Tsu Namo

first_imgCompared to the 200,000 miles he is reported to have travelled in nine months of election campaigning, addressing 477 public gatherings in 25 states across the country, Narendra Modi’s “victory lap” was short. Convinced that the vote-count tally – which he’d followed closely on television alone in his official Chief Minister’s bungalow in the Gujarat state capital of Gandhinagar – indicated an irreversible trend toward his anointment as India’s next Prime Minister, Modi set out to meet his party colleagues in New Delhi. His itinerary involved a brief stop-over at his mother’s residence en route to the airport, a one-hour flight to the national capital, and then a cavalcade car-ride to the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in central Delhi.It’s a measure of the man’s political acumen that Modi squeezed the maximum mileage even out of this otherwise humdrum logistical undertaking spanning but a couple of hours. And he did that by ensuring that the symbolism he invested in every little act along the way did not escape the millions of viewers glued to their television sets that morning.Blessing the victorious son after he’d bowed low and touched her feet, Heeraben Modi fed Narendra his favorite sweet and wished him well – a traditional pre-requisite for Indian mothers bidding farewell to their sons embarking on a momentous mission.But the meek and respectful traditionalist of the Gandhinagar photo-op transformed into a fearless adventurer on the streets of New Delhi. On the ten-mile ride to the party office from the airport, Modi threw caution and protocol to the winds, standing up and literally hanging out of his SUV throughout the slow, winding journey so he could reciprocate more fully the adulatory chants of supporters running alongside or following his vehicle. For those gnawing minutes, he was a sitting-duck target for any assassin, vulnerable to any strike. It was a veritable security nightmare – especially considering that Narendra Modi, blamed for collusive inaction by the state police during the 2002 post-Godhra riots which killed innocent Muslims in Gujarat, continues to be a prime target for Islamic terrorist groups and several others who have vowed retribution.Even after reaching the office gate, the consummate populist wasn’t done yet. Told that the party workers and supporters gathered on the street for his welcome could not be accommodated within the premises of the BJP national headquarters, Modi grabbed a microphone, climbed atop a make-shift platform on the street itself, and thanked them personally. He was, in the process, subliminally reiterating his common touch. Without actually saying so, Narendrabhai had conveyed to the rank-and-file and convinced them that they meant as much – if not more – to him than the party bigwigs waiting inside.Whatever the nay-sayers may think about Modi’s electoral victory and however vociferously question his credentials for leading India as its Chief Executive, there is no denying that the 2014 parliamentary elections have conclusively thrown up a national-level leader whose acceptability – if not popularity – has breached the barriers of region, gender, class, and even faith. The results made the election unique and path-breaking in several ways, and may even have brought some of the electoral system’s built-in anomalies into sharp relief (see Sidebar: Election 2014-An Astonished Glance).The real “tectonic shift” – a favorite election-coverage phrase among television news anchors in India – however goes beyond the impressive numbers. For the first time since the 1971 general elections in which Indira Gandhi trumped her opposition with the quasi-socialist “Garibi Hatao” or “Banish Poverty” slogan, an Indian leader has captured the imagination of the electorate with the hope of a better future – supported by little more than the courage of his conviction and the sheer confidence exuded by his authoritative personality.Of course, external events and trends – Indira Gandhi’s decisive victory against Pakistan in the Bangladesh War earlier that year, and Modi’s performance as a facilitator of economic growth in Gujarat in the face of a countrywide downturn under the Congress administration – played their marginal part. But unlike Rajiv Gandhi who was catapulted to the prime minister’s post on a sympathy wave following his mother’s assassination in 1984, unlike V.P. Singh whose elevation was a direct fallout of the public ire over the Bofors scam which linked Rajiv Gandhi to kickbacks, and unlike the numerous interim PMs who were largely compromise candidates, Narendra Modi has emerged from Election 2014 as the unmistakable embodiment of an idea whose time has indeed come. Which therefore makes its result the most significant in recent history.What are the broad contours of that idea, its notable salient features? In other words, what can one expect in a Modi-fied India?THE RISE OF HMTs – or the Hindi Medium Types. A pejorative label used by the tiny coterie of the Oxbridge-type power brokers who had the ear of the First Family (read Sonia and Rahul Gandhi), and who therefore rode roughshod over their less “sophisticated” colleagues has now come to haunt them. During most of the ten-year-long Congress rule the troika of Congressmen-lawyers – P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, and Salman Khurshid – headed a group that sometimes included the likes of Kamal Nath and Jairam Ramesh as well. Entrusted by the Gandhis with the task of governance, this group occupied key ministerial positions and enjoyed all the perks of power. Distressingly, its groupies hardly ever deigned to speak to – much less, consult or socialize with – other parliamentarians when it came to making laws and formulating policy. And the snooty elitist behavior extended to even those belonging to their own party, particularly if the parliamentarian in question spoke no English.All this is on the verge of changing – and not only because there will be more farmers than lawyers in the new Lok Sabha. There’s a palpable shift in the language of political discourse, a shift that reflects the deep and perhaps enduring transformation in the country’s political culture. Narendra Modi himself personifies this difference more vividly than anybody else. Knowing well that his English is not match for his Hindi, the master orator and communicator prefers the national language and uses English phrases only to pepper his speech now and then with a dab of everyday English-Vinglish. The winds of this change in fact began blowing some time before the elections. And the Aam Aadmi Party leaders, led by Arvind Kejriwal, sniffed it first. Although they are all highly educated and proficient in spoken and written English, Hindi is their default mode of communication.The small-town “provincial” vernacular-wallah may well have elbowed the suited-booted English-spouting gentry out of the corridors of power in New Delhi – at least for the foreseeable future. Was Modi only half-joking when he promised during his farewell speech in the Gujarat assembly that his Prime Minister’s Office might see khaman dhokla and khakra (ethnic Gujarati snacks) being served to visitors, and might even hear an occasional word or two of Gujarati being spoken there?THE FALL OF DYNASTIC POLITICS – or, to put it mildly, the eclipse of the Nehru-Gandhi family – is another major outcome of this election. Not that there aren’t other father-son or father-daughter combines raking in the spoils of a career in Indian politics, but the Nehru-Gandhi lineage is doubtless its longest surviving showpiece. After presiding over a regime that’s by far the most corrupt in independent India (attested by nearly a dozen high-value scams) and after inflicting on the average Indian an inflationary economy that rendered him hapless and reeling, it’s a minor wonder that the Gandhis still nursed ambitions of their party returning to power. Worse, some Congressmen went around adding insult to inflation by claiming you could get a full meal at several places for a mere five rupees (8 US cents)! True, the Gandhis never said so themselves, but they never publicly debunked such statements from their spokesmen either.It might therefore be tempting to speculate that the end of political elitism might have coincided with the fall of the First Family. But that would be a hasty and presumptuous assessment. Remember, both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi retained their individual seats – albeit with depleted margins – amidst the countrywide decimation of the Congress Party. This speaks of a certain lingering nostalgia for the family, which has encouraged party insiders to believe that Rahul’s sister Priyanka Vadra might be able to work her charm and contribute to a possible Congress revival in time for the next elections in 2019. How far Mrs Vadra can carry the deadwood party with the albatross of her tainted husband’s land deals already around her neck – is a point for them to ponder.AN OUT-OF-THE-BOX PM: In the list of doubts one may have about Narendra Modi’s efficacy as Prime Minister, the ability to be decisive -even assertive – over contentious issues would certainly not figure. It’s a measure of how ineffective and indecisive the outgoing PM Dr. Manmohan Singh was and how badly projects languished on account of his administration’s policy paralysis, that this trait of Modi’s has taken on the dimension of a rarely found virtue. All the same, should Modi the PM replicate in New Delhi how Modi the CM went about his business in Gandhinagar, the country should see a style of governance that encourages decentralized autonomy in decision-making among bureaucrats and technocrats while maintaining a tight rein on them for delivering time-bound results. In the run-up to his swearing-in and prior to his cabinet formation, Modi had already sent word to departmental heads to draw up and submit their plans to improve efficiency. And, if his close associates are to be believed, the man would not ponder too long over dismantling entire departments and even ministries or merging them in the interest of quicker decisions and speedier implementation of projects. An example of Modi’s out-of-the-box style of confronting adversity and neutralizing potential opposition was the decision to invite heads of neighboring countries in the sub-continent for his swearing-in ceremony. A master-stroke in political gamesmanship, it neatly weaved together a number of delicate strands. In his campaign speeches, Modi had made his hostility against Pakistan abundantly clear for exporting terrorism to India and for infiltrating into Indian territory. He similarly railed against illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Modi’s critics felt he had overreached and jumped the gun by taking on foreign governments. What better way to demonstrate good-faith for resolving these problems and to prevent both those governments from capitalizing on their own people’s hostility against Modi’s xenophobic statements than to have Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh or their representatives participate in his swearing-in? And what better occasion than one where the two leaders are invited as part of a larger multilateral group of SAARC country heads, without being singled out?While accepting all these strengths, one cannot ignore the dark lining to the silver cloud. True, human nature is fickle and behavior eminently unpredictable. But if we can credit Narendra Modi for his perceived assets and achievements on the strength of his past performance in Gujarat, we need to take stock of his perceived misdeeds and personality flaws as well.MODI, THE AUTOCRAT: Stories abound of Narendra Modi brooking no opposition, of targeting media persons critical of his administration in Gujarat and compromising their professional freedoms to a point where gradually he had no critics left for an objective evaluation of his development programs. Even outside the state, Modi has exhibited boorish behavior in the face of tough questions, walking out of interviews on national television. The same intolerance drove him to eliminate all potential opponents and rivals within his own party, his overwhelming majorities in the state assembly elections ensuring that opposition parties were rendered powerless by the voters themselves.The same story threatens to continue in the national capital. In his victory speeches after the general elections, Modi strained to pay lip-service to bipartisanship with his talk of being inclusive in his governance plans. But the man just could not hold himself back from publicly ridiculing the opposition, pointing out that they might need to form a coalition to survive.MODINOMICS: Modi’s governance mantra of “Maximum Governance, Minimum Government” distantly echoes President Ronald Reagan’s economic philosophy, which steered the U.S.A. toward a rightward course in the 1980s. Much like Reaganomics, Modinomics emphasizes economic growth and prosperity without concerning itself with their all-round distribution. We now know that the rich and the well-heeled were the principal beneficiaries of Reagan’s so-called Trickle Down theory. So how much of the hype about Modi’s Gujarat Model of development should one believe?It might be instructive to heed the opinions of two independent foreign scholars who studied the Gujarat Model in detail. In an insightful essay titled “Development Is More Than Growth,” Martha C. Nussbaum a professor with the University of Chicago, questions the primacy of economic growth as an adequate measure of development. Analyzing instead Gujarat’s data under the Human Development index, Nussbaum concludes that Modi’s overall record is at best “only middling” – “far worse than that of states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which have been preoccupied, rightly, with the distribution of health care and education.”Christophe Jaffrelot, a French political scientist with research interests in South Asian economies, agrees with Nussbaum’s “middling” ranking of the Gujarat Model, and attributes that to the “low pace of development in rural Gujarat.” He points out that under Modi, the number of Gujarati families below the poverty line has increased and rural tribals and dalits marginalized.However, Modi’s policies, which have attracted huge foreign investment in several sectors, are approved by the Indian American economists Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya. The Columbia University faculty members believes the social indicators for Gujarat are lower in comparison with other Indian states, because they began their upward movement under Modi from a much lower baseline than those of others. Even so, they argue, the rates of progress in literacy and public-health indicators have been commendable.INTOLERANCE, HINDUTVA STYLE: Member-organizations of the right-wing Hindu fundamentalist-nationalist umbrella group – Sangh Parivar – have a proven record of brute violence against minorities and open hostility against dissenting opinions and lifestyles. In January 1999, a Bajrang Dal hothead Dara Singh led a mob that burnt alive a Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons alleging that Staines was forcibly converting tribals in Orissa to Christianity and “corrupting” them with the trappings of Western lifestyles. Protests against the American scholar James W. Laine’s book on Shivaji led to the burning down in January 2004 of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune where Laine had done some of his research. Penguin Press, which in 2009 published Wendy Doniger’s “alternative history” of the Hindus, was so thoroughly intimidated by the prospect of the protests against it snowballing that it agreed to withdraw and pulp all copies of the book as part of the settlement of a lawsuit objecting to its depiction of the religion.That lawsuit was filed by RSS activist Dinanath Batra who, days after Modi’s elevation to the PM post, wrote to him demanding “a total change” in the country’s education system in line with “a new moral universe” reflecting Indian values so that it “inculcates a feeling of patriotism among children.” In the forefront of the “saffronization” process in Indian school curricula when the BJP-led coalition last ruled the country between 1998 and 2004, Batra has clearly been emboldened by the party’s return to power.Narendra Modi has yet to respond publicly to Batra’s letter, having his hands full trying to live down the image of the “Butcher of Gujarat.” His blanket defence: Far from the courts convicting him of any offence, even the investigating agencies have found nothing to indict him for the post-Godhra riots of 2002. But the fact remains that they happened under his watch as chief minister. Curiously, soon after those riots, which reportedly killed over a thousand Muslims, Modi and his BJP won a comfortable victory (127 out of 182 seats) in the Gujarat assembly elections. Even more curiously, soon after the Muzaffarnagar riots in the country’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh in August and September last year, which killed at least 42 Muslims and left many more homeless, Modi and his BJP swept UP (73 out of 80 seats) in the 2014 general elections.ATTITUDE TOWARDS WOMEN: Traditionally, the leadership of India’s right-of-center political parties and organizations like the BJP and the RSS has been male-dominated. Few were therefore surprised when no statement came from them denouncing the spate of rapes that shamed the country last year, and when members of the Sangh Parivar offshoot Deshe Sena attacked women in Mangalore pubs.Where does all of the above leave Narendra Modi and his model of governance – one that is as yet untested on the national stage? Will he be his own man and face up to the pressures from the Parivar? Or will we see him slide down the slippery slope of political accommodation with his ideological family members? To his credit, Narendra Modi as Gujarat CM insisted on demolishing dozens of illegally constructed temples in his state – much to the chagrin of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Also, he may have scored points with women when Anandiben Patel was inducted as Gujarat’s first woman chief minister after Modi stepped down. Also, women accounted for 25 percent of Modi’s senior cabinet ministers.But Modi needs to convince his doubters that these actions are not mere flashes of deceptive tokenism. His hardship days as a political activist – travelling incognito from town to town and surviving frugally on the generosity of sympathizers – to avoid arrest during Indira Gandhi’s draconian Emergency should have taught him that the line between being decisive and being autocratic, being authoritative and being authoritarian is a thin one. His voters – and his votaries – are hoping he won’t cross it.A round of khaman dhokla and khakra, anyone? Election 2014The size of the total electorate set a new record of 850-million, of which close to 550-million actually voted.Administrative costs, excluding security arrangements, ran into Rs. 3,500 crore ($580-million). Political parties spent ten times that amount on their campaigns. The total expense, nearly three times that of the last general election in 2009, was second only to the $7 billion US Presidential Election of 2012.889 of the 8,236 candidates in this election had serious criminal cases pending against them. How serious? Try murder, criminal intimidation, assault on women, and hate crimes. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which won the largest number of seats, had the highest percentage of such candidates.Two of the richest candidates — IT honcho Nandan Nilekani (assets: Rs 77 billion) and industrialist Navin Jindal (Rs 3 billion), both of the Congress Party — lost by margins of 230,000 and 130,000 votes respectively. The party’s seat tally stands at zero in 13 states, all six Union Territories and the country’s two largest metros of Delhi and Mumbai.Not a single Muslim was elected from the country’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh. The Hindu voter turnout in UP stood at 40% while that among Muslims exceeded 90%.And here’s the ultimate anomaly of the first-past-the-post system that India follows: BJP and its allies bagged 336 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha with a vote share of 31%. At second place, the Congress with its allies bagged a measly 59 seats with a vote share of 21%. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, after getting the third highest vote share of 4.3% nationally, didn’t win any seat. The Selling of Modi3D hologram image of Narendra ModiIn June 2013, anticipating the announcement of his name as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi attempted to cut a Rambo-like superman figure. He reportedly airdashed to the site of the floods in Uttarakhand state and “rescued 15,000 Gujaratis” stranded there. Among those who questioned the accuracy of the figure and the heroism of the act were top BJP leaders. Could the hilly location from where the people were evacuated even accommodate that many people? And, how parochial of a PM-aspirant to claim to have rescued only those from his home state.The Modi image-makers abandoned that route, and stuck to something they could control. Like the candidate himself. Never a shabby dresser, Modi fine-tuned his wardrobe, adding color-coordinated jackets to his array of kurtas.And like high-end information technology. Here they hit a jackpot — in the form of the campaign’s strategic brain, the NRI Prashant Kishor. His first significant contribution after coming on board was to set up the Modi-backed NGO called Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG) which effectively played the role of a US-style public action committee in recruiting campaign workers and garnering campaign funds. Deploying technical innovations which maximize the reach of Internet, mobile apps and the game-changing 3D-Hologram, the yuppie public-health expert and former head of the UN mission in Africa has made Narendra Modi’s nationwide campaign easily the most tech-savvy in Indian history.If a potential voter cannot attend a live public rally being addressed by Modi, he could dial in for a live broadcast of the speech. Another facility allowed voters to listen to pre-recorded excerpts from the Modi speeches categorized neatly into issues: corruption, inflation, development, and so on. Add to this, the goodies of the India272+ mobile app, the GPS-fitted Digital Raths, the Modi4PM donation drive were all synergized to cover — and draft — millions as supporters and voters.The acme of Modi’s roadshow was the 3D-Hologram. It allowed him to make a speech from the CAG’s hitech studio and have his 3D image beamed simultaneously on multiple screens across several states. Its novelty apart, the ethereal quality of the presentation zapped audiences.With his image-consultants playing a key role in his journey to the Prime Minister’s residence at Delhi’s 7 Race Course Road, it’s hardly surprising that an entire bungalow — one of five on the lawns — has been earmarked to house the Modi PR team. Related Itemslast_img read more

Modi, Trump Discuss Security, India’s Greater Role in Asia in Manila

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed bilateral relations, security and “future interests of Asia” on Nov. 13 in Manila on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit.“Relations between India and US are growing. Our relations go beyond, we are working for future interests of Asia and humanity,” Modi said during the bilateral meet with Trump, ANI reported.Modi was accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, Secretary in charge of Eastern Affairs Preeti Saran, and Vinay Kumar, the Joint Secretary in charge of Southern Global Affairs in the Ministry of External Affairs.Strengthening global strategic partnership. PM @narendramodi had a warm and productive meeting with President @realDonaldTrump on the margins of 31st ASEAN and related Summits. Discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. pic.twitter.com/2a2oeieneC— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) November 13, 2017“I am happy that I have got another opportunity to meet President Trump. India-U.S. ties are becoming broader and deeper and you too can feel that India-U.S. ties can work together beyond the interest of India, for the future of Asia and for the welfare of the humanity in the world. Wherever President Trump has traveled in recent days and wherever he had an opportunity to speak on India, he has spoken optimistically and highly. I also assure that India will try its best to fulfill the expectations that the U.S. and the world has from it,” Modi said in his opening statement of the meeting, according to the Hindu.The meeting comes days after Trump praised India at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, of which India is not a member yet. This was Modi’s second meeting with Trump after the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in June this year.Modi also met Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump, member countries of the Indo-Pacific that form the quadrilateral. The alliance was made to counter Chinese activity in the South China Sea, which China claims as theirs, and its growing influence in Pakistan. The United States has taken a strong stand against Pakistan providing a safe haven to terrorists.“The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners. They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on the quadrilateral.Universal Periodic Review of PakistanMeanwhile, India and the United States released statements on the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan on Nov. 13.The Mission of the United States, Geneva, said, “Repeal blasphemy laws and restrictions and end their use against Ahmadi Muslims and others and grant the visit request of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. Pass an anti-trafficking law that prohibits and penalizes all forms of human trafficking.Undertake, track and report the investigation and prosecution of security forces who commit human rights violations and abuses.”“We commend Pakistan for passing the Hindu Marriage Act, which allows, for the first time, members of the Hindu community to register their marriages. We note increased investigations, prosecutions, and convictions for sex trafficking, and passage of anti-honor killing and anti-rape laws which, if enforced, should reduce violence against women and girls,” the statement said.India recommended the government of Pakistan to “provide freedom to the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir by ending its illegal and forcible occupation, dismantle Special Terrorist Zones,” among other things.India’s Statement on the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan pic.twitter.com/LXEgO2SFom— India at UN, Geneva (@IndiaUNGeneva) November 13, 2017  Related ItemsaseanEast Asia SummitIndia US bilateral talksModi malcolm turnbullModi shinzo abeModi Trump ManilaModi Trump PhilippinesNarendra modi donald trumpUniversal Periodic Review of Pakistanlast_img read more

Two Indian-Origin MPs Get Ministerial Positions After UK Cabinet Reshuffle

first_imgTwo Indian-origin Members of Parliament gained ministerial positions in the Conservative government following the latest Cabinet reshuffle in the United Kingdom. Rishi Sunak, the Conservative Member of Parliament for the Northern English constituency of Richmond (Yorkshire), and Suella Fernandes, a Goan-origin MP for the southern constituency of Fareham became the new ministers in the UK government.Apart from the two, Indian-origin MP Alok Sharma — who was already the Minister for Housing — became the Minister for Employment.UK Prime Minister Theresa May pushed out many white male politicians to include more women and ethnic minorities after the sexual harassment scandal plagued the Cabinet over the last few months. As a ripple effect of the Harvey Weinstein case in Hollywood, multiple male politicians were accused by staff and others of inappropriate behavior.Rishi SunakSunak, who was given the position of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of state at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, first became an MP in 2015. Prior to entering politics, Sunak co-founded an investment firm.He also happens to be Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy’s son-in-law. Sunak was educated at Winchester College and Lincoln College, Oxford, and pursued MBA at Stanford University. He has two daughters with Akshata Murthy.Sunak’s father was a doctor and his mother ran a local pharmacy. He was inspired to join politics because of the change his parents made in the community in Yorkshire.Suella FernandesFernandes, another pro-Brexit campaigner, will become a minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, taking the number of Brexit ministers from three to four. She became an MP for the first time in 2015 and was re-elected in 2017 at a snap election.Educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge and Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Fernandes was a barrister before joining politics. She received 56.1 per cent of the votes at Fareham in 2015.In 2017, she was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to HM Treasury Ministers and became the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Department for Exiting the European Union in January 2018.May Faces Criticism for ReshuffleMay, who was criticized for the previous Cabinet, is once again under fire about her decision to include fewer white males to make way for women and members of ethnic minorities. However, she responded by saying that the Cabinet now “looks more like the country it serves.” May declared in a statement: “This Government is about building a country fit for the future — one that truly works for everyone with a stronger economy and a fairer society.”She said: “This reshuffle helps us do just that by bringing fresh talent into Government, boosting delivery in key policy areas like housing, health and social care, and ensuring the Government looks more like the country it serves. It also allows a new generation of gifted ministers to step up and make life better for people across the whole UK.” Related ItemsBritainBritish IndianUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

U.S. to Roll Back Obama-Era Policy on Promoting Racial Diversity in Colleges

first_imgThe Donald Trump administration has decided to rescind another Obama-era policy, that encouraged educational institutions to consider race as a factor in the admission process in order to promote diversity on campuses. The policy, known as affirmative action, has been a controversial issue in the United States although it was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2016.The U.S. Justice Department revoked 24 policy documents, including those involving affirmative action recommendations, on July 3 for being “unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper,” the Associated Press reported. The guidelines, published by the Barack Obama administration between 2009 and 2016, were “unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, Efe news reported. Sessions said that the changes aim to restore the “rule of law,” the AP report added.In a joint letter, the Education and Justice Departments said that the guidelines “advocate policy preferences and positions beyond the requirements of the Constitution,” the New York Times reported.“The executive branch cannot circumvent Congress or the courts by creating guidance that goes beyond the law and, in some instances, stays on the books for decades,” Devin M. O’Malley, a Justice Department spokesman, was quoted as saying.The U.S. government’s move comes even as a lawsuit is being heard over the Harvard University’s alleged bias in enrolling Asian-origin students. The civil lawsuit against Harvard was brought in 2014 by an advocacy group called Students for Fair Admissions, on behalf of 64 Asian American groups. The lawsuit claimed that the university intentionally discriminates against Asian American students, thereby violating the federal civil rights law.Harvard denies the allegations.In the recent admission process at Harvard,1,962 applicants were offered admission to the Class of 2022, of whom 22.7 percent were Asian American, 15.5 percent were African American, 12.2 percent were Latino, 2 percent were Native American, and 12 percent were international students.The termination of affirmative action policies was criticized by Democrats and civil rights organizations, IANS reported. The rollback of “vital affirmative action guidance offends our nation’s values,” Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, said, calling it “yet another clear Trump administration attack on communities of color.”The policy created by the Obama administration said that while race should not be the primary consideration during the admission procedure, schools could consider it in order to boost diversity within the campus. “Institutions are not required to implement race-neutral approaches if, in their judgment, the approaches would be unworkable,” the guidance said, according to AP. “In some cases, race-neutral approaches will be unworkable because they will be ineffective to achieve the diversity the institution seeks.” Related ItemsacademicsHarvardUnited Stateslast_img read more

UK Police Raids Linked to British National’s Arrest in India, Says Sikh Group

first_imgThe raids conducted by the UK police last week over “extremist activities” and fraud offences in India were linked to the arrest of British national Jagtar Singh Johal, and were conducted at India’s behest, a Sikh group has said.  “These raids appear not to have been based on evidence-based intelligence but have been carried out to demonstrate to the Indian authorities the UK is willing to help take actions against Sikh activists,” Sikh Federation UK said in a statement.The raids were conducted at addresses in Coventry, Leicester and Birmingham on Sept. 18, a day after the Sikh Federation UK held a pro-Khalistan event in Willenhall town of West Midlands county. While no arrests were made during the raid, electronic equipment were taken away by the West Midlands Police counter-terrorism unit. “We know the police officers used heavy handed techniques, have made several fundamental mistakes that lawyers have picked up on and action will be taken against police officers, especially the way they treated the families involved,” Bhai Amrik Singh of the organization said, the Hindustan Times reported. “Following comments of Punjab Police officers the Sikh community and lawyers are in no doubt these raids are linked to a search for evidence against Jagtar Singh Johal.”Johal, a  31-year-old British national, was arrested in India in November 2017 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged links with the murder of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain in Punjab.  The Sikh federation has said Johal was being denied “unfettered” British consular access, and prevented from receiving an independent medical examination. The federation has also claimed that Johal has been tortured alive during interrogations by the Indian police.  “The raids by around 70 police officers lasting 12-36 hours not only targeted Sikh activists, but their elderly and disabled parents and young children who have been left traumatized and suffering from nightmares,” the group said.The group has now hired British lawyer Gareth Pierce to represent them.  Labor MP Preet Kaur Gill, who is also the chair of All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, said she would discuss the matter with Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Gill said that the raids can be linked to the political motives of targeting activists who have raised their voice about the 1984 “Sikh genocide” issue.My statement on recent police raids targeting the homes of Sikh activists: pic.twitter.com/vU1fRZTm7R— Preet Kaur Gill MP (@PreetKGillMP) September 20, 2018Earlier this year, UK politicians such as Preet Kaur Gill, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Martin Docherty-Hughes had raised the issue of Johal’s detention in India during a debate in the UK Parliament’s Westminster Hall. Related ItemskhalistanSikhismUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

Lead In The Kitchen Pantry

first_imgA new study of spices and ceremonial powders sold in Indian stores in Boston has found that almost a quarter of all spices are contaminated with lead.  Researchers at the Children’s Hospital in Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health tested 157 spices and cultural products, such as sindoor, from 15 grocery stores in the region and found that a quarter of spices, such as cardamom, chili powder and fenugreek, and almost two thirds of ceremonial product had more than 1 microgram of lead. The level is not considered toxic, but researchers caution that it can be hazardous to children. Related Itemslast_img read more

Non Violence Works

first_imgA new study analyzing 323 violent and nonviolent resistance movements between 1900 to 2006 has found that non violent struggles are twice as likely to succeed than violent ones.The study, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Non Violence by Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University, and Maria J. Stephan, a strategic planner with the U.S. Department of State, concluded that “major nonviolent campaigns have achieved success 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent for violent resistance campaigns.”The successful nonviolent movements covered by the study included India’s independence movement, Poland’s Solidarity movement, and the civil rule restoration in Nepal and Maldives, as well as revolutions in Serbia, Madagascar and Ukraine. Related Itemslast_img read more

The Must-Do Stops for India-Bound Celebs

first_imgIt was recently while being “O-prahed” that it suddenly dawned on me that all these glitzy, glam celebs who’ve recently paid darshan to mera bharat mahan are doing a totally new number in terms of what-to-see, whom-to-meet and what-to-do. A chalked-out circuit, with stops at the right places, boogey with the right people who will, at the end of the day, guarantee the right impact! Sure some of the ol’ faithful favorites remain, like the Taj Mahal (“Oh Gawwd, this so kewwwl” and Rajasthan (“These forts, camel rides and exotic colors … hey, I feel like I am Maharaja already, dude!”), but there is also a remarkable shift with the new celebrity crowd.First up is a gushing, hi-decibel “Welcome-to-India-and-hey-you just-gotta-meet-a-few-close-friend’s bash, hosted by Mumbai’s hi-powered socialite queen Parmeshwar Godrej. From Imran Khan, Cindy Crawford to Richard Gere, this charmer has wined and dined them all with a guest-list-attendance of a who’s-who of the city’s celeb-struck celebs. Gasps a young, college student: “It’s so embarrassing, even humiliating, watching visuals and sound-bytes of our so-called celebs, many of them famous only for being famous, falling over each other to be clicked with Oprah and later, moving out with a strange chloroformed look … yaar, yeh regressive, third-world complex kab jayegi? Sure, she’s famous as a showbiz personality, but c’mon grow up. Laughable!”Next up, after the Godrej bash is a B-town hit, with cool, highly-publicized interactions with some of the red-hot A-listers! Remember Hugh Jackman’s jig with Shah Rukh Khan, Tom Cruise’s yaari with his M14 co-star (don’t laugh!) Anil Kapoor and of course Oprah’s cozying up with the Bachchan parivar?Okay, away from the glam and perfumed world, there is a magnetic draw (the Slumdog effect) that is equally riveting for celebhais and behens. Gregory David Roberts Shantaram has gained cult status and seems to have become compulsory reading for this frat. Result? To quote a journalist: “Roberts has become to Mumbai what the late, revered Mother Teresa was to Kolkata.” Madonna and Oprah were only two of the phirang icons who were given quick close-ups of life in crap-street! In fact, Poverty Tourism has become a startlingly riveting, cathartic package, offering portraits of the “real” India, upfront, to groups with expressions varying from confusion, curiosity, bewilderment, shock and horror, hanging on to their baseball caps in one hand and sanitized mineral water bottles in the other, scared to inhale, waiting to exhale. On return, some, more stunned than others, quickly write checks to assuage their guilt. The others take long power-showers to get it off their skin in their 5-star hotels, before moving on to the next stop.Next up is better, more comfortable and deals with matters of the soul — designer spirituality. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi kick-started this movement way back in the 1960s, with the Beatles in mesmeric attendance, trying to get a load of the magical mantra of the day: transcendental meditation. Ever since, India has become the hot-pot for spiritual junkies, looking for a spot of nirvana, on-the-rocks. Elizabeth Gilberts’ book, later adapted to a celebrated Hollywood movie starring Julia Roberts, Eat, Pray, Love, fast forwarded this movement, big time. Be it Pushkar, Tirupati or Vrindavan, Madonna, Oprah, Mick Jagger have beat a path there, closed eyes, folded palms, in worship mode. It is another exciting chapter in their India-visit, this metaphysical search for self, amidst surroundings that are as ancient and sacred as mystical.This influence spills on to their last stop — the search for scenic delights. Yesterday’s favorite hot spots, such as Goa and Rajasthan have given way to Kerala’s magical backwaters, family-run properties, such as Deogarh, and, of course, Dharamshala, the sanctified seat of the great Dalai Lama. It is the newest draw among the newly-minted Hollywood Buddhists, following their Guru Richard Gere. The buzz is that once Oprah Winfrey airs her India Special on her show (any time now), Brand India will zoom to another sphere Related Itemslast_img read more

Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma Invited To Have Wedding at Adelaide Oval

first_imgAs stories of Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma’s destination wedding plans in Italy surface, the management of iconic Australian stadium Adelaide Oval has offered the stadium for their wedding“We would be thrilled to host Virat and Anushka’s wedding at Adelaide Oval. How fantastic would it be for Virat to create more happy memories here, considering his outstanding playing history at the Oval,” Andrew Daniels, the CEO of the sports venue, said, the Hindustan Times reported.Daniels is referring to the three Test centuries, including his debut in 2012, and his highest T20 score of 90 (not out) that Kohli achieved at the stadium. Kohli has scored 624 runs at an average of 89 in eight innings at the Adelaide Oval.The stadium has been in the news recently for a record number of over 200,000 spectators for the 2nd test of the ongoing Ashes series, a match that Australia won by 120 runs against England. The match was played after a massive renovation of the 146-year-old stadium at a cost of A$535 million.The stadium, seen as one of Australia’s most impressive destinations, allows private functions for the price beginning at A$159 (Rs 8,000) per guest. The wedding hall at the stadium offers views of St Peter’s Cathedral and Adelaide city.Kohli and Sharma have not commented on their wedding plans.Daniels feels the wedding would be “unforgettable” in the stadium. He said: “With 26 purpose-built function spaces to choose from, combined with a showcase of South Australia’s finest food and wine it would be an unforgettable day for the future Mr and Mrs Kohli and their guests.”Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma was seen leaving India with her family on Dec. 7, sparking rumors of a wedding at Italy. Related ItemsAustraliaCricketVirat Kohlilast_img read more

A Tapestry of Gestures and Mesmerizing Eyes

first_imgRadha, goddess and lover, consumed by love for Krishna, has awaited his arrival all night long. But when he comes, his eyes are heavy with sleepiness and his lips are dark with kohl from the eyes of another woman. Radha disregards his excuses. She tells him to leave her alone.Radha here is Arushi Mudgal. And her dance monologue, “Ashtapadi — Yahi Madhava,” is taken from a 12th-century Sanskrit poem, the Gita Govinda, by Jayadeva. The item — perhaps seven minutes long — was part of Mudgal’s 90-minute solo recital Monday at La MaMa, the opening dance event of Drive East, New York’s annual festival of Indian dance and music.The Indian classical forms tend to divide into abhinaya, expressional movement with a striking mime emphasis; and nritta, dance as pure form. Mudgal, dancing to taped music, had already proved herself a beautiful exponent of nritta, marvelously coordinating lower-body steps, upper-body gesture, facial expression and changes of direction. But in the third item on the program — “Ashtapadi,” a sustained example of abhinaya — her spell immediately deepened.Watching Mudgal’s program, I began to feel, as I have sometimes in the past, that no other dance forms match the classical ones of India. I had seen her dance before, but sharing the space with other performers. On Monday, when she danced alone, I was amazed by how fully she seemed one of India’s most remarkable dancers.All Radha’s emotion is hushed, even when at one point she falls to the floor. And there are moments of phenomenal stillness, as when Radha sits, arms sculpturally but gently folded above her head: waiting, waiting. Now the flute, instrument of Krishna, sounds. The soft hopefulness with which Radha returns to motion is exquisite: Krishna’s presence touches her back to life.Other moments of stillness occur as Radha looks toward Krishna — always on the same stage diagonal, to show he is approaching her threshold by way of a known path. Her body, face and eyes all sustain the same image of quiet sorrow, as if preserving it in amber.Dancers everywhere — actors, too — can and should learn the language of the eyes from watching the best Indian dancers; there are moments when the rest of the body seems to fade, so that all you see are eyes, eyes, eyes. Mudgal’s acting is wonderfully eloquent, entirely stylized, utterly convincing. Radha expresses herself in a lexicon of gestures — she indicates Krishna’s sleep-heavy eyelids, for example — but it is her larger poignancy, so quietly and ruefully conveyed, that makes a deeper impression than any specific.As this performance showed, the range of thought — emotional, philosophical, religious — covered by an Indian recital is immense. The carnal and the divine meet in the loves of Krishna and Radha; order and destruction are joined in the person of Shiva, lord of the cosmic dance; masculine and feminine meet in the androgyne Ardhanarishvara.Movement and stillness both alternate and combine in the dancing itself, as do communicative expression and formally academic classicism.All these profound elements coexist in Mudgal’s long, final solo, “Murta-Amurta” (“Form-Formlessness”). Lasting more than 20 minutes, it contemplates the energy that is variously identified as Brahma, Shiva, Shakti, Krishna, Rama, Allah and Christ. There are many details that will register far more precisely to those acquainted with Indian culture: I recognized the physical motifs associated with Shiva and Krishna. But the solo passes through so great a range of moods and textures that its expression transcends these details: It goes through one mystery after another, with long rhythmic phrases of footwork, strikingly differentiated gestures and marvelous pauses. At one central moment, she folds forward over onto the floor as if in obeisance. When she rises, she is changed, opening a new thought.The genre practiced by Mudgal is Odissi, deriving from the temple-dense Odisha or Orissa on India’s eastern coast. She’s a niece of the great Madhavi Mudgal (her dance guru), one of Odissi’s foremost exponents, who choreographed two of her numbers. Arushi Mudgal’s father, Madhup Mudgal, composed most of her music. Three other numbers on this recital were choreographed by Kelucharan Mohapatra (1926-2004), the most influential of the teachers who restored Odissi to renown after it had come close to extinction in the mid-20th century.I find Odissi the most sensuous of the Indian dance forms: It moves different planes of the torso (notably shoulders, waist, pelvis) against each other with subtly gorgeous tension. I also find it the most lyrical. Although I have visited Orissa and other parts of India, I watch as an outsider. Yet Odissi, as seen Monday, speaks movingly and on many levels, even to those of us who are strangers to its language.© New York Times 2018 Related ItemscultureDanceodissilast_img read more

Indian Author Claims JK Rowling’s “Nagini” has Roots in Indian Mythology

first_imgIndians took to social media to correct celebrated author of Harry Potter series, JK Rowling, who said that the character named “Nagini,” which is a lady transforming into snake, in her film “Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald” has its roots in Indonesian mythology. Popular Indian author Amish Tripathi, who has penned some interesting books like “The Secret of Nagas” based on mythological characters took to Twitter to correct Rowling’s statement that “Nagini was a Naga, which are snake like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology.”Actually @jk_rowling the Naga mythology emerged from India. It travelled to Indonesia with the Indic/Hindu empires that emerged there in the early Common Era, with the influence of Indian traders and Rishis/Rishikas who travelled there. Nagin is a Sanskrit language word. https://t.co/cXHSlDD7Kc— Amish Tripathi (@authoramish) September 26, 2018 The whole social media row began, when the final trailer of Rowling’s film “Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald” showed a Korean actress named Claudia Kim in a role of “Nagini.”Initially the wrath of social media users was related to featuring an East Asian actress in a degrading character, which was termed racist, but later it also involved an angle of falsely cited roots of the character.JK Rowling, who had earlier faced criticism over lacking representation in her books, was criticized over taking Korean actress in this character. A Twitter user named Jen Moulten tweeted to JK Rowling calling this representation as garbage. Rowling replied to the tweet and mentioned that the Nagini had its roots in Indonesian Mythology.The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi. Have a lovely day— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 26, 2018 In reply to Rowling’s tweet, Tripathi mentioned that Nagas actually have their roots in Indian mythology. Other users also came into this tweet war and accused Rowling for citing false cultural connections of the characters. Another user named Lalislay tweeted that “At this point just so done with JK Rowling. She can’t even credit the correct culture she drew a whole *** character inspiration from. What an ignorant white woman. Good on her for stealing cultures & for being ignorant & unbothered.”Some users also tweeted to take this whole thing with an ease and said whatever cast Rowling takes, people are always there to criticize. A user named Lisaaliyo tweeted, “So you guys are complaining that Nagini is Asian. You probably also complain if Nagini is black. Worst thing is I’m sure you will complain again if it is all white casts. Oh, human.”So you guys are complaining that #Nagini is Asian.You probably also complain if Nagini is black.Worst thing is I’m sure you will complain again if its all white casts.Oh, human. #FantasticBeasts— Lisa (@lisaaliyo) September 26, 2018 Another user Gazal Sharma also echoed same viewpoint in her tweet.Nobody can win the #Nagini argument. Because she’s portrayed by an asian, people think it’s a racist portrayal. If it was a white woman they’ll cry about Asians been overlooked, again racist. It’s a degrading character for women but a guy couldn’t really play a snake lady! Smh— Gazal Sharma (@fidgetybrunette) September 27, 2018 The film is written by Rowling and directed by Potter veteran David Yates. It is scheduled for a release on Nov.16. Related Itemslast_img read more

Air India Reinstates Discount on Repatriation of Bodies from UAE

first_imgAir India has reinstated its discount on cargo fare for repatriation of dead bodies for Indians from Sept. 30. The airline revoked its recent decision to cancel the discount following protests by Indians.Earlier this month, Air India had announced cancellation of the 50 percent discount given for transportation of bodies of Indians who died in the United Arab Emirates. The airline had also decided to stop transporting bodies for free for distressed and low-income Indian families.The decision, which resulted in doubling of the cargo fares for sending mortal remains to India, has been withdrawn Gulf News reported.The move was scrapped following protests from the Indian community, including social workers and Indian-origin residents living in the UAE.“We are going to maintain the status quo,” a senior official was quoted as saying by the publication.The Indian embassy has been notified about Air India’s decision, Vipul, India’s Consul General in Dubai, said.  “We have been informed by Air India that they will continue to offer the 50 per cent discount in the case of repatriation of mortal remains of [all] Indian expats and the free of cost service when the consulate recommends it,” he said. “We are happy about the decision as several people from the community had raised concerns about this move. We are happy that Air India addressed it quickly.” Members of the Indian community had reached out to India’s Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh on Sept. 29, a day before Air India’s decision, the report added. Singh had ensured them that the issue would be taken up with the Civil Aviation Ministry.  The decision has been welcomed by the Indian-origin residents of the UAE.  “The lack of discount in the service would’ve been very detrimental for all families, especially that of workers. We welcome the airlines’ decision to retract the decision,” Roop Sidhu, the general secretary of the Indian Association in Ajman, who has handled several cases of death of Indian workers in Ajman and other places, told the Khaleej Times.“Air India is the go-to airline for most Indian expatriates. It is a brand and name that we trust. If people feel like they cannot afford the costs levied by the national carrier, there would be many delays in the processes. This decision has helped all Indians in the UAE,” another social worker, Naseer Vatanapally, was quoted as saying by the publication. Related ItemsGulfUAElast_img read more

Don’t Date The Locals

first_imgI first fell in love in Delhi three years ago, with an Indian classmate during a college semester abroad. The city and the relationship were new and exciting. We spent hours talking in the warm kitchen, a cigarette dangling from my girlfriend’s lips as she cooked. My budding relationship with her and our new friends were sources of joy and support as I navigated being a bisexual woman in an unfamiliar culture.That navigation isn’t always easy. As a college student abroad in India, I was told multiple times — even in official program handbooks — not to “date the locals.”This deeply condescending advice was based on American stereotypes about gender-based violence and Indian men. After the 2012 rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, the Indian and international media covered the issue extensively. Of course, women and LGBT people — particularly those from oppressed castes, classes or religious groups — suffer horrific violence in India. Yet gender violence is global — a problem in New York as well as New Delhi — and much American reporting about rape in India lacks context, relies on racist stereotypes about Indian men and ignores the fact that Indian feminists have been fighting gender-based violence for centuries.I’m back in Delhi as a graduate student, and I’m once against searching for romance. Questions of gender and culture remain at the front of my mind. I’m based at a university with students from all over India, from every cultural, socioeconomic and religious background, which means we have many different assumptions about gender, sexuality and consent. This can make dating a challenge. But it also makes every new friendship and conversation an incredible chance to learn from and love people I would never have met.There have been horror stories. The man who drove me drunk, too fast, on his motorcycle, who wouldn’t stop even as I pleaded. The man who assaulted me in a sad, one-off sexual encounter at my apartment. The dozens of male strangers whose flirtatious Facebook messages I have ignored; yelled about; or tried, in awkward Hindi, to turn into conversations about feminism. These experiences of gender-based violence are familiar — I experienced similar incidents on my American college campus — and also further complicated by differences in language and culture.But I’ve had my fair share of love stories, too — sexual relationships, yes, but also deep friendships. Stoned nights and deep kisses. Lazy afternoons drinking chai and holding hands. Powerful, brilliant women and loving, feminist men.These relationships are why I keep coming back to a city 7,000 miles away from home. My friends and partners have helped me interpret cultural signals I don’t understand, have pushed me to challenge my assumptions and have literally formed human walls between me and aggressive men. Loving them has required me to confront my privilege as a white American woman and to invest myself in the issues they care about.Because, much to the contrary of that insulting advice I received while studying abroad here the first time, falling in love with people who are different from you is the only way to find real community in another culture. And learning to listen, communicate and love across the divisions of race, class and nationality has not only made me a better feminist and more thoughtful person — it has made me a more compassionate friend.It’s still trial and error on the sex-and-dating front. (Let’s just say I could write another couple of essays on Tinder in Delhi.) But I remain close to the woman I dated that first autumn. All of our friends, including her, are sick of my starry- eyed take on our love story.“Yes, we know, we know,” a friend said recently as I told the tale yet again. “She smoked while making supper, and it turned you on. We get it.”That’s the thing about love across differences: It can be maddeningly difficult and wonderfully exciting. But at its very best, it’s as banal as home.— Washington Post Related Itemslast_img read more

German National Accused of Raping Indian Children Appears in Berlin Court

first_imgA German national charged with raping six Indian children appeared before court in Berlin for the crimes. The youngest of Karl-Heinz N’s victims was 5 years old and the incidents allegedly happened while he was working in India in 2015-16.Karl-Heinz N, 59, has been accused of raping children between five and 11 years old, according to the DPA news agency. A large number of boys and young teenagers, some of whom lived nearby, worked for him. Heinz performed sexual acts on many of them, and filmed them, prosecutors were quoted as saying by DPA.Investigators found more than 250,000 images and videos of child pornography on a hard drive at Heinz’s Berlin flat, the regional RBB television channel reported. He was also convicted in 1996 by a Thailand court for sexual offences against minors in the country, according to AFP. Before being freed under an amnesty, Heinz spent four years in Thailand jail, the reports added.The last major case of an expat sexually assaulting children in India was reported in September 2017 when British national Murray Denis Ward, 54, was arrested by Delhi Police for sexually assaulting three children at a school run by the National Association for the Blind at RK Puram. The crime came to light when an employee of the school caught him red-handed while he was molesting the blind children in a dormitory. The school employee even recorded a video of Murray’s act before intimating the management. Ward was in India since October 2016.“It appears he is a pedophile based on (the content of) his laptop, mobile and personal chat history,” AFP had quoted a police official as saying at the time. Ward was booked under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.Another similar case was reported in Mumbai, that involved charity worker Duncan Grant and co-accused Allan Waters. Grant was jailed for six years in 2006 for child sexual abuse that took place at Anchorage Shelters for street children that he set up in Mumbai.Boys, aged from eight to 18 years, were used as objects of “sexual lust” by Grant, Waters and several other foreigners, the court heard. These boys were regularly taken “on holiday” to resorts in Goa. Grant returned to the United Kingdom after serving his sentence. Related ItemsBerlinChild rightsGermanylast_img read more

Running With The Bulls

first_imgIt’s a place that Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, would certainly approve of, devoted as it is to the creation of wealth and prosperity. When Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted to showcase his new economic policy, he made a pilgrimage to the altar of high finance, the New York Stock Exchange. Over the years, one of the highest honors in the financial world is to be called to ring the opening bell on the trading floor, and high-flying ministers, finance gurus and CEOs of companies like Satyam and Tata Group have done just that.“Now companies can argue it isn’t just American jobs going to India. It’s jobs being created right here on American soil for Americans by Indian investments.” says Madhu Kannan, a vice president of the New York Stock Exchange.No wonder then that for ordinary Indian immigrants, who have migrated to America in search of financial success, Wall Street is the golden Holy Grail, the Street of Dreams. Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, American Express  – these names have been chanted in immigrant homes almost like a holy incantation and for a son or daughter to be hired by one of these major financial corporations is to see the crystallization of the American Dream.What started out as a tentative foray into Wall Street more than two decades ago has now become a full-fledged flood and Indian Americans are major players in almost every major financial house, from Citi Group to Lehman Brothers to UBS.  No longer delegated to the backroom, several Indian Americans have emerged in leadership positions at leading firms.There’s Ravi Akhoury, chairman and chief executive officer of MacKay Shields, a multi-product investment management firm, affiliated with New York Life, with approximately $ 40 billion of assets under management.Rohit D’Souza is head of global equity markets, Global Markets & Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch, one of the world’s leading financial management and advisory companies, with offices in 36 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion.Ashwini Gupta is executive vice president and chief risk officer of American Express Company, and also heads the U.S. Banking Group, which is comprised of American Express Centurion Bank and American Express Federal Savings Bank. “A lot of people, not just Indians, are attracted to Wall Street for a lot of reasons, but the ones who really enjoy it are the ones who will still be here in 10-15 years. ” Prakash Melwani President of the India Fund at the Blackstone Group Then there’s Prakash Melwani, a senior managing director in the private equity group at Blackstone Group, which is among the top 20 firms in the Fortune 500 listing. Its current $6.5 billion fund, Blackstone Capital Partners IV, is among the largest private equity funds in the world, and it recently closed on Capital Partners V at $5.6 billion.There are also superstars on Wall Street creating their own private equity funds. Vikram Pandit served as the president and chief operating officer of the Institutional Securities and Investment Banking Group at Morgan Stanley, drawing a salary in the millions with thousands of people reporting to him worldwide. Recently, he started his own private equity firm, Old Lane Management, with several ex-Morgan Stanley executives after a public struggle with former Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell.The Economic Times reported, “Currently Old Lane Management is raising a $3-4 billion worldwide fund, one of the largest amounts ever raised by a hedge fund.”Another young financial superstar, Arshad Zakaria, former president of the Merrill Lynch Global Markets and Investment Banking Group, also went solo, founding the New Vernon India Fund that invests in India for Carnegie Corporation and other investors.Girish Reddy, who was a partner and Co-Head of Equity Derivatives of Goldman, Sachs & Co, along with two other executives from the company started Prisma Capital Partners, based in Jersey City, with $1.5 billion in assets under management.The fortunes of Wall Street are increasingly linked with a new, powerful breed of Indian and Indian American bankers, money managers and analysts. Wall Street may be physically in Lower Manhattan – but it goes all the way to Mumbai or Bangalore.Indian American faces are now commonplace at all the major financial houses – from the swank corner offices to back offices providing analysis and technical support, the nuts and bolts which make the business go round. Indians have penetrated every aspect of Wall Street – as money managers, traders, portfolio managers, analysts or tech people. Goldman Sachs alone has an estimated 2,000 Indian employees. Ravi Akhoury, chairman and chief executive officer of MacKay Shields, a multi-product investment management firm, affiliated with New York Life, with approximately $40 billion of assets under management. Yet it wasn’t always so sunny. Ask Ravi Akhoury, who heads the $40 billion Mackay-Shields firm just how difficult it was for him to get to where he is today, and he laughs,  “Yes, I think so. It was difficult for anyone, Indian or non Indian. I came in 1968 from IIT Kanpur and like most of us, I came with $8 in my pocket.” Akhoury came on a scholarship and got a masters in Quantative Methods from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.“In America we were in a big recession so it was very, very difficult to get a job, especially since I didn’t have a green card,” he recalls. “So it was a tough road and a tough climb. But this is America and I got my breaks early on. I was fortunate that I was given the opportunity to manage some portfolios and I developed a very good track record. One thing which is very good about the business we are in – it is a meritocracy in its true form.”Akhoury joined Mackay Shields in 1973 and became chairman and CEO of the company in 1992 and is also on the executive management committee of New York Life. When he took the reins, the company’s assets were $7 billion. He helped it diversify and with his team build it into a  $40 billion multi-product company. He says, “It’s been hard, it’s been hard every year, but it’s also challenging and exciting.”He recalls that when he came in 1968 Indians were a rarity on Wall Street and that his batch was probably the first with fairly large numbers of Indians. He says, “One change that I have seen in this time period is the change in the stature of India. It’s just grown and so it’s become not only much more acceptable, but actually desirable, to hire Indians. At this point it’s considered pretty cool to have an Indian working for you. You certainly couldn’t say that earlier.”A New York magazine article in 2002 captured the rise of immigrants in the business astutely. “During this very time in the early to mid-eighties, the next wave of outsiders, similar in many ways to the first wave, began to flood the street with résumés,” wrote Landon Thomas Jr. “They, too, were the sons (and daughters) of immigrant families, but now the families came from or still lived in places like Beirut, Bombay, Lahore, and Lagos. If anything, they may have been smarter than the first wave. Scholarship kids all, they had degrees spanning the quantitative realm: electrical engineering, physics, applied mathematics. No poli-sci majors here. These kids, growing up amid so much poverty, went to school to learn a trade, not to linger over the liberal arts.” For many young Indian American foot soldiers, the most inspiring role model is Victor Menezes, who rose through the ranks to become chairman and CEO of Citibank.For many of the young Indian American foot soldiers, the most inspiring role model is Victor Menezes, who rose through the ranks to become one of the first big players on Wall Street. Menezes joined Citibank in 1972 and began his career in Asia. He was chairman and CEO of Citibank and head of Citigroup’s Emerging Markets business.  He oversaw operations in 80 countries, and during his tenure the company had $13.5 billion in revenues, $200 billion in assets and 90,000 employees. Menezes retired in January 2005 as senior vice-chairman of Citigroup after a 32-year global career in the company.Indeed, the list of Indians in major corporations on Wall Street reads almost like a roll call. To name a few, at Deutsche Bank, Anshu Jain is head of Global Markets and a member of its executive committee. He is jointly responsible for managing the bank’s Euro 170 billion corporate loan portfolio. At Merrill Lynch, Purna Saggurti is head of multi industries investment banking, which includes aerospace and defense, chemicals and automotive sectors.On the consumer side, you have Ajay Banga, chairman and CEO of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group International businesses, overseeing all credit card, retail banking and consumer finance operations in Asia, Japan, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Mexico.Prakash Melwani of Blackstone Group came to Wall Street via Cambridge University and Harvard Business School. He founded Vestar Capital Partners before joining Blackstone Group. In his 20 years on Wall Street he has seen the growing presence of Indians in the financial sector.“When I first came in there were almost no Indians on Wall Street and most of the Indians tended to be less on the front end and more on the systems side. They were less visible,” he says. He points out that now one sees highly prominent Indians everywhere from private equity to hedge funds. “It’s just great, and even more so with the younger ones coming up through the ranks and I think the number of Indians in strong positions on Wall Street is just going to keep growing in the next five to ten years.”Subrata Chakravarty, a reporter at Bloomberg News, was with Forbes for 23 years and remembers those early days on Wall Street. “It was a different world. There were no Indian money managers that I ever saw and it used to be fairly unusual to read an Indian name on an analyst’s report,” he says.“Now you’re at the stage where there are serious money managers who are managing a lot of money for buyout firms and that’s just in New York. You’re not even going to Silicon Valley where there’s very serious money among venture capitalists who are Indian or Pakistanis. These are people who are in the position to make someone buy a company, sell a company, start a company.”However, while many Indians are prominent on Wall Street, their numbers in top management is still limited; perhaps because they haven’t been there that long.  It also takes a leap of faith to hand over someone a check for $200 million to invest astutely. Says Chakravarty: “That takes a level of confidence in somebody’s ability and the firms haven’t yet shown enough of it. That’s why some people break off and start their own firms, because they know they are ready, they believe they are ready.”So is there a glass ceiling that is difficult for Indians on Wall Street to penetrate? Says Prakash Melwani: “Not at all. Not an ounce and that’s what’s so fantastic about this country in general and that’s one of the reasons I chose to raise my children here. There is no glass ceiling anywhere, certainly not on Wall Street, which is the most meritocratic place in the world. It’s a remarkable place for talented Indians to work, because the sky’s the limit.” “If you meet any four people on Wall Street, there1s a pretty good chance that at least one of them will be Indian,” says Sanjay Sanghoee of the Ramius Capital Group. Not surprisingly, Wall Street remains the street of gold that continues to attract second-generation talent. Sanjay Sanghoee, a graduate of Columbia Business School, was an investment banker with Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein before writing a novel, about Wall Street naturally, and also joining a hedge fund, Ramius Capital Group.“There’s a very large theater of Wall Street executives – mid-level to a step below senior level, which is increasingly being filled with South Asians,” he says.  “I’ll go to any Wall Street or finance party and half the room is going to be Indians. A lot of them are coming from very diverse backgrounds; some of them have grown up here, others have come from IITs in India. Banking loves people from mathematical and engineering backgrounds with analytical skills.”He believes that currently Indian Americans are probably the largest minority group working on Wall Street and their presence  in investment banking and trading has grown dramatically, along with those in the IT sector. He says, “I can’t think of any other minority that is as largely represented. Perhaps you may have people of various Asian origin, but if you meet any four people on Wall Street, there’s a pretty good chance that at least one of them will be Indian.”Wealthy Indian Americans are also linked to Wall Street by their aggressive investments. While there are no statistics, Sanghoee believes that Indian Americans are heavily invested the stock market.So is Wall Street is the next frontier for Indian Americans, after medicine, motels and engineering? “Absolutely,” says Sanghoee. “This is a field which is very favored in the Indian American community. It’s not only acceptable, but very desirable for young Indians to be going into Wall Street. It’s an elegant profession in the view of the Indian community and it’s also a big money-making profession.” He finds that fewer Indian Americans are day traders, because the risk element is much higher and there is a tendency in the Indian mindset to shy away from risk. More Indians tend to go into investment banking and consulting, professions which are safe and stable. However, he says he sees a growing number going into real estate, biotech and hi-tech,  historically areas that Indians did not venture into. Sanghoee says, “The younger generation I feel is leading the charge on that because they are a lot more open-minded, and they are also a lot more aggressive.” Desai Capital Management’s Rohit M. Desai. Sanghoee, who is involved with hedge funds, says, “It’s an exciting, fast moving world. Hedge funds have raised a lot of money in the last five or six years and it’s a very good space to be in. You can look at all sorts of different sectors, different areas. The deals we get on our plate – no two deals are entirely alike. In investment banking you tend to see the same kind of deals over and over and over again.”Are there still a lot of perks on the job, the 3 martini lunches and huge bonuses? “To some degree, I think it depends on the firm, but I think more and more companies are cutting down on that,” he says. “There was a very wild time when the kind of money bankers used to spend and the freedom they had to spend that money was extreme. It was very indecent and wild. That’s the time I went into banking, because I thought I could enjoy those things, but it didn’t happen!” Madhu Kannan is a vice president of the New York Stock Exchange, responsible for the initiatives in the emerging markets in Asia, with a primary focus on China and India. He says, “Our commitment towards India is beyond the listing business. We are also using India from a technology outsourcing perspective and there are at least three Indian companies working for us,” he says. “As a part of that process we end up having more people from India working on our projects on the backend and the number of Indian Americans working on the exchange has significantly increased in the last eight to nine years.”Kannan says, “If you use Wall Street as a much broader footprint for what’s going on, you see a much larger number of Indians and Indian Americans in the industry, be it trading, be it on the quantitative side or on the technology side. That’s a very clear trend in the last 8-9 years that I’ve been here.”He adds that Indians are also moving up the value chain, in senior leadership positions as well as in middle management positions in many of the major broker dealer houses on the street. Chatterjee Group’s Purnenandu Chatterjee. Several Indian companies are listed on the exchange and he adds, “Tata’s purchase of the Pierre and Tyco Internet cable – this is just the beginning of a whole new wave, which we’ve begun to experience where we are seeing the major Indian corporations now diversifying and mitigating risk by investing in the US. Now companies can argue it isn’t just American jobs going to India. It’s jobs being created right here on American soil for Americans by Indian investments. So it’s a very positive trend.”Ravilochan Pola is director and chief executive officer of Kotak Mahindra, Inc., the first India-based company to get its registration to deal with investors in the US for the securities market. The company is one of the largest financial services conglomerates in India and services 200 institutional investors who invest into Indian stocks, providing them research and execution of transactions.“The total amount of money that India has raised from foreign institutional investors went from $5 billion in 2000 to close to $170 billion,” says Pola, “It’s done very well for us, because India is the fastest growing emerging market economy in the world and we are sitting at the crux of the flow that happens from the US into India.”As to where Wall Street begins and ends, he points out that he has people in Hyderabad sitting at their laptops trading American deposit receipts on the New York Stock Exchange. He says, “So Wall Street is a very broad term used for people who are connected to the capital markets.” He also adds that the recruiting of personnel is occurring on both sides. Kotak Mahindra recently recruited Vikram Sood, a senior managing director at Citi Bank in New York, to be chief operating officer of the Kotak Mahindra Bank in India. So Sood moved from Scarsdale in New York to Mumbai with his family.When Pola’s predecessor Phalguni Nair went back as managing director of Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, her husband who was with Smith Barney in New York moved back to be chief executive officer of Citi Bank India.According to Ron Somers of the US India Business Council, based in Washington, D.C.: “I see that people who have come from India to the US are now interested in returning to India. That phenomenon was not even considered 12 years ago. Since these reforms have taken off, now you’re seeing more Indian Americans who are ready to return to the growing metros of Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore.”He finds that US companies in India have indigenized, having recognized the large talent pool in India. He adds, “More importantly the young demographic of India is so attractive – literally 54 percent of the country is under the age of 25.”The USIBC members include at least 205 of the largest US companies investing in India and most of the Indian blue chip corporations that are investing in the United States. As Somers points out, CitiGroup has been investing in India since 104 years and scores of new financial companies are going in.He says, “They have understood the connectivity between the US and India on a 24 hour, 7 day basis. They understand how value-addition can be cultivated on the ground, in India, supporting investments there and maybe they are also looking to help Indian companies invest in the US. Now, more than ever, it’s a two way street.”One reason is that the gaps between salaries in the United States and India is narrowing. Professionals in the investment banking arena in India are commanding as much as $200,000 annually, and of course, the money goes much further there. Vishaka Desai, president of Asia Society, which just opened its offices in Mumbai. “Many hedge fund people are going there in a big way. They have certain connections in India, so they know that this in fact could be a possibility. They know that part of the world very well and have amassed a huge amount of capital.” Besides the huge pool of talent in India, the country’s investment opportunities are whetting the appetite of Wall Street firms. “All these reasons allow many companies to be extremely active in India, whether it’s a Carlyle Group or Blackstone Group,” says Vishaka Desai, president of Asia Society, which just opened its offices in Mumbai.  “Many hedge fund people are going there in a big way. They have certain connections in India, so they know that this in fact could be a possibility. They know that part of the world very well and have amassed a huge amount of capital.”Wall Street firms with a strong presence in India range from Warburg Pincus, which is the largest private equity investor in India, to the Chatterjee Group, headed by PC Chatterjee, and Desai Capital Management, headed by Rohit M. Desai.Blackstone Group is also a major player in India. Prakash Melwani is president and director of the India Fund, which is a $1 billion publicly traded mutual fund specializing in Indian stocks. The company’s private equity effort in India is headed by Akhil Gupta. Says Melwani, “Within a year Blackstone has gone from nowhere to basically committing a billion dollars to private equity and having this billion dollar public equity fund. So we have a real presence and real commitment to India.”While Melwani is primarily involved with major private equity transactions in the United States, he says the India Fund is seeing many Indian Americans buying into the fund. “It’s terrific. It’s one of the most pleasant side benefits of being involved with this – how many Indians have come up and told me they’ve invested in India. Indians are actually taking money back home which I hadn’t seen for a long time.”India watchers say that the privatization of Indian government companies has Wall Street firms, like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Bears Stearns and Lehman Brothers, salivating over the opportunities opened up for U.S. investors.As the financial markets take on a more global coloring, so will Wall Street. What will probably not change are the hectic hours and the heated 24/7 involvement. Some of the Indian financial wizards have turned to their cultural or spiritual roots for balancing their lives. Ravi Akhoury, for instance, is a devotee of Swami Chinmayanada and meditates regularly. He says, “Without a doubt it allows me to maintain a certain amount of calm, which is important to make good decisions. It calms your mind and slows you down, and gives you more energy.”  Wall Street’s Midas touch can be intoxicating. Cautions Prakash Melwani: “At the end of the day it’s both good and bad. Everyone’s attracted to yesterday’s story and Wall Street has been so good for so long that everyone wants to come into it. I hope they are coming in for the right reason, which is they love finance.  It’s a lot of hours, it’s very intense, it’s very consuming. A lot of people, not just Indians, are attracted to Wall Street for a lot of reasons, but the ones who really enjoy it are the ones who will still be here in 10-15 years.” INDIA RISING AT GOLDMAN SACHSGoldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm whose second quarter earnings this year exceeded $10 billion. The company has some 2,000 Indian employees, about 10% of its workforce.The company has several managing directors who are Indian American. These include Ravi Sinha, co-head of the Industrials Business Department within the Investment Banking Division. He became a managing director in 1999 and a partner in 2000.V. Bunty Bohra, a managing director since 2005, is global head of the Structured Product Syndicate Desk. He is the co-captain of MIT undergraduate recruiting for the firm and serves as co-head of Asian Professionals Network.Ravi M. Singh, managing director and partner, is global co-head of Global Securities Services (GSS) in the Equities Division, and serves on the firmwide Finance Committee. Then there’s Sandeep Patel, vice president of the Consumer Retail Group. He is   relocating to Mumbai in August to head up the firm’s corporate finance efforts in India. Yes, Wall Street runs all the way to India! Ravi SinghRavi Sinha Bunty BohraVIKRAM SURI,INDIAN GORDON GEKKOHave you met Vikram Suri, the handsome, ruthless Indian Gordon Gekko? He’s very much a glamorous CEO with a brilliant, criminal mind. Well, thankfully, he is not a real person though there must be many real people like him on Wall Street.He is a figment of the imagination of a young investment banker, Sanjay Sanghoee, who has written Merger, a corporate thriller, a page-turner about the vagaries of the money world on Wall Street. Sanghoee, who currently works with Ramius Capital Group, is also penning several corporate crime screenplays for the screen and television, and a second novel. He says, “Part of my writing is also coming out of my Wall Street background.”He wrote Merger shortly before the Enron scandal broke. Does he think Indians can be caught in similar situations? He says, “I think Indians are no more immune to it than anybody else. Indians have come in reasonably recently and have not been in it long enough to be corrupted. But I’m sure, if you give any group enough time, they all get to the same place.”Merger is coming out in September in paperback and is being developed as a movie by Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, one of the major production and management companies in Beverly Hills. A Bollywood superstar is slotted to play Vikram Suri. Stay tuned.So Wall Street has been very good to Sanghoee. It gave him a lucrative real career and then handed him a second career imagining it too. 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Indian Origin Hacker Asked to Pay $8.6 M for Launching Cyberattack on University

first_imgAn Indian origin man was ordered to pay $8.6 million in restitution and serve six months of home incarceration for launching a cyberattack on the Rutgers University computer network.Paras Jha, 22 of New Jersey had earlier pleaded guilty to violating the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. Along with Jha, two other men—Josiah White and Dalton Norman— were held responsible for creating “Mirai” and Clickfraud botnets that compromised thousands of devices across the U.S. and Europe.According to reports, between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2016, Jha executed a series of “Distributed Denial of Service” (DDOS) attacks on the networks of Rutgers University. The attack had effectively shut down the university’s central authentication server, which maintained, among other things, the gateway portal through which staff, faculty, and students delivered assignments and assessments. In numerous accounts, Jha also succeeded in taking the gateway portal offline for multiple consecutive periods, causing serious damage to the university, its faculty and students.On Dec. 8, 2017, Jha, White, 21, of Washington, Pennsylvania, and Norman, 22, of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to criminal informations in the District of Alaska charging them each with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act in operating the Mirai Botnet.According to FBI, the trio created Mirai botnet that took control of thousands of Internet of Things” (IoT) devices and caused many websites across the U.S. and Europe to go down in September 2016.The defendants attempted to discover both known and previously undisclosed vulnerabilities that allowed them to surreptitiously attain administrative or high-level access to victim devices for forcing the devices to participate in the Mirai Botnet. At its peak, Mirai consisted of hundreds of thousands of compromised devices. The defendants used the botnet to conduct several other DDoS attacks. The trio’s involvement with the original Mirai variant ended in the fall of 2016 when Jha posted the source code for Mirai on a criminal forum. Since then, other criminal actors have used Mirai variants in a variety of other attacks, according to a court statement.After cooperating with the FBI, Jha, White, and Norman were each sentenced to a five-year probation, 2,500 hours of community service, and were ordered to pay restitution of $127,000 on Sept. 18. They have voluntarily abandoned significant amounts of cryptocurrency seized during the course of the investigation, according to FBI.The court statement also notes that Jha and Norman have also pleaded guilty to criminal informations with the District of Alaska charging each with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. From December 2016 to February 2017, the duo managed to infect as many as 100,000 primarily U.S.-based internet-connected computing devices, such as home internet routers, with malicious software. That malware caused the hijacked home internet routers and other devices to form a powerful botnet.The defendants then used the compromised devices as a network of proxies through which they routed Internet traffic. The victim devices were used primarily in advertising fraud, including “clickfraud,” a type of internet-based scheme that utilizes “clicks,” or the accessing of URLs and similar web content, for the purpose of artificially generating revenue.U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp sentenced Jha at Trenton federal court On Oct. 26. He also sentenced Jha to five years of supervised release and ordered him to perform 2,500 hours of community service.Along with the previous sentences, the trio will also have to cooperate with the FBI on cybercrime and cybersecurity matters, as well as give continued assistance to law enforcement and the broader research community, an earlier court statement noted.“Cybercrime is a worldwide epidemic that reaches many Alaskans,” U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder was quoted as saying in the statement.  “The perpetrators count on being technologically one step ahead of law enforcement officials.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Holm aiming for upset of Justino, 2nd title belt at UFC 219

first_imgJust over two years after Holm (11-3) won the UFC bantamweight title with a jaw-dropping stoppage of Ronda Rousey, Holm is a big underdog when she steps into the T-Mobile Arena cage in Las Vegas to take her shot at Justino (18-1) for the featherweight belt.Justino seems unbeatable. The Brazilian hasn’t lost since her MMA debut in 2005, and she has honed a physical, pounding style that no fighters have solved — or even survived to the bell in any fight since 2008.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderBut Rousey seemed equally unbeatable when she entered the cage with Holm in Australia — and the whole world saw what happened when Holm kicked Rousey in the head.“I think there are similarities with the feeling of it,” said Holm, who also had her share of impressive wins as a professional boxer before entering MMA. “I think that because I’ve done it more than once now, in boxing and (more prominently) with Ronda, to be the underdog and come in, I think that people think, ‘Oh, OK, well, Holly is capable of doing some things.’ But I feel like there’s more of a curiosity behind it. Not necessarily just thinking I can’t do it, but kind of, ‘Hmm, I wonder if she’s going to do it this time.’” Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH The UFC is hoping that plenty of people are wondering what will happen when the promotion wraps up an eventful 2017 with its traditional end-of-the-year show in its hometown.The UFC 219 card also includes the long-awaited return of lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0), who hasn’t fought all year and has been in the cage only three times since April 2014. The Dagestan-born Russian, who missed weight for a much-anticipated bout with new lightweight champion Tony Ferguson in March, will take on Brazil’s Edson Barboza.The pay-per-view portion of the card begins with the return of popular welterweight Carlos Condit, who will take on durable veteran Neil Magny.Justino has won eight straight fights by stoppage, most in brutal fashion. Only her use of performance-enhancing drugs has slowed Justino’s dominance of her division and the women’s sport in general, particularly since she finally joined the UFC last year.“I think Holly is a great fighter for me, because she’s a big name, too,” Justino said. “She has a lot of fights, a lot of experience. I think it would be a great fight.”ADVERTISEMENT While Justino would be the favorite in any bout, Holm is intriguing because of her highs and her lows.She stopped Rousey with that vicious head kick and earned instant fame beyond her sport, but then she followed up with three consecutive defeats, including a lackluster decision loss to Germaine de Randamie in February for the inaugural women’s UFC featherweight title.When de Randamie gave up the belt rather than fight Justino in her first defense, Justino claimed the strap with a win over Tonya Evinger in July. Holm ended her skid with a stoppage of Bethe Correia in June and then booked her second shot at the featherweight title.While Holm could make MMA history with a win over Justino to claim a belt in her second weight class, this fight also presents a chance for Justino to beat the most famous female fighter aside from Rousey, whose career appears to be over one year after her comeback loss to Amanda Nunes.Holm and Justino are both accomplished strikers with polished punching skills, so it won’t be a surprise if this bout is contested on the feet. Holm’s style appears to give her a chance against Justino, who hasn’t faced many strikers with Holm’s ability.And while Holm is the underdog, she is determined to enjoy her chance to become a two-belt champion.“It’s not just any fight card in Vegas,” Holm said. “It’s the last fight card of the year, and it’s a busy time in Vegas. I feel like there’s going to be a lot of energy, and my whole thought is just to take all that energy in and just live in it and be in the moment.” /cbb Holly Holm of the United States reacts after knocking out Bethe Correia of Brazil during their UFC women’s bantamweight event at the UFC Fight Night in Singapore on June 17, 2017. AFPHolly Holm has already shocked the sports world with one upset victory over a seemingly unbeatable mixed martial arts champion.She sees no reason she couldn’t do it again when she faces Cris “Cyborg” Justino in the main event of UFC 219 on Saturday night.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:42Stars face off at ONE: Dawn of Heroes01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City LATEST STORIES 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities Belo to the rescue Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraq Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View comments Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

Allen, Crabbe help Nets beat Magic

first_imgMOST READ Orlando Magic forward Jonathon Simmons (17) looks to pass against Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe (33) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)NEW YORK — Rookie Jarrett Allen had a career-high 16 points, Allen Crabbe added 15 points and blocked a potential tying shot, and the Brooklyn Nets edged the Orlando Magic 98-95 on Monday night.Caris LeVert also had 15 points, while DeMarre Carroll chipped in 14 points, 10 rebounds and the tiebreaking free throw with 34.5 seconds remaining. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 13 for the Nets, who opened up the new year with a win after closing out 2017 with a 1-4 road trip.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues Hollis-Jefferson then made two free throws to close the lead to 93-92 with 1:31 remaining and LeVert converted on a three-point play to put the Nets up 95-93. Orlando’s Wes Iwundu then answered with a basket to even it again at 95-all.Carroll was then fouled under the basket and put the Nets ahead for good.TIP-INSMagic: Orlando’s last road win took place Dec. 3 across town from Brooklyn at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.Nets: Brooklyn, second in the league with 34.3 3-pointers per game this season, attempted only nine 3s in the first half, making three. . Nets lead the lead season series 2-1.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH DeRozan scores franchise-high 52, steers Raptors past Bucks UP NEXTMagic: Host Houston on Wednesday.Nets: Host Minnesota on Wednesday. Aaron Gordon had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Elfrid Payton added 17 points for an Orlando team that has lost its last seven games on the road.Bismack Biyombo posted his own double-double with 13 points and a season-high 17 boards.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderCrabbe made two free throws to give the Nets their three-point lead with 18 seconds left. He then followed it by blocking Evan Fournier’s 3-point attempt with seven seconds left, and DJ Augustin missed Orlando’s final chance to tie.Orlando squandered a 93-90 lead with 1:51 to go in the fourth after Gordon made a pair of free throws. 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities LATEST STORIES Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraq View commentslast_img read more

Eden Hazard to Real Madrid may finally become a reality this year

first_imgAdvertisementEden Hazard is in sublime form so far this season and his performances have been of such a high order that pundits and former professionals have been effusive in their praise for the Belgian forward. His wonder-goal after going past 5 Liverpool players on a cup night at Anfield saw him take his goal tally to 6 early in the season. Although it looks to be delightful for Chelsea F.C., Hazard’s career could take sharp bends to come to the transfer windows.Eden Hazard to Real Madrid may finally become a reality this yearThe Belgian’s contract runs till 2020 so unless The Blues get him to sign a new contract soon , Hazard could be on his way out.Thibaut Courtois left Chelsea for Los Blancos in the summer in a £35million deal and Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes Hazard could do the same, although it is thought Chelsea would want a world-record fee in excess of the £198m that Paris Saint-Germain paid to land Neymar from Barcelona.“There’s definitely going to be a question asked in January or at the end of the season when he [Hazard] will only have 12 months left [on his Chelsea contract],” Carragher said.“Then you are into that Thibaut Courtois territory and he ended up going to Madrid.” added Carragher.Chelsea teammate Cesc Fabregas also expressed his concern on the issue.Fabregas said “It was an easy decision [to keep him], especially now, because at this stage how much can Eden cost?“Not many teams in the world can buy Eden Hazard. He still had two years left on his contract.“Next year if he has one year left, that’s a different story. You don’t have as much power as a club. Eden is one of the best players in the world. “Advertisementlast_img read more