New Legislation on Driving Offences Could Adversely Affect Immigrants in Canada

first_imgIn a move that could affect foreign students, workers and permanent residents to a large extent, a legislation is under scrutiny by some Canadian senators and lawyers to raise the maximum penalty for impaired driving offences in Canada, The Star reported.As of now, conviction of impaired driving entails a maximum penalty of five years in jail, which is considered “ordinary criminality” under immigration law. This does not affect the permanent status of immigrants.However, in the proposed legislation, the increased maximum penalty of 10 years would automatically classify impaired driving as “serious criminality.” So even if a first-time immigrant offender is convicted and is only ordered to pay a fine, they would still lose their immigration status and be banned from Canada.“We take impaired driving very seriously and we don’t want impaired drivers behind the wheel,” Senator Ratna Omidvar was quoted as saying by the publication. Saying that if a Canadian citizen is convicted of impaired driving for the first time, they could be sentenced to just a fine, she added: “A permanent resident in the same situation would pay the fine and face deportation. It is a double whammy not on all people but just on a class of people. That’s an unintended consequence. The impact on permanent residents would be huge and disproportionate to what a Canadian would get.”The Canadian Bar Association has asked the Senate to carefully consider the bill, saying that it wants the penalty to remain classified as “ordinary criminality.” The changes could put “significant strain” on “Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Canada Border Services Agency resources,” the association added, saying that there should be an exception to the 10-year penalty threshold for offences that do not involve serious bodily injury or death.“We remain concerned that Bill C-46 will introduce uncertainty into the law and result in significantly increased litigation and delays,” the association said. “Our recommendations are intended to continue to protect Canadians from impaired driving, without triggering the serious criminality consequences.”Under the Canadian immigration law, serious criminality refers to terrorism, (threats to) national security and membership to organized crime. “Lumping first-time impaired driving offenders with them is disproportionate and unfair. It’s an overkill and oversight,” immigration lawyer Robin Seligman said to the publication.The upper senate will sit this week to discuss amendments to the bill. Related ItemsCanadaDeportationlast_img read more

Threatened Pharmacy of The World

first_imgOn a fine day in February 2015 in Australia, author and historian Greg Jeffery was counting the days before he would die. He was suffering from chronic Hepatitis C. The disease was progressing fast and he was on the way to developing liver cirrhosis, a debilitating condition in which the liver tissue is slowly, but surely, replaced by scar or dead tissue, which soon renders the liver useless.There was a medication that could save him: Sofosbuvir (trade name Sovaldi). The problem was, to buy the 84-tablet course for nearly $70,000 Jeffery would literally need to sell his house. It was impossible for someone like him to afford the medicine otherwise.Desperate for alternatives, he landed in India in May 2015, seeking treatment in Chennai.A few months earlier in January 2015, the Indian courts had rejected a patent claim on Sofosbuvir by Gilead Sciences, which sought to patent a slightly tweaked version of the drug. Thankfully for Jeffery and many like him, the Indian patent system did not allow this practice of filing a new patent on a molecule only because its chemical properties and its ability to be manufactured and dosed had improved slightly. Jeffery could buy the drug in India for Rs. 60,000 ($1000), about 1% of the cost in Australia.Protests against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement in Wellington, New Zealand.There are millions of stories like that on the continent of Africa, especially from the days when it was facing the HIV epidemic. Health rights activists have alleged that blockades imposed by developed countries at the behest of multinational pharmaceutical companies were responsible for millions of deaths and poverty. These patients, desperate for AIDS-mitigating medications, found solace in the bustling Indian generic drug industry which is deemed their savior, with UNAIDS noting that nearly 86% of the AIDS anti-retrovirals that patients take are from India.India is informally known as the pharmacy of the world, with an annual turnover of nearly $22 billion, projected to grow to nearly $50 billion by the end of the decade, according to a report by consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Indian pharmaceutical industry accounts for 8 percent of global production and nearly 20 percent of the world’s generic supply.India is also a major exporter of bulk drugs, or the raw chemicals, which are then processed to make finished products. The biggest advantage of Indian drugs is that they are cheap, and those produced by reputed manufacturers are of good quality, comparable to the patented products manufactured by multinationals. Critics often conflate generic drugs with spurious ones or those of low quality. However, there is a clear distinction. Generics are drugs whose patents, and hence monopoly, does not lie with anyone, while spurious drugs are those produced and distributed by illegal, unlicensed “companies” without any regulatory authorization. Generics have been frequently likened to low quality drugs, much to the chagrin of health rights activists and even pharmacists. Some of India’s tony companies, such as Cipla, Ranbaxy, Sun Pharmaceuticals are all mainly generic manufacturers.HIV and AIDS patients in African nations could tide through the major AIDS epidemic thanks mainly to Indian generic anti-retrovirals. Cipla Pharmaceuticals offered anti-retroviral “cocktails” (combinations of drugs, since single anti-retrovirals led to drug-resistance, or the individual drugs being rendered ineffectual) at a meager price of $304 for a year’s dose, or less than a dollar a day. On the other hand, Pfizer, the owner of the patents for these anti-retroviral drugs in the USA and elsewhere, was selling the same medications for $12,000 for the year, rendering them unaffordable for AIDS patients in Africa.Patents and other intellectual property rights certify that an invention is exclusively owned by a person or company that meets three major criteria. The product has to be novel, or to be more specific, something similar to it should not already be registered with the patent office; it has to be non-obvious, i.r. it should not be something that an average professional in the field could readily develop; and it should have industrial applicability.Patents and other IPRs are one of the most prized possessions of a modern company. For breakthrough technologies, it is a source for massive profits since the company has a monopoly on it. Other companies seeking to use it must pay hefty royalties to use the technology. In the pharmaceutical industry, patents mean absolute market monopoly for the duration of the patent, which is set at 20 years. Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Viagra, the first medication to treat erectile dysfunction, earned revenues of $20 billion for Pfizer during 2003-2014, while its largest selling drug Lipitor (atorvastatin), used to treat high cholesterol, had lifetime sales of $123 billion until its patent expired in 2011.In many developed nations, patents are offered on products. In India, the Patent Act of 1970 awarded patents on processes. This meant that if a company developed a new product like a new medicine or a device, it would not be the sole owner of the product, but rather of the process by which the product was manufactured. Others would be able to reverse engineer the product and come up with another process. This way, no single company or individual would be able to extort or hold the entire industry to ransom by demanding exorbitant prices. This automatically kept competition high and the prices low. Due to this clever ploy, the Indian Patent Act was hailed by patient rights’ activists and criticized in equal measure by the multinational pharmaceutical industry.India’s process patent laws were a major obstacle for the multi-national pharmaceutical companies, especially after liberalization, since India was deemed the next big market. Most large pharmaceutical companies are based in the USA and Western European countries, such as Switzerland, France and the UK. Through a fierce urge to create a global framework on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), the developed nations pushed for a comprehensive agreement to cement IPRs as an essential element of global trade policy. The rules were enshrined in the treaty, the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the overarching patent and IPR governing structure that all signatory nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) submit to. The TRIPS agreement sought to constrict the freedom of nations to tailor their patent regimes to their own needs and interests. The TRIPS agreement made product patents mandatory, made the international patent filing process more interconnected and in essence, forced all the WTO signatories to accept the Western model for IPRs. Developed nations were to begin implementation of the TRIPS agreement on January 1, 1995, while developing and least developed countries were given extended deadlines of January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2015 respectively. India implemented it in 2005.The TRIPS Agreement created a major furor among the international public health community and developing nations. The most critical impact of the TRIPS agreement would be on public health programs, which relied on medications produced by generic pharmaceutical companies. The HIV and AIDS epidemic in Africa took millions of lives, and Indian-made generic anti-retroviral medications were the only way these nations would be able to provide medications to HIV and AIDS sufferers.After much debate about the issue of accessibility, a remedy was devised. The Doha Declaration of 2001 stated that the TRIPS agreement would continue to remain in force, but nations would have the discretion to grant compulsory licenses to generic manufacturers for drugs deemed a public health necessity. The national governments were further given the right to determine the circumstances for granting compulsory licenses for which a minimum royalty of 4% would be paid to the patent holder.India used the Doha agreement’s provisions to issue a compulsory license to the drug Sorafenib (Nexavar) produced by Bayer Pharmaceuticals on March 9, 2012. Sorafenib is used in the treatment of renal, thyroid and kidney cancers. The patented version sold by Bayer costs Rs 2,80,428 per month, while the generic version of Sorafenib is just Rs 8,880 for a month’s dose of 120 tablets.In an off-guard moment during a Financial Times Pharma Summit, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers declared, “We did not develop this medicine for Indians. We developed it for Western patients who can afford it.” He also described India’s patent laws as “essential theft.”He apologized for the FT Summit comment later. In a response to a query for this article, Mark Grayson, Vice President, Communication and Public Affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA), the main lobbying group for the multinational pharmaceutical industry said that PhRMA was committed to working on improving and strengthening India’s business environment for innovation. Grayson said, “We continue to have discussions with both the U.S. and Indian governments about the benefits of a robust and predictable environment for innovation and how such policies will support the Indian government’s goals of fostering a spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and R&D growth.” When questioned about the access to medicines, which is hindered by the expensive medications, Grayson reiterated a familiar argument of multinational pharmaceutical industries: “India lacks many other basic facilities without which a sustainable and holistic health coverage plan cannot be thought of. We are committed to working with the government to develop sustainable policy-level solutions to ensure access to medicines without hindering access to medicines. We in fact partner with many other organizations, governmental, non-governmental and others to ensure access to medicines to treat many infections and lifestyle-related diseases.”To justify the high costs of medicines, the pharmaceutical industry argues that it spends nearly $2.6 billion to develop each drug. This figure was estimated by the Tufts University Center for the Study of Drug Development, which receives significant funding from the pharmaceutical industry, underlining a clear conflict of interest. Almost $1.2 billion of the estimated costs are time or opportunity costs, an unacceptably high amount, according to scholars.Other external, independent estimates of the costs of drug development have yielded figures ranging from $161 million to $1.8 billion. An independent report by the organization Public Citizen in July 2001 noted that 45 of the recent top 50 selling drugs were partially funded by U.S. taxpayers, while another review by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that 14 out of the top 21 selling drugs from 1967-1992 were conceived at public institutions.The pharmaceutical industry spent only 14% of its research funds on basic level discovery of new molecules; the rest of its budget is for applied research and formulation development, relatively low risk endeavors with lower chances of failure. Public Citizen also points out that a most of the research expenditure of companies is tax deductible, which greatly reduces costs.The global pharmaceutical industry is also critical of Indian laws preventing evergreening. This is a practice by which the pharmaceutical industry seeks to extend a patent on the molecule by claiming some modifications to its dosage, solubility, or by developing a new salt or some similar obvious tweak. India’s revamped Patent Act of 1970, updated four times in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2006, still retains Section 3(d), which states that a new form of an already known substance that does not significantly improve its efficacy is not patentable.This argument allowed the Supreme Court of India to reject Novartis’ contention that its new salt of Imatinib mesylate was patentable. The drug Imatinib mesylate was a major breakthrough for the treatment of leukemia, providing significant remissions and even cures from the disease. However, the cost of Novartis’ Imatinib was Rs. 120,000 for a month’s dose, while the generic version would cost only about Rs. 8000-9000 per month. Novartis petitioned the Intellectual Property Appellate Board in India, the Madras High Court, and finally the Supreme Court, losing all litigations. It finally lost its battle in the Indian Supreme Court on April 1, 2013.In another case for the drug Sunitinib, which treats renal carcinoma, patented by Pfizer, the decision is still awaited. The IP Appellate Board revoked the patent in October 2012, but then re-granted it to Pfizer until further decisions were taken.When asked about the issue of evergreening and its implications on the patent rights of the companies, Grayson noted, “The innovative pharmaceutical industry strongly believes safeguarding incentives for innovation through the granting of patents leads to better medicines for patients. India has many of the necessary components to support a broader ecosystem for clinical research and drug development, but the country has failed to realize this opportunity fully because of certain regulatory and legal obstacles. Because pharmaceutical innovation is the sum of various and often discrete activities, provisions such as Section 3(d) make it difficult for companies to utilize the whole range of scientific knowledge in India. We wish to address this issue for our members at the earliest.”In absence of another blanket agreement like TRIPS, where the U.S. and the EU can corner developing nations in one go to “fill the gaps” in their patent laws, the next step for these nations is of course, to parley with countries individually or as part of regional trade blocs to pressure them to modify their patent regimes.The efforts are already on, and are apparently showing some signs of success, although actual shifts in national laws may be far away. PM Narendra Modi’s declaration in January that India’s patent laws need a tweak is one such dangerous sign.Chinu Srinivasan, a founder member of the All India Drug Action Network and of Locost Standard Therapeutics, a non profit generic pharmaceutical company in Vadodara, says: “Changing laws in India will entail a lot of political and social opposition, but the fact that we are thinking of it is not a good sign. We’re already riddled with problems in our health sector and we cannot afford to create one more by making drugs unaffordable. Even now, the prices for essential drugs like Sofosbuvir and Imatinib are well above the reach of the lower socio-economic strata of India, how will anyone be able to afford any medications if the prices rise even further due to patents?“The Indian government needs to stay firm on its stance of being compliant with TRIPS. As for the pharmaceutical industry, they too, need to push and work for compulsory licenses. If some major companies capitulate and cut deals with the multinationals for voluntary licensing of patented drugs, it would be a disaster.”Emails for responses sent to FICCI’s pharmaceuticals and IPR wing remained unanswered.DG Shah, General Secretary of the Indian Pharmaceutical alliance (IPA), the lobbying arm of the Indian pharmaceutical industry, said: “We are against dilution of Section 3(d) and changing laws like compulsory licenses. India is TRIPS compliant, and even according to WHO norms there should be a valid reason why patent laws need modification. In fact, the U.S. is also seeking to enforce patent-linkage in India, wherein even the drug regulator cannot issue marketing approval as long as the patent is in force. Both these mechanisms are separate and cannot be connected.“The drug controller general of India is a quality and safety regulator and the patent office and courts are channels for enforcing patents, which they are effectively doing. We do not support an unnecessarily complicated system of patent linkages. We will continue to work with all sectors, including the government, trade bodies and health rights’ activists.”Protests against high drug prices are igniting all over the world, not just in developing countries.Since negotiations and agreements at the WTO and UN level are no longer an option, the U.S. and EU pharmaceutical industries have resorted to other modes to dilute India’s compulsory licensing laws. The Special 301 Report is an annual report prepared by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which designates countries according to the level of trade barriers they impose on U.S. companies in enforcing their IPRs. U.S. companies can submit their complaints to the USTR, and the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has constantly submitted claims to it against India. India has been on the Priority Watch List (PWL) since 2006, a designation which can possibly invite “retaliatory actionsfor “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies,” as judged by the U.S. Trade Act of 1974.Across the Atlantic, members of the European Union are trying to enforce similar clauses beyond the TRIPS agreement. The EU Free Trade Agreement clauses state that if drugs patented in the EU are exported to other nations via an EU country, the EU would impose penalties for patent infringement on the manufacturer, the exporter and even the treatment provider for whom it was being exported.India has resisted attempts by both these major players to impose additional restrictions on its patent regime. Technically, India is in full compliance with the TRIPS agreement and has only issued one compulsory license of Nexavar since the TRIPS regime has come into force. However, PhRMA and other industry trade groups have consistently petitioned the U.S. Office of Trade to keep India on its Priority Watch List, pressuring the country for stricter patent norms and leaving little leeway for any relief from patents even during public health crises.Speaking about the possibility of a change in the IP regime of India, Malini Aisola, Programme Coordinator for the Access to Medicines Program at Oxfam India remarked, “The generic industry is a major source of export revenues and it benefits from the patentability standard of section 3(d) that is designed to prevent ‘evergreening’. This section 3(d) was invoked in rejecting the patent for a lifesaving drug like Gleevec in India and allowed companies to produce generic versions that brought down prices by more than 90%. No sensible policy makers will do away with such a provision.”Activists are concerned about the pressure coming on India from developed nations, specifically the U.S. about which Aisola added, “During the last year, the U.S. Government has intensified its pressure on India to change its intellectual property laws. It is no secret that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is behind this with the motive of stifling the Indian generics industry. It is critical to safeguard the Indian industry’s ability to supply low cost medicines to poor countries. Changing Indian intellectual property laws will run contrary to the ‘Make in India’ initiative. We urge the Government of India to strongly resist the U.S. Government’s demands that are aimed at dismantling policies protecting public health and access to medicines for the poor, both in India and in the rest of the developing world.”While the United Progressive Alliance, led by the Congress, did not budge on he U.S. demands to tighten patent laws beyond the TRIPS requirements, Modi surprisingly declared that India would need to strengthen its patent laws or risk being ostracized by the global business community. India resumed talks with the EU Trade representative on August 28, 2015, which India had backed out of after EU formalized a ban on medicines manufactured by Indian manufacturers. The EU however, has said that the ban was a minor issue arising only because of improper clinical tests done by GVK Biosciences in assessing whether Indian generics are equivalent to their patented counterparts.Prime Minister Modi’s declaration of the necessity to change India’s IP laws and establishment of a working group during his last visit to the USA after the UN General Assembly in 2014 is likely to provide the U.S. pharmaceutical lobby a dedicated forum to pressure India on the IP issue.On October 3, 2015, the signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership reached an agreement about the huge trade liberalization deal that they were negotiating for the past five years. In largely secret negotiations, the signatories, including the USA, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand finally agreed on a set of agreements designed to reduce trade barriers within the respective countries.A new threat looms over the generic industry in the form of this trade deal. The Trans Pacific Partnership has provisions which severely limit patent law provisions like Section 3(d) and increases the ambit of what can be patented. A New England Journal of Medicine article noted that the basic criteria for patentability; innovation, involving an inventive step and having industrial applicability was being modified to allow patents on ‘me-too’ drugs like Gleevec’s modified salt which it failed to patent in India because of Section 3(d).During the height of the African AIDS crisis in 1998, South Africa was forced to roll back legislation promoting the production and import of generic medications from other countries. The U.S. and EU, under pressure from PhRMA, threatened South Africa with economic sanctions. India is not South Africa, with its newfound financial and political clout on the global scene. Pressuring India to back down is much harder. Nevertheless, the country will be under tremendous U.S. and European pressure to alter its life-saving intellectual property laws. In the cross hairs are millions of patients suffering from chronic, debilitating diseases such as HIV, TB and cancer, who will have no medicines to treat their otherwise curable ailments.The author is deputy project manager, Policy, Gram Varta Impact Evaluation.  Related Itemslast_img read more

Gloom to Boom: Gold Gets Its Sparkle Back

first_imgUntil early this month, Indian jewelers expected the traditional surge in gold demand from the Hindu Festival of Diwali to be muted.The industry was struggling to cope with a slump in sales caused by a government crackdown on the black market, and efforts to increase financial transparency. In August, jewelers were dealt a fresh blow by a decision to bring them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act — a move they likened to being bracketed with those selling arms and ammunition.Vigorous lobbying persuaded the government to reverse the decision, freeing customers from a requirement to provide their tax identity for every purchase above 50,000 rupees ($772). While the move will be reviewed, the backtrack lifted the mood and brought a positive change in sentiment before Diwali this week, according to Metals Focus Ltd.“It’s a good thing for the market that there’s a government who is ready to listen,” said Chirag Sheth, a Mumbai-based analyst at the precious metals research firm. “The implementation of the rule was cumbersome for the trade.” Purchases in the two weeks that run up to the Dhanteras festival on Oct. 17, two days before Diwali, usually total 20 to 30 metric tons and they may now be higher because of this latest shot in the arm, he said.Dhanteras is the biggest and most auspicious day of the year to buy gold. While the three months through September were a “washout” in terms of demand, with the money laundering curbs damping purchases during the seasonal monsoon, sales for the full year are seen recovering 5 percent to about 700 tons from 2016, said Sheth. Last year was the worst for demand since 2009.Shares of jewelers climbed in Mumbai on Monday. Titan added almost 1 percent to 631 rupees, Gitanjali Gems was up as much as 1.9 percent and Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri gained as much as 2.3 percent.But clouds over the Indian gold industry haven’t been swept away entirely, and will almost certainly be a subject of discussion at the London Bullion Market Association conference in Barcelona, also taking place this week.“The 50,000 rupees limit has been removed by the government, but we are again waiting as they may come out with a new ceiling,” said Ketan Shroff, joint secretary at the India Bullion and Jewellers Association. The industry has been spooked by repeated government interventions, and jewelers will have to be strict at maintaining records of sales “because the scrutiny may come anytime at a later stage,” he said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year banned higher denomination notes to bring unaccounted cash back into the system, introduced tougher proof of identity for purchases, capped the amount of cash used in transactions and introduced a new national goods and services tax in July. Adapting to these changes have kept buyers and the industry busy.“Consumers have had to contend with a hell of a lot of changes in the last year,” Simona Gambarini, a commodities economist in London at Capital Economics Ltd., said by phone from London. “Modi seems to be introducing new regulations every month. It’s bound to impact demand.”Buyers like Swapnali Kansara, a 43-year-old airline employee in Mumbai, now insist on receipts for their purchases. “I keep all my bills because you never know when you will be asked to show them to the authorities.”Kansara has been buying gold coins or jewelry during the festival season for years, a tradition she shares with many Indians. “While my husband considers it a dead investment because we never sell our gold, he lets me buy every year because he knows of my love for it.”Indians will continue to make their traditional token purchases, Harish Galipelli, head of commodities and currencies at Inditrade Derivatives & Commodities, said from Hyderabad. Galipelli himself will be queuing up on Dhanteras to pick up gold coins for his wife. “I am looking at a comfortable 20 percent appreciation in prices over the next year,” and the current levels are right for investors to buy, he said. Gold prices in India are down about 8 percent from last year’s high.As for Barcelona, an overlap with the busiest period in the calendar for the Indian industry has seen many participants skipping the LBMA conference this year. “Looks a bit difficult for everybody this time because of Diwali,” said Saurabh Gadgil, chairman of Pune PN Gadgil Jewellers, who has attended for several years, but will be absent this time.— BloombergEddie van der Walt contributed. Related Itemslast_img read more

U.S. to Return Boy Taken at Border From Guatemalan Mom

first_imgA 7-year-old Guatemalan boy was scheduled to be reunited Thursday night with his mother after they were detained and separated upon seeking asylum at the U.S. border, U.S. authorities told a federal judge in Washington.The pledge by government lawyers – in a hearing challenging the Trump administration’s immigrant family separation process – came less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued an executive order discontinuing the policy, leaving confusion and a raft of legal questions in its wake.Immigrant rights groups and 11 states, including Maryland, on Thursday announced their intentions to also challenge what they called the administration’s unconstitutional and discriminatory policy, after learning that detention centers across the country were holding children.Trump’s executive order said the government would maintain a “zero tolerance” policy toward those who break the law. But it remains unclear whether or how the government plans to reunite more than 2,300 children already separated from their parents.Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia, 38, said she had not seen her son, Darwin, for more than a month since they surrendered to Border Patrol agents after crossing from Mexico on May 19 near San Luis, Arizona. Her lawsuit in Washington alleged that the government violated constitutional guarantees of due process and deprived her of her child’s “care and custody” when she was separated from him.Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian asked U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman to wait to make any rulings in Mejia-Mejia’s case, saying her son would be released by 1:30 p.m. Pacific time Thursday and flown immediately from Phoenix to Washington to reunite with his mother.The government agreed to give the court an update by noon Friday, and Friedman agreed to postpone further action until then.Michael Donovan, whose company paid for Mejia-Mejia’s bond and lawsuit, told reporters that he hoped she and her son “give a face and a name to the thousands of mothers and fathers and children affected by this inhumane policy,” and that they “should be reunited now” to end a “dark and sad . . . chapter in American history.”“We’re very, very happy, but you can’t ignore the absolute human crisis created by the separation in the first place,” said Donovan, chief executive of Libre by Nexus of Atlanta. He said the company would amend the lawsuit to a pro bono class-action case for other reunited families.Speaking softly through an interpreter outside federal court Thursday, Mejia-Mejia said: “All I want is to be with my son. I want to see him. I appreciate very much the attorneys and all of their help. I want to be with my son; I want to see him again.”How the reunification process would occur for the children already separated from parents was the key question raised by Mejia-Mejia’s lawsuit, as well as in a broader pending challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has asked a federal judge in San Diego to impose a nationwide injunction and grant class-action status in a case that seeks to halt family separations and reunite children still separated.U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego on June 6 denied a government request to dismiss that case and has set a hearing for Friday to discuss how the executive order affects that proceeding in action brought on behalf of a Congolese woman separated from her 6 year-old daughter and a Brazilian woman separated from her 14-year-old son.In an interview, Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said that if Trump’s order “is going to stop all family separations in the future, then that part of the lawsuit may no longer go forward. But what the executive order does not address, and it’s a clear and critical omission, is the reunification of thousands of young children who are sitting by themselves and who have already been separated.”Gelernt said, “That part of our lawsuit remains just as critical as before the executive order.”Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson publicized an imminent plan to file a coalition-based lawsuit in the Western District of Washington, challenging the president’s separation policy. The suit will allege that the administration violated due process rights of both parents and children, and that it is a discriminatory policy that only targets people crossing the United States’ southern border.Washington state officials began looking at a potential case against the policy last month, according to Ferguson, and speeded up its review when Ferguson learned that state detention centers were holding parents and children as young as 6.“The president likes to dehumanize these folks,” Ferguson said Thursday.Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, D, said his state plans to join the coalition in the suit. “We want to stop what’s going on immediately and do everything possible to reunite the children with their families,” Frosh said. He called the Trump administration’s actions “outrageous and inhumane” and lamented that the government appeared to have “lost track of some of the parents.”For weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services had been moving hundreds of minors around the country, finding agencies that could house them.Mejia-Mejia fled Guatemala seeking asylum in the United States after facing violence and death threats from her husband toward her and her son, her lawsuit stated.Two days after turning themselves in to the Border Patrol agents, her son, who is named as “D.M.” in the complaint, was taken from her, the suit said. Mejia-Mejia was released from custody June 15 and has been staying with a friend in Austin as she awaits the next court hearing on her asylum petition, the suit said.“Men dressed in green uniforms (border agents) told Ms. M. they needed to take her son and would not tell her why,” the lawsuit stated. “Ms. M. said ‘no’ and demanded an explanation, but they would not tell her why they needed to take her seven-year-old son, and they took him anyway. The border agents did not tell Ms. M. where they were taking her son. When D.M. was taken away from his mother, he was screaming and crying and did not want to be taken away from his mother. That was the last time Ms. M. saw her son.”Mejia-Mejia’s attorney, Mario Williams of Atlanta, said government officials declined to provide papers about her son’s status or answer her repeated questions while she was in detention, other than an officer who told her that he was near Phoenix. Mejia-Mejia was detained at the federal Eloy Detention Center in Arizona.Mejia-Mejia on Thursday told reporters she wanted to come to America to “fight for my son. I’m going to give him a good education, make a living,” she said. Asked whether she had any message for U.S. authorities, she said, “May God touch your heart.”Mejia-Mejia was not charged criminally and so was not subject to the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossers, her attorneys said, but they say her case showed border officials were separating families to deter asylum seekers.(c) 2018, The Washington Post Related ItemsGuatemalaHuman RightsUnited Stateslast_img read more

Jersey City Grows Up

first_imgWhen Zacheus and Ratri Chan showed up at an open house for a townhouse in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood of Jersey City, New Jersey, last fall, there was a line down the street.The six-bedroom was listed at $300,000, but it needed a fair amount of work. “In the basement, there was a sewage leak. And there was some water damage to the roof, some exposed walls. It didn’t smell good,” Zacheus Chan said.Despite the house’s condition, the Chans put in a $520,000 offer, outbidding more than 20 other prospective buyers.“We just wanted that place,” Zacheus Chan said, adding that they had been won over by details like the plaster ceiling medallions and what appears to be the home’s original wallpaper — apparently the only things in good condition.The Chans, who first moved to Jersey City 12 years ago, into a two-bedroom condo downtown, are putting another $500,000 into the renovation. “We have a daughter who is almost 3. We love the city and feel like we want to be here longer.”It’s an increasingly common sentiment in Jersey City.As the city’s population has grown and its skyline has been redrawn with new high-rises over the past decade, singles and couples who moved there as young adults are electing to stay and raise families.At the same time, new waves of priced-out Manhattan and Brooklyn residents show no signs of abating. As of July 2017, Jersey City had 270,753 residents, an increase of 9.3 percent since 2010, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of families has also increased, from 56,997 to 59,886.“I get calls from all over the world,” said Joelle Chilazi, a real estate agent with Keller Williams City Life Realty, who has helped place people moving from the Netherlands, France, Belarus, Chile and India, among other countries.The influx has meant that, despite a softening market, bidding wars remain common in neighborhoods where townhouses still trade for less than $1 million, like Bergen-Lafayette, Journal Square and Jersey City Heights. And now that the downtown waterfront is almost fully built out with high-rises, developers are pushing into those areas as well.“Jersey City has been maturing for decades. At this point, it’s an extremely well-known marketplace and is seen as a housing opportunity for anyone moving to the New York scene,” said Michael Barry, president and an owner of Ironstate Development Co. “It used to be much younger, but people that came here in the 80s and 90s stayed and fell in love with the area. Now people don’t move out when they have school-age children anymore.”At 90 Columbus, a building near the Grove Street PATH train station that Ironstate and Panepinto Properties opened this fall, two-bedrooms, which start at $3,850 a month, are moving at an almost equal rate to one-bedrooms, said Jackie Urgo, president of the Marketing Directors, a real estate advisory company that worked on the project.Martin D. Brady, an executive vice president of sales and leasing at the Marketing Directors, said that people who are tired of commuting find the 15- to 20-minute train ride from lower Manhattan appealing.“It used to be that people with kids would stay in Jersey City for two years, then buy their house in Short Hills,” he said. “That’s not really the case anymore.”James Tortorelli, the Jersey City branch manager of Coldwell Banker, raised his first daughter, now 22, in the Bergen County suburbs, where he grew up. But he and his second wife have opted to raise their 5-year-old in downtown Jersey City.“I had a really good childhood in Bergen County, but I so prefer urban living,” Tortorelli said. “We have 1,100 square feet here instead of 3,000, but our daughter is exposed to so much more — culture, arts, diversity. Growth-wise, I think it’s a much healthier environment, much more enlightening.”Jennifer Rafford agreed, adding that she would never think of leaving Jersey City. Rafford, head of talent for a company in the East Village, shares a three-bedroom rental with her husband and their 7-year-old daughter in the waterfront neighborhood of Newport.She first moved to Jersey City as an 8-year-old in the 1980s, after her family immigrated from the Philippines. Two years later, they moved to Carteret, New Jersey, but in 2000, after graduating from college, Rafford came back.In the years since, she has found that the city has continued to grow and change with her, suiting her shifting needs. A few months after her daughter was born, the Newport Green Park opened. Her daughter attends a progressive private school, Stevens Cooperative School. And over the years, small businesses like Loradella’s Family Pizzeria — a child-friendly restaurant that hosts Halloween and Christmas parties — have come to feel like an extension of their home.“I love the community. There are very few other places where you can live on the waterfront and have it be super diverse, filled with immigrants and multiple generations — it’s very common to see grandparents come from overseas and help to take care of their grandkids,” Rafford said. “It just feels like home here.”That dynamic has been even more pronounced in Hudson County, which includes Jersey City, as a growing number of young families and empty nesters flock to urban-style, public transit-accessible developments rising along the formerly industrial waterfront — the Gold Coast, from Bayonne north to Bergen County.In 2017, Hudson County’s population hit 691,643, surpassing its previous peak of 690,730, set in 1930, said Tim Evans, research director at New Jersey Future, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “smart growth.” Hudson County, he added, is by far the fastest growing county in the state, with an 11.6 percent population increase since 2008.“Hudson County is on the leading edge of growth,” he said. “Other places that lost populations to suburbanization and de-industralization in the 1950s and ‘60s are also growing, but they don’t have the advantage of being right across the river from Manhattan.”The proliferation of families where both parents work — often long hours — has played into that shift. People want to maximize quality time with their children; commuting, errands and home maintenance cut into that time.“It used to be that you followed the interstate highways when you built. Now you follow the trains,” said Thomas Graham, president of the New York metro division of Landsea Homes, which opened Avora, a 184-unit luxury condo building on the Weehawken waterfront, this summer.While prices of luxury condos rising along the Weehawken and West New York waterfront often rival, or even exceed, what buyers would spend on a large Tudor house in an inland suburb, real estate professionals say that buyers usually aren’t looking at those suburban homes for comparisons — they’re looking at condos in places like Battery Park or Long Island City.Arthur Curcuru, chief financial officer of a waste technology startup in the city, and his wife, Anna, an orthodontist, moved to New Jersey in 2010, buying a two-bedroom condo in Hoboken for $408,000.“We would have liked to be in Brooklyn — I’m from Marine Park and my wife is from Bensonhurst — but the pricing just got too extravagant,” Arthur Curcuru said.After having a baby in May, they wanted a bigger space, but had no interest in moving to the suburbs. “I’m a city guy forever,” he said. “Me and my wife love apartment living, the doorman, the amenities.”The couple recently closed on a $1.5 million, 1,900-square-foot, three-bedroom condo at Nine on the Hudson, a K. Hovnanian Homes development in the Port Imperial neighborhood of West New York. And while they had some misgivings about buying in West New York, which lacks the amenities of Hoboken, they are convinced that it, too, will transform over time.“We know how limited space is here, and we wanted to get ahead of the curve,” he said. “As living in the city becomes more unattainable, I think more people will come to New Jersey, and its waterfront will become as untouchable as Brooklyn’s.”While Weehawken and West New York are not on the PATH train, the light rail and ferry offer alternatives to driving or taking a bus to the Port Authority. Amenities are also coming, including a Whole Foods Market 365 and a waterfront park with a pool and ice skating rink, creating a vibe that is more Battery Park City than Lower East Side.“It’s a more mature demographic,” said Bruce Sturman, a managing director of the Maxal Group, which is part of the development team for Harbor 1500, a mid-rise luxury rental on the Weehawken waterfront.Many still do prefer the suburbs, of course. And far from being ghost towns, closer-in suburbs with walkable downtowns and train lines have also seen population gains in recent years, albeit smaller ones, said Evans, of New Jersey Future. The counties that are bleeding residents are car-dependent exurban ones with large, detached houses, convenient to suburban office parks but not much else.“In the 1980s and 90s, jobs were suburbanizing as well, so people could live close to work,” he said. “But now many jobs have moved back to the cities.”Mack-Cali Realty Corp., a real estate investment trust, is emblematic of that shift. Until a few years ago, Mack-Cali was the state’s biggest suburban office park landlord. Now it is one of the most active developers on the Jersey City waterfront, a pivot made largely at the urging of its new chief executive, Michael J. DeMarco, a Jersey City native.DeMarco moved the company headquarters from Edison, New Jersey, to Harborside, an underused office complex on the Jersey City waterfront that the company had owned for decades. He also started a $75 million revamp that has already brought a ferry stop, retail and restaurants to the waterfront, including Lutze Biergarten, a child- and dog-friendly spot that has been “almost too successful,” DeMarco said.“Now Lutze is so busy that we have people coming and getting mad if there’s not room for their strollers at 7:30 p.m. at night,” he added.Increasingly crowded streets, sidewalks and PATH trains, as well as rising housing costs, have left some Jersey City residents concerned that all those gushing comparisons to Brooklyn might prophesy similar problems.Jenna Hoge and Garrett Moran, who both grew up in the state and attended New Jersey Institute of Technology, moved to a two-bedroom apartment downtown four years ago, sharing the $2,700-a-month space with a roommate. This year, the owner of their house decided to sell — a blessing in disguise, they said.“When we moved downtown, it felt like a community,” Moran said. “But by the time we left, there was this huge influx of new people. It became a much, much more crowded place. Louder and younger. The bars were packed, and the restaurant groups had started coming in and replacing the locally owned places.”In June, they moved to a $2,000 one-bedroom in Bergen-Lafayette, where they regularly see the owners of nearby shops and restaurants walking around the neighborhood.“The community we moved into is absolutely lovely,” Hoge said. But she does worry about crowding on her commute, as two nearby developments are poised to add 400 new units, and presumably hundreds of people every morning to the light rail station.If it gets too busy and chains continue to erode the local flavor, Moran said, they may look to other New Jersey cities, like Newark or Union City. “We hate it when people refer to this as the sixth borough,” he said. “I like living in New Jersey. I like having access to New York, but I like New Jersey better.”Mayor Steven M. Fulop said that in the last few years, he has focused on balancing development with community initiatives and infrastructure improvements.“We’ve tried to think of improvements the city can do to try to attract investors long-term, so it’s not just like, ‘Hey, I’m going to build another high-rise, and then the market turns,” Fulop said. “We want the city leading the way.”Initiatives include investing $10 million for a museum and art center by the Journal Square PATH station, transferring 12 acres of city-owned land to the Liberty Science Center to develop a science and technology campus, and buying 100 acres on the city’s west side for Bayfront, an affordable housing development that will be “one of the largest mixed-income communities in the region,” he said.Still, maintaining the character and affordability of a city in the midst of a development boom has required constant vigilance on a number of fronts. Fulop said he is working on an open-space tax that would create a fund for nonprofits and community arts spaces. He has also amped up resources for the enforcement of rent control laws and plans to introduce an inclusionary zoning bill to the City Council in November.“We want to preserve the city as a diverse place that people of different backgrounds want to be a part of,” he said.Colin Egan, executive director at Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater, a 1920s movie palace in Journal Square that was saved from demolition by area residents in the late 1980s, said that while his organization has the luxury of not worrying about displacement, he doesn’t believe that old and new have to be in conflict.“Arts are a meeting place where old gets to meet new and become part of the community that’s here,” he said. “I see that every time the doors open.”“I always refer to Jersey City as the biggest small town in America,” he continued. “Very few places can be Manhattan and, in fact, I don’t think most of us would want every place to be Manhattan. The trick for Jersey City is to realize what it’s got and build on that while welcoming in new people and change.”c.2018 New York Times News Service Related Itemslast_img read more

Hate, Fear And Cow Vigilantes In India

first_imgAlimuddin Ansari, a van driver, knew the risks. Smuggling beef in India, where the slaughter of cows is illegal in some states, is dangerous work, and Ansari eventually attracted the notice of Hindu extremists in Jharkhand.One hot day in June 2017, they tracked him to a crowded market. When he arrived with a van full of beef, the lynch mob was waiting.Reports of religious-based hate-crime cases have spiked in India since the pro-Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, according to new data from IndiaSpend, which tracks reports of violence in English-language media. The data shows that Muslims are overwhelmingly the victims and Hindus the perpetrators of the cases reported.The government of India does not record religious-based hate crimes as separate offenses and so does not provide data on the category. The government does monitor incidents of communal violence – between ethnic groups or communities, like castes- and has data that shows such incidents rose 28 percent between 2014 and 2017.Some of the violence in the reported cases centers on cows because Hindus – nearly 80 percent of India’s population – believe the animals are sacred, and many states have laws that protect them from slaughter. Violent “cow vigilante” groups patrol the roads, beating and killing those suspected of smuggling beef.Modi has said that state governments should punish these vigilantes and that his administration is committed to upholding the law, but critics say his party has emboldened Hindu extremists across the country. And the data supports that trend: More than half of the cases reported this year through October came from three states in northern India – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand – where Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, enjoys strong support.BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi said the government acts promptly if tensions occur between groups. He noted that India has suffered only “minor incidents” in the last four years, and there were no large-scale religious riots.“Our objection is that the political class and a certain section of media want to highlight the [religious] angle in order to malign the image of government,” he said. “This is not happening for the first time. It has been happening for years.”The vigilantes had been tracking Ansari for over a week. Early on the morning of June 29, 2017, a tea stall owner who had been working as an informer for the vigilantes called with a tip that Ansari was headed to the market in a white van full of beef, according to the judge’s ruling in the case and suspects’ statements to police. Deepak Mishra, a Brahmin priest, sent a WhatsApp message to a group of vigilantes calling them to the scene, court documents show.The vigilantes trailed the van on their motorbikes, then stopped Ansari at the crowded market, pulling him from the driver’s seat, according to court records. They beat him with bamboo sticks and a fiber rod.“I started hitting him with my fists and kicking him,” Mishra recounted, according to his statement to police. “I hit him in the stomach and on his chest.”A video of the scene shows the mob jeering, kicking and slapping a dazed Ansari. Eventually, they overturned his van and set it ablaze, spilling raw beef across the road. The sight of the meat only seemed to inflame the mob, the prosecutor said. They shouted “Beat, beat beat him more!”When police arrived, the men scattered, but it was too late for Ansari. He lost consciousness in an ambulance and was pronounced dead on the way to a hospital. The postmortem report said Ansari died of shock as a result of multiple injuries.Ansari’s killing played out in almost real time on WhatsApp, the global messaging platform that is widely used in India, its largest market, and has increasingly become a vehicle for the spread of hate speech and incendiary fake news there and elsewhere.His wife, Mariam Khatoon, and son watched the killing unfold on the phones of their neighbors, who had gathered in a shocked group outside the family’s modest concrete dwelling in the town of Ramgarh that morning.“My father was a good man. When money was scarce, he did not eat so we could eat,” said his son Shahzad Akhtar, 22, a student. “Seeing him killed right in front of us, on screen, was agony.”Harsh Mander, director of the Center for Equity Studies in New Delhi, said the perpetrators film these lynchings and post online to communicate a threatening message to the victims, who are often minorities or from lower-caste communities.Modi’s career has been shadowed by allegations of religious intolerance since 2002, when he, as the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, was accused of failing to do enough to stop Hindu-Muslim riots that killed more than 1,000. For this, he was denied a visa to visit the United States on religious-freedom grounds, making the trip only after he became prime minister in 2014.In an interview with The Post in 2012, Modi showed little regret for what happened in Gujarat. “I have not done anything wrong,” he said, “and I am committed to the human cause.”Now, in a string of incidents, his party members have been accused of supporting or even inciting violence against Muslims, leaving many in the country’s Muslim community of 172 million – the third largest in the world – fearful.In some of the lynching cases, members of Modi’s party or its right-wing affiliates incited or organized the mobs or praised the killers after the fact.In Ansari’s killing, Nityanand Mahto, spokesman for the BJP in Ramgarh district, was released in early July on bail pending appeal after being jailed for a year for his role in inciting the mob. He denies involvement, saying he was in the crowd because he was trying to stop the violence. The prosecutor said he took part in the beating. “I was framed,” he said.Eleven men and one juvenile suspected in Ansari’s death were arrested and charged with murder. In March, the adults were convicted and sentenced to life in prison, prompting protests; their supporters claim Ansari died because he was beaten in police custody. All but the juvenile have since been released on appeal; one of the convicted men has died in an unrelated accident.The high court judge who ordered the release of the first seven men noted that although they were members of the mob, there was a lack of evidence against them in the assault. Later, even those convicted of the conspiracy were released on bail.In July, some of the accused perpetrators went to the home of Jayant Sinha, a member of Modi’s council of ministers. Sinha fed them sweets and hung marigold garlands around their necks, prompting an international firestorm.Sinha said he believes they are innocent but said he feels regret for honoring the men.(c) 2018, The Washington Post Related Itemslast_img read more

Expat Voice: Mixed Bag of Experiences

first_imgSheena Strahm from Switzerland moved to Delhi in October 2016 after having made several visits to India as a tourist.“I wanted to visit India since I was a teenager. I first came here on a three-week visit in 2014. I was on a four-month sabbatical at the time. After visiting India, I traveled to Thailand and had also planned to visit Indonesia, which I cancelled later because I wanted to come back to India. I fell in love with the country and its people,” Strahm tells Little India.The 24-year-old team assistant at an international organization in Delhi was, however, scared to make the move initially, as she did not have a support system in India. She decided to stay in Switzerland for another year and save some more money. But as fate would have it, she met her partner Abhay Khanna during one of her visits to India and eventually found the courage to move here.Strahm talks about her love for Indian food, train journeys and various experiences that she has had in India so far:Life in DelhiWhen I moved here, I worked as a German teacher in a private language school for about six months. I quit the job as it was exhausting and not really my area of interest. I then applied for my current job, and got it.Sheena StrahmIt was very difficult to adjust to life here in the beginning. It’s harder for a woman because you have to be really cautious. Guys staring at you can be really annoying.I started to cook Indian food, which I really love and enjoy. If I don’t have it for a week, I really miss it. It is interesting to see how diverse the country is and how friendly people residing in the villages are. They welcome you with open arms and are very helpful.Tough TimesThe biggest challenge is that it takes a lot of time to get things done here. For example, it’s weird how long people take to scan things at the cash counter. This mentality of “I don’t care if there are 20 people in the queue. I am just going to do my work as slow as possible,” is annoying at times. I am a very impatient person, so it was very hard for me to get used to it.The dust and the dirt everywhere was difficult to adjust to as well. I don’t think I will ever get used to the pollution here.I dislike the fact that Delhi tries to be very modern, but people are orthodox. There are rich people here who pretend to be very open but, at the core, are very conservative. I hate the fake attitude of people in Delhi.Train to RajasthanI will never forget this particular train journey I took to Rajasthan on my first visit to India. I came across this really cute gypsy girl in the train. She would just look at me and then hide. Eventually, she came towards me and I gave her my notebook and some crayons. She just kept drawing in that notebook and felt happy as it was a luxury for her.She also started to talk to me a little bit. Before getting off the train, she gave me her bracelet and said, “I will miss you. Keep this bracelet and come for my wedding when I get married.” I never saw that girl again. I don’t have her number or anything. After she got off the train, she asked her mother to lift her up and stood next to my window till the train left. It was a beautiful experience.Delhi Vs SwitzerlandIt’s funny how people here are always stressed, late and in a rush to get to work all the time. In Switzerland, it’s the same thing minus the punctuality issues. When Swiss people leave their homes to go to work, they are in this work mode where they just sit and don’t smile and can also be rude.The mountains and lakes in Himachal Pradesh look a lot like Switzerland. I haven’t been able to visit Kashmir yet, but I have heard that it’s beautiful.I miss good cheese and proper bread here. I miss the fresh air of Switzerland, and how fast I can reach somewhere. If I travel for 12 hours here, I will reach the mountains. But if I do the same in Switzerland, I would have crossed three different countries and reached Spain. I miss how easy it is to get things. I miss drinking beer in public here.Sheena Strahm enjoying Holi.That’s What Europeans Do!I was once in my hotel room in Darjeeling when, suddenly, I heard a knock on the door. When I asked who it was, the man at the door said that he was my neighbor and asked me to open the door. I refused, obviously, as I didn’t know him. He continued knocking so I kept the locker chain and then opened the door.The guy just stood there and said that he saw me around at the hotel and wanted to befriend me. I told him I was busy and didn’t want to talk. He kept on insisting and I asked him to leave. However, I was shocked when he asked me to give him a goodbye kiss because, apparently, that’s what we Europeans do!It was a creepy experience. I reported the incident to the hotel authorities, who, in turn, asked me what should be done! Taboo Around MenstruationPeople in India still don’t talk about menstruation with their children. I have seen many incidents where the child does not know why she is bleeding because her mother cannot talk to her about it. Being called dirty and not being allowed to enter the kitchen can be traumatizing. I think girls and women should be valued more at this time.Appreciating Comforts I value things more now. In India, you have to work harder to get what you want. I became more appreciative of the comfortable life back in Switzerland. No one has to suffer or live on the streets if they don’t want to because there is a social system in place.I have learnt to be thankful for what I have since I moved here. There have been ups and downs, but I have enjoyed my journey here so far.The interview has been condensed and edited. Expat Voice is regular column on expats in India. Email us at expat@littleindia.com to nominate yourself or another expat for the column. Related ItemsDelhiRajasthanSwitzerlandlast_img read more

14 of 40 Wealthiest Indians Live in UAE: Report

first_imgThe United Arab Emirates is the most sought-after destination for 14 out of 40 wealthy Non-resident Indians, according to this year’s Hurun Report. The United Kingdom and the United States follow, with 10 and 8 wealthy NRIs, respectively. They are listed as two other countries, which are the preferred destinations for immigration.LN Mittal of ArcelorMittal, with Rs 882 billion, is the wealthiest Indian immigrant, while Micky Jagtiani of the Landmark Group and MA Yusuf Ali of the Emke Group are ranked the second and third wealthiest globally. While Mittal has made the United Kingdom his home, Jagtiani and Ali are residents of the UAE, with fortunes worth Rs 347 billion and Rs 319 billion, respectively.In the list of extremely rich non-resident Indians in UAE were also named Sunny Varkey (Gems Education); BR Shetty (NMC), Adani Vinodbhai Shantilal (Adani Enterprises), Ravi Pillai (RP Group), Feroz Allana (IFFCO), Divyank Turakhia (Media.Net), Shamsheer Vayalil (VPS Healthcare), Tony Jashanmal (Jashanmal), Saket Burman (Dabur), Azad Moopen (Aster DM Healthcare) Rizwan Sajan (Danube) and Ramesh S Ramakrishnan (Transworld).“The total number of rich list entrants increased 6 times since we launched the list six years ago; a good indication that Indian entrepreneurs are coming of age with global ambitions,” Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher, Hurun Report Global, said, the Khaleej Times reported.The Hurun India Rich List named the richest people in India with cut off at Rs 10 billion. For the sixth consecutive year, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries was ranked first, with net worth Rs 2.579 trillion. Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma took the second place, with net worth of Rs 890 billion. Others among the top 10 are LN Mittal (ArcelorMittal), Shiv Nadar (HCL), Azim Premji (Wipro), Cyrus S Poonawalla (Serum Institute of India), Gautam Adani (Adani Enterprises), Acharya Balkrishna (Patanjali Ayurved), Uday Kotak (Kotak Mahind), and Sunil Mittal & Family (Bharti Airtel).According to the report, the wealth of Hurun India Rich Listers has increased by 17 per cent compared to that in last year on average. Among the listed people, 16 of them saw their wealth double on year-on-year basis. Related ItemsHurun report IndiaLittle IndiaLN MittalMukesh AmbaniRichest IndiansRichest Indians UAEUAE migration hublast_img read more

NRI Voice: Tokyo Musings

first_imgBhamini Jain, a pre-school teacher living in Tokyo, feels that her varied experiences in different parts of the world defines who she is.After having completed her graduation in California, United States and spending a semester in France, the 22-year-old is now living in Japan. She speaks to Little India about her complex identity as part of the Indian diaspora.Being an “Other”The Soka University Campus in California, where I did my graduation in social and behavioral sciences, was a diverse space. My campus was a bubble in a distant land–it made my moving to a different country easier. However, being in the United States, in general, or France or even Japan, you tend to feel the otherness attached to your identity.Japan is obviously a very homogeneous country–it is hard to become a citizen here and easier to get a permanent residence. You know you will never really fit in –at least when it comes to how one looks, no matter how comfortable you get with the place. You always stand out. For example, I would think twice about wearing red lipstick or the bright red coat a friend of mine gifted me. People in Japan don’t seem to do that and I don’t want to stand out more than I already do.Since United States is a more diverse space, you would expect to see more diversity in the media. Except, you will see white people everywhere on the media– not even Asian Americans or Black Americans. It is not truly representative of the people that live there and it gets exhausting to see another white lead.Other than that, it is fascinating and amusing to see the yoga culture in the United States. Growing up, it was something we did to enrich our lives and in the United States, it is approached like an exclusive workout. With things like beer yoga, it is interesting to see how elitist it has become, complete with a special yoga clothing line.Although there is some amusement to be derived from this. Once, I overheard a person saying: “Namaste” and someone else responded to that with: “Oh yeah, that’s yoga language right?”On Complex IdentityI was at the bar I always visit in Tokyo and I was approached by two men who asked me where I am from. When I said “India”, they immediately said: “Oh Namaste!”My immediate reaction to that was to step out of a possible conversation. This is because it is a little difficult to explain that “Oh Namaste” denotes the fact that the only thing they saw was my being an Indian. It feels as if that one thing becomes all of you, even though that’s not how you feel. For me, it feels incomplete to say that I am from India because so much of the person that I became, that I am right now, also came from living in the United States and France. So, it feels incomplete to say I am from India, when as part of the diaspora, my identity became much more complex and inter sectional than that.Fitting Into Indian SpaceI also know that I don’t fit into the Indian space as much. My experiences are very different from my friends back home. They will talk about things that I cannot necessarily relate to, while they can all relate to each other. I will be the only one among them with a story they wouldn’t be able to relate to. It doesn’t feel nice to go back to that space where people are having to adjust to the kind of person I am in my circles. Where they are not being able to or not fully accepting of it either. It is not comfortable for me to feel like I am on the outside constantly.So, I don’t feel like I am just from India. India is a part of me, but there are other parts of me that are equally important to me in my life.Living in JapanOf all the places I have lived in, Tokyo has been the cleanest and safest.  The public bathrooms are not gross–you can go in if you had a night out drinking beer and not just wait to go home. I can be walking home at 4 or 5 am. If I am stepping out in the night, I am not as conscious of my safety as I would normally be. Even when it comes to public transport, I don’t have to clutch my bag close to me so no one tries to snatch it–something I would do if I was in the Delhi metro. People in Tokyo don’t really care about what you are doing, so it gives me the kind of space to experiment, grow as a person, live independently and be responsible for my decisions.I appreciate the timeliness here. For example, when I had a doctor’s appointment in Delhi for 9 pm, the doctor saw me at 11 pm. In the United States, you show up on time. In Japan, if you have an appointment at say, 10.30 am, they will be there by 10.15 am.Parks are a part of everybody’s life here. It is not just to lend beauty to a city, people spend time there and many art events that are held in these parks. It is not weird to say, “Hey let’s go to the park and have breakfast!”. Parks here are extremely beautiful!Although, it gets difficult to be here when you want to find a lipstick that isn’t obnoxiously bright on your skin. With Asian obsession with fairness, and people in general being pale in Japan, finding cosmetics to suit your skin is difficult and not part of their product line up.How Being ‘Asian’ is PerceivedFor people in the United States, Asians mostly mean the Japanese, Korean and Chinese. I have had people in America come up to me and insist that I was not Asian, but Indian. My response would be to point out  where India lies on the map of Asia.However, it is interesting to see what constitutes “Asian” all across the world, right now. In Japan, Asian would be Thai food, Indian food, Vietnamese food.Missing Out Born and raised in the National Capital Region in New Delhi, I miss the being able to walk out and being able to get something to eat. When I moved to America, that was the most difficult part. In India, you don’t see unending aisles of frozen food—which you will see in the United States, because they don’t seem to have a cooking culture. There are fast food restaurants everywhere but not as much street food–especially in California–which was weird for me.I used to miss festivals a lot when I first moved, but since I have been living abroad for a while, I have gotten used to it. What I do miss is watching my sisters and cousins grow up, family weddings, friends’ weddings. You are constantly missing out on something. It is a price you have to pay. Related ItemsJapanlast_img read more

Trump Nominates Indian-American as Chairman of FERC

first_imgPresident Donald Trump has nominated Indian-American Neil Chatterjee as Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), on oct. 24.Chatterjee will replace Kevin McIntyre as chairman of the agency, which oversees America’s power grid systems and decides on multibillion-dollar energy projects. McIntyre resigned on Oct. 22 for health reasons.“Trump designates Neil Chatterjee to be Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” the White House said in a statement. Chatterjee is one of the three commissioners of FERC, PTI said.This will be the second time that Chatterjee has been appointed as FERC chairman. He had earlier served as FERC chairman from Aug. 10 to Dec. 7, 2017, when McIntyre became its head, the news agency added.Soon after his appointment, Chatterjee said, “As Chairman, Kevin has demonstrated steadfast leadership on the many significant issues that have come before us. Although this is a difficult period for the Commission, I want to assure my fellow Commissioners, staff within the building and stakeholders outside it, that it’s my full intention to build upon Kevin’s hard work. But above all, I look forward to the day when my friend is back at full capacity. “Over the years Chairman Chatterjee has played an integral role in the passage of major energy, highway, and agriculture legislation.PTI said that before being appointed for the FERC by Trump, Chatterjee was previously energy policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for eight years.  Prior to serving Leader McConnell, Chairman Chatterjee worked as a Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH). He began his career in Washington, D.C., with the House Committee on Ways and Means.A native of Lexington, KY, he is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and the University of Cincinnati, College of Law. His parents had moved to the U.S. from Kolkata some 50 years ago.The FERC is responsible for overseeing electricity markets and ensuring just and reasonable rates; approving applications for infrastructure projects; and playing a role in cybersecurity and defenses. The agency has a very important role in policymaking, PTI said. Related Itemslast_img read more

In Six Years, 10 Indian Workers Died Every Day in the Gulf

first_imgOver the last six years, nearly 10 Indian workers died in the Gulf countries every day translating to 117 deaths for every billion dollar remitted from there to India, according to an analysis of RTO responses by a voluntary group.Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative approached the external affairs ministry via Right to Information (RTI) to get data about the death of Indian workers in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates from January 1, 2012, to about mid-2018, PTI reported.While Indian missions in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia provided the data, the Embassy in the UAE refused to give information and referred Nayak to data on their website which was from 2014 onwards, the news agency reported.To get more information, Nayak used data provided during questions and answers in both houses of the Indian parliament.“Available data indicates at least 24,570 Indian workers died in the six Gulf countries between 2012 and mid-2018. This number could increase if the complete figures for Kuwait and the UAE are made available publicly. This amounts to more than 10 deaths per day during this period,” PTI quoted him as telling.Nayak told the news agency that Indians working in the Middle Eastern countries accounted for more than half of the remittance that India received from across the world between 2012 and 2017.“While India received a total of $410.33 billion in remittances from the world, remittances from the Gulf countries accounted for $209.07 billion,” he told the news agency.According to his analysis, there were more than 187 deaths for every billion dollars remitted from Oman during 2012-17 while in the same period, there were more than 183 deaths for every billion dollars received from Bahrain and 162 deaths in Saudi Arabia.The figure for Qatar was 74 deaths for every billion dollars received. The lowest death figure for every billion dollars received was 71 from the UAE, he said. Related Itemslast_img read more

Diet- clear liquid

first_imgAlternate NamesClear liquid dietDefinitionA clear liquid diet is made up of only clear fluids and foods that turn to clear fluids when they are at room temperature. It includes things like clear broth, tea, cranberry juice, Jell-O, and Popsicles.This diet is easier to digest than other foods. It still gives you the important fluids, salts, and minerals that you need for energy.Eating only a clear liquid diet gives you enough nutrition for 3 to 4 days. It is safe for people with diabetes, but only for a short time when they are followed closely by their doctor.Why You May Need This DietYou may need to be on a clear liquid diet right before a medical test or procedure, or before certain kinds of surgery. It is important to follow the diet exactly to avoid problems with your procedure or surgery or your test results.You also may need to be on a clear liquid diet for a little while after you have had surgery on your stomach or intestine. You may also need to be on this diet if you have diarrhea, are throwing up, or are sick to your stomach.What You Can Eat and DrinkYou can eat or drink only the things you can see through. Clear fruit juices are okay, but juice with nectar or pulp are NOT okay. Milk is also NOT okay.You can have these clear liquids:Plain waterFruit juices without pulp, such as grape juice, filtered apple juice, and cranberry juiceSoup broth (bouillon or consommé)Clear sodas, such as ginger ale and SpriteGelatin (Jell-O)Popsicles that do not have bits of fruit or fruit pulp in themTea or coffee with no cream or milk addedSports drinksTry having a mix of 3 to 5 of these choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Avoid things that are not on the list, including fruit nectars and canned or frozen fruit.advertisementIt is okay to add sugar and lemon to your hot tea. Remember: Do NOT add milk or cream to your tea or coffee.Your doctor might ask you to avoid liquids that have red coloring for some tests, like a colonoscopy.Review Date:11/12/2012Reviewed By:David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.last_img read more

Root fires England to easy win over Bangladesh

first_imgCOMMENTS COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on SHAREcenter_img cricket June 01, 2017 Joe Root shrugged off an ankle injury to hit a superb unbeaten 133 and lead England to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the opening Champions Trophy game at The Oval on Thursday.Alex Hales made 95 and captain Eoin Morgan 75 not out as hosts England overhauled their target of 306 with 16 balls to spare, the highest successful run-chase in the tournament’s history.The day had started badly for England, bidding to win their first global 50-over trophy, when all-rounder Chris Woakes limped off due to a side strain after bowling two overs.Tamim Iqbal struck a fluent 128 and shared a 166-run partnership with Mushfiqur Rahim to push Bangladesh to a competitive total of 305 for six.Jason Roy’s wretched run continued when he was brilliantly caught at short fine leg for one but Root and Hales calmed England’s nerves with a second-wicket partnership of 159.Hales was the chief aggressor but straight after hitting a four and a six off consecutive balls from Sabbir Rahman he fell five runs short of his century, caught at deep mid-wicket.Root, hobbling between the wickets, manoeuvred the ball around calmly and he and Morgan were always in control of the chase in an unbroken partnership of 143.Root posted his 10th one-day international century, off 115 deliveries, and hit one six and 11 fours in his highest score in this format of the game.Morgan had won the toss in sunny conditions and asked Bangladesh to bat, but Tamim and Soumya Sarkar carefully added 56 for the first wicket before the latter was caught on the cover point boundary for 28.Imrul Kayes, on 19, was brilliantly caught by a diving Mark Wood at mid on but Mushfiqur and Tamim gradually accelerated the scoring rate with crisp strokes around the ground to wild cheers from the pockets of flag-waving Bangladesh fans in a lively crowd.Ben Stokes and Tamim were involved in a verbal altercation as tempers frayed but the left-hander reached his century off 124 balls, including two sixes and 11 fours.Tamim skied Liam Plunkett to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler and Mushfiqur was caught in the deep for 79 off the next ball, allowing England to restrict the boundary flow in the closing overs and keep the Bangladesh total down.Australia and New Zealand are the other teams in Group A with the top two advancing to the semi-finals.last_img read more

Jaitley invites Aus businesses to invest in India

first_imgFrom Natasha ChakuMelbourne, Apr 2 (PTI) Showcasing significant investment opportunities in manufacturing and infrastructure sector, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has invited Australian businesses to come and invest in India as he wraps up his four-day visit to the Asia Pacific country.During his visit,Jaitley metPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer Scott Morrison, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and several other top dignitaries and business leaders of Australia.On his first day in Sydney,Jaitley inaugurated Make in India conference where he stronglypitched for foreign investments in India, specially in the area of manufacturing and infrastructure.In Canberra, he met Turnbull and discussed trade and bilateral issues of the two nations. He also invited Turnbull to visit India. Here, the finance minister also attended a special reception organised bythe Indian High Commission where he meta large group of Indian diasporafromacross the country.In Melbourne, the finance minister met a high-powered delegation of AustraliasSuperannuation funds and other investors along with FICCI delegationwhere he urged them toinvest in Indiasinfrastructure projects and other manufacturing sectors.He assured them that Indias economicstory was all set to stay on path of growth and that the government was stronglyfocusing on Ease of doing business by rationalisingthe tax system and other processes andpolicies.Jaitley, while attendinga special dinner last night organised by Victorian politician Tim Pallas, called the Indo-Australian relations “evolving andgrowing” strongly.”Its not only sports where the relations are evolving but also in business, culture, politics, and strategic relationships, which all determine our future destinies,” Jaitley said adding that the two sides were natural allies.advertisementHe also raised the topic ofFree Trade agreement which he said hadpassed the setdeadline oflast December while stating that”the more we cooperate, the more we coordinate, the better it is for both the countries as a win win situation.”Greater Pacific Capital CEOKetan Patel, who was accompanying the finance minister as a part of FICCI delegation said Jaitleys visit to Australia wouldgalvanisethe relationship of the two sides.Patel said the Australian investors were mainly worriedabout the history ofIndia as a difficult destination to do business with. PTI NC ANUlast_img read more

NorthEast eye second straight ISL home win against Goa

first_imgA buoyant NorthEast United FC will be eyeing nothing less than a win against FC Goa in their second successive Indian Super League (ISL) football home match in Guwahati on Tuesday.NorthEast began their campaign with a confidence-uplifting 1-0 win against Kerala Blasters in the tournament’s opening match at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Sunday.Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa scoring the winning goal and the encouraging start would have surely put new coach Nelo Vingada in a positive frame of mind.But the Portuguese knows there is plenty of scope for improvement.”I know we have to play better to reach the semis which is my target and of my players, so we have to be more consistent. If we don’t grow as a team and play better, it won’t be enough,” he said in an ISL release.NorthEast is unlikely to change their winning combination.”For me this was the best eleven which I could use for the game because some players are injured and most of the players are not fully fit for 90 minutes. But I am satisfied with the foreign players and I am also very happy with the Indian boys,” said Vingada.NorthEast’s opponents FC Goa, last year’s runners-up, will once again be helmed by Brazilian legend Zico. They played attractive football last year but faltered in the final against Chennaiyin FC.Zico will seek solace from last year’s bitter pain with a promising start this time.Goa conducted their pre-season in Brazil and played four friendlies with Zico using different players to try out varied formations. It isn’t clear who will be named in their first team.advertisementGoa will be without several players who are nursing injuries. Defenders Gregory Arnolin, Denzil Franco, goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury and striker Robin Singh are all on the teatment table, having picked up knocks during their pre-tournament training.Zico has retained the core of the squad, with emphasis on Brazilian and local talents.Focus will be on the new joiness like Trindade Goncalves, Rafael Dumas, Julio Cesar and Richarlyson and how they will be accommodated in the starting team by Zico.last_img read more

Bayern Munich Wins Record 7th Straight Bundesliga Title

first_imgMUNICH — First came the tears, then the cheers.Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben scored in their last Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich to clinch a record-extending seventh straight league title after routing Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1 on Saturday.Ribery was honored for 12 years of service before the game, and Robben for 10, and the teary-eyed wingers repaid the tributes after coming on as second-half substitutes.Bayern’s Franck Ribery applaudes prior to the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich, Germany, Saturday, May 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)Ribery eluded two Frankfurt defenders before chipping Kevin Trapp to sign off in style in the 72nd minute. Seven minutes later, David Alaba gave Robben a tap-in.It’s the end of an era at Bayern Munich. pic.twitter.com/yKxjE5F9LC— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 18, 2019Kingsley Coman, David Alaba and Renato Sanches also scored to ensure Bayern finished two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund, which kept the pressure on to the last by winning at Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0.It was the first time Bayern clinched the league title in its own stadium since moving into its new home in 2005, and the first time it was decided on the final day since 2009 when Wolfsburg finished ahead of the Bavarian powerhouse.Dortmund, which enjoyed a nine-point lead over Bayern at one point, was left hoping for a favor from Frankfurt, which hadn’t beaten the defending champions in 15 league games and lost on its last nine visits to Munich.By: Ciarán Fahey, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

EAGLES SOAR OVER COFFS

first_imgFor the Mens and Womens 40’s Division Northern Eagles, the 2004 NTL’s has so far been a successful tournament. Both teams remain serious competition contenders after the end of the round games today. The Womens 40s are definitely not strangers to victory. The side, which has consisted of the same core players for over 10 years, won the Inaugural Over 40’s division at the 2003 NTL’s after winning the Womens 35’s division in 2000. This year they won’t be letting threatening teams such as Sydney Scorpions or the Hunter Hornets stand in their way. “We have the talent to win, if we get it together at the right time,” says ex-Australian representative and Coffs Harbour local, Cate Simms. “At this level and age, it’s really who stays the fittest, wins.” They deny a home side advantage over the rest of the teams. “City sides train more often and play at a high standard more often than we get to”, says Cate. But the accolades are not why these women play the game. “There’s such close friendships in the seniors, there’s no egos here, we all just enjoy each others company, and like staying fit”, says Therese Spear, who also represented Australia, along with three other of their team mates. The Mens 40’s are also enjoying similar success at this year’s tournament, having lost only one game, despite having only trained together for the past three months. The only competition they had played together before coming to the 2004 NTL saw them win just one game….in the 35’s division though! Even though Sydney Scorpions are also their main threat, “realistically we’re looking at getting into the final,” says Australian World Cup representative, Steve Hancock. They are enjoying their time in Coffs Harbour and are quick to praise the tournament. “It’s great, the fields are always in great condition, good location as it’s only two hours from home, and the NTL’s is always a hard, quality tournament, where you get to play teams that you wouldn’t normally play”, says Steve. And, just like the women, they play for the friendships. “There’s a great social aspect of the tournament after the games, its great to catch up with players from years before.” says Steve. But unlike the women they believe that they do reap benefits of being the home side. “We only have to travel two hours, and travel usually makes it tough, we also get a good turnout of players and spectators because we’re closer, our costs are lower. Both teams agree that they love having NTL’s in Coffs Harbour as “it is an incredible facility and perfect for the game of touch, and it also generates a huge amount of money into the area”, says Cate. “Touch is an incredible sport to watch, not just at the Opens level, it’s a game for families and people of all ages to enjoy”. By Lisa Plummer pictures by www.sportingimages.com.aulast_img read more

Carisbrooke Opts for Optimarin’s BWT for Its Fleet

first_imgzoom Norway-based ballast water treatment (BWT) company Optimarin has inked a fleet agreement with UK shipowner and management company Carisbrooke for its Optimarin Ballast System (OBS). Under the contract, OBS retrofits could be installed on Carisbrooke’s entire fleet of 46 bulk and multipurpose vessels.According to Carisbrooke, the decisive part in securing the deal played Optimarin’s upcoming US Coast Guard approval, with numerous Carisbrooke vessels trading in US waters.In November 2015, Optimarin became the first UV system supplier to meet the most stringent USCG marine water requirements, positioning the Norwegian company for full USCG approval in 2016.The OBS system is also fully approved by IMO and certified through DNV GL, Lloyd’s, Bureau Veritas, MLIT Japan, and American Bureau of Shipping.“We’ve been 100% focused on ballast water treatment since our formation in 1994 and, with the ratification of the IMO’s Ballast Water Convention now imminent, forward-thinking shipowners who appreciate this unparalleled expertise are signing up for fleet agreements,” says Optimarin CEO Tore Andersen.Martin Henry, Carisbrooke’s Fleet Technical Director adds: “We believe this to be an excellent UV system, at a very competitive price, from a supplier with a genuine maritime heritage and understanding. This gives us complete peace of mind for future regulatory compliance, technical dependability and, importantly for Carisbrooke, environmentally responsible operations.”Carisbrooke is now assessing its fleet with the prospect of commencing installations in 2017. The size of the contracted vessels ranges from 5,000 to 20,000 dwt. Carisbrooke vessels trade in cargo including cement, coal, fertiliser and grain as well as special project loads such as wind turbine components and construction materials.last_img read more