campus education. A 1989 IIT alumni, he has long worked to develop new instructional techniques for mechanical engineering students. The announcement of his appointment was made by MIT's President L Rafael Reif. "As director of digital learning, Professor Sarma will serve as a convener and synthesizer," Reif wrote in his letter to the MIT community. "He will explore, collect and build on the wisdom and experience of individuals and groups across our community, and lead us in shaping a coherent vision.” "On the subject of blending online learning and residential education, he will also serve as experimenter-in- chief, assessing what is working best in MIT's current educational model, what we could do more effectively and what kind of changes we
Prof Sanjay Sarma
should pursue, from the way course content is delivered to the way we shape the campus itself," Reif said. "Throughout, he will work hand in hand with our edX team, led by Professor Anant Agarwal, and our edX partner universities, especially in interpreting the huge flow of edX data about how people learn," he said in a statement. A member of the Institute's mechanical engineering faculty since 1996, Sarma's work in the classroom has earned him multiple MIT awards for excellence in teaching, including the Den Hertog Teaching Excellence Award, in 2001, and the Joseph H Keenan Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education, in 2002.
November 24-30, 2012
Washington Leadership Program offers internship to South Asian college students
By Jinal Shah/SATimes Washington, DC: The Washington Leadership Program is now accepting applications from South Asian college students for the 2013 summer leadership program. This program creates an opportunity for potential leaders to broaden their understanding of US politics with firsthand view of the policymaking and legislative process. The original program built a strong reputation on both the Hill and in the community and continues to receive favorable reviews from former participants. Former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt called the Washington Leadership Program "the best program of its kind on the Hill." The The Leadership program has over 180 alumni who have interned for notable elected officials including senator Hillary Clinton, republican Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Senator Bill Frist and republican Bobby Jindal. Alumni from the program have gone on to win Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, and Mitchell Scholarships, as well as acceptances into top-flight medical, law, public policy, and other post-graduate programs. Several alums are currently senior advisors to government officials and one is an elected representative from the State of Maryland. This leadership program cultivates the South Asian American community’s next generation of leaders by placing them in Congressional offices or Government Agencies for eightweek summer internships and a structured leadership-training curriculum. Students also gain access to high- profile South Asian leaders in the nation’s capital. Students who are either US citizens or legal permanent residents can apply for a two month internship starting June 8. Interns will receive a total stipend of $2,000 and will be required to complete 23 short writing assignments during the internship. According to the website, selection to the program is highly competitive and not limited to students pursuing majors in social sciences. The backgrounds of past participants have ranged from medical school to art and business.
The Leadership Program has over 180 alumni who have interned with notable elected officials
program has continued to receive generous support from alumni, the
community-at-large, and community organizations and corporations.
Neha Gupta honored with ‘Power of Children’ award
New York: Neha Gupta, who In addition, Empower has seen first-hand how Orphans provides food and orphans can turn to a life of clothing in order to establish an crime for survival, was recenteffective learning environment. Furthermore, the program ly presented with the ‘Power of Children’ Award by The intends to provide medical supChildren's Museum of plies and health care to better Indianapolis for having foundenable a learning environment. ed her Empower Orphans outGupta has raised more than reach program. $700,000 thus far. A majority Neha Gupta, An Indian American junior at of the funds were raised by Pennsbury High School in founder, Empower making and selling wine Orphans charms at community events, Yardley, Penn., Gupta created the project in 2005, which has since posi- through friends and family, and by going tively impacted more than 15,000 children door to door in various neighborhoods. locally and abroad. It provides education, Additionally, a number of corporate sponmedical and other resources to orphans. sors have donated gifts in kind.
Health care providers to be connected to Indian community
Washington, DC: The Indian Medical Association of New England (IMANE) plans to organize a collaborative health expo that will bring various hospital and health care providers together with the Indian community, according to its newly elected president Manju Sheth. The group will also seek to increase membership through greater outreach to Indian-American physicians in New England, a region in northeastern United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. "Community service is a very important mission of IMANE and I am hoping that we can serve our wonderful community in multiple ways, including educating them about health issues that are especially prevalent in the Indian population," said Sheth after her election in Boston last week. Her goals for the group in the coming year include strengthening ties with the research and academic medical community, and deepening IMANE's many charitable, social and professional activities, Sheth said. "I am looking forward to a great year of service," added Sheth, who works at Beverly Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts, and specializes in internal medicine. At its 34th Annual Meeting in Boston last week, the organization for medical professionals of Indian origin in New England, also elected the group's 2013 Executive Committee, including Seema Arora as secretary and Sapna Aggarwal as treasurer.
PCS hosts Int’l Bhangra and Gidha competition
Chicago: Punjabi folk dance Bhangra teams from Columbia University Manhattan New York, George Mason University Washington DC, Duke university Durhan North Carolina, Washington University Saint Louis Missouri, and independent traditional teams “Ministry of Bhangra” from Chicago, and “Anakh-E-Gabroo” from Queens New York competed in the 8th PCS Chicago International Bhangra and Gidha Competition held at Des Plaines Theater in Des Plaines on November 3. Dr. Bhupinder Singh Saini of Advance Pain Management Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the chief guest. More than 800 attended the colorful high-energy performing arts show punctuated with hilarious comedy by Jus Reign of Canada, and stellar performances of Gidha by “Nachdiyan Cincy Mutiyara” from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a Bollywood fusion dance by Chicago Dhamaal. More than 120 male and female performers from all over the country participated in this event. In addition to the great Bhangra competition experience, the participants had a lot of fun games and dancing during pre and post social events, networking parties, meals together and celebrations like a youth festival. “Anakh-e-Gabroo” an independent traditional Bhangra team from Queens New York won the Bragging rights to the 2012 PCS Chicago Bhangra Championship first place trophy and $1,500 cash prize sponsored by Punjab Sports and Culture Club of Cincinnati Ohio. Sarwan Singh Tiwana of Chan Pardesi Radio also pledged $500 cash award to the winners. The second place PCS trophy and $750 cash prize was won by “Duke Dhamaka” Bhangra team of Duke University from Durham North Carolina in a very close contest with the rest of the teams. The second prize was sponsored by Professional Diagnostic Service, Inc. and presented by Sarpanch Sardar Darshan Singh. Bhangra teams were judged by Hardial Singh Deol, Parminder Singh Walia, Jaswinder Singh Sapal, Nimrata Kaur Singh, and Shamila Khetarpal for their traditional dance form, authenticity, costumes, choreography and artistic creativity in their presentations. Rajinder Singh Mago coordinated the judgment process and also managed back stage. The exhibition item by Punjab Sports and Cultural Club Cincinnati Ohio Gidha team “Nachdiyan Cincy Mutiyara” rendered an amazing performance and impressed the audience with their live Punjabi Boliyaan singing and authentic Gidha moves with traditional Punjabi props. PCS Chicago honored the team with
More than 120 performers participated int he event $1,000 cash award. Surinder Singh Sangha, vice president of PCS, welcomed the audience and hosted a moment of silence for the tragic death of Punjabi comedian Jaspal Bhatti, recent shootings of the movie theater in Aurora Colorado, Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek Wisconsin, and the deaths and devastation caused by the hurricane super storm Sandy. PCS president Baljit Singh Sidhu honored the chief guest Dr. Bhupinder Singh Saini with a plaque. Dr. Bhupinder Singh Saini honored the artist of the night comedian Jus Reign and the youth committee with PCS plaques.
November 24-30, 2012
India an important strategic partner of US: Ami Bera
Washington, DC: California-based physician Ami Bera, who created history by becoming only the third Indian-American to get elected to the US House of Representatives, has termed India as an important strategic partner of the US. “I travelled to India. India is the world's largest democracy and one of the world's largest economies. It's an important strategic partner to the US and the two countries have a history of collaboration on many regional and global issues,” the Congressman-elect said in an interview. Bera asserted that New Delhi should continue with its strategic partnership with Washington and the country should remain a market destination for US goods and services. On the state of affairs in his own country and the debate over outsourcing of jobs to countries like India, Bera said lawmakers in Congress must first focus on rebuilding America, restoring economic foundation and sparking development of industries and good
Arunachala "Raj" Nagarajan presented US flag flown over Capitol
Washington, DC: Eminent IndianAmerican Arunachala "Raj" Nagarajan has been presented with the national flag flown over the US Capitol in recognition of his contribution to the country and to mark the 50th anniversary of his arrival in the United States. At a ceremony at the Capitol Hill this week, Texas lawmaker Lamar Smith presented to Nagarajan, also from Texas, a certificate and flag flown over the US Capitol on September 9, 2012, the date of his 50th anniversary travel to the US. "At the request of the Honorable Lamar Smith, member of Congress, this flag was flown to commemorate Arunachala 'Raj' Nagarajan's 50th Anniversary of his journey to the US to pursue his American Dream," the certificate read. With just eight dollars in pocket, Chennai-boy Nagarajan undertook a 22-day boat ride to land in the US on September 9, 1962, to do a PhD in Physics at Carnegie Mellon. 30 publications and a People Manager's Award. As one of IBM's select Senior Technical fellows, Nagarajan chaired the Corporate Semi-conductor Committee for two years. He was also instrumental in the starting of a high voltage battery project in Tamil Nadu (Chennai) to manufacture start up batteries for MIG planes. Passionate about promoting goodwill between the US and India and preserving the Indian culture, in 1973 he founded a non-profit organization to sponsor several distinguished classical music artists from India to hold workshops, master classes, concerts and dance performances. Nagarajan's lifetime of community service and efforts to build bridges between Indian and American culture was recognized in 2010 and again in 2011, with The President's Call to Service Award, which was awarded by US President Barack Obama.
Congressman-elect Dr.Ami Bera
jobs that are not easily outsourced. “Next, we must strengthen our workforce, and eliminate tax loopholes that reward companies for sending jobs overseas. Most critically, we must revamp our trade strategy. We need trade rules that help facilitate moving American products into new markets, creating jobs here. If done correctly, strengthening our trade relationship with India will create jobs here in America,” he said. 47-year-old Bera is only the third Indian-American to have been elected to the US House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saundh in 1950 and Bobby Jindal in 2005.
Arunachala “Raj” Nagarajan (left)
After completing his PhD, he worked in IBM for almost 30 years on several aspects of semi-conductor technology like process, design, reliability and product engineering. During this tenure he reached IBM's coveted Third Invention Plateau with more than 20 patents,
India's luxury train lures Americans
Washington, DC: India's famed Maharajas' Express is making select stops on the US West Coast to showcase its luxurious amenities to North American travelers who want to experience Incredible India by stepping back into time. The Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which owns and operates the luxury train is hosting special events in Los Angeles (Nov 26), San Francisco (Nov 30), and Las Vegas to showcase Maharajas' Express, according to a media release. Awarded 'Best Luxury Train' by CNBC Travel in 2010 and named 1st runner up in the Readers Choice Award for Conde Nast Traveler in 2011, the train offers a range of five incredible itineraries between the hospitality enable Maharajas' Express to present India in a way never seen before." Each train carries 14 guest carriages, including one truly classic presidential suite that stretches the length of an entire carriage. Every cabin has large windows, designed so that guests can savor every bit of magnificent India.All passenger cars come with independent, cabin-controlled air conditioning, online water filtration systems, environmentallyfriendly toilets, pneumatic suspension, live television, Wi-Fi Internet, CCTV cameras, hair dryers, electronic safe deposit boxes, bath tubs in suites and the presidential suite almost everything one could imagine to travel in luxury. The Maharajas' Express features
The Dining Car aboard Maharajas' Express
months of September and April. "The train is designed to transport guests into a more gracious age of train travelling," said Rakesh Kumar Tandon, managing director, IRCTC. "Interiors suffused with nostalgia, state-of-the-art amenities, a tastefully-crafted itinerary, and impeccable
Ambassador Rao (fourth from left) and Mr. Sudhakar Rao (second from right) with members of the community at the Diwali celebrations on November 17, 2012 at the Embassy Residence.
two fine-dining restaurants that each seat 42 people, and everyone on board dines together. For added zest, there is an exotic Safari bar and
Rajah Club, with the choicest collection of complimentary, house brand spirits. Each train comfortably fits a total of 88 passengers.
Indian-American professor indicted for fraud
Washington, DC: An IndianAmerican professor at Morgan State University has been indicted by a federal grand jury in an alleged scheme to defraud the National Science Foundation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding. Manoj Kumar Jha, 45, who oversees the university's transportation engineering graduate program allegedly fabricated an elaborate research proposal on behalf of a private company he founded and then applied for funding through the NSF's Small Business Technology Transfer program. "The stated purpose of Jha's proposed project was to enhance current models used by highway planners to optimize horizontal and vertical highway routes, and ultimately, to commercialize the result," according to prosecutors cited by the Baltimore Sun. Jha received $200,000 to conduct the research but instead allegedly made personal mortgage and credit card payments, paid his wife $11,000 for work she didn't do and wrote himself a $6,000 check, prosecutors said. Jha, who is also the founding director of Morgan State's Centre of Advanced Transportation and Infrastructure Engineering tion to take leave from Morgan State to work on the proposed project and about the University of Maryland's being a collaborating research institution. He also allegedly lied about another Morgan State professor's serving as a scientific adviser on the project and about receiving $100,000 in matching funds from a third party, a requirement of NSF grants, prosecutors said. According to the university's website, Jha was born in a village in India in 1967. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in engineering, he immigrated to the United States in 1991, He then earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University in 1993, became a registered professional engineer in Maryland in 1997 and earned a doctorate in civil engineering in 2000 from the University of Maryland. He worked for seven years at the Maryland State Highway Administration, where he served as the "Year 2000 Risk Manager," according to his biography on the Morgan State website. Jha faces a maximum 20 years in prison for each of five wire fraud counts, a mail fraud count and a falsification of records, prosecutors said.
Manoj Kumar Jha
Research, also applied for $500,000 more for the project but did not receive it, prosecutors said. The alleged fraud occurred between January 2008 and July 2009, and involved Jha's lying on grant applications about his inten-
October 24-30, 2012
Republican leaders distance themselves from Romney after “gifts” remark
Washington: What a difference two weeks makes. The man seemingly fit for the job of heading the nation has created quite a ruckus with his disparaging “gifts” remark, alleging that the reason President Obama won the election was because of gifts he offered and handed out to minorities and the young. One after the other many Republican leaders have criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s analysis of the reasons for his defeat. Following Bobby Jindal last week, another Governor, New Jersey’s Chris Christie too has distanced himself from Romney. Like Jindal, Christie who had endorsed Romney early in the primary process, did not buy the candidate's argument that President Obama won last week's election by offering "gifts" to minority voters. Suggesting that Romney was He added that it was time to focus back on governing, rather than making excuses for electoral thrashing on Nov 6. "I always hate this kind of scapegoating after elections. When you lose, you lost," said Christie, who came under fire from some Republicans after the election for appearing with Obama during storm relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy. Here’s the reaction of Newt Gingrich, who lost to Romney in the primaries: "I just think it's nuts, I mean, first of all, it's insulting. The job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can't offer a better future that is believable to more people, we're not going to win.” Senator Lindsey Graham (RSC) expressed his displeasure with the Romney comment thus: “We’re in a big hole. We’re not getting out of it by comments like that. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. He keeps digging. We’re in a death spiral with Hispanic voters because of rhetoric around immigration. Candidate Romney, in the primary, dug the hole deeper. Rhetoric like this keeps digging a hole for the Republican Party. And if we don’t stop digging, we’re never going to get out of it.” Noting the Republicans' growing disenchantment with Romney, the Washington Post suggested that "ten days after failing to sail into the White House, Mitt Romney is already being tossed overboard by his party". "The Republican candidate who attracted $1 billion in funding and 59 million votes in his bid to unseat President Obama - has rapidly become persona non grata to a shell-shocked Republican Party, which appears eager to map out its future without its 2012 nominee," it said.
still smarting from a negative campaign that ended in an Election Day defeat, he said on MSNBC Friday: "He's a good man. He will find his level. And I think it's still a little raw." "Do I wish he hadn't said those things? Of course not. But on the
other hand, I'm not going to bury the guy for it." Romney's interest in parsing various electoral blocs was the wrong focus, Christie said, noting the former Republican nominee couldn't "expect to be the leader of all the people and be divisive".
Bobby Jindal, other Republicans embrace Obamacare US targets group linked to Taliban
Washington: Just ten days after the elections, governors of several Republican ruled states led by Louisiana's Bobby Jindal are all set to embrace, albeit reluctantly, President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law. Jindal as also Rick Perry in Texas, John Kasich in Ohio and Scott Walker in Wisconsin among others are about to invite the federal government to set up a health insurance exchange in their states under the law they derided as "Obamacare" not long ago, according to influential news site Politico. "These Republican governors, and more than a dozen others in red states around the country, have decided it's better to have Obamacare forced on them than to legitimize it by setting up their own exchanges, even if that means empowering the federal government at the expense of the states," the news site focused on politics said. "It's a stick in the eye of a just re-elected president," Politico said. "and an indication that some Republican governors have no intention of backing down just because" Obama won another four years. Jindal, who has been elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), told the Huffington Post that while he's not going to set up an exchange, he hopes that Obama's second term will bring more cooperation between the federal government and the states on a range of health care issues. "We are certainly going to go to the president and give him a chance to actually be bipartisan and give him a chance to give us the flexibility to bring more marketbased competition and ideas into health care programs, and I hope he'll work with us to do that," Jindal said. But Maine Governor Paul LePage, as cited by Politico, told Bloomberg this week "I'm not lifting a finger. We're not going to get involved. We're going to let Mr. Obama do a federal exchange. It's his bill." About a score states have already indicated they would let the federal government run their exchanges most of which went to defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Another 11 states were officially undeclared, while 20 states and the capital city of Washington had announced they would set up exchanges partially or fully run by their states. The Republican governors of several big states, including Florida's Rick Scott, New Jersey's Chris Christie and Arizona's Jan Brewer, remain in the undecided column, Politico reported. Washington: The Obama administration has hit an entity and two individuals with sanctions for their alleged links to the Taliban. The Department of Treasury blacklisted Rahat Ltd, a "hawala" group whose branches in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran have been allegedly used by the Taliban to facilitate their illicit financial activities, Xinhua reported. "Hawala" is a traditional system of transferring money used in Arab countries and the Indian subcontinent, whereby the money is paid to an agent who then instructs an associate in the relevant country or area to pay the final recipient. The treasury department also targeted Mohammed Qasim, the owner of Rahat Ltd, and Musa Kalim, the owner and manager of the business's branch in Quetta, Pakistan. "Rahat Ltd has been used extensively by senior Taliban leadership to finance their violent activities," the department said in a statement. It said the entity helped in facilitating millions of dollars of transactions to support Naim Barich, the Taliban shadow governor in Afghanistan's Helmand province who has been added to the UN Security Council 1988 List. Washington imposed sanctions on Barich last week for his "extensive narcotics production and distribution activities". "We will continue exposing these illicit networks and deprive the Taliban of their sources of funding no matter where they turn," he added.
Union strike forces Hostess closure
Irving, TX: Hostess Brands Inc. announced on November 16 that it is winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities. Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants. Delivery of products will continue and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products. The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the Company’s largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the Company’s ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities. On Nov. 12, Hostess Brands permanently closed three plants as a result of the work stoppage. On Nov. 14, the Company announced it would be forced to liquidate if sufficient employees did not return to work to restore normal operations by 5 p.m., EST p.m., Nov. 15. The Company determined on the night of Nov. 15 that an insufficient number of employees had returned to work to enable the restoration of normal operations. The BCTGM in September rejected a last, best and final offer from Hostess Brands designed to lower costs so that the Company could attract new financing and emerge from Chapter 11. Hostess Brands then received Court authority on Oct. 3 to unilaterally impose changes to the BCTGM’s collective bargaining agreements. Hostess Brands is unprofitable under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs. The offer to the BCTGM included wage, benefit and work rule concessions but also gave Hostess Brands’ 12 unions a 25 percent ownership stake in the company, representation on its Board of Directors and $100 million in reorganized Hostess Brands’ debt. “We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, CEO. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.” In addition to dozens of baking and distribution facilities around the country, Hostess Brands will sell its popular brands, including
Hostess®, Drakes® and Dolly Madison®, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs®, Ho Ho’s®, Sno Balls® and Donettes®. Bread brands to be sold include Wonder®, Nature’s Pride ®, Merita®, Home Pride®, Butternut®, and Beefsteak®, among others. The wind down means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.
November 24-30, 2012
Indian American Republicans react to Romney’s loss
By Parveen Chopra
e asked a couple of prominent Indian American Republicans the following questions: What were the reasons for Governor Mitt Romney losing the election? Why is GOP losing popular support as it even lost some Senate and House seats it could have won? What is the GOP to do to improve its brand? Why do Indian Americans overwhelmingly vote for Dems and how can they be persuaded to switch to GOP?
‘GOP is not in peril’
--Rina Shah Spokesperson Republican Indian Committee PAC e believe the reason for Governor Romney's loss was two-fold. First, even after securing the Republican party's nomination during the Primary Election cycle, his campaign struggled to consistently portray one strong image of candidate Romney and defend itself from negative portrayals of him by the Obama campaign. The failure was ultimately in the campaign's inability to define and defend Governor Romney; a problem which plagued his campaign right up to Election Day. Secondly, a great many
Washington insiders and outsidethe-Beltway campaign experts recognized that the Romney campaign was almost entirely unable to mount a strong ground game in key battleground states such as Virginia and Ohio. Despite repeated efforts by the campaign and its surrogates, campaign staff and volunteers at the local levels were unable to capture the attention and votes of the critical undecided and independent voting blocs. Coupled with the lack of outreach and targeted messaging to diverse voters, this proved to be what ultimately sunk the campaign in states where it was absolutely necessary for Governor Romney to win votes. In the aftermath of Election 2012, we feel that the GOP has realized that it is indeed facing a new frontier in messaging and outreach. The coming days and weeks will tell what the party's leadership will do to make amends for what went wrong in this past election cycle. When seeking to understand what may be going on inside the party itself at this very moment, one must recognize that the party is not in peril -- despite losing seats on multiple levels on Election Day 2012. The party is in good financial health (something that could not be said during the time of former RNC Chairman Michael Steele's term), and has made great strides on the Congressional level. Could the Republican party do more to support and foster younger, more diverse, and more moderate candidates in races across the country? Absolutely. Did the party fail its members for not being able to secure the Oval Office and win a majority in the Senate? No. It's important to remember that the GOP retained its majority in the House where only six Republicans lost renomination (three in redistricting races and three to a non-incumbent challenger) - and that all is not lost.
Popularity and support will naturally increase when the party's leadership is ready to roll out a new and improved effort ahead of the 2014 elections. Indian-Americans overwhelming vote for Democrats for one simple reason: the Republican party has not reached out to them. A concerted effort to court the Asian-American vote has yet to be seen by either the campaign of a major Republican candidate such as Governor Romney or even by those Republicans at the Congressional and local campaign level. What has yet to be seen is a change in how messaging and outreach is conducted by Republican candidates. While a great many Indian-Americans may share many of the Republican party's values, they have yet to hear about these shared values from the mouths of Republican candidates and their party's leadership. The Democrats win Indian-American votes largely because of how they message to them (via advertisements, direct mail, events, etc). We believe that the GOP must change its practices in political organizing -- particularly in messaging and outreach in order to improve its image and brand. The Republican party is a most natural home for Indian-Americans. A quick look at history, interests, and values makes it glaringly apparent that the Indian-American population and the Republican party have a great deal in common. Sentiments on the economy, family/social values, the idea of individualism, capitalism, and upward mobility are all echoed in the platform of the Republican party. Abortion and homosexual rights are widely-supported by Democrats, and it just so happens that these are issues on which Indian-Americans typically feel uncomfortable and disagree with Democrats. Moreover, Indian-Americans, given
their natural attitudes about work and their status as one of the highest-earning US ethnic groups, can agree with the Republican position on taxes and social spending; in fact, Indian-Americans are largely in favor the GOP's ardent support of tightening budgets and lowering taxes.
‘2nd Gen Indian Americans not Dem party oriented’
--Dr. Sampat Shivangi Delegate, RNC Convention 2012
he American people have spoken and President Obama has been re-elected. While this is not the result we wanted, we do respect it. We are proud of the campaign Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ran and how they fought for us. This was a long and tough campaign, but today we need to come together as one nation and solve the many big issues that our country faces. President Obama is a great communicator and orator, almost equal to the level of President Reagan. Even though his economic policies
did not change the GDP and unemployment, his policies to help middle class Americans, revitalize auto industry and his health care reforms have definitely contributed to his reelection. President Obama has lot of work ahead and I am sure with the election behind him, he will have more time and energy to devote in creating jobs, improving the economy and reducing the enormous budget deficits. He should try to encourage and strengthen small businesses, thus creating more jobs and reverse the down trend in economy. I do understand the sentiments of Indian American community supporting President Obama as most of us had Democratic party orientation when we migrated to the US with our socialistic doctrine and always felt that the blue party is more India friendly than the GOP. It is a learning and changing process in the community as the second generation Indian Americans’ orientation is different than that of our generation. We need to remind President Obama of his promise to Indian Parliament to secure a seat in the UN Security Council, which has not received much attention since he returned from India visit. We also hope he will be India friendly on defense treaties, outsourcing and US investments in India. We need more pro-active foreign policy to bring peace and stability in the Middle East and try to reach out to the developing world like BRIC countries where US interests lie. It is a global economy and we cannot continue to criticize other countries like India for unemployment in US. We have to take responsibility for our economic policies which went astray.
Rep. Jackson resigns amid probe, concedes 'mistakes'
Chicago: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., two weeks after winning re-election, resigned from office and confirmed he is the subject of a federal investigation. Jackson, a Democrat, said in a letter Wednesday to House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) that he was resigning "effective today, in order to focus on my health." He also referred to a federal probe into his activities, saying in the letter that he was cooperating with investigators and doing his best to "accept responsibility for my mistakes." The resignation comes after months of speculation about Mr. Jackson's future. He has remained out of the public eye since the spring, but he won re-election easily to Congress, representing a heavily Democratic district that includes parts of Chicago's South Side and the city's southeast suburbs.The federal investigation, according to people familiar with the matter, is looking at possible misuse Chicago. Mr. Jackson's resignation letter didn't provide details of the investigation, but he said he had made missteps that he described as "my mistakes and mine alone." Lawyers for Mr. Jackson said Wednesday they hoped to negotiate a "fair resolution" of the matter under investigation, but that the process could take several months. Mr. Jackson, 47 years old, was first elected in 1995. He was once seen as a rising star in Washington, looking to carry the activism of his father, civilrights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, to the halls of Congress. Mr. Jackson went on medical leave in June and was treated for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., his aides said. Illinois law requires the governor to set a date for a special election within five days of a congressional seat becoming open. Mr. Jackson vacated his seat on Wednesday.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr was once a rising political star, looking to carry the torch of his father, civil-rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson. of campaign money to decorate Mr. Jackson's home. On Thursday, his chief of staff, Rick Bryant, said he couldn't elaborate beyond what the resignation letter said. People familiar with the matter said the investigation of Mr. Jackson has expanded to include his wife, Sandi Jackson, who is an alderman in
November 24-30, 2012
BJP leaders meet PM, stalemate continues on FDI
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met BJP leaders over dinner in an effort to iron out differences over contentious issues including FDI in retail but the logjam persisted with the opposition party insisting on discussion in the house over the issue under rules that entail voting, sources said. The BJP said the government had not kept its promise of evolving consensus on FDI in multi-brand retail by consulting chief ministers and political parties. The government has maintained that an executive decision cannot be a subject for debate under a rule that entails voting. It has also denied having violated its assurance to bring about a consensus. BJP leader L.K. Advani, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley were among those present at the dinner. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram were also present during the government's dinner opposed to the FDI decision but would convey its decision in the house if there was voting. The Bahujan Samaj Party said it would convey its stance once a decision was taken on the rules of discussion. The DMK also spoke of revealing its stand in parliament. BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain Thursday said the UPA government should allow a debate on FDI in multi-brand retail under rules that entail voting. He said if the parliament did not function, it will be because of the "arrogance" of the government. The BJP also said it would take a call on moving a no-confidence motion after it succeeded in pressing the government for discussion on FDI in multi-brand retail under rules that entail voting.
Lokpal report tabled in Rajya Sabha
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with senior BJP leaders
diplomacy with the main opposition party. The prime minister, earlier in the day, said that parliament had a very heavy legislative agenda during the winter session and sought cooperation of MPs to face the challenges facing the country. The dinner meeting with BJP leaders was rescheduled after it was cancelled Saturday last because of
the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Besides the BJP, the Left parties also want discussion on FDI in multi-brand retail under parliamentary rules that entail voting. The opposition senses an opportunity to embarrass the government as some of its allies and supporting parties had earlier opposed the FDI in multi-brand retail. The Samajwadi Party said it was
New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha's select committee report on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas bill was tabled amidst din in the upper house on November 23. The report was tabled even while Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members created a ruckus, demanding reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled tribes in job promotion. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha at the end of the winter session last year. It was sent to the
select committee in the budget session after several objections were raised on its present form. Among its recommendations, the select committee has suggested that the prime minister should be under the Lokpal's purview, except for matters related to external affairs, internal security, atomic energy, and international relations. It also suggests delinking of state Lokayuktas from the Lokpal bill, giving only "direction" to states.
Delhi is biased, says Jayalalithaa
Chennai: Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has accused the central government of taking a negative approach towards Tamil Nadu's demands. Speaking at the wedding of Industries Minister P. Thangamani's son here, Jayalalithaa said: "The centre has been reducing the supply of kerosene to the state. It is also taking steps to curtail the state's powers." She said her letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were acknowledged. But the central government refuses to release additional electricity from the central pool or the power surrendered by the Delhi government.
Congress made BSP raise promotion quota issue: BJP
New Delhi: As the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) stalled parliament's upper house demanding reservation in promotions, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that the Congress was behind it as it did not want a debate on FDI in retail. "The Congress has made the BSP raise this issue as it does not want a debate on FDI (foreign direct investment) in retail," BJP leader Smriti Irani said. "The Congress does not want a vote on FDI in retail because it will show they have no mandate for it. They have gone back on what they said in parliament. They said they will consider views of all sections before taking a decision," she said. A constitutional amendment bill providing reservations to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in job promotion is listed for this session. BSP members, however, are demanding it should be passed first. The Rajya Sabha proceedings were disrupted with BSP members demanding reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in job promotions, and the house was adjourned till 2.30 p.m. The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day shortly after noon over the opposition BJP, Left and Trinamool Congress creating noisy scenes, demanding a debate on FDI in retail.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa
BJP releases 84 names for Gujarat election
New Delhi: The BJP released here its list of 84 candidates for the first phase of polls in Gujarat on December 13. Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be contesting from Maninagar in Ahmedabad. Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari, BJP parliamentary party chief L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley discussed the list at the central election committee (CEC) meeting before releasing it. The list included Modi, who will be contesting from Maninagar in Ahmedabad. The list also includes Vajubhai Vala, who was minister of finance, labour & employment, in the outgoing cabinet. Vala, who has been finance minister for both terms of the Modi government (2002-07 and 2007-12) is contesting from Rajkot West, his home constituency. Vala has also served previously as mayor of Rajkot. Gujarat BJP president R.C. Faldu, who was earlier elected to the assembly from Kalawad constituency in Jamnagar district, will be contesting from Jamnagar Rural. Koli (fisherman) community leader Parshottam Solanki, who was fisheries minister in the outgoing cabinet, will be contesting this time from Bhavnagar Rural. He had earlier been elected from Ghogha, also in Bhavnagar district. Most of the names in the list are those of sitting legislators, with the exception of seven. No Muslim candidate has been mentioned in the list. Six of Gujarat's 13 constituencies reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates find a mention in the list. Similarly, 14 of the 26 Scheduled Tribe (ST) constituencies are included. Also, there are 10 women candidates in the list. The maximum number of constituencies in the list are in Surat district (16), followed by Rajkot (9), Bhavnagar (8), Jamnagar (7), Bharuch (6), Ahmedabad, Amreli and Valsad (5 each), Junagadh, Surendranagar and GirSomnath (4 each), Navsari (3), Dangs, TapiVyara and Porbandar (2 each) and Kutch and Narmada (1 each). Eighty-seven of Gujarat's 182 constituencies go to the polls during the first phase Dec 13. The BJP will announce the names of the other three candidates for the first phase in the next two-three days, according to BJP leader
Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be contesting from Maninagar in Ahmedabad
Ananth Kumar. The last date for filing of nominations for the first phase is Nov 24 (Saturday). The second phase of polling is scheduled for on Dec 19. The result will be out on Dec 20.
November 24-30, 2012
Demand to rename Mumbai spots after Thackeray
Can Uddhav carry forth Bal Thackeray's legacy?
Mumbai: Well before his death Saturday, Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray had anointed son Uddhav Thackeray as the successor to his political legacy. Last year he went a step further and moved even grandson Aditya to the front-line, silencing any potential claimants to the party mantle. A clear message went down the rank and file and to allies BJP, Republican Party of India (RPI), and the opposition Congress and NCP over who would be the next to carry the Sena Pramukh's mantle. Yet, discreet efforts continued by some old Thackeray family retainers to bring back to the fold his estranged nephew, Raj Thackeray, who had walked out of Matoshri to independently launch the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Though initially Uddhav appeared to be reluctant at the rapprochement attempts, insiders claim he underwent a change of heart after his recent cardiac illness, but the duo will still have to contend with some hawks opposed to the move. After all, the damages wreaked by the MNS on the Shiv Sena, BJP and RPI saffron alliance in the last Lok Sabha, assembly and even civic elections across the state are too recent to be forgotten. Akin to several leading political families, the challenge to Uddhav is perceived more from within than outside. The so-called "outsiders" do not boast of the magical Thackeray surname. Political analysts say Uddhav has his job well-cut now. In the absence of Bal Thackeray's overwhelming personality, check the growth of its ally BJP, thwart attempts by the Congress-NCP to undermine Shiv Sena, and probably risk an understanding with the MNS to prevent further erosion of Sena votebanks. However, Bal Thackeray's rhetoric, ability to incite
Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's last journey in Mumbai
Mumbai: Within days of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's death, cadres of political parties across the spectrum raised the pitch for a memorial of the Shiv Sena founder and renaming of several places in the city after him. Shiv Sena corporator Yashodhar Phanse demanded that the upcoming MumbaiGoa coastal highway be named after Thackeray, while another Sena corporator Ramesh Korgaonkar said the Churchgate railway station in south Mumbai be renamed after the late Sena leader. Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi demanded a memorial be built at Dadar's Shivaji Park in central Mumbai from where Thackeray had launched the party. Later, the Shiv Sena demanded that an international museum should be built at the memorial. The party also wants that the Shiv Sena founder's idol be installed at the civic body's headquarters in south Mumbai. However, renaming famous spots after Thackeray were not their only demands. Another Sena corporator Raju Pednekar said that Thackeray should officially feature in school textbooks. Several other parties too demanded that the late leader should be honored suitably. Thackeray's nephew Raj-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena corporator Chetan Kadam said that there should be elocution competition on Thackery in civic schools. Congress corporator Naina Sheth said the Dadar Railway Station, which connects south and central Mumbai, should be renamed after Thackeray. Sunil More, another Congress corporator, demanded that there should be a museum built after Thackeray at the sprawling 12-acre campus of a mill. Bharatiya Janata Party corporator Dilip Patel said that the proposed airport in Navi Mumbai should be named after Thackeray.
Uddhav Thackeray with his late father, Bal Thackeray.
strong passions on any issue, bewitching charisma and powerful oratory, seem to elude Uddhav. Luckily, he may not even need these assets, given the changed social-economic-political scenario, increasing literacy, growing affluence of the average Maharashtrian, exposure to more than just the party mouthpiece Saamna, and affirmation that peace alone leads to prosperity. Uddhav may be required to concentrate more on economics than politics, reconciliation rather than radicalism, nationalism more than parochialism to lure the younger generation of Maharashtrians to the party and its ideology. After all, now the BJP and RPI could become more aggressive in demanding their pound of flesh, while Raj, often compared to his charismatic uncle, could prove more attractive to the Marathi voter and end up spoiling the party for Uddhav. With the 'Hindu Hridaysamrat' (king of Hindu hearts) gone from the scene, the BJP will now attempt to project itself at the true flag-bearer of the Hindu nationalism, weakening Uddhav.
November 24-30, 2012
Kasab hanging: cheers, curses on social media
New Delhi: Comments expressing happiness and relief to introspection and cursing began pouring into social media sites Facebook and Twitter after 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab was hanged in Pune's Yeravada Prison. "Dear #Kasab, those aren't virgins. And you're not in heaven. Sincerely, etc," tweeted Sonia Faleiro, an author from Mumbai. "Millions of Kasabs will be born if we do not stop brainwashing our innocent children with religion," tweeted Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen. "Of all the reports/opinions on Kasab's hanging I came across on the Internet, this one seemed the most apt - Ajmal Kasab's hanging: death of an ignorant foot soldier," Yashodeep Sengupta, a journalist a media professional from Mumbai, wrote on Facebook. "Ponty, Thackeray and Kasab. This month make sure you avoid drunken driving, or riding without helmet or even walking on the pavement. You sure want to avoid this list!" wrote Bilal Zaidi, a journalist from New Delhi, on Facebook. "Never hated someone so much in my life..ROT IN HELL KASAB!" wrote Mumbai's Pankaj Gupta on his Facebook wall. In another post, he wrote: "Pranab Da...dil khush kar diya aapne!" "No RIP Kasab. I hope the bastard rots in hell," tweeted Tunku Varadrajan, Newsweek magazine's India editor. Sharath Shetty from Mumbai wrote on his Facebook: "The expensive Terrorist Kasab is Hanged Today !!!!! at last." "Believes that the death penalty is justified in the 'rarest of rare' cases, as in the case of Kasab. While as a society we can be satisfied at Kasab finally got his comeuppance, this is but a small step, in the big battle ahead. Let alone the challenge of bringing the perpetrators, handlers and masterminds to book in Pakistan, can we say that we are safer or more secure today from these acts than we were 4 years ago ? Are our seas safer ? .....And as a civilised society, it isn't right to celebrate anyone's death. Even if an execution is justified," wrote Rukmani Vishwanath of Delhi on Facebook.
26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab
from Kolkata, wrote on Facebook. "Ajmal Kasab hanged on Nov
21st. Winter session of parliament begins on Nov 22nd," Praful Bhat,
US calls Kasab execution a step towards justice
Washington: As India executed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the United States welcomed it as a "step toward justice" in the incident that claimed 166 lives. "We've said before that we welcome steps toward justice in the Mumbai attacks," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday when asked to comment on the execution of Kasab. "We've said many times before that we want to see the terrorists behind these attacks brought to justice. My understanding is that he received due process in a full and transparent trial and the sentence was carried out." Asked if India had informed the US before Kasab's execution, he said: "I'm not aware that we would have been informed prior to this execution."
Human Rights slams India for Kasab hanging
No acknowledgment from Pak over Kasab note
New Delhi: The Indian High Commission in Islamabad has so far not received any "acknowledgment" from Pakistan's foreign ministry of a communication from New Delhi informing them that Ajmal Kasab was to be hanged, an official source said here. "India's deputy high commissioner had met his Pakistani counterpart in the foreign office DG (South Asia) on Nov 20 to hand over a communication with a copy of the letter from authorities in Maharashtra, addressed to the next of kin of Kasab, informing about the completion of the legal process and the hanging of Kasab (the lone surviving 26/11 gunman) on Nov 21," a source said. "The official had refused to accept the communication, following which the same was faxed from the Indian High Commission to the official and a transmission report received," the source said.
"As of now, the Indian High Commission has not received any 'acknowledgement' from Pakistan's foreign ministry," the source added. Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone 26/11 terrorist caught alive, was hanged Wednesday morning in Pune's Yerawada Jail.
Celebrations after Kasab hanging in New Delhi New York: India should immediately death in 2010. reinstate its moratorium on executions "Capital punishment is an act of with a view to abolishing the death cruel, pre-meditated killing sanctioned penalty, Human Rights Watch said. by the law," Ganguly said. "The hanging of Kasab marks a dis"India can demonstrate to the world tressing end to India's moratorium on that it is as committed to justice as it is executions and is a step backwards for to economic development by joining India's justice system," said with those nations that have decided Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia direc- to abolish the death penalty." tor at Human Rights Watch. India executed Kasab just two days "The government should take after it opposed a draft resolution by prompt and decisive action toward a the UN General Assembly's human total abolition of capital punishment." rights committee calling for a global Kasab, a Pakistani, was one of 10 moratorium on capital punishment. gunmen who attacked Mumbai Nov Human Rights Watch said it oppos26, 2008, laying siege to the city for es the death penalty in all circumnearly three days. He was caught dur- stances as an inherently irreversible, ing the mayhem and sentenced to inhumane punishment
Facebook outrage: Shaheen's account hacked
schools, offices, networking sites and Twitter, a lawyer filed a complaint before the Maharashtra State Commission for Women alleging human rights violation. Shaheen said she did not deserve to be treated like this. "I have apologised because I want peace and harmony. But this has been a nightmare. The treatment meted out to us was unfair," she said. She also said that somebody from California had hacked her Facebook account. "I have registered a police complaint, mentioning that I will not be responsible for whatever is posted through the fake account," said Shaheen, who was released on bail after being booked for "hurting religious sentiments". Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leaders remained evasive on the alleged attack on the Thane-based clinic of Shaheen's uncle. "Bala saheb is our God. If one hears anything against their God, a strong reaction is bound to come. We don't know if those who ransacked the girl's uncle's hospital were Shiv Sainiks, but please understand that there are thousands of Bala saheb supporters outside of Shiv Sena too," party official Anil Parab said. Thane rural police also arrested 10 rioters who ransacked the hospital of Shaheen's uncle. However, they were released on a bail bond of Rs.7,500 each after being presented in the local court. The message posted by Shaheen and 'liked' by her friend Renu Sunday read as follows: "With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on... Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect." Facebook is also sporting antiShaheen pages, one of which is titled "Don't Support Shaheen Dadha". The page vehemently appeals to everyone that Shaheen should not be supported and that what she did was wrong. But there was wide support for the two women too.
Shaheen Dhada (right) and Renu Srinivas in Mumbai
Mumbai: My Facebook account has been hacked, said Shaheen Dadha two days after she and her friend were arrested for questioning on the networking site the Mumbai shutdown following Shiv Sena chief
Bal Thackeray's death, even as 10 people were held for vandalising her uncle's clinic. Also, as Shaheen and Renu's arrest by Thane rural police was hotly discussed in colleges and
PRESIDENT’S ASIA TOUR
November 24-30, 2012
Charmer-in-chief in Asia
Looking pleased as punch after his re-election, President Obama visited three countries in three days in East Asia.
he first nation on the itinerary for President Obama's Asia trip was Thailand -- America's oldest friend on the continent, with diplomatic ties stretching back nearly 180 years. Though his stopover there on Nov 18 lasted barely a day, he visited a Buddhist temple at the Wat Pho monastery, met with Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, held a joint press conference with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and enjoyed a dinner hosted by the prime minister at the Government House in Bangkok. Hopping over to Burma (Myanmar) the President made
clear that the United States stands ready to help the people of Burma as they emerge from decades of isolation and start their march towards democracy. His visit was made possible in a changed country: Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize winning pro-democracy activist, is free and a Member of Parliament. Hundreds of prisoners of conscience have been released, and forced labor banned. Preliminary cease-fires have been reached with ethnic armies, and new laws allow for a more open economy. President Obama met with his counterpart, Thein Sein, as well as the Opposition leader, Suu Kyi. In Cambodia, the President
met with the leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries. ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is the US’ fourth largest export market. While in Phnom Penh, he also attended the East Asia Summit, a gathering of leaders from ASEAN as well as six other Asia-Pacific powers, including India. On the sidelines of the summit, Obama met separately with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao At a ‘pull aside’ meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Obama said warmly, “India is a big part of our plans." Obama returned to Washington Wednesday early morning, in time for the ceremonial pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey.
A barefoot President Obama and Hillary Clinton tour the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon,Nov. 19, escorted by Religions for Peace - Myanmar Patron U Tin Thein Lwin.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton view the Reclining Buddha at the Wat Pho Royal Monastery with Head Monk Chaokun Suthee Thammanuwat in Bangkok, Nov. 18.
President Obama shakes hands with a flirtatious looking Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra in Bangkok.
President Obama returns the Namaste greeting to Bun Rany, wife of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, before a gala dinner in Phnom Penh.
President Obama, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Heads of State pose for a group photo at the Gala Dinner hosted by Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen ahead of the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh.
President Obama met Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon, Nov. 19. The opposition leader had recently visited India.
November 24-30, 2012
I just got lucky: Suraj on 'Life Of Pi' role
he boy from Delhi who has played the lead in Ang Lee's adaptation of Yann Martel's novel "The Life Of Pi" was 17 when he signed the film. At 19, Suraj Sharma now feels like a different person. "My entire life has undergone a change during these last two years. I feel different from inside. I think I've become a better human being. But I still don't now whether I can act or not," says Suraj, who feels he is more passionate about filmmaking than acting. "The past year has changed me completely. I think I kinda grew up. I've learnt a billion things. It might sound melodramatic. But it's the truth. The most important thing I learnt is patience and endurance. "Initially when we started preparing for the film, I used to grumble about all the intense physical training I had to go through. Then one day I went up edgable. Honestly, all I did was to listen to them. What else could I do? When you don't know what you're doing you might as well listen to those who do." In September at the New York Film Festival, Suraj saw himself on screen for the first time. "It was the first time I saw the film in any other colour except blue. When we were shooting the whole film was being done in the blue colour. "When I walked into the theatre, I thought: 'Oh my God, finally I'll be exposed. 'Kafi' awkward 'hoga' seeing myself for the first time. I had no experience in acting when I was signed. So I was naturally nervous. But when I saw the film, I suddenly saw all these vibrant colours and these stunning visuals. Suraj thinks acting is no big deal. "Given the right circumstances, anyone can act. It's just about feeling the right emotions on cue. I think I'm okay in the film. Folklore has it that Suraj was chosen out of 3,000 candidates for the role of protagonist Pi Patel. Suraj is nonchalant. "'Mere ko pataa tha'. I had heard about that. In Delhi, I had just gone to the audition as moral support to my brother who's an actor. I was just sitting around in the couch. "Dilip Shankar, who's my brother's acting teacher advised me to give it a shot. I guess I just got lucky. I was finally told I had to go to Mumbai to meet Ang. Then I did my audition and I thought I had flunked. "'Main apne lines bhool gaya, ha ha!'. I was pretty nervous. I thought Ang would kick me out then and there. Then I did the scene again. And I started crying. Yeah, I teared up during the scene. And I guess they liked it." Thereafter Suraj was called to Taiwan for training before the shooting. After being signed, he read the novel.
Suraj Sharma in Life of Pi
to my instructor who had also become my very good friend and said: 'I know what you were trying to teach me. Most things are possible if you stop thinking whether you can succeed or not.Stop pressurising yourself. Just do what you have to do.'" Suraj still looks back on the
experience of shooting a script that features exotic animals and even more exotic actors like Irrfan, Tabu and Adil Husain with wonderment. "I just followed them blindly. I was the only one in the cast and crew with no experience. Everybody around was knowl-
I want to work with Hrithik: Kristen Stewart
ollywood actress Kristen Stewart has expressed a desire to work in a Bollywood film with Hrithik Roshan. "If someone offers me a good script, I would love to work in a Bollywood film. I would love to work with Hrithik Roshan. He is such a wonderful actor and so goodl o o k i n g , " Stewart said in a statement here. Hollywood actor Kristen Stewart "In fact, if I have a boy, I would want him to look like Hrithik Roshan, but with Rob's (her real-life boyfriend and on-screen husband) eyes," she said. There was a buzz in B-town some two years back that filmmaker Shekhar Kapur wanted to cast Twilight in his ambitious project Paani opposite Hrithik. Kristen, who shot to fame playing Bella Swan in Twilight and its sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -Part 1 is looking forward to the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2. "Bella as a character has received a lot of criticism for being a throwback heroine, because she sacrifices so much for her man. I strongly disagree. In fact, you have someone who is stronger than the guy she is with, emotionally," she said.
Prabhu, Remo to pay tribute to MJ
rabhudheva and Remo D'Souza, who are die-hard Michael Jackson fans, will pay tribute to the late pop legend in the upcoming film "AnyBody Can Dance" ("ABCD"). The film is being produced by UTV Motion Pictures and directed by Remo. "Yes, it is true that we have thought about this. We want to execute it when we shoot our next song where Prabhu features with me," Remo, who will also feature in the song with Prabhudheva, said in a statement. "Everyone knows how deeply I respect Michael Jackson and when I'm doing a film on dancing, it is impossible to not have something on him," he added. Not only this, Prabhu will also be seen grooving with dancing diva Madhuri Dixit on a song in the film. This is the second time they have teamed up for a song after dancing on "Que Sera Sera" in 2000 release "Pukar". It will be shot at multiple locations in Mumbai including Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Dharavi. "ABCD", India's first dance film in 3D, will also have choreographer Ganesh Acharya in the cast. Lauren Gottlieb, winner of the popular international television talent show "So You Think You Can Dance", has been roped in as the female lead. It also stars the winners of Indian dance reality show "Dance India Dance" Salman Khan, Dharmesh, Prince, Mayuresh and Vrushali.
Juhi, Madhuri together in 'Gulab Gang'
Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla
fter roping in Madhuri Dixit for "Gulab Gang", now filmmaker Anubhav Sinha has cast Juhi Chawla for the film and says it will be great to see them together for the first time on big screen. "Actually, there were two reasons to cast Juhi Chawla for the film. The very first thing is that it was a creative decision taken by all of us... and we thought it would be great to see two iconic stars - Madhuri and Juhi - together in the film," Sinha, who is producing the film, said. "I couldn't have pulled off a better cast than the two most iconic
female stars, Madhuri and Juhi, together for the first time on Indian screen," he added. Inspired by Sampat Pal-led Gulabi Gang in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, which fights for the rights of women in the region, the film will be directed by Soumik Sen. Filming will start in December and the "first schedule will be shot in Bombay", Sinha said. "We were working on the looks of the actresses, now we are ready to roll. Since the film is based in rural India, both of them will be seen in a de-glam avatar and will have a rustic look," he added.
November 24-30, 2012
Over 160 films await film buffs at IFFI 2012
ver 160 films from over 70 different countries were to be screened at the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which rolls out the red carpet along the banks of the beautiful Mandovi river. Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar inaugurated the festival, which is being held in Goa for the ninth time since 2004. The festival began with the screening of "The Life of Pi", while the closing film will be "The Reluctant Fundamentalist". About 12,000 delegates are expected to be arriving in Goa for the festival. This time round 47 will feature in the Indian premiere section notable of which is the opening Assamese movie, "Baandhon" by director Jhanu Barua. Out of the 47, 26 are feature films and 21 are non-feature films in different Indian languages, officials said. The IFFI's international competition section too will have 15 films, two of which are in Indian regional languages namely "Anhey Ghode De Daan" in Punjabi and "Elar Char Adhyay" in Bengali. The festival's Cinema of the World section will feature 55 films, according to the festival officials, who also said that overall 70 films would be premiered during IFFI. A separate section has been also crafted to commemorate the 100 of years of Indian cinema and its journey from grainy black and white and silent films to the films of today, in which 27 films across periods and genres will be screened.
SRK trashes reports of truce with Salman
Jab Tak Hai Jaan enters Rs. 100 crore-club
ab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ), legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra's last directorial venture, is raking in the moolah at the box-office -- the romantic saga has collected over Rs. 120 crore worldwide in just six days of its release. The film, which came out on Diwali alongside Ajay Devgnstarrer Son of Sardaar, has earned Rs. 80.73 crore at the domestic box office. The Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma-starrer is also minting money in the overseas market where it has collected Rs. 41.7 crore.
Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan
ctor Shah Rukh Khan has dismissed reports of a "patch up" between him and the Dabangg star Salman Khan. "Bachpan se poochte aa rahe ho yeh sawal...ab toh bade ho jaoo (Please grow up...you people have always been asking the same question)," Shah Rukh retorted when asked whether the acrimony between him and Salman has finally come to end. He was addressing reporters at a press conference tonight. Speculations over the Khans burying their hatchets gained momentum after Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir attended the premiere of late
filmmaker Yash Chopra's film Jab Tak Hai Jaan and the party hosted thereafter.Soon after the premiere, mega-star Amitabh Bachchan had tweeted "Danced my shoes off with all the youngsters...an amazing evening... spending time with Salman, Aamir, Shahrukh, Katrina and Anushka". When asked about Big B's tweet, Shah Rukh said, "If Amitji has tweeted it then you all ask him when you meet him in a press conference. There is no patch up or XYZ. Even I read about it in your newspapers. Whatever is written in your newspaper please don't believe into it".
A scene from Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Ponty Chadha's last appointment with Bollywood
he death of liquor baron and film distributor Ponty Chadha is a major blow to Bollywood. Many movie producers and directors worked closely with Chadha in the past. At least 6-7 prominent film-
makers were in serious negotiations with Chadha over big-budget projects which would now have to seek a different outlet for financial sustenance now. Apparently Bollywood financier Bharat Shah was the last per-
son from the Hindi film industry to have negotiated with Ponty Chadha. Bharat Shah has major financial stakes in director Anand Kumar's Sanjay Dutt-Arshad Warsi-Vivek Oberoi production "Zilla Ghazibad".
Aamir took tips from night patrolling policemen
Aamir Khan in Talaash
ollywood star Aamir Khan interacted with night patrolling policemen to know more about their work after sunset so that he could give perfect shots in his forthcoming thriller "Talaash". The 47-year-old will be seen as Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat in the film for which many scenes were shot after sunset. "Almost all of the major scenes have been shot during the night. Since the shooting would take place after sunset, there would be cops on the sets. Aamir often chatted with them asking details about their work
and inquiring about the places that they would visit often," a source said. Directed by Reema Kagti, "Talaash", is a thriller that also stars Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji. Slated for a Nov 30 release, the film has been co-written by Kagti and Zoya Akhtar. "Night seems to be a key player in the film's storyline. The idea of making this film had also stemmed from an incident involving cops that was witnessed by Zoya and Reema who then wrote this project," another source added.
November 24-30, 2012
Exploring the wonders of the sea at Koh Lanta.
Colorful fan corals at the bottom of the ocean
Snorkeling at Koh Lanta in Thailand
By Murli Menon
raveling to an unknown destination is like preparing an exotic vegan recipe from an international cook book. After lot of effort, you do not know how it will turn out - a perfect dish, a messy affair, or flavor-less! I am writing this from the cool confines of the beach-side villa at Pimalai Resort and Spa at Koh Lanta Yai Island, which is a quiet and charming destination. Located off the south coast of Thailand, it is one of the several islands that form part of the Koh Lanta Marine Park. To reach here, you travel from Bangkok to Krabi by bus and then take a connecting mini-bus. The bus journey involves two ferry crossings. On the bus you are likely to meet tourists from many countries. Approaching Koh Lanta, I saw a series of hills. Reaching the top, I had a bird’s eye view of the ocean stretching from horizon to horizon. Soon, the green cover began to thicken and we were at the Pimalai Resort and Spa and the villa surrounded by 100 acres of tropical rainforest. The Kan Tiang beach is a short walk away and is best explored at dawn. The ocean floor can be clearly seen through the translucent waters. The boat ride from Krabi to Koh Lanta for snorkeling is dramatic. Several small uninhabited islands emerge out of the blue waters as one picks up speed. The green cover and limestone caves impart a wild beauty to these islands.
The waters become clearer near Koh Lanta. The ocean resembles a blue looking-glass as you put on the snorkeling mask and flippers before jumping into the middle of the ocean a hundred meters from this enchanting isle. You can see yellow fish swimming beneath the surface of the sea without having to dip your eyes underwater. Getting adjusted to the vacuum around the nose and face, you get used to breathing through the mouth and start to enjoy the beauty of the ocean floor through the magnifying goggles. It is like watching a three dimensional movie on a giant screen. Rainbow colored coral and undersea gardens appear as the water becomes more transparent! One can float alongside a school of multi-colored fish while enjoying the various hues and shapes of coral reefs that bedeck the bottom of the sea. Leaf shaped, circular and bright red corals sway gently under the water. Some of these are staghorn coral, rubastrea corals, sponges, sea squirts and stinging hydroids. Corals shaped like cups and saucers are also seen. It is a pleasure to watch schools of tiny fish finding their way through the corals like shooting stars. You explore the hidden treasures of nature, tucked away under calm seas, in the folds of limestone formations, millions of years old. Some of the fish you encounter while snorkeling include flying fish and silverfish. Yellow
coloured heart shaped fishes painted with black stripes can be seen everywhere. The symmetry, harmony and telepathic communication between these tiny fish, which move as one seamless whole, needs to be seen to be believed. Sea anemones sway gently in the waves. Starfish are scattered in disarray all over. Sea urchins rest peacefully on the corals. No permits are needed for snorkeling. However, permits are needed for diving. And one has to attend a diving course and get oneself certified before being permitted to dive. Pimalai Resort and Spa offers beginner’s courses in diving. Snorkelers and scuba divers can observe a diversity of marine life which includes freshwater fish, sea-bass, red snapper, stingray, tuna, moray eel, grouper, blue marlin, squid, prawn, lobster, coral trout, reef fish, turtles and sometimes one can also see a giant clam. The numerous genera of coral and hundreds of varieties of fish encountered while snorkeling leave a deep impact on your unconscious and is living proof of the unity of our cosmos. At times one sees schools of barracudas, at others the bizarre frogfish or the parrotfish. Other fish you may lay your eyes on include squirrelfish, lionfish, stonefish or a colony of sea anemones with clownfish. If lucky, you may can get to sight a rarely seen fish like the butterflyfish or rabbitfish. Some of the other activities which are
available at Pimalai include mountain-biking, sea kayaking, wind-surfing or simply island hopping. Guided boat tours are available to the villages that are scattered around Pimalai. Explorers who prefer solitude can meditate at several smaller, uninhabited islands which are a short boat ride away. Silvery beaches, pink sunsets, tropical rainforests, coral reefs, forest villas and emerald waters, nature has generously blessed the tiny island of Koh Lanta which generations after generations must enjoy. Precautions while snorkeling Always wear your life jacket at all times, even if you are an expert swimmer. Remember to blow the whistle in the top left pocket of the life-jacket in the event of an emergency. Remember to breathe through the mouth-piece at all times. Never attempt to breathe through the nose. Do not panic if sea-water enters your mouth while snorkeling. Do not step on the corals in any eventuality. Useful tips The day trip to Koh Lanta including to and fro transfers and snorkeling should not exceed 1000 Baht ($30) for two adults. Pimalai Resort and Spa is a value for money proposition by Indian standards. A standard double room costs 3000 Baht ($90) inclusive of American breakfast.
November 24-30, 2012
Immigration was a key to Obama’s Electoral College blowout win
By Ravi Batra arack Obama's "blowout" win of the Electoral College, 332 to 206, which includes Florida, while the popular vote was a near split speaks to our Founding Fathers' wisdom to protect small states and unite a nation based upon mutual respect between the states and not the discredited-by-law principle of "might is right." In the Electoral College resides the basis for a better united States of America, as the nation was known when born: using "united" as an earned-adjective rather than an entitlement-noun. There are two large minority blocs in the nation: African-American and Hispanics (with the AsianAmericans as a micro voting bloc). The former, in a large measure, is historically a natural part of the Democratic base. Hispanics, however, are not. Indeed, the Hispanics can easily be in the Republican base, as they have comfortably been during Richard Nixon and beyond, and in the case of Florida, Cuba and Cuban-Americans have driven that state into Republican wins. After the courts came up short by rejecting Elian Gonzalez's asylum petition, purely on technical grounds that his mother, who had drowned, couldn't be a parent-petitioner, Attorney General Janet Reno bungled by not seeking presidential action and instead caused federal agents to storm a quiet family home in the wee hours of the night to rip Elian from his relatives to return him to his father in Cuba whom his mother
The lesson of 2012 on presidential politics is that Republicans must address both issues: securing our borders to give real meaning to law and sovereignty and a clear pathway to citizenship for those who are now illegally residing, or better, domiciled, in the United States.
had divorced long before seeking a new life in America. The result of Janet Reno's meltdown was that Al Gore was left gasping in 2000 in Florida as Miami votes were never counted, forget the hanging or pregnant chad. The Supreme Court decided the election, given James Baker's strategic and impressive, albeit, incorrect, blowout of Warren Christopher with his "they are trying to change the rules after the game's been played," when every court case is an after-the-fact autopsy and the court decision changes society daily with new precedent. The Supreme Court, with a 7-2 vote, did discover that our 50-states' electoral process, being non-uniform, was violating the Constitution's "equal protection" clause. In the years to come, the Hispanics will remain the "electoral bride," as they can be equally wooed by the Democrats or the Republicans. Indeed, there is a large swath of wealthy Hispanics, especially, Cuban-Americans who are die-hard Republicans ever since the botched Bay of Pigs misadventure. But that was then, and this is now. Cuba, with Castro aging and his caretaker brother Raul in charge, is seeking to liberalizing life and property, at least in part, so that the spread between a Cold War country, aligned with the non-existing Soviet Bloc, and the West is now finally minimizing, as it should as the Stalin-Soviets are Soviets no more and Russia is more market-driven. That Hispanics are Catholics also makes them more apt to be right-tolifers, as the Republicans. So, expect Republicans to comprehend this stark reality beyond mere celebration of Florida's Senator Mark Rubio. The Dems of course have had New Jersey's Cuban-American Bob Menendez as a United States Senator. This year's electoral capture of the Hispanic vote bloc was secured by the red-hot kiss and warm welcome mat: the new mid-year "under-30 non-deportation" executive policy issued by President Obama, just at the height of agony caused by the tragic Indian-American Kairi Shepard adoption case (and its exposure of ineffective counsel causing Kairi to be subject to deportation, when she is not to be deported under Supreme Court precedent). Secretary Janet Napolitano carried out the under-30 no-deportation policy effectively and with gusto. This was targeted, with sniper accuracy, at undoing a massive injustice and a colossal nightmare, if deportation was actually to be effectuated. A win/win for government and the deportable people. The Republicans' loud core base, way off-right, demanded, as does Arizona, obedience to immigration laws despite the in-fact and on-theground reality of Swiss cheese broken borders. Our "open" borders are an "attractive nuisance," a term of legal art, for which government bears responsibility. In addition, the Constitution gives exclusive power to the Executive for conducting for-
eign relations. Yet, the issue of an "open" border is also an issue of domestic policy and I expect to see some very serious action to close that border. (I also expect debt being engorged for investments rather than entitlements.) The border and our fiscal policy are related topics, for if we don't get our fiscal house in order, America will not remain a nation folks want to get into. So to maintain American supremacy and sovereignty, the current "Fiscal Cliff" is an added engine pushing our leaders to recalibrate of our policies, domestic and foreign. The lesson of 2012 on presidential politics, for the Electoral College does not exist for members of congress or the US Senate, is that Republicans must address both issues: securing our borders to give real meaning to law and sovereignty and a clear pathway to citizenship by those who are now illegally residing, or better, domiciled, in the United States. The ways and means, albeit, not called a comprehensive approach, will be a "step by step" approach that is enacted so that if the illegals walk the "tough" path, they can achieve citizenship. I must note that for a nation founded by immigrants, and continually enriched by waves of immigrants, like the Irish and Italians a century ago, and since the mid1960's with others from across the world, America is stronger than it has ever been. The bogey-man folks see in immigration, legal and illegal, is because our fiscal house is in disarray. More H1B visas issued give Amercica more wealth.
One consequence of Obama winning in 2008 and 2012 is that the US Supreme Court will hasten the demise of remedial affirmative action laws. Surely, if you can win the presidency twice, the biggest job of all without any remedial laws, you don't need affirmative action anymore.
Racial divide may well be legally invisible soon
By Ravi Batra he 2012 election loosened the racial divide, not tightened it. In fact, it was the 2008 election, which Barack Obama also won, that caused a sharper racial divide even as our nation washed itself of the original sin of slavery. In addition, this time, Bill Clinton warmly embraced Barack Obama, while the 2008 election proved that Bill Clinton is indeed white, but who is soulfully sensitive to African-Americans. In my judgment, one large consequence of the 2008 and 2012 electoral wins by Barack is that the United States Supreme Court will hasten the demise of remedial affirmative action laws; much faster than Justice Sandra Day O'Connor expected to
sunset them. Surely, if you can win the presidency twice, the biggest job of all without any remedial laws, you don't need affirmative action
anymore and the American Dream will become "equally available" to all (as affirmative action laws depress the American Dream for
some, as a cost for prior advantage enjoyed, while making it easier for others who were denied "equal" access in the past). So, the racial politics will politically kick into high gear, while legally the law will recognize race less so before decreeing it to be invisible in court. Ultimately, Barack Obama's second term win, heals the divisions within the Democratic family, the Clintonians and the Obamaites, and makes them "one" and 2016 Dems will have a unified invitation to Hillary on a silver platter, if she wants it, to run for president as a Democratic nominee. The Republicans still can't believe the electoral results. Disbelief driven by a poor economy and a successful businessman as their nominee, made Karl Rove go "nuts" on
Fox TV. The Tea Partiers and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the one-negative-agenda Leader dedicated to making Barack a 1-termer, are the big losers. The sensitive and capable Speaker John Boehner is, as it should always have been given his gavel, the true Republican Leader willing to cross the aisle and bring the Republicans back into the game and engage more fully to do the people's business. If not, Leader Nancy Pelosi is more than capable to regain the Speaker's gavel in the 2014 mid-term elections. Either way, America wins and gets stronger after the 2012 election, and nations around the world have to embrace America better, given our new found unity. The author is New York based eminent attorney.
The views expressed in Op Eds are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times.
November 24-30, 2012
World callous to Tibetan self-immolations
By Mayank Chhaya t says something about the world that we live in that six people set themselves on fire in just about as many days to protest their diminishing freedoms and it barely captures any attention at all. Seven Tibetans committed selfimmolations this week, bringing the total since 2009 to 69 of which 56 have been terminal, according to information maintained by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh. The fact that 55 self-immolations have taken place since January this year alone begins to paint a macabre picture of mounting despair and anger in many parts of Tibet. A common thread running through these self-immolations has been the demand for equality, cultural and religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland since he was forced into exile in India in 1959 in the aftermath of a Chinese takeover. It is not clear whether the spike in self-immolations this week has anything to do with the decennial conference of the Communist Party Congress that began yesterday in Beijing. It is during this congress that party elders will effect a change of leadership. Some 2000 specially chosen delegates are meeting in the Great Hall of the People to ensure a smooth transition of power from President Hu Jintao as the party chief to Vice President Xi Jinping. Reports out of China, as controlled and filtered they are, suggest widespread disaffection against corruption in public life as well as growing social and economic inequities. The issue of Tibet's restiveness, which is generally ignored by the Communist establish-
Congress should educate party, people on reforms
ment, has to compete with other societal conflicts, making it even more marginal than it has already become. Beijing's official line has been to describe the self-immolations as part of a conspiracy orchestrated by the Dalai Lama and his "clique", even though there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate the exiled Tibetan leader's involvement. On the contrary, even if he had that kind of power and access to ignite such acts the Dalai Lama has everything to lose by doing so because it is in direct conflict with the central feature of his global credibility- a steadfast adherence to nonviolence and compassion. On a related note, the re-election of Barack Obama as the US president is unlikely to change the dynamics in any way, particularly because Washington's preoccupations with Beijing are necessarily of economic nature such as currency manipulation. President Obama is unlikely to pay any substantive attention to Tibet during his second term at a time when domestically he is under great pressure to deliver on the economic front. Connected to the larger US strategy in the region divorced from Tibet, is Obama's upcoming visit to Burma barely within two weeks of returning to office. China will watch it with great interest and some discomfort. While the stated goal of the visit is to "speak to civil society to encourage Burma's ongoing democratic transition", according to the White House, it would not be lost on anyone that its subtler aim is also to make US presence felt close to China. It is in this larger context that the Obama administration is unlikely to pay much attention to Tibet other than making some polite noises about human rights there.
The Congress has a special responsibility in ensuring that the transition from the "socialistic pattern of society" to neo-liberalism takes place smoothly
By Amulya Ganguli here is little doubt that the Congress's recent public rally in the national capital and then a Samvad Baithak, a closed-door, inner-party discussion session, in nearby Surajkund are signs that the party is gearing up for the next general election, which is only 18 months away, as Sonia Gandhi reminded the audience. However, but for the convergence of opinion on reforms between the government and substantial sections of the party, nothing major has emerged from these events. Even the expectation that these occasions will mark Rahul Gandhi's ascension to the No.2 position in the party hasn't been fulfilled. In fact, during the press briefing after the Surajkund conclave, the party spokesman, Janardan Dwivedi, even forgot to mention that the heir apparent had also spoken till he was reminded by the media personnel. Then, he had to hurriedly flip through his notes to find the pages where he had written down Rahul's observations. But, the effort was hardly necessary, for the young general secretary didn't say much of substance except for his recent preoccupation with systemic change although he hasn't spelt out the details. What he apparently means is that the system has to be more responsive. But, the proposal amounts to little in the absence of concrete suggestions. It was the same with Sonia Gandhi. Hers was evidently a pep talk calling for closer interaction between the party and the government and an expected condemnation of the opposition's greed for power. There was also a suggestion to the government to explain the "tough" decisions which the reforms entail, especially when there are influential sections in the party like the Kerala unit, which is wary of the market-oriented policies. However, much of Sonia Gandhi's comments can be regarded as a case of whistling in the dark to keep up the party's spirits at a time when neither the party nor the government is too confident of successfully crossing the electoral Rubicon because of the inflation and the corruption charges against the party. True, the scene is slightly better than what it
The fact that 55 self-immolations have taken place this year alone paints a macabre picture of anger in Tibet
was. For one, the Congress's principal opponent, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is also embroiled in corruption because of the charges against its president, Nitin Gadkari, and Karnataka leader, B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is threatening to leave the party. Perhaps these are some of the points which should have been stressed at the meeting. In fact, the Congress and the government might consider whether gatherings of this nature should deal at greater length with economics rather than with politics, the standard item on the menu. The need for such a change of emphasis is all the greater because the party, and the country, are undergoing a tectonic shift from socialism to capitalism. And, given the bad name which the hedonistic, profit-oriented, consumerist doctrine associated with big business has for most people, it is necessary to explain its salient features. Since the Congress is fortunate in having in its ranks reputed economists like the prime minister, it should make full use of this opportunity to spell out the rationale for the transition. In fact, the party can even invite well known, pro-market economists like Jagdish Bhagwati to convince the "socialists" who still regard reforms as a sinister conspiracy intended to benefit the multinationals and impoverish the masses. Those who remember the Congress at the time of Jawaharlal Nehru can recall how much trouble the country's first prime minister took to "educate" the audience with his wide-ranging speeches. His focus then was on secularism and non-alignment since India had just emerged from the throes of partition and the world was witnessing a deadly cold war between the two superpowers. Now, the scene is different when economic direction has assumed prime importance after the demise of communism and the consequent discrediting of socialism, which was earlier believed to be a viable and even better model. As the largest and oldest party, the Congress has a special responsibility in ensuring that the transition from the "socialistic pattern of society", which it earlier favored, to what is described as neo-liberalism takes place as smoothly as possible.
The views expressed in Op Eds are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times.
November 24-30, 2012
London expert to head Savita death probe in Ireland
London: Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, a Sri Lanka-born expert on maternal care based at the University of London has been appointed by Ireland's health authorities to head the investigation team into the death of Savita Halappanavar. The Indian woman died Oct 28 at University Hospital Galway in circumstances that sparked a world-wide protest against abortion laws in Ireland. An internationally recognized expert at St George's, the University of London's healthcare institution, Arulkumaran is also a honorary fellow of the Indian College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists among other colleges in various countries. He is currently professor and head of obstetrics and gynecology and deputy head of clinical sciences at the institution and president of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the global body dedicated to improving women and newborns' quality of life. The inquiry headed by Arulkumaran will aim to determine the facts of Halappanavar's death, identify contributory factors and make recommendations
20 Indians arrested in UK immigration raids
London/Leicester: At least 20 Indian citizens have been arrested for immigration-related offences during raids conducted by Britain's border officials in the last week in London and the east Midlands town of Leicester, which has a large minority of Indian origin. Official sources Tuesday said 12 Indians were among 15 arrested during a raid on a textile company in Leicester. Checks revealed that they had overstayed their visas or had been refused asylum. The company that employed the arrested individuals now faces a fine of 10,000 pounds per illegal worker, the UK Border Agency said. Of the 15 arrested, ten were detained pending removal from the UK while the remaining five were released on immigration bail while the UKBA takes action to remove them from the country. Raids on several houses in parts of London led to arrests of Indian and other foreign nationals who had mainly overstayed their visas. Two Indian men aged 26 and 36 were arrested in Northgate when checks revealed that they had submitted false documents with their previous visa applications. In Bewmush, an Indian woman aged 28 was arrested for overstaying her visa, UKBA said. A 57-year-old Indian who had overstayed his visa was found in Langley Green, but he voluntarily left the country on Nov 12.During raids in Romford and Canary Wharf, four Indian men aged between 21 and 50 were arrested. They were found working illegally in a food manufacturing company. Three of them -- aged 22, 40 and 50 -- had over-stayed visas while a 21-year-old was found to have entered the country illegally. Steve Fisher of the UK Border Agency said: "We regularly carry out operations like this in London, and where we find people who are in the UK illegally we will seek to remove them. Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, undermining legitimate businesses and taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work."
Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran
to try to prevent a similar incident from occurring again, Irish officials said.
Keith Vaz named most influential Asian in UK
London: Keith Vaz, the Hinduja Group, come Indian-origin Labor MP, third on the list, while has emerged as Britain's leading NRI industrialist most influential Asian in Lord Swraj Paul is listed a list of 101 powerful at the 22nd position, people from the region, included in the category which includes the likes of 'Business'. of steel tycoon Lakshmi Reputed author Mittal, the billionaire Salman Rushdie is 24th Hinduja Brothers and (Writing) and Dr Kartar leading NRI industrialist Lalvani, founder of Lord Swraj Paul. Vitabiotics, the market According to the GG2 leader in the UK is Keith Vaz, Labor MP Power 101, brought out 30th (Pharmacy) on by the Garavi Gujarat Publications the list. here listing the 101 most influential Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Minister Asians in the UK, has 56-year-old of State in the Foreign Office, lookVaz, Labor MP from Leicester East ing after faith communities within and chairman of the powerful Home the department for communities and Affairs Select Committee, placed at local government is 4th on the list No 1. Vaz has been a parliamentari- (Politics).Anshu Jain, Co-CEO of an for over 25 years and was among Deutsche Bank is 5th (Banking) on the original modern gang of four the list while Indian-origin artist ethnic path-breaking politicians, Anish Kapoor CBE is 6th (Art). including the late Bernie Grant, Paul Sadiq Khan, Shadow Justice Boateng and Dianne Abbott, who Minister is 7th (Politics) while Lord made it into the House of Commons Navnit Dholakia, Deputy Leader of in 1987. the Liberal Democrats in the House He has been put in the category of of Lords is 8th (Politics) on the list. 'Politics'. Indian-origin steel tycoon Suma Chakrabarthi, head of the Lakshmi Mittal takes the second European Bank for Reconstruction position, he is in the category of and Development (EBRD) is 9th 'Industry'. (Public Service) on the list, while The Billionaire Hinduja Brothers , Rabinder Singh, the first Sikh High S P Hinduja and Gopi Hinduja, Court Judge in Britain is 10th Chairman and Co-Chairman of the (Law).
UK McDonald's bans PIO 'Peeping Tom'
London: An Indian-origin man in Britain has become the first person to have been banned from all 1,200 McDonald's outlets in England and Wales after being caught spying on two women in the restaurant's toilets. Thirty-two-year-old Sukhbir Singh sneaked into the ladies' toilets at a branch of the fast food giant in Birmingham where he hid in the cubicles and watched the women in February this year. Magistrates were told he was caught after being disturbed by a customer who then alerted staff, the 'Daily Mail' reported. Singh fled but CCTV operators tracked him from the restaurant and his image was passed to police officers. Police arrested Singh, from Handsworth, Birmingham, ten days later. Singh was also charged with another offence in the eatery against another victim on February 3. He was handed an anti-social behavior order banning him from women's changing rooms, toilets and all 1,200 McDonald's in England and Wales.
Anuj Bidve killer's appeal dismissed in UK
London: An attempt by a Briton who killed Indian student Anuj Bidve in an unprovoked attack in Greater Manchester on Boxing Day last year to have his life sentence reduced has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal. Kiaran Stapleton, 21, who shot dead Bidve from point blank range in Salford was sentenced to a life in prison after a trial in the Manchester Crown Court in July. He was ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years in jail before being considered for parole. Stapleton filed an appeal to have the sentence reduced but the Court of Appeal dismissed it and upheld the original sentence. Bidve was a postgraduate student of Microelctronics at Lancaster University. Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle of the Greater Manchester Police, who led the invesupset." She added: "However, I am delighted that the panel of judges sitting at the Court of Appeal have upheld the original sentence and that Stapleton will serve at least 30 years in prison before he can even apply for parole". Noting that Bidve's parents had undergone a very difficult time, Doyle said: "We will never lose sight of what is most important and that is Anuj's family. They had to suffer weeks of hearing very painful evidence about the night their son was so tragically and senselessly killed and now they've had to endure yet another hearing." She added: "Nothing will ever bring Anuj back, but I hope that now Stapleton has failed in his bid to have his sentence reduced it will finally bring the family some sense of closure to what has been an extremely traumatic time for them."
Kiaran Stapleton shot dead Anuj Bidve tigation, said: "At one point during his trial, Stapleton boasted that he did not care if he was locked up for 65 years because he enjoyed watching soaps in prison. But when the harsh reality of what a life in prison actually means hit home, Stapleton backtracked and tried to have his sentence reduced, putting Anuj's family through yet more
November 24-30, 2012
Kasab's execution revives memory of mass murder: Dawn
Islamabad: The execution of Ajmal Amir Kasab has revived the memory of a senseless but well-planned act of mass murder that brought Pakistan and India to the brink of war, leading Pakistani daily Dawn said Thursday. Four years after the Mumbai terror attack, many questions still remain unanswered, the Dawn said in an editorial. Pakistani national Kasab, the sole surviving member of a 10-member terrorist group that attacked Mumbai Nov 26, 2008, was hanged in an Indian jail Wednesday. "Who were the brains behind the slaughter of the civilians? What did they propose to achieve? And Where and how were the gunmen trained and armed," the daily asked. Although Islamabad has acted to reveal the work of a few fanatic killers, "that doesn't serve to hide the shortcomings in the working of Pakistan's anti-terrorism apparatus". Why did these activities go unnoticed in Pakistan, it asked. It exposed Pakistan's inability to keep tabs on organisations that manage to amass enough resources to run clandestine cells that undertake operations of such magnitude. "Who brainwashed them into undertaking that ignoble mission? Who provided the operational facilities, including the boat journey to the Indian port?" The Pakistani part of the trial is still dragging, prompting allegations from New Delhi that Islamabad is not serious. Pakistanis deserve to know what the government intends to do to ensure that such a tragedy is not repeated, the daily asked. "The issue is linked to the hydra-headed monster that terrorism has become for us." Militants are now operating throughout Pakistan and feel free to choose their targets, strike at will and plan operations abroad, the daily rued. The lesson to be drawn from the Mumbai events and its aftermath is that the government must make efforts to ensure that the state and citizens unite to root out terrorism.
37 killed, 92 hurt in Pak terror strikes
Islamabad: At least 37 people have been killed and over 90 others injured in Pakistan in terror attacks, Xinhua reported. A total of 28 people were killed and 77 others injured in Pakistani cities of Peshawar and Karachi since Wednesday night. Claiming responsibility for both the attacks, Pakistan Taliban Thursday warned of more such attacks in the near future. In Rawalpindi, in a sectarian attack, 23 people were killed and 62 others including eight children were injured when a suicide bomber hit a procession of Shiite Muslims in the city, said Deeba Shehnaz, spokeswoman of state rescue department. The suicide bomber blew up his explosive-laden jacket in a gathering of over 1,500 Shiite Muslims when police tried to stop him for checking in Misrial area of the city. In Karachi, four hours prior to the Rawalpindi attack, at least three people were killed and 13 others injured as twin blasts hit a Shiite shrine in the port city. city. Soon after the attack, the body of one of the missing policemen was found in a nearby area, pushing the toll to two. Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for both Rawalpindi and Karachi blasts. Ahsan Ullah Ahsan, the spokesperson of Pakistan Taliban, said more attacks would come on Shiite Muslims in the future. President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and leaders of all political parties condemned the blast. In an earlier incident, four policemen were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after an unidentified number of gunmen ambushed a police vehicle in Jani Khel area. Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. In another attack in Balochistan province's Quetta city, five people were killed and 15 others injured when a remote-controlled bomb hit a security convoy, police said. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for both Rawalpindi and Karachi blasts
Police in its investigation report said, three people were killed and five others injured in the first blast around 6 p.m. after a bomb went off at the main gate of a Shiite Shrine in the city's Orangi town. The bomb was detonated by a remote control device and explosives were fixed at a motorbike, the report said, adding when police and rescue teams gathered at the
site, another blast took place, injuring eight people including policemen and journalists. Unidentified gunmen attacked a police checkpost in Peshawar. Police said that at least one policeman was killed, two others were injured and several went missing when a group of motorbike riders opened fire at a police checkpost in Badaber area of the
'Pak taking unprecedented steps Can Myanmar be Asia's rice granary? for peace with India'
New Delhi: A new collaborative effort aims to realize the full potential of Myanmar as Asia's rice granary. The government of Myanmar, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) have entered into a collaboration to realise the potential of the Ayeyarwady delta, traditionally known for its rice. The effort is to address risks farmers face in these areas so that yeilds improve. "Interventions to reduce the vulnerability of Myanmar's farmers to extreme weather means promoting the use of rice varieties that can tolerate flood, salinity and drought," says IRRI's David Johnson, coordinator for the Consortium for Unfavourable Rice Environments (CURE), according to an IRRI statement. August saw severe monsoon flooding in Myanmar's Ayeyarwady delta rice-producing areas. Consequently, rice farmers were left with flooded rice farms and damaged crops. In other areas in the delta, rice is
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari
Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has said Pakistan is taking unprecedented steps to maintain peace with India and Islamabad will not let Islam be hijacked despite terrorist groups' attempts to impose their agenda. Addressing the Developing Eight, or D-8, conference here after taking over its chairmanship from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for two years, Zardari spoke on a host of issues including terrorism, democracy and IsraelPalestine conflict, Geo News reported. Calling on the members of D-8 to work as a catalyst for peace and prosperity in the world, Zardari said Pakistan and its people wanted peace. D-8 is an economic development alliance of eight developing countries with large Muslim populations and comprises Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia,
Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey and Pakistan. Highlighting the importance of democracy, Zardari said that democracy was at the very heart of Pakistan's identity as it was founded through democratic means. He said the Pakistani government was making unprecedented moves to make peace with India and also supported the peace process in Afghanistan. On terrorism, Zardari said that terrorist groups seek to impose their agenda but Pakistan would not let Islam be hijacked, adding that Pakistan would continue to fight against the dark and destructive agenda of terrorists. Condemning Israeli attacks on Gaza, the Pakistani president said Palestinians had been awaiting promised self determination for decades and the D-8 nations must look into this matter.
affected by salinity from sea water intrusion, resulting in land being underused. If the two million-hectare rice-producing areas in the delta use better management practices and appropriate rice varieties, they could easily boost Myanmar's domestic and export capacities - critical for a country whose per capita rice consumption is the highest in the world at 190 kg per year. IRRI has been working in Myanmar since the 1970s and is now helping to pull together national and international partners to provide support to rice farmers to minimise losses when flooding occurs. "IRRI's breeding programme has been working with government scientists to develop improved varieties that tolerate these constraints and link farmers to these innovations," said Johnson. "On top of these stress-tolerant varieties, IRRI also develops management technologies that not only help deliver higher yields but also promote environmental sustainability and reduce costs," he added.
Paddy fields in Myanmar
November 24-30, 2012
India, Brazil, South Africa UN chief, EU hail Israel-Gaza ceasefire deal call for dialogue
New Delhi: India, Brazil and South Africa have condemned the ongoing violence between Israel and Palestine and urged them to exercise maximum restraint and to resume direct talks to resolve the crisis. The three countries, which form the IBSA grouping, underlined the need for diplomacy and urged all involved parties to avoid taking any action that may further worsen the situation. The IBSA countries express their strongest condemnation of the ongoing violence between Israel and Palestine, that threatens the peace and security of the region, said a statement by the IBSA member-states on "the situation between Israel and Palestine" in New York. The IBSA countries deeply regret the loss of human lives and express their concern over the disproportionate and excessive use of force, said the statement. The three countries "urge the parties to immediately cease all violence, to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid taking any action that may further exacerbate the situation." "They stress their expectation that the United Nations Security Council will do its utmost in the fulfillment of its responsibilities in regard to this serious situation." Underlining the urgent need to lift the blockade on Gaza, the IBSA countries reminded Israel that it is worsening the already dire socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza. They also expressed their strong support for the mediation efforts of the government of Egypt, the League of Arab States and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon aimed at achieving a negotiated ceasefire. Under an Egypt brokered deal, Israel and Gaza militant groups have agreed to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Calling for a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question through a two-state solution, the three countries said only diplomacy and dialogue will lead to the resolution of the current crisis, "which makes it even more urgent to resume direct talks between Israel and Palestine". United Nations: UN SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon and top leaders of the European Union (EU) hailed the ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and the Hamas, and commended Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi for his efforts. Briefing the UN Security Council via video link from the Tel Aviv airport, Ban said: "I warmly welcome today's ceasefire announcement. I commend the parties for stepping back from the brink and I commend President Morsi of Egypt for his exceptional leadership." The secretary-general was visiting the Middle East region to push for an early end to the week-long hostilities, Xinhua reported. The Israel-Hamas conflict reportedly killed more than 140 Palestinians and at least five Israelis, and left about 1,000 others injured on both sides. "Our focus now must be on ensuring the ceasefire holds and that all those in need in Gaza - and there are many - receive the humanitarian assistance they need," Ban said. "It's a huge relief for the people of Gaza and Israel, and for the international community, that the violence is stopping." Leaders of the EU hailed the ceasefire soon after it was proclaimed. "We welcome wholeheartedly the
The Israel-Hamas conflict reportedly killed more than 140 Palestinians and at least five Israelis
cease-fire that has just been proclaimed in Gaza and that was being strongly called for by the European Union and the international community," said a statement jointly issued by the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Head of the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haneya, in a statement emailed to the media, said he was proud of the Palestinian people's steadfastness and their armed resistance. "We congratulate our people for this victory, as the Palestinian people and their resistance proved an ability of steadfastness, creation and courage," said Haneya.
In Beirut, head of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said the "victory of Palestinians in Gaza was natural and expected", the official National News Agency reported. "The ceasefire declaration between Israel and Gaza was an end to the Israeli aggression and a victory for the Palestinian resistance," the NNA quoted Nasrallah as saying in a televised speech. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a statement published by the official news agency Wafa, Abbas said he supports the agreement "to stop the bloodshed of our people and to put an end to the continuation of the Israeli aggression on Gaza".
Prince William's pics leak out Iran supplied Gaza with weapons: sensitive defense info Hamas leader
London: Photographs of Prince William intended to show off his role as a search and rescue pilot have resulted in a security blunder with four shots leaking out sensitive defense information. The British Ministry of Defense was forced to reset the user names and computer passwords of dozens of RAF staff following the embarrassing security blunder over pictures of Prince William. Ten photographs of the future king in his role as a search and rescue helicopter pilot were published by St James's Palace yesterday on the Duke's website before being cleared by the MoD, the Daily Mail reported. The pictures, taken by an RAF photographer, had been intended to show off a "day in the life" of the 30-year-old Prince on base as Flight Lieutenant Wales at RAF Valley on Anglesey, north Wales. They were considered something of a coup for his new website. But the publicity exercise back-fired within hours as it emerged that sensitive information was visible in four of the shots. In one, William is in a briefing room in front of a computer with a password prompt screen open. Another shows a document on the desk and an email open on a computer. Other photographs show details of passwords and user names pinned up on a wall. By the time horrified defense officials spotCairo: Iran supplied Gaza militants with weapons, Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Islamist group Hamas, has said. "The weapons of Palestinian resistance were partially manufactured inside the Gaza Strip, and the rest were supplied by certain countries, including Iran," Meshaal told journalists in Cairo after a ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Hamas. The Hamas leader said Tehran had supported Gaza militants with arms "even despite differences between Iran and Hamas on issues connected with the conflict in Syria". Meshaal said the Palestinians will now seek to unite their ranks and management structures in Gaza and on the West Bank. An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect at 7.00 p.m.
Khaled Meshaal, political leader of Islamist group Hamas
ted the mistake, some four hours after publication online, the shots had appeared on websites around the world, on TV and in newspapers including the Evening Standard in London. They were 're-released' with the details pixilated, but the MoD had no choice but to reset passwords of some personnel "as a precaution". "Due to an administrative oversight, these photographs were not properly cleared at RAF Valley. They have now been amended," the MoD said. "The pictures were taken by an RAF photographer and any security issues are a matter for the MoD," the St James's Palace said.
Wednesday. Both the Israel Defense Forces and the Islamist group praised the deal, in line with which, Israel has to end hostilities and targeted killings in the Gaza Strip, and Hamas has to stop launching rockets into Israel. The Israel defense forces said they have completed objectives for its Operation Pillar of Defense against the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave of 1.7 million that has been gov-
erned by Hamas since 2007. The operation started Nov 14 with an airstrike that eliminated the head of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed Jabari. The airstrike came after a reported surge in rocket attacks on Israeli border towns from Gaza. About 160 Palestinians have died in Israel's eightday air and naval attack on Gaza. Five Israelis have been killed in the conflict.
November 24-30, 2012
Lupin launches generic cholesterol lowering drug in US
India to receive $70 billion remittance in 2012: WB
New Delhi: Remittances to India this year are likely to increase to $70 billion, the highest in the world, followed by $66 billion to China, the World Bank said in a report. The sharp increase in remittances to India has come from the Gulf countries. Regions and countries with large numbers of migrants in oil exporting countries continue to see robust growth in inward remittance flows, compared with those whose migrant workers are largely concentrated in the advanced economies, especially Western Europe. "South Asia, MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and East Asia and Pacific regions, with large numbers of workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, are seeing better-than-expected growth in remittances," the World Bank said. The total remittance flow to the developing countries is expected to touch $406 billion this year, registering an increase of 6.5 percent over the previous year figure. Remittances to the developing countries are projected to grow by 7.9 percent in 2013, 10.1 percent in
New Delhi: Drug-maker Lupin said its subsidiary Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc has launched cholesterol lowering drug Fenofibrate tablets in 48mg and 145mg strengths in the United States. The Mumbai-based company's Fenofibrate tablets are a generic version of Abbott's Tricor tablets. Lupin had received US Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug earlier. "We are very happy to bring this product to market in the United States. Patients can be assured that they are receiving the same high quality product they have been accustomed to at a more affordable
price," Vinita Gupta, Lupin group president, said in a statement. Cadbury India under investigation in tax evasion case New Delhi: India is investigating Cadbury's local unit for possible tax evasion, a minister said, in a probe involving about 2 billion rupees ($36.29 million). "Two cases of tax evasion by Cadbury India Limited has been detected by the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence during the years 2009-10 to 2012-13, up to 31st October, 2012," S S Palanimanickam told Parliament in a written reply. The latest of the two cases involves central excise duty, the minister said.
The total remittance flow to the developing countries is expected to touch $406 billion this year
2014 and 10.7 percent in 2015 to reach $534 billion in 2015, according to a the latest World Bank report on global migration and remittances. "Although migrant workers are, to a large extent, adversely affected by the slow growth in the global economy, remittance volumes have remained remarkably resilient, providing a vital lifeline to not only poor families but a steady and reliable source of foreign currency in
many poor remittances recipient countries," Hans Timmer, director of the World Bank's Development Prospects Group, said in the report. Among the top remittance receivers, India and China will be followed by the Philippines and Mexico, $24 billion each and Nigeria $21 billion. Other large recipients include Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Lebanon.
Eurozone fails to fix Greek debt deal
Greece: European finance ministers failed to agree on a debt-reduction package for Greece after battling with the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) over how to nurse the recession-wracked country back to fiscal health. With creditors led by Germany refusing to put up fresh money or offer debt relief, the finance chiefs were unable to scrape together enough funds from other sources to help alleviate Greece's debt burden, set to hit 190 per cent of gross domestic product in 2014. Greece's fiscal woes have defied three years of rescue efforts , rekindling doubts about Europe's crisiscontainment strategy and maintaining a cloud over the euro, postwar Europe's signature economic accomplishment. More than 11 hours of talks broke up early on Wednesday in Brussels without any agreement. That leaves the next aid payment, which has been held up since June, frozen until at least another emergency ministers' meeting on Nov. 26. "We have a series of options on the table on how to close the financing gap," German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters. "We discussed the issue very intensively, but since the questions are so complicated we didn't come to a final agreement ."
DuPont working on seed traits, applications for India
Hyderabad: US multinational DuPont plans to expand its Knowledge Centre here by setting up facilities for global research in seed traits and for developing new applications tailored to India. On the fourth anniversary of DuPont Knowledge Centre (DKC), the company said it would expand the work in the areas of three global mega trends of food, energy and protection. The facility is developing applications for food packaging, fabric care and solutions for light weighting automobiles. Describing India as a strategically important market, Rajeev Vaidya, DuPont-South Asia president, said the firm's investment to bring more innovation capabilities to India would continue. He said India offered over $5 billion market
‘India's fiscal deficit could reach 5.5 pc of GDP’
New Delhi: The country's fiscal deficit could reach 5.5-5.6 percent of GDP in the current fiscal year that ends in March, forcing the government to borrow up to Rs 40,000 crore ($7.2 billion) extra from the market, a senior government official said. Just last month, subdued tax revenue and higher spending on subsidies forced the government to revise its fiscal deficit target to 5.3 percent for the current financial year from a previous target of 5.1 percent. However, a dismal response to last week's auction of mobile phone airwaves, has cast doubts on that target. India, which had budgeted for Rs 400 billion revenue from the auction of mobile phone airwaves, managed to raise about Rs 94 billion from an auction this month. The government plans to conduct a second auction in this financial year for the unsold airwaves. Global rating agencies have threatened to downgrade India's sovereign credit rating to junk if it fails to put its fiscal house in order. Analysts said while the disappointing auction would likely not be a deciding factor, it underscored the challenges facing the government in trying to slash the deficit. Just last month, subdued tax revenue and higher spending on subsidies forced the government to revise its fiscal deficit target to 5.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the current financial year from a previous target of 5.1 per cent. In setting the new target, the government was banking heavily on generating billions of dollars from the auction of second-generation (2G) mobile phone licences. But the auction this week yielded just under 25 per cent of the targeted Rs 40,000 crore ($7.3 billion), a result that caught officials off-guard.
US multinational DuPont
opportunity. Currently, India is the ninth largest market for DuPont and the biggest in South Asia, which contributes less than a billion dollars to the company's global revenues of $38 billion. The four seed traits the DKC is developing is aimed at improving the yield for a variety of crops like corn and maize. "We are developing traits for improved pestresistance and to grow crops in drought like conditions. We are focusing on very thing relevant to India," said
Homi C Bhedwar, technical director. The global research in agriculture Biotech (ABT) at DKC will be the second largest R&D centre for the company outside the US and will focus on both global and local market needs. The DKC has already started to commercialize air cargo covers providing appropriate temperature for Indian environment for pharmaceutical shipments. It is also in the process of developing a solution to increase lifetime of flowers meant for exports.
November 24-30, 2012
India look to maintain momentum against England
Mumbai: Even if the ball "doesn't spin from ball one", India are expected to overcome the challenge from England in the second Test, at the Wankhede Stadium here. India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has courted a controversy by saying he wants to see the pitch turning from the word go and even though his team won the first Test by nine wickets, he "would not like to see another surface" like the one used in Ahmedabad. Irrespective of the conditions, England in the second innings of the opening game have shown they are capable of adjusting to alien surroundings through their spirited effort. The Mumbai track has traditionally favoured the spinners, though the curator has been tight-lipped on its nature. It would not have been a bad idea to include Harbhajan Singh in much turn for them and the ball is not stopping, it may be difficult for them to restrict the batsmen," he added. Umesh Yadav, who impressed on a slow flat wicket at Motera, Ahmedabad, is doubtful for the match and Ashok Dinda has been kept as standby. Any other change in the side from the one that played in the first game is unlikely. The focus will, however, be on devastating opener Virender Sehwag, who is set to become the ninth Indian to feature in 100 Tests. The crowd will also be hoping to see a special innings from their hometown hero Sachin Tendulkar, who has not breached the threedigit figure since January 2011. Star in Ahmedabad, Cheteshwar Pujara will look to carry on in the same vein. Monty Panesar is likely to get a game for England after their team director Andy Flower admitted they made a mistake by not picking the left-arm spinner in the first Test. His inclusion would ease a bit of pressure off Graeme Swann, who was easily the visitors' standout bowler in the first Test. The pace department looks uncertain with Stuart Broad missing a training session on the eve of the game. Steve Finn has not yet recovered from a thigh strain he suffered in a tour match. The batsmen did manage to provide resistance in the second innings at Ahmedabad with skipper Alastair Cook leading the way. One would like to believe they would only get better against the turning ball as the series progresses. England will be hoping that their key batsman Kevin Pietersen also finds some form.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni with teammates
the side. But Dhoni on the eve of the match said they would go in with two spinners and two fast bowlers. "Harbhajan has to wait as (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Pragyan) Ojha are bowling well,"
said Dhoni in his pre-match media interaction with media persons. "We are looking at a 2-2 combination. You don't know exactly whether you are bowling first or batting. Which means if the spinners are bowling and there is not
Cricket ties fine but 26/11 Hong Kong Open: Saina, Jayaram beaten justice core concern
Hong Kong: It was a bad day in office for Indian shuttlers as Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram went out in the second round of the $250,000 Hong Kong Open Super Series. Women's singles third seed Saina lost out to China's Ling Wang in straight games in 37 minutes to end her campaign at the Hong Kong Coliseum. The London Olympics bronze medallist lost 19-21, 15-21 in the final Super Series of the season. The first game was a neck-and-neck tie till 18-all before the Chinese pulled away while the second was dominated by Wang. The Chinese led right from the start and Saina just could not match her pace and lost the second game in a jiffy. With this win, qualifier and former World No.1 Wang extended her head-to-head to 4-2. In men's singles action, London Olympics quarterfinalist Parupalli Kashyap had to retire nine minutes into his match against Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto when the score read 11-6 in favour of the latter.
Mumbai's Ajay Jayaram also went out to World No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia but not before giving a tough fight to the top seed. The World No.32 lost 18-21, 19-21 in 35 minutes and Lee won his fifth match over Jayaram in as many encounters.
India and Pakistan will play three one day internationals and two Twenty-Twenty matches
India have to play German-style hockey: Nobbs
Rio Olympics in mind. A clear indication is that captain and star midfielder Sardar Singh at 26 is the oldest of the 18-member squad that has four players who were part of India's U21 squad that lost the Sultan of Johor Cup final to Germany in Malaysia last week. "It (Australia tour) is a great chance for the youngsters to perform against the top teams. The selectors have made it clear that they are looking at Rio and I will try my best to give them the team they are looking for," Nobbs said. Indian hockey hit rock-bottom with team finishing last at the Olympics. Nobbs is keen that the trend should change and he has made certain changes to reverse the slide. He shared the changes he has made after joining the camp midway through at Patiala last month. "I did not miss much even though I joined the team midway through the camp. We want to imbibe the qualities of German style in our play. They are now the benchmark for world hockey. They are very good at trapping the ball, so we spent a lot of time working how to trap the ball practising on grass," Nobbs said. "We worked really hard for the Olympics but the results did not show it. I hope we find some success in Australia," added Nobbs, who made a delayed return to India as the authorities took time to renew his contract.
New Delhi: India said that although it backed normalisation of relations with Pakistan through restoration of cricketing ties, Islamabad needed to speed up the investigation and trial relating to those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack. India also made it clear that the issue of visas to Pakistani nationals coming to watch cricket matches at various venues in the country will be in accordance with extant rules and regulations. This was conveyed by Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) in response to questions on the subject. The statement came a day after the execution of Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist captured alive during the Mumbai carnage.
"India continues to make efforts to build peaceful and stable relations with Pakistan. This includes promotion of sporting ties," said Ahamed. In the same breath, Ahamed reminded that "terrorism against India emanating from Pakistan and territory under its control remains a core concern for us". Alluding to the government's clearance to the Board of Control for Cricket in India for Pakistan cricket team's tour to India from Dec 25 to Jan 6 next year, Ahamed clarified that the issue of visas to Pakistani nationals coming to India to watch cricket matches at various venues will be done in accordance with extant rules and regulations. India and Pakistan will play three one day internationals and two Twenty-Twenty matches.
Hockey Coach Michael Nobbs
New Delhi: A youthful Indian hockey team will have its first big Test post the London disaster when they play in the Champions Trophy next month. Coach Michael Nobbs wants his wards to see Olympic Champions Germany as their model and hopes they respond well to the changes in the style of play. Ahead of the the Dec 1-9 Champions Trophy in Australia, they get to compete in nine-a-side Lanco International Super Series event, beginning in Perth. While the coach is saying the experienced Sandeep Singh, Ignace Tirkey, Tushar Khandkar and Shivendra Singh have been rested for the tour, the selectors are clear that they are looking at players keeping the 2016
November 24-30, 2012
The Guru and the religion he founded
By Roopsi Narula
he birth of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, is celebrated every year on full moon day in the month of Kartika (it falls this year on November 28). Guru Nanak was born in 1469 A.D. in Talwandi near Lahore, Pakistan. His father’s name was Kalu Mehta and mother’s name was Tripta. He had an elder sister named Nanaki. Gurdwara Nankana Sahib is located at his place of birth. Many Sikhs visit this sacred shrine every year. Guru Nanak advocated the notion of one creator and rejected divisions based on caste, creed, religion and gender. He taught love, peace, simple living and contentment. He is said to have possessed exceptional awareness levels even at a young age. He got enlightenment at the age of 30 when he disappeared into a river for three days. After his return, he embarked on four major journeys called udasis to spread his message of love and peace to everyone. He also composed Japji Sahib, which is the morning prayer of the Sikhs. Founded
by Guru Nanak in the 15th Century, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world. There are around 30 million Sikhs in the world, a majority of who live in Punjab, India. Sikhs worship and follow the teachings given in Guru Granth Sahib, which compiles bani (teachings) of the Sikh Gurus along with selected work of other adepts from various religious backgrounds. Guru Granth Sahib is considered the living guru of the Sikhs. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, and stands for love, respect, equality, peace, prosperity and charity. It believes in hard work and sharing the fruit of labor with others. It also encourages living the life of a householder. It believes that God is the supreme power who is present everywhere. It discourages ritualistic practices and believes in good actions and recital of the divine name. There are estimated to be 3,00,000 Sikhs living in the US. Some of them are well known in business and politics. Given their unique appearance of wearing turbans, having unshorn hair and sporting beards, some Sikh men have been subject to discrimina-
tion. Post 9/11, an increase in hate crimes against the community has been witnessed, many of who are mistaken as Muslims or Arabs. This year the community came for sharp media focus after the shootings in a gurdwara in Wisconsin in August. Six people were killed and four were wounded in this incident. Recently, President Obama in his Diwali message praised the resilience shown by the Sikhs in the wake of the Wisconsin tragedy. True to the spirit of the religion, the Sikh community has once again been at the forefront to offer post-Sandy reconstruction work. The community volunteers provided hot meals to thousands of hurricane victims all across New York, New Jersey, Long Island and other affected areas. Gurdwaras in the region were opened for those seeking food and shelter. As always, this year too the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev will be celebrated in gurdwaras across US and India with fervor and enthusiasm. The South Asian Times takes this oppor-
Guru Nanak Dev’s 543rd birth anniversary falls on Nov 28
tunity to wish all our readers a very Happy Gurpurab! The author is an MBA from Hult International Business School, Boston and a Business Consultant for The South Asian Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
India, Israel joint stamps on festivals Old Hyderabad peaceful, restrictions eased of lights released
New Delhi: Marking 20 years of bilateral ties, India and Israel Monday jointly released postage stamps that celebrate the two festivals of lights - Diwali and the Jewish festival Hanukkah - commemorating the triumph of good over evil and justice over injustice. Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal released the stamps here in the presence of Israeli Ambassador to India Alon Ushpiz, Israeli Postal Company Chairman Sasi Shilo and India Posts secretary (Posts) Manjula Prasher. Speaking on the occasion, Sibal said Israel was India's sixth largest trade partner with over $5 billion annual trade, with key partnership in the field of defense, education, science and technology, space and agriculture. He noted that since the diplomatic relations between the two nations began in 1992, there has been a significant cooperation on many fronts, particularly in innovation in industrial research and development such as nano-technology, bio-technology and non-conventional energy. Israel also contributed about 40,000 tourists to India annually, he said, adding that the stamps were symbols of the cultural diversity of the respective nations. The stamps jointly released by India and Israel, also released in Tel Aviv on Nov 5, were means to spread awareness on the cultures of the two nations, in particular their festivals of lights. Ushpiz, in his address, said though stamps were "old-fashioned form of communication", these were still "irreplaceable" and were culturally part of daily life in every nation.
Hyderabad: The situation in the old city of Hyderabad, which witnessed violence Friday, is peaceful, police said last Saturday . The police lifted some restrictions on the movement of people and vehicular traffic around Charminar, where a mob indulged in stone pelting and arson after Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid.Ten people including five policemen were injured in stone pelting by mob and baton charge and firing of teargas shells by the police. The mob also set afire several vehicles. Following the violence, the police had sealed all routes around the historic monument, leading to a curfew-like situation in the communally sensitive area.Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma said the situation was peaceful and no untoward incident took place since Friday afternoon. The police Saturday morning removed barricades on roads leading to Charminar, providing relief to people reeling under restrictions for last few days due to tension over a temple abutting Charminar. Police also announced that shops can re-open in the area. However, prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people would continue in areas falling under seven police station limits. The police commissioner said 40 people were arrested in connection with Friday's violence. Member of parliament from Hyderabad and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), however, alleged that police arrested several innocent youth and demanded their immediate release. The old city had been simmering for the last two weeks over the alleged expansion of Bhagyalakshmi Temple, abutting Charminar. The high court Nov 5 had ordered status quo, but the government allowed the temple committee to erect a canopy over the structure, which led to strong protest and withdrawal of support by MIM to the Congress government. The government, however, maintained that the canopy was allowed to be erected to maintain status quo as on Oct 30.
Huge Kerala delegation to attend Indian Cardinal's ordination
Thiruvananthapuram: A huge delegation comprising a team of bishops, an inter-religious group of spiritual leaders and around 400 laity will be in Vatican to witness the ordination of Cardinal-designate Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos Saturday. The 53-year-old head of the Kerala-headquartered Syro Malankara Catholic Church was earlier elevated as Cardinal by the Pope. He became one of 89 cardinals who could go on to become the Pope. "The ecumenical team consists of two archbishops and four bishops from other Christian communities, while the inter-religious delegation consists of a Moulavi, three swamis of different religious groups and
His Beatitude Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, one of 89 cardinals who could go on to become the Pope.
laity numbering 400," said the spokesperson of the church. The political delegation consists of the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha P.J. Kurien, Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal, Indian Union Muslim League's MP E.T. Mohammed Basheer, Congress legislator Palode Ravi, and the Thiruvananthapuram mayor and CPI-M leader K. Chandrika. Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos becomes the first major archbishop from the Kerala-based Syro Malankara Church to be elevated as cardinal. He is also the youngest person from the country to be made cardinal. Currently there are six cardinals in India. Of these, only three have voting rights to elect the Pope, as only those below 80 years of age are eligible to vote.
The Malankara Church is one of the three churches that comprise the Catholic Church in Kerala. The others are the Latin and the Syro Malabar churches. Formed in 1930 as part of the re-unification movement, the Syro Malankara Catholic Church has a following of around five hundred thousand. With the ordination of Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, the total number of cardinals in the Catholic Church has touched 211. Cleemis Catholicos was ordained priest of the church in 1986, and holds a doctorate from the St. Thomas Pontifical University, Rome. He was first appointed bishop Aug 15, 2001, and elevated to Major Archbishop 2007.
November 24-30, 2012
Creating wedding websites a trend now
t is the big, fat Indian wedding season and more couples are nowadays putting together their wedding websites with info, photos and videos to make friends and relatives living far away a part of the gala. Floating wedding websites is not new, but the trend has really caught up now, thanks to increased internet access and reduced cost of creating such sites. For instance, Mayuri and ShashankBaruah, a newly-wedded couple, created their wedding website soon after engagement. "We have our roots in Assam, but we stay in Delhi. We have studied and worked all over the country. Shashank was also in London for three years. So we have friends all over," Mayuri said. "Soon after we got engaged, our friends and family friends kept telling us how sorry they were about not being able to attend the ceremony. "We realized that the scenario will be similar during the wedding. But we didn't want to leave out anyone
from sharing the moment with us. So we decided to give almost as good an experience through a personal wedding website," she said. The website, with the couple's name as domain name, looked right out of a movie. They uploaded pictures and video clips of their engagement and all the pre-wedding events, right up to the D-day in Guwahati -- done to the last detail.
Of course, with the bride and groom busy, the responsibility of updating the website on important days was entrusted to a tech-savvy cousin. "Apart from videos and photos, we also gave information on time and venue of all events along with maps so that there was no confusion. Since it was the first time many of our guests were coming to
Assam, we also added details such as places to see around Guwahati, places to eat, shopping destinations, and emergency phone numbers and they loved the whole package!" Mayuri said, smiling in delight. Nelly Abraham and her husband, Matthew, similarly created their wedding website and uploaded a video clip of them inviting others for added personal touch. The couple is settled in Singapore, although they hail from Kerala and that is where the wedding was a month ago. "Nelly and I had got two weeks off for our marriage. That's hardly any time to organize a wedding, Indian style! So we were doing everything to help our parents online -- from organizing caterers and florists to hotel accommodations. Everything," Matthew said. "But the most important detail, inviting people personally, was what concerned us. So we created a wedding website and made a video clip of us inviting people to the wedding, just like we would do personally,
and uploaded it. We got emotional phone calls later of how close to real that invitation felt," he said. Nelly, Mathew said, later went on to even upload pictures of her shopping trips and costume trials, much like a blog, and to take the 'being part of it' feeling one step ahead. Many of the wedding sites also come free, like blogs, but the couple have to do all the uploading and designing. Then there are the experts. SumitBhowmick from Bangalore said his team created hundreds of websites for couples every month. "A wedding website is like an extension of the more traditional wedding card, and much more. If we have details such as venues, dates and photographs, it hardly takes any time to create one. It's a trend now," Bhowmick said. More than anything else, letting his extended family and friends know his fiance before "she formally became a part of the family" is what led Rakesh Mishra into creating their wedding website.
Step up your style for winter! Happy teenagers grow into wealthy adults
appy adolescents are more likely to grow into wealthy adults, independently of every other influence, says the first in-depth study in this regard. JanEmmanuel De Neve, political scientist at the University College London (UCL) and Andrew Oswald, professor at the University of Warwick, presented these findings, based on an analysis of data from 15,000 adolescents and young adults in US. They found that those who report higher 'positive affect', which is a technical measure of happiness, or higher 'life satisfaction' grow up to earn significantly higher levels of income later in life. Their study found that happy individuals' greater wealth is due, in part, to the fact that they are more likely to get a degree, find work, and get promoted quicker than their gloomier counterparts, according to a UCL statement. And greater happiness has a big financial impact: the
s winter knocks on the doors, stock up on a mix of clothes with Bohemian and hippie influences. From asymmetrical jackets, heavy knit mufflers, Grecian-draped knits to peplums and bejeweled headbands - get stylish this season. Clothes, accessories and new styles - Indian designers suggest a range of options you could use to glam up both everyday life and the party. "There are many trends and options for women this season, especially for those who like boho chic, floral and gothic looks. People can experiment with them in the most daring manner if they want to stand out, or wear them wisely to look stylish and cool," designer Pam Mehta told IANS. "But before you choose your clothes, it is important that people identify their strongest body feature and then highlight it with the right attire. Also, it would do great if you learn the tricks to conceal your problem areas with smart layering," says designer AniketSatam. "Layering is the key to keep you warm yet chic this winter. Don't simply pile on clothes. Rather
invest in smart winter separates, which you can layer to create unique style lines," Satam said. Some trends in vogue this season are the peplum or fit-and-flare skirts in dense palette like burgundy, sapphire and teal, which add warmth to the eye. One can team them with dainty flimsy georgette lady-like blouses with retro prints. The faux fur look continues its successful run this year too. "The leather with fur trimmings, fake fur vests, jackets, boleros, scarves with fake fur trimmings are all in vogue. Also skinny jeans and tights tucked into boots enhance the chic woman in you," said designer PriaKatariaPuri. For those who like it simple, vibrant colored knits and chunky knit scarves are a stylish option when teamed with V-neck sweaters, buttoned sweaters and fitted dresses, which are here to stay, Puri said. Also formal coats with jeans for a semi-formal look and full-length dresses with waistcoats are good for girls. Fabrics like Cashmere, silk wool, wool crepe, fake fur and stretch denim work best in winter.
study shows, for example, that a one-point increase in life satisfaction (on a scale of five) at the age of 22 is tied to almost $2,000 higher earnings per annum at the age of 29. This is on top of other influences on incomes. The researchers paid careful attention to instances of siblings in the data, demonstrating that even in children growing up in the same family, happier youngsters tend to go on to earn higher levels of income. Their results are robust to the inclusion of other important factors such as education, physical health, genetic variation, IQ, self-esteem, and current happiness. De Neve said: "These findings have important implications for academics, policy makers, and the general public. For academics they reveal the strong possibility for reverse causality between income and happiness -- a relationship that most have assumed unidirectional and causal.
Social networking sites boon for wannabe photographers
elebrity photographer DabbooRatnani feels that social networking and digital photography is a boon for youngsters who want to pursue photography as a career. "I think the youth today is very excited about photography and social networking sites play a very important role in encouraging them. Another huge plus is digital photography. Earlier, people used to find it a very expensive hobby," Ratnani said. "I get so many random messages and calls on my phone, Twitter and Facebook account from many people who are enthusiastic about pho-
tography," he added. The 40-yearold was here to launch the Canon PhotoMarathon India, a competition that gave youngsters a chance to win and attend a photography workshop in Hungary. Talking about his passion for photography, Ratnani said he bought his first SLR camera without knowing it would become his profession one
day. "Initially, when I bought my first SLR camera, I thought it was just another gizmo. But one thing led to the other and became my profession. For me, when I started photography during school picnics, I used to be the only one with a camera. None of my friends came with it," he said. Asked if the passion for photography should come from within, he said: "You will be consistent and excited if it comes from within." The photographer is also known for his annual DabbooRatnani Calendar that captures celebrated actors.
November 24-30, 2012
Funny Bone by Nury Vittachi
We're getting stupid: Here's proof
uman intelligence peaked a couple of thousand years ago and people are now getting stupider, a scientist said on Monday. Professor Gerald Crabtree's words in the UK's Independent newspaper rang true with me. I'd just finished reading a case sent in by a reader for this column's dumb criminals file. On Nov 9, a car thief stole a delivery vehicle from a Chinese restaurant. The carjacker then proceeded to deliver all the meals to the right addresses. Police in Connecticut found it easy to catch him. They simply waited at the next address and he conveniently delivered himself into their hands, accompanied by a range of tasty snacks. For cops, it was the best case ever. Also a few days ago, a famous UK store called Debenhams revealed that customers couldn't understand modern coffee terms. So they changed "venti cappuccino" to "Big Frothy Coffee", and "cafe latte" to "Very Very Milky Coffee" and so on. Presumably staff will tell buyers: "After buying, insert into mouth." On an aircraft, a friend of mine was given a packet of peanuts which carried the words: "Eat after opening." Passengers must have been trying to swallow the packet whole! And then there are the comments under YouTube videos, which offer convincing proof that humans are turning into primitive, brain-free forms of life, like primeval sludge, moss, nationalist politicians, etc. Typical YouTube comment: "Your stuped." When I mentioned this in the bar, someone told me about a sc-fi movie called Idiocracy which predicts that the human race will descend into pure brainlessness in 500 years. We're well ahead of schedule. *-* Sad tweet from a female reader: "They say everyone has a superpower. I think mine is to be able to make any piece of technology stop working." *-* A man made a deathbed confession of murder and then recovered. Embarrassing! Nashville man James Washington told a law enforcement official: "I have to get something off my conscience and you need to hear this. I killed somebody." After confessing to an unsolved 1995 murder the guy made a full recovery. Bad move, Jim. In court last month, he tried to withdraw what he said, but it was too late. I knew an ill guy who gave away all his possessions and then got better and had to go round asking for each piece back. Whenever guys say anything important, or make promises, trouble follows. That's why men don't say much, especially married men. *-* In the wake of all the natural disasters recently, I'd like to remind anyone making disaster readiness plans about an incident in Gujarat, an Indian province hit by a big quake in 2001. Holy men said it was caused by immoral TV shows, and 24 TVs were ceremonially burned in the city of Ahmadabad as "toys of the devil". There have been no major quakes since. *-* On a related topic, the single most important thing to do during a disaster is to keep calm, experts say. Case in point: Anyone remember the small earthquake in Nantou, Taiwan, a few years ago? The only victim was a student who dislocated his jaw by screaming too loud. *-* Armpit flower candy is back. Sweets that make your sweat smell like roses is on sale in China and Korea, and is spreading to other countries, according to an announcement by Deo Perfume Candy of Bulgaria. It was available on Amazon until recently, but it has sold out. I can remember when scientists in Japan first developed this product. It was called Otoko Kaoru (Man Scent) and was sold as chewing gum for guys in sweaty jobs. No one bought it. Asian guys would much rather stink of sweat than smell of flowers. If Japanese scientists can make us smell like credit cards, THAT we'd go for. *-* "You killed my daughter, you inhuman evil monster. You will now marry her sister." I don't understand the logic of angry dads. A woman named Pushpa hanged herself in Bihar earlier this month, the Gulf News reported. Her horrified parents turned up at the hospital and threatened to bring charges of murder against the husband and his family. But they gave him an alternative: marry the girl's younger sister, Rashmirathi. The man agreed and inter-family happiness broke out. A boy was dispatched to fetch a packet of vermillion (a paint used in rituals) and the wedding took place right there in the hospital. Key point: In none of the reports I saw did anyone ask the little sister what she thought about the whole thing. "Aw, gee, THANKS, Dad." *-* Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine has just filed a court petition to change the spelling of his surname to "Jacksun". Wacko Jacko is dead but the wackiness lives on. *-* Need TO pee? If you find a quiet spot behind a tree in India it may not be quiet for long. Teams of noisemakers are standing by in 34 villages in Jhunjhunu disrtrict of Rajasthan, India, to "shout, beat drums or blow a whistle" if they find anyone answering a call of nature in the open air. The move, reported by the BBC, is intended to encourage people to use indoor toilets-now available in nearly 80 per cent of homes in the district. That's all very well for the majority, but life's going to be miserable for the 20 per cent who don't have toilets. Imagine living in a place where marauding gangs of drummers devote their lives to preventing you peeing. It sounds like a really bad sci-fi crime movie. "Put your hands up and move away from that bush. Er, maybe you better lower your hands and pull your zip up first." *-* Dog owners in Taiwan have developed chastity belts for bitches. I use that word in the scientific sense of "female dog", not in the "esteemed lady companions" sense used by gangsta rappers and teenage boys trying to sound cool. Designer Zhang Daxing said the pants prevented fornication while allowing dogs to "answer the call of nature". ("Hello? Is that the dog? This is nature.") In a Daily Mail article about the doggypants, dog lover Chi Sun said: "It's a brilliant idea. My girl is very sensitive and I find it very offensive when these rough strays start sniffing around her." I feel exactly the same about my human daughters. Hmm. Should I order some for them? *-*
Photo of the week
U.S. President Barack Obama jokingly mimics U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney's 'not impressed' expression while greeting members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams in the Oval Office November 15, 2012 at the White House in Washington, D.C. The photo went viral Saturday after the White House posted it on Twitter.
November 24-30, 2012
By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma
Stars Foretell: November 24-30, 2012
Aries: This week you will feel energetic and revitalise your surroundings. You hold the center stage at home and you motivate youngsters and impress seniors. Your love life will flourish, with your partner going out of the way to keep you happy. Finances will suffer due to unexpected expenses and it would be wise to avoid any immediate investments. Social gatherings, family functions and pleasure jaunts will keep you in high spirits. Taurus: A long journey abroad might get postponed due to unavoidable reasons. Happy news from a friend or a close relative will boost your enthusiasm and bring cheers in your family. Financial investments will soar to new levels. Income from new sources likely towards the middle of the week. Interference of a relative in your domestic life may create moments of disharmony and discomfort at home. Spouse will be supportive and provide you with necessary love and affection. Gemini: A short journey will bring in new opportunities and a chance to meet some important and influential person. Sportsmen and artists will receive long awaited recognition and fame. Home will be a healthy and a cheerful place provided you spend more time with family. New romance for those unattached and others can find themselves committed into a matrimonial wedlock. Speculation is not recommended on any front and avoid getting friendly to strangers. Cancer: This week you begin with a new confidence and enthusiasm. Investment reaps benefits and you get to spend handsomely on luxuries and other living comforts, but your extravagant lifestyle will create tension and arguments at home. Journeys will bring in happiness, but prove very expensive for your pocket. Devote time and attention to your family members and children. Income rises, but so will your expenses. Leo: Long pending problems and tensions seem to fade away with the changing season and fresh ideas begin to take shape. Spouse and children would bring you immense joy and happiness. All those unattached would finally get involved into a romantic alliance. Old friends and relatives will make a surprise visit, bringing with them gifts and presents to brighten your days ahead. Some of you may acquire a new mode of transportation. Virgo: This week business or career opportunity comes you way, but you will have to be smart and efficient to grasp it before others. Finances improve through gains from past investments. Health of an infant child seems to bring stressful and anxious moments at home. Romantic matters and affairs of the heart will bring in pleasure and joy. Travel abroad will prove to be highly beneficial. Libra: Your extravagant lifestyle needs to be controlled this week. You need to spend extra time with your family and avoid any kind of tension and arguments. Hot temper will only lead to dismay and resentment. Spiritual gains will bring mental peace and comfort. A casual friendship within your circle may strengthen into a romantic alliance. Investment recommended but seek proper advice before you put your money at stake. Scorpio: This week an important development on your professional front may bring about jubilation and celebrations for the entire family. Your spouse will be supportive and provide you with care and affection. Children would get involved into small career oriented programs or have achievements in their respective fields. Health of your parents might cause concern and there seems to be an increase in your medical bills as well. Journey would in bring pleasure and chance to develop new and long lasting contacts. Sagittarius: This week you benefit on two grounds. Firstly your financial position will strengthen because of new contracts and alliances and some would even receive loans and grants etc and secondly your health shows remarkable improvement in spite of your working overtime at office. Spouse or your beloved makes you feel cared and loved. Children will cause some disappointment as they get highly spendthrift and demanding. Friends will be supportive and helpful. Capricorn: This week travel might not bring in the desired results that you look for immediately, but would eventually. Finances will definitely improve. New ventures and projects are quite likely. A better understanding with your spouse brings in happiness, peace and prosperity at home. Visit by a close family friend brings nostalgic and wonderful memories. New romance and contacts will prove to be worthwhile and long lasting. Children will bring in some good news towards the end of the week. Aquarius: This week a purchase of luxurious item to improve your comfort level seems high on your cards. Pending jobs and projects will get completed to your satisfaction. Improvement in your financial status through speculation likely. Avoid getting involved in the matter of others, especially if you are uninvited. Spouse will be caring and highly romantic. Travel would bring in more pleasure and monetary benefits than expected earlier. Pisces: Family front seems to go smoothly because of improved finances and good health. New romance may flare up, and it would require you to be honest and serious for this relationship to become stronger. Younger brother or sister may seek your help in sorting out their personal problems. Construction work or renovation of your house carried out this week will finish to your satisfaction.
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Annual Predictions: For those born in this week
November 24 Ruled by number 6 and the planet Venus, you are generous, practical, energetic, original and a simple person. Your hard-work and sincerity are appreciated by others but your tendency to behave extravagant and to interfere in the affairs of others attracts enormous criticism at times. This year rewards and appreciation for scientist, lawyers, writers, and women professionals associated with advertising and marketing seems certain. A better understanding with your family members will ensure happiness, peace and prosperity at home. Financial gains will increase as the year progresses making you spend more on luxuries and other comforts. Heath matters will cause concern; therefore do not ignore medical advice whenever necessary. The months of May, June, July and September 2013 will prove to be highly beneficial. November 25 Dominated by number 7 and the planet Neptune, you are responsible, affectionate, creative, simple and a research oriented person. You possess many talents, which make you popular amongst your friends, but you need to check your tendency to behave jealous, introvert and hypocrite at times. The year is perfect to undertake important changes and make strong decisions. Matters related to property, partnerships and new ventures will get resolved. Concentrate on your efforts and growth and prosperity will follow by themselves. The latter half of the year will bring in opportunities to travel overseas for business as well as pleasure. Selective speculation will bring gains. Some good news can be expected from children towards the last quarter of the year. Renovation, construction and socializing will be major highlight of this year. The months of February, April, August, September and November 2013 will prove to be highly significant. November 26 Influenced by number 8 and the planet Saturn. You are ambitious, energetic, authoritative, systematic, and a sober person. You possess remarkable talent and conviction to fight against any adverse conditions with courage, but you need to check your tendency to behave highly stubborn and jealous at times. Your coming year promises financial prosperity and good health. Businessmen will invest in more profitable ventures. Promising contacts will build through social get-togethers and traveling. Unexpected help from a distant relative will give a major boost to your career. Your spouse will be quite cooperative and shower her full love and affection upon you despite your erratic behavior towards her. An infatuation within the group will keep you in high spirits for some time but it will not be long lasting. The months of January, April, June and August 2013 will prove to be highly significant. November 27 Ruled by number 9 and the planet Mars. You are intelligent, dashing, courageous, enthusiastic and a brilliant individual. In any crowd, you can easily draw attention because of your humble outlook and intellectual talks, but you need to check your tendencies towards aggressiveness and short-temper at times. The coming year sees new ideas and plans materializing. Perfect year that will improve your earning power and let you establish important relationships. Support from your seniors and colleagues, will boost your morale and generate new confidence. Overseas assignments for some will be lucrative. Spouse will provide love and care, but behave highly possessive and unpredictable. A journey preferably to a distant location towards the yearend cannot be ruled out. The month of February, March, August and November 2013 will prove to be highly result oriented. November 28 Dominated by number 1 and the Sun. You are smart, intelligent, energetic, friendly and highly dignified person. You are a great admirer of art and literature, but you need to control your tendency to behave stubborn, timid and careless at times. This year you will make good financial gains, provided you take advantage of the opportunities being provided to you. Your charisma and outgoing personality will bring you popularity and win you favors. Home front will be peaceful with family members extending all possible help and cooperation. Spouse and children will look after you well, but be highly demanding at times. Wedding bells for some in the last quarter of the year while others will find romance to keep them in the right spirit and good mood. The months of November 2012 and January, March and August 2013 will prove to be important and eventful. November 29 Governed by number 2 and the Moon. You are imaginative, honest, sensitive, emotional and a simple individual. You willingly help those in distress with cash and kind, but your tendency to behave introvert and shy needs to be checked at times. This New Year you should complete pending jobs before starting anything new. Promotions and transfers for some govt. employees cannot be ruled out. Distant travel for business as well as pleasure seems almost certain during middle of the year. Health of your parents will cause stress and anxiety. Rise in medical expenses will definitely bother your mind. Avoid any financial dealing/ partnerships with casual friends or relatives to avoid future complications. Dabbling in speculation and transaction in property during this period will bring financial gains. The months of April, June, September and October 2013 will prove to be eventful. November 30: Dominated by number 3 and the planet Jupiter. You are ambitious, courageous, dignified, aggressive and friendly. You are independent by nature and thought and you avoid any interference in your work, but you also become a subject of immense criticism because of your tendency to behave stubborn and hot-tempered at times. This year gains from past investments will see your financial position improve. New alliances and projects would lift your confidence. Bold decisions would be essential at workplace. Despite minor disagreements at times with your seniors and colleagues your professional graph would grow with success and achievements. Expenditure on the renovation or beautification of the house or on purchase of luxuries seems high later in the year. Property related matters need to be dealt with extreme caution. Your spouse would be supportive to your concerns and provide you with love and affection. Health definitely would require more attention, especially for those suffering from chronic ailments. Some auspicious ceremonies and functions are likely to be performed in the family. The months of March, April, August and October 2013 seems to be significant.
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November 24-30, 2012
How can we pay off karma?
By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
nother example of this spirit of giving is illustrated in the life of Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj. During the partition of India, train service was not running as usual. Sant Kirpal Singh Ji informed Sant Darshan Singh Ji that the health of their Master, Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj, was failing and he should come immediately to see Hazur. Sant Darshan Singh Ji rushed to the train station in Delhi to catch a train to Beas. Unfortunately, the last train was already packed, and the gates to the train were closed. Being athletic and determined to get on that train, Sant Darshan Singh Ji climbed the fence. There were absolutely no seats left in any train compartment. Thus, he had to ride along with other passengers on the top of the train. The ride took many hours. At night, the temperature dropped, and it grew colder. As Sant Darshan Singh Ji rode on the top of the train, he noticed a man who had no coat. The man was shivering tremendously. Sant Darshan Singh Ji, moved by compassion, took off his own coat and wrapped it around the shivering man. As a result, Sant Darshan Singh Ji had to bear many hours of being in the cold night air, with the wind whipping around him. As a result, Sant Darshan Singh Ji contracted chronic asthma. This asthma plagued him for many years to come. But, as is the case of all saints, he put the needs of others before his own needs. His compassion for the suffering of others was so great that he gave of himself, even if it meant he had to sacrifice his own health, his own time, his own money, or his own comfort. Such cases are just a few examples of the long history of saints giving of themselves to help others. As we advance spiritually, we become immersed in the love of God and are filled with a never-ending stream of bliss coming from within. This love is so great that we no longer feel pleasure from the outer gifts of the world or for wanting things for ourselves. We then realize that whatever we have is a gift of the Lord. We also realize that all creation is part of our family, as brothers and sisters in God. Just as we freely share what we have with our parents, children, or siblings, in the same way we see all as our family and freely share with them. We are then generous not only to our own family but even to strangers. We no longer consider anyone a stranger. We are then ready to give to anyone who needs our help. As Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj said in a verse: Others have disowned their kith and kin, But I have made even strangers my very own. Sant Darshan Singh Ji is saying that most people feel obligated to help their families. We mostly focus on our immediate family who lives in
our household, such as our parents or children. Then, we go out of our way due to family obligations for our brothers and sisters, our aunts and uncles, our grandparents, or our grandchildren. But beyond that, most people stop. They think that the problems of people who are not related to them are the problems of other people’s families. We often only give out of social obligation at the time of Christmas or Thanksgiving to organizations that collect money for the poor. We may donate to an organization that provides toys to needy children or toiletries to needy families. We may open up our pockets at the time of an international disaster such as a flood, hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, volcano, or fire. Some people do this because “everyone else is
Part two of the discourse 'Giving thanks by giving'
How can we inculcate the virtue of giving in our own lives? We can give in many ways. We can give physically, intellectually, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. There are two areas of the introspection diary designed to help us develop the qualities of giving and selflessness. One area of the diary lets us record the number of times we fail per day in a particular virtue. One of these is selfless service, which is also called seva. Each time we are presented with an opportunity to help someone and we do not avail ourselves of that chance, we note that as a failure. In this way, we become more attuned to these opportunities that present themselves and make a pass through the ups and downs of life in this physical realm again. Our goal should be to rise above the three lower realms of karma. We need to transcend the physical realm, the astral realm, and supracausal realm. When we do so, we enter the supracausal realms and Sach Khand, where we are no longer touched by our karmas. We are then free from the cycle of births and deaths, and live in an eternal realm of all peace, joy, and bliss. To free ourselves of this cycle of births and deaths, we have to stop accumulating new karma and burn off our old karma. How can we pay off our karma? There are three blessings we receive when we come to a spiritual Master that wind up our karma. First, the Master takes over our karmic accounts at the time of initiation. This means that Master is the accounts keeper of our destiny. He can determine how best we can wind it up for our maximum progress. Second, the Master helps us pass through the sanchit karmas allotted for this lifetime in an easier fashion. Thus, what was supposed to be the gallows could be reduced to a pin prick. Third, the Master lays out a path by which we can avoid incurring further karmas. He tells us that daily meditation on the inner Light and Sound can help burn away new karmas we create just by the process of living. Each day, without intending to do so, we may step on insects, drive over insects or tiny creatures, kill microscopic life forms just by breathing,
Let Thanksgiving not just be a day in which we thank God and our family for our many gifts. Let this be a day in which we make a commitment to give and serve others. We should not be like a sponge in which we soak up all the gifts from others. We need to squeeze the sponge so that the water within us flows out to others. How can we inculcate the virtue of giving in our own lives? We can give in many ways. We can give physically, intellectually, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.
doing it,” and they do not want to be perceived as being selfish. But beyond these occasions for giving, we seldom consider the need to help a stranger. It is only when we meditate and rise above consciousness of this physical world to travel as soul in the spiritual realms beyond that we gain a new awareness. We begin to see that we are not separate people anymore. There is no such thing as a stranger. We experience that the same Light of God shining in us is in all other people. We feel connected to all other human beings as if we were all one family of God. We love others and want to help them. We turn a new page in our life and begin to help everyone. We live by the principle that Sant Kirpal Singh Ji lived by which said, “I have come to serve all.” The more we meditate, the more we develop this angle of vision. Then, one day, we too will be filled with extreme generosity and will share whatever we have with all creation. Let Thanksgiving not just be a day in which we thank God and our family for our many gifts. Let this be a day in which we make a commitment to give and serve others. We should not be like a sponge in which we soak up all the gifts from others. We need to squeeze the sponge so that the water within us flows out to others. concerted effort to help someone next time around. The other area of the introspection diary provides a place in which we mark the time we spend in selfless service or giving. This means that it is not only that we take each opportunity for selfless service, but that the amount of time we spend in serving selflessly is equally as important. Why? Time spent in seva is time in which we are remembering God and are acting as a humble vessel through which God’s grace can flow to reach others. We are not doing seva for our own gains, but doing so in the name of God and the Master. During these moments, we are humble. We are spending our time engaged in helping others. What is more, we are spending our life’s breaths engaged in activities that do not create any new karma. When we act in our own name, we are creating karma. Even when we do good deeds we are accumulating good karma for which we must stay in the physical world to reap physical rewards. If our aim is to wind up karmas in our lifetime, then we do not want to come back to this physical realm. Any karma, whether for good deeds or bad deeds, requires us to reap rewards or consequences. This physical realm is one in which we pay for all our karmas. Thus, any karma is going to bring us again and again to this world. When we do so, we have to
and take the lives of plants given by God to eat for food. Even though killing plants incurs the least karma of all living things, there is still some karma. Thus, each day we are adding karma just by virtue of being human. By meditating, we can burn off the added karma we create each day. Also, when we keep the introspection diary, we are weeding out the negative traits that incur more karma. By leading lives of nonviolence, truthfulness, chastity, humility, and selfless service we are avoiding creating bad karmas for which we will have to return to the earth to pay off. The Master also gives us the gift of meditation and selfless service. When we spend time in those two activities, we are not incurring any new karma, as long as we remain selfless. That is why entering the time spent in seva is important, because each hour we spend in selfless service, we are not incurring more karma. But that seva must be selfless, in which we do not want any material gains for ourselves. We do seva in the name of God and the Master, whereby our help is given and we only reap the spiritual rewards in the form of blessings from God and the Master. It is okay to want spiritual blessings from God and the Master for our seva. That is because those spiritual blessings move us to the true purpose of our lives, union of our soul with God. Each time we give of ourselves in selfless service, we are not incurring more karma and are attracting the grace of God and the Master, whose blessings will uplift us so our soul can merge back into God. (To be continued...)
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj to speak in Chicagoland area
Naperville, IL: His Holiness Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj returned to the Chicagoland area this month after presiding over the 20th Global Conference on Mysticism in Delhi, India. During his stay in the Chicagoland area, the spiritual Master will offer a series of programs focused on spirituality and meditation. He will speak at the Wyndham-Lisle Hotel, 3000 Warrenville, Rd, Lisle, IL, 60532, Sunday, November 25, 2:30 PM. On Sunday, December 2 and December 9, 2:30 PM, he will be speaking at Pipers Banquet Hall, 1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora, IL 60502. Spanish translation is offered for all talks. According to Jonathan Kruger, local spokesperson for Science of Spirituality, during these programs the audience not only has a chance to hear the world-renowned spiritual Master, but also can actually have an experience of the peace and joy found in meditation. Kruger added, “We’re seeing record-breaking crowds at each event.” As head of Science of Spirituality, an international, nonprofit, multifaith spiritual organization, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj offers talks on meditation and spirituality at the organization’s national headquarters in Naperville, Illinois. Everyone is welcome.
November 24-30, 2012
November 24-30, 2012