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The South Asian Times

e x c e l l e n c e i n j o u r n a l i s m
Follow us on Vol.6 No. 25 October 12-18, 2013 60 Cents New York Edition

God of Indian sports walks into the sunset GOP offers debt
New Delhi: India's cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar will bring the curtain down on his illustrious career of 24 years with his 200th Test next month. Tendulkar, who had retired from ODIs last December, said Thursday that the 200th Test match would indeed be his last game. The final match of the two-Test series against the West Indies starting Nov 14 could be hosted in Tendulkar's home town Mumbai. The first Test is slated for Nov 6. Tendulkar, who was nominated to Rajya Sabha this year, said he has been living a dream for the last 24 years. "It's been a huge honor to have represented my country and played all over the world, he said, and thanked the cricket control board, his fans and well-wishers. Cricket greats from India and the world paid rich tributes to Tendulkar. Umpire Dickie Bird, who has seen Don Bradman play in 1948, said Tendulkar was the Sachin will retire after the 200th Test match next month. closest to the Australian legend.

limit raise, but no deal on shutdown yet

Obama nominates Yellen to head the Fed

Chidambaram defends India's rules in face of Wal-Mart backout

President Barack Obama talks with Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke in the Oval Office Oct 9 before announcing her as his nominee for Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve to replace Bernanke. Yellen, a celebrated economist and Vice Chair under Bernanke, favors job creation over inflation control. When confirmed by the Senate to head the Fed, an independent part of the federal government, she will become arguably the most powerful woman in America.

Washington: India is defending government regulations that have prompted US retail giant Wal-Mart to hold back on o p e n i n g superstores there, insisting that rules to protect local businesses are not too restric- P. Chidambaram, tive for inter- in Washington national com- for the annual p a n i e s . IMF, World Bank F i n a n c e meetings, said Minister P. his government Chidambaram, will be returned speaking on to power in 2014. Thursday to a Washington think tank, expressed confidence that one Continued on page 4

Republican members of the House announced their proposal for a short-term debt ceiling increase.

Washington: In the first signs of a thaw, House Republican leaders Thursday offered a short-term increase in the US debt ceiling, but appeared in no mood to end the partial government shutdown now in its tenth day. Yet, the mere fact that GOP leaders, led by House Speaker John Boehner, were talking to President Obama is considered progress. In the late Thursday meeting between Obama and congressional Republicans, no deal was secured, but both the President and top Republicans said they instructed aides to continue talks to find common ground. "The president didn't say yes, didn't say no. We're continuing to negotiate this evening," said House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-

Wis., who attended the meeting. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, RVa., characterized the meeting as "useful" and said negotiations were continuing. House Republicans presented Obama with a proposal for a sixweek increase in the nation's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling to head off an impending Oct. 17 default deadline. The White House had indicated earlier Thursday that Obama might be able to accept a shortterm debt-limit extension, but the president made it clear to GOP lawmakers that he also wants a plan to end the shutdown, which began Oct. 1. Senate Democrats also met with Obama on Thursday and emerged with a cautious response to the Continued on page 4

Media 8

Medicine 16

Festival 25

Spiritual Awareness 30

excellence in journalism

October 12-18, 2013


October 12-18, 2013

ByAshok Ojha/SATimes

Two Indian Americans running Mangano outshines Suozzi at debate for mayor in New Jersey
Mineola: Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano appeared to win the October 8 debate in which he hammered his opponent, former County Executive Tom Suozzi, for raising property taxes by 23% and racking up $402 million in debt. Suozzis comments at the debate at The Wheatley School in Old Westbury hosted and moderated by the Nassau County Village Officials Association were strikingly similar to statements he made when he campaigned in 2001, 2005 and again in 2009. But, unlike Mangano, he had relatively few if any actual accomplishments to talk about from his eight years in office. He repeatedly dodged the fact that he raised property taxes and racked up millions in debt for future generations to pay off. Suozzi admitted his inability to accomplish development or job growth in the County since his first days in office while Mangano cited a new, privately financed world-class sports and entertainment district recently approved to come up at the site of the Nassau Coliseum. Mangano also cited dozens of community development and revitalization projects completed in Nassaus vilTom Suozzi and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano at the debate hosted and moderated by the Nassau County Village Officials Association.

Edison, NJ: In Edison and West Windsor townships of New Jersey, Indian American candidates for the posts of mayor are attracting voters attention in the Nov 5 elections. In Edison, where Asian Americans make 37 percent of the population, Dr. Sudhanshu Prasad, a twoterm Council member, is challenging the incumbent Toni Ricigliano. Both are Democrats but dont see eye to eye. In the prosperous town of West WindsorPlainsboro, Dr. Hemant Marathe (R), president of the local School Board, is challenging the incumbent Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh, who is an independent but has supported Democrats as council members in the past. Asian Americans make 6 percent of the total population of New Jersey, which is the home for the fifth largest Asian American population in the United States. Dr. Prasad and Toni Ricigliano are running as independents because the Democratic Party chose Thomas Lankey as its candi-

Dr. Sudhanshu Prasad (D) is an independent candidate for Edison Township mayor.

Dr. Hemant Marathe (R) is running for mayor of West Windsor-Plainsboro township.

date for Edison Mayor. Dr. Prasad hit headlines last week when one of his campaign billboards was disfigured with racist graffiti. Prasad, a practicing doctor and protg of Jun Choi, the first Asian American to become Mayor of Edison, enjoys wide support of the local business community. He believes that his experience of two terms in the town council qualifies him to lead Edison where Indian American businesses have changed the face of the township. Ricigliano also claims support of a significant number of Indian business owners.

She played a crucial role in allowing rival organizations to hold India Day parades on Oak Tree Road in recent years, while some Council members blamed her for creating a rift in the community. Marathe, as school board head since 2001, claims to have changed the financial framework of West WindsorPlainsboro where taxes have been reduced while students enrollment rose I think I can provide the leadership necessary to move the township forward, Marathe said in his appeal to voters. Both Marathe, 51, and rival Hsueh, 69, are immigrants and hold Ph.Ds. in engineering.

lages and other economic development projects that are pending since he took office. He spoke about the brand new thriving business center at the former Grumman property in Bethpage which he started as a legislator and continued as county executive. While Suozzi continued to speak of visions rather than any successes while serving in office, Mangano spoke about the new developments in communications that he implemented in Nassaus Office of Emergency Management, including how it connects bilingual organizations and other government agencies. Mangano also cited a 10% reduction in crime rate since he took office and the way Nassaus intelligence-led

police force has become a model for police forces nationwide. On creating jobs, Mangano noted that his administration achieved the lowest unemployment rate in the region. He said he refuses to increase the already high taxes of Nassau residents to make up for an inherited deficit and that he has, instead, reduced government by 20%. In 2008-2009, Suozzi oversaw the Countys lowest sales tax growth in at least two decades and witnessed massive job losses throughout Nassau. Suozzi also defended criticism for raising his own pay check by $65,000 a year while Mangano touted the fact that he gave up four automatic pay raises.

Continuing his criticism of the RepubliWashington: Amid a US government shutdown, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal can party in another interview with CNN, would like Republican governors to take Jindal described the current infighting between moderates and Tea Party conservaback the party's messaging from Washington, saying the states are where the real actives in the GOP in Washington as "fratricide". tion is. State governors are making progress Jindal, who last year said Republicans that citizens can actually see, and that's why Republican governors are doing well even have to "stop being the stupid party," said "I don't even want to engage in Republican in Democratic states, the Republican Governors' Association chairman and a potenfratricide. There are more than enough Retial 2016 presidential contender, told Louisiana Governor publicans fighting each other, going after Bobby Jindal MSNBC Tuesday. each other." The governor said it makes "We've got 30 Republican governors," Jindal was quot- sense to repeal and replace Obamacare, but maybe it ed as saying. "We said we're going to stop outsourcing should be left to Republicans outside the capital. Jindal, our brand to Washington, DC, because if you want to see who has declined federal funds under the president's conservative ideas being applied, it's not happening in health care law also acknowledged some of its positive DC, it is happening in our state capitals." aspects. "The president was right. There are real prob"Top 10 states, according to The CEO Magazine, are lems in health care. I think if you've got a preexisting led by Republican governors, so absolutely, it's important condition, if you're trying to buy an individual policy outfor us to say, 'For too long we've let DC define our brand. side the group market, it can be too expensive and may not be available to you," he said. We're going to stop doing that," he said.

Bobby Jindal stays away from Republican 'fratricide'

New Hyde Park, NY: Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravos Top Chef, campaigned Oct. 2 for her cousin Democrat Sid Nathans candidacy for Town Council of North Hempstead from District 3. She went door to door campaigning with Nathan and also endorsed him at a dinner held at The Inn at New Hyde Park. It coincided with the season premier of Emmy-winning Top Chef season 11, which includes the campaign endorsement in the show. District 3 of North Hempstead in Long island comprises New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, Mineola, Williston Park, parts of Herricks and Floral Park the area with a significant Indian American population.

Padma Lakshmi stumps for Sid Nathan

October 12-18, 2013

GOP offers debt limit raise, but no deal on shutdown yet... Continued from page 1 House proposal. Senate Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reiterated that he would not negotiate a broader budget deal with Republicans until after they vote to end the shutdown. He declined to comment on whether the Senate would pass a short-term debt ceiling increase because the situation is fluid. "Let's wait and see what the House does," Reid said. Republican senators will meet with Obama Friday morning. Chidambaram defends India's rules in face of Wal-Mart... Continued from page 1 or two large retailers will enter the Indian market by next March, though he didn't name any. In a politically sensitive move, India last year gave the green light for international companies to open multibrand retail stores. Wal-Mart said on Wednesday it cannot move forward with expansion plans because of the regulations. That's a blow to India's attempts to attract foreign investment. Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Chidambaram also said the UPA government will be voted back to power in the general election in India next year.

By Jinal Shah

Asian American Film Lab launches a web channel

because filmmakers of color can come together to tell their stories in a way that Hollywood wont let them, explained Jennifer Betit Yen, President of the Film Lab. AAFL TV will work as a production arm for the film lab to show contemporary, original content by, for and about diverse Americans and will address dissatisfaction with some mainstream programming for lack of diversity or perpetuation of racial stereotypes. People of all racial backgrounds who want more realistic and diverse programming should check out AAFL TV, said board member Peyton Worley, adding Every time they watch a show, from a short webisode to a film, they can be part

New York: Asian American Film Lab (AAFL) has launched AAFL TV, a first of its kind web channel to provide diverse, original entertainment content. AAFL supports and promotes gender and ethnic diversity in film and TV programming. It has been featuring a wide array of short films made under an annual 72 Hour Shootout filmmaking competition, in which teams get only 72 hours to write, cast, shoot, and edit a short film based on a common theme. At least one lead actor and one principal crew member must be of Asian descent. The Shootout is always exciting

of something bigger. Said independent filmmaker Kamran Khan, "With the support of the Film Lab and AAFL TV, I've been able to secure locations, cast, crew, and tell my story in my way from both a creative and business standpoint." There are at least four pilot series for fall: My Not So subConscious, in which a womans inner voice literally! takes on a life of its own; The Pantheon Project, featuring a grad student who discovers her roommates are actually Greek gods; American Asians in Theater, Film, Television, etc, etc., a news and interview show with a re-enactment portion; and Treasure Hunt, an interactive mystery, suspense pilot.

Malala Yousufzai

Malala among favorites to win Peace Nobel

Oslo: Malala Yousufzai is considered a favorite to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her courage in the face of death threats from Taliban in Pakistan over her advocacy of education for girls. On Thursday, she won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. If announced Nobel winner on Friday, Malala, 16, would become the youngest person to win the coveted prize.

Washington: An 18-year-old Indian-American student of Villanova University in Philadelphia, whose body was found in her dormitory room in August, died of alcohol poisoning, according to media reports. The Delaware county medical examiner, whose office released autopsy results of Kinara Patel, a second year student from Hackensack, New Jersey, has declined to disclose her blood-alcohol content at the time of her death, reported. Patel's body was found Aug 29 three days into the semes-

Indian girl student dies Canadian short story writer wins of 'alcohol poisoning' the literature Nobel
ter, inside her Sullivan Hall dorm after spending a night with friends in Bryn Mawr, police said declining to provide more details. Villanova spokesperson Jonathan Gust called Patel's death a devastating loss for "people that knew her and many others who didn't". He would not say if university officials knew where Patel had been drinking. "Alcohol abuse and underage drinking is a growing national problem for college students, and Villanova recognizes those issues and we're committed to educating our students about the effects of alcohol," Gust was quoted as saying. Each year, between 1,300 and 1,400 college students die from alcohol-related injuries, including alcohol poisoning and car crashes, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Founded in 1842, Villanova University is a Catholic university with an undergraduate and graduate enrolment of more than 10,000 students. Its campus stretches into two townships -- Lower Merion and Radnor -- in both Montgomery and Delaware counties of Philadelphia.

Oslo: Alice Ann Munro, the Canadian short story writer, has won the Nobel Prize in literature. She's arguably the most popular writer to win the prestigious award worth $1.2 million and given for a body of work, not a specific title since Toni Morrison, the last American to win, did so in 1993. Munro, 82, has been celebrated for her accessible and moving stories, set mostly in the small towns of her native Ontario. Alice Munro

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October 12-18, 2013

Washington, DC: The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has stepped up its campaign to address the concerns of the IT industry over certain provisions of the comprehensive immigration reform, which has now entered a crucial phase. The Council had recently established a 'Coalition for Jobs and Growth' to support the Obama administration's immigration reform. "While USIBC and the Coalition for Jobs & Growth fully support comprehensive immigration reform in the United States, there are five key provisions in the Senate Bill that will significantly harm US companies' ability to remain globally competitive, which will cost American jobs," USIBC president Ron Somers said.

USIBC steps up campaign on immigration reform

"It is imperative for US and Indian Industry to pull together as never before to help educate the US Congress and the US Administration about why these provisions are discriminatory and how they will hurt American business, as well as our commercial relationship with India," he said. "These provisions need to be excised from any final Bill. The Coalition for Jobs & Growth will work tirelessly to ensure this responsible legislative outcome," Somers said. The intensification of the USIBC efforts at the Hill has come amid nationwide demonstrations calling for comprehensive immigration reform which culminated in a rally in Washington yesterday, during which they urged the lawmakers to pass the immigration reform this year.

New Jersey: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has formally nominated an Indian American Sikh lawyer Gurbir Grewal to be the next Bergen county prosecutor. If confirmed by the State Senate, Grewal would become the first Indian American prosecutor in New Jersey, as well as the first person of Sikh origin to occupy the office. Since 2010, Grewal has worked at the US Attorney's Office in Newark as the Deputy Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit and Computer Hacking and IP Crimes Unit. He previously worked at the US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York as an Assistant US Attorney at the Business and Securities Fraud Unit.

Gurbir Grewal named county prosecutor in NJ

Gurbir Grewal

"With his experience as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey and New York, Mr. Grewal has the right credentials and background to be the

chief law enforcement officer for Bergen County," said Christie announcing his intent to nominate Grewal. "He also brings diversity to a highly diverse county, which will serve him and the community well," Christie added. Grewal would replace retiring prosecutor John Molinelli. Grewal earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, and holds a Juris Doctorate from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law from the College of William & Mary. He is a past president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York, and a member of the New Jersey Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association.

A joint venture to check heart attacks in India, US

Washington, DC: An influential body of Indian American physicians and the American Heart Association (AHA) have joined hands to reduce the incidence of and deaths from heart attacks in India and the US. The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and the American Heart Association have signed a letter of intent for laying the groundwork for collaboration in the two countries. The collaborative venture is being undertaken in view of ever increasing need in reducing morbidity and mortality due to heart attacks and strokes, especially among Indians and Indian Americans, AAPI said. AHA-AAPI leadership will be meeting in Dallas, Texas, Nov 17 to discuss details and develop an action plan. AAPI-AHA collaboration will consider programs introducing the AHA curriculum of resuscitation science in all Indian medical colleges and help develop training faculty in resuscitation, it said. It will also consider working together to help community programs in India and the US in enhancing the awareness of heart attacks and strokes. "As we are nearing the 8th Global Health Summit in Ahmedabad, India, the signing of the LoI could not have come at a more opportune time," said AAPI president Jayesh

Shah. The AAPI-AHA Liaison Committee, chaired by Vemuri S. Murthy, will function closely with AHA in India and the US "helping realize the mission, especially in working towards building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke," Shah said. With participation of US physicians of Indian origin and their counterparts in India, the American Heart Association and AAPI conferences are expected to strengthen the ongoing collaboration. "Heart sisease and stroke are not stopped by borders and neither are the efforts to stop them," said Murthy. "A strong relationship between researchers and clinicians will allow the transfer of the latest knowledge into state-of-the art medical practice," he said. The workshop on resuscitation, involving hundreds of Indian health-

care leaders and providers, is designed to address the global crisis of increasing morbidity and mortality due to heart attacks and strokes, Murthy said. The team of panelists from the US and India will discuss the recent evidence-based advances in resuscitation science to enhance the quality of global health, with specific focus on India, he said. The aim of this collaboration is to work closely with Indian physicians to address the lack of adequate training of emergency room physicians and to provide a uniform curriculum for emergency care education in medical colleges. There are currently over 41,000 medical students in 345 medical colleges across India and Murthy readily admits this is a major challenge. India, with more than 1.2 billion people, is estimated to account for 60 percent of heart disease patients worldwide.

Mineola, NY: A Long Island resident, extradited to the US from India following an international manhunt for allegedly raping a 14-year old American girl, has been charged with rape, sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child. Amit Singh, arrested in India for the 2009 rape of a girl who was walking past his house in Elmont on her way to school, was arraigned Monday in Mineola, in Nassau County, according to local WABC. If convicted, he faces 25 years in prison. "Singh subjected this innocent young girl to unspeakable horrors, both physical and emotional, before running to the other side of the world to avoid the consequences," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. The US Department of Justice notified Nassau authorities in July 2011 that Singh had been arrested while trying to board a plane to Thailand. He had been imprisoned in New Delhi and fighting extradition since then. Indian authorities had agreed to extradite him earlier this month. Members of the US Marshal's Service travelled to India last week and brought Singh back to New York Friday, where he was arrested by detectives from the Nassau County Police Department's Special Victims

LI man extradited from India, charged for teen rape

Amit Singh, arraigned and charged by Nassau County.

Unit. Rice said that in March 2009, Singh approached the 14-year-old as she walked to class at Sewanhaka High School. Singh allegedly tried to coax the girl into his Rosalind Avenue home, and then grabbed her by the hand when she refused. He then forced her inside his home where he raped her, and then drove her to school. Singh boarded a plane five days after the attack, one day before the victim positively identified him in a photo array presented by police. According to Rice, DNA evidence from the attack came back as a match to Singh in April 2009. Singh's DNA profile was in the system from a prior felony drug conviction, WABC said.

October 12-18, 2013


IALIs womens forum celebrates Navratri

East meets West at Cinema Beyond Boundaries

By Jinal Shah New York, NY: Filmmakers and cinema lovers got a chance to interact with industry stalwarts from both Bollywood as well as Hollywood at Cinema Beyond Boundaries, a two day conference held at SVA Theater, in New York. The educational sessions on world cinema for film enthusiasts held at the SVA Theater was attended by Bollywood filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and directors Michael Canzoniero and Dan Fogler, music composer Wayne Sharpe, director and producer Vladan Nikolic and actors Reshma Shetty and Ajay Naidu. Other panelists included Aroon Shivdasani, executive director of the Indian American Arts Council; Reeves Lehmann, chair, BFA Film and Video Department and Tanuj Chopra. The moderators were Anna Swanson and Vishesh Sharma. Our intent was to inform audiences on the inside workings of the industry from contracts and unions, to first hand experiences of actors, directors, screenwriters and producers from different kind of cinema starting with Indian American cinema," said Ajay Srivastava of Molecule communications, organizers of the conference. The conference, started on September 29, held a series of discussions on various issues and subjects related to films including a presentation by SAG-AFTRA on importance of unions and how to

IALI womens forum members at the event

New York: The India Association of Long Island (IALI), one of the oldest associations serving the Indian community of Long Island, NY, in its cultural and social aspects, recently celebrated through its Womens Forum its monthly event for October. IALIs current President is Dr. Kishore Kuncham. It was a burst of riotous color and sound as the festive season of Diwali was being heralded, jump starting with Navaratri in full swing. Dozens of ladies, colorfully attired in a variety of sarees, lehenghas worn mostly Gujarati style, suits and skirts thronged the floor of The Mint Restaurant in Garden City prepared for the Dandiya Raas and Garba. DJ Amrit Daswani had all rocking on the dance floor in no time at all, and it was merriment, fun and laughter all the way. The usual delicious

birthdays and anniversaries cake was cut and a sparkler-candle lit in honor of all present who were celebrating theirs. In another corner a special shopping arcade of fashionable clothes and jewelry tailored for the festive season was set up by Sai, where business was brisk. Lunch was by The Mint which was flavorful and aromatic. Womens Forum Chair Veena Lamba welcomed and thanked all including her Team and Committee Members for the success of the event, remarking on the significance of Navaratri in India and the world over. Emcee and Host Rekha Valliappan made the introductions and various announcements. Two special guests Mr. Shaker Nelanuthala and Ms. Mili Makhijani standing for local positions in the Town of Oyster Bay in the upcoming elections said a few words.

Ajay Shrivastav, Kiren Shrivastav, Reshma Shetty, Madhur Bhandarkar, Ajay Naidu at Molecule's Cinema Beyond Boundaries at SVA Theater in New York

finance films. Among other topics discussed were how to view film, the music of films and how to score a movie. Four times National Award winner and critically acclaimed Bollywood director, Madhur Bhandarkar, who represented Indian film industry at the conference, shared his journey as filmmaker and his thoughts on Bollywood and Indian cinema as a whole. Bhandarkar, who is known for his own brand of films based on real life, insisted young filmmakers to create their own niche in the film industry. A session on crossover actors like Reshma Shetty and Ajay Naidu and casting director Jennifer Peralta Ajmenia addressed the challenges posed by regional barriers. Day two of the conference stressed on how to factor. Topics

ranged from how to get involved with independent film making to how to producer films, from casting to film festivals. The last panel of the conference compared American and Indian cinema. Bandarkar noted that Indian films have high emotional content. Canzoniero and Fogler shared how the west appreciated song and dance but were happy to see that independent film making tried newer concepts too. When asked what he expects out of the conference, Bandarkar, who has made some successful films like Page 3, Chandani Bar, Fashion, Corporate and Heroine, said he hopes to exchange notes with other Hollywood filmmakers, writers and music composers on understanding the global perspective in cinema.

Washington, DC: The spirit of volunteerism and community service should be taken beyond a single day of service - that was the message at the annual Be the Change national day of service hosted by the DC area-based nonprofit organization, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), on Saturday, October 5, 2013, in coordination with over 49 campus and city planning teams around the country. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's message, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world," over 2,900 volunteers including students, professionals and community members contributed their time and energy to service activities around the country, including Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. In addition, college campuses from Los Angeles to Oklahoma to Orlando coordinated Be the Change activities. "For the past 13 years, Be the Change has encouraged community members, students and allies to take an active role to build community through service. This year we are inspired by the initia-

2000 participate in SAALTs Be the Change event

DHFs annual walk on Oct 27

Syosset, NY: Domestic Harmony Foundation (DHF), a not-for-profit organization working with victims of domestic violence, had organized a successful multi-cultural Walkathon last year on October 28th at Eisenhower Park. Despite the weather being significantly cold and windy as Super Storm Sandy was approaching, two hundred men and women of all age groups as well as a variety of local organizations joined DHF in an effort to end domestic violence and enthusiastically participated in the 1st annual Walk to End Domestic Violence. DHF works to empower survivors of domestic violence by providing counseling, marital and legal services, support and leadership development initiatives and education. However, in the immigrant populations that the foundation serves, blaming the victim, denial, and underreporting is still prevalent. The Walk to End Domestic Violence is an integral part of DHFs advocacy and outreach to educate and unite communities to stand firm against domestic violence. October is the National Domestic Violence Awareness month and DHF is holding its 2nd annual Walk to End Domestic Violence at Eisenhower Park, Cherry Picnic area, adjacent to Parking Field 5, on Sunday, October 27, 2013 from 11:00am - 1:00pm. Neighboring organizations as well as students from local colleges and universities will be walking with DHF in solidarity. In addition, County Executive Candidate Tom Suozzi will be the Keynote speaker during the short program that is planned before the commencement of walk. Mr. Suozzi is considered a valuable asset in the fight against domestic violence through his work in the legal field as well as delivering social services and reducing crime in Nassau County. For more information about Domestic Harmony Foundation (DHF) and the Walk to End Domestic Violence, visit or call (516) 385-8292.

DC volunteers gather during the kick-off event before dispersing to their service sites

tive taken by individuals around the country to live the words of Gandhi as they take part in activities related to issues such as immigration, access to health care and youth development to truly be the change," said Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of SAALT. This year's service activities ranged from promoting civic engagement through voter registration, canvassing to provide information in Hindi and Urdu on the Affordable Care Act in a

densely populated South Asian area, serving in soup kitchens, to volunteering for a walk to end human trafficking. Partners and sponsors also affirmed the values of Be the Change. Partners ranged from South Asian Sororities to South Asian professional networks. Be the Change 2013 was supported by National Sponsors Sodexo, Southwest Airlines and the North American South Asian Bar Association.


October 12-18, 2013

Washington, DC: Leading Indian industrialist Ratan N. Tata has been inducted into the prestigious US National Academy of Engineering in the US for his "outstanding contributions to industrial development in India and the world." Tata, chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, was inducted as one of 11 new foreign associates of the private, independent, non-profit institution that provides independent advice to the US federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. Besides Tata, eight Indian-Americans were among 69 new elected members taking the total US membership to 2,250 and the number of foreign associates to 211. The new Indian-American members are: Anant Agarwal, president, edX (online learning initiative of MIT and Harvard University) for contributions to shared-memory and multicore computer architectures.Murty P. Bhavaraju, senior consultant, PJM Interconnection, Norristown, Pennsylvania for probabilistic reliability evaluation tools for large electric power systems. Ashok J. Gadgil, director and senior scientist, environmental energy technologies division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for engineering solutions to the problems of potable water and energy in underdeveloped nations.

Ratan Tata, 8 Indian-Americans in US engineering academy

Ganesh Kailasam,, research and development vice president and global research and development director, performance materials division, Dow Chemical Co., Freeport, Texas for development of processes for production of high-performance polymers including polyetherimides. Vijay Kumar, UPS foundation professor, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia for contributions in cooperative robotics, networked vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles, and for leadership in robotics research and education. Bal Raj Sehgal, emeritus professor of nuclear power safety, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden for contributions to predicting accident behaviour of nuclear reactor systems. Pradeep S. Sindhu, vice chairman, chief technical officer, and founder, Juniper Networks, Sunnyvale, California for contributions to technology and commercialization of Internet Protocol routing. Krishna (Kris) P. Singh, president and chief executive officer, Holtec International, Marlton, New Jersey for engineering and business leadership for increased power plant efficiency and improved safety of spent nuclear fuel storage worldwide.

Washington, DC: Days after making headlines with its upcoming IPO, Twitter finds itself embroiled in an unseemly controversy over the lack of women on its board and in senior positions. Vivek Wadhwa, an IndianAmerican technology entrepreneur and academic, was the man who wrote about Twitter's gender-challenged board in a New York Times article. "The fact that they went to the IPO without a single woman on the board, how dare they?" Wadhwa said in the article, blasting the "elite arrogance of the ... Twitter Mafia." Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO who tweets frequently and is known for his sharp putdowns, shot back in what else a tweet: Vivek Wadhwa is the Carrot Top of academic sources. Carrot Top is the stage name of Scott Thompson, an American comedian with red hair. But Costolo, a former stand up comic himself, was not being funny this time. He is on the defensive and

Indian-American behind outrage over Twitter's gender skew

Vivek Wadhwa

because he did not have anything good to say, he just attacked me personally, Wadhwa told Hindustan Times in a phone interview. There is no woman on Twitter s seven-member board, none among its investors and none in its senior staff apart from recently appointed general counsel Vijaya Gadde. And the charge has stuck, helped in no small way by Costolos vicious attack on Wadhwa, who said he was taken aback by the media storm raging around the issue. He had back-to-back media interviews with Bloomberg TV, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal on Monday. And 40

articles to date, Wadhwa has counted. I am shocked. The controversy found a mark because Yahoos Marissa Mayer and Facebooks Sheryl Sandberg notwithstanding, women are significantly missing from IT top order. Wadhwa has been campaigning for more diversity in the male-dominated Silicon Valley, which, he has said, also keeps out minorities such African Americans and Hispanics. But one battle at a time: its women for now. He plans to highlight the issue in a book based on crowd-sourced accounts from women he has invited to participate in the project. Indians and Indian Americans were in a similar position 20 years ago, Wadhwa said. They were at the receiving end of discrimination by the same group of arrogant power brokers. Indians pulled themselves out of it, he argued, by helping each other through an informal brotherhood, a network. And Silicon Valley hall of fame is full of such stories.

Washington, DC: US President Barack Obama has named yet another Indian American, Kerala University physics graduate Arun M. Kumar, to lead the trade promotion arm of the US Commerce Department charged with helping US companies succeed in markets around the world. Kumar, who has been nominated Assistant Secretary and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, would on Senate confirmation succeed another Indian American, Secunderabad-born Suresh Kumar. Nominating Kumar with four other individuals to key administration posts, Obama said: "The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come." At over two dozen, Obama administration boasts of having the highest number of Indian Americans in key jobs than any previous administrations in US.

Obama names IndianAmerican to key trade job

Washington, DC: Certain provisions of the comprehensive immigration reform bill not only hurts Indian IT companies but would also damage American competitiveness and imperil thousands of jobs, a top US corporate leader has argued as the legislation is being debated in the House of Representatives. "US policymakers need to understand the significant and harmful unintended consequences if legislation is passed containing provisions that would limit market entry of IT professionals," Ajay Banga, CEO of MasterCard and chairman of the US-India Business Council wrote in an oped in The Hill. The final piece of legislation needs to ensure that high skilled visa programs continue to attract workers to the US and allow American companies to have a competitive advantage in today's highly competitive global marketplace, he said. Banga argued that the provisions discriminate against Indian IT companies, but to be very

Immigration bill to damage Indian IT cos & US competitiveness: Ajay Banga

needs," Banga said. US and Indian companies that bring temporary IT personnel to American businesses when such trained professionals are in short supply domestically provide a critical service in the US marketplace - there is no reason for government policy to differentiate between any two IT companies that compete to provide essentially the same services in essentially the same ways with essentially the same labour pool, he argued. "High-skilled workers play a major role in the US economy today. They work for our biggest job creators, are often entrepreneurs themselves and are directly contributing to the innovative companies that will employ Americans for generations to come," he said. "Until the US can produce sufficient numbers of skilled professionals domestically, the reality is that talent must be sourced from around the globe so our companies can continue to compete successfully on the global stage," Banga added.

Ajay Banga, CEO, MasterCard

clear, some US IT providers would be blocked from providing these services. "Moreover, there would be very real and negative consequences to US businesses that rely on these services. The harmful effects would cut across an array of American industries looking to keep their business growing, from construction and transportation to travel and tourism.

"These companies, customers of the 24/7 'knowledge economy', rely on it to keep growing and creating jobs," he wrote. "Ultimately, the provisions damage competitiveness, imperil the thousands of American jobs that have been created as part of the building of that knowledge economy, and undercut the very drivers for making more IT professionals available to meet American

October 12-18, 2013


Memo to NYT: Be less imperial, more honest while reporting India

By Atul Singh & Mayank Singh n 1953, The New York Times supported the CIA-led coup that ousted Mossadegh in Iran. More recently it acted as a cheerleader when George W. Bush decided to go to war with Iraq. With Gardiner Harris article titled Campaign for Prime Minister in India Gets Off to Violent Start, (published on Sept 18, 2013), the newspaper is upholding its imperial tradition. In his very first line, Harris asserts that consequential elections nearly always start here with a proclamation and a deadly riot. It is completely untrue that consequential Indian elections start with a riot, leave aside a deadly one. Besides, Harris is being smug, patronizing and condescending here. He is unwittingly adopting the persona of Joseph Conrads civilized white man commenting on savage darkskinned natives.

Playing fast and loose with facts Harris goes on to make a series of false assertions in the article. First, he implies that riots broke out because the BJP, Indias opposition party, chose Narendra Modi as its PM candidate. Riots between Hindus and Muslims in Muzaffarnagar began in the last week of August and blew up by September 9, three days before Modi became the PM candidate. Further, Harris disingenuously fails to point out that Modi governs Gujarat while riots occurred in Uttar Pradesh, about 500 miles away. UP is governed by the Samajwadi Party (SP), the junior ally of the Congress Party that

governs India. He fails to note that over the last few months, the number of riots has been increasing both nationally and in UP. Of the 479 riots that have taken place in India this year, 93 have occurred in UP. Second, Harris claims that the riots escalated after a fake video of two Hindus being lynched by a Muslim mob was circulated by a legislator from Modis party. This is simply one of the many explanations for the escalation of violence. Investigative agencies are beginning to put the pieces together and the picture that is emerging is markedly different to Harris claims. Third, Harris quotes critics who claim that violence benefits the BJP because it gets the Hindus to vote en bloc. This is again a fallacious claim because Hindus are 80 % of Indias population; if they voted en bloc, the BJP would always be in power. Instead, it is the Nehru family-led Congress party that has largely been in power. The truth is that caste is the basis of voting in India and Hinduism is far too amorphous a religion to lend itself to bloc voting. Muslims do vote en bloc because they feel insecure as a minority and a poor one at that. Fourth, Harris asserts that Indian election campaigns are often fueled by hate and soaked in blood. This is false. Indian election campaigns involve more patronage and bribery than intimidation and violence. The dynasties that run India maintain cordial relations with each other because they have to forge coalitions to form governments after elections in an increasingly fragmented society.

Indian soldiers enforcing a curfew in Muzaffarnagar during the riots. The New York Times South Asia Correspondent, Gardiner Harris wrongly links the riots to the race for prime minister and betrays western medias dislike for Narendra Modi (inset).

Fifth, Harris does a hatchet job on Modi, calling him a Hindu chauvinist accused of mass murder who shies away from western media. Modis record in the 2002 Gujarat riots is far from exemplary and many hold him personally liable for the unrest. He certainly does shy away from western media. However, other political parties are no different and their record, whether on riots or on access to the media, is no better than Modis. Harris fails to mention that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi rarely give interviews to either Indian or western media. He also fails to highlight their reputation for corruption and nepotism, or refer to their partys role in conducting a pogrom of the Sikh community in 1984. Harris also fails to recognize that some of the worst riots have taken place under the Nehru family, which often turns a blind eye to such violence if party loyalists are involved. Ignorant insinuations There is another bit of disingenuous reporting by Harris. He insinuates that Modi deliberately fails to provide services to Muslim areas of Maninagar. Then he claims that a similar partition is now taking place in the villages around Muzaffarnagar, which, as pointed out earlier, is in UP a state governed not by Modi but his opponent. Yet, Harris insinuates that Modi is somehow responsible for what is going on. The truth is that Muslims in India tend to be poor and are likely to live in dilapidated ghettos. The reasons for this phenomenon are complex. Most Muslims in India were low caste Hindus who converted to Islam during the days of Turkish or Mughal rule. The educated Muslim middle-class emigrated to Pakistan in 1947 when India was partitioned. This robbed the Muslim community of moderate forwardlooking leadership and left it in the hands of mullahs. The Indian state failed to invest in basic education or vocational training and this left Muslims caught in the poverty trap, with growing families and few opportunities of productive employment. The Muslims are particularly poor in UP because its economy has been stagnating for over two decades. Holding Modi responsible for the poor state of Muslim neighborhoods in Muzaffarnagar is like blaming the governor of California for incidents in the south side of Chicago. Identity politics in India Identity politics has long been the staple diet of Indian politics. Soon after independence,

the Congress Party forged a Brahmin, Dalit and Muslim coalition. The Samajawadi Party won because of bloc voting by the so-called backward castes, especially the Yadavs and the Muslims. Both the Congress and the SP are competing for the Muslim vote. Both queue up before Imam Bukhari to seek his fatwa commanding Muslims to vote for their respective parties. Akhilesh Yadav, the man who governs UP, has appointed hardline Muslims like Azam Khan as ministers. Members of the police in UP have been caught on camera narrating how Khan has been pressuring them to slow down their investigations on Muslim rioters. It is curious that Harris is not holding Yadav responsible for what happened in his state and is blaming Modi instead. Patrician prejudice Why do the likes of Harris despise Modi? Prima facie Modi should be popular in the US. He follows market-friendly policies, has a reputation for efficiency, and is popular with much of the Indian diaspora. Yet, to the East Coast elite, Modi is strange, unfamiliar and discordant. He represents the India of the small towns that is neither fluent in English, nor conversant with western social mores. The British ruled India through a comprador class that inherited power when they left. Thanks to both indoctrination and patronage, this class is left-wing and, in an earlier era, favored the Soviets over the Americans. Yet, it gives the appearance of being westernized and has written the Indian narrative for its monolingual American audience. This bias is compounded by the terrible state of foreign reporting on India. Foreign correspondents fail to reflect the complexity and diversity of India. Foreign correspondents in India are frequently seduced by English-speaking hosts who pour Scotch into their glasses at five-star hotels or imperial era clubs. Trapped in their bubble, people like Harris are increasingly doing a terrible job. They regurgitate the arguments of the Delhi elite against the likes of Modi, but fail to focus on the sins of the ruling class whether it is nepotism, identity politics or intimidation. Modi has his flaws. However, he should not be subjected to character assassination based on innuendos and untruth. The New York Times is too often wrong on the facts, smug in its assumptions, and ignorant about Indias past. India deserves better and so do the readers of The New York Times. Courtesy Fair Observer.


October 12-18, 2013

As financial markets turn gloomy, White House plans meetings with lawmakers
Short-term borrowing by the Treasury Department became twice as expensive on Tuesday as it had been the day before, a key sign of alarm in the bond markets since the financial crisis of 2008.
Washington: With financial markets reflecting growing concern about the potential for a US default, the White House on Wednesday announced a series of meetings with lawmakers from both parties to focus on the government shutdown, looming debt crisis and festering fiscal stalemate. House Democrats were invited to meet President Obama on Wednesday afternoon, a White House official said. Senate Democrats, House Republicans and Senate Republicans will be asked to attend similar sessions in the coming days. The meetings come as Republicans are accusing President Obama of not negotiating with them over the budget and spending impasse. On Tuesday, Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner clashed publicly but made no nificant signs of alarm in the bond markets since the financial crisis of 2008. The stock market, meanwhile, continued the steady slide that began in mid-September, when Boehner (R-Ohio) embraced a rightwing strategy for using the budget battles to try to dismantle Obamas signature health-care initiative. The Standard & Poors 500-stock index fell 20.67 points to 1,655.45 on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 160 points to 14,776.53 and has lost nearly 6 percent of its value since hitting a oneyear high Sept. 18. In a hastily planned news conference at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, Obama warned that default would be insane, catastrophic, chaos, and demanded that Boehner take the weight of that threat off the U.S. economy. Once that happens, Obama said, I am happy to talk with him and other Republicans about anything. But Obama said he also told Boehner in a telephone call Tuesday morning that having such a conversation, talks, negotiations shouldnt require hanging the threats of a government shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of the American people. An hour later, Boehner fired back that Republicans will not yield until Obama comes to the bargaining table. I didnt come here to shut down the government, and I certainly didnt come here to default on our debt, Boehner told reporters at the Capitol. But Obama, he said, is seeking unconditional surrender by Republicans before hell sit down and talk. Thats not the way our government works.

Pox on both houses: In various polls, about 62% mainly blamed Republicans for the shutdown. About half said Obama or the Democrats in Congress bear much responsibility. Worst hit, GOP may lose the House in 2014 elections, some analysts predict.

progress on how to reopen the government and pay the nations bills. Short-term borrowing by the

Treasury Department became twice as expensive Tuesday as it had been the day before, one of the most sig-

Partial shutdown costing US $160M per workday

New York: The partial US government shutdown cost $1.6 billion last week in lost economic output, according to IHS Inc., a Lexington, Mass.-based global market-research firm. As the showdown continues, the office closures are now draining an average of $160 million each workday from the $15.7-trillion economy. Two more days of the Washington-made calamity would put the shutdown's financial harm on par with a natural disaster last month. September's heavy rains, flash floods and mudslides across 17 Colorado counties caused at least $2 billion in economic damages, according to Equecat Inc., an Oakland, Calif.-based catastrophe-risk modeler. Based on the IHS estimate, the shutdown costs surpassed $2 billion Wednesday. Congress' failure to approve a federal budget or a stopgap spending measure sidelined an estimated 800,000 federal employees last week. As many as 350,000 of those employees returned to work, with regular pay schedules. Active-duty military employees also are collecting checks. Yet, the economic impact of the shutdown goes beyond the federal workforce. The National Association of Government Contractors found in an Oct. 1 survey of 925 members that 29 percent planned to delay hiring because of the stalemate, and 58 percent said it will have a negative effect on business.

New York: American politicians should cease to use the debt ceiling in their negotiations, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said, comparing the practice to a nuclear bomb threat. It ought to be banned as a weapon. It should be like nuclear bombs, basically too horrible to use, Buffett said in an interview with Fortune magazine, quoted by Bloomberg. Republicans in the House of Representatives blocked the budget and federal funding measures for the fiscal year 2014 that started on October 1st, in an attempt to gain concessions on the Affordable Care Act. Lack of funding caused a partial blockage of the activity of the federal state, and the furlough of 800,000 government employees. Congress is also negotiating an increase of the U.S. debt limit. If the legislature does not adopt the measure by 17 October, the United States could go into default. Charles Munger, vice president of the board of Berkshire Hathaway, By Lee Hamilton

Buffet calls debt ceiling politics a nuclear bomb Obama nominates Janet Yellen for Fed chief
Washington: President Obama Wednesday nominated Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to lead the central bank, elevating her to the world's most powerful economic post just as a political showdown in Washington is propelling the nation toward a possible economic crisis. If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen, 67, would become the first woman to head a major central bank. The Fed's vice chairman since 2010, she's known for favoring policies promoting employment as a chief concern of the Fed rather than controlling inflation. Yellen is expected to face resistance from Republicans in Congress worried that the Fed won't do enough to prevent future high inflation. But she enjoys broad support among Democrats in the Senate and is expected to be confirmed. Yellen would succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is stepping down when his second

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet

the company run by Buffett, told Fortune that the threat of failing to honor the financial obligations of the country is deeply immoral and he was critical of the Republican Party, which he generally supports. Buffett, ranked fourth overall among billionaires and Munger are among the leaders in the financial sector who urged the Congress to stop using the U.S. debt ceiling as a political tool. Lloyd Blankfe, CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs said Wednesday after a meeting at the White House with President Obama that the U.S. debt limit should not be used as a cudgel.

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, if confirmed, will replace Ben Bernanke in January 2014.

four-year term ends Jan. 31. He is credited with playing a chief role in leading the nation out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. She majored in economics at Brown University, drawn to the field by a desire to help people. She joined the Fed as an economist in 1977 and there met her future husband George Akerloff, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics. ing the system work, legislators who realize that those who line up on the other side of them feel just as passionately about their positions, respect those differences, and are committed to finding common ground. We change laws and solve our most difficult issues in this country not by bringing government to a halt, but by fighting out the issues before the voters in an election. At the end of the day, we have to move the country forward and we need to elect members of Congress who are willing and able to do that. Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

he American public has lost patience with Washington. The question is, now what? Congress is unable to do its job. It displays neither competence nor responsibility, lurching from crisis to crisis. Too many of its members reject the notion that accommodation and time-honored procedures allow them to fulfill their responsibilities to the American people. They use their legislative skill to engage in brinksmanship rather than address the countrys fundamental problems. Economic growth? Creating jobs? Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path? Dont look to Congress. We do not have to continue down

Its time for an intervention

this road, but we do have to tackle a core problem: the political center in Congress has weakened to the point of ineffectiveness, if not near-irrelevance. Part of the answer lies with the electorate: more people have to turn out to vote. The more people who vote, the better the chances to strengthen the political center that is, moderates and pragmatists. A healthier Congress rests on expanding efforts to convince people to vote, and beating back the barriers to voting.

The second solution lies with Congress. Contemplating a government shutdown, one congressman recently explained his stance by saying, All that really matters is what my district wants. This is not an uncommon view, but its distressingly limited. Our system depends on members who believe its also their responsibility to lead and inform voters, who are willing to weigh the national interest as well as parochial concerns and who have confidence in our system to resolve political differences. In other words, we need members of Congress devoted to mak-


October 12-18, 2013


Advani ignores Modi, praises Chouhan

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani gave credit for the successful party workers' conclave in Bhopal last month to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. He. however, made no mention of the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi who was the main speaker. In the latest post on his blog "No full stops in BJP", Advani said over six lakh workers had registered for the "Karyakarta Mahakumbh". He said about 10 people were drawn from each of the 53,896 polling station areas spread over 51 districts of Madhya Pradesh. The rally was held Sep 25, the birth anniversary of BJP ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. Advani said his first yatra, from Somnath to Ayodhya, had also started Sep 25 in 1990. "If September 25 of 1990 was

important for us in the BJP because of the Somnath to Ayodhya yatra, the same date this year, that is just last month, will always remain etched in our memories because of the all time record number of party activists who assembled at Bhopal, and that too activists of just one state - Madhya Pradesh." Advani said all central leaders were present at the conclave. "Assembled in front of them were as many as 649,702 party workers, who had formally registered themselves for this unique conclave, with average of at least 10 drawn from each of the 53,896 polling stations spread over 51 districts of the state. It is what I witnessed this day in Bhopal that made me sincerely feel that for the BJP, there are no full stops," he said. Advani said preparations for the workers conclave had been going on for several months but the public had not been invited.

Aligarh/Rampur: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi made a veiled attack on Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) government and the BJP over the Muzaffarnagar riots and said a government of "youth", "poor" and "common man" would be formed in 2014. Addressing rallies in Aligarh and Rampur as part of efforts to create a winning momentum for the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi sought to firmly identify his party with the poor and sought support of youth, women and the common man. In a possible indication that he will lead the government and the party's young leaders could get more prominence, Gandhi, 43, said, "In 2014, it will be government of youth. It will change the country." Gandhi also sought to take credit for passage of food security and land acquisition bills passed in parliament. He said land acquisition bill would benefit farmers and food security bill would benefit the common man. However, his accusation that the opposition created roadblocks to the passage of land acquisition bill drew immediate rebuttal from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj, who asked

Rahul targets SP, BJP over riots

Rahul Gandhi's two rallies in Uttar Pradesh took place in Aligarh and Rampur

him to have the courage to speak the truth. Swaraj tweeted that Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had put on record his special thanks for her efforts in paving the way for the bill's passage. Gandhi attacked the Akhilesh Yadav government of Uttar Pradesh for not implementing the flagship food security act in the state because it apprehends the Congress may benefit from the scheme in the 2014 general elections. He urged the people to "fight for food security", saying it is their right now. Rahul Gandhi's two ral-

lies in Uttar Pradesh took place in Aligarh and Rampur -- cities with a sizeable presence of the Muslim community. In his Rampur rally, Gandhi said the Congress will fight with more vigour for the poor. "We will fight the battle of poor with more vigour. You fight the battle of the poor, the farmer and the youth with us," he said, urging women to side with the Congress. Referring to the Congress forming coalition governments after the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi said the "government of the poor, government of common man" will again be formed after the 2014 elections.

Patna: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hired 10 trains to ferry its supporters here for the Oct 27 rally of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, a senior leader said. Since last month, BJP leaders have been busy touring different parts of state to mobilize supporters for the rally. Several buses have also been hired for the rally. "The party has booked 10 special trains, with 18 bogies each, for the rally," senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav said, adding that the trains will run from different parts of the state to Patna. The special trains will run from Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria, Bhagalpur, Saharsa, Bettiah, Bagha and Samastipur, among other cities. Yadav, the leader of opposition in the state assembly, said the BJP's district units will also ferry people by buses. "We are planning to hire buses from Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, as there are not enough buses available in the state," he said. Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil

BJP hires 10 trains for Modi's rally in Bihar

The Oct 27 rally will be the first show of strength by the BJP in Bihar post Nitish break-up

Kumar Modi claimed that the number of peoplea attending the rally would break all previous records. "If lakhs of people can turn up to hear Narendra Modi in Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad and Rewari (in Haryana), where the party has few legislators, one can only imagine the biggest ever turnout in Patna," Sushil Modi said, adding that Narendra Modi's presence would be a big draw. After Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke the Janata Dal-United alliance with the

BJP in June over the projection of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the saffron party's prime ministerial candidate, the Oct 27 rally will be the first show of strength by the BJP in Bihar. An East Central Railway (ECR) official said an action plan was drawn up by the railways to run special trains Oct 26-27. "We have made elaborate arrangements for smooth running of passenger trains as well as long-distance trains," he said.

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir assembly Speaker Mubarak Gul said he would summon former Indian Army chief Gen. V.K Singh to explain allegations that the army's secret fund are being used to pay state ministers since 1947. The members of the ruling National Conference (NC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) created a ruckus in the assembly Wednesday seeking summoning of the former Indian Army chief. Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mir Saifullah stood up and asked the speaker to summon Gen. V.K Singh to explain his position before the assembly. Speaker Mubarak Gul said: "I have decided to write a letter to the former army chief to explain his position." He said he would give the former army chief a month's time to appear before the assembly. "If I have to convene a special session for Gen. V.K Singh to appear before the assembly, I will do it," the Speaker said. He had earlier reserved his judgement on whether the former army chief should be asked to

J&K assembly to summon Gen. V.K Singh

Former Indian Army chief Gen. V.K Singh

appear before the privileges committee of the assembly or should be summoned before the entire house to clarify his position. The retired army chief had stirred a controversy by making allegations that ministers in Jammu and Kashmir had been receiving secret funds from the army since 1947. An Indian Express expose had quoted a probe report by the army, which said Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir had received Rs. 1.19 crore from the army's secret funds.


October 12-18, 2013


Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reaffirmed India's commitment to building regional architectures of economic and security cooperation in Asia, saying the need for such collective action and collaboration is more acute now because of the global economic uncertainty and political turmoil in some parts of the world. He also said India was keen to enter into a dialogue and cooperation with like-minded countries on innovative means of financing infrastructure and stressed that building of physical infrastructure needs to go hand-in-hand with creation of soft infrastructure. India welcomed Brunei's initiative to hold a meeting of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN)

India to help craft security architecture in Asia: PM

prises the 10 ASEAN countries and their eight dialogue partners, including India, and has emerged as a premier forum for economic and security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific. Manmohan Singh said the need for collective action, cooperation and collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region had never been felt more acutely as it is now. The prime minister also proposed a new Indian initiative for cooperation among East Asian Summit members in trauma care and nursing, and conveyed India's support to Australia and Vietnam as co-Chairs of the launch of the Asia-Pacific Leaders'

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with other ASEAN leaders for the 8th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Brunei

Malaria Alliance. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), launched in Phnom Penh last year, has laid out a roadmap for regional economic integration that can reinforce growth and accelerate development across the region, besides enhancing mutual stakes in regional stability and security. India remains fully engaged in and committed to the RCEP process. India participated in the second Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum meet in Kuala Lumpur Oct 3 to discuss ways to strengthen regional maritime cooperation.

Connectivity Coordinating Committee and the East Asia Summit later this year, he added. "Asia has been a late starter in

Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei): Leaders of 10 ASEAN countries and their eight dialogue partners including India met here to discuss strategic issues of relevance to the Asia-Pacific region at the 8th East Asia Summit (EAS). US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have opted out of the summit and they were represented by their for-

Summit leaders focus on strategic issues

eign ministers. Since its inception in 2005, the EAS has served as a forum for dialogue on broad strategic issues of relevance to East Asia as well as other regional and global issues, with the focus on areas such as energy security, climate change, infectious diseases, sustainable development, poverty reduction and disaster management.

terms of building regional architectures of cooperation. We have embarked on this collective journey in large part because of the outstanding vision and leadership of ASEAN, first in pursuing ASEAN integration and then expanding it to the wider region. "We will be successful if we adhere to the principles of unity, cooperation and integration that have guided ASEAN and if ASEAN centrality continues to shape the East Asia Summit processes. I reaffirm India's commitment to contribute to this process," the prime minister said at the 8th East Asia Summit in this Brunei capital. The East Asia Summit (EAS) com-

An idol of Goddess Durga at a community Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata. It is Bengal's biggest festival, when the state plunges into festivities, merriment and religiosity, when even newspapers shut down and roads are choked with human traffic throughout the day - and night.

Accepting Applications

For January 2014


October 12-18, 2013


Keran not Kargil, says Army Andhra Pradesh shut over Telangana
Hyderabad: Electricity employees continued their strike for fourth consecutive day, plunging Seemandhra into chaos. Over six lakh other government employees struck work to protest the decision to divide Andhra Pradesh and create a Telangana state. However, there were late reports that the electricity employees had called off their five-day strike in view of a cyclone threat. A majority of 13 districts of Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) faced severe hardships, with a prolonged spell of no electricity. Medical services were worst-hit, with many government and private hospitals putting off surgeries. Doctors at government hospitals joined the strike, adding to the woes of

Army personnel display arms and ammunition recovered during Keran operation in Jammu and Kashmir

Rail services were affected in different parts of Andhra Pradesh

Srinagar/New Delhi: The Indian Army called off its 14-day-long operation in Keran sector of the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir while the army chief, General Bikram Singh, said the attempt had been a desperate infiltration bid and not an intrusion by the guerrillas. Seven militants have been killed in the operation against the heavilyarmed guerrillas (allegedly backed by Pakistan) in Kupwara district, General Bikram Singh said. "This is not an intrusion, it is a desperate bid for infiltration," the army chief told reporters on the sidelines of the annual Air Force Day Parade at Hindon adjacent to the national capital. "These terrorists were in a hallah (dry stream). What advantage would they get by sitting in a Nallah? Seven of them have been

killed," he said. Lieutenant General Sanjiv Chachra, who heads the Northern Command that conducted the operation, said it had ended. "I have given directions to call off the concerted search," he added. The army commander said the army had killed eight of the guerrillas, whose bodies and weapons had already been displayed before the media. "It was an infiltration bid and these will continue till the winter sets in. Last night also there has been another infiltration bid." "We are prepared to meet the challenges and our boys are in good shape. Their morale is high", the top army officer said. He said all the Indian Army posts on the LoC are intact and dismissed reports that some of posts or any area on the Indian side of had been taken over by the guerrillas.

patients. Industrial production came to a standstill, while airports at Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada were running on back-up power.

Police shift Jaganmohan Reddy to hospital

Hyderabad: YSR Congress party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who was on indefinite fast for five days to protest the central government's decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, was forcibly shifted by police to a hospital. As the condition of the Kadapa MP deteriorated, police took him from hunger strike camp in front of his Lotus Pond residence to Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS). Jaganmohan Reddy and his supporters resisted police attempts to shift the MP but policemen bodily lifted him to a waiting ambulance and took him to hospital, eye witnesses said. The young leader was suffering from dehydration and fever and his blood sugar had come down. As doctors had warned that if the fast continued, he may slip into coma, police swung into action.

Movement of trains was affected. About 4,000 MW generation has come to a halt, as employees at all major thermal and hydel power plants struck work. The sprawling region with a population of over five crore saw work at government offices and educational institutions grind to a halt. Buses of the state-owned road transport corporation have been off the roads for nearly two months. Kiran Reddy appealed to employees to end the strike in view of the hardships caused to common people, and said the state would remain united. He said the Telangana bill would be defeated in the assembly. However, employees insisted on an assurance from the centre and all political parties that the state would stay united.

New Delhi: While criminalization of politics remains a serious concern, data complied by think tanks reveals that 21 percent of legislators in the five states heading for assembly polls in November-December have criminal backgrounds. Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram go to polls in November-December. The results will be out Dec 8. Figures compiled by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) show 128 out of the 607 legislators from these five states have selfdeclared pending criminal cases. A total of 47 legislators had declared serious criminal cases against themselves. Delhi has the maximum of

21 pc lawmakers in poll-bound states face criminal cases

43 percent legislators with declared criminal cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh where 25 percent assembly members have declared criminal cases against themselves. Madhya Pradesh has 11 percent MLAs with serious criminal cases, highest among the five. It is followed by Delhi and Chhattisgarh with 9 percent each. At 7 percent, Mizoram has the lowest percentage of legislators with criminal cases among the five states. Among the major parties, the Congress fielded 30 percent candidates with criminal cases in Delhi, and 31 percent in Madhya Pradesh during the 2008 assembly polls. The Bharatiya Janata Party gave tickets to 35 percent candidates with criminal cases in Delhi and to 22 percent tainted candidates in the 2008 Madhya Pradesh assembly elections. In the current Delhi assembly, 38 percent of legislators of the Congress and 46 percent of the BJP have criminal cases pending against them. "NEW and ADR demand that all political parties should give tickets to taint-free candidates during the upcoming elections," a statement said. Chhattisgarh will see voting Nov 11 and 19, while the other four states will have a day's balloting: Madhya Pradesh (Nov 25), Rajasthan (Dec 1) and Delhi and Mizoram (Dec 4).

Asaram's son issues ad, says he won't run away

Surat: Self-styled godman Asaram's son Narayan Sai, against whom a lookout notice has been issued in connection with a sexual assault case, has given advertisements in local newspapers claiming that he is innocent and will not run away. The advertisements also mention that Sai will take a legal recourse in the matter. City police had summoned him for quesSelf-styled godman Asaram's tioning by serving notice son Narayan Sai to various ashrams in The advertisements alleged Gujarat run by the father-son that the FIR against him was duo. fabricated and facts in it were The whereabouts of Sai are manipulated by the complainant. not known to police and the It further said that his client will advertisements don't say any- take a legal recourse to protect thing about where he is holed himself. up. "Our client has not gone Asaram, 72, was arrested in away and will not run away," the August on charges of sexually advertisements, issued through assaulting a minor girl and has his advocate Gautam Desai, been in prison in Jodhpur since said. then.

Warring Punjab Congress leaders share stage at Rahul's rally

Sangrur (Punjab): Warring leaders of the Congress' Punjab unit shared a platform Thursday at a public rally addressed by the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi near this Punjab town. Former chief ministers Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, state Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa, Leader of Opposition Sunil Kumar Jakhar and former MP Jagmeet Singh Brar and others were present at the rally. The event, at this town, 130 km from Chandigarh, was preceded by some controversy as Amarinder Singh, reportedly unhappy at his name not being there in the list of dignitaries to share the stage with Gandhi, tried to excuse himself, saying that he had a court case to attend. The game of upmanship between Amarinder Singh and Bajwa, who succeeded him as the state Congress chief, has been going on for the last few months. Union ministers Manish Tewari, Santosh Chaudhary and Preneet Kaur - the wife of Amarinder Singh - former union ministers Ambika Soni and Ashwani Kumar, and Sangrur MP Vijay Inder Singla were also present.


October 12-18, 2013


Could Modi be grounded before take off?

During practice sessions, boxers do no not really hit hard. This is what is going on between the vertical Narendra Modi and the horizontal UPA

what is going on between the vertical Modi and the horizontal UPA. Chastise me for my perverse thought, but the real effect of Modi as a Hindu mascot, coming with things like Muzaffarnagar in his train, is two fold: it enables the BJP-RSS to measure its appeal nationwide for some future round. This aggressive Hindutva is designed to drive anything which is not hardcore Hindutva towards the creation of a possible UPA III because Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambaram and Montek Singh

Ahluwalia are still trusted by India Inc in Mumbai and their multinational links who have identified India as a trillion dollar market and essential for global recovery. The real battle, then, is not being envisaged for 2014 but more like 2016 - mid term. Jaitleys 15-page letter, giving details of all the cases that are zeroing in on Modi and Shah, is the beginning of an almighty cat and mouse between the BJP and the UPA. Is there a real fear that Modi will be grounded before take off?

By Saeed Naqvi ecently, the "Indian Express" published two news items on the same page. On the top, across five columns, was Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs appeal: All Secular Forces Must Unite Against Modi, the BJPs prime ministerial candidate. Bottom of the same page had a two-column headline in which BJP's Arun Jaitley is urging the prime minister to probe motivated investigation against Narendra Modi and his political soulmate, Amit Shah. The leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha has accused the Congress of misusing agencies like the CBI and NIA against BJP leaders including its prime ministerial candidate. So, it seems the probes on Modi are closing in. Juxtapose the two news items, one against the other, and a kind of pattern emerges of Modis menacing, vertical rise and the UPAs horizontal mopping up operations of the scared secular formations. Without one, the other has no game to play. In a column written in mid July, I had explained my understanding of the game. What was the hurry in projecting Modi as the BJPs Hindu mascot for the political season up to the 2014 parliament election? At least those eager to promote him could have waited for the assembly elections in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, in at least three of which the BJP has major stakes. Would it not be the Hindutvas vote of no confidence in the BJP chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, when they are preparing for the November assembly elections, to have the chief minister of Gujarat sail above their heads? Agreed, Shivraj Chauhan, Raman Singh and Vasundhara Raje Scindia do not owe their lives to the RSS as Modi does, but even so what would have been lost if the RSS-BJP had waited until the November elections? What was the urgency? Were the cases closing in on Modi and the Gujarat model? That being the case Modi had to be boosted sky high, like a rocket, so that he can be cast as a martyr just in case the investigating agencies ground him. It was quite startling how the senior leaders, in a state of collective convulsion at Modis elevation in Goa in June, had very rapidly composed themselves and begun to see light over the horizon. Modi was anointed the PM candidate in September and they tamely watched. Suddenly they had changed. Why? During practice sessions boxers do no really hit hard. They spar, jab gently, float around for footwork but never land a punch on the chin. This is

The views expressed in Op Eds are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times.


October 12-18, 2013


Rahul factor:

Does he really seek change?

By Amulya Ganguli

Does Rahul Gandhi really want to decentralize the Congress to break the hold of power brokers, as his father wanted? Or, is he merely posturing?

he government's withdrawal of the ordinance and bill on convicted legislators is a setback not only for Manmohan Singh, but also for Sonia Gandhi since she had approved of the measures at a Congress core group meeting. On the other hand, by forcing the government to retreat, Rahul Gandhi has acquired a prominence as never before. He has also climbed on to a moral high ground with a raw display of political authority, although his impetuosity can be seen as a matter of concern in a future leader. As for the Congress, the fact of its capitulation has confirmed that

it comprises craven sycophants who are ready to fall in behind the dynasty even if there is a change in the party line. Clearly, the average Congressman has no views of his own. There is little doubt, however, that the overall scene has been complicated by the latest developments. Till now, it was the Congress president's wish which was her command. But, suddenly, the Rahul Gandhi factor has come into play. This change is of vital importance not only for the ordinary members, but also for the prime minister and the party chief. Both of them will now have to keep in mind the predilections of the heir apparent to avoid a repeat of the Press Club of India drama of September 27 when Rahul Gandhi trashed the ordinance as "complete nonsense". At the same time, they cannot deny that the party's young PM-in-waiting is apparently more in touch with public, especially middle class, opinion - at least on the question of a criminalized polity - than all the grizzled veterans of the cabinet. What this means is that he will be taken more seriously than before when he was seen as something of a dilettante, surrounded by Ivy Leaguers from affluent families who are generally believed to be ignorant of sentiments at the ground level. It is too early to say whether the need for the prime minister to anticipate Rahul Gandhi's views on any given subject will further slow down the decision-making process, thereby worsening the policy paralysis. But, the snub which the government has received cannot be good for its confidence. The problem for the government is compounded by the fact that little is known about Rahul Gandhi's views on the economy, international relations and domestic issues like the quota system based on caste. Considering that the enumeration of castes has been included in the census operations at Sonia Gandhi's behest after a gap of 80 years for the sake of reservations for them in jobs and education, it will be interesting to see whether the young prince supports such measures at the expense of a merit-based competitive system. Till now, the logjam in policy formulation was supposedly caused by the disjunction between the prime minister's market-oriented policies and Sonia Gandhi's populism. The next point of interest will be to see which way Rahul Gandhi will tilt. One fallout from the boost to his stature is that it will not only enthuse the younger members of the Congress, including the MPs who may have felt marginalized under the present dispensation, but also the rank and file. For once, the party seems to have found someone who is prepared to speak his mind even if he has to subsequently regret the use of "strong" and "wrong" words. Does Rahul Gandhi really want to decentralize the Congress to break the hold of power brokers, as his father wanted? Or, is he merely posturing, being the prime beneficiary of the dynastic system which represents the bigger power broker? It will obviously take time for the reverberations from his Press Club outburst to die down.


October 12-18, 2013


The fiery conclusion over East River of the Deepavali event.

Crowds at AIA-NYs signature Deepavali event have been growing over the years.

An episode from Ramayan being enacted.

The comely TV actress Pankhuri conducted the Main Bhi Star auditions for Star India Plus. California based Omi Vaidya, who stormed into Bollywood with 3 Idiots, charmed the audience. AIA-NY President Sunil Modi greeting Congresswoman Grace Meng. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and City Comptroller John Liu also came to say Happy Diwali to the Indian community.

New York: The Association of Indians in America (AIA-NY), under its President Sunil Modi, hosted its 26th Deepavali event at South Street Seaport here on October 6. Besides other colorful cultural events, these were the highlights of the daylong celebration of Indian festival of Diwali: DJ Rekha and AIA collaborated to make history by breaking the Guinness world record for the largest coordinated bhangra dance party. Pankhuri, of the popular Star India Plus serial, Pyaar Ka Dard Hai Meetha Meetha Pyaara Pyaara, stole the hearts of the crowd. She and Omi Vaidya, of 3 Idiots fame, came together to conduct Main Bhi Star auditions. Beautiful traditional dances were held on the main stage at Pier 16 while contemporary Bollywood dances rocked the stage near Water Street. Although AIA provided for 12 food vendors to cater to the large crowds expected, there were still lines wrapped around the venue. Meena Bazaar, selling traditional clothing and trinkets, was also a big draw. The weather was beautiful and enhanced the overall feeling of the event. All programs were seamlessly organized and coordi-

nated well with each other and their respective audiences. The evening VIP hour was held on the waterfront with a spectacular view of the fireworks. It was attended by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Congresswoman Grace Meng and New York City Comptroller John Liu. The Republican candidate for NYC Mayor, Joe Lhota also stopped by to wish a happy Diwali to the Indian community. Reshma Saujani represented

Public Advocate and Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio at the event. Awards of appreciation were distributed to all major sponsors by Deputy Consul General of India Dr. Devyani Khobragade on behalf of AIA. The evening concluded with magnificent fireworks on the East River.

AIA-NY President Sunil Modi with his executive committee.


October 12-18, 2013


A view of the imposing Wyckoff hospital building.

Within a year and half of taking the helm of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, in Brooklyn, Ramon Rodriguez has pulled the over a century old community hospital out of the red, avoiding bankruptcy and impending merger with another hospital. In an exclusive interview with The South Asian Times, the visionary new CEO and his team of top doctors share the drastic changes made and the innovations ushered in, which can be a model for other ailing hospitals in these tough times.
By Parveen Chopra n 2011, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed the Medicaid Redesign Team to overhaul the states Medicaid program in order to trim costs. The Brooklyn Work Group was a subpanel formed within the team to examine the operation of hospitals and the delivery of health care services within the borough while making recommendations on potential improvements. Data cited by the group indicated that Wyckoff Heights Medical Center (WHMC) carried $324,000 in long-term debt per bed in 2010; it had 324 beds on site and in use that year. Moreover, the hospital had $91 million in negative net assets and $117 million in other liabilities. Ramon Rodriguez was part of the Brooklyn Work Group that recommended in November 2011 that Wyckoff and Interfaith Medical Center, also bleeding, become part of a single healthcare system controlled by Brooklyn Hospital Center, which then had recently emerged from bankruptcy and demonstrating sound financial practices. In January 2012 Rodriguez was inducted by Wyckoff as CEO replacing Indian American Dr Rajiv Garg. His first decision at the helm: no merger. Other decisions, some drastic, like forcing the then board chairman and others in leadership positions aligned with the old state quoist regime, to quit, could not wait either. Today he can relish the 2012 results, in which he led Wyckoff from $17M hole to $2M profit. To explain the many steps taken and innovations introduced, which collectively engineered the remarkable Wyckoff turnaround, Rodriguez and his top physicians team sat with The South Asian Times two weeks ago in the hospitals board room. They highlight better quality care, introducing more lucrative procedures, and focused community outreach besides pruning expenses. Rodriguez starts off by accepting that geography is our destiny, acknowledging the fact that the 124-year-old hospital is located in an ethnically diverse residential neighborhood serving northern Brooklyn and western Queens. But the fact of WHMCs location on the border of Brooklyn and Queens was dismissed by the proponents of the three-way merger (with Interfaith and Brooklyn Medical Center), he argues. Fact remains that 40% of Wyckoff discharges are residents of southern Queens. Next up, Rodriguez lets heads of various specialties to speak about how their departments are playing their part in the turnaround. Dr. Stephen S. Carryl, Chairman, Surgery, with 20 years experience, has brought in the minimum invasive surgery procedures, be it colon, thoracic or gall bladder. Robotic surgery is now offered in gastric bypass for weight loss. All these cutting edge surgical procedures are highly lucrative. Dr. Gustavo Del Toro, Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, talks about upscaling

Ramon Rodriguez: Can-do CEO of Wyckoff

all, well-built, Ramon Rodriguez is an imposing personality who can dominate a roomful of people. That may have helped when he took over less than two years as CEO of the ailing Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, and had to administer it painful medication. Yet, he is too well aware that he has to take along his physicians to come out the other side. Ample evidence that he is a team man came when requested to give an interview to The South Asian Times couple of weeks ago, he sat with half a dozen top doctors of the hospital to explain the new steps, policies and innovations adopted by the hospital to come out of the red, and avoid forced bankruptcy and merger with the Brooklyn Hospital Center. He is not a doctor himself, but has displayed the right qualities of an able administrator. His background in healthcare has come handy. A lawyer by training, Ramon Jess Rodriguez at age 24 became New York State's youngest paroleboard chairman under then Governor Mario Cuomo. He later worked in health insurance, managed a small hospital system in the Hudson Valley, and was even-

He is not a doctor himself, but has displayed the right qualities of an able administrator. His background in healthcare has come handy.
tually selected to join the Brooklyn Work Group of Andrew Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team. Ironically, as member of the Brooklyn Work Group, he recommended a plan to merge Wyckoff Heights with two other purportedly struggling hospitals in the borough. Then he was hired by Wyckoff an intermediate replacement for Dr Rajiv Garg as CEO. Now, he believes the merger would have been disastrous. In the words of Vincent Arcuri, Vice Chairman of the Wyckoff Board of Trustees, Rodriguez looks at Wyckoff Heights differently than the Brooklyn Work Group and the Berger Commission which preceded it: He looks at Wyckoff as a Brooklyn-Queens facility that needs to be here. The breakneck speed at which Rodriguez worked to turn around the hospital has earned him a 3year contract from the management board as President and CEO

Ramon Rodriguez, President and CEO of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn.

of the hospital. Along the way he rubbed many stakeholders the wrong way, when he forced the exit of many doctors and even the board chairman too closely aligned with the old regime. Other senior physicians at Wyckoff describe him as a pragmatic visionary. Not being a doctor himself, he makes it a point to listen to the doctors. Dr Parvez

Mir, Associate Director, Pulmonary Critical Care at Wyckoff, said that the work environment at the hospital is much better after Rodriguez took over. We are like a close-knit family and the hospital is in much better shape than before. Rodriguezs father was born in Cuba and he grew up in Corona in Queens borough of New York.
end-of-life-care and designating 8 hospital beds for it. State-of-art care is available 24/7 for these patients. Dr. Parvez Mir, Associate Director, Pulmonary Critical Care, adds that their vision is to provide palliative care and ensure patients die with dignity. The concept of a hospice that also offers pain-relief is something North Shore hospitals have been doing for years. There are 200 physicians at Wyckoff and the plan is to add more, particularly primary care doctors. Considering that 57 % of their patients are under the age of 18, Dr. Sanjivan Patel, Acting Chairman, Pediatrics, says they will hire more pediatricians. A new outpatient pediatric center has seen an increase of 50 % in the four months it opened. The center is located seven blocks from Wyckoff in Bushwick. At a time when many hospitals are experiencing significant reductions in resources and services, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center continues to respond to the growing healthcare needs of the communities they serve by expanding clinical programs like the free Breathe Easy Program, powered by Asthmapolis. This program helps parents gain control of their childs asthma with tools that make it easy to track when and where their asthma symptoms occur. Dr. Sanjivan Patel informs that they have introduced an inhaler with GPS attached to track if the child is using it as prescribed. So far 30 kids have been given this device free by Wyckoff. WHMC is also proud of the implementation of a new hospitalist program in partnership with Sound Physicians. The hospitalist program provides better access to physicians and more continuity of care for patients during their hospital stay. Announcing it in late August, Rodriguez said, I am excited about any initiative which improves the quality of patient care. Our hospitalist program enables Wyckoff to make a doctor available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the patient. That supports our goal to improve and


October 12-18, 2013


Ramon Rodriguez (sitting) flanked by Indira Parmar, VP, Care Coordination and Dr. Vijaypal Arya, Associate Director, Endoscopy Unit. Standing from left : Dr. Sanjivan Patel, Acting Chairman, Pediatrics; Dr. Parvez Mir, Associate Director, Pulmonary Critical Care; Dr. Stephen S. Carryl, Chairman, Surgery; And Dr Gustavo Del Toro, Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer of Wyckoff hospital.

maintain patient satisfaction. Chief Medical Officer Dr Gustavo Del Toro explained that Sound Physicians will provide hospitalist services for a 45-bed unit of medical/surgical patients including those admitted through the emergency department. The hospitalists will manage all facets of patients hospitalization from admission to discharge. This includes consultations with primary care physicians and communication with patients families. Sound Physicians is the practice of choice of more than 700 hospitalists and post-acute physicians. WHMC is its first partner in New York City. Out of the 200 doctors at Wyckoff, only a dozen work in primary care. Rodriguez and his team are trying to expand the primary-care network and making the rounds of doctors' offices in Brooklyn and Queens. Many physicians now want to meet them, he reports, whereas earlier there was a sense of uncertainty about whether to align with a dawdling Wyckoff. While Rodriguez points to various improvements Inhalers with GPS track use by made, he is looking to full patient. So far 30 kids have been engagement from the comgiven this device free by Wyckoff.

munity and doctors. In the already changed, more conducive atmosphere at Wyckoff, Rodriguez points out, My doctors look at me not as an administrator but as a colleague and partner. Physicians are welcoming other physicians being brought in. The community feels Wyckoff is a safe place. The staff respect each other, no matter from which community. But yes, Rodriquez accepts that leadership has a role to play. St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway closed this year not because it did not have good doctors, but because the leadership lacked the foresight to change as needed with changing times. On the bottom line, the CEO says he has managed to shave off $15 million from the annual operational cost of $300 million. Partly it was accomplished by letting go of 175 redundant staff and renegotiating salary contracts of many others. By better management of Case Mix Index (more surgeries and treating more serious illnesses), revenue went up by a million dollars, Rodriguez adds. One recommendation of the Berger Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century was to cut capacity in New York state hospitals considering low bed occupancy rates. So how is Wyckoff faring on that front? Yes, bed occupancy in Wyckoff too fell from 83% in 1983 to 65% in 2004. Rodriguez claims that it is

now up at a decent 90%. But a more important aim is to bring down the duration of patient stay, which we have already brought down from 5.8 days to 4.3 days, he states. Wyckoff is also on track to exceed all previous years in the number of emergency room visits (more than 85,000 annually) and clinic visits (more than 200,000). Rodriguez, backed by his board, is committed to keep Wyckoff on its own as a community medical

center. The merger plan was not something the boards ever agreed to, Rodriguez said. It was a decision made by external bodies without a thorough understanding of what was going on. The proposed merger with Interfaith and Brooklyn Medical Center was, in his words, Weak preying on the weak. Instead of mergers, Rodriguez proposes to form alliances and partnerships with other hospitals in the area. Continued on page 18

The South Asian connection

any of Wyckoffs leading physicians migrated from India and other places in the region. Says CEO Ramon Rodriguez, They not only brought with them their expertise as physicians, but also their culture, their philosophies and their families. Dr. Vijaypal Arya, Associate Director, Endoscopy Unit, has been at Wyckoff for over ten years and even did his internship and residency at Wyckoff itself where he was preceded by his elder brother, Dr Yashpal Arya in the gastrointestinal unit. Dr. Arya wants to forcefully convey to the South Asian community, It is a misperception that South Asians do not have to bother about colon cancer, which majorly afflicts American population. If you have lived in America for over a decade, you are at as much risk as others. Rodriguez points out that after the Latino population, Asians are the second fastest growing population in Wyckoffs catchment area of 3.8 million people. Trying to serve additional neighborhoods, Wyckoff is now paying a great deal of attention to the Richmond Hill area in Queens with a large Indian and Indo-Caribbean population. They send their physicians to the area and get referrals. Speaking about the high incidence of diabetes in the South Asian community, Indira Parmar, Vice President, Care Coordination at Wyckoff, informs that they go out in the community, visiting religious and senior centers and nursing homes and do required screenings.


October 12-18, 2013

sure will put the medical community in disarray. Wyckoff Heights is not completely out of the woods yet. A community hospital has no billion dollar endowments and is largely dependent on taxpayer money government payments from Medicare and Medicaid, the very programs getting cut under

Obamacare. So in 2013, Rodriguez fears a possible $4 million loss because of Medicaid/Medicare cuts, and calculates Wyckoff will be lucky to break even. David Rock, Wyckoffs new Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, suggests Wyckoff Heights appoint additional board
members who, like their counterparts at big Manhattan hospitals, are philanthropists. Rock, a former CEO and managing partner of Carl Marks Healthcare Partners, said the hospital "will never make enough money from our bottom line. We will need fundraising help." Rodriguez is also looking for a helping hand from Washington. Governor Andrew Cuomo has implored federal health officials to approve New York States Medicaid waiver: the request filed last August asks the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to give New York $10 billion of the $17 billion the state is saving the federal government through Medicaid reforms.

Continued from page 17 Will the closure of nearby hospitals like Interfaith Medical Center (about three miles from Wyckoff) benefit Wyckoff? Not at all, Rodriguez replies promptly, bemoaning the fact that Interfaith has been handling a large number of mentally ill patients, and its clo-

WHMC Committed to serving the community

An example of the super quality care at Wyckoff with a human face, a nurse feeding a child in pediatric ICU. The hospital sees over 2,000 deliveries a year. (right) Recent improvements at Wyckoff include addition of an on-site MRI unit for advanced radiologic procedures.

ocated in an ethnically diverse residential neighborhood directly on the border of northern Brooklyn and western Queens, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center (WHMC) is a not-for-profit, 350-bed teaching hospital. A dedicated staff of 1,800 physicians, nurses and support personnel care for patients of a score and more distinct languages and cultures. WHMC has been providing medical care to the community since 1889. Today, the community hospital sees 85,000 visits annually in their Pediatric/Adult Emergency Departments, over 200,000 visits in their Clinic Services and nearly 2,000 babies delivered every year. They also offer outpatient services to thousands at their network of community ambulatory care centers and presents extensive community health education and screening pro-

The hospitals Mission Statement

Wyckoff Heights Medical Center is committed to providing a single standard of the highest quality care to our community through prevention, education and treatment in a safe environment. The medical centers leaders envision that its mission and commitment to quality service will enable Wyckoff to become the premiere health care provider for the community it serves. grams. At a time of financial crunch for hospitals, Wyckoff continues to respond to the growing healthcare needs of the communities they
Indira Parmar, VP, Care Coordination (bottom, middle) at Wyckoff celebration of National Social Work Month in March 2013.

serve by acquiring new equipment and expanding clinical programs. Recent improvements include addition of an on-site MRI to ensure that community residents do not have to travel outside the neighborhood to access advanced radiologic procedures; establishment of a cardiac catheterization lab for definitive diagnostic tests that assess coronary circulation and overall heart function; installation of hyperbaric chambers to aid in the

healing of wounds encountered by diabetic patients and burn victims; and access to a discrete Women's Health Center that offers a comprehensive range of obstetrical and gynecological services in maximum privacy and comfort for female patients of all ages. To ensure the future healthcare needs of the communities, WHMC, in partnership with the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, has undertaken the responsibility of training new

generations of qualified physicians. Upon graduation, many of these physicians remain in the surrounding neighborhoods, setting up private practices in order to serve the communities from whom they have learned. Charitable donations for WHMC are appreciated. The taxdeductible gifts can be directed to the annual fund, giving the hospital greater flexibility in addressing its needs, or to support one of their many programs and services.

Can Albany fix Brooklyn hospitals crisis?

In response, New York t is a question that has been on the minds of State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah said the many New Yorkers for administration has tried months: Where is the Cuomo administration's leadership on hard to address the hospitals issue in Brooklyn, Brooklyn's healthcare crisis? including the second Berger Speaking at a recent meeting of the Public Health and panel. He noted that the state budgeted $25 million Health Planning Council (PHHPC), member Dr. for regional planning in its federal waiver request. Jodumutt Ganesh Bhat said Brooklyn hospitals in a four"What Brooklyn needs is transformation. The old mile radius duplicate services, In response to Dr Bhats question at a model is not working," said and suggested that their CEOs meeting of PHHPC, State Health should agree on which one Commissioner Dr Nirav Shah (right) Dr. Shah. "No one wants to will offer OB, psychiatric or agreed that the old model was not see the catastrophic collapse other services. of hospitals. Our goal is working in Brooklyn. to hang on until we can "There is not much leadership coming from Albany to go "Is there any way Albany can meet" the healthcare needs of a community. in that direction," Dr Bhat said. provide leadership?"


October 12-18, 2013


Win for Tamil Canadians as PM announces boycott of Commonwealth summit in Colombo

Tamil Canadians protesting in Ottawa against the Sri Lanakn regime, and (inset) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Toronto: In a major victory for the Tamil Canadian community which has been seeking tough action against Sri Lanka for ignoring pressure to investigate human rights violations of its Tamil minority, Canada has decided to boycott the upcoming Commonwealth summit in Colombo next month. In a statement in Bali, Indonesia, where he is attending the AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation gathering, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper announced to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next month to protest against Sri Lankan failure on accountability for human rights violations during and after the ethnic war that ended in May 2009. The Canadian prime minister said, When Sri Lanka was selected to host the 2013 CHOGM meeting, Canada was hopeful that the Sri Lankan government would seize the opportunity to improve human rights conditions and take steps towards reconciliation and accountability. But this has not been the case, Harper said. The Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealths core values, which are cherished by Canadians. As such, as the Prime Minister of Canada, I will not attend the 2013 CHOGM in Colomboa. This is a decision that I do not take lightly, the prime minister announced. Canada will now have just token presence at CHOGM, with Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, representing the country. Harper said, Canada is deeply

concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka. The absence of accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war is unacceptable. Referring to the impeachment of the Sri Lankan Chief Justice earlier this year, Harper said, We remain disturbed by ongoing reports of intimidation and incarceration of political leaders and journalists, harassment of minorities, reported disappearances, and allegations of extra-judicial killings. Justifying his decision, the prime minister said if the Commonwealth is to remain relevant it must stand in defense of the basic principles of freedom, democracy, and respect for human dignity, which are the very foundation upon which the Commonwealth was built. Despite his decision to go ahead with the boycott, the prime minister said, Canada will continue to monitor events in Sri Lanka and urge the government to implement fully the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, and undertake an independent investigation into alleged violations of the human rights of thousands of civilians at the end of the conflict. Canada will continue to work with our partners and through the United Nations to draw attention to the situation in Sri Lanka. I have also asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to review Canadas financial contributions to Commonwealth programs and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Dubai: Abu Dhabi-based businessman MA Yusuffali emerged as the most powerful Indian businessman in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries for the fourth time in a row in a '100 most powerful Indians' list announced by Arabian Business magazine. Yusuffali, who owns the Lulu Hypermarkets chain of stores, took the top slot ahead of food giant Feroz Allana. The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Standard Chartered Bank's Middle East chief operating officer V Shankar came third, ahead of healthcare boss and owner of UAE Exchange B.R. Shetty. Venture capitalist Ragu Kataria secured the fifth spot. Dubai-based lawyer Ashish Mehta ranked seventh. This years list also featured a

MA Yusuffali still most powerful Indian in Gulf

MA Yusuffali owns Lulu Hypermarkets chain of stores

record 11 female entries. UAE-based medical professional and entrepreneur Zulekha Daud secured 20th position in the list. Dubai-based Jumbo Group chairperson Vidya Chhabria ranked 39th. The contribution of the

Indian community to the growth of the GCC has been nothing short of spectacular, and everyone on this list has played and continues to play a major part in that story, Arabian Business Editor Ed Attwood said in a statement.

London: A British Sikh cofounder of a far-right group that protests Islamic extremism, who fled from jail ahead of a court hearing last week, will reportedly hand himself in to the police. The trial of Guramit Singh Kalirai, a 31-year-old English Defence League (EDL) activist, was going on at Nottingham Crown Court for taking part in an attempted armed robbery but he fled ahead of the court hearing. He was given a jail sentence for six and a half years in his absence last week, the International Business Times reported. Guramit, along with two accomplices - Andrew Wheelhouse, 31, and David Mura, 26 - was accused of tying up a shop assistant and threatening to slash his throat in a failed robbery bid in Nottingham.

British Sikh activist to Bahrain deports over 5,000 illegal surrender before police foreign workers
Fugitive Guramit proclaimed his innocence in a Facebook post after being found guilty of a violent robbery. In his message, the former EDL leader claimed he was stitched up by police and said he would turn himself in only when he has a new lawyer. Guramit is a senior member of the EDL and also led its Sikh faction. Members of the group wear T-shirts with the slogan, "Don't freak, I'm Sikh". The police are playing a very harsh game with me for whatever reason, I decided to not turn up at the trial knowing this was not going to be a fair outcome, Guramit was quoted as posting in the Facebook account. I have been in touch with the metropolitan police and have agreed to hand myself in, he added.

Manama: Bahrain has deported over 5,000 illegal foreign workers since the start of the current year as authorities have intensified inspection campaigns. As many as 2,391 illegal workers have been deported from July till September 2013, Xinhua reported citing an official from the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs last week. "The total number of expatriates who were deported in the nine months of 2013 reached 5,232 males and females," the official said in a statement. He added the department of exits, search and follow-up is working in tandem with different government bodies to intensify inspections in an effort to tackle the problem of illegal workers. According to Bahrain's Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), which maintains a database of all foreign workers, there are 52,000 expatriates living in Bahrain without proper paperwork. A 30-member squad is presently working with LMRA in cracking down on illegal foreign workers. There are around 290,000 expatriate Indians in Bahrain and many of them work as blue collar workers.


October 12-18, 2013


Male: The Maldives will hold a new presidential election on October 19, the election commission announced, after the Supreme Court annulled a September 7 poll citing voter fraud. International election observers, including delegations from the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the European Union and India, had declared the September 7 election free and fair. The tropical Indian Ocean resort archipelago will face a constitutional crisis if there is no president elected by November 11, according to a deadline set in 2008. Former President Mohamed Nasheed, ousted from power 20 months ago in disputed circumstances amid a mutiny by police, won the first round on September 7 with 45.45 percent of the vote, but fell short of the 50 percent needed for outright victory.The run-off, scheduled for September 28, had been expected to help end months of political turmoil triggered by the removal of Nasheed.

Maldives: New presidential poll on Oct 19

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa told visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid that the Sri Lankan parliament was the best forum to decide on implementation of the 13th Amendment on devolution of more powers to the Northern Provincial Council. Khurshid commended the Sri Lankan government for the successful conduct of elections in the Northern Province after decades under President Rajapaksa's stewardship. Khurshid, who met Rajapaksa at the President's House, said the elections held last month, in which the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) emerged victorious, was a very important step for society and one that will likely be viewed as a great historic moment. On the issue of the implementation of the 13th Amendment, Rajapaksa said that "parliament is

Parliament will decide on 13th Amendment: Rajapaksa

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid with his Sri Lankan counterpart Gamini Lakshman Peiris in Colombo

the best forum to address the issue". He said that members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) should engage in dialogue and come up with a solution that is in line with what the people want.

According to a statement issued by the President's House: "The discussion between President Rajapaksa and Mr. Khurshid focused on developing strategies for the two countries to coordinate more closely towards further strengthening relations."

Both also touched on the issues that have arisen between fishermen of the two countries. It was agreed that the best way forward would be to facilitate a dialogue between fishing communities of both countries so that the fishermen can find out solutions to their problems. A similar approach was proposed for the business communities of both sides so that they could enhance interaction. India's High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha accompanied Khurshid along with several other officers from the external affairs ministry and the high commission. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris and Sri Lanka's envoy in India Prasad Kariyawasam were also present. On the 13th Amendment, he said India looks "forward to an early resumption of the dialogue process, in order to address this issue in a timely manner".

Islamabad: Islamabad had raised the issue of foreign intervention in Balochistan province when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh met in New York recently, the foreign ministry said. According to Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, the evidence of Indian interference in Balochistan was shared with relevant parties in New York, Geo News reported. "We have also presented this evidence in the Senate," he added. The two leaders had participated in a bilateral meet Sep 29 on the sidelines of the UN general assembly's annual debate. While expressing the hope that the dialogue

'Nawaz raised Balochistan issue with Manmohan'

process with India would grow, Abbas said that Pakistan had as many concerns about terrorism as India."The issue of terrorism will not be resolved by hurling accusations." On Sep 30, the foreign secretary had termed Indian and Pakistani prime ministers' meet as "constructive and positive", as the two sides decided to work together to restore normalcy on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. Talking to the media here after the meeting held on the sidelines of the UN general assembly, Jilani said the director generals military operations of Pakistan and India would work together to restore normalcy at the LoC.

Mush not to be discharged in Bhutto case

Nawaz to raise drone issue with Obama

It will be Nawaz Sharif's first meeting with Barack Obama since assuming office in June

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will raise the issue of drone attacks with US President Barrack Obama in Washington later this month, the foreign ministry said. It will be Sharif's first meeting

with Obama since assuming office in June. The prime minister would continue to raise this issue with President Obama when they meet at White House Oct 23, reported Xinhua citing Pakistan's Foreign

Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. "The issue of American drone strikes was raised by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to the United Nations and also his General Assembly's speech and other forums. He will take up the matter with President Barrack Obama and will also keep on raising the issue at other forums," he said. US Secretary of State John Kerry extended invitation to Sharif in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month. The US says the drones target al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who are holding up in Pakistan's restive northwestern tribal regions and launch cross-border attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan. Islamabad argues that the drone strikes violate its sovereignty and international laws and spark antiAmerican sentiment.

Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad: In yet another setback for Pervez Musharraf, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court rejected a political party's petition to grant him immunity in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and fixed a date for a fresh trial. The Social Justice Party sought immunity for Musharraf under Constitutional provisions, contending that he could not be included in the investigation or declared an accused as he was President at the time of Bhutto's assassination. Judge Chaudhry Habib-urRehman of the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi dismissed the petition after hearing arguments by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar, Pakistan Peoples Party lawyer Latif Khosa and Social

Justice Party head Akhtar Shah. Opposing the petition, the FIA Prosecutor contended that Shah should produce evidence to prove the innocence of the former dictator. Khosa said Musharraf was a nominated accused in the highprofile case and the prosecution has all necessary evidence against him. Former premier Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber shortly after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007. Musharraf has been accused of failing to provide security to her. The court also dismissed Shah's request to become a party in the case, saying he was politically affiliated. The court ordered fresh trial in the case that will begin on October 22. It also summoned four prosecution witnesses.


October 12-18, 2013


US shutdown freezes Antarctic research

The US has three Antarctic bases studying topics ranging from climate change to penguin populations

Wellington: The government shutdown in Washington has forced US bases half a world away in Antarctica into "caretaker" mode and the suspension of research efforts, the National Science Foundation (NSF) said. In an unprecedented development that scientists described as "tragic", the US-based NSF said funds to provide logistical support for the US Antarctic Program (USAP) will dry up early next week and contractors have been ordered to scale back operations. The US has three Antarctic bases studying topics ranging from climate change to penguin populations. But all research in coming months -- the busiest period for scientists when conditions are at their least extreme -- will be abandoned, the NSF said. "Under caretaker status, the USAP will be staffed at a minimal level to ensure human safety and preserve government property, including the three primary research stations, ships

and associated research facilities," the NSF said in a statement. "All field and research activities not essential to human safety and preservation of property will be suspended." It is believed that non-essential personnel will be transported to the USAP's support base in Christchurch, New Zealand, while the funding freeze continues. Professor Peter Barrett, from Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre in Wellington, said the shutdown would disrupt fieldwork essential for gathering scientific data. "The loss of this season's programmes, some planned over many years, is unprecedented and tragic for both the Antarctic community and our understanding of the Antarctic region and its changing environment," he said. The NSF said it would do its best to resume research programs when funding was eventually restored but conceded this would not be possible in every case.

Ankara: Turkey lifted a decades-old ban on Islamic head scarves in the civil service as part of wide-ranging reforms driven by the Islamic-rooted government. The measure hailed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose wife wears a head scarf, as a "step toward normalization" came into effect after it was published in the Official Gazette. "We have now abolished an archaic provision which was against the spirit of the republic. It's a step toward normalization. Head scarf wearing women are full members of the republic, as well as those who do not wear it," Erdogan said. Female civil servants are now allowed to wear the veil while males can sport beards, both symbols of Muslim

Turkey lifts decades-old ban on head scarves

piety which were banned by Turkey's first president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. However, the ban remains in place for judges, prosecutors, police and military personnel.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Cairo: Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been released hours after Abdelaziz said Mr Zeidan he had being seized by militiamen, the govbeen freed, but added, "we have no details so far on the circumstances of ernment says. his release". A former rebel group loosely allied A government spokesman quoted to the government, the Revolutionaries Operations Room, by official Libyan news agency Lana had detained Mr Zeidan, saying they earlier said the prime minister was free and on his way to the office. were acting on the orders of the prosThe prime minister had been capecutor general. tured in a raid on the Corinthia Hotel The justice ministry had denied by more than 100 armed men.The this. The militia was one of several Revolutionaries Operations Room groups angered by a US commando raid on Libyan soil on Saturday said it was acting on the orders of Libyan Prime Minister the prosecutor general in accordance which seized senior al-Qaeda susAli Zeidan with Libya's criminal code.However, pect Anas al-Liby. Many saw US the raid as a breach of Libyan sover- state-run National Libyan TV quoted Justice Minister eignty amid growing pressure on the government to Salah al-Marghani as saying that the prosecutor generexplain if it was involved. al had issued no warrant for Mr Zeidan's arrest.

Libyan PM Ali Zeidan freed from captivity


October 12-18, 2013


New Delhi: During a week's visit to the US, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will attend the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and also utilize the opportunity to woo new investors. According to a finance ministry statement here, Chidambaram will attend annual plenary meetings of the IMF and the World Bank on October 11 and 12. Besides, Chidambaram will also participate in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) finance ministers and central bank governors meeting, G-24 ministerial meeting and G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting during his stay in Washington Oct 9-12. In G-20 finance ministers meeting, recent developments in global economy and financial sector vulnerabilities, IFA (International Financial Architecture) reforms, financing for investment and

Chidambaram visits US, to woo investors World's first curved screen

Seoul: Samsung Electronics launched the world's first smartphone with a curved display, a variant of the Galaxy Note which moves the Asian giant a step closer to achieving wearable devices with flexible - even unbreakable screens. Curved displays are on the frontline of Samsung's innovation war with rivals such as Apple and LG Electronics, as the South Korean firm seeks to expand its lead in the slowing market for high-end smartphones. "It's a step forward for having unbreakable gadgets and flexible devices eventually. But for now, the new phone is more of a symbolic product," said Hana Daetoo Securities analyst Nam Dae-jong, adding that Samsung did not yet have capacity for large-scale pro-

smartphone is here

The finance minister is also scheduled to attend the India-US Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue

strengthening of G-20 process are likely to be discussed among others, the finance ministry said. The finance minister is also scheduled to attend the India-US Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue before departing for San Francisco on Oct 13, during the sec-

ond leg of his visit. During his stay in San Francisco, the finance minister will interact with the investors and highlight India as a highly attractive destination for investment, it said. Chidambaram is scheduled to return to India on Oct 16.

Curved displays are on the frontline of Samsung's innovation war with rivals such as Apple and LG Electronics

duction of curved touch-screens for the new Galaxy Round. The phone initially would be available only in South Korea and no decision had been made about releasing it in other markets.

Mumbai: India's economic growth rate will shrink to 3.8% this year as the corruption-hit government struggles to restore investor confidence ahead of elections, the International Monetary Fund said. Stronger exports should help India's growth rate jump back to 5.0% in 2014,

Indian growth to shrink to 3.8%: IMF

the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook survey. But the IMF lowered its forecast for this fiscal year by almost two%age points to 3.8%, citing "lackluster activity in manufacturing and services" and higher interest rates that have deterred business

Wal-Mart, Bharti end their India joint venture

New Delhi: Ending speculations over future of their partnership, Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said they are going separate ways for operations in the Indian retail sector. Subsequently, the US retail major will buy out the Indian partner from their 50:50 wholesale cash and carry joint venture Bharti Walmart, for an undisclosed sum. In a joint statement, the companies said they have reached an agreement to independently own and operate separate business formats in India and discontinue their franchise agreement in the retail business. The agreement is subject to finalization of definitive agreements and receipt of the requisite regulatory approvals, it said. "Upon receipt of required clearances, Wal-Mart would acquire Bharti's stake in Bharti Walmart Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between Bharti and Wal-Mart, giving WalMart 100 per cent ownership of the Best Price Modern Wholesale cash and carry business," it said.

borrowing. The organization's latest forecast is down from the 5.6% growth for 2013 it predicted in July for Asia's third largest economy. The IMF also warned that inflation is expected to stay high at almost 11% this year and nine% in 2014, driven by continued high food prices.

Mumbai: Arundhati Bhattacharya, who took over as the new chairperson of the State Bank of India (SBI), is the first woman to be appointed to the top job at the country's largest lender. Bhattacharya,57, who has been managing director (MD) and chief financial officer since August 2013, will hold the office for a period of three years. Her elevation came after the glass ceiling was broken in 1996, when Tarjani Vakil took over as head of Exim Bank. Vakil's appointment was followed by Ranjana Kumar, who was appointed chairman and managing director of Indian Bank. In recent years, Indian banking has seen a few more woman heads. Shubhalakshmi Panse, Vijaylakshmi R. Iyer and Archana Bhargav are heading state-run Allahabad Bank, Bank of India and United Bank of India, respectively. In the private sector, Chanda Kochhar and

Arundhati, first woman to head India's largest bank

At present, there are 20 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores located at various places

Arundhati Bhattacharya

Shikha Sharma now head ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, respectively. At the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Shyamala Gopinath, K.J. Udeshi and Usha Thorat have all been deputy governors.

Commenting on the development Bharti Enterprises vice-chairman and MD Rajan Bharti Mittal said: "Bharti is committed to building a world-class retail venture and will continue to invest in Bharti Retail across all formats. We believe that with our current footprint of 212 stores, we have a strong platform to significantly grow the business and delight customers." As part of the proposed transactions, Bharti will acquire the $100 million worth Compulsory Convertible Debentures (CCDs) held by Wal-Mart in Cedar Support Services, a

company owned and controlled by Bharti. Bharti Retail will continue to operate 'easyday' retail stores across all formats and invest in and grow the business. The two partners had joined hands in 2007 and launched its first B2B Best Price Modern Wholesale cash-and-carry store in Amritsar in May 2009. At present, there are 20 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores located at various places, including Amritsar, Zirakpur, Jalandhar, Kota, Bhopal, Ludhiana, Raipur, Indore, Vijayawada, Agra, Meerut, Lucknow and Jammu.


October 12-18, 2013


Tendulkar to retire after his 200th Test match

New Delhi: India's cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar will bring down the curtains on his 24-year-old illustrious career with his 200th Test against the West Indies in November. The final match of the two-Test series against the West Indies starting Nov 14 will be Tendulkar's last. The match could be hosted in Tendulkar's home town Mumbai. The first Test is slated for Nov 6. Tendulkar, who retired from ODIs last December, said he has been living a dream for the last 24 years. "All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years. Its hard for me to imagine a life without playing cricket because its all I have ever done since I was 11 years old," Tendulkar said in a prepared statement. "Its been a huge honor to have represent-

Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid

ed my country and played all over the world. I look forward to playing my 200th Test Match on home soil, as I call it a day," he added. Tendulkar's last Twenty20 match was the Champions League T20 final where his team Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals to win the title.

New Delhi: Embattled shuttler Jwala Gutta moved the Delhi high court against the Badminton Association of India (BAI) after its disciplinary committee recommended a life ban on her for an alleged code of conduct breach in the Indian Badminton League. "We decided to go ahead with legal action in the case and accordingly filed a petition in the Delhi high court today," Jwala's father Kranti Gutta said. The BAI had ruled out considering Jwala for selection in any international event in the next one month, pending a decision by the three-member committee that was formed on Monday by president Akhilesh Das Gupta. It means the Commonwealth Games gold medallist won't be able to play in Denmark and French

Gutta moves court against BAI's life ban threat

Shuttler Jwala Gutta

Open. Jwala's coach Syed Mohammad Arif had advised the top shuttler to file a defamation suit against BAI for going to press without issuing her a ban notice. The sports minister Jitendra Singh also said on Wednesday that he can look into Jwala's dispute with the BAI if she approaches him.

The BAI's disciplinary committee had recommended a life ban on Jwala for trying to stop some players of her franchise Delhi Smashers from playing a match against Banga Beats in the recent Indian Badminton League. BAI demanded an "unconditional apology" from the feisty shuttler to reconsider her case. With the BAI mounting pressure, Jwala had a series of meetings with her IBL franchise Krrish Delhi Smashers and lawyers to chalk out the next course of action. The controversy had erupted during the August 25 tie when Delhi Smashers threatened to pull out against Banga Beats over the lastminute replacement of injured singles player, Hu Yun of Hong Kong with Denmark's Jan Jorgensen.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court appointed a three-member committee to investigate the allegations of spot-fixing and betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL), but lifted restraints it put on Narayanaswami Srinivasan from assuming charge as the elected chief of the Indian cricket board. The apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice J.S. Kehar said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its president Srinivasan would completely keep off the probe panel, headed by former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, but will extend all the facilities required by the investigators. The other two members of the probe panel, which has been asked to submit its report in four months, are senior counsel and Additional Solicitor General L. Nageshwar Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta, also an official of Assam Cricket Association (ACA). The court order appointing the probe committee came after the petitioner Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) and the respondent BCCI conveyed their consent to the court's earlier suggestion to appoint an independent panel to probe the allegations

SC lets Srinivasan work as BCCI chief

Srinivasan was elected president unopposed for a third year at the BCCI Annual General Meeting in Chennai

of spot-fixing and betting during the IPL. The Supreme Court earlier in an order restrained Srinivasan from taking charge of the apex cricketing body. Srinivasan was elected president unopposed for a third year at the BCCI Annual General Meeting in Chennai, Sep 29.

New Delhi: An all-round performance from the Mumbai Indians saw them comprehensively beat the Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs in the final of the Champions League Twenty20 title at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Chasing Mumbai Indians' score of 202/6 in 20 overs, the Royals were well on course before three wickets in the 17th over bowled by Harbhajan Singh spelled doom for the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) champions. A batting collapse saw the Royals being bowled out from 155/3 to 169 all out with seven balls to spare. Chasing the highest CLT20 total at the Kotla,

Mumbai Indians lift second CLT20 title

Mumbai Indians bagged Champions League Twenty20

Royals skipper Rahul Dravid, playing in his last T20 match, did not open. Instead Kusal Perera (8) came out and was run out in the first over. Then, Ajinkya

Rahane (65) and 18-year-old Sanju Samson struck a crucial 109-run second-wicket partnership which almost took the game away from the reigning IPL champions.


October 12-18, 2013


City Council candidate Joe Concannons fight to save Stop, Question and Frisk
By Robert Golomb t has sickened but not surprised me, Joseph Concannon, the Reform Party candidate for Eastern Queens NYC Councils 23rd District against one term Democrat incumbent Mark Weprin, told me in a recent interview. Concannon, a 25 year veteran of the NYPD who retired as a Captain, was reacting to a recent NYPD crime statistics report showing a major increase in gun related felonies that came in the aftermath of the New York City Councils passing the Community Safety Act (CSA). CSA, to which Concannon was referring, was passed with a great amount of media attention by the City Council this past June, despite Mayor Bloombergs pledge (which he was to fulfill in August) that he would later veto it. Unknown, however, to many people, Concannon noted, CSA is not a single bill, but actually contains two separate parts. Both parts, according to Concannon, will prove disastrous to the citizens of NYC. The first part (Intro 1079), which Weprin along with 39 other city council members voted in favor of, mandates that a civilian inspector general, presumably without a law enforcement background, be appointed to oversee, regulate and establish policies for the NYPD. The second (Intro 1980), which Weprin also supported and which passed by a 34-17 margin, allows (its critics say encourages) people who claim that they have been profiled during Stop, Question and Frisk based on race, ethnicity, religion and national origin (all of the latter, critics of CSA note, is already banned by the NYPD) or have been the alleged victims of a host of a new expanded list of forms of bias to sue the involved police officers. According to provisions of the law, such officers, many police union officials have angrily noted, are not even protected by their civil service status and can potentially be held personally liable for their actions. Concannon, the 57-year-old married father of two college age daughters and a son currently serving in the US Marines, said he was sickened by both parts of CSA because he believes the law, takes the handcuffs off the criminals and puts them on the wrists of police officers, making an already difficult job a hundred times more difficult, and is thus responsible, he believes, for the spike in crime which has even put children in the crossfire. Noting an incident earlier that week in which a Department of Education bus transporting ten elementary children to their East

Though contesting as a Reform Party candidate for the 23rd District (in Eastern Queens), the former NYPD Captain has the full support of the Republican Party as he takes on the Democrat incumbent Mark Weprin.
Harlem homes after school was pierced on its roof by bullets fired from a gun by a still unknown shooter, Concannon remarked, Thank God no child was injured. These are the type of outrages that occurred regularly throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Until just recently I believed that those terrible occurrences were a thing of the past. Concannon, whose 25-year career in the NYPD spanned the Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani Administrations and the beginning part of Bloombergs, explained why he is fearful that those crime filled days of 60s, 70s and 80s are beginning to return to NYC because of CSA: Over my 25-year NYPD career, I remember the days of crime, chaos and fear. I remember the graffiti was reduced significantly further after it {Stop, Question and Frisk} was expanded in NYC directly following the United States Supreme Courts decision to grant police departments throughout the nation broader discretion on when to use it. Unfortunately for the people of New York that decision was not taken into account by Mr Weprin and the City Council members who supported CSA. Which, I fear, will bring in the era of a new wave of crime to plague our law abiding citizens once again. It was, in fact, Weprins support of CSA, and the controversial history surrounding that support, which explains why Concannon belatedly entered the race in the first place and also explains why this Reform Party candidate, a life long of the election. But then, as has since been widely reported, when Weprin changed his position and voted for CSA, he angered police union officials, including the heads of the unions that represent NYCs Police Officers, Detectives, Sergeants, Lieutenants, Captains and Fire Marshals - all of whom collectively approached Concannon in July asking him to enter the race against Weprin. However, unfortunately for Concannon and his supporters, the timing of that request was not on their side: while NYC law requires a major party candidate to submit petition signatures to get on the ballot by July, Concannon did not officially enter the race until August, thus making him ineligible to get on tion, while the petition signature filing deadlines kept me off the Republican Ballot, I have the full support and backing of the entire Queens and NYC Republican Party. And my supporters, including many moderate Democrats and Independents, became even further outraged and energized two months ago when Weprin voted against the Mayors attempt to stop CSA. Concannon was referring to Weprins City Council vote late this past August to override Bloombergs veto of CSA. That 34 to 15 (with two abstentions) veto override on both bills - taken in conjunction with liberal Federal Judge Shira Scheindlins ruling one week earlier finding Stop, Question and Frisk unconstitutional - was seen as a major blow to the programs survival. Yet, what now appears to prove likely to be the final fatal blow to this proactive police strategy comes every day in the form of the polls of the Mayoral race. Every one of these many polls shows Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio - who promises if elected to uphold the Councils decision and also pledges to discontinue the current Mayors attempts to appeal Judge Scheindlins decision to a higher federal court - with an approximately 40% lead over his Republican opponent Joe Lhota, who no less than Concannon in his race for City Council, has made the retention of it the central issue of his campaign. Yet despite Lhotas problems with the polls and his own uphill battle to unseat Weprin, Concannon has no second thoughts about entering the race. As the electorate begins to see whats at stake here, I believe Joes numbers will begin to rise, and he will have a chance to win, he predicted. And I chose to run because I could not sit idly by and watch thousands of our innocent citizens be murdered in the name of political correctness. As I see the overwhelming number of positive responses I receive when I explain this to voters throughout the 23rd district and with the tremendous support Im receiving from the Police Organizations, the Reform Party and the Republican Party, I realize that my decision to enter the race was the right one. Robert Golomb (MrBob347@aol. com) is a nationally published columnist. He writes on a range of educational, cultural and political topics.

Joseph Concannon with a group of Indian American supporters.

plagued walls, vagrants sleeping in the street, squeegee men assaulting vehicles at traffic lights. I remember holding in my arms the victims of violent crime. I remember taking more than a dozen kids to the hospital who died in the emergency room or on the way. And I always thought what could be done to prevent all of this human suffering. And then, continued Concannon, came Rudy Giuliani {in 1993} bringing in a new era of policing where our officers were directed to take proactive measures to stop crime. The bulwark of this proactive policing, which allowed our courageous and dedicated police officers to transform NYC from one of the most dangerous to the safest large city in America, was Stop, Question and Frisk. And notice that under Mayor Bloomberg crime

Republican who had unsuccessfully run on the Republican line for the Assembly last year, is not on the Republican line this year. According to several Queens political insiders I contacted in preparation for this interview, the GOP Queens leadership had decided not to field a candidate in the Democrat leaning 23rd District. They had based that decision, I was informed, on two factors: raising funds from Republican donors for any potential candidate in a district seen as fairly safely Democratic would prove difficult; Weprin had for the months leading up to the June vote promised Police Union officials and several prominent Republican leaders that he would vote against CSA, which for the cops and GOP leaders and rank in file was the single most crucial issue

the Republican ballot and leaving him to run solely on the Reform Party Line. The former Police Captain explained to me why he had decided to enter a race which, he acknowledged, would have been a steep uphill battle even had he also had the Republican Line to run on: After Mark Weprin broke the promise that he had made to Mike Palladino {the President of the Detectives Endowment Association} that he would vote against CSA, leaders of more than a dozen city police unions approached me and asked me to run {against Weprin}. I shared their fear that CSA would lead us back to the days of the 2200 plus murders of the Dinkins years. So I agreed to run when they pledged that their unions would actively support me. In addi-


October 12-18, 2013


Mysore: Thousands of people from across the state and country are flocking to this city of palaces to witness the 10-day Dasara festival celebrations that began last Saturday with traditional gaiety and pomp. "The state machinery has been working for a month to celebrate the event in grandeur and recreate the splendor the fest has been associated over centuries," Dasara celebrations' committee in-charge V. Ranganath said here. As the state's cultural capital, 140 km from Bangalore, Mysore has a glorious history with pre-historic sites, monuments, forts, temples, mosques and churches depicting the archaeological, architectural and heritage value of the southern region. Though the 10-day fest, symbolizing triumph of good over evil, was celebrated by the royals since the Vijayanagara empire in the 16th century and subsequently by the Wodeyar rulers over the last five centuries, the state government has been organizing it since

Thousands watch Mysore Dasara fest

The 10-day festival in Mysore, Karnataka, culminates in the caparisoned elephants procession from the royal palace to Bannimantap grounds across the city on Oct 14.

1973 in association with the dynasty's scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar as the state festival (Nada Habba). "The state government is spending Rs.10 crore to conduct the event on a grand scale, which will culminate in the famous "Jamboo Savari" (caparisoned elephants) procession from the royal palace to Bannimantap grounds across the city Oct 14, marking Vijayadashmi (victorious) day. A torchlight parade will be held in

the grounds same night as a fitting finale to the fest. "We are expecting over a million people, including about 10,000 foreign tourists to throng the city over the next seven days to witness the religious and cultural programs, music concerts, film fest, exhibition, flower show, wrestling, adventure sports, food mela (fair) and other of events, including a private durbar by the scion and a visit to illuminated royal palaces," Ranganath said.

Kolkata: Durga Puja, behind attacks on women. Bengal's largest socio-reliSo we are portraying the illgious carnival, has traneffects of drinking," says scended beyond fervor, food Somnath Mukhejee, the and fashion. The festival has brain behind the idea. become an outlet for hunIn the backdrop of a spate dreds of puja organizers to of sexual assault on women, add a meaningful dimension the puja at the Salt Lake FD to the festivity via themes to Block depicts the historical spread social awareness. prevalence of atrocities on Using their ingenuity and women, which is eventually creativity, organizers of both eliminated by goddess big and small community Durga. Durga pujas have added on Maa Durga of Salt Lake Puja in "Seemingly, India is on to the age-old 'good over Kolkata has taken upon herself the way to becoming a rape to stand against rape. evil' message that goes with capital of the world. Our the story of the goddess. puja theme focuses on In sync with times - dominated by rising destroying the rapists, in the same manner as incidents of crimes against women - canopies Maa Durga kills Mahishasura and brings an have come up with innovative themes that end to evil," said P. Sengupta, an organizer. leave an imprint on visitors. The Chakraberia Sarbojanin Durgotsab is celFrom celebrating women empowerment to ebrating "Naari Shakti" or woman power and educating the young generation about the sig- is giving a single message: Every woman has nificance of environment conservation, the power and inner strength but she requires there's something for everyone. empowerment to fight against evil. With their pandal a replica of a giant liquor Indian toon phenomenon Chota Bheem and bottle, the Arjunpur Amra Sabai Club in the his entire gang would descend at the city's northern fringes wants to convey the ill Dakshindari Youth Forum canopy in North effects of drinking liquor.Portraying intoxica- Kolkata, teaching children the significance of tion as responsible for rise in crime especially environment conservation. against women, paintings depicting rapes, The canopy walls are adorned with pictorial molestation and other atrocities have been series using the characters of the popular carmade on hundreds of empty wine bottles. toon show. "The young generation must be "Leaving behind the intoxicating beauty of made aware of the threats of global warming, nature, youths today are more allured towards and who better than Chota Bheem to do so?" drinking. Liquor is perhaps the biggest reason said an organizer.

Say 'yes' to social awareness this Durga Puja

By Azera Parveen Rahman New Delhi: It's that time of the year again when the festive season is round the corner and the excitement is palpable in the air. For environmentalists and the environmentconscious, however, along with the excitement comes concern, because, as they say, our festivities are increasingly becoming non-eco friendly - and much in contrast to what the festivals signify. The effect on water bodies, for instance, is one of the biggest concerns. Traditionally, after a festival concludes, idols are immersed in a water body. But given the modern day changes - in the kind of material used to make the idols, the scale and number of festivities - environmentalists say that water bodies are seriously affected. "Earlier idols were made of recyclable material like wood, bamboo, hay and clay and vegetable dyes were used to paint them; now it's mostly synthetic. Use of plastic and chemical colors to paint leads to chromium and other heavy metals being released into the water during immersion. This means toxicity is deliberately introduced into the food chain because there is no effective treatment to take these chemicals out of the water," Anumita Roychowdhury, executive

director (Research and Advocacy) and head of the air pollution team of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said. "Back in the late 1990s, the Central Pollution Control Board had done a study on the Hooghly river after the Durga Puja celebrations and found 30 tonnes of colour, mercury, lead, chromium and other metals in the water," Choudhury stated as an example. "In Kolkata itself, the number of Puja pandals over a decade has doubled. With enormous mobilization of resources and corporate funding, the scale and number of celebrations has gone up in other cities as well, increasing the amount of disposable waste. In cities like Bhopal, lakes are becoming vulnerable; it's a similar scenario in Delhi's Yamuna river," she added. In Hyderabad, where the Ganesh festival was recently celebrated with much fervor, environmentalists and those at the municipal corporation were concerned about the effect of the growing scale of celebrations on the city's water bodies, especially on one of its landmarks, the Hussain Sagar lake. R.P. Khajuria, member (Environment) of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), said that as a result of the increasing pollution levels in the Hussain Sagar lake -

Are festivals becoming a bane for the environment?

The immersion of a large number of huge idols in lakes, rivers and oceans pollutes the water.

caused by industrial effluents and dumping of garbage by the people they had tried to make the Ganesh festival more eco-friendly by encouraging tweaks to some traditional practices. "For example, we asked the people to reduce the size of the Ganesh idol and immerse these smaller idols at the household level, maybe in a tub or bucket of water, and then use the water for gardening," Khajuria said, adding that they also promoted clay idols which got a good response. "But at the end of the day, when it comes to the religious sentiments of people, we cannot use force. So we had extra deployment of people to take out the disposed material from

the lakes after the immersion," he said. Even then, it hardly helped the water body whose murkiness and stench hangs in the air. The effects are not restricted to water bodies. Amita Khurana, a doctor in Delhi, pointed to rising air and noise pollution during festivals. "During Diwali and Dussehra, many people suffer from breathing problems and stinging of the eyes because of the thick smog that hangs in the air, thanks to fire crackers. Those with asthma, the old, and children are the worst affected...and the effect remains for days. Even animals suffer because of that," Khurana pointed out. Choudhry also made the point about "festival induced traffic and,

therefore, vehicular pollution". "We are moving away from community celebrations. Earlier, Puja committees used to organize bus tours of other pandals. So when 60 people could go in one vehicle, today as many vehicles are being used for the same purpose," she added. But all hope is not lost. Sections of conscious individuals are doing their bit to make festivals more ecofriendly. The Durga Puja committee of Delhi's Greater Kailash II, for instance, draws inspiration from the religious texts in making the idol. "The religious scriptures narrate exactly how the idol should be made, which is, obviously very eco-friendly and we have been following that to the last detail for the last seven-eight years," committee vice president Samrat Banerjee said. The idol, 85 percent of which is made of hay and the rest of clay, is clothed in fabric that is made 70 percent of banana stalk and the rest of jute, making it biodegradable. The colors used are also natural.. "Reverence to nature is an integral part of our ancient scriptures and thus our festivals. Modernity in all its forms has however taken away its essence. We need to be more conscious and probably revisit our roots for inspiration," Ravi Reddy, a teacher Hyderabad, said.


October 12-18, 2013


Prakash Jha has announced a film on spiritual guru Asaram Bapu

'Chal Guru Ho Ja Shuru' on Asaram Bapu

fter Prakash Jha, another filmmaker has announced a film on spiritual guru Asaram Bapu, who was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. The film is titled Chal Guru Ho Ja Shuru and actor Hemant Pandey, known for playing Pandeyji in popular TV show Office Office, will play the main lead in it. When asked about it, Hemant confirmed that he is playing the lead role in the film and added that it focuses on fraudulent spiritual gurus. The film will expose all those who have turned religion into a business and the public is becoming their victim, he said. Directed by Manoj Sharma, the film will be made under Himalaya Dreams banner and it will also star Chandrachur Singh, Sanjay Mishra and Manoj Pahwa. This will be Sharma's second film on Asaram after the 2010 movie Swaha, which got into controversy and saw the light of the day after a prolonged legal battle.

mid masala films like "Boss", "Krrish 3" and "Ramleela" lined up for release this festive season, debutante director Faraz Haider's medium budget "War Chhod Na Yaar", touted to be the country's first war comedy, promises to bring a refreshing change for the viewers. Produced by AOPL Entertainment, it has reportedly been made at a budget of Rs.12Rs.13 crore and the makers are not looking at a wide release. It features Sharman Joshi, Jaaved Jaaferi, Soha Ali Khan, Sanjay Mishra, Mukul Dev and Dalip Tahil. Scheduled right after Abhinav Kashyap's "Besharam" and before Anthony D'Souza's Akshay Kumar starrer "Boss", the film is expected to survive on its own merit at the box office. "With so many big films coming, small films have to really

'War Chhod Na Yaar' a refreshing change A

'War Chhod Na Yaar' is touted to be the country's first war comedy

struggle for a release date. They either come in between two big releases or with a big release. But if 'War Chhod Na Yaar' has merit, then it will definitely work with the audience," trade analyst Komal Nahta said. The film marks the debut of a new genre of war comedies in Bollywood. It will present a com-

ical take on the otherwise volatile India-Pakistan relationship. Director Faraz Haider is convinced that people will be able to relate to the film. "I am trying a genre which the audience has not yet been introduced to. But I feel everyone will connect to my point of view," Haider said.

Anil Kapoor strikes gold with '24'

in "24" on the portable screen. It's a dream role, and one into which Anil sinks his teeth with restrained relish. "24" is so full of anxious characters chasing the opposite of dreams that we watch them not only to gauge their commitment to doing what they are assigned to, but to see where their unrelenting passion for out-witting fate takes them. "24" certainly is that. And a lot more. What is likeable is the Indianizations that have been teased into the tightlywound plot simmering with the summer of desi discontent.

Ranbir Kapoor-starrer 'Besharam' hasn't done well

nil Kapoor's "24" is a much needed break from the dreadfully boring days of Saas-Bahu conicts shown on the small screen as it brings a world of classy production values and mature performances unknown to Indian television. The first two episodes, which were aired this weekend, were instant showstoppers. Like the show's agile energetic anti-terror hero, there is not an ounce of flab in the hour-long playing time of "24". "24" simply grabs your attention and refuses to let it go. First things first. The production values seen on the show are of a calibre unknown to Indian television. Metropolitan night-life was never meant to be like this. Mumbai is caught in a feverish flourish of night-time bustle turning it into a city of pulsating activity as the serial kick-started with some of the crispest fiction writing. While retaining the looming suspense and the breakneck narrative speed of the original American series, the writers have created space for the very peculiar cultural compulsions of urban India where the householder must balance the demands of his posh job with family obligations. Milap Jhaveri's dialogues capture the wry cynicism and the split-second immediacy of anti-terrorists working against the clock. But Jhaveri doesn't

slavishly copy the original dialogues from the American series. None of the "Kya tum sach mein ho?" (literal translation of "Are you for real?") incongruities. On wonders is this the same guy who scripted the smut spree in "Grand Masti"? Anil too suprises. His range of performing abilities swing irreconcilably from the nudge-nudge-wink-wink innuendos of "Race 2" on the 70mm screen to the mature panther-like agility of a family man coping with a national crisis

'Besharam' slips at the box office

t started on a positive note, but Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Besharam is slipping at the box office. Trade experts say that the movie had a good opening, but couldn't retain the footfalls on the subsequent days. The film hit 3,600 screens in India and 700 screens overseas. Critics were not too impressed with the movie and wrote that "with 'Besharam', Ranbir sinks to a low". Trade analyst Taran Adarsh termed the Abhinav Singh Kashyap-directed film's box office collection as an epic disappointment. Besharam (earned) Wednesday Rs.21.56 crore, Thursday Rs.7.13 crore, Friday Rs.5.68 crore, Saturday Rs.5.94 crore. Total is Rs.40.31 crore net. Epic disappointment!, Adarsh posted on Twitter. Besharam, which also stars Ranbirs star parents Neetu and Rishi Kapoor along with newcomer Pallavi Sharda, was made at a budget of Rs.60 crore in addition to the cost of promotions, marketing and advertising. First day was good, but second day onwards the performance of the film has drastically dropped. Even on weekend, I dont see any improvement, Puneet Sahay of Spice Cinemas told IANS. The movie has been co-produced by Himanshu Mehra, Sanjeev Gupta and Reliance Entertainment.

Anil Kapoor in a scene from '24'


October 12-18, 2013


'Bigg Boss' should have more food: Anita Advani Super

nstead of feeding controversies, "Bigg Boss 7" house should provide adequate food for the inmates, feels Anita Advani, whose stint on the reality show has ended. After getting evicted Saturday, Advani is not sure whether she will want to go back in, if given a chance. "The 'Bigg boss' house must have more food for its contestants rather than politics," Advani said. "Let's see if I will go back to the house or not, if given a chance," she added. However, she feels that the house was much better than what Advani, who claims to be Rajesh Khanna's live-in partner, had imagined it to be. "People in the house were more friendly than what I had imagined. My stay there was very nice and I enjoyed it... I did share a few things about my life with him (Rajesh Khanna) on the show," she said. She feels that contestants good at mind-games will win the show.

woman role in 'Krrish 3' very special: Kangna

Anita Advani at Bigg Boss 7

"I feel that the one who has the ability to brainwash maximum number of people will win the show. There is a lot of groupism there," she said. Advani, who was initially placed in the heaven section of the house, was seen to be the closest to actress Tanisha Mukherjee. "I was closest to

Tanisha. We have decided to keep in touch even after the show," she said. Now the remaining contestants are VJ Andy, Gauhar Khan, Kushal Tandon, Apoorva Agnihotri and his wife Shilpa, Tanisha, Armaan Kohli, Asif Azim, Sangram Singh, Elli Avram, Ratan Rajput, Kamya Punjabi and Pratyusha Banerjee.

Actress Kangana Ranaut in 'Krrish 3'

A scene from Escape Plan

Jiah Khan may have been murdered: mother

Stallone, Schwarzenegger relish egg bhurji?

ctor Sylvester Stallone reportedly advised his "Escape Plan" co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger to try `bhurji' (scrambled egg) and buttermilk to stay healthy. A fact that he learned from Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar. Stallone and Akshay had worked together in 2009 movie "Kambakkht Ishq". It was then that the former was introduced to the 'bhurji' and its benefits, said a statement from PVR Pictures. Akshay enlightened Stallone about benefits of chaach or buttermilk as its low on fat and easier to digest. On the sets of "Escape Plan", Stallone advised Schwarzenegger to try the combo for himself to see the difference and advised him to make it a part of his routine, said a source from PVR Pictures, distributor of the film in India.

t's been four months since the death of actress Jiah Khan. While the rumors surrounding her suicide have finally begun to simmer down reports suggest that her mother has moved the High Court petitioning for a CBI probe into her daughter's death. Jiah's mother Rabia has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court alleging her daughter could have been "murdered". Rabia has further sought a CBI inquiry into the case. In her petition, Rabia states that she has strong reasons to believe that the investigation has been hushed up at the behest of the police who had pre-decided to carry out the probe in such a manner that the truth did not come out. Jiah Khan was found hanging from part from this, the ceiling at her Juhu residence Rabia also claims that there were ceiling at her Juhu residence on injury marks on Jiah's body and June 3, late night. Aspiring actor no attempt was made by the Sooraj Pancholi has been alleged police to ascertain their cause. for abetting actress Jiah Khan's Jiah Khan of 'Nishabd' fame suicide. Pancholi is out on bail was found hanging from the after a 20-day ordeal in prison.

appy to experiment with different roles - from a supergirl to a prostitute to a gangster -in her forthcoming films, Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut waxed eloquent about her role in "Krrish 3" where she plays "the country's only superwoman". The curly haired beauty has a stellar line up of films like "Ungli", "Queen", "Rajjo" and "Revolver Rani". In "Queen" she plays a very sensitive and vulnerable woman whereas in "Revolver Rani" she will be seen as a dacoitcum-gangster. In Vishwas Patil's "Rajjo", the actress is set to wow audiences with her portrayal of a nautch girl.

"Each one (film) is so special that I can't single out a special film. But I think 'Krrish 3' is very special. I am probably the only superwoman in our country and that stays very special," she said. "I have a variety of roles that I have been doing. 'Queen' is being appreciated a lot and 'Rajjo' as well. I have a variety of releases and I am looking forward to how people receive them," she said. "Krrish 3" is slated for release Nov 4. Hrithik Roshan plays a superhero in this third edition of the franchise which began with "Koi Mil Gaya" in 2003 followed by "Krrish" in 2006.

Grand Masti is touted as first 'Adults' film to attain this status

irector Indra Kumar's adult comedy has hit the bull's eye at the domestic box office - it has crossed Rs.100 crore mark and a trade analyst says it has become "the first adult film to attain the status". "And it's a century... Grand Masti crosses Rs.100 crore net mark in India. First 'Adults' film to attain this status," tweeted trade analyst Taran Adarsh. Aftab Shivadasani, who plays one of the male leads in the movie, took to the microblogging site to share his excitement about the film's

'Grand Masti' crosses Rs.100 crore mark

growing numbers at the ticket window. Aftab, seen as Prem in Grand Masti, tweeted: "And history is made - the first adult film to make Rs.100 crores! Feeling elated to be a part of history! Thank you all." Also starring Riteish Deshmukh and Vivek Oberoi as the male leads, the sequel to 2004 hit movie Masti, came out Sep 13 as it was panned by the critics for being too vulgar. Co-produced by Ashok Thakeria and Indra Kumar, the film has been presented by Bharat Shah and distributed by Eros International Worldwide.


October 12-18, 2013


Funny Bone by Nury Vittachi

ngry farmers trying to stop elephants eating their crops found the answer literally under their noses: their vindaloo lunches. They got the idea of planting rows of super-spicy chili pepper plants between farmland and jungle in Karnataka. Elephants are like pre-1980s British people: they are deeply affronted if their food tastes of anything. Tuskers are likely to chew their way to the farm borders and then stop to comment: "The food's a touch too piquant on this side, chaps. Let's go the other way." Off they'll stomp, muttering about "foreign muck." I shared this news from the Indian Express with a Malaysian reader who said residents of the Klang Valley in her country safeguarded their borders using geese with goslings. Like humans, geese that have recently become parents become snappy and irritable, presumably because of lack of sleep and the continuous need for midnight feedings, poop-cleaning and singing of the Barney songs.

I'm safeguarding my home by making it invisible

It strikes me that another big advantage of using guard geese is that you avoid the embarrassment of having your guard dog stolen, which is what happened to a household in the Philippines earlier this year, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Professional thieves sold the goods stolen from a house in Quezon City but decided to keep the dog that they renamed Lucky. But recently, several months after the robbery, suspicious cops took the victims into the presence of Lucky the dog - and the mutt leapt up, overjoyed to see them. Lucky is now a key item of evidence against the thieves. I strongly suspect the villains no longer think of the dog as Lucky but use a variety of other words to express their feelings about it. One house in India protected its boundaries with more than chili plants, geese or dogs. A reader sent me a photo of a sign on a gate saying: "Beware of Ferocious Dogs and Ghosts." Good to keep the riffraff out, but what if a famous super-skeptic like Richard

The Infinity Tower in South Korea will be the world's first 'invisible' building.

Dawkins strolled by? He could just waltz in and take your stuff. If you really want to protect your property, do what architects are planning to do in South Korea: they are making their building invisible. Not a joke. The Infinity Tower is a skyscraper with sky-high video glass walls. The plan is to broadcast a live, moving image of the sky and clouds directly behind the building on each wall: hey presto, the skyscraper will vanish into the background. I love this idea, and wonder if instead of limiting it to buildings, we can do it to all large, ugly eyesores, including

modern art installations, statues, politicians and pretty much any really annoying thing or person. Richard Dawkins would be my choice. But of course the real joy of Infinity Tower, which is right next door to Incheon Airport, is the fun and games it will provide for air traffic controllers. You could make the skyscraper invisible until the pilot has set his course for the runway, and then suddenly turn it fully visible, with a flashing neon light saying "Surprise, Surprise". I'm sure the pilots, as they take evasive action, will totally see the funny side.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

by Mahendra Shah
Mahendra Shah is an architect by education, entrepreneur by profession, artist and humorist, cartoonist and writer by hobby. He has been recording the plight of the immigrant Indians for the past many years in his cartoons. Hailing from Gujarat, he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


October 12-18, 2013


By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma

Stars Foretell: October 12-18, 2013
ARIES: You are likely to establish yourself a good manager on managing people and situation without any problem. You will be at the limelight in a social gathering provided you attend. Monetary position is likely to improve on recovering of delayed payments. You are likely to enjoy a pleasure trip that will rejuvenate your passions. Meditation and selfrealization prove beneficial. Take a trip, as there is some place waiting for you. Time to plan a gift for your parents may be their dream home. You receive an invaluable guidance from a spiritual leader. TAURUS: You will be successful in realising your targets at professional front. You will be the star of attraction of familys get-together in this week. Investment in antiques & jewellery brings monetary gains and improvement in financial position. Romantic entanglement would add spice to your happiness. You will have ample time to do things to improve your health. Great time for perfect family vacation to an exciting destination. Its high time to think of purchasing a new office. You find many takers for your unique & innovative ideas. GEMINI: With your high confidence you will be able to cross all hurdles at professional front. Help from family members would take care of your needs. Long pending arrears and dues will finally be recovered. Chances of your love life turning into lifelong bond are high on the card. Sound physical health will enable to participate in outdoor activities. Travel opportunities full of challenges are often the beginning of great enterprises. It might be the right time to sale your empty plot as property rates are at peak. You would be full of good ideas especially in later half of the week. CANCER: Timely help of associates will not only pass difficult times at work but also help in regaining professional edge. You will enjoy the time spent with family members and friends. Investment concerning residence will be profitable. Exciting week as your long pending wait for affirmation is going to materialize. You will be successful in getting rid from tensions. You will discover travel destinations that are unique and magical. Your plan for a new house will be in process very soon. Legal battle proves fruitful as you succeed in your efforts. LEO: A promising week to start a new venture in partnership. All are likely to be benefited. Your generous behaviour would enable to enjoy some lovely moments with family. Financial hassles seem to get over as someone lends a timely helping hand. Enjoying the company of partner in a lively restaurant would bring immense romantic pleasure. A sparkling laughter filled week when most things proceed, as you desire. A trip that is unconventional and adventurous will be favourable enjoy every minute of it. Your loan procedures for pursuing a plot will be in process. Favourable planetary position will give you plenty of reasons to cheer. VIRGO: Your technical expertise gives a decisive edge over competitors at work. Friends and family members would lend a helping hand. Promising week to invest surplus money in real estate. The presence of love would make you feel life meaningful. Your enormous confidence would help in enjoying a healthy life. Travelling for a conference doesnt mean that you forget travel etiquettes. Investment in hotel industry can be the right choice to be made. Timely help to someone will be rewarded/acknowledged. LIBRA: Hard work of the past brings rich dividends. However continue enhancing your skills/adopt techniques for further development. Avoid arguments, confrontation and needless worries at family front. A sound financial health would enable to invest on lucrative schemes. Love life brings some memorable moments that you could cherish rest of your life. A very healthy week filled with happiness & vitality. Travelling alone sounds extrovert but your family might question your character. Investment on construction business might give fruitful results. Forced travelling brings pleasure more than expectations. SCORPIO:Dedication & loyalty at work would bring desired results. An unexpected message from a distant relative brings happy news for the entire family. Your brilliant ideas would help in bringing financial gains. Your flashing smile would work as the best antidote for romantic partners unhappiness. Pleasure trip would help in maintaining sound health in this week. Dreaming of travelling is good, but if possible than plan a trip. Investing on a ship or a cruise is an exciting venture to be made. You are likely to be contacted by an old friend reminding some sweet memories. SAGITTARIUS: New ventures start on a positive note. Relatives are likely to give some valuable advice regarding personal life. A promising week to earn profits in real estate and financial transactions. Sharing candyfloss and toffees with lover/beloved would bring unlimited joy. Yoga and meditation would help in keeping in shape and mentally agile. Take some time to travel with your spouse for romance and seduction. The best ideas for investment are to on invest on real estate business. You find many of your unrealisable dreams coming true in this week. CAPRICORN: You succeed in completing projects efficiently provided you put in all your efforts. You receive care and affection from family members. An improvement in monetary position makes it convenient to purchase essential items. Company of love partner would inspire to take initiatives in this week. Blessings of a saintly person give peace of mind. You can make your vacation extra special by planning it with your family and friends. Are you longing to buy a farmhouse, try for it? If possible, avoid compromising with principles and values of life at any cost. AQUARIUS: Hard work put-in the past will yield handsome rewards in business in this week. Matrimonial alliance for eligible bachelor in family brings joy to all. Dig deep beneath the surface to find out more about the investment scheme that seems to be attracting you. However consult experts before making any commitment. Love works like a panacea as you find sanity. Chances of recovering from physical ailment are high. Spiritual vacation is a quest for life, plan it and enjoy it with your family. If you want to invest on property, then go for residential one. You are likely to enjoy sheer pleasure & fun if you venture to take a ride in this week. PISCES: Business partners behave supportive on executing strategies to sort out pending problems. A new outlook will be the source of laughter at family front in this week. Long-term investment would enable to make substantial gains. Love partner touches soul that would take imagination to unlimited heights. Inexhaustible energy enables to participate in outdoor activities. Vacation full of beauty and history as well as exciting is waiting for you. Selling your home privately can be an excellent way of saving on costs. An improved look adds to your personality.

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Annual Predictions: For those born in this week

12th October, 2013 Ruled planet:Jupiter Ruled by no:3 Traits in you: The influence of the planet Jupiter makes you realistic, dignified, idealistic, and committed towards your work. Being highly social, you are pretty much interested in making new friends and roam different naturally attractive places. Health this year: You may have to celebrate religious functions very frequently at your place to find peace of mind. Finance this year: If you are into business, this year is supposed to bring you lots of success personally and financially. You will be able to grow in financial status with the help of your previous investments and paternal properties. You may land up in critical problems if you share your business secrets with your friends, colleagues and partners. You should not borrow or lend money to anyone to avoid future discrepancies. Career this year: You have inborn leadership skills. So you do not like to follow anyone and you want to always stay ahead of others in every field. You should work on your mood swings and stubbornness not to lose any opportunity to grow in your profession. Romance this year: You may get influenced by a person of opposite gender and it may bring drastic changes in your life. Lucky month: December, February, June and August 13th October, 2013 Ruled planet:Uranus Ruled by no: 4 Traits in you: As you are influenced by Uranus, you are born dynamic, elegant, confident, studious and reliable. You are efficient and determined enough to execute every task you are assigned. This makes you distinguished from the others. You are always assigned an important and crucial position to handle as you are able to take responsibility and take care of it. However, you should not show your jealousy over few things to add value to your personality. Health this year: Work pressure may show its bad effect on your health and weaken you. To avoid health issues, take your food on time and practice physical exercise to stay fit and healthy. You may visit various pilgrimages to attain peace of mind. Finance this year: You have to invest intellectually by completely studying the market conditions else you may face huge loses. If you are in import/export business of garments, you may expect drastic increase in your profit. If you are a builder, you will be in huge profit later this year. Career this year: This year you will be flooded with opportunities to perform and grow in your professional career. If you are planning to move abroad for business purpose, you will get good news as per your expectations. You may plan for foreign trips for professional requirements Romance this year: You will be very happy with your relationship with your spouse or partner as you will get timely support and advice. Lucky month: December, April, May and August 14th October, 2013 Ruled planet:Mercury Ruled by no:5 Traits in you: Your ruling planet blesses you to be intelligent, rational, dynamic and highly daring. Your foresightedness is exceptional though you fail to convert your plans because of your lack in interest, casual behavior and frequent mood swings. Health this year: As your parents will remain sick, you may take stress for their health. Finance this year: You should not get into new business or any kind of new partnership as it may prove to be very disappointing this year. You should go through the contracts vividly before signing it as huge money will be involved with it. You should not get into financial commitments before thinking its positives and negatives. Later this year, you may be able to earn some financial and personal benefits. Career this year: You will grow as a profession by acquiring knowledge over new technologies. Your skillsets will enable you to work efficiently, which in return will give you apromotion or salary hike. Romance this year: You may get involved in a new romantic relationship through your friends. If you are married, you will be enjoying a very good relationship with your spouse throughout the year. Lucky month: January, March and September 15th October, 2013 Ruled planet:Venus Ruled by no:6 Traits in you: Venus, being your ruling planet makes you lively, elegant, attractive, helpful, diplomatic and realistic. You have a charismatic personality and your confidence makes you popular in your friend circle. However, you should work on your nature of being outspoken and restless. Health this year: If you have some chronic disorders, you need to get your medical checkup done on a regular basis. You may try meditation and yoga for better results. Finance this year: Your financial status will be improved this year followed by your new business plans. You will be successful in multiplying your investments, which would result in exceptional profits this time around. Career this year: You will be able to implement all your learnings and education in your profession and this will bring you lots of appreciation, respect and even a promotion. Romance this year: Towards the end of the year you may get married. If you are not planning to marry this year, you may continue with your romantic relationship. Lucky month: October, December, February and June 16th October, 2013 Ruled planet:Neptune Ruled by no:7 Traits in you: ruled by Neptune, you are the master of all the positive characteristics. You are reliable, loving, caring, creative, and very much emotional. Whatever may be the situation, you always smile and that makes your nature an attractive one. You can easily make friends. Despite being very intelligent, you do not have control on your arrogance and stubbornness. To become an improved individual, you need to work on your negative characteristics. Health this year: You will enjoy a sound health this year. However, sickness of a family member will be the reason of concern for you. Finance this year: You need to work hard this year to get maximum benefits from your previous investments. You will get enough support from your family members if you suffer losses and they will also help you take crucial financial decisions. If you want financial growth, you should visit overseas for the same. You will get chances to meet popular and influential individuals during your foreign trips. Career this year: You will be successfully completing you previous pending projects and works and this will bring you satisfaction and mental peace. Romance this year: You will be deeply involved in the romantic relationship you are currently in. You may decide to get married this year. Lucky month: November, March, May and July 17th October, 2013 Ruled planet:Saturn Ruled by no:8 Traits in you: Your governing planet Saturn helps you become elegant, realistic, truthful, disciplined, and creative. By nature you are helpful and committed to your friends so you will enjoy respect in your friend circle. However, you have to work on your nature of being jealous and rigid. Health this year: Some young family member may fall sick and you may feel stresses and concerned for the same. Finance this year: This year, you will be able to find various profitable investment opportunities. However, you need to be selective in investing your money. Do a vivid research on market conditions and risk factors before going for any investment. You should not disclose your plans to the people you do not trust as it may cause problems in future. You will be able to expand your business by partnering with other profitable associates. Career this year: You will be highly rewarded this year if you are a journalist, doctor and marketing professional Romance this year: If you are eligible for marriage, it may happen this year. Lucky month: December, Feb., April and September 18th October, 2013 Ruled planet: Mars Ruled by no: 9 Traits in you: Mars being your ruling planet blesses you with intelligence, courage, energy, enthusiasm, and so on. Your have strong decision making capabilities and your decisions always stand correct. You have strong analytical skills and you are very much diplomatic to handle any kind of problems in your personal and professional life. You should control your temper to improve as a person. Health this year: You should avoid alcohol and smoking to remain healthy and physically fit. Finance this year: You will be hugely benefited from your past investments as it will earn you unexpected money. Your legal matters may settle down and you will be benefited from it. You may receive gifts from your friends and relatives to hold your confidence high. You will start your business with a high note. Career this year: You need to concentrate on your career this year by putting your maximum efforts. You may get satisfactory results for your efforts. Romance this year: You will enjoy a happy personal life during this year with love and support from your spouse or partner. Lucky month: October, February, May and August


October 12-18, 2013


Chapter excerpt from the book: Empowering Your Soul through Meditation

The empowered soul

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
ithin us are riches greater than any we can ever accumulate on earth. We have inside us a source of knowledge from which all other knowledge flows. A love far greater and fulfilling than any we can know in the outer world is waiting to embrace us with open arms within. At our core is a strength and power that can enable us to overcome any fear. Underlying our separateness as individuals is a connectedness and oneness to all life. Awaiting us inside is a bliss and joy so fulfilling that we need no other outer intoxicants to make us happy. All these gifts lie within us in the empowered soul. The soul is a source of tremendous wisdom, love, and power, yet we remain ignorant of its treasures when we allow it to be overpowered by the mind, the senses, and the physical body. When the mind and body assert power over the soul, the soul forgets itself. But the empowered soul is our true nature, and it is time we reclaim the soul so that its gifts can enrich our life. There are two ways through which to view ourselves with regard to the soul. The first is to view ourselves primarily as a body and mind. When we see ourselves in this manner, we say that we are a mind and body that have a soul. The second is to see ourselves primarily as a soul. When we change perspective and identify with the soul, we say that we are a soul who has or wears a mind and body. To assess how we look at ourselves is one of our goals. If we think we are a mind and body, then ours is a journey to find the soul. If we realize that we are the soul, which has been given a mind and body to maneuver through the physical world, then our goal is to further empower the soul. By empowering the soul we recover its natural control over the mind and senses. The aim of Empowering Your Soul through Meditation is to help reacquaint us with the qualities of the soul and provide direction for its empowerment. The souls power has been forgotten. The mind, the senses, the body, and the pulls of the physical world have placed the soul in a state of forgetfulness from which we must awaken. When we empower our soul, its wisdom, immortality, love, fearlessness, connectedness, and bliss add a new dimension to our life. Many people live and die without ever realizing the full power and potential of their soul. At some time in their life, they may begin to wonder about the soul, about God, and about the purpose of their existence. This search for meaning and purposethe spiritual questis one that people pursue in individual ways. Some seek answers in scripture while others search in places of worship. Some go beyond their own religion to find the answers offered in other faiths. Whichever method one adopts, the direction one follows to find the answers to lifes questions is known as the spiritual path. It is the spiritual path that leads us to the realization of our inner self, to the soul. Many people pass through life never realizing who they are and never certain about the purpose of their existence. In times of trouble or in the face of death, they may raise these questions but may not follow them through to a fulfilling conclusion or else may abandon the process when the bad times pass. But those who have a burning desire to find the answers to the mysteries of life can find them. Fortunately, there are people in the world who have found spiritual fulfillment and can guide us. If we look through history we find that in every generation there have been people who have realized themselves as soul and have realized God. Some of their wisdom and experiences have been recorded in history and, in some cases, a religion has been created from their teachings. Other realized

souls have come and gone but have left behind no records because they did not found a religion or leave behind any scriptures. Some of them we know of through references by other people who wrote about them. One thing is clear: these realized souls have the ability to teach us how to realize ourselves. If we find such a being, we can learn how we, too, can discover our soul and its attributes. True knowledge comes from seeing and experiencing on our own. We may read what others write or listen to what others say, but we cannot be fully satisfied until we experience it for our-

selves. This book touches on the two aspects of spiritual knowledge that can help us realize our soul: the theoretical knowledge, and the personal or practical knowledge. The theoretical side consists of what other realized people have said about the soul (such as what are some of the qualitieswisdom, immortality, fearlessness, love, connectedness, and bliss). The personal or practical side consists of a technique that I learned from a fully realized being. I wish to share this technique to help others realize their soul on their own. (To be continued...)

Our life is an open book to God

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

any people pass through life unaware that God is always with us. If we think about our interactions with others during the day, we may find that we behave differently when we think someone is observing us. We may act better when we think our employer, superiors, or others whom we are trying to impress are watching. What if we knew that God was watching? Would we then act according to higher ethical virtues? It is human nature to be on our best behavior when others are watching. When we are at work or with our neighbors and friends, do we find that we act in ways in which everyone will think we are good people? If we have any bad qualities, do we try to hide them from others? If people realized that what we hide from others is an open book to God, we might be more conscious

of trying to exhibit good qualities all the time. People wonder, "Where is God?" Masters and saints teach us that God is within us. Wherever we are and whatever we do, God sees us. God is the power that enlivens us. This power is what gives us life. Our body, made of earthly elements of matter, is not our true self. The power that moves the body is the power of God. The portion of that power allocated to inhabit our body is our soul. Our soul is a drop of the infinite power of God. It is a part of God. As our soul is a part of God, whenever we do anything, that information is known to God. We can think of it as a computer network. The master computer is linked up with all the individual computers in a network. The operator of the master computer can know what is going on with the individual computers simultaneously. Individual operators may or may not be aware that the operator of the master computer can know all about

what they are doing on their computers. If they knew someone had access to their emails or text messages, they would be more careful. Those who are not aware of this may end up writing things they would not want anyone to know about. In the same way, God is the master operator of the network of creation and our souls are the individual computers. Everything we think, say, and do is known to God. If we realized God is watching us at all times, we would act in a positive way. If we realized God was watching, our lives would change dramatically. If we were aware that God hears our thoughts and words, and watches our deeds, think how quickly our behavior would improve. We would be super careful to avoid failures in the ethical virtues of nonviolence, truthfulness, purity, and humility. If we were to remove our failures and were to spend time in meditation and doing selfless service, our spiritual progress would accelerate.

'Tap into source of eternal happiness within'

n his most recent Sunday talks, His Holiness Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj spoke of the perpetual state of happiness and bliss we all seek. He said if we are to achieve permanent happiness, it is essential that we tap into the Source of eternal happiness within. This can happen only when we learn to experience Gods love within us and all around us. If we can comprehend this truth, we will realize the presence of the Lord in our lives and know that the hand of the Lord is always guiding us. Just as an author is aware and in control of all the minute details of a book they have written, so too is God aware of all of Gods creation. As we learn to commune with God, through the technique of meditation, we will learn to see God all around us, in every soul, in every blade of grass. If we can but firmly anchor ourselves in God, we will find the sta-

bility we need to weather all storms of life and remain in a state of bliss and happiness, for all times to come. Explaining how the physical world, which we take to be real, is several reflections away from true reality, he said we must strive to transcend its myriad distractions if we are to experience the reality of our existence. Just as the waves and the froth of the ocean are no different from the ocean, when we realize that we too, as souls, are no different from God, the Oversoul, it helps us begin to recognize God in everyone. We see the world as a play of God, where we each have a role. This higher angle of vision helps us detach from the attractions and illusions that bring pain and suffering in the physical world, so we may take steps steadily toward our lifes supreme goal of becoming one with God.

October 12-18, 2013

October 12-18, 2013

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