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Akshay Kumar calls for support for sports

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar is appealing for support for sporting talent in the country. And he is not referring to cricket.

“I want something else to come out of this country,” says Akshay Kumar. “I just want it to happen.”

Akshay wants to lead by example. His support for martial arts is already well-documented. Now he is supporting some more families where children have shown sporting talent.

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar

Akshay insists that the diversity in sporting talent in India’s youth is the key to help propel the country forward.

He asks that India’s corporates and those who are fortunate should help support India’s poorest youth and encourage them to take part in sports other than Cricket.

The actor has reportedly donated money and time to invest in a few families who are unable to provide resources for their sport-passionate children.

“If all the corporates support four to five families and give them all the money they need, I think we can come up with gold medals,” Akshay says.

“Support these families; their children are made of something which can get us gold medals at Olympics.”

It takes belief as well as money to ensure that these underprivileged communities nurture their children’s innate talents. “I support three families Akshay Kumarwhose children are eight to nine years old.

I support them completely — their father, mother, everything, so that they can come up in the sports field. The children are very interested in sports, so they can come up and become great sports persons,” says Akshay.


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Paulini to become Aussie

Fijian-born singer Paulini is taking up Australian citizenship tomorrow at a special ceremony in Canberra coinciding with Australia’s Harmony Day.

“Australian citizens come from across the globe and my story is no different,” says Paulini. “I moved here from Fiji when I was four-years-old.”

“I am so excited to be taking this step to formally join the Australian family.”

“No matter where you come from, you can contribute something special to what it means to be Australian. We have a diverse, free and inclusive society and this is the one thing I love most about Australia,” she says.

Paulini, australian singer, fijians in australia

Paulini came into limelight when she became one of the top four finalists in Australian idol. She went on to top the Australian ARIA Charts in 2004 with her debut Platinum album “One Determined Heart” and her Platinum smash single “Angel Eyes”, both hitting the No. 1 spot (Angel Eyes remained at the top of the charts for 6 consecutive weeks). She is one of only ten Australian female solo artists to have a #1 album.

“I’m at the happiest point in my life. I’m spending my spare time in the studio writing and creating my own work”.

Paulini will receive her Australian citizenship on the Harmony Day where this year’s theme is: Many Stories – One Australia.

More than 50 people from 21 countries will become citizens at the ceremony, fittingly on a day where Australians celebrate the nation’s diversity.

“The values of inclusiveness, respect and belonging are fundamental to the development of Australia’s successful multicultural framework and these values are at the core of what Harmony Day is about,” a spokesman for Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship says.


Since Harmony Day began in 1999, about 50,000 events have been staged across Australia with community groups, schools, churches, local governments and the business community once again coming together to celebrate the cultures that make Australia a great place to live.

Harmony Day is celebrated on March 21 each year, which is also is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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NZ watchdog clears Penguin, Random merger

free books

The merger of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA (owner of Random House) and Pearson PLC (owner of Penguin) to form Penguin Random House has been cleared by New Zealand’s Commerce Commission.

The jointly owned entity will take over the consumer book publishing businesses of the two companies. Consumer books exclude text books and technical books.


free booksIn assessing the clearance application, the Commission looked at the potential impact of the merger in the markets for book publishing rights, printed book distribution services provided to third party publishers and the wholesale of books.

Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said, “In reaching our decision, the Commission considered that, in each of the relevant markets, the merged entity would be constrained from raising prices by a combination of existing competitors and the countervailing power of large customers.”

“As a result, the Commission is satisfied that the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any of the relevant markets.”

Bertelsmann and Pearson applied for clearance in December 2012 to form a new jointly-owned company to be called Penguin Random House. Penguin and Random House both publish, import and distribute books in New Zealand.

When considering a proposed merger, the Commission must decide whether the competition that is lost in a market when two businesses merge is substantial. “We will give clearance to a proposed merger only if we are satisfied that the merger is unlikely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market,” says the Commission.

The US Justice Department cleared the merger in February 2013, thus clearing the way to create the biggest book publisher in the world.

The US watchdog’s clearance still leaves other regulatory hurdles, including an approval by the European Commission.

The $3 billion new entity will reportedly cover 25% of the English-language consumer books market and pose competition to Amazon – an online distributor of books with as much as $100 billion in turnover.
“Still, Penguin Random will control such a huge chunk of the market!” says Dennis Johnson, the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. “How much harder is it going to be for a company like Melville House to get its novels into a store where one company controls half the fiction section? And what if a bookstore is a little short of cash one month? It’s gong to have to pay its biggest, most important account first. Penguin Random is going to control their floor space and their budget. It’s a safe bet it will get the lion’s share of media coverage, too.”

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Australia Immigration to meet overstayers

Migrate to Australia

Australia’s immigration officials will be visiting smaller cities in New South Wales, speaking to people who do not have a valid Australian visa and discuss with them any issues they might be facing.

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) officers will visit south-west NSW from 18 to 21 March and provide immigration information to people who have overstayed their visas, as well as local service providers and community leaders.

Migrate to Australia

In some cases, the team from the department’s Community Status Resolution Service (CSRS) section will be able to issue temporary visas (short-term bridging visas).

The team will meet local communities around Buronga, Euston, Murray Downs and Moama.

“This enables people in communities outside capital cities, who do not have a valid Australian visa or are currently on a bridging visa, to speak face-to-face with an immigration officer about specific issues they might be facing,” a departmental spokesperson says.

The team will be joined by staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an independent organisation which provides assistance for eligible people to return home. IOM staff will be available to discuss the services they provide and who is eligible.

“The department is committed to ensuring the integrity of Australia’s migration and visa programs: people must have a valid visa to remain in the country,” the spokesperson says.

Individual appointments will be available at the Alcheringa Sporting Club, Carramar Drive, Buronga, from 9.30am to 4pm on 18 March.

Staff will also be available at the Euston Oval Community Centre, off Carey Street (Sturt Highway), Euston, from 9.30am to 4pm on 19 March.

They will also be available at Swan Hill Conference Centre, Lot 5, Murray Downs Drive, Murray Downs, from 9.30am to 4pm on 20 March.

The team will then visit Moama Bowling Club (The Pavilion), 6 Shaw Street, Moama, and will be available from 10am to 4pm on 21 March.

To book an appointment, contact the CSRS on 02 6195 6146. Walk-ins are also welcome. For more information, visit DIAC website.

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Must have iOS Apps for Indians

With the growing popularity of iPads among Indians, there’s plethora of iPad Apps that are specifically designed for Indians. The Global Indian magazine prepares a list of best iPad Apps for Indians, many of which are free.

Note, we will avoid the most popular iPhone apps like Facebook, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Instagram and YouTube in this review.

What’s App

This is the most popular iPhone App for Indians, and provides a good alternative to Blackberry’s BBM service. Blackberry users dont have to be limited to other Blackberry users for instant messaging. With What’s App, users of Android, iPhone, Symbian and even Blackberry can message each other and save on texting costs. If most of your friends use smart-phones, then get them to use Whats App and save on SMS costs.


Storing and sharing files with mobile has never been easier thanks to DropBox’s cross platform functionality. You can access your files from multiple PCs and devices. DropBox is easy to set up, and the basic version is free. Now, your file will have one version across all devices.

Mostly popular among younger mobile users, this App lets users announce their location via their status updates. It helps them to find any friends that may be hanging out in the same place, or simply use the App to show off how happening their life is.
With this App you can easily check-in into a pub, or a movie hall. Friends can then provide menu recommendations or things to do, or simply offer to meet up. If you live in solitude, and most of your friends are only online people, then this is not an app you will need.

Desi Radio

Listen to Bollywood songs, Tamil songs and songs in many Indian regional languages on the go. The iPad App provides many Indian radio stations which are updated regularly, and offers YouTube search for songs. Compatible with iPad and iPhone. Some of the prominent regional Indians languages are: Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi and Kannada. The App even offers radio channels in English. It’s a free iPad App. Dowload the iPad App.

Gigaplex HD

Bollywood is the largest producer of movies in the world, and Indians love their movies. Gigaplex HD iPad App lets you enjoy thousands of Indian movies, many of them for free.

The free iPad App lets you browse and watch Bollywood and other regional Indian movies instantly. With wireless access, you can browse through hundreds of international films and experience smooth streaming from Gigaplex, with no buffering.

Gigaplex is adding award-winning Indian films and soon more titles from Nollywood, some of which are available for the first time ever on iPad. Just bring the popcorn. Download the iPad App.

Vegetarian restaurants

India has a large population which is vegetarian, and finding a vegetarian restaurant, especially in a western country can be quite challenging. t is no surprise that this iPad App offers to find a vegetarian restaurant for Indians in India. However, don’t use this free iPad App to find a vegetarian restaurant anywhere else it the world. The App doesn’t have sufficient data for vegetarian restaurants in the US, Canada, UK or Australia. Download the iPad App.


If eating out is not your thing, then don’t be disheartened. This iPad App is your companion in the kitchen. Let it guide you about many spices, herbs and seasonings that is part of Indian cooking.

The $2.99 App offers recipes, videos and guidance about where to purchase the ingredients from. The author of this iPad application, Monica Bhide, is a syndicated food columnist for Scripps, a contributing editor to AARP-The magazine, author of three cookbooks. Download the iPad App.

Indian home remedies HD

This simple guide has more than 150 remedies that for common ailments, all based on ingredients commonly available in any Indian kitchen. The $1.99 iPad App shows you how to use fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to cure common sicknesses. Because the remedies are based on natural ingredients, there are no side-effects and the natural cure is inexpensive. The App does not provide any treatment solutions for more advanced health issues like arthritis. Download this iPad App.


Most Indians living overseas like to stay in touch with the latest news from India, and NDTV offers the best and high quality news coverage from India, 24 hours a day. The iPad App is free to download and brings stories and videos live from the NDTV studios in India. Award-winning journalists and technology combine to report on politics, business, cricket and Bollywood. Download this free iPad App.

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Watch your salt

Too much salt in daily food can lead to high blood pressure which increases the risk of stroke, says a nutrition expert.

A high salt intake is also a risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease, and stomach cancer, and may also be a contributor to osteoporosis, warns nutritionist Nivedita Sharma Vij on the eve of Salt Awareness Week which runs from 11 to 17 March.

Salt_shakerThe Nutrient Reference Value for Australia and NZ recommends 2,300mg of sodium, or 6g of salt a day. “That’s about one teaspoonful of salt from all food sources. Just one cup of canned soup, for example, can contain more than 50% of the recommended daily sodium intake,” says the Auckland-based nutritionist.

As much as 75% of daily sodium intake comes from the processed and takeaway food that we eat.

“Too much salt in the diet is a leading cause of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor for stroke, being implicated in over 60% of cases.”

Mark Vivian, chief executive of Stroke Foundation, recommends reading the content labels of the foods before buying, and choosing the lower salt options more often, and steering clear of products high in salt. “Choosing more fresh foods and fewer packaged foods is a great way to reduce salt in the diet. Cutting down on salt will do everyone the world of good,” says Mark.

Nivedita suggests a few quick changes to diet to “shake the habit”:

Take the table salt off the table at work and at home for a week. Then continue the habit.

Add the salt at the end of your cooking. (Tip: taste your food and check if you really need it.)

Use low sodium salt and do not tell rest of the cooks in the house hold. Sneaky!

Season your food with fresh herbs and spices, or condiments. Tomato sauces, chutneys, marinades, instant noodles and soy sauces are packed with salt. (Use lemon, marinade meat with yogurt, herbs, ginger garlic or orange juice.)

Increase your fresh food consumption. Eat fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, unsalted nuts, milk with no added seasoning and salt. These foods are generally lower in salt than processed foods.

Read labels and look for sodium content: it should be less than 400mg/100gm and if you have high blood pressure then 120mg/100gm.

Look ‘invisible salt intake’ for seasonings added in the food – processed and packaged foods are usually high in sodium and hidden source of extra salt (Sodium Chloride).

For more information visit the New Zealand Stroke Foundation.

WASH 2013 poster

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Choosing Indian baby name for western tongue

Indian baby name

Choosing an Indian baby boy name or baby girl name is one of the most important activities for new parents. Overseas Indians who migrate and build a life in the US or anywhere outside India still want to retain the cultural ties with India, and prefer to choose Indian-sounding names.

This creates a strange phenomenon where an perfectly western-sounding child has an Indian name.

While on the one hand, new parents wish to name their children with beautiful and culturally rich names, on the other hand, they have to remember that their boy or girl is going to grow up in the western world. As such, they need to look at names are are Indian, yet are easy on the western tongue.

Here’s a list of top names that mostly meet this criteria and is based on the US Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of most popular names in the US.


  1. Aryan
  2. Rohan
  3. Arnav
  4. Arjun
  5. Armaan
  6. Suraj
  7. Arya
  8. Deven
  9. Rahul
  10. Neil
  11. Kabir
  12. Rishi
  13. Aarav
  14. Ishaan
  15. Nikhil


  1. Anya
  2. Ashna
  3. Shreya
  4. Nisha
  5. Riya
  6. Arna
  7. Ruhi
  8. Anjali
  9. Kavya
  10. Diya

You can also see the following names from the SSA’s records which are most popular among NRIs and overseas Indians living in the US.


  1. Devin
  2. Deven
  3. Amir
  4. Jay
  5. Neil
  6. Aryan
  7. Samir
  8. Arjun
  9. Nikhil
  10. Aditya
  11. Pranav
  12. Arnav


  1. Maya
  2. Nina
  3. Aniyah
  4. Tara
  5. Anya
  6. Anika
  7. Sonia
  8. Aria
  9. Aisha
  10. Chaya
  11. Saniya
  12. Amiya
  13. Kaiya
  14. Raina
  15. Mira
  16. Mina
  17. Anita

However if you are looking for some western names for your children, then here are some of the most popular names based on the SSA list.


  1. Jacob
  2. Mason
  3. Ethan
  4. Noah
  5. William
  6. Liam
  7. Jayden
  8. Michael
  9. Alexander
  10. Aiden


  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Isabella
  4. Olivia
  5. Ava
  6. Emily
  7. Abigail
  8. Mia
  9. Madison
  10. Elizabeth

 How to pick a name for your baby

Having a baby is the most wonderful event in your life, and you are busy preparing for the arrival of the baby.

Just like other preparations, choosing a baby name needs discussion and research. Think about all the aspects about the name but first have a discussion with your partner.

Make a list of your favourite names. Ask your spouse to prepare their list too. See if you can discuss and agree on a common name.

There are many websites that provide a comprehensive list of baby names for boys and girls. Consult the list. Also take the opinion of your parents if it matters to you.

The first and most important consideration while choosing a baby name is the sound of the name.

How does it sound to your ear? What images does the name bring up? See if it rhymes with your family name. In India, parents often try to pick up a baby name that rhymes with father’s first name.

While this practice is understandable where father’s name is used as middle name for children. But this practice is disappearing, and as such it is better to see if the baby’s name rhymes with the family name, instead of father’s christian name.

In some parts of south India, family names are really long. In such case, you would do well to choose a shorter first name.

Also, as an Indian living in a foreign land, consider how easy the name is to pronounce for westerners. You don’t want to pick up an exotic Indian name which is extremely difficult to pronounce in a western country.

Secondly, consider how the name is pronounced in English. Think twice before picking a name like Hardik, for example.

Also consider the possibility of nick names. Would a shortened name be flattering?  You wouldn’t want your child to be teased in school and college for a weird name.

Third, is the name unique? You don’t want another John Smith, or Prashant Sawant or Jignesh Patel out there. This is especially true if your family name is very common like Singh, Patel, Swamy, Sawant, Kapoor. Try to find a unique baby name so that it stays in the mind of the person meeting your child for the first time.

However, don’t pick up a weird name or a name that’s difficult to pronounce. Ideally, a name that begins and ends with a consonant is easier to pronounce in most cultures.

Check with your parents and extended family. Word of caution, if a really close relative suggests a name that you don’t like, don’t be tempted to please that person. It’s your baby. Feel free to reject their suggestion. You owe it to your baby.

People are often tempted to continue a name that’s been in the family, such as the name of a grandparent. Similar temptation arises with the name of your favourite actor or sportsperson or writer. Please resist the temptation, if the name is old-fashioned or doesn’t meet any of the criteria discussed here.

Check how the name looks when its abbreviated. We all know the famous names like D K Bose, Joe B Carvalho and so on. Beware of such issues.

Finally, does the name bring a smile to you? If it does, it will bring smile to other people too.

Image credit: Rajiv R Gupta

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Five guaranteed ways to lower cholesterol

How to lower cholesterol is one of the major concerns for Indians living abroad, especially those keen to lose weight. In fact, high cholesterol is one of the common health issues for NRIs and Indians worldwide.

The problem is also common among Americans. According to a media release by Proctor and Gamble, more than 102 million Americans have cholesterol levels that are considered borderline high-risk.

While cholesterol can lead to many illnesses, you can take some timely steps to control cholesterol. There are some guaranteed ways to lower cholesterol, as long as you are committed to lead a healthy life.

But before we look at the guaranteed ways to lower cholesterol, we must first understand what is cholesterol.

What is cholesterol

Every person has a waxy substance in many parts of their body. This is cholesterol. Not all cholesterol is bad. Not all cholesterol is fat. There are two types of cholesterol – HDL or good cholesterol, and LDL or bad cholesterol.

It is the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) which is a cause of concern as it builds up in the arteries and causes heart disease. On the other hand, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or the good cholesterol, protects against heart attack.

HDL in fact cleanses our system by removing cholesterol from the arteries and back to the liver where it’s passed from the body. As you can see when you read this article, you can maintain healthy levels of cholesterol with these guaranteed yet simple changes to lifestyle.

Remember, LDL cholesterol is bad for health, but HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol is not only good but is also essential for your health. Don’t assume that high cholesterol is bad for you, like high blood pressure. Please get your cholesterol checked regularly, and learn how to interpret the cholesterol numbers. Keep a record of your cholesterol levels.

Why cholesterol is bad for health?

Cholesterol associates with triglycerides to form plasma lipids. Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body, says American Heart Association. “Triglycerides in plasma are derived from fats eaten in foods or made in the body from other energy sources like carbohydrates. Calories ingested in a meal and not used immediately by tissues are converted to triglycerides and transported to fat cells to be stored.

“Hormones regulate the release of triglycerides from fat tissue so they meet the body’s needs for energy between meals.” AHA says.

“Excess triglycerides in plasma is called hypertriglyceridemia. It’s linked to the occurrence of coronary artery disease in some people.”

Now let’s look at the easy ways of lowering cholesterol fast. These steps are recommended by Metamucil and Dr. Michael Roizen, Chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Lower cholesterol

Five Easy Ways to Lower Cholesterol Fast

Walk more

Dr. Roizen recommends the use of a pedometer and walking or running more every day. “Grab a pedometer and watch the numbers roll as you make simple changes for your health and take the stairs, walk to work, or stroll around the neighbourhood to increase your physical activity for better heart health.

Pedometer can be a great motivator. “Tracking your progress throughout the day can be great inspiration to keep going, and walking is a simple and easy type of exercise to help lower cholesterol!

Get an exercise buddy

One of the main reasons why people fail to lose weight is lack of motivation. Dr Roizen appreciates that a healthy lifestyle requires motivation, encouragement and a friend to lean on.

“Grab an exercise buddy and support each other in the challenge to lower your cholesterol.”

You can go on long walks with your friend or partner. Make sure you encourage each other to try new types of physical activity to get the heart pumping and to keep cholesterol levels down! This togetherness not only helps physically but also creates a positive mental energy.

“Enjoy each other’s company and laugh – reduced levels of stress will help your heart too!”

Eat well

No, we are not recommending eating more, or eating junk food. We are just suggesting eating the right food. Increasing the intake of fiber can help you lower cholesterol. Of course, not all fiber is good. Viscous soluble fiber like psyllium fiber, the natural dietary fiber found in Metamucil, is proven to help lower total and “lousy” LDL cholesterol because it forms a thick gel that traps and helps remove some cholesterol, bile acids and waste in the gut.

“This is why I recommend my patients supplement low fat, low cholesterol diets with 7 grams of soluble fiber from psyllium daily.”

When fat is good

Avoid fatty food but there is one thing that’s good for you – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a polyunsaturated fatty acid. DHA is good for your heart. It improves heart function and helps lower Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL).

It also raises the levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or the ‘healthy’ cholesterol. Some of the popular sources of DHA are salmon, sardines and tuna. But if you don’t like seafood, don’t panic “Try fish oil supplements, or if you don’t like fishy taste, get them from vegetarian supplements made from algal DHA.”

Avoid dangerous foods

They say: you are what you eat. Be aware of what you are eating. Read food literature and familiarise yourself with what goes in your bread and pasta.

“Get to know your ingredients and read the nutrition labels thoroughly,” says Dr Roizen.

Do you know that there are hidden sugars and unhealthy ingredients in your food that can increase your weight, which can lead to high cholesterol. Avoid all foods that contain high levels of cholesterol, saturated fat and hidden sources of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup, some dextrins, or evaporated cane juice.


How does cholesterol affect health?

Lowering your cholesterol is the most important thing you can do to promote overall heart health. Too much cholesterol can result in atherosclerosis, which is when fat and cholesterol crowd the walls of the arteries,preventing adequate blood flow to parts of the body like the heart and brain, and resulting in signs and symptoms of heart disease, such as angina and heart attack

Whether you are 35 or 65, it is never too early or too late to start to reduce the risk of heart disease.

 How does fiber help heart?

Certain kinds of fiber lower cholesterol because they form a thick gel that traps and helps remove some cholesterol, bile acid and waste. Be sure to consume lots of soluble fiber, like beans, oats, barley or fruits. Most Americans only get 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day through their normal diet vs. the recommended 20 to 35 grams.

Also read:

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha’s weight loss plan

What diet did Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor follow to lose weight?

Four foods to stay in shape

(Editor’s note: Views expressed here are not of The Global Indian magazine. Seek medical advice.)

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Growing obesity pushing up diabetes in India

Healthcare companies love India.

It is the second diabetes capital of the world after China, with the treatment market growing at a double-digit year-on-year growth rate, presenting both domestic and Multinational Companies (MNCs) with promising opportunities, states a new report by healthcare experts GBI Research.

India’s 2011 diabetic population was 61.3 million, but is set to increase at an alarming rate, with an estimate by the International Diabetes Federation placing the Indian diabetic population at around 101 million by 2030.


Increased disease awareness and compliance with treatment is hoped to restrain disease prevalence in India. But sedentary lifestyles, the adoption of Westernized culture, and longer lifespans are raising the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, or acquired diabetes, in the country.

India offers lucrative opportunities to both domestic and foreign pharmaceutical players with anti-diabetic product portfolios. The type 2 diabetes therapeutics market, although crowded with generics, is being viewed as a significant growth opportunity for newly patent-protected products, owing to high disease prevalence and considerable unmet need.

Many MNCs are engaged in setting up strategic marketing and distribution agreements with domestic players, in order to improve their patient base and market share in India.

Sun Pharma and Merck’s joint venture to bring new anti-diabetics to emerging markets, the USV-Novartis collaboration for the marketing of Galvus, the Lupin-Eli Lilly alliance for the marketing of insulin, and collaborations between Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim all represent examples of this.

MNCs succeed in expanding their patient base, while domestic companies benefit from the pharma giants’ strong sales forces and manufacturing capabilities. Given the impressive growth rate predicted for the diabetes therapeutics market in India, more strategic consolidations are expected to follow during the forecast period.

GBI Research’s analysis values the Indian anti-diabetes market in 2011 at $680.3m, and predicts growth at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.3% to reach a value of US$1.4b in 2018, due to the large and growing diabetes population in the country and anticipated launch of many first-in-class and novel molecules during the forecast period.

However, low treatment-seeking and diagnosis rates, poor compliance to medical care, rising healthcare costs and an increasingly competitive market are some of the key hurdles for India’s domestic diabetes market.


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How to keep teenagers safe on net

A consumer advocate is warning that fraudsters maybe “mining” people’s personal data today and use it months or years later for fraud.

Parents need to know their kids may be risking their identity and future credit rating by posting volumes of personal information to open forums and other sites, a consumer advocate  warns on Safer Internet Day.

“The harsh reality is if you’re a young person you are not immune to identity fraud. Even though you are not yet credit active the personal information you make public today could be used against you in the future,” chief executive of MyCRA Credit Repair, Graham Doessel says.

Social media, online fraud, identity theft

The comments come as Australian government’s ‘Cybersmart‘ hosts Safer Internet Day today, with more than 22,000 students participating in Cybersmart’s online safety presentations.

Graham says identity theft is still a risk for under 18s, and many young people and their parents don’t know the dangers of having a public ‘profile’ on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

In late 2011, identity expert Ben McQuillan of the Australian Federal Police warned people about the new trend of ‘warehousing’ which involves storing data for a time, making it harder for a victim or bank to trace where and when the data was stolen.

“If people know your full name, your date of birth, where you went to school and other lifestyle issues, and they were to warehouse that data, there is a prospect that could then be used to take out loans or credit cards or to create a bank account that could then be used to launder money,” McQuillan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

This warning was echoed by Queensland Fraud Squad’s Superintendant Brian Hay, who warned that criminals were targeting the personal information of young Facebook users.

Brian said criminals had been known to be storing the personal information of children around the world in databases to be used when they turn 18 and are able to take out credit.

“We know that the crooks have been data warehousing identity information, we know that they’ve been building search engines to profile and build identities,” he told Channel 7’s Sunrise program in October 2011.

“We need to tell our children if you surrender your soul, if you surrender your identity to the internet it could come back to bite you in a very savage way years down the track,” he said.

Graham says identity theft is not only about the initial loss of monies, but if the fraud amounts to credit accounts in the young victim’s name going undetected and unpaid past 60 days, creditors will issue defaults.

“It need not be major fraud to have a detrimental effect. Credit file defaults for as little as $100 can stop someone from being able to obtain credit for 5 years. So any damage, however small to someone’s credit file can be extremely significant,” he says.

He says the onus is on the victim to prove to creditors they didn’t initiate the credit.

“The fact that the perpetrator is long gone and the actual act of identity theft happened years earlier will only add to the difficulty for the young person in recovering their good name,” he says.

Experts recommend parents and young people continue to update their skills on how to be cyber-smart.

Five  Tips for Safeguarding Personal Information on Facebook and Twitter

1. Keep privacy settings private. Your profile on sites like Facebook should be kept Private, and it’s a good idea to check your settings from time to time to make sure it stays that way. This makes it harder for crooks to find your personal information.

2. Use passwords. Use strong passwords online, regularly changing them. You should also do the same for your smartphone. Stay one step ahead of hackers.

3. What you post may be permanent. Every piece of information you post – no matter how secure you think it may be – may show up again one day.

4. Your personal information should be guarded at all times. Personal information is the gateway to identity theft. How secure is the site you are using? Think – if it’s not necessary – do you really need to give it out or post it?

5. Careful who you ‘friend’. Crooks can scan the internet requesting ‘friendships’ on sites like Facebook – but they may not be after friendship but your personal information. If you don’t know the person who is sending you the friend request, check their profile – do they seem like a real person? Ask -why do they want to be my friend? If you’re unsure, ignore the request.

The cybersmart website  has a range of multimedia educational resources.

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What’s in a name? Everything, if you are a jobseeker

When university graduate Jorden Berkeley, 22, began applying for a job, she was surprised to have no responses.

Born in the United Kingdom of Caribbean parentage, she never dreamed that her name might be a problem. But a careers adviser suggested that she begin using her more English-sounding middle name – Elizabeth – in her applications.

“I was surprised by what she said but I put my middle name on the CV as well. I started to get back responses, not necessarily job offers but it went from nothing to getting interviews. It was quite an eye-opener. I spoke to friends and family and it’s a common occurrence. I’ve also read reports of Muslim women taking off their hijabs to get a job,” Berkeley told ILO News.

I put my middle name on the CV as well. I started to get back responses.”

Zunade Wilson, 22, also of Caribbean origin, had a similar experience, getting more callbacks when she used her middle name, Renatta. When she started working as a classroom assistant, she says she also faced discrimination.

“I wear my hair natural, in an afro. We were coming up to a school inspection and I was told that while the inspectors were there, I should do something with my hair, that I needed to make it neater. I said that this is how my hair grows and that I was not going to straighten it to please her.”

A UK parliamentary report, Ethnic Minority Female Unemployment: Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Heritage Women said that in 2011, the overall unemployment rate for ethnic minority women in the UK was just over 14 per cent, more than double that of white women and higher than the unemployment rate for ethnic minority men.

Among Pakistani and Bangladeshi women it rose to 20.5 per cent. Many in this group reported being questioned about their intentions regarding marriage and children because of assumptions based on ethnicity, said the report.

In other parts of the world, particularly Latin America and parts of Asia, indigenous women are often discriminated against when they enter the labour market, says the report by International Labour Organisation (ILO) of United Nations. “Sometimes they are ridiculed and are subject to verbal and physical abuse for wearing their traditional dress in the workplace.”

“Indigenous women all over the world experience discrimination, not only on the ground of sex, but also because of their indigenous identity, ethnicity, colour or religious beliefs. This multiple discrimination is particularly evident as women, particularly young indigenous women enter and try to advance through the labour market,” says Jane Hodges, ILO Gender Equality Director.

Persistent multiple discrimination

More than 170 countries have ratified the ILO’s Convention 111 on non-discrimination in employment, which dates back to 1958. Yet the latest ILO report on Equality at Work found that discrimination continues to be “persistent and multifaceted,” and has worsened with the global economic crisis.

“Discrimination has also become more varied, and discrimination on multiple grounds is becoming the rule rather than the exception,” the report said.

According to a separate ILO study on multiple discrimination in many parts of the world, racial profiling targeting Muslim men and dress codes targeting Muslim women in the workplace have become more common amid the global political tensions following the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001.

The difficulty, say researchers, is separating the overlapping strands of exclusion linked to national and ethnic origin, race, religion and gender.

Lisa Wong, ILO senior non-discrimination officer, says that the ILO has identified racial discrimination as a priority concern. She is overseeing the production of a guide on promoting ethnic diversity in the workplace, which was pilot tested in South Africa next month.

Source: ILO News 


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Life is too short for negative feelings – Hrithik

Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan is very optimistic about 2013.

The Bollywood heartthrob opened India’s 2012 box office with the international box office success film Agneepath, which garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences alike and set the precedence and benchmark for 2012.

Hrithik enters 2013 with heightened anticipation for another blockbuster year. He will start the year filming Fox Star Studio’s Indian remake of the Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz starrer Knight and Day with leading lady Katrina Kaif. The year will culminate with the release of his home production, Krrish 3, releasing on Diwali 2013. Hrithik’s profile will soar to greater heights as the 3D film sees Hrithik star as India’s much-loved superhero again.

In a heart-to-heart chat with The Global Indian magazine, Hrithik shares his insecurities and his hopes.

What will you remember the most about the year 2012?


It’s simply a dream film for any actor. 2012 has been an awesome year. Resuming my role as Krrish was nostalgic and very exciting. To end the year with homage of films at an esteemed festival, the Marrakech Film Festival, was such a humbling experience. All in all 2012 was a high throughout!

Hrithik & Sussanne

So what can your fans expect from you in 2013?

2013 is going to be a busy year. I will be working on various projects and some great films too. We are wrapping up Krrish which releases later this year and then in March I start filming with Katrina for the Indian remake of Knight and Day. I am really looking forward to 2013 as it will be another year packed with lots of excitement, but also a lot of hard work and early morning film shoots!

It must be so difficult to live up to the expectations as the Bollywood icon. Where do you get all this energy from?

My family has been my biggest inspiration – they are my true role models and they continue to be. My parents through to my grandparents have seen and experienced all shades of life, the good, the bad, and always faced any situation God presented to them fearlessly together. We share a unified bond which I also instill in my own little family with my wife and children.

Krrish 1 and 2 have been a huge success and audiences will be eagerly for its third instalment. What is going to be different about Krrish 3?

I think the audiences are going to be in for a treat with Krrish – if you loved the first two films, you will adore this edition. Krrish is our home production and was like coming home. It’s still early to comment fully on latter film – I know the audiences will be in for a fun ride with Katrina and I.

People like Hrithik as a dancer, the dance seems to be missing in his movies these days, is it intentional?

Not at all! However clichéd this sounds, I guess the scripts I’ve currently been working on just haven’t demanded any breakthrough dance sequences. But never say never though!

As a Bollywood megastar, the schedules are very hectic. How do you find time for your family?

I do try and see my family as much as I can as they mean a lot to me. I guess it’s crucial to prioritise time accordingly. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with your family, it’s never really enough… But coming from a family where filmmaking runs through our veins, we do understand the pressures associated with work thus the understanding between us as family and for our work always helps us to strike that important balance.

Hrithik Courtesy RadoThe youth world over rave about your body, and the young boys are obviously keen to get some health tips on how to get  a six pack, and girls would want to know Hrithik’s diet plan. Would you like to share some weight loss tips?

I work out a lot and have a strict diet and exercise regime that I follow religiously. Being fit isn’t just about being physically strong but also mentally. My fitness workout is a major release for me, in a way it’s my way of chilling out!

Despite being a top actor in Bollywood, you come across as an approachable and friendly person. How do you do that?

Bollywood actor Hrithik RoshanI have always believed in being a good human first and foremost. My parents have brought me up with great morals and values, life is too short to create negative surroundings and feelings. Like they say ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated’.

Finally, this may sound like a cliche question, but if you did not succeed in Bollywood, what else would you be seen doing?

I cannot imagine doing anything else! I know it sounds cheesy, but I love what I do! It really is in my DNA. I have had the opportunity to live multiple lives in one lifetime and through the power of cinema, did my small bit to touch a chord with the world and form a indescribable bond.

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401(K) and IRA – should expats invest in retirement plans?

Many overseas Indians and expats settled in the United States of America face a common dilemma – should they invest in a 401(K) plan or an IRA (Individual Retirement Account).

The confusion is more prominent among non-US citizens or those without permanent residence status in the US.

Many Indians working in the US have plans to return to India and would like to withdraw their contributions from their retirement plans.

Here’s the dilemma – if a non-US citizen contributes to a 401(k) plan at work, he makes tax savings on that amount. He also benefits from tax-deferred growth and employer match. However, if he chooses to withdraw his contribution early, he may be subject to taxes and a 10% penalty.

Is it then worth contributing to a 401(K) and a traditional IRA or Roth IRA for Indians?

While the concerns are valid, it should not hold you back from considering saving for your future retirement.

If you are a permanent resident (green card holder) when you leave America, it is easy to address the question of Federal taxes. You can use a phased withdrawal approach to minimize taxes. The idea is to withdraw only enough money each year to reduce the impact of taxes upon withdrawal. You can also reduce the 10% penalty for early withdrawal by rolling over the 401(k) to an IRA and then converting to a Roth IRA, subject to the restrictions for IRA rollover and Roth conversions. Speak to your tax consultant.

In fact, the problem is not so much about taxes in the US. You need to consider the taxes you will be required to pay in India, if you decide to take your savings back with you to India.

Indian residents are taxed on  their  income earned anywhere in the world, and a payment from an IRA is income.

However, there’s a ray of hope. India provides a special “semi-resident” status for those who worked abroad and returned to India. When in this status, income from foreign sources, including from retirement plans, are not taxed. Unfortunately, this status lasts only for a few years, so any phased-withdrawal strategy will have only a limited benefit.

For most overseas Indians who have invested in 401(K) or IRAs, the best thing to do is not withdraw money from the 401(k) account, if this is allowed, or to roll over to an IRA and leave it there until they are 60 years old. IRA custodians like Vanguard and Fidelity allow non-citizens to keep their IRAs even if they are no longer living in the US.  You can easily keep track of these accounts via internet from anywhere.

However, for these options to work, you need to be a permanent resident.

If you are not a green-card holder, then you are a non-resident alien and attract a 30% federal tax on IRA distributions when you leave the country . Also, the IRA custodian is required to withhold this 30% when the distribution is made. This harsh penalty may severely limit any benefit gained through tax-deferred growth and employer match on the 401(k) contributions.

In short, if you are not a green-card holder, there’s little point in investing in 401(K). But that’s a short-term view with the assumption that you intend to return to India after a few years. The truth is, most NRIs end up staying back in the US, get green card and retire. By then, it is too late to plan for the retirement.  They miss the valuable 401(K) boat.

What’s the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA?

Most people don’t know the difference between a 401(k) and an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  All they know about a 401(k) is you can start withdrawing after you are 59-1/2 years old without attracting a penalty.

Here’s the difference – 401(k) is a pension plan and is offered through your the employer,  and involves your contributions and often contributions from your employer, whereas an IRA is a private investment funded solely by your money.

Secure your retirement with 401(k) easily

The maximum amount an individual can save in a 401(k) is $16,500 a year, or $22,000 if you’re 50 or older. If you can save that much, you should. If not, then grab your employer match. Many employers suspended 401(k) matches during the great recession, but they are starting to reinstate them. Make sure you contribute at least enough to get the matching contribution.

Each year, you can contribute as much as 15 percent of your salary or $10,000, whichever is less.

An employer can make similar contributions. Some companies contribute 33.3 cents to 50 cents for every $1 the employee contributes. What’s more, this amount is tax-deferred.

What’s the difference between traditional IRAs and Roth

Traditional are the old IRAs and Roth are the new ones. Roth are a better investment, unless you need deductions.

Traditional IRA: Any person working or receiving alimony can contribute to an IRA. Your employer does not contribute to your IRA, like 401(K).

You can go to a renowned investment company like Vanguard, Fidelity for opening an account. The maximum contribution each year is $2,000 in most cases. This limit is lower for higher income earners. Contact IRS for details.

Under IRA as well as  401(k) plan, you can withdraw funds without penalty after the age of 59-1/2.

However, if you are serious about your future, invest in Roth IRA. The bad news is the Roth is not deductible. But the good news is, the lock-in period is only five years. You must keep your money for at least five years in a Roth. If you withdraw within the first five years, you have to pay a 10 percent penalty. The amount you contribute is not taxable.

If you withdraw after you turn 59-1/2,  your withdrawals will not be taxed. Neither your contributions nor the capital gains are taxed. And this is the biggest advantage of investing in a Roth.

Because the maximum annual contribution is $2,000, it is to your benefit to start early and invest in a Roth IRA.

Think long-term.

(About author: Sanjeeve Pai is an investment advisor for overseas Indians. Views expressed here are for guidance only. Please seek professional advice before making investment decisions.)

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Legal: Why death penalty for rapists isn’t a good idea

The Delhi gang rape has created a great upheaval and in a high list of reforms death penalty for rapists is being incessantly mooted. For that, a need for amendment in Indian Penal Code is being clamoured. Identical demand was also raised in case of terrorists recently. We are of assumption that rapists – and terrorists will be deterred only if they are threatened of death penalty – a retributive theory of punishment.

Recently, according to a poll, India was rated fourth most dangerous country for women in the world ahead of even Somalia.

Even if Parliament amended the penal provisions, even then capital punishment for the rapists cannot be possible. The Constitution of India, the supreme authority of law, prohibits retrospective effect of penal law. Article 20(1) provides that a person cannot be subject to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence. So, even change in rape law cannot execute the rapists.

Moreover, even death as deterrent and retributive will not reduce the crime against the women. India today stands in a minority group of nations where capital punishment is still in continuation. Over 144 countries have abolished the death sentence. India’s  Supreme Court, by applying the “rarest of rare” doctrine, has minimized its scope to a great extent.

The overwhelming evidence from the countries where the death penalty has been abolished is that ending it has nowhere resulted in increase in crime. Also, imposition of the penalty is not always followed by execution (even when it is upheld on appeal), because of the possibility of commutation to life imprisonment.

Since 1995 it has been used only three times: on Auto Shankar in 1995, Dhananjoy Chatterjee in 2004, and Ajmal Kasab in 2012. So how will the insertion of death penalty in rape provision can ensure protection and safeguard to women?

Protest by people must not be heading for revenge and transformation of rape law but to transform the system – whether it is judicial, administrative or executive; and to transform your inner self.

The protest and resentment must be directed towards long delayed reforms in under-trained police force, reforms in investigation and prosecution, reforms is judicial system so that justice does not get delayed. Intimidation of speedy punishment will act more as a deterrent than threat of capital punishment which is rarely executed.

Along with all these there is also a need to shake our conscious. We are eking up in the society where the female feticide is at its acme. Cases for eve teasing and sexual harassment are engorging every month; and in the most of such cases the accused are always youth. We need to candle up our inner light as well without which every endeavour to ensure safe and humane world for women will be futile and hollow.

Time has come for youth to take active participation in the politics of country. A change is needed in the society and system of our country and this can be done only by educated and rational section of society.

Pankaj Rathi is a student of National Law University in Jodhpur. The views expressed by the author are personal.






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Delhi gangrape victim dies

The 23-year-old victim of gangrape in Delhi has died in Singapore. Just two days ago, the girl was admitted to Singapore’s multi-organ speciality facility, Mount Elizabeth Hospital in an extremely critical condition. She died at 4:45 AM Singapore time (2:15 AM Indian time), the hospital said in a statement.

About a fortnight ago, the girl was gangraped in a moving bus and thrown in a semi-naked condition in Delhi. Her male companion was also beaten up and thrown from the bus.

The heinous crime has prompted ongoing protests in India’s capital city, demanding safety for women from sexual violence.

“She passed away peacefully with her family and officials of the Indian Embassy by her side,” says Dr. Kevin Loh, the chief executive of the hospital.

After 10 days at a hospital in the Indian capital of New Delhi, where the attack occurred, the victim was brought to the Singapore hospital. Dr Loh said the woman had remained in extremely critical condition since Thursday, and by late Friday her condition had taken a turn for the worse and her vital signs had deteriorated, an AP report said.

“Despite all efforts by a team of eight specialists in Mount Elizabeth Hospital to keep her stable, her condition continued to deteriorate over these two days,” Loh said.

“She had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain. She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome.”

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Blind woman gets sport award

Neelusha Memon

Neelusha Memon, the first legally blind competitor to complete New Zealand’s South Island Coast-to-Coast multi-sport race, is the winner of the Attitude Awards’ Courage in Sport for 2012.

The tough race was just one of the Wellingtonian’s goals and the $3,000 prize money will help her towards another – to complete the Seven Peaks in Seven Continents.

That’s a journey around the world to climb Mt Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Carstensz Pyramid, Denali, Vinson and finally Mt Everest.

The Attitude Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of New Zealanders living with a disability. It has grown out of the Attitude TV series, which screens on TV ONE on Sunday mornings.

Neelusha, better known as Neelu, also aims to complete a double kayak crossing of the Cook Strait before the end this year, working with 2012 World Champion in Adventure Racing Nathan Fa’avae, who will help her navigate.

Neelusha Memon

“I want to set bigger goals for myself and try my own limits,” Neelu says. “Others have perceptions of what people with disabilities can do and I’m trying to push out of that framework and create my own limits.”

Neelu is used to training hard. When she was 16 a severe post-viral illness left her with 30% vision and balance problems. She had to learn to walk, talk and swallow again.

Attitude TV executive producer Robyn Scott-Vincent says every year the awards highlight people with incredible stories and achievements that have previously gone without acknowledgment.

“The prime objective of the Attitude Awards is to create more awareness and consideration of the contributions made by New Zealanders living with disability,” Robyn says.


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India,New Zealand to share agrotech knowlege

New Zealand India Agritechnology

Two major industry associations from India and New Zealand have signed an MoU to share knowledge and other resources.

A delegation from  New Zealand National Fieldays Society is in India to sign the MoU with Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays will be held 12-15 June 2013 at New Zealand’s Mystery Creek Events Centre, 10 minutes south of Hamilton.

Before arriving in India, the delegation from Fieldays visited China as guests of the 19th China Yangling Agricultural Hi-Tech Fair in Yangling, Shaanxi Province, West China.

New Zealand India Agritechnology

The China visit was part of a reciprocal agreement between the two organisations, with the aim of forging strong ties between the NZ agriculture sector and the agritechnology industry in China.

Jon Calder, CEO of Fieldays and Tony Begbie, Fieldays Society Board Member and recently-appointment President of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce, formed part of a business mission visiting India.

Led by Minister for Primary Industries, David Carter, the delegation spent time in Delhi and Chandigarh, with the intention of forging closer economic relationships through the primary sector. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the NZ National Fieldays Society and the Confederation of Indian Industry, which organises the Agro Technology & Business Fair; an Indian agribusiness and technology ‘mega event’.

The delegation visited  Khalsa Dairy Farm Mohali with the delegation. “They have about 300 cows and they milk 2000 litres of milk everyday,” said Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, a New Zealand MP, sharing details of the visit on his Facebook page.

“Our trips to China and India reinforce the importance of the NZ National Fieldays to New Zealand’s agribusiness sector,” says Calder.

“We take pride in our ability to provide a platform for New Zealand agribusinesses to launch their companies internationally.”

The Fieldays 2013 theme, Getting Down to Business in the Global Economy, highlights New Zealand’s unique position as an innovative agribusiness driven economy to capitalise on the growing international demand for food, protein, and agricultural expertise.

(Image courtesy: Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi)

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Bal Thackeray – Secular farewell to ethnic leader

“Don’t threaten me. Do as you wish. I am not afraid of anyone!” My editor was responding to a threat call as I entered the newspaper’s office.
The threats by the Shiv Sena, a largely-local political party, to the editor of the local newspaper where I had just started freelancing, introduced me to the violent side of Bal Thackeray’s politics.

The threat was not just verbal. The newspaper office was soon ransacked. But the editor stood his ground to report stories about Shiv Sena without fear. That was my first-hand experience with fearless journalism and politics of fear. I soon stopped freelancing as I got busy with education. But the attacks on the editor and the publication continued over the years.

This was the first time I had come face-to-face with Shiv Sena head Bal Thackeray’s terror tactics. As a young man, I learnt a strange lesson in politics – the Shiv Sena, whose activism was based on protecting the rights of the local people of India’s western state of Maharashtra (Marathis), was attacking a Marathi editor. It was an attack on a Marathi paper and whose staff was mostly Marathi.

Today, as the news broke of the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s death, those memories returned to my mind.

And I hoped that my Mumbai, the city where I was raised, does not succumb to the same terror tactics on the eve of Bal’s last rites. I wish that Shiv sainiks, as the party’s activists are known, show restraint and pay homage to their leader in a way that will truly win Mumbaites’ hearts. At the time of writing, Mumbai is tense but calm as it prepares for the final journey of its leader.

There’s fear in the air, but there aren’t any incidents of violence reported. The Sena activists reportedly forced shops and businesses to down their shutters, but it is Mumbai Police, whose staff largely comprise Marathi officers, that has shown remarkable acumen in controlling the potentially inflammable situation. The police also showed sensibility while announcing the news of Bal’s demise as he battled for life over two days.

The news was released only after the administration were reasonably confident that crowd-management mechanism was deployed.
The news divided public opinion just as Bal Thackeray’s speeches and interviews had divided Mumbai during his nearly 40-year long political career. No, Mumbai wasn’t divided between Marathis and non-Marathis. It was divided between Sena’s supporters and non-supporters. Just as many non-Marathis were Sena supporters, there were many Marathis, including the writer, that did not support Sena’s fear tactics. Support for Sena was not entirely based on one’s regional origin, but one’s value system – on whether one believed in fear-mongering.

Politics of fear are not limited to Shiv Sena in India. Most political parties are known to have activists and leaders that practice terror tactics.
Bal gave Mumbai terror. He followed anti-migrants strategy. But he was fighting a losing battle. Mumbai’s cultural and economic landscape is shaped by migrants – those travellers who came to the dreamland from other states of India. In that sense, he was trying to protect the rights of the local people in a city that never had Marathi soul – for as long as I can remember. And that was the uniqueness of the city – I grew up in a multi-cultural environment, and no efforts by a political party could change that.

Bal however played a key role in building the city’s infrastructure. His support to the ambitious Worli Sea Link road and Mumbai-Pune Expressway brought these projects to reality. He ran many social welfare programmes, including free ambulances.

As the Hinduism-driven Bal started his last journey this morning, secular India witnessed his body wrapped in the country’s national flag that supports the values of brotherhood among India’s religiously diverse groups.
One wonders what Bal would have had to say on that!

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London, Auckland top sports cities

Rugby World Cup New Zealand

The international focus, adrenalin rush and chance for Aucklanders to see top international athletes in the Fast5 Netball series this weekend is being described by the city mayor as a great example of why Auckland has been named the number two Sports City in the world.

Auckland has taken the second spot, behind Olympic Games host London, and ahead of the city recognised as our main regional competitor, Melbourne, in the 2012 International Sports Event Management Awards.

Rugby World Cup New Zealand

London Olympics

The awards recognise excellence in the global sports event management industry.

“Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2011 put Auckland on the world stage as a great place to enjoy major sporting events, and everything else the city has to offer,” says Auckland Mayor Len Brown. “And for the city aspiring to be the world’s most liveable city, beating the current number one liveable city, Melbourne, is a major coup.”

“We capitalised on RWC 2011 with events like the Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover, Brother Rally New Zealand, and the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, which continue to position us internationally.”

The focus will be sustained with events including the World Softball Championships in March, the V8s returning to Pukekohe in April, the 2015 under-20 FIFA World Cup, the 2017 World Masters Games, and regular fixtures like the Heineken Open and ASB Classic Tennis tournaments.

“To be right up there with London and the Olympics is a phenomenal achievement for Auckland. This win keeps the international spotlight on us as a world-class event destination.

“Major sporting events are a win-win for us – it means Aucklanders and visitors from around New Zealand and around the world can come and see international athletes at the top of their game, they promote Auckland to the world, and bring us visitors who return to their home countries as ambassadors to spread the world about travelling here.

“When visitors come here for these events, they also discover Auckland is a vibrant and innovative multi-cultural city with a fabulous waterfront, museum and art gallery, an array of superb restaurants, shopping precincts and markets, with wonderful islands, beaches and forests on our doorstep.”

“Each event, the local and international visitors who come to them, their participants and support teams make a significant contribution to our local economy.”

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Indian sportsmen succeeded despite racism – book

While there have been a few New Zealand cricketers of Indian origin, including the current Black Cap Tarun Nathula, it’s not an easy ride in the sporting field for minorities, suggests a historian in a new book.

The courage of Kiwi Indian pioneers in forming sporting clubs against the odds is captured in the book “Sporting Foundations of New Zealand Indians” by historian Dr Geoff Watson.

The book’s launch is timely as Auckland is named the number two sports city in the world.

Geoff, a senior lecturer in history at Massey’s School of Humanities, says he was struck by the remarkable courage the pioneers showed in founding these clubs in the 1930s, a time when there were only 1200 Indians in New Zealand.

Author Dr Geoff Watson

“The founders of these clubs travelled half-way around the world and were trying to make their way in a new country which is difficult enough, but many of the Indian immigrants had little, if any, English.

“Moreover, racist sentiment was openly expressed in New Zealand during this time, even government publications such as the 1921 Census warning ‘the coalescence of the white and the so-called coloured races is not conducive to improvement in racial types’,” Geoff says.

However, some local sport icons helped Indian talent. Eddie McLeod, then captain of the New Zealand Hockey team, was the first coach of Wellington Indian Sports Club.

“Given this background, and with many of the young Indian men working long hours for low pay, it would have been very easy to have put sport in the ‘too hard’ basket. But they pressed ahead and formed clubs, despite the opposition of some of their elders,” Geoff says.

The oldest of the clubs, Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, were founded in the 1930s and inspired, in part, by Indian hockey teams, which toured New Zealand in 1926, 1935 and 1938.

From the first clubs and inter-club games the national association was founded in 1962. It now oversees a cricket tournament, golf tournament, an Under-23 men’s and women’s hockey tournament and Queen’s Birthday tournament, which attracts approximately 25 teams in three codes: hockey, netball and soccer.

Many Indians who played in these tournaments have since gone on to achieve representative honours at provincial and national level.

Geoff is impressed that all of this has been achieved on a voluntary basis, which is a “remarkable achievement at a time when many sports operate on a professional basis”.

The book  is published by the New Zealand Indian Sports Association which celebrated its 50th jubilee this year.