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NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES ELECTS INDIAN AMERICAN MEMBERS

NEW YORK LAUNCH OF “DAUGHTERS OF THE EMPIRE” BY DR. LAKSHMI PERSAUD

Highly acclaimed Trinidad born PIO and Indian Diaspora novelist Dr. Lakshmi Persaud launched her latest novel “Daughters of the Empire” at two events on May 26 – May 27, 2012 in New York following successful launches in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Toronto, Canada. She is also author of ‘Raise the Lanterns High’, ‘For the Love of my Name’, ‘Sastra’ & ‘Butterfly in the Wind’. She was born in Trinidad in the Caribbean, of Indian descent. Her novels explore many ideas using a combination of high drama, romance and gentle humor. Though her work is usually set in the Caribbean, her themes appeal to all.
Launch Event of 26th May: This was sponsored by the Association of Artists and Writers in collaboration with the Indo-Caribbean Council, New York. The event, held at the Faith Assembly Hall, 101 Avenue was chaired by Lal Bachan Harricharran and among those attending were District Leader Taj Rajkumar and the NY Consul-General of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms Nan Ramgoolam, who made the welcoming address. In addition to readings by Lakshmi Persaud and reviews of the book by Dr. Lisa Outar, a literature professor, and Rev Seopaul Singh, the program was further enriched by an invocational classical dance by accomplished dancer Natalie Poonam Phagoo, who also introduced Lakshmi Persaud and a rendering of two songs, including the Pledge of Allegiance by school girl Victoria Labban.
A notable feature of the Program was an award ceremony for writers and authors by the Indo-Caribbean council. Those receiving awards were Lakshmi Persaud, Balkrishnan Naipaul, novelist, Gora Singh, (posthumously) for promoting the Indian classical dancing and Kaar Dyal, sculptor and painter; Dr Basdeo Mangru, historian.
Launch Event-27th May: This was sponsored by the Rajkumari Cultural Centre (RCC) in Richmond Hill and associated with the theme 174 years of East Indian women in the Diaspora. It was held at the Queens Museum of Art, in Meadows Corona Park, Queens. The program which was organised by Pritha Singh , chief Executive of the RCC and the associated Jahajee Sisters, culminated in readings by Lakshmi Persaud from “Daughters of Empire” and her other novels around the theme of challenges facing Indo-Caribbean women in the Diaspora, followed by a lively questions and answers session.
The program was moderated by Taij Moteelal and Shivana Joriwar, who also with other Jahajee sisters spoke on the challenges facing Indo-Caribbean women. It started with enriching cultural items such as singing and storytelling, and interpretive dance and music presentation by American Betis.
Lakshmi Persaud resides in the UK and was a speaker at the GOPIO Women’s Conference held on October 24, 2010 in London, UK.

CANADIAN SIKHS LAUNCH ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN AGAISNT LA SALLE MINOR SOCCER ASSOCIATION

An advocacy campaign was launched after La Salle Minor Soccer Association decided not to allow Sikhs with turban and patka to participate in soccer games in Canada.
 ”We have written to the president of the Soccer Club Authority Sofio Pagliaro, and also to the technical director. The response received from their secretary clearly indicates that they do not have jurisdiction in offering exemptions to FSQ, CSA & FIFA regulations,” said Sukhwinder Singh, Director of United Sikhs, which launched the campaign. “We have made it clear to the president that this decision is against the basic principles of human rights and is hence a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights.”
 The decision was taken a few weeks ago and they have not only banned these aspiring players to play but also went a step further and canceled their registration and returned their registration money. Feedback from the local community of Quebec indicated that there haven’t been any such issues in the past.

AUSTRALIA TO OFFER ADDITIONAL WORK OPTIONS FOR INDIAN STUDENTS

 Australia has decided to offer additional work options for Indian students to help them tide over impact of depreciation of rupee against dollar. As value of rupee has fallen to a record low against dollar, Indian students are forced to shell out more money to meet living cost abroad.
Indian students enrolled in postgraduate and doctoral research programs at Australian universities will now be able to work as faculty, assist research programs, work in the libraries, laboratories and other avenues in the universities itself. Graduate students will also be permitted to work more hours so that they can earn money to support their living expenses.
Earlier, students could work only limited number of hours because the accepted policy was to allow them to focus more on studies. David Holly, consul general for South India, Australian Consulate told, “We are going to provide flexible work options for postgraduate and research students. They will be able to work for an unlimited number of hours per week during their studies.”
According to visa statistics, depreciation of rupee against dollar has not impacted the flow of students to Australia. There are 70,000 Indian students in Australia. There is a 10 per cent increase in the number of Indian students who have enrolled in universities in Victoria where nine top universities of Australia is located.

Demand to Government to ROLL BACK Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill 2010

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Subject: Demand to Government to ROLL BACK Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill 2010, which proposes to introduce a policy of “automatic property annexation” from men in the name of “No Fault Divorce”
 
The Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill, 2010 Bill proposes to introduce “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage”, as a ground for divorce, in the Hindu Marriage Act. The most salient features of this bill are that spouses do not have to prove reasons like cruelty or adultery etc to get a divorce. Men and women can apply divorce citing Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage. The husband however cannot oppose the divorce, if filed by wife and would be forced to give his wife, half of husband’s residential property acquired before or after marriage. The Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill, 2010 Bill, is comparable to the infamous British “Doctrine of Lapse” as it proposes to introduce a policy of ‘automatic property annexation’, this time from Indian men under the innocent guise of “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage”.
 
What will happen if?
 
  1. Husband purchases a property just 6 months before marriage out of his hard-earned savings, and his marriage breaks and he loses half of the property. In that case the husband, his mother and his unmarried sisters will be doomed.
  2. Men start fearing this law and stop buying real estate which adversely affects the economy of the country.
  3. Husband has dependent parents and owns a single property and if 50% of that goes to wife post-divorce, how will the husband take care of his old parents and unmarried sisters? Is the concept of family restricted to only husband-wife in the Indian context?
  4. What, if the family is a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) owning a single joint property? Will the wife get 50% of that? What about other sibling’s share in it?
 
In short, this amendment if passed will exponentially increase divorce rates of young people. To make the matters worse, men will still be made to pay maintenance to wives from their monthly income even after he is ripped off all his savings, assets and property. He will lose whatever left in running around courts paying lawyer fees. Ironically, this law will not help any poor woman and the planning commission’s women’s empowerment group wants Government to pay money to poor women, who get divorced due to this law!!
 
Save Family Foundation (SFF) and its partner NGOs have more than 30,000 members and they are the fronts of over 20 lakh men and women in India and NRIs, who are suffering from enactment of undemocratic badly drafted laws. SFF DEMANDS the government to ROLL BACK the Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill 2010. The bill is being “forced” under pressure to be made law “without” taking into consideration the public opinion or the recommendations of either the Men’s NGOs or even the Advisory committee.
The reasons why Save Family Foundation demands the Roll-back of these proposed amendments is for the following reasons:
 
1.      India does not need “No Fault Divorce” Law. This law is appropriate for Western Societies, not for Indian society. Rollback Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage Bill.
 
2.      If this “No Fault Divorce law” is passed, then it will rapidly increase divorces in India, because it will enrich women, who marry men having property/assets and divorce them soon after marriage. If a woman gets half of husband’s owned property within a month of her marriage, then a large majority of marriages will break soon after honeymoon. Please note, according to this disgusting proposed law, husband’s property will be divided whether purchased before or after marriage.
 
3.      The wife can claim 50% of the residential property of the husbands, unopposed, leaving the aged Hindu mother, father, unmarried sister of the husband in the lurch, irrespective of whether the property was acquired before or after the marriage. This Bill also preaches that it is more profitable to break a marriage early, as unlike in other civilized countries, in India, the duration of Hindu marriage will have no link to the wife’s share, as in any case, she can claim 50% of the property, even if the duration of marriage was only one month. 50% of any person’s property cannot be automatically annexed by the government just because two people cannot cohabit with each other and remain married.
 
4.      The wife can also claim, unopposed a major share of the husband’s other movable property too, whether acquired before or after the marriage, ignoring the basic fact that a Hindu Man, also has the duty to take care of his aged parents and unmarried sisters. Strangely this Bill preaches that, it would be more profitable for women to break their family, rather than staying in it, as the married lady who stays in marriage, will not get share of property of her husband. She would get the share ONLY if she breaks her family. Such Laws will increase in family disharmony, and corresponding increase in crime rate including spousal murders
 
Such women activists claim, that the wife should get that share, against which she had contributed, during the subsistence of marriage. However, these very women fail to justify, what is the contribution of a wife on the property of husband, which was acquired BEFORE the marriage?
 
5.      The Bill is being “forced” into becoming a law in an “unknown” haste keeping aside the Public View or Advises of the Advisory Committee or that of the recommendations of the Men’s NGOs.
 
6.      The proposed structure of the Bill is totally Anti-Husband, Anti Mother-Sister and Anti-Family.
 
7.      As, per the proposed bill, the husband CANNOT challenge the divorce petition filed by his wife, based on ground of grave financial hardship which is a gross violation against the principal of natural justice.
 
8.      Media reports also talk about division of ONLY Husband’s property being treated as Marital property. Public is failing to understand why is Wife’s Assets not part of Marital Property. The proposed bill does not cover the Assets made by a wife either before or during marriage. Women’s assets build happens more in personal use items like Gold / Jewellery etc. while Men invest more into the family assets like House / Car etc. So with the proposed bill, the one who thinks for complete family is being penalized while the assets built from family earning into personal items like gold / jewellery go untouched.
 
9.      Media’s reports on inclusion of the Moveable or Immoveable assets of the Husband irrespective of being bought / created during or before marriage are being forced into the division. This is spreading a wide-spread emergency panic into the hearts of Indian men who are now thinking of not getting married at all.
 
10.  The proposed bill leaves question of Custody of the Children un-answered leaving their future of Parenting in COMPLETE DARK.
 
11.  With the proposed bill, in name of use of Section 15(3) of the Constitution of India, Section 15(1) is under complete violation when it does not allow one gender (male) to contest his own case. The Bill curtails the fundamental Rights to Equality before Law as granted by Constitution to every Citizen.
 
“Doctrine of Lapse” act has already led to panic in the nation
 
·         Since the time the newspapers have been filled by the stories of automatic property annexation under the guise of Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage, panic calls from families have stated to flood in.  Young professionals, who have taken huge loans to buy property, are the hardest hit, if 50% of their property goes to wife during divorce that also purchased before marriage. Most of them are on a “Cancellation Spree” after the cabinet decision to give property of husbands to wives.
·         Lenders and Banks are also worried with sudden increase on their funded properties which are under home loan to married men as their loan amount will be at risk if the couple is going through divorce, directly affecting the GDP because of the increase in NPA and hence, the economy of our country.
 
This Bill is also against the principle of natural justice and is against the basis of Supreme Court Judgment of “Naveen Kohli Vs Neelu Kohli” which is the basis of Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.  In that case the wife had filed 14 cases against husband. Husband also filed 3 cases one of which was adultery. Supreme Court saw that for last 10 years cases is going on & there is no chance that the husband & wife are going to live together & passed a divorce decree. If this present Bill becomes a law, then people like Naveen Kohli won’t get any justice even in Supreme Court as this law overrules the SC judgment saying if the wife objects, then the husband can’t get divorce, even under such circumstances.
 
Demands
 
·         Our foremost demand is for the government to immediately STOP AND REPEAL THE PROCESSING OF THIS PROPERTY ANNEXATION BILL. 
·         Save Family Foundation along with other NGOs are unanimously answering the public outrage and the fear of basic human rights of men, with a nation-wide protest against the Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill 2010 to put our demands to the government for immediate roll-back of this amendment bill.
To support our legitimate demands, Save Family Foundation and other allied NGOs are currently lobbying with the various MPs and have sent protest letters, to the Prime Minister, Law Minister and all other MPs highlighting our concerns. We are also sending letters to FICCI, AASOCHAM, various banks and real estate companies highlighting our concern. With this Press Conference, we would request our media friends to take our voice to the various authorities, so that appropriate justice is meted to the husband, wife, children and the family.
INDIA WILL BE PROTESTING AGAINST THIS BILL ON 18th AUGUST 2012
Supported By:
1.                  Save Indian Family Foundation, Bangalore
2.                  Protect Indian Family(PIF), Mumbai
3.                  Gender Human Rights Society, Delhi
4.                  Mothers and Sisters Initiative (MASI), Delhi
5.                  “Pati Pariwar”-Kalyan Samiti, Lucknow
6.                  All India Forgotten Women, Hyderabad
7.                  Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting, Bangalore (CRISP)
8.                  Indian Family Foundation, Mumbai
9.                  Confidare Consultancy, Bangalore
10.              Men’s Rights Association(MRA), Pune
11.              All India Men’s Welfare Association(AIMWA)
12.              Mothers and Sisters of Husband Against Abuse of Law (MASHAAL)
13.              Centre for Men’s Rights, Bangalore
14.              Indian Social Welfare  And Activism Forum (INSAAF), USA
15.              Bhavya Foundation, Rae Barielly
16.              Hridaya-Nest of Family Harmony, Kolkata
17.              All India Mother’s-in Law Protection Forum
18.              National Family Harmony Society (NFHS), Bangalore
 
Article By Shruti Mishra, B.Tech, Associate Journalist Technology,
rimism2003@gmail.com,
Shruti Mishra is an electronics and communications engineer. She got her B. Tech. degree from SRM University, Chennai  and worked  in Tata Consultancy Services as a software engineer for a brief period. At present, she is  working as Associate Journalist Technology. She has filed three India patents and authors. ‘Grooming India’  is her maiden book.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES ELECTS INDIAN AMERICAN MEMBERS

Three Indian American academics were elected among its 84 new members were recognized for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research: Jagdish N. Bhagwati, Columbia University, New York City; Sabeeha Merchant, University of California, Los Angeles; and Subra Suresh, National Science Foundation, Arlington.
 
Membership in the National Academy of Science is one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States. Among its most renowned members have been Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell.
 
Bhagwati is a Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been Economic Policy Adviser to Arthur Dunkel, director general of GATT; Special Adviser to the UN on globalization; and external Adviser to the WTO. He has served on the Expert Group appointed by the Director General of the WTO on the Future of the WTO and the Advisory Committee to Secretary General Kofi Annan on the NEPAD process in Africa. Five volumes of his scientific writings and two of his public policy essays have been published by MIT press. Bhagwati’s latest book “In Defense of Globalization” was published by Oxford University Press in 2004 to worldwide acclaim.
Merchant was the lead author on a three-year, 115-scientist research project reporting a “gold mine” of data on a tiny green alga called Chlamydomonas, with implications for human diseases. She was honored with a major award from the National Academy of Sciences in 2006, the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal, awarded only once every three years, for her exceptional scientific research. She has been awarded research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Air Force Office of Science Research.
 
Suresh was nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as director of the National Science Foundation in September 2010. As director of this $7-billion independent federal agency since October 2010, he leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and related education. Prior to assuming his current role, Suresh served as the Dean of the School of Engineering at MIT.

SAM KANNAPAN APPOINTED TO TEXAS PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS BOARD

SAM KANNAPAN APPOINTED TO TEXAS PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS BOARD
 Former president of GOPIO Houston, Texas chapter, Sockalingam (Sam) Kannapan PE, was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve on Texas Professional Engineers Board for the term expiring on September 26, 2017. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett administered the oath of office on Friday June 15 with wife Meenakshi Kannappan holding Bhavad Gita during the ceremony.
 
The Texas Professional Engineers Board licenses qualified engineers, enforces the Texas Engineering Practice Act and regulates the practice of professional engineering in Texas. Ramesh Kannappan, Director of Enterprise Systems, Texas A&M system introduced the guests and Abirami, IT Consultant at Chevron also spoke at the ceremony. Attendees include: Glen Emmett (wife of presiding judge Ed Emmett), Pearland Mayor Tom Reid, Consul General of Germany Roland Herrmann; Consul Anil K Matta, Consulate of India at Houston; Sugar Land City Councilman Thomas Abraham, Dr. Kamlesh Lulla, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston; Mike Clements, Market President, Frost Bank.
 
Sam Kannapan is senior design engineer SNC Lavalin Hydrocarbons and Chemicals. He is a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Gas Pipeline Safety Research, a board member of the Society of Piping Engineers and Designers, and an advisory board member of the Asia Society of Texas. Tamil born Sam Kannapan is co-founder of the Shri Meenakshi Temple in Houston.

 
  
PRESDIENT OBAMA NAMES INDIAN-AMERICAN AS FEDERAL JUDGE
 Indian-American legal luminary Srikanth ‘Sri’ Srinivasan has been nominated by President Barack Obama to the US court of appeals for the American capital. Noting that “This important court is often called the Nation’s second-highest court,” he said: “Srinivasan will be a trailblazer and will serve the court with distinction and excellence.”
 Srinivasan, 45, last year was named Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the US, succeeding Indian American, Neal Kumar Katyal, which created history in becoming the first South Asian to be ever nominated to the circuit court. “Sri Srinivasan is a dedicated public servant who will bring tremendous experience, intellect, and integrity to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,” Obama said.
Srinivasan began his legal career by serving as a law clerk for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. He received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering US National Security in 2003 and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence in 2005.
Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. He received his BA with honors and distinction from Stanford University and his JD with distinction from Stanford Law School. He also holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

PROMINENT CARDIOLOGIST DR. VIVIAN RAMBIHAR RECOGNIZED BY PEERS

PROMINENT CARDIOLOGIST DR. VIVIAN RAMBIHAR RECOGNIZED BY PEERS
 
Prominent cardiologist Dr. Vivian Rambihar was honored on May 19, 2012 by the Queen’s College Alumni Association of New York for his exemplary global contribution. He attended Queens College in the 1960′s and is a Guyana Scholar, who has made global contributions in medicine and in complexity science. He taught mathematics at Queens College before immigrating to Canada to pursue studies in medicine at McMaster University where he specialized in cardiology. Dr. Rambihar has been in practice in Toronto since 1980. His family has had exemplary contributions and he credits his parents, friends, mentors and family for helping him achieve success.
Dr. Rambihar is currently Co-Chairman of GOPIO’s Health Council and is recognized for this award for his visionary and pioneering work in the field of ethnicity and health and also the field of complexity science. He is also an author, an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a community activist. He has been an advocate for improving the health of Canadians for two decades and did some of the early research on Immigrant health. He was the first in Canada to raise awareness of the need for addressing heart disease and diabetes in South Asians. He is currently developing the concept of “Global Heart Hour” with his daughter Vanessa Rambihar, a recent graduate in medicine from the University of Toronto, advocating creating a culture of health across the Diaspora.

SPECIAL AWARD TO SUN MARK LTD (UK) BY INSTITUTE OF EXPORT

The Institute of Export hosted a splendid Gala Dinner to honor those businesses who have been conferred The Queens Awards for Enterprise in International Trade in this Jubilee year 2012. The dinner was attended by over 150 prominent members of society including HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent KG GCMG GCVO who is also patron of the Institute.   
   
Sun Mark Ltd received special recognition from the Institute for winning the Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade for four consecutive years, a unique of achievement in the history of the Queen’s Awards. The award was presented by Mr Doug Tweddle, National Chairman of the Institute of Export to Dr. Rami Ranger MBE, the founder and Chairman of Sun Mark Ltd. Dr. Rami Ranger MBE, upon receiving the award put his success down to the British sense of tolerance and fair play where an ordinary immigrant like him could realize his ambitions and become an asset for his family and adopted country. 
 
Photo:Dr. Rami Ranger (left) receiving the special award from Mr. Doug Tweddle
 
He also paid tribute to the staff of Sun Mark for sharing his vision for the company and working hard to provide excellent customer service. He is delighted with the company’s standing and the significant increase in its sales and profits, given the economic downturn in global markets. The company exports British supermarket products to over 100 countries and its motto is “we only succeed when our customers succeed”.

More Immigrants endorse from UP & Bihar

LESSER IMMIGRANTS FROM TAMIL NADU, KERALA MARK CHANGE IN SOCIAL PROFILE
Breaking a 15-year trend and indicating a change in social profile, the number of emigrants with ECR (Emigration Check Required) endorsement from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar has surpassed Kerala and Tamil Nadu, so far the largest aggregate for overseas employment.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs reported Uttar Pradesh and Bihar sent the largest number of workers abroad with ECR endorsement in 2011. “It only shows a shift in social profiling in the southern states. This could mean that more workers from Tamil Nadu and Kerala are qualifying themselves educationally and do not need ECR endorsement anymore,” a senior ministry official said. On the other hand, more workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar might increasingly find overseas employment attractive.

While Tamil Nadu saw a decline in numbers from 1,55,631 in 2006 to 68,732 in 2011, Bihar saw an increase from 36,493 persons in 2006 to 71,438 persons last year. Kerala sent only 86,783 persons last year, as against 1,20,083 in 2006, while the numbers from Uttar Pradesh went up to 1,55,301 last year from 66,131 in 2006.

Of desired destinations, Saudi Arabia continues to attract more Indian workers with 2,89,297 persons in 2011, while United Arab Emirates and Oman were at second and third spots with 1,38,861 and 73,819 persons.

INDIAN-AMERICAN TEEN WINS US NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BEE

 
Indian-American Rahul Nagvekars won the National Geographic Bee Championship with an educated guess about the Bavarian city that was a legislative seat of the Holy Roman Empire from 1663 to 1806. The 14-year-old from Sugarland, Texas, correctly answered the geography stumper by naming the city Regensburg on the Danube River. Approximately four million students from across the US participated in the competition this year.
 
Indian Americans swept all the top three positions. As champion, Rahul won a $25,000 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands. At second place, Vansh Jain of Minocqua, Wisconsin won a $15,000 scholarship, and the third place winner, Varun Mahadevan from Fremont, California won a $10,000 scholarship.
 
Rahul said he fell in love with geography when his parents gave him a globe at the age of three. “I was not necessarily expecting to win. But at the same time I knew that if I was calm and I focused on everything and I listened to all of the questions then I would be able to get a good number right and I knew I could do well if I executed the plan properly,” he told ABC News.
 
President Barack Obama taped a video message congratulating the participants and asked them to answer what city hosted the Nuclear Security Summit he attended this March. Nine out of 10 contestants in the finals answered correctly with Seoul.

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