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Number of NRI Voters Sees Two-Fold Jump in 3 Years

first_imgThe number of Non-Resident Indians registering themselves as overseas electors saw a two-fold jump in the last three years, according to data from the Election Commission. However, the figure remains too low in comparison to the total number of people entitled to cast their vote.The total number of overseas electors is 24,348, Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary said on Dec.15 in a statement during the ongoing winter session of parliament. These include 22,428 men and 1,920 women. Despite having a column for transgenders in the form, no one has registered in the category. Out of 24,348 overseas voters, as many as 23,556 people are from Kerala while 37 persons are from Delhi.There were 1,003,7761 NRIs in May 2012, the report of the multi-agency committee that was exploring the feasibility of alternative options for voting by overseas electors, showed, PTI reported. Only 11,846 people were registered as overseas electors, the committee said, quoting the electoral roll data of 2014. Of these, 11,140 are registered as men while only 706 are women.The government tabled a bill in the Lok Sabha on Dec. 18 in an effort to enable overseas Indians to exercise their right to vote through proxy.Until now, overseas citizens with an Indian passport are eligible to vote only if they are physically present in the constituency they are registered in. This requires them to register themselves and then come to India so as to be present on the day of the election.However, according to the provisions of ‘Representation of the People Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ introduced by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, those overseas Indians who are entitled to vote in India, can now appoint a proxy voter to cast their franchise on their behalf.The bill says the necessary provision of coming to India to cast ballot caused “hardship” to overseas electors.The draft law that has been introduced in India seeks to make the election law gender neutral. This will be done by replacing the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’ to benefit service voters.In August this year, the Union government approved changes to electoral laws to allow Non- Resident Indians to vote in Assembly and Lok Sabha election from overseas.The proposal to let NRIs vote was taken up seriously by the Election Commission in 2014 when it received several requests in this regard — most prominently from the Ministry of Overseas Affairs. Related ItemsElectionsproxy votinglast_img read more

Undocumented Immigrants Could Get Driving License in New York

first_imgOne of the hurdles faced by undocumented immigrants in the United States is no access to a driver’s license. However, that could change in New York soon. Rights groups holding a peaceful protest at the Capitol on April 18 pushed for the legislation–the Driver License Access and Privacy Act–allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license.“This is not the first time that a proposal has come forward extending driver’s licenses to more New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, who is the sponsor of the bill, reported Democrat and Chronicle. “This is a better version. This is the right time, and this is the right thing to do for the state of New York for a number of reasons,” Crespo added.Currently, 12 states and Washington DC allow illegal aliens to hold a driver’s license. The current bill in New York is almost a decade old and was brought to the state legislature again. If the bill is passed it would ensure that undocumented immigrants using their passport issued in a different country as an identification could get a driver’s license. They would also have to sign an affidavit. The bill is currently with the committee on transportation and was brought before the state assembly in January last year.The bill “restricts what information can be retained and given out on those applying or holding standard drivers’ licenses,” according to the official document. By restricting giving out information about those who have driver’s licenses, the transport department would not have to report the undocumented immigrants to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.Legalizing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants would add $57 million in annual state and county revenues, according to the New York Immigration Coalition, an advocacy group. The money would be added through registration fees, sales taxes and gas taxes, as per the report.In 2007, the then Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York had issued an executive order allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses by showing a foreign passport as identification. But the order was met with a roadblock and was shelved finally.Critics, however, said that giving a license to immigrants will give them a back door to immigration. While Assembly members said it was a basic facility, according to News10. “Literally just trying to do what’s right. Go to church, go to the doctor, go to school, go to work. People are denying them that access,” Assemblywoman Crystal D Peoples-Stokes said.According to Fiscal Policy Institute, 265,000 immigrants would get licenses if the law is signed. That estimate includes 500 licenses in Binghamton, 1000 in Utica, 2500 in Buffalo and 3000 in Rochester, the report said.“The Assembly has been supportive of integrating people to become members of our communities,” said Michael Whyland, Communications Director for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Related ItemsDriver’s LicenseUnited Stateslast_img read more

Saris For Fun

first_imgIn a decided shift from its graceful, elegant image, the sari is now fun, providing enough length in its 6 yards for the wearer and designer to experiment freely.  The sari is changing. Not content with the yardsful of unending material it is assuming new forms. Not limiting to zari or kaseeda in its embellishments, it is experimenting with texturisations. Not satisfied with the state-wise draping styles, it is reinventing new ones, crossing frontiers. And not just happy being draped around ammas it is eyeing nubile daughters.While the unstitched garment represents a tradition – you can call it Sita Maiya’s legacy and Draupadi’s pride – it also is an evolving outfit. Once a symbol of grace, it is also becoming known for the freedom of interpretation that it offers, both to the wearer and the designer.Designer Wendell Rodricks commented, “Unlike many heritage outfits, the sari has not become a costume. It is still a part of a tradition of liveable clothes. In India the wearer knows that the sari is the best for her.”Not surprisingly, then most designers from JJ Valaya to Tarun Tahiliani and Sabyasachi choose to include the sari in their collections every year.It all started in the 80’s when designer Zandra Rhodes did unspeakable things with the sari, trimming it with crinoline, adding Victorian hoops to it and draping it this way or that.Today, Satya Paul’s limited edition trouser sari is a rage, Wendell Rodricks has moved on from the lungi, bondage and sarong saris to mermaid cut pleated sari-skirts, Anjana Bhargav is using denim highlights on georgettes. DrapeWhile ammas may be happy with kanjivarams and benarasis, the beti-brigade cab undoubtedly experiment with the latest versions of India’s oldest garment to create their own sari chic.The one to really revolutionise drapes and bring them to ramps and baraats alike is Shaina NC. NC has styled 17 ways of draping the saree, one even involving two sarees worn together. A ghaghara saree (pleats spaced out towards the end of one hip and the pallu is worn like a dupatta) is ideal for slim waistlines. A double drape has two contrast saris: one worn like a regular sari but with the pallu on the left side in front and the other pleated at the side with the pallu in front.Another double drape style has it draped on one side conventionally and the other pleated on the left with the pallu pleated on the right shoulder. She recommends the lungi saree for voluptuous apple shaped figures and a Western saree to be worn with pants (the sari worn like a khada dupatta with the pallu around the neck).Amongst the traditional Indian drapes it became fashionable to wear the Bangla style sari soon after Devdas.But the one best suited for those with a figure that deserves showing is the Maharashtrian Nivi style with the free end of the front pleats drawn between the legs and tucked into the back. This style has the distinction of being the oldest sari style depicted on a Shurga terracotta piece.The palla could be left hanging on the side.Sometimes, it is wrapped around the neck like a dupatta. The pleats also don’t have to be in the front. They can go on the side while a pleated palla drops in the front, giving the look of a skirt. While Rhodes versions were fit for the ramp, Indian designers took it up from there to create wearable pre-stitched saris. James Fereira added pleated insets to the split palla. Hemant Trivedi put Aishwarya Rai in a pre-stitched sari for the Miss World contest.The idea is simple: Take a sari, choose a skirt style, stitch it folded the right way, add a zipper, leave the top free to be draped over the shoulders and you have a garment which combines the ease of a skirt with the fluid grace of the sari. CutsNow fashion shows exhibit various versions of the pre-stitched garment. In some the pleats were stitched with crystals for effect, in others the skirt was fitted over the knees in the classic mermaid style with the pallu stitched on.In his earlier collections designer Satya Paul has used the palla as a drape or a cape or to double up as a blouse. Anamika Khanna twisted the palla into a rope like effect and clasped it at the shoulder with a piece of embroidery. Niki Mahajan gave her sari-skirt a panelled look which is form-hugging.  The sari has moved far away from only Indian embroidery and prints. At the grand finale of LIFW ’03 one of the highlights was the sari Wendell Rodricks showed. In plain classic white, the sari was embellished with surface terxturisations.While the skirt was iron-pleated, the palla had pin tucks in asymmetric lines. Tarun Tahiliani chose to embellish his frothy chiffon creations with coloured feathers on the palla edging. JJ Valaya added faux fur trimming to the sari and married it to Mexican faux leather fringes.Crushed, ruched pallas, Swarovski set against jigsaw prints in different tones were also seen.Malini Ramani showed shaded diva saris with prints as varied as Moghul vases, maps of India and the Indian paisley motif. Net ruffles made an appearance on the edges giving the sari a dress-like flounce.“It was just a way of having fun,” says designer Puneet Nanda of Satya Paul when asked about branding on the sari hitherto seen primarily on Tshirts. EmbellishmentsWhich one of your dad’s films is your favorite?It would be Mera Gaon Mera Desh. It had emotions that were so real. Dad was amazing in it. I would love to do his role in a remake if I could! I think dad also has an amazing sense of comedy as you saw in Chupke Chupke, and pathos as you saw in Satya kam. I said earlier he is one actor who could do any kind of roles, and he never got his due.People couldn’t see beyond his dazzling looks and physique. But he really didn’t care, because that lack of recognition by the film industry was more than compensated by the adoration and love of millions of fans worldwide.You should have seen the people when he came for the stage shows in Vancouver – people went crazy, removed their turbans and hats to honor him and gave him a standing ovation. I couldn’t care less if I didn’t go down in the annals of film history as the greatest actor alive. If there is anything that I want, its that kind of love from the masses.  Related Itemslast_img read more

Key Indian Sites

first_imgA comprehensive inventory of vital global sites the U.S. deems “critical infrastructure and key resources” disclosed by WikiLeaks includes chromite mines in Orissa and Karnataka and a pharmaceutical company in Gujarat, Generamedix, which manufactures chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients. The sites listed in a cable, dated Feb. 18, 2009, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to U.S. diplomatic outposts abroad, requested diplomats for “compilation and annual update of a of critical infrastructure and key resources that are located outside U.S. borders and whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the U.S.”It explained that under the U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 “critical infrastructure” was defined as systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, “so vital to the U.S. [that] the incapacitation or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact” on U.S. national security.The Indian sites are among the targets of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).   Related Itemslast_img read more

Gold Plated Illusions

first_imgIn keeping with ritual every four years, India’s abysmal performance at the just concluded Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero has led to much hand wringing across the country. Indian athletes won just two medals — one silver and one bronze — and the world’s second most populated country ranked a dismal 67 on the global tally. The number of medals India won dropped by two thirds and the country slipped 12 ranks from the last Olympic Games in London.For all the national uproar, India’s Rio record is par for the course. In the 23 Olympics in which the country has participated since 1920, it has won a total of just 28 medals — averaging roughly one medal per Game.Nevertheless, Indians demonstrate Olympic-sized touchiness on the subject. Author Shoba De was roundly denounced after she mocked the Indian team’s record on Twitter, writing, “Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. (Go to Rio. Take Selfies. Return empty handed) What a waste of money and opportunity.”In response to the national humiliation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established a task force to develop a comprehensive action plan for “effective participation” by the country in the Olympic Games in 2020, 2024 and 2028.The national obsession with India’s performance in the Olympics is misdirected. The country’s energies and resources are better channeled toward far greater priorities — alleviating poverty, expanding sanitation services, building infrastructure, etc.To be sure, the country should encourage sports and expand opportunities for its best athletes, and hopefully some of them will become Olympic stars. But directing scarce national resources to winning international medals is a singularly foolhardy indulgence.The Olympics, like all global sports, are a commercial sham. The Games have historically advantaged Western sports and ignored indigenous ones. Rugby and handball make the sports list, but kabaddi and gulli danda don’t. Field hockey, in which India once dominated, has been transformed with a shift to turf, which Indians, unlike their Western counterparts, have a hard time accessing. Crass commercialization of sports has fostered a culture and economics of celebrity, which entirely bypasses developing countries and offers unfair advantages to athletes from rich countries, who are able to leverage their technological and resource advantages.The national focus ought to be not on international performance, but on ensuring the effective utilization of the scarce resources that are directed at sports. Pruning the sports bureaucracy would be a good start. At the Rio Olympics, millions of dollars were squandered on officials and babus with little understanding of sports, who partied at national expense.Indeed, far more embarrassing than the performance of athletes, was the threat by Olympic organizers to revoke the accreditation and access privileges of India’s sports minister Vijay Goel and his entourage for muscling into unaccredited areas and their boorish conduct. Sarah Peterson, Continental Manager for Rio 2016 Organizing Committee wrote: “We have had multiple reports of your Minister for Sports trying to enter accredited areas at venues with unaccredited individuals. When the staff try to explain that this is not allowed, they report that the people with the Minister have become aggressive and rude and sometimes push past our staff.”These are the very people who are now being tasked with strategizing and scripting India’s gold plated illusions for the next decade. Related Itemslast_img read more

Tamils Protest Outside Vedanta Chief’s London Home Over Tamil Nadu Copper Plant

first_imgIn solidarity with the protesters who came out in Tuticorin to protest against UK-based company Sterlite Industries’ plans to expand in the town in Tamil Nadu, a sizable number of British Tamilians also took out a demonstration outside Vedanta Group chief Anil Agarwal’s home in London on the same day.Sterlite is a subsidiary of Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources. The company has begun the construction of a new copper smelter plant on the outskirts of Tuticorin. The existing smelter plant has caused water, soil and air pollution since it was set up in year 1996, according to local residents of the area. The subsequent pollution has caused respiratory and skin problems, especially among children.The protest protest in London was organised on March 24 by Foil Vedanta, an independent grassroots solidarity organization, alongside Tamil People in UK and Parai – Voice of Freedom, a UK based passive resistance movement.“The copper smelter has continued to operate without various permissions, and pollute without remorse, causing a detrimental effect to local health and livelihoods. It is time the British government stopped supporting Sterlite and de-listed Vedanta from the London Stock Exchange,” Miriam Rose from Foil Vedanta, one of the organizers of the protest in London on March 24, was quoted as saying by PTI.“Why is the company, which has one of the worst human rights records, one of the worst environmental records has 58% of its subsidiaries registered in tax-savings. Why is it listed in London? Why did London Stock Exchange allow this company to list and give it its reputation without doing any due diligence?,” a protester said in a video posted by Foil Vedanta on their Facebook page.Another protester from Tamil People in UK told the news agency: “Although majority of the Tamil population living in the UK have adopted the British life, local customs and try to blend in with society, they still feel their heart is left in the Tamil land. This absolute disregard to life and irreversible environmental damage to their land brings out strong emotional upheaval hence the support and participation in protests like these.”The protesters in London came together outside the Mayfair home of the Vedanta chief, carrying Tamil folk drums, calling out slogans such as, “Kekudha Kekudha, Tamizhar kural kekudha?” (Can you hear? Can you hear? the voice of the Tamils?), and holding up banners that said, “Sterlite Kills, Stay out of Tamil Land” and “Ban Sterlite from Thoothukudi (Tuticorin).”The Vedanta Group said that the Tuticorin plant has received necessary regulatory clearances for expansion and that the well-being of all communities around its operations will be ensured.“Zero discharge systems, utilization of waste for sustainable applications, energy efficient systems and stringent emission monitoring are the hallmark of Sterlite and these will only be strengthened through the expansion. The smelter plant is self-reliant in terms of power and water requirements and will not use any nearby natural resources,” the company statement said.The Tuticorin plant has been in the eye of a storm since the laying of its foundation stone in the town in 1994. The protest in the town on March 24 saw around 15,000 people gather near Chidambaram bus stand, asking for the plant to be shut down. This full-day agitation came a month after 250 people went on a hunger strike after news of the expansion came out.The plant was also fined by the Supreme Court of India for land and water pollution after a gas leak in 2013.Agarwal, a UK-based Indian billionaire, set up Sterlite in India before he listed Vedanta Resources on the London Stock Exchange in 2013. Related ItemsBritish IndianEnvironmentvedanta resourceslast_img read more

Indian American Doctor Arrested Over Illegal Opioid Prescriptions

first_imgAn Indian American physician from Modesto, California, was arrested on April 26 for allegedly prescribing opioids to patients outside the usual course of professional practice. A federal grand jury in Fresno brought a 22-count indictment against Sawtantra Kumar Chopra, 71, on April 19 this year.Chopra was arrested at his home in Modesto. If convicted, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison.Chopra is said to have been selling prescriptions for money to four undercover agents on various occasions without examining or questioning them, reported Fox 40.“Medical professionals who abuse their position of trust and fuel the opioid epidemic for profit will be held responsible,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.According to the indictment, Chopra prescribed, on 22 occasions between March 2017 and March 2018, highly addictive, commonly abused prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, alprazolam (Xanax), and Promethazine with codeine syrup, but without legitimate medical purpose.“These controlled substances affect the central nervous system and may only be prescribed when medically required,” the statement said.Becerra added that prescription drug abuse is a serious public health crisis that harms families and communities throughout California. “Combatting the epidemic and healing our communities takes a team effort. At the California Department of Justice, we will use every tool at our disposal to prosecute bad actors and protect the public,” he added.The investigation in the case was conducted by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medical Fraud and Elder Abuse Drug Diversion Team, including others. A map pointed to the addresses of Chopra’s patients, indicating that they came from across the Sacramento region and the San Francisco Bay Area to Modesto to obtain the prescriptions. Investigations are on to see whether other transactions beyond those revealed by the undercover operation can be found, as per the report. Chopra’s practice was associated with Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott said that diversion of drugs to those who abuse them or sell to abusers is a costly and dangerous enterprise. “Fortunately, with the cooperative efforts of our state and local partners, we have the ability to track powerful prescription drugs and find those who attempt to divert them,” Scott added in a statement.Chopra was convicted in 2002 of getting illegal kickbacks when he referred a patient to an oxygen company, according to records from the Medical Board of California, the Sacramento Bee reported. Chopra was the medical director of this company. He was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and paid a fine of $75,000. Related ItemsCaliforniaIndian Americanopioid crisislast_img read more

131 India-Born British Nationals Found with Links to Organized Crime Gangs in UK

first_imgA total of 131 Indian-origin citizens of the United Kingdom have been found to have links with organized crime gangs in the country, according to official data released by UK’s National Crime Agency, PTI reported.The largest group of foreign-born criminals in the United Kingdom were found to be Albanians, followed by Pakistanis, who are believed to be involved in wholesale supply of heroin brought in from Afghanistan through ports in the United Kingdom, the report added.The data, obtained through the Organized Crime Group Mapping project, showed that Albanians numbered over 600, while 393 Pakistanis, 131 Indians, 141 Somalis, 78 Poles, 47 Sri Lankans and 44 Nigerians were the other large groups of active gang members who had changed their nationality.“The vast majority of members of organized crime groups in the United Kingdom are British. The data is an important tool to help measure risk, avoid duplication of work between law enforcement partners and helps inform government,” an NCA spokesperson said, the Daily Star reported.Out of the 33,598 gangsters spread across 4,629 syndicates, even though 80 per cent of known organized criminals in the United Kingdom were UK nationals, only 73 per cent were actually born in the country, according to NCA statistics, PTI reported.When birth nationality was compared with current nationality, it emerged that large numbers of organized criminals from India, Pakistan, Somalia, Poland and Kosovo became UK or European Union nationals, the Times reported.There has been an upward trend in criminal firearms discharges, with the majority of weapons not having been previously used, indicating illegal supply from British and overseas sources, the NCA had said in its 2018 National Strategic Assessment (NSA) of serious and organized crime, which was released recently.“Money laundering potentially running to hundreds of billions of pounds impacts the United Kingdom annually, with a significant threat being posed by the criminal exploitation of accounting and legal professionals involved with trust and company provision,” the NSA said in a statement.It added that the United Kingdom is a prime destination for corrupt politically-exposed foreign people, particularly from Russia, Nigeria and Pakistan, who launder money.“This year’s assessment shows that organized crime groups (OCGs) are exploiting digital technology, for instance using encryption to communicate, and dark web market places to aid their activities. Criminals are continuing to develop international connections to increase the reach of their activity, and to maximize profits. We are also seeing ever-increasing crossover between crime threats, with finance at the heart of this,” NCA Director General Lynne Owens said in a statement.Owens added that organized criminals involved in smuggling of people or firearms also supply drugs, and the relationship between organized immigration crime and modern slavery is becoming more apparent.A report by UK’s Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) released on May 8 said that Indians working in the hospitality industry in the United Kingdom are at a potentially higher risk of becoming victims of modern-day slavery in the country. Related ItemsBritainPakistanUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

Indian American Hotels Scale Up

first_imgGautam and his partners own 64 hotels with 5,400 rooms across the United States, including such properties as the Sheraton in Orlando and Hilton in Atlantic City, N.J. His company also offers consulting and manages luxury properties for third parties in the United States and South America.Gautam, who came to the United States with $6 in his pockets and built his conglomerate on his own, doesn’t view himself as a first generation Indian American hotelier: “I would call myself the in-between generation of hotel owners. As I started in the 1990s, unlike the earliest motel owners, who began back in the 1960s.”Gautam is a veteran among the new generation of Indian American hoteliers who are turning their once modest businesses into luxury empires.Jay Gautam, CEO of Interessant Hotels & Resort Management, which owns 64 hotels with 5,400 rooms across the United States and South America.Over the past three decades, enterprising Indian Americans, especially Gujaratis, have come to dominate the low to middle-budget hotel industry in America. Now the second generation is going upscale.The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), a trade organization of Indian American hoteliers, claims 16,500 members nationwide who represent more than 23,000 properties, accounting for 50 percent of all hotels in the United States. The properties employ over 700,000 people and account for nearly $10 billion in annual payroll.Pawan Dhingra, sociologist and author Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream, estimates that half of all motels in the United States are owned by Indian Americans. Indians reportedly own 22,000 hotels and motels across the United States, valued at $128 billion.Dhingra says: “The second and now the third generation has grown the businesses. They often move up into franchised establishments. They are making inroads into boutique places.”More interestingly, he adds: “They are branching out of motels per se and are involved in real estate, law, finance and other businesses that serve the motel industry. In this way, they are building from what their parents established.”B.U. Patel is one of those parents. Originally from Singod, a village in Gujarat, Patel arrived in Irvine, Calif., with his family in the 1970s from Zambia to escape the unrest in African countries, where many South Asians were being expelled. Abandoning his clothing manufacturing facility, he decided to venture into hospitality and purchased his first property — a modest 12-room property, called the Dunes Motel, in Anaheim near Disneyland.Today, Patel’s two sons, Mike and Tushar, have turned their father’s legacy into one of the most successful privately-owned hotel management companies in the United States. Tarsadia Hotels owns a large portfolio of properties, including the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego and the San Mateo Marriott.Tarsadia Hotels is emblematic of the shift by the younger generation from inns and motels toward luxury properties. Dhingra says: “The younger generation has been aiming toward higher-end establishments. They might have masters’ degrees in business or hotel management, and they are taking advantage of their resources and experience to see how they can make their mark.”San Jose, Calif., based Lotus Management is among the hospitality companies representing this trend. What started in the 1970s as a small family run hotel business, which Jayantibhai Patel managed in a dingy San Francisco neighborhood, is now a hospitality company that offers investment opportunities in major hotel brands, such as the Marriott and Intercontinental. The $80 million company has two of Patel’s granddaughters in senior management — Pratima Patel, who oversees the company’s accounting and Katki Patel who serves as director of finance — as it expands and diversifies the family business.Lina Patel’s hotel portfolio includes Wyndham, Red Roof Inn and Intercontinental Hotel Group.Lina Patel, whose hotel portfolio includes Wyndham, Red Roof Inn and Intercontinental Hotel Group, says: “The rapid growth of the sector can be seen from the fact that today Indians own one in every two hotels in America.”She adds, “So many of our peers are diversifying into allied trades such as asset management, insurance, banking and what not.”In 2010, she floated Himalayan Glacier Trekking, an international adventure travel company. She is also owner of RH Travel, an extreme adventure travel company that hosts events in the Himalayas.RootsIndian American hoteliers have grown by leaps and bounds since Kanji Desai, widely credited as the first Gujarati hotel owner in America, took over a 32-room property in Sacramento, Calif., in 1942. Their numbers grew organically as the earliest hoteliers offered more than a handshake to new immigrants entering the motel businesses, assisting with loans based on trust.Growing up behind the corridors of hotel lobbies, hotelier children who have opted to stay in the family business, have developed a flair for the industry. Bred on the pains and struggles of families that worked long hours to survive and sometimes thrive, many in the new generation are now venturing out. Several have secured hospitality degrees from the country’s premier institutions and thus have a better understanding of the global hospitality industry.The second generation is determined to break the stereotypes and the discrimination that dogged their parent’s generation of immigrant motel owners in America.Priyesh Patel, vice president for Kusum Hospitality, a family run business that owns 12 mid-budget to luxury hotels in Oklahoma City, has seen the struggle first-hand: “My parents, who migrated to the U.S. in 1978, owned a 20-room motel where they lived and worked. While it may sound decent to start in a new country, but the reality was much different.”He explains: “We lived in bad neighborhood in Oklahoma and I went to school from the hotel. After I was back, we did everything from vacuum cleaning the rooms, to cleaning the bathrooms to managing the front desk all by ourselves. The fact that so many of us were involved with our parents from scratch and even helped them as high schoolers as they barely spoke English, inherently prepared us for this business.”The early struggles of their parents, often mocked in popular culture on shows such as The Simpsons, has motivated many second generation hoteliers to dream bigger and strive to re-haul the Indian motel owner identity.Devan Hospitality’s Best Western Plus.Mike Patel, asset manager at Los Angeles based Devan Hospitality, is a second generation hotelier helming the introduction of several infrastructural and corporate changes of his family business. He says: “It was important for the next generation to re-structure the industry as was set by our parents, and I would say it was easier for us than for them. We already had a building block and we were no longer looking at only survival. We had college degrees, we were savvy with American mannerisms, we had seen the grind and were roaring to take the next step.”Patel, who is responsible for the development and branding of 4-star boutique hotels in Hollywood and Long Beach, Calif., says many other second generation Indian Americans are striving to keep pace with the times: “I grew up in Wyndham Travelodge in Long Beach, but I knew that to grow or sustain my family business, we had to cater to the American clientele and not be seen as outsiders in the industry.”Kusum Hospitality’s Priyesh Patel says: “Growing up, I saw the discrimination my parents faced. It was hard to get entry into the industry, not to say the bigger brands would never want to give franchises to Indian-origin hotel owners. They were not given the respect they deserved for working hard and establishing brands.”So, how did the second generation begin giving a facelift to the Indian American hotelier community, which had become widely associated with budget motels with minimal hospitality services in public perception? Priyesh Patel says: “It began by thinking of ourselves as corporates. We began by forming a management company and we also re-structured how the company worked. I began by appointing an area manager, director of sales and looking at expanding the growth. We were lucky as having grown here we were not scared of getting into the door and that made a lot of difference.”Kusum Hospitality’s Priyesh Patel: “The fact that so many of us were involved with our parents from scratch and even helped them as high schoolers as they barely spoke English, inherently prepared us for this business.”Motel GitaNandini Kishori works closely with the Indian American hotel industry as director of Motel Gita, a non-profit initiative that strives to place copies of the Bhagvad Gita in hotel and motel rooms across the United States. A frequent attendee of hotelier conventions and a keen observer of the diversifying trends in the Indian American hotel industry, Kishori says: “What started with non-upscale and mid-budget hotels has today diversified into luxury hotels and there are so many success stories. I know of a Nashville based hotelier who owns a charter plane! I am sure they must be doing something right.”The willingness of Indian American hoteliers, who, as recently as a decade ago, had to contend with “This Motel is American Owned” signs across the United States, to feel confident enough to offer the Bhagvad Gita inside the drawers in rooms, is a coming of age. Kishori claims that under the Motel Gita initiative, the Gita has been placed in more than 5,000 hotels in 500 cities. The project was launched in 2008 with the first copies introduced at the Sea Breeze Hotel in Pacifica, Calif.Dhingra attributes the new confidence to several distinct advantages the new generation Indian American hoteliers have over their parents: “When they first started, they were able to (make a mark) because of a variety of historic factors. They were not experienced in hotel management when they arrived in the 1940s and 1950s. They pooled their money, relied on family labor, found cheap establishments, and put in the very long hours necessary to run them.”He adds: “I was struck by how accomplished Gujarati Americans had become in the industry, and how they managed their lives and families when living in all kinds of pockets in the United States. It is not easy to live in one’s motel or to live removed from metropolitan areas. But, they have accomplished that and more.”The success stories that followed are inspirational. Indianapolis based Sun Development, led by Bharath Patel, has a portfolio comprising embassy Suites in Newark NJ and Paldale, Calif., amongst many others and it has several luxury projects, such as Cambria Suites and Aloft, Secauacus, NJ, in development.Women EntrepreneursThe rise of several women to the forefront of many Indian American hotel businesses is a marked departure from their moms, who frequently assisted in the backdrop.Lina Patel, a second-generation hotelier who serves on AAHOA’s board of directors, confirms the shift. In October she co-chaired AAHOA’s annual Women Hoteliers Conference in North Carolina, focusing on hospitality law and technology.Purvi Panwala says the new generation no longer see their ventures as family businesses, but as “wealth management structures and that has led to us look at allied fields that can benefit our primary businesses.”Purvi Panwala, a second-generation hotelier, is president and CEO of Purvi LLC. Responsible for re-positioning and managing The Lincoln, an independent hotel in Philadelphia, Panwala says she learnt everything on the job: “I am the CEO of the company even though I have a brother in the family.”While many women are in the industry, “They are not necessarily seen on the forefront,” she says. “For long they had been involved in HR, accounting or other softer positions, but I believe today a growing number is stepping up and taking important steps, such as being a part of the legislative summits too.”Panwala, young professional director at AAHOA, says: “We visit Washington D.C. twice a year and inform the congressmen and senators on our issues and challenges.”Priyesh Patel says the new-found assertiveness in U.S. public life is a major shift from their parental generation: “Our parents didn’t feel confident or were not aware how closely politics affects our industry and hence the representation was very limited.”Panwala laughs at the transformation: “Today at these legislative summits, we are the majority.”The women entrepreneurs bring particular sensitivity to women’s issues. Panwala says: “All my staff is trained in human trafficking prevention. We have to be aware that sadly trafficking often begins at hotels and we have to be extremely cautious and diligent.”Spreading WingsThe new generation is also focused on diversifying the family portfolio into new businesses and sectors. Devan Hospitality’s Mike Patel says: “As we educate and expand ourselves, it was only fair for the new generation to diversify into other arenas. We know that the recession can hit and hurt us, so it’s only pragmatic to have another venture.” Patel has diversified into multi-family apartments in New Port Beach and has also partnered with a startup technology company that works on a hospitality venture.Panwala says that many in the new generation no longer see their ventures as family businesses, but as “wealth management structures and that has led to us look at allied fields that can benefit our primary businesses.”Growing up in the shadows of the mocking and taunts that accompanied the Indian concentration in the motel industry, the new generation treasures most the newfound respect and recognition for their once modest businesses. Priyesh Patel says: “My biggest achievement is the fact that I never had to think about taking up a more American name for myself or my business. Kusum Hospitality, named after my grandmother may be a difficult name to pronounce for many, but is well-known.” Related Itemslast_img read more

India vs Pakistan highlights: India beat Pakistan, set up final clash with Sri Lanka

first_imgThe battle of all battles lived up to its top billing. This was the blockbuster India-Pakistan semi-final that everyone had anticipated – in many ways the final before the final in the ICC World Cup.At the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Wednesday, over 28,000 watched the action from the edge of their seats while millions followed the action on television and radio. The bare-knuckled slugfest eventually saw India pack off Pakistan by 29 runs and charge into the summit clash in Mumbai, where they will face Sri Lanka on Saturday.The drama, passion and inyour-face brand of cricket made it almost sad that one side had to bow out but ultimately, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s straightforward gameplan and insistence on taking it as just a cricket match and not a political occasion took India to their third World Cup final. Sadly for his counterpart Shahid Afridi, despite playing superb cricket so far, his team failed to come good against India.India batted first and scored 260 for nine with Sachin Tendulkar scoring a lucky yet adroit 85, missing his 100th international century, and the bowlers then hunted in packs, something never seen in the tournament till Wednesday, as Pakistan were bowled out for 231.With Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his Pakistan counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani at the venue, all eyes were on the 22 players and the quality of cricket justified the billing the match got.At the end, when Virat Kohli caught Misbah ul-Haq off Zaheer Khan to wrap up the Pak innings, India were able to maintain their unblemished record of never losing to Pakistan in a World Cup match.advertisementPakistan’s chase never got off the ground. Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal put on 44 for the first wicket in nine overs but all the Indian bowlers kept the batsmen in check. It was only a matter of time that someone blinked and it was Kamran, who was deceived by a Zaheer slower ball, caught by Yuvraj at point.Hafeez played some delectable shots but his attempt to paddle-scoop Munaf Patel, who was bowling consistently close to 140 kmph on Wednesday night, waseasily caught by keeper Dhoni as he departed for 43.The lack of boundaries started to take its toll. Attempting to target the least-recognised bowler of the side – Yuvraj Singh – Pakistan lost the plot. First, youngster Asad Shafiq missed a straight delivery and then Younis Khan checkdrove the left-arm spinner to Suresh Raina at covers.The escalating required rate meant that all the bowlers needed was to bowl straight. Umar Akmal smote a six and a four to end the 77-ball boundary drought but Harbhajan Singh ensured that the 29-run knock was just a flash in the pan, knocking back his off-stump.Misbah kept the chase on track with a sensible 56 as they required 62 off the last six overs. In the end, despite his heroics, it was a bridge too far.Earlier, Dhoni called right and India chose to bat first. The decent pace and bounce in the wicket was enough for left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz to come into his own as he restricted India to 260 for nine and walked away with five wickets for 46 runs, his best effort in ODIs.India began in the fifth gear with Virender Sehwag tearing into pace spearhead Umar Gul as only he can, dispatching the Pakistan speedster for five boundaries in the third over of the match. An on-drive and upper cut in Gul’s next over took India’s score to 47 for no loss after just five overs.Afridi then called Riaz and he struck right away, catching Sehwag on the crease and trapping him leg before. The opener was sent back for 38 off 25 balls.Tendulkar was batting without much hassle but the introduction of Saeed Ajmal tied him in knots.But it was one of the most lucky and scrappy innings played by Tendulkar for some time. Every time he gave a chance, a Pakistani fielder found a way to prolong his stay. The maestro was dropped thrice more – on 45, 70 and 81.At the other end, Gambhir was cut open by Mohammad Hafeez, as he was drawn forward and stumped by Kamran for 27. India were 116 for two in the 19th over. He added 64 for the second wicket with Tendulkar.Riaz then came back to change the flow of the innings. Skipper Dhoni, under pressure to score, was trapped leg before by Riaz, for a 42-ball 25. But SureshRaina (36 not out off 39 balls) made sure that India batted out the overs.last_img read more

a month agoAaron Ramsey ‘very happy’ with first Juventus goal: A beautiful moment

first_imgAaron Ramsey ‘very happy’ with first Juventus goal: A beautiful momentby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey was delighted to score in victory at Hellas Verona yesterday.It marked the former Arsenal star’s first goal for the Bianconeri.He told TMW: “I am very happy to have scored my first goal and it was even more important to bring these three points home. “Differences between Serie A and Premier League? I think it will take a few games to figure it out. For now I am happy for today, it was a beautiful moment for me. “My favourite position on the pitch? The one in which I played today, as a number 8. A box to box midfielder.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Minister Shaw Urges Community Tourism Stakeholders to Embrace Airbnb

first_img Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, has called for the increased integration of Airbnb operations into community tourism offerings.He noted that the Airbnb concept is being embraced in places like Trench Town in St. Andrew, and “we want to see it accelerated” in order to expand offerings in the tourism sector and bring more visitors to Jamaica’s shores.Minister Shaw was speaking at the International Community Tourism Conference on Tuesday (November 13), at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St. Andrew, where he urged local stakeholders to “open up the doors of the tourism product for expansion”.Airbnb is an online marketplace and hospitality service, which is accessible via its websites and mobile apps. Members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily home stays, or tourism experiences.Airbnb hosts in Kingston earned approximately US$2.4 million in 2017.Mr. Shaw said that Airbnb should not be seen as some form of “inherent competitor to our community tourism,” but should instead be “integrated and personalised as a “Jamaican experience”.“Airbnb has an international platform. It already has a mechanism for information; embrace it, because that is a platform to reach the world, and to introduce and bring tourists into our communities,” he added.Minister Shaw further urged community tourism stakeholders to accept their role in ensuring that the industry continues to grow and strive.“When we open up the doors, we must understand that there is a mutuality of responsibility that we have. When the tourists come to our communities, we must collectively gather around them, and protect them,” he said.The four-day conference, which started on Monday (November 12), is organised by the International Institute of Peace through Tourism (IIPT) under the theme ‘Building Communities as Businesses’.It includes exploring community tourism case studies from Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, and countries in Africa.Several outstanding entities and persons will be honoured during the event. Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, has called for the increased integration of Airbnb operations into community tourism offerings. He noted that the Airbnb concept is being embraced in places like Trench Town in St. Andrew, and “we want to see it accelerated” in order to expand offerings in the tourism sector and bring more visitors to Jamaica’s shores. center_img Story Highlightslast_img read more

Westports Running Out of Terminals

first_imgzoom Malaysia’s Westports Holdings Berhad is planning to put in motion a USD 300 million “Container Terminal 8 Expansion Plan,” spurred on by increasing container volumes and high terminal utilization rates recorded in the first nine months of 2014.The company recorded a 12% surge in its container volume throughput to 6.18 million TEU in the first 9 months of 2014, with container volumes hitting the 700,000 TEU mark since May 2014.Terminal utilisation has also increased due to the better-than-expected container volumes.Terminal utilisation for the newly completed Container Terminal 7 (CT7) which will be fully operational by the end of November 2014 has climbed up to 80% with the commissioning of the last batch of 3 ship-to-shore cranes.The high utilisation rate of the CT7 terminal has triggered the need for the next phase of terminal expansion, and therefore the board of Westports has decided to embark on the expansion plan for CT8 which the company says is critical in ensuring the continuous growth moving forward.CT 8 Expansion Plan consists of a 600-meter wharf and its supporting yard; back-of-terminal facilities comprising of 2nd container gate, marshalling centre, and container freight station facilities;  14 units of ship-to-shore cranes; and rubber-tyred gantry cranes, terminal tractors and trailers.CT 8 expansion plan is expected to commence by early 2015, and will be carried out in two phases. Phase 1 which consists of 300-meter wharf and supporting port equipment and facilities is expected to complete by 2016, while the completion for phase 2 is expected to be mid-2017.Once fully operational the CT 8 will increase Westports’ container handling capacity from the present 11 million TEU to 13.8 million TEU.Press Releaselast_img read more

Palestinian Minister Submits Request to ICC to Expand Probe of Israeli

Rabat – The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Malki submitted a state party referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, requesting that the ICC open a full investigation into Israeli settlements and “war crimes” in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Jerusalem.The state party referral would expand the ongoing preliminary investigation of Israeli settlements and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) actions during the 2014 Gaza war.The Palestinian state party referral is widely viewed as an entreaty for justice in light of the recent US embassy relocation to Jerusalem and the corresponding Israeli military violence. Gaza officials report that 62 Palestinians were killed and over 2,000 were wounded by IDF soldiers during protests of the US embassy move on Monday, May 14. Thousands more were injured in the days leading up to the move during the “Great Return March” protests, which began on March 30.In a statement to AFP, the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said, “My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime…The violence must stop.”Bensouda also expressed the necessity for IDF soldiers to cease the “excessive use of force.”In response to the Palestinian state party referral submission, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement denouncing Palestine for working to “derail” the ICC’s mandate. The Israeli statement also accused protesters of using women and children as human shields on the Gaza border.Peace talks between Palestine and Israel have not progressed since 2014, and Palestinian officials have rejected the US as a mediating body entirely, as the Trump administration suggests the impending release of its “deal of the century.”Although Israel is not party to ICC arbitration, Palestinian officials hope the international court investigation would yield international arrest warrants for indicted Israeli officials.Several international bodies, including the UN, have declared the Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation under international law,” specifically UN Resolution 2334.According to the Israeli NGO Peace Now, the “past few months have seen unprecedented development promoting settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” referring to the “quantum leap” in settlement construction as a “de-facto annexation” of Palestinian land under international law. read more

Computer Science students do well at competition

Students from Brock’s Computer Science department finished tenth out of 29 teams at the recent Computer Science Games at Concordia University.The Computer Science Games is an annual event for undergraduate student teams from across North America. Teams compete in various challenges in science and engineering, computer, information technology and video games.Here are the highlights:Game Design – first placeStudents: Justin Masse, Graham Sharp, Kaylen WheelerScavenger Hunt – third placeStudents: Kelly Moylan, Kaylen WheelerWeb Design – fourth placeStudents: Al Lamarre, Justin Masse read more

Côte dIvoire UN official urges building on democratic gains ahead of October

Ivorian Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny yesterday declared the Commission operational and asked the members to produce an electoral roll for presidential and parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for October.Speaking in New York, a UN spokesman said that Antonio Monteiro, the world body’s High Representative for Elections in Côte d’Ivoire, had congratulated the board members and “urged them – and the country – to build on political gains already made towards the holding of the elections.”The Commission had been due to start work on 17 February but was delayed because of a dispute over its composition and specifically because of disagreements over the validity of last October’s elections of the central bureau.As defined by the Pretoria peace agreement, the Commission is a provisional institution specially established to assure the democratic nature and sound management of the electoral process and is designed to end the Ivorian crisis.Côte d’Ivoire was divided into a Government-ruled south and rebel-held north after the failure of an attempted coup against President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002 triggered a civil war.Troops from the UN Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the UN-authorized French Licorne forces have been guarding the so-called Zone of Confidence separating the two areas in this nation, once the world’s top cocoa producer. More than 7,500 uniformed UN personnel are present in the country as part of UNOCI’s mission.Last week, the main political and military leaders of the rival sides held their first meeting on Ivorian soil since the 2002 civil war, a move that UNOCI described as “a significant step on the road to national reconciliation.” read more

Security Council again demands immediate release of peacekeepers detained in Golan

Reading an agreed statement to the press, Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, said its members again strongly condemned the detention of 45 Fijian peacekeepers “by a Security Council-designated terrorist organization.”The Fijian peacekeepers, serving with the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), monitoring a ceasefire established in 1974 between Israel and Syria, were detained on 28 August, by armed elements of the Syrian opposition in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah.In a separate incident, 72 Filipino peacekeepers that had been surrounded by armed elements in two different locations in the Golan were later safely relocated.Ms. Power said today that Council members welcomed news that all Filipino peacekeepers are now safe, and they commended the efforts of UNDOF’s Quick Reaction Force.“They reiterated their call for the peacekeepers’ immediate and unconditional release. There can never be any justification for attacks on or the detention of UN peacekeepers,” she said. Further to the statement, she said the Council insisted that UNDOF’s mandate, impartiality, operations, safety, and security must be respected. To that end, Council members demanded “all groups other than UNDOF must abandon all UNDOF positions and the Quneitra crossing point, and return the peacekeepers’ vehicles, weapons, and other equipment.”Council members commended UNDOF’s peacekeepers for their bravery in facing the threats and challenges in their area of operation, Ms. Power said, adding that they called on all parties to cooperate with UNDOF in good faith to enable it to operate freely and to ensure full security of its personnel.“They also called upon countries with influence to strongly convey to those responsible to immediately release the peacekeepers,” she added.The Council’s statement came immediately after a closed-door briefing by Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous concerning the welfare of UNDOF peacekeepers in the Golan. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Ladsous explained that for years, UNDOF’s area of operation had been “relatively quiet,” but as the situation in the region became more dangerous and unpredictable, especially amid the ongoing conflict in Syria, the area had seen the increased presence of armed groups. Those groups were increasingly engaging with Syrian armed forces.“This was the case last week when large numbers of armed groups launched an attack in the area of separation [monitored by UNDOF]. As things stand, we still have 45 peacekeepers from Fiji still being detained,” he said, adding: “It is our goal – and what we demand – to achieve the immediate, safe and unconditional release of these peacekeepers.” The situation made clear that it was very important that UNDOF’s mandate continue, said Mr. Ladsous, noting that the situation is “very challenging” and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is sparing no effort to ensure the safe return of the detained peacekeepers, while also working to improve the mission’s military equipment and medical facilities. He went on to commend the performance of the peacekeepers and especially the UNDOF Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha. Responding to questions regarding the reported tender of resignation of another ranking Filipino UNDOF military official, Mr. Ladsous said it was important to recognize that all the detained Filipino troops had either escaped or been recovered during the operation launched by the Quick Reaction Force.“The situation on the ground is a fluid one and the decision was to launch the Quick Reaction Force to extract the peacekeepers. General Singha exercised good, solid judgement [throughout] the process,” said Mr. Ladsous. To another question on adjustments to UNDOF in the wake of the recent incidents and the spate of similar incidents the peacekeepers faced last year, he said the mission’s mandate was based on the 1974 agreement between Israel and Syria, and that would remain the framework of UNDOF’s operations. “[Yet] no one could have factored in what is currently going on in the area of separation,” he said, so while it would be up to the parties to discuss changes, DPKO has been working to address safety issues, medical care and adjust patterns of monitoring patrol. read more

Ohio States Braxton Miller always knew he would return for senior season

Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) avoids a group of defenders during a game against Wisconsin Sept. 28 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 31-24.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorFor the briefest of moments, coach Urban Meyer wasn’t sure what the future held for his starting quarterback, Braxton Miller.Miller was at the end of his junior season and potentially off to the NFL, leaving Meyer in search of a new starter.But that feeling of uncertainty didn’t last.“It wasn’t very long … Braxton and I have a very good relationship,” Meyer said Feb. 5 at National Signing Day. “We waited until after the (Orange Bowl). And I told him my opinion that he could become a very high draft pick if he continues to improve, and he said, ‘That’s what I thought.’ It wasn’t much more than that. We met together as a family. Had a very positive conversation and made the decision. Never at one time (did he) say, ‘What should I do?’ Because I wouldn’t tell him. That’s their business. But I gave my opinion as far as how much he could grow as a quarterback.”Miller didn’t have the same hesitation as his coach, and was confident he would come back.“I always knew I was going to eventually make that decision and I was going to come back,” Miller said Wednesday.The junior quarterback said his decision was easy because he still had things he needed to do for OSU.“Getting a degree, things like that,” Miller said. “You want to accomplish things that you didn’t accomplish in your first three years so I felt like I left little things on the field … it’s a lot of things I think about and that’s why I wanted to come back.”Miller announced his decision to return to Ohio State for his senior season Jan. 9 after compiling a 28-8 record in his first three seasons at the helm for the Buckeyes.The two-time defending Big Ten offensive player of the year, Miller’s versatility as a player isn’t lost on anybody involved with OSU football.“To replace a dynamic (player) like a Braxton Miller, what he can do with the football, with his feet, it’s thinning the play, those are all kinds of things that are not coached,” running backs coach Stan Drayton said Feb. 5. “A lot of what he does is not coached. That would have been devastating. Not to say that we would not have survived the moment … What he brings to the table is something special, and it would have been dearly missed.”Miller heads into the 2014 season as OSU’s eighth all-time leader in rushing yards, and he needs 715 yards to pass Eddie George and take over the second spot on that list. Coincidentally, Miller amassed exactly that many yards on the ground in 2011, the least productive rushing season he has had as a Buckeye.As long as Miller does not seriously regress as a ball carrier next season, eclipsing George’s career total of 3,768 yards should be an attainable feat.He is also eighth all-time on the career passing yardage list. If Miller can accomplish his third consecutive year of passing for at least 2,000 yards, he would surpass Bobby Hoying for second place and would be within striking distance of Art Schlichter’s record of 7,547 yards.Although the offense does return five starters — Miller, sophomore offensive lineman Taylor Decker, junior wide receivers Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, and junior tight end Jeff Heuerman — it loses four starting linemen, something that could play a big role in determining Miller’s success next season.“Now, Braxton Miller also did those things behind four veteran offensive linemen,” Drayton said. “To me, that’s the issue that we think about in that war room there, is how we put five guys in front of him where he can feel comfortable. We know he’s going to continue to develop and mature in his growth toward the game. However, we’ve got to put some guys around him where he’s feeling comfortable.”One of the biggest beneficiaries of Miller’s decision to stay in school is the corps of Buckeye wide receivers. During his career at OSU, Miller has attempted 668 passes, while all other quarterbacks on the current roster have a combined two attempts.Even though the receivers would have been fine no matter who was under center, wide receivers coach Zach Smith said having Miller’s experience returning is a big boost for the unit.“It’s huge. Braxton’s a great player and my guys love Braxton taking the snap,” Zach Smith said. “We’re confident with whoever the quarterback is but having a guy like Braxton that, one, is as talented a quarterback I’ve ever seen and two, if a play’s not there — my guy isn’t open, whatever it is — he can keep a play alive. The number of big plays that come from Braxton Miller’s feet and throwing the ball in a scramble situation … my guys love that.”Herman added that although a lot of what Miller brings back is positive it isn’t all going to be easy for the quarterback.“As improved as he got on the mental side of play of quarterback he can still get a whole lot better,” Herman said Wednesday. “He can make the same leap this year and still have work to do. So just the confidence, the studying of the game, studying of defenses and studying of our plays now that we’ve done kind of the same thing two years in a row.”Miller is set to get his next crack at the field Aug. 30 when OSU is scheduled to play Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. read more

PIP apologises for comments about bigger houses for professionals

first_imgUpdated 20:50A PERSONAL INSOLVENCY practitioner has issued an apology for comments he made in which he said that a professional, who is insolvent, should be allowed remain in a “bigger house” so that “neighbours and clients” can see that this person is a good professional.Jim Stafford this evening released a statement acknowledging and ‘sincerely apologising’  for the ‘hurt and distress’ that his comments caused. Stafford said it was not his intention to cause offence:In particular, it was not my intention to create a distinction between so called professional classes and PAYE workers nor appear to further the causes of a particular debtor type. I believe that every person has a passionate concern to retain their family home. I fully appreciate the distress that financial difficulties cause any one, no matter what their financial circumstances may be.Stafford, who has been authorised by the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI), made the controversial comments when speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime yesterday evening about the newly opened insolvency service.When asked what would happened to someone’s home, the PIP said they would assess the mortgage and it would depend on whether the person was in the PAYE sector or a professional. He said he believed “a solicitor should have a bigger house… The same as for hospital consultants, people like that”:As a PIP, I would be making a very strong case, for example, that am, that a solicitor should have a bigger house that accords with his professional status in society, so that his neighbours and clients can see that, yes, this person is a good solicitor who is living in a good house. The ISI has also told TheJournal.ie that Stafford’s opinion “is not the opinion of the ISI”.Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin’s spokesman on finance, earlier called on the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to respond to Stafford’s comments.“The minister needs to respond with absolute urgency to this statement; set out exactly what kind of training the PIPS are getting and whether what this man said is true. He needs to reassure people that this process is going to be fair and equal,” said Doherty.MistakeStafford also appeared on RTÉ’s Liveline this afternoon and apologised, saying: “I was clumsy in my choice of words”.Additional reporting by Rónan Duffy140 calls to insolvency service in first day of business>Explainer: What does the Insolvency Service of Ireland do?>last_img read more

Android NFC app used to get free subway rides

first_imgIf you’ve ever wondered why the adoption of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in US smartphones hasn’t become more prevalent, we may have one of the reasons why right here. As an example of the extra security risks this technology poses, it’s been revealed that an Android hack makes it fairly easy to get free subway rides.The New Jersey Path transit system as well as the San Francisco Muni trains have been confirmed as being vulnerable. Both subway infrastructures were exposed by researchers, but other systems throughout the US could also be exploited. The discovery was announced at the EUSecWest security conference by the Intrepidus Group’s Corey Benninger and Max Sobell.The public transportation units in question use contactless payment technology. Train tickets have NFC chips built into them, but because they are disposable and produced en masse, being able to trick the system is a fairly simple task. Users can effectively load up a special app on their smartphone and write data back to a card without the associated payment being required. The researchers released the app, called UltraCardSet, so anyone can test if it works on their local transport network.Both San Francisco and New Jersey authorities have been informed about this problem, but according to the experts nothing has been done to resolve it. It is nearly impossible to be able to track down fare evaders of this type, so as NFC becomes a more mainstream technology, this will only continue to grow as an issue.An app that has successfully manipulated this exploit is executable on Android 2.3 or later. Other cities that have the same kind of vulnerable system are Boston, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Philadelphia.via IT Worldlast_img read more