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Follow us on Vol.5 No. 47 March 16-22, 2013 60 Cents New York Edition

Govt. hints Pakistan behind Srinagar attack

New Delhi: The two terrorists killed in Srinagar seemed to be foreign 'fidayeen' (suicide attackers), Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Thursday. Items recovered from them appeared to be of Pakistani make, he told parliament. Five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed by the two militants before they themselves were gunned down. According to Shinde, an ointment tube recovered from the slain men was found to be manufactured in Karachi. They also had Continued on page 4
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde

New Pope urges Church to return to its Gospel roots

Obama greets Pope Francis as a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable

Well continue to reinvent & rebuild Nassau: Mangano

Mineola, NY: In his 4th State of the County address on Wednesday, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, in obvious reference to Hurricane Sandy and his plan for the Coliseum site, remarked, We have truly reinvented and are rebuilding a stronger, better and brighter Nassau County. His address came as federal Sandy recovery aid has begun trickling into the region, while The Amazing Spiderman 2the largest film shot in New York Stateis now in production in the county. (See full text of Mangano speech on page 7) Continued on page 4
Pope Francis I a day after being selected to lead 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano delivering his State of the County address

Thomas Jeffersons Eternal Vigilance award for Amb. Puri and Amb. Haroon
New York: The National Advisory Council on South Asian Affairs (NACSAA) has bestowed Thomas Jeffersons Eternal Vigilance award on Amb. Hardeep Singh Puri and Amb. Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Indias and Pakistans Permanent Representatives respectively to the UN. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney presented the Amb. Hardeep S. Puri, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, prestigious award to UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon, Amb. Abdullah Hussain Amb. Haroon, and UN Haroon, Comme. Par Acampora and Ravi Batra Secretary General Ban at the award ceremony. Continued on page 4

The Vatican: In his first public Mass, Pope Francis has urged the Catholic Church to stick to its Gospel roots and shun modern temptations, warning that it would become just another charitable group if it forgot its true mission, reported Reuters. In a heartfelt, simple homily, the Argentinean pope laid out a clear moral path for the 1.2-billion-member Church, which is beset by scandals, intrigue and strife. Though he is of Italian heritage, Jorge Bergoglios ascension has been hailed as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years. Already his initial steps suggest he would bring a new style to the papacy, favoring humility and simplicity over pomp, grandeur and ambition among its top officials. President Obama echoed the general opinion about the new Pope in his greeting, As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the

world for more than two thousand years -that in each other we see the face of God. "As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day. Addressing cardinals in the frescoed Sistine Chapel the day after his selection, Bergoglio spoke in Italian: "We can walk all we want, we can build many things, but if we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, something is wrong. We would become a compassionate NGO and not a Church which is the bride of Christ." The Vatican said the 76-year-old Pope was "in very good shape" despite having a lung partially removed more than 50 years ago. Bergoglio is the first Jesuit pope, an order Continued on page 4

Leadership 15

Harvard India Conference13 16

Fashion 19

Spiritual Awareness 30

excellence in journalism

March 16-22, 2013


March 16-22, 2013

Putting Wharton aside, Modi asks diaspora to put 'India First'

Modi during his video address to diaspora from Ahmedabad, organized by OFBJP

New Jersey: Dis-invited by the Wharton India Economic Forum, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi nevertheless spoke to the Indian diaspora in North America Sunday and asked them to put "India First". "My definition of secularism is

simple: 'India First'. Whatever you do, wherever you work, India should be the top priority for all its citizens," Modi said in a live video address from Ahmedabad to Indians living in America and Canada. Organized by the Overseas Friends of BJP under the Bharatiya

Janata Party's global community outreach program, Modi's speech was telecast through US-based TV Asia channel and was watched live by several hundred people at two centers in New Jersey and Chicago. "Country is above all religions and ideologies," said Modi, whose invitation to speak via video at Wharton's annual student-run Indiacentric conference in Philadelphia March 23 was cancelled following a protest from a segment of professors and students. "Nothing less than India's wellbeing should be our goal," he said in the 51-minute speech in Hindi.

"And if this happens, secularism will automatically run in our blood." "I agree, friends, that as an Indian, as a citizen who loves India, you will also agree with my definition ... We might do any work or take any decision, India should be supreme," said Modi. The Gujarat chief minister, who has been denied a US visa over his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, made no reference to either the riots or the Wharton controversy. "Development is the only road which will lead our nation out of the era of darkness and Gujarat has

shown a ray of hope to the country through its development," said the third-term chief minister, highlighting the development model of his government. Selling brand Gujarat and India as a tourism destination, he asked the Indian diaspora and also the hotel and motel industry, dominated by Gujaratis, to promote their native land. "This would be your big service to India. It is not always necessary to invest in India or send dollars, motivating people to travel to India is also another way of service," he said.

Habib American Bank is now HAB Bank

New York: Habib American Bank, a community bank with offices in NY, NJ and CA is rebranding. On March 18, 2013 the Bank will unveil its new logo and registered Service Mark, HAB BANK. Saleem Iqbal, President and CEO of the Bank, had announced the new service mark in August 2012. Commenting on the change, he said: This is a change in Service Mark only, with no other change to the Bank. We are excited about adopting the HAB Bank service mark and rebranding to celebrate our 30th Anniversary in 2013. HAB Banks commitment to our community and customer base will remain strong as ever. He further added that what is not changing is the great service that you have come to expect from us, your personal bankers that you see each and every day, and security and strength of Habib American Bank. All branches of the Bank will carry new signage. Habib American Bank was founded in 1983 and since its inception, it has played a key role in nurturing and strengthening the South Asian community with branch network located
The bank is rebranding while celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013.

Quinn launches campaign to become NYCs first female, openly gay mayor
New York: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn formally launched her campaign for mayor on Sunday, going on a whirlwind tour of the five boroughs and promising to fight for the middle class. She also vowed to visit each one of the sprawling citys neighborhoods before the Democratic Primary later this year. She enters the race a heavy favorite among Democratic challengers - but may be hamstrung for stalling paid sick Christine C. Quinn is currently Speaker leave bill and enabling third term in New York City Council for Bloomberg. She has also been If elected, Quinn would make history the most prolific fundraiser of the 2013 both as New Yorks first female mayor and contenders so far. Quinn said in a speech, Im running for its first openly gay mayor. In a video released to kickstart her cammayor because I believe all of us together can make it so theres good quality, decent paign, Quinn reminisces about her fathers housing for middle-class and working-class union activism and middle-class upbringing people. That theres affordable child care on Long Island. She becomes misty-eyed as for middle-class people. That we have she describes her mothers death from great public schools and even better public breast cancer when she was a teenager. The universities. Though considered five-minute video, despite its personal Bloombergs right hand girl, Quinn is touch, however, includes no reference to avoiding mentioning his name. Asked if he 46-year-old Quinns longtime partner Kim had done enough to help the citys middle Catullo, whom she married last year. Asked about the omission, Quinn said the class, she just remarked, We all need to do video was intended to tell voters something more. Quinn has overwhelming support among new. It would be hard to imagine that liberal New Yorkers who make up about New Yorkers dont know that Im a les50% of the primary's electorate. Overall bian, she said, adding that she was she is at 37%, just three points away from incredibly proud to be the Councils first openly gay speaker. the 40% required to avoid a runoff.

in New York, New Jersey and California. Through the years, the Bank has evolved in response to needs of its customers and maintains a close relationship with the community it serves. The Banks core products are Commercial Real Estate Mortgages, International Trade Services, US Small Business Loans and a welldesigned commercial banking products and services for small to medium sized businesses. The Bank also has a wide range of consumer products and services including personal checking, savings, CDs, and full-service online banking. The Bank is fully committed to remain engaged and pro-active in meeting the banking requirements of its customers and, above all, continues to work towards Building Relationships.

Judge overturns Bloomberg ban on big sodas

New York: A New York state judge has knocked down New York City's landmark new ban on big, sugary drinks, just one day before it was set to take effect. Calling them "arbitrary and capricious," state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling on Monday invalidated regulations that would have banned New York City restaurants, movie theaters and other food service establishments from serving sugary drinks in sizes bigger than 16 ounces. The ban would have covered not just sodas but a wide array of other sugar-sweetened drinks, from smoothies to coffee. Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the regulations last May, part of an effort to curb runaway obesity rates by encouraging people to drink less sugar-laden beverages. The New York City Board of Health approved the measure last September. But Tingling found that the board of health had overstepped the authority it was granted to fulfill its mission: protecting against and preventing diseases. That authority, the judge said, does not include the power to "limit or ban a legal item under the guise of 'controlling chronic disease.' "

March 16-22, 2013


Sikh owned Wisconsin store set on fire in hate crime

Washington, DC: A man set a Green Bay convenience store owned by a Sikh American on fire in an effort "to get them the hell out of Wisconsin". The Brown County District Attorney has charged him with a hate crime. On the seven month anniversary of the mass shooting at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, hate once again raised its head in Wisconsin, said Jasjit Singh, Executive Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF). We must come together in a spirit of tolerance and community to prevent further acts of hate in Wisconsin and across the nation. On March 5, 2013, in the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, James Parrish, walked into the Dollar Land on North Avenue, poured gasoline on the register, and then set the register on fire. Dollar Land is owned by Gurnek S. Basanti, a Sikh American. According to law enforcement, Parrish stated that he was going to "burn [the] place down." His stated motive was "to get them the hell out of Wisconsin. " In the weeks leading up to the incident, Parrish had called himself a "freedom fighter" and made comments about his desire to "round up terrorists and torture them."

Continuations of page 1
New Pope story Continued from page 1 traditionally dedicated to serving the papacy, and the first to take the name Francis in honor of the 12thcentury Italian saint from Assisi who spurned wealth to pursue a life of poverty. Some cardinals have also called him spiritual, but it would be too much to expect him to change the Churchs long held stands on abortion, contraception and homosexuality. Govt. hints Pakistan bebind Srinagar attack story Continued from page 1 diaries with telephone numbers. "The numbers in the diaries appears to be of Pakistani origin," he said, speaking in the Lok Sabha. "Their bodies were shaven which confirms them to be fidayeens. The killed terrorists are suspected to be of foreign origin," he said. The minister said responsibility for the attack had been taken by a caller for Hizb-ul-Mujahideen but the authenticity of the claim was yet to be ascertained. The security forces also arrested a Pakistani militant in Srinagar believed to have been part of a 'fidayeen' attack. Police sources said, on specific information, the security forces arrested a Pakistani militant in Chattabal area of Srinagar city barely 2 km from Bemina area where the guerrillas attacked a posse of CRPF Wednesday. Nine other people, including three civilians and six CRPF troopers, were injured in the attack before the security forces killed two of the 'fidayeen' guerrillas. Well continue to reinvent and rebuild Nassau story Continued from page 1 Mangano, who took office in 2010, took credit for following out on his promise of not raising taxes during his term and saving the county money by public private partnerships, for example, by giving the public bus service to a private party. He proposed a new, scaleddown Nassau Coliseum on the lines of Radio City Music Hall to host family shows, concerts and minor league sports, annual rental payments from which would go toward paying down $1.2 billion in county tax assessment debt. Thomas Jeffersons story Continued from page 1 Ki-moon presented the award to Amb. Puri on March 8 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York, each recognized for his exemplary service to humanity, unflinching dedication to freedom, the rule of law and helping form a more perfect world. In addition, Cong. Maloney presented Amb. Haroon with a Congressional Record issued in his honor. The NACSAA is made up of Americans with ancestry from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan. Eminent Attorney Ravi Batra is its chairman. At the event held in honor of SG Ban, Amb. Haroon spoke of the need for nations to keep talking in earnest, for as long as they are talking war is avoided. SG Ban spoke of the need to find a unified vision, with respect and friendship among nations, so humanity may better enjoy peace and prosperity. Prior Thomas Jefferson Award recipients include US Asstt. Secretary of State Richard Boucher and Congressman Gary L. Ackerman.

India emerging as global development partner

Washington: India is playing a key role as an emerging development partner for neighbors and other countries, particularly Africa, thanks to a US-India partnership, according to the USAID administrator Rajiv Shah. President Obama made a number of commitments during his 2010 India visit around such cooperation, "and I'm pleased to say there's been real progress," Shah told foreign media Wednesday in a briefing on his recent visits to India and Burma. Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh then together launched Partnership for an Evergreen Revolution to bring Indian technology and expertise to other parts of the world, said the highest ranking IndianAmerican official in Obama administration. In India, the US was focused Burma, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and a number of other settings as India takes more responsibility on the global stage for ending extreme poverty and its consequences," he said. "Today there are hundreds of fellows training in Indian research institutions from Africa, and we have joint programs with India in a range of countries," he said.
USAID administrator Rajiv Shah

on an effort to turn its traditional program into an innovation laboratory in three priority areas health, agriculture, and energy that can help address the effort to end extreme poverty not only in India but also other parts of the world, Shah said. This would also help "bring Indian resources and talent and entrepreneurship to Africa,

Several Indian private sector companies like Jain Irrigation and Bharti Airtel are working with the US actively in many parts of the world, including in India. "While I was in India, there were more than 200 African agricultural fellows training and learning in Indian universities" as a direct result of the partnership, Shah said.

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March 16-22, 2013

Annie George charged with keeping maid as slave

New York: A New York jury has sought a review of the testimony of an Indian-American woman charged with keeping an illegal immigrant woman from India as a virtual slave at her mansion in upstate New York. Jurors deciding the federal case of the 40year-old Annie George in US District Court Albany, about 140 miles north of New York City, Thursday asked Judge Gary Sharpe to re-hear testimony in which George possibly referred to Valsamma Mathai as "the maid," Albany Times Union reported. George's defence is largely based on her contention that Mathai, a fellow immigrant from India, was a family friend who helped out around the home and was given money but was never an employee. George faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of harboring an illegal immigrant for financial gain. The jury also wants to review George's testimony in which she mentioned she had possibly once asked about Mathai having a passport. George has adamantly said she had no idea Mathai was an illegal immigrant. Earlier, Assistant US Attorney Rick Belliss highlighted tape-recorded phone conversations in which he said George admitted she employed an illegal servant, according to Times Union. George was recorded speaking to Mathai's son, Shiju Mathai, who secretly taped the conversations after federal agents ended the illegal employment of his mother in May

South Asians laud law on violence against women

Washington, DC: South Asian organizations have welcomed a new law that offers expanded protections for immigrants and other victims of domestic violence, gay rights advocates and Native Americans. Representatives of several organizations, including South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), Raksha, and Sakhi for South Asian Women, attended an event March 7 where President Barack Obama signed the reauthorization of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). SAALT said: "For over two decades, VAWA has helped to protect survivors of domestic violence by providing them with meaningful choices, resources, and services. In particular, VAWA greatly benefits immigrant survivors of domestic violence, including South Asians, by providing options towards securing immigration status without having to rely on their abusers," it said. The law "offers new lifelines that will dramatically change the future of many South Asian survivors of domestic violence," said Lakshmi Aiyappa, Executive Director ASHA for Women. Seema Agnani, Executive Director Chhaya said "the law provides meaningful support to the women we serve, their families and our communities." "VAWA is lifeline for many of our clients, who would otherwise be separated from their children," said Sarah Khan, Executive Director Maitri. "The reauthorization of the VAWA is a triumph for organizations that focus on ending

Annie George

President Obama signing revitalized Violence Against Women Act March 7

2011, Belliss was quoted as saying. Prosecutors said George illegally employed the 49-year-old Mathai for five and a half years, starting in 2005. They said Mathai worked 17-hour days with no time off or sick leave. She slept in a closet while working in the Llenroc mansion in Rexford, the last of three homes in which she worked for the George family, prosecutors said. And she should have earned $317,144 working for George but only received $21,000. George's lawyer, Mark Sacco, told the jury George was a battered wife whose late husband, Mathai Kolath George, made all the decisions, which included allowing Mathai to live with the family. The husband and one of their six children, George Kolath Jr., died in a private plane crash in 2009.

violence against women such as Manavi," the organization said. "The passage of VAWA is a wonderful victory for social justice movements across the board because violence against women impacts everyone directly or indirectly, said Preeti Shekar, Executive Director Narika. "It is because of VAWA that Raksha can continue to serve the needs of South Asian survivors in Georgia," said Aparna Bhattacharya, Executive Director Raksha. This legislation expands access to services and options for domestic violence survivors and uniquely impacts immigrants, including South Asians," said Tiloma Jayasinghe, Executive Director Sakhi for South Asian Women. "We all deserve to be safe, to live without fear of abuse or harm. Today, we are one step closer to that reality," said SAALT Executive Director Deepa Iyer.

New report highlights impact of NYPD spying on American Muslims

New York: American Muslim civil liberties groups released a new report Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and Its Impact on American Muslims, documenting the devastating impacts of the New York Police Departments (NYPD) extensive surveillance program that targeted American Muslims throughout the Northeast and spread outrage throughout the nation. Since 2002, the NYPD embarked on a covert domestic surveillance program that monitored American Muslims throughout the Northeast, from spying on neighborhood cafes and places of worship to infiltrating student whitewater-rafting trips a program that continued despite the NYPDs own acknowledgment that, over the course of six years, these efforts had not generated a single lead. The report is an unprecedented collection of voices from affected community members reflecting how the NYPD spying and infiltration creates a pervasive climate of fear and suspicion that encroaches upon every aspect of their religious, political, and community lives. The report was prepared by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition and its partner organizations the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project at Main Street Legal Services, Inc. of the CUNY School of Law, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). American Muslim community members delivered the report to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence David Cohen at 1 Police Plaza. This report provides a powerful rebuttal to the NYPD and its supporters assertion that surveillance is harmless and victimless, said Diala Shamas, a Liman Fellow at the CLEAR project and one of the reports authors. It is a first-of-its kind opportunity to hear directly from affected community members, many of whom would only speak with us on condition of strict anonymity. NYPD surveillance has impacted every facet of American Muslim life, said Nermeen Arastu, a volunteer attorney with AALDEF. The program has stifled speech, communal life and religious practice and criminalized a broad segment of American Muslims. The isolationism that comes with being a spied on community means that American Muslims are getting a fundamentally inferior opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights. The extensive, in-depth interviews indicate that fear of surveillance has resulted in a decline participation and level of involvement in religious activities, community and social activities, and Muslim student organizations.

The findings document, among other things:

Impacts on students on college campuses, including silencing their activism, alienating their student groups, and affecting their academic choices; Suppressing religious spaces, as mosque congregants become suspicious of one another, imams hesitate when advising their congregants, and individuals refrain from appearing overtly 'Muslim' to avoid triggering surveillance; Silencing speech and political activism - from engagement in public debates and protests, to friendly coffee-house banter; Damaging the NYPD's own relationship with American Muslims in New York City, breaching communities' much-needed relationship of trust with those who are tasked with protecting them.

March 16-22, 2013



Pramukh Swami Maharaj instructs devotees to seek guidance from Mahant Swami
n March 6, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), announced through a letter that all sadhus and devotees should now consult Pujya Mahant Swami (Keshavjivan Swami) for guidance on their dayto-day affairs and issues. The letter was read out in a public assembly by Pujya Doctor Swami (Swayamprakash Swami) in Pramukh Swami Maharajs presence in Ahmedabad. Senior swamis of BAPS explained, Pramukh Swami Maharaj continues to be the spiritual head and guru of the organization. However, as he is 92 years old now, and naturally due to health-related limitations, he is no longer able to travel to villages and cities to reach out to

Raja Krishnamoorthi appointed to Illinois Innovation Council

overnor Pat Quinn and creating the jobs that has announced the we need in the 21st Cenappointment of tury. I'm eager to tackle Raja Krishnamoorthi as Governor Quinns chalvice-chair of the Illinois Inlenge of turning that ponovation Council. The tential into reality." council was founded by Krishnamoorthi, an atGovernor Quinn in 2011 to torney and engineer, is a Raja identify, promote and atnative of New Delhi, InKrishnamoorthi dia and currently serves tract innovation-driven enterprises and individuals to Illinois. It as President of Sivanathan Laboratowill also develop policies to cultivate ries, which is a high-tech business inand retain entrepreneurs, innovative cubator focused on the development researchers and other enterprises. of alternative energy and military Raja has been a leader in devel- technology for commercial civilian oping technologies that will make use. He is one of the highest-ranking our world a better place, Governor Indian Americans to ever serve the Quinn said. His experience in ad- people of Illinois, working as Deputy vanced research, business and the Illinois Treasurer for Policy and Proprivate sector will strengthen the grams from 2007-2009 and as a Specouncil as it continues to develop in- cial Assistant Illinois Attorney Gennovative strategies to grow Illinois eral, where he helped launch the ofeconomy and create the high-paying fices anti-corruption Public Integritechnology jobs of the future. ty Unit. He also worked as the Poli"I'm proud to be named as vice- cy Director and Senior Adviser for chair for the Illinois Innovation President Barack Obamas successCouncil, said Krishnamoorthi. ful 2004 U.S. Senate campaign and Given its excellent universities, as senior advisor on President Obaworld-class companies, and terrific mas successful 2008 presidential human talent, Illinois has great po- campaign. He previously served on tential to become a world hub for sci- the board of the Illinois Housing Deence and technological innovation velopment Authority.

the followers as he did before, when he often met hundreds of people daily to give spiritual guidance. Pujya Keshavjivan Swami, also known as Pujya Mahant Swami, is one of several senior swamis of BAPS. After completing his B.Sc. in Agriculture from Anand (Gujarat, India), he received diksha in 1957 from His Holiness Yogiji Maharaj. Under the guidance, instructions and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Mahant Swami and the other senior swamis travel around the world inspiring devotees and aspirants with their spiritual discourses and personal interactions. Pramukh Swami Maharaj is currently in Ahmedabad and in good health, giving daily darshan to thousands of devotees from around the world.

Dr C Venkata S Ram conferred Padmashri

r.C.Venkata S.Ram, a well known mensely to understanding of the pathoexpert in the treatment of hypertenphysiology and treatment of hypertension. sion has been conferred the prestiAfter his long tenure at UT Southwestern medical school, Dr. Ram joined Dallas gious Padmashri award by the GovernNephrology Associates as its director of ment of India for his distinguished and impactful services in the field of medicine blood pressure institute, medical education, on the eve of Republic Day 2013. Dr. and clinical research; and is now a consultRams professional career in Dallas, Texas ant to DNA . Dr.Ram served the American Association has established him as recognized global exof Physicians from India ( AAPI) in varipert in the treatment of hypertension; he Dr Ram worked for a long time at University of ous capacities and served as its president Texas Southwestern medical school, Dallas, Texas, in 1995-1996. At present, Dr.Ram serves as the Preswhere he earned a reputation as a master clinician, ex- ident and C.E.O of MediCiti Medical College, cellent teacher, and a careful researcher. Along with MediCiti Institute of Medical Sciences, and MediCiti renowned Dr.Norman Kaplan, he has contributed im- group of hospitals, Hyderabad.

South Asian Young Women Entrepreneurs unveil Six-City Financial Education Tour
New York : In celebration of National Womens History Month in March, South Asian Young Women Entrepreneurs (SAY WE), a network of business-minded executives in the fields of technology, finance, entertainment and fashion, announced the launch of a six-city financial education tour, in association with the Consulate General of India (New York) and powered by Wells Fargo. Making Dollars & Sense: Financial Education for South Asian Women Business Owners will kick off in San Francisco on April 18. The panel of financial experts and successful South Asian women entrepreneurs will provide insights, tips and resources on topics such as building business credit, reinvesting in a business, protecting credit and maximizing relationships with business bankers. After the first event, the tour will stop in Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, New Jersey, and culminate in New York City on May 30.

(from L to R) Amrita Singh (Jewelry), Benita Singh (Source4Style), Rahul Baig (Wells Fargo), Dr.Devyani Khobragade (Acting Consul General of India in New York), Reema Rasool (South Asian Young Women Entrepreneurs), Sital Patel (Reporter, Wall Street Journal). (Photo: Nan Melville)

The panelists we have chosen in each of the six cities are of the most successful and driven South Asian women business owners in the country, said Reema Rasool, founder and executive director of SAY WE. They will provide insights and share their journey with women who have just launched their business venture or those who are facing challenges as a result of the recent economic downturn. The goal

of this initiative is to drive awareness to the financial education tools and resources available to women entrepreneurs and to create a national support system of business-minded women who will learn from each other and share their successes, failures, challenges and triumphs. To learn more about SAY WEs financial education panels, panelists and how to participate, log on to and register at


March 16-22, 2013

We have and will continue to reinvent and rebuild Nassau

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano delivered his 4th State of the County address on March 13, 2013. Here is an abridged version of the text of his speech.
team has helped create and retain nearly 4,000 private-sector jobs. From the new Hain-Celestrial Headquarters in Lake Success to attracting a New York City lighting company bound for LA, jobs are coming back to Nassau. Many local companies are once again expanding operations. Clever Devices, for example, which is developing technology for our bus systems and transportation systems internationally, has doubled its employees in Woodbury. While our local economy is once again growing and our unemployment rate is the lowest in the region, many residents still remain underemployed. We are addressing this issue by creating a stronger economic climate that encourages job growth and equips our residents with job training opportunities. In fact, in an effort to reduce the demand on social services, my administration has invested millions of dollars in local job training and retraining centers through agreements with our towns and villages. We have also supported existing businesses with free clinics, job fairs and financial workshops so that they can succeed. Small businesses, including Mom and Pop Shops in our downtowns, make up 60 percent of the job opportunities. Partnering with the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, we supported their Buy LocalShop Local Campaign to remind shoppers of the importance of supporting local downtowns. New Public Facilities via Public-Private Partnerships My Accelerate Nassau Economic Development Plan is my administrations vision for future job opportunities. My plan calls for advancing development opportunities from Belmont Park in the West of our County to the former Grumman Corporation property in the East. Exciting plans launched by Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Senator Jack Martins to redevelop parts of Belmont Park into a sports-entertainment and retail center are consistent with our goal of improving the quality of life in Nassau County and continuing to attract tourism dollars that help hold the line on property taxes. On the Grumman property, motion picture and television production is growing. We now have two production companies and 9 sound stages that compete internationally for film and television production. Collectively, the economic impact of this industry in Nassau County was $90 million in 2012. Nassau now has more filming days than four of the five New York City boroughs and regularly employs electricians, carpenters and artisans. As we sit here today, the most expensive motion picture in history [The Amazing Spiderman 2] is underway right here in Nassau County. I want to thank Deputy Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello and Legislators Denise Ford and Rose Walker for their efforts in supporting film production here. My vision is to build on our job creation success in the areas of homeland security, composite manufacturing and digital postproduction editing, as well as in the hightech and bio-tech sectors. The Hub, long a victim of the Long Island NO, is now on a clear path to reuse. I was disappointed when a public referendum to build a new sports arena and minor league baseball stadium failed. I warned that a failed referendum would likely result in the loss of the Islanders. We stand here today with that reality, but as my mom taught me When presented lemons, make lemonade. Our lemonade includes a vision for a refreshed Hub that continues to accommodate family entertainment, concerts, the circus and sporting events. Through a public-private partnership, my vision includes a downsized privately funded arena that continues sports and family entertainment while also freeing up excess parking acreage so that a Rockefeller Center type destination can be built. The plan calls for Nassau County to share in a percentage of gross revenue to be dedicated to pay down years of accumulated assessment debt. A Request for Proposal has been issued with responses due in April. Engaging a Diverse Group to Lead Nassau By engaging a diverse group of residents to lead Nassau, we have furthered our reinvent and rebuild Nassau initiative. Diversity and opportunity for every American is found in our government where we employ leaders who reflect the melting pot we are today. I am proud of the work Nassaus employees are performing to make certain all residents have a strong voice in our administration. I wish to recognize Deputy County Executive Bishop Phillip Elliott who leads the Office of Minority Affairs in certifying women-owned and minority-owned businesses in Nassau County. Social Service Commissioner John Imhof, for cracking down on welfare fraud and protecting our taxpayers from abuse. I also wish to recognize Eldia Gonsalves, Executive Director of the Coordinating Agency for Spanish Americans, for launching successful language and small business programs that benefit our entire region. I commend Commissioner of Public Works, Shila Shah, for her departments exemplary work with Hurricane Sandy and snow removal. Human Services Commissioner Lisa Murphy for working to provide important services to our senior citizen community. I thank Human Rights Commissioner, Zahid Syed, for chairing the Commission and ensuring equality among our residents. Craig Craft, Commissioner of Emergency Management for working tirelessly before, during and after Hurricane Sandy. Parks Commissioner, Carnell Foskey, for working to establish a Summer Recreation Continued on page 26

adies and Gentlemen, just over three years ago, we inherited a broken Nassau County. For the years preceding my administration, property taxes had been raised by more than 42 percent. On six occasions, property tax increases exceeded Governor Cuomos property tax cap. In that same time period, spending increased over $500 million. And Nassau County faced a $400 million deficit. How did the former administration choose to close the deficit? They introduced a new home energy tax on everything and anything used to heat or cool your home -- oil, gas, electric, propane and even firewood. They also sought to raise property taxes by another 16.5% and fill deficits by borrowing money that your children and grandchildren will have to pay back. I heard the cries of help from our residents, who were struggling to pay their bills, who were terrified about losing their jobs, who worried about how they would provide a college education for their children. Like many of you at home, my wife Linda and I also feared the relocation of our two sons and their grandparents to other areas of the nation where taxes were lower. Accordingly, I chose the path that made sense; NO property tax increases for three consecutive budgets. I chose to repeal the home energy tax, putting money back into our residents' pockets. I chose to eliminate 16.5% property tax hikes planned by the former administration and stopped the County tax on food in its tracks. To prevent future politicians from hiking your taxes by large margins, I crossed political party lines and joined with Governor Cuomo in supporting a property tax cap. Nassau County had the distinction of being the highest property taxed County in the nation, that is no longer true. While we still have more work to do, we are headed in the right direction. The actions of my administration have provided a path to REINVENT and Rebuild Nassau through: * Reducing the Size of Government; * Efficiency Implementations; * Increasing Economic Development and Job Opportunities; * New Public Facilities via Public-Private Partnerships; * Veteran Housing Opportunities; * Engaging a diverse group of residents to lead Nassau; * Never returning to Nassaus Past Practices; and through * Technology Improvements we are

Saving Tax Dollars. Reducing the Size of Government When I took office, Nassau County government was bloated and needed to lose weight. I put it on a diet by reducing the size of government. Today, Nassau County has 1,776 less positions. Thats 1,776 less pensions to fund for this generation and future generations. Thats real reform! Today, Nassau has 33% less patronage positions, 6 less departments thanks to true consolidation efforts. Thats real savings! Through Nassau County's Shared Services initiative, we have realized significant energy savings, approximately $16 million, thus far, in the cost of natural gas. Thats real savings! My administration has right-sized government and maintained an efficient workforce that is 20% leaner than we inherited. We also instituted technological solutions and job training to assist our workforce in delivering the excellent services they provide our residents. Efficiencies were made in our bus system, where a private contractor, Veolia, now operates Nassau-owned buses - saving taxpayers $33 million a year and providing ridership with reliable efficient bus service without raising cash fares. Now thats NICE bus service! This year, expanded bus service routes will connect riders with growing economic centers. Efficiencies were also made at the County jail, where private health care professionals were brought in to deliver health care onsite - thereby eliminating the costly expense of correction guards accompanying convicts to local hospitals and clinics. This initiative saves taxpayers over $7 million a year. Economic Development and Job Growth My Bethpage neighbors and I earned experience and skills in this area as we sought to revitalize the former Northrop Grumman property when the company eliminated 20,000 jobs in the 90s. We worked hard to return over 15,000 jobs in diverse industries to this property. My home community of Bethpage is no longer beholden to one employer. It is this initiative that has strengthened our local economy and enabled it to withstand even Northrop Grummans recent actions. After a decade of skyrocketing taxes under the past administration, business leaders have responded to the dramatic end of annual County tax hikes by returning to Nassau County. For example, my economic development

March 16-22, 2013


IITian to replace Googles Android chief

New York: Google on Wednesday announced that Andy Rubin, who was heading the company's Android division, is stepping down. He will be replaced by Sundar Pichai, an IITian, who also heads Google's Chrome division. "Having exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android-and with a really strong leadership team in place-Andy's decided it's time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google," Google CEO Larry Page said in a post on company's official blog. "Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to useand he loves a big bet. Take Chrome, for example. In 2008, people asked whether the world really needed another browser. Today Chrome has hundreds of millions of happy users and is growing fast thanks to its speed, simplicity and security," Page Wrote. "So while Andy's a really hard act to follow, I know Sundar will do a tremendous job doubling down on Android as we work to push the ecosystem forward." Though it is not clear why

Aneesh Chopra enters race for Virginia LG

Washington, DC: Indian-American Aneesh Paul Chopra, the first chief technology officer of the US, has formally entered the race for Virginia Lieutenant Governor. Chopra submitted 20,630 petition signatures, more than double of the minimum 10,000 signatures required, to qualify for ballot access in the June Democratic Primary. "This is a credit to the grassroots network that drives this campaign," Chopra said upon delivering his petition signatures. "This is just one step along the road to victory, but I am incredibly proud of our efforts across the Commonwealth. Today wouldn't be possible without our dedicated and hardworking supporters and volunteers," Chopra said. If elected, he would be the first Indian American to be elected to the top post in Virginia. "I decided to run for the post as I firmly believe our state government can be smarter, faster, better, and fairer for all Virginians. This is a message that is resonating across the Commonwealth, and I look forward to engaging with more Virginians on it in the coming months," he said. The Indian American community in Virginia has come out in support of Chopra. "Aneesh Chopra is committed to making government work better, smarter, faster, and fairer. He's a forwardthinking innovator who has served as Virginia's Secretary of Technology and as the first Chief Technology Officer of the US," said Lavika Bhagat Singh. Chopra announced his candidacy "to finish what he started when he first joined the government -- harnessing innovative capacity of the country to solve problems," he said. Key supporters from around Virginia who have endorsed his campaign include Congressman Jim Moran

Sundar Pichai also heads Google's Chrome division

Aneesh Chopra was first CTO of the US

Rubin is stepping down, there is possibility that Google may want to integrate Chrome OS, which powers its laptops, and Android in future so that the company can use a single operating system for computers as well as mobile devices. Pichai, who has a BTech degree from IIT Kharagpur, joined Google in 2004. Apart from Pichai, Google has several other Indians in prominent positions. Most important of them are Amit Singhal, who looks after Google's search operations, Vic Gundotra, who takes care of Google+, the company's social networking website, and Nikesh Arora, the company's chief business officer.

and former Congressmen Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello.Chopra, son of immigrants in Trenton, New Jersey, has spent his life focusing on education and innovation. His father immigrated to the US in 1966, and enrolled in the engineering program at Villanova University and went on to earn three patents for his work in the refrigeration industry. Chopra attended Johns Hopkins University and then the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He was tapped by the Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as his Secretary of Technology and in 2009, US President Barack Obama appointed him as the nation's first Chief Technology Officer. Chopra was entrusted with promoting innovation to address nation's most urgent priorities like creating jobs to reducing health care costs, besides keeping the nation secure.Upon his departure to run for office, President Obama said, "his legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come, and I thank him for his outstanding service."

Vistasp Karbhari named head of Texas University

Washington, DC: Vistasp M. Karbhari, a noted researcher and scholar, is joining a growing band of Indian-Americans heading US institutions of higher learning with his appointment as president of The University of Texas at Arlington. A Pune university graduate, Karbhari will succeed James D. Spaniolo June 1, the university announced after the Board of Regents unanimously approved his appointment Tuesday. Karbhari is also a published author or co-author of more than 200 scientific papers. He got his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pune and his doctorate from the University of Delaware. He currently is the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Prior to that, he served as professor and vice chairman of the structural engineering department at the University of California-San Diego. "UT Arlington is an incredible institution, and I am committed to advancing UT Arlington toward Tier One status, while maintaining and strengthening excellence in both research and education and ensuring the success of our undergraduate and graduate students," Karbhari said.

Oklahoma University signs MoU with Andhra

Hyderabad: The Oklahoma State University Monday signed a MoU with the Andhra Pradesh Society For Knowledge Network (APSFKNW) to explore offering joint certificate programs. Under the pact, the 123-year-old American university will explore the opportunities for offering joint certificate programs in analytics, data mining, decision support system and business intelligence through the Jawahar Knowledge Centres (JCKs) run by stateowned APSFKNW. The MoU was signed in the presence of Oklahoma University president Burns Hargis and Andhra Pradesh IT Minister Ponnala Laksmaiah. "We expect this MoU to yield great results for both," said Hargis, who is leading a delegation of university officials including from the business school and the departments of engineering and agriculture. "We have benefited from talent, analog and the work ethics of people from this part of India and we want to do much more," he added. Laksmaiah, who did his MS from Oklahoma University, said the MoU was aimed at enhancing the employability of the graduates through JKCs.

Vistasp Karbhari

"I am honored by the Board's decision to name me as president, and I am looking forward to leading this wonderful university and building on the tremendous foundations laid by President Spaniolo." "We are fortunate to have a leader of Karbhari's calibre take over the reins of UT Arlington, and we know he is the perfect fit to make sure excellence, accessibility and affordability remain top priorities at UT Arlington," Regents chairman Gene Powell said. "Karbhari has impressed us from the moment we met him, and he has our complete confidence," he said.


March 16-22, 2013

Obama feels differences with GOP may be too wide

Washington: President Obama says he's reaching out to Republicans, but isn't sure it will lead to a major budget deal. "Ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide," Obama told ABC News. The president added: "It may be that, ideologically, if their position is, 'We can't do any revenue,' or, 'We can only do revenue if we gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid,' if that's the position, then we're probably not going to be able to get a deal." In the meantime, Obama said he will continue speaking with congressional Republicans, including a meeting Wednesday with some of his most vociferous critics: The House GOP. Obama is seeking a new debt reduction agreement that includes both budget cuts and higher taxes, the latter by eliminating loopholes that benefit the wealthy. Republicans oppose higher taxes in a new debt deal, saying they would slow economic growth; they are also seeking changes to rapidly growing entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In his ABC interview, Obama said he is looking for a "common sense caucus," including Republicans, that says "we can do sensible deficit reduction with a combination of entitlement reform, some judicious spending cuts, closing some tax loopholes that nobody really defends on their own." If Obama and the Republicans are unable to strike a big budget deal, it won't mean "a crisis," the president said. "It just means that we will have missed an opportunity," Obama told ABC. "I think that opportunity is there and I'm going to make sure that they know that I'm prepared to work with them."

President Obama with Congressional leaders including Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) at the Capitol February 27.

Paul Ryan fires first as budget wars begin

Judge enters not guilty plea for defendant in Colorado rampage

Centennial, Colo.: The judge presiding over the Aurora movie theater shooting, appearing impatient at the pace of the proceedings, entered a not guilty plea on behalf of suspect James E. Holmes on Tuesday and set a trial date for Aug 5. Also, George Brauchler, the newly elected district attorney for Colorado's 18th Judicial District, said in court that he would announce April 1 whether he would seek the death penalty for Holmes. When public defender Daniel King asked to postpone the arraignment because the defense team, citing the complexity of the case, was not ready to enter a plea, a sigh could be heard from the courtroom gallery filled with dozens of victims and their family members. "We cannot ethically stand before you and enter a plea," King told Chief Judge William Sylvester. So the judge entered what he described as a "standard not guilty" plea from the bench. It was widely anticipated that if Holmes entered a plea Tuesday it would be not guilty by reason of insanity. Defense motions challenging the constitutionality of Colorado's insanity plea process were filed 12 days ago. If

Suspect James E. Holmes with his lawyer: 12 people died and 70 were wounded in the shootout in a theater showing "The Dark Knight Rises."

Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, presents his budget plan in Washington, D.C., March 12.

Holmes is found to be insane or suffering from a mental defect at the time of the crime, he cannot be executed. Holmes faces 166 counts in connection with the shooting in July 2012. Twelve people died and 70 were wounded in the rampage during a packed midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Washington: Congress finally seems to be taking its budgetary responsibility more seriously, with Paul Ryan presenting his budget, Senate working on one, and Obamas to follow in April. But now House budget chairman Paul Ryan has weighed in with his base-pleasing blueprint. Dont expect much initial common ground in these competing documents but a process that looks suspiciously like governing has begun. What has changed is that along with the presidents welcome outreach to Republicans in recent days, there are signs of problemsolving approach at work, spurred at least in part by the passage of No Budget No Pay legislation in February. Ryans budget wasnt intended to get anything resembling bipartisan support, but is a first volley in the budget wars. He aims for an ambitious 10-year timetable for a balanced budget hed cut $4.6 trillion while leaving defense spending essentially untouched. Most of the savings come from a make-believe repeal of Obamacare, and paradoxically, the accelerated timetable is mathematically plausible because of

the increased revenues from taxes on the rich that came about because of the fiscal-cliff deal. Many details are left out, including how an ambitious proposed tax reform to reduce the top rate to 25 percent would work. The Ryan budget is silent on the specific deductions that would be reduced or eliminated to make it revenue neutral, leaving the strong possibility that the effective tax rate for middle-class families could rise. Said Reagan secretary of State George Shultz, now at the Hoover Institution., I am encouraged to see them talking about a budget. We havent had a budget in four years. Obama too weighed in on the Ryan budget: Were not gonna balance the budget in 10 years because if you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucherize Medicare, you have to slash deeply into programs like Medicaid, youve essentially got to either tax middle-class families a lot higher than you currently are, or you cant lower rates the way hes promised its a reprise of the same legislation that hes put before.

FBI hunts hackers who exposed private info on First Lady, public figures
Washington, DC: The FBI is hunting the hackers who stole and posted online private information First Lady of Washington, Michelle Obama D.C. figures and celebrities, including First Lady Michelle Obama. President Obama on Tuesday confirmed the investigation focusing on the Russia-based website Exposed, where the credit card reports, mortgage statements, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and loan information of Mrs. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI director Robert Mueller, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Mel Gibson and Paris Hilton were posted. Some of the information was wrong suggesting that the posted data were outdated or a hoax. ABC News consultant and former FBI agent Brad Garrett said the expose may also be designed to embarrass the victim. Aside from the sensitive information, embarrassing photos of the victims were posted online.

US vows to retaliate against cyber attacks

Cyber attacks threat more dangerous than Al Qaeda
Washington: The chief of the militarys newly created Cyber Command told Congress on Tuesday that he is establishing 13 teams of programmers and computer experts who could carry out offensive cyberattacks on foreign nations if the United States were hit with a major attack on its own networks, the first time the Obama administration has publicly admitted to developing such weapons for use in wartime. I would like to be clear that this team, this defend-the-nation team, is not a defensive team, Gen. Keith Alexander, who runs both the National Security Agency and the new Cyber Command, told the House Armed Services Committee. This is an offensive team that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace. Thirteen of the teams that were creating are for that mission alone. General Alexanders testimony came on the same day the nations top intelligence official, James R. Clapper Jr., warned Congress that a major cyberattack on the US could cripple the countrys infrastructure and economy, and suggested that such attacks now pose the most dangerous immediate threat to the United States, even more pressing than an attack by global terrorist networks. On Monday, Thomas E. Donilon, the national security adviser, demanded that Chinese authorities investigate such attacks and enter talks about new rules governing behavior in cyberspace. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that American spy agencies saw only a remote chance in the next two years of a major computer attack on the United States, which he defined as an operation that would result in long-term, wide-scale disruption of services, such as a regional power outage. Mr. Clapper appeared with the heads of several other intelligence agencies, including Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the F.B.I. director Robert S. Mueller III, and the C.I.A. director John O. Brennan, to present their annual assessment of the threats facing the nation.


Marc 16-22, 2013


Marine row: India warns Italy of 'consequences'

New Delhi: Relations between India and Italy remained tense after New Delhi warned Rome of "consequences" in bilateral ties over its refusal to send back two marines facing trial for killing two Indian fishermen, an action which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described as "unacceptable". The Italian government said it was prepared to resolve the legal dispute according to international law as the marines were facing trial in a court in Rome. The prime minister, taking a tough stand in parliament over the diplomatic fracas with a leading European power, said if Italy does not keep its word "there will be consequences". He said Italy's actions are "unacceptable" and "violate every rule of diplomatic discourse and call into question solemn commitments given by accredited representatives of a sovereign government to our Supreme Court". This was after Arun Jaitely, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house, described the Italian response as "enemy action" and urged the government to "forget diplomacy" and respond strongly. The Indian reactions came after Italy informed India that the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, would not return to India. They are facing engage in a common effort based upon Article 100 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," the statement said. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley described Italy's decision not to return its marines as "enemy action" and urged India to "forget diplomacy" and take action.

SC restrains Italian ambassador from leaving India

Italy informed India that the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, would not return to India

trial for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast last year, mistaking them for pirates. India had summoned the Italian envoy, Daniele Mancini, on Tuesday and conveyed to him "in the strongest terms" that Rome was "obliged" to ensure the return of the two marines. The Supreme Court on Feb 22 allowed the two marines to fly to Italy to vote in the Feb 24-25 national elections. The apex court was given an undertaking by the ambassador that the marines will return in four weeks to face legal proceedings in India. Italy claims the incident occurred in international waters

and has been trying to get Latorre and Girone tried in Italian courts, while India contends the shooting occurred in its own territory. In a note on March 6. the Italian government had requested India to set up a meeting at diplomatic level in order to reach an amicable solution of the controversy. The request "is under examination" by India. Responding to India's stand on the standoff, Italian diplomatic officials in a statement said that Rome was ready to negotiate the case based on international law. "The judgment by the Supreme Court of India on Jan 18 has denied Italian jurisdiction on the case and invited both countries to

New Delhi: The Supreme Court restrained Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country till March 18 without its permission. The apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, while restraining the Italian ambassador from leaving the country, issued notice to the Italian government, its ambassador, and the two marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen Feb 15, 2012. The court said the notices are returnable by March 18. The Italian ambassador was issued notice on going back on his undertaking to the court assuring the return of the two marines after their four weeks' stay in Italy. The court issued the notice after Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati informed the court about the sequence of events

Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini

starting from the Italian government's statement that the two marines will not return to India to face trial after the expiry of four weeks for which they were allowed to visit their country. The Supreme Court in February allowed Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two poor Indian fishermen off Kerala, to fly to Italy to vote in the Feb 2425 national election.

Coming, a strong anti-rape bill Was Srinagar fidayeen attack a one-off incident?
New Delhi: A group of ministers (GoM) reached a consensus on the antirape bill with an agreement on replacing the word 'sexual assault' with 'rape' and reducing the age of consent from 18 to 16, sources said. Stalking and voyeurism had been made non-bailable and there will be no penalty on false complaints. The union cabinet was expected to take up the draft soon. The cabinet had deferred a decision on the anti-rape bill Tuesday due to lack of unanimity. The GoM was set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve the differences. The word 'sexual assault' is now The GoM agreed on replaced with 'rape' replacing the word 'sexual assault' with 'rape' and approval for the legislation by on reducing the age of consent March 22. from 18 to 16, sources said. The bill is expected to be in parHome Minister Sushilkumar liament only next week as Shinde had expressed confidence Parliamentary Affairs Minister that that differences would be Kamal Nath has called an allresolved and the government will party meet to evolve consensus be able to secure parliamentary over the issue on March 18. Srinagar: The deadly fidayeen (suicide attack) strike in Srinagar, which occurred after three years, has brought back gory memories of blood and bombs. Many in the state government, however, say it was a one-off incident. Two fidayeen guerrillas of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, which owned responsibility for the suicide attack, entered the playfield of the local police public school in Bemina along with some local boys who usually play cricket there during holidays. Following the separatist protest shutdown call, school authorities had ordered closed the school. The shutdown call came as a blessing in disguise: Had it been a regular day at school, innocent school children may have been caught in the crossfire. The fidayeens opened indiscriminate automatic gunfire and hurled grenades at a posse of CRPF troopers who were preparing to move out on law and order duties. Five troopers were killed in the shooting. In retaliatory firing, the fidayeens were killed. Nine others -- three civilians and six CRPF troopers -sustained injuries in the fierce gunfight. A civilian was killed in CRPF firing when troopers of the same battalion that suffered casualties at Bemina fired in Saidpora area of Srinagar, which is en route to the hospital where the troopers were going to donate blood to save their critically injured colleague. CRPF top brass said the vehicle carrying blood donors was attacked by a stone-pelting mob, and the troopers resorted to firing in self-defence. Locals refuted the CRPF version asserting that the firing was unprovoked. Separatists stepped in, calling the CRPF firing "vengeance" for the death of their colleagues at the hands of fidayeen guerrillas.

Five CRPF troopers were killed in the shooting.

Pak-made items found on terrorists

New Delhi: The two terrorists killed in Wednesday's attack in Srinagar seemed to be foreign fidayeen (suicide attackers) and items recovered from them appeared to be of Pakistani origin, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said. Making a statement in the Lok Sabha on the terror attack in which five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed, he said the two unidentified terrorists took advantage of a small gap in the fencing at the police public school in Bemina area to enter the compound, mingle with the youth there and open fire. He said two AK rifles, five magazines, two pistols and four grenades were among the recoveries made from the slain terrorists.


March 16-22, 2013


Gujarat's 'GIFT' to financial world is ready

Gandhinagar: At least three leading Mumbai institutions will set up operations in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) and six nationalized banks will follow suit in India's first international financial services centers (IFSC) here. The Financial Technologies Knowledge Management Co. Ltd (FTKMCL), The Institute of Cost Accounts of India (ICAI) and Narsee Monjee Education Trust (NMET) will set up training and academic institutions in the 886-acre GIFT City, coming up at a cost of Rs.78,000 crore. FTKMCL will invest Rs.50 crore to develop a services training centre; the ICAI too will spend Rs.50 crore to build a centre of excellence while the NMET will set up a modern school at a cost of Rs.20 crore, GIFT City director-in-charge R.K. Jha said. During the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2013, GIFT City signed a memorandum of understanding with a consortium of leading technology providers for the development of information communication and technology here. Development activities in the GIFT City shifted to top gear after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the state's tallest 29-storey tower at the complex two months ago, making it the country's first IFSC. Many companies, which have booked space in the 700,000 sq ft building, constructed at a cost of Rs.1,000 crore, will start operations by April, followed by the inauguration of the second twin tower in May. "Creating a global financial hub is imperative for economic growth and will help bring more jobs and creating more business in India. An IFSC will help achieve this objective and simultaneously catapult India on the global financial hub map," said Jha.

Party undecided on PM candidate: Rajnath

Kolkata: BJP president Rajnath Singh Monday said though Narendra Modi's popularity could not be denied, the party would decide if the Gujarat chief minister would be its prime ministerial candidate. "It will be decided by the party's central parliamentary board. But one cannot deny his popularity," Singh said when reporters asked him whether Modi would be the face of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls this year. Singh rejected rumors that BJP leader L.K. Advani would no longer be a part of the core group of decision-making in the BJP. "It is completely baseless that he (Advani) is not in the decisionmaking team. He is not only our senior leader but also a pioneer for the party. He will remain a torchbearer for the BJP," he stated.

GIFT City plans to garner up to 10 percent of the financial services potential in India

GIFT City plans to garner up to 10 percent of the financial services potential in India by creating one million direct and indirect jobs in the next 10 years, thanks to the 90-million square feet of commercial, residential and social facilities offering an excellent quality of life, he said. GIFT City also aspires to become an operations hub for national financial services, a regional or functional headquarters for banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) players and a private banking hub for non-resident Indians and regional high net worth individuals. It is also targeting to become an international microfinance hub and a global information technology and business process outsourcing hub for the financial services sector. According to Jha, GIFT City, being developed jointly with the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd, will help realise the vision of promoting Gujarat as a global financial services centre offering the best of world-class infrastructure.

Cobrapost expose on Indian private banks

New Delhi: Investigative journalist Anirudh Bahl's Cobrapost screened hours of secret tapings showing leading Indian private banks such as HDFC, ICICI and Axis facilitating laundering of huge amounts of black money into banking system. Mostly through deposits into various insurance products, black money running into crores can be converted into white money, and taken out with rewards later without any tax liability, the tapes showed. A reporter posing as a front man for a politician approached bank managers in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkota and several other cities. In all the cases managers were willing, and facilitating, deposit of black money into various accounts, and finally into various insurance products.


March 16-22, 2013


Modi wins this round

By Chanakya othing helps Narendra Modi more than making him out to be a victim. This truth evaded the ivory panelled minds of a group of University of Pennsylvania academics when they called for him to be banned from speaking, via videophone, at a Wharton Business School Forum. Commentary in India has been running in Modis favor, I would guess, by a ratio of nine to one. The commonest argument in defense of Modi has been the Voltairean one. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it (mind you, Voltaire never actually said that, but the sentiment is right). In the eyes of many, Modi is not beyond reproach. He is, at a minimum, thought to be complicit in the passive acceptance of the anti-Muslim pogroms that blighted the reputation of Gujarat and his government in 2002. The Supreme Court has hinted as such by criticizing his unwillingness to go after suspected participants in the carnage while being over-eager to gag whistleblowers and witnesses for the prosecution. Heres a question for those of

you who feel the right place for Modi is a locked black box on the dark side of the moon: why is he going from political strength to political strength? The answer is legitimacy. Where does this legitimacy arise from? From the Gujarati voter and, possibly one day, the Indian voter. By winning three state elections in a row in a country where winning one is a halfmiracle, Modi has provided himself the best possible defense against criticism. In a democracy, the thickest armor is that made of layers of ballot papers. Those on the far left and far right wont agree. In their world view, adherence to an ideological straitjacket is what confers legitimacy. Hence the strange sight of RSS and communist intellectuals both mouthing off against Modi: he declines to wear their straitjackets. But among the babbling majority, in a democracy, and in a civil society, legitimacy is accepted as coming from below not from above. It was noticeable that the petition against Modis participation at the Wharton India Economic Forum avoided dwelling on his electoral successes.

Instead it focused on the US visa ban (which could almost be a roll of honour given that others facing the same predicament include the widow of Salvador Allende, misogynist singer Boy George and more communists than one can name), Human Rights Watch (which has a problem with the CMs of Kashmir, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and most of the Northeas-tern states as well), and the Supreme Court of India (which has cited Modi for being unhelpful but has yet to pin a blood charge on him directly). If the electorate is the source of his legitimacy, the proper way to undermine Modi is to make him suspect in the eyes of the public. A criminal case would be perfect, but the evidence is lacking. There have been some attempts at dissecting Gujarats economic record that has been impressive on growth but poor on inclusion. What is not helpful is what happened at Wharton. A crude attempt at censoring Modi in a public forum only helps to make him look like the one besieged, the underdog under attack from an armchair elite and, finally, helps him redefine himself not as a pariah politician but as the representation

The Wharton India Economic Forum will be in for a tough time if Modi is successful in moving on to the national political stage.

of Indian nationalism. No self-respecting liberal can support censorship, even when it comes to a person who one despises, the idea of using illiberal means to constrain him or her sticks in ones craw. The only hope to expose such a person is to make him a lesser mortal among the masses. Allowing Modi to speak freely, act openly and face a jury of his peers on a public podium is among the best ways to let him expose himself. Dwight D Eisenhower used a similar tactic with the anti-communist demagogue, Joe McCarthy: he let the senator trip himself up by letting him speak his mind. The Wharton India Economic Forum, otherwise evolving as one of the best international meeting places to discuss Indias business prospects, is

possibly fatally damaged. It will be in for a tough time if Modi is successful in moving on to the national political stage. The lesson, however, is that the strength of a public fora or a university is the power of ideas, arguments, fact versus fiction. The power of a politician lies in the support he garners on the ground from common people. Ostracization is a social tool, not an intellectual one. Using it against an elected politician makes about as little sense as urging tens of thousands farm laborers to critique a Harvard professors scholarly treatise by yelling loudly. Modi won this round and without even wanting to. (The article appeared in the Hindustan Times)

Rahul expanding influence, taking over mother's role

By Amit Agnihotri ignaling a generational change in the 127-year-old Congress, Rahul Gandhi is gradually expanding his role as vice president of the party as it prepares for six assembly polls later this year and the 2014 general elections. A sign of Gandhi's expanding influence in the party is that he has started taking over the role of his mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who used to interact with party MPs during parliament sessions. In the process, Gandhi has met the All India Congress Committee functionaries and state leaders, including chief ministers, over the past few weeks. Officially, Gandhi heads the party's coordination panel for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and will lead its poll campaign. Gandhi, who was made No.2 in

Interactive sessions with party workers have been a reality check for Rahul Gandhi the party Jan 19 at the party's 'chintan shivir' strategy session at Jaipur, is expected to announce the much-awaited organizational reshuffle soon. He chose not to rush with the changes and has since been hearing party leaders from across the country on what ails the organization and what needs to be done to strengthen it.

He recently said his main priority is to strengthen and democratize party and not be the prime ministerial candidate, that his party wants him to be. So far he has met MPs from Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan, where assembly polls are due later this year, besides those from Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Goa during the ongoing budget session. Interactions with other states will follow, party leaders said. During another interaction with leaders of the faction-ridden Haryana Congress, Gandhi firmly told them not to criticize Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in public as it exposed chinks in the party ranks. Party insiders said the interactive sessions have been a reality check for Rahul Gandhi, who told the senior leaders to strengthen party units down to the booth level

and bridge their communication gap with the local workers to brace up for future challenges. Significantly, Rahul Gandhi has not confined himself to discussions in Delhi alone. He has been traveling across the country after becoming vice president and recently met workers and leaders of Odisha and Uttarakhand, as also Mumbai. Plans are afoot for more statespecific meetings over the coming weeks, party sources said. "He is building a personal rapport with the central and state leaders. This will help in the long run," they said. Congress insiders said Gandhi's rebuff to suggestions that he be named the party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as the party was his priority will help convey the message that he does not hanker after power.

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


March 16-22, 2013


Nirbhaya's bravery inspired President gives Stree Shakti awards on millions: John Kerry International Women's Day
Washington, DC: Nirbhaya, the "Fearless" victim of a gang rape in a Delhi bus, who became the focus of women around India and their fight against gender-based violence, was honored Friday with a posthumous US "woman of courage" award. US first lady Michelle Obama joined secretary of state John Kerry as he presented nine women the annual award recognizing women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk. At the State Department presentation ceremony on International Women's Day, Kerry praised the determination and courage of "a woman known simply as Nirbhaya - brave heart, fearless." The audience stood up and observed a moment of silence after he read out the citation. "Nirbhaya boarded a bus in Delhi last December where she was brutally gang raped, tossed away, left to die. But she kept fighting," Kerry said. "As Nirbhaya fought for her life, she fought for justice and gave detailed accounts of her attack used to arrest her rapists." "Nirbhaya's fight survives her. With great sadness, we honor Nirbhaya as a woman of exceptional courage," Kerry said. "Nirbhaya's bravery inspired millions with simple message: No more looking the other way when gender-based violence happens." Nirbhaya "Fearless," champion for justice (India) "has become the foundation of a popular movement to end violence against women in India," the State Department said. "For millions of Indian women, her personal ordeal, perseverance to fight for justice, and her family's continued bravery is helping to lift the stigma and vulnerability that drive violence against women," it said. New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee Friday presented the Stree Shakti Puruskar for 2012 on International Women's Day while thanking women for their contribution in the making of India. "I take this opportunity to extend warm greetings to women in all parts of our country. I thank them for their invaluable contribution in the making of our great nation," the president told the awardees. The mother of the Dec 16, 2012, Delhi gang-rape victim who succumbed to her injuries, was given the Rani Lakshmi Bai Award for "the spirit of Nirbhaya", nickname for the girl. "Nirbhaya, as she is now known, was a brave and courageous girl who fought till the very last minute for her dignity and her life. She is a true hero and symbolizes the best in Indian youth and women," Mukherjee said. He added: "Her sad demise should not be in vain. We must do everything possible to ensure that such an

President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Stree Shakti Rani Laxmibai Award to the mother of Delhi gang rape victim on the occasion of International Women's Day in New Delhi on March 8th.

incident never happens again." Others who received the award were Pranita Talukdar of Assam, Sonika Agarwal of Delhi, Guramma H. Sankina of Karnataka, Omana T.K. of Kerala and Olga D'Mello of Maharashtra. The president said: "We must strive to ensure that women feel safe

and secure at all times in our country." "The figure for female literacy is 16.7 percent below male literacy. Surveys have indicated that female hourly wage rates in agriculture vary from 50 to 75 percent of the male wage rates. More disturbing is the increase in the incidence of violence against women," he said.

Coca-Cola organizes training for women

New Delhi: Beverages giant Coca-Cola India said that it organized a retail training program for 1,000 women across 13 cities on International Women's Day Friday. "Coca-Cola India believes that investing in women makes social as well as business sense," said Atul Singh, president and chief executive, Coca-Cola India and south west Asia. "We are happy to be able to play a role towards social inclusiveness and we are working to scale up our initiatives in a larger geography," he said. According to the company, its retail training program Parivartan has trained over 135,000 retailers in the country. The program includes learning modules on shop, stock, customer and financial management. "Training women in retailing skills is a step to economically empower women under The Coca-Cola Company's global 5BY20 initiative," the company said in a statement.

Protest marches, events mark Women's Day in Delhi

New Delhi: Celebrations, exhibitions and protest marches in the national capital marked International Woman's Day Friday, as women activists demanded stronger laws for the safety of women. Hundreds participated in a march to parliament from Mandi House, organized by a coalition of several women's groups under the banner of "Centenary Celebration Committee." The women took to the streets demanding stringent laws that would make public spaces safe for them. "Our main demand is a law based on the recommendations of Justice Verma Committee. We are very angry at the government and the main opposition parties that they are trying to find ways to not implement these recommendations," said Kavita Krishnan, member of All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA). The Justice Verma Committee was formed by the central government after the rape and death of a 23-yearold in Dec 2012, to review laws on violence against women. The activists said the government was trying to maintain "anti-women" clauses in the legislation on sexual violence which is before parliament. Another protest rally was organized by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at Ashoka Road here, alleging the government had adopted an "indifferent attitude" towards the security of women. "The matter of women's security in the country and particularly in Delhi has become a very critical issue for the nation. The government is not ready to take strong action in this regard," said AAP member Manish Sisodia. Addressing a function on the occasion of Women's Day, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit called for a change in attitude towards women, she asserted that a change that would ensure safety of women must start from the family. "The change should be started from the family itself. Women are always beautiful in all roles. She is the epitome of beauty, intelligence, patience and hard work. Always respect her in all fields," the chief minister said. Over 200 members of Bharatiya Janata Party's women's wing meanwhile staged a protest outside Talkatora Stadium, where Dikshit was addressing the woman's day function. The protesting women blocked the way of Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, who was on his way to attend the event at Talkatora Stadium. Tharoor was forced to leave after the women would not let him proceed, a police officer said. Police kept watch, as a crowd gathered and raised slogans for about 15 minutes. In a women-friendly initiative, about 200 autorickshaws of the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh offered free rides to women passengers from 11 metro stations Friday. Many public meetings, seminars, cultural programmes and special film screenings were organized in the national capital to mark the day.

Members of All India Mahila Samskruthika Sanghatane (AIMSS) stage a protest on the occasion of International Womens Day at SBM Circle in Bangalore against growing crimes on women, in Bangalore

(Above) Women take out rallies on International Women`s Day in Madurai.

Activists of All India Progressive Students Organization (AIPSO) releasing sky lanterns on the occasion of International Women's Day in Hyderabad on March 8, 2013.


March 16-22, 2013


Thousands of South Asian workers strike Hindus in UK call for disclosure of meat sources at Oman airport after Indian's death
Muscat: Thousands of South Asian laborers working on the expansion of Muscat airport downed tools on Tuesday in a rare strike to demand better safety conditions after a worker died in an accident, a company official and workers said. The work stoppage is likely to cause further delay to a $1.8 billion contract to build the new terminal which the Omani government awarded in 2010 to BEB, a joint venture of US company Bechtel and Turkey's Enka. An Indian worker died late on Monday when he was run over by a bus belonging to the contractor, workers and a BEB official said. "We will not go to work today unless our company assures us that they will revise safety standards at our work place," Mohan Raman, a worker with the contractor BEB, told Reuters on Tuesday. "We have 10,000 workers and most of them are on strike," said London: Hindu groups based in the UK have called on the government to enforce stricter disclosure norms after it emerged that many restaurants serving Indian food in Scotland were using the wrong kind of meat. In the wake of the Europe-wide horsemeat scandal that is still under investigation, it emerged that more than a third of Scottish curry restaurants could be using cheaper meat such as beef in dishes that claimed to be lamb. "The issue does raise religious concerns as some Hindus who may eat meat would prefer not to consume beef as cows are considered sacred in our religion," said Anil Bhanot, managing director of Hindu Council UK. "Hindus are predominantly vegetarian but our estimates are that twothirds of Hindus based in the UK are meat eaters and it is important they know what is being served to them. "The government must require strict tests on the food industry so that there is proper disclosure of the

the BEB official, who asked not to be named. "We are improving safety standards to make sure such accidents will never happen again." The extension of Muscat airport was originally scheduled to be completed by end of this year but officials said last year it is now

expected to finish by the end of 2014 due to soft ground in the middle of the new runway. Strikes rarely take place in Oman and other Gulf Arab states which employ million of South Asians, mostly blue-collar construction workers. Most of the strikes are over pay.

source of the meat being sold and served to us. And, the results of these tests must be made public and transparent so we can make an informed choice," he added. A spokesperson for the Hindu Temple of Scotland in Glasgow also highlighted it as a nationwide "concern." "However, 90 per cent of Hindus who are part of this temple tend to be vegetarians," he added. The Scottish food enforcement liaison committee, which is part of the UK's food standards agency (FSA), carried out tests in 129 Indian restaurants north of England's border where curry as Indian food is referred to, is quite popular. It claimed that cheap beef was passed off as lamb in 46 of those premises. In 33 of those, there was no lamb in the dishes, while the remaining 13 used some lamb and cheap cuts of beef. The premises were identified in the report but have not been made public.

India, Kuwait hold talks on boosting economic ties

New Delhi: India and Kuwait Monday discussed opportunities for Kuwaiti investment in refineries in India and also matters relating to the welfare of the large Indian diaspora in Kuwait. The talks were held between External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and visiting Kuwaiti Minister of Amiri Dewan Affairs' Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah here. "During the discussions, opportunities for Kuwaiti investment in refineries in India and potential Indian project exports to Kuwait were discussed," official sources said. "The two ministers also exchanged views on the situation in West Asia and matters relating to the welfare of the large Indian community resident in Kuwait," the sources added. Sheikh Nasser, who is on a three-day visit to India, arrived Sunday. He is accompanied by officials of the Kuwaiti Investment Authority and Kuwait Petroleum as well as Kuwait Chambers of Commerce. According to Kuwait News Agency, Sheikh Nasser was to forward a letter from Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to President Pranab Mukherjee.

Connecting India, South Asia, diaspora with reality art show

New Delhi: The alternative community of artists, musicians and performers in India and South Asia has found a new umbrella to express its concerns in genres as diverse as art, music, dance and performance - linking it to greater global realities. "Engendered", an arts platform for marginal sexual groups, has created a connect between the US, India, the other SAARC countries and the South Asian diaspora with an exhibition, "Sri: Multiple Feminisms", at the American Center - a tribute to womanhood and sexuality by artists like Anjolie Ela Menon, Anupam Sud, Arpana Caur, Shilpa Gupta, Alex Davies, Shimeen Farhat and Puneet Kaushik. The artists have re-interpreted womanhood in the broad contexts of the social, political and cultural issues that are common to South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The artists have looked at the developing economies in the sub-continent and South Asia through prisms of gender inequality, the fight for justice and against atrocities, economic empowerment of women and protection of traditional and ethnic values among the marginal population groups - causes that bear on the geopolitics of the countries of the South Asian region. This is the third arts project that "Engendered" has commissioned in India - the first two being the IView Film Festival for alternative sexual groups and RESIST, an open wall of solidarity that has collected more than 42 canvases by contemporary artists expressing their creative opinions around a gamut of social problems confronting the society. The organization has collaborated with the American Centre for the show. The platform, born in New York in 2007 as a transnational arts and human rights organization, has been exploring the complex realities of gender and sexuality in the South Asian diaspora, says Mynah Mukherjee, who coordinates the organization's activities in the capital. The platform presents an annual four-part festival to bring together the emerging talent in South Asian performances, music, visual arts and cinema. The forum has used the medium of arts and culture to create change and promote social justice by initiating public dialogues. In India, the forum operates out of its Alternative Gallery in Shahpur Jat, a studio village in the capital, and focuses primarily on arts. Around the India Art Fair 2012, the gallery opened its doors to the capital's mainstream art scene with an international residency project. A live act of RESIST at the India Art Fair 2013 in January, spotlighting on the platform and its activity in the country, drew more than 500 people. The forum also works with MTV Reggie to address "the linkages between culture, music and politics" with a program of meaningful music.

Lord Shiva's large size idol consecrated in Johannesburg.


March 16-22, 2013


DR AJAY LODHA: Taking AAPI to new heights

AAPI needs experienced persons in leadership roles who can take AAPI to new heights. Dr Lodha has the ability to do it with his deep and wide experience in different fields.
By Parveen Chopra

highly placed medical professional who co-owns two nursing homes, Dr Ajay K. Lodha has been in leadership roles in different organizations, even organized big ticket events successfully. But it is at the mammoth AAPI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) that he has been able to display his vast capability and strong commitment. At AAPI, Dr Lodhas first big assignment came when he organized, as Convention Chair, its annual national convention in 2011 in New York, which recorded maximum attendance. He has also been serving as Treasurer of this largest Indian American physicians association during a crucial juncture in its history. The latest addition to his impressive list of achievements is convening the nine-city Shreya Ghoshal Fund Raising tour for AAPI last year, which generated a record $1.25 million and transformed AAPIs financial strength from being in distress when he took over as Treasurer in early 2012. To top it, he was responsible for bringing complete transparency in accounting and keeping the books up to date. Now, he is considered a shoo-in to become Secretary of AAPI National, for which ballots are out and the result will be announced in early April. I have widespread support from all sections of AAPI, he says. And precedent has it that the Secretary ascends to become Vice President and then finally President of AAPI. Dr Lodha too will like to move up, he admits because he has the requisite qualities and capabilities and intention to contribute what AAPI needs. I pledge to uphold and further augment the ideals for which AAPI stands, he asserts. AAPI needs experienced per-

sons in leadership roles who can take it to new heights, explains Dr Lodha, elaborating, To be in the AAPI leadership position you need -- Lots of determination, enormous hard work, tremendous sacrifice and lots and loads of experience. He has encouraging words for the young bloods coming into AAPI too. We support our young generation. We want them to be successful future leaders as their success is our success and it comes only through experience, learning and self-determination and developing the feeling of sacrifice for the organization. That's why AAPI has developed a step-ladder pattern to climb to the top, which makes AAPI the most vibrant, successful and powerful organization in the country.

Charitable Foundation. * Support and promote YPS and MSRF, the future of AAPI. * Continue my efforts in making AAPI financially stronger by increasing fund raising activities like the famous nine-city musical tour. Increasing membership is the way to increase AAPIs clout, he believes. We need to host more educational and social activities to get young physicians more involved, more connected with the organization. They should feel that they are benefitting a lot by joining AAPI. That it is an extended family to which they can turn to when in need of support, he argues. But how to motivate young physicians to join AAPI? Dr Lodha replies, Every year a lot of

should be given more power and rights when they join AAPI. We want to instill dynamism, leadership qualities in the next generation of physicians so that they are better equipped to face future challenges. Therefore, developing AAPIs YPS (Young Physicians Section) and MSRF (Medical Students, Residents, and Fellows Section) is critical at this time. Dr Lodha recounts how he has been a great supporter of the young generation at AAPI. During the last governing body meeting in New York, we amended the constitution enabling the young generation to be part of voting for the Board of Trustees and thus to take a more active role in forming AAPI leadership. He also points out that at AAPIs New York convention that he convened,

Dr Ajay K. Lodha, currently AAPI Treasurer

Dr Lodha with wife Dr. Smita Lodha, son Amit and daughter Shweta.

Dr. Lodha with the popular Bollywood singer Shreya Ghoshal during the superhit 9-city fundraising tour for AAPI that he convened

The many ways that Dr Lodha plans to contribute to AAPI: * Reinforce AAPIs image working closely with the Executive Committee. * Increase AAPI membership by offering more benefits and opportunities for members. * Organize social activities to improve cohesiveness among different Chapters of AAPI. * Support charitable activity and increase donations to AAPI

youngsters are joining medical profession. They need community support for setting up their practices. A network of people who share similar values can also help them in getting sponsors. As a young physician it gives you some psychological strength that there is an organization behind you. Strength is in unity and it comes through numbers. Socially and politically too they will come to know a lot of people, meet fellow physicians from different states across the America. It will lead to exchange of more ideas. To get the young physicians involved, his road map is: They

20 percent of CME (Continuing Medical Education) lectures were assigned to young physicians. Equally critical for AAPIs health and growth is involving women physicians, Dr Lodha states, adding, We now have a Women's Forum at every national convention. We should be still more geared towards involving women in AAPI affairs and motivating them to take a more active role. A graduate of RNT Medical College, Rajasthan, how does he give back to his motherland, India? Says he, AAPI does a lot of work in India. The AAPI

Global Healthcare Summit in Cochin early this year was very successful. It drew a lot of political support as well besides active participation from the industries. Many projects were discussed and we hope to work on those projects effectively. I am also connected to my roots through the Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA). Taking children to India once or twice a year is always on my familys priority list. A resident of Roslyn in Long island, Dr Lodha is an internist, as is his wife, Dr Smita Lodha. Besides AAPI National, he has also been active in AAPIs big Queens-Long Island chapter. He is currently its President Elect. Having been one of the cofounders of the Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA), Dr Lodha was its President (2005-06). For RANA, he was the Convener of the Rajasthani International Convention in 2006. He also served as President of Rajasthan Medical Alumni Association (RAJMAAI 2010-11). Dr Lodha is recipient of the Lawrence J Scherr Award of Excellence for Outstanding Physicians. He has also been honored for Outstanding Contribution to Research & Hypertension Deptt at Flushing Hospital, NY. In 2008 he was bestowed Nargis Dutt Memorial Foundation Physician of the Year Award. An active social leader, he has donated an 11-bed Surgical ICU to his alma mater, the RNT Medical College in Rajasthan, and been involved with organizing several community health fairs. Dr Lodha is also on the Board of Advisers of The South Asian Times.

Dr Lodha at the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit in January 2013 in Cochin, seen (from right) with President Dr. Narendra Kumar, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Dr. Lodha with AAPI Executive Committee members, (from left) President-elect Dr. Jayesh Shah, President Dr. Narendra Kumar, Dr. Seema Jain and Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar.

Dr Lodha atop AAPI float at India Day Parade in New York City with other AAPI leaders

TheSATimes Exclusive


March 16-22, 2013

TheSATimes Exclusive


March 16-22, 2013

Harvard India Conference 2013

Harvard India Conference 2013

How can India return to heyday of high growth?

Now in its tenth year, the Harvard India Conference 2013 with the theme India vs. India - Local Strength or Global Growth? was addressed by luminaries from public and private sector and saw its best attendance yet.

Ajay Maken, Indian minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation, was keynote speaker at the conference.

Boston/Cambridge, MA: Where should India invest next to return to the heyday of high growth? Where should the private sector make its bets? And will increased participation in local markets or global markets become necessary tools for today's businesses to thrive? These were the key questions before the India Conference, the largest student-run India-focused conference in the US, organized by the students of Harvard University over the March 910 weekend, according to the organizers. Now in its tenth year, the two-day conference with the theme of "India vs. India--Local Strength or Global Growth?" looked at these critical issues facing India from healthcare innovation to relevance of social enterprises to role of the tech sector. A panel on the way forward for Indian women in business moderated by Shereen Bhan of CNBC India, heard

Debjani Ghosh and Aruna Jayanthi highlight the critical tension between whether women require special treatment in the workplace or not in order to succeed given contemporary cultural challenges. Other panels considered topics including emerging innovations in refrigerated transport with hopeful implications for the dairy industry, and the increasing need for a supportive investor network to catalyze India's incipient entrepreneurship landscape. Ashish Singh, Chairman and Founder of Bain India, highlighted several sectorial trends, including the sustained importance of FDI in Retail, the "premiumization" of the fast-moving-consumer-goods category amongst MNCs and local brands He also suggested the diminishing ability of large conglomerates to successfully grow multiple core categories simultaneously. UTV Motion Pictures CEO and Dis-

Sam Pitroda in conversation with Prof. Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School.

Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Indian prime minister on public information infrastructure, spoke about radicalizing democracy through making information more radically available to a new generation of Indians.

which story will triumph but of how Indians can create a path that allows the country to triumph, they said, suggesting the Harvard India Conference's answer, evidently, is an optimistic one.
UTV Motion Pictures CEO and Disney Studios MD Siddharth Roy Kapur offered his optimistic outlook for evolving audience tastes in Indian entertainment.

ney Studios MD Siddharth Roy Kapur offered his optimistic outlook for evolving audience tastes in Indian entertainment, amongst the local market as well as NRIs. As the controversial conference theme points out, there will never be one simple story for the colorful ecosystem of a complicated country like India, the organizers said pointing to the steadfast determination of the academics and professionals. "India vs. India" is not a question of

Meanwhile, the first day of the conference deliberated on

How to involve India's massive middle class and its rich and hefty diaspora in India's growth story? Where to find a place for thus far marginalised rural India in its growth narrative? How to drive systemic change in education and why is the Indian political scene so unattractive to its young people? These were some of the questions that panelists grappled with on the first day of the India Conference addressed by 22 speakers mingling with over 300 attendees representing voices from across the professional and ideological spectrum. Focusing on government and development issues Saturday at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, panelists alluded again and again to the reality of the many stories of India. There was the economist's story of India, the politician's, the student's, and, bit by bit, a more multilayered narrative Indian story than any of these, which could not be encapsulated in any one way. The daunting nature of India's complex problems and systemic and infrastructural challenges were described in great detail by each of the conference's four keynotes Saturday. Ajay Maken, Indian minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation, talked about how India and its policy-

makers took a decade to accept that urbanization is inevitable, but today everybody understands that urbanization is actually desirable. Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Indian prime minister on public information infrastructure, spoke about radicalizing democracy through making information more radically available to a new generation of Indians. Ashok Alexander, formerly country director of the Bill and Melinda Gates

Foundation, spoke about the need to rise above the standard reaction of paralysis in the face of this complexity. Arun Singh, deputy chief of mission at the Indian embassy in Washington, mentioned the many colors of India and the difficulty they pose when viewed through the lens of US cooperation, but closed on a hopeful note, touching briefly on the portfolio of internationally cooperative research achieved nonetheless.

Harry Aurora (right), CEO of, & Siddharth Roy Kapur posing.

Arun K. Singh, deputy chief of mission at the Indian embassy in Washington, mentioned the many colors of India and the difficulty they pose.

The way forward for Indian women in business panel was moderated by Shereen Bhan of CNBC India. (Photos: Sujeet Kulkarni (

Social Enterprise in India: Low cost products for wide market access heard Suneet Singh Tuli (extreme left), CEO of Datawind, who developed the low cost Aakash tablet.

A view of the appreciative and attentive audience.

TheSATimes Exclusive


March 16-22, 2013

Harvard India Conference 2013

Harry Aurora of lauded by Harvard Business School

Boston, MA: The inspiring presentation by Harry Aurora, Founder and CEO of iTutor Inc, at the prestigious Harvard India Conference in Boston on March 10, 2013 was uniformly appreciated. While addressing the panel Developing India's Silicon Valley at the Harvard Business School, New York based online education pioneer said, Boasting Nalanda and Taxila universities, ancient India was the world leader in education for many centuries before and after Christ. Today, as the country possesses the best talent and technology, it can become a leader again -- certainly in online education-- with proper training and understanding of the US market. It can then contribute to the educational material for the rest of the world, raising standards and creating jobs. India-born Harry Aurora has a vision for to build it into a top notch platform of online education, which can help students all over to excel and improve their academics without the limitation of geographical boundaries. We connect to educators using cutting edge technology for quality education. Specifically on the panel theme, Developing India's Silicon Valley, Harry acknowledged the challenges facing the country. India is globally known for its remote tech support, but can the country adapt to the software end of things with limited resources required for day to day operations and overabundant bureaucratic obstacles plaguing the business sector. On the positive side, however, he told the panel moderated by Prof. Sunil Gupta, Head of Marketing Department, Harvard Business School, For one prepared to negotiate these problems, India remains one of the biggest

Founder and CEO of Harry Aurora speaking at the Harvard India Conference 2013.

Harry Aurora (right) was a featured speaker at the conference panel Developing India's Silicon Valley moderated by Prof. Sunil Gupta (left), Head of Marketing Department, Harvard Business School.

markets to cater to. Mr. Aurora sees the global demand close to home at iTutor every day, as hundreds of outsourced educators apply for online tutoring jobs to teach iTutors US-based students. We do not currently outsource our educators because of the vigorous common core standards that the US is implementing nationwide. I am not ruling out the fact that Indian educators will teach iTutors US based K-12 students, because they will... But they will need the proper training and educational development to align with the US common core before doing so, he stated in his closing argument. Harry Aurora was a proud featured speaker at the 10th annual Harvard India Conference with the overall theme of India vs India: Local Strength or Global Growth, organized by the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. He felt honored to be able

to highlight at the conference the bright future of online education, which has been cited in many US Department of Education case studies as being more effective than instruction in a traditional physical setting. A prestigious platform like Harvard will spread the news all over and create awareness about the importance of improving academics of every individual, he said. Last month, Harry merged The ETutor Inc he founded with iTutor Inc he acquired, thus combining iTutors decade of online tutoring experience with the premier online interactive whiteboard technology of He stated, The new will shape history and play a pivotal role in the future framework of distance learning. With the right tools and experience will help students from anywhere in the world increase their grades, test scores,

and spring them into the next phase of the educational experience, all while preparing them for the job market of the future. At the new, students can signup for free, after which they are immersed in an online resource library that provides complete academic support in all subjects taught in a traditional K-12 classroom. From the students user interface they have the ability to schedule live tutoring sessions with certified and highly experienced educators and or play back their pre-recorded tutoring sessions for continued support. A comprehensive SAT course is also available on the students user interface. A free online tutoring session is available to all free sign-ups for a limited time. Headquartered in New York, iTutor Inc. is a team of highly seasoned professionals who, with over a decade of experience, have created the premier online tutoring platform.

More from the Harvard India Conference

Now in its tenth year, it is the largest student-run India conference in the United States. It is organized by students of Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School.

Despite the dire snowfall warnings, the 2013 India Conference boasted its largest attendance yet, at over 600 attendees. It has historically drawn professors, entrepreneurs, local professionals, and India enthusiasts from across the world.

The South Asian Times is the proud print media partner continuously for the last three years of the Harvard University's prestigious India specific conferences.


March 16-22, 2013


Fashion fiesta kicks off

The five-day Wills Lifestyle India Fashion (WIFW) 2013, kicked off with Masaba Gupta's collection for Satya Paul, will have 128 designers showcasing their collection on the ramp and racks
New Delhi: Unlike the usual hustle and bustle at the opening of a fashion week, Day One of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week fall/winter 2013 was rather quiet. But the collections on the ramp more than made up for the lack of action at the venue. While on the one hand, front rows lacked familiar faces and buyers seemed to be trickling in, on the other, it was great to see that most designers stuck to a fall/winter mood and colour palette. Though most designers have done away with celebrity showstoppers, actor Preity Zinta walked the runway for designer Surily Goel. Dressed in a black sequined one-shoulder gown, the actor was all smiles as she took to the ramp. However, she's not the only glam face expected during the fiveday fashion gala; it is rumored that Sri Lankan beauty Jacqueline Fernandez and model-actor Esha Gupta will walk for Bollywood's favourite designer Manish Malhotra on Friday. Masaba Gupta, the new Satya Paul fashion director, presented her line for the brand. It was divided into four parts: the first comprised lipstick prints, the second part was ink blot on garments and the third had abstract designs. Dominated by India-inspired themes, the five-day event will also have a solo show by youngster Aneeth Arora, while Manish Arora has been named the grand finale designer. On the other hand, Anupamaa

Models in designer Vineet Bahl's creation

Designer Kanika Saluja Choudhry show at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week
Dayal's collection, titled "Ishq-eDilli", inspired by the magic of Delhi, is expected launch new trends. Her designs will also mark her debut in bridal fashion. Established names like Tarun Tahiliani, Shantanu and Nikhil, Vineet Bahl, Nikasha Tawadey, Namrata Joshipura, Abraham and Thakore, Anju Modi, Manish Malhotra, Rajesh Pratap Singh, and Nida Mahmood will also splash the ramp with their creations in various hues. Sunil Sethi, president, FDCI, is looking forward to the 21st edition as he feels designers have huge "influence on global trends". "These myriad style gurus are ready

Actor Preity Zinta walks the ramp for designer Surily Goel at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 2013
to showcase their creations both on the runway and exhibition area. The interesting mix of innovation, creativity and tradition will usher in the best at the WIFW autumn-winter," he said. The event will see buyers from UAE, Britain, Australia and Japan. Another high point of the show is Abraham & Thakore's show that is sponsored by The Development Commissioner Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles. Of course, their will be Bollywood flavour. Actress Neha Dhupia has been roped in as Twitter face of the edition. She will tweet news, pictures, ramp reviews from the venue.

Direct from an emperor's wardrobe

New Delhi: Long free-flowing multicolored silhouettes such as lehengas, saris, and shararas, embellished with intricate hand embroidery and sequin work reminded fashionistas on the opening day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) of the Mughal era that represented style and class. Anupama Dayal's show, titled Ishqe-Dilli, not only presented a traditional modern woman who is independent and confident, but also highlighted rich Islamic art and Mughal traditions. "Though I am from Calcutta, but I am living in Delhi since last 10 years. Delhi's rich history and culture fascinates me. Before I started working on my collection, I read extensively about Mughal era," said Dayal who was herself looking stunning in a multi-coloured ethnic attire. "I even visited several beautiful palaces across the country to know more about the people and their lifestyles," she added.mDayal has discovered that today's women prefer "light weight silhouettes" that look pretty and are easy to carry. "Therefore, I have made sure not to use heavy embroidery and created designs that look bold yet elegant," she added. Dayal has mostly used fabrics like pure silk, georgette and crape. "I bought the fabrics from Kolkata. We have weavers back there who create fabrics and do embroidery. My main aim always remains the same to help weavers" she said.The collection is perfect for the upcoming summer spring season. Light weight fabrics and bright colours in shades of red, orange, peach and yellow will enhanced the beauty and elegance of women. "My collection is perfect for destination weddings. It has both traditional and western elements. Like short cholis, backless blouses, long slits and cuts are inspired from western fashion while the prints, embroidery and colours are taken from the Mughal era.

Models at Anupama Dayal's show titled Ishq-e-Dilli

"Nowadays, couple prefer varied destinations like Bali, Sri Lanka, Goa to get married and therefore they prefer attires that have traditional and modern elements," said Dayal. When asked about the price bracket, she said: "It starts from Rs.25,000 and and goes upto lakh."

Readers are invited to send up to 400-word, first-person write-ups on the most enjoyable and eventful Holi festival they have had -- in India or here in America. Also talk about how you plan to celebrate Holi this year (that falls on March 27, Wednesday). You can also send related Holi pictures/drawings from your albums. Please give your name, email address and city you live in, and email everything to by the deadline: March 23. Your contributions will be prominently published in our special, all-color, Holi issue dated March 30, 2013. As you must be aware, the e-paper of our every issue also goes up on our website, Managing Editor, The South Asian Times 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



March 16-22, 2013


'Pak-linked terror attacks could undo thaw'

Washington: With the Lashkar-eTaeba (LeT), believed to be behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, remaining Pakistan's most problematic militant group, the US fears an Islamabad-linked terrorist attack against India could undo efforts to improve ties between them. "Both India and Pakistan have made calculated decisions to improve ties, despite deep-rooted mistrust," US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in his annual report to the US Congress on the threats facing the United States. "They held a series of meetings in the past year and will probably continue to achieve incremental linked to Pakistan, which could trigger a new crisis and prompt New Delhi to freeze bilateral dialogue," Clapper warned in the report giving the assessment 16 US intelligence agencies. LeT "will continue to be the most multifaceted and problematic of the Pakistani militant groups," the report said suggesting "the group has the long-term potential to evolve into a permanent and even Hamas/ Hizballahlike presence in Pakistan." Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic organization that has governed the Gaza Strip since June 2007, while Hizballah (the Party of God) is a Lebanon-based Shia terrorist group formed in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. In US intelligence assessment the Taliban-led insurgency has diminished in some areas of Afghanistan but remains resilient and capable of challenging US and international goals. Taliban senior leaders also continue to be based in Pakistan, which allows them to provide strategic guidance to the insurgency without fear for their safety, the report said. Al Qaeda's influence on the insurgency is limited, although its propaganda gains from participating in insurgent attacks far outweigh its actual battlefield impact, it said.

US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

progress on economic relations, such as trade, while deferring serious discussion on the more contentious issues of territorial dis-

putes and terrorism," he noted. "Even modest progress, however, could easily be undone by a terrorist attack against India

War-scarred Bangladesh torn by new tensions

Pak, Iran defy US, launch gas project

Islamabad: Despite strong opposition from the US, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad inaugurated construction work of a long-delayed $7.5 billion gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan. The inauguration ceremony of gas pipeline which will pass through Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province was held in the Iranian border city of Chabahar. Presidents of both states came with delegations of ministers and top officials as well as representatives of several Arab states. "The completion of the pipeline is in the interests of peace, security and progress of the two countries ... it will also consolidate the economic, political and security ties of

More than 80 people have been killed in fresh protests Dhaka: When Bangladesh set up a war crimes court in 2010, its stated aim was to heal the wounds from the nation's traumatic birth. Three years on, its first verdicts have plunged the country into one of its most turbulent chapters since it broke free from Pakistan four decades ago and threatens lasting damage to the world's eighth most populous country. More than 80 people have been killed in protests, thousands of tourists have been forced to flee and a series of strikes have pummeled an economy which had enjoyed annual growth rates of around six percent over the last 10 years. The Dhaka-based International Crimes Tribunal, which was set up in March 2010, is trying around a dozen defendants over their role in the war and has so far convicted three Islamists, two of whom have been sentenced to death. But all the defendants are either members of the Jamaat-e-Islami party or of the main opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), prompting accusations that the process is politically-driven. But in a sign of the fresh polarisation of a country which was born out of division, secular demonstrators responded with even bigger protests when the second defendant was sentenced to life in prison rather than ordered to hang.

Pakistan risks facing US sanctions: Daily

Islamabad: Pakistan risks ending up on the wrong side of American sanctions on doing business with Iran, said a leading daily. An editorial in the Dawn said that after long delays and many uncertainties, the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline took a major step forward. "For all its potential risks, and uncertainty about where the remaining $1 billion of funding will come from, the inauguration by the two countries' presidents of the construction of the Pakistan portion of the pipeline brings with it the promise - if Pakistan capitalizes on it - of preventing even more damage to the economy from the country's growing gas shortage," it said. It noted that the existing supplies are so insufficient, and have been so badly managed, that they have severely impacted major industries, rendered consumers unable even to cook or keep warm, and driven up energy prices and the circular debt by increasing reliance on furnace oil for power generation.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad inaugurating gas pipeline work the two nations," the two presidents said in a joint statement. The work on the Iranian side is almost complete and Monday saw the construction work start on the Pakistani side. A total of 780km of pipeline is to be built in Pakistan by December 2014. Tehran has agreed to lend Islamabad $500 million, a third of the estimated $1.5 billion cost of the Pakistani section of the pipeline. Ahmadinejad said that work on the new section of the pipeline was going ahead despite US sanctions against Iran's oil and gas sector. "This gas pipeline is a sign of show of resistance against domination," Ahmadinejad said. "This pipeline has nothing to do with the nuclear issue, you can not build a nuclear bomb with natural gas," he said, speaking alongside President Zardari which was broadcast live by Pakistani TV stations. Dubbed the "peace pipeline", talks on the project which was initially intended to carry gas on to India began in 1994. New Delhi pulled out in 2009 just a year after it signed a nuclear deal with Washington.

Pak PM prays for peace at Ajmer shrine

Jaipur: Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, on a private visit to the Ajmer shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, met Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid over lunch here, but no official talks were held between the two sides. Ashraf, along with his wife and other family members, later offered prayers in the shrine for peace and prosperity in the world and better relations between India and Pakistan, shrine sources said. Wearing a white Pathan suit, Ashraf also offered a 42 meter long green and blue chadar which he brought from Pakistan at the shrine, the sources said. He promised to return if his "wish" is fulfilled. Khurshid hosted Ashraf, who arrived in the Rajasthan capital on a day-long visit, at the Rambag Palace Hotel here. "It was a private visit. It was not an occasion for talks," Khurshid told reporters. Asked if India's concerns on terrorism were conveyed to Ashraf, Khurshid said the occasion was not proper to discuss the matter. "The occasion was not appropriate...Since it was a private visit, we don't discuss such topics.., he said. Ashraf roamed inside the premises of the Dargah where the secretary of Anjuman committee Sayed Wahed Angra explained the history and teachings of Khwaja Garib Nawaz, as the saint is known. Ashraf also gave a closed envelope to Bilal Chishty as a 'nazrana' (offering) and also offered Pakistani Rs.11,000 in the 'badi deg'.
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf with wife at Ajmer shrine


March 16-22, 2013


Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio is new Pope

Vatican City: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina has been elected the Catholic Church's 266th Pope. He is first Latin American to be pontiff, and will call himself Francis I. After his election, the 76-yearold Pope appeared on a balcony and greeted crowds in St. Peter's Square, BBC reported. He was the archbishop of Buenos Aires. He asked the faithful to pray for him. Cheers erupted as he gave a blessing. Earlier, white smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney announced the new Pope's election. Crowds in St. Peter's Square cheered and bells rang out as the smoke appeared. Pope Francis replaces Benedict XVI, who resigned Feb 28 at the age of 85, saying he was not strong enough to lead the Church. He is the first Jesuit to become pope. A member of the Jesuits and ordained in 1936 after four years as priest, Bergoglio became head of all the Jesuits in Argentina, Xinhua reported. After studying in Germany, he became bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and archbishop in 1998. A gathered in the square waving flags from around the world. The Catholic News Agency said people were running through the streets of Rome, hoping to reach St. Peter's Square in time for the appearance of the new Pope. "It's so emotional. We thought we were going home and the smoke was going to be black," one Catholic told the BBC. "We're so touched. It was really incredible." BBC said there was elation on the rain-strewn St. Peter's Square. The crowd swelled as flags swayed and the basilica bells rang out. US President Barack Obama sent "warm wishes" on behalf of the American people to the newly elected pontiff, hailing the Argentine as "the first pope from the Americas", BBC reported.

Bergoglio is Catholic Church's 266th Pope and first Latin American to be pontiff

strong supporter of helping the poor, Bergoglio was made cardinal in 2001. French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced the Pope's election with the Latin words "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus Papam" ("I announce to you a great joy. We have a Pope"). In his first address, Pope Francis I told the crowd in St. Peter's Square: "It seems my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world (to choose a pope)." Moments after the announce-

ment of his election, he tweeted: "Immensely happy to be the new Pope, Francis I." The 115 cardinals have been in isolation since Tuesday, and held four inconclusive votes. At least 77 of them, or two-thirds, would have had to vote for a single candidate for him to be elected Pope. Pope Francis I was a surprise choice and not among a small group of frontrunners before the election, BBC said. Many observers were also expecting a younger pope to be elected. Crowds with umbrellas

Indian cardinal youngest in the conclave

Vatican City: Indian cardinal Cleemis Thottunkal was the youngest cardinal taking part in the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Also known as Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, the 53-year-old Thottunkal is the archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala state in southern India. He was one of the last cardinals appointed by Benedict in November 2012. Thottunkal is the first cardinal of the Syro-Malankar rite, a West Syrian Rite Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See, which has a total membership of around 500,000. Benedict, who abdicated at the end of February, also appointed Thottunkal a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

China names Xi Jinping president

Beijing: China's new leader Xi Jinping capped his rise to the top by adding the largely ceremonial title of president, though he will need more time and cautious maneuvering to consolidate his power and build support from a public that is increasingly clamoring for change. The elevation of Xi to the presidency by the rubberstamp national legislature gave him the last of the three titles held by his predecessor, Hu Jintao. The move was expected after Xi was named head of the Communist Party and chairman of its military, positions of true power, last November in a once-a-decade handover to a new group of leaders that has been years in the making. Despite being formally in charge, it will be within the party's top ranks, in which powerful people are often divided by patronage, ideology or financial interests, that Xi will find the biggest challenges. This will be doubly so if he follows through on his pledge to tackle the endemic graft he has pinpointed as detrimental to the party's survival, said Willy Lam, a China politics watcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Graft is deeply ingrained in the party's patronage-based culture and those at the top, many of

Senior Iranian clerics have scolded Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for consoling Hugo Chavezs mother with a hug a physical contact considered a sin under Irans strict Islamic codes. Ahmadinejad embraced Chavezs mother at the funeral of the late Venezuelan president.

China's new leader Xi Jinping

Russia says taking no sides in Syria conflict

London: Russia is taking no sides in the Syrian conflict and hopes that the Syrian opposition will soon form a team to negotiate with government representatives, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. The Russian and British foreign and defense ministers discussed the situation in Syria in London. Moscow previously said it is ready to provide a venue for negotiations between the Syrian opposition and Syrian authorities. British Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated London's continuing support for the Syrian opposition. He previously said Britain was stepping up its support for the opposition and beginning to supply it with new types of noncombat equipment, including vehicles, medical, rescue and other equipment. Hague said he hoped Syrian opposition coalition leader Moaz alKhatib would soon visit Moscow, noting the importance of Russia's contacts with the Syrian opposition. About 70,000 people have died in Syria since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011, according to UN figures.

whose families have benefited from their political connections, are believed to be most resistant to anti-corruption measures that diminish their prerogatives. "He has to walk a fine line," Lam said. "If he were really serious about going after senior cadres, he might establish his authority within the rank and file, however, that would also jeopardize his relationship with the power blocs and with the holders of vested interests." Xi's accession marks only the second orderly transfer of power in more than six decades of communist rule. He was the only candidate for president in Thursday's

vote. Delegates to the country's figurehead parliament, the National People's Congress, voted 2,952-to-1 for Xi in balloting that amounts to a political ritual echoing the decisions of the party leadership. Three delegates abstained. Xi takes charge at a time when the public is looking for leadership that can address sputtering economic growth and mounting anger over widespread graft, highhanded officialdom and increasing unfairness. A growth-at-allcosts model that defined the outgoing administration's era has befouled the country's air, waterways and soil, adding another serious threat to social stability.


March 16-22, 2013


AirAsia's entry "positive" Wait three years for robust economic growth: PM for aviation industry
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there were international as well as domestic factors responsible for the prevailing economic scenario, but expressed confidence that the economy would be back to robust growth in about three years. "The finance minister in the budget speech, and when I replied to the President's address ... we explained at length the factors that are responsible," he said, making an intervention in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour. "There are international factors. There have been two crises in the international system. One is the banking crisis in 2008-09, then there was the Eurozone crisis of 2011." The prime minister said: "These things do influence our economy. But there are other factors also. There are domestic factors also

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

The new airline venture will be in partnership with the Tata Group

New Delhi: Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia's entry into the Indian sky with a new airline in partnership with the Tata Group, the country's premier business house, will help the domestic aviation industry grow and get better deals to passengers, say sector watchers. "It is a very positive move for the industry and the passengers. As more players would help in development of the industry which is at a very nascent stage," Ankur Bhatia, chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) national committee on civil aviation, and executive director, Bird Group, said. The joint venture would represent the first foreign company to try to capture the rising demand in India's aviation sector. Currently, there are six scheduled domestic airlines in the country -- Air India, Jet Airways, Jet Lite, SpiceJet, IndiGo

and GoAir. IndiGo is the leading passenger carrier with 27.3 percent of market share as of November last year, followed by Air India at 20.7 percent and SpiceJet at 19.5 percent. "For passengers, a new airline will mean better fares and services. This is not the first time that a new airline will start and the existing airlines would know how to fend for themselves," Bhatia said. AirAsia last week received regulatory approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), for investing around Rs.80 crore in the venture and hold up to 49 percent stake. The company plans to start an airline from Chennai which will focus on providing connectivity to smaller cities by the end of 2013. The new airline venture will be in partnership with the Tata Group and Arun Bhatiapromoted Telestra Tradeplace.

and we are trying to tackle all these problems." Manmohan Singh was speaking during Question Hour after BJP member Shahnawaz Hussain sought an answer from him on the prevailing economic scenario. "I would urge the house that nothing

is achieved by dampening the spirit of our people. Although we are in difficulty, we are confident as the finance minister mentioned in his budget speech. We are confident that in two to three years we will return the economy back to robust growth," he said.

India's industrial output rises 2.4 pc

New Delhi: India's industrial output increased by 2.4 percent in January as against a contraction of 0.6 percent in the previous month, giving an indication of revival in the Asia's third largest economy, the government data showed. Electricity output increased by 6.4 percent and manufacturing production registered a growth of 2.7 percent during the month under review. However, mining production slumped by 2.9 percent in January. The factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has registered a cumulative growth of 1 percent in April-January 2012-13 period year-on-year, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The cumulative growth for electricity sector in the first 10 months of the current financial year is 4.7 percent. Manufacturing output has increased by 0.9 percent, while mining production has declined by 1.9 percent during the period under review. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the monthly data gave an indication of revival in the economy. "Basically the downside is over," Ahluwalia told reporters while reacting on the monthly data. However, industry leaders said the sluggish factory output remained a concern as the positive January figures were on low base.

Dreamliner: Boeing gets approval for test

Washington: Aviation major Boeing has received federal approval to its plan to test the battery system of its 'Dreamliner' planes, which were grounded early this year after a fire in one of the aircraft due to fault in the battery system. A successful completion of the test will pave the way for commercial resumption of Boeing 787 flights. "Our top priority is the integrity of our products and the safety of the passengers and crews who fly on them," Boeing chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement announcing the approval his company received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He said a Boeing team is working round the clock to understand the issues and develop a solution based on extensive analysis and testing following the events that occurred in January. "Today's approval from the FAA is a critical and welcome milestone toward getting the fleet flying again and continuing to deliver on the promise of the 787," he said. The Boeing approval includes three layers of improvements, said Ray Conner, president

US employers post more jobs, cut fewer workers

Washington: US employers advertised more job openings in January, suggesting that hiring will remain healthy in the coming months. Job openings rose 2.2 percent in January from December to 3.69 million, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Openings had fallen nearly 5 percent in December. They are still below November's level of nearly 3.8 million. There were other positive signs: Employers laid off the fewest workers in January than in any month since records began in 2001. And the number of Americans quitting their jobs rose to the highest in more than four years. People usually quit when they have another job, so more quitting suggests it is easier to find work. There is still a lot of competition for open positions. About 12.3 million people were unemployed in January. That means there were 3.3 unemployed people, on average, competing for each job. In a healthy economy, that ratio is roughly 2 to 1. Rising openings and quits add to recent evidence that the job market is getting better.

A successful test completion will pave the way for commercial resumption of Boeing 787 flights

Job openings rose 2.2 percent in January from December to 3.69 million

and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "First, we've improved design features of the battery to prevent faults from occurring and to isolate any that do. Second, we've enhanced production, operating and testing processes to ensure the highest levels of quality and performance of the battery and its components," he said. "Third, in an unlikely event of a battery failure, we've introduced a new enclosure system that will keep any level of battery overheating from affecting the airplane or being noticed by passengers," Conner said.

Employers added 236,000 jobs in February, the government said. That pushed the unemployment rate down from 7.9 percent in January to a four-year low of 7.7 percent last month. The pace of hiring has accelerated a sign that employers are confident about their prospects and haven't been discouraged by tax increases or higher gas prices. Monthly job gains averaged more than 200,000 from November through February. That compares with an average of 154,000 jobs from July through October and only 108,000 from April through June.


March 16-22, 2013


Drug bust: Police seeks Vijender's blood samples

Chandigarh: Unable to get international boxer and Olympian Vijender Singh's consent to give his blood and hair samples in a drugs haul case, the Punjab Police is likely to approach the court to get them, officials said. The Punjab Police are seeking legal opinion and are likely to take legal recourse to secure Vijender's blood and hair samples to investigate his links to a drugs racket busted last week in Punjab. "We are seeking legal opinion in the matter. We will approach the court if required," a police officer said. Police were likely to call Vijender again for further questioning in the matter. The boxer had refused to give his blood and hair samples to investigators even as a Punjab Police team questioned him for nearly four hours in the seizure of a huge quantity of heroin in the state last week. His refusal has led to all kinds of speculation about his role in the matter. The Fatehgarh Sahib district police in Punjab had recovered 26 kg heroin, worth Rs.130 crore in the international market, from the possession of Canada-based drugs dealer Anoop Singh Kahlon and had arrested him last week. The drug haul was made from Kahlon's flat in Zirakpur, near Chandigarh and his car. Police also found a SUV, registered in t h e

Olympian boxer Vijender Singh and his friend Ram Singh

'Vijender to be punished if found guilty'

New Delhi: Sports minister Jitendra Singh said Olympic bronze medal-winning boxer Vijender Singh would be punished for his role in a drug scandal in Punjab, if found guilty. "At this point of time, the Punjab Police is investigating the matter. When a conclusion is reached and somebody is implicated or chargesheeted, we will definitely take action," Singh told reporters outside parliament. "The guilty will be punished but that is a matter for the Punjab Police. Investigation is being done by them," he added.

name of Vijender's wife Archana, parked outside Kahlon's flat. Kahlon reportedly told the police that Vijender and fellow boxer Ram Singh were his "clients". Vijender, who is a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in the Haryana Police, was questioned by the Punjab Police team at a police establishment in Panchkula town, 20 km from here, in the presence of Haryana's

Superintendent of Police (Crime) Hardeep Singh Doon. Though police have so far refrained from directly linking Vijender with the drugs haul, Ram Singh's statements to police have seen his name figuring in the controversy. "Vijender was in touch with some Mumbai celebrities, who were regular in rave parties and took drugs. Therefore, we also

tried it. However, we did not pay anything to Kahlon for drugs," Ram Singh said. Ram Singh and Vijender are very close friends and they were roommates at National Institute of Sports (NIS) for nearly six years. Vijender has denied any involvement in the drugs racket. He had earlier offered to undergo dope testing to prove himself.

Clarke hopes Watson returns for fourth Test

Mohali: Australia skipper Michael Clarke said Shane Watson can again take up the role of vice-captain and was free to return to the side for the fourth Test against India starting March 22 in New Delhi. Watson rushed back home to Sydney to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. But Watson has also made his displeasure public after he and three others were given a one-match suspension for disciplinary reasons. Watson termed the suspension as 'harsh' and said he was shattered. He is also contemplating retireeverybody that that's something he's thinking about while he's home. He's vice-captain of this team and he's a big part of this team," Clarke told reporters here. "From the conversation Watto and I have had, 100 per cent he has gone home for the birth of his first child, which is very exciting for him. (Wife) Lee has the baby in the next few days and Watto is back here playing the fourth Test as our vice-captain." "That's the best-case scenario from my point of view and from the team's point of view. The rest is really up to Shane," Clarke said.

Will India script history against depleted Oz?

Australia skipper Michael Clarke

ment from Test cricket. But Clarke made it ampy clear that Watson went back home just to be with his pregnant wife. "Watto has made it clear to

Australia have sacked four key players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, for breach of discipline

Kashyap advances in Swiss Open Grand Prix

Basel: World No. 9 Parupalli Kashyap was the lone bright spot as all other Indian shuttlers lost their respective matches Tuesday at the $125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold. In men's singles action at St. Jakobshalle, only fifth seed Kashyap managed to advance to the second round while Sourabh Varma and K Srikanth ended their campaign in the first round of the tier three tournament. London Olympics quarterfinalist Kashyap eased past Hsuan Yi Hsueh of Chinese Taipei in straight games, winning 21-7, 21-19 in 33 minutes. This was the Hyderabadi's second win in as many matches over the World No.75 Hsueh. World No. 43 Varma lost in the main draw of 64 to Indonesian 14th seed Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka in three games in 58 minutes. Rumbaka won 11-21, 21-18, 23-21 in their first ever career meet. While Srikanth went down in a spirited fight to Danish fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen 21-10, 17-21, 13-21 in 47 minutes. This was Srikanth's first ever match against the World No.13. Earlier in the day, Arundhati Pantawane, PC Thulasi and Tanvi Lad failed to qualify for the main draw of the women's singles. While Arundhati reached the second and final round of the qualifiers, Thulasi and Tanvi went down in the first round itself.

Parupalli Kashyap

New Delhi: In the driver's seat after two convincing wins, the stage is perfect for India to record their biggest-ever series win over a depleted Australia, who have been rocked by off-field controversies and dissensions, ahead of the third Test starting this week. If the humiliating losses in Chennai and Hyderabad were not enough, the once mighty Australians were dealt a body blow with the expulsion of four key players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, for breach of discipline, ahead of their must-win game at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. While India had been whitewashed on quite a few occasions by the Kangaroos, the hosts' best efforts so far had been the 2-0 wins in 1979-80 (out of six Tests under Kim Hughes), 2008-09 (four matches) and 2010-11 (two games -- both under Ricky Ponting's captaincy). This time around, if they are able

to make it 3-0 in Mohali, it will be a welcome first for Indian cricket, against Australia, who had thrashed them 4-0 the last time they met at the Aussies' den. India have never won more than two Tests in a series against Australia. In the ongoing rubber, the visitors had been easily beaten by eight wickets in the opening Test in Chennai, before being inflicted an innings and a 135-run defeat in the second game in Hyderabad. And Australia's expulsion of four key players - Watson, pacers James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and batsman Usman Khawaja -- have only brightened India's chances of scripting their best ever result against an opponent, who are going through a crisis situation. Going into the match, India's primary cause of concern, though, could be the blow star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara suffered during a net session. But he was declared fit to play.


March 16-22, 2013


Spielberg's date with Bollywood

ollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan's meeting with acclaimed Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg, whom he calls an "institution", was one full of talks on the state of Indian cinema and the future of cinema at large. "An evening with an institution... an evening spent in conversation in the presence of select fraternity and press... an evening of sharing cinema with the prolific maker, inventor, story teller, innovator and one who continues to surprise us with his genius," the 70-year-old posted on his blog, after meeting Spielberg in Mumbai this week. Amitabh is particularly in awe of Spielberg's "E.T. Extra Terrestrial", which he feels was "endearing". Spielberg, who was in India to celebrate the success of his Oscarwinning film "Lincoln", interacted with as many as 61 personalities from Indian cinema and shared tips on filmmaking. "Lincoln" is a co-production between Spielberg's DreamWorks and Indian business tycoon Anil Ambani's Reliance Entertainment. Expressing his views on the new trend where Hollywoood studios are collaborating with Indian pro-

'The Great Gatsby' to open Cannes fest

Amitabh Bachchan with acclaimed Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg

duction houses, Big B wrote: "The interest in the US and in particular Hollywood in holding hands with entertainment companies in India, because you felt that the world was 'diminishing in size' due to the ease of communication, and that the idea really was to bring communities closer, build bridges of understanding and sharing, because impressions, thoughts were now instant, thanks to the internet and its various social networking programs. "My own argument on the subject though was somewhat different; that ever since the opening up of the economy in India, the sheer

volume of the demographics of the region, 1.2 billion, or every 6.3rd person in the universe being an Indian, was too attractive a consumer base to ignore! Among the Indian filmmakers present at the event were Rajkumar Hirani, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Anurag Kashyap, Ramesh Sippy, Shyam Benegal, Ashutosh Gowariker, Sudhir Mishra, Nagesh Kukunoor, Madhur Bhandarkar, Zoya Akhtar, Kiran Rao, Reema Kagti, Rajshree Ojha, Gauri Shinde, Homi Adajania, Abbas-Mustan, Rohan Sippy, Prabhudheva, R. Balki and Kunal Kohli.

A scene from 'The Great Gatsby'

ustralian director Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" will open the 66th edition of Cannes International Film Festival, starting May 15. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is making his Hollywood debut with the project, will grace the red carpet. American rapper Jay-Z too will be present for the occasion, read a statement on the official website of the Cannes film fest.

A book-to-screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's bestseller of the same name, "The Great Gatsby" features Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire in lead roles. Amitabh, 70, features in a brief appearance as Meyer Wolfsheim, a man with a dark past, who helps DiCaprio's character make money when he first comes to New York after the first World War.

Disney's focus in India on media, entertainment

Jackky launches desi Gangnam song in Dharavi

ackky Bhagnani launched the Indian Gangnam style song for his film "Rangrezz" in Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums. "I thought we should do something different and there is so much love in Dharavi. Mostly Dharavi is portrayed for it's negatives, so I thought of doing something for Dharavi and put it on the international map for the good and right reasons," he said here. Directed by Priyadarshan, "Rangrezz" also stars Priya Anand and Rajpal Yadav. The film hits theatres March 21. The 28-year-old, who wowed everyone with his dancing skils in "F.A.L.T.U." and "Ajab Gazabb Love", hopes post "Rangrezz", he gets recognition for his acting skills. "My career has been running on dance for some time now, I hope after 'Rangrezz', it starts moving on acting," he said.

'Ek Thi Daayan' not my comeback film: Konkona

Karan Johar at FICCI FRAMES 2013 in Mumbai isney is focusing on India's media and entertainment, which is estimated to touch Rs.917 billion ($17 billion) in 2013, not only because the industry here is poised for a huge leap forward, but because of the rapidly rising middleclass of consumers and their traditional focus on the family, said Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International. Speaking at the inaugural session of the 14th edition of FICCI FRAMES 2013, the annual convention of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry in Mumbai, Bird said the company has grown its other businesses over the past nine years - both organically and also through the

acquisition of UTV last year. "When we made the decision to buy UTV, we did it with two considerations in mind - the first was to create a diverse company in India and as importantly to acquire the talents of Ronnie Screwvala to run the new company," Bird said. Bird said that in the transformation towards diversification, the company has not only changed how it looked at the company and its business, but also how it looked at the world. Disney sees tremendous opportunity in rapidly emerging markets like China, Russia, Latin America, South Korea and India and hence connecting with consumers in these regions is a key strategic priority.

A scene from 'Ek Thi Daayan'

onkona Sen Sharma doesn't want her forthcoming film "Ek Thi Daayan" to be tagged as her comeback movie. Her last full-fledged role was 2010 release "Mirch" and a year later she did a cameo in "7 Khoon Maaf". "I have not thought of this film as my comeback. I am doing other films also," Konkona said here

Sunday while promoting the film. Directed by Kannan Iyer, "Ek Thi Daayan" is a horror thriller and it also features Emraan Hashmi, Huma Qureshi and Kalki Koechlin. The actress says this is her first horror thriller. "I have a different kind of role in the film. I have never done horror or supernatural films before. So, for me it's quite exciting," she said.


March 16-22, 2013


'Saheb, Biwi...' vivid, vibrant, savagely tragic

n what could be regarded as a sequence of subliminal comic relief, a little-known actor Rajeev Gupta gives this film, suffused in powerhouse performances, its best performance as a slimy politician caught watching porn on his laptop in his office by a goon masquerading as a journalist. The sequence is hilarious and at the same time sobering. While the self-important buffoonish politician's predicament raises laughter, his hypocrisy also raises issues about a parliamentary crisis that is anything but funny. Like God and the Devil, the characters in Tigmanshu Dhulia's sequel to the highly acclaimed "Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster" work in mysterious often bizarre and inexplicable ways. Each of the

main characters in "Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns" (SBAGR) is stricken by a self-destructive passion bordering on an all-consuming neurosis. Frozen in a feudal mindset these dislocated creatures of an aristocratic Diaspora struggle to get out of a world that has abandoned them, by trying desperately to enter the bizarre world of politics. In this process of straddling two worlds, one in the past and the other in a state of ferocious flux, Dhulia's people end up hurling into a deadend from a height where the world looks deceptively enticing and inviting. Right at the start we meet Irrfan as Raja Bhaiyya, a small town

A scene from 'Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns'

hoodlum-politician with feudal antecedents who chases a press photographer down the narrow gullies of a Madhya Pradesh backwa-

ter city and thrashes the hell out of the cowering lensman for cutting his face out of a newspaper report on a political rally.

Irrfan plays the upstartish outsider with such in-house cockiness, warmth and humour that we don't miss Randeep Hooda who seduced the "biwi" in the first film. Mahie Gill as the neglected ravenous "biwi" again stumbles (literally) on to a role that gives her enough meat to chew on. She savors and embraces her character's immorality, with Soha's angelic bride-act performing an arresting counterpoint. Indeed the sequel to "Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster" moves far ahead in its packaging and technical finesse. The politics and dynamics of relationships trapped in an eerie game of one-upmanship are brought to flickering life in this scintillating sequel that mischievously secretes alcoves of unexpected temptations.

'Mere Dad Ki Maruti' director to tie-up with YRF

Priyanka to sport two looks in 'Zanjeer' remake

No buyers for Preity Zinta's film

A scene from 'Mere Dad Ki Maruti'

fter directing "Mere Dad Ki Maruti", Ashima Chibber is all set to make two more films for Yash Raj Films. He is busy with the scripts at the moment. "Mere Dad Ki Maruti" is produced by Y-Films, an arm of Yash Raj Films. "I am doing two more movies with YRF but I want to do a lot more. I will stay here, work hard and deliver what is required from me. The scripts still need to be

decided, I am working on the scripts," Chibber said. She had a "brilliant experience" while making "Mere Dad Ki Maruti" for the banner. "I have worked in YRF before. When the film was offered to me, I liked it. Everything seemed too good to be true, so I read it again. And each time I liked it, so I decided to go for it. Now the film is about to release and I am very excited," she said.

ctress Priyanka Chopra will don two distinct looks for the remake of 1973 film "Zanjeer", says designer Pria Kataria Puri, who is making her Bollywood foray with the movie. Priyanka plays the role of Mala in the movie, directed by Apoorva Lakhia. "In the first half of 'Zanjeer' when she's abroad, Priyanka would be dressed as a woman entrepreneur should be dressed. You see, in today's times, a working woman from India doesn't stand out at the airport. She looks like any chic well-dressed woman from any part of the world," said Puri. "Later, when Priyanka's character comes to India, she gets more colourful in her sartorial expression. You would notice that even when an Indian girl in India dresses in western clothes, there is a dash of Indianness in her clothes. She may wear shorts, but it would be orange in colour. Priyanka's clothes would reflect her changed geo-political mindset," she added.

cting and production are two different ball games and Preity Zinta, actress who turned producer with 'Ishkq in Paris', is learning this the hard way. Although the initial release date was announced as October 5, 2012, it was first postponed to November 2 and then indefinitely. Preity's ambitious project went to floors late in 2011. Directed by Prem Soni, the film was co-written by Preity, and stars French actress Isabelle Adjani and newcomer Rhehan Malliek along with her. Nobody had any inkling of trouble brewing until the first promos of the film were pulled off after running them for 40 days apparently the film had not found any buyer. A source close to Preity, explained: "There was no sense to continue the promos since she hadn't locked the release date." Preity is on a hunt for a buyer since. However, even with Soni finally done with the post production of the film, indications are that

Actor-producer Preity Zinta

Preity has not yet locked the deal with any buyer. According to reports, Preity has demanded a whopping Rs 20 crore for the film and no buyer is willing to shell out that amount of money as the initial promos had failed to garner a favorable response.

Gear up for Paresh's breakdance in 'Himmatwala' V

eteran actor Paresh Rawal, who has shown his acting prowess a number of times, has now put on his dancing shoes for director Sajid Khan's "Himmatwala" remake. The 62-year-old, who tickled the audience's funny bone in movies like "Hera Pheri", "Golmaal: Fun Unlimited" and "Bhagam Bhag", agreed to do breakdance on the director's behest. "It was a comic scene and I wanted him to do something, which he has not done before. So when I asked Paresh bhai to

do a breakdance, he started laughing, but agreed to do it. There were no rehearsals because he wanted to be spontaneous," Khan said in a statement. "He emulated the moves I had conceived and tried his level best to be funny and get them correct. Eventually he got them right, but that was one of the most challenging scenes to shoot," he added. "Himmatwala", a remake of Jeetendra and Sridevi-starrer 1983 movie, stars Ajay Devgn and Tamanna. It is slated to release March 29.

Filmmaker Sajid Khan and actor Paresh Rawal


March 16-22, 2013

Continued fronm page 7 Program that serve over 1,000 of Nassaus children at a rate parents can afford. Police Commissioner Tom Dale, for leading the department with dignity and professionalism while cracking down on crime and taking illegal guns off our streets. Technology Improvements Save Dollars Technological advancements have allowed my administration to increase efficiency, communications, public safety, create jobs and saved lives. Nassau Now, a free mobile and online application, now connects residents and government. It connects job seekers with 19,000 local employment opportunities through the convenience of their phone or laptop via social media forums. DPW snow plows, through the use of GPS, can now be tracked on an electronic map so that supervisors know where they are and whether their plow is down and salter on. An Online Hospital Pharmacy Program, developed by our IT Department, connects hospital pharmacists throughout Nassau County in real time so they can share the short supply of critical medication - especially for those being treated for cancer. Shot Spotter, employed in several communities, identifies when a gun was fired, where the shot occurred, what caliber bullet and sends the information to police sector cars in 6 seconds. We recently upgraded the system to record real time video. This program saves lives and enhances police officer safety. Our Police Departments Intelligence Led Policing Model has earned national recognition as it employs powerful technology in each police car. This technology, along with special units such as the CIRRT team, has resulted in Nassau County having the lowest crime rate of any large County in the nation. Crime is down 10% since I took office 3 years ago. I want to acknowledge District Attorney Kathleen Rice, for her partnership in the successful Gun Buy Back Programs which utilize assets seized from criminals to take illegal guns off our streets. Together, we have removed over 2,613 illegal guns from Nassau communities; including handguns, assault rifles, sawed off shotguns, Tec-9s and more. Gun violence has placed our nation on edge after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. As a parent, the thought of that day shakes me to the soul and as County Executive I've launched aggressive measures to avoid such senseless crimes. While we all hope to never face such an active shooter situation, Nassau County is leading the nation in preparing public and private school administrators to protect students as well as effectively respond to active shooters. Rebuilding Nassau Tonight, I speak to you from The Morrelly Center for Homeland Security which served as the Emergency Operations Center during Hurricane Sandy. As the superstorm went from radar screen to real world just over 4 months ago, I activated this center wherein over 50 separate agencies came together to
coordinate resources and institute a prestorm lifesaving plan where I called for the evacuation of 400,000 residents. This action, coupled with the leadership in our Department of Health, successfully evacuated 1,400 frail residents from one hospital and 6 nursing homes. As the dire reports came ashore ahead of the storm, it became apparent that our residents would face short-term, interim and long-term issues unlike anything we had faced before. Our South Shore and Barrier Island was battered by the hurricane winds and storm surge. Day one after landfall, I knew we had a long and hard recovery before us. Our residents faced unprecedented and widespread property damage to 74,000 homes and 4,000 businesses. Critical infrastructure was also damaged, our environment was harmed and our economy was in a shockwave. Since Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island, my administration has worked tirelessly - helping our residents respond to one of the most destructive storms in decades. Housing so many displaced people was a number one priority as housing is at a premium in Nassau County on the best of days. On the tightest of deadlines, Governor Cuomo and I worked with FEMA to implement a new innovative program that would eventually be called STEP. Families with damaged homes were displaced and housed in hundreds of hotel rooms and separated from their neighborhoods, schools, families and friends. STEP was designed to fix damaged heating, electrical and hot water systems so that families could stay in their homes while planning and undertaking permanent repairs. The ability for residents to quickly rebuild became a greater challenge when Congress delayed the supplemental appropriation funds for rebuilding programs. If not for the leadership of Congressional Representatives King, Israel, McCarthy and Meeks, as well as very dedicated residents from the south shore communities who joined me in marching on Washington, we would still be in limbo. While Federal programs are still being formed, we launched efforts to assist our residents, rebuild our critical infrastructure, repair our economy and clean up our environment. In anticipation of federal dollars funding requested programs, we encourage homeowners to complete New York State's preregistration process online at www.NYSANDYHELP.NY.GOV. Employers were also hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. To support small businesses in recovering from storm damage, I opened a Nassau County Business Recovery Center to help them cut through the red tape. The web site, www.NassauBackInBusiness .org includes information, contacts and online links for small and medium-sized businesses in need of assistance navigating federal and state disaster relief offerings. To date, the Business Recovery Center has helped over 500 small businesses in recovering from the superstorm. My friends, it has been an honor to serve as your County Executive for the past 3 and a-half years. We have and will continue to reinvent and rebuild Nassau.

Happiness level linked to a brain chemical

decreased when they were sad. The finding suggests that boosting hypocretin could elevate both mood and alertness in humans, thus laying the foundation for possible future treatment of psychiatric disorders like depression by targeting measurable abnormalities in brain chemistry, reports Science Daily. In addition, the study measured for the first time the release of another peptide, called melanin concentrating hormone, or MCH. Researchers found that its release was minimal on waking, but greatly increased during sleep, suggesting a key role for this peptide in making humans sleepy. The study is published in the March 5 online edition of the journal Nature Communications. "The current findings explain the sleepiness of narcolepsy, as well as the depression that frequently accompanies this disorder," said senior author Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Centre for Sleep Research at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. "The findings also suggest that hypocretin deficiency may underlie depression from other causes," Siegel said.

Los Angeles: What makes us happy? Family? Money? Love? How about a peptide? For the first time, scientists have found a link between happiness and levels of a chemical within the body, which could offer hope for patients with psychiatric disorders, says a study. The neuro-chemical changes underlying human emotions and social behavior have hitherto remained largely unknown. Now, though, for the first time in humans, scientists at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) have measured the release of a specific peptide, a neurotransmitter called hypocretin, that greatly increased when subjects were happy but

Smoking no longer glamorous, says British study

London: Smoking a cigarette is no longer considered "cool or glamorous", according to a new poll in Britain. Just one percent of smokers believe they look trendy when lighting up, the Daily Express cited the survey of 2,000 British smokers as saying. The poll, conducted on behalf of the British Heart Foundation, showed two-thirds of smokers - 67 percent - believe public attitudes towards smoking have become increasingly negative in recent years. "Smoking has been considered normal for far too long so it's encouraging to see attitudes are finally changing," said Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse for the charity. "The results are great news for smokers aiming to quit smoking because they suggest friends and family are more likely to fully support them in beating their addiction to tobacco for good."


March 16-22, 2013


Indians swear by arranged Work-from-home culture gains popularity in India marriages

Mumbai: Despite the growth of social networking sites and online matrimonial sites, a majority of Indians still swear by the traditional arranged marriage, a new survey has revealed. Around 75 percent of Indians, including 82 percent women and 68 percent, are conservative and prefer arranged marriages, according to The Taj Wedding Barometer, a survey conducted by the Taj Group of Hotels, Mumbai, which was released here Saturday. While women prefer their parents' and family members' decisions in deciding their future life-partner, men tend to take an independent decision about their future spouse. Compared to the national average of 74 percent, nearly 82 percent of young people in north India prefer arranged marriages. The survey, conducted by IPSOS, in which 1,000 young people aged between 18-35 in 10 cities were interviewed, also found that both men and women prefer the first marriage proposal in private. While 33 percent of Indians in western India preferred a straight-forward proposal without frills, 21 percent from the south (both male-female) wanted women to initiate the proposal, against the national average of 10 percent who felt men should take the first step. However, 13 percent of all men wanted women to initiate the proposal compared to only eight percent of women who expressed the same view. After the proposal, the engagement ceremony was the top favorite of all pre-wedding functions followed by the "sangeet" ceremo-

ny at 81 percent and other religious functions trailing at 71 percent. Indians have adopted western styles like bachelor parties and cocktail parties, for which the preferred venues (for bachelor parties) were 34 percent at a resort, 30 percent at a deluxe hotel and 13 percent opting for farmhouses. Women considered bridal grooming very important, with 47 percent choosing it as an integral part for the pre-nuptial preparations. As for the three most important aspects of a wedding, the respondents put 73 percent (77 percent of the women and 69 percent men) for the wedding attire, 65 percent for the wedding day and the wedding feast coming at 48 percent. South Indian and Chinese cuisine ranked the most preferred for weddings at 56 percent, and the rest preferring north Indian cuisine. A majority said they would serve five15 dishes to their wedding invitees. This survey covered Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Surat, Chennai, Kanpur and Ludhiana in malls/markets frequented by people for wedding preparations.

New Delhi: Mondeep Dutta is a full-time employee in a well-known IT company in Bangalore. It's a weekday, and he is sitting in the comfort of his beanbag and typing away on the laptop. No, it's not his day off. He's working from home (WFH) - an option increasingly being offered by companies to their employees to better manage their work-life balance. Gone are the days when WFH meant you are excused on medical grounds or for some emergency, or, if you are a woman, on maternity leave. WFH is now an accepted norm in many companies, especially in the IT sector, which believe that this promotes a good work-life balance and actually enhances productivity. Dutta, for instance, says that working from home helps him focus better on his projects to meet deadlines, minus the distraction of any other work that may come his way but is not as urgent. It also means saving precious hours commuting in the maddening traffic every day. A critical point taken into account by a number of companies is that most working people complain of not having enough time to spend with their families. The WFH option offers them the oppor-

tunity to gain that much-needed work-life balance, and motivates them to put in their best effort at work in return. While employees are obviously happy, employers feel that in these times of high attrition rates, such an option helps in retention. Along with a good pay package and growth opportunity, employees these days are increasingly looking at work culture of a place before deciding on a job. According to an official at Microsoft India - which offers the WFH option - a better work-life balance is a cause for retention and also "an attractive aspect for potential employees." Other IT giants, like IBM and Dell, also offer this option to their employees.

Meteorite perfume to be launched

Moscow: Authorities in the Chelyabinsk region, which was hit by a meteorite Feb 15, have announced plans to launch a new perfume with the scent of the celestial body, which brought the Urals city to international fame. The new fragrance will be named "Chebarkul Meteorite", after the lake where the meteorite's fragments were found, the administration of the town of Chebarkul said on its website. Local businessman Sergei Andreyev proposed to analyze the meteorite's fragments to create a fragrance. "It (the perfume) will most likely feature metallic and stony notes," the administration quoted Andreyev as saying. The administration said it will continue searching for ways to profit from the meteorite strike. Chelyabinsk authorities earlier announced plans to erect a monument to commemorate the meteorite and to hold a competition for the best design proposal. The flaming meteorite streaked across the sky and slammed into central Russia Feb 15 with a massive boom that blew out windows and damaged thousands of build-

ings around Chelyabinsk, injuring more than 1,500 people in the area. US space agency NASA estimates the meteorite was roughly 15 meters in diameter when it struck Earth's atmosphere, travelling several times the speed of sound, and exploded into a fireball brighter than the morning sun.


March 16-22, 2013


Funny Bone by Nury Vittachi

My pets are my children, please note, Mr. Taxman

By Nury Vittachi form?" "Dear Cat Person: Yes, you can. If you don't mind going to jail." You cannot claim a tax break on pets, which is ridiculous since they cost more than humans to look after these days. In the past month, my household had two medical bills to pay: One for me for the equivalent of $7 and one for the dog for $256. This is not a joke. Like any sane person, I am deeply tempted to eat the dogs' pills and give her mine. The good news is that it may not be long before pet owners ARE able to list their fourlegged "children" as family members. Asia is becoming pet-crazy. The day before writing this I met two couples who have pets instead of children. That's a hundred percent of the people I met. If we extrapolate these figures to the rest of the region (sorry, but as a journalist I am professionally obliged to do ridiculous things like this), that means NOBODY is having children. After one generation, Asia will be inhabited only by small white dogs called Fluffy (in east Asia, "Fruffy"). On the plus side, this should trigger a rise in the level of

ear Mr. Columnist: I have six beloved offspring but they are all cats. Can I list them as dependents in my tax

intellectual discourse. To be serious for a moment, Asia will surely follow the US, where there are already powerful campaigns to have pets recognized as children for tax purposes. Regulating claims will be tricky. Inspector: "You claimed an exemption for a dog. May we see the dog please?" Taxpayer: "Er, it's gone out." Inspector: "Without you?" Taxpayer: It's a very independent dog." Inspector: "May I wait?" Taxpayer: "Actually, it's on holiday and I don't know when it'll return. Dogs never tell you anything." And what happens when owners of pets other than cats and dogs start to demand

exemptions? What if you have 10 hamsters or 25 performing fleas? "Dear Tax Department, I wish to claim child benefit for the 10 million pet bacteria I keep on a furry gray pot of yoghurt in the fridge. Their names are attached." A person reading this article over my shoulder (GO AWAY) has just pointed out that some pets, such as guide dogs, are ALREADY tax-exempted in many countries if they are owned by someone who has a disadvantage, such as poor hearing or defective eyesight. Interesting, although I suspect that the list of recognized disadvantages will not include any of the defects sported by my family members, my colleagues and myself: brainlessness, laziness, evilness, clumsiness, smelliness, humorlessness, etc. Now I need to stop writing this and go and take my pill. Or the dog's. After all, I paid for it. -*Wanna buy a PhD? Your humble narrator got a bunch of junk emails offering fake degrees last week and deleted them. What idiot would order artificial qualifications off the net? I was mulling over this when I received a Facebook note from my former colleague Nate Thayer, the legendary reporter who tracked down Pol Pot. Nate had just discovered two groups of individuals who regularly DO pay for fake degrees: 1) Household pets in the US; and 2) Leaders in Third World Countries, particularly in Asia. Hanging on the wall in the North Korean mausoleum of Kim Il-Sung is a PhD from Kensington University of California, which is not a real university, but a printer of unrecognized degree certificates, Nate said. Top Cambodian politician Hun Sen has a similar degree. Nate said that when the former chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Aslam Raisani, was confronted by reporters about his fake qualifications, he responded: "A degree is a degree. Whether fake or genuine, it's a degree. It makes no difference." (This statement is SO going to haunt this guy when he has to persuade his own kids to go to college.)

-*Meanwhile, in southern China, the Shenzhen Beautiful People Professional Abortion Clinic is advertising super-cheap abortions at just 480 yuan a time on official holidays. This seems tacky to me. "Mummy, tell me about when I was born." "Well, darling Superfluetta, you're really only here because silly mummy narrowly missed the special offer period at the local clinic." -*I was going to make a joke about the horsemeat found in meatballs at IKEA, the assemble-it-yourself furniture store. But then I thought: naaaay. But in truth, my daughter always wanted a pony. So I'm going to buy her a packet of IKEA meatballs. I'll tell her: "It's an IKEA pony. Self-assembly." -*The lowest value coins on the planet are now in Asia, a BBC survey reported last week. If you exchanged 850 Burmese pya for US currency, you'd get just one American cent. More microscopic still is the tiyin from Uzbekistan. If your dream is to own a US one cent coin, you'd need to save up 2,000 tiyins. (And remember not to spend your one cent coin all at once.) When I told this to a colleague, he wanted to visit Uzbekistan just to fill in a few online dating forms from there. You see, anyone in that country with a net worth of $5,000 can truthfully write: "By the way, I am an honest-toGod billionaire." He pictured thousands of beautiful women throwing themselves at him before they learn (too late) that a billionaire in Uzbekistan has less money than a church mouse, a Hong Kong beggar or a Greek tycoon. -*A Taiwanese firm called Polytron is working on the prototype of a transparent mobile phone, a tech website revealed last week. It looks like you are holding a piece of glass to your head. If you thought losing your mobile phone was a big problem before, wait till you get one of these. -*-

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.


March 16-22, 2013


By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma

Stars Foretell: March 16-22, 2013
ARIES: Develop a good adaptability to handle pressurized situations at professional front. You should take some time to enjoy it with children, even if you have to go out of your way to make that happen. Avoid being volunteer to overspend otherwise you will have to come home empty pocket. Use your discretion power in love this week. Knowing your calories would enable to keep yourself fit. If your family loves to travel, then put together some ideas to help you. Location is the key to any property you purchase, so go through it very well. It would be in your interest if you avoid easily get friendly with others. TAURUS: Make sure you keep team spirit going to achieve higher professional goals. If people approach you with problems better to ignore them for the sake of family life. Be careful with whom you deal financially during this week. If possible, give the gift of time to beloved/lover. Time to understand body and at the same time avoid the food that does not go well with it to keep ailments a bay. Traveling internationally means too much expense. You have to very patient while dealing with your estate agent. Avoid disclosing personal secrets even to your close relatives. GEMINI: Plans for new ventures get streamlined with the help of seniors. Children would do their best to keep you happy. Real estate investment would be lucrative. Love comes your way as friendship turns into romance. Your confidence and energy will be high in this week. Destination with a great deal is on your way, be ready for traveling. Your investment plans are at full boom and you might succeed in them. In the company of friends you are likely to enjoy, as many good things happen at a same time. CANCER: Female colleagues lend a helping hand in completing important assignments. You are likely to be benefited as family members positively respond. Investment in stocks & mutual funds would help in earning profits. You are likely find comfort in the arms of romantic partner. A week when smile will perpetually be on your face and strangers will seem familiar. Be ready to travel with a challenge, new connections will help you. Your girlfriends desire for an apartment might lead to its destination. You succeed in maintaining a distance from affairs that don't concern you at all. LEO: Use your strong determination & decision-making trait to face unusual & challenging situations with ease at professional front. Take your parents into confidence regarding your new projects and plans. Avoid overspending on entertainment and luxuries. Love and romantic encounter will keep you in a cheerful state. Health will be fine despite some mental pressures. Traveling abroad can be exciting adventure that will be remembered forever. The deals which you are looking forward might be delayed due to increase in property rates. To gain something we have to lose something. This is the success of maintaining relationship. VIRGO: This week it would require some urgent & quick decisions to turn the tide in your favour at professional front. Good time to get involved into activities that include children. Make sure you do not overspend on household luxuries. Dont give into unnecessary demands of romantic partner. Channelising energy for self-improvement would immensely benefit you. Finally you have found the time for your deserving break, travel will be favourable. Time to plan a gift for your parents may be their dream home. Your wit & repartee would immensely help in developing healthy relations with others. LIBRA: At work you will be a part of something big, bringing appreciation & rewards. Parents and friends will do their best to keep you happy. Long-term investment in stocks & mutual funds will enable to earn profits. Sudden romantic encounter is foreseen this week. You need to relax and get involved in hobbies that you enjoy doing the most. Adventurous holidays, the best way to experience with your friends, time to enjoy. Its high time to think of purchasing a new office. You impress others by your wit and repartee. SCORPIO: Don't get surprised if you are entrusted with additional responsibilities at work. Looking after the needs of children would be essential. Crucial decisions regarding investment should be put off for another week. A promising week for romance when your innovation infuses a new spirit in it. You need to remain calm & tension-free to enjoy a sound health. Take a trip, as there is some place waiting for you. It might be the right time to sale your empty plot as property rates are at peak. You are likely to contemplate a new construction programme. SAGITTARIUS: Tough situations at workplace would give you the opportunity to grow. You must restraint yourself from nagging the child to save him/her. Avoid investing money in speculations based on rumours. Make sure you don't get sentimental on lover/beloveds comments. Your energy level will be high. Better to channelise it in a positive direction. An ideal vacation can claim your basic living expenses. Investment has to be made keeping in mind about the area where your plot is. Make sure you maintain decency in your behaviour especially with opposite sex. CAPRICORN: You are likely to establish yourself a good manager on managing people and situation without any problem. A promising week to plan things for your progeny. Improvement in finances is certain. Partner brings immense romantic pleasure even if work pressure occupies your mind Positive outlook impresses those around you besides keeping you fit & fine. Great time for perfect family vacation to an exciting destination. Your plan for a new house will be in process very soon. You are likely to impress others by behaving politely & charmingly to everyone whosoever comes to you. AQUARIUS: You will be successful in realising your targets at professional front. You would be the center of attraction at a social gathering that you attend especially with family. Speculation coupled with some unexpected gains improves financial health. Romance rules heart & mind this week. Chances of recovering from physical illness are on the card. Travel opportunities full of challenges are often the beginning of great enterprises. Being too choosy in investing plans can loose the property you are looking for. Your legal battle could be sorted out provided friends lend a helping hand. PISCES: You will be highly benefited by making the fullest use of communication skills and the ability to handle any pressurized situation. A week when you should not force your opinion on others in the family. Be prepared to say no to people who expect too much in financial matters. You need to hold romantic emotions and shouldn't do anything making you repent later. Make the best use of your energy to enjoy a sound health. Your whole family needs a holiday, look further and take a break. Your investment on overseas plans might give some impact on your bank balance. You must maintain a distance from drugs and a bad company.

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Annual Predictions: For those born in this week

March 16: Dominated by number 7 and the planet Neptune, you are responsible, affectionate, creative, simple and highly emotional person. You are dedicated and hard working and have an excellent command over your work, but you need to check your tendency to behave jealous, fickle-minded and extravagant at times. This year the contacts that you develop would be long lasting. Past investments would fetch handsome returns and long pending judicial disputes would settle in your favour. The latter half of the year sees you get closer to an influential person who would make a remarkable difference on your thinking and personality. Journeys that you undertake and foreign transactions that you do are likely to yield good returns. Stress and tension might lead to some minor health problems. The months of March, September, November, January and February would be eventful. March 17: Influenced by number 8 and the planet Saturn. You are active, authoritative, systematic, sober and methodical person. You are highly talented and you handle many responsibilities at a very young age. You are also courageous and bold, but you need to control your tendency to behave stubborn, jealous and arrogant at times. This year new contacts and alliances would take shape. You would be in a strong position and your talents would open better opportunities for you. Your income would improve and you would make some good investments during this period. Your spouse would be your major support. The both of you would travel to distant places and spend many pleasurable moments together. Health of a sibling in the family might require frequent medical attention. The months of June, September, December and January will be significant. March 18: Ruled by number 9 and the planet Mars. You are energetic, dashing, courageous, enthusiastic and brilliant individual. You complete every task in hand to your best ability. You possess pleasing personality, but you need to check your tendency to behave aggressive, short-tempered and extravagant at times. This year your confidence is going to receive a major boost, primarily due to the support that you receive from family members and friends. Promotions and transfers for some are certain later in the year. Your income would rise and you would spend more on entertainment and comforts. Past investments would bring rewards and fresh investment during this period is recommended. Travel overseas for business and new ventures seems high. Health of your parents could cause stress and anxiety. Avoid financial dealing with friends and relatives to avoid complications later. The months of April, June, July and November will prove to be eventful. March 19: Dominated by number 1 and the Sun. You are smart, creative, intelligent, sensitive, and highly dignified person. You are a great admirer of music and literature, but you need to control your tendency to behave careless, jealous and stubborn at times. This year you would put your education, experience and skills to benefit in your job. You would be interested more in fame and glory than financial rewards. However your income would not be bad, and you would also make some major investments. Some thumping news can be expected from your children towards the last quarter of the year. New construction, renovation and socializing will be major highlight this year. Overseas trip also seems likely for some. Health however will be a matter of concern. The months of May, September, November and February will be highly result oriented. March 20: Governed by number 2 and the Moon. You are imaginative, honest, sensitive, emotional and creative person. You willingly help those in distress with cash and kind, but your tendency to behave introvert and shy needs to be checked at times. This year you would make new contacts, which would help you in your line of work. You would also receive unexpected advancements in your career. You would do extremely well socially if you travel and get involved in clubs and other social events. Your income would be much better than the past few years. Your beloved though possessive at time would be helpful and supportive. Minor health ailments such as backache, stiff neck or body pains will pose frequent problems. The month of July, September, October and December will bring in the desired result. March 21: Ruled by number 3 and the planet Jupiter. You are energetic, ambitious, dignified, and kindhearted person. You are a good listener and an able administrator and you have an ability to handle things perfectly even under pressure, but you need to control your tendency to dominate and behave stubborn at times. This year your employer would appreciate your confidence and enthusiasm. You would be able to accomplish many tasks that you earlier thought as impossible. Monetary benefits would accrue from new contacts. Pleasure trips or friendly get-togethers will be exciting and intellectually stimulating. Family members will be supportive and friends will be helpful. Minor domestic tensions and stress will bother you. Health needs extra care therefore be careful of what you consume. The months of March, June, August and September seem to bring desired results. March 22: Influenced by number 4 and the planet Uranus. You are active, practical, enthusiastic, courageous and highly philosophical person. You are very proud of your traditions, culture and rituals. You are highly religious and possess a very sharp mind, but you need to check your tendency to behave impatient and stubborn at times. Your communication skills and charms would impress those around you. Your income would improve, but your expenses would be erratic which would make it extremely difficult for you to save. New romance for those unattached, but your work is likely to suffer if you keep fantasizing about this special person. You should not let anything interfere with your career objectives if you desire to achieve your goals. Elders and children in the family will demand lot of your attention. Doctors and lawyers can look forward to a remarkable year. The months of May, June, August and February will be significant.

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March 16-22, 2013


Yodeling for God

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
witzerland is known all over the world for the beautiful Alps. The picturesque mountains are world famous with their majesty, their snow-capped peaks, and their lovely valleys. When people around the world think of the Swiss Alps a special music known as yodeling comes to mind. The yodel is considered a form of communication to others when we are lost in the mountains. The sound bounces off the face of the mountain so that there is an echo. Even if our voice is soft, the echo makes the sound louder so that others far away can hear us. The yodel can be used in two ways. The first use of yodeling is when we think we are alone. We yodel and our own voice echoes back to us. For those who love to hear their own voice, this method lets us listen to the sound of our voice echoing back to us. The second use of yodeling is for communication between two people. We want to let someone else know where we are. Then, they respond to us with a yodel and we know we are not alone. We can then dialogue with the other person through our yodels. The act of yodeling serves as a good example of our communication with God. We are lost in this world. When we are lost, we want help. What do we do? We call out for help. Most call out to God when we need help. The cry that comes from our heart when we realize we are lost can be heard by God. It is like the yodel of distress we send out when we are lost on a mountaintop. The lost yodeler is hoping to hear a response that does not sound like his or her own voice bouncing back. The lost person feels relieved when the yodel comes back from a second party. Similarly, when we truly cry out for God, God responds. We yodel for help, and God sends a Sound back to us to help us out of despair. When we are lost and cry out to God, God puts us in touch with the divine Sound that can carry us back to safety. That divine Sound is the current of the Light and Sound of God reverberating through all creation. The Sound emanates from God. We can hear that Sound within when we sit in

meditation. When we are absorbed in that divine Music, our soul transcends physical body-consciousness and returns to God. Then, we are safe and secure in Gods loving embrace. Unfortunately, many people do not yodel to God. Instead they only want to hear their own voice. They yodel to themselves. Thus, the sound that bounces back to them is their own voice. This describes what we do when we do not turn to God. Instead, we are focused on our own selves, our body, our mind, and the world around us. We are more attuned to our own mind and ego. Thus, instead of hearing

We need to quiet our mind so we can hear the beautiful sound of God calling to us. The mystic path is one that leads to the bliss of union of the soul with its Beloved, God. It is a journey in which the soul is extricated from its entrapment in the physical realm, with a physical body and physical mind. It is not easy to escape their clutches. Freedom from enslavement in the physical realm rests on identifying with our spiritual nature as soul. The soul has great trials and tribulations in its quest for freedom. The pulls of this physical world try to keep the soul tied to

The act of yodeling serves as a good example of our communication with God. We are lost in this world. When we are lost, we want help. What do we do? We call out for help. Most call out to God when we need help. The cry that comes from our heart when we realize we are lost can be heard by God. It is like the yodel of distress we send out when we are lost on a mountaintop.

Gods divine yodel, we only hear the sounds of our own voice, which are the thoughts of our mind. This also describes what we do in meditation. To find God, we need to be open to hear God yodeling to us. God is calling to us at every moment. We are deaf because we are busy listening to our own yodels in meditation. When we spend meditation time thinking about our problems, other people, the past, and the future, we are listening to our own yodeling. How can we hear God if we are busy listening to our own mind?

its physical body. Any attempt to escape this bondage is met with pressure from others to stay trapped with them. The one who has captured us all here, the Universal Mind, does not want anyone to escape the physical realm. Thus, pressure is applied to keep souls bound. Included in this pressure is peer pressure which tells the soul, who wants to be freed from this world, that it is not normal to want to escape. They tell the soul that it is crazy and mad. The Mind wants to use any means possible to distract the soul from finding liberation from its clutches.

It uses other people to convince the soul that there is something wrong with the spiritual path and something wrong with them for wanting to find God. While all religions speak of God, pray to God, and have rites and rituals to worship God, few actually give their congregations a way to find God. Rather than promote the esoteric side of religion which contains the instructions to identify with the soul and gain union with God, religions promote the outer or exoteric side of religion. This involves functionalities that include the physical body. Going on pilgrimages involves walking. Lighting candles involves moving the hands. Singing or playing instruments involves our vocal chords and bodies. Saying prayers involves moving our lips and tongue. In this way, the Universal Mind uses religion to keep us engaged in the outer world by use of our physical faculties. For the soul to be freed, the mind and body need to be stilled. Thus, the side of religion that involves stillness is suppressed. To find the mystical side of religion, we need to dig deep and go back to the actual teachings of the saints and founders. When we go back to the source from where each religion began, we find a teacher, mystic, or saint who was teaching the very basics of the inner side of religionsit in stillness and silence and find God within. Masters and saints come in every age to awaken us to the true purpose for which religions came into beingto sit in stillness and find our soul and God within. They teach the practice of meditation by which we can shift our attention from the outer physical world and become conscious of the spiritual realms within. This consciousness ultimately leads to rising above physical body-consciousness and soaring through spiritual realms beyond until reuniting our soul with God. Then, we can hear the divine Music of God instead of the yodeling of this world. As this spiritual consciousness awakens, the soul is drawn more and more within. It is no longer satisfied with the enjoyments and pleasures of the outer world. The soul finds happiness only in communion with the spirit. There are only a few aspects of life that contain spirit and thus provide enjoyment for the soul. The soul finds its happiness in the company of a saint or Master who is radiating the love of God. It also finds joy in contacting the inner Light and Sound within through meditation

because they are two primal manifestations of God into expression. The soul also experiences a thrill when it transcends physical bodyconsciousness to soar into spiritual realms within. When the soul attains the ultimate consummation of reuniting with God it attains eternal bliss. When people first come on a spiritual path they are excited and joyous to connect with the spirit through the Master and the meditation on the Light and Sound. They find more and more enjoyment in the company of the Master and in meditation. As time goes on, though, the disciple finds life to be extremely challenging. The disciple is now living in two different worlds. The yodels of the Master, and the beauteous inner Lights, vistas, and Music into which one becomes absorbed in meditation, call to the soul. But the soul is in a dilemma. It wants to meditate all the time. It wants to be in the presence of the Master all the time because it is so enchanting, but it is bound by its duty in the world. The soul is still tied to the physical body which has its responsibilities and roles to play in the physical world. The difficulty the soul has is that it has internally cut its interest and connections to the world. It has tasted its true nature in the ethereal realms of God. It has tasted of an ecstasy inconceivable in this world. When it is in contact with the spiritual Master who is the embodiment of the divine and loving power of God, either within or without, it is at home in bliss. It is fulfilled and satisfied. It wants to be in that state all the time. But it is still bound to the body, and that body has a role to play in this world. If we are in the body of a child, we are bound to do what our parents and teachers want. We have to get up, go to school, and study. At home we have to eat our broccoli and other vegetables and do our chores and our homework. If we are a spiritual child who came in touch with God and our soul, this world seems heavy and cumbersome. (To be continued...) 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.

March 16-22, 2013


To commemorate 30 years of service to the community, Habib American Bank is rebranding to new and fresher look HAB BANK. We will continue to focus on our key priorities: customer relationships, products and services. The Bank is committed as ever to deliver outstanding personal and commercial banking services that you have come to expect. Our core products are Commercial Real Estate Mortgages, International Trade Services, US Small Business Loans and well-designed commercial banking products and services for small to medium sized businesses. We offer a wide range of consumer products and services including personal checking, savings, CDs, and full-service online banking. Your business is important to us and we look forward to continuing a long and mutually successful partnership with you as HAB BANK.

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March 16-22, 2013

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