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The South Asian Times

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Follow us on Vol.6 No. 50 April 12-18, 2014 60 Cents New York Edition

120 million vote in critical 3rd phase of Indian election
New Delhi: Some 120 million people Thursday voted in 14 states and union territories in a critical third phase of general election to pick 91 of the 543 MPs, including seven from New Delhi. In what could be called a carnival of democracy, men and women cutting across social and economic strata poured into 140,850 polling centers from the time they opened at 7 in the morning for the 11-hour balloting. The entire exercise, involving tens of thousands of staff and security personnel, was "overall very peaceful", Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said. The overall voting percentage was almost 63. There was a record voter turnout of 73.4 percent in Kerala, where balloting took place for all its 20 parliamentary constituencies. In most states, voting percentage went up from the 2009 level. Thursday's polling was important

Economy key issue in India pre-election: Gallup poll
Washington: With a record 35 percent Indians saying the national economy was getting worse, India's sputtering economy will undoubtedly be a major issue in the country's month-long election that started last week, according to a US poll. Suggesting that "Indians' economic optimism all but evaporated in 2013", leading US pollster Gallup said, "Indians' growing pessimism about their economy is likely an ominous sign for the long-governing Congress party". "The economy is a major issue for many Indians, and the slowing GDP growth rates have led many analysts to conclude that the dominant Congress party is doomed, probably in favor of the opposition BJP," it said. An unnamed senior BJP leader was quoted as saying that the party will "have to re-establish confidence of both Indian and international investors in the Indian economy". "But no matter who controls the lower house of India's parliament in May, they will need to restore the confidence of the millions of Indians who believe their economy is headed in the wrong direction," Gallup said. The politically important southern region of India shows more economic vitality compared with other parts of the country, with 38 percent of Indians living there saying the national economy is getting better, the pollster said. Just 9 percent of Indians in the North believe their national economy is improving, while a firm majority (65 percent) say things are getting worse -- the highest percentage in any region.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi shows his forefigner after casting his vote in New Delhi on April 10.

Arvind Kejriwal also voted in a ballot center in new Delhi and said his AAP party will win all 7 Lok Sabha seats from Delhi.

because the 91 seats were almost a sixth of the total Lok Sabha seats. This round is also crucial because it includes three states where the BJP failed to win a single seat in 2009: Kerala, Delhi and Haryana. For the same reason, the Congress, which won some 50

more seats in 2009 over 2004, has to retain its Lok Sabha seat tally if it has to stand up to the aggressive BJP. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi and AAP Continued on page 4


arked by rallies and intense activity, elections in India are boisterous, even unruly. But this past few weeks of campaigning has unfortunately witnessed name calling by some leaders, and comments abusive to women and the nation. India should not elect such lowlifes. On reckless speech, the Election Commission is supposed to take action, but as Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said the EC is a toothless body and does not go beyond admonishments.

Hi-jinks and low-lifes
Addressing a rally in Ghaziabad on Monday afternoon, the Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan while asking 'Hindus brothers' to embrace Muslims, said, “Love us because the peaks of Kargil were not conquered by Hindus, but by Muslim soldiers raising the battle cry of Allah-hu-Akbar.” The Election Commission has sought details of the Samajwadi Party leader’s speech about the Kargil war that India won. Former Army Chief Gen V.K. Singh said the Kargil war was "won by Indians". BJP's PM candidate acknowledged his marriage to Jashodaben for the first time while filing his nomination papers in Vadodara constituency. In the state assembly polls, he had left blank the column about spouse. Jashodaben, a 62-year-old retired teacher, and Modi were married very young and had also separated because he became an RSS pracharak. Modi's elder brother Somabhai said the marriage should be seen as a "social formality" which happened nearly 50 years ago. AAP chief and former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was again slapped in Delhi while campaigning on April 10. He took to Twitter asking why he was being targeted again and again. He got answers promptly with people blaming him and the 49-day AAP government. The culprit was an autorickshaw driver who first garlanded him and later slapped him. He alleged Kejriwal did not fulfill promises he made and collected money from auto drivers. Samjawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday opposed the new anti-rape law. "Boys do make such mistakes but that does not mean that they should be sent to the gallows," he said while referring to the Shakti Mills rape case in Mumbai. Slamming Mulayam's statement, Kiran Bedi said, "This statement is not just against women, it is against the society. He should be punished with no votes."

Bollywood 16

Travel 18

Books 24

Spiritual Awareness 30

excellence in journalism

April 12-18, 2014


April 12-18, 2014


Gov. Cuomo launches Immigrant Entrepreneurship Training Series
Albany, NY: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday launched the Immigrant Entrepreneurship Training Series to help immigrants across New York State start and grow businesses. More than 100 immigrant entrepreneurship seminars will be held throughout New York State in the coming year, with the first series beginning this month. “This training program will help immigrants throughout the State open and lead thriving businesses that in turn create jobs,” Governor Cuomo said. “Immigrants have long been the backbone of New York’s economic success, and today we stand proud to lend a hand to those working to improve their communities and build a better life for their families.” The Immigrant Entrepreneurship Training Series is run jointly by the New York State Office for New Americans, Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York State Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). These unique "on-ramping" courses will provide budding and current immigrant entrepreneurs an overview of starting, running and growing a business. Participants will be assessed as to their level of business knowledge at the end of the seminar. Based on their knowledge, experience and standing in the business start-up and growth process, participants are offered follow-up one-on-one business coaching sessions or a more intensive multi-week course. At the end of either track, individuals will have completed a business plan or portfolio and gain access to various federal, state and private small business loan programs.Seminar dates will be posted on the New York State Office for New Americans website.

6 Indian Americans named winners of Ellis Island Medals
New York: Six Indian Americans are among the more than 100 individuals who will be honored May 10 as recipients of this year’s Ellis Island Medals of Honor. The six are: Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Narpat Bhandari; impresario and FIA leader in NY-NJ Yash Paul Soi; Dr. Ketki Sharadkumar Shah, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY; Samir Desai, founder and CEO of Aditi in the greater Boston area; Dr. Arun Pramanik, professor of pediatrics at LSU Health in Shreveport, LA; Abdul M. Suleman, president and CEO of San Francisco-based Equinox Hospitality. Ellis Island medals are awarded every year by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations to new Americans who “embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity.” NECO recognizes “individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion,

Narpat Bhandari

Yash Paul Soi

Dr. Ketki Shah

unique talents and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America.” Bhandari, who grew up in a small village in Rajasthan, is a co-founder of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), that has spread from Silicon Valley to worldwide. As a scientist at Signetics Corp. (now Philips Corp.), he designed the first I2L microprocessor. The angel investor and entrepreneur went on to originate more than 30 patents and papers in the fields of semiconduc-

tors, software and HD TV. He and his wife, Chandra, founded the Bhandari Foundation in 1994, which supports a chaired professorship on Indian civilization at the University of California at Santa Cruz and programs in India. The two awardees from the Tristate area are Yash Paul Soi and Dr. Ketki Shah. Soi is the cofounder of the FIA – NY-NJ-CT and vice-chair of its board of trustees. An M.S. in management and industrial engineering from Columbia University, he previously worked for 30 years for NYC’s

Environmental Protection Department. He helped stage the “Folk Dances of India” concert at Lincoln Center in 1973 and many other concerts featuring top performers from India. Dr Shah is currently the clinical director of an outpatient program in NYC that oversees 3,000 patients and 40 professionals. She is an active member of AAPI. Her practice also does extensive work in India, providing medical care and education for underprivileged people, and also provides disaster relief.

Nikki Haley to lead 10-day trade mission to India
Washington: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will lead a 10-day trade mission to India Nov. 12-22, commerce department officials in South Carolina said April 7. The Indian American governor will visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Punjab, the state where her parents were born. The mission will include five staff members from the commerce department and the governor’s office, South Carolina commerce secretary Bobby Hitt told the Charlotte Observer. The estimated price tag is about $50,000, Hitt added. The trip is scheduled a week after elections in South Carolina. Haley is seeking a second four-year term. The commerce department previously sent officials to India, including officials currently visiting there, Hitt said. “CEOs want to meet CEOs, and Gov. Haley is our CEO," Hitt said, adding that Haley’s Indian heritage should help in make connections with business leaders there. Haley’s only other visit to India was when she was two years old, her office said. “There will be a great deal of interest in the media there,” Hitt said. “This will be a special trip for her.” He said he doesn’t know if Haley’s children and parents would join her on the trip. Her husband, Michael, has joined the governor on other overseas visits, the Observer said. Hitt sees opportunities in India for South Carolina’s growing automotive and aerospace industries.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

3 honored at Vaisakhi celebration
The World Punjabi Organization (WPO-North America) celebrated Vaisakhi on April 4 at Akbar restaurant in Garden City, NY. Chief Guest Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano presented citations at the event to Dr Surinder Malhotra, President of WPO, eminent cardiologist Dr Samin Sharma and G.L. Soni, House of Spices owner. Pictured are (from left): Harbachan Singh, Dr Sukhvinder Ranu, Hon. Mangano, Dr Malhotra, Kamlesh Mehta, Zahid Syed, Mahendra Verma and Darshan Bagga.


April 12-18, 2014


Campaign for immigration reform aimed at women
By our Staff Reporter Washington DC: A month of 24hour fasts in far flung parts of the country culminated in a 48-hour fast by over 100 women at the National Mall in Washington, DC aimed to force lawmakers who continue to stall on actions that immigrants, particularly women, need desperately. Seattle-based ‘We Belong Together’, which also co-sponsored the campaign, united the women hungry for common sense immigration reform. The ‘Act. Fast campaign: Women's Fast for Families’ saw more than 1,500 women fasting through 70 events in 35 states as as well as Mexico City. The organization believes that a new commonsense immigration process must include a broad and clear roadmap to citizenship that recognizes the contributions of women’s work and women workers, keeps families together, recognizes women’s work in future employment categories. "Much of our work is about putting a face on the issue," said Pramila Jayapal, chairperson of We Belong Together in an interview

Teen charged after Health Secretary quits over stabbing 22 in bumpy Obamacare rollout Pennsylvania high school Washington: Health and Human
Pittsburgh, PA: A 16-year-old boy was charged Wednesday after he allegedly stabbed 21 students and an adult -- leaving four seriously injured -- at the Franklin Regional Senior High School near Pittsburgh. The suspect has been identified as Alex Hribal, a sophomore at the same school. He was being charged with four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possessing a prohibited weapon on school property, according to a criminal complaint released by Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck. Police said Assistant Principal Sam King tackled the boy and disarmed him, and a Murrysville police officer who is regularly assigned to the school handcuffed him. Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning from the Obama administration after the glitches ridden launch of the Affordable Care Act exchanges last Health and fall. Despite calls Human for her ouster from Services Republicans at the Secretary time, she stayed on Kathleen until the enrollment Sebelius period ended at the end of March. The administration has since touted the surge in enrollment in the last few weeks, with Sebelius saying Thursday that 7.5 million American have now signed up for coverage under the law. But the technical difficulties surrounding the launch, as well as ongoing concerns about the implementation of the law, hung over her. The President and his top advisers said they were frustrated by what they considered to be a lack of information from HHS over the extent of the website troubles. Republicans quickly made clear that Sebelius' departure will not temper their criticism of Obamacare. White House budget director Sylvia Burwell has been tapped to replace Sebelius. The Senate would have to confirm Burwell to the position.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California (middle) and Pramila Jayapal, chair of We Belong Together (right) at a group fast for immigration reform and a halt of deportations. with We News. "We're talking about women and children that are disproportionately burdened by a broken immigration system." Jayapal added, "Because most women cannot get employment visas, 70 percent of all women here legally have come through the family immigration system. As immigrants in a foreign land, they are isolated and fully dependent on their spouse and more vulnerable to domestic violence.” South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) executive director Suman Raghunathan participated in the campaign on March 21. Raghunathan told SATimes, “SAALT believes that inclusive and common sense immigration reform is critical for all women and their families.’

Rotary Club of Hicksville South held a business meeting & bowling night on April 9 at a bowling alley in Melville, NY. In the bowling competition, the winners were 1st place: Michael Connolly (left), 2nd place: Ammad Sheikh (middle) and 3rd place: Jeffrey Goldstein.

The suspect Alex Hribal, seen after his arraignment, has been described as a quiet boy.

120 million vote in critical 3rd phase of Indian election Continued from page 1 leader Arvind Kejriwal voted in polling centers in New Delhi. Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari voted in Nagpur. BJP leader Harsh Vardhan was confident that the BJP would crush the Congress thanks to the "Modi wave". Kejriwal voiced confidence the AAP would win all seven seats in Delhi, the party's original hub which he ruled for 49 days until Feb 14. Six more rounds of polling for the remaining Lok Sabha seats will take place. The millions of votes polled will be counted across the country May 16.

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April 12-18, 2014


First Lady expected to address AAPI’s 32nd annual convention
Over 2,000 delegates to attend the meet from June 25-29 in San Antonio
Chicago, IL: Over 2,000 talented and dedicated physicians and families of Indian origin are expected to gather and deliberate on ways to enhance their own professional growth and identify ways to network and stay united and offer a unified voice to protect their rights as well as explore possibilities to give back to the society at the 32nd AAPI Annual Convention to be held from June 25th through June 29th 2014 at the Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Among the dignitaries who are expected to attend and address the delegates include Michelle Obama, the First Lady of USA, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, prominent US Congress men, Dr, Vivek Murthy, nominee, US Surgeon General and Narendra Modi- the main opposition candidate in the upcoming Indian elections, who will address the delegates via satellite. Describing other highlights of the convention, Dr. Jayesh Shah, President of AAPI said, “Nina Davuluri, the first ever Indian American to be crowned Miss USA will speak at AAPI Women's Forum Session, while the live demonstration by world famous Chef Sanjay Thumma will quench your hunger thirst with tasty and healthy food. Aimed at continuing with the theme of “Be Fit and Be Cool,” the convention will have a unique Health walk from the Sunset Station.” In addition, the convention will have an AAPI Bone Marrow Drive, latest MSRF/YPS exclusive programs, outstanding Plenary sessions and lively Bollywood entertainment by stars all the way from India, he added.

Sikh-Americans to honor savior of Oak Creek shooting
Washington: US police officer Brian Murphy, who was struck with 12 bullets during the Aug 5, 2012 shooting at the Sikh gurudwara in Wisconsin, will be honored by Sikhs in Washington on Vaisakhi Day (April 13). Murphy, the first Oak Creek (Milwaukee) police officer on the scene of shooting that left six worshippers dead and three others wounded, will be presented with a Sewa (service) Award by Washington-based community organization Guru Gobind Singh Foundation. The white supremacist gunman, Wade Michael Page, killed himself after he was wounded by a rifle shot from Murphy. Murphy, 52, has recovered from his wounds but has no feeling in his right forearm and leg and has limited use of his left thumb because of the injuries he suffered. Murphy is travelling with his family from Wisconsin to attend the honoring ceremony at a Gurdwara in Rockville, Maryland, a Washington suburb, on Vaisakhi Day, an important day for all Sikhs, the foundation announced. The foundation gives the Sewa award annually to someone to recognize their spirit of sewa (service) and contributions towards the Sikh community. Inder Paul Singh Gadh, the foundation chairman said the Sikhs are highly grateful to Murphy "for his sacrifice and exemplary service and providing protection to all citizens of Oak Creek." "His actions were able to deter much bigger massacre of Sikhs who were still

Officer Brian Murphy

12 year prison for last of five accused in Sinha murder case
New Jersey: A New Jersey court has sentenced last of five men charged with the 2010 fatal beating of an Indian-American computer scientist Divyendu Sinha to more than 12 years in prison. Steven Contreras, now 20, will have to serve at least six years and eight months before he becomes eligible for parole under the sentence imposed Thursday by Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz in New Brunswick, reported."This is a tragedy, a tragedy for the Sinha family and the families of the defendants," Ferencz was quoted as saying to Contreras, who drove his four friends around the night of the attack and took them home after the assault on the Sinha family. "It is also criminal. You were the only sober one that night. You were in control. You made the decisions." Before he was sentenced, Contreras apologized to Alka Sinha, the victim's widow who was seated in the first row of the courtroom, the judge, the prosecutors

trapped inside the gurdwara," he said. Murphy "reflects the Sikh concept of Chardhi Kala, which is to remain in high and positive spirit even in the face of challenges and tragedies in life," said Rajwant Singh, foundation secretary and chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education. "I try to teach my law enforcement students about Chardi Kala and the faith and divinity of the Sikh faith," wrote Murphy in his acceptance letter to the foundation. Praising the Sikh community's interaction with him since the tragedy, he wrote: "On Aug 5th, I met people who were at their worst moment in life. And I was able to at least help them as best I could. I don't know if it made a tremendous difference to everyone there, but it made a tremendous difference to me because I got involved with a community that has been nothing short of amazing."

Steven Contreras

and his family, for his actions. Alka Sinha declined to comment after the sentencing, said. Contreras was acquitted of murder and aggravated manslaughter in 2012 but the jury could not decide on reckless manslaughter and convicted him on several third and fourth degree assault, riot and hindering charges.He entered his guilty plea before the state retried him on reckless manslaughter.

Jhumpa Lahiri's 'Lowland' shortlisted for top UK prize
tralia), "The Undertaking" by Audrey Magee (Ireland), "A Girl is a Half-formed Thing" by Eimear McBride (Ireland) and "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt (US). Adichie had won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010 for "Half of a Yellow Sun". Pakistani author Fatima Bhutto, who figured in the 20-book long-list for her novel "The Shadow of the Crescent Moon", failed to make the cut. "We are very excited by the books we have chosen for the shortlist. Each one is original and extraordinary in its own way - each offers something different and exciting and illuminating," said Fraser in a statement. Set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote international fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible, the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2014 is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman. Any woman writing in English - whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter - is eligible. "The Lowland", set in Kolkata and Rhode Island in US, was also in the Man Booker Prize shortlist.

New York: "The Lowland", which is about the lives of brothers Subhash and Udayan, their choices and their fate, was described by Helen Fraser, Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2014 Chair, as "Moving and vivid, an unforgettable story of two brothers and the different paths they take. A novel about how political passion can destroy lives." Earlier known as the Orange Prize, the winner will be announced on June 4 in London and presented with a check for $30,000. The other five shortlisted books are "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria), "Burial Rites" by Hannah Kent (Aus-

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


April 12-18, 2014



Kashkari draws inspiration from ex-boss George Bush
ndian-American Neel Kashkari is seeking to emulate his one time boss, former Republican President George Bush, as he mounts a long shot bid to challenge California's Democratic governor Jerry Brown. It was to Bush he turned for advice when in late 2012, Kashkari first pondered the idea of jumping into the governor's race, according to CNN. For Bush was an underdog when he tried to unseat Texas Governor Ann Richards in 1994, and ended up winning in that year's Republican landslide. Bush who went on to win the presidency six years later had in 2008 also entrusted to Kashkari as a treasury department official the crucial job of administering the $700 billion Wall Street bailout at the height of the global financial crisis. He asked Bush why he had the confidence to run against the tough-to-beat Richards. "He said, 'The facts were on our side.' He thought that she was light on the subject of issues. He was going to focus on the real issues facing Texas as the time," Kashkari recalled in an interview with CNN. CNN said "barely anyone believes Kashkari can win in the Democratic state


Indian Association of Greater Somerset County gears up for silver jubilee gala
ndian Association of Greater Somerset County (IAGSC) is celebrating 25 years of existence in 2014. The foundation stone was laid by a few families at an informal Diwali dinner in 1989. Their vision resulted in a vibrant and thriving organization that cultivates, sponsors, and develops the Indian community in the greater Somerset County area and provides humanitarian aid. IAGSC now boasts a membership of over 250 families, an enthusiastic group of volunteers, and a great public service history. It provides a forum for hundreds of people to experience, enjoy, and learn about Indian culture, including art, dance, music, and food.At a kick-off meeting on April 6, 2014, IAGSC unveiled a grand celebration plan. Two days of festivities will begin with a formal event on September 12, 2014 in honor of a number of individuals, including the founders and sponsors who have significantly contributed to the success of the organization with hard work, dedication, and selfless service over the years.


even in a midterm year that looks more and more hostile toward Democrats." Kashkari himself expresses some honest skepticism about the enterprise, it said noting he recently compared himself to a smurf and Brown to the evil wizard Gargamel. After announcing his campaign in January, Kashkari is polling at a paltry 2 percent. Not only is he trailing Brown by 45 points, but he's also trailing Tim Donnelly, a tea party Republican who was once a member of the Minuteman movement, by 7 points. In California's nonpartisan primary system, the top two finishers square off in the general election.

The celebration will continue on September 13, 2014, with an all-day fair, capped by a Silver Jubilee Gala. The fair will include a variety of fun-filled activities, with special dance performances, arts and crafts, seminars, and delicious food. The Gala will feature a musical extravaganza with wellknown artists from India who will enthrall and entertain the audience. IAGSC has invited prominent members of the Indian community, media representatives, and local elected officials to grace the momentous occasion. Speaking at the kick-off meeting, Kiran Kothari, trustee of IAGSC said, “The celebration of our silver anniversary comes as a culmination of a long series of dedicated efforts by hundreds of volunteers and supporters who came forward to help us fulfill the cultural needs of the Indian community in our area and provide local and global humanitarian aid.” For more information, visit IAGSC’s website :

Indian-origin scientist develops paper microscope
n Indian-American scientist Manu Prakash from Stanford University has developed an incredibly lowcost microscope made almost entirely out of paper. The microscope, known as The Foldscope because of its design, comes in three parts a slip of paper which acts as the slide on which the specimen is kept, a slide for the ball-shaped lens, and a piece that contains an LED light, to help illuminate the subject being examined. The Foldscope can be shipped in a flat configuration and assembled in minutes. Dr Prakash, an assistant professor, physicist, and bioengineer at Stanford University, and his team at the university hope that the microscope’s size and inexpensiveness will make it widely used in areas where such technology is not readily available. “We have a very simple goal that every single kid in the world should grow up with a microscope,” Prakash was quoted as saying in The Stanford Daily.

Indian priest faces deportation for molestation
n Indian-American priest who admitted to fondling a girl while attending dinner at her grandmother's home in Minnesota has been sentenced to 25 years of supervised probation, according to media reports. Father Leo Charles Koppala pleaded guilty March 17 to criminal sexual conduct charges involving a minor child and is likely to be deported to India, according to local CBS News. Koppala, 47, was a priest of the Nellore Diocese in Andhra Pradesh in South India where he reportedly helped



raise money to support an orphanage, according to Fairmont Sentinel. Koppala was charged in the case in June 2013 and could have faced up to 36 years in prison. He had been placed on administrative leave from the Diocese of Winona in southern Minnesota since June 10, 2013, but was permanently terminated from the ministry after Monday's sentencing, the CBS said. Koppala was taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security and will remain in custody until his likely deportation.

The Foldscope with its creator Manu Prakash

Soros Fellowships for four Indian-Americans
our Indian-American students have been named recipients of this year’s Paul and Doris Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Each year, the fellowships honor and support the graduate education of 30 New Americans, permanent residents or naturalized citizens if born abroad; or children of naturalized citizen parents. The four Indian origin students this year are Arnav Chhabra, a medical researcher; Sundeep Iyer, a student of politics; Ramya Parameswaran, a bio scientist; and oncologist Sana Raoof. The fellowships for New Americans are grants for up to two years of graduate study in the US. The recipients are chosen on a national competitive basis. Selected from more than 1,200 applicants, each fellow receives tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education in the US. Arnav Chhabra received the award to support work towards a Ph.D. in medical

“We should all be carrying around microscopes in our pocket all the time,” he added. Prakash, who was born in Meerut in a middle-class family, earned a BTech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, in computer science and engineering in 2002. He did his PhD in 2008 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has had three scientific studies published by peer-reviewed journals since 2007.


engineering and medical physics. In graduate school, Chhabra is creating a chip model of the liver. The model will replicate the pathophysiology of human livers, thereby enabling a non-invasive study of liver function. He is concurrently funded by the National Science Foundation. Sundeep Iyer has been integrating academic research with real-world litigation and hopes to become an effective voice in safeguarding democracy. His research was used in several federal voter rights cases and his work has been cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico and National Review. Ramya Parameswaran, an MD/Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago, researches nanoscale biomaterials that can interface with immune cells. Sana Raoof will study resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer. Her award will go toward her earning an MD and a Ph.D. in molecular oncology.

Maryland Professor convicted of defrauding NSF and students


anoj Kumar Jha, 46, of Severn, Md., a professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore, was convicted April 1 in connection with a scheme to defraud the National Science Foundation and his students, the Baltimore Sun reported April 2. He faces a possible sentence of 20 years in prison on each of four counts of wire fraud, and for one count each of mail fraud and falsification of records; and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for theft of government property, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Sentencing is scheduled for July.The director of Morgan State’s Center for Advanced Transportation and Infrastructure Engineering Research, the Indian American professor was accused of

fraudulently obtaining $200,000 in grants from the NSF’s Small Business Technology Transfer program in 2008 and 2009 and applying for an additional $500,000 through the same program. Prosecutors claimed Jha falsified expenditure reports and time sheets and used the funds for personal expenses, including paying his mortgage and credit card bills and paying his wife about $11,000, though she did no work for the NSF.He also had oversight for another $100,000 in U.S. Department of Defense grants that were supposed to be distributed to students working on contracts, but Jha falsely told students they needed to return part of the stipends to him. Students returned about $36,000 in grants, which he deposited in his own bank account.


April 12-18, 2014


US to soon allow spouse of Spouses on H4 visa have mixed reactions H-1B visa holder to work
By Jinal Shah Washington, DC: Aimed at attracting the world's best and brightest, the US will soon come out with a series of policy initiatives and changes in the existing rules including allowing the spouses of H-1B visas to work in America. In a statement, the White House said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon publish several proposed rules that will make the US more attractive to talented foreign entrepreneurs and other high-skill immigrants who will contribute substantially to the US economy, create jobs, and enhance American innovative competitiveness. "These proposed regulations include rules authorizing employment for spouses of certain highskill workers on H-1B visas, as well as enhancing opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers," it said in a statement. From the statement though it appears that spouses of H-1B visas are unlikely to get a blanket approval to work in the US. Only certain category of spouses of H1B visa holders - mainly from the science and tech category, are likely to get the nod. The H-1B work visas for highly skilled professionals have been most beneficial to IT sector professionals from India. As per the Congressional mandated cap, US Citizenship and Immigration Services can allocate a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2015 beginning October 1, 2014. New York: A day after the White House announcement The South Asian Times sought reaction from few H4 visa holders (dependent on H1B visa holders – a temporary work visa that allows highly skilled foreign nationals to work in the US), lawyers and activists. “Although it is a good move, DHS already has in the past proposed EAD (work permit) for spouses whose principle sponsor (H1 worker) have stayed in the US for 6 years (H1B tenure) and has a 7th year extension, Green card filed with I-140 cleared. In 2011, H4 visa holders had signed a petition on the White House’s website. For the last three years the related agency has been extending the H4 visa EAD rule’s timeline. What happens to this rule? Is there going to be a blanket approval for all spouses irrespective of principle sponsor’s tenure? We really need to see action. Just like how Obamacare was approved we need immigration reforms to be approved at same pace to retain talent,” said Rashi Bhatnagar, H4 visa holder and immigration activist. Although majority of spouses of H1B visa holders welcome the new development, there are few who are anxious like Juhi Mehta (name changed). “There is no time limit as to when the law will pass. This makes me nervous as I was almost prepared to study on F1 visa,” she said. Immigration lawyers however say it is too early to celebrate. “At this point we don’t know if it will be a

proposal or an interim final regulation. It could become a law in 30 to 60 days or could take 6 months or may never become a law. There have been proposals in the past that are still not established as laws,”said Sheela Murthy, founder and president of the Murthy Law Firm. She, however, added, “We are very excited about the new developments as for the first time a Press Release has been issued from the White House regarding this issue. It indicates the U.S. President has finally given some kind of directives to DHS to allow work visas for spouses of certain H1B visa holders. Hopefully, many H4 spouses will benefit should the proposal come through. Manar Waheed, Policy Director, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) said, "We’re excited that it seems such a change is imminent but truly believe it needs to include work authorization for all H4s, not limited to those whose spouses (H-1Bs) have particular skills.”

Obama names Sunil Sabharwal as alternate IMF director
Washington, DC: President Barack Obama is nominating Sunil Sabharwal, an independent Indian American investor in the payments sector, to a key job as US Alternate Executive Director at International Monetary Fund. "I am grateful these accomplished men and women have agreed to join this Administration, and I'm confident they will serve ably in these important roles," Obama said naming ten persons, including Sabharwal, to key administration posts Thursday. "I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years," he said. Sabharwal, who has been an independent investor since 2006, was the Chairman of the Board of Ogone, a European ecommerce payment services company, from 2011 to 2013, according to the White House. He advised Warburg Pincus on its acquisition of easycash, a German network services company, subsequently becoming a Board Advisor from 2006 to 2009. From 2003 to 2006, Sabharwal was Senior Vice President of Strategic Investments at First Data Corporation/Western Union. From 1997 to 2003, he held several positions at GE Capital, including Managing

Why do Indians get more top US jobs than the Chinese?
Washington, DC: Language, to live, China has become While language and familiarity with Western culmore comfortable in recent familiarity with ture and a willingness to years, ranking as the No.1 Western culture are move are the key reasons Incountry for expatriates in an dians are getting more top HSBC survey," it says. the obvious reasons, jobs in the US than the Chi- Indians are also "more Even those Chinese execunese, who see more opportutives who move away to eswilling to move nity and good pay at home. cape pollution and a slowing than Chinese." So suggests a Wall Street economy are more likely to Journal report citing the sucland in Hong Kong or Singacess of chief executives such as PepsiCo's In- pore than get real international experience in dra Nooyi, Deutsche Bank's Anshu Jain and markets such as Southeast Asia or Latin AmerMasterCard's Ajay Banga and the recent ap- ica, the Journal said. pointment of India-born Satya Nadella as Mi"Fewer than 10 percent of Chinese job cancrosoft CEO. didates on average would be suitable for work While "language and familiarity with West- in a foreign company because of their poor ern culture are the obvious reasons" for their command of English and an education system successes in the US, the Indians are also "more that focuses on theory rather than practical willing to move than Chinese", it says citing skills," it said citing a report by consulting firm headhunters. "Salaries for management posi- McKinsey & Co. tions at the director level in China are already But as China suffers from a shortage of top $131,000 a year, almost the same as in Japan, talent, despite its enormous pool of university and four times as much as in India, where ex- graduates, with 7.3 million more expected in ecutives at that level earn $35,000 on average," 2014, the Journal said state-owned enterprises the Journal says analyzing "Why China Does- and private companies are bidding for homen't Export World-Class CEOs." grown talent. Chinese pay is just one-fifth lower than the Thus "Western companies aren't always the average level in the US, according to a survey employer of choice in China anymore", it says. of technology companies by Aon Hewitt, a hu- "With so much attention lavished on the most man resource consulting company cited by the promising executives in China, many feel their newspaper. "While India remains a tough place opportunities are greater at home than abroad."

Sunil Sabharwal

Director. From 1992 to 1996 he worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, most recently as Principal Banker. Sabharwal received a BS from The Ohio State University and an MS from the London Business School.


April 12-18, 2014


Khan Academy founder appointed Prez ambassador No comments on BJP's manifesto, says US for global entrepreneurship
Washington, DC: Indian-origin founder of the famous Khan Academy, Salman Khan, has been appointed as one among the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, the White House has said. President Barack Obama chaired the first-ever meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship initiative, which is a group of successful American businessmen who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas, and experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. Khan, whose mother was born in Kolkata and father in Bangladesh, has produced more than 4,800 video lessons teaching a wide spectrum of academic subjects, mainly focusing on mathematics and the sciences. Till date, the Khan Academy channel on YouTube has attracted 1,633,000 subscribers and the Khan Academy videos have been viewed over 355 million times. After the meeting, the White House said PAGE members agreed to participate in an ongoing dialogue with policy makers globally, acting as goodwill ambassadors in discussions about how to create an environment where creativity, innovaWashington, DC: The US has refused to comment on election manifesto of BJP, which promises to revise India's nuclear doctrine, if voted to power after the Lok Sabha polls. "We are not going to comment on a platform of a party running for office on ongoing elections. But nothing has changed about our view," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters. According to the manifesto released in New Delhi, BJP had said if voted to power, it will "study in detail India's nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times." At her daily briefing, Psaki refused to make any comment on the BJP's election manifesto. "I'm not going to outline it further. Obviously, these are discussions we have with the Indian Government," she said. Later a senior State Department official told reporters that the US, as a matter of policy, would not make any comment on an internal document of a political party in the middle of an election."The government (of India) has not changed its policy. It is unlikely we would have much to say before that point," the official said. Referring to the BJP's promise of reviewing the country's nuclear doctrine, Alyssa Ayers, a former senior

Salman Khan’s Academy channel on YouTube has attracted 1,633,000 subscribers and its tutorial videos have been viewed over 355 million times.

tion, and entrepreneurship can grow and thrive. During the meeting, Obama urged them to use the PAGE platform to help others learn from their experiences, benefit from their networks, and inspire new business owners to create economic opportunity in their own communities, throughout the country and across the globe. "America's entrepreneurial spirit has always been a key driver of our economic growth and success. Through this group, we will take what we know about transforming innovative ideas into thriving com-

panies and share that knowledge around the country and the world," US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said. "Beyond generating tremendous economic and employment benefits at home, our entrepreneurial spirit is also one of America's greatest exports," she said. "Through their work, the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship will seek to increase the number of successful startups in the US and around the globe, spurring economic growth and job creation," the Commerce Secretary said.

State Department official, said this element of the manifesto will be of great interest around the world, especially given the past history of the BJP hewing to their platform statements regarding nuclear doctrine. "Indeed, the BJP manifesto of 1998 pledged to "Re-evaluate the country’s nuclear policy and exercise the option to induct nuclear weapons. In May 1998, they did," she wrote in a blog at the Council on Foreign Relations -- an eminent American think tank based in Washington. In a significant departure from the Congress manifesto, which uses the word "nuclear" only once to exhort the need to expand civilian nuclear energy, the BJP pledges to update India’s nuclear doctrine to "make it relevant to challenges of current times." "They would maintain India's policy of a credible minimum deterrent in tune with changing geostatic realities," the former State Department official wrote."The BJP lays down some markers on FDI, India's nuclear doctrine, and how it would approach its bilateral and multilateral relationships. As a roadmap for what the possible next Indian government might undertake, it thus offers some high-level guideposts, and important areas for external observers to watch closely," Ayres said.

Seven Indian American students win prestigious scholarship
Washington, DC: Seven Indian American college students have been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship that would fund their educational expenses in the coming years, a media report said Tuesday. Of the over 1,660 students who applied for the award this year, 283 were selected, making this one of the most competitive years for the award, American Bazaar online reported Tuesday. The Indian American students selected this year are: Swati Sureka, a biology and chemistry double-major at Cornell University; Radhika Agarwal, a biochemistry and biology double-major at Indiana University in Bloomington; Adam Ramsaran, a neuroscience major at the University of Delaware; Sivabalan Manivasagam, a chemistry major from the University of North Texas; Tushar Swamy, an electrical engineering and physics double-major from Northeastern University; Loveprit Singh, a chemistry and applied mathematics double-major from the University of Oregon and Nitin Anantha Krishna, a mathematics and computer science double-major at Western Kentucky University. Established in 1986 and named after former Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, the scholarship seeks to award individuals who are pursuing high-level careers in the hard sciences. The scholarship given by The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, has been one of the most prestigious undergraduate award given in the sciences. The scholars include undergraduate sophomores (second-year students) and juniors from the US. The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Eyeing White House, Bobby Jindal steps up political activity
Washington, DC: Louisiana's Indian American Governor Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, will headline a major Republican fundraising event in the early primary state of South Carolina. Jindal will address the 'Silver Elephant Dinner', the finale of the state Republican Party's annual convention in Columbia, on June 6, CNN reported noting "the state doubles as a must-do stopover for ambitious politicians with an eye on the White House." He visited the state last summer to kick off Indian-American Governor Nikki Haley's re-election bid alongside Texas Governor Rick Perry and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. But Jindal's Silver Elephant speech will mark his first solo appearance before a crowd of the state party's most dedicated activists and donors, CNN said. tions like Governor Jindal." Jindal has jump-started his political activity in recent months with a flurry of education policy op-eds, a national health care plan and appearances in the leadoff caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, CNN said. In March, Jindal convened a private lunch with more than a dozen influential Republican power players in New Hampshire, including former Governor John Sununu, former Governor Steve Merrill, attorney Tom Rath and former Mitt Romney fundraiser Beverly Bruce. On Monday, the Iowa Republican Party announced that Jindal will appear at that party's convention in June. He's also vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a platform that keeps him connected to top party fundraisers around the country.

Louisiana Gov Bobby Jindal

Jindal, it noted, is the just latest in a long line of potential 2016 candidates to address the dinner. "We are proud to welcome Governor Bobby Jindal to South Carolina," South Carolina Republican chairman Matt Moore was quoted as saying in an email to CNN. "Our Republican governors are leading the way with solutions to America's toughest challenges. Few governors can articulate those solu-


April 12-18, 2014


Obama bypasses Congress to promote equal pay for women

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton? has talking heads excited
Washington: Hillary bara Bush, the former Clinton, we know, is First Lady last year publikely to run. And licly suggested the counnow Jeb Bush is also try did not need another likely to run. For Bush in the White House. President 2016. The Conservative commenpossible clash of the tators have mostly disdynasties has media carded the possibility of mavens and political GOP nominating Jeb pundits all excited. Bush, where inclusive Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton To voice his policies are currently thoughts on running, Jeb Bush chose the occa- anathema and immigration reform an untouchsion of the reunion celebrating the 25th an- able. Ted Cruz, who’s gearing up his own a niversary of the first Bush presidency. With all presidential run, took a shot at Bush, arguing: eyes on him, the former Florida Governor sig- “We’re a nation of immigrants, we need to celnaled on Sunday the kind of campaign he would ebrate that, but at the same time, rule of law mount if he ran for President: one arguing matters.” against ideological purity tests while challengYet, his gravitas, fundraising capability, Floriing party orthodoxy on issues like immigration da roots and entree to Hispanics makes him the and education. On illegal immigrants, he said: most formidable Republican on a sparkling ros"Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's ter of potential 2016 contenders. Hillary Clinan act of love; it's an act of commitment to your ton, particularly, freezes her party’s 2016 nomfamily, " he told Fox News at a town hall style ination process starting at this moment. After meeting at George H.W. Bush Presidential Li- barely falling short in 2008 and earning high brary and Museum in College Station, Texas. marks and soaring approval ratings in four years Even as he sharply criticized President Obama as America’s top diplomat, she unambiguously for his handling of foreign affairs and health has the strongest claim on being the next Demcare, the son of a President and brother of an- ocratic standard-bearer. On Tuesday the former other made clear that he would run against the Secretary of State told an audience in San Franstyle of politics that has characterized recent Re- cisco, "I am thinking about it” (running for prespublican nominating contests. He said he would ident). "The hard questions aren't do you want decide by the end of the year on running. to be president, or can you win," said Clinton, "We need to elect candidates who have a vi- who appeared as the headliner at a conference sion that is bigger and broader, and candidates sponsored by marketing automation software that are organized around winning the election, company Marketo. "The hard question is why. not making points," Bush said. Why would you want to do this and what would Jeb’s father is eager for him to run, but Bar- you offer that could make a difference."

President Obama signed two executive orders to promote equal pay.

Washington: President Barack Obama resorted Tuesday to an executive order to oblige federal contractors to provide equal pay for women who currently earn less than their male counterparts. The fact that on average a woman is paid 77 cents for every $1 paid to a man is "wrong" in 2014, Obama said during a White House event. "And this is not just an issue of fairness. It's also a family issue and an economic issue, because women make up about half of our workforce and they're increasingly the breadwinners for a whole lot of families out there," he said. The president signed an executive order and a memorandum barring federal contractors from taking reprisals against employees for discussing how much they make and from hiding information on female employees' salaries. Obama criticized Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, for again opposing measures that would lead to economic equality and asked Congress to pass a national law to promote wage transparency that will put women at the same

pay-level as men. In February, the president made good on his promise during the State of the Union address to resort to executive orders with an increase of the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for companies with new contracts with the federal government. "A woman has got to work

about three more months in order to get what a man got because she's paid less. That's not fair," Obama said at the White House event, where he was accompanied by Lilly Ledbetter, who took Goodyear to court for having hidden for years the fact that it paid her less than men for bearing the same responsibilities.

Extending jobless benefits still hanging fire
Washington: State officials are warning that the bipartisan bill to reinstate federal benefits for the longterm unemployed that passed the Senate on Monday but is not certain to clear the House could be a logistical nightmare to implement and could expose the government to extensive fraud. The measure would provide five months of retroactive benefits for people who were out of work for about six months or longer -- lawmakers allowed those payments to expire in December. The move is being heralded as Washington’s lastditch effort to stimulate the economy by helping the long-term unemployed. But the state agencies responsible for administering the benefits say actually helping that population could prove to be logistically difficult. Most states stopped tracking people who participated in the program after the federal benefits expired in December, said Richard Hobbie, executive director of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. To qualify for these payments, applicants have to prove they are actively looking for a job. Many states require weekly checkins and verification with workforce officials.

H1B visas snapped up in days
Washington: Businesses seeking highly skilled workers from overseas took less than a week to snap up all 85,000 visas available for next year. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Monday that the cap on H-1B visas for the 2015 fiscal year had already been reached. The agency began accepting applications April 1 for the highly coveted visas used for computer programmers, engineers and other skilled workers employed in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere. It’s no surprise that the cap was reached quickly. That’s happened repeatedly in recent years and is a key issue that drove business executives to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform. With sweeping immigration legislation stalled in Congress, some high-tech leaders have recently made pleas to lawmakers to increase H-1B visas.

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April 12-18, 2014


Delhi polling crosses 60 percent Record voting in critical Indian election phase
New Delhi: Delhi recorded poll percentage of above 60 percent for the Lok Sabha elections, surpassing the 2009 polling percentage and setting stage for a record polling in the national capital. The city is witnessing a high voltage three-cornered contest for BJP Delhi unit president Harsh Vardhan after its seven seats. casting his vote in New Delhi. Long queues formed outside sevthe highest poll percentage was eral polling stations across the recorded in North East Delhi connational capital as men and women - stituency at 63 percent. It was folthe elderly included - turned up in lowed by East Delhi (61.2 percent), large numbers right from the time West Delhi (61.1), Chandni Chowk polling began at 7 a.m. Voting ends (60 percent), North West Delhi at 6 p.m at 11,763 polling stations in (59.3), New Delhi (59.2) and South the capital. Delhi (57.2). "The polling percentage till 5 p.m. Voter enthusiasm was evident in Was 60.1 percent," Chief Nodal both middle class and working class Officer, Delhi Election areas. In some places, the queues Commission, Ankur Garg, said. snaked out of the school buildings The 2009 percentage was 51.85 where polling stations were set up. percent. In 2004 it was even lower Even affluent areas, which are usuat 47.09 percent. In the Delhi ally lethargic vis-a-vis elections, asssembly elections in November, reported heavy polling. the voter turnout was 66 percent. A total of 150 candidates are in Delhi poll panel officials said that the fray in Delhi.franchise. New Delhi: Millions in India voted peacefully on Thursday across 14 states and union territories in a critical third phase of the parliamentary elections to pick 91 of the 543 Lok Sabha members.It includes seven seats in the national capital whose control is considered important for any party seeking to sit in the seat of power in New Delhi. In town after town, voter enthusiasm was high in both working and middle class areas. In a few places, brisk polling was reported even in affluent areas - where election enthusiasm used to be tepid - indicating that voting figures may touch a record high. An estimated 50 percent of the 191 million electorate had voted in eight hours of brisk polling, with men and women of all age groups queuing up at the 140,850 voting centres from the time they opened at 7 a.m.Officials overseeing the mammoth exercise were kept busy checking identity cards of the voters and inking their fingers. Although the staggered nine-phase balloting began April 7, the first two rounds involved only 13 constituencies from the country's northeast where the BJP is not a major player. Political analyst G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, who is with the BJP, said

Voter enthusiasm was high in both working and middle class areas.

Thursday's polling was important because the 91 seats were almost a sixth of the total Lok Sabha seats. This round is also crucial because it includes three states where the Bharatiya Janata Party failed to win a single seat in 2009: Kerala, Delhi and Haryana. For the same reason, the Congress, which won 50 more seats in 2009 over the 2004 Lok Sabha battle, has to retain its seat tally if it has to stand up to the aggressive BJP. Thursday's balloting is also important for the Aam Aadmi Party, the

Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Shiv Sena, the MNS, the Left and the Janata DalUnited. The Election Commission said the polling was peaceful everywhere barring Bihar. The balloting covered all 20 seats in Kerala, 10 each in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra and Odisha, nine in Madhya Pradesh, all seven seats in Delhi, six in Bihar, four in Jharkhand and one each in Chhattisgarh, Jammu, Chandigarh, Lakshwadeep and Andaman and Nicobar Island.

Over half of Kerala votes in Lok Sabha polls
Thiruvananthapuram: A little over half of Kerala's 24.2 million-plus voters cast their ballot half way through Thursday for the state's 20 Lok Sabha seats, even as both the rival alliances led by the Congress and the Left claimed they will emerge victorious. Brisk voting was reported across the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies, with over 51.6 percent of the electorate casting their ballot half way through the day. In 2009, Kerala recorded 73.37 percent turnout. Election experts have predicted that by the close of the day, Kerala could well reach an all-time high of around 80 percent voting or more. Kannur constituency recorded the highest turnout, crossing the 56 percent mark, while Thiruvananthapuram recorded the lowest voting at 47 percent. Voters will choose their representatives from 242 male and 27 females candidates.

Over 70 percent polling in Haryana, Chandigarh

Maharashtra voter turnout lower than expected
Mumbai: The voter turnout fell below expectation in all the 10 Lok Sabha constituencies in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra which went to polls Thursday, officials said. Bhandara-Gondiya constituency recorded the highest turnout 53 percent till 3 p.m., a state election commission official said. The biggest constituency in terms of voters, Nagpur recorded only 48 percent voting till 3 p.m., while Akola constituency notched the lowest at 39 percent. Only 40 percent of the voters turned out in Yavatmal-Washim constituency. Among other constituencies, Ramtek recorded 40.3, Chandrapur 43.49, Buldhana 44, Amravati 46 and Wardha 42 percent.

67 percent vote in Odisha
Congress candidate from Amritsar Captain Amarinder Singh on way to cast his ballot.

Chandigarh: Over 70 percent of voters in Haryana (10 seats) and Chandigarh (one seat) exercised their franchise Thursday. The voting percentage in Chandigarh is likely to be its highest ever. The previous high was 68.1 percent in 1984. In 2004 and 2009, the voting percentage was 50 and 64.9 percent respectively. Minor clashes were reported in Rohtak and Hisar districts of Haryana. A few people were injured in these incidents. In Haryana, the highest voting percentage recorded earlier was 73.26 percent in 1977. The state

crossed the 70 percent voting mark in 1967 and 1996. There were nearly 1.60 crore eligible voters in Haryana’s 10 Lok Sabha seats. Nearly 1.60 crore people, including over 73.8 lakh women, were eligible to vote in Haryana to decide the fate of 230 candidates, including 10 women candidates. In Chandigarh’s lone Lok Sabha seat, there were over 6.13 lakh eligible voters cast their ballot. Enthusiastic voters began queuing up in the first hour after the commencement of polling at 7 a.m. A total of 17 candidates were in the fray.

Bhubaneswar: Braving intense heat and defying extremist threats, about 67 percent of the electorate cast their ballot in simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assembly in Odisha, officials said. Polling was held for 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats. State chief electoral officer Mona Sharma said voting was still under way in some places due to problems in the electronic voting machines and the accurate voting percentage would be known only after compilation of all the data. "Polls were mostly peaceful everywhere. We did not have any violence. Very good participation of young and elderly. Enthusiasm of people was very encouraging," Sharma told reporters here.

"We only had a few cases of EVMs being snatched from polling centres," she said. Suspected Maoists set fire to a truck carrying EVMs in Mathili area of Malkangiri district Wednesday night. As a result, voting could not take place at four polling stations there, police said. Some rebels also snatched an EVM from Polasari booth in the same area while the polling party was returning, while EVMs from three booths in Jodaamba area were also damaged by suspected rebels. There are a total of 28,880,850 voters in the state. In the 2009 election, 65.3 percent of the electorate had exercised their franchise.


April 12-18, 2014


Huge voter turnout in northeast India
Shillong/Itanagar/Kohima/Imphal: India's four northeastern states witnessed brisk polling in the Lok Sabha election this week, with Nagaland recording 82.5 percent voter turnout and Manipur as well as Arunachal Pradesh seeing around 70 percent balloting. Meghalaya saw almost two-thirds of its voters turn up. The voting in the four states marked the second phase of the country's 10-phase poll that will see 814 million Indians exercise their franchise to elect 543 members to the Lok Sabha. Long queues formed at polling booths in these mountainous states as voters enthusiastically turned up to cast their ballot. An Election Commission official said in Delhi that Nagaland recorded an impressive voter turnout of 82.5 percent till 4 p.m. Manipur saw 70 percent voter turnout till 4 p.m. and there were still long queues, said the official who spoke of a "possibility of 78 percent" turnout. In Meghalaya, the voter turnout was 64 percent with a "possibility of going up to 66 percent" and in Arunachal Pradesh, it was 71 percent. Arunachal had last time recorded a voter turnout of 68 percent. The polling percentage is likely to go up. While polling was held for two Lok Sabha seats each in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, one of the two seats in Manipur and the lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland, balloting was also held for 49 seats of the Arunachal assembly. In Arunachal, around 71 percent of voters cast their ballot in simultaneous elections to the two Lok Sabha seats and the assembly, even as voting was suspended in four polling booths after miscreants burnt down poll material in Sarli in Kurung Kumey district, state Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar said. Voting in two other polling stations was suspended due to a boycott call by villagers protesting poor road connectivity. In the assembly polls, 11 Congress candidates, including Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and two cabinet colleagues Tanga Bayaling and Pema Khandu, have already won without a fight. Hence, voting was held for

Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal

Women after casting their vote in Jorhat, Assam

It's ladies vs Pawan Bansal in Chandigarh
Chandigarh: Will the wind (Pawan) blow out others again this time? Will the new flower (Gul) blossom? Will there be a ray (Kirron) of hope? Or will the people settle for heaven (Jannat)? The names of the candidates apart, Chandigarh surely is witnessing its most interesting contest for the lone Lok Sabha seat here. Pitted against the sitting MP and Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal are three women candidates - Kirron Kher (BJP), Gulkirat Kaur Panag (Gul Panag) of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Jannat Jahan-ulHaq (Bahujan Samaj Party). Chandigarh's election this time may not have anything to do with Bollywood flick "Ladies vs Ricky Bahl", in which three women are conned by the hero and they try to get back at him, but the three ladies here are definitely giving Bansal a run for his money. This is the first time in Chandigarh that three women candidates from mainline political parties are contesting against the sitting MP. In the 2009 election, there was only one woman candidate, an independent, against Bansal. Two of these main candidates, Kirron Kher and Gul Panag, are actresses from Mumbai's film and TV industry. While Gul is a former Miss India (1999), Kher is the wife of actor Anupam Kher. Both women had earlier lived and studied in Chandigarh.

the remaining 49 seats. BJP leader Kiren Rijiju is fighting against sitting Congress member Takam Sanjoy from Arunachal West, while union minister and Congress leader Ninong Ering, who is re-contesting from Arunachal East, faces the BJP's Tapir Gao. In Nagaland, around 82.5 percent of the over one million electorate cast their votes for the state's lone Lok Sabha constituency. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state, which borders Myanmar. In the 2009 election, the turnout was around 90 percent. Conducive weather helped voters come to the polling stations early. New voters and women were enthusiastic, officials said. Due to security reasons, polling hours in Nagaland and Manipur was from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m, unlike the other northeastern states where votes could be cast between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Chief Minister and Naga People's Front president Neiphiu Rio was contesting the Lok Sabha poll against Congress candidate K.V. Pusa. In Manipur, around 70 percent of the total 911,699 voters in Outer Manipur Lok Sabha constituency cast their ballot with polling passing off peacefully, officials said. Police said there were some scuffles between members of rival political parties in Ukhrul and Churachandpur districts. Voting in the Inner Manipur constituency will be held April 17.


April 12-18, 2014


I understand pain of the poor: Modi Congress, BJP argue over Modi's marital status
Panaji: BJP's prime minister hopeful Narendra Modi's marital status has become the topic of a slanging match between his saffron party and the Congress. After Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, Shantaram Naik this week insisted that India deserved to know whetehr or not Modi was married, at public meeting late Wednesday night Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar retorted that Naik should first reveal whether he had a bride ready. "People like Shantaram Naik talk about Modi's marital status. Instead of talking about issues related to defence and economy, the Congress has stooped down to such a disgusting level... Shantaram should first say if he has a bride at hand," Parrikar said. Addressing a press conference at the party's state headquarters Tuesday, Naik said that Modi should come clean on whether or not he was married. Naik also said that Modi and his camp were silent over media reports about Gujarat chief minister's wife. "When Modi files his nomination form, he will now have to specify whether he is married or not. He cannot leave the marital status column blank," Naik said.

BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi during a rally in Solapur, Maharashtra.

Modi files nomination from Vadodara

Solapur (Maharashtra)/Bidar (Karnataka): BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said he understood the pain of the poor as he had sold tea early in his life and accused the Congress of making false promises to people. Addressing election rallies in Maharashtra and Karanataka, Modi also accused Congress of using secularism for vote bank politics. Addressing a rally at Solapur, Modi took swipes at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is also the local Congress candidate. Modi referred to Gandhi as a person "born with golden spoon". "I was born in poverty. I have suffered it. I use to sell tea in rail compartments. If tea was found to be cold, the customer would break the glass and slap me," said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader. "What is poverty, we know. We will live for the poor. If there is need, we will die for the welfare of the poor. On the other side are those who born with golden spoons," he said. Referring to Gandhi, Modi said Congress leader had visited the

houses of poor to understand poverty and such visits were publicised in the media. He said Rahul Gandhi's father, grandmother and great grand father were prime ministers. "They are naamdar (have a family name). I am kaamdar (person who works)," Modi said. He also accused Congress of being arrogant and making false promises. Modi said Congress had promised to bring price rise under control in 100 days of coming to power in 2009 but that did not happen. He also sought to woo farmers saying the party would ensure them remunerative prices for their produce. Attacking Shinde, he accused him of "worshipping" the first family of Congress. "Till the (Nehru-Gandhi) family was happy, it is well with Shinde," Modi said. In his rally at Bidar, Modi accused the Congress of not being able to give a proper account of the 10 years of the party-led UPA government. "For them secularism is votebank politics. For us it is policy of development," Modi said.

Narendra Modi filing his nomination from Vadodara

Vadodara: BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has filed his nomination papers from Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency in Gujarat. He was accompanied by a tea vendor and a member of the city's erstwhile royal family. Dressed in a crisp kurta-pyjama

and a saffron Nehru jacket, Modi arrived at the district collectorate around 11.20 a.m. after a holding a roadshow in the morning. While signing the papers, a local tea vendor, Kiran Mahida who was chosen by the party leadership in a bid to cash in on Modi's tea-seller background,

was on his right, while on his left was Shubhanginidevi RajeGaekwad, a member of Vadodara's former royal family. State revenue minister Anandiben Patel was also present. Modi is also contesting from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

Kejriwal meets attackers, asks police to catch masterminds
New Delhi: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal reached out to the two men who had attacked him here, presenting them flowers, and told police to quickly trace the masterminds behind the twin attacks. Accompanied by party colleague Manish Sisodia, Kejriwal called on auto-rickshaw driver Lali and 19-year-old Abdul Wahid at their homes. Both told the former chief minister that they regretted what they did. "I've committed a big mistake. I should have never done what I did. I consider him (Kejriwal) as a god," Lali told the media later, a day after he gave a stinging slap to Kejriwal. Lali, who was roughed up by Aam Aadmi Party supporters after the attack in Sultanpuri in northwest Delhi, had then dubbed Kejriwal as a "liar". The attack left Kejriwal with a swollen left eye. But he said he had "forgiven" Lali. On Wednesday, an emotional Lali touched the feet of both Kejriwal and Sisodia. They were accomapanied by Rakhi Birla, the

From reforms to protecting cow, BJP promises it all
New Delhi: Taking up issues ranging from economic revival to protecting cows and Ram temple, the much delayed manifesto of the BJP Monday promised "immediate and decisive action" to revive the country from the "decade of decay" of the UPA. The manifesto, which was released even as one part of the country went to the polls, was summarized as "good governance and development" by party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. It however did not miss out on the core ideological issues of the party, mentioning construction of Ram temple, removal of Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the constitution and protection of the cow and its progeny. The Bharatiya Janata Party also promised modernizing 'madrasas' (seminaries) and working for giving equal opportunities to minorities.The Congress, which leads the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), dismissed the manifesto as a "copied document". Congress president Sonia Gandhi said it proved BJP "is a threat to India's integrity and unity". The Congress also went to the Election Commission saying that the manifesto's release was violation of the model code of conduct and urged the panel to pass orders to stop its publicity and circulation. In a surprise clarification from the stage after the manifesto release, Modi assured he would "never do anything with wrong intent". "I will never do anything for myself ever and I will never do anything with wrong intent... I assure you," he declared, without elaboration though its meaning was left to varying interpretations. "If I have to summarize our manifesto in two words, I will say: good governance and development," Modi added, his voice a little hoarse from the many election speeches he has been giving all over the country. The manifesto lists "price rise, corruption, black money and policy paralysis" as imminent issues to be addressed.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was slapped by a man during campaigning in New Delhi.

AAP candidate in North West Delhi constituency. Lali said he had been wanting to meet Kejriwal for a long time and even went to his "janata darbar" when the AAP ruled Delhi for a short period of 49 days. The leaders also met Wahid who had punched Kejriwal during a road show at Dakshinpuri in south Delhi April 4.


April 12-18, 2014


BJP aims for clean sweep, Congress fighting to win 6-7 seats

Some key contestants (from left): Jaswant Singh, Sachin Pilot, Buta Singh and Olympian Rajyavardhan Singh Rathor

Rajasthan Focus
By Prakash Bhandari Jaipur: Barely three months ago the Congress even with its several social schemes and freebies worth several thousand crore rupees suffered a humiliating defeat when the party could get only 22 seats in a House of 200, while the ruling BJP amassed a whopping 163 seats. As the morale of the Congress hit the ground, the new Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje exhorted her party men to accomplish “Mission 25” -ensuring that the party wins all the 25 seats from the state. In 2009, immediately after losing power to the Congress, the BJP could win only four seats. But the Congress is likely to emerge as a phoenix in at least 5-6 seats. This would be a face saving performance by the party that recently had lost all its support base across caste and communities. In a first, the party failed to win even a single Scheduled Caste seat and failed to make a Muslim a winner. The party’s central leadership sidelined the outgoing Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and named young Sachin Pilot as the PCC president, who along with former Union minister CP Joshi finalized the list of the Congress candidates. In BJP, Vasundhara Raje had all the say in finalizing the list and she manipulated to keep Jaswant Singh out. In all 7-8 key constituencies will see a fierce battle. Jaipur (rural): The AICC general secretary C P Joshi, who was last elected from Bhilwara, is contesting from Jaipur (rural), banking largely on the Bramhin and SC votes. His opponent is Olympian shooter and silver medalist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathor. A novice in politics, Rathor is backed by Vasundhara Raje and like Joshi will have to deal with the caste factor. This seat was occupied by Union minister Lal Chand Kataria, who made way for Joshi. Joshi enjoys a certain edge, but could find himself on the wrong side if a Modi wave prevails. Ajmer: Union minister and PCC president Sachin Pilot is trying to retain this seat against a formidable opponent, Prof Sanwar Lal Jat, irrigation minister in Raje’s Cabinet.

This seat has a good number of Gujjar votes, Pilot’s community. The contest is fierce and the outcome is difficult to predict. Sachin enjoys the image of a youth. Barmer: There is a triangular contest in this seat, considered a Jat domain. Former union minister Jaswant Singh, expelled from the BJP, is still in the fray and banking on Rajput and minority votes. The Jat votes would be split between the sitting Congress member Harish Choudhry and Col Sona ram, who switched over from Congress to the BJP. Jaswant would be very lucky if

he wins from this hot seat. Jalore-Sirohi: Former Union minister Buta Singh, 79, is in the fray from this constituency which he won four time earlier as Congress candidate and once as an Independent. He is contesting on Samajawadi Party’s ticket. In 2009 he lost the seat by a narrow margin to Devji Patel of BJP. This time Congress has fielded Udai Lal Anjna, a tainted former MLA. The seat has very large number of SC vote and Buta Singh is banking on the Dalit support. Chittorgarh: Union urban development minister Girija Vyas is con-

testing against a weak BJP candidate Chandra Prakash. The Rajput votes play a major role in deciding the eventual winner. This time the Rajput community is annoyed with the BJP following denial of ticket to Jaswant Singh who had won this seat twice. Dausa: The Meena community, which is agrarian and thriving on the Scheduled Tribe status, had never seen such a fierce contest in this ST seat. Union minister Namo Narayan Meena, a former IPS officer, is facing his step brother Harish Meena, also an IPS who was DGP and then

secretary ( security) in PMO who resigned his job to contest. The third player is the godman of the Meena community, Dr Kirori Lal Meena, who is the sitting MP and heads the Rashtriya Janata Party. Elsewhere, Union minister Chandresh Kumari, sister of the former ruler of Jodhpur, is contesting against Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, another Rajput. Two other royals, Jitendra Singh in Alwar and Ijjyeraj Singh in Kota, are contesting on Congress tickets. In Jaipur, the BJP has fielded Ram Charan Bohra against the sitting Congress member Mahesh Joshi.

Azhar confident of winning LS seat from Rajasthan
By Prakash Bhandari Sawaimadhopur: The former Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin was trying a new cricketer’s sunglasses sitting on the lawns of a resort near the world famous tiger sanctuary here. The sizeable population of the minority community in Tonk and Sawai Madhopur constituency has lured him to Rajasthan. Of the 19 lakh voters in the caste-ridden constituency, the Muslim electors are 1.80 lakh. Congress party performed very poorly in the two districts of Tonk and Sawaimadhopur in the December assembly poll. But then Moradabad, from where Azhar got elected to Lok Sabha last time had far more minority voters. So why move? The suave man from Hyderabad spoke to The South Asian Times even as he was having a quick breakfast with his son Asaduddin. Why did you leave Moradabad and opted to contest from TonkSawaimadhopur? Md Azharuddin: The Congress party wanted me to contest from this constituency last time also, but there was a change and I was sent to Moradabad. I have had no say in the matter. I went to Moradabad and won, I have come to Tonk and I will conquer. In Moradabad, I had executed various projects worth Rs 4,000 crore. Those who say I did nothing for the constituency, should go visit my site and they will understand. Not your presence in the constituency, what matters is Azhar: When a sports related issue comes up in Parliament, which is rare, the House is interested to hear the members with sports background. But when you are an MP, you’ll have to look beyond sports. There was widespread criticism that Congress violated all parliamentary processes to divide Andhra Pradesh? Azhar: The demand for a separate Telangana was not the brainchild of Congress. I was elected from Moradabad and I could tell you that Uttar Pradesh should further be divided in three more states. In smaller states, administration would be better. The Congress has been facing the agitation for a separate Telangana for many years now. The division of AP was people’s demand and the government at Centre had to bow before the wishes of the people. It’s the democratic process. It was the right decision that the Congress-led UPA took and the Congress will win not only in Telangana, but also outside the new state. Are you interested to campaign in Andhra Pradesh? Azhar: My heart is in Andhra Pradesh. I wish I was in my home turf campaigning for the party. If given a chance, I’d have chosen Hyderabad to contest (laughs). The most significant Act passed by the outgoing Lok Sabha in your opinion? Azhar: There are many key Acts passed from 2009-2014. To me the most important was the Telangana Statehood Bill that was passed.

Former star cricketer and Congress candidate from TonkSwaimadhopur constituency with actress wife Sangeeta Bijlani.

the work you have done. For getting the work done you have to run around. Congress fielded 16 Muslims in Rajasthan assembly elections last year. But none could win. How confident are you of victory? Azhar: Yes, it was pathetic. The party suffered a crushing defeat. This time the Congress has fielded only one Muslim here and I am sure with the support of all the communities I shall win as I carry a secular image. You are an outsider here. How would you convince voters here? Azhar: Even my main rival BJP’s Sukhbir Singh Jaunpuriya, who is a Gujjar, belongs to Delhi and has no Rajasthan connect. Thus both of us have the same advantage and disadvantage. He hopes of only Gujjar

community support, but my support base is stronger. In numbers I am stronger than the BJP. There is a strong notion that sports stars are not serious about politics and are not available for people all the time. Azhar: This notion is incorrect. No elected person can afford to have that attitude. Full involvement in politics is a must for survival and I think the elected sportspersons of all the parties are serious about their constituency and people. I developed a system through which I was connected to people in Moradabad. Once elected, I shall have the same system for my new constituency also. Do sportspersons contribute anything to sports when they are in Parliament?


April 12-18, 2014


Imam Bukhari's job to lead prayers, not politics
By Saeed Naqvi


uslim spokesmen, appointed by few know whom, are all over the TV channels. With election fever picking up, they are also forming delegations and trooping into homes of politicians to strike deals on behalf of the Qaum. The latest in brief limelight is Imam Bukhari of Jama Masjid. He met Congress President Sonia Gandhi “for 45 minutes”. He says he “discussed the arrest of Muslim youth in terror cases, implementation of the Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission recommendations, Anti Communal Violence Bill”. More likely, she listened to him. The Indian Express report said the Imam’s endorsement would “bolster the Congress campaign, especially in Uttar Pradesh”. But this was precisely the calculation when the Congress fielded the Imam’s son-in-law from Saharanpur for the 2012 state assembly election. He lost. If Sonia Gandhi imagines she is dealing with a leader of Indian Muslims, she will not be doing much good to her party, Indian Muslims or the Imam. It is empirically proven that in the political sphere his word does not carry. It turns out that there is no lead-

Imam Bukhari of Jama Masjid met Congress President Sonia Gandhi “for 45 minutes”

ership worth the name which can mediate between people and the government on this as on any civic issue. The problem becomes severe in Muslim enclaves. People, after having voted on Election Day, are left to their devices. Come Election Day and again the Imam is required to pull out his grand apparel.For decades Muslims remained regular Congress voters. This was their respite from the trauma of partition and its aftermath. The first intimations of political mortality for Indira Gandhi came in 1967: she lost in eight northern states. Then came the first indications of a Nehru-Gandhi figure becom-

ing saffron-positive: Indira Gandhi began to canvass Hindu support. The “Muslim appeasement” chant of the Sangh Parivar had begun to corrode the secular façade of even Indira Gandhi. This anxiety became even more pronounced in the Rajiv Gandhi years. V.N. Gadgil, Congress general secretary, told me in 1985, that “Hindus were beginning to fear that Muslims were appeased by successive Congress governments”. How “appeased” the minorities were became clear in the Sachar Committee Report in 2006. But the Congress had already set into motion steps to woo Hindu sentiment. In 1986 it opened the locks to the Mandir in

Ayodhya. Climax was reached with Rajiv Gandhi promising “Ram Rajya” while kicking off the party’s 1989 election campaign from Ayodhya. To keep the Muslims in his sway, Rajiv banned Salman Rushdie’s "Satanic Verses", upturned the Supreme Court verdict on the Shah Bano case and delayed upgrading relations with Israel, as if these were the bread and butter issues for Indian Muslims. Those have never been addressed. Rajiv’s faulty moves on issues he had no instinctive feel for, left the field open for the BJP to expand. P.V. Narasimha Rao found it more important to thwart Arjun Singh’s political aspirations, than to build defences against the rising tide of the BJP. History will judge P.V. as having been a better friend of Atal Bihari Vajpayee than of any Congress leader. Little wonder that L.K. Advani described him as the best prime minister since Lal Bahadur Shastri. And why not? During the 1965 war with Pakistan, Shastri had asked the RSS to take over Civil Defence duties. This, Madame Congress president, is a trend which your party is not equipped to reverse. You must know that the party you supervise is the one that Muslims would have been the most averse to had the RSS-BJP not chosen a candidate whom even a magazine like the Economist has flinched

You (Sonia Gandhi) must know that the party you supervise is the one that Muslims would have been the most averse to had the RSS-BJP not chosen a candidate whom even a magazine like the Economist has flinched from endorsing.
from endorsing. On Dec 7, 2013, the country did not know what would be in the cards Dec 8, when election results to four state assemblies were to be announced. The Congress was trounced in all the four and in Delhi emerged AAP, quite miraculously. Many including the Muslims did not know that AAP had this extraordinary potential. It became a matter of survival for the Indian establishment to check AAP in its tracks. That too is what the nation including its Muslims will wait to see with bated breath May 16.

Rupee upside capped at 57-58 against dollar
By Vatsal Srivastav ast May, after the US Federal Reserve first announced a likely roadmap for Quantitative Easing (QE) taper, Morgan Stanley labelled India as a "fragile five" club member with other emerging economies like Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia. Emerging markets were bound to be hit with the withdrawal of cheap liquidity from the system. A rush of money back to the developed markets (which meant a stronger greenback), coupled with domestic fundamental challenges such as dwindling foreign exchange reserves and high inflation, pushed the rupee to an all time low of 68.8 against the dollar in the next couple of months. Historically, March has


Narendra Modi-led stable coalition government at the centre, the rupee is displaying a close correlation with the Nifty once again. To be fair, credit must also be given to the UPA government as

A "market friendly" result on May 16 can take the rupee to 57 against the dollar.

always been a good month for the rupee and together with the overall market optimism of a

India's macro outlook has improved considerably over the last year as a result of the fiscal-

tightening measures. Well before the equity rally gathered steam, the rupee outperformed the MSCI emerging market currency basket in January during the EM currency turmoil. With the Indian rupee close to the key psychological 60 level against the dollar, one would expect the RBI to be rebuilding reserves. According to the Bank of America, the central bank has bought $5 billion (including maturity of FX swaps with oil companies) since mid-March. India's import cover, at 7.5-8 months, is well below the 10 months needed for INR stability which would justify further accumulation of reserves. More importantly, even on the back of the US Fed taper, the dollar index is still trading below close to the 80.5 level. Going forward, the European Central

Bank and the Bank of Japan are widely anticipated to add monetary stimulus as has been written in this column in previous weeks. The yen and the euro are poised to weaken against the dollar. We can see the euro at 1.3 and the USD/JPY pair at 110 by year end. The dollar index can rally to levels close to 85-87. It is hard to see the rupee appreciating further beyond 57-58 levels over the next year. Further, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has cited a finance ministry report to suggest that at any level below 5758 to a dollar, he would consider the rupee to be overvalued. A "market friendly" result on May 16 can take the rupee to 57 against the dollar. But at that point, one would have to be very brave to bet on further appreciation.

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


April 12-18, 2014


By Shiv Chopra irque du Soleil is a Canadian entertainment company, famed as the largest theatrical producer in the world. Yet, none of its many shows is as story-driven as Amaluna. With no announcer/sutradhar or dialogues, the actors’ emotions and actions have to do the talking. The usual elements of a circus like acrobatics (but no animals, thank God) are there and incorporated seamlessly. Yet, it is the glitzy presentation, and the song and dance that make Amaluna rise to the level of a Broadway show. It is runing on the grounds of Citifield in Queens, New York. The word Ama-luna is a fusion of ‘mother’ and ‘moon’ and showcases woman power. The main credits for the production go to women including for story and direction - to Tony-award winning Diane Paulus. Amaluna’s story is a twist on Shakespeare's "The Tempest". The island is ruled by women here. Queen of the island, Prospera, holds a ceremony about her daughter, Miranda, coming of age. Soon, some ship-wrecked young men wash ashore after a storm. Miranda falls in love with one of them named Romeo (another Shakespearean allusion) and the lovers go through many tests and travails. The piece de resistance of the show is called the ‘Balancing act’ where the Goddess meditatively sculpts a massive hanging mobile of palm tree ribs. The epic feat of equilibrium is presented as a symbol of harmony, the need for balance in the universe at large. There were no tricks here, just pure skill and endurance. For 10 minutes the audience held its breath in pindrop silence before bursting into heavy applause and a shared sense of awe. The second most exhilarating act for me was Romeo doing some stunts on a Chinese pole, slipping upside down from a height, and stopping himself inches from the


Amaluna is a touring show by Cirque du Soleil playing on Citi Field grounds in Queens, New York till May 18.
The show’s climax is the ‘goddess’ balancing act’ presented as a symbol of harmony. Unlike in a circus, this pair of clowns are bawdy and go from meeting to falling in love to having babies.

ground. His Juliet – Miranda that is – has her own balletic contortions to show off too. Thrills were aplenty in the stunts of men using a teeterboard. One man would jump onto one side of the board launching the guy on the other side high into the air, who would twist and turn, sometimes landing in a handstand on another performer’s upturned palms. My favorite character was Cali. Played by a man with a Greek god body, a heavy makeup and a functioning lizard tail, Cali was fun and menacing at the same time. Even before the show, he walked into the audience, whisked somebody’s bag of popcorn and spilled it on the same person’s head. He then climbed a platform and showered more popcorn on the crowd below. Cali’s role in the story is to provide an obstacle the lovers have to overcome to prove their love. His juggling balls (not just 3 but 4-5-6 balls) act was also notable. The clowns provided comedic elements between the dramatic and tense acts as well as killing time between set changes. One of the comedians is a cheerful, cheesy lady with a squeaky voice. She is paired up with a pirate sporting a long red moustache. They go from meeting to falling in love to having babies all while providing LoL moments. The show as a whole was choreographed with masterful precision. All actors were on point and flawless. Music was played live, as in a Broadway show. Prospera’s cello playing was spectacular. The singing felt magical and had a real sense of power. It brought incredible emotion into the usual circus acts. The stunning stunts on a teeterboard The beauty of Amaluna

is that you are held spellbound by the magic even when you realize how it is created. The show opens and closes with an undulating silk scarf floating heavenward – clever aerodynamic created by the whirring fans placed at vantage points.

Balletic contortions shown off by the female lead, Miranda, including inside the water bowl.



April 12-18, 2014


Actor-director Nandita Das


ward-winning Indian actress and director Nandita Das and head of Godrej India Culture Lab Parmesh Shahani have been named 2014 Yale World Fellows, taking the number of Indian fellows to 15. With the addition of Das and Shahani, India has more fellows in the global Yale World Fellows network than any other country since the programme was established in 2002 by the New Haven, Connecticut-based Ivy League university.

The Yale World Fellows Programme is Yale University's signature global leadership development initiative and a core element of Yale's ongoing commitment to internationalisation, according to the university. "Like prior cohorts, the 2014 Yale World Fellows are dynamic, high impact practitioners committed to effecting positive change," said Yale World Fellows Director Michael Cappello, professor of paediatrics, at the Yale School of Medicine.

"Das and Shahani fit that mould perfectly and will bring immense talent and vision to the group." Nandita Das "has leveraged her international profile to campaign on social issues including child mortality, gender and race issues and violence against women," the announcement noted. Parmesh Shahani heads the Godrej India Culture Lab, described as "an experimental ideas space in Mumbai at the intersection of academia, business and creative industries".

Honey Singh tries to emulate Pran in 'The Xpose'
'Revolver Rani' is total pulp: Kangana
apper-composer Yo Yo Honey Singh, who is making his acting debut with the film "The Xpose", says he has a small negative role in the movie and that he has tried to copy legendary actor Pran in it. "My role in this film is like a cameo, I am coming as a debutant actor. It's a very short role with only three to four scenes and it is a negative character," the 29year-old said here at the Miss India 2014 contest. "This film is based in the 1960s and I love the way Pran-ji used to act. So I have tried to do what he did," he said. Honey Singh says acting is the toughest of all performing arts. "I think acting is the most difficult one among all the performing arts. Writing songs, making music and singing is important to me and I do all three," he said. He wanted to have a brush with acting. "You play someone you are not...So I wanted to learn it. Anant Mahadevan is a senior actor and filmmaker and Himesh (Reshammiya) asked me if I would do a small role and I said yes," Honey Singh said. The movie will hit theaters May 23.
Singer Honey Singh


ctress Kangana Ranaut decided that a film like says her next movie 'Revolver Rani' which is being "Revolver Rani" has the made on small scale flavour of a pulp fiction novel by doesn't need a Hindi writer Ved Prakash promotion of Sharma. Talking about the eight weeks. I movie, Kangana said: "This is think it's been a actually a character of a neurotconscious deciic and the woman who we are sion to progoing to see and the film that mote the film we are going to see is very in two to exciting just like Ved Prakash three weeks Sharma's novels that you find only," said on railway stations. That's the Kangana. kind of treatment the film is carrying." "It's very exciting. Its total pulp. The woman is negative, brutal and very exciting," added the star of latest hit "Queen". "Revolver Rani" is releasing April 25 and its promotions have not started yet. Kangana says it is a conscious decision to go low on promotions. "We have Actor Kangana Ranaut in a scene from consciously 'Revolver Rani'

Realize power of your vote: Nawazuddin
hen methodical Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui interacted with people in four Indian states for his new role of a TV reporter in a news channel, he was shocked to see that many don't realize the power of the vote and discovered why "development" is just another word in politicians' dictionary. The "Gangs of Wasseypur" actor was in the office of Focus News Network in Noida, in the NCR region, that has roped him for its "Kehta Hai India with Nawazuddin Siddiqui" election special series that will go on the air from April 12 at 9 p.m. Making his small screen debut with the show, the 39-year-old


actor traveled to Patna, Lucknow, Varanasi and Jaipur where he interacted with the locals: from rickshaw pullers to paanwaalas, and from students to shopkeepers - and got a sense of their outlook towards the general elections and governance. He will be shooting for the last episode in the capital April 11. "It was sad to see that there are many people who have no idea why their vote is important.


April 12-18, 2014



ctor-producer Akshay Kumar, who joined Bollywood in the early 1990s, feels the current young generation of stars is so talented that they don't need help from anyone in the film industry. He was present at the trailer launch of his production "Fugly", which features fresh faces like Mohit Marwah and Kiara Advani. When Akshay was asked about supporting the newcomers and providing a platform to them, he said: "I don't think today newcomers need our support. When we came in the industry as newcomers, we used to need the support but they don't need it, they are so fit, so good." The 46-year-old is amazed at the immense amount of talent the youngsters have. "They are mentally so balanced. I think, professionally they are much better than all of us," said the actor, who made his debut with the 1991 film "Saugandh". "They are technology savy. They know what they want and what not. They don't need to be taught. They have immense knowledge. Hence, I don't think they need anybody's support," he added. Akshay, known for action movies like "Khiladi" and "Mohra", also likes the work done by younger actors like Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.

Yesteryear's actor Waheeda Rehman

Current generation has shorter screen life: Waheeda

Actor-producer Akshay Kumar


Behind-the-scenes: Anupam on film on de Niro


eteran Indian actor Anupam Kher says his directorial "I Went Shopping For Robert de Niro" is a tribute to the Hollywood star, who has "something else" about his talent. In an extensive interview, Anupam Kher spoke of what went behind creating the film on his "Silver Linings Playbook" co-star, and his hopes for its release. Excerpts: Q. Your film 'I Went Shopping For Robert de Niro' is being premiered at the the IIFA this year. Why have you directed a film on de Niro? A. To me, quite simply, he is the best actor in the world. Which is not to say that I don’t respect other actors. There are many brilliant actors, including our own Dilip Kumar, but Robert de Niro is something else. Luckily. I got to know Robert during the shooting of 'Silver Linings Playbook'. He readily agreed to let me make this film. Q. You’ve made the film in a very unique format. A. Yes, I’ve made the film as short feature-film. That means the running time has to be less than 40 minutes. But it’s a feature film and not a documen-

tary on de Niro. It’s actually a tribute from our acting school to the greatest actor alive. It’s subtle tribute, not gushy and in-your-face. Q. You asked Shivangi to buy a gift for de Niro? A. Yes. She had asked me what she could get. I told her to get something that he likes. Shivangi searched on the internet to know more about de Niro’s likes and dislikes. Veteran Indian actor Anupam Kher is directing 'I They found nothing Went Shopping For Robert de Niro' about him on his personal life. There were only the details of de Niro affects the lives of these two his professional life. There is nothing girls while remaining completely oblivon his personal likes and dislikes any- ious of the impact he has made on these anonymous lives of two girls on the where. Q. That’s quite amazing. Is that streets of Mumbai. Q. Was it easy getting de Niro’s how the film was born? A. Yes. When I returned to India, permission? A. Luckily for me, we bonded when Shivangi came to me with a script about two girls who are at the crossroads of we worked together. When I asked him their lives had to go shopping for a gift if we can use his name, he readily gave for the greatest actor in the world, and his consent. We showed him the film how the experience changed their lives. recently. He has been very generous It is a fascinating story of how Robert to us.

esteryear screen goddess Waheeda Rehman marvels at the superior current film-making techniques and praises the "smart and focused" young generation, but says that the present lot has "a shorter life" on the screen as compared to those of her time. The 76-year-old, who ruled the screen during the 1950s and 1960s and has been part of filmdom for about six decades, praises the change. "They are improving technically, subjectwise, performance wise.... I must say that the present generation is very smart and focused, hard working, and they know exactly what they want," Waheeda said.. Asked to draw a comparison between old timers and new age actors, Waheeda, the star of all time Bollywood classics like "Solvaa Saal", "Pyasa", "Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam", "Bees Saal Baad' and "Guide", said: "I can talk about myself. I know I was successful, I was liked and loved and respected; so I was happy with that. "But today there is much more. The present generation has got a much shorter (screen) life than what we had. There is always somebody standing in queue mainly because of the (influx of) models and beauty contests. "Who will take whose place, they don't know and this must be running at the back of their mind. They have become more insecure and it is more challenging." Quite akin to her on-screen persona, Waheeda looked as graceful as ever in a cream orange printed silk sari, and listened to the questions patiently and answered them uncomplainingly. She is all praise for women-centric cinema that is translating into big bucks at the ticket window.


April 12-18, 2014


Just over a year old, the high-end Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa in Gulmarg has got the buzz and is flooded with bookings even as Kashmir this season hopes to better the 1.1 million tourists record of 2013. By Sheikh Qayoom Gulmarg: As this world-famous resort prepares to host a record number of tourists this year, Gulmarg's only 5-star luxury property, the Khyber, claims it is now an internationally-established brand. Priding itself on two prestigious citations within just 15 months of throwing its doors open for high-end tourists, The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa of the Pinnacle Resorts was conferred a Special Jury Award Indian Hotel Debut of the Year by Outlook Traveller - and the Best Boutique Hotel in India by Travel Leisure India and South Asia at its India's Best Awards last year. The luxury hotel was launched in December 2012 when skeptics said Gulmarg might not be the best place for such a property as Kashmir's tourism mostly remains limited to four to five months of the year. This was just another reason in addition to the outbreak of violence in 1990s that has plagued Kashmir's tourism for over 20 years. The resort was completely sold out right from its beginning and Gilles Moutounet, Country Head (India) for L'occitane, said: "The resort has also put Gulmarg on the world map, bringing the celebrated traditions of Provence and Mediterranean well-being to Gulmarg through its unique treatments and products." (The internationally recognized brand L'occitane offers luxurious and holistic spa treatments inspired by French traditions and rituals.) "We are very excited about the launch of The Khyber Spa, which will certainly be a new landmark for the resort and L'occitane Spas. For brand L'occitane, it is a new, important milestone in the development of our footprint on the Indian sub-continent, which goes parallel to the development of our retail network," Moutounet said. Umar Tramboo, the local businessman who envisioned the opening of a super-class luxury resort in Gulmarg, seems to be a highlysatisfied man. "The Khyber Spa is a fusion of Indian and Mediterranean well-being. In order to preserve the beauty and natural environment, the products used are made of natural materials with traceable origins. In addition, features like an in-house laundry and minimalistic use of utilities ensures the most hygienic and eco-friendly experience", Tramboo pointed out. Situated 8,825 feet above the sea level in the midst of an endless expanse of pine trees, overlooked by snow-clad peaks of the Affarwat mountain with its magnificent ski slopes and a stone's throw from the world's highest cable car project, the Khyber resort is spread over seven acres of land. "The awe-inspiring location of the resort, combined with the unfolding drama of Gulmarg's changing seasons, has been tempting guests to return again and again," the management claimed. The fact that even before this year's tourist season gets going, the resort is already flooded with bookings proves one simple fact: Gulmarg's potential as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations is still not fully explored. More than 1.1 million tourists, including domestic and foreign, visited the Valley last year. Tourist department officials say they are expecting the number to increase this year. The other major tourist destinations in the Valley, including south Kashmir's Pahalgam and north Kashmir's Sonamarg hill stations, are also looking forward to their share of visitors this year. "We survive on tourism and how much its absence has caused us and our families during the years when Kashmir remained in the throes of violence cannot be imagined by anybody else," said a hotelier in snow-bound Sonamarg.

By Rahul Vaishnavi

Timeless Vienna a feast for the senses
the fact that the city has a vibrant culture of street musicians. It's common to see them playing instruments like the violin and guitar in the market squares every evening. The posh first district in the old city is the most sought after address and is thronged by tourists and locals alike. It is a shopper's paradise with boutiques of all major international brands while the winding cobble stoned streets add to the romance of a long-lost empire. But there's no mad rush of shoppers or club hoppers at night and instead, a sense of calm prevails in the popular market places, where the shops usually down shutters by 7 p.m. Among the popular markets of the city are Naschmarkt, the city's largest, which offers a mix of Viennese and international specialties. A flea market blossoms every Saturday, while for groceries, spices and cheeses from across the globe, the Rochusmarkt is the place to head to. From glitzy fashion brands to second-hand goods at a flea market, the shoppers are spoilt for choices. The many cafes and restaurants that remain open till late keep the atmosphere alive and a major contribution comes from the street musicians. The hot apple strudel served with either whipped cream or vanilla sauce and the sacher torte are a delight for those with a sweet tooth. The amalgamation of history, music and good food that Vienna offers is, indeed, a feast for the senses.

Vienna: Sitting in one of the many street cafes, sipping hot espresso in between bites of a sacher torte (Viennese chocolate cake) while listening to a violin being played in the background is perhaps the perfect way to spend an evening in surreal Vienna, which takes pride in its laid-back culture. The historically-rich capital of Austria is one of the country's nine federal states and is home to around 1.8 million people and boasts of palaces, monuments, cathedrals, parks and vineyards. It's a city where Gothic, Neo-Gothic and Baroque-styled churches and houses stand tall besides contemporary glass-tinted shops and buildings. Every corner provides a photo opportunity. Vienna also boasts of worldrenowned museums and art collections, one of them being the Kunsthistorisches Museum that houses the world's largest collection of paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Flemish Renaissance painter and printmaker known for his landscapes. The other renowned museums are the Belvedere and the Leopold in the MuseumsQuartier. A stroll around the city is akin to journey back in time to the city's imperial past. The highlight, of course, is the Ringtrasse, a circular boulevard of over 5km that was constructed in place of the old city walls that were razed for expansion by emperor Franz Joseph in 1857. The ring has grand buildings and manicured

The Vienna skyline is dominated by St Stephen’s Church spires and Karlskirche, the green domed baroque church. gardens on either side. A leisure walk is a must once you've treated yourself to one of the cafes or built an appetite. Also known as the 'City of Music' Vienna has 50 theatres, including four opera houses, and once hosted renowned composers such as Wolfgang Amadeue Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, to name just two. The influence of such legendary musicians is evident from


April 12-18, 2014


What can be done to make NRIs vote in Lok Sabha polls, asks SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court asked the central government and the Election Commission to respond with what steps they can take to ensure that NRIs who are registered as voters can exercise their franchise from where ever they are in the ongoing elections to elect 16th Lok Sabha. A bench of Justice K.S.Radhakrishnan and Justice N.V.Ramana, while brushing aside the Election Commission's plea that it be given time till August to take a call on the plea, asked both to positively say by Friday what can be done to ensure registered NRI voters to exercise their franchise. At the outset of the hearing, senior counsel Meenakshi Arora, appearing for Election Commission, expressed its inability to accommodate the NRI voters as except for last two phases of the nine phase elections, the voters list has been frozen. Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for NRI petitioner Shamsheer V.P., said that there were arrangements for the Indian staff posted in diplomatic missions to cast their votes and the same facilities could be extended to NRI voters who are registered as voters in India. Arora however said that there were exceptions carved in the Representation of the People Act for such category of people to cast their votes, thereby indicating that if NRIs had to be accommodated under this category, then it had to be expanded which required amendment to the act. Arora told the court that Election Commission will set up a committee to examine this issue and they are already exploring the possibility of NRIs exercising their franchise through electronic voting through internet. She sought to assure the court that NRIs would be able to vote in any election that may follow the Lok Sabha polls be it election to a state assembly. Faced with a stiff resistance by the Election Commission, Rohtagi told the court that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his address at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, had said that they want Indians abroad to have a say in the governance of the country. The court also dismissed on the grounds of cost the submission that registered NRIs could travel to their constituencies to exercise their voting rights. However, the court told petitioner Shamsheer V.P., who is settled in the United Arab Emirates, that he should have come earlier instead of knocking the doors of the top court at the eleventh hour. Appearing for the central government, Additional Solicitor General K.V.Vishwanathan told the court that Election Commission could at least considering extending the voting rights to the NRIs registered as voters. The court was hearing a PIL petition by Shamsheer seeking direction to the central government and the Election Commission that NRIs who are registered voters should be allowed to cast their votes even from their foreign locations.

British Sikhs urged to boycott Downing Street reception
The move is to protest UK's alleged support to Indira Gandhi during Operation Bluestar
London: Sikh groups in Britain have urged the community to boycott the annual Downing Street Baisakhi reception by the British prime minister this month to protest against the findings of the government's probe into Operation Bluestar in Amritsar city's Golden Temple in 1984. The Network of Sikh Organizations (NSO), a Sikh body that links 130 UK gurdwaras and other UK Sikh organizations, has urged the Sikhs in Britain to shun the Baisakhi celebrations, marking the Sikh New Year, at 10 Downing Street this year, The Huffington Post reported Monday. The British government under Prime Minister David Cameron had launched an investigation in February this year, into alleged assistance by a British officer to Indian authorities during Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple in 1984. The report found that the nature of the British assistance was purely advisory, limited and provided to the Indian government at an early stage. The NSO, headed by Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon, described the British government's review of Operation Bluestar as "deeply hurtful to Sikhs" and insensitive to others concerned with human rights. The Sikh Federation UK, a political group, claimed that the list of invitees to the function had been "thinned out" over the issue. The federation has been canvassing support for "an independent inquiry into the full extent of the UK's involvement", while claiming the support of 120 British politicians in the matter. Earlier in February this year, the Sikh Federation UK had warned the Conservative Party candidates of boycott by significant Sikh voters in next year's general elections unless Cameron agreed to a large-scale probe into Britain's role in Operation Bluestar which left more than 1,000 people dead.

Canada bizman Bob Dhillon acquires Archie Panjabi to star Shrien Dewani extradited, sent to psychiatric hospital in South Africa Maharaja Ranjit Singh's sword in action thriller
Toronto: Calgarylia to Hong Kong," he based real estate develsaid. oper Bob Dhillon, re"We were told on portedly the first Sikh April 3rd that I was billionaire in Canada, is the successful bidder elated as he has acon this amazing piece quired a piece of Sikh of history." history for the first time Dhillon, president in Canada -- which is a of Mainstreet Equity 33.5-inch long curved Corporation with real Bob Dhillon sword of Maharaja estate holdings of Ranjit Singh (1799-1849). over a billion dollars, wouldn't reveal It was sold by London-based auc- the price he paid in acquiring the tion house Mullock April 3. Though sword "but it is a substantial amount on the official receipt the price is not I paid." indicated, the auctioneers have auHe repeatedly said was "absolutely thenticated it. elated" as Maharaja Ranjit Singh was "Initially there were over 700 bid- the greatest ruler that Punjab ever ders from all over the world," ex- had. "He was the founder of the Sikh plains Dhillon in an interview. empire (1799-1849). After the em"Then April 2 there was a private pire was conquered by the British, auction with a sealed bid process. most Sikh artefacts remained in the The reason for the sealed bid was hands of private collectors or musethat a lot of the bidders wanted to re- ums in Britain. I am humbled that afmain anonymous; also the final bid ter 165 years, my family can help our amount was to remain private. Close community once again become the to 175 bidders were international, custodian of our own history," from Punjab to New York to Mongo- Dhillon said. London: British actress of Indian origin, Archie Panjabi, best known for her role in “The Good Wife”, has been cast in the upcoming disaster movie “San Andreas”. The action thriller, slated for a 2015 release, is British actress to be directed by Archie Panjabi Brad Peyton and will see Panjabi playing a reporter. Panjabi made her film debut in the hit British film “East Is East” in 1999 and went on to star in international blockbusters like “Bend It Like Beckham” in 2002. In 2010, she bagged the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role in “The Good Wife” at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards in London. Directed by Brad Peyton, “San Andreas” stars Dwayne Johnson in the lead role as a man who must rescue his daughter when the ground in California starts shaking.

London: An Indianorigin businessman from Britain has been remanded in a psychiatric hospital in South Africa after appearing in court Tuesday on charges of murdering his wife on their honeymoon trip to Cape Town in 2010. Shrien Dewani, 33, of Bristol city ap- Shrien Dewani is accused of peared at the Western ordering murder of his wife Anni while on honeymoon Cape High Court in Cape Town Tuesday, after being extradited from Britain Monday night after a three-year legal battle. He is accused of ordering the murder of his wife, 28-year-old Anni Dewani, who was shot on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010, BBC reported. Dewani landed in Cape Town in a private plane early Tuesday. On being taken to the court directly for the prosecution, the defence agreed that Dewani should be remanded in Valkenberg psychiatric hospital, Cape Town, until the next hearing May 12. Dewani has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. He was detained in Britain under the Mental Health Act after being diagnosed with severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.


April 12-18, 2014


Malala scholarship program approved by US panel
Islamabad: A Congressional panel approved a proposal to increase the number of US scholarships available to women in Pakistan under the Malala Yousafzai Act, media reported. The legislation named after Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai was voted by the full House of Representatives during consideration of t h e measure by t h e House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington. "I proudly voted for the proposed legislation," said Congresswoman Grace Meng, a New York Democrat who is also a co-sponsor of the Malala Yousafzai Act. The legislation seeks to increase the number of college scholarships for economically disadvantaged students from rural areas of Pakistan and aims to award 50 percent of them to females. "I am extremely pleased to support this important programme and I look forward to the legislation being passed soon by the House," said Representative Meng. "Everybody should have the opportunity to pursue a college education free from the fear of discrimination and violence, and this programme will help many students from Pakistan, especially Pakistani women, achieve that critical goal," she added. The scholarships are administered by the US Agency for International Development through the Merit and NeedsBased Scholarship Programme. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teen-ager from the Swat Valley, was shot in the head by the Taliban for opposing the Taliban's ban on education for females. After her recovery, she became an activist for women's education.
Pakistan's education activist Malala Yousafzai

Nepal preparing to form transitional justice mechanisms
Kathmandu: At a time when Nepal is all set to start drafting a constitution in right earnest, settlement of criminal cases of the Maoist insurgency period has emerged as a challenging task for the political parties, leaders said. The political parties in principle agree to form a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission on Enforced Disappearance (CED) but they are divided over the contents. TRC and CED are regarded as transitional justice mechanisms. The ministry of justice is drafting separate bills for TRC and CED but the United Communist Party of NepalMaoist (UCPN-M), a major stakeholder in the peace process, has objected to the government's unilateral move, warning that it would hit the streets if the government went ahead. The Maoist party, a signatory to the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), which envisaged forming such a commission, is saying that the government has not consulted all the parties while drafting the TRC bill. After the Maoists' objection, political parties formed a crossparty committee to prepare the draft of bills and present them to parliament by Wednesday. But the parties are still divided over the contents of TRC.

Sri Lanka refuses to cooperate with international probe
Colombo: The Sri Lankan government refused to cooperate with an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses in the country. External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said the government will not allow international investigators to visit Sri Lanka to conduct a probe, Xinhua reported. Peiris told reporters in Colombo that an international investigation cannot take place on Sri Lankan soil without the cooperation of the government. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva had recently passed a resolution calling for an international investigation into the war in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tiger rebels fought a 30-year civil war before the rebels were defeated in May 2009. Human rights groups and some Western countries pushed for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the final stages of the war. Sri Lanka, however, rejected an international probe and instead appointed a local commission to probe the allegations. The UNHRC had last month adopted the US-sponsored resolution which claimed that the domestic investigations fell short of expectations. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the government to cooperate with an international probe. However, Sri Lanka's strongest allies China and Russia refused to back Pillay's call while India also felt an international probe was unacceptable. A formal request for cooperation has not yet been put forward, but if the government refuses to corporate then the Pillay's office will conduct the investigations from outside Sri Lanka, which her office says is possible based on similar investigations carried out on other countries in the past.

Next round of Voting ends in Afghanistan polls Pak-Taliban talks being planned
Islamabad: Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has convened a joint meeting between the peace talks committees of the government and the Tehreek-iTaliban Pakistan (TTP). The meeting will discuss matters related to the next phase of direct talks with the Taliban, The News International reported. The Pakistan government had announced Thursday that it had released 19 noncombatant Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture for bolstering the peace process. The TTP said that it was important for the government to implement the demands made by the militant group in order for them to also honour the government's wishes. The TTP has extended the month-long ceasefire, which had ended March 31, till April 10.The first round of direct talks between the Pakistan government and the TTP leadership concluded March 26.
The preliminary results will come out on April 24 and the final result will be announced in mid May.

Kabul: Voting in Afghanistan's presidential and provincial council elections concluded and counting of ballots has begun, a senior election official of the country said. The Afghan election official said that voting was relatively peaceful despite some attacks and complaints. Despite the attacks and rainy weather, election officials said that they were hopeful that the turnout was huge and the exact voter turnout would be determined after the counting process was completed. They said that the IEC has taken note of allegations of fraud and these were being looked into. The Taliban that have been fighting the government have vowed to disrupt the election process. The militants launched several attacks in 12 of the country's 34 provinces, killing at least one person and injuring scores of others. But the militants failed to interrupt polling, the officials said. IEC Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani said that polling time was extended by an hour to help

facilitate people to cast their votes. The move came as many voters complained in Kabul, western Herat province and several other centres in different places about shortage of ballot papers and other election material. "I have visited three election centres in western Kabul. But still I failed to vote. I put myself in danger on a rainy day but I could not cast my vote. I am afraid of losing my right of franchise during this election," Kabul resident Mohammad Naqib told Xinhua. Candidate agents and voters had earlier demanded that the IEC extend the voting time and requested early shifting of ballot papers so that the people could cast their votes. The leading presidential candidates are former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zulmai Rassoul as well as former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. Presidential election complaint period is from April 7 to April 27. The preliminary results will come out on April 24 and the final result will be announced in mid May.


April 12-18, 2014


Iran's selection of new UN envoy not viable: US
Washington: The US said that it has told the Iranian government about its "not viable" selection of a new UN ambassador for his alleged involvement in holding 52 Americans hostage in 1979. "The US government has informed the government of Iran that this potential selection is not viable," Xinhua quoted White House spokesperson Jay Carney as saying in a regular news briefing. The US Senate passed a legislation denying entry of Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran's proposed new UN ambassador, on the grounds that he was a member of a militant group that seized the US embassy in Tehran Nov 4, 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. A similar measure is pending in the House of Representatives. If passed by both chambers, the Bill will be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature into law. "We share the Senate's concerns regarding this case and find the nomination is extremely troubling," Carney said. Iran defended Aboutalebi, a 56-year-old veteran diplomat, who served as the country's ambassador to Australia, the European Union, Belgium and Italy.

US Secretary of State John Kerry

Kerry blames Russia for creating chaos in Ukraine
Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Russian agents of stirring unrest in eastern Ukraine that could be used as a pretext for military intervention. "What we see from Russia is an illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrived crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary engaged in this initiative," Xinhua quoted Kerry telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Pro-Russia activists seized several government buildings in eastern Ukraine Sunday, demanding closer ties with Moscow and a referendum to give more powers to local authorities. The Ukrainian parliament approved a bill against separatism Tuesday in a bid to end violent proRussian rallies in the country 's east regions. "Russia's clear and unmistakable involvement in destabilising and engaging in separatist activities in the east of Ukraine is more than deeply disturbing," Kerry said. "No one is fooled by what could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention, just as we saw in Crimea," the top US diplomat said. Russia has rejected the accusation that it is involved in fomenting chaos in eastern Ukraine. While reiterating that the US and its allies prefer a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Kerry expressed their willingness to put in effect tough new sanctions on the Russian economy, including on key sectors such as energy, banking and mining. "It doesn't have to be this way. But it will be this way if Russia continues down this provocative path," he said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk

Ukrainian PM accuses Russia of fomenting separatist sentiment
Kiev: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has accused Russia of stirring up a fresh wave of unrest by fomenting separatist sentiment in eastern Ukraine. "There is a scenario written by the Russian Federation, which is aimed at dismemberment and destruction of Ukraine," Yatsenyuk told an urgent cabinet meeting. Pro-Russia activists seized several government buildings in eastern Ukraine Sunday, demanding closer ties with Moscow and a referendum to give more powers to local authorities, Xinhua reported. Yatsenyuk said the activists were seeking to destabilise the situation in the area, which would lead to an appeal for Moscow's help and intervention to protect Russian-speaking citizens. Moscow had not yet pulled back troops from the joint border, Yatsenyuk said, adding that Russian troops were deployed 30 km away from Ukraine's eastern borders. The unrest marked a fresh wave of pro-Russian rallies in Ukraine following the demonstrations in Crimea in early March, when Kremlin-friendly Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty March 18 for Crimea to become part of Russia.

Prince William on three-week tour with wife, son
London: Britain's Prince William began a three-week tour to New Zealand and Australia with wife Kate Middleton and son Prince George. The royals stepped off their special aircraft at the Military Terminal at Wellington Airport morning, to begin their highly anticipated trip in New Zealand and Australia, reports The Duchess of Cambridge carried the adorable eightmonth-old on her hip and the Duke of Cambridge waved as the family disembarked from the Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft. The 32-year-old stunned in a Catherine Walker red coat with metallic buttons teamed with a silver fern diamond and platinum brooch borrowed from Queen Elizabeth II, a scarlet Gina Foster pill box hat and black pumps. William sported a dark suit with a red and blue patterned tie while their son sported a cream sweater along with white shorts and little booties. This is the family's first official event as well as George's first public appearance since his royal christening. Iranian women on Facebook want to shun veil: Study London: Use of social media can influence attitudes and behaviours to a greater extent, even empower women too. According to a promising research, Iranian women who use Facebook may be willing to display pictures of themselves without a veil. "Among women in Iran, the duration and amount of daily Facebook activity is associated with their desire to wear a traditional head-covering and their willingness to put photos without a veil,” explained Sean Young from David Geffen school of medicine, University of

Can robots find remains of missing Flight 370?
New York: Robots that can operate under water would now be deployed to search wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 for signs deep inside the ocean, according to experts. To look for the plane, the robotic vehicles would use sonar because the water is much too deep to see at those depths. Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect objects on or under the surface of the water, such as other vessels. Such robots - called Autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs - located the Air France Flight 447 two years after it crashed in the southern Atlantic Ocean in 2011. The Australian search vessel looking for the plane has an AUV onboard. “The AUV, made by Bostonbased Bluefin Robotics Corporation and operated by Phoenix International, would probably be deployed soon,” David Gallo, director of special projects at The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), was quoted as saying. The Beijing-bound flight disappeared 94 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 8. The plane's last-known location suggests it likely crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, to the west of Australia. The Bluefin submersible is rated for a depth of only about 4,500 metres. “The Indian Ocean's surface conditions would be an added challenge for any autonomous underwater vehicle launch and recovery, and possibly for towed sonar systems,” Mike Purcell, WHOI's principal engineer, said in a statement.

Britain's Prince William with wife Kate Middleton and son Prince George.

California. Young, along with Abbas Shakiba from University of Shahid Chamran in Iran and Mohammad Sadegh Montazeri from University of Semnan, Iran, did a survey of Iranian women and the use of social media. They found significant relationships between several factors and how likely the Iranian women surveyed were to cover themselves with a veil and whether they would post unveiled photos on Facebook. “This study is an important foray into the impact technology and social media is having on cultural and religious norms,” explained Brenda K. Wiederhold, editorin-chief of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking that published the study. The article was titled "The Influence of Social Networking Technologies on Female Religious VeilWearing Behaviour in Iran”.


April 12-18, 2014


Ballots ring in cash for Indian tourism
New Delhi: Election in the world's largest democracy is ringing in cash for India's tourism trade as tour operators and hoteliers are promoting the new theme-based holiday package. Advertised as the 'Kumbh Mela' of elections, tour operators, online sales agents, speciality and niche guide-touring firms are also cashing in on the five-week-long election polling exercise. "Election tourism is new a phenomenon which is fast gaining popularity. It is being marketed as an additional attraction to those who are already planning a trip or made their bookings for holidays in India," Sharat Dhall, president,, said. "As it is a major world event and international attention is focussed on it, tourists have shown interest in extending their stay by adding major election battleground states and cities like Varanasi in their itinerary." According to Dhall, the addition of a few extra days' stay can be managed within Rs.10,000Rs.20,000 with high end facilities, and for as low as a couple of thousand rupees, to experience election season in places like Agra, Lucknow and Varanasi. "Though election tourism is at a very initial stage it might generate an additional revenue of two-five percentage points in revenue in this elections." Ahmedabad-based firm Election Tourism India, which started to sell niche packages during Gujarat assembly polls in 2012, is expecting to attract around 2,000 foreigners to come for the 2014 general elections. The package which is spread across seven days and six nights with a cost of $1,200 (Rs.75,000) without airfare, will take tourists to political rallies and show them local attractions at the same time. "Nearly around 800 foreigners have confirmed their participation to come to India so far. They belong to Germany, France, the UK, Bahrain, Dubai, Egypt and China," Manish Sharma of Election Tourism India told IANS from Ahmedabad. "We will be taking these tourists to political rallies, showing them how five-six lakh (500,000600,000) people congregate in these places and how rallies are taken out in cities," Sharma said adding that his company has tied up with the BJP to showcase its rallies in Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi and Jaipur.

Sun Pharma to buy Ranbaxy for $4 billion
New Delhi: India's largest drugmaker by market capitalisation Sun Pharma will buy out Japan's Daiichi-controlled Ranbaxy Laboratories for $4 billion in an all-share deal, the two companies said. The combined entity will create the world's fifth largest speciality generic pharma company. According to a joint statement issued by the two companies, Sun Pharma will acquire 100 percent of Ranbaxy in an all-stock transaction. Ranbaxy is 63.4 percent owned by Japan's Daiichi Sankyo. Under these agreements, shareholders of Ranbaxy, India's biggest drugmaker by sales, will receive 0.8 share of Sun Pharma for each share of Ranbaxy. This exchange ratio represents an implied value of Rs.457 for each Ranbaxy share, a premium of 18 percent to Ranbaxy’s 30day volume-weighted average share price and a premium of 24.3 percent to Ranbaxy’s 60-day volume-weighted average share price, in each case, as of the close

The combined entity will create the world's fifth largest speciality generic pharma company.

of business April 4, 2014. “Ranbaxy has a significant presence in the Indian pharma market and in the US where it offers a broad portfolio of ANDAs and first-to-file opportunities. In highgrowth emerging markets, it provides a strong platform which is highly complementary to Sun Pharma’s strengths,” said Dilip Shanghvi, managing director of Sun Pharma.

“We see tremendous growth opportunities and are excited with the prospects to create lasting value for both our shareholders through a successful combination of our franchises,” Shanghvi added. The combination of Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy creates the fifth-largest speciality generics company in the world and the largest pharmaceutical company in India.

Indian travelers to US to grow 54 percent by 2018
Washington: India, the eleventh top country of origin of international travellers to the US, is forecast to send as many as 54 per cent more visitors during the next five years. The US can expect four percent average annual growth in tourism during the next five years with a record 72.2 million foreign travellers projected to visit in 2014 alone, US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said releasing the Spring 2014 Forecast for International Travel. "A record number of international visitors continue to choose the United States as their travel destination, which is contributing to our economic

India's investment in renewable energy dips: US Report
New York: Even as China invested more in renewable energy than the whole of Europe in 2013, India's investment in renewable energy went down 15 percent to $6 billion (Rs.360.48 billion) last year, according to a latest Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014 report. Globally, renewable energy's share of electricity generation continued its steady climb last year despite a 14 percent drop in investments to $214.4 billion. At $56 billion (Rs.3,364.48 billion), the Chinese total was down six percent. Globally, the total investment in renewable power and fuels (excluding large hydro-electric projects) fell

The US can expect four percent average annual growth in tourism during the next five years

India's investment in renewable energy went down 15 percent to $6 billion (Rs.360.48 billion)

growth and supporting millions of jobs," Pritzker said. All top-20 visitor origin countries are forecast to grow from 2013 through 2018. Countries with the

largest total growth percentages are China (139 percent), Colombia (56 percent), India (54 percent), Taiwan (52 percent), Brazil (50 percent), and Argentina (48 percent).

for the second year running in 2013, reaching $214 billion (Rs.12,857.12 billion) worldwide - some 14 percent lower than in 2012, the report added. The investment drop of $35.1 billion (Rs.2,108.81

billion) was partly due to the falling cost of solar photovoltaic systems. However, renewable energy's share of world electricity generation continued its steady climb last year.


April 12-18, 2014


SC to hear BCCI plea on Dhoni, Srinivasan
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said that it will hear, April 11, the plea by the BCCI seeking the transcript of depositions by team India captain M.S.Dhoni, N. Srinivasan and chief IPL operator Sundar Raman before the Mukul Mudgal committee probing allegations of betting and spot fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL). A bench headed by Justice A.K.Patnaik said that it would hear plea by the BCCI April 11 as senior counsel C.A.Sundaram said that the cricketing body needed the transcript of the audio tapes of the deposition before the hearing of the matter by the court on April 16. The senior counsel told the court that a lot of things are being stated in the media on this count. The Mudgal Committee has submitted the details of the statements in a sealed cover to the apex

Dhoni named captain of ICC World T20 team
Dhaka: The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the men's team of the tournament of the ICC World Twenty20 with India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni being named the captain. The team includes four players from India, two from both South Africa and West Indies, and one representative each from Australia, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. Chosen by a select group of experts, the team was aimed at being suited for Bangladesh conditions, on the basis of performances in the tournament only. Statistics were used but were not the sole basis for selections. Selection panel chairman and member ICC Match Referees, David Boon, said: "It was a very difficult task for the panel to pick a team of 11 from the exciting players who featured in this tournament. "As the selection criteria for the Team of the Tournament are the performances of players in the conditions during the ICC World Twenty20 2014, some of the best players in world cricket had to be left out of the team." The panel faced a difficult choice for a number of positions, and players who were considered but who did not ultimately make the team included India's Amit Mishra, Pakistan's Ahmed Shehzad, the South Africa duo of AB de Villiers and Imran Tahir, Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath, and West Indies' Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine.

Former BCCI head N. Srinivasan

court and that has not been made public. Appointing legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar as its interim president on March 28, in place of incumbent N. Srinivasan who is under cloud, the apex court had said that it would hold further hearing on the Mudgal Committee report and its recommendations on April 16. While appointing Gavaskar as interim presi-

dent of the BCCI, the bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifullahad said that Gavaskar would only be in charge of the seventh edition of the IPL starting April 16 in the UAE. The court entrusted the senior moist vice-president of BCCI Shivlal Yadav to oversee the rest of the work of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Sindhu advances, Saina out of Singapore Open
Sri Lankan players with World T20 trophy

Sri Lanka win World T20 title
Mirpur (Bangladesh): Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene signed off their Twenty20 international careers guiding Sir Lanka to their maiden ICC World Twenty20 title, beating former champions India by six wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here. India couldn't stop the two Sri Lankan legends from ending their Twenty20 international careers on a high note despite heroics from Virat Kohli, who starred again with a fine 77 off 58 balls as the 2007 champions struggled to get 130 for four in 20 overs. Kohli was also adjudged Man of the Tournament. Sangakkara struck a match-winning 52 off 35 balls while Jayawardene made a run-a-ball 24 as Sri Lanka cruised to 134 for four with 13 balls to spare. Thisara Perera, 23 not out from 14 balls, finished off the match in style with a four. Sangakkara was declared Man of the Match. The two Sri Lankan stalwarts, who have played 14 years of international cricket together, were then given a grand farewell by their team mates, who carried them on their shoulders around the packed stadium. It was an otherwise clinical performance by the Sri Lankans and the win was sweet revenge for their loss to India in the 2011 World Cup ODI final in Mumbai. It was also Sri Lanka's first ICC World Cup win after a series of four losses in the finals. They lost the 2007 and the 2011 50over World Cups and the 2009 and the 2012 Twenty20 World Cups. Sri Lanka's stand-in captain Lasith Malinga was bang on target as he opted to bowl first after winning the toss. Indians were done in by their inability to rotate strike and some smart death bowling by Malinga (1/23) and Nuwan Kulasekara (1/29) as they surprisingly managed just 19 runs in the last four overs. Besides Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane (29) and Yuvraj Singh (11) were the only other Indian batsmen who could get to double figures. But it was painstaking batting by Yuvraj, who took 21 balls for his 11, that tilted the match in favour of Sri Lanka. Even skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni remained unbeaten on four runs for seven balls. Kohli, who had smashed Kulasekara for 16 runs with a four and two sixes in the 16th over, got just seven strikes in the last four overs to make matters worse for India.

P.V. Sindhu

Singapore: While eighth seed P.V. Sindhu advanced to the women's singles second round, compatriot Saina Nehwal yet again failed to perform to expected standards as the seventh seed suffered a first round loss at the $300,000 Singapore Open Super Series here Wednesday. Old nemesis Eriko Hirose of Japan got past the Indian 16-21, 21-15, 2111 in a marathon match which lasted an hour and two minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The World No.15 drubbed Saina the fourth time out of seven career meetings. Meanwhile World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu beat Indonesia's Millicent Wiranto 21-9, 1921, 22-20 in 56 minutes to advance to the pre-quarters. The teenager will next take on Japan's Shizuka Uchida

for the first time to move into the quarters. P.C.Thulasi also kept the Indian campaign alive as she edged past New Zealand's Anna Rankin 21-13, 21-16 in 26 minutes to enter the second round. However, she next faces a tough task against Chinese World No.2 and second seed Yihan Wang. Other Indians in the category Tanvi Lad and Arundhati Pantawane also suffered a similar fate as Saina's. Chinese top seed Li Xuerui beat Tanvi 21-6, 21-11 in 24 minutes while Shizuka overcame Nagpur girl Arundhati 16-21, 21-11, 21-15 in 54 minutes. Meanwhile in men's singles, Kidambi Srikanth, B. Sai Praneeth and H.S. Prannoy all proceeded to the second round.


April 12-18, 2014


In election time, books aim to form informed political opinions
By Shilpa Raina New Delhi: As the world's largest democracy gears up for the general election, political parties are literally promising the moon. Amid this extensive wooing, a few books have done honest postmortems of Indian governance, highlighted grievances of people in a perceived corrupt polity and urged citizens to ask questions to form "informed opinions" before going to vote. Even though most of the publishing houses are following their normal schedule in a year when 815 million citizens are eligible to vote during a month-long mammoth election journey that will begin April 7 and conclude May 12, some of these "election-centric-issuebased" books have hit bookshelves. They are centered around the theme of politics, corruption, game changer middle class and urban issues. There are more than a dozen books that have come out before the elections, and a few will be launched around election time. Most have one message: Forming "informed choices" before casting the invaluable ballot. Hindol Sengupta, author of "100 Things to Know and Debate Before You Vote" (HarperCollins), highlights 100 issues that our country is battling with and people of the country ought to know them before they cast their ballot. "I personally feel this is an issue-devoid election where political parties are busy taking pot shots at each other and digging each others' past. No one is actually focusing on the issues that are marring the country and economy," Sengupta said. "There are issues like air pollution, health, law and order, women safety, sanitation among many other things that should have been the priority of these leaders while campaigning. Their manifestos are jokes written for no one to read," he added. Doing a postmortem of Indian governance is Madhav Godbole in "Good Governance: (Picador India), Simon Denver's "Rogue Elephant: Harnessing the Power of India's Unruly Democracy" (Bloomsbury), and Isher Judge Ahluwalia's "Transforming Our Cities: Postcards of Change" (Harper Collins) have already hit the market in the past two months. Another book John Elliots "Implosion" (Harper Collins) explores the impact of liberalization, traces the build-up of social unrest over corruption, and exploitation of land and the poor. It also explains how democracy provides a smokescreen for much that is wrong with India. The journalist-turned-author Elliot said the need to highlight these issues in the book was to show how over many decades, India has been incapable of using resources and manpower in its favor. "India has such enormous potential with clever brainy people who are capable of all kinds of technological and entrepreneurial excellence. There are also abundant natural resources and once-respected political, legal and other systems. So India should be far more successful that it is," Elliot said. New Delhi-based Elliot has been covering India for over two decades for many newspapers, and has keenly observed the Indian political system and its shortcomings, that, at times, have left him frustrated. As he talks about "jugaad" and "inevitable chalta hai" attitude of Indians in his book, he strongly feels if people want to change the ways of the country, they should vote for the party. "If they (people) hope that the candidate will help them locally, then vote for the candidate most likely to deliver - this is the argument that Nandan Nilekani is using as a Congress candidate in Bangalore to encourage people to vote for him when Congress is bound to lose nationally," he said. "But if they want to change the way the country is run, then vote for the party," he added. And in this myriad heavy-dose political analysis, comes Shaili Chopra's "The Big Connect" (Random House) that traces the advent of social media in India and how politics and lobbying has now shifted to the virtual floor, pushing many politicians to chat with people of the country, and advertise their vision and policies freely on many social-networking sites.

Political satire

Just one of the many election-centricissue-based books that have hit the bookshelves.

Never on India's Radar" (Rupa) - a brutally honest take on problems plaguing Indian politics since Independence. "India's poor performance in governance is largely due to the democratic system of governance as practised in India," Godbole has written in the book. Godbole, who has previously written "India's Parliamentary Democracy on Trial" (Rupa) and "The Judiciary and Governance in India" (Rupa), has step-by-step talked of issues like crony capitalism, corruption, communal and ethnic violence, institutional integrity and freedom of expression, and how changes in policies can make a marked difference to governance in our country. Books like Sandip Sen's "Neta, Babu and Subsidy: Roundup 2000 to 2014" (Vitasta) , Sumantra Bose's "Transforming India"


ot just non-fiction, there is a novel too for election time in India. ‘The Candidate’ is by Toronto based journalistturned-author Anirudha Bhattacharyya. Published by Penguin India, it is a satirical book about the adventures of an inadvertent candidate contesting a Lok Sabha seat. As the blurb in the book reads: "Replete with colorful campaigns, media hullabaloo, cynical voters, goondas, chamchas and all the usual suspects, ‘The Candidate’ is a breezy and humorous story of the great Indian election tamasha."

Getting into the skin of her characters
By Our Staff Writer


n her title story, ‘Pavitra in Paris’, Vinita Kinra, a Canadian Indian writer, brilliantly records the emotional transition of a poor old untouchable Indian farmer from being apologetic for his existence to feeling liberated at the top of Eiffel Tower in Paris. Kinra powerfully describes Pavitra’s brute comportment that has spiteful people survey the savage human scornfully. Pavitra, unaffected by the hostility, tries to mediate the intersections between his home cultures and those he experienced in Paris like being let into a place of worship. She describes: He fell to his feet, weeping bitterly and praying, “O God of whites and blacks, may I be reincarnated in this very land where people touch each other without qualm; where your house is open to all who care to enter;

‘Pavitra in Paris’ is a collection of sthort stories by Canadian Indian writer Vinita Kinra (right).

and where the bane of hunger and destitution does not haunt!” Kinra effectively portrays the turmoil experienced by her characters as she delves into their thought processes. “…His (Pavitra’s) trance broke after he had stared long at the horses (on a

carousel) rotating on the same axis - round and round – without galloping away into a land of their choice. He suddenly realized that he was returning to be the horse his masters would ride, rotating ceaselessly till the end of his life. He stood still in the middle of the

road, ecstatic at his resolve to return to the dizzying heights of the (Eiffel) Tower where he had savored his first taste of liberation.” The author’s cleverness with employing this symbolism strengthens her message to the reader. ‘Pavitra in Paris’ (also the title of the book) is one of the 11 short stories. The other stories are ten captivating worlds of arranged marriages, lone journey through Thar desert, finding a groom in an open bazaar, desperation of a snake charmer, falling in love with a high school student while being his mother’s age, finding lifelong friendship with a parrot, committing suicide to teach your family a lesson, and coming face-to-face with your mother’s turbulent past during your own engagement dinner. Although the stories are specific to the South Asian experience, Kinra touches upon universal

themes such as marriage, violence against women, inequalities in class, caste and gender, love, whimsy, love and arranged marriages. She takes the reader on an emotional journey from dazzling New York to remote Indian villages with stopovers at Seattle, Vancouver, Paris, Bamiyan, Jaipur, New Delhi, Patna and Mumbai. Her prose has a hint of elegance with poetic flare. The character in “The Curse of a Nightingale” compares herself to a “blooming daffodil.” The song is brilliantly composed – “Allah created me for a reason, He made me poor for a reason, He masked my face for a reason, He gave me this voice for a reason, He makes me beg for a reason, He makes you give for a reason, Please give whatever you have For he wants me to live for a reason.”


April 12-18, 2014


Tax filing: Education credits and deductions Part II
tain conditions are met. Contributions to a QTP are also considered a gift from the contributor to the beneficiary and are eligible for the annual gift tax exclusion. You can contribute to both a QTP and a Coverdell education savings account in the same year for the same beneficiary. and fees deduction. In the preceding scenario, had Brad's income been $63,000, he would not qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit (the modified adjusted gross income limit for credit is $62,000 for Single filers). He is still eligible for the American Opportunity Credit of $2,500. He is also eligible for the tuition and fees and deduction. If he chooses the tuition and fees deduction, he could claim a $2,000 tuition and fees deduction and, if he takes the standard deduction, realize a tax savings of up to $500 ($2,000 x 25% tax bracket). As shown in these scenarios, it pays to be aware of the different rules.

By Kanwal S. Sra CPA 7th article in the series.

Higher Education Credits
The following two tax credits are available to taxpayers who pay higher education costs: The American Opportunity Credit - Available through 2017 The Lifetime Learning Credit The American Opportunity Credit is a credit of up to $2,500 for the qualified tuition and related expenses paid for each eligible student. The credit is 100% of the first $2,000 of qualified expenses plus 25% of the next $2,000 of qualified expenses paid per student. It can be claimed for the first four years of postsecondary education for each student. The student must be enrolled at least half time in a qualified program and must not have been convicted of a felony drug offense. Eligible expenses include tuition, required fees, and the cost of required books and software for courses. You do not qualify for the credit if your modified adjusted gross income is greater than $90,000 or $180,000 if married filing jointly. The American Opportunity Credit is unique in the fact that it combines both a nonrefundable and a refundable credit in one. The first 40% of the credit up to $1,000 is refundable with the balance of the credit treated as a nonrefundable credit. This unique feature allows you to receive the refundable portion of the credit as a refund if you have no remaining taxes. You may be able to claim a Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000 each year for the total qualified tuition and related expenses paid during the tax year for all eligible students who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. This credit is 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified expenses paid per tax return. Unlike the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit is not based on the student's workload and is not limited to the first two years of postsecondary education. Expenses for graduate-level degree work are eligible. You do not qualify for the credit if your income is greater than $62,000 ($124,000 if Married Filing Jointly). The Lifetime Learning Credit is a nonrefundable credit. This means that if your taxes are less than your credit, then you will lose any remaining credit amount left after you reduce your taxes to zero. Both of these credits are nonrefundable and may be reduced based on your income. You may claim the American Opportunity Credit for any of the first four years of a student's postsecondary education and claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for that same student in later tax years. You can claim the American Opportunity Credit for one child and the Lifetime Learning Credit for another student in the same tax year. College students who pay expenses using a Coverdell Education Savings Account (Coverdell ESA), a Qualified Tuition Program (QTP), or education savings bond funds may also claim an education credit if the expenses used for the credit are different expenses than those paid with distributions from these funds. You do not qualify for either credit if your filing status is Married Filing Separately. In addition, you cannot claim either the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit for a student in the same year you are claiming the tuition and fees deduction for that student. You must claim the student as a dependent to receive either education credit. If you do not claim the student as a dependent, or if someone else is eligible to claim the student as a dependent but elects not to, only the student may claim the credit. A student claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return cannot claim the credit. Claiming the American Opportunity Credit may be more beneficial than claiming the Lifetime Learning Credit, if you are eligible for both. Also, claiming one of the education credits is usually more beneficial than taking the tuition and fees deduction because a credit offsets the tax liability dollar for dollar. However, if you do not qualify for any of the education credits (for example, because of modified adjusted gross income restrictions) you may instead decide to take the tuition and fees deduction on your return. For example, Brad's filing status is Single, and he has wages of $31,000. After allowing for the standard deduction and personal exemption amount, his tax is $2,756. He is a sophomore in college and paid $10,000 in qualified tuition expenses during the year as part of a degree program. He has no other income or deductions. Brad has the choice of taking the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, or the tuition and fees deduction. He should choose whichever option gives him the biggest tax savings: If Brad takes the tuition and fees deduction, which allows a maximum deduction of $4,000, he would save $600 in taxes ($4,000 x 15% tax bracket). 
If Brad takes the Lifetime Learning Credit instead, he would save $2,000 in taxes (the maximum credit amount) because his income is below the limits. In this scenario, the credit gives you $1,400 more in savings than the tuition and fees deduction would. 
If Brad takes the American Opportunity Credit instead, he would save $2,500 in taxes (the maximum credit allowed) because his income is below the limits. In this scenario, the credit gives him $1,900 more in savings than the deduction would. The maximum allowable American Opportunity Credit is $2,500 per student. The maximum allowable Lifetime Learning Credit is $2,000 per tax return. In the preceding scenario, if Brad's education expenses had been $7,000, the American Opportunity Credit would save $1,100 more in taxes than the Lifetime Learning Credit. The American Opportunity Credit would still be $2,500, but the Lifetime Learning Credit would only be $1,400 ($7,000 expenses x 20% Lifetime Learning Credit rate). If your income level disqualifies you from using the Lifetime Learning Credit, you might still be able to take the American Opportunity Credit or the tuition

Qualified Tuition Program (QTP)


Qualified Tuition Program (QTP or Section 529 plan) is a program that allows you to prepay a student's college tuition or contribute to a higher education savings account for payment of qualified higher education expenses. Qualified expenses include books, supplies, equipment, and room and board if the student is attending at least halftime. Half-time attendance is defined by the institution. Plans can be established by a state agency or by a qualified educational institution. You are not restricted to investing in your state's plan, but contributions to your own state's plan may qualify you for certain additional tax benefits on your state tax return. You may make nondeductible contributions to a QTP for yourself or for any other beneficiary, regardless of your relationship to the beneficiary. There are no age restrictions and no income restrictions on the individuals contributing to the plan. Contributions are not tax deductible. The part of a distribution representing the amount contributed to a QTP is not included in income. Earnings distributed by a QTP are not included in income if the total distribution is used to pay qualified education expenses. This exclusion from income applies to distributions from QTPs established and maintained by private colleges and universities. Previously, only distributions from programs established by a state agency qualified for this exclusion. A 10% penalty may apply to the taxable part of the distribution. A QTP is not a custodial account; therefore, the beneficiary is not considered the owner of the account. The parent, as the account holder, is able to change the designated beneficiary at will. For example, if the current beneficiary obtains a scholarship and no longer needs the money, the account holder can assign a new beneficiary. Money remaining in the account after paying for a beneficiary's qualified expenses can be rolled into another family member's QTP account tax free if cer-

Education Savings Bond Program
You may exclude interest on qualified U. S. savings bonds from your gross income if you have paid qualified higher educational expenses during the redemption year. When calculating the amount of higher education expenses paid during the year, you may include any contribution of the bond proceeds to a Qualified Tuition Program (QTP) and any contribution to a Coverdell Education Savings Account (Coverdell ESA) as a qualified expense. You do not qualify for the exclusion if your filing status is Married Filing Separately or if your modified adjusted gross income is greater than $87,850 ($139,250 if Married Filing Jointly) in the year the bond is redeemed. The author is an eminent CPA with over 25 years of experience and having 25 offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties.

Tax filing deadlines
April 15, 2014 Federal Tax Returns Due!
Taxes must be postmarked by this date to qualify for timely filing.

October 15, 2014 Due date for those who filed an extension.who filed an extension.
Please be aware that an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay.


April 12-18, 2014


Tony Lo Bianco: More than Just a Great Actor
By Robert Golomb


ulti award winning actor Tony Lo Bianco should be an authority on the important role that a teacher can play in the life of a student. Currently starring in the critically acclaimed one man play, “The Little Flower”, Lo Bianco - whose 102 performances over four-decade movie career include major or starring roles in the films The Honey Moon Killers, The French Connection, Blood Brothers, Jesus of Nazareth and Marciano (the latter two were TV movie productions) and whose career in television includes starring in the iconic 1980s series Police Story credits his initial interest in acting to his eleventh grade English teacher in Brooklyn’s Grady Vocational High School. “It was my wonderful teacher Patricia Jacobson who provided the spark that got me to first think about a career in acting,” Lo Bianco, who has also directed and produced scores of hit movies, television shows and plays, told me when I interviewed him in his Upper West Side Manhattan apartment last week. Sitting comfortably in his grey club chair in the middle of his spacious living room, Lo Bianco, speaking softly, described how he wound up attending a school designed almost exclusively for students with mechanical interests and abilities, although he had no interest in such studies, and described how his teacher Patricia Jacobson came to play such a decisive role in his life. “It might seem strange to people today that a kid with no interest in anything having to do with mechanics wound up attending a vocational school”, said the actor. “But for me it was an easy decision to make…. Grady was just a block from my house in Brooklyn and my big brother Joey was already going there…. I come from a very close knit Italian family…. My two brothers, Joseph and John, and I loved doing things together…. So at Grady it was my big brother Joseph and I…. And although the subjects I was taking were putting me to sleep, I was still having fun while in high school…. I starred as a first baseman on the {Grady} baseball team…. And in my junior year, after baseball season ended, I went to the boxing gym in a Flatbush boys club, trained and entered the NYC Golden Gloves in 1953, I believe. Won the first fight by knockout. Lost the second by decision.” And it was at this point in his life, Lo Bianco continued, that

Tony Lo Bianco as Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in the critically acclaimed one man play, “The Little Flower”.

Mrs. Jacobson began to play a prominent role in his life and dreams. Concluding that he had no future as either a baseball player or a boxer, Lo Bianco began to listen to Mrs. Jacobson who had been telling him for a while that she believed he had natural acting ability. At her suggestion, he entered and won a class drama contest, and then entered and won a school drama contest, and finally entered and won a borough wide drama contest. “I owed this success to Mrs. Jacobson”, Lo Bianco, his voice now more animated, told me. “She selected the passages from the dramatic works I read for the competition…. She also helped supply me with the belief that I could become an actor if I worked hard and always strove for perfection.” Movie and television fans and critics have seen that dramatic perfection Mrs. Jacobson first instilled in him in high school played out on the small and large screens over the span of his long career. And so have theater goers and theater critics. In the early 1980’s, Lo Bianco won an off-Broadway Obie Award for his role as a washed up baseball pitcher in “Yanks-3, Detroit -0, top of the Seventh”; Lo Bianco then moved on, in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “View from the Bridge”, playing the character Eddie Carbone, an

Lo Bianco’s four-decade movie career include major or starring roles in The Honey Moon Killers, The French Connection, Blood Brothers, Jesus of Nazareth and Marciano. His career in television includes starring in the iconic 1980s series Police Story.

uncle fatally obsessed with his teenage niece - a role for which he won an Outer Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a Tony. Lo Bianco said that he loves performing on stage because, “There are no second takes in the theater…. There is no place for missing lines or making mistakes…. You have to get it right the first time…. It often brings

out the best in an actor.” Based on the rave reviews he has received to date, what has arguably brought out the best in Tony Lo Bianco has been his performance in the role of Republican NYC Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in “The Little Flower”. The play (which I had the pleasure to see in Manhattan’s Dicapo Theater four weeks ago) is set in Mayor La Guardia’s City Hall Office on December 31, 1945, the final day of his three terms in office. Those 12 years, 1934 - 1945, saw the middle to the end of the depression and spanned the events leading up to and the fighting and winning of World War II. In this one character production, La Guardia, as played by Lo Bianco, who also wrote, produced and directed the play, reminisces about the tragedies he endured in his life (He lost his 1 and a half year old daughter to spinal meningitis and lost his wife 6 months later to tuberculosis - he later remarried and adopted two children), details his political career leading up to his election as Mayor (He rose up through the ranks of Republican politics, moving from city alderman, to NYC attorney general to Congressman), recounts his support of President Roosevelt during the turbulent and tragic years of the depression and World War

II (He was an outspoken supporter of both Roosevelt’s New Deal economic program and the War), and lists his greatest accomplishments as mayor (Among many other achievements, he reorganized the NYC Police Department, created a merit based civil service system and led a successful fight against the rampant political corruption that had plagued NYC for half a century). “Is there a lesson from La Guardia’s leadership and the times in which he lived that can be applied to America today?” I asked. “Yes”, Lo Bianco quickly responded. “We faced terrible enemies who wanted to destroy America then, and we face terrible enemies who seek to destroy us today.... While the economic problems of today do not compare to those of the depression, we still live in what is difficult economic times for many of our citizens…. The lesson we should draw from the times of Roosevelt and La Guardia is that America can defeat any enemy and overcome any economic challenge if we stay strong as a nation and united as people. And we also need great leaders like Roosevelt and La Guardia”. When not on regional tours with “The Little Flower”, which takes him to theaters and entertainment centers from New York to New Jersey, South Carolina and Florida, Lo Bianco, the father of 3 grown daughters and six grandchildren, told me he tries to spend as much time as possible with his family. While at first reticent about it, Lo Bianco devotes a good deal of his time to charities. The actor has a long history of involvement with foundations seeking treatment and cures for Juvenile Diabetes, Cooley’s Anemia and Lupus. A passionate advocate for our veterans and our active service men and women, Lo Bianco has also volunteered his time on behalf of the USO, the Wounded Warriors and Building Homes for Heroes organizations. He said with the marked sound of passion in his voice, “We want to continue to do everything possible to support our wounded veterans and all our uniformed heroes who keep us safe and make America the greatest country in the world." I left “The Little Flower” thinking Lo Bianco is a great actor and left the interview believing he is also a great guy. Robert Golomb is a nationally published columnist.


April 12-18, 2014


Grandparents may worsen mothers' baby blues
New York: Does living with grandparents ease or worsen a mothers' baby blues? The answer may depend on the mother's marital status, a study suggests. Married and single mothers suffer higher rates of depression when they live with parents in their baby's first year of life. “There is a strong expectation that married couples would be economically self-sufficient. Those are strong cultural values. So there could be a stronger sense of failure among married couples if they have to live with their parents,” said lead author Joy Piontak a research analyst with Duke University centre for child and family policy. The pattern held true for rich, poor and middle-class women, said the study that looked at a sample of nearly 3,000 married, single and cohabiting mothers. We often talk about families in terms of mothers, fathers and children. “Or we talk about the marital status of the mothers. Families are often a lot more complex than we imagine them to be, though. And that complexity can affect mothers' well-being,” Piontak added. For instance, married couples commonly expect to maintain a separate household. Cohabiting couples do not always face the same expectations as other researchers have noted. Still, Piontak cautioned that she can not say for certain what causal relationship is at play. Living with grandparents may worsen depression for single and married mothers. Or, depressed single and married moms may be less likely to move out from a multi-generational household, the study said. New York: Want a perfect, slimtrim Selfie to stump your boyfriend? Here is the right app for you. Called SkinneePix, the app helps you look thinner than you are as it reduces the face with a detection technology to trim off 5, 10 or 15 pounds with just the click of a button. "SkinneePix makes your photos

Washington, DC: Arguments over social media platforms among romantic partners are damaging relationships, ending in negative outcomes like emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce, a significant research reveals. Individuals who are active Twitter users are far more likely to experience Twitter-related conflict with their romantic partners, researchers said. “I found it interesting that active Twitter users experienced conflict and negative relationship outcomes regardless of length of romantic relationship,” said Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in University of Missouri’s school of journalism. Couples who reported being in relatively new relationships experienced the same amount of conflict as those in longer relationships, h e noted. I n h i s study, Clayton surveyed 581 Twitter users of all ages. Clayton asked participants questions about their Twitter use such as how often they login in to Twitter, tweet, scroll the Twitter newsfeed,

Twitter, Facebook driving couples to break relationships!
send direct messages to others, and reply to followers. Clayton also asked how much, if any, conflict arose between participants’ current or former partners as a result of Twitter use. He found that the more often a respondent reported being active on Twitter, the more likely they were to experience Twitter-related conflict with their partner. “The aim of this study was to examine whether my previous study that concluded that Facebook use predicted Facebook-related conflict - which then led to breakup and divorce - were consistent with Twitter,” Clayton commented. In his previous research on Facebook, Clayton found that Facebook-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes were greater among couples in newer relationships of 36 months or less. I f Twitter users are experiencing Twitter-related conflict with their partner, Clayton recommends “couples of all ages limit their daily and weekly use of social networking sites to more healthy, reasonable levels.”

Kim, Kanye to spend 75,000 pounds on wedding guests
Los Angeles: Socialite Kim Kardashian and rapper Kanye West are reportedly planning to spend a total of 75,000 pounds on the guests invited to their Paris wedding. The couple are expected to tie the knot in Paris next month in front of 200 guests, who were hand-delivered invites and each invite cost 600 pounds to produce, The couple is all set to have a lavish Parisian wedding reports friends and family have had into "Kim and Kanye wanted the their Paris wedding so they invites to be as lavish as possible wanted them to be special,” the and commissioned a couture source added. designer to create gold silk The couple, who have nineboxes containing a photo album month-old daughter North of their fairytale romance and a together, are said to have hired silk invite etched in real gold the 199-room Trianon Palace leaf with a clasp of natural Hotel for their guests, who will pearls,” a source told Grazia be flown by private jet to France, magazine. to stay in, and no expense will be "It's the first glimpse their spared for their comfort.

Use this App to create a slimmer Selfie
look good and helps you feel good. It is not complicated. No one needs to know. It is our little secret,” its developers, Phoenixbased Robin Phillips and Susan Green, were quoted as saying. According to the creators, the app could motivate its users to be healthy by showing them what they could look like if they lost some weight. The app is now available in the Apple App Store. An Android version of the app will be out later this month. However, one thing you cannot do with the app is that you cannot take a group Selfie as this is meant to only show a healthy you!

Why you should run

Beauty trend 2014:
Orange is new red
L o s Angeles: Red lipstick may be a hit lip color but try to be different by trying a shade of orange during spring. Actress Emma Watson brightened up her black gown on the red carpet recently with a gorgeous orange lip. Also, the trend was sported at numerous runway shows including Donna Karan, Nanette Lepore, DSquared2 and Christian Siriano to name a few, reports The great thing about an orange lip is that it can suit every skin tone. It can make olive skin look more olive and with fair skin, it enhances the pallor.One can also choose the shade that suits your style best. Stains are ideal for those who don't want to fuss over their beauty look and lip color pencils are ideal for those on-thego and want to touch up with minimal fuss.

Los Angeles: Running is a great cardio workout which helps aid weight loss alongside a healthy eating plan, but there are plenty more reasons why one should put on one's running shoes. lists reasons why running is beneficial: It doesn't cost you anything: You can run anywhere you like to and it doesn't cost you anything. Just pick your destination and head to it. You become more social: Struggle to find the time to see your friends and fit everything else in your life then combine the two. You don't even have to take new friends, look for running groups and make friends with like-minded people. You burn fat whilst still:

Running helps to boost your metabolism and keep it going whilst you're not moving. So after a run, you're still burning calories. Gives you an energy boost: All exercise increases energy levels. Just one running session can increase your levels and chip away at fatigue. Improves your self-esteem: Running will not only increase energy levels, but your self-esteem too. If you run outside you're more likely to feel better post-workout than those who had unpleasant scenery. Watch the stress fall behind: As you run you'll see the stress fall behind. It boosts the brains serotonin levels and research has indicated that regular exercise might actually remodel the brain making it calmer.


April 12-18, 2014


Funny Bone by Nury Vittachi


usic lovers paid a small fortune to a rock singer Ted Nugent NOT to sing at their local festival the other day. Officials booked the screaming rocker but Texas residents paid $16,200 for him to shut up and stay away. Perhaps if everyone in the world chips in, we can get Mr. Nugent to spend the rest of his days in monkish silence on the new dwarf planet found recently beyond Pluto? Being paid to not do stuff is the hot new thing. A Washington Post survey in 2006 showed US farmers were paid $1.3 billion for not farming. The TV station NBC paid Conan O'Brien $30 million and Jay Leno $15 million to not to host the Tonight Show. In parts of India, thousands of people signed up for a scheme offering them cash to not have babies. But officials warned authorities trying to replicate the scheme that you need a lot of terms and conditions, since everyone in the world spends most of their time not having

10 jobs which involve no actual work

babies, if you think about it (women in the Philippines excepted).

Applicants: "I am Ajit and this is my friend Nirmala. We've never had children and demand a huge chunk of taxpayers' money as a reward." Official: "But you're kids/gay people/cross-dressers/household pets." Applicants: "Discrimination!" The actress Hillary Duff was reportedly paid $100,000 not to be in a movie. They could have saved $10,000: I would have not been in it for $90,000. Indeed, since the movie has now been made and neither you nor I are in it, dear reader, let's just all send in our invoices. And let's also write to fashion retailer Abercrombie and Fitch, which offered

cash to the badly behaved cast of TV show "Jersey Shore" to not wear its clothes. Just write this: "Dear Mr. A.A. Fitch, I am planning to behave extremely badly this year and will do it wearing none of your clothes for a small fee. I will wear the clothing of your rivals for a larger one." In India's Tamil Nadu in 2010, officials paid people to go to the toilet, creating a useful supply of fresh fertilizer while gently training residents to stop pooping in unsuitable places such as the queue at McDonald's, the hospital lobby and the like. This writer has only once been paid a huge salary for not working, by a censorship-mad newspaper editor who was too scared to sack me because everyone would know that he was a censorshipmad newspaper editor. I took the money for three months and then resigned, which was verbally tricky: "I'm outta here! I can't not work for you any longer!" My colleagues wished me luck: "Bye! We hope you find a new job not to do!" Feeling left out? No need. There are at least 10 "careers" which sound like real jobs but have been scientifically proved to involve no actual recognizable work. 10) Movie critic. 9) Timpani player. 8) Tenured university professor. 7) Film extra. 6) Food critic. 5) Pool lifeguard for the Olympics. 4) Orchestral conductor. 3) Police station security guard. 2) Triangle player. 1) Newspaper columnist. Regarding the last one, hands off, I got here first.

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.


April 12-18, 2014


By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma
Stars Foretell: April 12-18, 2014
ARIES : High time to know your full potentials to enhance career prospects. Evening enjoyed with family and close relatives brings immense pleasure. You are likely to earn monetary gains through various sources. Take love companion into confidence before taking any decision related to love. Good time to divert attention to spirituality to enhance mental toughness. An enriching vacation full of fun is what you need. You might apply for bank loan as to get back the possession of your mortgaged property. A promising week for engaging yourself in recreation & entertainment. TAURUS : Hard work & dedication would win the trust of seniors at work. You are likely to plan a short trip with family. Increase in income from past investment is foreseen. Love works like a panacea as you find sanity. A pleasure trip gives the muchneeded tonic to health. Planning a vacation, keep an eye on your expenditure before you travel. There are chances of getting good amount from an older property of yours. Charity and helping those who approach you for help would benefit you. GEMINI: Mental clarity would remove past business confusions. Unexpected visit by old friend could give you a pleasant surprise. Financial profits are solely depended on investment in conservative investment. For some work takes a backseat, as you find comfort in the arms of love partner. Cutting down the number of parties and pleasure jaunts would help in keeping in good mood. Time to make your vacation a dream come true. The plot you were looking for can be profitable from investment point of view. Inviting your close friends to your party will benefit you in the long run. CANCER: Travel undertaken for establishing new contacts and business expansion will be very fruitful. Good advice from family members will help in reducing mental tension/pressure. You should focus investment on land/real estate or cultural projects to earn profits. Love partner touches soul that would take imagination to unlimited heights. A beneficial week to work on things that will improve your health. Affordable luxury vacation will explore your desires. It is better to try for your office accommodation as soon as possible. Taking the help of like-minded friends would enable to organize a scintillating party for your group. LEO: Your artistic and creative ability would attract a lot of appreciation. Sudden good news in the evening will bring cheers for the entire family. Monetary gains from unplanned sources will brighten your week. Someone’s timely help would enable visualizing succeeding in love. Your confidence and energy will be high. Perfect getaway time for you and your partner. Time to think about your investment plans, as investing residentially might be profitable. Perfect time to put innovative ideas to test. VIRGO: A long pending decision gets finalized at professional front. Your efforts bring success & happiness at family front. New moneymaking opportunities will be lucrative. Romantic imagination would keep you in a jovial & cheerful mood. A week when smile will perpetually be on your face and strangers will seem familiar. A group of friends or your partner is looking forward for a vacation with you. Your investment can be done on a cheap or smaller piece of land. You put mind to test by playing chess/crosswords or writing a story/poetry. LIBRA : Plans for new ventures get streamlined with the help of seniors. Dont forget to spend some pleasant time with your children. You get some financial rewards as dedication & hard work gets noticed. The company of love partner makes you forget about the work. Engaging yourself in creative work would keep you relaxed. A leisure trip will prove to be a premium time for you. Looking to buy property, then go for commercial one. A promising week to follow issues that you have neglected earlier. SCORPIO: Female colleagues lend a helping hand in completing important assignments. You achieve success in personal work with the timely help & support provided by family members. Monetary gains are likely to be from more than one source. Use new but innovative methods to catch the attraction of opposite sex. Your energy level will be high. Better to channelise it in a positive direction. You might get a chance for business trip, which will help you in new connections. Good time to purchase a property. Charity & social work will attract you in this week. SAGITTARIUS : At work you will be a part of something big, bringing appreciation & rewards. Misunderstandings with near ones in the family will get cleared. A new financial deal gets finalized paving the way for fresh money. Sudden romantic encounter will lift your spirits. Positive outlook impresses those around you besides keeping you fit & fine. Traveling overseas would be an experience full of spark that enlightens your imagination. A good deal for your new property is ready to be made. Construction work undertaken will finish to your satisfaction. CAPRICORN : You are likely to establish yourself a good manager on managing people and situation without any problem. Children would do their best to keep you happy. Financial position will improve later in the week. Attending a social event/family function brings a romantic encounter. Charity work undertaken will bring mental peace & comfort. Travel plans for better communication will be helpful for new horizons. Buying overseas property will be beneficiary for you. You are likely to hear some compliments, which you were expected for long. AQUARIUS : You will be successful in realising your targets at professional front. You are likely to be benefited as family members positively respond. A promising week to put your innovative ideas on use to make extra money. Your physical charm would catch the attraction of opposite sex. Meditation and self-realization prove beneficial. Business or vacation traveling is what you needed right now. You can apply for your home loan. Your choice of activities will not only keep you busy but also benefit you. PISCES : With your high confidence you will be able to cross all hurdles at professional front. Parents and friends will do their best to keep you happy. You are likely to raise capital through collecting outstanding debts or asking for funds to work on new projects. Love life blossoms paving the way for lovely times ahead. You will have ample time to do things to improve your health. Implementation of new ideas to travel will be beneficiary for you on work front. Your search for a house is towards its final destination. You receive an invaluable guidance from a spiritual leader.

Chandigarh, India: +91-172- 256 2832, 257 2874 Delhi, India: +91-11- 2644 9898, 2648 9899;

Annual Predictions: For those born in this week
12th April 2014, Ruled planet : Jupiter Ruled by no: 3 Traits in you : Being ruled by Jupiter, you are courteous, courageous, decisive, ambitious, disciplined, and realistic. You are gifted with high imagination power, optimism, and enthusiasm. However, behaving restless and dominating may hamper your characteristics at times. You need to work on your personality to make yourself better as an individual. Health this year: Your health will remain good throughout the year. You need to take utmost care of your health to maintain it and remain fit. The health of your family members might be a concern for you this year. Try and avoid your bad habits and start practicing yoga for the betterment of your health. Finance this year: Monetary benefits will be tough to achieve this year. You may not get expected financial support from your family. Your past investments will not work this year as expected. However, you may go for new short term investments, which will gain you enough money. If you are planning to set up a business, it is advisable not to go for any partnerships. Career this year: You will be highly appreciated by your employer for your excellent performance. With the increased workload, you may also be offered an increased salary. You should learn to handle pressure situations from your seniors. You may go for a job change later this year. Romance this year: Your romantic life will become stagnant this year as you may not give enough time to your beloved. If you are unmarried and planning to marry this year, it may not happen because of the negative movements of your stars and planets. Lucky month: June, August, December and March 13th April 2014, Ruled planet:Uranus Ruled by no: 4 Traits in you: Uranus, being your dominating planet helps you become dynamic and creative. You are positive, realistic, responsive, and sincere. You need to work and overcome the weaknesses in your personality to attract more people towards you. Health this year: Your health would remain very good this year. However, you need to go for regular yoga exercises. You should not ignore your healthy diet plan to remain in shape. Go for regular medical checkups to avoid any hiccups further. Finance this year: You may go for a property transaction this year and this will bring you a lot of money. You need to be decisive to invest on real estate or gold as there are risks involved. Do not trust any of your new partners as they may cheat you. You may spend enough money on buying a vehicle or renovating your property. Career this year: Being a hardworking professional, you may create wonders for your organization. You need to learn more and look for better options. You may not get your expected promotion or salary hike in spite of your hard work and efficiency. Romance this year: If you are yet to be in a relationship, this year is the ideal time to find a partner. You will get ample support from your spouse in any critical decision you have to take. You should show your love to your partner as it strengthens your relationship. Lucky month: May, July, November and January 14th April 2014, Ruled planet: Mercury Ruled by no: 5 Traits in you: Your ruling planet Mercury makes you realistic, reliable, sincere, and optimistic. You are the master of an excellent memory power and charismatic characteristics. You need not get nervous at tough time as it may create a question mark on your capabilities. Health this year: You need to stop your bad habits such as smoking and consuming alcohol to remain healthy. You should take expert advice from a doctor to avoid health related issues. You should take your medicines at time to avoid further complicacy in your health. Take care of the health of your spouse and parents as well. Finance this year: You will earn a lot of money from your past investment this year. However, you should invest your money after going through the market thoroughly. Do not lend or money this year. You may spend a lot of money on buying comfort and luxury for your family members. Career this year: This year you will reach to the peak of your professional career and it will offer you huge financial benefits. This year will be pretty rewarding for female employees. You may get a better performance appraisal as well as salary hike as compared to your expectations. Romance this year: For your marital relationship, this year will be pretty fruitful for you. If you are still single, you may get into a romantic alliance towards the end of the year. If you are already in a relationship, you may plan to convert your relationship into marriage. Lucky month: June, November, December and March 15th April 2014, Ruled planet: Venus Ruled by no: 6 Traits in you: Your ruling planet Venus makes optimistic, ambitious, caring, aspiring, and determined. You are very social and love to make new friends and get into new relationships. You are a huge follower of intelligence and education. Health this year: Your health would not cause much worries for you this year. However, the health of your family member s may require extra care. Provide your parents with proper medication as they may fall sick often due to old age. You may start taking a balanced diet. You should stop consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes for the betterment of your health. Finance this year: You will be able to stabilize your financial condition by reaping profits from your past investments. You may also plan for new investments this year. You will find enough new opportunities to start up a new business that would yield money for you. You should invest in real estate or stock market for better returns. Career this year: You will be establishing yourself as a very efficient and important resource in your organization this year. Your performance will influence your peers, seniors and higher management. It is the best time to look out for a new job as it will help you grow both professionally and financially. Romance this year: You may get some good news from your spouse or partner later this week. This will make your relationship grow stronger. You may have to travel to distant places to spend time you’re your partner and maintain a good relationship. Lucky month: April, June, October and January 16th April 2014, Ruled planet: Neptune Ruled by no: 7 Traits in you: As you are governed by planet Neptune, you are blessed with various positive characters. You are confident, decisive, generous, humorous, honest, modest and optimistic. You are not an admirer of arguments or silly fights. You should work on your nature of being selfish, pessimistic, and arrogant. Health this year: You will enjoy a better health this year as compared to last year. However, the health of an aged family member may deteriorate and that will make you bothered. You may end up spending lot of money for the health issues of your family members. Finance this year: Though you will be able to improve your financial status, you may end up spending a lot of money in buying luxury and comfort for yourself and your family. You may put your money in real estate for better returns. Career this year: Your interest and enthusiasm to perform will make you an extraordinary performer in your professional circuit. You will be respected and rewarded for your work. You need to take the leadership responsibility to cement your position in your organization. Romance this year: Your plans to go for holidays with your partner may not work because of huge work pressure and this may create disturbance in your marital life. You need to take care of the emotional requirements of your partner to lead a peaceful life this year. Lucky month: June, September, November and February 17th April 2014, Ruled planet: Saturn Ruled by no: 8 Traits in you: Your ruling planet Saturn makes you humble, honest, focused, practical, realistic and enthusiastic. You are blessed with enormous talent and imagination. Along with the positive characters in you, there are some negative aspects in your nature. You need to work on your nature of being envious, unreliable, and indiscipline. Health this year: Though you would not face any major health related issues, you should take extra care of your health. Do not take unwanted risk of putting your health in stake. Go for regular medical checkups. Finance this year: You may try your entrepreneurship skills this year and you will be successful unexpectedly. You will be able to get many projects, which you help you establish as a good businessperson. You should go for investments in real estate and stock market. Career this year: Your confidence will convert you into a winner. You will be capable enough to overcome any challenge you need to face. The chances of your promotion and transfer are high due to the organizational change. Romance this year: Your relationship with your spouse or partner will blossom this year. If you are not married, you may have to wait for few more years though you are eligible for marriage. Lucky month: May, October, November and January 18th April 2014, Ruled planet: Mars Ruled by no: 9 Traits in you: Your ruling planet Mars makes you strong, determined, courageous, enthusiastic, intelligent, ambitious, and motivated. You have a strong dislike towards fake people and fake emotions. You are a huge fan of truth and cleanliness. You need to work on your nature of showing dictatorship and being rude and stubborn at times. Health this year: You will enjoy a better health this year as compared to last year. However, the health of an aged family member may deteriorate and that will make you bothered. You may end up spending lot of money for the health issues of your family members. Finance this year: Your financial conditions will be very stagnant this year. As you will not earn much or spend much, you will lead a peaceful life in money matters. You may invest for future. Do not lend or borrow money from your friends or colleagues. Career this year: You will enjoy a good professional atmosphere this year. You will be appreciated by your seniors and higher management. This may bring you promotions and salary hike. You need to concentrate more on your work to get a better position in your profession. You may go for a job change this year. However, you should not decide anything hastily. Romance this year: Your relationship with your spouse or partner will blossom this year. If you are not married, you may have to wait for few more years though you are eligible for marriage. Lucky month: July, September, November and February


April 12-18, 2014


Chapter excerpt from the book: Empowering Your Soul through Meditation

Know the true nature of your soul
By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
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 purpose—the spiritual quest—is one that people pursue in individual ways. Some seek answers in scripture while others search in places of worship. Some go beyond their 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, On the theoretical side, a basic agreement among enlightened souls is that we are not just a physical body, but we are also the soul or spirit behind the body. It is the soul that that gives us life. When the soul is in the body, we are physically alive. When the soul leaves the body at the time of death, the body ceases to exist. The body may perish, but the soul that inhabits it is immortal. The soul continues to exist after our physical death. We are aware of our physical body because we can look at it, feel it, and listen to sounds coming from it. However, where and what is the soul? How can we recognize it? What are its characteristics and qualities? This book provides a way for us to accomplish two tasks: the theoretical understanding of our true selves as soul; and the practical technique for the realization of our soul and the empowering of it to guide our lives. Some of us may spend our lives searching for knowledge in the world outside. Little do we know that the source of all answers, the universal wisdom, lies within us. Some of us may find that at times our life is thwarted by fear and anxiety, hopelessness and depression, yet we have a source of fearlessness within us that can help us overcome any inner turmoil. We fear our own death and the passing away of our loved ones. We are petrified of the unknown and what awaits us beyond this life. But we do not realize that immortality is ours. We crave love and seek it many places. But there is an unconditional love that is ours awaiting us with open arms. We need only turn in the right direction to find it. We feel alone and unconnected in this world. But there is a place of unity and connectedness within us. If we could but only tap it we would find the richness of relationships with others, with nature, and with all life. Exploration within will help us discover our own potential. Once we learn to tap into our inner resources, we experience a profound transformation that will enrich all areas of our life—from personal relations, to physical, mental and emotional health, to our work, to our spiritual growth, and the attainment of our life’s goals. This transformation can bring peace and joy into our lives and can contribute to a peaceful, loving world. The Empowered Soul is a manual for daily living and personal discovery. From the outset, we should define certain terminology to ensure that there is no confusion in how words are being used throughout the book. The term “soul” is defined as our true essence or spiritual side—the part of us that lives beyond the death of our physical body. The soul exists whether it has a body or mind. When it enters this world, it is given a body and mind. As human beings, we are thus “embodied souls” or souls with a body and mind. The terms “we” or “us” refer to us as human beings or embodied souls. The process of finding the soul is referred to as “tapping into” or “discovering our soul within us.” When we finally do discover our soul and identify with it as being our true nature, then the soul is referred to as the “empowered soul,” a soul that has recognized itself and is aware that it is the essence of who we really are, that it is the guiding power behind the body and mind. True joy is not as elusive as we think. We can find lasting happiness if we only look in the right place. Within us lies the unlimited power and energy of the empowered soul. Its rich qualities include wisdom, fearlessness, immortality, unconditional love, connectedness, and bliss. Tapping into the soul and its power can enrich and transform our life. We remain ignorant of these inner gifts because blockages keep us from tapping into them. How can we remove these blockages? What process do we need to employ to discover all that we seek? There are simple techniques for accessing the riches of our soul. We need not search the four corners of the earth. We need not travel into outer space. These techniques can be practiced in the comfort of our home. Once we learn to tap into our inner resources, we can experience a profound transformation that can enrich all areas of our life—personal relations; physical, mental, and emotional health; professional work; spiritual growth; and the attainments of our life’s goals. This transformation cannot only bring peace and joy to our lives, but can also contribute to a peaceful, loving world. The aim of the book is to provide a means by which we can re-identify with the soul, (i.e. realize that the mind and body are merely our soul’s outer coverings through which it can live and work in this physical world) and to empower the soul to guide our life. Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj is an internationally recognized spiritual leader and Master of Jyoti Meditation who affirms the transcendent oneness at the heart of all religions and mystic traditions, emphasizing ethical living and meditation as building blocks for achieving inner and outer peace.


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 soul’s 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

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.
own religion to find the answers offered in other faiths. Whichever method one adopts, the direction one follows to find the answers to life’s 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 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 ourselves. 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 qualities—wisdom, 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.

April 12-18, 2014

April 12-18, 2014