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The South Asian Times

e x c e l l e n c e
Vol. 5 | No. 37 | January 5-11, 2013 | 60 Cents

i n

j o u r n a l i s m

Robin Raina has built a reputation as a turnaround artist. Taking over Ebix Inc as CEO at age 32 when it was bleeding millions, he turned the Atlanta based company into profits and today this supplier of software and E-commerce services to the insurance industry is one the fastest growing companies with offices in several countries including India.

Turnaround artist

turns to charity

But what makes Raina our Person of the Year 2012 is his exemplary zeal for helping the underprivileged. His Robin Raina Foundation runs the largest private initiative in the Indian subcontinent worth $15 million to build 6,000 free homes for the slum dwellers of Bawana, Delhi. The charity has also adopted 3,500 children, providing them education, food, shelter and medical aid.

Man of the
See exclusive interview with Robin Raina on pages 6-11.

Robin &Raina Inc Chairman CEO, Ebix

Year 2012

Founder, Robin Raina Foundation

January 5-11, 2013

January 5-11, 2013

The South Asian Times

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Follow us on Vol.5 No. 37 January 5-11, 2013 60 Cents New York Edition

India taking remedial steps after gangrape outrage

New Delhi: India's home minister has ordered New Delhi police stations to increase the number of women officers to facilitate the handling of complaints from women. It is the latest in a string of changes ordered following the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedic student that shocked the nation. Police charged Thursday in a fast track New Delhi court the 5 accused with murder, rape and kidnapping even as many proposed death penalty for them and quick justice. Interior Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Friday that each police station in Delhi should have 10 women constables and two women sub inspectors. At present, women comprise 7% of police forces. In Delhi metro, four plainclothes women officers of Continued on page 4


Both Obama and GOP draw hard lines for tough talks ahead

Girls in an Indian school ushered in New Year with a prayer for Damini, symbolic name for the Delhi gangrape victim.

Ringing in the New Year with South Asian touch

By Vikas Girdhar New York: Fresh off a survival of the Mayan prediction that the world would end just 10 days prior, a New Year was rung in on Tuesday to officially kick off number 2013. The ball still dropped in Times Square, fireworks still symbolized a new year overseas, millions wore sparkles and funky hats, and of courseSouth Asians still found a way to celebrate in their own unique ways. Whether it was a low-key night at home with the family or a lavish desi party at a popular venue, everyone had something to do as the countdown culminated at midnight .

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announce Congress passing the fiscal cliff bill at the White House on Tuesday night. Obama later signed the bill with an autopen from Hawaii where he resumed his vacation. Biden played a key part in negotiations with GOP leaders. Devotees usher in 2013 auspiciously with the Nav Varsha Yajna held by Arya Samaj of Long Island.

Then, of course, there were particular functions planned around the big day by South Asian organizations and establishments. Temples, gurdwaras and mosques, too, held ceremonies on the first.

In New Jersey, the IndoAmerican Seniors of Middlesex County (IASOMC) celebrated the new years on December 26. Dubbed a joint Christmas and New Continued on page 4

Hope springs eternal

By Parveen Chopra New York: They say the day dawns in pitch darkness. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. When yang goes extreme, yin starts becoming larger in the Taoist yin-yang symbol. There is a lesson in every challenge. What doesnt kill you makes you stronger. Just a few weeks ago, bad news was crowding in. Sandy storm. Connecticut first graders massacre. Brutal gangrape in Delhi. Fiscal cliff threatening to force Continued on page 4
GOP was split on fiscal bill negotiated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (left). House Speaker John Boehner grudgingly put it to vote, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor opposed it.

Washington: Now that the much discussed fiscal cliff has been resolved at the eleventh hour, analysts are warning of three more budget cliffs over the next three months, which may be even harder

to negotiate amid the White HouseGOP gridlock. The Republican controlled House approved the deal with a 257-167 vote with bipartisan support an Continued on page 4

New BAPS temple in CA 30

50 Coolest Desis 34

Yearly Forecast 58

Spiritual Awareness 60

excellence in journalism

January 5-11,2013


Part Sandy relief approved by Congress

Washington: The US House of Representatives Friday passed a legislation that would make payments worth $9.7 billion to insurance claims related to Hurricane Sandy. The bill to allow the National Flood Insurance Program to increase its borrowing authority was approved by the Republican-controlled House with a 354-67 vote. The bill was the first of two steps House Speaker John Boehner said he would take to meet the demands of relief for those affected by Sandy. He also promised a vote Jan 15 to provide over $50 billion of aid. The federal government handed the Congress a sweeping relief bill that would provide over $60 billion to those affected by Sandy. The Senate passed it, but the House failed to act on it. Boehner and House Republicans were criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for their inaction. Sandy hit New Jersey and New York in late October 2012, causing at least $60 billion worth of damage.
Budget cliffs story Continued from page 3 hour before midnight Tuesday, after Senate passed it 89-8. The package President Obama has signed preserves Bush-era income tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 or couples earning less than $450,000. It puts off budget cuts for two months. Without the compromise deal the fiscal cliff could have sparked a new recession with the resulting reduction in consumer spending. But the payroll tax returns, so even middle class a pocketbooks will be pinched. Here is what lies still ahead with deadlines over the next three months: 1. Debt Ceiling: Congress has to raise the debt ceiling soon. Real soon. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner made it official: Federal borrowing has reached the $16.394 trillion debt ceiling. Last year, political brinksmanship over the debt limit led to the downgrade of the country's credit rating. Obama does not want to debate it, but GOP is in no mood to spare him. And Obama's relationship with Congress reached yet another low Thursday when House Speaker John Boehner said he would no longer negotiate legislative deals with the president 2. Sequester: Born of the 2011 fight over debt ceiling, it is a series of automatic cuts in federal spending that will reduce the budgets of most agencies and programs by 8% to 10%. 3. Continuing budget resolution: The federal government works on a fiscal year that starts every Oct. 1. Problem is it has been years since it actually enacted a real budget on time.

Continuations of page 3
Instead, Congress usually passes short-term "continuing resolutions," which is fancy way of saying "Band Aid solution." The current continuing resolution expires on March 27. Gang rape outrage story Continued from page3 the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) would be on board each train. In Haryana, officials plan to publicize the profiles of rapists to curb crime against women, as per director of the state crime records bureau. Since the attack, the ruling Congress party has sought to prove its commitment to improving womens safety. It has established a committee to consider laws and procedures for prosecuting crimes against women, and another to examine womens safety in cities. Plans have been announced for urgent gender sensitivity training in secondary schools. The gang-rape that got India a lot of negative play in world media has prompted the US offer of help to India for strengthening public and private organizations working to combat violence against women. South asian touch story Continued from page3Year bash, IASOMC President Popatbhai Patel reserved the Royal Albert Palace, where almost 250 seniors and guests braved the snow and cold temperatures to extend support and donations. On Jan 1, Arya Samaj of Long Island celebrated Nav Varsh Yajna. It was the second year since the annual function began at the temple. The purpose was to invite devotees to come and participate in the auspicious Havan/Agnihotra ceremony and gain blessings of the Divine Being, Om. A large number of devotees from Suffolk & Nassau counties attended. Acharya Darshanand performed the yajna. Verses from Swami Dayanands book were chanted with brief explanations. The main Yajmaan was Sudesh and Sudha Mukhii. There was also the prize giving ceremony for children who participated in the painting competition. In true South Asian fashion, the flavors of new year celebrations varied as much as the ethnic richness of those who organized or attended certain events. All, however, shared high hopes for a prosperous and fortune-filled 2013 Hope springs eternal story Continued from page 3 America into another recession. And now! The fiscal cliff has been resolved by Congress. Stock market can breathe now, as can millins of Americans. Connecticut shooting promises to bring in tougher gun control measures. Delhi girls sacrifice has roused a nation protesting violence against women, hopefully waking up authorities too to enforce the much needed measures to ensure womens safety. We at The South Asian Times are dedicating this New Year special issue to the theme of Hope Springs Eternal. And aptly, our Man of the Year 2012 is Robin Raina. He may be a corporate success, but he believes in compassionate capitalism and runs Robin Raina Foundation to help underprivleged children in India.

'Hillary Clinton aims to rejoin office next week'

Washington: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is aiming to return to her office next week after treatment for blood clot in her head, according to the State Department. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Clinton "is committed to testifying" in Congress over the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in Libya, an appearance she had set for Dec 20 but cancelled due to her illness. Clinton, 65, was discharged from

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a New York hospital Wednesday following days of treatment of a blood clot in a vein in her head, which was discovered after she sustained a concussion two weeks ago when she fainted.

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January 5-11, 2013

January 5-11, 2013

Cover Story

Practising comPassionate caPitalism and running a charity

Exclusive Interview by Parveen Chopra

obin Raina, 45, is Chairman, CEO and President of Nasdaq listed Ebix Inc., and founder of the Robin Raina Foundation. Mr. Raina holds an Industrial Engineering degree from Thapar University in Punjab. He had a bright career start. From 1990 to 1997, he held senior management positions at Mindware and BPR, an International Technology Consulting Firm, serving in Asia and North America. He joined Delphi Information Systems, Inc. in 1997 as Vice President, becoming President in in two years. In 1999 Delphi changed its name to and in 2003 became Ebix (Enterprise Business Insurance Exchange) Inc. Raina has raised Ebix to a market value is $1.2 billion, and he has a 20 percent stake in it. Atlanta based Ebix Inc (NASDAQ: EBIX) is a leading international supplier of On-Demand software and E-commerce services to the insurance industry. With more than 30 offices across US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, China, Japan and India (where it hires 1,200 people), Ebix powers multiple exchanges across the world in the field of life, annuity, health, risk management and property & casualty insurance while conducting in-excess of $100 billion in insurance premiums on its platforms. Robins compassionate capitalism Aaron Tikkoo, part of the CEO Executive Group at Ebix, explains as an enduring value system working as a team, showing concern for your fellow employees, making sacrifices for each others benefit, and identifying with the common cause of the company. On his inspiration for starting Robin Rain Foundation (RRF) in 2003, Raina says on the RRF website, Over the last 15 years, I have traveled across the world and had time to reflect on what I saw on the streets and hospitals in Asia, Latin America and Africa - malnourished, sick and handicapped children who had given up hope and underprivileged children on the streets without any education. As I reflected more on what I saw and tried to think about my own life, I realized that even though I had built a so called successful

Leading Ebix, among top 10 of the fastest growing companies as ranked by Fortune and Forbes, Robin Raina believes that compassionate capitalism is important in todays world - where the divide between the haves and have nots is widening. No wonder, he also launched the eponymously named foundation to help the underprivileged, particularly children, in the Indian subcontinent.
business it did not guarantee happiness to me irrespective of who I was or how much I had. I realized that no one ever really has security or success unless it comes from within ones own self. That was when I promised myself that the next thing I built; no one would be able to take away the associated guaranteed happiness from me. I decided that I wanted to be in the business of imparting and spreading happiness. And the Foundation was born! The foundation helps bring hope to under-privileged children all across the world, while providing education, clothes, medical care, shelter and food to these children. Today, the foundation has adopted over 4,000 children in terms of all their needs. RRF runs multiple schools across India, an orphan home in Mumbai, medical ambulances in Delhi, a hospital ward in Pakistan, vocational training centers for girls girls in villages, self help groups for slum women, scholarship programs to fund professional education of under-privileged children; in addition to running Indias largest private home building charity initiative in Delhi, where they are building 6,000 concrete homes free of cost for the slum dwellers of Bawana. RRF has also produced the documentary Dilli, which brings out a stark comparison of the rampant progress and development of the megalopolis vis--vis thousands who are left homeless while the whole city is modernized and revamped. The film was premiered at the Nasdaq in Times Square, New York on April 1, 2011 following the ringing of the Nasdaq closing bell by Raina, He also ran Lifeline magazine for some years to spread the message of charity. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Robin Raina: SAT: You seem to be a restlesssoul, always aspiring to accomplish more and more and in diverse spheres. Is starting your own company in the plan? RR: I may be a restless soul in my thought process but extremely patient when it comes to the work frontI dont change jobs. I took over Ebix when its share price was worth not much. It is my baby, and I want to see this baby walk, run and become an adult one day. I am extremely proud of where Ebix is today. So I am not going anywhere. documentary section.) A feature film? Maybe if the right subject with a message came up to spread the cause of charity, but not for commercial purpose.

SAT: You started Lifeline, a glamorous magazine albeit for the cause of charity. Why did you close it? And why this fascination for the glamor world? RR: Lifeline was created to spread the message of charity but we had to close it as we felt that we were not spreading the word on a national level as we did not have the capacity. We were limited SAT: There was some hint that only to the South East community, you may get into the entertain- which was defeating the purpose. ment industry We were printing 35,000 copies RR: Last year we produced the only and focus was on a very small documentary film called Dilli audience. Our efforts need to be story of the slum dwellers of Del- more on national level than just be hi and dealt with their exploitation limited to south east shore. We SATimes: What is the secret of by the government. It won may top may revive Lifeline at a national awards. (It was declared 1st place level so as to spread the word of your success? Robin Raina: I dont consider winner in the Short documentary charity on a much larger scale. Glamor? Only in the sense that myself successful. On a scale of section at the Los Angeles Movie 1 to 10, I give myself 4. I could Awards and also won the best cin- I want to make charity fashionematography award in the short able and cool. have done so much more.

A building in Noida, India, robin raina recently designed and built using 3 key elements - the color red, glass and stainless steel.

asked to change her religion, change her country to save her son, she would do so in a microsecond for the sake of her child. SAT: How has been your experience so far? RR: It could be much better. I think we take poverty for granted. We point to TV sets in slums. As if that was a big deal. We do not realize that nobody, just nobody with money would want to live in a slum. We talk of mafia, but that is not a typical slum. In a typical slum people who live are extremely poor. They have a very difficult life. Another argument is, India is a country of 1.2 billion, how can you succeed there? I say the one child you support and educate and nurture could as well be yours. I tell people, you dont even have to donate to my foundation. Do it on your own, Adopt one kid and care for him and see him go up in life. During these nine years success stories at RRF are innumerable. Hundreds of our children have passed professional graduation courses like Engineering and Medicine. One hundred fifty two of our blind children, also underprivileged, have passed graduation studies and are now studying in the Masters program in eminent schools in India. Two hundred twelve girl children in Mumbai are studying in private English medium schools at present. Thousands of children are studying in schools run by the foundation. They have become cashiers, teachers My own manager in India came from slums. But she got support, we gave her a hand to help her in the process. Today, she is a human resource manager. We can change India one kid at a time, one person at a time, that is what I tell people. SAT: Are there other big donors to RRF? RR: There are a few, giving $20,000 here , a $10,000 there. Some give fixed amounts monthly. But I do not want to name any of them. And yes, people can donate online on our website ( SAT: You have voiced your criticism of the Indian government on Indian TV channels? RR: I was very critical of the Indian government during the Commonwealth Games of 2010 and even today as I feel that corruption has been institutionalized in India and there are scandals every day. I am supportive of the honest persons in the government but feel that the government has not done enough for the underprivileged community. There is no clean water or drainage in the

January 5-11, 2013

The Ebix group of companies trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol EBIX

SAT: Where is the philanthropic impulse coming from? How did it all start? RR: It is long story, but basically I was in India in 2003 and went to the top of one of our buildings in Noida near Delhi, sector 16, and looking back, saw a slum. I came down crying. My foreigner colleagues asked, Why are you crying? You are an Indian and havent you seen slums before in your life. I said, Problem is, I have been coming here to this building for years, but I never noticed the slum. It is as if I lost my eyesight for it. I come here in my Mercedes with blinders on, occupied with work and so on. Moved, I thought I have to do something about it. In that meeting the idea of the foundation took shape. Before, I always helped the under privileged but in an individual way. Now they said, You are a good motivational speaker, why not start something in a more institutional way. You see, people die and they are forgotten in microseconds. You think you are somebody, but after you, all is gone. Why not leave a legacy behind. Leave some happiness behind. Why not start an institution to hopefully providing education, a sense of hope for hundreds of thousands of kids in slums. That is how the Robin Raina Foundation was born and started. SAT: Can we have some numbers about the foundations work. RR: In the housing project, 1,700 homes have been fully constructed and handed voer. RRF also educates 4000 kids. SAT: How much you give to the foundation? What is its annual outlay? RR: I hate to talk about it. But yes, a majority of the money that comes in for the foundation comes from me. In a given year, RRF will typically spend about $2 million. SAT: You have also tried to persuade other South Asian to pitch in, how successful you have been? RR: Yes, the goal is that. There are so many successful South Asians here. But irrespective of the nationality, everybody should pitch in. This is a project in India, and there are many Indians proud of their country, they should step in. I also went to Pakistan. Some Indians asked me, why Pakistan, you are a Kashmiri Hindu. I said, poverty knows no religious or regional boundaries. In (cricketer-turned-politician) Imran Khans hospital I met an Afghani kid dying of cancer. I spoke to his mother, who said he had two months to live. I was moved and thought if this woman was

slums, something basic for a civil society. The Indian government has not done enough to educate these children and without education they cannot get a proper job and this cannot lead to the progress of a nation. The administration threw out the slum dwellers during the Commonwealth Games, snatching away their livelihood. I feel Brazil (hosting Olympics in 2016) should not make the same terrible mistake that India made. It is okay to move people out and give them an alternative accommodation, but you can just not throw your citizens out. If I had a handicapped brother, Continued on page 10

You see, people die and they are forgotten in microseconds. You think you are somebody, but after you, all is gone. So, I thought, why not leave a legacy behind. Leave some happiness behind.

Robin Raina Foundation runs the largest private initiative in the Indian subcontinent worth $15 million to build 6,000 free concrete homes for the slum dwellersof Bawana, Delhi. The project was conceptualized in 2007. Robin is very critical of the Indian government which threw out slum dwellers in Delhi to prettify the city for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

January 5-11, 2013

Cover Story
During the past few years of economic slowdown, how did Raina keep Ebix on track? Tikkoo replies: It all flows from Robins vision plan for Ebix and the culture he has created. His vision plan is simple, concise and understandable to all - customers, employees, investors and business. Ebix has always focused on building recurring revenue streams with high margins. Ebix today has built a 75% plus recurring revenue base. For us, customer retention is the key. Our customer retention rate is the highest in the industry. According to Robin, lack of innovation is at the core of the current US economic woes. He believes that great companies need to be ahead of competition. Great companies look three years ahead and experiment with innovation.

Peering into rainas success secrets and drive for charity

- AAron Tikkoo

Ceo executive Group, ebix

Interview by Parveen Chopra

focus, passion, discipline, determination, competitive spirit, his team and the ability to take challenges head on. Elaborates Tikkoo, Robin became a CEO of Ebix at a very young age of 32 in 1999 when Ebix was bleeding 19 million in losses. He came in to run an insurance domain specific technology company without any background in insurance. He settled for a revolution with evolution. Within two years he turned Ebix into profits. He has always dreamt big, made sacrifices along the way and achieved marvels.

aron Tikkoo is part of the CEO Executive Group at Ebix, having been with the company for a decade. He considers Robin Raina his mentor. You can have the best of educational qualification, keep enhancing your skill sets but the qualities/traits you inherit and imbibe through the right mentor cant be procured through any B school degree or any organization. In an email interview with The SATimes, Tikkoo explained Mr Rainas management style thus: Robin has always led by example. He likes to create benchmarks everyday rather than live on his past heroics. Most of the people in this world talk the talk but he can walk the talk. He remains the change agent at Ebix. Yet, he gives a lot of independence and decision making ability to his employees. He wants people to think out of the box and prefers to hire and retain smart people. Significantly, almost his entire top management has been with him for over a decade now. He believes that employees are the biggest assets of any company. He doesnt like average Joes; if at times he runs into one, he will still try to get the best out of him/her. His style of functioning is the same whether he is working out of the US, India or any of the 35 plus Ebix offices across the globe, which is always show the way, get the best out of people and keep your team motivated. He ensures that the senior management is seen as the voice of integrity by employees and customers alike. For his boss monumental success, Tikkoo believes the secret sauce is a lot of hard work,

Giving is something that no one can take away from you. The rewards of giving go far beyond money and material things. Giving is something you will be able to take with you wherever you go for the rest of your life....

robin raina Foundation has adopted over 3,500 slum children across the Indian subcontinent and supports them by providing them education, food, shelter and medical aid.

- Robin Raina

They realize that growth is a combination of intuition, risk and innovation. Robin trusts his people -- according to him, companies are like a team sport where everybody needs to contribute. The best of leaders recognize that they alone cannot build great companies. Management at these companies builds an eco-system of influencers including great customers, who together help the company create a persona of innovation and greatness. What motivates Raina to give his money, time and attention to his foundation? According to Tikkoo,

Robin believes that charity and work complement each other. Charity gives him the peace of mind and humility to be able to make rational decisions on the work side and also the ability to listen to other peoples viewpoints. For him there is no real time division between the two as he could be doing both of them at the same time. He manages with less sleep -- I guess he has conditioned his body to get enough sleep to keep him energetic at all times. For him, energy, motivation, and age are a function of ones state of mind.

this woman in the slum of Bawana, Delhi, was beneficiary of rrF project to make 6,000 homes free for the slumdwellers there. She used to shower robin raina with blessings everytime he used to go to Bawana and treat him like her son. robin was heartbroken when she passed away.


January 5-11, 2013

progress. SAT: Any view on the political system in America? RR: I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I feel that there has been growth but not at the pace required and the economy needs to mend itself. I do believe in charitable and philanthropic work but that does not mean that we tax the rich as our corporations here are now competing with companies in South Korea. I feel if we over-tax the rich companies, they will start moving out of the United States. I feel the economy has not done well over the last decade and it is a very slow grind now. There needs to be a more balanced approach. I also believe that there should be policies targeted at the underprivileged, there should be low taxes for lower class and more education opportunities for them.

Robin Raina Foundation produced Dilli focuses on the plight of thousands who are left homeless while the callous megapolis is modernized and revamped. It won many awards.

should I hide him -- thats what it comes down to. We are trying to show that we are a super power and we are trying to hide our own citizens I dont think this is called

In 2008, businessman and philanthropist Robin Raina won the South Asian Personality of the Year Award at an awards event created by Sony Entertainment Television Asia. Seen in the picture to his right are Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Michael Fung of Wal-Mart.

"I do believe in charitable and philanthropic work, but that does not mean that we tax the rich as our corporations here are now competing with companies in South Korea. I feel if we over-tax the rich companies, they will start moving out of the United States."

Robin Raina and his work and philanthropy have been featured on both American and Indian television.

Hon. Sonia Gandhi

Hon. Manmohan Singh

Hon. Dr Karan Singh

Hon. Rahul Gandhi

Best wishes for Happy & Healthy New Year

With Best Compliments
Geroge Abraham

Shudh Prakash Singh

Senior Vice President

C. Radhakrishnan
Vice President

Mohinder S. Gilzian
Senior EC Member

Kanwal Sra
National Treasurer

National Executive Committee Members


Phuman Singh

Kalathil Varghese

Karamjit Dhaliwal

name, and one has Russian name? RR: Yes, I do not want to talk about my family. I have been in the public eye, and I do not want them to be in the public eye. I have created a fan page on Facebook, and have got 1,30,000 likes. SAT: Something about your early life and career? RR: I was born in Srinagar, Kashmir. My family moved and I studied at Lady Fatima Convent School in Patiala. I did my engineering from Thapar University, also in Patiala. Then, I worked in Bombay, Delhi and Singapore, and then moved to the US. SAT: What is this Rajasthani office building you designed? RR: I have various office buildings. This is one of the earlier buildings in Noida. You call me restless, yes, I like to do various things at the same time, to keep my creative energies flowing. So I decided to design a Rajasthan style building. One floor is like a palace, One floor, the cafeteria, is like Chowki dhani (ethnic place in Jaipur). There is a well, a wooden bridge, a waterfall. To get to one floor you pass through a cave. One floor is like a village. There are hand painted walls, a matka here and there. Then exactly opposite this Rajasthan theme building, I architected, designed and built an extremely modern, extremely contemporary building with three main elements: the color red, glass and stainless steel. It has glass steps like the ones in Times Square in Manhattan.

January 5-11, 2013


SAT: Do you favor hiring South Asians in the US operations? RR: We are an equal opportunity employer and do not like to discriminate. We have both South Asians and the Americans working in our company and they are of many nationalities. South Asians will number 60-100 people maximum. In India we have 1,200 people working for us. We recently bought a Secunderabad-based company named PlanetSoft from its founder, Sudhir Bajaj, for $40 million. Sudhir is a senior vice president with us now. (PlanetSoft provides software and technology to life insurance companies in the US and India). SAT: You seem to be shy of talking about your family except somewhere it was mentioned that one of your kids has a Muslim

Aaron Tikkoo (right), part of CEO Executive Group at Ebix, considers Raina his mentor, saying, Robin gives a lot of independence and decision making ability to his employees. Significantly, almost his entire top management has been with him for over a decade now.

Raina ran Lifeline magazine for many years to spread the message of charity. Many celebs have supported and endorsed his foundation.

Robin Raina is considered a biz whiz in corporate circles, with magazines profiling him and awards and honors coming by the dozen.

Robin Raina has organized many fundraising concerts and events in Atlanta for Robin Raina Foundation. Seen here with legendary singer Asha Bhosle.


January 5-11, 2013


Buoyed by a rainbow coalition, Obama wins re-election

By Vikas Girdhar

rguably, the most significant US news story in 2012 came in the waning hours of November 6. Election Day had been highly anticipated for months and President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney were neckand-neck in what seemed to be an ultra-close race. The result, of course, was President Obama emerging victor, just as he was in 2008. After capturing the electoral college votes in the swing state Ohio, he locked up his triumphant return for a second term. Time magazine has named President Obama as its Person of the Year citing his historic reelection "turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union". "He won re-election despite a higher unemployment rate than anybody had to face in basically 70 years. He's the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with over 50 percent of the vote," Time editor Rick Stengel said announcing the magazine's choice on NBC. "He's the beneficiary and the author of a new America - a new demographic, a new cultural America that he is now the sym-

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden celebrating their second term victory with their spouses in front of teeming supporters in Chicago.

bol of," Stengal said. The coalition Obama has forged comprises the minorities including blacks, Asians and Hispanics -- women and younger and urban voters. This rainbow coalition may keep the Republicans out of the White House for years. Obamas path to victory was not without its hiccups during the long and grueling campaign season. A record amount of funds were raised and spent by both candidatesnearly two billion dollars combined. And the debates were fiercely fought.

There were four debates in allthree presidential and one vice-presidential between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. In the first debate between President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Romney, the latter came out swinging and appeared much more prepared and aggressive. The two sparred over jobs, taxes and healthcare. Obama was subdued, and on the wrong end of verbal punches thrown by the challenger. This put pressure on Vice President Biden to deliver in his debate with Paul Ryan. And he

delivered! Biden provided the punch on behalf of all Democrats as he smirked, grinned, laughed and animated his way toward hammering home points and disputing Ryans claims. While Ryan was no pushover, Biden seemed to exhibit an extra edge that was absent in Obamas performance in the first presidential debate. The main take-away was the apparent shift in strategy for the Obama campaign: when pushed, push back and stand your ground. The second presidential debate was in town-hall style with an audience of undecided voters asking questions to both candidates. It saw a noticeably aggressive President Obama and a Romney who walked a thin-line between zest and downright rudeness. In what was one of the most defining moments of this debate, Romney and Obama were almost head-to-head on the issue of energy. In final analysis, it looked as though the challenger became very uneasy and testy anytime the President defended himself. Advantage President. (This debate was at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, attended by this correspondent). The third and final presidential debate on foreign policy saw the President maintaining the same aggression he channeled in the

previous one. Romney, on the other hand, took a different approach en route to the defense of his proposals and attacks on the Presidents record. Often, it seemed as though Romney was a bit disconnected on his explanations and seemed to agree with his opponent on numerous topics. President Obama carried the momentum of his superior debate performances to victory on November 6. In his victory speech, he praised Romney for a well-fought campaign, and said that this was a time for everyone to work together to create a better America. As for his plans for the second term, President Obama is committed to try and get Republicans to agree to tax hikes, particularly on the upper class (as he did successfully in the final fiscal cliff deal), create more jobs specifically in manufacturing, curtail spending, cut the federal deficit, to fix the broken immigration system and to curb gun violence. The inauguration of President Obama for his second term will take place on January 20. There will be two ceremonies, one private and one public, because the Constitution mandates them for a Sunday inauguration. Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath to both President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Passed fiscal cliff deal was true cliffhanger

full day after the New Year deadline, the US Congress has approved a deal to avoid the worst effects of the so-called fiscal cliff, a mix of $6 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts. The Republican controlled House approved the deal with a 257-167 vote with bipartisan support an hour before midnight Tuesday after Republican leaders decided not to try and tack on an amendment to the Senate version of the legislation approved after midnight Monday with an overwhelming 89-8 vote. The package that heads to President Barack Obama's desk for his signature now puts off budget cuts for two months and preserves Bush-era income tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 or couples earning less than $450,000. Without the compromise deal, the fiscal cliff could spark a new recession with the

Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell were architects of the deal that passed the Senate and the House with bipartisan support.

resulting reduction in consumer spending. Shortly after the passage of the deal brokered by Vice President Joe Biden, Obama

delivered a statement at the White House, saying he will sign the legislation, but made clear the government still needs to take a balanced approach on reducing the deficit. He also stressed that he will not be drawn into another debate with Congress over the upcoming debt ceiling issue. "I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans while preventing a middle class tax hike that could have sent the economy back into recession and obviously had a severe impact on families all across America," he said. The central premise of his campaign for president was to change the tax code that was "too skewed towards the wealthy at the expense of middle class Americans," Obama said. "Tonight we have done that," he added, thanking the leaders of the House and Senate. With the deal done, the White

House announced Obama will depart late Tuesday to resume his vacation in Hawaii. He left his family on the island last week, putting his vacation on hold and returning to Washington to deal with the fiscal cliff negotiations. In wake of the fiscal cliff averted, stock markets nationally and globally soared. The Dow Jones saw a hike of 1.8 percent, the S&P soared 1.9 percent and the Nasdaq increased 2.4 percent. Markets in India, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand too were on the rise. Had the Republican controlled House not put to vote the Senate passed deal (House Speaker John Boehner could have taken the plea that a majority in his majority party were not in favor of the bill), the new House was to convene on Jan 3 and all the work on avoiding the fiscal cliff would have come to naught.

January 5-11, 2013


January 5-11, 2013


Bad news, and worse

Hurricane Sandy pounds the Northeast
After gurdwara and theater tragedies, school shooting shakes the nation

urricane Sandy was a Category 2 storm that severely hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States in late October. High winds and torrential downpours lasted for about two days, with fallen trees, flooding, evacuations, millions of homes and places of employment without power and destroyed land. A severe gasoline shortage in New York was a major immediate effect of the inability to transport gas in the wake of Sandys wrath. The super-storm brought back memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that hit the Gulf states region. Estimates of losses due to damage and business interruption are estimated at $65.6 billion, which would make Sandy the second-costliest Atlantic hurricane, behind only

Hurricane Katrina. At least 253 people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. New Jersey was the worst hit state by Sandy and was visited by President Obama at state Governor Chris Christies invitation. In New York state, some areas in Queens and Long Island were badly impacted. LIPA (Long Island Power Authority) came under fire as thousands without power voiced their displeasure with its inability to handle Sandys wrath in what seemed like a major lack of preparation. Malls and public venues that maintained power became packed with people looking to charge devices and take advantage of their heat sources in cold temperatures. Sandy took its place as one of the most disastrous storms to ever hit the tri-state area.

The 20 first graders massacre in Connecticut was a heart-wrenching tragedy for the nation.

The gun lobbying groups Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre advocated putting armed guards at schools. Some protesters displayed this placard at his press conference. shot himself in the head. On July 20, a mass shooting occurred inside a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. The sole suspect is James Eagan Holmes, who was arrested outside the cinema minutes later. The heart-wrenching Sandy Hook tragedy is being considered a tipping point for initiating some gun control measures. Making headway in that direction is thought to be difficult as bearing arms is a right in the country as per the Second Amendment, and because of trenchant opposition from the powerful lobbying group, National Rifle Association. However, President Obama who called the school shooting "the worst day" of his presidency has pledged to put his "full weight" behind putting forward a package of new gun-control measures. He announced a gun-control task force led by Vice President Joe Biden to make proposals for new laws and actions in January 2013. California Senator Dianne Feinstein also plans to reintroduce in Congress an expired federal ban on assault weapons.

A swathe of New Jersey area under water

CIA chief resigns amid scandal

irector of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) David Petraeus resigned from his position after his affair with Paula Broadwell, 40, was brought to light. Broadwell, also married, was the principal author of his biography. Petraeus-Broadwell affair began just two months after he was appointed Director of the CIA and when he was no longer an active military officer. And it ended in the summer of 2012, when reports that Broadwell was sending threatening emails to Jill Kelley, a longtime friend of the Petraeuses, began to surface. The FBIs investigation into those threatening emails, which led the Bureau to Broadwells inbox, is what uncovered what was an extramarital affair for Petraeus and Broadwall. The two had concocted a plan consisting of typed intimate email drafts in a shared account that could be read when either one logged in, so as to not leave an obvious email trail. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper learned of the affair

n December 14, Adam Lanza, age 20, fatally shot 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut. Before driving to the school, Lanza had shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Newtown home. He committed suicide by shooting himself in the head as first responders arrived. Adam Lanza uses firerams legally purchased by his mother. He suffered from a form of autism, and perhaps had other psychological issues. His motive for going on gun rampage in particular against 6 and 7 year olds-- is still not clear. The massacre was the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. It is also the second-deadliest mass murder at an American elementary school after the 1927 Bath School bombings in Michigan. But 2012 was perhaps the worst year for mass shootings. On August 5, at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a single gunman killed six people and wounded four others. The gunman, Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist, shot several people of the Sikh faith at the temple, and also a responding police officer. After being shot in the stomach by another officer, Page fatally

Ambassador killed in Benghazi, Libya

our Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens to Libya, were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Pounced upon by Mitt Romney, it became a major national security issue in the run up to the US Ambassador November presidential election. to Libya Later, in a potential embarrassJ. Christopher ment to the Obama administration, Stevens an independent review of the attack found "management deficiencies" at high levels of the State Department. Repudiating the officials initial version after the attack, the report said "there was no protest prior to the attacks," which were "unanticipated in their scale and intensity." The report also cited as "inadequate" the Bureau of Diplomatic Security staff in Benghazi on the day of the attack and in the months and weeks leading up to it, "despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing." Stevens was the first US ambassador to die in office since the 1988 aircrash in Pakistan which killed Arnold Lewis Raphel.

Coach convicted of molesting two score boys

David Petraeus had an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell on November 6 and advised Petraeus to resign. Clapper then notified the White House the next day and Petraeus offered his resignation on November 8 to President Obama. In his explanation, Petraeus cited the affair as the principal reason for stepping down. Petraeus wife, Hollister Holly Knowlton, was furious but is expected to stand by her husband of 38 years. Dr. Scott Broadwall, a 43year old radiologist who met Paula in Germany when they both served in the military, is not as much of a lock to stay in his marriage. They have two sons together.

erald Arthur "Jerry" Sandusky served as an assistant football coach for his entire career, mostly at Pennsylvania State University, under the much revered coach, late Joe Paterno. Following a two-year grand jury investigation, Sandusky was arrested and charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a Jerry Sandusky worked as 15-year period. He mainly met his molestation victims through assistant football coach at The Second Mile, a charity he Pennsylvania ran for needy children, and several of them testified against State University. him in the trial. On June 22, 2012, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of the charges. He was sentenced on October 9 to 30-60 years in prison. A few days later, his lawyers appealed his conviction in Centre County Court in Pennsylvania. They claim that they did not have enough time to prepare for their client's defense. On October 31, Sandusky was moved to Pennsylvania's SCI Greene "supermax" prison to serve his sentence.


January 5-11, 2013


The Girl Who Wanted to Live is Dead

By Roopsi Narula

he 23-year-old girl, who was battling for her life after being brutally raped by six men in a moving bus in New Delhi, is now no more. In one of her bouts of consciousness, she is said to have told her mother that she wanted to live. It was one fateful evening, when she boarded a bus in Delhi along with a male friend. Six men took turns to rape her in the moving bus, assaulted her with iron rods and threw her on the road along with her badly injured friend. The scantily clad girl kept lying on the road for at least one hour before she was taken to the hospital. For someone following this news from outside India, my heart bled just like that of many others. However, right from the time a buzz was created around this issue, I also kept wondering if something was new in this. Having lived in New Delhi for 7 years, I am used to hearing such stories of a testosterone-driven soulless society where women face molestation everyday and accident victims keep lying on the roads with cars speeding past them and no one coming forward to help. As a friend from Delhi said, We are now comfortably numb to such news. However, why did this case anger

Protests continued in India days after the death of the rape victim.

the public so much? There were tears, rage and helplessness. The whole country was shaken. What made those men behave like animals? What could be their possible motives? Sex, power, or no fear of being caught? A nation-wide debate was triggered on reasons of rape with many sociologists explaining the moral degeneration of the patriarchal Indian society to this extent. Stop writing on feminist issues, I am often told. It is not cool and no one likes feminists. Thankfully, India did not think of this as a feminist issue. Men and women came out on the streets, protesting, raising slogans, and demanding the right to live with dignity. The rage of the crowds was

unprecedented or as it could be said, the soul of a nation long suppressed, found utterance. Social media was abuzz. Many men expressed anguish, demanded more protection for women in the country. Many even felt apologetic for the ghastly act committed by a few men. Indians all across the world condemned the incident. One Indian woman blogged, I am sick of being treated like a piece of meat. Some realistic ones also moaned that nothing will bring change in a country suffering from multisystem failure. Protests continued for days. Delhi government responded with closing metro stations, attacking the protestors with tear gas and

water cannons, and even beating up the crowds including young girls and middle-aged women. Is this what is called the dance of democracy? I had a chance to speak to a friend, Gurpreet Singh, who had joined the protests in and got injured in police lathi charge. He is an MBA from Hult IBS Boston. Here are excerpts from our conversation. I went on Sunday, 23rd December to India Gate to join the protest after Section 144 had been lifted in the afternoon and people were allowed to go to India Gate. There were around 1500 protesters at that time. People were very angry because of the way this whole issue had been handled. They were shouting slogans against Delhi government and Delhi police. Some people broke the windows of a car and turned it upside down. There were many groups of protestors who were discussing what should be done. However, there was no leadership. Some people were occasionally throwing stones at Delhi police. There were some police men, who tried to pacify the crowd and requested them to maintain peace. However, around 5:20 pm the crowd got a bit unruly and broke down police barriers. After this, it was complete mayhem. Soon the

police started throwing water cannons on the crowd, which was quickly followed by lathi charge without any warning or announcement. I was in the first row and was completely drenched with water. I saw a police man running towards me with a lathi in his hand. He gave me two blows on my head. Luckily, I raised my hands. So though I suffered no head injury, two of my fingers were broken with those blows. It was indeed not pleasant to see a friend injured and see video clips of police beating the protestors. Close on the heels came a statement from the Presidents son, affirming that it is fashionable for the painted and dented ladies to join such protests! Yes, it hurts to see India criticized all over the world. However, if we analyze the issue deeper, is it a feature of the Indian society alone that we objectify women and perpetuate violence on them? Not really. In the Old Testament, it was Eve who tempted Adam to eat the forbidden apple and has been paying for it ever since! Meanwhile, I hope this Bravehearts death will not be in vain. The girl who wanted to live is dead. May she live long! The author is a Consultant for SATimes. Email:

US media and Indian community react to the rape case

raving chilly weather, a group of Indian Americans held a candle light vigil last weekend at the Gandhi Statue in Washington for the 23-yearold Delhi gang-rape victim, who died after battling for life for 13 days. "The Delhi bus incident is our 'Rosa Parks bus incident'. Hopefully we will discuss gender violence more and do something about it," the group said on their Facebook page. Meanwhile, US media has given prominent coverage to the death in Singapore of the rape victim whose body was cremated in Delhi on Sunday. "The event has shocked Indian society, and many women in other parts of the world are also finding themselves compelled to speak

out," wrote Jamila Bey, who hosts the radio show 'The Sex, Politics And Religion Hour', in The Washington Post. "In India, the fight today is in the streets. But the fights and the protests must continue to be waged in the voting booths, on the editorial pages and even by leaving the venerated institutions, from churches to Congress, that frequently treat women as inferior to men," Bey said. In an editorial, The New York Times said India must work on changing a culture in which women are routinely devalued. "Many are betrothed against their will as child brides, and many suffer cruelly, including acid attacks and burning, at the hands of husbands and family members," it said. "India, a rising economic power and the world's largest

democracy, can never reach its full potential if half its population lives in fear of unspeakable violence," the Times said. "This reprehensible crime reflects an alarming trend in India, which basks in its success as a growing business and technological mecca but tolerates shocking abuse of women," it said.

"The victim was a courageous girl who fought till the last minute for her dignity and her life. She is a true hero and symbolizes the best in Indian youth and women," Satnam Singh Chahal, president of North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) said. He urged people back home to "resolve" that this death will

not be in vain. The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) called for an expansion to the scope of the Committee headed by Justice Verma established in the wake of the rape case to explore possible amendments to anti-rape laws in order to secure timely justice for the victims.

he brutal gang rape in public of a young woman in a bus in the nation's capital is not only a heinous act but a real blow to the freedom of movement of girls in the largest democracy of the world - India. It is unfortunate that so many rape cases have not received proper justice there. Besides the rapists, others holding high office and in charge of safety of people must bear the responsibility for this terrible incident. The government must take suitable action and not mere verbal assurance to protect women. Maybe strong willed women should be put in charge of police stations. Dr Uma Mysorekar President, Hindu Temple Society of North America New York

s a Hindustani it gladdens me to see how people in India have joined together and come out all over the country to protest the brutal rape in Delhi. It's a positive sign for the country. I feel common man of India has been awakened and the injustices will not be tolerated anymore. We NRIs join the entire nation in mourning the tragedy. Leaders across party lines have condemned the attack including the PM and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Now they should work together to enact strict laws against the heinous crime of rape. Shudh Parkash Singh Senior Vice President Indian National Overseas Congress (I) USA New York


January 5-11, 2013


Indias skewed success Women's security: Time to story is breeding monsters fix accountability
The gang rape of the Delhi girl symbolizes the bankruptcy of Indias growth story and busts its myths. If India is being discussed globally for its huge potential, it is also a subject of ridicule when it comes to protecting vulnerable women on its streets.
By Prabhu Chawla istory is analyzed by historians. But more often, ordinary people on the streets create it. They dont have an ideology to propagate. Nor do they have any personality to promote. But they do have an agenda to agitate for. As the 23-year-old braveheart succumbed to the monstrous assault on her person, she shook the entire nation of a billion people. Millions of ordinary, faceless Indiansyoung and old, rich and poorused all forms of communication to create history by conveying their disgust with the shameless system; they resolved to force a change. It was the social media that set the tone for others to follow. One of the tweeple put it succinctly, The brave girl who woke the entire nation, finally went to sleep. Damini or Nirbhayapseudonyms given to the victim moved even the international media. News about her death was first broken by an American wire agency on Twitter. Never before in any nations history has a dastardly attack on a girl mobilized millions. From New Delhis India Gate to Mumbais Gateway of India, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, ordinary citizens turned out on the roads while the political class and well-protected wealthy corporate honchos chose to hide at home. Has Damini really woken our rulers from their slumber? Actually not. Our planners are obsessed with vote bank politics and glamorous growth models, which have created two Indias within one nation. While a fraction of India becomes safer and richer, the rest of it lives in abysmal poverty and insecurity. Daminis demise symbolizes the bankruptcy of Indias growth story and busts its myths. If India is being discussed globally for its huge potential, it is also a subject of ridicule when it comes to protecting vulnerable women on its streets. The growth of heinous crimes, including rape, has outpaced GNP growth. Undoubtedly, India is much richer than it was 20 years ago. No doubt, we have more swanky airports, hundreds of private jets and thousands of Lamborghinis, Porsches and Jaguars. But these luxury toys have been built or acquired by diverting funds, which could otherwise have gone for providing better security, effective public transport, quality education in government schools, better hospitals, and a credible policing system. It takes hardly a few minutes for the PM or top corporate leaders to announce millions of dollars in donations to foreign universities where the children of the rich and mighty study, while over 60 per cent of government-run schools remain without buildings or furniture. Most state governments have stopped opening new schools and instead, have started selling land to private promoters at exorbitant prices. It takes more than three months and over 1,000 files to force Delhis government to sanction a mere Rs 50 crore for the purchase of CCTVs for the capital. Indias police stations are understaffed. They have antiquated arms and untrained staff who put ridiculous questions to rape victims. Despite the recommendations of various commissions, neither the Central nor the state governments have bothered to implement police reforms. Instead, they have been liberal in providing massive security cover to civil servants and political leaders. In the absence of sufficient funds for the development of urban infrastructure, most Indian cities are becoming breeding grounds for petty criminals. With the emphasis on technology-driven capitalintensive projects, less and less employment opportunities are being created for unskilled and even semi-skilled labor force. Currently, India has over 20 crore youth waiting for gainful employment. They are the ones who, along with the spoilt brats of wealthy and powerful, are driven to crime when they only get part-time, lowly paid jobs from the mafia that runs parallel transport, water and real estate businesses in various cities or inherit their family business. Over 20 per cent of buses, three-wheelers, tempos and trucks plying on Indian roads lack authorized certification. The government has been putting public transport and small

The ruling parties and the opposition are viewing with deep suspicion the protest movement run by those who are not under the control of any party. The nation's concern over the issue, which the protesters are articulating, is justified and they cannot be blamed for their distrust of the political class.
By B.R.P. Bhaskar eaderless and unorganized groups of young men and women have been demonstrating demanding women's security and just punishment to perpetrators of the Delhi gang-rape. They have defied ban orders and braved repressive police action. The death of have been ignited by one incident which received considerable mass media attention, what has also brought young people into the campaign is the feeling that the political system is not responsive to the issue. Their exasperation is evident from the way they are steering clear of all political elements. On their part, the ruling parties and the opposition are viewing with deep suspicion the protest movement run by those who are not under the control of any party. Their misgivings are shared by middle class intellectuals who fear the movement may lead to anarchy. Figures show a crime against women is reported every two minutes. When we take into account the fact that many women do not file complaints and even when complaints are filed, police may not register them, the actual crime rate must be higher. The nation's concern over the issue, which the protesters are articulating, is therefore justified. The protesters cannot be blamed for their distrust of the political class. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not speak out on the issue for days. Home Minister Sushil K. Shinde opened his mouth mainly to defend police action against the demonstrators. CPI-M leader Brinda Karat, who paid visits to India Gate, was an accessory to her party's decision to settle sexual harassment charges against two of its leaders in Kerala. Jaya Bachchan, who broke into tears at a Mumbai protest rally, is an MP of the Samajwadi Party that has fielded men facing rape charges in elections. The BSP and the Trinamool Congress, two parties controlled by women leaders, too, have put up rape case accused as candidates. How can such leaders be relied upon to address the issue sincerely? Former Army chief, Gen V.K. Singh was among those who publicly associated themselves with the protest. While serving as army chief, he showed no sign of concern for rape victims. Army personnel in Kashmir attracted rape charges in his time. He had no word of sympathy for Irom Sharmila of Manipur, who is on an epic fast seeking lifting of the army power which provides immunity to servicemen involved in rape cases. Yet, protesters must understand we are running a democratic system, which cannot be run without political parties. But they are entitled to demand that the politicians remain accountable to the people. Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), said on Saturday: "We have heard you". If she has heard the protesters' voice, why is there no action? In a democratic dispensation, when things go wrong, someone must assume responsibility. Half-a-century ago, Lal Bahadur Shastri assumed moral responsibility for a rail accident and resigned as railway minister. When a sex crime in the capital awakens the nation's conscience to the vulnerability of women, must not someone assume moral responsibility and bow out? If no one does so voluntarily, does not the UPA chairperson have a duty to fix responsibility and call for the resignation of the person concerned? Two persons present themselves as likely candidates: the prime minister, who remained silent when he should be have spoken out and acted; and the home minister, whose words only added insult to injury. The exit of either gentleman will not bring the government down since it is open to the Congress and the UPA to find a replacement from their own ranks. The author is a veteran journalist and commentator.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala ushered in the New Year somberly by painting a disturbing picture symbolizing the brutal rape and death of the Delhi girl.

vehicles out of reach of the lower and middle classes by its fiscal policies. India is the only country in the world that imposes the maximum possible taxes on petroleum products. Strangely, the prime minister, instead of ensuring the affordable delivery of energy resources, pleaded for the withdrawal of subsidies and not for reducing taxes on power and petrol. If India is allowed to live in darkness and its people are forced to move on insecure roads and public transport, many more Daminis will fall prey to the beasts created by an insensitive establishment of Mera Bharat Mahan! Prabhu Chwala is the Editorial Director of The New Indian Express, where his column appeared first.

the rape victim on December 29 appears to have strengthened their resolve. But punishment in criminal cases, just or otherwise, comes only at the end of trial and hearing at three levels, which, with the best will to fast-track the process, will take time. Ensuring security of women calls for toning up of the police machinery and reforming society -- tasks that will take even more time. The protesters cannot be hanging out at Jantar Mantar and in parks in other cities while these processes go on. Knowing this, the government is resorting to time-tested dilatory measures like constitution of judicial commissions and promises of action. While the protests


January 5-11, 2013


Kejriwal takes on Indian political class

While Anna Hazare's campaign has fizzled, Arvind Kejriwal's targeting of high-profile individuals has thrust him into the spotlight.

ho will he expose next? Activist-turnedpolitician Arvind Kejriwal's series of press conferences to "expose" people in high places, mainly politicians and businesspersons, grabbed media attention and people were eager to know was next on the 44-yearold former Indian Revenue Service officer's agenda. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, Salman Khurshid, now the external affairs minister, and Reliance Industries were all targets of his exposes on alleged corruption and wrongdoing. All denied the allegations. After parting ways with his mentor Anna Hazare, Kejriwal launched his political outfit Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). From a shabby house in one of New Delhi's grimmest suburbs, a mild-mannered former tax official has launched a salvo of accusations of corruption involving some of India's most powerful people, rocking the political establishment. In quick succession, Arvind Kejriwal has publicly levelled charges of shady dealings against the son-in-law of ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, the outgoing law minister and the leader of the main opposition party. His claims, carried live and endlessly raked over by breathless 24/7 television news networks, tap into popular outrage over the deep-rooted corruption in Indian politics, government and business that is often endured but rarely confronted in so public a manner, even by the

media. "Our purpose is to tell the people that every single political party is corrupt. They are in collusion with each other, they protect each other," Kejriwal was quoted as saying. While none of Kejriwal's claims have yet led to any formal investigations, his targeting of high-profile individuals is unprecedented. Anti-corruption activists have in the past pressed for stricter rules to tackle corruption but have refrained from naming and shaming. Even rival political parties have tended to shy away from personal attacks. Kejriwal has fought a decadelong campaign to bring more transparency to government, but it was in 2010 that he began to pursue corruption more vigorously. He was one of the architects of the India Against Corruption movement led by veteran social activist Anna Hazare, 75, whose public hunger strike against graft last year led to an outpouring of support from millions of middleclass Indians disgusted by the venality of the ruling class. Corruption is part of daily life in India - from bribes paid for something as simple as getting a gas connection, passport or avoiding a traffic violation, to multi-billion-dollar scandals. Hazare's campaign has fizzled, but Kejriwal's targeting of highprofile individuals has thrust him into the spotlight. In the space of a few weeks the diminutive former bureaucrat, who often wears a short-sleeve check shirt that seems one size too big for him, has become a

The fight against corruption in India entered political arena with the launch of Aam Aadmi Party by activist-turnedpolitician Arvind Kejriwal in 2012. Will he be able to carry the mass momentum generated during the bigger Anna Hazare crusade in 2013? Only time will tell us
media sensation. His news conferences attract hundreds of reporters, and he has announced he is launching his own political party. His critics dismiss him as a political opportunist, but acknowledge his shrewd use of the media, especially television, to amplify his anti-corruption crusade. A Congress party leader called Kejriwal a "self-serving ambitious megalomaniac" after he produced documents alleging irregularities in land deals involving Sonia Gandhi's businessman son-in-law, Robert Vadra, and India's biggest property developer, DLF Ltd. Vadra has denied the allegations, saying they were "utterly false, entirely baseless and defamatory". DLF, which has also strongly denied any impro-

priety, saw nearly $580 million wiped off its market value in a single day after Kejriwal's claims. Outgoing Law Minister Salman Khurshid called Kejriwal an ant trying to take on an elephant after he alleged a non-governmental group led by Khurshid and his wife misused funds. The Khurshids have denied any wrongdoing, and the prime minister publicly demonstrated his support by making him foreign minister. One of Khurshid's cabinet colleagues said he did not believe Kejriwal's allegations that Khurshid had embezzled a sum equivalent to $134,000. "It is a very small amount for a central minister," he said, adding that he would have taken the charge seriously if the amount had been 100 times larger. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called Kejriwal a "hitman" after he raised questions about a land deal involving BJP president Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari also

denied any wrongdoing. Prashant Bhushan, a veteran Supreme Court lawyer and legal advisor to Kejriwal, insists that the allegations of wrongdoing are all carefully screened before they are made public. He acknowledged, however, that it was possible some of them may have ultimately emanated from certain political parties. Kejriwal dismisses media efforts to cast him as an Indian Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks. "Our idea is not to keep exposing people. Our purpose is to change the political establishment," Kejriwal was quoted as saying. Kejriwal, who is shy and softspoken away from the television cameras, straightens up in his plastic chair and speaks with passion when asked to respond to such criticism. "Without jumping into the system, it will be impossible to clean up the system. We are going to challenge this political system on a daily basis," he said.

India ranks 94 in list of corrupt nations

New Delhi: India was ranked 94 out of 176 countries surveyed in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2012, with a score of 36 on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), the Transparency International India (TII) said. In 2011, India ranked 95 out of 183 countries. However, due to an update in the methodology, CPI scores of 2011 cannot be compared with this years' score, S.K. Agarwal, vice-chairman of TII said. He added that India had the same score of 36 in 2011 as well.


January 5-11, 2013


Only big companies will benefit from retail FDI

By Prakash Bhandari few days after Indian parliament passed a bill amid much opposition allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail sector, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh went to polls. Gujarat, considered a vibrant state for investors and ruled by BJP opposed to FDI, gave a big win to the party under Narendra Modi. But Himachal Pradesh, which too was ruled by the BJP, voted the party out of power. The political pundits within BJP were surprised by this variance of views. So, is FDI good for India or not? Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate professor of Columbia University, during a recent talk in New Delhi remarked, The advocates of FDI have probably put too much emphasis on it. India is in a different position than a small, developing country. You have a large pool of entrepreneurs. They are globally savvy, have access to global technology and they have a lot of wealth. So, if there were large returns to large-scale supermarkets, the domestic industry would have supplied it. Not having access to FDI is not an impediment in India. WalMart is able to procure many goods at lower prices than others because of the huge buying power they have and will use that power to bring Chinese goods to India to displace Indian production. So the worry is not so much about the displacement of the small retail store but displacement further down the supply chain. Profits of companies like Wal-Mart come from free riding on our society. They don't provide healthcare benefits and assume that the workers spouses get healthcare benefits from their employers or through some other mechanism. WalMart might not be a good employer. Amid opposition from its own allies, the Manmohan Singh government has allowed FDI in multi-brand retail. Under the notification, MNCs can invest up to 51 per cent to open stores in 10 states and Union Territories which have so far agreed to implement the decision. Minimum amount to be

Can this grocer stand up to Carrefour in any way?

brought in by the foreign investor would be $100 million and outlets may be set up only in cities with a population of over 10 lakh. Indian companies hailed the decision adding that it will give a strong message to investors that the government means business and stands firm on its initiatives. The Indian retail sector mainly consists of unorganized players in the form of locally owned, kirana stores, single owner general stores, paan shops, convenience stores, hand cart and pavement vendors. On the other hand, organized retailing involves trading activities undertaken by licensed retailers, that is, those who are registered for sales tax, income tax, etc -basically involving the corporate-backed hypermarkets and retail chains, and also the privately owned large retail businesses. I welcome the FDI because the kirana stores not only offer adulterated goods, but also have a tendency to underweigh, said Bhikam Chand Jain, an insurance agent in Jaipur. However, the tremendous growth prospect of the sector coupled with successfully established models of organized retail in China has paved the way for the establishment of organized retail in India as well. Many home-grown corporate giants such as Relaince Fresh and Future Group have already set up chains across India. The Indian retail is a robust pillar of the economy with a 13% contribution to the GDP and employs 6% of the nations workforce. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian retail is val-

ued at about $ 450 billion, expected to grow by 10.2%. Of this, organized retail only forms 6.5% of the pie. Hence, there is enormous scope for expansion through infrastructure and investment support. Furthermore, while unorganized retail has been pegged at 6% annually, organized retail has been booming at a stupendous growth rate of 35% and will reach 16-18% of the total market within the next five years, said Prof SK Kothari of Poddar Institute of Management at Jaipur. The government has also increased the FDI limit in single-brand retail to 100% from 51%. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh states allowing FDI in retail will benefit all, but traders fear they would suffer immensely, Foreign investment in India is governed by the FDI policy announced by the government and the provision of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999. Foreign investors are free to invest in India, except in a few sectors and activities, where prior approval from the RBI or Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is required. In franchising and commission agents services, FDI (unless otherwise prohibited) is allowed with the approval of the RBI under FEMA. Examples of such business - Pizza Hut, Nike and Spencers. Besides, 100% FDI is allowed in wholesale trading. Wholesalers do business with retailers but not allowed to deal with consumers. The cassandras ask whether India and Indian citizens are ready for big brands when 70%

Indians live on less than Rs. 20 a day. And who will benefit from new FDI policy farmer, consumer or big business? It seems MNCs and rich Indians will come to control the retail market in the country, decreasing the number of small shops. Another argument against retail FDI in India is offered by SK Lalwani, who has come to retire in India from the US: Retail chains are good for any honest country but in corrupt nations the benefits do not reach the poor people, are enjoyed instead by politicians, big business houses, rich people and their friends. India does not have good regulations like in USA. In USA, if a citizen hides his money abroad, the FBI and IRS will send that rich American to jail. Here the Indian Government and laws do not even allow the citizens to know the names of corrupt Indians who have stashed their money in other countries. Obviously, MNCs would make tonnes of money and would cater only the rich. As per the current regulatory regime, FDI up to 51% is allowed with prior government

approval in retail trade of Single Brand products. The conditions are: i) Products should be of a Single Brand only. ii) Products should be sold under the same brand internationally. iii) Single Brand product-retailing would cover only products which are branded during manufacturing. Currently in India the situation is that the farmers do all the hard work and they enjoy the minimum or lowest share of the profits. Middlemen, or Dalals (agents) earn more than farmers. Wal-Mart Stores, the worlds biggest multi-brand retail chain, has told the US Senate that it had lobbied for discussions related to Indias FDI. It spent Rs. 52 crore between 2007-2009 towards FDI in India or say getting entry into the country. To come into the country they will keep spending money on lobbying. Before implementing FDI, the Indian government needs to study in a transparent manner (not behind closed doors) the pros and cons of the policy. After that the government should come up with regulations so that the benefits of the new policy will be enjoyed by poor people of India and mainly farmers and consumers. Another law the government should pass is that big corporations will not be allowed to import any food items from other nations. Big kirana shops must compulsorily buy everything in India and sell in India or they can export. Government should not become the permit giver. Government should give the clear cut policy and allow them to do business in India. If Government becomes the permit giver then corruption will flourish.


January 5-11, 2013


What shook Indias political scene

Here are 10 events of the Indian political sphere that grabbed nation-wide attention


migrant minorities in July. Thousands of lives were lost and lakhs were left homeless. The riots became a national issue after messages warning of attacks on northeast migrants spread throughout the country. This led to a mass exodus of northeast people from many states including Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.

Yerwada jail. The report of his execution was later revealed by Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil. The executed took place following the rejection of his mercy appeal to President President Pranab Mukherjee.

Based on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report brought out in March, Team Anna slapped corruption charges against 15 cabinet members including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The report stated that the Coal Ministry, which was under the PM's responsibility from 2006 to 2009, had allocated 155 coal blocks to as many as 100 private and state-run companies without auction, thus causing huge loss to the state exchequer a huge loss. After a CBI probe, a case was file against five companies that mislead the screening committee about their operations in the allocation of coal blocks in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Presidential Election

Gujarat Elections

coalition over demands on the rollback of the big-bang reforms introduced by the Centre in September. TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had demanded the government to reverse its decision on raising diesel prices and opening India's retail sector to foreign investors.

'Aam Aadmi' Launch

After a bitter split from anti-corruption activist Anna Hazzare, Kejriwal launched his "Aam Aadmi Party" on Nov 26 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal was a key member of Gandhian Anna Hazare's anti-corruption squad of activists, but the two fell out in 2012 primarily over the decision to join politics.

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam

Corruption charges were slapped against BJP President Nithin Gadkeri by activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal in October. Kejriwal said that Gadkeri expanded his business empire by targeting the lands owned by farmers of Vidarbha.

Zee vs Jindal

Northeast Exodus

Former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee took the baton from Pratibha Patil and was sworn in as the 13th president of India on July 25. Various names had been speculated by the Indian media and politicians prior to the official candidacies being submitted. The BJP-led NDA turned to support former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi won a hat-trick victory in the state Assembly elections on Dec 20. His party bagged 116 seats to the 182member state Assembly, pushing Modi back on the saddle for the third time as chief minister. With Gujarat elections done and dusted, BJP leaders have started raising the pitch for naming Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.

DLF Controversy

Ajmal Kasab's Hanging

The ruling UPA government permitted foreign direct investment (FDI) in various sectors including retail, insurance, pension and aviation. Amidst huge controversies and opposition from several political parties, the government secured majority votes in both lower and upper house of parliament in favor of FDI. On Sept 18, the Trinamool Congress party (TMC), staged a walkout from the Congress-led As an eventful year for controversies, corruption charges were also slapped against Sonia Gandhi's sonin-law, Robert Vadra. The allegations, made by the Kejriwal-led India Against Corruption organization, stated that that real estate giant DLF had sold prime land in Delhi and nearby areas to Vadra at throwaway prices. Vadra was also alleged to have been given interest-free loans.

Assam witnessed the worst ethnic riots between the Bodos and

On Nov 21, lone terrorist of Mumbai bomb blast Ajmal Kasab was hanged in secrecy at Pune's

Two TV journalists were held in India after allegedly demanding money from an industrialist in return for favorable coverage. The controversy renewed debate about the media transparency in India. Naveen Jindal, Chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Congress MP, alleged that two senior editors of Zee News, owned by Subhash Chandra, had asked for money as bribe to drop an investigation into how his company had received coal allocations from the Indian government. Responding to the JSPL allegation, the Indian police arrested two senior editors of Zee TV Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia. The channel filed a 1.5billion-rupee defamation suit against Jindal. Jindal also reacted and brought a 2-billion-rupee defamation suit against the channel.

Questions to define Indian politics in 2013

Will the direct cash transfer scheme work? Why It's Important: Because many political watchers, including the Opposition, consider the direct cash transfer of subsidy deliverables to be the "game-changer" in 2013. The scheme, to be rolled out from January 2013, will plug leakages rampant in welfare schemes. As a Congress MP said, "The sarkar is only known to take things from you, when it hands out cash directly to your bank accounts, it will be an unbeatable political idea." Will there be early General elections? Why It's Important: Because both the main parties BJP and Congress face severe problems from within and are ill-prepared for early polls. When Mamata Banerjee withdrew support to the UPA government in September 2012, conventional wisdom was that the government might last a full term with outside backing from the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. That situation hasn't really changed since then, sparking endless speculation on whether polls are due early. Who will emerge as the first among equals in BJP? Why It's Important: Because, with the UPA having taken a beating, the next election could be a sitter for the BJP if it gets its act together. The internecine warfare in the BJP on leading the party has been on for over half-a-decade. Intrigues, conspiracy and downright sabotage have all been allegedly employed in this zero-sum game. With Gujarat elections over, will this be the year Narendra Modi stakes claim to Delhi and ends speculation for once and for all? How well is Sonia Gandhi? Why It's Important: Because if she's physically unable to lead the Congress into the next election, it could deeply hurt the morale of the already-battered Grand Old Party. Sonia hasn't been well for over a year. While that hasn't affected the vigor with which she has defended her party's position, especially in Parliament, her health will be a key factor affecting the Congress' strategy in the year to come. Will Rahul Gandhi learn to get along with Congress' old guard? Why It's Important: Because the Gandhi scion's efforts at building his own parallel secretariat came a cropper. His efforts to democratise the Youth Congress and plans to revive the Congress in UP too flopped. All this gave a bigger say to the old advisers of Sonia Gandhi, cutting into the crown prince's citadel. The big question for the Congress: will the trust deficit be bridged? How long will the cosy relationship between Mayawati & Congress last? Why It's Important: Because that could determine how political alignments are determined in the run-up to the general elections. Of course, it all depends on the status of the CBI cases against her, and just how badly Akhilesh Yadav's graph dips in Uttar Pradesh. With communal violence and crime on the rise, Mayawati just has to bide her time.

PBD 2013

January 5-11, 2013


2,000 expected at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-2013

A special 'Gulf Session' will be organized on the first day of the three-day event at Le Meridian, Kochi

hiruvananthapuram: The 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held in Kerala's Kochi city from January 7-9, is expected to see more than 2,000 participants from around 70 countries, a state minister said. Minister for Diaspora K.C. Joseph said that by now, 1,600

delegates have registered for the PBD-2013. "We are certain the total will cross the 2,000 mark," Joseph said. "The role of the state government in this event is that of a facilitator, as the programme is being run and managed by the ministry of overseas Indian affairs," Joseph

added. Six state chief ministers and a good number of central ministers will take part in the annual diaspora conclave, Joseph said. It's for the first time that the PBD is being held in Kerala. The prime minister will inaugurate this annual flagship event of the gov-

ernment Jan 8, while the president will deliver the valedictory address Jan 9 and present the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards to the winners. A special "Gulf Session" will be organized on the first day of the three-day event. Among the participants in the session will be

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Joseph. "The delegate fee for the threeday event has been fixed at US$ 250 and the participants will have to pay Rs.1,000 additionally for the Gulf Session," Joseph said.

Session to discuss status of Pure Sciences in India

New Delhi: As part of conference sessions at PBD 2013, a seminar titled 'Pure Sciences' will be held in Kochi on January 6. The session will look at various challenges involved in developing pure sciences and its commercialization for enhancing Indias competitiveness globally. Besides understanding critical success factors in research, the session will explore possibilities of global scientific leadership for India. The session will be chaired by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) . A materials scientist and nanotechnologist by profession, Dr. Abraham, is also president of the US-based technology & market research firm Innovative Research and Products. The keynote speaker is IIT-Delhi Director Prof. R.K. Shevgaonkar. The panelists include Lord Bhikhu Parekh of British House of Lords; Shri P.C. Chacko MP; Dr. S. Ayyappan, Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Dr. Shekhar Gupta of Fermi Laboratory in the US.

GOPIO to honor 7 for community service

New York: GOPIO has selected seven people to receive community service awards, including four with special recognition awards, at GOPIOs annual convention on January 5-6 on the occasion of 11th PBD in Kochi, Kerala. The annual convention will cover country and area reports on community issues and perspectives from different part of the world. Here are the awardees: 1. Murray Bullock St Vincent & Grenadines Murray Bullock is chairman of St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) National Lotteries Authority and chairman of St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) National Development Foundation. 2. George Subraj USA George Subraj, born in Guyana, is CEO of Zara Realty Holdings based in New York. He is dedicated to supporting diverse community projects in USA and Guyana, including medical equipment and services to the needy. 3. Dr Anil Mehta Netherlands Dr. Anil K. Mehta helps people from Indian origin, who are in the Netherlands for last 30 years without proper stay-permit or health insurance. He has set up the Anand Prakashdeep Charitable Trust to provide free treatment to needy patients. 4. Prof. Ajay Rane Australia Prof. Ajay Rane is former Chairman and current Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He is actively involved with the RANZCOG, Federal and State Government Agencies mainly to bring about a systemic change and ensure a fair representation for overseas doctors. 5. Vasu Chanchlani Canada Vasu Chanchlani is a serial entrepreneur and visionary philanthropist supporting projects having transformational impact. He co-founded Canada India Foundation (CIF) for deepening engagement between Canada and India. 6. Ishwar Ramlutchman South Africa Ishwar Ramlutchman is CEO of AC Industrial Sales & Services. He is a business entrepreneur and worked for procurement and implementation of water and sanitation infrastructure projects for local government; corporate social responsibility by building schools, poor feeding and health facilities for the poor and disadvantaged in Kwa Zulu Natal. 7. Sunny Augustine Dubai Sunny Augustine is Managing Director of White Sands Tours and Travel, a leading tour and holiday company in Dubai, and has been in the forefront of a historic humanitarian task. Special Recognition 1. Dr A. Didar Singh India Dr Alwyn Didar Singh is Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and former Secretary to Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. 2. Manpreet Kaur Singh Australia Manpreet Kaur Singh is a well-established and prominent journalist for over 23 years. 3. Ashok Rao - USA Ashok Rao is an entrepreneur with five successful high technology start-ups and one of the first Indian Americans to take a company public on NASDAQ. 4. Dr. Awtar Singh (Posthumously) - USA He was Chair, Board of Trustees, Indian American Heritage Foundation, and instituted Awtar and Teji Singh Scholarship Fund at University of Colorado.

New schemes for expatriates in 2012

New Delhi: A pension and life insurance scheme for Indian workers abroad, signing of social security pacts with a number of countries and unfulfilled promise of streamlining the immigration process marked 2012 for the Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry. Fulfilling a long-standing demand, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January announced the pension and life insurance scheme for overseas Indian workers to benefit over 5 million workers, especially those in the Gulf, and help them save for their return, resettlement and old age. As the economy slowed down, the ministry, which looks after issues linked to diaspora, tried to reach out to Indians abroad seeking their support in bolstering the economy while highlighting its resilience. The ministry organised a Mini Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in September in Mauritius to woo potential investors by projecting the wave of reform initiatives that the government took to bolster the economy. Mauritius is the top source of FDI in India, accounting for nearly 45 per cent of the total foreign investment. In the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, the annual congregation of Indian diaspora, held in Jaipur earlier in the year, the then President Pratibha Patil pitched for harnessing private investments in areas of health, education and skill development and asked the overseas Indian community to be partners in the country's development. Chief ministers of several states, including Gujarat, tried to woo more investments from overseas Indians by flaunting developmental initiatives launched by their respective governments and concessions offered to entrepreneurs. They also assured NRIs and PIOs that their states would be more than willing to facilitate if they wish to invest in any sector thus contributing to the overall development.


January 5-11, 2013

Jaipur Jewelry Show

UniqUe gem boUrse to come Up in JaipUr

By Prakash Bhandari

Jaipurs Jewelers Association will set up the gem bourse with help from government, it was announced at the Jaipur Jewelry Show from December 22-25, 2012.
Parekh, who attended the annual Jaipur Jewelry Show (JJS), the countrys second biggest jewelry show, said that the gemstone business of Jaipur is 250 years old and there is need to provide support for its organized growth. He pointed to efforts to facilitate the import of gemstones from Pakistan and Afghanistan and also from Russia. The colored gemstones industry, Parekh noted, stood at $3.44 billion as per last years financial figures, demonstrating a growth of 10% over the previous year. The industry has been growing steadily in the last five years. Jayant Mishra, Development Commissioner of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) said that the SEZ at Jaipur started with a modest export of Rs. 5.8 crore in 2008 and is almost at Rs. 1000 crore today. He said that out of the Rs. 3200 crore exports from Jaipur, the SEZ Sitapura contribution was about Rs. 1000 crores. He invited entrepreneurs to use the facilities at Sitapura, which still has 40 blocks to be allotted. The JJS, which had a humble beginning in 2003 with just 67 stalls at Entertainment Paradise (EP), is now being held at a bigger venue with the display stalls snowballing to 464 booths with a waiting list of 72. Welcoming the guests during the inaugural ceremony, the convener of JJS, Vimal Chand Surana, said that it has been a memorable decade for JJS, as it has special affinity with the Pink City and jewelry fraternity. Tourists prefer to come to Jaipur during the time JJS is on and he was happy that the show culminated on Christmas day before New Year. He remembered late Rashmikant Durlabhji as a true visionary and the main architect of JJS.

he Indian Commerce Ministry will provide a grant of Rs. 45 crore for setting up the worlds first gemstone bourse here. The state government has been urged by Jaipurs Jewelers Association to provide land for it at Gem Park, owned by Rajasthan Industrial Investment Corporation. The association wants to set up the gem bourse for the systematic growth of the gems processing and trading, which is worth Rs. 3,200 crore. According to Pankaj Parekh, Vice Chairman of the Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the Commerce Ministry is committed to contributing Rs. 45 crore to set up the park, which is likely to cost over Rs. 100 crore. The remaining funds would be raised by offering membership and office space to the gem industry persons. The state government and the Jewelers Association had several meetings to push the project. Now, with the Union government playing a key role in encouraging the bourse project, it seems realistic. The bourse will pave way for organized manufacturing of jewelry and also processing of the gemstones. It would also become a major trading center of imported raw gemstone stocks. There are many diamond bourses located in New York and in Antwerp but this would be the first gemstone bourse of its kind.

Actress-model Simran Kaur was the brand ambassador of JJS.

The JJS show guide was presented by Ashok Singhi and Kamal Kothari. It culminated with a ceremony attended by the Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry of Commerce, Sidharth Singh. Singh said the exposition showcases the rich tradition of jewelry making of Jaipur. He said the import of gold has shown a decline, which is a welcome sign. Singh presented souvenirs to 20 various agencies who contributed for the success of the show. Jewels Emporium, with its artistic wooden carved double-decker booth, was adjudged the best booth, followed by the booth of Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas. Our of the 464 booths, 296 were designers booths. Judges were Harish Zhaveri of Mumbai, Interior designers Meenal Jain and Ritu Khandelwal and famous jeweler of Jaipur, Sudhir Kasliwal.

actress-model Simran Kaur modeled some of her favorite jewelry.

Increased globalization, social values and multiple options have caused decreases in margins. To regain their margins, diamond traders and jewelry makers will have to adopt online marketing to promote their sales. Prashant Bhojani of Rapaport, while making his presentation, Where Did My Margins Go, And How Do I Get Them Back at the Jaipur Jewelery Show seminar,

increase of 30 percent and this has resulted in tremendous rise in online buying and selling. Bhojani said the internet has become the primary source of diamond price and market information. Listing of diamonds for sale online draws larger customer attention and the customers look for such information before deciding on what to buy and for what price. Your business depends on

GoinG online is key

stressed that information today is business and you need the best price, availability and market information to trade diamonds and jewelry. Rapaport provides a wide assortment of services and products to clients from more than 110 countries. In India, it has offices in Mumbai and Surat. Bhojani said that the Internet search on mobile in the past three years has seen an

to business now

a view of the surging crowds at JJS booths.

buying and selling and the internet has become a strong medium for trade, said Bhojani. Online information helps not only the buyer who often overpays or the seller who often undersells. Online provides the access to real time diamond pricing. Online, one can get the actual asking prices for hundreds and thousands of diamonds in the market and also discounts and premiums.

Jaipur Jewelry Show

January 5-11, 2013


Sean Gilbertson (fourth from left), the executive Director of the Gemfields, with JJS organizing committee members releasing JJS Show Guide at the inaugural session.

Sparkle of Diamonds
at full show in JJs
By Prakash Bhandari

A treAsure trove for mens jewelry

India, ancient Egypt and the African tribes to native North America have all had traditions of men wearing jewelry. Indian mythology is full of stories about mens jewelry and contains descriptions of how a king chose to wear gold caps on his teeth to look elegant. Men always wore body ornaments. Mens jewelry often gets a bad reputation as being for the overly effeminate or for the man who likes to show off his wealth, but the truth is that many elements of mens jewelry were created to fulfill a practical function. JJS had an array of products for men. One could easily spot eloquent looking products such as rings, bracelets, tie clips, cuff links, pendants, charms, broaches, buttons, wrist watch straps and even waist belts. Also seen were a variety of mens rings for all occasions - engagements, birthday and anniversaries as well as for daily use and for special occasions. JJS gave us an opportunity to select the engagement ring and one could find a very large variety of it! said Reena Sogani, who is preparing for her daughters wedding in January 2013. We invited the family of our would-be-son-in-law to choose from a large variety of engagement rings and the opposite family was very pleased with our idea and the damad picked up the ring of his choice. Smriti Trehan, a visitor to the show from Chandigarh picked up a diamond bracelet to be presented to her husband on their 25th wedding anniversary. Bracelets in gold and in silver -- both plain and diamond and colored stones were on display. Engagement rings in gold, pure diamonds, diamond and colored stones and even birthday stones were showcased in various booths. These were available in traditional and contemporary designs. One could pick up loose single stone or various sizes and hues of pearls for making rings. Cuff links of various designs in pure gold and silver were hot items. There was even meenakari cuff links, diamond and color stone studded cuff links, and exquisite silver cufflinks in various sizes and shapes. Tie pins with small and large diamonds and colored stones and diamond studded and plain pearls were available in various designs. Mens charms and pendants in many designs -- both large and small -- were also available. There was no dearth of mens gold and silver chains for both daily wear and special occasions. The booths offering gold chains attracted a large number of customers who wanted to present them to male friends or family as gifts or as marriage gifts. Broaches and buttons were also selling well. One could pick up thewa art buttons for jackets and sherwanis or choose from pure diamond buttons and also colored stones and diamond buttons for kurtas. The silver buttons of the traditional nathdwara and pratapgarh for jackets and sherwanis were also hot items displayed in several booths.

Sean Gilbertson, the executive Director of the Gemfields, inaugurating the show as Chief Guest.

he Jaipur Jewelry Show (JJS) 2012 at Rajmahal Palace lawns here from December 22-25, 2012 was a glittering show witnessed swelling visitors. With the theme Diamonds Jewelry, Jaipur Adds Color to it, JJS offered an array of great diamond creations, all under one roof. I and my friend Simone have come from France and we planned our trip to be in Jaipur for the JJS show, said Maria Giovanni, an Italian working in an MNC at Milan. Look, even my mobile has the Diamonds are Forever lyrics as ringtone. Its a spectacular show where rubies, tanzanite, emeralds and other sparkling gemstones could be seen marrying the king of all diamonds. A unique feature of JJS has been that different stones and jewelry items have been proactively promoted as a theme. In the past, the themes were: Redefining Colors, Mystique of Gems, Emerald: Add One to Your life, Emerald and More, Tanzanite: Rarest of the Rare, Cherish the Miracle of Tanzanite, and Kundan Meena: A Tradition That Goes on the Generations. JJS had everything for everybody - gold, silver, pearls and traditional jadau jewelries. One could see the fusion theme

of diamonds and kundan meena, polki and kundan work and even 3-D jewelries. There were heavylook diamonds and light jewelry, as well as colored stone-studded articles. The show crossed boundaries, as one could see a gold plated pen, Lord Ganeshas idols, pen stand, cufflinks, cigarette holder and decorative artifacts studded with gemstones. One could also see artifacts in various stones which looked like paintings.It was quite a sight for many to see how cut and polished small stones were artistically joined to produce classics. The creations showed the hard work of the artisans who painstakingly created these beauties. It also showed the way the artisans are adopting modern jewelry tools to produce wonders that could be compared to the best of branded jewelry creations of the US and Europe. The show also attracted a 21member Pakistani delegation. Students of three institutes from Pakistan met the exhibitors and obtained information about diamond jewelry. Five prestigious jewelry organizations won awards at a ceremony: Indus Jewelry, Arshia Jewelers, Kala Ji Jewelers, Jewel Emporium and KGK Entice Jewelers.

4 (1) actress Simran Kaur smiles while being given jewelry to model. (2) actress Simran Kaur in a different garb modeling jewelry. (3) Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce Siddharth Singh (middle) visiting JJS. (4) a group of models show off modern jewelry at JJS.


January 5-11, 2013


India-US ties: An affair of the heart set to get deeper

By Arun Kumar ndia-US relations were poised to become "even deeper" after a quiet consolidation during a contentious election year when everything but India was up for debate between rival contenders for the White House. With a bipartisan consensus across the political divide over Washington's ties with New Delhi, Indians lost little sleep when Republican challenger Mitt Romney emerged as a credible alternative to Democrat President Barack Obama. And after his re-election, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among the world leaders Obama personally called to thank for their congratulatory messages and to express his "desire to continue close cooperation moving ahead". Predicting an "even deeper and more rewarding engagement" during Obama's second term, India's Ambassador to US Nirupama Rao noted how India-US strategic part-

Indian students celebrate Obamas reelection outside the US Embassy in New Delhi.

nership had moved over the last four years from a 'consolidation' phase into one of "comprehensive and multifaceted engagement". With the dust of election settled, Obama's election cycle rant against outsourcing was not heard again and commercial ties between the two countries too were poised to continue their upward trajectory with the two-way trade between them set to cross $100 billion this year. The Indian parliament's approval

of FDI in retail trade removed another irritant in India-US ties to the delight of corporate America as New Delhi assured it "a level playing field" and "total transparency" with an invitation to take advantage of India's plans to invest over a trillion dollars in infrastructure development. The Democratic Party vowed to continue in Obama's second term "to invest in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its

ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region". Romney's Republicans too had sought "a stronger relationship with the world's largest democracy, India, both economic and cultural, as well as in terms of national security" while urging New Delhi to permit greater foreign investment and trade. Given the bipartisan consensus over India, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns travelled to India, even before the election results were out, to seek India's help to influence Iran to join international negotiations to break the logjam over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. India and the US also agreed to take forward their cooperation on Afghanistan following the first USAfghanistan-India trilateral dialogue in New York in September. At their third strategic dialogue in Washington in June, India and the US further consolidated their ties after the US gave New Delhi a

waiver on Iran oil sanctions and a breakthrough was reached on the stalled civil nuclear deal even as differences persisted in perception over India's civil nuclear liability law. A 13-point joint statement listing progress in seven key areas ranging from counter-terrorism to people-to-people ties took note of "the remarkable expansion and growth of the bilateral relationship since the inaugural Strategic Dialogue in 2010". However, a hike in US visa fee for skilled professionals remained an irritant in ties leading to the Indo-US joint commission on science and technology unanimously urging that the two sides work together to remove impediments in visa matters and biological material transfer required for bilateral S&T programs. In sum, India and the US appeared set to continue what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, one of the prime movers of IndiaUS ties, has called an "affair of the heart" even as she herself was ready to hang up her boots.

Wal-Mart spending $25 million on lobbying in the US to influence retail policy in India has created a ruckus mainly because lobbying has more negative image than positive. India has no lobbying regulations, but it is not illegal either.

Lobbying: Boon or bane?

By Heera Lal

obbying is prevalent in both social and commercial sectors. Its positive or negative effect will depend on its use. But, its perception is more negative than positive. The recent FDI permission in retail in India brought it into limelight. Wal-Mart filed a lobbying disclosure report with the US Senate. The company has spent $25 million since 2008 on its lobbying activities related to "enhance market access for investment in India". This disclosure gave some ammunition to the opposition against government in India. One definition of lobbying says it is the act of attempting to influence business and government to create legislation or conduct an activity that will help a particular organization. Government decisions are traditionally attempted to influence by targeting legislators or regulators and government officials. In 1792 in USA, the Virginia veterans of the Continental Army hired William Hull, one of the countrys first lobbyists, to lobby for additional compensation. Worldwide, the UK, France, European Union, Germany, Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy, etc have lobbying industry. Lobbying regulations are in place to render government officials more accountable. Regulations promote

more transparency of lobbyist actions. The role of regulations is to make the public aware of the interest behind the proposals and link between the lobbyists and policy makers. Lobbying is, however, facing a crisis of legitimacy. It is big business, particularly for those representing companies and nations. Even civil society lobbying, once conducted by passionate amateurs, has become a sophisticated industry pursuing an extraordinary range of aims. The sheer numbers of lobbyists and the resources at their command threaten to overwhelm or co-opt politicians and public servants. A federal judge upheld the attempt by President Obama to curtail the influence of lobbyists, ruling that he was within his authority to bar them from serving on government boards. Roughly $3 billion is spent in America every year on lobbying. Google was on track to spend over $13 million in 2012 on lobbying. In the first half of 2012, Facebook spent $1.6 million on lobbying. However, a UN Global Compact report Towards Responsible Lobbying published in 2005 highlights its positives. It argues that the right to voice our concerns and interests, and thereby influence public policy, is fundamental to democracy. Spheres of influence and action

have changed. Now actors from one sector are increasingly involved in areas that were formerly regarded as the preserve of other sectors. The vision of responsible lobbying is visible and legitimate multisector collaboration about how best to achieve the goals society holds in common. In todays inter-dependent global economy, leading companies and other high-profile organizations want to understand and manage a wider range of opportunities, impacts, relationships and risks than ever before. Business is becoming an integral part of the governance process at all levels from the local to the global. Increasingly, therefore, companies reputations, license to operate, and ultimately accountability, require them to demonstrate consistency in performance on issues like human rights, environmental impacts and corporate governance. Lobbying is an important component of this accountability and consistency. So it is time for lobbying to come out of the shadows, and for companies to take a more responsible approach that is accepted by policy makers, as both try to contribute positively to sustainable development. Policy makers increasingly accept and often actively solicit the views of business and NGOs in shaping public policy on major economic, social, environmental and ethical challenges

Employees celebrate the opening of a Best Price Modern store in Hyderabad. Bharti Enterprises manages that and other such stores, which Wal-Mart has invested in. worldwide. The governments must be open to the positive role of business in public policy, without offering favored industries or the business community in general, undue influence in relation to other stakeholders. Responsible lobbying will change the jaundiced view of business involvement in public policy. According to US law all organizations that spend more than $11,500 per year on lobbying activities have to file reports with the authorities. Wal-Mart clarified the money was spent within the US, and that none was used in India. But the outcry caused by the revelation has pressurized the Indian government to agree to a judicial probe into the matter. This is not the first time that Lobbygate has caused a ruckus in India. In 1995 the American power company, Enron, faced flak for spending a substantial sum on the political re-education of local legislators to get approval for its ultimately ill-fated Dabhol generating plant. More recently, the so-called Radiatapes raised the lobbyist bogey. India has no lobbying regulations, but it is not illegal either. Well-established Lobbying industry operates in a largely opaque environment. Dilip Cherian, founder of a PR agency, Perfect Relations, and a well known lobbyist, says lobbying is an iterative process and lobbyists function as a bridge between companies and the government. We help our clients in understanding the policy environment of the country. Jug Suraiya argued for making lobbying legal in India, make it transparent and bringing it above the table.


January 5-11, 2013

The foreign office has recommended the name of India's high commissioner to Maldives, Dnyaneshwar Mulay, as Indias new consul general in New York. Mulay will replace Prabhu Dayal, who completes his three-year term in March and was popular with the Indian community for initiating celebrations of various festivals. Meanwhile, Devyani Khobragade took over as the deputy consul-general at the consulate on Dec. 2. Her Big Apple posting comes after important assignments in Islamabad and Berlin.

Inaugural India Day Parade held in Hicksville

Rajat Gupta convicted

An appeals court ruled in December that former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta can remain free on bail while he appeals his insider-trading conviction. Gupta had been scheduled to surrenRajat Gupta der on 8 January to start a two-year prison sentence. But after hearing arguments from Guptas lawyer and prosecutors, a two-judge panel of the second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York granted Guptas request to stay out of prison. Gupta, 64, was convicted in June of leaking Goldman boardroom secrets to Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon Group hedge-fund manager at the center of a US government crackdown on insider trading over the past four years. Gupta, also a former head of management consultancy McKinsey and Co., has been free on $10 million bail.

suicide. The charges on Ravi included bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and evidence tampering. Earlier, it was estimated that Ravi will face up to ten years imprisonment and deportation to India, which was cut down to 30 days. He was released from US prison after he completed 20 days of his jail term and spared deportation to India.

Lamp lighting ceremony at the parade.

300-pound statue stolen from Wayne temple

Thieves stole a 300-pound statue of Lord Shiva from a Wayne temple the night before the Indian new year on Nov 15. The statue, valued at $6,200, was made of a five-metal alloy that contains copper, gold and silver and police speculated that the thieves would have offloaded the statue to a scrap dealer, who would have had it melted down for its component metals all in a matter of hours. In the aftermath the temple board planned to increase security at the temple by installing a gate to close off the main driveway and invest in cameras and motion detectors.

Emerging as the newest 'Little India' in the US, Hicksville, NY witnessed the first India Day Parade on Long Island with Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna leading as Grand Marshal on August 11. Hicksville has been attracting both families and Indian owned businesses. Thousands of people from Indian communities scattered over Long Island joined the parade following the format of the famous India Day Parade in Manhattan to celebrate India's 66th Independence Day. India's Consul General in New York, Prabhu Dayal, also joined the parade along with officials such as Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, and supervisors of Town of Hempstead and of North Hempstead, Kate Murray and Jon Kaiman respectively. There were over a dozen floats, a marching band and many groups walking down the parade route lined by onlookers. Some 100 community organizations of the area participated, cutting across religion, politics or region of origin in India.

Divyendu Sinha murder trial begins

Following a plea bargain deal for one of the five suspects charged with the 2010 fatal beating of Prof Divyendu Sinha, a large section of Indian Americans started a petition drive which aims to get the remaining four accused to trial for murder. Julian Daley, Chris Conway, Christian Tinli, Cash Johnson and Steven Contreras are all charged with the murder of Prof Sinha. All five suspects are being tried as adults, though they were teenagers when the fatal incident occurred. Contreras, the driver of the getaway car, accepted a plea agreement Nov. 27 a day before he was due to go to trial and can now receive a maximum four-year sentence rather than the 10 years he might have received if his case had gone to trial.

Chaalo Gujarat attracts 30,000

$5 million worth stolen statues seized in Newark

U S authorities, working with I n d i a , seized five bronze statues, including an antique Goddess Parvati idol worth millions of dollars, stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu and allegedly sold by an Indian antique smuggler. The Parvati statue, a cultural property of India, is one of many items stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu and allegedly sold by an Indian antique smuggler, Subhash Kapoor, who is facing criminal charges in India. Special agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, Dec. 5 seized the bronze Parvati statue and four bronze figures from Tamil Nadu estimated to be worth more than $5 million at the Port of Newark. Special agents had earlier seized dozens of antiquities with an estimated value of $100 million.

A laser documentary on Swami Vivekananda and magician PC Sorcar

AIA-NY celebrates Silver Diwali mela

T h e Association of Indians in America (AIA) NY chapter commemorated its 25th annual Deepavali mela year as Silver Diwali at the South Seaport in Manhattan on October 7, 2012 under the presidentship of Ranju Batra. Tens of AIA-NY president thousands attend- Ranju Batra displayed what has ing 25th Diwali mela brochure become the biggest Diwali mela outside India. . AIA made an appeal seeking Congress and the United States Postal Service to commission a Diwali stamp, a campaign that has been going on for some years. The day long celebrations ended with colorful fireworks that filled the sky across the East River, highlighting Indias rich heritage and traditions and sponsored by the State Bank of India for the first time.

Chaalo Gujarat, World Gujarati Conference 2012 was organized by the Association of Indian Americans in North America (AIANA) in New Jersey August 31 to September 2. The theme of third Chaalo Gujarat event was Gujarat, Gujarati, Gujaratism. The 3-day event attracted more than 30,000 and featured cultural extravaganza including music and dance shows, speeches, religious discourses, a laser show, interactive seminars, multimedia presentations apart from debut of a Miss Gujarat USA 2012 pageant. The State of New Jersey issued a proclamation declaring Aug. 31 as Gujarati Day in recognition of the communitys contributions to the state. AIANA members also rang the opening bell at Nasdaq on Aug. 31, while the Empire State Building displayed the theme colors of the event -- pink, yellow and blue.

Dharun Ravi sentenced, spends 20 days in jail

Indian American student Dharun Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail by a New Jersey judge in May. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student was convicted for spying with a webcam on his roommate Tyler Clementi, who was with another man. Tyler later committed

Change of guard at NY Consulate

Dnyaneshwar Mulay, the incoming Consul General

Manick Sorcar devised a laser show to pay tribute to two eminent Indians, Swami Vivekananda and magician P.C. Sorcar. Manick is the son of the famous magician and combines his day job as a lighting engineer in Denver, Colorado, with a passion for art and laser shows. The year 2013 is the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda and the birth centenary of Sorcar's father, which he considers a happy coincidence. The two-hour laser program is divided into two parts. The first hour is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda. This is preceded by a "laser live" prayer-dance based on a work of the Swami. The second half is a laser show celebrating the centenary of P C Sorcar. "Swamiji" premiered October 10 at the Grand Theatre of Science City in Kolkata.


January 5-11, 2013


F rie n d o F t h e c o u nty in need

Exclusive Interview by Robert Golomb

I never allow politics to interfere with my responsibility to advocate for policies, whether initiated by Democrats or Republicans, that serve the best interests of the people of Nassau County, asserts Ed Mangano. The SATimes Person of the Year 2009 also declares that he will seek re-election as Nassau County Executive this year.
not on the same side of the political aisle, yet Mangano supported Governor cuomos initiative capping property tax hikes below the inflation level.

t is probably not hard to see why Nassau County Executive Republican Edward Mangano has the reputation as a hard guy to figure out. Mangano, who was elected to his current position in November 2009 when he defeated then heavily favored incumbent Thomas Suozzi in a huge upset that was said to have reconfigured the political map of the county, which hadnt elected a Republican CE since 2001 and had given Obama 54% of its votes in 2008, is an unabashedly proud fiscal conservative Republican. In fact, both Republican (approvingly) and Democrat party insiders (critically) noted back in 2009 that Mangano, rather than trying to move to the political center by downplaying the support he received during the campaign from the Tea Party, seemed rather to exult in it. They also noted that rather than playing the role of the just elected above-politics county chief, he did little to hide his pleasure that under his coattails the Republicans had won back control of the County Legislature for the first time since 1999. But then, less than a year later, Mangano raised more than a few political eyebrows when he began to make appearances in the summer and early fall of 2010 standing

next to Andrew Cuomo at Long Island political rallies to support then Democrat gubernatorial candidates 2% New York State Tax Cap proposal. In June 2011, Governor Cuomo signed his campaign proposal into state law, which caps property tax increases at 2% or below inflation. That Cuomo selected the Nassau County Village of Lynbrook for the Tax Cap laws signing with a beaming Mangano at his side had some Tea Party leaders and Republican officials reportedly question the CEs seeming closeness with a very liberal governor rumored to have his eyes on a 2016 presidential run. Cuomo in turn had angered many Democrats for allowing their Republican nemesis to share the limelight for the passing of a law that enjoys wide support with homeowners. When I interviewed Mangano last week in his Mineola office, I asked him about his dalliance with Cuomo. Didnt you fear that it might present you with a problem if you decided to run for re-election in 2013? Mangano was firm, I never allow political considerations to interfere with my responsibility to advocate for policies, whether initiated by Democrats or Republicans that serve the best interests of the people of Nassau County. Cuomos tax plan assisted our residents, so I supported it. He continued, Our working relationship goes back to when he (Cuomo) was Attorney General. We worked together to stop Medicare

fraud, which steals millions of taxpayer dollars, thus reducing funds available to provide health care to Medicare recipients. So, working together to pass the property tax cut legislation was never difficult. Mangano remains proud of his fiscal record: Since 2010 we have cut the size of government, saving 290 million of taxpayers money, while continuing to provide the same quality and quantity of services for Nassau residents, and at the same time, attracting new business creating thousands of private sector jobs. To Mangano his tight cost saving budget was rewarding, My administration, working closely with the Legislature, balanced the budget for the third year in a row. And we did so without raising taxes. The hard budget decisions included, cutting 1776 non-essential county jobs through layoffs and attrition. {And} Through Our Smart Government Initiatives we formulated a tax savings public-private partnership for public bus transportation. And in our prisons we reduced the number of hours paid to government employees by streamlining the inmate booking and the mental health care intake systems. Cutting some public sector jobs attracted loud protests from municipal unions, which tended, however, to be short lived. And the other two cost cutting measures Mangano cited created little opposition at the time. But there was another cost saving plan that might have comewith a high political price.

Mangano remains focused on providing assistance to those in nassau county who are still affected by Hurricane Sandy. new York Governor cuomo has been supportive.

Mangano angered the powerful Nassau County PBA when he transformed 4 police precincts into police centers in 2011 to save $20M for the county. He also faced fierce criticism from Democrat legislators and from many homeowners and homeowner association leaders who claimed that this plan compromised public safety. Mangano, however, assured that public safety, his first priority, would not suffer as the number of police patrols would remain at past levels at the minimum. Our plan, contrary to the criticisms at the time, actually enabled us to create savings that have increased the number of police patrols, Mangano said. Citing current data, which indicates the crime rate falling in Nassau County, he added Transforming these 4 precincts into police centers has resulted in having less police sitting in their precinct seats and more patrolling the neighborhood streets, and consequently has made our citizens safer. Post Hurricane Sandy, much of Manganos work day, he told me, remains focused on providing assistance to those residents who weeks after the storm remain victims of it. There are thousands of residents who continue to suffer from displacement from their homes. We are working closely with FEMA officials on the federal level and Governor Cuomo on the state level to provide housing and other assistance to those still

suffering, he said, adding, There is a great deal of work still to be done until every family in Nassau County has their lives returned to normal, we have not done enough. Finally, I asked the County Executive the inevitable question: Do you plan to run for re-election in 2003 end? Yes, I plan to, he answered without any hesitation. But given the incredibly long hours that your job requires and the criticism and personal attacks that you have had to endure as a result of the tough decisions that you have had to make, why do you still want the job? Mangano paused for several moments before answering, Because I love the job {I} love the opportunity to help improve the lives of people who live in the county in which I was raised and in which my wife and I are raising our two sons {Because} this job gives me the opportunity to transcend politics to work together with Republicans, Democrats and Independents to help make our citizens even safer, {to make} our schools even better to keep taxes low and to further foster a business friendly environment that encourages entrepreneurs to set up shop here creating more goods and services for our consumers and more employment opportunities for our workers. Perhaps, Ed Mangano is not such a hard guy to figure out after all.

Mangano will seek a second term so as to keep taxes low and to further foster a business friendly environment that encourages entrepreneurs to set up shop here creating more goods and services for our consumers and more employment opportunities for our workers.

The author is a nationally published columnist. He writes on a range of educational, cultural, political and cultural topics.


January 5-11, 2013


When Indian-Americans turned newsmakers ...

Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting
On the morning of August 5, Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist had gone on a shooting spree at the Gurdwara during Sunday morning prayers, killing six Sikh worshipers and critically injuring four others.Page also opened fire on two Oak Creek police officers, seriously wounding one, before being shot by another officer. The incident sent shock waves among the large Indian community in the US, with President Barack Obama expressing condolences to the victims and their families. First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Gurdwara and met with members of the community to express concern over the shootout and convey her solidarity with the families. Upendra Chivukula in New Jersey, physician Manan Trivedi in Pennsylvania and Syed Taj in Michigan, all lost their bids for congressional seats. In California, Republican Ricky Gill and Democrat Jack Uppal conceded their races as well. Aneesh Chopra, the nations first chief technology officer, announced that he is running for Virginia lieutenant governor in 2013. Chopra, a Democrat who was secretary of technology under former governor Timothy M. Kaine, left the White House in January as he began to move seriously toward his first run for elective office. Since then, he has raised more than $500,000 through the federal Innovate Virginia Fund, a large sum for an unannounced candidate. National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Romesh Wadhwani was appointed Board of Trustees of John F Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts. Anuj C Desai, Associate Professor of Law at University of Wisconsin Law School, was appointed as member of Foreign Claims Settlement Committee. And this is not a comprehensive list of Indian Americans serving in the Obama Administration. Quite a few who served in the first four years of the Obama Administration decided to either join the private sector or work for his re-election campaign like popular actor Kal Penn. away, leave at the end of the year, or get fired without cause. The powerful board chairman, Michael ONeill, who had orchestrated the meeting, said tersely, The board has lost confidence in you. Pandit chose to step down right away. Before ONeill became chairman this year, Pandit had been credited with strong leadership during tough times. He started as CEO in 2007 and steered the bank through the financial crisis, agreeing to compensation of $1 a year at a time when Citi took $45 billion in bailout funds, shed billions in troubled assets and then enabled the government to cash out its investment, earning $12 billion for taxpayers. But this year tensions started to rise. In March, Citi failed the Federal Reserves so-called stress test, designed to gauge how well the bank would fare under weak economic conditions. Then in April, a majority of shareholders objected to Pandits $15 million compensation package. 11-year prison term for his criminal conviction on insider-trading charges, agreed to pay $1.3M representing the profits he gained and losses he avoided as a result of illegal stock tips, according to a judgment filed in Manhattan federal court. Hed also pay $148,000 in prejudgment interest, with the combined payments due within 90 days. Rajaratnam is also appealing a $92.8 million civil penalty imposed by the SEC. His attorneys have argued that he should not face a civil case penalty because he was already ordered to pay a $10 million fine and forfeit more than $53 million as the result of his criminal conviction.

DSouzas Obama film creates a stir

D i n e s h D'Souza's documentary "2016: O b a m a ' s America", blasting the President, earned $33 million at the box office, becoming the fourth highest grossing documentary in history. The film released late last summer examines the question: "If Obama wins a second term, where will the country be in 2016?" It shows D'Souza "immersed in exotic locales across four continents" as he "races against time to find answers to Obama's past and reveal where America will be in 2016." In October D'Souza resigned as president of The King's College, the Manhattan Christian school even though he insisted that he did not cheat on his wife when he brought his young fiancee to an evangelical conference. In his note to Fox, D'Souza said that while he and his wife Dixie are not divorced (he filed papers starting divorce proceedings in California on Oct. 4), they had been separated for nearly two years when he met his companion Denise Joseph three months ago.

Dr Joseph rescued from Taliban clutches

In a daring rescue, American commandos rescued an IndianAmerican doctor kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan, losing one Navy SEAL and killing 7 insurgents. Colorado-based Dilip Joseph had been abducted on December 5 along with two Afghan colleagues as they left a rural medical clinic. He was rescued after intelligence showed that he was in imminent danger of injury or possible death.

Williams record setting space odyssey

Astronaut Sunita Williams returned to earth after 127 days in space with a new record under her belt the most spacewalking time by a female at 50 hours and 40 minutes over seven career excursions. Williams, who was commander of Expedition 33 on the International Space Station returned home with two colleagues aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule. Williams has logged 322 days during two space flights making her second on the list of most experienced US female astronauts. She also holds the record of longest spaceflight (195 days) for female space travelers. Daughter of an Indian-American father from Gujarat and a Slovenian mother, Williams is the second woman of Indian origin to have been selected by NASA for a space mission after late Kalpana Chawla.

Elections contested, won and lost

Ami Bera, 47, defeated a sitting Republican member of the US House of Representatives in a close contest to become the third member of the Ami Bera community to enter elected to Congress the lower chamber of US Congress after Dalip Singh Saund and current Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. Both President Obama's Democratic Party and challenger Mitt Romney's GOP assiduously wooed the community eyeing their half a million votes in the tight presidential race. Obama as also Romney - whose party boasts of having the only two Indian-American governors - also gave a pride of place to leading lights of the community at their nominating conventions. Jindal, a rising star of the Republican Party, was elected chairman of the Republican Governors' Association. ulsi Gabbard, a 31-year-old American Samoan Democrat from Hawaii became the first Hindu American and one of the first female combat veterans to enter the House and vowed to take the oath of office in January on the Gita, the Hindu sacred book. Five other Indian Americans, including Shanti Gandhi, a greatgrandson of Mahatma Gandhi, were elected to state assemblies in Kansas, Michigan, Connecticut, Vermont and Colorado.

Jindal readying for 2016 Presidential run?

Bobby Jindal was appointed head of governors group this year. One of the first to c r i t i c i z e Romney/GOP of alienating large populations like immigrants and women after the election, he positioned himself as the Presidential candidate for 2016. "We have got to stop dividing American voters," he told reporters at a Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas. In a direct shot at Romney's "47 percent comment," Jindal added: "We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent we need to go after every single vote." But the two-term Louisiana governor didn't stop there. He wrote an op-ed for CNN advocating a different approach for Republicans looking to win future elections.

Indians spell continues at top spelling bee

S n i g d h a Nandipati, a 14year-old Indian American girl, spelled 'guetapens', the French word for ambush, right to win the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee crown to retain the coveted honor for the community for the fifth year in a row. Snigdha won in the 13th round, beating Stuti Mishra, a 14year-old from Orlando, Fla. Arvind Mahankali, a 12-year-old from Bayside Hills, N.Y. was third place. Snigdha is an 8th grade student at Francis Parker School, a private school in Mission Valley. She also competed in last years contest and tied for 27th place. According to the Spelling Bee's official web site, Snigdha reads mysteries, adventure stories and "random facts in encyclopedias, particularly those topics pertaining to science or history." She also enjoys collecting coins from around the world. She plays violin, is a member of her school yearbook club and is fluent in Telugu.

Indian Americans in White House and exits

The Obama Administration appointed a large number of Indian Americans. In his 2nd term President Obama appointed P a u l a Aneesh Gangopadhyay as Chopra for Member of the pres- Virginia Lt tigious National Governor Museum and Library Services Board, and Sonny Ramaswam as Director of the

Vikram Pandit ousted from Citigroup

At Citigroup, Vikram Pandit was forced to resign in mid-October after months of tension with the board, surprising investors and employees at the U.S.s third largest bank. Though his departure was characterized as voluntary, a New York Times report described how he was ambushed at a meeting and given three choices: resign right

Rajaratnam settles civil insider trading case

The former hedge-fund titan at the center of the federal government's crackdown on insider trading has agreed to pay $1.45 million to settle a civil case filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Raj Rajaratnam, who is serving an

January 5-11, 2013


January 5-11, 2013


Magnificent BaPS Mandir oPened in La to inSPire generationS

He proudly stated The Mandir and Cultural Center will indeed be a place that Chino Hills can be proud of for so many, many generations. The festivities for the opening began with His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharajs 92nd birthday celebration on December 20. Nagar Yatra, a colorful procession parading the sacred images in 8 floats through the streets of Artesia, CA took place on December 21 as devotees in colorful costumes celebrated with folk dances, devotional hymns, and a youth marching band. On December 22, the Vishwa Shanti Mahayag featured a grand yagna and prayers for world peace. If one word could sum up the construction of this Mandir, it would be sacrifice. It was, indeed, the dedication, service, effort and sacrifice of hundreds of volunteers from doctors to lawyers to engineers to architects who completed this Mandir, said Director of Construction Rakesh Patel. His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the inspiration behind the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and Cultural Center in Chino Hills, California. As the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), he has not only helped raise hospitals, schools, cultural exhibitions, and other wonders

The newly inaugurated BAPS temple in Chino Hills, California.

Head of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the inspiration behind the Chino Hills temple.

he majestic traditional stone and marble BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills (Los Angeles), California was inaugurated on December 23, 2012. This is the fifth shikharbaddha temple (traditional stone mandirs with pinnacles and domes). in North America after Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and, Toronto. The mandir is situated on a 20acre site, with a lotus-shaped reflection pond and a cultural center. It is designed to calm the mind and open it, said a volunteer. Constructed from 35,000 pieces of hand carved Italian Carrara Marble and Indian Pink Sandstone, this temple has five pinnacles, two large domes, four balconies, 122 pillars and 129 archways.

From the external walls to the inside pillars and ceilings, the temple is completely etched with intricate carvings depicting tales of inspiration, devotion and dedication, along with historical figures from Hinduism. As the first earthquake-proof Mandir in the world, the upper structure of the complex is protected from earthquake damage by separating it from the base with a series of 40 base-isolator units. The Mandir also uses a solar power system to generate electricity and reduce adverse effects on the environment. Calling it a tribute to the community, Assemblyman Curt Hagman along with Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami)

- one of the most senior Swami of BAPS, State Senator Bob Huff, Mayor Peter Rogers, Councilmember Art Bennett and Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the head of Kauais Hindu Monastery and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine, inaugurated the temple. Kothari Swami performed the consecration ceremony in accordance with Hindu vedic rituals to infuse divinity into the sacred images inside the Mandir in the presence of devotees and wellwishers from across North America and elsewhere. Mayor Rogers said, The Mandir is a beautiful testament to the hard work of your congregation who has spent several years to build this place of worship.

such as Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi, Gandhinagar, but has reformed and bettered the lives of millions through his personal touch and universal message.

nagar Yatra, a colorful procession parading the sacred images in beautifully crafted floats through the streets of Artesia, CA.

The Chino Hills, CA temple with 91-ft lotus-shaped reflection pond.

Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami presents a memento to Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, the head of Kauais Hindu Monastery and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine at the inauguration assembly of the temple.


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(1) The inaugural assembly of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, CA (2) Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami) doing arti during the traditional Vishwa Shanti Mahayag - the ceremony for peace, prosperity and happiness for all of mankind. (3) The intricately carved cultural center (Haveli) created from Burmese teak wood at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, California. (4) one of the over 6,600 hand-carved motifs at the temple depicting tales of inspiration, devotion and dedication, along with historical figures from Hinduism. (5&6) The dedication, service, effort and sacrifice of hundreds of volunteers from doctors to lawyers to engineers to architects who worked together to create the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, California.


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January 5-11, 2013


Top 50 Coolest Desis of 2012

By Hiral Dholakia-Dave

ome glass ceilings shattered, lots of milestones achieved, many, many inspiring precedents set - Now that the year comes to an end - not the world - we survived 12.12.12 folks! Even with superstorm Sandy hitting us, having caused major devastation, all the talk of doom and gloom seems to have been a grain of sand compared to the tons of successful stories and the people behind them weve compiled. Several new chapters were added to the annals of world history and South Asians can claim to be proud contributors to these events which will leave an indelible mark on future generations. President Obamas re-election campaign saw huge Desi support (Shefali Razdan Duggal and Shelly Kapoor Collins have made it to our list) with Dr. Ami Bera repeating history after 60 years(!). Astronaut Sunita Williams record setting space odyssey is an example for all go-getter South Asian kids to now look beyond spelling bees and safe bets in medicine and engineering. Unfortunately, 2012 also came with its share of tragedies and losses. The massacre of six devout innocent Sikhs in their temple of worship will go down in history as a blot on humanity. A shocking incident that took place out of sheer ignorance and venom of hatred goes on to show the intolerance around us and the need to increase awareness regarding the Sikh religion among mainstream Americans. But what stood out of this sad event was the resilience of the community, which, instead of drawing out negativity or retaliation, embraced silence in mourning and resolved to counter hate-crimes by doubling their efforts to educate the masses about Sikhism. The South Asian community also lost a supertalented young entertainer by the name of Kuly Ral from Punjabi DJ production team RDB to cancer earlier this year. A big loss to the world of Bhangra music. But as they say, the show must go on! It is indeed a huge moment of pride for the community when a Desi turns newsmaker for all the right reasons.

Mindy Kalings successful debut on primetime television has proven that in the end, its all about the character and talent of a person and not the color of their skin. In more entertainment headlines, Priyanka Chopra, the leading Bollywood diva made the mother of all cross-overs possible when she released a hot new single in the American market called In My City which was received positively by her fans and a whole new audience for her. What a bold move by the actress-turned-singer! Speaking of bold, there has been a hot new band by the name of Red Baraat making waves and taking the music scene by storm. The band proves it is possible to have success based on talent alone as a result of thrashing live performances. Having performed at the White House, its onto much bigger and more prominent venues for these guys. We can also boast about the do-gooders in our community, such as the mega successful Robin Raina, for building homes for those not as fortunate as the rest of us. For Aashika Damodar, who raises awareness for victims of human trafficking and Valarie Kaur for creating powerful dialogue between different cultural groups. 2012 was the year of Desi Youth, paving new paths and breaking new boundaries for a progressive global community. Talk of breaking conventions and we have quite a few Desis (from Pakistan) who braved the dreaded, dared to stand for their rights and strived to make a change. Malala Yousufzai and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy - hats off to you ladies! Its interesting that last year, it was the elder Anna Hazare gracing the top of our list and this year we have someone many, many years his junior taking the top position for sharing the same principal for speaking the truth without fear of consequences. Read on for a huge dose of recognition and inspiration as we,, present The Ultimate List! It is time to list our achievers.

Malala Yousafzai
Location: Pakistan Who is She: A 15-year-old symbol of strength. Why is She Cool: She dared to criticize the Taliban for atrocities committed, especially against women and girls, denying them the right to education. The chivalry almost cost her her life when she looked death in the eye after being shot in her school bus by Taliban assassins. She represents the face of an entire generation of girls around the world who struggle against ignorance, evil and hostile conditions to acquire something as basic as education. Fortunately for Malala and the world, she survived and therefore further light was shed on the subject. Whats Next: The assassination attempt received immediate worldwide media coverage and produced an outpouring of sympathy, along with widespread anger. Former British Prime Minister and current UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a United Nations petition in Yousafzais name, using the slogan I am Malala and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015. Brown said he would hand the petition to Pakistans President Asif Ali Zardari. UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon announced that November 10 be celebrated as Malala Day. More than 60,000 people have called for a Nobel peace prize for her. The nomination has won the backing of Canadas four largest political parties and has been supported in other countries including the UK, France and Spain. Malalas fight has gained huge momentum. Hopefully the groundswell of support will impact the lives of millions of girls globally struggling to receive that which is rightfully due to them. Cool Fun Fact: The Dutch international childrens advocacy group KidsRights Foundation included Malala as one of five nominees

worldwide for an International Childrens Peace Prize, after Desmond Tutu nominated her in October 2011. She was the first Pakistani girl ever nominated for the award. She stood runner up. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani awarded Malala with Pakistans first National Youth Peace Prize for those under 18 years old - subsequently renamed the National Malala Peace Prize. The Government Girls Secondary School on Mission Road, Karachi, was renamed in her honor in January of 2012. On October 15th, six days after the attempt on her life, Pakistans Interior Minister Malik said that Malala was a symbol of bravery and will be honored with the Sitara-e-Shujaat award - Pakistans third-highest civilian bravery award.

duct hearings on hate crimes and the proliferation of hate groups in the US. Also, an email to members of the US Congress urged them to support Sikh hate crime tracking by the FBI. Nineteen U.S. Senators, led by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, issued a bipartisan letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging the Justice Department to track hate crimes against Sikhs. The tragedy introduced many Americans to Sikhism and Sikhs for the first time.

Mindy Kaling
Location: : Los Angeles

In Memory of the Victims of the Wisconsin Gurdwara Massacre

Location: Oak Creek, Wisconsin Who were They: Satwant Singh Kaleka, Seeta Singh, Parkash Singh, Ranjit Singh, Subegh Singh, Parmjit Kaur Toor, all victims of a brutal hate crime. Fact: President Obamas Diwali message best sums up the response and resilience of the community which has suffered a lot post 9/11. The president said: In the wake of that horrible tragedy, we saw the resilience of a community that drew strength from their faith and a sense of solidarity with their neighbors, Sikh and non-Sikh alike. The horrific incident showed us the face of evil and ignorance, but as a consequence, a dialogue about Sikh Americans became a noteworthy fact for the masses, who otherwise were unaware of the beautiful community residing in the United States and contributing to its social fabric in countless positive ways - From tragedy came awareness. Whats Next: A diverse group of over 150 organizations led by the Sikh Coalition has asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to con

Who is She: Actress, Comedian, Writer and Producer. Why is She Cool: This year Mindy took her career to the next level with the sitcom The Mindy Project on FOX that ushered a new prototype into the prime-time fracas: the unrepentant, upwardly mobile wacko. Best known till now as Kelly on the Emmy-winning NBC comedy The Office, Mindy also graced the cover of the September 17 issue of New York magazine. With her primetime show on the air, Mindy has broken so many barriers, we dont even have the space to list them all. She has shown that her talent appeals to the masses and better still, is superior to others we see on primetime. This is only the beginning for this Indian girl born Vera Chokalingam in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Whats Next: Anne Hathaway is attached to star in The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie, a romantic comedy from Good Universe co-written by Mindy Kaling. Kaling is likely to take on a supporting role with Brent Forrester. The two are executive producing with Good Universe. Cool Fun Fact: Mindys mother Swati was a gynecologist and she plays one on her new TV show. Shes also the author of the bestselling comic memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).

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Who is She: Actress and now a Singer! Why is She Cool: Along with several Bollywood hits to her credit, this former Miss India made her big American singing debut with the release of her first single In My City. The single sold more than 130,000 copies within the first week of its release. A video called In the Studio (EPK) was uploaded to Universal Music Indias official YouTube account and saw 300,000 views in a week, with collective views of the song and the EPK crossing 1.2 million. The single was ultimately certified triple platinum by the Indian Music Industry (IMI). In the United States, after the release of the song to the iTunes Store, it sold 5,000 digital downloads in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In My City debuted on September 13, 2012, on the NFL Networks Thursday Night Football, the leagues TV sports channel with the 185th meeting between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, the mostplayed rivalry in NFL history.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Location: Karachi Who is She: Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker. Why is She Cool: She won an Academy Award for her documentary, Saving Face in 2012. She has been lauded as Pakistans first female Oscar winner by the press and government. The Pakistani President conferred upon her the Hilal-e-Imtiaz in March for bringing honor to Pakistan as a filmmaker. Time magazine has named Sharmeen in their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2012. Whats Next: In May 2012, from more than 4300 entries in 10 categories, Sharmeens film, Transgenders - Pakistans Open Secret won the Platinum Remi Award at the 45th WorldFest Film Festival. She also got nominated as SAARC Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/ AIDS. In August she received a nomination for the Gucci Award for Women for her documentary Saving Face as a director. This inspiring lady sure is on a roll. Heres wishing more spotlight on her and the issues shes shedding light on. Cool Fun Fact: Sharmeen has made over a dozen-multi award winning films in over 10 countries around the world and is the first non-American to be awarded the Livingston Award for Best International Reporting.

(he quit his job in late 2009 to go full time with Khan Academy) hes already in prestigious Time Magazines annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world and Forbes Magazine placed him on its cover with the story $1 Trillion Opportunity. He was awarded the McGraw Prize in Education. He was invited to give commencement speeches at Rice University as well as MIT. His new book, The OneWorld Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined hit the stands this year. It talks about Sals radical vision for the future of education, as well as his own remarkable story. Whats Next: Khan Academys Youtube channel sets new viewership records with every passing day and he is on his way to making a huge, huge impact on the lives of millions all over the world - all through the free gift of education. Cool Fun Fact: Would you believe that hes a self-confessed technophobe! Given a choice he would stay unplugged as much as possible. Im not the kind to hang out on Facebook or Twitter or even talk on the cellphone, really. I think Ive written like five text messages this year, he told the NYTimes.

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January 5-11, 2013

Whats Next: There have been 1,704 homes built as of now. Given the momentum with which RRF is working towards its goal it wont be long before 6,000 families will have a concrete house to call home. Cool Fun Fact: A short film on the slum dwellers called Dilli he produced last year has won 19 international awards and 78 finals at numerous film festivals across the world. It is a common thing to see people with great material wealth, but it is especially inspiring to come across someone so abundantly wealthy from within.


In Memory of Kuly of RDB

Location: Canada & UK Who was He: Many of you have loved their music, RDB (Rhythm, Dhol, Bass) - but this year the group of brothers was hit with a tragedy as Kuly passed away. The Punjabi DJ production team consisting of three brothers, Kuly, Manj and Surj, who blend western genres with traditional Punjabi beats and vocals lost their brother and the world lost a massive talent and beautiful person. Kuldeep aka Kuly lost his battle to cancer earlier this year. Why is He Cool: We recognize and will always remember the talent and presence of Kuly, for he helped cultivate the current position of Indian music in the world. Whats Next: RDB continues to honor their brothers memory by continuing to produce hits and paving new paths. After Snoop Dogg and Ludacris the band has sealed a new collaboration that is yet to be revealed. Their next album is called Worldwide and will be a blend of all styles and features from the camp - be it Nindy, Smooth, Raftaar and some other major international stars. A Bollywood project is in the pipeline as well. Cool Fun Fact: RDB bagged two awards at The Lebara UK Asian Music Awards 2012 - the Best Desi Act Award and the Commitment to the Scene Award and their new single We Doin It Big is a tribute to their brother Kuly Ral, and has got special appearances by the whole industry.

Whats Next: We expect to hear more music from her along with live performances in the US. Talk about a cross-over! Cool Fun Fact: The song In My City is about Priyanka who used to move from one city to another because of her father, who was an Army Doctor. It features famous American musician Will.I.Am. The song is co-written by Priyanka and produced by RedOne who has been the producer for many of Lady Gagas hits. Priyanka has been nominated for the World Music Awards (WMA) 2013 to be held in Los Angeles. She has been nominated for awards in three categories - Best Debut, Best Song and Best Video and shes competing with none other than Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Madonna!

Red Baraat
Location: New York Who are They: Musical Group. Why are They Cool: In just four short years, the pioneering dhol n brass party juggernaut Red Baraat have made a name for themselves as one of the best live bands playing anywhere in the world. Led by dhol drummer Sunny Jain, the eight piece, comprised of dhol, drumset, percussion, sousaphone, and four horns, melds the infectious North Indian rhythm Bhangra with a host of sounds, namely funk, go-go, latin and jazz. Simply put, Sunny Jain and Red Baraat have created and defined a sound entirely their own. Leading an audience as diverse and joyful as the band itself, Red Baraat has subsumed a plateful of global influence, fused it, and is now exporting it Brooklyn-style to the world.

Robin Raina
Location: Atlanta Who is He: CEO, Ebix Inc. and Founder, Robin Raina Foundation. Why is He Cool: Robin has built personal wealth by making life easier and more productive for insurance companies with Ebixs application software. His other passion is using that wealth to help impoverished children around the world through his eponymous foundation. Robins foundation RRF today runs the largest private initiative in the Indian subcontinent worth $15 million to build 6,000 free concrete homes for the slum dwellers of Bawana, Delhi. The foundation has adopted more than 3,500 children across the Indian subcontinent and supports children by providing them education, food, shelter and medical needs.

Whats Next: Its Shruggy Ji album is all set to be released January 22, 2013. Cool Fun Fact: From the White House to some of the most prestigious festivals and venues worldwide, its a band unquestionably on the ascent. We cant wait to see what 2013 has in store for Red Baraat and for those lucky enough to hear and see them perform.

Salman Khan
Location: California

Priyanka Chopra
Location: Mumbai

Who is He: Founder, Khan Academy. Why is He Cool: In just three years


January 5-11, 2013

fiery character who, while growing up, wouldnt think twice before thrashing boys, dare they tease her and perhaps it proved to be her first lesson in landing blows. Movie director Sanjay Leela Bhansali plans to make a film on her reportedly starring Priyanka Chopra.

year to the position of Editor-AtLarge. On appointing him, Managing Editor Richard Stengel said, Bobby is one of TIMEs greatest assets and this past year was one of his best yet. He kept us on top of the Arab Spring with a series of cover stories, features, blog posts and tweets which helped our readers make sense of one of the worlds most important stories. Hes also done much-talked-about international covers of this prestigious magazine on Turkeys Erdogan, Leo Messi and The World After Gaddafi, all of which match up with his classics on life in Iraq. His TIME book The New Middle East also hit bookstands this year. Whats Next: He works closely with TIME international editor Jim Frederick to oversee all content in TIMEs international editions. Cool Fun Fact: An Indian national, he is the first non-American to be named World Editor in TIMEs more than 80 years. Asian (hes a Palestinian-ItalianAmerican) but hes contributing bigtime in changing the face of Islam in American media. His documentary The Muslims Are Coming! made its world premiere at the 19th annual Austin Film Festival. The film follows his tour with American-Muslim comedians performing free comedy shows across the South and West in an effort to counter misconceptions about Islam and build bridges with Americans of all faiths. It also features interviews with celebrities including The Daily Shows Jon Stewart and Aasif Mandvi, MSNBCs Rachel Maddow, CNNs Soledad OBrien and Ali Velshi, Congressman Keith Ellison and more. Whats Next: He is part of a small but growing number of Arab-American comedians who have increasingly received media attention in the past few years, as they use comedy to both entertain and dispel negative stereotypes of Arab-Americans and Muslims and therefore, a majority of South Asians. Cool Fun Fact: Dean, an award winning comedian, has appeared on The Axis of Evil Comedy TV special which aired in the US on Comedy Central and in the Middle East on Showtime Arabia. He is the co-creator of ComedyCentral.coms critically acclaimed Internet series The Watch List featuring a cast of all Middle Eastern-American comedians performing stand up and sketch comedy. He is also the co-founder of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival. He was one of five comedians profiled in the one hour TV Special entitled: Stand Up: Muslim-American Comics Come of Age which aired in the US on PBS and internationally on BBC World and Al Jazeera.

Salman Rushdie
Location: New York Who is He: Writer, Novelist. Why is He Cool: This year saw the release of Rushdies astonishingly well-timed memoir, Joseph Anton, which describes his life in hiding after the 1989 fatwa condemning him to death for The Satanic Verses, a book that fundamentalists deemed offensive to the Prophet Mohammed. Recently, he was ranked 33rd in Foreign Policy Magazines Top 100 Global Thinkers list for defending freedom of speech. Rushdie has continued to make a powerfully personal case for freedom of expression, writing that the fatwa was a violent attack not on the novel in general, or on free speech per se, but on a particular accumulation of words, and on the intentions and integrity and ability of the writer who had put those words together. Whats Next: His book Midnights Children has been adapted as a movie by acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta. The movie, released in November, opened to rave reviews at film festivals. Cool Fun Fact: Rushdie has also written the Booker Prizewinning Midnights Children, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002. He was married to Top Chefs Padma Lakshmi.

M.C. Mary Kom

Location: Imphal, Manipur Who is She: Boxer.

Why is She Cool: She is a fivetime World Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. She is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51kg) category and winning the bronze medal. She has also been ranked as No. 4 in the AIBA World Womens Ranking Flyweight category. Her statistics in the ring are astonishing to say the least - five world and four Asian titles in three different weight categories, besides numerous international medals that she clinched before being catapulted to the status of a living legend by no less than the International Boxing Association. These figures alone are, however, not the complete story of her greatness. The 29-year-old pint sized dynamo got her fourth world title, in 2008, within months of a comeback to competitive boxing following a two-year break forced by the birth of her twin sons. And when she fought for her fourth Asian title this year, one of her sons was undergoing heart surgery in India. But even that is not a good enough measure of Mary Koms brilliance considering that her journey started from a remote village in the insurgency-hit state of Manipur where, not so long ago, an economic blockade had crippled normal life. Whats Next: Mary is gearing up for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. Shes confident of winning a gold if there is a 46 or 48kg category. For London, she had to move to the 51kg category as there was no category below that weight. If there is a 46kg or 48kg category in Rio, I am sure I will come back with the gold. If there are no lower weight categories, I will try my best to change the color of my medal in 51kg, shes said. Cool Fun Fact: Her farmer parents describe her as a no-nonsense


Sunita Williams
Location: In Texas, Florida or some part of the Universe. Who is She: Astronaut.

Why is She Cool: Embarking on her 7th spacewalk on November 1, she bettered her own record. The spacewalk lasted 6 and a half hours and bumped Williams into the No. 5 position of most experienced spacewalkers. She has spent 50 hours and 40 minutes out in the vacuum of space over seven spacewalks, the most by a woman. Whats Next: Can it really get any bigger than getting to walk around in zero-gravity, commanding a space station, impacting and inspiring millions of generations to come? Cool Fun Fact: Williams is the International Space Stations 33rd commander and only the second woman to lead the outpost since the first crew took up residency on the outpost in 2000.


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Archie Panjabi
Location: London and New York Who is She: Actress.

Why is She Cool: Archie was nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category at the Emmys for a third consecutive year. She won it in 2010, the first year she was nominated. Whats Next: Archie reprised her Emmy-winning role as Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife returning for a fourth season on CBS starting September 30th of this year. You go girl! Cool Fun Fact: Shes won accolades for her big screen ventures too. Be it the Best Actress Award at Reims Festival for her role in Yasmin or critical acclaim for her role as a journalist in Anjelina Jolies A Mighty Heart. Do you remember her from Bend It Like Beckham?

Dean Obeidallah


Aparism Bobby Ghosh

Location: New York Who is He: Veteran Journalist. Why is He Cool: TIME magazine promoted Ghosh in March of this

Prabal Gurung
Location: New York Who is He: Fashion Designer. Why is He Cool: From Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama to the hottest whos who of

Location: New York Who is He: Attorney turned Comedian. Why is He Cool: Hes not a South

Hollywood, Prabals creations have dressed up some of the most powerful divas of our times. For someone who made his debut just a few years back he has made a meteoric rise to the ranks of Americas redcarpet royalty. This year his creations were chosen by countless fashionistas for major award functions, premieres, galas and public appearances. His clothes are carried in Saks, Bergdorfs, Barneys and Neiman Marcus; at Browns, Harvey Nicks and Dover Street in London; and in Paris, China, Korea and in the Middle East. In 2012, he was also named Chief Designer of Onward Kashiyamas ICB brand. Whats Next: Come February 2013 hes giving America an affordable taste of his signature eye-catching prints and bright colors with a limited-edition collection of ready-towear, handbags, shoes and jewelry for the mega store Target. Cool Fun Fact: Hes a board member and brand ambassador of Shikshya Foundation Nepal which works towards the education and empowerment of women and children. Through the foundations website, individuals are able to make donations and Gurbaksh says 100 percent will be used to support families of hate crime victims. In the future, he expects to introduce other ways for people to get involved, including off-line events. Cool Fun Fact: The initiative has already attracted support from Deepak Chopra, Jay Sean, RDB, Lisa Ray, Priyanka Chopra and Gurinder Chadha. Location: Los Angeles

January 5-11, 2013

30. Asif Ali


Who is She: Actress, Model and Stand-up Comedian (for the sake of comedy!). Why is She Cool: A former Swimsuit Calendar Cover model, Melanie has become a popular face in the entertainment industry today, having created a lot of buzz and interest - globally. A Stanford alumni and former Miss India America, Melanie is the current face of Bare Escentuals (BE) Cosmetics and is one of the five faces of BE International, becoming the first Indian American to represent a global cosmetics brand. As if all that talent was not enough, she added one more new subhead to her resume - standup comedy. Along with a few friends shes scripted a comedy series and made a debut in LA and NYC. This year she was also featured extensively by Indian publications like Vogue, Marie Claire, Hair, Jade and Filmfare. Whats Next: A Telugu feature film, a crime-comedy shot in India and produced by Raj Nidimuro and Krishna DK of Shor in the City fame. Keep watching this space for a lot more on this super-talented woman! Cool Fun Fact: Recently, she curated her own collection for the luxury jewelry line at Fifth Bond. The proceeds from this collection go toward Hospital For Hope, a hospital shes helped build in rural Jharkhand, India.

Location: Los Angeles. Who is He: Comedian, Actor, Writer.

31. Shefali Razdan Duggal

Location: San Francisco. Who is She: Political Activist. Location: Lahore. Who is She: Writer, Journalist. Location: New Haven. Who is She: Filmmaker, Civil Rights Advocate and Interfaith Organizer

Gurbaksh Chahal

32. Sonya Rehman 33. Valarie Kaur

DJ Rekha
Location: New York Who is She: Musician, Disc Jockey, Producer, Curator and Activist. Why is She Cool: This year New Yorks happening home party Basement Bhangra celebrated its 15th anniversary, the first-Thursday-of-the-month bhangra parties that Rekha founded at the downtown club SOBs back in 1997 have defined the emergence of the South Asian presence in North America. Since its launch, Basement Bhangra has forced New York to sit up and take notice of Bhangra, rapidly making the outsider art-form an essential part of the NYC club scene. The monthly event and the international Bhangra phenomenon it helped spark have received extensive attention from national and international press, making the cover of Billboard magazine and countless features on global media platforms. Whats Next: Bigger events, more music, more milestones. Due to its growth, Basement Bhangra will be moving to a whole new venue come January, 2013. The new home for Basement Bhangra will be Le Poisson Rouge (LPR), which is great news for partygoers as there will be more room to Bhangra. Cool Fun Fact: Along the way she has presented artists including Punjabi MC, Tigerstyle and M.I.A. to North American audiences, while also launching her own Beat Bazaar Music label.

34. Prashant Bhargava

Location: Chicago. Who is He: Writer, Director.

Aashika Damodar
Location: Washington DC. Who is She: Social Entrepreneur, Artist, Tech-Enthusiast, Anti-Trafficking Activist. Why is She Cool: Aashika is the founder of an NGO called Survivors Connect, a non-profit working to develop and extend innovative technology platforms for the antitrafficking movement, which has assisted grassroots organizations in Vietnam, Ghana, Haiti, Guatemala, and more. Most recently, she is starting up a social enterprise called Breaking Heels, which sells survivor inspired fashion (and height adjustable heels) to combat commercial sexual exploitation. Much of the money generated by Breaking Heels is directed to helping fund programs to help combat sex trade practices, even going so far as to use survivors of human trafficking to help design many of their shoes in special workshops. She made it to the list of the Top 99 under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders list compiled by The Diplomatic Courier, a Washington DC-based global news and international affairs analysis magazine.

Location: San Francisco

Who is He: Serial Entrepreneur. Why is He Cool: The recent shooting of Sikhs at a Gurdwara in Wisconsin prompted this 30year-old multi-millionaire internet entrepreneur to launch an online campaign aimed at ending hate crimes. He has initiated the Be Proud movement which he says is not just about raising awareness of Sikhs but also sending out a broader message. Its about the unifying truth that we are all a little different and we should be proud of what makes us unique, he says. Hes also committed $1 million to launch the foundation. Whats Next: The BeProud foundation launched with a TV and social media campaign, including Facebook and Twitter (@BeProud).



Melanie Kannokada

Location: New York. Who is He: Actor, Musician, Composer Location: Norway. Who is She: Politician Location: New York. Who is He: DJ Location: Beverly Hills. Who is She: Dr. Feelgood, Television Personality Location: New York. Who is She: Entrepreneur, Publisher. Location: Elk Grove. Who is He: Physician turned Politician Location: Washington DC . Who is She: Social Entrepreneur Location: San Francisco. Who is He: Founder, Amredia.

Location: Ontario. Who are They: Father-Son Professional Wrestlers, Humanitarians and Philanthropists Location: UK. Who is He: Enterpreneur.

35. Tiger Jeet Singh and Tiger Ali Singh

36. Rajeeb Dey

37. Sarbajit Banerjee

Location: New York. Who is He: Scientist.

Location: New York. Who is She: Dancer, Enterpreneur. Location: New York. Who is He: Student Entrepreneur. Location: California & Rawalpindi. Who is She: An Atlas Corps Fellow. Location: New York. Who is He: Stand-Up Comedian Location: UK. Who is He: Musician Location: Los Angeles. Who is He: Dancer, Actor, Comedian Location: New York. Who is She: Sous Chef, Caf Centro Location: Dallas. Who is She: Entrepreneur, Author. Location: Los Angeles. Who is He: Fashion Designer, Photographer. Location: Delhi. Who is He: Wrestler. Location: Chicago. Who is She: CEO, Spaan Tech, Inc. Location: Hyderabad. Who is He: Sport Shooter Location: Sacramento. Who is He: Gifted Genius.

38. Payal Kadakia 39. Ansar Khan

40. Hina Mushtaq

21. Samrat Chakrabarti 22. Hadia Tajik 23. Jay Dabhi

41. Anish Shah 42. Jind Mahi

43. Sunny Tripathy 44. Fatima Ali

24. Reef Karim

45. Shama Kabani

25. Varli Singh 26. Ami Bera

46. Shekhar Rahate 47. Sushil Kumar 48. Smita Shah

27. Kalsoom Lakhani 28. Pawan J Mehra 29. Shalini Shelly Kapoor Collins

Whats Next: She will start her DPhil in Criminology at the University of Oxford in fall 2013. Cool Fun Fact: She sleeps with post-it notes at her bedside so that she can quickly jot down her dreams and ideas. A lot of her best work starts there, so dont bug her when asleep!

49. Gagan Narang

Location: San Francisco. Who is She: Tech Entrepreneur

50. Tanishq Abraham


January 5-11, 2013


Indians who hit headlines overseas

Ireland to revamp abortion laws after Savita's death
Laws allowing limited access to abortion will be introduced in Ireland, the only EU member state that Savita bans the proceHalappanavar dure, following the death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar who was refused a termination in October. The death of Halappanavar, who was denied an abortion of her dying foetus and later died of blood poisoning, shocked the predominantly Roman Catholic country and spurred the government to act on an issue it had delayed for decades. newspaper reported that Saldanha had been hospitalized after twice trying to commit suicide within the space of nine days, during a family holiday in India last December and January.

Bissessar survives notrust vote in Trinidad

For the first time in its 50year history, the Trinidad and Tobago parliament sat for a marathon 27 hours in early Trinidad PM March in which Kamla Persad a vote of no Bissessar confidence was moved against Indian-origin Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar but the motion was defeated. When the vote was taken, the full government bench voted against the motion. Opposition Leader Keith Rowley had moved the motion against Bissessar and her 22-month old government comprising five coalition partners for not properly managing the economic, political and social issues in the country.

legal battle and diplomatic exchanges finally bore fruit as the two NRI children, kept in foster care by Norwegian authorities, reached India. Three-yearold Abhigyan and a year-old Aishwarya landed in Delhi with paternal uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya, their foster father and a worker from Norway's Child Welfare Services (CWS). A Norwegian court handed over the children to Arunabhash, ending months of custody row that saw India stepping up diplomatic pressure on Norway to return the children, who were taken away from their parents Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya in May last year on account of negligence.

Indian in Italy kills pregnant wife for going against Indian traditions

British Indian nurse commits suicide

Jacintha Saldanha, the British-Indian nurse who committed suicide after being prank called by two Australian Jacintha radio hosts about Saldanha the Duchess of Cambridge, suffered from depression and had tried to kill herself twice before, according to reports. Saldanha, 46, was found dead on Dec. 7 in her lodgings near King Edward VII's Hospital in London, where the duchess was treated for acute morning sickness. She had put through a prank phone call from Sydney DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles inquiring about the duchess, who then obtained confidential information from other hospital staff. According to Indian and British media, Saldanha attempted suicide on December 30 with an overdose of pills during a family visit to India. The London Daily Mail reported that Saldanha survived after being rushed to hospital but tried to take her own life nine days later by jumping from a building. Meanwhile, India's Deccan Herald

paying their salaries for about six months, apart from failing to issue them identity and medical aid cards. The Indians mostly from the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were left without food and water at their shelter in Tabuk, a town about 1,000-km from Jeddah and located close to the Jordan border, according to one of the victims who spoke. The workers had been hired about two years ago by the Tabuk-based Mutafail Maintenance and Trading Company through an Indian recruiter and had gone to work at the facilities of the Saudi firm in 2010. The workers had got in touch with the Indian consulate in Jeddah regarding their problems. The Indian consulate in Jeddah said it was seized of the matter relating to the Indian workers in Tabuk and had taken up the problems of these expatriates immediately after being informed of their plight. The issue of the 78 Indian workers was later heard in a labor court in Tabuk and the Indian consulate from Jeddah provided them legal assistance.

The amount rose from $53.6 billion in fiscal 2009-10 to $55.6 billion in 2010-11 and to $66.1 billion in 201112, the minister said in a statement in the Lok Sabha. The amount stood at $17.4 billion in the first three months of fiscal 201213, he added.

2012 saw new schemes for Indian workers overseas

A pension and life insurance scheme for Indian workers abroad, signing of social security pacts with a number of countries and unfulfilled promise of streamlining the immigration process marked 2012 for the Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry. Fulfilling a long-standing demand, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January announced the pension and life insurance scheme for overseas Indian workers to benefit over 5 million workers, especially those in the Gulf, and help them save for their return, resettlement and old age. The ministry organized a Mini Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in September in Mauritius to woo potential investors by projecting the wave of reform initiatives that the government took to bolster the economy.

Indian couple convicted in Norway for child abuse; Abhigyan and Aishwarya return home

Abhigyan and Aishwarya Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni, a software professional from Andhra Pradesh and his wife Anupama, facing criminal charges of child abuse were convicted by a district court with the father getting an 18-month jail term and mother being sentenced to 15 months. They were convicted for gross or repeated maltreatment of their child/children by threats, violence or other wrong. Meanwhile in April after a year-long

Kulbir Singh & Balwinder Kaur A 37-year-old Indian migrant in Italy killed his pregnant wife in May because she loved wearing western clothes and he wanted to punish her for going against Indian traditions. The Indian whose name was given as Kulbir Singh told police in Piacenza city in northern Italy that he strangled to death his 27-year-old wife named as Balwinder Kaur before throwing her corpse in the Po river. Investigators said Kulbir, who worked for an agricultural company, killed his wife to punish her for dressing like a Westerner against Indian traditions. Balwinders body was found floating in the Po river near Piacenza, a total of 153 days after she went missing.

Anuj Bidve murder: Accused Stapleton pleads guilty

The main accused in the sensational murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve in Salford in Britain on December 26, 2011 pleaded guilty in a Manchester court June. Kiaran Stapleton admitted to shooting 23-year-old Bidve in an unprovoked attack on the Boxing Day. Stapleton, 21, admitted to manslaughter at the Manchester Crown Court. Lancaster University student Bidve was walking with friends in Salford when he was shot in the head at close range. Bidve, who was a postgraduate student of Microelectronics at Lancaster University, died from the single gunshot wound.

NRIs to get voting rights, says Prime Minister

8 Indian workers left high and dry in Saudi Arabia

Seventy-eight Indians, working for a private firm in Saudi Arabia, were left stranded without food and water in July after their employer reneged on

Remittances from Indians abroad rising

Remittances from Indians employed abroad have been steadily increasing since 2009-10, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said in December.

Fulfilling the long-standing demand of its diaspora, India said it would allow Non Resident Indians (NRIs) to vote and participate in the election process. "Pursuant to the law that was enacted to enable Non Resident Indians to vote in our national elections, the government has issued notifications for registration of overseas electors under the Representation of People Act, 1950," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his tenth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas speech.


January 5-11, 2013


Kissing, and making it up

India and Pakistan took some concrete steps in 2012 but made little headway on key issues including action against Hafiz Saeed and other 29/11 perpetrators
New Delhi: Sixty-five years after the sub-continent was partitioned in 1947, the year 2012 saw New Delhi and Islamabad taking some concrete steps to improve trade and ease travel between them. President Asif Ali Zardari visited India, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear that he would only visit Pakistan once there was progress in bringing to book those responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The year began with India and Pakistan inking three deals and agreeing to liberalize visa regimes and move from a "positive list" to a short "negative list" trade regime, a major step forward to ease trade norms and facilitate movements of people. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who led the largest business delegation to Pakistan in February, said the two countries have taken a major step forward to boost trade. His Pakistani counterpart Amin Fahim reciprocated with a tour to India in April. During Sharma's visit, a customs cooperation agreement was signed to help avoid arbitrary stoppage of goods at each other's ports. A bilateral cooperation agreement on mutual recognition between the Pakistan Standard and Quality

As the year drew to a close, the ties were cemented with the new visa regime being operationalized between India and Pakistan

Control Authority (PSQCA) and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and agreement on redressal of trade grievances between Pakistan and India were also signed. As the year drew to a close, the ties were cemented with the new visa regime being operationalized during the visit by Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik. The two countries operationalized the visa agreement but made little headway on key issues including action against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed. India continued to exert pressure on

Pakistan to act against Hafiz Saeed. Malik insisted that Pakistan was in no way involved with the 2008 Mumbai attacks and stoked fresh controversy by alleging that Indian non-state actors were also involved in the conspiracy. He said 26/11 accused Abu Jundal "worked as a source for (an) elite agency of India" and could have turned into a double agent. During his three-day visit in December, Malik also struck a discordant note with his purported comparison of the Babri mosque demolition with the Mumbai attack. The year saw President Asif Ali

Zardari visiting India. Accompanied by son Bilawal, Zardari also offered prayers at the revered shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer in April, and also announced a donation of $1 million. But Pakistan's hopes of hosting Manmohan Singh this year did not materialize. During his meeting with Zardari on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Tehran on Aug 30, Manmohan Singh had conveyed that expeditiously concluding the trial of the 26/11 perpetrators would be the biggest confidence building measure. November saw the hanging of

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist involved in the Mumbai attack. Kasab and nine other Pakistani gunmen had launched the bloody attack on multiple locations in Mumbai Nov 26-29, 2008, killing 166 people. A high point in the relations between the two countries came with the visit of S.M. Krishna, the then Indian external affairs minister, to Islamabad in September. He met his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, and both the leaders promised to find mutually acceptable solutions to all outstanding issues.

Malala becomes symbol of hope

Islamabad: The exit of support of the court action. prime minister Yousuf Raza However, Gilani's stepping Gilani, the attack on down soon took a backseat in teenaged rights campaigner public discourses after the Malala Yousufzai, spiralling appointment of his successor sectarian violence and brazen Raja Pervez Ashraf. terror attacks ensured that The year saw US drone 2012 was a year that kept attacks turn into an emotive Pakistan firmly in the global issue for Pakistanis, and the spotlight. anti-drone clamor only got She became a symbol of Pakistan, a nation of 180 louder as the Americans resistance against the Taliban million, saw a momentous intensified the missile political development when Gilani stepped down strikes in the tribal areas.Buoyed by large public in June after the Supreme Court disqualified him support, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan for refusing to write to the Swiss authorities to led a huge protest rally against the strikes in reopen a corruption case against President Asif October. In the midst of all this, the world's Ali Zardari. attention turned to girl's rights campaigner It was a major blow to the Pakistan Peoples Malala Yousafzai when a Taliban gunman shot Party government as it tried to steady itself in the her in the head for taking on their might. face of the graft row. Malala came to prominence in 2009 when she Zardari and his wife, former prime minister started writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in 2007, under the Taliban.The attack on the 15-year-old were suspected of using Swiss accounts to laun- on Oct 9 triggered worldwide condemnation der $12 million in bribes paid in the 1990s. even as thousands of Pakistanis took to the Gilani, who consistently argued that he could streets to condemn the attack. She became a not take action against Zardari as he enjoyed symbol of resistance against the Taliban, with immunity under the constitution, finally quit Education Minister Sardar Shah Jejan Yousuf June 19. Political groups held mass rallies in declaring her "a symbol of courage".

A year of political strife

New Delhi: lost eleven members Afghanistan began the of his family near year with NATO forces Kandahar. looking over their Beyond the war on shoulders at their terror, Nepal suffered Afghan comrades folits worst death toll on lowing a series of Everest when four Green on Blue killings climbers died as they of international troops. waited for hours to In the Maldives, make their ascent. President Mohammed Nasheed Survivors blamed President Mohammed Nasheed, the tropical was ousted in a coup in Maldives overcrowding on paradises first democratically elected the summit. In Sri Lanka, General leader claimed he was ousted in a coup Fonseka, the military chief who won the financed by local resort owners who countrys long civil war with the Tamil resented free competition rules inspired Tigers but was later jailed after standing by Britains Conservative Party. and losing an election to President President Barack Obama apologized to Mahinda Rajapaksa, denounced the govAfghans after protests erupted throughout ernment and called for an Arab Spring the country over the burning of 70 copies uprising to oust its dictatorial governof the Koran at the Bagram Air Base. In ment.Some signs of reconciliation one protest at a NATO base in Nangahar emerged in Afghanistan and Pakistan an Afghan soldier shot dead two where Islamabad agreed to release American soldiers. Taliban prisoners to further the peace The President was forced to apologize process and the prospect of the Taliban again weeks later in March when an governing parts of Afghanistan was American soldier went rogue and shot mooted as talks on a future settlement dead 16 Afghans, including a farmer who continued.


January 5-11, 2013


An year of 'God Particle'

The year 2012 witnessed several political developments in the international arena. While China went through leadership change with Xi Jinping replacing Hu Jintao as new general secretary of the ruling Communist Party, huge violence was reported in war-torn Syria throughout the year.

Syrias anti-government revolt

Discovery of 'Higgs Boson' particle

life on the Red Planet. Mars is the chief component of NASA's long-term deep space exploration plans. Mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory cheered and applauded as rover successfully landed at the red planet. Moments later, when it received three images from the Martian surface, one of them showing vehicle, the controllers cheered again. of GDP (nominal). The trade organization said Russia's accession would help the country integrate into the global economy, create congenial atmosphere for trade and industry, and promote universal trade rules. The European Union hailed the move saying that Russias entry into WTO will boost the European countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin appreciated his countrys entry into the WTO.

South Korea gets first woman President

Park Geunhye was elected as first woman President of South Korea defeating her rival Moon Jae-In with huge margin. Her father, Park Chung-hee, also ruled South Korea for over 18 years. With more than 70 percent of the votes counted, Park led with 51.6 percent, while Moon Jae-In got 48 percent of votes according to the National Election Commission. After the thumping victory she thanked her staff and supporters and said that her victory reflects that the economy will definitely recover. During the election, she convinced the people that the country is ready for a woman leader.

Syrias revolt got intensified after Syrian army in November this year had announced its battle to liberate Damascus. The move aggravated the fighting and it turned into a major conflict between government forces and armed rebels. Syria's Opposition on November 11formed a new bloc called the National Coalition for the Opposition Forces, which was recognized by the United States. Many people died and several got severally injured in the conflict in Damascus that witnessed intense anti-government protests. It is commonly known as Syrian uprising. More than 46,000 people have died in Syria in the conflict between the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and the rebels. Of all people killed in the civil war, 85 percent of them -- 39,520 -- died in 2012, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. In 2011, 6,548 lost their lives, representing 14 percent of the total 46,068 deaths. And 2013 could be worse, UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said. "Do not expect just 25,000 people to die next year -- maybe 100,000 will die. The pace is increasing," Brahimi was quoted as saying. In the early hours of Jan 1, 2013, clashes and shelling raged in eight Syrian provinces, the Observatory said.

Scientists in July claimed that they proved the existence of 'Higgs Boson' particle - one of the longest and most expensive projects in the history of Science. The particle may reveal the mysteries about the existence of life and diversity in the universe. The elementary particle of Boson is named after Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. During a press meet at Switzerland, Scientists at CERN had announced that they found so called God Particle. Peter Higgs, the Edinburgh University emeritus professor of Physics was also present in the press conference.

UN approves Palestinian observer state bid

Israel-Palestine war erupts

The United Nations General Assembly on November 30 upgraded UN status for the Palestinian, despite intense opposition by US and Israel. UN recognized Palestinian as Observer State which was interpreted as diplomatic setback for US and Israel. India was among the 138 nations in 193-member assembly that voted in favor of the resolution. Forty one other countries abstained from voting. The voting came on the same day when the UN observed the annual International Day for Solidarity with the Palestinians. Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas hailed the decision and regarded it as a historic achievement for the Palestinian states. "The world said in a loud voice yes to the state of Palestine, yes to Palestine's freedom, yes to Palestine's independence, no to aggression, no to settlements, no to occupation," Abbas told the ecstatic crowd.

Egypts Constitution in referendum approved

Egypt voters had approved Constitution drafted by President Mohammed Morsi in December 2012.President Morsi who assumed office on 30th June 2012 struggled hard to get the Constitution approved as his leftist, liberal, secularist and Christian opponents had taken to the streets to protest saying the new constitution would dangerously mix politics with religion. Electoral Commission in December announced that voters had given green signal to the Constitution. After this, Mohammed Morsi welcomed the new Constitution and appealed for unity. He endorsed Constitution as being totally transparent and urged the Opposition to join him for a national dialogue to defuse tension.

Chinas leadership change after a decade

The 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress was convened in Beijing from November 8 to November 14 for new leadership in China. The Congress, which had began on November 8, chosen 25-member Politburo CPC as well as the members of Politburo Standing Committee. Xi Jinping succeeded Hu Jintao as new general secretary of the ruling Communist Party after latters 10 year long stint. As per the constitution of party, leadership changes in every ten years. Li Keqiang is all set to become new Chinese premier after Wen Jiabao. This leadership will continue for another 10 years.

Israeli air strikes on the Gaza city in November 2012 resulted in severe bloodshed on HamasGaza strip. The violence got intensified and all the nations including India expressed their solidarity to Palestinians. India condemned the attack saying that disproportionate use of force by Israel Military is wrong. Giving a strong message to Israel, Palestinians fired a rocket towards Jerusalem for the first time in a decade. After this, Israel got prepared for the possible Palestinian invasion. During the scuffle, Gaza militant groups fired hundreds of rockets including Iranian-made missiles aimed at Israel. Gazans displayed several bill boards and thanked Iran for its kind support. Israel and Gaza militant groups had agreed to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip after the intervention of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who held meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and other officials.

Mars rover Curiosity Japan-China territorial dispute touches Red Planet

In 2012, tensions ran highest between China and Japan over a group of uninhabited islands in the East Asian Sea that both countries claim. The islands are known as the Diaoyu in China and the Senkaku in Japan. Despite Chinas repeated opposition and anger, Japan in September had decided to purchase the disputed land that resulted in great tension and provoked an angry response from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. In December, Japan scrambled a Chinese aircraft which tried to enter the disputed territory. This was the first time an aircraft had involved in Japan-China dispute which had created huge tension. Days later, three Chinese ships entered the disputed waters of the East-China sea that intensified the territorial battle.

Russia becomes official WTO member

After 18 years of negotiations, Russia officially became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on August 22. With the inclusion of Russia, the WTO now covers 98 percent of global trade. Russia ranks 11th in terms In August 2012, NASAs Mars rover, Curiosity, landed on the Martian surface to begin a twoyear mission seeking evidence of ingredients for

January 5-11, 2013


January 5-11, 2013


cent. The economy needs to grow by over six percent now for the fiscal to achieve the 5.7 percent overall growth.
To provide some succor to the ailing Indian carriers, the government came up with some proindustry policies like allowing foreign airlines to invest in their Indian counterparts, but to no avail. Even steps to check high airfares did not have the desired impact and affordable ticket prices remained a distant dream. This also led to a fall in domestic air traffic, with the passengers carried by Indian airlines dropping 2.94 per cent between January-November compared to 2011. A negative development was the "unilateral" termination of the prestigious Male airport expansion and modernization project contract awarded to major infrastructure firm GMR, by the Maldives government. The contract was awarded to the Indian company by the previous regime there in 2010. The FDI liberalization move saw no takers, though there were hopes that 2013 would witness some interested foreign airlines picking up equity in Indian carriers, some of whom were in talks on the issue.

India suffered worst slowdown 2012 saw birth in a decade of new IT companies

The multi-brand retail sector was opened despite huge political opposition New Delhi: The Indian economy suffered its worst slowdown in almost a decade, with the country even facing the ignominy of a ratings downgrade, which was salvaged somewhat with some hasty but big-ticket reforms in the latter part of the year. A downgrade of India's sovereign rating, already a tad above unstable, would have dealt a further major blow to the economy by assigning junk status to the country's external borrowings. This would have forced multinational corporations to freeze their capital flows, making foreign funds to withdraw from the country's capital markets and depreciating the rupee to a level that could have sent fuel prices to untenable levels. The perception of policy paralysis was sought to be changed with the federal government pursuing a series of reforms, notably on the initial steps to allow global chains like Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Tesco and JC Penny to set up shop in the country. It is now up to individual state governments to follow suit -- though 13 out of 28 have said no. The country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth fell to a nine-year low of 5.3 percent in the January-March 2012 quarter. It improved marginally to 5.5 percent, but fell again to 5.3 percent in the July-September period. The average economic growth of 5.36 percent in the first three quarters of 2012 is sharply lower than the average annual growth of 8.2 percent recorded in the past eight years. Since September, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government has announced a series of reforms -- spending cuts, liberalization of foreign investment policy norms and easing corporate rules. Analysts term these as the biggest reforms overhaul in a decade. Foreign investment policies for the sectors like retail, banking, broadcasting and aviation were liberalised to attract more overseas funds. The multi-brand retail sector was also opened despite huge political opposition. In the mid-year economic analysis, the government expects that the economy would grow by 5.7 percent in the fiscal year 2012-13. In the first half of the fiscal GDP has expanded by 5.4 per-

Software exports are expected to grow 11 percent this fiscal to $77 billion Bangalore: India's $100-billion IT industry in 2012 saw the emergence of new companies to serve global and local markets and sustained growth, despite tough business conditions. For the bellwethers, the year was a turbulent one with Infosys and Wipro struggling to stay afloat while numero uno TCS withered headwinds to stay ahead even as distant competitor Cognizant challenged their dominance. The industry sustained its growth trajectory despite technology challenges and tough market conditions by adopting new business models, driving organizational efficiencies and offering a host of new services around cloud, mobility, analytics, social media and collaboration in a multidevice connected world. Implementing lessons learnt from previous cycles of ups and downs, especially during the tech meltdown in 2008-10, the industry and especially its bellwethers have consolidated operations, forayed into new domains and diversified service offerings to create multiple revenue streams in traditional and emerging markets. The domestic market is expected to grow 1316 percent this fiscal as against 17 percent last fiscal to Rs.91,800 crore (Rs.918 billion) from Rs.78,600 crore (Rs.786 billion) in 2010-11. Software exports are expected to grow 11 percent this fiscal to $77 billion despite currency volatility from $69 billion in 2011-12, according Nasscom.

Global retail giant WalMart American companies and entities that have spent millions of dollars in 2012 itself to lobby for their Indian business interests along with other issues. These include pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer, computer makers Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP), telecom players like Qualcomm and Alcatel-Lucent, financial services majors like Morgan Stanley and Prudential Financial, as also Alliance of Automobile Manufactures and the Aerospace Industries Association of America, according to the Congressional records of lobbying disclosure reports. There are also lobby groups like Financial Executives International, Business Roundtable, Business Software Alliance and Financial Services Forum as well as consumer goods makers like Cargill Inc and Colgate-Palmolive that have indulged in lobbying with US lawmakers so far in 2012. Giants like Boeing, AT&T, Starbucks, Lockheed Martin, Eli Lilly and General Electric (GE) have also lobbied earlier with US lawmakers on "specific lobbying issues" related to India, which include discussions on market opening initiatives and support for their sales and business opportunities in the country.

Indian bourses perform better than global peers

New Delhi: Amid turbulent times for the stock markets across the world, the e q u i t y turnover fell on Indian bourses as well in 2012, but the fall was meager at 1.57 per cent when compared to the global average. Globally, the equity turnover fell sharply by 14.7 per cent, while the fall was nearly 8 per cent for the bourses in Asia Pacific region as well.On the other hand, the collective equity trade volume of two Indian bourses, NSE and BSE, fell by 1.57 per cent to 161.74 crore during January-November period of 2012, as per data from the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The total number of equity trades on the exchanges across the world was 907 crore for the same period. Indian markets are expected to further improve their tally in 2013, as a new bourse MCX-SX is expected to begin operations as a full-fledged stock exchange. The Asia pacific region registered a decline of nearly 8 per cent to 533.4 crore trades in January-November period of 2012. The global data for December is still awaited as one last trading session would take place on December 31. Experts said economic uncertainty across the globe, political deadlock in Europe, fiscal cliff debate in the US, policy logjam in India and lack of trading opportunities were main reasons for fall in equity trading in India and rest of the world.

A tumultuous year for Indian aviation

Over 15 US cos spent millions to lobby in India

Washington: Global retail giant WalMart, whose lobbying with US lawmakers for access to India has generated much political heat in New Delhi, has got the company of at least 15 other large

Mumbai: It was not a smooth sailing for the Indian aviation industry in 2012 as it saw the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines and financial trouble hitting Air India and other carriers besides a prestigious $500 million airport upgrade contract bagged by a leading Indian infra firm being terminated by the Maldives government.


January 5-11, 2013


French business vs. Franois Hollande

n election, a new president in the shape of Francois Hollande, and the promise of a 75% tax rate kept France in the headlines Actor Grard last year Depardieu has mostly for the left France over wrong rea- hiked tax rate sons. In October, Hollande's policies were branded "disastrous" by French business leaders. Laurence Parisot, head of employers group MEDEF, said that businesses were in a "quasi-panic" over the pace of bankruptcies and lack of confidence in the sector. "Large foreign investors are shunning France altogether. Its becoming really dramatic, he said. Consequently, French actors or singers are announcing openly that theyll move out of the country to avoid this tax. The breakout had to come from the strongest Gaulois, the world-famous actor Grard Depardieu who refuses to give away 75 percent of his income as he wrote in a public letter to the Prime Minister, and is fleeing to neighboring Belgium.

As in recent years, business and technology kept hitting the headlines in 2012 the topics ranging from smart devices becoming smarter to international outcries over dwindling economies.

Merkel to Greece: back cuts or face euro exit

Facebook IPO fiasco

Ford Focus is top-selling car globally

Beijing hints at bond attack on Japan

ensions between China and Japan threatened to escalate further in September when a senior advisor to the Chinese government called for an attack on the Japanese bond market that would bring the country to its knees. The dispute? A group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku to the Japanese or Diaoyu in China. Jin Baisong from the Chinese Academy of International Trade said China should use its power as Japans biggest creditor with $230bn (141bn) of bonds to impose sanctions on Japan in the most effective manner and bring Tokyos festering fiscal crisis to a head.

reece has managed to survive another year in the eurozone, but not without a warning or two from Europe's most German powerful politiChancellor cians. A n g e l a Angela Merkel Merkel warned in May that solidarity for the euro was threatened by the ongoing political crisis in Athens. Seven months and a lot of can-kicking later, and Greece is still afloat - but only just. In an address to mark the New Year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that the sovereign debt crisis which threatened to tear the eurozone apart shows how important it is to strike a balance between prosperity and solidarity. "The reforms that we've introduced are beginning to have an impact," she said. "But we still need a lot of patience. The crisis is far from over." "I know that many people are naturally concerned going into the new year," Merkel added. "And in fact economic conditions will be more difficult rather than easier next year. But we shouldn't let that discourage us; on the contrary, it should spur us on." As Europe's biggest economy, Germany has shouldered much of the cost of bailing out weaker eurozone nations such as Greece, and establishing the region's permanent rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

he social networking giant Facebook, Inc. held its initial public offering (IPO) on May 18 last year. The IPO was one of the biggest in technology, and the biggest in Internet history, with a peak market capitalization of over $104 billion. Facebook's founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg had resisted taking the company public as wells as buyout offers. The company did, however, accept private investments from companies--often technology firms. When the number of shareholders crossed the 500 threshold, Facebook had to take the company public. Zuckerberg retains control over the company, despite its being a public entity. The IPO was ultimately plagued by a series of problems: its exchange, Nasdaq, suffered a computer malfunction during the first hours of the IPO, leading to tens of millions of dollars in trades being wrongly placed; its underwriter, Morgan Stanley, was criticized for an initial price that was too high and too many shares, leading; some Facebook executives were accused of alerting industry insiders to Facebook's earnings before they were public. Facebook, Morgan Stanley, and Nasdaq are facing litigation over the matters. The stock lost over a quarter of its value in less than a month and went on to less than half its IPO value in three months.

hich car outsells all others around the world? Ford says it's the Focus compact, with the smaller Fiesta positioned right behind to be the best seller in its class. Worldwide, Ford says there were 737,856 Focuses registered through September. Fiesta was at 560,061. Focus is a breakthrough vehicle for Ford, which used to make separate models under the same name for Europe and US. Now the same vehicle is sold in both places, and around the world, giving a huge cost saving to the automaker. That's important considering the switch to small cars hurts automakers' bottom lines because they charge more for larger vehicles that don't cost that much more to make. "Focus and Fiesta represent the best of our 'One Ford' plan," said Jim Farley, Ford's executive VP. "In just three years, Ford has transformed our global small car lineup and started winning over customers worldwide with vehicles that are not only fun-to-drive but also fuel-efficient largely thanks to our awardwinning EcoBoost engines.

Microsoft Surface
icrosoft Surface is a series of tablets designed and marketed by Microsoft. It was announced on June 18 by the company CEO Steve Ballmer at Milk Studios in Los Angeles. The Surface comes in two versions: one with Windows RT and another with Windows 8 Pro. The Windows RT model uses an ARM CPU, while the Windows 8 Pro model will use an Intel CPU. Both models are able to install new applications via the Windows Store, however only the Windows 8 Pro model allows the installation of traditional third-party desktop programs. Surface and Surface Pro have screens of 10.6 inches (27 cm) with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Both tablets use Microsoft's ClearType HD display technology and support an ultra-wide viewing angle and auto-adjusting screen intensity.

Five new devices that created a buzz in the past year.

Samsung Galaxy SIII Nikon Coolpix S800c Digital Camera

PlayStation Vita

Apple iPad Mini

he PlayStation Vita is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It primarily competes with the Nintendo 3DS as part of the eighth generation of gaming. A limited edition was released in North America on February 15. The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED multitouch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the Vita features a four-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a four-core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, as well as LiveArea software as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar.

he Samsung Galaxy S III is a multi-touch, slate-format smartphone running the Android operating system. It is designed, developed, and marketed by Samsung Electronics. It sees additional software features, expanded hardware, and a redesigned physique from its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S II. The S III was well-received commercially and critically, with some technology commentators touting it as the "iPhone killer". In September, TechRadar ranked it No. 1 handset, as had Stuff magazine. It played a major role in boosting Samsung's record operating profit during the second quarter of 2012.

ikon has introduced the first Android-enabled digital camera. Equipped with a 10X optical zoom 4.5-45mm (25-250mm 35mm equivalent) f/3.2-5.8 NIKKOR ED glass lens and a 3.5 819k OLED touch screen, the S800c features everything you would expect in a well-rounded point-and-shoot camera, having the added benefit of an incredibly powerful mobile OS and wireless connectivity. With all of Nikons imaging power and features like optical VR image stabilization, subject tracking and high ISO sensitivity, the COOLPIX S800c has everything that smart phones and tablets lack.

n November, Apple introduced the iPad Mini, a smaller version of its super-popular tablet, the iPad. The Mini has specifications similar to the iPad 2 and is 7.9 inches as opposed to the 9.7 inches boasted by its predecessors. The iPad Mini shipped with iOS 6.0.1. It can act as a hotspot with some carriers, sharing its Internet connection over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB, and also access the App Store, a digital application distribution platform for iOS developed and maintained by Apple. The service allows users to browse and download applications from the iTunes Store that were developed with Xcode and the iOS SDK and were published through Apple. From the App Store, GarageBand,iMovie, iPhoto, and the iWork apps (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) are available.


January 5-11, 2013


Intelligent investing in India

By Hema Virani

y home is in USA, however, my birth was in India. I am what you may call the new age citizen. Myself and millions of other NRIs have an urge to somehow stay connected to our homeland. How can we, sitting here in USA, invest intelligently in India. There are many hurdles and obstacles thrown in our path, but our best defense is to be knowledgeable. Why invest in India? Post the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, India has stood out as an example of financial stability, especially in terms of its conservative banking sector. India is named among top 20 destinations in the world with the strongest retail real estate momentum, according to international property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle. NRIs and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) are allowed to purchase immoveable property in India and have no restrictions limiting them with regards to how many commercial or residential properties they can own in India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted permission to PIOs to purchase property in India for residential or commercial purposes. NRIs can invest in real estate by remitting funds to India through normal banking channels. They can
Luxurious East Garden Villas in Baroda

avail home loan from Indian Institutions approved by the NHB (National Housing Board). NRIs can mortgage residential property in India with an Indian financial institution without RBIs approval. They can rent out their residential property in India without RBIs approval. The Indian real estate sector is actually being recognized as an infrastructure service, helping in the economic growth of the country, according to industry experts. Who should invest in India? You must carefully analyze your objectives. Commercial property is often regarded as more appropriate for high net worth and institutional investors who are capable of taking more risk. If high returns are important, commercial properties are a better

prospect with yields of 10-13 per cent a year compared to 3-5 per cent generated by residential properties. Investments in the residential sector are more appropriate for individuals who tend to invest large sums in a single asset class and want to hold it for the medium to long term. If capital appreciation is of interest to you, then residential property is the way, even if the yield is as low as 3%. Foreign retailers are most welcome by the builders community in India, said Anand Gupta, general secretary of the Builders Association of India. In Indian cities with more than a million people, which big foreign retailers are confined to, analysts predict a marked increase in demand for commercial real estate, warehous-

ing and office space. Where are the best places to invest? A centrally-located property with amenities close by will be more expensive than a property in a far flung area. However, cost is high. So, investors prefer upcoming locations where civic infrastructure is being planned. For instance, you have Gandhinagar near Ahmedabad, Ajwa Nimeta Road near Alkapuri, Nalasopara, Dahisar, Panvel, Pen and Kalamboli near Mumbai. Poonam Mahtani, of Residential Services India, places her bets on GST Road, Porur and OMR in Chennai, North Bangalore largely Hibbal, Saha Shivnagar, Sarjapur Road and Whitefield in Bangalore, Dwarka Expressway in Gurgaon, Bandra East, Goregaon, Panvel in

Mumbai and certain select developments in Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi and Parel in Central Mumbai. Yields from residential properties can be as low but the icing on the cake is the capital appreciation. Under construction properties are hot bets for those investing in residential property. The risks are delays and often these delays are beyond the control of the developer, such as policy changes or genuine raw material shortages. Basically you have to choose reputed developers and prepare to hold for 2 years to expect a hefty return. For commercial real estate investments, look to Mumbai and Pune in the West, Delhi and NCR in the North, and Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad in the South. With yields anywhere between 9-11% and capital appreciation at least 12%. Please look out for my next article in this paper about the pitfalls of investing in India and helpful suggestions to decrease risk. For a free guide to investing in India, pleaseemail Hema Virani is a Certified Commercial Investment Management Designee as well as an investor. She also holds an Associate Brokers license for over 10 years in the New York area and is US E x e c u t i v e Director for Arts for India.

Manhattan is best bet for real estate investors

By Hema Virani n 2012, America saw a sharp decline in new construction activity due to economic slowdown in nearly every market. Real estate sector woes continue, thanks to an overhang of vacant inventory, a weak jobs market, and the fact that in many cases, banks have shrugged at loaning to residential and commercial builders. Forbes has compiled a list of new construction data based on McGraw Hill Construction Data: The 20 places where most money was spent on new construction in 2011. Major cities in coastal states fare the best in terms of new projects. New York City lands No. 1 on the McGraw Hill list, with $17.2 billion worth of new construction in 2011. New York is home to one of the countrys biggest construction projects, the 16-acre, seven tower World Trade Center . Last year it was joined by another large site, Gotham West, a massive $520 million residential project on Manhattans Far West Side -- estimated completion in

2014. The Hudson Yards, $12 billion mega development a few blocks away is another massive undertaking. New construction projects decreased by a whopping 40% from 2006 ($689.3 billion) to 2011 ($421.4 billion), due to factors such as Hurricane Sandy, steep decline in the stock market and worry about the world economy. The Commerce Department states that the construction rate has increased by more than 38 percent over the last 12 months nationwide with the biggest rise in the West and South. NYCs increase is estimated at a 7%. The number of stalled construction proj-

ects in the city has increased by 17% according to the New York Building Congress. Of the 5 boroughs, Brooklyn was hit the hardest with 323 stalls, followed by Queens with 169 and Manhattan with 123 stalls. However, no matter how you slice the Big Apple, New York City is about more than tapping into one of the world's cultural and financial centers... It has also proven to be a smart investment. Owning a slice of the Big Apple is a great way to secure long term investment and is a safe place to park your money. It seems no matter what happens to the world economy, Manhattan real estate still stands strong. With all the numbers we have seen, there is a tremendous opportunity available for savvy investors (or groups). In commercial real estate, Manhattan has seen approximately 2.1 million square feet in new office space. In the residential sector, there are many new buildings such as One57, a 1,004 foot, 1.5 billion dollar development, which will soon hold the title of the tallest building with residences and is being hailed as a billionaires haven, as per

Gary Barnett. New York was able to buck the recession given some very large projects that had reached the construction start stage, says Robert Murray of McGraw Hill, noting that construction of multifamily buildings has accounted for much of the Big Apples activity. For individual investors, even if it means grabbing a group of friends for the down payment, making an investment at the $500,000 range could pay off in a few years. Especially with rentals increasing in price on a quarterly basis, buyers can still pay less per month to own. It's never too late to start a real estate empire. A great place to start is somewhere with an easy commute to Manhattan. Some hot neighborhoods to watch for are Williamsburg, Long Island City, Battery Park City, Central Harlem, Rockaway Queens, and Hudson Heights. For a free list of Investment Clubs in the Tri-State area, please email me. They are a great resource for finding a partner, deals, know-how, financing and much more.

January 5-11, 2013

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year


January 5-11, 2013


Social media: a networking tool that's now a weapon in India

informed and aware Indian demos. A direct contact with government and speedy action on recent issues has shown that a true dialogue has taken place. The unbridling of the power of the social media was undoubtedly a top trend of 2012 in India. In many cases, it set the agenda of public discourse. Be it the Palghar (Maharashtra) case where young Shaheen Dhada's Facebook comment on the shutdown of Mumbai after Bal Thackeray's death, or the recent Delhi gangrape victim case, both kicked off a storm, the virtual world triggered several realworld controversies. It has brought live images of people's courage, apathy, and finally their collective outburst. While on one side it gave a collective voice to common people, on the other it also exposed a system almost napping. Finance minister P. Chidambaram summed up its use and such protests to flash mob phenomenon. He was quoted, "Flash mob is a new phenomenon... sometimes they gather to dance and sing. But sometimes they gather to protest... I don't think we are fully prepared to deal with it." The events are unraveling at such a speed that the system is really finding hard to catch up with it. In fact, apex court has taken a strong view of such cases and admitted a plea challenging such cases. One classic example of the power of social media is the introduction of @PMOIndia Twitter handle. It has ensured peoples direct involvement with the government. Currently, 3.5 lakh people are following it and numbers are likely to increase further.

Shaheen Dhada, a Maharashtrian girl, was arrested for the crime of posting a message on Facebook criticizing Mumbai shutdown after Bal Thackerays death. Also arrested was her friend Renu for liking the post. It provoked protests, in virtual as well as the real world.

By Jinal Shah

ocial media and social networking are growing up in India. In 2012, the usage of

this powerful networking tool has extended its reach to common people and helped highlight their problems instantly. It has announced the arrival of much

What to expect in 2013

Going by 2012, there will be a lot more action as social media begins to come of age in 2013. Here is what to look for this year. Move over Instagram, make way for Snapchat If Instagram was a fad in 2012, wait for the recently launched Sanpchat messenger that expires within 10 seconds. So if you want to share something fun, but worry about leaving a trail of evidence, it'll ensure your sensitive images go "poof" seconds after it's viewed. In October, the site reached 20 million "snaps" a day. SlideShare to be the fastest-growing social network In 2013, the fastest-growing social network is likely to be Slideshare even as Facebook and LinkedIn each launch their original content creation strategies to drive further engagement and open up sponsored content opportunities. Twitter personalizing your feed Twitter is going to start personalizing your Twitter feed based on an algorithm, which includes influence (of the tweeter based on the users participation), alignment (how closely the tweets resemble you), gravity (how often it was retweeted), engagement, and your interest. Tout beyond 140 characters A video sharing service, Tout, is already a household name in some areas. The service that lets users quickly create and share 15-second clips has become a favorite of athletes, news stations, and others. But many people have yet to even hear of it. That could change in a big way in 2013. Though the company doesn't seem to spend much on marketing, it has a loyal fan base, which uses the service consistently and smartly and are known to see their Twitter followings go up at faster rates than normal Twitter users.

Gangnam Style takes world by storm

ne phrase. One phrase popularized by a South-Korean singer known as Psy has become a seemingly global phenomenon during 2012.

A more networked world

ocial media was with 27.2 million unique inescapable in 2012. US visitors. Pinterest Facebook ballooned had the largest yearto 1 billion users, Instagram over-year increase in surpassed critical mass, audience and time spent Twitter took over the US of any social network, presidential election, and across PC, mobile web, Pinterest simply gave us and apps, Nielsen said. something new to root for. Twitter in a pretty There was also the down package side, of course. Here's a Twitter has translook at the hits and misses formed into a "broadin the social media world. casting (social) netFacebooks flubbed work." It has become opening on Nasdaq the place to discuss live Facebooks May 18 debut events as they happen. A on the Nasdaq was the The Pope is now a tweeter big partnership with most anticipated consumer NBC for the Olympics @pontifex. Internet initial public kicked things off, but offering since Googles in 2004 and the Twitters prominent place in the 2012 presilargest tech IPO in US history. While some dential election solidified its position as the were rightfully skeptical of the social net- de-facto app on the second screen. works overblown $94 billion valuation (at Incidentally, President Obamas three $38 per share), the plunge in share price word tweet and photo shared just after his was steep and stark. After the initial glitch- re-election victory became the most rees and hiccups, FB stock price stabilized tweeted tweet in history, with more than (On Jan 3 it was $28.5). 817 000 users retweeting the post. On the Facebooks acquisition of the photo-shar- day the results came out, his Twitter handle ing phenom Instagram saved the day for was mentioned over 3.2-million times and founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The while the votes were being tallied, Twitter deal announced in April was in a cash and pulsed at over 327 000 tweets per minute. stock arrangement valued at $1 billion. The Also significant is the fact that Pope surprise buy came just days after Instagram Benedict XVI has made his twitter debut in launched its first application for the eight languages. He has realized the imporAndroid platform. The deal eventually tance of social media to connect with the closed in October when Facebooks stock youth. price had dropped, making Instagram worth LinkedIn gets a shine just $715 million. In a year largely defined by consumer Pin it to win it Internet flops, LinkedIn managed to fly, and Pinterest was a 2012 sensation. The web fly high. With improved stock price espeand mobile service for saving inspirational cially after the debacle of Facebook and finds to digital collections called pin- new features added to its site, the network boards became one of the most talked for professionals has come to life. about and most trafficked sites on the web. This is myspace Pinterest became the obsession of recipe The biggest shocker of 2012 was the collectors, fashion curators, celebrities and return of MySpace. It all started with a simbrands. According to analytics firm Nielsen, ple THIS IS MYSPACE tweet from Pinterest grew its audience from 2.5 million MySpace backer Justin Timberlake in people to 25 million between July 2011 and September. The tweet, which included a February 2012. link to a teaser video for the totally reimagBy years end, Nielsen ranked Pinterest ined site went viral and got people excited as the sixth most popular social network, to see more.

Oppa gangnam style. These three words set everything from the internet to night clubs figuratively ablaze, where YouTube view records were broken as swiftly as a dance Korean Psys video crossed one billion views on move was mimicked all YoutTube in 5 months. over the world. The song was released in July and reached over one billion views on YouTube in December, becoming the most watched music videoever. Gangnam Style refers to the type of modern, hip, trendy and wealthy lifestyle associated with inhabitants of the Gangnam District of Seoul in Korea. Oppa is a term used by Korean females to describe an older male friend or brother. By the end of 2012, the song had topped the music charts of 30 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK. Although its reception in Japan remained lukewarm, "Gangnam Style" topped China's Baidu 500 download list and was labeled by state-controlled media as having a "divine melody." Its signature dance moves were attempted by notable political leaders such as the British PM David Cameron, President Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, who hailed it as a "force for world peace". Its influence on political activism was exemplified by the short film Gangnam for Freedom, produced by the British sculptor Anish Kapoor to advocate the freedom of expression with the support of human rights organizations such as Index on Censorship and Amnesty International.


January 5-11, 2013


Suspensions rule the arena

Barring a few sparkles in between, the Indian sports story remained a gloomy affair in the year gone by, leaving the people pondering over the fate of Indian games in 2013
uoyed by the six-medal haul at London Olympics, the biggest-ever by an Indian contingent, the worst news came for the Indian sport lovers in the later half of the year when the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was suspended by the Indian Olympics Committee (IOC) for not abiding by the Olympic Charter under Government pressure while conducting its election. Worse, the sports ministry de-recognized the archery association and the boxing federation for manipulating their election processes. On the debit side, Indias hockey continues to be in a mess. It is in a rebuilding state after another horrendous performance returning to the Olympics for the first time in eight years. They finished right at the bottom of the table to record a new low. But there were signs of recovery when they finished fourth at the Champions Trophy in Melbourne. The other popular sport, football, is also struggling to make a mark, at least in the region. Now the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has started rebuilding from scratch, concentrating at the junior levels. The results have been encouraging. There were some good news in between. Veteran tennis player Leander Paes may not have won a second Olympic medal in London after winning the the singles bronze

Athletes are in a fix after IOA's suspension while hockey continues to be in a mess.

at the 1996 Atlanta Games, but the 39-year-old became the first Indian to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the Australian Open with Czech partner Radek Stepanek. They beat the Bryan brothers in the final. India continued to rule the kabaddi arena, winning the World Cup for the third time, beating Pakistan in the final. Squash player Dipika Pallikal, 21, became the first Indian to break into the top-10 of the Worlds womens rankings. Organizationally, India successfully hosted the second Formula One Indian Grand Prix with the F1 fraternity praising the improved facilities at the Jaypee Group- owned Buddh International Circuit (BIC).

Cricket shown the pavilion

and abroad. Earlier in the year, Australia in their home completely outplayed India in the four match Test series as the hosts defeated the visitors in all the four matches of the series. India were knocked out of the Asia Cup after Bangladesh pulled off a stunning win over Sri Lanka in the last group stage match. After winning the inaugural edition of the World Twenty20 in 2007, Indias poor show in the tournament continued as the Men in Blue failed to move beyond the Super Eights stage of the ICC World Twenty20. Indian fans received another jolt near the end of the year when the touring England side defeated India by 2-1 margin in the four-match Test series. England won a series against India on Indian soil after 28 years.

MS Dhoni and his brigade tasted failure in all formats of the game

ndian cricket passed through rough weather in 2012 as skipper MS Dhoni and his brigade tasted failure in all formats of the game in both at home

At the boundary...
Sachin enters Parliament
Sachin Tendulkar created history as he took oath as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha on June 4. He became the first active sportsperson to be honored with the position.

The golden trio retires...

... and the Indian cricket is left without its most solid middle order ever Sachin: Man who became God Laxman declares innings 'The Wall' calls it a day
o r m e r India captain and batting legend Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from Test cricket to bring the curtains down on his illustrious 16-year-old career.An emotional Dravid, 39, bid farewell to the longer format of the game in which he is the second highest run scorer (13,288) after teammate Sachin Tendulkar. Dravid has 36 Test centuries from 164 matches and scored at an average of 52.31.Dravid retired from ODIs in England last year after he was surprisingly picked for the team. Dravid has 10,889 runs at an average of 39.16 with 12 centuries from 344 ODIs.

India-Pakistan bi-lateral series

The neighbors finally resumed their cricketing ties as the Pakistan cricket team toured India for a short series in December-January.

Whistling controversy
Indian tennis touched new low this year as senior players-Mahesh Bhauptahi and Rohan Bopannarefused to team up with Leander Paes. India's doubles specialists Bhupathi and Bopanna were handed a two-year ban by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) for their rebellion against the federation during the 2012 London Olympics.

t did not take much for the cricket pundits to spot a genius in Sachin Tendulkar after he made his international debut in a Test match in Karachi on November 15, 1989. He was 16 then. More than two decades later, he has gone on to become one of the greatest batsman the world will ever see.Twenty-three years, one month, and eight days from his debut, the fivefeet-five-inch cricketing genius has called time on a glittering one-day career. With 18,426 runs from 463 matches at an average of 44.83, Tendulkar has most batting records under his belt in the 50-over format as also in Tests. He holds the record for the maximum number of appearances and is the highest run-getter and centurymaker in both versions. The 'Liitle Master', as he is often called, is the only man to hit 100 centuries - 51 in Tests and 49 in ODIs - and also the first man to score a doublecentury in the 50-over format.

tylish batsman V. V. S . Laxman ended all speculation about his career by announcing his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, barely a week after he was named in the squad for the two-Test series against New Zealand. The wristy strokemaker represented India in 134 Tests, scoring 8,781 runs at 45.97. He played one of the most memorable innings of 281 runs at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001 against Australia setting up a stunning victory for India after following on, ending Australias consecutive 16-match winning streak.


January 5-11, 2013


Sportstars and Olympics take center stage

Fastest man on earth Jamaican Usain Bolt

LeBron James led Miami Heat to NBA championship

US swimmer Michael Phelps has become the most decorated Olympian

Cycling hero Lance Armstrong was stripped of 7 Tour de France titles in doping probe.

American swimmer Michael Phelps concluded his long career in London. Though he didn't repeat the eight golds peak at the Beijing Games, he still won four golds and two silvers in seven events. As the most decorated Olympian in history, Phelps surpassed gymnast Larissa Latynia with 22 Olympic medals. Defending champion and World No.1 Novak Djokovic won his third Australian Open title after beating 10-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal of Spain 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in a marathon final which lasted five hours and 53 minutes on Jan. 29. LeBron James finally added an elusive NBA title to his already impressive resume, guiding the Miami Heat to a fivegame triumph over Oklahoma Thunder for their second NBA championship on June 21. Following up on his regular-season Most Valuable Player nod, James averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists in the finals and was named finals

MVP. In February, the American-bornChinese Jeremy Lin burst into the spotlight of NBA as an unlikely benchwarmer turned hero for New York Knicks. Lin was drafted out of Harvard and was waived by two clubs late last year before he caught on with the Knicks. He now plays for Houston Rockets. Chelsea striker Didier Drogba tied the score with a thunder-like header in the last minutes of regular time against Bayern Munich and scored the decider in the penalty shootout, leading Chelsea to their first-ever Champions League title on May 19. Spain stepped won the European Championship in football on July 1 by beating Italy 4-0 in the final. Italy, who were in the final for the first time in 12 years, failed to claim a second European crown after their triumph in 1968. David Silva's header, Jordi Alba's cool finish, as well as Fernando Torres and Juan Mata's

goal relay in the last 10 minutes ensured the reigning world and European champions of becoming the first team in football history to clinch three major titles in a row. On July 28, the British capital launched its third modern Olympic Games - London 2012, described by the organizer as "an athletes' Games". It attracted 10,490 athletes from 204 countries and regions. A total of 44 world records and 117 Olympic records were set at the grand event. Olympic chief Jacques Rogge hailed the London Olympics as "happy and glorious" games as he closed the 30th Summer Games. London Paralympic Games opened 17 days after the main event. Teams from 164 countries and regions, the largest ever in the history of the Paralympics, brought together about 4,200 athletes to compete in 503 medal events of 20 sports. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt kept

his name at London 2012 as the fastest man on earth by repeating the 100 meters and 200 meters golden double. Lionel Messi won the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or, the prestigious award for the world's outstanding footballer, for the third straight time on Jan 9. He also made history on Dec. 9 when he scored his 85th and 86th goals of 2012 to set a new record for the number of goals scored in a calendar year. The Argentine striker's total scores this year have piled to 91 goals. Lance Armstrong, one of cycling's greatest heroes, fell from his throne, being labeled as a dope cheat for the past decade or so. His fall from grace, surely the biggest anti-doping news of the year, put cycling in crisis. A 1,000-page report released by the US Anti-Doping Agency in October, not only justified the stripping of Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles and a lifetime ban on August 25, but also exposed many doping secrets in professional cycling.

India's best-ever Olympics medal haul

ndian sport saw both its highs and its lows in 2012. The high spot was Indias six medals two silver and four bronze at the July-August London Olympics. Shooters continued their trend of picking up medals they began at Athens in 2004 and this time it was Vijay Kumars silver in the 25m rapid fire pistol and the bronze of Gagan Narang in 10m air rifle. Sushil Kumar created history by becoming the first Indian to win back-to-back Olympic medals in individual Wrestling events by winning the silver in 66 kg freestyle to add to his Beijing bronze. His long-time friend Yogeshwar Dutt grabbed the bronze in the 60 kg. While the men flattered to deceive in the ring, M.C. Mary

(from left) Gagan Narang, M.C. Mary Kom, Sushil Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Saina Nehwal and Yogeshwar Dutt the medal winners who made India proud at the London Olympics.

Kom punched above her weight to secure a bronze in the 51 kg class as womens boxing made its Olympic debut. Badminton star Saina Nehwal got Indias sixth medal in rather fortuitous circumstances when her Chinese opponent Wang Xin retired mid-way through the contest owing to a knee injury. Saina also won two Super Series Premier titles in Indonesia and Denmark to cap off a memorable year for herself. In the Paralympics, Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda won a silver medal in the mens high jump. The Olympic success gave hopes of India emerging as a sporting nation sooner than later, but the athletes effort was nullified by the shenanigans of sports administrators.


January 5-11, 2013


And they bid us adieu in 2012..

Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray Bal Thackeray , a maverick politician who roused emotions on Marathi pride and catapulted Shiv Sena to power in Maharashtra in the 1990s, died in Mumbai at 86 after having been critically ill for few days. The cartoonist turned politician, known for his strong views and speaking his mind, his politics also centered around Hindu identity and anti-Congressism and was also unrestrained in his Muslim bashing. Always the kingmaker, Thackeray was largely instrumental in ending the Congress hegemony in Maharashtra when the two parties stormed to power in 1994 and they shared power even at the Centre between 1998 and 2004. He never occupied any office. Indias favorite Hanuman Dara Singh Wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh, who wowed audiences with his brawn and on screen histrionics for over five decades, passed away in Juhu in suburban Mumbai at 83. Singh, who played Hanuman in epic teleserial Ramayan also dabbled in politics. He won the title of 'Rustam-E-Punjab' and 'Rustam-e-Hind' for his wrestling prowess. Also, he became the Commonwealth Champion in 1959 and in 1996 he was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. Singh muscled his way into the film world with ease will always be remembered for his variety of roles in
Queen of Disco Donna Summer Donna Summer was bestowed a title fitting of musical royalty the Queen of Disco. One of her biggest hits, "She Works Hard for the Money," came in the early 1980s and relied on a smoldering guitar solo as well as Summer's booming voice. Summer died of cancer at age 63 in Naples, Florida. Summer's music gave voice to not only a musical revolution, but a cultural one a time when sex, race, fashion and drugs were being explored and exploited with freedom like never before in the United States. She was a five times Grammy award winner. Politician George McGovern George McGovern, the longtime antiwar congressman from South Dakota who notoriously suffered a devastating loss to Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential campaign, died at the age of 90. McGovern had suffered a head injury from a fall last December and was hospitalized this spring after several fainting spells. With his focus on peace and world hunger, McGovern was one of the leading liberal voices of his era and the repercussions of his unsuccessful campaign for the White House were felt for decades to come. Man of letters Gore Vidal Gore Vidal, the elegant, acerbic all-

cinema including his brawny avatar in "King Kong" and "Tarzan." Former Prime Minister I K Gujral Indra Kumar Gujral, who migrated from Pakistan after partition, rose to become the Prime Minister with a big slice of luck after he came up through the ranks - starting as vicepresident of the New Delhi Municipal Committee in the '50s to later become a Union minister and then India's ambassador to the USSR. Educated at DAV College, Haily College of Commerce and Forman Christian College, Lahore (now in Pakistan), Gujral took active part in student politics. He formally joined Congress and six years later, Indira Gandhi, to whom he said he owed everything, gave him a ticket with which he entered Rajya Sabha in April 1964. This was the beginning of a long innings, both in the national politics and diplomacy. He was 92 when he died after prolonged illness. King of comedy and social satire Jaspal Bhatti Noted comedian and filmmaker Jaspal Bhatti, 57, died in a road accident near Shahkot. Bhatti along with his son Jasraj who was on the wheel, and two others was coming to Jalandhar from Bathinda for the promotion of his new film 'Power Cut' when the car hit a tree on the roadside. Bhatti who shot into fame from his satirical shows 'Ulta Pulta' and 'Flop
around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization, died at his home in Los Angeles, where he moved in 2003 after years of living in Ravello, Italy. He was 86. The cause was complications of pneumonia. He published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. He twice ran for office in 1960, when he was the Democratic Congressional candidate for the 29th District in upstate New York, and in 1982, when he campaigned in California for a seat in the Senate and though he lost both times, he often conducted himself as a sort of unelected shadow president. The man on moon Neil Armstrong Neil Armstrong, the American astronaut who made "one giant leap for mankind" when he became the first man to walk on the moon, passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was 82. Armstrong took two trips into space. He made his first journey in 1966 as commander of the Gemini 8 mission, which nearly ended in disaster. Armstrong kept his cool and brought the spacecraft home safely after a thruster rocket malfunctioned and caused

Show', had given a new dimension to comedy in TV serials. He was the first turbaned Sikh comedian on Indian TV. Hockey champ Leslie Claudius Triple Olympic hockey gold winner Leslie Walter Claudius passed away after a prolonged battle with cirrhosis of liver at 85. An Anglo-Indian, Claudius was a member of three Olympic gold medalwinning Indian teams - London (1948), Helsinki (1952) and Melbourne (19560. At Rome (1960), he led India to a silver medal finish. He represented the country during the golden age of Indian hockey and etched his name in the Guinness World Records alongside compatriot Udham Singh for being part of a hockey team to win the maximum number of medals at the Olympic Games. Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan India-born Ghazal legend Mehdi Hassan, the melodious voice behind evergreen hits like 'Patta patta, boota boota' and 'Kab ke Bichhare', died following multiple organ failure at the age of 84. Hassan, who had millions of fans in India and Pakistan, was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village in Rajasthan. His family migrated to Pakistan at the time of Partition in 1947. He was trained in classical music by his father Ustad Azeem Khan and his uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both well respected classical musicians.Due to his remarkable commercial and artistic success he was titled ShahenShah-eit to spin wildly out of control. During his next space trip in July 1969, Armstrong and fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off in Apollo 11 on a nearly 250,000mile journey to the moon that went down in the history books. Writer, director Nora Ephron Hollywood screenwriter and director Nora Ephron, who penned such films as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, died at the age of 71 due to acute myeloid leukemia. The writer grew up in California, and started her career reporting for the New York Post. Her 15 film credits also include You've Got Mail, Silkwood and Julie and Julia, which was her final film, in 2009. She was nominated for an Oscar three times but never won the award. General Norman Schwarzkopf Born in Trenton, NJ, General Norman Schwarzkopf graduated from West Point and rose through the ranks of the US Army eventually becoming a four-star General. Schwarzkopf commanded Operation Desert Storm, successfully driving out Saddam Husseins Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991. While he was known to many as Stormin Normin, the men under his command simply called Schwarzkopf The Bear.

Ghazal (The King of Ghazal singing). Superstar Rajesh Khanna Indian cinema lost its first superstar, actor Rajesh Khanna to cancer this year. He was 69. With a string of hits to his credit during the 70s and early 80s he earned for himself the epithet. He was the star of romantic comedies and dramas such as Anand, Aradhana and Kati Patanag. He won three Filmfare awards in his long career. Khanna also held a Lok Sabha seat as a Congressman from 19921996. Sitar legend Ravi Shankar Sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar, who helped introduce Indian music to the Western world through his collaborations with The Beatles, died in Southern California at 92. A three-time Grammy winner with legendary appearances at the 1967 Monterey Festival and at Woodstock, he is credited with popularizing Indian music through his work. His influence in classical music, including on composer Philip Glass, was just as large. He wrote concertos for sitar and orchestra for both the London Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Shankar served as a Rajya Sabha member from 1986 to 1992, after being nominated by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. A man of many talents, he also wrote the
Sci fi man Ray Bradbury Science fiction author Ray Bradbury, whose imagination yielded classic books such as "Fahrenheit 451," "The Martian Chronicles" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes," died at 91, peacefully, in Los Angeles, after a lengthy illness. Bradbury's books and 600 short stories predicted a variety of things, including the emergence of ATMs and live broadcasts of fugitive car chases. Bradbury wrote the screenplay for John Huston's classic film adaptation of "Moby Dick." He adapted 65 of his stories for television's "The Ray Bradbury Theater" and won an Emmy for his teleplay of "The Halloween Tree." Thought leader Stephen Covey Author Stephen Covey, whose "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" sold more than 20 million copies, was one of the world's foremost leadership authorities, organizational experts and thought leaders. Named in 1996 as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans, according to the biography, Covey "made teaching principle-centered living and principle-centered leadership his life's work." Hairstylist Vidal Sasoon British-born celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon has died at his home in

Oscar-nominated score for 1982 film "Gandhi," several books and mounted theatrical productions. Father of White Revolution Verghese Kurien Verghese Kurien, the founder of Amul, the man behind Operation Flood, was the chief architect who made India the largest milk producer in the world. He helped modernize the Anand model of cooperative dairy development and engineered the White Revolution in India. In 1949, Kurien decided to quit a lucrative government job to join a small-time dairy cooperative. Since then, milk procurement of the cooperative grew from a few hundred liters a day to over 90 lakh liter a day now under one of India's most popular brands - Amul. He was 90 and died after brief illness. Bollywoods King of Romance Yash Chopra The veteran Hindi filmmaker Yash Chopra changed the face of romance in Hindi cinema to become a brand in Bollywood, with hits such as Kabhie Kabhie, Silsila, Chandni and Dil to Pagal Hai in his five-decade long illustrious career. He also thrilled fans with action dramas such a Trishul and Deewar, which established Amitabh Bachchan as the angry young man. He was 80 when he died of dengue.
Los Angeles, aged 84. He is regarded as one of the bestknown hairdressers of his generation. He is credited with revolutionizing haircuts in the 1960s and developed a popular line of hair products under his name. The creator of the "bob" hairstyle, he was best known for his short, geometric cuts, the style which succeeded the bouffant styles trendy in the 1950s. His creative cuts helped dress a cultural revolution in the 1960s, and his products have had a place in the world's bathroom cabinets for decades. Queen of pop music Whitney Houston Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died in Beverly Hills in February. She was 48. The Hollywood detective has allegedly uncovered evidence - including CCTV footage - that points to her being the victim of an attack by two men who were sent to collect a debt for drugs. The troubled "Bodyguard" singer is said to have owed in excess of $1.5 million to dangerous dealers before her shock death in Los Angeles.


January 5-11, 2013


Phenomenal year
Eight big-starrers joining the Rs.100-crore club, unusual-themed small-budget movies turning into miraculous hits and almost no major setbacks among about 150 releases, Bollywood's 2012 box office report card has set a benchmark.

ovie pundits contend that 2012, with a reportedly Rs.2,273-crore profit, has been a "balanced" year for the Hindi film industry, which can now look forward to more fireworks and a Rs.200-crore club in the next two years. Summing up 2012 as "a balanced year", Vinod Mirani said: "Be it small budget films or big films or unusual genres - all of them worked well at the box office. This year was better than the last few years because all kinds of films worked, which is a very positive sign." In the first half, a bouquet of small-budget non-commercial films

with unusual themes like "Kahaani", the woman-centric thriller, "Vicky Donor" on sperm donation, and "Ishaqzaade", rowdy romantic actioner, did exceptionally well by earning Rs.75 crore, Rs.45 crore and Rs.40 crore respectively. Biggies like "Agneepath", "Housefull 2" and "Rowdy Rathore" too yielded gold at the box office by joining the Rs.100crore club. Three Khans - Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir - rule the roost and the second half was dominated by them. Their releases "Ek Tha Tiger", "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" and "Talaash" respectively became pots

of gold. So did Saif Ali Khan-starrer "Cocktail". Distributor Rajesh Thadani of Multimedia Combine said: "The second half of 2012 was pretty good. "The Khans' films have done pretty well. 'Ek Tha Tiger' collected around Rs.190 core, which is outstanding." Eight films - "Agneepath", "Housefull 2", "Rowdy Rathore", "Ek Tha Tiger", "Barfi!", "Jab Tak Hai Jaan", "Son Of Sardaar", and "Bol Bachchan" - joined Rs.100 crore at the domestic box office. Aamir's "Talaash" had so far managed to amass around Rs.90 crore so far in the India territory

and was expected to soon enter the Rs.100 crore zone. Revealing the ballpark figure of the biggies, Thadani said that "Agneepath" collected Rs.120 crore, "Housefull 2" Rs.110 crore, and "Rowdy Rathore" Rs.140 crore. According to distributor Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts, the estimated earning of "Ek Tha Tiger" was around Rs.190 crore, of "Son Of Sardaar" Rs.105 crore, of "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" Rs. 121 crore, of "Barfi!" Rs.110 crore and of "Bol Bachchan" Rs.105 crore. At the year-end, Salman Khan once again entertained with "Dabangg 2", which has set the

cash registers ringing by amassing Rs.60 crore over the weekend. Trade analyst Komal Nahta gives credit to increasing acceptability of the audiences and the multiplex culture for this profitable change. Nahta hopes to see fireworks at the box office in 2013 as well. "I hope the good work keeps going in 2013 as well. We have films like 'Dhoom 3', 'Krrish 3', 'Chennai Express' and one or two films of Salman Khan; so there is a lot to look forward to in 2013," Nahta added. Ghai predicted that 2013 "will get crazy and now we have to see how we control this".

Top 10 movies

Top 10 Actors
Salman Khan: The actor continued to be on the top with two hits - Ek Tha Tiger and Dabangg 2. Ranbir Kapoor: This Kapoor scion continued to take the legacy forward with Barfi!. Aamir Khan: Aamirs midas touch helped the film earn huge profits at the box-office. Shah Rukh Khan: In Jab Tak Hai Jaan, people loved him as an army personnel. Akshay Kumar: Khiladi Kumar batted as many as five hits - Housefull 2, Rowdy Rathore, Oh My God and Khiladi 786. Irrfan: His gripping portrayal of an athlete-turned-gangster won many hearts in the biopic titled Paan Singh Tomar. Manoj Bajpayee: His power-packed performance in Gangs of Wasseypur wowed both critics and audience alike. Nawazuddin Siddique: The talented actor with unconventional looks was seen in Gangs of Wasseypur Kahaani and Talaash. Sanjay Dutt: Sanjay revived Bollywoods larger than life villain with Kancha Cheena in Agneepath remake.

Top 10 Actresses

'Ek Tha Tiger': The very fact that Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan were the lead pair for this film was enough to draw audiences. 'Rowdy Rathore': The return of 'khiladi' Akshay Kumar - that's what this film was awaited for. 'Agneepath': A remake yet again. 'Agneepath' turned out to be 2012's first blockbuster. 'Housefull 2': A sequel to hit 2010 movie "Housefull", this Sajid Khan film was a roaring success. 'Barfi!': It was India's official entry for the Oscars. 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan': The late Yash Chopra gave his final work with Shah Rukh Khan in the lead. 'Bol Bachchan': This Abhishek Bachchan and Ajay Devgn-starrer turned out to be truly 'paisa vasool'. 'Son Of Sardaar': A turban-clad Ajay Devgn managed to tickle the viewers' funny bone, along with Sanjay Dutt and Sonakshi Sinha. 'Talaash': Aamir Khan's Midas touch rarely fails. "Talaash" was just another case in point. 'OMG: Oh My God!': It was complete with humor and a message.

Sridevi: The "Hawa Hawaii" girl made her Bollywood comeback in 'English Vinglish'. Vidya Balan: This year, she came on screen in a serious and no-sense avatar in "Kahaani". Katrina Kaif: Year 2012 saw Katrina in three different avatars - in "Agneepath, "Ek Tha Tiger" and "Jab Tak Hai Jaan". Priyanka Chopra: The multi-talented actress stunned the audiences as an autistic Bengali girl Jhilmil in "Barfi!" Anushka Sharma: Cheerful and chirpy Anushka has a gift for acting and it was evident in late filmmaker Yash Chopra's "Jab Tak Hai Jaan". Sonakshi Sinha: Her films "Rowdy Rathore" and "Son Of Sardaar" made it to the Rs.100-crore club. Kareena Kapoor: In "Heroine", she played an actress, who goes through the harsh reality of stardom, while "Talaash" saw as a prostitute. Parineeti Chopra: With "Ishaqzaade", she has dispelled the notion that she is a one film wonder. Deepika Padukone: The actress made heads turn with her bold and carefree avatar of Veronica in Imtiaz Ali's "Cocktail". Huma Qureshi: The curvy actress got a thumbs up for her bold performance in 'Gangs of Wasseypur.'


January 5-11, 2013


Nuptial knots, Bollywood style

2012 saw several Bollywood stars walking down the aisle. From Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan to Vidya Balan and Siddharth Roy Kapur, many celebrities sealed their relationship after years of courtship.

Saif Ali Khan and Esha Deol and Vidya Balan and Riteish Deshmukh Kareena Kapoor Siddharth Roy Kapur and Genelia DSouza Bharat Takhtani

wo biggest stars of Bollywood, Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan married on October 16, 2012. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoors pre-wedding celebrations started with sangeet ceremony on October 14 at Kareena Kapoors Bandra residence in Mumbai. Mehendi ceremony and a grand dinner were hosted at the Taj Mahal hotel on October 15. A registered marriage was held on October 16 at Saifs residence in suburban Bandra, which was quite a private affair. Nikaah ceremony at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel took place in the evening. These two wedding celebrations were followed by a very grand reception in New Delhi on October 18.

c t r e s s V i d y a Balan and UTV Motion Pictures head Siddharth Roy Kapur married on December 14, Friday. Their wedding celebrations began on December 11, Tuesday with a pre-wedding party. The two families had a formal get-together on Tuesday night at a Juhu banquet, where the couple exchanged rings. The actress had a very simple and private sangeet ceremony, attended by only close relatives on December 12, Wednesday. Vidya and Siddharth had a temple wedding at the Sri Subramania temple in Chembur on December 14, Friday morning. Vidya Balan is a South Indian by birth and Siddharth is a Punjabi, so, the marriage was conducted in both Punjabi and South Indian styles.

ctors Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D S o u z a s wedding is the first celebrity wedding of the year 2012. The pre-wedding bash for the lovely couple was held on January 24, Tuesday night. The wedding celebrations started from January 29. On February 1, Karan Johar directed the sangeet ceremony for Riteish and Genelia at a suburban five-star hotel. Actors Genelia DSouza and Riteish Deshmukh tied the knot on February 3, 2012 morning following Marathi traditions in the presence of Bollywood and political biggies. Riteish and Genelia have been seeing each other since their Bollywood debut, Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. The couple were dating for nearly 8 years. And soon after the wedding, the actor took to Twitter to post a photo of him and Genelia, with the caption, MR & MRS DESHMUKH.

eteran actors Dharmendra and Hema Malinis daughter Esha Deol tied knot with businessman Bharat Takhtani in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony, band baaja baraat style on June 29, 2012. Esha Deol and Bharat Takhtani had been dating for quite some time and had exchanged their engagement rings on February 12, 2012. The wedding celebrations of Esha were planned as three-day grand festivities that included a sangeet (music), haldi and mehendi ceremony and the wedding ceremony. Eshas sangeet ceremony took place on June 25 while the mehendi ceremony was held on June 27. A grand reception was thrown by Hema Malini and Dharmendra on June 30 in a posh hotel. Bollywood celebrities attended the event to wish the newly-wedded couple.

Top 5 Hollywood movies

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2'
(Thor), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), and Clint Bartson (Hawkseye) as the main characters, fans went crazy to go see the movie. Ranked number 1 on Box Office Mojo 2012 Domestic Gross list, it combed in $623,357,910 since it opened on May 4, 2012.

'Life of Pi'

'The Dark Knight Rises'

Online. It officially grossed over $1 billion worldwide. "Skyfall" is officially the thirdhighest grossing film of 2012 behind "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises." he epic finale of Stephanie Meyer's bestselling books into film adaptions came to a close on Nov. 16, 2012. Fans waited outside movie theaters to see the premiere and had the option to watch all five movies in a row with the "Twilight Saga" marathon. Director Bill Condon and main characters Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner surprised fans with a new ending that shocked fans worldwide.

'The Avengers'

he epic finale of the Batman series is the second-highest grossing film in 2012. Released on July 20, 2012, fans poured in to watch Christian Bale play Bruce Wayne for the last time. The movie also starred Tomy Hardy as the infamous Bane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake, Michael Caine as Alfred, and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon. Events turned tragic when gunman James Holmes opened fire at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado. He killed 12 people and injured 58 others.

eleased on November 9, 2012 in the U.S., James Bond returned for another hit movie. This time, Bond's loyalty to M was tested as her past came back to haunt her, bringing MI6 under attack. Starring Daniel Craig, "Skyfall" was the first 007 film to cross the box-office mark, according to E!

he film, directed by Joss Whedon, was the highest grossing film in 2012. Starring Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Hemsworth

irected by Ang Lee and based off a popular novel written by Yann Martel, "Life of Pi" was released on Nov. 21, 2012 in the U.S. The film tells about a young man who survives a disaster at sea, hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. From India, the family decided to move to Canada. But a shipwreck leaves him all alone on a boat with several animals, and ultimately a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Some of the scenes are different from the book and some things were added in, like Pi's girlfriend. The cast members include Suraj Sharma (Pi Patel), Irrfan Khan (Adult Pi Patel), and Rafe Spall (Writer).


January 5-11, 2013


Gangrape: Clamor for honoring victim

New Delhi: Five days after she was cremated quietly, the Delhi gangrape victim's family said they had no objection if her name was revealed and a revised anti-rape law named after her. At Jantar Mantar, in the heart of the Indian capital, protesters continued clamoring for stringent punishment for rapists and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit marched to Rajghat at the head of "a peace rally" in memory of the brutally gang-raped and tortured woman who died on December 29. Police arrested Dinesh Yadav, owner the bus in which the ghastly crime was committed, even as the Delhi High Court set up a fast track court to hear the case on a daily basis and the Saket Court Bar Association said that no lawyer would defend the woman's attackers. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raised the pitch for honored. A day later, the call found support from the victim's family and others. "We have no objection to revealing her name," the 23-year-old victim's brother said. The family has temporarily shifted to its village from Delhi in the wake of traumatic developments since her December 16 gang-rape. "We also have no objection if the (revised anti-rape) law is named after her," he said. "It will be an honor for my sister," the 20-year-old brother of the victim said, four days after the physiotherapy intern died in a Singapore hospital on December 29. The victim's father told a television channel that if the law was named after her, it will be good. "It will honor her courage." Tharoor had suggested that the revised anti-rape law be named after her, and added that this should be done if her parents had no objection. The Congress snubbed him. "It is his personal opinion. I suggest that since he is a part of the government, he should have given the suggestion to the government rather than making any such statement in public. The party forum is also open for giving suggestions," Congress party spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters. Tharoor's proposal sparked a vigorous debate. While social activist Kiran Bedi supported Tharoor, Congress leader Manish Tewari asked people to wait till the committees formed to look into the antirape laws gave their recommendations. The on-going protests here have subsided a great deal, but a group, formed randomly at the Jantar Mantar, has started a mission to collect written messages from people protesting against the brutal gang-rape.

Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor tweeted that the Delhi woman should be named and honored

oring the victim, with its Delhi unit chief Vijender Gupta asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to posthumously award her the "Ashoka Chakra award for bravery". Giving a new twist to the debate

over legal ban on disclosing the identity of a gang-rape or rape victim, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor tweeted that the Delhi woman should be named and hon-

SC upholds Mehta's appointment of Gujarat Lokayukta

New Delhi: In a setback to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court upheld the appointment of Justice (retd.) R.A. Mehta as the Lokayukta of the state but noted that the governor "misjudged" her role on the issue. An apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla said that Justice Mehta was appointed as the state's Lokayukta after due consultation with the chief justice of the Gujarat High Court as provided under the statute. Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Chauhan said: "The facts...make it clear that the process of consultation stood complete, and in such a situation, the appointment of (Justice Mehta) cannot be held to be illegal." The court said that the points raised in the appeal of the Gujarat government "lack merit and are accordingly dismissed".

Stalin will carry on upliftment of Dalits: Karuna

Chennai: DMK president M. Karunanidhi said his second son, M.K. Stalin, would be the party's torchbearer after him to fight for the upliftment of Dalits. "I will work till my death for the upliftment of the Dalit community. After my lifetime, it will be Stalin whom you M.K. Stalin with M. Karunanidhi should not forget," Karunanidhi said at a the DMK leader. function in which over 2,000 Dalit memKarunanidhi also said that he was the bers of PMK joined the DMK. father-in-law of a Dalit woman since his While some interpret the statement as elder son and union minister Alagiri's wife Karunanidhi's preference for Stalin as his Gandhi belonged to that community. successor than his other son, M.K. Alagiri, The DMK chief said there was no measpolitical commentators dismiss the ure of his happiness when Gandhi called announcement as a diversionary tactic by his wife "aththai" (aunt).

NRIs: Be ready for new India check books

New Delhi: From April 2013, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced a new format for checks, the CTS-2010 Standard for NRIs as part of its measures for standardization and enhancement of security features. "If the checks are not compliant with the new CTS 2010 standards by March 31st 2013, they may be considered invalid and may not be honored post the deadline or may be cleared at a less frequent interval as per RBI directive. Going forward all customers will need to be careful while writing the new checks. For instance, checks with alterations in crucial fields like payee's name and amount in figures or words will not be processed under the new system post the March 31st 2013 deadline. It also becomes imperative that if one has availed a home loan and/ or auto loan and issued post-dated checks, then they will be required to replace such post-dated cheques with the CTS-2010 compliant ones now before March 31, 2013," Virat Diwanji, Executive Vice President and Head Branch Banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank, was quoted as saying.


January 5-11, 2013


The dynamic duo Shudh & George lead INOC (I) to new heights
Within months of taking over in April 2012, George Abraham, President, and Shudh Prakash Singh, Senior Vice President, have put the Indian National Overseas Congress (I) USA on a solid footing, unfurling a flurry of activities and hosting dignitaries from India in 2012.
By Parveen Chopra

s we know, Indian National Overseas Congress, USA (INOC) was inaugurated by party chief Smt. Sonia Gandhi in 2001. INOC had its origins in the 'Friends of Indian National Congress' formed in 1998. INOC was formed to promote the ideals, philosophy and vision of a democratic and pluralistic India in close cooperation and partnership with Congress party and to function as a forum for NRIs living in USA to promote Indo-US relations that would also help the people of India to achieve progress and prosperity. In early April, Dr. Karan Singh, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the AICC in New Delhi, appointed George Abraham as President, and Shudh Prakash Singh as Senior Vice President, to lead INOC (I) USA. They had served in senior capacity in INOCwhose nomenclature had to be changed for legal reasons. George Abraham succeeded Dr. Surinder Malhotra. In the new National Executive Committee of INOC (I), C. Radhakrishnan and Dr. N. Madavaram are Vice-Presidents. Mr. Kanwal Sra is the new Treasurer. Other committee members include Dr. Najma Sultana, Kalathil Varghese, Mrs. Pam Kwatra, Mohinder Singh Gilzian, Karamjit Singh Dhariwal and Phuman Singh. On Aug 26, INOC (I) adopted its constitution and by-laws, which was endorsed by Dr. Karan Singh, Now we have a formal structure and a transparent framework to conduct the business of the organization in a democratic and responsive manner,' Mr Abraham said. He also exhorted the INOC (I) supporters to forget past differences and move forward with an agenda of outreach to the community to strengthen its base. It was also decided to open INOC chapters on the basis of states in India as well as, for example, the Youth Wing, the Women's Wing and Commerce and Trade Council. Accordingly, Punjab, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu chapters were already among those opened. In August, members of INOC (I) made the India Day Parade in New York City all the more colorful with their strong participation in celebration of the 65th anniversary of Independence.

President of INOC (I) George Abraham, addressing a meeting with Indian Law Minister Ashwani Kumar (to his right). INOC (I) also started commenting on burning issues of the day in India and here in the USA. The Wisconsin gurdwara shootings were deplored and later Connecticut school shooting mourned. Allegations made at the demonstration held against the Congress Government in front of the Indian Consulate in New York were rejected . RSS/VHP attacks on the Congress Party represent prejudice and hatred that have no place in a civilized society, the statement said. In fact, the Congress Government reaches out and embraces all Indian brothers and sisters without discrimination and true to its rules and principles, continuously fights for a better life and standard of living for every citizen of India. INOC (I) applauded Dr Manmohan Singh governments 'Bold and courageous step' in allowing FDI in retail. The Washington Post article denigrating the lifetime achievements of Dr Manmohan Singh was criticizd as it clearly lacks any objectivity and it is colored with certain bias and skewed perspectives. Besides, the rejoinder said, corruption is endemic and cuts across all spheres and every cadre. Congress has shown great courage in dealing with corruption even at the highest places whether it is 2G spectrum, or other scams. In June, INOC (I) senior office bearers called upon S.M. Krishna, then Minister of External

Shudh Prakash Singh, Senior Vice President of INOC (I), had shown his organization capacity with Punjab Chalo program during last elections in Punjab. Affairs, who was in Washington DC for the US India Strategic dialogue with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while leading a delegation from India. Multiple plans discussed at that meeting with party leaders included planning events to engage the diaspora in Congress activities with a special focus on upcoming 2014 elections in India. These events will be attended by AICC members, Cabinet ministers, MPs and senior party leaders. INOC leaders also brought to the foreign ministers attention concerns of the Pravasi community and offered the services of INOC as an interface to allay those concerns. The Hon. Minister was also informed of the creation of the

NRI-Interface committee under the INOC (I) banner to deal with these issues. In August, INOC (I) hosted a reception for Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, in New York, where the minister talked about voting rights for NRIs. He informed that over 15,000 Non-resident Indians have registered with the Election Commission as voters. He added that the 100,000 Indian students studying in US universities and a sizable number of software engineers on deputation here are also eligible to register as voters in their respective constituencies and exercise their franchise when they are in India during election time. On the requests made by PIOs and OCIs that the ban on travel to India within two months of their departure should be removed, he said he agreed, and eventually it was done. Ravi said his Ministry had created Overseas Indian Foundation to help NRIs and PIOs to help construct schools and hospitals in their villages without going through the hassle of red tape and bureaucratic tangle. Shudh Parkash Singh, Senior vice president, praised Ravi as among the tallest Congress leaders whose service to the party and nation was very well-known. In October, Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs, inaugurated INOCs Punjab Chapter at a function in Queens, NY. Shudh Prakash characterized her as the most adored, admired and respected leader of Punjab and spoke of the Ministers dynamism, popularity, compassion and work with the Red Cross and disabled children which had won her numerous international awards.

INOC officials and members at reception in honor of Maharani of Patiala, Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs.

Shudh Prakash Singh speaking to Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur. On the left is Phuman Singh, INOC (I)s National Committee member.

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur inaugurated INOC (I)s Punjab chapter.


January 5-11, 2013



VHPA helps Sandy victims in Staten Island, NY

hen hurricane Sandy hit NY and NJ areas on Oct.31, it took one of the worst catastrophic tolls in Staten Island, N.Y. terms of damage, destruction and lives destroyed. Thousands of businesses, houses were either completely destroyed or severely damaged rendering them to be inhabitable. Among the scores of victims, there were hundreds of Indians, also. On Saturday December 22, Vishwa Hindu parishad of America (VHPA), disbursed $15,000 among several families, worst affected by this Hurricane, as an initial gesture of support, in a solemn event. It was organized by Dr. Ila Sukhadia, Mr. Arvind Sant and Mr. Makarand Abhyankar, where they brought in the victims of this horrific disaster together. The purpose was three-fold. In addition to extending monetary help, however small it was compared to the losses the families had suffered, the other important objectives were to give moral support to victims for healing process to begin and to give expression to their individual experiences so as to collectively form a support group to share all kinds of information on Governmental help, Insurance claims, Reconstruction efforts and

Prasad Kambhampaty honored by TLCA

VHPA volunteers handing over checks to those affected by Hurricane Sandy

reliable & reasonable contractors. According to the people who gathered there, this was the first ever such effort by any Indian organization in their community, since the storm hit them. Even after eight weeks, the scars that it left behind were quite obvious. Several of them became very emotional relating what they had endured. Mr. Manmohan Soni whose two houses were destroyed took the bold initiative of forming a support group at this event with the intention of keeping every one present in the loop for all sorts of information related to resurrecting the victims lives.

rasad Kambhampaty (Past president 2006 and 2007) was being honored by TLCA (Telugu Literary and cultural association) at their 41st Annual Dinner event on December 16 at Akbar Restaurant. This event was attended by many members and guests from India. Prasad was honored for his contribution to TLCA as a president. TLCA is the oldest Telugu organization with several hundred members. Mrs. Hyma Reddy, Chairperson for BOT presented the honorees with citations from Nassau County. Recently Prasad Kambhampaty is also being appointed as an executive member for INOC(I) for 2013. He is also being appointed as a member for the upcoming World Agricultural Forum to be held in Hyderabad, India in November 2013. Prasad played an important role as a finance chair for IALI in 2012 in generating funds for different events and also

Prasad Kambhampaty

leaving an excellent balance for 2013. Prasad won several awards. From prestigious organizations like Rotary Club, IALI, Board of Control Cricket in India, Town of North Hempstead just to mention a few. Prasad is a resident of Long Island and very active in the Indian community with several organizations like IALI, INOC, TLCA, Sai Mandir, Rotary Club.

India needs soul searching, says religious leader

S-based religious leader Rajan Zed Saturday urged India to do serious soul searching on the way it treats women after the gang-rape victim died in Singapore. "India could not even provide safer environment for her own women to go about their daily lives. It was blight on a country, which prided herself on having joined the league of hottest growth economies," Zed said. The president of Universal Society of Hinduism issued a statement from Nevada.

Asian-Americans outraged over racist Google app

sian-American groups in the US are demanding from Google to remove an application (app) from its Google Play store called "Make Me Asian" which allows users to alter their photos to resemble Asian stereotypes. A similar app called "Make Me Indian" has also received criticism. "These apps perpetuate hateful and offensive stereotypes that are used to this very day to marginalize and humiliate Asians and Native Americans," wrote Washington pastor Peter Chin on the website, where he has started a petition for the apps to be taken down. "They are not funny, and their use highlights a vicious double standard, where people are allowed to characterize" both groups "in a way that they never would do to other races,"

Chin wrote about the series of Android phone apps created by designer Kimbery Deiss. "You can for a few seconds to make himself a Chinese, Japanese, Korean," Kimbery Deiss wrote on Google Play about the app that allows users with the click of a button to be transformed into an Asian with a Fu Manchu mustache and a rice paddy hat. Deiss also said that by altering your photo to look like an Indian with brown skin, war paint and a feather headband that will now allow you to "not get bored!" On the website, Chin is asking that individuals sign a petition stating the apps "are racist and perpetuate false and offensive stereotypes that are hurtful to both Asian and Native American communities."

Quoting scriptures, Zed said ancient Manusmriti said: "Where women are revered, there the gods are pleased; where they are not, no rite will yield any fruit." Continuing indifference to poor treatment of women was not acceptable in the 21st century, he said. "India needs to focus on urgent upliftment of women, forgetting her political battles. A strong political will and some serious and durable systemic reforms were urgently needed in this direction," he said.

Hindi in Texas school district welcomed by Indo-Americans

ndo-Americans have welcomed introduction of Hindi, official language of India, in Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District (HEBISD) headquartered in Bedford (Texas, USA) and urged it to offer other languages of India also. Seventh, eighth and ninth graders are able to take these classes. These courses are part of

the districts International Business Initiative, which will set students on a course to success in college and in the workforce, HEBISD states.Hindustani is reportedly the fourth highly spoken language in the world after Chinese, Spanish and English and has more speakers than Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, German, French, Italian, Dutch, etc.

Dr Ambika Nair of Santhigram Ayurvedic Company receives NAMAM Award

r. Ambika Nair, the co-founder and Chief Consultant of Santhigram Ayurvedic company received the 2012 "Namam Award." Dr. Nair is a renowned Holistic medicine practitioner with over 25 years experience. She specializes in Ayurveda, Alternative medicine, Holistic therapies, to treat a number of chronic conditions which otherwise have limited side-effect-free therapeutic options in conventional system of medicine. Dr. Nair holds graduate and post-graduate degrees and a number of diplomas in various fields of Holistic Medicine including Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Bach Flower Remedies, Siddha, Naturopathy and Yoga. She is a certified Holistic Practitioner in the United States. She is also a spiritual healer and a disciple of His Holiness Navajyothi Shri Karunakara Guru of Santhigiri Ashram, Trivandrum, Kerala, India.

She has previously won many awards, including "Pride of the Country" award by Society of Industry and Business achievements, New Delhi, "Women of the Year 2012-13 Award" from National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), USA and has served as the physician to the former President of India, Dr. K.R. Narayanan. Namam is a well known social organization in the US, particularly in the tri-state area and it reaches out to the community through its various cultural and outreach activities and is headed by its President Mr. Madhavan Nair. Speaking at the occasion Dr. Nair noted that the award has special significance in her life, for it honors Ayurveda in the USA. And she felt humbled to receive the recognition on behalf Ayurveda, Ayurvedic practitioners and the supporters of Ayurveda." Speaking at the occasion

Assemblyman and Dy. Speaker of New Jersey Assembly Mr. Upendra Chivukula lauded the services rendered by Dr. Nair to the society. Dr. Nair's commitment to promote holistic therapies worldwide has been the inspiration behind Santhigram Ayurvedic Company launch its operations internationally, after its successful operations in India for over a decade. The company originally expanded operations to UK, seven years back, by launching two Centers in London. The success story of the UK Centers, encouraged Santhigram group to launch its Ayurveda Wellness business in the United States. As of today the company has established five Ayurvedic Centers in the United States, 3 in New Jersey, 1 in New York and 1 in Houston, Texas. In the first quarter of 2013 the company is launching its first wellness center in Chicago, IL and an additional center in Queens, NY.

Dr. Ambika Nair receiving NAMAM award from NJ Assemblyman Mr. U. Chivukula & Mr. M B Nair, President of NAMAM Dr. Nair has enriched the practice of Ayurveda with her exceptional clinical skills and untiring commitment to her patients. Recognition by NAMAM for her outstanding contribution to society, only reinforces her commitment to promote the vision of Santhigram group, "to propagate the goodness of Ayurveda worldwide." Santhigram Ayurvedic Company is an ISO certified provider of Ayurvedic services worldwide and specializes in "Kerala specific Ayurvedic Panchakarma Therapies.


January 5-11, 2013


I pushed a Muslim, says NY woman who shoved to death an Indian

New York: A 31-year-old woman suspected of shoving an Indian immigrant in front of a subway train has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime after she told the police that she hated Hindus and Muslims since 9/11. Prosecutors Saturday identified the woman, who allegedly shoved India-born Sunando Sen of Queens, in front of a subway train Thursday as Erika Menendez of Bronx. "(She) said in sum and substance 'I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up,'" Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement. Witnesses cited by CNN said a woman paced the platform and talked to herself Thursday evening shortly before pushing Sen as the 11-car train entered the station. The body of 46-year-old Sen, a graphic designer for posters who ran a small copying business called New Amsterdam Copies on the Upper West Side, was pinned under the second car after it came to a stop. The woman made "statements implicating herself in the death of Sunando Sen," Paul Browne, the New York Police Department's chief spokesman, said earlier. Security video showed a person running from the scene. Menendez was identified Saturday afternoon in a lineup, Browne said. She was recognized

Obama appoints Smita Singh to team on development

Washington, DC: The Obama administration has appointed yet another Indian-American to a key administrative post, naming Smita Singh as member of the president's Global Development Council. The Global Development Council was established in February through an executive order of the president. Along with Singh, Obama also announced names of eight other members of the council including its chair Mohamed El-Erian. Singh was the Special Advisor for Global Affairs and the founding Director of the Global Development Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she worked from 2001 to 2010. From 1998 to 2001, she was a scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.

Sunando Sen earlier in the day on a street in Brooklyn by a passer-by who called 911, the police spokesman said. The caller said she resembled the woman in the video. "The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter's worst nightmarebeing suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train," said Brown, the district attorney. "The victim was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself. Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant's actions can never be tolerated by a civilized society." Menendez is expected to be arraigned by Sunday morning. If convicted, she faces a maxi-

Suspect Erika Menendez mum penalty of life in prison. By charging her with murder as a hate crime, the possible minimum sentence she faced would be extended to 20 years from 15 years, according to prosecutors.Ar Suman, a Muslim, and one of three roommates who shared a small first-floor apartment with Sen in Elmhurst, told the New York Times that he and Sen often discussed religion. Though they were of different faiths, Suman said, he admired the respect that Sen showed for those who saw the world differently than he did. Suman said he once asked Sen why he was not more active in his faith and it resulted in a long philosophical discussion. "He was so gentle," Suman was quoted as saying. "He said in this world a lot of people are dying, killing over religious things."

Kishan Putta sworn in as ANC Commissioner

issues. Washington, DC: On November 6, Kishan Putta was He was sworn in on Jan 2. the only Asian-American ANC Dupont Circle is one of the Commissioner in the District of communities of Ward 2 that has Columbia elected in a competia nonpartisan Advisory Neighborhood Commission tive three-way race. Putta won (the Dupont Circle ANC, is with 62% of the vote over rivals Stephanie Sheridan and named ANC 2B). The Martin Espinoza.DC is the Commission aims to represent Kishan Putta equivalent of a state and its the interests and address the legislature is the 13-person DC Council. concerns of the Dupont Circle communitys The 40+ ANC commissions are the equiva- approximately 20,000 residents to the D.C. lents of town councils which focus on local Council and Administration.

Police launches homicide probe into death of Andhra man

Washington, DC: An Indian man hailing from Andhra Pradesh, who used to run a liquor store in the US, was found dead at the shop under suspicious circumstances and police have opened a homicide investigation. Venkat Reddy-Goli, 47, was found dead by the police inside the Central Liquors store in Colerain Township of Ohio having a population of some 60,000. The police said Goli, owner of the liquor store, suffered from fatal injuries. A spokesman of Colerain Township Police Department said that no arrest has been made so far. Police said they have opened a homicide investigation. "It is under investigation. We can't divulge any other information," he said. The police arrived at the crime scene in the wee hours of Sunday after his wife called.

Venkat Reddy-Goli

The wife went to the store after Goli did not return from his business on Saturday night. When she reached the store, she found her husband lying aside in the store and notified police.

56 January 5-11, 2013


Resolve to Save More of Your Money in 2013

wo of the most commonly made and commonly broken New Years resolutions are saving money and paying off debt. These are promises we all seem to make to ourselves every year with every intention of seeing through. But somehow, we wind up in the same spot we were before. So how can you make sure that 2013 is the year you take control of your finances and start making your money work for you? Figure out what your objectives are -- be it paying off debt, buying a first home, or saving for vacation. Identifying your goals can help you

stay motivated. Consider placing a visual reminder somewhere youll see all the time, like the refrigerator. Many people have no idea how much money they spend monthly. Creating a spending plan is vital if you want to make your money do for you what you want it to. If you

share your finances with someone else, make sure he or she is part of this process as well. Many financial services companies offer free tools to help you easily see what youve been spending and ways you can save. For example, the non-profit Family Credit Management offers spending plans, savings guides and a comprehensive personal financial goals workbook that help you to lay out a strong plan in an easy way. Visit to see these and other financial tools. Make the small changes that add up to big savings. Most people have

small expenses that they can live without. Maybe for you its a coffee every morning on your way to work. If you do this every weekday, that adds up to $1,300 per year! The idea is not to strip the fun from your life, but to save money on things that you really dont care about. Involve your whole family. Many parents feel the need to shelter kids from financial strain, but budgeting is an invaluable life lesson that you can teach them by including them in the process. Ask for help! If you feel you could use some guidance, reach out to a certified credit counselor who is

licensed by your states banking department. Finally, figure out what to do with your new found savings! If youre not sure where youd like to keep or invest your money, you can visit and investigate high interest, low balance requirement savings accounts. Once youve completed these steps, you are on your way! Saving money is habit forming -- when you get your monthly statement and you see money building up, youll want to put more and more away. Its a great way to get started on a financially successful New Year.

Resolve to Quit smoking this year

ts at the top of many New Years resolution lists -- quitting smoking. In fact, 15 million people try to quit smoking cigarettes yearly. Only 5 percent succeed when they use no support or go cold turkey. Moreover, the average smoker will attempt to quit up to nine times before successfully quitting. Luckily there are new tips and tools that can help smokers kick the habit this year. In an effort to empower the more than 45 million current US smokers to call it quits, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare has launched, a free, total quit-smoking online resource with tools to help smokers quit and stay smoke-free. Every smoker is different; therefore, every smokers approach to quitting may need to be different. houses personalized tools in a central location to help smokers navigate quitting smoking, no matter where they may be in their quit journey. Here are some tips from the experts at to help smokers quit their nicotine addiction: Preparing to Quit: First pick your quit date. By having a day youre working toward, youll be able to prepare mentally and physically to quit. Do your research on how to be prepared before getting started. Ready to Quit: Support your quit by reducing your bodys physical cravings so they dont get in the way of your will power. Consider using a nicotine replace-

How to land a job you love in the New Year

ment product that fits your lifestyle, such as a gum, lozenge or patch. Currently Quitting: Celebrate every little win and stay focused on the positive benefits of quitting and why you decided to quit in the first place. If you get a strong craving, change things up to throw your urge to smoke. Post-Quit: Surround yourself with inspiration to stay smoke-free -- your family, your pet, your health and your finances -- and remember you have everything to gain by quitting. is built in four levels with specific tools depending on where smokers are in the quitting process -- preparing to quit, ready to quit, currently quitting or post-quit and looking for resources to remain a nonsmoker. Quitting smoking is tough and requires focus and effort, but thats only half the equation. Part of the addiction is behavioral -- a learned habit over time -but the other part is neurobiology, a chemical dependency to nicotine, explains Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., an addiction and dependence expert, researcher in behavior change and relapse at the University of Pittsburgh, and paid-consultant to GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. Using a combination of behavioral resources, education and quit smoking medicines can improve chances of success! The key to successfully kicking the habit is to empower and encourage smokers to try quitting and give them tools to help them succeed.

he New Year is the perfect time to evaluate your career and take control of your professional life. And doing so may be easier than you think in todays economy, where one-third of the American workforce now comprises freelancers. Experts say self-employed, independent workers have gone mainstream and are here to stay. From computer programmers and nannies to opera singers and anesthesiologists, nearly every industry is now employing freelancers, says Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union and author of the new handbook, The Freelancers Bible. The times long past for viewing freelancing as a euphemism for slackers or the unemployed. While freelancing does have challenges, Horowitz contends that with some planning and research, a freelancer can survive and thrive in the new economy. Even those with stable full-time jobs should consider the benefits of freelance work -- from the freedom to pursue multiple professional paths at once, to the ability to take time off without permission, says Horowitz. To help Horowitz founded the Freelancers Union to empower this growing independent sector with solutions for affordable health care and retirement planning. Whether youre an experienced independent worker, or just getting started, there are several things that can help you become a more nimble, flexible and successful freelancer: Tell everyone: Sometimes gigs drop in your lap, but mostly they come from connect-

ing and sharing with others. Remember that everything is a marketing opportunity. Dont be shy about networking. People will want to help. Give them what they need to spread the word. Just be careful to be professional, not pushy. Stay positive: In many ways, having multiple sources of income and multiple money-making skills is less risky than putting all your eggs in an employers basket. So dont think of freelancing as volatile and risky, so much as flexible and opportunity-rich. Balance risks and rewards: Weigh how much time and energy you should invest in various projects and be open to changing the mix depending on the work market and your income needs. Negotiate: Negotiating a contract isnt about displaying bravado. Its about knowing your power relationship with the client. Get informed by learning your industrys deal norms, the markets needs and your market value. Not happy with where you stand? Get training, find markets with bigger budgets or gain more experiences until you can be rewarded with higher pay. Get a life: Employees get vacation time, sick leave, family leave, bereavement days and personal days. Those policies exist largely because workers advocated for them. Who advocates for you? Without a 9-5 schedule, its easy to forget you have a life outside of your work. Be sure to schedule breaks and vacations and budget for time off. More practical tips on living the freelance life can be found at


January 5-11, 2013


By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma

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

Stars Foretell: January 5-11, 2013

Aries: This week when it comes to business you need to depend more on your brain than your heart. rofessionals with large organizations can expect unexpected work. Although you will please your seniors and win their appreciation, but any immediate monetary gains seem unlikely. New romance will flourish for some, but any intimate relationship with a co-worker will lead to gossip and damage your reputation. New ventures will be alluring but consult your experts to make sure you are making no mistake. Not a good period for speculation. Leo: This week your talents will shine at work, but above all you will be highly appreciated for being a major support to a colleague or a friend. You will enjoy the time that you spend with others and your confidence will also rise. Though a hectic and stressful week but it will prove to be beneficial and rewarding in the long run. This period is also good for signing major contracts. Highly memorable time for those taking a distant vacation as they will find themselves getting attracted into a romantic alliance. Taurus: This week others will take up much of your time. Try not to be so generous and flexible to their demands that you might regret later on. Your time will probably be better spent if you do some social work or get involved in organizations that really need your help. Your confidence will grow and advancement in career is certain. Financial gains seem eminent for businessmen, but they need to be careful while extending credit. Highly beneficial time for career women and those involved in overseas projects. Virgo: Trouble is brewing up for you this week, if you do not spend sufficient time with your family members. Professionally and financially things look much brighter and you will be required to complete many important projects in hand, but whatever the emergency do not shirk from your responsibilities towards your home. An old friend will make an unscheduled but pleasant visit, sharing with you lots of delightful and memorable moments. If you feel like taking a break from your hectic schedule then visit to the beach or the mountains will help you stay in good mood. Capricorn: This week brings happiness and prosperity. Your creative ability will flourish during this period and your determination will defeat your opponents. You need to attend seminars and functions that will bring you in contact with important individuals. Real estate investments during this period will bring big dividends. Lovebirds will have a fabulous time and some will commit themselves to a matrimonial alliance. Overall a good week but make sure to keep an eye on your health.
Gemini: This week your views and efforts will face resistance from others. People might not be very pleased with your way of doing things. You need to win their confidence by setting yourself a deadline and focussing entirely on your job. You need not rush over your plans but seek help from others if needed. Love and romance alone will not succeed in cheering you up, rather you will like to seek some commitment from your beloved. Try an outing or a short trip to cheer yourself up and lift your spirits. Meditation and yoga will be ideal for relaxation.

Cancer: This week you can expect some problems with the ones you love. You will have tremendous confidence in your capabilities, but the problems at home will severely disturb your mind. You need not push yourself too hard. Clarity of thought and a will to resolve issues will be important to maintain harmony at home. Stress related ailments like backache, headache, sleeplessness cannot be ruled out. After some rest and relaxation, you will feel much better. Scorpio: This week you should implement new ideas into your projects for instant gains. Seniors, colleagues and subordinates will be very helpful. Plan your days carefully as efforts put during this period will have long lasting rewards. Money gains are certain but losses due to speculation are also foreseen. You will gain valuable information if you listen to those who are older and experienced. Go out and have some fun with friends later in the week. Pisces: This coming week you need to go into small details on projects, which are very important. You need to lead and observe, but you should avoid being too critical of the opinion of others. Businessmen will explore new and more profitable avenues. New partnerships and contacts will prove to be beneficial. Health needs proper care and you should avoid sweets and junk food. You should visit a gym or go for a walk in the evenings.
you, in the coming year. With your intelligence and abundance knowledge, you will be able to impress your seniors. You will be duly rewarded in your professional front. Promotions, increments and overall prosperity, is what most of you can expect from the year ahead of you. Financially, too, it will be a good year for you. Some of you, are likely to inherit property from your parents or grand parents. Your sincerity and dedication, will bring prosperity for those in business. Good health, good friends and a happy domestic front, will be your blessings, in the year ahead of you. Your magnetic personality, will help you to make many new friends. You will enjoy good health and on the whole an exciting year for you. The months of March, May, August, November will be highly important. January 11 You are dominated by the planet Moon. You are also governed by the number 2. You are a born adviser, and a source of inspiration to others. Your leadership qualities and your high ideals, will take you to the pinnacle of success, in the year ahead of you. Your imagination, coupled with hard work, will bring you fame and recognition, in various fields. You have the ability to take quick decisions and give the lead to your colleagues. Your bosses will notice this ability, and you will be appreciated for your leadership qualities. But, at times you tend to get over excited. You are advised, therefore to take control of yourself and not get hyper. You will be inclined towards philosophy and science, in the coming year. For your loved ones, you will leave no stone unturned, to give them happiness and security. The months of July, October, November and January will be highly important.

Libra: This week you need to listen to your instincts when it comes to financial matters. It will be important for you to invest, but it will be equally important to consult financial experts and books on investments. Stay away from investments that seem risky and on the advice of others. Only people with experience will give you sound advice. All those preparing to tie a knot can look forward to a happy relationship. Aquarius: This week you should help children with projects, which are proving to be difficult for them. People will find you very charming, witty and enjoy your company. You will be putting in a lot of hours at work or on projects that are important for your career. You will acquire a lot of knowledge if you observe others. A wonderful week to look into courses and hobbies that interest you. A small vacation or a pleasure jaunt will lift your spirits.
see both sides of a problem, will be an asset to you, and you will be able to use this to your full advantage. Your sense of duty towards your loved ones, will make you do your best for them. You can expect peace and harmony at the domestic front, in the year ahead of you. You will be able to handle your money matters with ease and with your efficient planning, even save for the future. Those around you, will be impressed with your behavior and will try to follow your foot steps. The months of January, July, September and February will be highly eventful. January 9 You are governed by the number 9 and dominated by the planet Mars. You are also influenced by the Moon. You are born with an aggressive personality. Courage and alertness, will allow you to face any obstacle without much difficulty, in the year ahead of you. You will be enterprising and will undertake new ventures, in your professional field. From the start to the finish of a project, you will be sincere and dedicated. Travel will be an important part of your life, in the coming year. This will bring more opportunities for you and also help you to broaden your outlook. You are fond of children and enjoy spending time with them. But, you are short tempered and get irritated over small matters. You will have to learn to control your temper, otherwise you will find your friends drifting away from you. The months of January, June, September, December would be significant. January 10 You are dominated by the number 1 and the Sun. The planet Moon, also has a strong influence on you. Honour, fame and recognition, will be all for

Sagittarius: This week dont get depressed, but put your time and efforts on important projects. Although finances will not be managed easily, but you will receive immense recognition and appreciation for your efforts. Your analytical skills will help you get everything done on time and eventually success will be yours. It is a brilliant week to straighten up things around the house. Home front will be pleasurable, but children and youngsters will behave little spendthrift.

Annual Predictions: For those born in this week

January 5 You are governed by the number 5 and the planet Mercury. You are also dominated by the Moon. You are blessed with a pleasant and vivacious personality. Your planning and methodical approach to work, will catch the attention of your seniors. You will be handsomely rewarded for you efficient and honest approach to your professional career. The ability to judge the weaknesses of your opponents, will be an asset to you, and you will be able to use this to your advantage. Travel will bring you both prosperity and pleasure. You will travel to distant lands in the coming year. This will allow you to make the most of newer opportunities and will also be a source of relaxation and enjoyment. Your sensitive and warmth nature, will bring many friends close to you and you will have a large circle of friends. Intellectual people will attract your attention, and you stand to gain in their company. April, August, November will be highly significant. January 6 You are governed by the planet Venus and dominated by the Moon. You are also influenced by the number 6. You have the ability to inspire those around your. Your mere presence, makes people happy and full of enthusiasm. You have an affinity towards art and music. Those of you, in the profession of dance and poetry, will do exceeding well in your professional career, in the year ahead of you. Your family will be of utmost importance to you, and you will go to any lengths to fulfill all their dreams. You will stay away from social customs and traditions. Your warmth and attractive personality will draw many friends to you. You will always be amongst friends and relatives, who are fond of you. You will earn a lot of money in the coming year, but will also spend it all on buying expensive clothes, jewelry and luxuries of life. April, July, November and October will prove to be result oriented. January 7 You are governed by the number 7 and dominated by the planet Neptune. Moon also has an influence on you. You are born intelligent. If you can couple this will power and determination, you will reach the pinnacle of success, in the year ahead of you. Travel will form an important part of your life, in the coming year. Most of you are likely to travel to distant lands. There is also a possibility of developing business ties abroad. You will be a free bird, and although you are religious minded, you will not let orthodox views and customs, bind you. You think logically and will not get swayed away by religious beliefs. You will be able to handle difficult situations with ease and authority. You will be able to express your views with clarity, whenever required. But, you tend to become a little stubborn at times, and try to impose your ideas on your colleagues and friends. February, August, November, December and seem to be eventful. January 8 You are governed by the number 8 and by the planet Saturn. You are also influenced by the Moon. You are a good organizer and an executor of big projects. In the coming year, your efficiency and sincerity, will clearly reflect in your work. Your seniors will notice this and you will be rewarded handsomely for your hard work and dedication. Your ability to


January 5-11, 2013


By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma

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

The Year 2013 is significant as it rings in change for everyone, either on the physical plane or in mental attitudes. Dr. Prem Kumar Sharma, our celebrated resident astrologer, tells what this may mean to you in terms of health, profession, family and romance

Yearly Forecast 2013

Everything is going to happen the way you want it Arian! If you take care of your health, career, romance, family will be well received as you have always thought of. You are advised to undertake travel only if it is totally unavoidable especially during the months of June, August & October. Take care of your belongings or say be extra vigilant of the things you own and possess. Do not enter into any sort of property transactions especially in June and October since the chances of being cheated/duped/false commitments are quite high, so Take Care! Year 2013 encourages you to adopt a positive outlook to allow you to stay physically and mentally fit. Though no major health problem will bother you, yet it is advisable not to take your health for granted. To enhance your mental strength, you can also turn towards spirituality. Do follow dietary restrictions to keep fit and fine. Family members will be supportive and will not make unreasonable demands to you. So, smile and set yourself to prioritize other goals in the second half of the year. Some new additions in the family will lift up the spirits of all your near and dear ones. Get yourself a bit strong as the year begins since you might face some tensions at the workplace. But dont get too stressed about it as its majorly going to be because of the office politics. Safeguard yourself Arian! Try to improve your implementation strategy so that you can achieve a greater degree of success. You may get glad tidings by the middle of the year. You might even get promoted during this period. Financially, you will be reasonably comfortable. Still, you are advised to exercise strict control over your expenditure. Spend only when required! Work harder on this front Arian! You need to treat your partner with love and understanding this is much expected out of you this year. Otherwise, you may also find some testing times in your relationship but dont you think its easy to work on the solution when you already know the problem? Both of you need to develop mutual trust and belief to enjoy a lovely bonding. May be the following tip will help you enjoy the warmth in the relationship you want to cherish for the lifetime. Lucky Number: 3 Lucky Color: Light Red Lucky Months: March, May and September on your financial dealings and avoid excessive spending; you never know when you may need them on a short notice so better to save for a rainy day! Try to reorient your style of working so that your chances of success improve. Things will move smoothly for you from May to September. You might even get promoted during this period. Some of you who are keen on transfers may need to look for proper recommendations; avoid pushing things related to this in between January March. Those still looking for job are likely to settle with good profiles in the first quarter itself. You can surely count on this year with full excitement as it will give you ample opportunities to enjoy some tender and intimate moments with your partner. To strengthen the relationship, you need to be gentle in your approach. The end of the year would bring some bright opportunities for you to nurture your relation. Those singles are likely to hit the apt matrimonial prospects before the mid of the year. Those too stringent on love marriage are likely to take help of some elder relatives to help them push things to their consent between parents. Lucky Number: 6 Lucky Color: Lavender Lucky Months: May, June, July & October. you and make you feel like a king/queen. Enjoy every moment that this year gives you to celebrate! Lucky Number: 15 Lucky Color: Green Lucky Months: June & August cash register ringing; the others will be which make you happily spend on the things and reasons of your choice. You will do well at the work place and your good work will be duly recognized. You will catch the eye of a highly skilled professional who will thereafter mentor you for the rest of your career. Those in the field of IT, Marketing or Manufacturing are likely to have a little tough time with either a profile or a job change in the month of August; maintain a low profile with those who matter! Love is in the air for those who have been searching for it till date. Singles should be all set to mingle as the wedding bells will ring for them any day this is going to be your lucky year. Those separated from the spouses may have opportunities to reconcile and reconnect. Try to overlook minor shortcomings (remember, no human being is totally perfect) and concentrate on strengthening the bonding. Lucky Number: 11 Lucky Color: Peach Lucky Months: January, March & November

Lady luck would be very favourably inclined towards you this year. You will be in the pink of health and stay in high spirits throughout the year 2013. Your trips to outstation places will be most fruitful. You will develop a lot of contacts that would help you rise higher in your profession. Try to live in moderation and continue to have a balanced diet and go for regular exercises. Pregnant mothers may have to take special care of them in the latter half of the year. Newly born may get crankier and disturb your midnight sleep. Atmosphere on the domestic front will be very congenial. Children and your siblings will be a source of delight for you. Spouse will be supportive to your decisions and help you plan the future goals together. Financial matters will turn out to be very rosy for you. Investments made in the past will bring in handsome returns for you. You will enjoy a very congenial atmosphere at the work place. Colleagues will be most supportive and helpful. You will probably get excellent opportunities at your workplace. Inducting some highly talented persons into your team would work to your advantage. Take proper guidance from your colleagues as it can prove to be might useful. Professionally, this will be a very enriching period for those engaged in academic and accounting fields. Your soul-mate will provide you a lot of emotional comfort. You will enjoy many romantic moments with your beloved. Break the monotony and so things to spice up life at a different level this year. Those singles should be very careful in choosing matrimonial alliances especially between February and May. Those recently married may plan an excursion trip to an exotic locale. The couples who have been expecting to conceive would especially find the period between February to April quite fruitful. Lucky Number: 2 Lucky Color: White Lucky Months: February, April & August.

Dashing Virgo should begin this New Year with a happy go lucky mood. Out of country business visits will bring to you a very rich bounty financially and professionally. You will meet a very influential person somewhere around August or September who would turn out to be great help in the future. April June would be an excellent period for acquiring property, which would provide you a lot of security in the future. The good news is that you will realise the strong linkage between a healthy mind and a healthy body. Those suffering with diabetes, blood pressure or high cholesterol will start breathing an air of relief by the mid of the year. Teenagers can be unreasonable demanding and may be in a just too experimental mood about everything. This is when the parents need to be extra vigilant in monitoring their activities and counsel them as their good friends. Some unexpected guests may come and plan to stay with you for a comparatively longer time dont get irritated if your privacy is disturbed it is just that you cant do much about it this year. Tact and diplomacy would help you to turn them around to your viewpoint. Its time to learn to manage your finances with caution since the risk of theft or being duped is very much there especially in the first half of the year. Be very careful of the money you invest in as your over excitement can land you sign some documents without reading through the lines. Your sincerity and dedication will help you attain your professional goals. Your chances of success will greatly improve if you work in total sync with your associates and avoid confrontation of any sort. Politicians and bureaucrats are particularly going to find August & October months to be encouraging. If it was about finances; its only the lessons that you can learn from others experiences but now that its about your love life you would better need to be a little careful and avoid doing things that give you any bad experience. All in all the stars are advising you to handle the love front with a lot of care especially from March to June this year. Once you do that, you would enjoy a very beautiful relationship. A charitable approach and accommodative spirit from your side will work wonders for your bonding. Lucky Number: 22 Lucky Color: Dark Slate Grey Lucky Months: August & December

Gemini, prepare yourself to welcome this New Year with a great pomp and show! You are likely to benefit most on all the aspects this year. Be it good health, excellent opportunities on the career front, most awaited yes on the relationship front or your fuller pockets on the financial front. Returns from your trips to outstation places will be just about adequate. Tread slowly where property matters are concerned. You would do well to take things in your stride from June to August. Better things are surely in store for you; all you require this year is to channelize your energy in a positive way with a right frame of mind in all the situations you come along. Overall, nothing to worry at all on the health front; yet the stars advise you to stop fretting over petty issues. Instead, use your precious positive energy in a more creative way. This way, you will enjoy life to the hilt. Elders may have to keep a tab on their fluctuating blood pressures. Your near ones will be supportive and caring towards you. Parents may plan to dispose off the ancestral property and help you plan an asset in a metro city. Some pilgrim travel may not be ruled out in the third quarter. Your financial condition will make you feel very secure. The year brings with itself opportunities to give you more than you require. Get that excitement in your nerves; after all its been all the while you have been working for it so say, its time to reap what your efforts have been sowing till date. If, it was turbulence of any sort that has been perturbing your mind last year; be at ease; this is relatively a quiet period for you professionally. If you work with a far-sighted approach and simply focus on your job, you will be able to surpass your competitors. Year 2013 would especially bring success to theatre personalities. Gemini, what could you ask for? When you are being pampered with love all around you! Your soul mate will be most accommodative. You will get joy from your love life. Its important that the partners in love have mutual understanding and trust for the relationship to be successful and now that you have always been putting your foot first to make all the adjustments its your partners turn to shower all the love upon

Get up and get going Taurian! Its the time to celebrate this New Year with all the energy and zeal that you have always wanted to expose yourself with. Dont be too hopeful from your business trips but you will get only marginal gains from the trips that you undertake this year. Do not go in for property transactions especially in February and March. Wait for market conditions to improve. Watch out, if health starts to cause you some anxiety initially in the few monthssuch feelings will subside as the year progresses. So relax and enjoy things with their flow. Banish all negative thoughts and try to remain cheerful at all times. You will then find yourself virtually in seventh Heaven. Family members need to be tackled with tact, lest they feel miffed over some of your utterances. Worry not, you know you possess all the skills to turn the heads your way; just get your timing right to enjoy the perfect bliss. Keep a strict tab

Leo! Leo! This is the year to experiment and achieve! Family members will be very accommodative. Travel will bring you a bagful of benefits financially and emotionally. Avoid any liquid investments in March and August. Months from September to November look to be prosperous for those planning to invest in some residential property. With adequate care, you will enjoy a reasonably good health mentally as well as physically. Discipline your life with Yoga and Meditation. These will help to keep the doctor away as much as possible. Your children will excel in their studies and make you feel proud of them. Those of you looking forward to international trips should smile on reading this; someone is likely to sponsor your dream and make it come true in the second half of the year. Your financial health will be generally sound. Year 2013 brings mixed occasions for you in terms of your finances where on one end you can have instances that insure the


January 5-11, 2013


By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma

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

Yearly Forecast 2013

The Goddess of Fortune will be most favourably inclined towards you this year. So, stop looking for a magical wand here and there but start writing down your wish list! This is truly going to be a year you will cherish Libra! March and October are going to be wonderful periods for engaging yourself in property related matters. Those who have been blaming a downgrading health because of aging need to strengthen their mental toughness and they will start noticing a sudden improvement in health altogether. Stop being your own doctor but look for an experts advice to stay fit. Keep these tips in mind, and you will enjoy a sound health all throughout. Parents who are looking for suitable alliances for their children are likely to hear of some really good prospects from their near and dear ones so stop wasting much time on the online portals this year. Some uninvited guests may trouble your peace of mind in the month of May or September and may make heavy demands on you. It is preferable to grin and bear it and do what you feel like. Keep a strict check on your financial dealings. Prudence and thrift will help you to safely overcome the occasional hiccups on this front. By putting in sincere efforts, you can expect the desired results. Your good communication skills can help you gain a competitive edge over your rivals. By working in harmony with your colleagues, you will do well in your professions. Avoid getting into arguments with your seniors since that would only be harmful for you. Students aspiring to go abroad for higher studies will have to wait a little longer. What you are going to experiment with this year are some new tactics and strategies to impress your crush. Come on! Get serious about your affair! It should be a Yes or no whatever but a clear picture. Analyse the pros & cons of being with the person and take a stand. There is no point beating around the bush for no good reason. It is rather time to make some important decisions in life. Those entering into romantic liaisons for the first time need to proceed carefully. Lucky Number: 3 Lucky Color: Coffee Lucky Months: March, April & October would be accommodative and supportive. March would be a good month where you can expect good news from children. Some of you may also plan a house warming in the second half of the year so gear up for the celebration! Your earnings will help you to tide over heavy expenditure that you would have to incur. Your coming into contact with a high profile professional will positively impact your career. Try to improve your skill sets as it will help you professionally. By the middle of the month, your crisis management skills can be put to test. You can successfully overcome the problem, provided you handle it with care and do not become overconfident. Your soul mate will stand by you at all times. The start of the year will be good on the romantic front but the further success of the relation depends on your loyalty towards your partner. Something interesting must come to you around the middle of the year. In case of any difference of opinion, make sure that you immediately resolve this because chances are that this lovely bonding may get strained. Lucky Number: 15 Lucky Color: Sea Green Lucky Months: March & May

Leave all the pressures aside Capricorn! They havent fetched you much of a deal in the previous year. So, why not to take it easy and move with the flow? You may consider deferring your property transaction plans to the second half of the year since the returns in the first half may be only marginal. If you are fond of exercising on a treadmill or a cross trainer take extra care of your knees. There is a possibility that you might strain it way too much. Why not to look out for other alternatives to stay fit too. Explore! Your near and dear ones may show special interest towards you its tough to say what could be the intention at the back of their mind but why do you have to worry? Enjoy the attention! Just express your appreciation for that and keep your demands to a reasonable level. During first half of the year 2013, you need to handle your finances more prudently. A little bit of thrift will save you possible hiccups later on. Professionally you will do extremely well. Your hard work and dedication will bring you a lot of accolades. Your superiors will cite you as a role model for others. You will probably get excellent opportunities at your workplace. Do not feel shy to take professional advice from your more experienced colleagues as that can prove to be very useful. Professionals engaged in the field of teaching and accounting fields, in particular, may find many of their dreams fructifying. Your soul mate will keep you in very high spirits. Both of you will enjoy some delightful moments together. To sustain the relationship, you need to proceed with care and tenderness and not rush matters. Newly married may think of setting their priorities and proceed with a new life plan. Some of you are also likely to hear of new additions in the family in the second quarter of the year which is just going to elevate the celebration mood! Lucky Number: 3 Lucky Color: Saffron Lucky Months: May & July

help you reconnect with your loved ones. Spend quality time with them. The cash inflows for you will keep you in high spirits. Co-workers may try to entangle you in office politics but you will manage to come out clean. Dont get into what other say or do you have a strong instinct that will help you move up the career ladder. Businessmen may plan to expand their horizons but may have to outsource quite a bit of the work to realize their propositions. Those working in the government sector are likely to be entrusted with an important responsibility. Success is also on the cards for those aspiring for civil services examinations. If romance is all about spending time with each other gazing into each others eyes and cuddling and fondling together you should better get your ideas right Aquarian! You might encounter an all together different situation this time where your partner might want some serious thoughts in taking this relationship further. If you are not too serious about getting married; better dont commit. The first half of the year is especially going to be giving you definite highs and lows. Step ahead with caution! Lucky Number: 5 Lucky Color: All shades of Green Lucky Months: September & December

You are likely to become the apple of the eye for someone you have always been trying to impress at the workplace. Avoid being too pally with the strangers while you travel someone might not have good intention for this extra friendly gesture being shown towards you. This is an excellent period for entering into property transactions. A proper fitness regime will help you to stay physically fit and mentally alert since this year you may have to deal with health-related issues. Stress is one thing that you should stay miles away from. Though, this is the least possible in your case but focus on this aspect seriously to streamline rest of the aspects. Look for solutions in Ayurved or Homeopathy for the diseases or health problems of the past. Some turbulence with your spouse may not be ruled out. Patience is the key to tackle delicate issues. Your children will continue to be a source of pride for you. Your overseas trips will yield excellent returns to you so why not mix leisure with business and extend your holiday? Your financial health this year will be secure, provided you avoid wasteful expenditure. You will do well professionally. Make sure that your good performance is noticed by those that matter. There are indications that new work assignments will enable you to prove your mettle. It would be in your interest not to rely too much on undependable persons. You need to be strong and confident at your workplace so that you can successfully overcome all hurdles that come your way. Your soul mate will be a great pillar of support for you. Still, both of you need to remember that a successful relationship is possible only when there is a proper trust and understanding between the partners. While you need to express your genuine love to your beloved, you should also guard against being emotionally blackmailed by him/her. Lucky Number: 7 Lucky Color: Light Red Lucky Months: November & December

This is going to be THE year for you where you will be feeling totally energized and raring to go. It is better to postpone your plans to invest in a property in your own name; yes; it would be lucky instead to buy it in any of your family members name. Health will work wonders for you. But havent you heard over optimism can also pull you back so why not continue with the same routine what you have been doing so far. Women will grow extra conscious about their looks and may also like to experiment with a new makeover. Family support would be just adequate if planning some investments that involve big sums of your savings. Children are likely to bring good news home that will add another feather to your cap. Siblings might surprise you with their get-together plans. A small misunderstanding with a near or dear one especially a relative from your spouses side might disturb your peace of mind. Avoid being cranky and handle the situation with tact and grace. Money matters will be keeping you in a relaxed frame of mind with no alarming expenses coming in your way. Look forward to new challenges and opportunities that are in store for you. Those with an engineering background can look forward to some very promising job offers. You will successfully overcome the hurdles in your way and achieve professional success.Your loved one will be most understanding towards you but ask yourself are you equally reciprocating them the same? Set yourself a little free from the worldly commitments and take time out for just the two of you. After all, in a relationship what matters the most if two of you! Speak your heart out and listen to your partner to waive off any miscommunication! Create a world of your own and get living in it this year! Thoughtful gifts and kind words from time to time will do wonders to your love life. Lucky Number: 17 Lucky Color: Light Grey Lucky Months: January, February, June & October.

This is going to be a year which you have been always looking forward to. Improvement in all aspects of life starts now! No doubt, you have been working hard to make your dreams come true but that doesnt mean you dont pamper yourself to the leisure & pleasure side of the life. Work, Money, Fame all will come with time but this is the year to set yourself a bit loose and live life! This year, you will be in the pink of health. Better invest into a commercial property than a residential one and watch out the long term benefits come with it. Your investment is likely to multiply in no time. Remember? All work and no play make Jack a dull boy! Stars advise you to pave some way to your creative side and enjoy your hobbies too. A healthy diet and moderate life style will also help you to stay fit and trim. There is no point earning huge sum of money on the cost of your familys emotions. Its time to balance the personal and professional life. A small outing to a nearby resort or may be a comforting chit chat over a cafe outlet would even

What has been wondering you so much Scorpion? Its time to take a chill pill. Adopt a positive attitude so that you can stay physically and mentally fit. Your business or professional visits if scheduled in the first quarter will all pass off as a matter of routine with only marginal returns. Expect moderate returns on your property investments in the month of March, June & October. If you are suffering from some minor skin problem, dont ignore it or the ailment can get aggravated in the future. Kick off this laziness and fix an appointment with the doctor now; not necessarily all your problems will be fixed with home remedies at times an expert advice is way more helpful and trust your stars it is the need of the hour. Avoid excessive gymming as it can harm your muscles. Your near ones


January 5-11, 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters, At New Years, we think about the resolutions we want to make for the coming year. Even when we resolve to take better care of our health, finances, or relationships or set new goals, we usually quickly return to our old routines. Rather than list many resolutions to break, we can list one resolution to make. If we keep one foremost in our minds, we are more likely to make it become a reality. For those on the spiritual path, what one goal can we stick with that encompasses all other goals we might normally make? If we had only one to follow, our resolution for the coming year can be:Be evergreen in 2013 This resolution encompasses all others we normally would make. Being evergreen means that we are always connected to the Source of eternal bliss within us. To be evergreen means that we realize ourselves as soul, a part of God, filled with Light, love, consciousness, and joy. We can be evergreen by meditating daily, developing ethical virtues, doing selfless service, attending satsang, and having love for God, all humanity, all living things, and the earth. Meditating daily keeps us evergreen, or youthful and full of life. We tap into the source of all energy, consciousness, and joy within each time we meditate. If we fulfill this one resolution, we would stick to our schedule of meditating a minimum of two and a half hours daily on the inner Light (doing the simran practice) and meditating on the inner Sound (doing the bhajan practice). The more time spent in meditation, the more we will witness magnificent inner vistas and enjoy the enchanting inner Music. We would travel on this current of Light and Sound through higher regions until we merge in God. Developing ethical virtues keeps us evergreen. Our soul would have the purity to enter the realms of God. We would keep the introspection diary to weed out those failures that keep us from finding God and develop the virtues of nonviolence, truthfulness, purity, humility, and selflessness. Doing selfless service keeps us evergreen. During the time we serve selflessly, we are not creating more karma for ourselves and we become receptive to the Divine flowing through us. In this way, we engage in activities that focus our attention on God, keep our ego and negative thoughts at bay, and aid us in returning to the Lord. Attending satsang keeps us evergreen. We imbibe the spiritual teachings through talks, books, audio and video presentations, and from the spiritual radiation flowing from the Master in that charged atmosphere. Whether attending satsang in the physical presence of the Master or thousands of miles away, the Masters charged attention flows to us and gives us a spiritual boost so when we meditate we soar within faster. Having love for God, all humanity, all living creatures, and the earth keeps us evergreen. Love for God draws our soul back to the Divine. Love for all humanity means we care for and serve others, even those different from us, thereby making the world a loving, peaceful place. Love for all living creatures means we follow a vegetarian diet, avoiding meat, fish, fowl, and eggs, for we recognize them as also children of the One Creator. Love for the earth means going green so that the resources gifted to us by God can be sustained and everyone can avail of them, whether living now or in posterity. This year, if we make our one most important resolution to Be evergreen in 2013, all other resolutions are contained within it. Then, we will have one point of focus and can accelerate our progress to reuniting our soul with God in this lifetime. Yours affectionately, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

January 5-11, 2013

January 5-11, 2013

January 5-11, 2013