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UK Foreign Aid Spent on Keeping Indian Homes Cool: Report

first_imgHuge amounts of British taxpayer’s money are being spent on reducing smoking rate among migrant workers in China and to keep Indian homes cool during summer, according to a new report. Big grants are being provided by the Global Challenges Research Fund to the two countries despite protests against the United Kingdom making contributions to resolve their issues.The £1.5billion fund, managed by the Department of Business, aims to help developing countries by lending research expertise. The report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) showed that £133,584 UK aid was released to reduce smoking rate among migrant factory workers in the Guangzhou province of China, while another £121,403 was granted to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks in schools in India. A further £537,717 was given for a study to keep Indian homes cool during summer, while the School of Oriental and African Studies received £792,000 to study Tibetan verb.The report said: “The early rounds of GCRF funding were done in haste, encouraging UK research institutions to rely on existing research partnerships, which were mainly in middle-income countries.“The GCRF’s focus on research excellence may continue to advantage developing countries that already have credible research institutions, rather than directing investment towards poorer countries where capacity building may be most needed.”ICAI found 38 projects meant for India that will grant £1.5 billion between 2016 and 2021. China was granted 22 such projects.“The Global Challenges Research Fund has the potential to address important global development challenges…However currently there is a real risk that the fund’s resources will be spread too thinly to achieve truly transformative results,” ICAI commissioner Tina Fahm said.The Department for International Development (DFID) closed all funding programs for China in 2011, but the country continues to received monetary aid from other departments.The spending, was however, defended by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with its spokesperson saying, “The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) has shown how the UK’s expertise in research and innovation can lead the charge in solving some of the greatest global development challenges of our time, while also contributing to the stability, security and prosperity of the UK.“As with all Overseas Development Assistance investments, there are robust assessment processes in place for the GCRF which ensures the program benefits the world’s poorest people and provides value for money for UK taxpayers. BEIS will review the report’s recommendations and respond in due course.The UK ended financial aid to China in 2011 and India in 2015. Our support has moved to sharing skills, advice and expertise.”He added: “China and India remain home to more than half of the world’s poorest people, and continuing progress in middle-income countries is regarded as essential to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”British ministers are under pressure on improving ways to spend the taxpayer’s money after Prime Minister Theresa May promised to follow former PM David Cameron’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of Britain’s income on international development. Related ItemsBritain Foreign AidForeign Aid IndiaGlobal Challenges Research Fund IndiaICAI India grantIndependent Commission for Aid ImpactLittle Indialast_img read more

In a First, India Buys Stake in Abu Dhabi Oil Field

first_imgIndia signed five agreements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, which saw New Delhi buying a stake in Abu Dhabi’s oil resources for the first time. Modi met Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Feb. 10 in the UAE capital, where buildings were lit up in Indian tricolor.“We warmly welcome our state guest and valued friend, the Indian Prime Minister H.E.@narendramodi to the UAE. His visit reflects our longstanding historical ties and is testament to our friendly bilateral relationship,” Crown Prince Mohammed, also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, tweeted.The Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) was signed between ONGC Videsh, Bharat PetroResources, Indian Oil and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) on Feb. 10 for the acquisition of 10 per cent participating interest in Abu Dhabi’s offshore Lower Zakum Concessions. The concession will be for 40 years from 2018 to 2057, and 60 per cent of the participating interest will be retained by ADNOC and remaining 30 per cent will be awarded to other international oil companies, a statement issued by the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi said.“This is the first Indian Investment in upstream oil sector of UAE, transforming the traditional buyer-seller relationship to a long-term investor relationship,” it added.A participation fee of $600 million was paid by ONGC Videsh for the concession. The current production at the offshore is about 400,000 barrels a day and Abu Dhabi plans to increase the yield to 450,000 barrels a day by 2025. The deal is important since oil prices have increased again after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers have come to an understanding about limiting outputs after last year’s supply glut decreased oil prices.Other MoUs signed by the two governments include one that aims to institutionalize the collaborative administration of contractual employment of Indian workers in the Gulf country. India receives the most amount of remittances from UAE. Both of the countries will work to integrate their labor related e-platforms to end existing malpractices, combat trafficking and organize collaborative programs for education and awareness of contractual workers.Another MoU was signed for technical cooperation in railways. “The MoU will facilitate development of joint projects, knowledge sharing, joint research and technology transfer. The MoU envisages formation of a Joint Working Group for institutionalizing the cooperation mechanism,” the statement said.The Bombay Stock Exchange and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange also signed an agreement to enhance cooperation between both the countries in financial services industry. Another MoU was signed between the government of Jammu and Kashmir and DP World to establish a multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialized storage solutions. Related ItemsEconomyGulfUAElast_img read more

Processing Time for Citizenship Applications Increases in Australia

first_imgAs the debate over immigration cap rages on in Australia, the Department of Home Affairs announced that the average time for processing a citizenship application has got extended from 12 to 16 months this financial year, SBS News reported.Tightening of national security requirements and a growth in the number of applications has caused an increase in the duration taken between the time a person lodges an application for citizenship and when the status is finally granted, Home Affairs officer Luke Mansfield told the Senate earlier this week when responding to queries related to citizenship applications. As a result, the number of complaints about the processing time have also risen.“One is that the department has increased the integrity screening and checking processes from a national security and criminality risk perspective.The second factor driving that change is growth in the number of applications. The number of applications has been increasing year-on-year from a very significant base,” Mansfield said in a statement to Senate committee in Canberra on May 22.He also said that the applications are on the rise although the format of application has changed, with more than 210,000 citizenship applications “on hand” as of April 30. This number includes applications that are still to be assessed and are in the process of being scrutinized, as well as people who have not attended citizenship ceremonies.In order to keep up with the demand, Mansfield said that a 16 percent increase has been done in processing staff since July 2016.The extension of processing time has been received bitterly among immigrants, SBS News Punjabi reported. The permanent residency application has changed since his time as a student in 2008, Sahil Sharma from Queensland’s Gold Coast told the publication, adding that the IELTS requirements as well as the rules to residency after working on a 457 visa have also been changed. Sharma said he applied for a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa, which requires a job offer in a regional area of Australia, in November 2016 but still does not know the outcome. Some of the regional areas stipulated for the RSMS visa are the whole of Western Australia, the whole of South Australia, and Victoria — all areas excluding Melbourne, including some others. The Australian government is currently considering a policy that would require immigrants arriving in Australia on the RSMS visa to live in regional or rural Australia as opposed to big cities like Sydney or Melbourne. Related ItemsAustralialast_img read more

US is Denying Passports to Americans Along The Border, Throwing Their Citizenship Into Question

first_imgOn paper, he’s a devoted U.S. citizen.His official American birth certificate shows he was delivered by a midwife in Brownsville, at the southern tip of Texas. He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard.But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen.As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports – their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown on their citizenship.In a statement, the State Department said that it “has not changed policy or practice regarding the adjudication of passport applications,” adding that “the U.S.-Mexico border region happens to be an area of the country where there has been a significant incidence of citizenship fraud.”But cases identified by The Washington Post and interviews with immigration attorneys suggest a dramatic shift in both passport issuance and immigration enforcement.In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States. As the Trump administration attempts to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, the government’s treatment of passport applicants in south Texas shows how U.S. citizens are increasingly being swept up by immigration enforcement agencies.Juan said he was infuriated by the government’s response. “I served my country. I fought for my country,” he said, speaking on the condition that his last name not be used so that he wouldn’t be targeted by immigration enforcement.The government alleges that from the 1950s through the 1990s, some midwives and physicians along the Texas-Mexico border provided U.S. birth certificates to babies who were actually born in Mexico. In a series of federal court cases in the 1990s, several birth attendants admitted to providing fraudulent documents.Based on those suspicions, the State Department began during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations denied passports to people who were delivered by midwives in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. The use of midwives is a long-standing tradition in the region, in part because of the cost of hospital care.The same midwives who provided fraudulent birth certificates also delivered thousands of babies legally in the United States. It has proved nearly impossible to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate documents, all of them officially issued by the state of Texas decades ago.A 2009 government settlement in a case litigated by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seemed to have mostly put an end to the passport denials. Attorneys reported that the number of denials declined during the rest of the Obama administration, and the government settled promptly when people filed complaints after being denied passports.But under President Donald Trump, the passport denials and revocations appear to be surging, becoming part of a broader interrogation into the citizenship of people who have lived, voted and worked in the United States for their entire lives.“We’re seeing these kind of cases skyrocketing,” said Jennifer Correro, an attorney in Houston who is defending dozens of people who have been denied passports.In its statement, the State Department said that applicants “who have birth certificates filed by a midwife or other birth attendant suspected of having engaged in fraudulent activities, as well as applicants who have both a U.S. and foreign birth certificate, are asked to provide additional documentation establishing they were born in the United States.”“Individuals who are unable to demonstrate that they were born in the United States are denied issuance of a passport,” the statement said.When Juan, the former soldier, received a letter from the State Department telling him it wasn’t convinced that he was a U.S. citizen, it requested a range of obscure documents – evidence of his mother’s prenatal care, his baptismal certificate, rental agreements from when he was a baby.He managed to find some of those documents but weeks later received another denial. In a letter, the government said the information “did not establish your birth in the United States.”“I thought to myself, you know, I’m going to have to seek legal help,” said Juan, who earns $13 an hour as a prison guard and expects to pay several thousand dollars in legal fees.In a case last August, a 35-year-old Texas man with a U.S. passport was interrogated while crossing back into Texas from Mexico with his son at the McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge, connecting Reynosa, Mexico, to McAllen, Texas.His passport was taken from him, and Customs and Border Protection agents told him to admit that he was born in Mexico, according to documents later filed in federal court. He refused and was sent to the Los Fresnos Detention Center and entered into deportation proceedings.He was released three days later, but the government scheduled a deportation hearing for him in 2019. His passport, which had been issued in 2008, was revoked.Attorneys say these cases, where the government’s doubts about an official birth certificate lead to immigration detention, are increasingly common. “I’ve had probably 20 people who have been sent to the detention center – U.S. citizens,” said Jaime Diez, an attorney in Brownsville.Diez represents dozens of U.S. citizens who were denied their passports or had their passports suddenly revoked. Among them are soldiers and Border Patrol agents. In some cases, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrived at his clients’ homes without notice and taken passports away.The State Department says that even though it may deny someone a passport, that does not necessarily mean that the individual will be deported. But it leaves them in a legal limbo, with one arm of the U.S. government claiming they are not Americans and the prospect that immigration agents could follow up on their case.Two women, Maria and Lupita, whose U.S. citizenship is in question, stand for a portrait in Brownsville, Texas. Although they were born in the United States, the government is questioning their citizenship because it suspects their birth certificates are fraudulent, even though they were issued by the state of Texas decades ago. Photo Credit: Washington Post photo by Carolyn Van HoutenIt’s difficult to know where the crackdown fits into the Trump administration’s broader efforts to reduce legal and illegal immigration. Over the past year, it has thrown legal permanent residents out of the military and formed a denaturalization task force that tries to identify people who might have lied on decades-old citizenship applications.Now, the administration appears to be taking aim at a broad group of Americans along the stretch of the border where Trump has promised to build his wall, where he directed the deployment of National Guardsmen, and where the majority of cases in which children were separated from their parents during the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy occurred.The State Department would not say how many passports it has denied to people along the border because of concerns about fraudulent birth certificates. The government has also refused to provide a list of midwives whom it considers to be suspicious.Lawyers along the border say that it isn’t just those delivered by midwives who are being denied.Babies delivered by Jorge Treviño, one of the regions most well-known gynecologists, are also being denied. When he died in 2015, the McAllen Monitor wrote in his obituary that Treviño had delivered 15,000 babies.It’s unclear why babies delivered by Treviño are being targeted, and the State Department did not comment on individual birth attendants. Diez, the attorney, said the government has an affidavit from an unnamed Mexican doctor who said that Treviño’s office provided at least one fraudulent birth certificate for a child born in Mexico.One of the midwives who was accused of providing fraudulent birth certificates in the 1990s admitted in an interview that in two cases, she accepted money to provide fake documents. She said she helped deliver 600 babies in south Texas, many of them now being denied passports. Those birth certificates were issued by the state of Texas, with the midwife’s name listed under “birth attendant.”“I know that they are suffering now, but it’s out of my control,” she said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of her admission.For those who have received passport denials from the government, it affects not only their travel plans but their sense of identity as Americans.One woman who has been denied, named Betty, said she had tried to get a passport to visit her grandfather as he was dying in Mexico. She went to a passport office in Houston, where government officials denied her request and questioned whether she had been born in the United States.“You’re getting questioned on something so fundamentally you,” said Betty, who also spoke on the condition that her last name not be used because of concerns about immigration enforcement.The denials are happening at a time when Trump has been lobbying for stricter federal voter identification rules, which would presumably affect the same people who are now being denied passports – almost all of them Hispanic, living in a heavily Democratic sliver of Texas.“That’s where it gets scary,” Diez said.For now, passport applicants who are able to afford the legal costs are suing the federal government over their passport denials. Typically, the applicants eventually win those cases, after government attorneys raise a series of sometimes bizarre questions about their birth.“For a while, we had attorneys asking the same question: ‘Do you remember when you were born?’ ” Diez said. “I had to promise my clients that it wasn’t a trick question.”(c) 2018, The Washington Post Related ItemsUnited Stateslast_img read more

Journey’s: The Two Punjabs Connect In America

first_imgThe gigantic neon sign hits you like a ton of bricks as you drive down 21st Street in Astoria, a Queens neighborhood that was solidly Greek two decades ago: “PUNJAB AUTO SHOP.” This is America, but the owner didn’t try to be accommodating by calling his garage American Auto Shop or even A-1 Auto Shop. Look at that bold, proud sign and you immediately think of swaying wheat fields, sarso da saag and makai di roti! Yes, Punjab is in the blood of the Punjabis – no matter which side of the border they come from. The owner of Punjab Auto Shop is Abdul Hamid, a Pakistani American who hails from Gujjranwala in Punjab, Pakistan. The head mechanic, who oversees a team of 35 mechanics, is Param Pal, an Indian American from Jullundar in Punjab, India.Together the two collaborate on making things right in the auto world: checking the heartbeats of ailing engines, listening to the cough of exhaust pipes and giving thousands of taxis their health inspections. If you’re an automobile and under the weather, this is the place to be. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.After the first Gulf War, Hamid who was a mechanic in Kuwait, left for New York. He came with just his skills and started a small garage on 39th Street nearly 15 years ago. Why did he call it Punjab Auto Shop? He’s surprised at the question. “I’m from Punjab. It’s a good name.” Although he admits his customers in those early days didn’t think so. “They would ask me, ‘What is Punja?’”Those early days were tough with few clients. The area was rough and his garage was robbed several times. “Bahut intezar karna para,” he says recalling the lack of clients. “I used to spend the whole day waiting for customers.”Obviously Hamid did something right, for today he owns the prime property the huge garage stands on, and four more garages, including three on the same street! He and his wife Naseem now live in upscale Whitestone, and his three children, Umar, Waqas and Sara, are all attending college. The American Dream in motion, one yellow taxi at a time!In the meantime Astoria itself has changed. It has attracted a large South Asian population and the street is packed with halal stores and desi restaurants.Indeed, the garage is at a prime location – between the city and the airport – and taxi drivers drop in all the time. Hamid has expanded his clientele by offering cutting edge technology, investing in computerized equipment and a $200,000 spray booth that can accommodate 12 cars at a time.Walk into the cavernous garage and you see hundreds of tires piled high on the ceiling, and mechanics tending to cars. Param Pal, the man from the other Punjab, is busy at work here, checking the underbelly of a red sedan hoisted high on a hydraulic lift. He is striking looking, a tall, strapping bearded Jat who could well be in a Bollywood movie! How did he land up in America?He shrugs: “Aise hi agaya, ghumte phirte!” (I just came, wandering around). Pal, who’s been in New York for ten years, was a mechanic in the Indian army. He’s vague about how he got here, giving an answer you can’t dispute: “God laya, main agaya.” (God brought me, I came.”)He liked New York and stayed. Gradually he got his own garage, which was doing well. One day the auto lift collapsed while he was under it, and he landed up in hospital for a year. He had to give up the garage and joined the Punjab Auto Shop as their chief mechanic. “Hum Khush hai idhar” (I am happy here.) He likes his job fine, is married and home is right there in Astoria for him. Does he not miss his homeland of Punjab?“Yaad to aathi hai – kya kar sakte hai?” (Of course one remembers – but what can one do?”)  Related Itemslast_img read more

Pink Ball? Hello Amrika?

first_imgIndia’s ex-cricket Captain Sourav Ganguly set the cat among the pigeons when he forcefully advocated the support of pink balls in cricket. Purists were shocked; where is the world and cricket headed? Was the “white-flannelled gentleman’s game” going vulgar and, like the worst of Bollywood, targeting and catering to the lowest common denominator with crowd-drawing gimmicks.Fact is, cricket, for some years now, in keeping with the consumerist, instant-gratification-driven-times, has been changing its virginal avatar to remain both relevant and exciting in a fiercely competitive era, where distractions and pressures in the workplace, leave people little time or energy to indulge in leisurely cricket-watching, like in the past. Even so, loyal lovers of the game follow the old format, applauding both the nuances and spirit of the sport, whenever they get the chance. The occasions for them to be excited, however, appear to follow the laws of diminishing returns, with twists and turns, unusual body language, scams and controversies taking center-stage — ODI, T-20, Day-Night, white ball, colored clothing…. But pink ball? How? Why? And what’s this nonsense about taking this beautiful game to baseball and basketball obsessed America? It’s just not cricket, ol boy!Realists smile indulgently, inviting the moth-balled lot to step off their time-machine and taste the coffee. To be relevant, exciting and most importantly, viewer-friendly, change is the only constant. Like a visionary guru once said, talent is great, but an audience is greater! Isn’t the objective of all sports to attract viewers to applaud excellence in performances — and along the way provide commercial support to sustain it meaningfully? The whole idea of both the advent of the pink ball and Chalo Amrika, insist its advocates, is to take the game into newer and more rewarding heights, crossing boundaries and exploring previously untouched terrains with high potential.Bangalore-based sports commentator Charu Sharma commends both moves: “Sourav Ganguly, sharp, fearless and forward-looking as ever, was bang-on in supporting this Pink Ball initiative and hitting new countries! It demonstrates a hands-on effort to recognize the writing on the wall and act with focus and speed.”Sharma believes that since cricket is really played in only 12 countries — compared to over 150 for football — it makes sense to try and break fresh ground. “USA is the perfect starting point for two reasons. One, the massive diaspora is dying to watch the game and thrilled at the opportunities to actually see stars in flesh n’ blood action. Second, America is a fabulously open-minded country cool to engage with anything that is fun, exciting and commercially viable. The fact that many A-lister Production houses of Hollywood have collaborated so powerfully with Bollywood, the other religion, in setting up joint-production bases in Mumbai is because they’ve recognized the huge popularity of their brand and stars and globally see it as a great investment and revenue-generating opportunity.These are very early days for cricket in the USA. Who knows? Cricket could well be an exciting side-show for the adventurous and sports-loving American youth? C’mon guys, give the game a chance!”Renowned cricket commentator Ayaz Memon agrees: “The idea of the Pink Ball was largely due to the desire to switch to Day-Night Test format. The traditional 5-day Test seems to be bad news, because both the time factor and patience threshold of today’s viewers have undergone drastic change. ODI and T-20 have changed the nature of the game with speed, excitement and instant result coming center-stage. Day-Night 4-day Tests target the lost office-going enthusiasts to join the fun in the evening and thus attract more crowds for this format. Pink, being the closest to Red, has been scientifically selected as the color because it doesn’t clash with the white, required as Test clothing. The recent Duleep Trophy played at Greater Noida — Raina’s XI versus Yuvraj’s XI — was the first match played with the pink ball. Let’s wait and watch, before screaming foul!”As for exporting cricket, Memon agrees with Sharma: “Remember the India-Pak matches in Toronto in the late 90s? They were huge hits. There is a large Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indian, Brit, South African and Kiwi community in the U.S. Most of them love cricket … so there is huge challenge and opportunity for the powers-that-are to market cricket, smartly and successfully to a pre-sold audience.”Purist and relentless loyalist, legendary Delhi-based spin-king Bishen Bedi opposes both these moves: “Haven’t we had day-night contests with the white ball all these years? What’s the idea of mucking around with traditional, tried and tested formats? If the idea is to attract crowds, play good cricket, damn it! Don’t change the color of the ball, for chrisssake! It’s nothing but a gimmick!”As for taking cricket to America, Bedi, ridicules it as stupid: “It’s a different sporting culture out there with baseball, basketball, boxing, swimming, golf, soccer, tennis and athletics dominating the scene. Sure, there are communities that represent cricket-playing nations, but they comprise a minuscule. Besides the new-gen, second/third generation Indians, have little interest or knowledge about the game, connecting much more with baseball, basketball, etc. Let’s face it, this move is basically about selling rights to TV channels, attracting ads and big bucks. Indians back home are cricket-crazy and will see anything their team is involved in, anywhere. Also, this holier-than-thou idealistic motive of spreading the sport is bull crap! Do other nations — Japan, U.S.A., Germany, whoever — come to our 1 billion plus country to spread their domestic game? Its greed and this desire to monetize and commercialize everything is destroying the sanctity of this great game. I know that the Big Boys master-minding Indian cricket will not agree with me and nor will the cricketers, but I don’t care, because I am in a huge majority of one!” Related Itemslast_img read more

Expat Voice: At Home in a Tribal Village

first_img“I and my friends arrived in Mumbai in the middle of the night and checked into our hotel. When I woke up and opened the window and saw the city, I felt like I was home, a feeling I never felt my whole life even while I was living with my parents,” says Isabelle Karan about her first visit to India in 2000.Isabelle, who belongs to Switzerland, made three trips to India before she decided to settle in the country. “The endless possibilities here, and my friends is something that always brought me back,” she reveals. Now, Isabelle has more local friends than expats. “The only time I socialize with my people is when I go back home to Switzerland,” she says.The 40-year-old former nurse lives at village Kuthwahi in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh with her husband Karan, who is from Mumbai. She talked to Little India about the transition from Switzerland to India, and from the country’s financial capital to a rural location.New Place, New Life I volunteered for an NGO for nine months in Mumbai during 2001 and when I returned to India in 2006, I met my husband, Karan Modi. We decided to move to the Kanha National Park a couple of years later, where we run an eco-lodge.Isabelle with her husband Karan Modi.Karan and I always wanted to live in a peaceful environment where we could be in sync with nature. That is when we thought about building an eco-lodge from scratch. We only have four cottages, because the more the people, the more supplies you need and it destroys the natural environment.Helping Tribal Women I started a social enterprise called Hathi, which teaches women how to stitch clothes, bed covers and bags. The products are sold at the lodge or on the website, with the sale proceeds going back to the community. We also help women with ways to maintain menstrual hygiene, and have come up with cotton sanitary napkins that can be reused over 6-7 months before they have to be disposed. When I started communicating with them, none of the women wanted to talk about menstrual hygiene. In fact, when I asked how many of them have periods, no one raised a hand.Building Trust and Relationship It is not easy to forge bonds with the locals here, since they come across many foreigners who come and meet them, but the relationships are short-lived. We had to form close ties with them because we are handicapped without them.I am like an illiterate for the people here, who does not know how to make my own fire, or build my own house.Over the years we have developed a great rapport in the community. We feel like a part of the village now.Home, Away From the World We knew we were going to be isolated from the rest of the world. We didn’t have access to the internet for some time, and were cut off from our friends and family. So the first few years were the hardest.It was easier for my husband because he could speak the language and knew a lot more than I did about the people. But I was linguistically, socially and culturally isolated for a couple of years before I learned the language and the way of living.The only time we go back to the city is during the off season when the lodge is closed. Sometimes I go back to Switzerland to meet my family and friends during that time.I love my life here and now I tell people, “I am going home” when I am coming back to Kanha.As soon as I wake up I can witness a beautiful sunrise, with lush green trees and birds chirping. At night when I sleep, I hear the jackals howling, and surprisingly now I don’t find it scary because we are accustomed to this life. There is nowhere on earth where I could find a place like this.The interview has been condensed and edited.Expat Voice is regular column on expats in India. Email us at expat@littleindia.com to nominate yourself or another expat for the column. Related ItemsExpats in IndiaForeigner in IndiaIsabelle Karan Madhya PradeshKanha tribalsLittle IndiaSwiss Kanhalast_img read more

Dishonor And Abandon

first_imgHarpreet Kaur of Gurdaspur married Manjit Singh on April 26, 2000. After staying with his bride for just two months, he left for California and never returned. He has since remarried and lives in the U.S. under a new name. Harpreet has been abandoned by her in-laws.Ravinder Kaur of Hathur in Ludhiana was married to Kulwant Singh Chehal and lived with him for just three months before he left for Singapore. She gave birth to a son and he returned once more, again impregnating her. Since then he has moved to Canada, and married a local woman. In 1995, he visited and absconded with the children. He had handed Ravinder an envelope, which was supposed to contain her travel documents. Inside were blank sheets of paper. Ravinder has not seen her sons for eight years.Harmesh Kaur from Amritsar, a lecturer at Guru Nanak National College in Hoshiarpur married Kamal Pradeep Singh, who taught at Khalsa College. After they had a child, Singh left for the United States as an illegal immigrant. For three years he did not contact her. Then he came up with a scheme for obtaining Canadian citizenship by marrying a Canadian citizen. He asked her for a false divorce, to enable him to acquire citizenship papers and then send for her. Harmesh happily gave him the divorce, only to find that it was a real divorce and she and her son have never heard from him again. These are three of hundreds of stories of abandoned brides reported in the Indian press in the past few years. For some Indians, the word NRI has become a four-letter word because it brought only grief to their families. Lying, cheating, false promises and escalating dowry demands are just some of the problems Indian brides have faced, not to mention quickie divorces, desertion and abduction of children. Indeed, many languish in their home villages, waiting for the call from America that never comes.Indeed, so titanic is the problem that its effects are being felt in Indian towns and villages too. The National Commission for Women (NCW) in New Delhi recently identified desertions of women by NRIs as one of the most serious gender issues in Punjab. It proposed a draft convention on custody of children and distribution of property from such failed marriages.“The necessity for the convention arises from the fact that NRI marriages are becoming more and more common. In Punjab, there is an NRI marriage in every third or fourth house,” according to NCW Chairperson Poornima Advani. The NCW estimates the number of women deserted by NRIs in Punjab alone at between 10,000 to 15,000 and recently recommended establishing a special cell for problems related to NRI marriages in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, and some Indian embassies have added welfare officers to assist Indian women caught up in bad marriages overseas.When things don’t work out in a cross-country marriage, the woman from India is especially vulnerable. She is in a new country, alone and dependent on her husband’s family, without any support system to fall back on.Marriage to an IT professional brought Roshini from New Delhi to New York. She was pursuing a degree in college, and her new husband had told her she could continue her studies in the U.S. “But when I came here, he suddenly changed,” recalls Roshini, whose name has been altered to protect her identity.“He started abusing me by name calling, pushing me around and not even letting me talk to my parents in India. He basically isolated me from everyone.”This man whom she was just getting to know was so violent that he could be sitting next to her and slap her for no reason, and even hit her with a slipper and threatened her with a hammer. One morning, as she slept, he came and kicked her on the back: “I was scared for my life and that’s when I called the police. I got an order of protection and then I contacted Sakhi.”Today Roshini is divorced, and thanks to Sakhi, has a good job and a new life. “Many abused immigrant women feel very isolated in the United States,” says Purvi Shah, director of Sakhi. “For women who have no other support system outside her abuser or abuser’s family, Sakhi becomes a vital bridge to the courts, the police, and other systems.”Nor is Roshini’s story unique – it’s occurring all over the United States and there are no less than 22 organizations working within the South Asian community to address these issues. Groups like Manavi in New Jersey, Apna Ghar in Chicago and Raksha in Atlanta have all seen the ugly underside of outsourced marriages. Says Dr. Shamita Das Dasgupta, co-founder of Manavi, “Obviously there is a need and all the organizations are totally swamped. Even then you know that it’s only the tip of the iceberg.”For those women who manage to make it to America, there’s no guarantee that they will live a life here. Dasgupta recalls a woman who went to India to visit family and was unable to return because her husband’s sister tore up her passport and visa while she was with her in-laws in India: “So it’s often a collusion between the abusive husband and his family who decide she can be just left there. A lot of the men are afraid of divorcing the women in America because laws here might give the women a lot of the properties in the settlement. Nor do they want to pay child support.“A lot of time these women are being tortured by their in-laws, many times they have no financial support. Whether it’s the greed for dowry or social pressures to marry, men have married these women and then abandoned them.”Nor is it just village women in this situation: well-educated, urban women are also finding themselves trapped. The Indian media have widely reported on women who after spending a few idyllic months with their new grooms in India, have never seen them again. They’ve been abused by in-laws and have had to face dowry demands. In many cases, their in-laws have thrown them out and the men have remarried abroad.NRIs are being seen as Non-Reliant Indians, and one finds asteady drumbeat of stories relating the anguish of “holiday wives” – women whom NRIs marry while visiting India, enjoy and then abandon. There is a lot of heartbreak with divorce decrees being sent in from foreign courts, Canadian or American wives turning up in the mix, and in some cases these women lose the only thing they have – their children. There have been cases of NRI husbands abducting their offspring, leaving the abandoned wives with absolutely nothing. Dasgupta has travelled frequently to India and has met with large numbers of abandoned women in the Punjab, Delhi, South India and in Calcutta. The U.S. State Department is attentive to the problem and Dasgupta was asked to conduct seminars at American Centers in three major Indian cities, which were attended by women’s NGOs as well as women who had been abandoned by their NRI husbands.While visiting Punjab, Dasgupta met many such women and their families. She particularly remembers the poignant case of Reetika, whose name has been changed to protect her identity. The girl is 10 years old and has never met her NRI father. Her mother was pregnant when the father left for the United States and they have never heard from him again. Says Dasgupta, “This girl has grown up with the mother and the grandfather, without any knowledge or sight of the father, without any support from him. She knows her father is somewhere in the world but he has never contacted her. For her, that’s her life, her reality.”America is a place for reinvention, of creating a new identity. Some NRI bridegrooms take it to the limit, padding their resumes and bank balances, creating a person that doesn’t exist. Often in the background are hidden girl friends or wives in America.According to a report by Indo-Asian News Service, the parents of Gurmeet Singh and Balwinder Singh, who are based in Chicago, advertised in Indian matrimonial columns seeking brides for their two NRI sons. They forgot to mention one small, inconvenient detail – the older son Gurmeet was already married! He had married Chandigarh resident Jasdeep Kaur on January 18, 1998. The two even had a child.In order to facilitate her migration to the U.S., Jasdeep alleges, the family arranged a fake court marriage with Balwinder, the younger brother who was a green card holder. While in the U.S. she was abused and tortured by her husband and his family, with dowry demands of Rs. 1 million. She returned to India in March 2001. After seeing the advertisement for brides for the two brothers in the newspapers, she petitioned the courts there and the two brothers have been restrained from marrying by the court. Her mother Baljit Kaur said they went to court so that other girls would not get cheated like their daughter.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Realty Check: Indians Invest Abroad as the World Comes to India

first_imgMore and more Indians are truly feeling at home abroad. Literally so. Indians were the biggest buyers, in terms of volumes and values, in Dubai last year, according to statistics released recently by the Dubai Land Department. Indians in the United States are also making huge investments in residential property in the country, figuring among the top investors in the sector. And while Indians are busy buying property abroad, overseas investments, primarily from the US, in Indian real estate have been on a surge too.Indians buying real estate in DubaiIndians were the leading foreign investors in Dubai in the first half of 2017, accounting for 25 per cent of all transactions in real estate, according to the DLD report. They bought the equivalent of Rs 208 billion worth of property across 6,263 investors, the Hindustan Times reported. Indians are followed by the Pakistanis, British, Chinese and Canadians.“The factors driving such interest are not hard to identify — $1 million (about Rs 6.3 crore) would get an investor a mere 1,000-sq-ft flat in Mumbai, while the same sum in Dubai will fetch you at least 50% more,” the publication quoted Anuj Puri, chairman of Anarock Property Consultants, as saying. Puri added that while Dubai is the most preferred destination, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are also emerging.Indian Investments in USIndians emerged as the fifth largest investors in real estate in the US during the 12-month period ending March 2017, buying residential property worth $7.8 billion. The deals were supported by mortgage finance, and the properties were mostly bought for use as primary residence or for use by a child studying in the US.Chinese nationals topped the list, buying residential property worth $31.7 billion in the same period, followed by the Canadians, British, Mexicans and Indians, according to the report, “2017- Profile of international activity in US residential real estate” released recently by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Between April 2015 and March 2016, Indians were at the third spot in the list of biggest buyers, with investments worth $6.1 billion. However, they slipped a couple of places down in 2016-17 due to a rise in investments from people of other nationalities.While most buyers from China, India, and Mexico were working and residing in the US, a majority of those from Canada and the UK were non-resident buyers, the report showed. Almost half of all foreign sales were in Florida, California and Texas, followed by New Jersey and Arizona. Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia and New York were the top locations. Foreign buyers purchased $153 billion of residential property in the US between April 2016 and March 2017, registering a 49 per cent surge over the figure of $102.6 billion recorded during the corresponding previous period. Foreign buyers purchased 2.84 lakh residential properties in the country in April 2016-March 2017, as against 2.14 lakh properties sold in the earlier corresponding period, marking a rise of 32 per cent.Overseas Investments in IndiaMeanwhile, overseas investments in real estate in India rose by a whopping 137 per cent, from $3.2 billion during 2011-13 to $7.6 billion during 2014-16.The United States accounted for over 40 per cent of the investments and made the largest share of foreign investors. Canada (18 per cent) and Singapore (17 per cent) figured next, according to Knight Frank’s Active Capital report, a global property analysis of capital flow patterns across world markets.Mumbai emerged as the most favourite destination for foreign investments in 2016, attracting 39 per cent of capital flow in India, while Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi received 11 per cent, 10 per cent and 4 per cent of capital flow, respectively.Foreign investors were largely drawn to office spaces and retail sectors, and the two segments together accounted for 72 per cent of the investments. By 2018, over 30 per cent of the total global real estate transactions in India will be cross-border, the consultancy firm’s report showed. Related Itemslast_img read more

Delhi Court Directs Woman to Return to America for Child Custody Battle

first_imgThe Delhi High Court has asked an India-born woman from the United States to go back to America with her daughter to fight her child’s custody battle. The court said that the case should be left to the jurisdiction of American courts.The court’s direction came in response to a plea been filed by the father of the child, who is nearly four years old. The United States-based father is seeking the custody of the child. The plea was filed in pursuance to an order passed by the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, in January this year.The bench of justices comprising Vipin Sanghi and Deepa Sharma imposed conditions, saying that the man should bear the expenses of the child and his estranged wife during their initial stay in Chicago. He would also need to provide them reasonable accommodation and a car for their convenience.In its order, the high court noted that the child should be in her natural environment, go back to school, and should receive the love and care of her father and grandparents who stay in Chicago. The court added that it is in the interest of the child to be among her peers and teachers.“Just because the woman has found a safe haven in India – where her parents live, she could not have left the U.S. permanently with their child, without caring for the best interest of the child and tearing her away from her father and paternal grandparents, with whom she had spent her initial life,” the bench said.The court also said that since Chicago was where the couple worked, the woman cannot escape the reality and run to her comfort zone in India, especially at the cost of her child. “The woman should return to Chicago to fight her battles on that turf, so that the child can be with both her parents. The woman is not alone, and carries with her the responsibility of bringing up the child jointly with her father. It would have been a different matter if the couple had not had a child,” it said.The court added that the woman was aware of the systems prevalent in that country, and adjusting in that environment would not be a problem. It directed her to return to the United States with the minor. The court also said that the lack of love, care and attention from parents can have psychological and emotional impacts on the child, especially at a tender age.The wife had earlier filed a suit seeking to dissolve the marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act on the grounds of cruelty and had said that the husband tried to establish physical relations forcibly. The man had approached the U.S. court, which granted him interim sole custody of the child and ordered that the child be returned to the father.The couple, along with the child, had come for a vacation to India in December last year, and just when they were supposed to return to Chicago in January, the wife and the child went missing, the man informed the court. As his tickets were pre-booked, he had to go back to Chicago. Related ItemsChild CustodyDelhi High CourtMarital Disputelast_img read more

Sikh MP Warns International Students of Deportation After Brampton Brawl Video Becomes Viral

first_imgSikh Canadian MP Raj Grewal took to the social media to warn international students after receiving many phone calls about a viral video showing a large group of men attacking each other with large sticks in a parking lot of a commercial plaza in Brampton on Dec.10. Three Indian-origin men have been arrested by the police on Dec. 15 in connection with the incident where a man was injured.Grewal posted a video on Facebook where he said that those causing violence need to be dealt with legally.“We’ve been receiving many phone calls and emails on the video that recently went viral and we are taking this very seriously. We would like to remind all international students that studying in Canada is a privilege. Anyone who is charged and convicted should know that their immigration status will be reviewed and deportation is a potential end result. Should community members have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to call or email our office,” Grewal said on Thursday.Peel Regional Police said that they were called to the plaza at Steeles Avenue West and McLaughlin Road in Brampton after a fight broke out between two large groups. Most of the men had dispersed by the time the police arrived, and they found a 19-year-old man at the spot suffering from minor injuries. He was treated at a local hospital. The attackers used sticks to hit the injured.In the video, that has been viewed by more that seven thousand people till now, almost 25 men can be seen arguing and attacking each other with sticks. The plaza is located opposite Sheridan College’s Davis Campus.After investigation, the police identified three suspects, Gurpreet Singh, 20, Karanbir Singh, 22 and Harbir Singh, 22. All three of them are from Brampton. They were arrested on one count of Assault causing bodily harm.The incident that took place in a parking lot was videographed and posted online.All three accused are due to appear at Ontario Court of Justice, Barmpton, on Jan.17, 2018.“This incident had caused a great deal of concern and attention in the community. Peel Regional Police want to ensure the public that these types of incidents will be investigated thoroughly as public safety is our top priority,” said Inspector Raj Biring, Officer in Charge of the 22 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau, reported CINEWS.The police have appealed to those with any information about the incident to come forward. Related Itemscanada punjabi youthpunjabi youth fight 2017punjabi youth fight bramptonraj grewal mplast_img read more

Essel Group Proposes Multi-billion Pound Indian Cultural Center in London

first_imgMumbai-based Essel Group is planning a major investment in east London to create a world-class visitor attraction, hotel and leisure complex which would celebrate India’s culture and history, PTI reported.Led by media baron Subhash Chandra, the group plans to revamp an entire 62-acre brownfield site in east London’s Royal Docks area, which is known as Silvertown Quays. The proposal for the purchase of the land from its current developers — Silvertown Partnership — has been submitted with the Greater London Authority (GLA). The silvertown partnership is a group that comprises Chelsfield Properties, First Base and Macquarie Capital.“London remains the beating heart of Europe, and the Essel Group is committed to making a huge investment into London to complete the transformation of this part of the city, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly development that meets the requirements of the current planning permission and ensuring this project moves quickly,” Parul Goel, a spokesperson for the company, was quoted as saying by the news agency.“With Brexit looming, this kind of investment into the UK represents a massive coup for the GLA and the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. The cultural center will be like no other in the world, and we aim to put this part of London back on the map,” Goel added.The Essel Group and HPW Architects released futuristic computer-generated images this week, which show the multi-billion-pound cultural center as the heart of the Silvertown project.According to the architects, the center will provide a “cultural landmark” for the city, which will “defy traditional tall build typologies” and transform the London skyline. It would include museums, theater, retail outlets, restaurants, botanical garden and a luxury hotel. It will also have museums, art galleries and interactive experiences for visitors that will talk of origins of the Indus Valley and other civilizations to the modern day world.The project has potential to deliver 5,000 jobs in the east end of London, the statement said.The center will also host meditation, yoga, dance, spa and wedding events. A conference center, exhibition facilities and a global news and world class TV production studio has also been proposed.The purchase also includes a 20th century former flour mill — Millenium Mills. The redevelopment, which is expected to create over  3,000 homes, will transform the industry area in Newham between Canary wharf and London city.The plan is a long-nursed ambition of the chairman to create an educational cultural destination that will showcase the impact and influence of ancient civilizations over 6,000 years, the statement added.“Dr Chandra is recognized as an ambassador of Indian culture to the rest of the world. His vision is that the basic DNA of the center will be based the idea that the world is one family. People from different beliefs, religions, countries and regions will be able to use its free and fair environment to hold discussions and arrive at possible solutions to current conflicts,” Goel added.If Essel Group’s plans are approved by GLA, the cultural center would be opened by 2023. Related ItemsEssel GroupLondonSubhash Chandralast_img read more

Adarsh scam: Vilasrao Deshmukh bent rules for ex-army chiefs

first_imgThe Adarsh Housing society in Mumbai.Union rural development minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has made the sensational disclosure that he had bent rules to give memberships to former army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N. C. Vij in Mumbai’s controversial Adarsh housing society.In a 15-page affidavit filed before the two-member inquiry panel headed by retired Bombay High Court judge J. A. Patil, Deshmukh said, “I approved the proposal to relax the domicile norms/conditions in case of Generals Vij and Kapoor. This decision was fully justified and fitting, considering their eminence and their distinguished service to the nation.”Bending the rules enabled the two generals to get membership of the society and qualified them for a flat in the housing complex.Deshmukh, who is a former Maharashtra chief minister, had also held the urban development portfolio in the state cabinet.He had earlier been quoted as saying that he had only played a peripheral role in the Adarsh allotments.His admission before the Justice Patil commission on favouring Gen Kapoor and Gen Vij could prove tricky for the UPA which had probably felt that the Adarsh scam would not return to haunt them after Ashok Chavan was made the fall guy and asked to resign as chief minister.The CBI too was asked to probe the housing scam as the scam erupted.The Patil commission was set up to probe irregularities in Adarsh housing society. Last year, the media reported violations of building and environment rules which were overlooked by the Congress-led government in Maharashtra to allow the construction of the high-rise Adarsh society complex in the city’s Colaba area.advertisementIn his affidavit, Deshmukh acknowledged that he did not entertain any other request for membership to get a flat in the Adarsh complex. The matter relating to Gen Kapoor and Gen Vij was “approved as a special case” and would not be treated as a precedent, the former chief minister said in the affidavit.Click here to EnlargeDeshmukh justified his decision to relax the society’s membership rules for the two generals because they had served in the state for a “considerable period of time”. While Gen Vij had served in Maharashtra for 10 years, Gen Kapoor’s stint lasted for seven years, he said.However, legal luminaries have asked whether armed forces personnel stationed in a command posting can be described as those ‘serving in a state’ for domicile purposes since they are sent to all parts of the country, depending on the unit they have joined.Deshmukh’s affidavit does not clarify this point.The Union minister’s affidavit also states that the Adarsh society land belonged to the Maharashtra government and was never reserved for defence personnel or Kargil war heroes.”The records maintained with the office of the Collector of Mumbai clearly show that the land belonged to the state government and the ownership of the land was never an issue at any stage so far as I am concerned,” he told the commission.The Adarsh society land was not reserved for housing defence personnel or Kargil war heroes either under the development plan for Greater Mumbai or under any of the policies of the state government, the union minister added. However, he claimed, the land was in the Army’s possession.Click here to EnlargeIn presenting the affidavit, Deshmukh appeared to be abdicating his supervisory responsibility by blaming the state machinery for decisions taken on the controversial Adarsh society during his tenure as Maharashtra chief minister.The affidavit begins with a long explanation on the functioning of the state government machinery and how a chief minister takes decisions.For instance, it says that the files put up before the chief minister sets out the clear views or opinion formed by the administration on a proposal.The chief minister is not required to personally scrutinise or cross verify every fact stated in the proposal.In the past chief ministers have been hauled up by the Supreme Court for their supervisory lapses on construction projects.Deshmukh also denied that the state’s revenue department was asked to put up a proposal for allotment of land to Adarsh society at the insistence of the then Shiv Sena MLC Kanaihyalal Gidwani.This was one of the several charges activist Santosh Daundkar had made in an affidavit before the inquiry Commission.”The suggestion that I ordered the allotment of land to Adarsh in an irregular and/ or improper manner to favour Gidwani is fully mischievous,” he stated, but said that he might have met Gidwani during his tenure.advertisementIt has been alleged that Deshmukh approved a proposal to grant additional floor space index (FSI) to Adarsh by taking over adjacent land reserved for BEST depot and converting it to residential type.However, the union minister defended his decision by saying that the decision to change the land use of a plot reserved for BEST to residential was just and in accordance with law. The notification was done in 2006.The due process of law was followed and it was done in public interest, he said. BEST’s interest was also protected and there was no loss to the government exchequer as Adarsh society paid Rs 6.40 crore for acquiring the rights of the plot, he said. BEST never opposed his government’s decision, Deshmukh claimed.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

Aparna Sen receives national film award for best direction for 36 Chowringhee Lane

first_imgDeepti Divaker: Multi-dimensionalAll Bombay models have stars in their eyes – film stars, that is. But few get there and fewer still have the kind of vital statistics that Deepti Divaker, 22, flaunts. For starters, a 35-24-35 figure that, coupled with unusual poise and confidence, earned her the Miss India,Deepti Divaker: Multi-dimensionalAll Bombay models have stars in their eyes – film stars, that is. But few get there and fewer still have the kind of vital statistics that Deepti Divaker, 22, flaunts. For starters, a 35-24-35 figure that, coupled with unusual poise and confidence, earned her the Miss India title in last year’s Femina contest. That isn’t all. Under that elegantly-upholstered exterior is a rare hybrid: painter, writer, classical dancer, architect and fashion model, all struggling to get out at the same time. Just back from Britain and an unsuccessful bid for the Miss World title, Divaker is currently back at her drawing board in Bangalore where she is studying architecture. But not for long. Her first priority is to recover the money she spent for her London trip. “I spent Rs 12,000 on that trip from my own pocket. Femina only paid for my return ticket,” she drawls, “I’m determined to recover the money from dancing, modelling, and acting.” Next stop: Bombay, where she intends to take the film industry by hurricane. And then: the world. “I want to be multidimensional,” she insists, “I want to try my hand at everything. What I want while I’m still young is fame, lots of it, and money too.” That figures.(from left)Aparna Sen; Om Puri in Arohan and Rekha in Umrao Jaan: Winning performancesWith two big guns of the Bombay film industry on the jury that decided the 29th national film awards last fortnight, there were rumours that the commercial entertainer might achieve respectability by winning a laurel. However, grand old actor Ashok Kumar, chairman of the feature film jury – his other Bombay colleague was producer-director B.R. Chopra – had other, and better ideas and the Swaran Kamal for the best feature went to Dakhal, the creation of young Bengali director Gautam Ghose. The other awards are less of a surprise. Aparna Sen received the prize for best direction for the film 36 Chowringhee Lane. Om Puri, the exploited peasant of Shyam Bengal’s Arohan, was best actor – he plays a similar exploited peasant in Satyajit Ray’s Sadgali, which got a special jury award, best actress was Rekha, the poetic courtesan of Umrao Jaan. In fact, Muzaffar All’s period piece, set in ceremonious Lucknow, walked away with four awards – best actress, best playback singer (Asha Bhonsle), best music director (Khayyam) and best art direction.R. Gundu Rao: Donkey dropsHeat does strange things to people. With the mercury rising above 36 degrees in Bangalore, Karnataka Chief Minister R. Gundu Rao took cricket bat in hand and led a motley team of legislators, ministers and close friends – including bosom buddy F.M. Khan – out on to the field to confront the High Court chief justice’s eleven. Decked out in sharply creased flannels. his belly squeezed behind a striking sports/shirt, Rao turned his arm over for a few donkey drops before wilting away and letting his team-mates take over. At the other end, Chief Justice D. Chandrashekhar made two runs before he, too, strolled back to the cool of the pavilion. State Finance Minister Veerappa Moily and Khan did their duty valiantly after their master left, but even so the chief justice’s men managed to score 144 runs. In reply, after much huffing and puffing, Rao’s team could score only 129 – which is probably his government’s best performance.advertisementlast_img read more

Age, Previous Mistakes Not Barriers: Charlotte Flair’s Message to Women

first_imgNew Delhi: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Charlotte Flair said that women should not let anything hold them back from achieving whatever it is that they wish for. The ten-time women’s champion was in India recently, visiting the cities of Mumbai and Bengaluru.The daughter of the legendary Ric Flair, Charlotte has gone on to mint her own legacy in the WWE. “While I wanted to honour my father’s legacy, I have successfully made a place for myself in a male dominated industry,” she told IANS. “I proved to the world that if you set out to achieve something and put every second, minute and hour of your life working towards it, you can achieve anything you want. I used to be extremely afraid of my shadow seven years ago, but now I am the face of a huge brand like WWE. “As for my message to other women, if they find something, they are extremely passionate towards, age and previous mistakes they may have made in their lives are not barriers for what they can achieve now. Everyone must try and find something that helps them stay true to who they are, and they must make every opportunity count.”Flair was part of Wrestlemania 35 in April, in which the WWE staged an all-female main event for the first time ever. When asked when she thinks such an event may occur again, Flair said she hoped in the very next Wrestlemania itself that is scheduled to be held in Tampa, Florida in April 2020. Charlotte FlairwweWWE Superstar First Published: November 25, 2019, 11:14 PM IST Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.last_img read more

Will Brexit hurt English Football?

first_imgThe British people have chosen, in the face of all expert advice, to leave the European Union. It is going to take some time, years even, for the British to extricate themselves from the EU entirely, to retain ‘control’ over immigration. But it’s an extraordinary result, a day on which ordinary people asserted their right to defy authority and vote for what they wanted rather than for what their leaders told them they should want.MAJOR EFFECT ON ENGLISH FOOTBALL In the lull before the second round of Euro 2016 begins, the competition proper if you like, when defeat means going home, Britain has made a choice that will have a major effect on English football. I say England because it is the English Premier League that is awash with imports. Less than 35 percent of the players who are regular starters for England’s top 20 club sides are English. For the national team this has meant a smaller pool of players to pick from but a pool that has survived the rigours of what is the world’s most cosmopolitan league.OPPORTUNITIES LIMITED FOR THE ENGLISH John Barnes, a Jamaican-born footballer who played 79 games for England, recently said that leaving the EU would be good for the English national team. This was misconstrued as support for the exit campaign. Barnes supported the remain campaign; he was making the commonsense point that English footballers, and by extension the national team, were hard done by in a Premier League in which opportunities were limited. European imports are generally cheaper and provide better value. Under rules that affect non-EU players, several outstanding footballers, West Ham’s Dimitri Payet for instance, wouldn’t be eligible to play for their clubs. Will it make the Premier League less of a spectacle?advertisementThe fact is that the Premier League has long been ahead of other European leagues in international popularity regardless of quality. In the late-80s and early 90s, Italy’s Serie A had better teams and better players than the English first division which became the Premier League in 1992. Nowadays, Spain has the best top division in European football, its clubs dominant in European competition. If the Premier League has more players in Euro 2016 than any other league, it’s also true that the very best players in Europe play elsewhere.The best players in the world have for a long time preferred to ply their trade in Spain and Italy. It didn’t stop English clubs doing well in Europe in the late 1970s up to mid-1980s, when English clubs were banned from European competition for five years after a wall collapsed killing 39 Juventus fans before the 1985 European Cup final against Liverpool.PREMIER LEAGUE POPULARITY English football is popular because of its culture — its packed, singing crowds; its helter-skelter football; the pervasiveness of the English language. A complicated mix of colonial history and shrewd marketing means that fans in India, Thailand and Singapore, for instance, are more likely to know something about Everton than about Sevilla or Borussia Moenchengladbach or Lazio. The world’s best clubs, the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, AC Milan, and Internazionale, will always have an audience. But more people around the world are likely to watch a midtable Premier League match than its equivalent in other leagues.BETTER NATIONAL TEAM? Barnes is right that English footballers will have more opportunity in a Premier League that is less able to cast their net around Europe for cheap footballers. The best players, those who play regularly for their national teams, will still be eligible to play in England but the discoveries, the mediocre, and stars on the wane will find it harder to secure a well-paid place in a Premier League squad.Will more English players in the Premier League mean a better national team? England has had a tradition of not being able to meld brilliant players at club level — John Barnes, for example — into an all-conquering national team. In the EU or out, this is unlikely to change. What is an unarguable good is that English clubs will no longer be able to prey on young talent from other leagues. It may not be good for Arsenal that they miss out on an outstanding Spanish 16-year-old but it will be good for English 16-year-olds and it will be good for smaller Spanish clubs. Talent should be spread around more teams.European football has been twisted into a shape that benefits a cartel. If an increased insularity in English football means an opportunity for clubs in Holland and Portugal, say, that is a good thing. Ordinary English fans, the kind who go to matches rather than watch them from their armchairs, might also welcome teams with more English players. Insularity is part of the character of football; English football should be centred around English players and English crowds. And on those grounds alone English players and many English fans will welcome Brexit.advertisementlast_img read more

Dominance from PAOK

first_imgPAOK displayed WONDERFUL football against Panetolikos in their opening match in this year’s SuperLeague. Despite the “close” 2-1 victory, the Dikefalos tou Vora dominated the game, missing numerous opportunities to score and increase their lead. Biseswar and Rodrigues were the scorers for PAOK with Warda netting a late goal for the visitors. PAOK got off to a tremendous start against Panetolikos in their SuperLeague opener with Biseswar finding the back of the net in the 2nd minute. A poor clearance from Mygas set up Biseswar at the top of the penalty area who made no mistake to give PAOK the 1-0 lead. The goal opened up the game for PAOK who created chance after chance and the second goal came in the 27th minute. A clever back heel from Athanasiadis setup Rodrigues in front of Kyriakidis to double PAOK’s lead. Panetolikos failed to create a good opportunity and PAOK came close to a third but Athanasiadis’ header was denied by the woodwork.After a nearly perfect first half from the hosts, PAOK continued their pressure in the second 45 minutes. Biseswar failed to find the back of the net on two GREAT one-on-one opportunities (51st and 58th minute) before Panetolikos created a chance of their own in the 65th minute. Pereyra could not to put the game away in front of an open goal and in the 81st minute his free-kick was stopped by the crossbar. The ball “punished” PAOK for their multiple chances and one mistake from Varela put Panetolikos back into the game with a stoppage time goal. Despite the late score, PAOK held onto their victory and began their season on a very positive note.With the win, PAOK now sits with zero points (began the season with -3) in the SuperLeague standings. They will play midweek at home to Fiorentina in the Europa League before traveling to Tripoli to play Asteras. Panetolikos will host PAS Giannina in Matchday 4. Source: AGONAsport.com (Facebook – Instagram)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Artificial sweeteners toxic for gut microbes: Study

first_imgJerusalem, Oct 2 (PTI) Artificial sweeteners and sport supplements may be toxic to digestive gut microbes, a study warns.The study, published in the journal Molecules, indicated relative toxicity of six artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k) and 10 sport supplements containing these artificial sweeteners.The bacteria found in the digestive system became toxic when exposed to concentrations of only one milligramme/millilitre of the artificial sweeteners.”We modified bioluminescent E coli bacteria, which luminesce when they detect toxicants and act as a sensing model representative of the complex microbial system,” said Ariel Kushmaro of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel. “This is further evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners adversely affects gut microbial activity which can cause a wide range of health issues,” said Kushmaro.Artificial sweeteners are used in countless food products and soft drinks with reduced sugar content. Many people consume this added ingredient without their knowledge. Moreover, artificial sweeteners have been identified as emerging environmental pollutants, and can be found in drinking and surface water, and groundwater aquifers.”The results of this study might help in understanding the relative toxicity of artificial sweeteners and the potential of negative effects on the gut microbial community as well as the environment,” said Kushmaro.The tested bioluminescent bacterial panel can potentially be used for detecting artificial sweeteners in the environment,” he said. PTI MHNMHNlast_img read more