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The South Asian Times


No. 33




December 16-22, 2017

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December 16-22, 2017 80 Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First

Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General
Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General
Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General
Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General
Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General
Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General
Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General
Cents New York Edition Follow us on NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General

NJ to Get First Indian‑ American Attorney General

New Jersey: New Jerseyʼs Governor‑elect Phil Murphy has nominated an Indian‑American to be the attorney general of the state, a first on several counts. “I am truly honored to nomi‑ nate Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal to the position of Attorney General,” Murphy announced on Twitter. If confirmed, Grewal will be the first Indian‑American of Sikh ancestry, to be holding the posi‑ tion of Attorney General in American history, and the second Indian‑American after former California Attorney General Kamala Harris. He would also be the first South Asian‑American to

Harris. He would also be the first South Asian‑American to Gurbir Grewal hold that position in

Gurbir Grewal

hold that position in the state if confirmed. There is also Indian‑ American Vani Vedam, who has been an assistant attorney gener‑ al in the Illinois attorney gener‑ alʼs office since 2012. “Thank

you, Gurbir, for accepting the call to serve NJ,” Murphy added. The nomination would be sent to the state Senate for approval after Murphy takes office. Grewal was appointed as Acting Bergen County Prosecutor on January 4, 2016, and sworn in as Bergen County Prosecutor on November 14, 2016. As prosecu‑ tor, he has been the chief law enforcement officer of Bergen County – the most populous county in New Jersey and home to nearly 1 million residents liv‑ ing in 70 municipalities. He has a staff of approximately 265 per‑ sonnel at the Bergen County

Continued on page 4

Virat weds Anushka Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood star Anushka Sharma tied the
Virat weds Anushka
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood star Anushka Sharma
tied the knot on Monday in a private ceremony, reportedly at a
countryside resort named Borgo Finocchieto — one of the most
expensive holiday properties in the world, where Barack and Michelle
Obama had stayed earlier this year. (Photo: Virat Kohli/Tweeter)

India's GDP growth seen rising 7.2% in 2018, 7.4% in 2019: UN report

Washington, DC: India's growth rate is projected to accelerate to 7.2 per cent in 2018 and 7.4 per cent in 2019, the UN said, describ‑ ing the outlook for the country as "largely positive." Despite the slowdown observed in early 2017 and the lingering effects from the demonetization policy, the outlook for India

remains largely positive, under‑ pinned by robust private con‑ sumption and public investment as well as ongoing structural reforms," the United Nations said. In its report 'World Economic Situation Prospects', released at the UN headquarters in New York, the UN said, "GDP growth for India

Continued on page 4

Pipe bomb injures 4 at NY Port Authority, suspect faces Federal charges

4 at NY Port Authority, suspect faces Federal charges Suspect Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi immigrant. New

Suspect Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi immigrant.

New York: A man with an ISIS‑ inspired suicide plot went into one of New York City's busiest subway corridors and detonated a "low‑ tech" pipe bomb strapped to his chest with Velcro and zip ties just as Monday's morning commute got underway, setting off mass evacua‑ tions but leaving no one but him‑ self with serious injuries, accord‑ ing to city and state officials.

Continued on page 4

Democrat Doug Jones wins the Alabama Special Election

A major upset as a Democrat wins in a deeply conservative state

upset as a Democrat wins in a deeply conservative state Doug Jones with wife Louise wave

Doug Jones with wife Louise wave to supporters on Tuesday (Image courtesy:

Washington, DC: In a major upset, Democrat Doug Jones won the Alabama Senate special elec‑ tion on Tuesday to fill the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The last time Alabama sent a Democrat to the Senate was in 1992. Alabama is a deeply conserva‑ tive state but the race unexpect‑ edly became competitive after Republican Roy Moore became embroiled in allegations of past sexual misconduct involving teenage girls. The result is a stunning victory for the Democratic Party, which

found itself locked out of power in Washington after the 2016 presidential election. Flipping a Senate seat narrows the already razor‑thin Republican majority in the chamber, and will make it harder for Republicans to pass any significant legislation. It might even jeopardize the Republican tax overhaul effort currently underway in Congress. Democrats face an uphill battle to win back the Senate in 2018, but winning a seat in the Alabama race will make their fight that much easier. Jones will hold the seat until 2020.

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December 16-22, 2017 D e c e m b e r 1 6 - 2 2 , 2


December 16-22, 2017


Bangladeshi‑origin man held for NYC low‑tech blast

New York: A Bangladeshi‑origin man was arrested on Monday after a "low‑tech" suicide bomb he was allegedly wearing went off injuring him and three others at the city's transportation hub at the start of the rush hour. Police Commissioner James O'Neil told reporters that Akayed Ullah, 27, had an "improvised low‑ tech explosive device on to his body," which he "intentionally det‑ onated". Officials said that Ullah was from Bangladesh and had lived in the city for seven years. Brooklyn resident Ullah was taken to a hospital. Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC that the man was inspired by the Islamic State and set off the bomb in its name. John Miller, the head of police counter‑terrorism, said that the device was a pipe bomb attached to Ullah's body with velcro. The

a pipe bomb attached to Ullah's body with velcro. The Brooklyn resident Akayed Ullah had arrived

Brooklyn resident Akayed Ullah had arrived in the city 7 years ago.

bomb went off in a passageway connecting trains in the Times Square underground metro sta‑ tion adjoining the interstate bus terminal in Manhattan, disrupting the morning commute for thou‑ sands of people working in the

city. The Port Authority Bus Terminal was evacuated and shut down as scores of buses headed to the city from suburbs and other states, but opened after police scoured it for suspicious objects. The Times Square subway station, the city's busiest, was closed for a while. This is the second terrorist attack on New York in less than two months. A terrorist drove a truck into pedestrians near the World Trade Center on October 31, killing eight people. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described Monday's attack as "one of our worst nightmares". "We are a target," he said, "of those who are against democra‑ cy". New York Mayor Bill De Blasio called it an attempted ter‑ rorist attack and added, "Thank God, the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals."

Indian Americans face unfair police treatment in US: Survey

New York: A new survey has revealed that Indian Americans face undue discrimination at the hands of law enforcement agencies in the country. Indian Americans were signifi‑ cantly more likely (17 per cent) than Chinese Americans (2 per cent) to say they or a family member had been unfairly stopped or treated by the police because they were Asian, the results of the survey showed. This is despite the fact that Indian Americans were also more likely (33 per cent) than both Chinese Americans (16 per cent) and Southeast Asian Americans (11 per cent) to say they lived in a predominantly upper income area. The report released this week is part of a series titled “Discrimination in America” which is based on a survey con‑ ducted for NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

A quarter or more of Asian

Americans in the survey said that they experienced anti‑ Asian discrimination in employ‑ ment and when seeking hous‑ ing. Additionally, nearly one in five Asian Americans said they faced discrimination because they were Asian when applying to or while attending college (19 per cent) or when interact‑ ing with police (18 per cent) “Our poll shows that Asian American families have the highest average income among the groups weʼve surveyed, and yet the poll still finds that Asian Americans experience persist‑ ent discrimination in housing, jobs, and at college,” said Robert Blendon, Professor at Harvard

T.H. Chan School of Public Health who co‑directed the survey.

Harvard project on 1947 Partition may offer lessons to todayʼs problems

Special to The South Asian Times

New York: A multidisciplinary research project on the 1947 Partition of the Britain‑ruled Indian subcontinent has been launched and it is expected to be completed shortly. A panel discussion at the Asia Society was held on November 30, jointly presented by the society and the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard University. The panelists were Prashant Bharadwaj, associate professor in the economics department at the University of California, San Diego; Tarun Khanna, director of the insti‑ tute; Karim Lakhani, professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School, and Rahul Mehrotra, professor of Urban Design and Planning at Harvard. They discussed the complexities of large‑scale human migration and resettlements that took place in India and Pakistan following the

that took place in India and Pakistan following the Panelists Karim Lakhani, Diane Athaide, Prashant Bharadwaj,

Panelists Karim Lakhani, Diane Athaide, Prashant Bharadwaj, Tarun Khanna and Jennifer Leaning (Photo : Elsa M Ruiz, Asia Society)

Partition. Mehrotra could not be present and he was represented by Diane Athaide, also from Harvard. Lessons from the Partition can focus on current cross‑border dis‑ placements and the corresponding growth of urban settlements and cities, the panelists opined. The discussion was moderated by Jennifer Leaning, director of the FXB Center for Health and Human

Rights at Harvard. According to the panelists, the international commu‑ nity has largely overlooked the his‑ torical study of the Partition, though it is one of the worldʼs largest humanitarian displace‑ ments. In the 21st century, forced migration and the impact of refugee populations is a major topic of media and academic interest. The Partition is a precursor to contem‑

porary forced migration. Leaning emphasized that a histor‑ ically sound and deep understand‑ ing of the phenomenon of forced migration and refugees requires proper attention to the Partition. Bharadwajʼs team has been devel‑ oping the use of machine learning for sentiment analysis of hate speech in India and Pakistan. Lakhani channeled his expertise on crowdsourcing in the Partition‑ era oral history collection project. He is working with Khanna. Athaide, a researcher and gradu‑ ate student with Mehrotra, spoke about different effects of the Partition on urban development in three pairs of cities: Dhaka and Kolkata; Delhi and Lahore; and Karachi and Bombay. The research to date has noted the diverse reset‑ tlement policies used by the Indian government in terms of housing colonies in Delhi vis‑a‑vis Punjabi migrants and that of Bombay toward its influx of mostly Sindhi


A Q&A session brought out the

gist of the research, beyond the methodological bent shared by the panelists. One question prompted Lakhani to clarify that they are interested not only in stories of migration but also the factors behind the choice to stay. Some fac‑ tors include the intersection of ide‑ ology and socioeconomic status in local context for many Muslims in different parts of India. Social loca‑ tion was a key driver of experience through the Partition. Caste and class differently affected the loss of assets and access to rehabilitation. Lakhani and Khanna emphasized that their plan to collect thousands of oral histories is producing new data. Using various techniques from the social sciences, the team will ana‑ lyze the data in an unprecedented way. Historians will be in conversa‑ tion with the voices documented from the oral histories.

data in an unprecedented way. Historians will be in conversa‑ tion with the voices documented from

December 16-22, 2017


IOC congratulates Rahul Gandhi, newly elected President of the Party

Rahul Gandhi, newly elected President of the Party Rahul Gandhi with George Abraham, founder‑General

Rahul Gandhi with George Abraham, founder‑General Secretary INOC

New York: “Rahul Gandhi represents the new era and the future for the Congress party and the nation. Under his spirited leadership, Congress party will renew its strength and the youth and dynamism will usher in a time of renewed hope for the people of India and we want to convey our heartiest congratulations to Mr. Rahul Gandhi on the assumption of the presiden‑ cy of Indian National Congress,” said George Abraham, founder –General Secretary of INOC and the Vice‑Chairman of the newly re‑constituted Indian Overseas Congress, USA under the leader‑ ship of Sam Pitroda (Chairman, IOC). “Rahul Gandhiʼs empathy for the poor and the disadvantaged in the society and his pedigree in pluralistic roots will help to unite the disparate groups working together for the common goal of social and economic revival for every citizen of India. Indian Overseas Congress is ready and willing to help in bridging the Diaspora with Indiaʼs developmental agen‑ da to build a stable and prosperous coun‑ try where its entire people may live in peace and harmony while striving to reach their full potential," Abraham added. “At this time, we also pay tribute to the capa‑ ble leadership of Smt. Sonia Gandhi who steered the Congress Party for the past two decades keeping it united while cata‑ pulting the party to power for two terms under the United Progressive Coalition.

NJ to Get First Indian‑American Attorney General

Continued from page 1

Prosecutorʼs Office (“BCPO”), consisting of Assistant Prosecutors, Detectives, and sup‑ port staff. He also exercises supervisory authority over approximately 2,700 sworn law enforcement officers in 72 law enforce‑ ment agencies that operate in Bergen County. Prior to his appointment, Prosecutor Grewal worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the

United States Attorneyʼs Office for the District of New Jersey from 2010 to 2016. While at the U.S. Attorneyʼs Office, he served as Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit from 2014 to

2016 and oversaw the investigation and pros‑

ecution of all major white collar and cyber crimes in the District of New Jersey, accord‑ ing to his biography on the office website. Among other notable cases, he was the lead prosecutor in United States v. Drinkman, et al., the largest known data breach prosecu‑ tion in which the conspirators participated in a worldwide scheme that targeted major cor‑ porate networks and stole more than 160 million credit card numbers, causing hun‑ dreds of millions of dollars in losses. Grewal was also the lead prosecutor in United States v. Weinstein, et al., a $200 mil‑ lion Ponzi scheme in which the lead defen‑ dant was sentenced to 24 yearsʼ imprison‑ ment. Before becoming a federal prosecutor in New Jersey, Grewal also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal

Division of the United States Attorneyʼs Office for the Eastern District of New York from

2004 to 2007. He has also worked in the pri‑

vate sector in Washington, D.C. and New York. Grewal graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1995. He earned his law degree from the College of William & Mary, Marshall‑ Wythe School of Law in 1999.

Pipe bomb injures 4 at NY Port Authority, suspect faces Federal charges

Continued from page 1

NYPD officials have detained and identified

the suspect as Akayed Ullah, a 27‑year‑old man of Bangladeshi descent living in

Brooklyn. Commissioner James O'Neill said Ullah "did make statements" about ISIS fol‑ lowing the blast in a block‑long tunnel between the Times Square subway station and a stop under the bus terminal around 7:15 a.m. Four commuters were taken to hos‑ pitals with injuries consistent with being at the scene of an explosion including ringing

ears and headaches, but all have since been released. "This was an attempted terrorist attack," said Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals." When questioned, Ullah allegedly told investigators he intentionally detonated the device in that passageway because he noticed

a holiday poster in a corridor nearby and,

angry over U.S. bombings in ISIS controlled territory, was inspired by ISIS‑style Christmas threats, according to two law enforcement officials. Ullah allegedly said he intended for it to be

a suicide bombing and that he watched

Internet ISIS propaganda, read extremist writ‑

ings and learned how to make bombs through online tutorials. Law enforcement sources have said it didn't appear Ullah had direct contact with the terror group. Ullah, a licensed city cab driver from March 2012 through March 2015, is believed to have been the only person involved. Grainy surveillance video captured the moment of

the blast; a man, whom police said is Ullah, is seen on the ground after the smoke clears. A law enforcement source said Port Authority police officers cuffed him and brought him to

a hospital with a serious stomach laceration

and burns to his hands and torso. The suspect, an electrician, allegedly told investigators he bought the materials himself and that he found the pipe at a job site close to Port Authority Bus Terminal, around 39th Street and Eighth Avenue, according to two senior officials. In a statement Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump said the bombing "once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people" including fixing the coun‑ try's "lax immigration system." "The terrible harm that this flawed system inflicts on Americaʼs security and economy has long been clear," he said. "I am deter‑ mined to improve our immigration system to

put our country and our people first." Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news briefing the situation could have been much worse, adding, "This is New York, the reality is we are a target by many." "This is the most resilient place on Earth," de Blasio added. "We've proven it time and time again."

India's GDP growth seen rising 7.2% in 2018, 7.4% in 2019: UN report

Continued from page 1

is projected to accelerate from 6.7 per cent in

2017 to 7.2 per cent in 2018 and 7.4 per

cent in 2019." At the same time, the report said, the per‑

formance of private investment remains a key macroeconomic concern. "Gross fixed capital formation as a share of GDP has declined from about 40 per cent in

2010 to less than 30 per cent in 2017, amid

subdued credit growth, low capacity utilisa‑ tion in some industrial sectors and balance sheet problems in the banking and corporate sectors. In this environment, vigorous public investment in infrastructure has been critical in propping up overall investment growth," it said. According to the report, there exists some degree of uncertainty over the monetary poli‑

cy stance in India. "Subdued inflation, coupled with a good monsoon season, offers scope for additional monetary easing," it said. Fiscal deficit in India has declined visibly, and it is expected to narrow further to 3.2 per cent of GDP in 2018, it added. An upturn in the global economy now grow‑ ing by about 3 per cent paves the way to reorient policy towards longer‑term issues such as addressing climate change, tackling existing inequalities and removing institution‑ al obstacles to development, according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2018. "The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 demonstrates that current macroeconomic conditions offer policy‑mak‑ ers greater scope to address some of the deep‑rooted issues that continue to hamper progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals," said UN Secretary‑ General Antonio Guterres in the foreword of


the report.

New Delhi Bureau Meenakshi Iyer Jaipur (India) Bureau Prakash Bhandari

New Delhi Bureau Meenakshi Iyer

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December 16-22, 2017


MOCAAPI hosts a successful charity gala

New Jersey: The Monmouth and Ocean County chapter of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (MOCAAPI) held their sixth annu‑ al Charity Gala on December 2 at the Grand Marquis, in Old Bridge, NJ. More than 325 people attend‑ ed the meet. Prominent attendees included Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara. Although a final amount of how much was raised has not been cal‑ culated yet, Dr. Vinod Sancheti, the president of MOCAAPI told Desi Talk that they donated at least $12,500 to local charities, including the Food Bank, the Leukemia Society and Caregivers of NJ, AAPI Hurricane Relief,

Society and Caregivers of NJ, AAPI Hurricane Relief, The MOCAAPI committee with Preet Bharara (center) Ocean

The MOCAAPI committee with Preet Bharara (center)

Ocean County Prosecutor office ‑ Tina's Place. Dr. Sancheti, who was appointed as the president of MOCAAPI in August, had earlier given a statement about his plans for MOCAAPI for the next two years.

“As a team, we hope to enhance support and facilitate the delivery of compassionate, high quality healthcare to our patients. With a constantly evolving healthcare industry affecting us in numerous ways, I believe now more than

Tata Innovation Center inaugurated at New York's Cornell Tech

New Delhi: Following a $50 million investment from IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Cornell University in New York on Tuesday inaugurated the Tata Innovation Center on its Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island campus. The investment includes a signifi‑ cant gift for the first phase of capi‑ tal development on the Roosevelt Island campus, as well as support for collaborating on technology research and expanding K‑12 digi‑ tal literacy programs in New York City. "The Tata Group and TCS have a long and celebrated history of exploring and supporting the ideas of the future and fostering digital literacy within the communities in which we operate," said Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of the Tata Group. "The Tata Innovation Center will drive new applied research between TCS and Cornell Tech in the fields of human‑computer interaction and cyber security, benefiting both US businesses and local communities," Chandrasekaran said. The Center at Cornell Tech aims to bring academia and industry

together under one roof to share ideas and research on next‑genera‑ tion digital technologies and how to commercialize new areas of collabo‑ ration. TCS will become one of the ten‑ ants in the Tata Innovation Center which will provide companies from diverse industries an opportunity to work alongside the Cornell academ‑ ic teams. "The Tata Innovation Center will become a hub for New York's tech sector and a global icon for how academia and industry can collabo‑ rate to leverage technology for the greater good," said Martha E. Pollack, Cornell University President. TCS has operated in New York City for more than 40 years and invested in many long standing cus‑ tomer relationships and local com‑ munity partnerships, said Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and Managing Director of TCS. "Our joint research with Cornell Tech is designed to fully leverage their campus ecosystem and TCS' industry leading technical expertise to develop solutions that empower notable transformation and talent

development across industries in an era of Business 4.0," Gopinathan added. To empower New York City youth to participate and thrive in an increasingly digital world, TCS and Cornell Tech will also promote the integration of computational expertise in K‑12 public education, starting with engagement in New York City School Districts 2 and 30. This multi‑year community engagement effort aims to build

digital fluency and computational acumen among students, educators and schools in the public school sys‑ tem, with a special focus on girls, minorities and the underserved. "New York City has been proudly partnering with TCS for years, including their sponsorship of the TCS New York City Marathon, work with local schools, and so much more," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "TCS' new partnership with Cornell Tech will help drive New York's economic competitiveness and advance digital literacy pro‑ grams to reach even more schools across the city," De Blasio added.


schools across the city," De Blasio added. ‑(IANS) Dr Vinod Sancheti, President, MOCAAPI ever unity is

Dr Vinod Sancheti, President, MOCAAPI

ever unity is the key to our suc‑ cess,” he said. Dr. Sancheti also mentioned that “for the past several years, different healthcare organiza‑ tions have been predicting the demise of private practice in the

U.S. Administrative burdens, financial costs, long hours, and staffing issues have made several providers choose hospital based positions instead.” Though many predictions were made about decreasing private practices, more than 60 percent of physicians still work in private practices rather than the hospital. Dr. Sancheti said he wants MOCAPPI and other physician organizations to work together. “I strongly believe that working with one another, MOCAPPI and other physician organizations can help navigate the challenges ahead,” he said. “We will work together as pro‑ fessional colleagues, encourage and welcome new physicians, and promote cultural exchange to meet the needs of our members,” he added.


New York: Time magazine has hon‑ ored Ian Grillot, the US national who took a bullet for an Indian while trying to intervene during a racially‑motivated shooting in Kansas early this year. Grillotʼs name fea‑ tures in the maga‑ zine among “5 Heroes Who Gave Us Hope in 2017.”

Grillot, then 24, was injured when he tried to inter‑ vene in the shooting by a Navy vet‑ eran targeting Indians at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, in February. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed in the shooting that also left his colleague Alok Madasani, criti‑ cally injured. “I wouldnʼt have been able to live with myself if I didnʼt do anything,” Grillot said in an article posted by Time on Thursday. The magazine saluted the Kansas man as the “bargoer who stepped into the line of fire.” “Without all

who stepped into the line of fire.” “Without all Ian Grillot (Image : asian‑ the prayers

Ian Grillot

(Image : asian‑

the prayers and positive support from everybody, I wouldnʼt be doing as well as I am right now. It has been a wonderful year and a blessing to be alive,” Grillot told PTI. Earlier this year, Grillot was honored as ʻA True American Heroʼ by the Indian‑

American commu‑ nity in Houston which raised $1,00,000 to help him buy a house in his hometown Kansas. Grillot was watching a televised basketball game at the restaurant when a gunman approached Srinivas and Alok, both 32, and reportedly told them to “get out of my country.”

Grillot was shot in the chest in an attempt to keep the assailant from harming others. Adam Purinton of Olathe has been charged with first‑ degree murder and attempted

murder in the assaults.


others. Adam Purinton of Olathe has been charged with first‑ degree murder and attempted murder in

December 16-22, 2017


‘America is a white nation’:

racist posters in NJ get replaced by messages of inclusion

New Brunswick,NJ: Posters declaring the United States to be a white nation and urging resi‑ dents to turn in their neighbors to immigration authorities, sud‑ denly appeared this week in one of the tri‑state's most diverse cities. The reaction against them has been strong and swift, but it's not the first time that publications featuring hate speech have turned up in the area in recent months. It has many residents of New Brunswick calling for a halt to it. The north central New Jersey city of 56,000 has a population that is one‑third foreign‑born. Also, along with a majority white population, New Brunswick has one of Jersey's highest percent‑ ages of Latinos, and no shortage of people of African or Asian ori‑ gin. Rutgers University, which is located in town, is part of the draw that creates a diverse popu‑ lation here. A wide variety of people had strong reactions when PIX11 News showed them a photo of the poster, copies of which were posted on lampposts on George Street, the cityʼs main retail thor‑ oughfare, on Thursday. They were swiftly removed by city work crews. "What the hell?" asked Robin Colarusso, as she read the poster's message: "To all white Americans: it is your civic duty to report any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration (sic) and Customs Enforcement. They are criminals. America is a white nation." The poster also gave the phone number for ICE, but incor‑

rectly listed the name of the organization, which is a division of the Dept. of Homeland Security. It was by no means the only thing that residents said was incorrect about the posting. "It's just not right," said Daniel Gadzanku about the posterʼs message. "That's not what this country represents," added the U.S. citizen who immigrated from Ghana. After the posters were removed, local community groups replaced them with posters of their own, bearing the messages "No Place for White Supremacy, No Place for Oppression," and "America is an Immigrant Nation." "It's nice to know that people have replaced it with a better message," said Melissa Russo, who works in the downtown area.

Robin Colarusso agreed. "I real‑ ly like what that stands for," she told PIX11 News, "and that it says it's against hate, because that's really what we're all about." The city government released a statement to PIX11 News regard‑ ing the white supremacist posters. “Upon learning of the presence of the flyers,” said city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw, “our City officials had them promptly removed from the places upon which they were posted. “Offensive rhetoric of this sort has no place in our community,” the statement continued, “where we celebrate our diversity.”

(News Source:

Rotary Club of Hicksville South distributed over 150 blankets to needy people in Nassau County,
Rotary Club of Hicksville South distributed over 150 blankets to needy people in Nassau County, Long
island. The distribution was sponsored by HAB Bank and many members of Rotary Club. Notably in
2017, RCHS distributed over 650 school back‑pack bags, over 300 Winter Coats and over 1000 meals.
Seen in the photo: (From left) Club Treasurer Arjen Bathija, President elect Roopam Maini, Charter
President and Past District Governor Kamlesh Mehta, recipient for Glory House, Serena Williams, mem‑
ber Anu Gulati, recipient for General Needs Susan Sherman, Sudha Sharma, Immediate past president
Dave Sharma, President Dr Urmilesh Arya, CEO of General Needs Lonnie Sherman, recipient for
Department of Social Services Sunita Manjrekar, Secretary Mukesh Modi.

INOC, USA celebrates Sonia Gandhiʼs birthday

New York: The scene was one of celebration and jubilation where over 100 officers, members and support‑ ers of INOC, USA con‑ verged at its annual meet in New York on Dec 9, over the pro‑ nouncements and road map chartered out by Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Indian Overseas Department of All In‑ dia Congress Commit‑ tee on Dec.2 in New York. Pitroda also gave official recognition to INOC, USA and es‑ tablished an umbrella Board which would consist of Pitroda as Chair‑ man and George Abraham as Vice Chairman and Dr. Surinder Singh Malhotra as a member. INOC, USA also celebrated Sonia

Singh Malhotra as a member. INOC, USA also celebrated Sonia Members at the cake cutting event

Members at the cake cutting event

Gandhiʼs birthday. George Abraham in a toast to Soniaji highlighted her passion for pluralism and empathy for the dis‑ advantaged. Abraham thanked the important role she had played in establishing INOC as a vibrant or‑ ganization here in U.S. Several

speakers recounted her excellent contribution to the development of the party and the establishment of the rule of law. Toasts were proposed, and sincere wishes for her continued good health and prosperity were expressed by every present.

Ramesh Kalicharran: Indo-Caribbean, but model for all communities

l By Surekha Vijh

S urging crowds poured in to

pay their last respects to

Ramesh D. Kalicharran on

December 5‑6 at Bernard Dowd Fu‑ neral Home and on Dec 7 at the St. Michaelʼs Cemetery, both in Queens. That was just an indica‑ tion of how much this large heart‑ ed man with sumptuous beard was loved and respected in the Indo‑ Caribbean and Indian community. Through his hurried life, he had built a huge circle of friends and admirers in New York and globally. Popularly known as Kali, the dedi‑ cated community leader, activist, business entrepreneur and philan‑ thropist passed away on December 3 at the age of 68 and will be missed for a long time. Although his forefathers came many generations ago to Guyana


his forefathers came many generations ago to Guyana TRIBUTE from Uttar Pradesh, he always con‑ sidered

from Uttar Pradesh, he always con‑ sidered himself an Indian at heart, like most of the Indo‑Caribbean di‑

aspora. The Guyanese‑born who moved to the US in 1970, he would also be remembered for his Kali Bharat Yatra that he started many years ago to help people here dis‑ cover and re‑connect with their roots in India. I met him when I came to New York City from India two decades ago. He became a family to me here, with his three lovely kids and his gracious wife, Judith. Kalicharran pioneered several programs and events which pro‑ moted the interests of the Indo‑ Caribbean people, including the fa‑ mous Phagwa Parade in New York. He was a founder member of GO‑ PIO and served as its Caribbean Regional Coordinator. Kalicharran also founded the Gyaan Bhakti Sat‑ sangh Mandir, convened a meeting of Hindu priests from which was born the USA Panditsʼ Parishad

and was a founding member of the Indo‑Caribbean Federation which hosts the annual Indian Arrival Day celebrations at Phil Rizzuto Park, Richmond Hill, NY. He also served as the coordinator of the In‑ ternational Commission for Restoration of Shrines and Places of Worship. Kalicharran had a humble begin‑ ning like many immigrants, and rose to prominence, owning a real estate company, travel agency and driving school on Hillside Avenue in Queens. He received many laurels for his achievements and contributions in New York, as well as India and Guyana. A citation from the Queens Borough President best de‑ scribes his achievements: “As an outstanding business and civic leader of the Guyanese community in Queens, you have generously

given time, talent, and resources toward the betterment of your community and the preservation of its cultural heritage.” Kalicharran is survived by his wife Judith, children Jagdesh, Nadesh and Romanee. He passed on his love for music and art to them. His daughter Romanee learned Kathak dance, his sons learned tabla and Indian classical music. The Indian Diaspora Council In‑ ternational (IDC) said in a state‑ ment, “Kalicharran was an icon among Indo‑Caribbean people with a long‑lasting legacy of selfless service. He will be greatly missed.” There are efforts and process al‑ ready started by his friends and well‑wishers to rename a portion of the 169th Street as “Kali Av‑ enue”, a fitting tribute to him and his legacy.


December 16-22, 2017


Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal features in Politico power list

Washington, DC: Indian‑American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, a fast‑ris‑ ing Democratic star, has featured in the Politico magazine's "Power List for the year 2018" for having assumed the mantle of a House "leader of the resistance." Jayapal, 52, is in the fifth position and the only Indian American in the power list. She is described by Politico as a "feisty fresh‑ man Democratic lawmaker from Washington state's 7th Congressional District who knows how to punch back." "Jayapal, a fast‑rising Democratic star and deter‑ mined critic of President Donald Trump has assumed the mantle of a House 'leader of the resist‑ ance'," the report said. "From her spot as first vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, she has worked as a relentless advocate of civil rights and immigration reform on Capitol Hill," said her friend and fellow freshman House Representative Ro Khanna. Her most recent drives are a legislative pushback against Trump's threats to end Temporary Protected Status for thousands of Haitians and Salvadorans by allowing them to apply for permanent residency if they can prove they would face extreme hardship if they return to their home coun‑

tries. Jayapal also wrote a letter to the Trump administration in October demand‑ ing the termination of a new policy of social media vetting of immigrants and American

Pramila Jayapal

citizens. "She is a groundbreaker," said Democracy for America's Robert Cruickshank, who is also one of Jayapal's constituents. "She's really positioned herself to be an essential player in the future of the Democratic Caucus in the House." "With determination, steely drive and some well‑placed tweets, Cruickshank said, Jayapal has "taken a deliberate approach to get there." Jayapal is the first Indian‑ American woman in the US House of Representatives. ‑(IANS)

Court holds U.S. retailer accountable for promoting piracy by selling IPTV streaming

Englewood, Colo : A bankruptcy court in Florida has ruled that Amit Bhalla, a retail‑ er of IPTV streaming devices with unau‑ thorized channels, cannot use a bankrupt‑ cy case to shield himself from monetary liability for copyright infringement. In 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a per‑ manent injunction halting the unlawful distribution of television content from pro‑ grammers CCTV and TVB on TVpad devices. DISH Network, which has exclu‑ sive rights to distribute much of CCTVʼs and TVBʼs content in the United States (including through its Sling TV OTT serv‑ ice), and CICC, an affiliate of CCTV, were also plaintiffs in that underlying lawsuit, which began in 2015. The plaintiffs alleged that the manufacturers and distrib‑ utors of the TVpad device set up a pirate broadcasting network designed to stream CCTV and TVB channels without authori‑ zation. The court ordered manufacturers and distributors of TVpad to pay $55 million in damages to DISH, TVB, CCTV and CICC, and the injunction prohibited retailers

from distributing, advertising, marketing or promoting TVpad and comparable devices that deliver CCTVʼs or TVBʼs copy‑ righted content. Rather than accept responsibility for his actions, Amit Bhalla chose to file for bank‑ ruptcy in an attempt to avoid being held financially accountable. Citing Bhallaʼs willful and malicious conduct, the plain‑ tiffs filed a motion for summary judgment in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. The court grant‑ ed the motion, and Bhalla must now pay plaintiffs $4.4 million for copyright and trademark infringement. “This ruling sends an important message to retailers who think they can get away with profiting off pirated content: you will eventually be held accountable, and a bankruptcy filing will not protect you,” said Samuel Tsang, vice president, Operations for TVB USA. “Our hope is that, as a result of this rul‑ ing, retailers will stop selling content obtained through illegal means and instead serve their customers with legal, reliable content and devices.”

content obtained through illegal means and instead serve their customers with legal, reliable content and devices.”

December 16-22, 2017


CNN gets the wrong 'Shah', White House sees red

Washington, DC: The Trump administration hit out at CNN after the news broadcaster displayed a picture of Indian‑origin ex‑Obama administration appointee Rajiv Shah, confusing him with White House press official Raj Shah. White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders was quick to slam CNN for the faux pas. "@CNN this is definitely not @RajShah45 but it is #FakeNews," Sanders said in a tweet as she post‑ ed a screen shot of the channel dis‑ playing the wrong Shah. As USAID chief, Rajiv "Raj" Shah, 44, was the highest ranking Indian American official in the Obama administration's first term. Currently, he is president of the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation in New York. His namesake, 33‑year‑old Raj Shah ‑ as principal deputy press secretary ‑ is the highest ranking Indian American in the White House press office. Last month he became the first

White House press office. Last month he became the first Raj Shah (left) throughout has been
White House press office. Last month he became the first Raj Shah (left) throughout has been

Raj Shah (left) throughout has been with the Republican party, while Rajiv Shah is a Democrat.

Indian American to 'gaggle' with reporters on board Air Force One. 'Gaggle' is the term used when the White House press secretary holds an informal briefing which is on record but bars reporters from videographing. Raj Shah through‑

out has been with the Republican party, while Rajiv Shah is a Democrat. This is not for the first time that the media ‑ both in the US and India ‑ has goofed up with the two Raj Shahs.


INDIAN STUDENT SHOT AT IN CHICAGO Mohammed Akbar (Image courtesy: Hyderabad: An Indian student from

Mohammed Akbar (Image courtesy:

Hyderabad: An Indian student from Hyderabad was shot at al‑ legedly by an unidentified per‑ son in Chicago in the United States on Saturday. His father said he is seriously injured and is in the hospital. Mohammed Akbar's father said he was shot at in the cheek by an unidentified person when he was walking towards his car in the parking area in Chicago's Al‑

bany Park neighborhood at around 8:45 in the morning. Mohammed Akbar, 30, is pur‑ suing his masters in computer systems networking and telecommunications at DeVry University in Illinois. His family lives in Hyderabad's Uppal area. The family has sought Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj's help to travel to the United States on an emergency visa.


New York: An Indian American STEM Academy in Atlanta, Geor‑ gia, will be opening a “Center of Excellence” in Delhi in January that will introduce the STEM pro‑ gram to middle and secondary school students along with train‑ ing and certifying teachers. According to a PTI report, the STEM program, which educates students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, will be launched in selected schools across India from January 1 and will be available for stu‑ dents enrolled in grades four through 10. “The Academyʼs mission is to ig‑ nite the innovative trait in young Indian students and create a new generation of youngsters who will think out of the box,” Amitabh Sharma, a co‑founder of the Acad‑ emy, told PTI. Sharma added that the initiative goes along with for‑ mer U.S. president Barack Obamaʼs drive to ʻEducate to Innovateʼ as well as Prime Minister Narendra

Modiʼs visions of ʻMake in India,ʼ ʻDigital Indiaʼ and ʻNew India.ʼ The program is targeted to stu‑ dents enrolled in schools affiliated with the Central Board of Second‑ ary Education (CBSE), the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE), State School Boards and International Bac‑ calaureate. “It is an interdisciplinary way of teaching math and science, inte‑ grated with day‑to‑day engineer‑ ing and technology,” Sharma added. Sharma has an MBA, a law degree and a doctorate in market‑ ing and has had experience in the oil and gas, information technolo‑ gy and education fields. Being the founder of the Ameri‑ can India Foundationʼs Atlanta Leadership Council, Sharma said, “STEM based learning in India has been limited due to apparent lack of structure and the STEM Acade‑ my of USA has developed a unique implementation strategy for India.”

Christian‑Jew‑Buddhist leaders back Hindu plea of no sacred mandalas on Tampa roads

Nevada: In a remarkable interfaith gesture Christian, Jew and Buddhist leaders have backed the Hindu plea that sacred mandalas do not belong on Tampa, Florida roads; which was recently floated by Hindu statesman Rajan Zed. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out, “Mandalas are sacred symbols and do not belong on the surface of public roads where humans and animals tread, dogs can pee/poo and vehicles trample these under the tires.” Referencing to South Seminole Heights road mural “Mandala” in Tampa (claimed to be Tampaʼs first street mural), Zed, in a press state‑ ment noted that Hindus would wel‑ come mandalas painted respectful‑ ly on the walls but sacred man‑ dalas on the surface of roads/streets were highly inappro‑ priate. According to reports, part of this 28‑foot wide mandala, costing about $5,000, was accidently cov‑

wide mandala, costing about $5,000, was accidently cov‑ (R to L):Stephen R. Karcher, Rajan Zed, ElizaBeth

(R to L):Stephen R. Karcher, Rajan Zed, ElizaBeth Webb Beyer and Matthew T. Fisher (Image courtesy: George A. Anastassatos)

ered with black asphalt by city workers on November 30 after being mistaken as graffiti. City offi‑ cials later acknowledged the mis‑ take. Stephen R. Karcher, a senior Greek Orthodox Christian priest; ElizaBeth Webb Beyer, a promi‑ nent Jewish Rabbi in Nevada‑ California; and Matthew T. Fisher, a well‑known Buddhist leader; in a joint statement in Nevada; said that symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.

Inappropriate usage of concepts or symbols of any religion for com‑ mercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Karcher, Beyer, Fisher and Zed suggested Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners Chair Sandra Murman, and South Seminole Heights Civic Association (SSHCA) President Stephen Lytle to recreate the mandala on a nearby wall instead of restoring the dam‑ aged mandala on the road.

President Stephen Lytle to recreate the mandala on a nearby wall instead of restoring the dam‑


December 16-22, 2017


216 companies on the Fortune 500 founded by immigrants or their children

Washington, DC: For a quick picture of immigrantsʼ contri‑ butions to the US, take a look at the countryʼs Fortune 500 firms. Of the companies that made the list in 2017, 43% were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, according to research from the Center for American Entrepreneurship.

The share of immigrant founders in technology is even higher, 45%̶though immi‑ grant entrepreneurs are repre‑ sented in every sector. The data are in part a reflec‑ tion of past immigration waves to the US. They include iconic companies such as PepsiCo, DuPont, and Colgate, started by European arrivals more than a century ago. People born in

other countries and their chil‑ dren have continued to feed the Fortune 500 list in more recent decades. Apple founder Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian immi‑ grant, and Russia‑born Sergey Brin from Google̶and its par‑ ent Alphabet̶are among the most famous. But there are other relatively new companies with immigrant ties. Marc Randolph, one of Netflixʼs

founders, is the son of an Austrian immigrant. Sol Barer, a German immigrant, helped start biotech firm Celgene. The immigration policies Congress and the Trump administration adopt will shape that list in the future. In 100

years, will it still show that the US benefits from the ideas of people born beyond its shores?


'India fifth largest overseas market for Washington, DC'

New Delhi: In 2016, Washington, DC wel‑ comed 100,000 visitors from India making it the cityʼs fifth largest overseas market. "India continues to be a strong and devel‑ oping market for Washington, DC," said Destination DC President and CEO Elliott L. Ferguson II while addressing the media here. A delegation from Destination DC, the official destination marketing organisation for Washington, DC, is on an India visit to support Air India's new non‑stop service connecting New Delhi to Washington, DC.

In partnership with Air India and Washington Dulles International Airport, the delegation members visited Mumbai, Hyderabad and are finally in the Capital. Elliott L. Ferguson, II added that "In 2016, one in every 12 visitors from India to the US visited Washington, DC." "We're excited about the potential for increased business and leisure travel from Indian visitors, especially since the launch of Air India's direct flight last July and our increase in marketing efforts for 2018," he said.

According to Travel Market Insights Inc., visitors from India to Washington, DC ranked sightseeing, shopping, and visiting national parks and monuments among their top three activities. Also incredible museums and art galleries, exceptional din‑ ing and nightlife scene, high‑end designer retail along with iconic monuments and memorials make the city a highly desirable destination. Also, Indian visits to the US capital increased 25 percent over 2015, adding 20,000 more visitors than last year. (IANS)


New York: The Sikh Human Development Foundation (SHDF) has raised over $210,000 for underprivileged students pursuing higher education in Punjab during its latest fund drive, according to the organisation's chair‑ man, Gajinder Singh Ahuja. The Washington‑based foundation has since 2011 given over $2 million in scholarships based on merit and need to about 5,000 stu‑ dents in Punjab and neighboring areas, Ahuja said on Friday. About 2,700 scholarship recipients have already graduated and they include doctors, engineers and scientists, he added.A Some of them now work in the United States. Jasdeep Singh Juneja, who is an information technolo‑ gy professional in Dallas, Texas, said, "If there was no SHDF then I will not be in USA and I would have been lost in life." The SHDF program is run in partnership with the New Delhi‑based Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council, Ahuja said. Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, Rajwant Singh said: "The sup‑ porters of this cause can be proud of the fact that they are holding the hands of the stu‑ dents who are dreaming to stand on their own feet." The latest fundraising drive was launched last month at an event featuring Bollywood actor and Punjabi comedian,

Gurpreet Ghuggi.


drive was launched last month at an event featuring Bollywood actor and Punjabi comedian, Gurpreet Ghuggi.

December 16-22, 2017


#MeToo movement is Time Person Of The Year

New York: It has created a wave of aware‑ ness and brave confrontations over sexual harassment and assault, taking down power‑ ful men in the process. And now the #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2017. On its cover, Time called the people behind the movement "The Silence Breakers." Its story features women and men who have spoken out ̶ including activist Tarana Burke, who started the hash‑ tag 10 years ago. #MeToo rose to prominence as a social media campaign in the wake of high‑profile accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. After actress Alyssa Milano popularized the hashtag, thousands of women began sharing their stories about the pervasive damage wrought by sexual harassment and by "open secrets" about abuse. The movement's empowering reach could be seen in the platform on which Time announced its choice: the Today show. It was

on which Time announced its choice: the Today show. It was just one week ago that

just one week ago that NBC fired the morn‑ ing program's longtime and powerful co‑ host, Matt Lauer, over a detailed complaint

of "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace." While the most high‑profile #MeToo sto‑ ries have come from women and men who work in the movies and media, the Time arti‑ cle also features women who work hourly jobs, some of whom want to remain anony‑ mous. The magazine's cover portrait includes strawberry picker Isabel Pascual, lobbyist Adama Iwu and former Uber engi‑ neer Susan Fowler along with Ashley Judd and Taylor Swift. "The reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmer‑ ing for years, decades, centuries," Time's Stephanie Zacharek, Eliana Dockterman and Haley Sweetland Edwards write. "Women have had it with bosses and coworkers who not only cross boundaries but don't even seem to know that boundaries exist." Marking a possible cultural shift back in October, NPR's Sarah McCammon quoted associate professor Lisa Huebner saying of

#MeToo, "It helps a lot of people individual‑

ly, I think, and it also will help us to mark

publicly that this is a widespread occur‑ rence, and it's not OK."

The shortlist of candidates for the distinc‑ tion included:

The Dreamers, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Protest leader Colin Kaepernick, Special counsel Robert Mueller, Chinese President

Xi Jinping, Crown Prince Salman of Saudi

Arabia, President Trump. Trump ̶ who was named Person of the Year in 2016 ̶ said he "took a pass" on being named again in 2017. Trump, who had called it "a tremendous honor" to win last year, said the magazine had been in touch to say he would "probably" win.

The president's comment prompted Time

to clarify, "The President is incorrect about

how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publi‑ cation, which is December 6."

Trump declares emergency in California over SoCal wildfires

Trump declares emergency in California over SoCal wildfires Burned cars as strong winds pushed flames across

Burned cars as strong winds pushed flames across thousands of acres near Santa Paula, California. (Photo courtesy: Reuters)

Washington: President Trump declared an emergency in California on Friday as wildfires continue to char swaths of the state. The declaration, which allows federal assistance to supplement the state and local response to the fires, came a day after California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) sent a letter to Trump asking him to declare an emergency in the state. The president's order on Friday allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordi‑ nate disaster relief efforts in the areas affected by the wildfires. Earlier this week, Brown declared states of emergency in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Diego counties, which have faced rapidly spreading wildfires in recent days. The fires, fed by dry, unpre‑ dictable winds, have destroyed thousands of acres of property

and destroyed hundreds of build‑ ings in just a few short days. Earlier this year, wildfires ripped through wine country in Northern California, killing 44 people and creating billions of dollars worth of damage. In his request for Trump to declare an emergency in California, Brown said the state's resources have been "severely impacted" by a number of disas‑ ters to strike California this year, including other destructive wild‑ fires and severe flooding. "I have determined this inci‑ dent is of such severity and mag‑ nitude that continued effective response is beyond the capabili‑ ties of the State and affected local governments and supple‑ mental federal assistance is nec‑ essary to save lives and to pro‑ tect property, public health and safety, and to lessen the effects of this imminent catastrophe," Brown wrote in his request.

Trump campaigns for Moore

Pensacola, FL: President Trump last Friday urged voters to elect Roy Moore to Senate from Alabama who has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct, warning that America "cannot afford" to have a Democrat win the hard‑fought campaign instead. Trump said at a campaign rally in the Florida panhandle, near the state line with Alabama: "Get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it." "We cannot afford, the future of this country cannot afford to lose the seat," Trump said, referring to his party's razor‑thin 52‑48 advan‑ tage in that chamber of Congress. Trump said Moore's opponent, Doug Jones, is a "liberal Democrat" who would be "completely con‑ trolled" by Democratic leaders

be "completely con‑ trolled" by Democratic leaders A liberal group trolled President Trump with a mobile

A liberal group trolled President Trump with a mobile billboard at his rally in Pensacola featuring how own daughter Ivanka Trump's sharp criticism of Moore.

Nancy Pelosi in the House and Chuck Schumer in the Senate. "We need somebody in that Senate seat who will vote for our

Make America Great Again agenda, which involves tough on crime, strong on borders, strong on immi‑ gration," Trump continued.

Congressman resigns over surrogacy offers

Washington: House Representative Trent Franks charged with sexual harassment by his former aides, has announced that he was resign‑ ing immediately instead of early next year. In a statement on Friday, Franks said he moved forward the date of his resignation after his wife was hospitalized for "an ongo‑ ing ailment", reports Xinhua news agency. The announcement came a day after the 60‑year‑old Arizona Republican revealed his decision to resign at the end of January over accusations that he asked two for‑ mer aides to bear his child as sur‑ rogate mothers. The eight‑term Arizona lawmak‑ er and his wife have reportedly struggled with infertility. In that announcement on Thursday, Franks acknowledged having discussed with congres‑ sional aides over surrogacy, but

discussed with congres‑ sional aides over surrogacy, but Franks' resignation comes after a report that he

Franks' resignation comes after a report that he offered a former aide $5 million to act as a surrogate for his child.

claimed that he had never "physi‑ cally intimated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual con‑ tact with any member of my con‑ gressional staff. "Due to my familiarity and expe‑ rience with the process of surroga‑

cy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.

"I deeply regret that my discus‑

sion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress," he added. Franks' resignation comes also after a report on Friday said that he has offered a former aide $5

million to act as a surrogate for his child. Another report on Friday said that Franks made unwanted advances over surrogacy toward female aides, who alleged it was not clear whether he was asking about impregnating them via sexu‑ al intercourse or in vitro fertiliza‑ tion.

A spokesman said that it was

likely Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will wait until December 11 to announce the dates for a special election for Franks' replacement.


December 16-22, 2017


Trump signs directive to send astronauts back to moon


Trump has signed his administra‑

tion's first space policy directive, formally directing the NASA to send astronauts back to the moon and eventually Mars. "The directive I'm signing today will refocus American space pro‑ gram on human exploration and discovery," Trump said at a White House ceremony on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported. "It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since

President Donald

1972 for long‑term exploration

and use," he said. "This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our foot‑ print we will establish a founda‑ tion for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps some day to many worlds beyond." The Space Policy Directive 1, as

it is called, was based on recom‑ mendations of the National Space Council, which Trump directed to re‑establish in June. The council was first created in

1989 during the administration

of President George H.W. Bush but later disbanded in 1993 under President Bill Clinton. It marked a return to the vision of President George W. Bush, whose Constellation program aimed to return astronauts to the

Constellation program aimed to return astronauts to the Neil Armstrong, first human to walk on the

Neil Armstrong, first human to walk on the Moon in 1969 was an American

moon by 2020 and then go on to Mars. However, Constellation was cancelled in 2010 by then‑ President Barack Obama, on the grounds that Americans "have been there before" and that "there's a lot more of space to explore." Instead, Obama said the US should start by sending astro‑

nauts to an asteroid, a controver‑ sial plan known as Asteroid Redirect Mission, which was scrapped earlier this year by the Trump administration. Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the National Space Council, said the moon will be "a stepping‑ stone, a training ground, a venue to strengthen our commercial and international partnerships".

Trump calls for curbs on immigration after NYC attack

This White House opposes chain migration, and has called for ending the diversity visa lottery program.

Washington: The Trump admin‑ istration reiterated its call for tighter immigration restrictions Monday following an attempted bombing in New York City. The suspect Akayed Ullah, inspired by ISIS, was from Bangladesh and entered the country in February 2011 on an immi‑ grant visa and is a green card holder. "Today's attempted mass mur‑ der attack in New York City ‑‑ the second terror attack in New York in the last two months ‑‑ once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to pro‑ tect the American people," President Trump said in a state‑ ment. He called for enhanced securi‑ ty relating to immigration as well as the end of fraud and "chain migration," or the process by which a U.S. immi‑ grant already in the country sponsors the immigration of family members from the native land.

The president criticized the "lax immigration system" and said that those convicted of engaging in terrorism "deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases." White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed Mr. Trump's call for stricter immigration policy during the press briefing Monday after‑ noon. "The president's policy has called for an end to chain migration, and if that had been in place that would have pre‑ vented this individual from coming to the United States.” The Trump administration has also called for the end of the diversity visa lottery pro‑ gram, after a separate New York City terror attack on Halloween killed eight people and injured an additional 12. The suspect in that attack also entered the country on a Department of Homeland Security F‑43 family immigrant visa.

New York Senator breaks out after Franken resignation

Washington: Years before "Me Too" became a hashtag, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D‑NY) made her name in Congress by combatting sexual mis‑ conduct within the military. Now, she's ready to lead that movement through the halls of Congress, and she's willing to hold people account‑ able, wherever it takes her. This week, it struck the heart of her party. She went against the her own party to say that yes, if Bill Clinton were president now, he would have to resign after something like the Monica Lewinsky affair. She was also the first to ask Senator Al Franken to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. She led other female Democratic col‑ leagues in putting pressure on him to resign, which he did last week. Announcing his resignation on Senate floor, Franken also called out President Trump, who was accused by over a dozen women of sexual misconduct, and Roy Moore, run‑ ning for Senate seat from Alabama. Gillibrand too went on CNN to call on Trump to resign. “She was on this before anybody

Trump t o r es ign. “She was o n thi s befor e anybody Kirsten

Kirsten Gillibrand has now also called for President Trump to step down

else was,” said Brian Fallon, a former aide to both Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. “Itʼs a moment that has come to her rather than her grabbing the spotlight.” The 51‑yearold Gillibrand has come to represent a rising generation of Democratic leaders, one who came of age in an era when equality of the sexes was something almost taken for granted. And the buzz about her presidential ambitions has only grown.

Referencing Trump, Peace Nobel winner warns N‑war 'a tantrum away'

Oslo, Norway: The world faces a "nuclear crisis" from a "bruised ego", the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) has warned in an apparent reference to US‑ North Korea tensions. Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, Ican's executive director Beatrice Fihn said "the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away". "We have a choice, the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us," she

added. Tensions over North Korea's weapons program have risen in recent months. The open hostility between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership under Kim Jong‑un has at times descended into personal attacks this year. Speaking at the ceremony in Oslo, Ms Fihn said "a moment of panic" could lead to the "destruction of cities and the deaths of millions of civilians"

of cities and the deaths of millions of civilians" Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow (middle) and ICAN

Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow (middle) and ICAN head Beatrice Fihn

(right) receiving the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN in Oslo on Dec. 10.

from nuclear weapons. The risk of such weapons being used, she added, was "greater today than during the Cold War". Ican, a coalition of hundreds of NGOs, has worked for a treaty to ban the weapons. Prior to presenting the prize on Sunday, Nobel committee chair Berit Reiss‑Andersen offered a similar warning, say‑ ing that "irresponsible leaders

can come to power in any nuclear state". Ms Reiss‑Andersen also acknowledged the contribu‑ tions of Setsuko Thurlow, an 85‑year‑old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and now an Ican campaigner. White House national securi‑ ty adviser HR McMaster said last week that the potential for war with North Korea was increasing every day.


December 16-22, 2017


Rahul Gandhi elected Congress President

Rahul Gandhi takes over from mother Sonia Gandhi who had helmed the country's oldest party for 19 long years

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi, who is putting up

a spirited campaign against Prime Minister

Narendra Modi in Gujarat, was elected the President of the Congress, taking over from his mother who had helmed the country's oldest party for 19 long years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratu‑

lated his political bete noire and wished him

a fruitful tenure. "I congratulate Rahul Ji on his election as Congress President. My best wishes for a fruitful tenure," Modi tweeted. The 47‑year‑old Rahul will formally take over the reins of the grand old party on December 16, two days before the counting of votes for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, the outcome of which could be a trendsetter ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Congress leader and returning officer Mullappally Ramachandran told the media that a total of 89 nomination papers propos‑ ing the name of Rahul Gandhi for Congress President were received. All the nomination papers were found valid. "Since the withdrawal date and time is over and as there is only one candidate, as per Article XVIII(d) of the Constitution of Indian National Congress, I hereby declare Rahul Gandhi elected as President of the Indian National Congress," he said. Marking a generational shift, Rahul Gandhi will be the sixth Nehru‑Gandhi scion to helm the party, taking over from his mother Sonia Gandhi who steered it through an era during which it was in power from 2004 to 2014. "This is a historic occasion. The handing over of the certificate of election is sched‑ uled to be held on December 16 at 11 a.m.,"

is sched‑ uled to be held on December 16 at 11 a.m.," Congress workers celebrate in

Congress workers celebrate in Mumbai after Rahul Gandhi was elected as Congress Party President.

Ramachandran said. He said Rahul Gandhi was a stickler for rules and was particular about ensuring that the elections were con‑ ducted in a transparent and meaningful manner. "Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never interfered with the election authority. We were given complete freedom to execute the onerous responsibility," he said. He also said: "We place on record the exemplary guidance and support given by Sonia Gandhiji and Rahul Gandhiji. At the first meeting of the Central Election Authority Sonia Gandhiji had given us only one mandate i.e. to conduct free, fair and transparent election, keeping in view the

high traditions and heritage of Congress. "The only request that Soniaji placed before us was that women, weaker sections and youth should be given adequate repre‑ sentation," Ramachandran added. Senior Congress leader and Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said: "Whole nation has a lot of expectations from Rahul Gandhi. He has shown his mettle much before he was elected the president. He knows his responsibility well and has shown this in Gujarat." Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "An aspirational leader, whose most endearing quality is his ʻsinceri‑ ty' and ʻsense of purpose' takes over as new

President of the Congress." "Congress, its workers are ready to take on new challenges, traverse new heights and serve the nation," he added. Gandhi's brother‑in‑law Robert Vadra also congratulated him on becoming the party chief and said it is the "dawn of a new era" and a "proud moment for all in the family". "My best wishes to @OfficeOfRG on becoming @INCIndia President," Vadra tweeted. Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken addressing mediapersons said "only time will tell what will be his role as party presi‑ dent". He also added that the programme for the handing over ceremony scheduled on December 16 will be released later. It is expected that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, current and former Chief Ministers, senior Congress leaders, and all PCC chiefs and delegates will be present at the handing over ceremony. Gandhi had been the party Vice President for over four years since 2013. Among the proposers of 89 nominations ‑‑ all in support of Gandhi ‑‑ was former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who called Rahul Gandhi the "darling" of the party. Manmohan Singh accompanied Gandhi when he filed the nomination papers. Originally 90 nomination forms were issued but one could not be filed as there were not enough number of proposers. Hundreds of Congress workers and lead‑ ers from across the country thronged the party office and celebrated the announce‑ ment of Rahul Gandhi's elevation by burst‑ ing crackers and dancing to the beat of drums and distributing sweets.

Congress set to capture power in Gujarat: Rahul

Ahmedabad: After mounting a spirited campaign in Gujarat, Congress President‑elect Rahul Gandhi declared that his party has taken the BJP head on and is con‑ fident of forming its government in the state. "The BJP has been cornered. BJP's model of development has been hollow and the people of Gujarat has understood this. They

have claimed to have done a lot in

22 years but are not able to tell

the people what they have done," he told the media as the campaign for the second and last phase of the elections wound up. "After the first phase voting in

the state (December 9), we are confident that we are going to

form the government here. After

22 years Congress has stood on

its own feet. Now Congress is speaking by standing in front of

own feet. Now Congress is speaking by standing in front of Rahul Gandhi with Congress leader

Rahul Gandhi with Congress leader Ashok Gehlot and Gujarat Congress chief Bharat Singh Solanki during a press conference in Ahmedabad.

the BJP and challenging it," he said. "The BJP did not stick to its position on the claim of develop‑ ment. Even in his last election meeting, Prime Minister Narendra

Modi either spoke against Congress and or about himself. Earlier, he used to say we will die fighting corruption. But he did not utter the word in his entire cam‑

paign after we raised the scam in the Rafale deal and the alleged spike in Jay Shah's business for‑ tunes. They shifted their position as the campaign progressed," he said. The second and final phase of the Gujarat Assembly election is slated on Thursday. The results will be out on December 18. Asked how a Congress govern‑

ment will fulfil the election prom‑ ises, Gandhi said "Whatever deci‑ sion we will take, we will do so after talking to the people. We will not take unilateral decisions. If your intention is good you can do anything. Our record is there. We don't talk in the air. We have done in the past too by waiving the farm loans of Rs 75,000 crore (during UPA I)," he said. He questioned Modi's record on implementation of poll promises saying he had promised to put Rs 15 lakh in the account of each individual and to provide two crore jobs every year but failed to deliver. He alleged that the BJP's rule of Gujarat had only helped a few. "In the last 22 years, Modiji and

(Chief Minister Vijay) Rupaniji have initiated only one‑sided development here, the one only for five to 10 people. Not every‑ one has been given their due." Gandhi said elections are won on narrative and on issues. "One who maintains the narrative wins the elections. They (BJP) have not been able to maintain the narra‑ tive," he claimed. Rahul Gandhi said his party has changed itself in the state. He made it clear that no nasty or filthy language will be tolerated against the Prime Minister "I have cleared my position through my words and also through action. The way Mani Shankar Aiyar attacked Prime Minister, I am not going to toler‑ ate such comments against the post of Prime Minister. And you all saw the action," Gandhi said. Slamming Modi for his barbs against his predecessor, the Congress leader said, "What the Prime Minister said about Manmohan Singhji is also not acceptable. He was Prime Minister of the country and has done a lot for it."


December 16-22, 2017


Manmohan seeks Modi's apology

New Delhi: A "deeply pained and anguished" former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of spreading "falsehood and canards" in a des‑ perate bid to win the Gujarat elec‑ tion and asked him to "apologize to the nation". In an unusually hard‑hitting statement, Manmohan Singh denied allegations by Modi that he and others, including former Vice President Hamid Ansari and for‑ mer Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor, invited to a dinner at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's residence with Pakistani diplomats, discussed the Gujarat election. The BJP fielded Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to rebut Manmohan Singh's charge, saying that the former Prime Minister should admit that engaging with Pakistan at this moment was a "misadventure" for which he should apologize instead of demanding one from Modi. "I am deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood and

"I am deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood and Congress leader Manmohan Singh accused PM

Congress leader Manmohan Singh accused PM Modi of spreading "falsehood and canards" to win Gujarat election.

canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause by


Manmohan Singh said. "Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of the Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable. "Sadly and regrettably, Modi is set‑ ting a dangerous precedent by his




insatiable desire to tarnish every Constitutional office including that of a former Prime Minister and Army Chief," Manmohan Singh added. The statement follows Modi's allegations at an election rally in Gujarat that guests at Aiyar's house, including Manmohan Singh, Ansari and Gen. Kapoor, dis‑

cussed the Gujarat polls with Pakistan's High Commissioner to India and a former Pakistani Foreign Minister, Khurshid Kasuri, among others, suggesting that the Congress was conspiring with Pakistani leaders to prevent the BJP from winning the election in the state. "(On one hand) Pakistan Army's former DG is interfering in Gujarat's election and on the other Pakistani people are holding a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar's house," Modi said. Manmohan Singh made public the guest list at Aiyar's in Delhi. Those present included former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, former Foreign Secretary Salman Haider, former High Commissioners of India to Pakistan T.C.A. Raghavan, Satinder K. Lambah, Sharad Sabharwal and M.K. Bhadrakumar and India's for‑ mer Permanent Representative to the UN, C.R. Gharekhan. Also present in the meeting were academician Kanti Bajpai and jour‑ nalists Prem Shankar Jha, Ajai

Shukla and Rahul Singh. "I reject the innuendos and false‑ hoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Aiyar as alleged by Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner," Manmohan Singh said. "The discussion was confined to India‑Pakistan relations," he added. Manmohan Singh said the Congress needed "no sermons on 'nationalism' from a party and Prime Minister whose compro‑ mised track record on fighting ter‑ rorism is well known. Talking to the media, Jaitley said the former Prime Minister and the Congress should come out with facts as to what happened in the meeting and what was the need to have it. Referring to Manmohan Singh's attack on the government's policy towards tackling terrorism, the Finance Minister said the govern‑ ment has a track record which no other government in the past can boast of.

Modi takes 'first‑ever' seaplane flight for campaigning

'first‑ever' seaplane flight for campaigning Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated during a

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated during a rally in Ahmedabad.

(Photo: IANS)

Gandhinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi took off in a seaplane from the Sabarmati Riverfront to Dharoi Dam, a reservoir near Ambaji, to hold a rally. The Bharatiya Janata Party said it was "the first‑ever flight by a seaplane in the country". With the second and final phase of polls due on Thursday, Prime Minister Modi has been in the state consecutively for the last four days. Since the election notification for Gujarat, Modi has been a very frequent visitor to the state to campaign for the rul‑ ing BJP. Asked the reason for the Prime Minister taking a seaplane, Jagdish Bhavsar, an offi‑ cial of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said, "You can take this gesture of the Prime Minister as our other programs like the Ro‑Ro Ferry Service, or the Bullet Train project or the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). You can take this new program as

one of the initiatives of the BJP." After reaching Dharoi Dam reservoir, Modi will have 'Darshan' at the famed Ambaji temple and then address a pubic gathering there. In the evening, he will fly back to Ahmedabad by the same plane. The Election Commission of India, while announcing the elections for Himachal Pradesh, had postponed announcement of the Gujarat elections, which the opposition Congress alleged was aimed to allow Prime Minister Modi and the BJP to launch initia‑ tives like the Ro‑Ro Ferry service, the Bullet train and other programs. Earlier, local authorities had denied Modi and Congress President‑elect Rahul Gandhi to hold rallies in the financial capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad. The second phase polls on Thursday will see around two crore voters decide the fate of 1,828 candidates fighting for 93 assem‑ bly seats.

Congress confident of forming government in Gujarat: Rahul

Ahmedabad: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday declared that his party was confi‑ dent of taking power in Gujarat and said the BJP was on a losing wicket. "The BJP has lost its position," Gandhi told the media, a day after he was named the President of the country's oldest political party. "After the first phase voting in the state (December 9), we are confident that we are going to form the government here," he said. The second and final phase of the Gujarat Assembly election is due on Thursday. The results will be out on December 18. Gandhi attacked both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata

Party (BJP) over what he said was their silence on corruption. "Earlier Modiji used to talk about corrup‑ tion everywhere. But since we raised the issues of Jay Shah (BJP President Amit Shah's son) and the Rafale defence deal (with France), he stopped talking about corrup‑ tion," the Congress leader said. He alleged that the BJP's rule of Gujarat had only helped a few. "In the last 22 years, Modiji and (Chief Minister Vijay) Rupaniji have initiated only one‑sided development here, the one only for 5 to 10 people. Not everyone has been given their due."

Hardik's rally clocks 52,800 Facebook Live views

Ahmedabad: In an election rally in BJP bas‑ tion Ahmedabad that fetched a record 52,800 Facebook Live views, firebrand Patidar leader Hardik Patel once again exhorted the people to throw out the BJP from power. "I am nobody here to say who to vote for but only that if you pick the BJP, you would be a traitor for your community. For once, just teach them a lesson. If you want, vote them back in 2022," he told his supporters who had gathered in huge numbers at New Nikol area here. "Now, if you don't give an opportunity to someone else, you would not know if they are better or worse." In his meet parallel to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Ahmedabad at the same time in the night ‑

half an hour before campaign closes at 10 p.m., the 24‑year‑old Patel lambasted Modi for his "foolhardy" allegation of Pakistan's collusion in Gujarat elections. "What has Pakistan got to do with Gujarat elections. Those who boasted of develop‑ ment during the last 22 years, have returned to their favourite old chant of Ram Mandir, Hindu‑Muslim, Pakistan. Do they talk of development?" He said was not around for power, but for three things. "Reservations for youth in non‑ reserved classes, solution to high unemploy‑ ment and reduction in farmer distress. If they assure this now, I shall end the agita‑ tion right now and here and convert this into a 'thank you' rally. But he talks of Hindu‑Muslim, and of Pakistan."


December 16-22, 2017


l By Chandra K. Mittal

P resident Donald Trump had made an election promise to conclude American involvement in

Afghanistan. But ironically, he ended up proposing exactly the opposite. Instead of withdrawing the US troops and letting Afghanistan take care of its own security, he announced sending more troops there. Trump also redefined Americaʼs goal in that ravaged country. For George W Bush it was “nation‑ building”, now it is “killing the ter‑ rorists”. He has also sought the par‑ ticipation of India and Pakistan in curbing terrorist activities in

Afghanistan, and increasing eco‑ nomic cooperation with the coun‑ try. While this strategy may have been well‑intentioned, the reaction from the region has been luke‑ warm. Besides, it was over‑simplis‑ tic and unlikely to achieve the intended objective given the politi‑ cal and cultural realities of South Asian region. The policy reflects more on the American frustration and weariness with the prolonged Afghan war which has already cost some one trillion dollars and signif‑ icant loss of American lives. Unfortunately, the history and culture of Afghanistan is such that it has consistently worn out foreign occupiers in the past and com‑ pelled them to leave. In 1989, Soviet Union faced a humiliating fate and was compelled to with‑

Is Trumpʼs Afghan policy too transactional to succeed?

Is Trumpʼs Afghan policy too transactional to succeed? US President Donald Trump. draw its troops after

US President Donald Trump.

draw its troops after 10 years of occupation, leaving behind com‑ plete political chaos and destruc‑ tion. Today, after 16 years since 9/11, America finds itself in almost a sim‑ ilar quagmire as did the Soviets, except that America has fewer troops in Afghanistan, which now has a democratically elected gov‑ ernment, albeit a fragile one. The basic problem with Afghanistan is the tribal and corrupt nature of its society that lacks institutional framework of public governance. So, if America withdraws its troops, it faces the predicament of a power‑ vacuum, which will be almost cer‑

tainly filled back with radicals and fundamentalist elements like Taliban, Al‑Qaida. It is perhaps this realism that is guiding President Trumpʼs new policy. But he wants to have more stakeholders in the game. It appears that this new policy was decided almost exclusively by the US Government without any consultation or commitments from all parties in the region. Nor did the policy makers in Washington DC take into account the political com‑ plexities involving Pakistan and India – the two arch nuclear rivals. Both India and Pakistan are not fully willing to go along with his

plans, though for different reasons. On its part, India refused to com‑ mit its troops for Trumpʼs Afghan mission but is willing to cooperate on the economic front. Pakistan, on the other hand, has expressed its disdain over Trumpʼs attitude towards Pakistan as it passed a res‑ olution in National Assembly con‑ demning Presidentʼs remarks about Pakistanʼs role in Afghanistan war so far. And then there is the complexity of Indo‑Pak relationship going back some 70 years, which is likely to create operational difficulties for Trumpʼs plan in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been already blaming India for economic cooperation with Afghanistan and fomenting terrorism inside Pakistanʼs Baluchistan. So, President Trumpʼs prescription for India‑Afghanistan economic cooperation is not likely to sit well with Pakistan. The success of Trumpʼs Afghan mission will primarily depend on the quality and ability of Pakistanʼs cooperation, which so far has elud‑ ed America despite significant investment there. Estimates vary, but since 9/11 United States has poured significant economic and military aid to Pakistan for cooper‑ ation on Afghanistan. Some put this

number to be between $18‑20 bil‑ lion. But results have not been impressive. The centerpiece of Trumpʼs Afghanistan strategy seems to be economic leverage he can exert on India and Pakistan to seek their support. For India, he has men‑ tioned some $30 billion trade deficit, and the H1 visa program. For Pakistan, he has hinted at an aids package. But such approach discounts the fact that South Asian countries are not driven by just the economy, but have strong social, cultural and political anchors that grant them nationhood. Relationships with such countries cannot be just “transactional” or business as usual. They seek wider kinship with part‑ ner countries. President Trump and United States will be better served in meet‑ ing their strategic goals and achiev‑ ing success in Afghanistan if they found common ground with India and Pakistan that is consonant with their social, cultural and political values rather than just economic.

(Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College and Co‑Founder of Indo‑American Association (IAA).

Is the BJP nervous about Gujarat?
Is the BJP nervous about Gujarat?
Is the BJP nervous about Gujarat?

Is the BJP nervous about Gujarat?

Is the BJP nervous about Gujarat?

l By Amulya Ganguli

N ormally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shouldn't have any wor‑ ries about the election

results in Gujarat. It is Narendra Modi's home state and the party has been in power there for more than two decades. Prima facie, it should be cakewalk for the BJP, not least because its principle opponent, the Congress, has been down in the dumps all these years. Nor is there any sign of a revival of its moribund organisa‑ tion. Yet, the BJP doesn't seem to be at ease. For one, its star ‑‑ and, indeed, only effective ‑‑ campaign‑ er, the Prime Minister, has virtually parked himself in Gujarat, address‑ ing a large number of meetings all over the state. As is obvious, it is unusual for a Prime Minister to spend so much time in a single state before an election, especially when the opponent is supposed to be weak. If he has nevertheless done so, it means that he is uncer‑ tain about the outcome. For anoth‑ er, the same sense of insecurity can

done so, it means that he is uncer‑ tain about the outcome. For anoth‑ er, the
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a party rally in Kalol, Gandhinagar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a party rally in Kalol, Gandhinagar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a party rally in Kalol, Gandhinagar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a party rally in Kalol, Gandhinagar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a party rally in Kalol, Gandhinagar.

be discerned in the increasing bit‑ terness of his criticism of his pri‑ mary challenger, Rahul Gandhi, comparing him with Aurangzeb while referring to the tradition of dynastic succession in the Congress, while some others have gone a step further to liken him to Babar, the BJP's bete noire from the time of the Ramjanmabhoomi agita‑ tion, and Allauddin Khilji, the party's latest pet hate. Since linking

someone with Mughals/Muslims constitutes the worst form of abuse in the Hindutva lexicon, it appears that for some reason, the would‑be Congress president has got under the BJP's skin. The explanation for this vitupera‑ tive outburst is probably that Rahul is unexpectedly turning out to be the first politician to pose a serious challenge to the BJP in its putative bailiwick. Over the last two

decades, the BJP has had so much of an easy run in Gujarat and has apparently become so used to total dominance that the slightest sign of resistance tends to unnerve the party. And that, too, from someone whom the party ‑‑ and its myriad trolls in the social media ‑‑ have long been deriding as Pappu, signi‑ fying an adolescent, who was expected to fall on his face not before long. But now that Rahul is proving to be a different person altogether who can give as good as he gets, the BJP is at a loss about how to respond. Not unexpectedly, therefore, it is flashing its old trump card, commu‑ nalism, to boost its own morale and rally its supporters. Hence the posters about the battle being between RAM ‑‑ (Vijay) Rupani, Amit Shah and Modi ‑‑ and HAJ ‑‑ Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mewani. Rupani, as is known, is Gujarat's somewhat unprepossessing Chief Minister. The communal undertone of the message is as clear as the distinc‑ tion which a Union minister once

Chief Minister. The communal undertone of the message is as clear as the distinc‑ tion which
Chief Minister. The communal undertone of the message is as clear as the distinc‑ tion which
Chief Minister. The communal undertone of the message is as clear as the distinc‑ tion which

made about the ongoing tussle in the country being between Ramzade or the children of the Hindu god, Ram, and Haramzade or children born out of wedlock. As before, in targeting the Congress, Modi has delved into his‑ tory to project the party as one which has been consistently anti‑ Gujarat as its "failure" to make Vallabhbhai Patel and Morarji Desai prime ministers showed. Modi has gone even further back in time to recall Jawaharlal Nehru's unwillingness to allow any official role in a secular state in the renova‑ tion of the Somnath temple to depict the first Prime Minister as anti‑Hindu. There have been a few missteps on the Congress's part as well with former MP Mani Shankar Aiyar using the word, neech, or low‑ born, to describe Modi. Arguably, the BJP hasn't helped itself by pre‑ maturely boasting about winning 150‑plus seats in the 182‑member legislature. Now, its fear apparently is that it will be a considerable blow to its hubris and prestige if the party's final tally of seats falls short of the projected figure.

considerable blow to its hubris and prestige if the party's final tally of seats falls short
considerable blow to its hubris and prestige if the party's final tally of seats falls short
considerable blow to its hubris and prestige if the party's final tally of seats falls short


December 16-22, 2017

Known for gelling his Jodhpuri heritage in his style, Raghavendra Rathore (right, seen with actor
Known for gelling his Jodhpuri
heritage in his style, Raghavendra
Rathore (right, seen with actor
Anil Kapoor at Van Heusen + GQ
Fashion Nights 2017 in Mumbai
on Nov 11) has put the ageless
Indian classic, the bandhgala, on
the global map.
For a festive
affair, rather
than pairing
bandhgala with
churidars, one
can team it up
with dhotis.
For winter weddings,
opt for velvet band‑
hgalas in rich tones
like burgundy or
royal navy. Offset the
rich color with lighter
shade trousers,
pocket square and
brown shoes.

Styling tips for bandhgalas

New Delhi: During winter season, it is best to stick to bandhgalas in velvet and satin in hues of burgundy or royal navy, say experts. Sanchit Baweja, Co‑Founder and Chief Business Officer, Stage3, and Saurabh Sharma, Founder and Director ‑ Logicuff, from Delhi, have shared some tips to keep in mind while choosing bandhgalas:

Concentrate on

the fabric

Get the perfect look with silk brocades, velvet and satin for

special occasions and finer silks, cotton, cotton silk, crepe and georgette for a perfect outfit for

a semi‑formal occasion. Choose

a plain light‑weight Jodhpuri dress for a formal look.

For the love of black

Black bandhgala is the foun‑ dation to innumerable outfit options. For an elegant look, try

wearing it with a white shirt and

a polka‑dotted pocket square.

Wear this with a pair of black oxfords or Chelsea boots.

Pair it well

For winter weddings ‑ opt for velvet bandhgalas in rich tones like burgundy or royal navy. Deeper colors lend a richer feel to the ensemble. One can pair it with black trousers or white breeches (jodhpuri trousers). Offset the rich colors with a light, solid colored pocket square and a pair of tan oxfords (for white breeches) or black Chelsea boots (for black trousers).


Another interesting twist is pin‑ stripes. Pinstriped bandhgalas or pin‑ striped achkans paired with churidars make for a great alternative to a suit. Keep the accessories simple with a

white pocket square and a pair of

brown brogues.

Style it right

For a festive affair, rather than pair‑ ing bandhgala with churidars, one can team it up with dhotis. This look can be completed with a pair of embroidered mojaris with

designs matching the designs on the clothing. Georgette or silk shawls can also be worn.

pair of embroidered mojaris with designs matching the designs on the clothing. Georgette or silk shawls

December 16-22, 2017


A T E B O L L Y W O O D Virat Kohli ties

Virat Kohli ties the knot with Anushka Sharma in Florence, Italy.

Virat, Anushka wed, begin new innings

Florence (Italy): Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma ‑‑ India's most watched couple ‑‑ sealed their relationship with a wedding ‑‑ here amidst close family and friends. "Today we have promised each other to be bound in love forever. We are truly blessed to share the news with you," Virat and Anushka posted on their social media accounts. "This beautiful day will be made more spe‑ cial with the love and support of our family of fans and well‑wishers. Thank you for being such an important part of our journey," the statement read. The happy couple shared their wedding photographs on social media with fans. In one image, they are seen laugh‑ ing happily during the 'phera' ceremony, while in another, a smiling Anushka is seen holding the garland to place it on Virat, who is held aloft by friends. A string of congratulatory messages from the film and sports fraternity followed the official announcement. The wedding was solemnised as per Hindu rituals at 2 p.m. here, with the bride and groom looking resplendent in ensembles by celebrated cou‑ turier Sabyasachi Mukherjee. For the D‑day, Anushka wore a pale pink lehenga with Renaissance embroidery in vin‑

tage English colours embellished with silver‑ gold metal thread, pearls and beads. The bridal jewellery, handcrafted with syndicate uncut diamonds, pale pink spinel and baroque Japanese cultured pearls, was by the Sabyasachi Heritage Jewelry collection. The groom looked smart in an ivory raw silk sherwani hand‑embroidered in a vintage Benarasi pattern, with an old rose silk kota safa. The couple, who has been together for four years, is said to have chosen a luxury heritage resort Borgo Finocchieto, a little over 100 km away from here, for their nup‑ tials. They appointed boutique wedding plan‑ ning and production experts Shaadi Squad to ensure their celebrations were special and classy. The couple will be hosting a reception in New Delhi for their relatives on December 21, followed by a reception for industry friends and cricketers in Mumbai on December 26. They will be shifting to their new residence in Worli, Mumbai in December once they return from Delhi. The couple will then travel to South Africa where Virat will start prepping for the upcoming series and Anushka will spend New Year's Eve with him, read a statement from the actress' representative.

ʻDangalʼ actor Zaira molested on Delhi‑ Mumbai flight

Zaira Wasim is a national award winning
is a national

D angal actress Zaira Wasim has been allegedly molested on a Delhi‑ Mumbai flight by a man who was

sitting behind her. The 17‑year‑old actor has alleged that a middle‑aged man sitting behind her on flight tried to molest her. She shared the ordeal she had to go through en route Mumbai in the flight in an Instagram story. Reportedly, the man was caressing her neck while she was asleep. She tried to

record what the man was doing, but failed due to dim lights. She, however, managed to get a screenshot of the manʼs activities on the flight to some extent. The national award‑winning actor called out to the cabin crew for help but it was of no use. In the live video, she also expressed her displeasure with crew members of the flight. Right after de‑boarding the flight, she took to Instagram to narrate her experi‑ ence in a live video.

We should attack patriarchy, chauvinism: Kangana

A ctress Kangana Ranaut, who never minces words, has opposed the

threats issued to "Padmavati" actress Deepika Padukone, and said patriarchy in the society needs to be attacked. Kangana was at Reebok's Fit To Fight Awards when she was asked about her thoughts on the threats issued to Deepika over the controversial film "Padmavati". She said: "It is absolutely wrong, but I feel it is not some‑ thing which is very surprising. When my sister was in school, she faced an acid attack from a student and now when I am in a professional environment, a superstar is trying to put me behind bars. So, this is very common that happens in our society. "I feel we should not attack individuals, we should attack patriarchy and chauvinism. For individuals, we can call them out and say whatever you are doing is not right. "But I feel this is not restricted only to boys, it implies to girls as well, so we have to attack that view point and we are doing it

so we have to attack that view point and we are doing it Kangana will next

Kangana will next be seen in a film on warrior queen Rani Lakshmibai.

whether with our work, speech or films. And that is why I feel films are an important medium, because we as an industry can reach out to people only through our films." Kangana is next working on "Manikarnika:

The Queen of Jhansi".


'Fukrey Returns':

An entertaining deja vu

REVIEW 'Fukrey Returns': An entertaining deja vu The cast of ʻFukrey Returnsʼ. S equels are expected

The cast of ʻFukrey Returnsʼ.

S equels are expected to be bigger, better and ideally build on every‑ thing that made the original suc‑

cessful. On paper, "Fukrey Returns" boasts of everything one expects from a sequel, except that the novelty factor which actual‑ ly made its predecessor popular, is missing. For those who have not seen the 2013 released film, "Fukrey" is a genial romp about four good‑for‑nothing, middle‑class boys in Delhi who embark upon a hare‑ brained scheme to raise money. They do so by predominantly interpreting Choocha's dreams, which kicks off the mess. They eventually learn that there are no shortcuts in life. Working on the same premise, "Fukrey Returns" continues the saga from its origi‑ nal. Life is like usual for the quartet, Choocha dreams of romancing the local

don of vices Bholi Punjaban (Richa Chadha) and yet tries to date other girls with the help of his closest pal, Hunny (Pulkit Samrat). While the dialogues with Delhi lingo are peppy and the characters engaging, the plot seems too farfetched. By the climax, the writing is slack and predictable. On the performance front, Varun Sharma as Choocha is the showstopper. Pulkit Samrat, with no originality continues to clone Salman Khan in some scenes. Manjot Singh just happens to be around. With an underwritten role, Ali Fazal is conspicuous by his long time absence on screen.

Richa Chadha as the don Bholi Punjaban, though impressive, lacks the persona. Overall, "Fukrey Returns" is palatable fare for those who want a deja vu of "Fukrey".


December 16-22, 2017


Women have been the strongest people in my life: Shahid

A ctor Shahid Kapoor says the strongest people in his life have been women, especially his mother

Neelima Azeem who has been a single par‑ ent. He also calls his wife Mira and daugh‑ ter Misha his "whole world" and says he couldn't have been happier in his life than now. Shahid spoke from Mumbai on the side‑ lines of Reebok FitToFight Awards 2.0, where the brand felicitated women nomi‑ nees from across the country for their spirit and courage. "I don't think there is anything which res‑ onated with me so naturally as this cam‑ paign did. The strongest people in my life have been women, starting with my moth‑ er. She was a single parent and she was the most powerful and the strongest, and a per‑ son I would depend on the most," said Shahid, who endorses Reebok with Kangana Ranaut. "Today, Mira and Misha are my whole world and I can't think of any reason why this initiative would not con‑ nect with me. It's the most natural connect," said the actor, who also believes women are fitter than men. "Women know how to deal with situa‑ tions better than most men do. They are very independent and self‑assured," he said. Tired of commenting on the row, he said:

"I have spoken enough and I don't feel the need to say anything more." He also said

feel the need to say anything more." He also said Actor Shahid Kapoor spoke on the

Actor Shahid Kapoor spoke on the sidelines of Reebok FitToFight Awards.

trolls and backlash are problems emerging from social media. "It's very easy to pass a comment when you don't have to be accountable for it because nobody even knows who you are."


N ew York‑born Bollywood actor Prashantt Guptha, who got noticed for his brief but powerful role in the

film “Neerja” and has acted in diverse roles in 10 films, is adding one more dimension to his resume. He is initiating a campaign on social media wherein he will create covers of old Hindi film songs and ghazals that reflect upon the adversities of our present day world and com‑ mon issues of people. The covers will be launched on his new YouTube and Facebook channel called PRASHN. Why #Prashn? Prashantt replies: “We all have questions to which we seek answers. Whether from nature, God, our family, our‑ selves, our lovers(s), and destiny. I am delib‑ erately focusing on songs that have their con‑ text in questions lyrically and so very rele‑ vant to the times today. My campaign is to stir not only an awakening to classic songs and showcase my singing ability, but to ignite

a drive in people to put their questions forth

into the universe and seek.” The first song he has rendered is the leg‑ endary ʻO duniya ke rakhwaaleʼ from the 1952 classic “Baiju Bawra”. It was sung by Mohammed Rafi, composed by Naushad and penned by Shakeel Badayuni. This song, Prashantt acknowledges, is very difficult to attempt for anybody, but he chose it for the sheer relevance as it soulfully calls upon God to see our despair, hopelessness, struggles, loneliness, heart break. Those who have lis‑ tened to it, find it competent. The bonus is, Prashantt emotes along the way too. If you ask how come a boy raised in New York in the 80's/90's wants to do cover versions of songs of Mohd Rafi, Talat Mahmood, Hemant

Kumar and Mukesh, he credits it to his father.

“I learned about music and developed a pas‑

sion for Hindi songs and ghazals through him and developed a deep‑rooted love and appre‑ ciation for the black & white era.”

Actor Prashantt Guptha was noticed for his role in “Neerja”.
Guptha was
noticed for
his role in
Guptha was noticed for his role in “Neerja”. On work front, actor Diljit Dosanjh is currently

On work front, actor Diljit Dosanjh is currently shooting for ʻSoormaʼ.

Feel good after seeing Kylie Jenner: Diljit Dosanjh

A ctor‑singer Diljit Dosanjh, who is a self‑admitted fan of Kylie Jenner and often comments on

her posts over various social media plat‑ forms, says he feels good after seeing photographs of the American reality TV star. Asked about Kylie's pregnancy news, Diljit said: "I am a fan of Kylie Jenner. It's her life. That's good news (if she is preg‑ nant). Obviously, I am happy for her. "If she is pregnant why will I be sad? I

am still her fan She can get pregnant for 20 times. I just like her, there are no expectations that I have from her. When I see her, I feel like I really know her. I feel good after seeing her (photographs)." On work front, Diljit is currently shoot‑ ing for "Soorma" ‑‑ a biopic on the life of former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh. Diljit, has previously appeared in Bollywood films like "Udta Punjab" and "Phillauri".

Nawazuddin to be face of water conservation campaign

Nawazuddin to be face of water conservation campaign Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui hails from Budhana, Uttar Pradesh.

Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui hails from Budhana, Uttar Pradesh.

A ctor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who comes from an agricultural background, will now be the face

of a water conservation campaign, which is an initiative by the Central govern‑ ment. He was approached by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to spearhead the campaign. The actor, who was a farmer, is aware of the various new technological advances farmers across the world use to conserve water. Moved by the plight of farmers and the water shortage situation in the coun‑ try, Nawazuddin is all set to extend his full support to the campaign. Nawazuddin said: "We will have to start conservation of water by changing our habits and this will have to begin at our homes." "We will shift focus to water conserv‑ ing in agriculture soon after. Ten to 12 years ago in my town, within 20 feet we would find groundwater. But now even if we go 300 feet deep, there's no water," added the actor, who hails from Budhana, Uttar Pradesh. He feels fortunate to be associated with the campaign. "I think the ministry chose me consid‑ ering my background in farming and the connect that I have with common people," he said.


December 16-22, 2017


l By Shivaji Sengupta

S ome time ago, I had written in this newspaper an appreciation of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, former

Indian cricket captain across all formats. I called him the Philosopher. Today, I sit down to write about the Indian cricket team's pres‑ ent captain, across all formats. If Dhoni is the Philosopher Captain, Virat is the ultimate warrior in the tradition of The Mahabharata. If Dhoni is Sri Krishna; Virat is Arjuna. Just as the epic is full of Arjunaʼs warrior deeds, writing about cricketers, journalists harp a lot on statistics; and statistics are important because they tell us where a par‑ ticular player is numerically located within the large spectrum of all the other players of the game. But those who are already hailing Virat Kohli as the all‑time Indian great, bas‑

ing their arguments on statistics, they are not being wise. First of all, it is not fair to compare players from a different decade, not to speak of a different era, only by means of statistics. As someone once quipped, comparing statistics to womenʼs bikinis: what they show is important; what they hide is vital. I see all the time in newspapers, maga‑ zines, websites such as and, citing breathtaking statistics about Kohli's batting: first Test captain to score six double centuries, 32 centuries after

having played 202 games

But to say that Sachin Tendulkar did not have this type of impressive numbers, and, therefore, Kohli is better than Sachin at this stage, and will surpass him when he reaches his retirement age; that is simply not true because statistics are about the present. One cannot extrapolate into the future because anything can happen. For one thing, Tendulkar had reached his peak way before Kohli got properly started. Moreover, the two are completely different types of batsmen. Here is what an Indian cricket critic, Amitabh Tripathi writes:

“Virat is a much busier player than either Dravid or Sachin was. He is intrinsically more aggressive, is constantly on the look‑ out to score, and essentially plays in the 'V'. (“V” is the term used to indicate the V‑shaped space between two field‑placers Mid‑off, i.e. diagonally straight to the right of the bats‑ man, facing the bowler; and Mid‑on, diago‑ nally straight to the left of the batsman, fac‑ ing the bowler). His driving is copybook. As an athlete, he is, supremely fit: no compar‑ isons with either Sachin or Dravid, or with almost anyone. However, in technique, Virat is surely behind both Sachin and Dravid. He plays too far from his body outside the off stump ‑ something Sachin also did, but usu‑ ally only after being set; Dravid, rarely. Against the moving ball, whether spin or pace, Kohli has still some ways to go. For example, in the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka, he was out to Suranga Lakmal in Kolkataʼs pitch favoring pace bowling, trying to drive a ball outside the off‑stump before he got set. He was out for a duck. It's the same when it comes to quality spin bowling. Virat has still some distance to go before catching up with Tendulkar and Dravid in Test cricket. However, he is probably a bet‑ ter ODI or T‑20 batsman than either of them. Mr. Tripathi thinks Kohli “is superior by miles.” In fielding, though, Virat is consid‑ ered superior to both Tendulkar and Dravid in general, though the latter was an excellent

the beat goes on.

Virat Kohli

the latter was an excellent the beat goes on. Virat Kohli Soldier Captain Virat Kohli celebrates



Virat Kohli celebrates his double century on 8 Day 3 of the 2nd Test match
Virat Kohli celebrates his double century on
Day 3 of the 2nd Test match against Sri
Lanka in Nagpur on Nov 26, 2017 (Photo: IANS)

slip fielder. Here is another critique, Arup Ranjan Gupta, who played competitive crick‑ et at the university level in Delhi, and was described by the late Dilip Sardesai, a former Indian Test batsman, as someone in the clas‑ sical mold. Comparing Virat with the greats of yester years, this is what he has to say:

“First: In my cricket dictionary there cannot be another opening batsman like Sunil Gavaskar and another No. 4 (two down) bats‑ man like Sachin Tendulkar. I don't think there will be in future. Second:

Because, with the introduction of T‑20 and the popularity of one‑day cricket, the class and quality of bowling has deteriorated and, with it, batsmanship. Gone are Dennis Lilly, Andy Roberts and Wasim Akram or Richard Hadley. Nor will you find the equals of Murlidharan & Warne. Kohli certainly possesses class but has never had to face bowlers of the class just mentioned. Gupta agrees with Amitabh Tripathi that Kohli's fielding ability is superior to both Tendulkar and Gavaskar. “Dravid, however, in my opinion belongs to different class of fielders,” Gupta says. Kohli is technically very sound and correct, very reliable, but he does not possess the strokes of Tendulkar or Gavaskar who could score all round the wicket. Nor does he have the balance and

elegance of those two. Kohli will certainly break many existing records, but statistics is not everything. Then also, we need to remember that Gavaskar not only played against some of the most lethal fast bowlers of all time, he did so without a helmet. But his technique was so good that I do not remember Gavaskar being hit by a bouncer, let alone felled by it. Still, all the pundits agree that Virat Kohli is inevitably on his way to greatness. Whether he will eclipse Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Dravid is to be seen. This year, Virat Kohli was adjudged Wisden's International Cricketer of the Year, an honor extended to only two other Indians:

Virender Sehwag (twice) and, yes, Sachin Tendulkar. He has just led India to nine con‑ secutive Test series victory, a joint world record, and in 2017, the Indian captain has, in an unprecedented manner, led batting averages in all three formats, Test (75.00), ODI (92.00) and T‑20 (120.00). So far we have seen Virat Kohli decorated with many medals. How does he do it? When one asks this question, one is immediately bombarded with such clichés like it's in his character, or he has hunger for success. While all these clichés are true (clichés usu‑ ally are ‑ that's why they are so boring to repeat!), I would like to bring back my read‑

so boring to repeat!), I would like to bring back my read‑ Breathtaking statistics apart, an

Breathtaking statistics apart, an analysis of what makes Virat Kohli excel in all three formats of cricket and win matches and series for India.

ers to the beginning of this piece. The reason for Kohliʼs success is his having the temperament of a consummate soldier. After all, we should not forget that Virat gets his name from The Mahabharata in which King Virat, the great warrior, was host to the Pandavas when they were in exile from their kingdom. Like Mahendra Singh Dhoni before him, time and time again Virat Kohli has stepped out when his team has been in deep trouble. Equally often, he has brought them out of the woods, to triumph. Itʼs this fero‑ cious sense of his will, his willingness to work hard when batting, not taking unneces‑ sary bravado or chances, that has brought him out from fire and brimstone, to, ulti‑ mately, yet another victory or a century. Not too long ago, when, like a soldier, he achieved a difficult victory target, or a

match‑saving century, he used to roar out obscenities in Punjabi, to let out all his pent‑ up tension and aggression. This behavior led Sunil Gavaskar, now a sage commentator, to once remark, “Virat is a lovely batsman, but I wish he wouldnʼt shout out profanities like that for the whole stadium to hear!” Well, he doesnʼt any more. He is maturing fast into a public figure par excellence. When he scored his match saving century in Kolkata in the first Test match (after scoring a duck in the first inning) he did let out a blood‑curdling roar. But all he said was, “Come on!” Nowadays, the Philosopher and the Soldier play together in the limited overs games, much to the benefit of the team. Kohli banks on Dhoniʼs philosophical calm, is relaxed about Dhoniʼs input to the team; Dhoni depends on Kohliʼs passion for the game, his ability to carry Indiaʼs burden, his uncom‑ promising desire to win. Hail to the Philosopher! Hail to Virat Kohli, the Soldier!

Shivaji Sengupta comments on current affairs and cricket for this paper.


December 16-22, 2017


Indians get more British work visas than others

New Delhi: Stating that there has been a sharp increase in the num‑ ber of British visas issued to Indians, the British High Commission said on Tuesday that Indians get more work visas than all other nationalities combined. Citing figures issued by the UK Office for National Statistics, the High Commission said in a state‑ ment that the number of visas granted to Indian nationals from September 2016 to September 2017 stood at 517,000. "Within this number, visit visas increased by 11 per cent to 427,000 and work visas remained steady at 53,000 ‑ meaning that Indians still get more work visas for employment in the UK than all other nationali‑ ties combined," the statement said. Stating that the largest increase was seen in the Tier 4 student visa category, it said in the last year over 14,000 student visas were issued to Indians, an increase of 27 per cent compared with the previous 12 months. In addition, over 5,000 Indians

came for short‑term study in the UK during the same period. This is the third successive quarter that student visa numbers have increased. "These statistics show that India's bridge with the United Kingdom is as strong as ever," British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith said. "I particularly welcome the sharp increase in Indian students choosing to take advantage of the UK's world‑beating higher educa‑ tion. Our visa service for Indians is as good as any other on offer. Some 90 per cent of applicants receive a visa and 99 per cent of those are processed within our target time of 15 working days." Stating that he wanted more Indians to see Britain as their partner country, whether for business, tourism, study or work, Asquith said that visits to India last week by the Mayor of London and the Deputy First Minister of Scotland "showed the depth of interest in working with India."

Queensland Premier seeks veto of Oz loan to Adani's project

Brisbane: Queensland's re‑elected Labor Party Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has written to Prime Minister Malcolm
Brisbane: Queensland's re‑elected
Labor Party Premier Annastacia
Palaszczuk has written to Prime
Minister Malcolm Turnbull to veto a
federal loan to Indian conglomerate
Adani Enterprises' A$16.5‑billion
Carmichael coal project in Galilee
Basin, a media report said.
In one of her first acts after she
was officially sworn in on Tuesday
morning, Palaszczuk has followed
through on the shock announcement
she made during the election cam‑
paign to block a A$900 million loan
from the Northern Australia
Infrastructure Facility to the Indian
conglomerate to build a common‑
user rail line in the basin, The
Australian reported.
"My government provides formal
notification for the Commonwealth
that financial assistance should not
be provided to Adani for the North
Galilee Basin Rail Project,"
Palaszczuk's letter to Prime Minister
Turnbull reads.
"As such, the government is exer‑
cising its veto right under section
13(4) of the Investment Facility
Mandate in response to the Adani
loan application."
An Adani spokesman said the com‑
pany was still committed to
Queensland despite the veto, and
Labor Party Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (Image :
insisted the Queensland government
was still supportive of its Carmichael
coal mine proposal for the Galilee
Basin. "We congratulate Premier
Palaszczuk on her government's
election and look forward to working
closely and cooperatively with the
state and federal governments and
regulatory authorities as we get on
with the job of making all of our
projects a reality," the spokesman
said. "Adani Australia currently
employs over 800 people and has
invested over $3.3 billion in
Queensland, which is one of the
biggest investments by an Indian
company in Australia.
"We would not be investing our
time, money and energy in this man‑
ner if our projects were not viable
and if we were not serious about
delivering our projects which will
ultimately generate more than
10,000 direct & indirect jobs across
all of our projects.
"The projects are viewed in a posi‑
tive light by the Queensland
Government and considered as criti‑
cal infrastructure investments. The
projects continue to retain the sup‑
port of the Queensland Government.
"Adani Australia will now fully con‑
sider and adjust to the constraints
the veto of NAIF (Northern Australia
Infrastructure Facility) funding
brings. Adani Australia is 100 per
cent committed to Queensland, we
have a strong regional Queensland
presence. This will not change," it
Bhai Boolchand, the unsung Indian who launched trade with Ghana Accra: Not much is known
Bhai Boolchand, the unsung Indian
who launched trade with Ghana
Accra: Not much is known about him,
but it has now emerged that trade
relations between Ghana and India
were started by Bhai Boolchand, the
first Indian to arrive in the Gold
Coast ‑‑ Ghana's colonial name ‑‑ in
1890. That's some 67 years before
the British colonial government
granted the country independence,
research by the Indian Association of
Ghana has found. "As far as our
records show, Bhai Boolchand (of the
Bhaiband Sindhworki trading com‑
munity), landed on the shores of the
Gold Coast in western Africa in
1890. Nearly twenty years later, in
1919, the first Sindhi company was
established by two brothers ‑‑
Tarachand Jasoomal Daswani and
Metharam Jasoomal Daswani," the
Indian Association said.
The duo opened a store ‑‑
Metharam Jassomal Brothers ‑‑ in
the then capital city of Cape Coast in
1919. "Their business flourished and
branches were opened in Accra and
Kumasi. A few years later, the two
brothers separated and whilst Bhai
Metharam Jasoomal continued the
business as Metharam Brothers,
Tarachand Jasoomal operated his
business as Bombay Bazaar. These
were the first two Indian companies
that were established in the Gold
Coast," the Association said.
Boolchand's arrival, therefore, pre‑
dates the historical links between the
two countries that were always
thought to have started between
Ghana's first President, Kwame
Nkruman, and India's first Prime
Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Boolchand can thus be described as
the one who paved the way for the
arrival of other members of the
Sindhi community, initially as
traders and shopkeepers.
The Indian Association said more
of this group arrived in the 1950s
and 1960s, with a few venturing into
manufacturing industries such as
garments, plastics, textiles, insecti‑
cides, electronics, pharmaceuticals
and optical goods. The Association
said two more Indian firms were
established under the names of
Lilaram Thanwardas and Mahtani
Brothers in the 1920s. This trend
continued in the 1930s and 1940s
with the creation of several more
Indian companies like T.
Chandirams, Punjabi Brothers,
Wassiamal Brothers, Hariram
Brothers, K. Chellaram & Sons, G.
Motiram, D.P. Motwani, G. Dayaram,
V. Lokumal, and Glamour Stores.
Glamour Stores, which was stared
by Ramchand Khubchandani who
arrived in Ghana in 1929, has grown
‑‑ after changing its name to Melcom
Group ‑‑ to become the largest retail‑
ing business in the country.
The High Commission of India & the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for
Cultural Cooperation, in collaboration with The Ministry of
Community Development Culture and the Arts of Trinidad &
Tobago presented Rhythms of Manipur, led by Laxmirani Devi
Aribam, at the Central Bank Auditorium Trinidad & Tobago.

December 16-22, 2017


China claims Indian drone invaded airspace

Beijing/New Delhi:

China said an Indian drone "invaded" its air‑ space and crashed in its territory in the Sikkim section of the border where the two countries were locked in a 73‑day military stand‑off. New Delhi said the drone crossed the border by mistake, and China had been

the drone crossed the border by mistake, and China had been The incident took place in

The incident took place in the Sikkim sector.

stand‑off from June 16 to August 28, close to the India‑ China‑Bhutan tri‑junction. The Indian Army had objected to road building by China's PLA in Doklam, which is also claimed by Bhutan. The exact location of the area where the drone crashed or date of the incident was however not revealed by either India or China. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said:

"Recently an Indian unmanned aircraft invaded China's airspace and crashed in the Sikkim sec‑

tion of China‑India border

Chinese border troops took pro‑ fessional and responsible atti‑ tude and verified the device." He said the Sikkim section of China‑India border has been delimited and Chinese side along the borderline is China's territory.


informed about it. The claim was first made by Zhang Shuili, deputy head of the combat bureau of Chinas' Western Theater Command's joint staff department, who said an Indian UAV had recently intruded into China's airspace and crashed. Later, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it has lodged a protest with India over

the issue and warned New Delhi not to use such devices near the border area any more. New Delhi meanwhile said that China had been informed that the drone, which was on a regular mission inside Indian territory, lost contact with the ground control and crossed the Line of Actual Control. Sources said India will, through diplo‑ matic channels, seek its return. The incident took place in the Sikkim sector, where the two countries were engaged in a

Communist alliance gears up for landslide victory in Nepal

Kathmandu: The alliance of Communist parties of Nepal formed by the CPN‑UML‑Marxist‑ Leninist and CPN Center‑Maoist emerged victorious after 60 per cent of the vote had been count‑ ed in bi‑phase general elections. "The UML is on track to become the party with the high‑ est representation while the Maoist Center and Congress Party are in second and third positions respectively," Election Commission spokesperson Nabaraj Dhakal told Efe news agency. Nepal held the second and last phase of the historic general elections which will put an end to 18 years of an interim legislature and make way for a new bicam‑ eral parliament approved in the Constitution of 2015. In the election, 165 of the 275 members of the federal parlia‑ ment and representatives of the provincial assemblies were elect‑ ed, which in turn will help appoint 59 senators of the new upper house or the National Assembly. According to the vote count, the UML had won 51 seats and was leading in another 27, while the Maoists have taken 22 and are leading in 13 others. The UML and the Maoists reached a pre‑election agreement

The UML and the Maoists reached a pre‑election agreement Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba casts his

Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba casts his vote at a polling station.

to campaign together and not contest in the same constituen‑ cies. The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) party has suffered a major

setback having obtained 10 seats and leading the count in another


The Madhesi parties, from the southern region of Terai, the most industrialized in the coun‑ try and the site of constant ten‑ sions, have won six seats so far

and are leading in 15 others. In addition to the 165 legisla‑ tors directly elected, another 110 will be elected according to a system that will take into account the results of each party throughout the country. It is expected that the final count of the direct election seats will end and that the allocation of the 110 seats based on the proportional result should con‑ clude, according to Dhakal.

Sri Lanka joins China's Belt & Road initiative

Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the country has joined China's Belt and Road Initiative with the launch of operations at the Hambantota Port through a joint venture between the two nations. The port was handed over to the China Merchant Ports Holdings (CMPH) on a 99‑year lease agreement at a cer‑ emony. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority together with the CMPH will man‑ age the operations of the southern port. "Today we have made arrangements for the

port. "Today we have made arrangements for the management and long‑ term success of the Hambantota

management and long‑ term success of the Hambantota Port. This Sri Lankan and Chinese joint venture, which has taken over the management of this port, and its operations will ensure an additional port in the Indian Ocean," Wickremesinghe

China has taken over Lanka's Hambantota port on a 99‑year lease.

said. "The Hambantota Port will add to Sri Lanka's concept of transforming into a hub in the Indian Ocean," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency. The Silk Road Economic Belt and

21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connect‑ ing Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

Pak allows Jadhav to meet mother, wife on December 25

Pak allows Jadhav to meet mother, wife on December 25 Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced

Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court.

Islamabad: Some 21 months after he was arrested and repeatedly denied consular access, Pakistan allowed alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court, to meet his mother and wife on December 25. Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal told the media that "complete security will be provided to the visitors and a diplomat from the Indian High Commission will be allowed to accompany them". Pakistan had on November 10

granted permission to Jadhav's wife to visit him "on humanitarian grounds". New Delhi urged Islamabad to also allow Jadhav's mother to accompany his wife along with an Indian diplomat. Faisal said India had been noti‑ fied of Pakistan's decision. Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "We are happy to note that Pakistan has also agreed to our request for his mother to meet Jadhav that has been pending since April 2017.


December 16-22, 2017


Arab FMs reject US decision on Jerusalem

Cairo: Arab Foreign Ministers declared that the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is illegal, and warned it could lead to further violence in the region. The ministers from member states of the Arab League held a prolonged urgent meeting and urged the US to withdraw its deci‑ sion, which they described as a vio‑ lation of international law, Xinhua news agency reported. US President Donald Trump announced that he acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem ‑ an announcement that received wide criticism and oppo‑ sition from Arab and Muslim coun‑ tries. The US decision has no legal effect, the Arab ministers said in their final statement, adding that it undermines peace efforts, deepens tension, provokes anger and push‑ es the region into violence and instability. They urged world countries to recognize an independent Palestinian state on the territories

an independent Palestinian state on the territories A Palestinian protester hurls a stone during clashes over

A Palestinian protester hurls a stone during clashes over Jerusalem.

occupied by Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital. They have pointed out that the US has isolated itself as a peace mediator and sponsor after mak‑ ing this decision. They stressed adherence to peace based on the two‑state solu‑ tion, calling for a UN Security Council resolution to affirm that the US decision goes against the

resolutions of international legiti‑ macy. Before the meeting, the Palestinian National Authority's Foreign Minister Riyad al‑Maliki said that with Trump's decision, the US had taken sides in the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict and for‑ feited its role as mediator. Jerusalem lies at the core of the Israeli‑Palestinian dispute.

'Britain at crossroads after Brexit vote’

Geneva: Britain will have to consider its global role after deciding to leave the European Union, but it wants close ties with Europe, the main UK par‑ liamentary opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said in Geneva. "Britain is at a crossroads," he said at the UN in Geneva. "The decision by British people to leave the EU in last year's refer‑ endum means there has to be a lot of hard thinking about our role in the world," Xinhua reported. Corbyn, who leads the Labor Party, spoke to journalists at the United Nations in Geneva after making a speech on human rights and international cooperation and on a day the EU said it and Britain had moved closer in agreeing terms of their divorce. He said some people want to use Brexit, its decision to leave the EU, "to turn Britain in on itself rejecting the outside world and turn everyone into a feared competitor". But Corbyn said his party

into a feared competitor". But Corbyn said his party UK parliamentary opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. wants

UK parliamentary opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

wants "to see a close and coop‑ erative relationship with our European neighbors, outside the European Union, based on solidarity as well as mutual benefit and fair trade, along with a wider proactive interna‑ tionalism across the globe".

Maritime blockade would be declaration of war: N Korea

Pyongyang: North Korea said that a maritime blockade would be a declaration of war, in refer‑ ence to one of the new sanc‑ tions that the US mentioned it could impose on Pyongyang after its latest ballistic missile launch. "The US moves for sea block‑ ade can never be tolerated as they constitute a wanton viola‑ tion of the sovereignty and dig‑ nity of an independent state," an article published in the state‑ owned Rodong Sinmun daily said. "The US is trying to openly take the measure of sea block‑ ade against North Korea and

strangle its economy in peace time. This

is part of its scheme to escalate political

and economic blockade against North Korea which has lasted for decades." The article said international treaties

establish that the economic blockade of

a country in times of peace constitutes

an illegal act and is considered an inva‑ sion, reports Efe news. The new sanc‑ tions promoted by Washington, com‑ bined with the joint air drills with South Korea ‑ the largest to date ‑ conducted on the Korean peninsula last week, con‑ stitute "hideous war criminal acts" to push the situation to an "uncontrollable" catastrophic phase and to a touch‑and‑go phase of a war, Pyongyang said. The article warned US President

of a war, Pyongyang said. The article warned US President North Korean leader Kim Jong‑un Donald

North Korean leader Kim Jong‑un

Donald Trump that "should they show even the slightest movement to put its attempt at sea blockade into practice, it will be followed by an immediate and merciless counteraction for self‑defense from the North Korea". On November 29, North Korea launched the Hwasong‑15, its most advanced intercontinental ballistic mis‑ sile to date, which has put Pyongyang closer to being able to target the conti‑ nental US. As a result, Washington has defended imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang, which could include the total prohibition of maritime transport to North Korea, according to US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

War with Islamic State over, declares Iraq

War with Islamic State over, declares Iraq Iraqi people gather to celebrate the victory of the

Iraqi people gather to celebrate the victory of the battles against Islamic State.

Baghdad: Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi announced that the country's war against the Islamic State (IS) militant group is over. Al Abadi announced in a press con‑ ference that the remaining Iraqi region under the IS control, nearby the Iraqi bor‑ der with Syria, was now under complete control of Iraq's armed forces. "Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi‑Syrian border and I therefore announce the end of the war against Daesh (IS). "Our enemy wanted to kill our civilization but we have won through our unity and our determination. We have triumphed in little

time," Al Abadi said. The Iraqi armed forces issued a statement saying Iraq had been "totally liberated" from the IS. The border zone contained the last few areas held by the IS, following its loss of the town of Rawa in November. The Iraqi announcement came two days after the Russian military declared it had accomplished its mission of defeating the militant group in neighboring Syria. The IS had seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, when it proclaimed a "caliphate" and imposed its rule over some 10 million people.


December 16-22, 2017


India's growth rate to hit 7.2% in 2018: UN

United Nations: Overcoming the slowdown from demonetiza‑ tion, the growth rate of India's economy is
United Nations: Overcoming the
slowdown from demonetiza‑
tion, the growth rate of India's
economy is projected to accel‑
erate from this year's 6.7 per‑
cent to 7.2 per cent next year
and 7.4 percent in 2019 mak‑
ing it again the world's fastest
growing major economy, the
UN said on Monday.
"Despite the slowdown
observed in early 2017 and the
lingering effects from the
demonetization policy, the out‑
The growth rate will touch 7.4 percent in 2019, making India
look for India remains largely
positive, underpinned by robust
private consumption and public invest‑
ment as well as ongoing structural
reforms," according to the World
Economic Situation and Prospects
2018 report.
However, the 7.2 percent growth
rate projected for India next year in
the latest report is lower than the mid‑
anaemic performance of
private investment
remains a key macro‑
economic concern."
"Gross fixed capital
formation as a share of
GDP has declined from
about 40 per cent in
2010 to less than 30
per cent in 2017," the
report said. It added that
there was "subdued
credit growth, low
capacity utilization in
some industrial sectors
again the world's fastest growing major economy.
year update's projection made by the
UN in May of 7.9 percent.
China's economic growth for this
year was 6.8 percent, according to the
report, putting it slightly ahead of
India. But the growth projections for
China is 6.5 percent next year and 6.3
percent in 2019
Releasing the report, Under
Secretary‑General for Economic and
Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin, said: "The
upturn in global growth is a welcome
sign of a healthier economy."
The report painted a rosier outlook
for the world economy overall, saying
"it has strengthened as lingering
fragilities related to the global finan‑
cial crisis subside" and recorded this
year the "highest growth rate since
2011," even though it is only 3 per‑
cent. The report said that growth level
is expected to continue over the next
two years.
South and East Asia remain the
world's most "dynamic regions"
accounting for nearly half of global
growth in 2017, with China alone con‑
tributing about one‑third, the report
said. "Vigorous public investment in
infrastructure has been critical" in
counteracting negative developments.
The report warned that for India "the
and balance sheet prob‑
lems in the banking and corporate sec‑
It also said that there was "some
degree of uncertainty over the mone‑
tary policy stance in India." It added,
"Subdued inflation, coupled with a
good monsoon season, offers scope for
additional monetary easing. However,
if inflation accelerates faster than
anticipated, the loosening cycle could
end abruptly."
India's fiscal deficit has declined visi‑
bly, and it is expected to narrow fur‑
ther to 3.2 per cent of GDP in 2018.
Liu also warned that the improved
global economic growth "may come at
an environmental cost".
"This calls for stronger efforts to
delink economic growth and environ‑
mental degradation," he added.
US dollar declines against major currencies New York: The US dollar declined against most major
US dollar
declines against
major currencies
New York: The US dollar declined against most
major currencies as investors were still digesting
the latest nonfarm payroll report.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against six major peers, was down 0.08 per cent at
93.822 in late trading.
In late New York trading, the euro rose to
$1.1792 from $1.1768 in the previous session,
and the British pound declined to $1.3348 from
$1.3399 in the previous session, Xinhua news
agency reported.
The Australian dollar inched up to $0.7535 from
The US dollar bought 113.47 Japanese yen,
lower than 113.53 yen of the previous session. The
US dollar decreased to 0.9907 Swiss franc from
0.9925 Swiss franc, and it fell to 1.2847 Canadian
dollars from 1.2871 Canadian dollars.
The US Labor Department reported on Friday
that total nonfarm payroll employment increased
by 228,000 in November, beating market consen‑
sus of a 190,000‑gain. The unemployment rate
was unchanged at 4.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, average hourly employee earnings
were up by 2.5 per cent year‑over‑year in
November, reflecting an acceleration from 2.4 per
cent in October but below estimates for 2.7 per
cent growth.
Analysts said the the unexpected strength of pay‑
rolls was offset by weaker‑than‑expected average
hourly earnings to some degree.
Investors also kept a close eye on the Fed's policy
meeting, with an updated policy statement set to
be released after the conclusion of the meeting on

Government realized fiscal deficit targets:

Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: The government has realized its fiscal deficit tar‑ gets and is on course to achieve it for the current year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at a pre‑budget consultation meet here, even as economists present at the meeting suggested lowering of the country's corporate tax rates. Jaitley said the government had met its fiscal targets by rationalising expendi‑ ture and plugging leakages, according to a Finance Ministry release. "We have been able to achieve these fiscal targets due to focus on expenditure rationalisation, plugging of loopholes in public expenditure through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme and the Public Financial Management System, as well as by making innovative revenue raising efforts," he said, as per the statement. The fiscal deficit as a ratio of GDP stood at 3.9 per cent in 2015‑16, 3.5 per cent in 2016‑17, and is budgeted to be 3.2 per cent for the current fiscal ending March. "A suggestion was made to lower corporate tax up to 20 per cent by removing all exemptions in order to make it competi‑ tive at the international level," the statement said. "Another suggestion was to give more thrust on disinvestment of public sector units," it said. The economists also suggested taxing long‑term capital gains to raise revenue, reducing Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT), and announce the road map for GST, including for con‑ vergence of indirect tax rates. They also recommended giving incentives to labour‑intensive industries and to the informal and unorganized sectors. "Tax administration needs to be made more tax payer‑friend‑ ly," the statement cited the economists as saying.


New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear a plea by real estate major Unitech challenging
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will
hear a plea by real estate major
Unitech challenging the proposed
takeover of the management of the
indebted company by the govern‑
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak
Misra, Justice A.M.Khanwilkar and
Justice D.Y Chandrachud directed
the hearing of Unitech's plea along
with other other matters after
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal
told the bench that government has
stepped in to take over the manage‑
ment by appointing its own ten
directors. As AG said that move to
appoint 10 Directors was at the
instance of the government, Chief
Justice Misra asked: "How the inter‑
est of the home buyers will be pro‑
As senior counsel Ranjit Kumar
appearing for Unitech told the court
that NCLT order was contrary to an
earlier order passed by the top
court, the Chief Justice observed:
has taken over
real estate
"We are more concerned with home
buyers and not with the company
and fixed deposit holders/investors.
Home buyers are not investors."
The government has taken
recourse to the Companies Act and
moved the National Company Law
Tribunal (NCLT) for the appoint‑
ment of its ten directors replacing
the earlier ones appointed by the
promoters of the company, which is
facing proceedings under the
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
The NCLT had given its nod to the
government's proposal on
December 8. The real estate giant
has moved the top court challeng‑
ing the NCLT's December 8 order
permitting the government to
appoint new board of directors of
Unitech. The Supreme Court had on
October 30 directed Unitech's
Managing Director Sanjay Chandra
to deposit Rs 750 crore by
December. Its order came as amicus
curiae Pawanshree Agrawal told the
court that the firm would require Rs
2,000 crore to refund the more
than 5000 flat buyers who are now
seeking refund of their money.
Chandra and his brother Ajay
were arrested in April after
investors, who did not get flats in
the company projects as promised,
filed complaints of cheating against
They were sent in judicial custody
after the trial court refused to
extend the three‑ month interim
bail granted to them in April.


December 16-22, 2017


Sri Lanka thrash India in first ODI

Dharamsala: Sri Lanka dominated with both bat and ball to outclass India by seven wickets in the first One‑day International (ODI) at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium here. After opting to field, Sri Lanka rode on career best figures of 4/13 from pacer Suranga Lakmal to restrict India to a lowly total of 112 runs. The right‑arm seamer's previ‑ ous best of 4/30 was against England in December 2014. Opener Upul Tharanga (49) then helped Sri Lanka chase down the target with a massive 29.2 overs to spare, taking a 1‑0 lead in the three‑match series. For India, pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/42), Jasprit Bumrah (1/32) and Hardik Pandya (1/39) scalped a wicket each. Sri Lanka endured a rough start to their innings, losing Danushka Gunathilaka (1) and Lahiru Thirimanne (0) within the first 10 overs. But the experienced Tharanga brought the chase back on track, smashing 10 boundaries in his 46‑ ball innings. He also formed a 46‑

Hardik Pandya in action during the first ODI match between India and Sri Lanka at
Hardik Pandya in action
during the first ODI
match between India
and Sri Lanka at
Himachal Pradesh
Cricket Association
Stadium in Dharamsala.
(Photo: Surjeet

run third wicket stand with Angelo Mathews (25 not out). However, Tharanga was sent back to the pavilion before com‑ pleting his half century from a

delivery by medium‑pacer Hardik Pandya which was edged and easily carried at first slip by Shikhar Dhawan. Later, incoming batsman Niroshan Dickwella (26 not out)

and Mathews helped their side post 114/3 and clinch victory in 20.4 overs. Earlier, Lakmal took a four‑wicket haul as Sri Lanka dismissed India

for a paltry 112 runs. For India, middle‑order batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni (65) played a fighting innings to help the hosts register a three‑digit total. After being asked to bat first, India lost their top order ‑‑ Rohit Sharma (2), Shikhar Dhawan (0), Shreyas Iyer (9), Dinesh Karthik (0) and Manish Pandey (2) ‑‑ in quick succession. Sri Lankan opening bowlers Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep (2/37) combined well. Later, Dhoni played a cautious innings, hitting loose balls to the fence to claim his 67th ODI half‑ century. The veteran stumper's valiant 87‑ ball innings was laced with 10 boundaries and two hits over the fence. Kuldeep Yadav (19) from the other end played a perfect second fiddle, notching a 41‑run crucial eighth wicket stand with Dhoni. However, Yadav, who hit four boundaries, was sent back by Akila Dananjaya when his ball went past the outside edge. He was easily stumped by Niroshan Dickwella.

Maradona in Kolkata on three‑day visit

Maradona in Kolkata on three‑day visit Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in Kolkata. (Photo: IANS) Ko

Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in Kolkata. (Photo: IANS)

Kolkata: Amid much fanfare and tight security, Argentine football legend Diego Maradona reached the city for a three‑day visit this week. The iconic player, who is now coach of the Dubai‑based club Al‑ Fujairah SC, was seen waving at fans before getting into the car, flashing the 'victory' sign at camerapersons and sup‑ porters and throwing flying kisses. He was wearing a navy‑blue t‑shirt and sported a military cap. "It is such an honor for me to be able to make this trip. Kolkata is a very special place and I have good memories from my trip there many years ago, the fans were fantastic," Maradona said. "India is a very passionate football nation, and I look forward to meeting a

whole new generation of fans while con‑ tinuing to spread the overwhelming love that I have for this beautiful game," he added. He was accompanied by partner Rocio Oliva who was seen sitting inside the car. Maradona will play a charity football match against former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday at Barasat, West Bengal. The trip was originally slated to take place in October but was postponed sever‑ al times. This is the former Napoli star's second visit to the eastern metropolis. The 1986 World Cup winner first came here in December 2008 when thousands of fans gathered to welcome him past mid‑ night at the airport.

India to host Afghanistan for first‑ever Test

New Delhi: India will host newly promoted Test side Afghanistan for their first‑ever Test match, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced. The dates of the his‑ toric Test will be chalked out later, BCCI act‑ ing Secretary Amitabh Choudhary announced after a Special General Meeting here. He said India will also host 81 matches across all the three formats from 2019 to 2023 according to the new Future Tours Program (FTP). "Afghans were scheduled to play their first Test in 2019 versus Australia but consider‑ ing the historic relationship between India and Afghanistan, we decided to host their first Test," Choudhary told reporters.

The next FTP cycle at home will include high‑profile series against England, South Africa and Australia. Among other important decisions taken at the SGM were lifting the ban on the Rajasthan Cricket Association, provided former IPL czar Lalit Modi stays away from its functioning. "Yes, the ban on the RCA has been lifted but with certain conditions," BCCI acting President C.K. Khanna told IANS. The RCA was suspended by the Indian cricket board in May 2014 when ex‑Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Modi was re‑elected its president. Since its suspen‑ sion in 2014, RCA's cricket affairs are being looked after by the BCCI.

HWL Final: India overcome depleted Germany

Bhubaneswar: India toiled hard for a 2‑1 win over a depleted but resilient German side in the bronze‑medal playoff of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final at the Kalinga Stadium here. S.V. Sunil (20th minute) and Harmanpreet Singh (54th, penalty corner) scored for the hosts who earned their second consecutive bronze medal in the HWL Final. Appel Mark, a goalkeeper who played as a striker due to the absence of five players, scored in the 36th minute for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics winners. Germany had Martin Haner (204 caps), Christopher Ruhr (108), Marco Miltkau (70) and Julius Meyer (32) on the bench due to illness. Timur Oruz

(53) was also sidelined because of a liga‑ ment injury. However, the lion‑hearted Germans played the game on equal terms with India. They played with only 13 fit players, including the two goalkeepers. Though it proved tough for them, they remained in contention for the entire 60 minutes. Being short on personnel didn't allow them to run and spread the field like they like to do. But with patience and tactical adjustments, they did‑ n't allow India to make most of their numer‑ ical superiority; rotations included. Till Sunil got India the lead, Germany had already got two penalty corners although they didn't materialise into goals.


December 16-22, 2017


Trump will undergo a physical early next year

Dry throat caused the President slurring in Jerusalem speech: White House

Washington: President Donald Trump will undergo a physical examination early next year and allow doctors to release details of his medical evaluation, keeping with past precedent. Trump will be examined by a doc‑ tor at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in "the first part of next year," White House press sec‑ retary Sarah Sanders said last Thursday. "Those records will be released following that taking place," she added. Sanders' announcement came a day after some questions were raised about the President's health after he appeared to get a dry mouth and slurred his words toward the end of remarks he deliv‑ ered on Wednesday regarding Jerusalem as Israelʼs capital. "The President's throat was dry, nothing more than that," Sanders said, criticizing questions about the incident a day earlier as "ridicu‑ lous." Past presidents have typically undergone annual physical exami‑ nations with a military doctor and released those records to the pub‑ lic. President Barack Obama's first physical record was released in February 2010. President George W. Bush's was first released in

2010. President George W. Bush's was first released in President Trump is considered overweight: plays golf

President Trump is considered overweight:

plays golf but dislikes exercise generally.

August 2001. The records release will be the first time the American public gets a legitimate accounting of the health of the 45th President, who at age 71 is the oldest of any President at this point in his tenure. Trump released a clean bill of health from his longtime personal physician last year that was widely panned as laughable for lacking details and offering an over‑the‑top portrait of Trump's health. "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presi‑ dency," Trump's physician of 25 years, Dr. Harold Bornstein, said in

a signed statemen tin December


Bornstein declared then that Trump "has had no significant med‑ ical problems" and called Trump's blood pressure and lab results "astonishingly excellent."

Trump's health has also come back into the fore in recent days because of a book written by Corey Lewandowski, in which his former campaign manager describes Trump's fast food‑fueled diet. Trump's typical order from McDonald's, Lewandowski wrote, consisted of "two Big Macs, two Filet‑O‑Fish and a chocolate malted."

As flu cases double, this season could be particularly bad

Atlanta, GA: Flu cases this year have dou‑ bled those from last year, validating experts' fears that this season could be particularly bad. Between Oct. 1 and Nov. 25, 5,070 clini‑ cal lab tests were positive for the flu, up from 2,510 in the same period last year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number of Americans who have contracted the illness is likely even greater, an agency spokeswoman cau‑ tioned, since most people don't go to the doctor and get tested. This year's flu vaccine may not be as helpful as in years past. The one used in Australia was only 10 percent effective, according to research published in October in the journal Eurosurveillance. Researchers warned the impli‑ cations for the Northern Hemisphere may not be the same, although the vaccine Australia used has the same composition as the one the U.S. is using. As of Nov. 24, about 148.2 million doses of the vac‑ cine have already been adminis‑

doses of the vac‑ cine have already been adminis‑ tered in the U.S., according to the

tered in the U.S., according to the CDC. A spokeswoman for Sanofi Pasteur, a division of Sanofi that produces about 40 percent of the influenza vaccines distrib‑ uted worldwide, cautioned the research only analyzed Australia. These findings may not reflect what will happen in the U.S., she said, because there is no guaran‑ tee the same strains that pre‑ dominated in Australia will be the same that predominate here. The effectiveness of flu shots can vary each year. The average number between 2006 and 2017 was 46 percent, according to data from the CDC. As for the outliers, 19 percent (in 2014‑15) and 60 percent (in 2010‑11) were the lowest and highest rates, respectively, of the bunch.

Viagra goes generic: Pfizer to launch own cheaper pill

Trenton, NJ: The little blue pill that's helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first generic competition next week, reports ABC news. Pfizer Inc. has started selling the white pill at half the $65‑a‑pill retail price after its patent‑protected monopoly ended. Generic maker Teva Pharmaceuticals is also ready with its version but hasnʼt disclosed the price. Many more generics go on sale next sum‑ mer, which will steadily slash the price of generics, possibly by 90 percent. "Patients are paying fortunes. When generic Viagra comes out, they will be very happy," said Dr. Nachum Katlowitz, a urologist at New York's Staten Island University Hospital. Launched in 1998, Viagra was the first pill for impotence. It transformed a private frus‑ tration for many aging men into a publicly discussed medical condition with an easy treatment, far more appealing than options like penile injections and implants. Pfizer's early TV ads for the little blue pill even coined the term erectile dysfunction, ED for short. Eli Lilly's Cialis came out in 2003 and now domi‑ nates the U.S. market with on‑demand pills

and now domi‑ nates the U.S. market with on‑demand pills and daily, low‑dose ones. Viagra is

and daily, low‑dose ones. Viagra is a close sec‑ ond. Pfizer says its market research shows 20 percent of customers are loyal to Viagra. So rather than give up sales to generic makers as brand‑name drugmakers once routinely did, the company is selling its own generic and also fighting to keep men on its blue pills. "We believe that the story for Viagra isn't done. It's just going to be a new chapter," said Jim Sage, president of U.S. brands for Pfizer Essential Health, which sells its older medi‑ cines. In January, the drugmaker will offer two new discount programs and increase its copayment card discounts. Uninsured men can get brand‑name Viagra half off through an innovative online home delivery program, Pfizer Direct. Many insured patients will be able to get a month's prescription ̶ typically six to 10 pills, depending on plan limits ̶ for as little as a $20 copayment. "This is the most

Many more generics go on sale next summer, which will steadily slash the price of the male pill possibly by 90 percent.

comprehensive pricing and marketing response I've seen to a generic," said Erik Gordon, a pharmaceuticals analyst at the University of Michigan's business school. "It's unprecedented." Gordon thinks Pfizer's reduced prices will retain some patients and attract others who buy pills, often counterfeits, from the internet. Dr. Matthias Hofer, a urologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said some of his insured patients who take Viagra wouldn't want a generic. "They will be ecstatic if they can save money and get the brand product from Pfizer," he said. Last year, more than 12 million prescrip‑ tions for Viagra and Cialis were filled in the U.S., generating a combined $3 billion in sales, according to health data and clinical research company IQVIA. However, prescrip‑ tions have dropped more than 20 percent since 2012, as repeated price hikes put the pills out of reach for many men lacking good insurance. According to health information analytics firm Elsevier, over just the past decade, retail

prices jumped from about $10 to $62 per pill for Viagra and from $11 to $61 for Cialis. Pharmacies and other middlemen add a few dollars more per pill. Generic Viagra, called sildenafil, will become even more affordable starting June 11, when more versions go on sale. "Many patients already know it's going generic and they want it," said Aracely Pena, a medical assistant at San Diego Sexual Medicine. Cialis and Levitra, another pill launched in 2003, get their own generic competition next fall. In the meantime, some doctors specializing in sexual dysfunction have found other options. Some prescribe generic Revatio, the blood pressure pill Pfizer was testing when older patients reported stronger erections as a side effect. It contains one‑fifth the silde‑ nafil dose in Viagra and costs as little as $1 per pill. Northwestern's Hofer arranges for his patients to receive made‑to‑order pills from a couple of specialty pharmacies.


December 16-22, 2017


Frame holistic plan to protect, preserve the Taj for next 400 years: Indian apex court

T he Supreme Court last Friday direct‑ ed the Uttar Pradesh government to prepare a holistic plan for the pro‑

tection and preservation of Taj Mahal and the environment around it so that the his‑ toric monument could be there for another 400 years and more. The bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta also termed as "ad hoc" the measures spelt out by the state government that are being taken or will be taken for the protection of the Taj Mahal and a clean environment around it. The state government said that it had asked the School of Planning and Architecture to prepare the plan, but the court said this plan should involve experts in the field of culture, history, archaeology and other spheres. "How can you keep out the people of the country (in the preparation of the plan). This (plan making) can't be a closed door affair," Justice Lokur said as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged the

bench that instead of experts, the court could ask for consultation with petitioner M.C. Mehta and advocate A.D.N. Rao, noting that petitioner Mehta has 33 years experi‑ ence in dealing with environment matters.

33 years experi‑ ence in dealing with environment matters. This monument has to be protected not

This monument has to be protected not for just one generation but for 300 to 400 years to come, the bench said. As ASG Mehta told the court that November 27 communication by the Uttar Pradesh government says that the School of

Planning and Architecture would prepare the plan in consultation with the stake holder, Justice Lokur quipped if stakehold‑ er meant the "commissioner of Agra Division" and told him the court doesn't want a bureaucratic plan but a holistic plan

addressing the diverse aspects relating to the monument's preservation and protec‑ tion and the environment around it. "They must consult the experts. There is no shortage of them. There is no hurry. No need for a bureaucratic response. We have seen what it (bureaucratic response) means from time to time," the bench said. "You can have an interim report. Don't be in hurry. You are looking for something

that has to last for 400 years," said Justice Lokur. Holding that "we have to look at it in a pragmatic way", he said: "What is required is a larger look at the picture. Earlier we had five year plans with some objectives and goals." Referring to the Narendra Modi govern‑ ment's goal of a new India by 2022, Justice Lokur said: "You can't have a new India "

with your hands in pocket Pointing out that 70 per cent of the trees being planted were perishing, the court said: "When you don't have a plan and take ad hoc measures, then such things happen." Giving liberty to the School of Planning and Architecture to approach it for any clarification, the court adjourned the mat‑ ter for eight weeks.

Kumbh Mela added to UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage

Kumbh Mela is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth. The festival, held periodically
Kumbh Mela is the
largest peaceful
congregation of pilgrims
on earth. The festival,
held periodically in
Allahabad, Haridwar,
Ujjain and Nasik,
represents a syncretic
set of rituals related to
worship and ritual
cleansing in holy rivers
in India, UNESCO said.

K umbh Mela, the mass

Hindu pilgrimage of faith,

has been inscribed on the

UNESCOʼs Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage under Unesco inscribed Kumbh Mela at its 12th session at Jeju in South Korea, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday. This inscription is the third in two years for India following the inscriptions of yoga and Nouroz. The UNESCO Convention for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted in 2003, defines intangible cultural heritage as the practices, repre‑ sentations, expressions as well as knowledge and skills that commu‑ nities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. According to the ministry, the

Intergovernmental Committee observed that Kumbh Mela is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth. The festival, held periodically in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and ritual cleansing in holy rivers in India, UNESCO said. “As a religious festival, the toler‑ ance and inclusiveness that Kumbh Mela demonstrates are especially valuable for the con‑ temporary world.” The statement said that the Committee “also took note of the fact that knowledge and skills related to Kumbh Mela are transmitted through the Guru‑ Shishya ʻparamparaʼ (guru‑student relationship) by way of saints and sadhus teaching their disciples about traditional rituals and chants in order to ensure the con‑ tinuity and viability of this festival in perpetuity”.

To celebrate GI tag, W. Bengal creates worldʼs biggest rosogulla

W eeks after defeating

Odisha in the

Geographical Indication

(GI) battle for rosogulla, West Bengal created a whopping spongy dessert weighing 9 kg last month! Touted as the worldʼs biggest rosogulla, the syrupy sweet was made to commemorate the victory. Two self‑help groups in Nadia dis‑ trict joined hands to make an enor‑ mous rasgulla which involved loads of raw material to give shape and taste to the sweet treat. It was served to 400 local people. The announcement in mid‑ November by the GI registry in favor of West Bengal finally drew the curtain over the two‑year‑long battle between the state and Odisha over the origin of this sweet. Bengal, known for its mishti culture was amid a controversy that the origin of rasogolla was in Odissa. A group of people in Odisha observed that rosogolla or rasgulla was invented there 600 years ago and was first served at the 12th‑century Lord Jagannath temple in Puri. The other side opined that it was invented by famous sweetmeat maker Nabin Chandra Das in 1868. "I don't know who started this battle but my family and the citizens know that my great‑grandfather invent‑ ed rasogolla," said Dhiman Das, the recent owner of Nabin Chandra

said Dhiman Das, the recent owner of Nabin Chandra West Bengal beat Odisha to get the

West Bengal beat Odisha to get the Geographical Indication (GI) nod for rosogulla.

Das and Sons. Nabin Chandra first established a sweet shop in Jorasanko in 1864. But as he went out of business soon and after two years, he opened another estab‑ lishment in Bagbazar. This is where he invented the rosogulla, said his descendant. Food historians of India also have different observations on the matter. The most popular story is that Bengalis adopted the use of cottage cheese or chhena from the Portuguese and they used it in making sweets. Unlike Bengal, most sweets across India are made from various forms of milk, but not chhena. Other historians think that rosogulla has been part of the Rath Yatra rituals ever since the Jagannath temple came into exis‑ tence in the 12th century. According to mythology, the deity

synonymous with Puri's famous Jagannath temple, (from which the English word "juggernaut" origi‑ nates) – Lord Jagannath – had offered kheer Mohana to an angry Goddess Lakshmi in order to appease her so that she lets him enter his home after the nine‑day rath yatra. Historian Chitra Banerji explained that in history, though the mention of sweets was there both in the time of Lord Krishna and later in Bengal in the time of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the use of sweets made by cottage cheese was not there. According to research, after the Portuguese era, Bengal learned about the cottage cheese and Oriya cooks were very popular in Bengal who might have adopted the cul‑ ture which eventually went to Odisha. However, the sweet has evolved over time. Starting as plain rosogulla now there are several varieties of flavored rosogullas of different sizes. With time there have been many experiments over the sweet which led to the origin of baked rosogulla which has become very popular in recent times. Every food has its own history and it is a part of the cultural heritage of different states. The war over food may be a new addition but the love and the popularity of rosogulla are beyond any geo‑ graphical boundary.


December 16-22, 2017


Navigation began in India: Indus Valley Indians used monsoon winds for sailing

Goa: Indians had knowledge of harnessing monsoon winds for navigation long before Hippalus, the Greek mariner and acclaimed discoverer of monsoon winds, according to a study by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Goa. "The people of Indus Valley Civilization were already using monsoon wind and currents for maritime trade and navigation in 2500 BC," NIO scientist Sila Tripati has reported in a recent issue of the journal Current Science. Tripati has traced the origin of navigation in India with the aid of archaeological findings and liter‑ ary sources. He says his research positively disproves the belief that Hippalus, the Greek mariner and merchant who lived during the first century B.C., is the discover‑ er of monsoon winds and the direct monsoon route from the

er of monsoon winds and the direct monsoon route from the Red Sea to India over

Red Sea to India over the Indian Ocean. These were known to Indians "much before him", Tripati reports. The report says that archaeo‑ logical findings of the Indus Valley Civilization, as well as the

Vedic and Sangam period texts, suggest that Indian mariners dur‑ ing the Indus Valley Civilization as well as in the later period, who were trading in the Indian Ocean and adjoining seas, had knowl‑ edge about monsoon wind and

currents and their use in mar‑ itime trade and navigation. Monsoon is a seasonal wind that reverses direction twice a year. Archaeological and histori‑ cal evidences indicate that sailors of Orissa were aware of the use of monsoon winds and currents for more than 2,000 years. "This study shows that the sailors from Orissa set sail during the northeast monsoon and returned during the southwest monsoon. The winds and cur‑ rents were favorable during their voyages," says the report. The Rig Veda ‑‑ the oldest liter‑ ary work of the Indian subconti‑ nent ‑‑ as well as the later Vedic period texts, vividly mention the monsoon winds, and oceanic cir‑ culations and terms related to ships and shipping, says the report. For instance, several hymns in the Rig Veda refer to the wind, waves and tides, and monsoon

winds are termed as "maruts" in it. Similarly, the archaeological findings from Harappa, Mohenjo‑ Daro and Lothal suggest that maritime trade existed between the Mesopotamian and Indus Valley Civilizations. "Undoubtedly, people of the Indus Valley Civilization sailed across the Arabian Sea," accord‑ ing to Tripati. The Harappan seal recovered from excavations depicts a ship with mast and sail, while a seal and a terracotta amulet from Mohenjo‑Daro depict a ship with cabin and birds. Clay model boats have been found from Lothal excavations. "There is no change in the sea‑ sons of monsoon over the past 2,000 years or so and the prevail‑ ing social festivals celebrated during northeast and southwest monsoons indicate the past glory of India's maritime trade," says the report.

Time India PROMOTED its technologies abroad: Jaishankar

Time India PROMOTED its technologies abroad: Jaishankar

Bengaluru: Referring to key initiatives like Digital India, Skill India and Start‑up India, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Thursday called for promoting indige‑ nous technologies abroad. "Technology challenge has shifted from access now to absorption, generation and deployment," he said in his

from access now to absorption, generation and deployment," he said in his Indian Foreign Secretary S.

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar

these were in Geneva, Vienna or Paris, he said: "It is equally essential to now start taking the lead, espe‑ cially in deployment of tech‑ nologies." With the India‑initiated International Solar Alliance becoming a treaty‑based international inter‑govern‑ mental organization last

International Solar Alliance becoming a treaty‑based international inter‑govern‑ mental organization last

address at the Global Technology Summit here. "It is sought to be addressed by programs like Make in India, Skill India, Digital India and Start‑Up India. "Making it easier to do business is also inte‑ grating India into global tech supply chains. This will accelerate as we appreciate the distinction between Make in India and Make for India," he said. Giving automakers as an example, Jaishankar said, India's technology capabilities were being put at the center of its domestic development agenda. "Now, because access issues have eased up, it does not mean that technology will automatical‑ ly come," he said. "Like capital, it must be invited, valued and nurtured." Stating that on the diplomatic side, widening Indian access to technology has been one of New Delhi's "longest standing endeavors", he said that there have been few countries whose for‑ eign policy has created that many openings with major technology sources. "While the traditional focus was on nuclear, defense and space, today it extends to other forms of energy, rail‑road, urban and agricultur‑ al technologies, water resources and health," the Foreign Secretary said. Stating that it was important for India to shape key negotiations and deliberations, whether

India to shape key negotiations and deliberations, whether Wednesday, Jaishankar described it as a notable initiative.

Wednesday, Jaishankar described it as a notable initiative. "But as a country, we need to show strong commitment to promoting our technologies abroad through business activities and develop‑ mental partnerships," he said. "This has many facets, including extending lines of credit and facilitating trade in services. Both in and out, our interactions can be centered more around their technology relevance." With Japan being the partner country in the Bengaluru summit, Jaishankar said that Tokyo has a long‑standing presence in the Indian econ‑ omy and society, being "responsible for two major technological upgrades of the Indian economy: the Maruti and the Metro. Both had ripple effects well beyond their narrow sectors". While Maruti Suzuki had a multiplier impact on industry, Jaishankar said that the Metro "had a demonstrative effect, creating demands from other cities that were not foreseen". "Both hold their lessons even now. We are now poised for the third upgrade that combines the two ‑ one associated with high speed rail tech‑ nology," he said. The ground‑breaking ceremony of the Allahabad‑Mumbai bullet train project was held during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India in September this year.

Humans may have plateaued out limits for lifespan: Study

London: Environmental changes, including climate, may have caused human beings to reach their maximum limits for height, lifespan and physical perform‑ ance, researchers have found. Despite stories that with each generation we will live longer and longer, the researchers sug‑ gests there may be a maximum threshold to our biological limits that we cannot exceed. The first of its kind study that looked at 120 yearsʼ worth of historical information, revealed that these biological limitations may be affected by anthro‑ pogenic impacts on the environ‑ ment ̶ including climate change ̶ which could have a deleterious effect on these limits. “The current declines in human capacities we can see today are a sign that environmental changes, including climate, are already contributing to the increasing constraints we now have to consider,” said Jean‑François Toussaint, Professor at the Paris Descartes University in France. For example, human height has decreased in the last decade in some African countries, this suggests some societies are no longer able to provide sufficient nutrition for each of their children and maintain the health of their younger inhabitants, the researchers explained. “These traits no longer increase, despite further contin‑ uous nutritional, medical, and scientific progress. This suggests that modern

medical, and scientific progress. This suggests that modern societies have allowed our species to reach its

societies have allowed our species to reach its limits. We are the first genera‑ tion to become aware of this,” Toussaint added. Thus, rather than continually improv‑ ing, we will see a shift in the proportion of the population reaching the previ‑ ously recorded maximum limits. “This will be one of the biggest chal‑ lenges of this century as the added pressure from anthropogenic activities will be responsible for damaging effects on human health and the envi‑ ronment,” Toussaint said, in the paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology. The researchers hope their findings will encourage policymakers to focus on strategies for increasing quality of life and maximize the pro‑ portion of the population that can reach these maximum biological limits.

December 16-22, 2017 D e c e m b e r 1 6 - 2 2 , 2

December 16-22, 2017


Humor with Melvin Durai
Humor with Melvin Durai
New York Head Quarter
422‑S Broadway
NY 11801

Too many possessions that we donʼt need

M y wife and I recently

moved from one house to

another. The two houses

are three miles apart within the same college town, but it was nev‑ ertheless a stressful move. Thatʼs because weʼve accumulated too many possessions in our 17 years of marriage. Only three of our pos‑ sessions are priceless, and moving them was fairly easy. All we had to do was say, “Kids, the Wi‑Fi has moved to the new house!” Unfortunately, these three valu‑ able possessions have possessions of their own, and it was up to us to make sure they were moved. We are a family of five, which means that we had to move five times as much junk as a single person would. Not all our stuff is junk, of course, but as I moved our clothes, books, furniture and an assort‑ ment of other items, I realized that Iʼd be quite happy to live with only one‑fifth of it. Yes, I could easily manage without all the belongings of other family members. Actually, most of my belongings are as unnecessary as my wifeʼs or childrenʼs stuff. We could get rid of them and still be quite content – at least until we visit a friendʼs home and see all their stuff. “When you die, you canʼt take it with you,” someone will inevitably say. Thatʼs true, but you can at least leave it for your kids, so theyʼll know that you cared enough about them to give them the pleasure of organizing an estate sale. Until then, youʼll just have to haul all your

estate sale. Until then, youʼll just have to haul all your belongings from one house to

belongings from one house to another, while wondering why you need all this stuff. You realize that your belongings fall into six main categories:

Clothes: Some of your clothes you wear reg‑ ularly, some you wear only on special occa‑ sions, and some you never wear. The latter includes clothes that donʼt fit you anymore, but youʼve been saving for years, just in case a miracle happens and you wake up one day 20 pounds slimmer. (Waking up much slim‑ mer is certainly quite possible, especially since most of your dieting and exercising hap‑ pens in your dreams.) Shoes, sandals and slippers: You need shoes to match every outfit, of course, and shoes for every type of weather: sunshine shoes, rain‑ storm shoes, hurricane shoes. Some of your footwear, you never wear, of course. But you donʼt feel guilty about this, because they still serve an important purpose, whenever your kids misbehave. (No, you donʼt hit them with those neon‑green flip‑flops. You threaten to wear them to parentsʼ night at school.) Furniture: All you need to get through life are two pieces of furniture: a chair and a TV stand. Everything else is nonessential. Beds are nice to have, but once you have a bed, you also need pillows, pillow cases, blankets, com‑ forters, bed sheets, and bed covers. Trust me, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and money by just sleeping on a yoga mat. Kitchen utensils: All you need to cook is a pot, but you own two dozen pots of different sizes. You also own a variety of frying pans, including one cast‑iron pan thatʼs so heavy, the only time youʼve lifted it higher than your shoulder was the unfortunate night when you mistook your spouse for a burglar. (Well, at least the wind doesnʼt blow off a hat as easily these days.) Memorabilia: You have several boxes of memorabilia, which include not just photos of your children, but also their school reports, certificates, concert programs and baby drool bibs. Youʼve saved all their artwork, even the napkin art that your daughter made with ketchup at McDonaldʼs. Books: You own hundreds of books, some of which are extremely heavy. You moved your piano easily, but needed extra help for the box containing Leo Tolstoyʼs “War and Peace” and Vikram Sethʼs “A Suitable Boy.” On the bright side, you can get rid of all your furni‑ ture, sit on “War and Peace” and set your TV on “A Suitable Boy.”

Laughter is the Best Medicine By Mahendra Shah Mahendra Shah is an architect by education,
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.


December 16-22, 2017

By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma DECEMBER 16‑22, 2017
By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma
DECEMBER 16‑22, 2017
ARIES: You succeed in completing proj‑ ects efficiently provided you put in all your efforts.

ARIES: You succeed in completing proj‑ ects efficiently provided you put in all your efforts. You are likely to be benefit‑ ed as family members positively respond. Financial position will improve later in the week. Traveling proves a blessing in disguise

by bringing a love in your life. A cheerful state of mind brings mental peace. Take a trip, as there is some place waiting for you. It might be the right time to sale your empty plot as prop‑ erty rates are at peak. You are likely to plan a trip to pilgrimage. TAURUS: A promising week to start a new venture in partnership. All are like‑ ly to be benefited. Unexpected visit by old friend could give you a pleasant surprise. Increase in income from past investment is foreseen. A romantic encounter is likely to add spice to life. Meditation and yoga prove benefi‑ cial for spiritual as well as physical gains. If adventure is your style of holidaying, then plan

it and move around. Purchasing of electrical

appliances can be done. You are likely to get rid from legal tensions in later half of the week.

GEMINI: Your technical expertise gives a decisive edge over competitors at work. GEMINI: Good advice from family members will help in reducing mental tension/pressure. Monetary gains from unplanned Good advice from family members will help in reducing mental tension/pressure. Monetary gains from unplanned sources will brighten your week. Romantic partner would

try innovative methods to catch your attention.

A very healthy week when your cheerfulness

gives the desired tonic and confidence. A beau‑

tiful vacation you awaited for is on your cards.

A good deal for residential property is ahead. A

lady is likely to lend a timely helping hand in this week.

CANCER: Hard work of the past brings rich dividends. However continue enhancing your skills/adopt tech‑ niques for further development. Sudden good news in the evening will bring cheers for the entire family. New moneymaking opportunities will be lucrative. Initiatives in love bring posi‑ tive results as you catch the desired attention. You are likely to maintain good health that would also give you success. Destination with a great deal is on your way, be ready for travel‑ ing. Time to make investments on farmlands. Make sure you give opinion only when you are asked to do.

LEO: Dedication & loyalty at work would bring desired results. Your efforts bring success & happiness at family front. Explore new investment opportu‑ nities that comes your way, commit only after considering the viability of the projects. Your generous attitude would contribute much in your love life. A continuous positive thinking gets rewarded as you succeed in whatever you do in this week. Be ready to travel with a chal‑ lenge, new connections will help you. Your investment plans are at full boom and you might succeed in them. Attraction towards reli‑ gious activities increases on coming into con‑ tact with a sage.

VIRGO: New ventures start on a positive note. You achieve success in personal work with the timely help & support provided by family members. You get some financial rewards as dedication & hard work gets noticed. Extremely supportive & loving partner would help in withering away your troubles. Creative hobbies are likely to keep you relaxed. Traveling abroad can be exciting adventure that will be remembered forever. Your girl‑ friendʼs desire for an apartment might lead to its destination. Performing some ritual ceremo‑ ny will highly benefit you.

some ritual ceremo‑ ny will highly benefit you. LIBRA: Businessmen are likely to suf‑ fer some
some ritual ceremo‑ ny will highly benefit you. LIBRA: Businessmen are likely to suf‑ fer some
some ritual ceremo‑ ny will highly benefit you. LIBRA: Businessmen are likely to suf‑ fer some
some ritual ceremo‑ ny will highly benefit you. LIBRA: Businessmen are likely to suf‑ fer some

LIBRA: Businessmen are likely to suf‑ fer some setbacks on failing to meet the deadline. Misunderstandings with near ones in the family will get cleared. Monetary gains are likely to be from more than one source. Romantic vibrations from someone unknown would lift your spirits taking imagina‑LIBRA:

tions to scaling heights. With a positive outlook

& confidence, you succeed in impressing people

around 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. You are likely to hear some good news in later half of the week when your struggle & legal battle is likely to end.

SCORPIO: Service people, artists and those in creative field will get several SCORPIO: new opportunities. You would prefer to relax and enjoy the company of family mem‑ bers new opportunities. You would prefer to relax and enjoy the company of family mem‑ bers in the evening. Improvement in finances is certain. You will be attracted to someone spe‑ cial. A beneficial week to work on things that will improve your health. A trip that is uncon‑ ventional and adventurous will be favourable enjoy every minute of it. Investment on con‑ struction business might give fruitful results. The good news for you in this week is that you would objectively evaluate yourself.

SAGITTARIUS: Failure at professional front would disappoint you. Children would do their best to keep you happy.

A new financial deal gets finalized paving the

way for fresh money. Love life brings immense romantic pleasure. Mental alertness would enable to solve a tricky problem. Adventurous holidays, the best way to experience with your friends, time to enjoy. Itʼs high time to think of purchasing a new office. A possibility of an enhancement in your religious thinking.

CAPRICORN: Hard work put‑in the past will yield handsome rewards in busi‑ ness. Parents and friends will do their

best to keep you happy. Real estate investment would be lucrative. You are likely to get a new friendship opportunity in the evening. Good time to divert attention to spirituality to enhance mental toughness. Great time for per‑ fect family vacation to an exciting destination. Your plan for a new house will be in process very soon. Inner opposition would pave the way for a new development in you.

AQUARIUS: Business partners behave supportive on executing strategies to sort out pending problems. A promis‑ ing week to plan things for your progeny. Investment in stocks & mutual funds would help in earning profits. New romance that some of you are going to experience would take the worries off mind. A pleasure trip gives the much‑needed tonic to health. Travel oppor‑ tunities full of challenges are often the begin‑ ning of great enterprises. Your loan procedures for pursuing a plot will be in process. You will be successful in developing some social con‑ tacts for personal use.

PISCES: Innovative ideas & technical expertise would enable to win the con‑ fidence of seniors at professional front. You would be the center of attraction at a

social gathering that you attend especially with family. Long‑term investment in stocks & mutu‑

al funds will enable to earn profits. You enjoy a

memorable time with partner to cement the lovely bond. Cutting down the number of par‑

ties and pleasure jaunts would help in keeping

in good mood. You will discover travel destina‑

tions that are unique and magical. Investment

in hotel industry can be the right choice to be

made. By sticking to your beliefs & faith, you succeed in achieving many personal favours.

be the right choice to be made. By sticking to your beliefs & faith, you succeed
be the right choice to be made. By sticking to your beliefs & faith, you succeed
be the right choice to be made. By sticking to your beliefs & faith, you succeed
be the right choice to be made. By sticking to your beliefs & faith, you succeed

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


16th December, 2017 Influenced by number 7 and the planet Neptune, you are trustworthy, affectionate, cre‑ ative, sensitive and an emotional individual. You are a person who always wears a million‑ dollar smile on your face, which makes it very easy for you to make friends and win favours. You are smart and talented, but you need to control your tendency to behave stubborn, arrogant and extravagant at times. This is the perfect time to put in maximum efforts to reap long‑term rewards. Your family members will be supportive and assist you in making important decisions. Pending jobs and projects will get completed to your satisfaction. Your health will be normal but health of a fami‑ ly member may become reason for stress and anxiety. A distant journey preferably overseas brings financial benefits and opportunity to meet eminent and influential people. The month of November, March, May and July will prove to be eventful.

17th December, 2017 Influenced by number 8 and the planet Saturn. You are smart, practical, honest, disci‑ plined, methodical and authoritative person. You are helpful and sincere to your friends and enjoy enormous respect in your group, but you need to check your tendency to behave rigid, extravagant and jealous at times. You will find many good investment opportu‑ nities this year, so be highly judicious in mak‑ ing your decisions. Donʼt share your ideas and plans with people you canʼt trust. Businessmen will expand into new and more profitable ven‑ tures. Especially rewarding period for journal‑ ist, doctors and marketing professionals. Spouse and children will be supportive, but require your additional attention. Health of a near one, possibly a young infant may bring stress and tension. Wedding bells for those eli‑ gible. The months of December, February, April and September will prove to be significant.

18th December, 2017 Ruled by number 9 and the planet Mars. You are intelligent, energetic, confident, enthusias‑ tic and courageous person. You make firm decisions and once you have taken a decision it lasts forever. You are strong and highly diplo‑ matic person, but you need to check your ten‑ dency to behave short tempered and vindictive at times. This year you should concentrate on your priorities and your efforts will definitely bring desired results. Past investments will fetch returns and long pending property dis‑ putes will settle amicably. Unexpected gifts and presents from near ones and friends will keep you in high spirits. New plans and ventures will start on a positive note. Family front will be pleasant as children and spouse will provide you with love and affection. Health seems fine but even then, it is recommended that you avoid overeating and alcohol. The months of October, February, May and August will prove to be highly important.

19th December, 2017 Influenced by number 1 and the Sun, you are authoritative, confident, determined, responsi‑ ble and creative person. Your are very attract‑ ed to your father who is generally your inspira‑ tion and best friend. You are highly decent and well mannered, but you need to curb your ten‑ dency to behave careless and spendthrift at times. This year you will make major gains if you associate with creative people. Your per‑ formance will be at its best and you will easily impress your seniors with your dedication and

ability to handle jobs, which require immense responsibilities. Property transaction, or con‑ struction, or renovation will be high on your agenda. Moments at home will not be all that pleasant. You will suffer due to the very unpre‑ dictable behaviour of your spouse. Spiritual gains provide solace and comfort. A journey abroad is also on the cards for some of you. The months January, April, June and September will remain significant.

20th December, 2017 Ruled by number 2 and the Moon, you are highly imaginative, practical, emotional, hon‑ est, simple and generous person. You have a very sharp mind, an exceptionally good grasp‑ ing power and you believe that its never to late to learn. You have a pleasing personality and manners, but you need to check your tendency to behave extravagant and moody at times. This year your energy will be high and you will feel strong enough to face any challenge. Middle of the year seems exceptionally good for those who are looking for a change in their career, as they will receive an excellent job offer. Frequent and fruitful journeys will be undertaken. You will also improve your rela‑ tionship with important people during this period. Children will win laurels at school and overachieve the expectations of their parents. Family members will gather around you pro‑ viding you with love and affection. The months of November, April, July and October will be highly eventful.

21st December, 2017 Governed by number 3 and the planet Jupiter, you are energetic, honourable, ambi‑ tious, dignified and an intelligent person. You are a person with outstanding personality and ability to make many friends. You are always appreciated for your sincerity and commit‑ ment, but your need to check your tendency to behave over ambitious and dictatorial at times. This year new plans and projects will be allur‑ ing but instant gains might not be possible. Great period for consultants and brokers. Investment is definitely recommended but sud‑ den losses due to thoughtless decisions cannot be ruled out. New romance for some as others get involved in a matrimonial wedlock. Distant pilgrimage is certain later in the year. Donʼt be too friendly with strangers and avoid disclos‑ ing your plans, as chances of deceit are very strong. Be extra careful while lending money and take extra care of your jewelry, precious gifts and items. The months of October, February and August will be important.

22nd December, 2017 Dominated by number 4 and the planet Uranus, you are simple, energetic, authoritative, jovial, reliable and highly systematic person. You possess a persuasive and magnetic person‑ ality. You have a great potential to handle com‑ plicated tasks and you seldom complain, but you need to check your tendency to behave vin‑ dictive, timid and spendthrift at times. This year new money making ventures prove highly lucrative. Your financial position will show remarkable improvement and you will spend more on luxuries to increase your comfort level. Investment in stocks and real estate is recom‑ mended for long‑term gains. Foreign trips will bring you monetary gains. Your spouse will be cooperative through out the year and will show‑ er love and affection. Marriage proposals for those eligible. Health needs proper care. The months of Nov. May, June & August will prove to be important & significant.


December 16-22, 2017


By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj D octors and scientists have been studying the body‑mind
By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj D octors and scientists have been studying the body‑mind

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

D octors and scientists have been studying the body‑mind connection and its relation‑

ship to physical health. Medical researchers have linked certain ill‑ nesses to our state of mind and to our emotional condition. They have found that when we undergo men‑ tal stress or emotional pain or depression, our physical resistance to disease drops. We become more susceptible to contracting a disease because our ability to keep our immune system in top working order decreases. Science has pinpointed certain diseases such as digestive prob‑ lems, breathing problems, heart disease, and migraine headaches, to name a few, that are sometimes stress‑related. Meditation can help us in several ways. First, it can lessen our stress, and in turn, reduce our chances of

developing a stress‑related illness. In this hectic world, our mind is often agitated by stress and pres‑ sures. Life has become so compli‑ cated that people seem to have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Some people hold jobs that require long hours and too much responsibility. Other people work two jobs and raise a family. Too much pressure often causes people to seem to snap̶they become irri‑ table, off‑balance, and “stressed‑ out.” They begin to act in ways that are not “themselves.” Sometimes they take out their frustrations on their loved ones and hurt those they should love the most. Meditation is a way to eliminate the lack of balance caused by the mental stresses of life. By spending time in meditation, we create a calm haven in which we restore equilibrium and peace to our men‑ tal functioning. Researchers have recorded that the brain activity in people who meditate reflects a state of deep relaxation. Their mind becomes calmer. Meditation also calms the body. If we could spend some time each day in medi‑ tation, we would find our stress levels would be reduced and our health would reach a more opti‑ mum level. Besides reducing stress during meditation, there is a carry‑over effect. We can maintain more

Healing the body through meditation

peace of mind as we continue our activities throughout the day. As we perfect our meditations, we can maintain that calm state of mind even in the midst of turmoil and strife. We would be more in control of our reactions and would main‑ tain an even keel in the face of other people's conflicts. Reducing our stress throughout the day can reduce the risk of becoming victim to stress‑related ailments. Second, meditation can lift our attention to a higher level of con‑ sciousness so that we do not feel the pinching effects of any illness we do develop. Through medita‑ tion, we come in contact with a stream of bliss and joy within that takes our attention away from the pains of the world. Through mas‑ tery of meditation, we have a refuge of bliss and peace within, safe from the ravages of physical pain. Although at times we may get sick because we break natural laws, meditation can help us rise above the discomfort and find solace and peace above the consciousness of bodily pain. We have only to look

above the consciousness of bodily pain. We have only to look us when we perfect our

us when we perfect our medita‑ tions. Recent medical studies are draw‑ ing a correlation between patients who pray and meditate before and after surgery and those who do not. Early studies find that patients heal and recover more quickly from surgery when they pray or meditate before surgery or after surgery. Spending regular, accurate time in meditation has been shown to reduce stress. Many medical cen‑ ters and hospitals offer classes in meditation as a way to reduce stress and eliminate certain illness‑ es. Many people have requested to learn our introductory meditation, called Jyoti meditation, taught at our Science of Spirituality centers throughout the world as a way to reduce stress. As you continue to meditate, you will experience the inner peace and bliss. As you do this, you will expe‑ rience a reduction in stress. Meditation is an effective means to help us reduce stress and increase a sense of calm and peace, which can help us heal our physical body.

Recent medical studies are drawing a correlation between patients who pray and meditate before and
Recent medical studies are drawing a correlation
between patients who pray and meditate before
and after surgery and those who do not.
Early studies find that patients heal and recover
more quickly from surgery when they pray or
meditate before surgery or after surgery.

at near‑death experiences to see how people who undergo excruci‑ atingly painful accidents were lift‑ ed above their pain when they tem‑ porarily left their body. They could see their body with injuries and

trauma lying below them, but they no longer experienced any physical pain until they returned to the body. This is one analogous situa‑ tion to give us an idea of the power of protection from pain afforded to

T rue friends are those who stand by you always. They will sacrifice them‑

selves for you, and are people on whom you can always rely. True friends lis‑ ten to your problems and share your bur‑ dens. Truly, if we have even one real friend in life, we are lucky. If we think about our childhood friends, how many are still with us now? Have we parted ways already? Perhaps they have moved away, or we have lost contact with them. Let us consider our close friends to‑ day. Can we imagine that they, too, will one day be parted from us just as those friends from our childhood are gone? Even if we have one close friend, or even a few, they can only be with us up to our last breath, or their last breath. They can only re‑ main with us in this life and cannot help us in the moment of our greatest need̶the time of death. In this connection, there is an interesting story from the Hindu scriptures. There was a learned pundit who was the personal minis‑ ter of King Prikshat. Each day the minister would read out the scriptures to the king. The particular scripture said that whoever hears the scriptures will receive spiritual lib‑ eration and enlightenment. Month after month, the king listened to the scriptures read by the minister. However, he did not at‑ tain liberation. One day, the king sat down and thought, “Here I am̶listening to these scriptures every day, and I am not yet spiritually liber‑ ated. The scriptures say that whoever listens to these holy writings will receive salvation once and for all, but I have not.” Therefore, the king called the minister and said, “Look here. I have heard these scrip‑ tures so many times and have not attained liberation. I will give you one more chance to read these scriptures to me from end to end. If I am not liberated after that, you will be put to death.” Trembling in his shoes, the

to me from end to end. If I am not liberated after that, you will be

Finding a True Friend

minister began the task of re‑reading the scriptures to the king. By the sixth day he was nearing the end of the scriptures, and the king was not satisfied. Fearing that on the seventh day he would be put to death, the minister sat down in his home and start‑ ed to cry. “Why are you so sad?” asked his daughter when she saw him. The ministered explained the situation to her, “The scriptures say that whoever reads them will be liberated. However, I know that the king is not liberated, nor am I liberated. Therefore, tomorrow, I will be put to death.” The daughter was wise and had an idea. “Do not worry,” she said. “Tomorrow I will speak to the king.” On the following day, the ministerʼs daughter asked for an audience with the king. “Why have you come?” he questioned her. She told him, “I have come to reply to the question that you have asked of my father. But to do this, you and I must go together to the wilderness.” The king was perplexed, but agreed to go along with her plan. The girl then sent for her father. She brought along two ropes and when they reached the wilderness she tied the king to one tree and her father to another tree. Both were then bound, hand and foot. The king was wonder‑ ing what all this meant when the girl asked, “Father, can you kindly unbind the king over there?” The minister replied, “I am already bound! How can I free him?” The girl asked, “Your Majesty, will you kindly unbind my father?” The king replied, “Foolish girl, donʼt you see that I am bound? How can a bound man

unbind another?” That is all she wanted to hear and said, “Then how can you expect my father, who is not free himself, to liberate you spiritual‑ ly?” The king himself had answered the dilemma in which he had placed the minis‑ ter. With that understanding, the king spared the life of the minister. At the time of death, we all depart by our‑ selves. No friends of this world can help us. They can sit by our bedside and hold our hand, but they can neither protect us from death nor accompany us. Knowing this, we still put our reliance on people of this world. Looking back at the friendships we have had in our lives, how many of them led us closer to God, and how many of them have taken us away from God? What kind of friend should we look for then? To be truly awakened spiritually, we should seek the friendship of the Lord. We have only a set number of breaths to reunite our soul with God. Let us do every‑ thing possible to attain that goal. The best way to reach the Lord is through meditation, sweet remembrance, and selfless service. These activities safeguard us from being pulled away by distractions of the world. If we do these things, then we will be ready at the time of our death. Having mastered the art of rising above body‑consciousness (by meditating daily on the inner Light and Sound of God) , we will know what awaits us in the Beyond. Befriending God makes our spirit soar. Waves of divine love make our soul rise to the eye‑focus where we see tremendous Light. Is there any love or friendship of the world that can bring us to the eye‑focus and make us rise above physical body‑conscious‑ ness? Only the love of the Lord can make us wide awake̶not only in this world, but wide awake into the Beyond.

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