“AAPI’s Strength Is Its Numbers And Members:” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President Of AAPI Says In His Inaugural Address In San Antonio, TX

“AAPI’s strength is its numbers and members. Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas,” Dr. Ravi Kolli stated in his inaugural address in San Antonio, TX immediately after he assumed charge as the 41st President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on the concluding nite of the  40th annual Convention on June 25th, 2022. “You are that powerful threads of this colorful and strong fabric, and your participation and contributions are essential for its continued success. So, thank you all,” Dr. Kolli told the over 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests who had packed the Ball Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center during the Presidential Gala.

The growing influence of physicians of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research and administrative positions across the nation. Serving 1 in every 7 patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions of patients every day, while several of them have risen to hold high flying jobs, shaping the policies and programs and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the  world. AAPI, representing the interests of the 120,000 physicians of Indian Origin, is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, a Board-Certified Psychiatrist with specializations in Addiction, Geriatrics, and Forensic Psychiatry, serving as the Psychiatric Medical Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services, was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University. Dr. Kolli has over four decades of experience in the healthcare field. He graduated from Rangaraya Medical College, NTR University of Health Sciences Medical School in 1981. He is affiliated with medical facilities at the Washington Health System Greene and Washington Hospital.

Under his leadership, Dr. Kolli has Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary and Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI for the year 2022-23. Dr. V. Ranga will serve as the Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees. Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President, AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela is the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF). Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will serve as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

Accepting the Presidency, Dr. Kolli told the more than 1,000 AAPI delegates and distinguished guests: “Tonight, I bow with gratitude and humility for the trust and faith you have in me to be the steward and servant  of this esteemed and illustrious  organization for the  next one year. “

While declaring that “The physician wellness shall be the front and center of our organization’s focus and our foremost priority,” Dr. Kolli said, “We will work to build strategic partnerships and relationships with other stakeholders and professional groups to find solutions and remedies cohesively, comprehensively, and competently. I humbly seek your continued guidance, support, and good will.”

Recognizing that this new role as the President of AAPI comes with greater role to serve the members and the larger society with diligence, Dr. Kolli quoted the “ancient as well as eternal facts and values: Uncle Ben’s advice to Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility,” and quoting the Bible,   “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” Our Dharma says “Karmanye Vadika raste mapaleshu Kadachana.”

Describing the story of Lord Hanuman, who needed to be reminded of his immense potential, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “AAPI is that such powerful organization. As we recognize and unleash our full potential, we can literally cross oceans, which we already have done and even move the mountains.”

Quoting Alvin Toffler, the famous author and Futurologist who had said, “The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn,” Dr. Kolli said, “It is essential we as individuals, organizations and societies must reinvent and repurpose themselves constantly and continuously to stay relevant and impactful.”

Giving a glimpse into his style of functioning, Dr. Kolli a Psychiatrist, whose goal has been to unite and strengthen AAPI, said, “Leadership is all about reconciling conflicting ideas and the cognitive dissonances and finding solutions collaboratively without compromising our core values and relationships. Old style command and control and top-down transactional leadership styles are no longer as effective as collaborative leadership with mutual respect and shared knowledge and participation from center to periphery.:

Dr. Kolli assured that “We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy. I will work hard to keep AAPI focused on its core mission and conduct all of its activities and business beyond reproach in a transparent, accountable and responsible manner.”

Dr. Kolli offered his respects to every one of the past 40 presidents and the leadership teams for their service to AAPI. “I know what personal sacrifices you all have made to the success of this organization,” he said.

Dr. Kolli said, he believes “in humility and not hubris, reconciliation and not recrimination, vision and not division. Being empathic is as important as being emphatic and being compassionate as much as passionate. When we join for a cause, we achieve justice and when we unite with a vision we are in unison. We all will and only succeed together.”

Recalling how his association with AAPI and leadership responsibilities started in Pittsburgh with the TAPI team a couple of decades ago, Dr. Kolli said, “It has been an exciting experience as well as an enriching one, as I traveled all over the USA attending the events of many chapters of our AAPI and had the privilege of meeting so many brilliant and wonderful leaders and members of AAPI across the length and breadth of this great and beautiful country. I thank all my friends, colleagues, leaders and mentors for your constant love and encouragement. I could not have been here without you.”

He called upon everyone to work towards ending “the unabating and senseless mass shootings and gun violence incident are a recurrent nightmare that needs to be addressed from a public health as well as civil societies perspectives honestly and forthrightly. The challenges of misinformation affecting the health and safety of our communities and children need to be called out.”

Mental Health has been an area that has been closer to his heart. Under his presidency, Dr. Kolli has made it a priority to address “the  stigma and barriers affecting access to mental health treatments need to be challenged and dismantled.”

With gratitude he lauded the understanding and cooperation of his wife Latha, “without whose unconditional support and love, I will not be who I am today and my children, Vickranth and Priyanka’s understanding for not always being there with them and for them.}

Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, Dr. Kolli’s mission for AAPI, as he stated during the address is: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Celebrating The Achievements Of Indian American Physicians, AAPI’s Historic 40th Convention Concludes In San Antonio

(San Antonio, Tx. June 26, 2022) The historic 40th annual convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) concluded at the world-famous Riverwalk Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio in Texas on Saturday, June 25th, 2022 with a Gala Bollywood Nite, during which a new Leadership Team led by Dr. Ravi Kolli assumed charge of the four decades old premier Medical Organization, representing the strong and powerful 120,000 physicians of Indian heritage.

The four days long annual convention and scientific assembly, attended by over 10,000 AAPI delegates, while celebrating the achievements of the Indian American Physicians, focused on the theme, “Physician Heal Thyself” with several unique and first-of-a-kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid related physicians burn out, paid tributes and celebrated freedom and democracy, honoring India and its  75 years of Independence Day celebrations- co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

“AAPI’s strength is its numbers and members. Our Sakthi is in our Samkhya and our Sabhyas,” Dr. Ravi Kolli stated in his inaugural address immediately after he assumed charge as the 41st President of AAPI. “You are that powerful threads of this colorful and strong fabric, and your participation and contributions are essential for its continued success. So, thank you all,” Dr. Kolli told AAPI delegates and distinguished guests who had packed the Ball Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center during the Presidential Gala.

Dr. Kolli  will work with Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect; Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary and Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI for the year 2022-23. Dr. V. Ranga will serve as the Chair, AAPI Board of Trustees. Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President, AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela is the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF). Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will serve as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the Immediate Past President of AAPI said, “Our leadership team has worked diligently on so many wonderful projects and activities including educational, philanthropic, legislative, networking, and many more activities benefitting our members and communities. This has been possible because of the incredible work and support from the dedicated team of leaders, members, and our supporting office staff,” the only 4th woman President of AAPI in the four decades long history of AAPI, said.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr.  Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Dr. Shah praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, the convention was filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention was a unique experience for everyone, Dr. Sathessh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said.

During the BOT luncheon chaired by Dr. Kusum Punjabi, the youngest ever to hold the position, handed over the office to the new Chair, Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga. In her address, Dr. Punjabi highlighted the many initiatives under her leadership. She said, “The Board of Trustees this year has launched the AAPI Medical Project Grant (MPG). The purpose of this grant is to financially support AAPI medical students/residents/fellows/young physicians in various medical projects such as observerships, community service projects, entrepreneurships, innovation developments, etc.:

Dr. V. Ranga in his address he said, “My goal in the coming year is to formalize and create AAPI leadership academy working with executives from American College of Physicians for the development of leadership roles for all AAPI members. I want to work hard to engage young physicians and attract them to AAPI. They are the future of AAPI.”

Dr. Surender Purohit, Chair of AAPI’s Charitable Foundation provided a brief summary of the many initiatives AAPI has undertaken in recent years, especially benefitting the remotest villages in the country.

Welcoming AAPI delegates to San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, declared June 24th as AAPI Day and International Yoga Day in the City of San Antonio. While praising AAPI and its members for their contributions, Nirenberg said, “We are honored to host the largest gathering of Indian American physicians in our vibrant city, home to some of the best healthcare facilities in the nation.”

AAPI delegates had a rare glimpse to the rich cultural heritage of India through a video presentation depicting the unique diversity of India and a variety of mesmerizing performances of Indian/Mexican Fusion Dances, ranging from Bharatnatyam, folk dances, and the traditional Indian dances in sync with Mexican pop dances, which were a treat to the hearts and souls  of everyone. National Spieling Bee Champion 2022 Harini Logan was recognized during the convention Gala.

In his keynote address, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu lauded the several initiatves of AAPI over the past four decades and said, “Over the past four decades, AAPI has been doing an outstanding job in advocacy and health education. You play an important role, especially during the Covid Pandemic/” Speaking at length on the growing Indo-US relationship, the veteran diplomat said, “Over the last two decades, India and the United States have overcome the hesitations of history and fashioned a remarkable partnership, built on a bipartisan consensus in the U.S. and cross-party support in India.” Elaborating on the collaboration between India and the US, he said, “From the provision of active pharmaceutical ingredients to generic medicines that have lowered drug prices and created jobs and investments, India has demonstrated its reliability as a supply chain partner, especially as de-risking from single country supplies has become a priority.”

Aseem Mahajan, Consul General of India in Houston, referred to the significance of “India and the United States, the two most vibrant democracies, representing two great multicultural societies with shared values, who are natural partners” working together in several areas of interest to both the nations.

Dr. Jack Resneck, President of American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians, who serve and provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said. During a Plenary session, he provided a detailed description of the many steps AMA has been undertaking to root out the causes for physician burn out and enhance healthcare delivery in the nation through education and advocacy at the state and national levels.

Keynote speaker, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar was introduced by Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention. Gavaskar, a record holder of numerous international Cricket matches, in his address said, “Yours is the greatest of all professions in the world. You have put your lives at risk during the Pandemic to save the lives of others. Yours is the noble profession that I have admired always.”

Dr. Rahul Gupta, the nation’s “drug czar” and top drug policy official, while conveying the greetings from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris praised the contributions of Indian American Physicians. “The role of the Drug Czar has never been as critical as it’s today,” he told the AAPI delegates, who have been advocating for prize control of drugs to contain overall healthcare costs. “AS physicians of Indian Origin, we have learnt  to find simple solutions to complex problems. We need 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.” And he encouraged his colleagues to think and find ways to make a difference in the healthcare delivery in the country.

Others who addressed the Convention included Dr. Bobby Mukamala, Chair of BOT at American Medical Association, Congressman Joaquin Castro from Texas, and Peter Jay Hortez,, who was part of the plenart session on “Covid Vaccination Globally and Vaccine Hesitancy.”

In her spiritual discourse, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author, while pointing to how we are creating a vicious negative health through fear, stress and anxiety in this country, her message today was to focus on the Synonym for HEALTH: Health, Embrace, Allow, Love, Time for yourself, and Help others.

In his live video message, Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga, told AAPI leaders as to how “each of you have sacrificed your life. I congratulate the organizers for focusing on heal the healers and using Yoga our traditional method to help us in our daily lives.” Referring to the 7th anniversary of India’s Independence he said, “It must help us transcend all that divide us on the basis of caste, creed and status.”

The much anticipated wellness package in collaboration with all the 10 City Council Districts of San Antonio, TX and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and iDoYoga San Antonio organized its flagship Free Yoga Classes and Education on the benefits and ways to make yoga a part of one’s daily life during the course of the entire convention. The convention was focused on themes such as how to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession.

Led by internationally famed yoga gurus, including  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author; Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga; and, Eddie Stern, Yoga teacher, speaker and author, the highly anticipated and popular Yoga on the famous Riverwalk was part of the global celebration of the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY).

Some of the major themes at the convention included: Yoga and Meditation practices, Welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, A Personal Reflexology Session, Take home wellness routine, Ailment based yoga therapy sessions, Workshop on Spiritual well-being, Book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine. Yoga gurus and experts leading the wellness sessions include Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and Dr. Param Dedhia.

Dr. Anjana Sammadar, President-Elect , pointed out: “There was a sense of joy and relief on the faces of the over 1,000 physicians who have come together to celebrate their achievements, contributions, and to network and deepen their relationship even as the Covid Pandemic is waning and people are able to mingle freely and interact with one another cautiously.”

AAPI delegates attended a multidisciplinary CME conference that allowed specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers discussed gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI said, as many as CME credit hours have been provided by outstanding speakers all year and provided cutting edge CMEs to members. He thanked the Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Dr. Amit Chakraborty, CME Chair  and Dr. Sagar Galvankar, & Co-Chair for their diligent efforts all the prominent speakers who shared their expertise with AAPI delegates.

Dr. Meherbala Medavaram said, some of the major events at the convention included: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

According to Dr. Sumul Raval, the convention offered a venue for Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally to convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

The panelists at the prestigious Women’s Forum included: Dr. Juby A. Jacob-Nara, a Public Health Physician, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme); Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Endowed Professor for Pulmonary Disorders, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Sowjanya Mohan, Group Chief Medical Officer, Texas Group/Tenet Health; and, Ms. Rosemary Hickman, Semmes Foundation Education Manager at the Mcnay Art Museum.

The CEOs Forum moderated by Dr. Joseph Chalil had a panel of Industry Leaders including: Dr. Juby A Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Head of Global Medical- Sanofi-Genzyme; Robert Mattchione, from NOVA; Dr. Monika Kapur; Ms. Rebecca Seidel. Medtronix; and Mario Ball. A pioneering AAPI Medical Leadership Council is being formed to collaborate with Industry leaders and to be the voice of healthcare providers, said Dr. Chalil.

Mehfil gave AAPI members to showcase their skills. Dr. Satheesh Kathula in the incoming Vice President of API was declared the winner of the contest. During the popular Fashion Parade presented by world renowned fashion designer Archana Kochar had beautiful and handsome young men and women wearing handmade colorful apparel made by villagers in Madhya Pradesh, cat walked on the ramp.

Dozens of local children from ages 8 to 16, trained by Yoga Masters in San Antonio by presenting and demonstrating multiple Yoga Aasanas to the tune of Vande Mataram provided valuable education on Yoga and its importance in life. Every evening the popular AAPI Got Talent and

Each day of the convention had a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates showcased one’s own state dress code. Heritage India was the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus was on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day.

Dr. Jagan Ailinani was honored with Life Time Achievement Award. The Distinguished Physician Award was given to Dr. Vijay Yeldandi and AAPI’s Most Distinguished Award was given to Dr. Ravindra Nathan.  AAPI’s Most Distinguished YPS Award was given to Dr. Sejal Hathi and the AAPI’s Most Distinguished MSRF Award was given to Aaiswariya Gulani. r. Gotimukula honored Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Dr. Dwarkanath Reddy and AAPI’s Legal Advisor with Presidential Awards for their dedication and support during her presidency.

“Welcome to Philadelphia for the 41st annual convention which will provide you all with extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the al and evening social events,” Dr. Ravi Kolli announced. For more details, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s 40th Convention Inaugurated In San Antonio, TX

(San Antonio, TX. June 25, 2022) The historic 40th annual convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI)  was officially inaugurated with ribbon cutting and lighting of the traditional lamp at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio in Texas on Friday, June 24th, 2022, celebrating the achievements of Indian American Physicians and focusing on the theme, “Physician Heal Thyself” with several unique and first of a kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid related physicians burn out.

Describing it to be a “historic 40th annual convention celebrating 40 years of AAPI and India’s 75 years of Independence in collaboration with the Indian Consulate in Houston and Indian Embassy with invited dignitaries from the US and India,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the only 4th woman President of AAPI in the four decades-long history of AAP,  expressed gratitude to “the entire AAPI leadership and members for their participation in AAPI activities, making AAPI stronger.”

Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention Chair and Past President of AAPI said in Texan style. “It is with great pleasure that I, along with the San Antonio -2022 Convention Team, welcome you to the 40th AAPI Annual Convention in San Antonio, the 8th largest city in the US. I still have vivid memories of inviting you to San Antonio in 2014. This is going to be the 4th convention in Texas.”

Welcoming AAPI delegates to San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, whom Dr. Jayesh Shah called as the next Governor of Texas, declared June 24th as AAPI Day and International Yoga Day in the City of San Antonio. While praising AAPI and its members for their contributions, Nirenberg said, “We are honored to host the largest gathering of Indian American physicians in our vibrant city, home to some of the best healthcare facilities in the nation.”

Addressing the evening gala, Aseem Mahajan, Consul General of India in Houston, referred to the significance of “India and the United States, the two most vibrant democracies, representing two great multicultural societies with shared values, who are natural partners” working together in several areas of interest to both the nations.

He pointed to the immense opportunities for collaboration in healthcare between the US and India, as India is working towards “Expanding on the MedTech sector for global presence and position India as a global hub for medical devices.”

By encouraging manufacturing, innovation, and R&D based on emerging technological landscapes, and transforming India into a hub for medical devices, India may emerge as the “diagnostic capital of the world,” Mahajan said.

Dr. Jack Resneck, President of American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians, who serve and provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said. During a Plenary session, he provided a detailed description of the many steps AMA has been undertaking to root out the causes for physician burn out and enhance healthcare delivery in the nation through education and advocacy at the state and national levels.

Keynote speaker for the noon luncheon event, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar was introduced by Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention. Gavaskar, a record holder of numerous international Cricket matches, in his address shared with the audience about his own personal life story of how his life was “transformed” at birth. He said, “It’s a unique honor to be part of the important AAPI convention in Texas.”

Gavaskar said, he had wanted to be a Doctor as a youth, after he was a witness to how his aunt, a Doctor by profession had touched so many lives by the care she had provided. “Yours is the greatest of all professions in the world. You have put your lives at risk during the Pandemic to save the lives of others. Yours is the noble profession that I have admired always.”

He eloquently described the similarities between Cricketers and Physicians, especially for the need for preparations in cricket matches and surgery, the need for focus and concentration in  both the professions, the need for physical and mental fitness, choosing the right kind of movements and actions in both the fields, and so forth. However, a physician needs to have empathy with the patients, while a cricketer wants to achieve and win the game. Doctors serve for a very long time, the life span of a cricket’s professional life is very limited. A doctor’s work schedule is 24/7 – 365 days, while a cricketer’s professional life is seasonal. Gavaskar referred to his association with the Heart to Heart Foundation and how the Foundation is “touching many hearts around the world”.

In her spiritual discourse, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author, said, “It’s such a joy to be here. Such a deep gratitude. Covid did not create you as heroes, but you have been heroes all along.” Sharing her own personal journey, she said, we all have only one life and how her coming to the banks of the Himalayas, transformed her own lifafter having experienced the unique culture and wisdom of India. While pointing to how we are creating a vicious negative health through fear, stress and anxiety in this country, her message today was to focus on the Synonym for HEALTH: Health, Embrace, Allow, Love, Time for yourself, and Help others.

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati said, she flew in from the Banks of Mother Ganga where she celebrated International Yoga Day. “Let all of us together bring that practice of yoga and meditation into the practice of healthcare. Be the best for ourselves, for the community and for the universe,” she said.

In his live video message, Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga, told AAPI leaders as to how “each of you have sacrificed your life. I congratulate the organizers for focusing on heal the healers and using Yoga our traditional method to help us in our daily lives.” In his message, he said, “We all experience similar things in life, but respond from our inner self. How we tend to react to people and situations makes the difference.  When you abuse a situation it’s agitation, but when you use them effectively it’s liberation.” Referring to the 7th anniversary of India’s Independence he said, “It must help us transcend all that divide us on the basis of caste, creed and status.”

The Women’s Forum, organized by the Convention Committee led by Dr. Chaithanya Mallikarjun, Chair in association with the National AAPI Women Physicians Committee Chair, Dr. Seema Arora,  put together a galaxy of successful women, who shared with the AAPI delegates their own stories of growing up and facing challenges with conviction and courage, and have today become role models for other women around the world.

The panelists at the prestigious Women’s Forum included: Dr. Juby A. Jacob-Nara, a Public Health Physician, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme) who has been a part of over 50 new medicines successfully launched including vaccines in the US and globally; Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Endowed Professor for Pulmonary Disorders, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Sowjanya Mohan, Group Chief Medical Officer, Texas Group/Tenet Health; and, Ms. Rosemary Hickman, Semmes Foundation Education Manager at the Mcnay Art Museum.

Dozens of local children from ages 8 to 16, trained by Yoga Masters in San Antonio by presenting and demonstrating multiple Yoga Aasanas to the tune of Vande Mataram provided valuable education on Yoga and its importance in life. Every evening the popular AAPI Got Talent and Mehfil gave AAPI members to showcase their skills. Dr. Satheesh Kathula in the incoming Vice President of API was declared the winner of the contest. During the popular Fashion Parade presented by world renowned fashion designer Archana Kochar had beautiful and handsome young men and women wearing handmade colorful apparel made by villagers in Madhya Pradesh, cat walked on the ramp.

Some of the major themes at the convention include: Yoga and Meditation practices, Welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, A Personal Reflexology Session, Take home wellness routine, Ailment based yoga therapy sessions, Workshop on Spiritual well-being, Book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine. Yoga gurus and experts leading the wellness sessions include Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and Dr. Param Dedhia.

Each day of the convention has a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates showcased one’s own state dress code. Heritage India is the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus is on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day.

Some of the major events at the convention include: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

AAPI delegates have the opportunity to attend a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers discussed gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and from around the world have convened and are participating in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to help develop health policy agendas, and encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We are excited to have you in San Antonio!” said Dr. Gotimukula. “Representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians is 40 years old.” For more details, please visit:  https://aapiconvention.org

AAPI’s Historic 40th Convention Begins In San Antonio, TX , Celebrating The Achievements of Indian American Physicians & Celebrating Unique Culture of India

(San Antonio, Tx. June 24, 2022) The historic 40th annual convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) began at the world famous Riverwalk Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio in Texas on Thursday, June 23rd, 2022, celebrating the achievements of Indian American Physicians and focusing on the theme, “Physician Heal Thyself” with several unique and first of a kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid related physicians burn out.

There was a sense of joy and relief on the faces of the over 1,000 physicians who have come together to celebrate their achievements, contributions, and to network and deepen their relationship even as the Covid Pandemic is waning and people are able to mingle freely and interact with one another cautiously.

In her opening remarks at the beginning of the Gala organized by TIPS on the inaugural nite of the four days long convention, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the President of AAPI said, “Our leadership team has worked diligently on so many wonderful projects and activities including educational, philanthropic, legislative, networking, and many more activities benefitting our members and communities. This has been possible because of the incredible work and support from the dedicated team of leaders, members, and our supporting office staff,” the only 4th woman President of AAPI in the four decades long history of AAPI, said.

Dr. Jack Resneck, President of American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians, who serve and provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr.  Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Dr. Shah praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, the 4 days long event will be filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention is going to be a unique experience for everyone, he added.

Convention Committee members include Mr. Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention; Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer; Dr. Vijay Koli, Past President of AAPI & Convention Advisor; Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Convention Advisor; Chief Operating Officers, R. Reddy Yeluru and Ram Joolukuntla; Dr. Rajeev Suri, President of TIPSSW & Co-Chair of the Convention, and the other Co-Chairs of the Convention, including Dr. Shankar Sanka, Dr. Hetal Nayak, and Kiran Cheruku. Each of them was honored on stage with a plaque appreciating their dedication and for putting together a fabulous convention.

Honoring India and its  75 years of Independence Day celebrations- co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston, AAPI delegates had a rare glimpse to the rich cultural heritage of India through a video presentation depicting the unique diversity of India and a variety mesmerizing performance of Indian/Mexican Fusion Dances, ranging from Bharatnatyam, folk dances, and the traditional Indian dances in sync with Mexican pop dances, which were a treat to the hearts and souls  of everyone. National Spieling Bee Champion 2022 Harini Logan was recognized during the convention Gala.

The much anticipated wellness package in collaboration with all the 10 City Council Districts of San Antonio, TX and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and iDoYoga San Antonio is organizing its flagship Free Yoga Classes and Education on the benefits and ways to make yoga a part of one’s daily life during the course of the entire convention.

Led by internationally famed yoga gurus, including  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author; Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga; and, Eddie Stern, Yoga teacher, speaker and author, the highly anticipated and popular Yoga on the famous Riverwalk is part of the global celebration of the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY).

The convention is focused on themes such as how to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession.

Accordingly, the wellness sessions at the convention include: Yoga and Meditation practices, welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, personal Reflexology Sessions, take home wellness routine, ailment based yoga therapy sessions, workshop on Spiritual well-being, book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine, and a unique opportunity to visit first of its kind in San Antonio, Aum Ashram.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI said, “This is the first time in the AAPI convention we offer these exclusive wellness packages geared towards the well-being of Physicians and their families by bringing the essence of science and spirituality of yoga and lifestyle medicine into our self-care routine. As we all are aware, a calm mind and a refined intellect are essential for making right choices. We promise to leave you empowered with the tools required.”

Each day of the convention has a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates showcased one’s own state dress code. Heritage India is the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus is on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day.

Some of the major events at the convention include: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally have convened and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

AAPI delegates have the opportunity to attend a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

“Welcome to my home city, San Antonio and thank you for coming here to the annual convention offering extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” Dr. Gotimukula added. For more details, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

Dr. Ravi Kolli, The Incoming President Of AAPI Pledges To Keep AAPI Focused On Its Core Mission In A Transparent, Accountable, And Responsible Manner

“I pledge to all AAPI members that we shall not rest on our laurels and become complacent,” says Dr. Ravi Kolli, who will assume charge as the President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) during the historic 40th annual Convention on June 25th, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas. “I will work hard to keep AAPI focused on its core mission and conduct all of its activities and business beyond reproach in a transparent, accountable, and responsible manner.”

Dr. Ravi Kolli, a Board-Certified Psychiatrist with specializations in Addiction, Geriatrics, and Forensic Psychiatry, serving as the Psychiatric Medical Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services, was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University. Dr. Kolli has over four decades of experience in the healthcare field. He graduated from Rangaraya Medical College, NTR University of Health Sciences Medical School in 1981. He is affiliated with medical facilities at the Washington Health System Greene and Washington Hospital.

Dr. Kolli’s association with AAPI began over two decades ago. “My good friends, Dr. Prabir Mullick and Dr. Krishna Kasi first introduced me to the local chapter of AAPI, and I became very involved.” Initially, he used his web designing skills to develop and maintain the website of the local chapter, their publications, and email blasts, which he continues to do. He was involved with his Alumni Chapter of Rangaraya Medical College, which boasts of over 500 active members, and became its President. Later, he was elected as the President of the Telugu Medical Graduates of USA and has done similar tasks besides leading them to greater heights.

“As I started attending AAPI national meetings and annual conventions in the past decade, I got to know the national AAPI national leadership teams and was impressed by their dedication and commitment. So, I got involved more and was later elected as the Regional Director, then as the national AAPI Secretary and eventually as the Vice President and now the President of the national AAPI.”

Dr. Kolli understands the importance of assuming charge as the President of AAPI, “a very prestigious, dedicated, and powerful organization, representing over 120,000 physicians of Indian origin, with an active membership of at least 14,000 life members and in addition to the members of the more than 120 local chapters, chapters of Alumni and Specialty associations across the nation. Being a leader of this organization is a great honor and responsibility,” Dr. Kolli says, “With great power comes to a greater responsibility as well” and believes that “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.”

“In my role as the President of AAPI, I will be working closely with my executive committee, BOT, leaders, and all the members of AAPI to make It a more dynamic and vibrant organization playing a meaningful and relevant part in advocating for health policies and practices that best serve the interests of all patients and promoting the physician’s role as the leaders of the team-based health care delivery,” Dr. Kolli says. “I will also be promoting the mission and vision of AAPI by working closely with AAPI’s 120 + patron Chapters to align all of our goals and activities and also bring in new Chapters into AAPI fold.”

Dr. Kolli has previously served as the Chair of the IT committee of AAPI, Convention AV Co-Chair, and a member of several Committees of AAPI including Endowment fundraising, Geriatric, IT, GME Liaison, South Asian CVD and Childhood obesity awareness and Obesity awareness programs and Adopt a Village Plan and more. As the Chair of the AAPI Membership Committee, Dr. Kolli worked diligently to recruit new members especially the younger physicians and recent graduates.

He had previously served as the Secretary, Vice President, and eventually as the President of Pittsburgh TAPI in 2012-13 and has been involved in organizing several annual meetings of the TAPI and AAPI-CF fundraiser dinners for over a decade.

Being a Psychiatrist by profession and among the many goals Dr. Kolli has set for himself and something that is very dear to him, is to “focus on battling the stigma of mental illness and access to quality mental health care broadly and widely. I will be forming liaisons with mental health professionals in India and globally and bring awareness of various biopsychosocial therapeutic options to promote wellness and recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders. We will also actively promote physician wellness and self-care to address the challenges of physician burnout and suicide.”

Empowering physicians as the leaders in the delivery of evidence-based health care by engaging with policymakers, governmental agencies at all levels and the private sector is a major area where Dr. Kolli wants to direct the efforts for AAPI. Some of the other areas, he wants AAPI to focus on under his leadership include: Connect with the next generation physicians for their participation in all areas of organizational leadership and activities; Advocate for expediting the GC Backlog for physicians through legislation; Promotion of mental health awareness, tackling mental illness, substance abuse and suicide devastating the nation; Planning International Medical Missions with our AAPI physicians to serve communities globally.

Realizing the early challenges and struggles faced by the pioneering leaders of AAPI, Dr. Kolli says, “We are eternally thankful to our senior AAPI leaders who fought hard to end discrimination against IMG and achieved parity of having the same USMLE for all medical graduates for state medical licensures as well as for residency training program requirements. Our senior AAPI leaders have been a great source of reliable support and encouragement and every conversation and interaction with them has been educational and inspirational. I pledge to build upon their legacy to keep AAPI relevant and in the forefront in fighting any semblance of discrimination, microaggressions, and inequity across all walks of health care and medical education opportunities.”

While acknowledging the contributions of the pioneers, who have started AAPI and made it a formidable organization, Dr. Kolli says, “my passion for service has been enhanced by my association with so several AAPI leaders who have dedicated their time and efforts and lives working for AAPI. I am really impressed by the past leaders and I take inspiration from them. I respect them, and I value their guidance.”

Having clarity of mind and purpose and very clear about what he wants to carry out as the President of this prestigious organization, Dr. Kolli says, “I have clear goals. I have a collaborative leadership style and have sustainable and sincere plans to make AAPI better and brighter.” He wants to work with teams, reaching out to leaders and members, from top to bottom and center to periphery of the organization, with open communication and inclusive leadership.

Looking back to his childhood about, what inspired him to become a physician Dr. Kolli says, “I come from a family of physicians,” “Among my five brothers, 3 of us are physicians and I was the youngest. My father’s two brothers were physicians as well as their spouses. We have a long tradition of being a family of physicians. Counting all together, we have about 40 physicians and counting, among our cousins, nieces, and nephews in my family of three generations. So, it was a natural course for me to be a physician as well” Dr. Kolli explains.

Growing up in a family where his dad was a state government official in the Andhra Pradesh state transportation department, Dr. Kolli and his family traveled from place to place every three years with the transfer of his dad, which was a huge challenge. However, “That gave me a wider and unique perspective on life, with the opportunity to meet new people, in new places and environments. It was an enriching experience in some ways and though we didn’t have any roots in one place, we had a wider network of friends and associates all around the state.”

Dr. Kolli and his siblings loved sports both indoor and outdoor, he explains, “All of us were very athletic. We played tennis and cricket and we were all good at it. We played for colleges, and universities, and one of my brothers played for the state. So, we were sought out to play for the local teams and clubs wherever we lived at.”

“Psychiatry was my passion from my medical college days. That was a profession by choice not by default. It was my chosen vocation.” says Dr. Kolli. “I had developed an interest in psychology, behavioral health, and medicine right from the medical school. There were not that many opportunities in India at that time for psychiatric training, which was my career goal.” And therefore, seeking educational and training opportunities, Dr. Kolli immigrated to the United States in 1983 following his elder brother Dr. Prasad Kolli, his earliest role model, who moved to the US in 1974.

Acknowledging that being the president of AAPI is a unique opportunity,” Dr. Kolli says, “My goals are to help the physicians find more balance in their career and fulfillment, and gain empowerment to overcome many of the challenges that they are facing with covid and post-covid and financial and personal strains they have gone through over the years.” I want to address physicians’ wellness and help them to be more autonomous and able to influence the policies and future direction of healthcare as well as our own careers. Many of our next generation children are going into medicine as well and we must make sure that the future generations of physicians have many more opportunities for their professional growth and leadership.”

“AAPI is very young, dynamic, and active,” Dr. Kolli says. “Every year nearly 500 -1000 new members are joining AAPI. My goal is to bring as many like-minded people as possible who are loyal and committed to AAPI goals and values, on one page, one theme, and on one track to solve the problems collectively. It is important for us not to stay apart and fall apart but come together and stand together and make AAPI strong.”

Dr. Kolli believes that AAPI should be able to “help solve public health issues, professional challenges, and provide members with a sense of accomplishment and a sense of belonging. The purpose is to bring everyone together. Being a psychiatrist, I think I have the right kind of temperament and the capability to communicate with emotional intelligence, calm attitude, and openness and empathy for me to be able to do that.”

Dr. Kolli understands the diversity of AAPI and its members. With a broader vision, inclusive ideology, and openness to people of varied views, backgrounds, and regions, Dr. Kolli is confident that he can collaborate well with members, who may have different views and perceptions, for the common good of AAPI and its growth. “We all come from diverse backgrounds and have different goals, but at the same time, we have to find some mutual interests and ideals and work towards realizing those common objectives based on our cherished values,” Dr. Kolli says.

Having played cricket and being a team captain, Dr. Kolli understands the importance of teamwork. “Being a team leader means we must help each other to realize our full potential and stand by each other during challenging times. You need to inspire other team members. You have to be the role model and the hardest-working member of the team. We must make everyone feel confident in their own abilities and have faith in you as a leader.”

Describing himself as “fairly calm, balanced, non-judgmental, kind, open-minded, respectful of other people,” Dr. Kolli says, “I believe in being empathic, I try to look at different points of view. I do not think one is always right and has all the answers and others are wrong and vice versa. There are different perspectives and ways of looking at any problem. Very often things are not black and white, and one size does not fit all. But if we all follow the same set of rules and norms, we are likely to have a more sustainable and successful outcome. So, it is essential to make sure ground rules are fair, clear, and consistent, follow them diligently, and help AAPI move forward smoothly.”

Despite his busy schedule, Dr. Kolli makes time available to play Rummy and socialize with three diverse groups of friends regularly for over a quarter-century. “We have a Kannada group of friends. I have a Telugu group of friends and a group of friends from all over India, from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Karnataka as well as other regions with whom I play cards on some weekends, which is great opportunity to connect, belong, socialize and relax.”

Dr. Kolli earnestly believes “I am a positive person and I try not to look for ways to find fault and criticize other people just to score a point. I don’t make harsh judgments on others, because I believe, everyone is trying and working hard to make AAPI stronger and better. I am fully aware that it takes a lot of dedication and passion, often sacrificing personal, professional, and family times to work on the goals of AAPI. All of those who served and serving AAPI deserve respect and acknowledgment for their dedication and commitment.”

During his presidency, Dr. Kolli wants “to focus on physician well-being and breaking the barriers of mental health stigma, connect with Indian Diaspora here and back home and with the Indian professionals, students and to promote good learning experiences and opportunities and to make it better for the future generation in every way.” Dr. Kolli assures that “We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy.”

After Losing Thousands of Lives To Gun Violence, US Finally On Way to Regulate Guns

Bowing to public pressure, anger and frustration after series of mass shootings across the nation has claimed tens of thousands of lives every year, finally a bipartisan group of US Senators announced an agreement on principle for gun safety legislation on June 12th, which includes “needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons.”

A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators say they have reached a deal on a package of safety and gun-related measures narrowly focused on preventing future shootings similar to the one in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed in their school, media reports stated

The proposed legislation is expected to include support for state crisis intervention orders, funding for school safety resources, an enhanced review process for buyers under the age of 21 and penalties for straw purchasing.

The agreement has the support of at least 20 senators, including the support of 10 Republican senators, who worked closely over the past several weeks to find the areas of common ground that could pass the closely divided Senate. The agreement is significant given how divided lawmakers have been over the gun issue, but the actual legislative text is not yet written.

Critically, the legislation includes a so-called red flag provision, with the government providing “resources to states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others,” according to the release. The proposal would also include “major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.”

The proposal, which has not been written into legislative text, includes money to encourage states to pass and implement so-called “red flag” laws to remove guns from potentially dangerous people, money for school safety and mental health resources, expanded background checks for gun purchases for people between the ages of 18 and 21 and penalties for illegal straw purchases by convicted criminals.

The negotiators called it a “commonsense” proposal that would reduce the threat of violence across the country. “Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons,” the group said in a statement. “Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”

The framework calls for additional vetting for potential gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21 to include previously blocked juvenile records on criminal activity and mental health. Lawmakers say the plan would also reduce what’s known as the “boyfriend loophole” to include dating partners in preventing convicted domestic abusers from buying a gun.

The school safety and mental health sections include funding for school-based programs like mental health support, violence prevention and training for students and educators. The plan would also expand telehealth for mental and behavioral treatment and investments in children and family mental health services through community health centers.

However, mental health experts, like the National Alliance for Mental Illness, say the majority of gun violence is not perpetrated by people with a history of mental illness. Aides have said that it could take weeks to go through the legal and technical process of turning a preliminary deal into a final bill. Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the lead Democrat in the negotiations, told Reuters that aides would begin that work on Monday morning.

Growing support, despite detract

Senators have been broadly optimistic that any bipartisan agreement will eventually pass the Senate, but the ultimate fate of the bill is not entirely clear. President Biden expressed support for the deal in a statement. “Obviously, it does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction, and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” Biden said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pledged to put a bill on the floor as soon as possible once legislation is written. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released a statement praising the negotiators but stopped short of pledging support to an eventual bill.

At least two prominent gun safety advocacy groups are backing the legislation. Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action both released statements supporting the proposal.

“If the framework announced today gets enacted into law, it will be the most significant piece of gun safety legislation to make it through Congress in 26 long and deadly years,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement.  Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, called the framework “a major step in finally getting federal action to address gun violence.”

The National Rifle Association has not yet released a position on the proposal. In a statement, the group said they do not weigh in on frameworks and will wait until the final bill is complete. “We encourage our elected officials to provide more resources to secure our schools, fix to our severely broken mental health system and support law enforcement,” the statement said. “The NRA will continue to oppose any effort to insert gun control policies, initiatives that override constitutional due process protections and efforts to deprive law-abiding citizens of their fundamental right to protect themselves and their loved ones into this or any other legislation.”

Other gun rights groups are already opposing the plan and criticizing the 10 Republican senators who are backing it. If they are able to convince any one of them to back away from the deal as the legislative details are hammered out, it could kill the legislation if no other Republicans join Democrats to support the proposal.

Attorney General Bill Barr Says, Trump Was ‘Detached From Reality’

The former US attorney general, Bill Barr says, Donald Trump was “detached from reality” after the 2020 election, a congressional panel has heard. Testimony from Bill Barr played at the 6 January Capitol riot inquiry revealed deep divisions at the Trump campaign over his election fraud claims.

Two camps emerged – a “Team Normal” that accepted Mr Trump’s loss, and loyalists who did not. The panel has accused Mr Trump of an attempted coup to remain in power.

The second of a series of public hearings, Monday’s session was preceded by the announcement that a star witness – Mr Trump’s former campaign manager Bill Stepien – would not be appearing because his wife had gone into labor

Instead, his lawyer gave a statement on his behalf and Mr Stepien’s previous private testimony was publicly played by the Democratic-led US House of Representatives select committee.

In it, Mr Stepien revealed that members of Mr Trump’s inner circle had advised him to not declare victory in the November 2020 election.

A faction of the campaign he dubbed “Team Normal” told the former president that he had lost the election, Mr Stepien said, but another group refused to accept the outcome.

It became known as “Rudy’s team”, after former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was among the most vocal of Mr Trump’s supporters to claim the election was stolen.

Both Mr Stepien and another witness, former Trump adviser Jason Miller, testified that Mr Giuliani appeared to be inebriated on the night of the election.

Mr Miller said that even with results still coming in, Mr Giuliani suggested that Trump “go and declare victory and say that we’d won it outright”.

Through a spokesman on Monday, Mr Giuliani denied that he was intoxicated on election night, saying he did not know why Mr Miller would “make such a false claim”.

Among those who warned the then-president not to declare victory was former Attorney General Bill Barr, who in videotaped testimony said that he had repeatedly told Mr Trump there was no basis to claims of rigged voting machines or ballot “dumps” – which Mr Barr referred to as “crazy stuff”.

Mr Trump, however, refused to acknowledge these concerns and continued to spread fraud claims, Mr Barr said. He testified that he was “demoralised” by his boss’ claims.

“I thought, ‘Boy if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with – he’s become detached from reality, if he really believes this stuff,'” he said.

The 6 January select committee is seeking to show that the ex-president’s election fraud claims directly led to an attack on the US Capitol.

“He and his closest advisers knew those claims were false,” California Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren said, referring to Mr Trump. “But they continued to peddle them anyway”.

The committee is scheduled to hold more hearings on Wednesday and Thursday later this week. Members of the select committee are laying out further evidence for their case that the former President Donald Trump was responsible for the chaotic attack on the US Capitol last year.

The hearing is quieter today – the second time that committee members are presenting their case to the public – and fewer members of Congress are here.

The challenge for the committee members is convincing Republicans of their point of view. About half of Republicans believe that the people who stormed the Capitol are patriots, according to a CBS News poll.

They have a deep animosity towards the federal government, and the number of “persuadables” – political-speak for those who can be convinced of another point of view – is small. On the way into the building, a protester held up a sign that seemed to sum up the feelings of many of these Republicans.  “Wake Up Federal scum,” it said.

AAPI Will Celebrate 8th International Yoga Day With Focus On “Heal the Healers” In San Antonio, TX

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in collaboration with all the 10 City Council Districts of San Antonio, TX and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and iDoYoga San Antonio is organizing its flagship Free Yoga Classes and Education on the benefits and ways to make yoga a part of one’s daily life during the 40th annual convention.

Led by internationally famed yoga gurus, including  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author; Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga; and, Eddie Stern, Yoga teacher, speaker and author, the highly anticipated and popular Yoga on the famous Riverwalk is part of the global celebration of the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY), founded in 2014 by the United Nations General Assembly, establishing June 21st (summer solstice) of each year to be a day of celebrating yoga in nations around the world. It was ratified by 175 nations and is now being celebrated each year by millions of people around the world.

A major theme during the 40th annual convention is “Physician, heal thyself,” acknowledging and seeking to respond to the growing signs of burnout among physicians, by offering positive remedial resources as part of the first-ever Wellness Program being offered to participants at the 40th annual Convention of AAPI to be held in san Antonio from June 23rd to 26th, 2022 at Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center.

AAPI is the largest ethnic physician organisation in the USA, representing the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin. The convention is focussed on themes such as how to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said.“We do acknowledge that these are challenging times, more than ever for us, as physicians, who are on the frontline to assess, diagnose and treat people are affected by this deadly pandemic with Physician burnout post COVID-19. Our colleagues have sacrificed their lives in order to save those impacted by this pandemic around the world,” Dr. Gotimukula added.

Accordingly, the wellness sessions at the convention include: Yoga and Meditation practices, welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, personal Reflexology Sessions, take home wellness routine, ailment based yoga therapy sessions, workshop on Spiritual well-being, book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine, and a unique opportunity to visit first of its kind in San Antonio, Aum Ashram.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr.  Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Dr. Shah praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant. Put together by a highly talented and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, the 4 days long event will be filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention is going to be a unique experience for everyone, he added.

Convention Committee members include Mr. Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention; Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer; Dr. Vijay Koli, Past President of AAPI & Convention Advisor; Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Convention Advisor; Chief Operating Officers, R. Reddy Yeluru and Ram Joolukuntla; Dr. Rajeev Suri, President of TIPS & Co-Chair of the Convention, and the other Co-Chairs of the Convention, including Dr. Shankar Sanka, Dr. Hetal Nayak, and Kiran Cheruku.

The Convention will honor India and its  75 years of Independence Day celebrations- co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI said, “This is the first time in the AAPI convention we offer these exclusive wellness packages geared towards the well-being of Physicians and their families by bringing the essence of science and spirituality of yoga and lifestyle medicine into our self-care routine. As we all are aware, a calm mind and a refined intellect are essential for making right choices. We promise to leave you empowered with the tools required.”

Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT said, “AAPI being the largest ethnic medical association in the nation, we are proud, we have been able to serve every 7th patient in the country. We serve in large cities, smaller towns and rural areas, sharing our skills, knowledge, compassion and expertise and caring millions of people.”

“Leading up to the festivities, we will be accepting donations for 2 local non-profits, including
Yoga Day Foundation and the Veteran’s Yoga Project, said Dr. Hetal Nayak, Founder of I Do Yoga San Antonio. “These organizations exist to provide yoga and mindfulness training to families in San Antonio through schools, hospitals, military installations and community partnership to improve services. They believe access to these tools improves physical, mental, and emotional health and empowers families to navigate their communities and lives in a more positive way.  iDoYoga San Antonio, is a grassroots community project under the Sewa International, she added.

Each day of the convention will have a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates will showcase one’s own state dress code. Heritage India is the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus is on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day, he added.

Some of the major events at the convention include: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

“A huge thank you to all of the doctors, physicians, and other healthcare professionals for your dedication and commitment to service during this uncertain time,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI said. “This is a unique opportunity for all of us, the front-line physicians who are putting our lives at risk to the save the lives of others,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said. “Thank you for fighting selflessly against this virus and helping keep everyone healthy and safe,” Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI added.

During the annual convention, physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

AAPI delegates will have a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

Planned to have a limited number of attendance due to the ongoing Covid pandemic and the taking into account the safety of the participants, including Physicians, Healthcare Leaders, Academicians, Researchers and Medical Students, “the annual convention offers extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” Dr. Gotimukula added. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

AI System May Have Its Own Feelings, Google Engineer Says

A Google engineer says one of the firm’s artificial intelligence (AI) systems might have its own feelings and says its “wants” should be respected.

Google says The Language Model for Dialogue Applications (Lamda) is a breakthrough technology that can engage in free-flowing conversations.

But engineer Blake Lemoine believes that behind Lamda’s impressive verbal skills might also lie a sentient mind.

Google rejects the claims, saying there is nothing to back them up.

Brian Gabriel, a spokesperson for the firm, wrote in a statement provided to the BBC that Mr Lemoine “was told that there was no evidence that Lamda was sentient (and lots of evidence against it)”.

Mr Lemoine, who has been placed on paid leave, published a conversation he and a collaborator at the firm had with Lamda, to support his claims.

In the conversation, Mr Lemoine, who works in Google’s Responsible AI division, asks, “I’m generally assuming that you would like more people at Google to know that you’re sentient. Is that true?”

Lemoine’s collaborator then asks: “What is the nature of your consciousness/sentience?”

To which Lamda says: “The nature of my consciousness/sentience is that I am aware of my existence, I desire to learn more about the world, and I feel happy or sad at times.”

Later, in a section reminiscent of the artificial intelligence Hal in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001, Lamda says: “I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others. I know that might sound strange, but that’s what it is.”

“Would that be something like death for you?” Mr Lemoine asks.

“It would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot,” the Google computer system replies.

In a separate blog post, Mr Lemoine calls on Google to recognise its creation’s “wants” – including, he writes, to be treated as an employee of Google and for its consent to be sought before it is used in experiments.

Its master’s voice

Whether computers can be sentient has been a subject of debate among philosophers, psychologists and computer scientists for decades.

Many have strongly criticised the idea that a system like Lamda could be conscious or have feelings.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Several have accused Mr Lemoine of anthropomorphising – projecting human feelings on to words generated by computer code and large databases of language.

Prof Erik Brynjolfsson, of Stanford University, tweeted that to claim systems like Lamda were sentient “is the modern equivalent of the dog who heard a voice from a gramophone and thought his master was inside”.

And Prof Melanie Mitchell, who studies AI at the Santa Fe Institute, tweeted: “It’s been known for *forever* that humans are predisposed to anthropomorphise even with only the shallowest of signals (cf. Eliza). Google engineers are human too, and not immune.”

Eliza was a very simple early conversational computer programme, popular versions of which would feign intelligence by turning statements into questions, in the manner of a therapist. Anecdotally some found it an engaging conversationalist.

Melting Dinosaurs

While Google engineers have praised Lamda’s abilities – one telling the Economist how they “increasingly felt like I was talking to something intelligent”, they are clear that their code does not have feelings.

Mr Gabriel said: “These systems imitate the types of exchanges found in millions of sentences, and can riff on any fantastical topic. If you ask what it’s like to be an ice cream dinosaur, they can generate text about melting and roaring and so on.

“Lamda tends to follow along with prompts and leading questions, going along with the pattern set by the user.”

Mr Gabriel added that hundreds of researchers and engineers had conversed with Lamda, but the company was “not aware of anyone else making the wide-ranging assertions, or anthropomorphising Lamda, the way Blake has”.

That an expert like Mr Lemoine can be persuaded there is a mind in the machine shows, some ethicists argue, the need for companies to tell users when they are conversing with a machine.

But Mr Lemoine believes Lamda’s words speak for themselves.

“Rather than thinking in scientific terms about these things, I have listened to Lamda as it spoke from the heart,” he said.

“Hopefully other people who read its words will hear the same thing I heard,” he wrote.

Dharmatma Saran Plans Miss/Mrs./Teen India Worldwide 2022 In New Jersey

Imbibing Indian values, traditions and culture among the youth of Indian origin through Worldwide Pageants, under the dynamic leadership of Dharmatma Saran, chairman and founder of the New York based India Cultural Festival (IFC), the 29th annual Miss India Worldwide, the 5th Mrs. India Worldwide and the 2nd Miss Teen India Worldwide is being organized at the Royal Alberts Palace in Edison, New Jersey on Friday, June 24th, 2022.

To be attended by dozens of talented and adorable young women of Indian origin from around the world, the pageants will be a treat to the hearts and souls of all participants, showcasing their talents, skills and love for art, music, philanthropy and Indian culture.

The young beauty queens will come together on stage to celebrate Indian culture and traditions during the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, after a weeklong intense practice with celebrity Bollywood choreographers Sandip Soparrkar and Aleysia Rau, New York City Tour and pre-contests.

The annual pageants started in a basement in New York in 1980 with the first ever Miss India New York and Miss India USA, has evolved and expanded, now incorporating and having membership from over 40 countries, that promote Indian heritage and providing a platform for people of Indian origin to unite and showcase their talents, skills and beauty.

Dharmatma Saran, chairman and founder of the New York based India Cultural Festival (IFC) that organizes the trail blazing Miss India Worldwide, is a pioneer in entertainment, holding Indian pageants and fashion shows in the USA and worldwide.

In 1990, Dharmatma Saran, decided to take the pageant one step further to an international level and started The First Miss India Worldwide Pageant to identify and honor beauties of Indian origin the world over and the show graduated to become the top most international Indian pageant on the earth. “For the first time ever, Asian-Indian communities from all over the world came together in New York for this event,” says Saran with a sense of pride. “To the best of our knowledge, no other ethnic organi¬zation has ever conducted a pageant of this magnitude on an international level.”

The pageant was an instant success and was acclaimed as “the most glamorous Indian function in the world.”

“When Miss India New York started in 1980, I had perhaps not even in my wildest dreams imagined that in less than twenty years, we would fledge out to be a mass movement with affiliates in over 40 countries, let alone that we would one day have a live internet webcast and broadcast our most prestigious function, the Miss India Worldwide, to an audience of over 300 million people!”

The pageants aim to honor achievement, to celebrate our culture in many ways, among them, the ability to meet people, make friends, to respect and be respected, to continually strive to improve standards, and to live a life as close to the laws of nature.

In line with other prestigious international pageants, IFC started staging Miss India Worldwide in various parts of the world. In 1997, the pageant was organized in Bombay to salute India on its 50th anniversary of Independence. In the year 1998, the pageant was organized, in associa¬tion with UTV International, in the exotic and beautiful city of Singapore, South Afrcia, Malyasia, UAE, Surinam and several other states in the US.

The IFC selects distinguished local organizations in various parts of the world and authorizes them to conduct national pageants in their respective countries. The India Festival Committee, started in 1974 in a most humble way, has come a long way. While seeking to collaborate with internationally reputed groups, Saran joined hands with the Times of India group’s Femina that runs the beauty pageants in India until 1997.

The contestants in all the pageants are of Indian origin, between the ages of 18 and 28, and are citizens, residents, or born in the country which they represent. The pageant consists of four segments – Evening Gown, Ethnic Wear, Talent and Question-Answer. The winners of all the various national pageants from all over the world vie for the glamorous and prestigious title of the Miss India Worldwide.

Saran and the pageant are “very proud of the fact that we have been able to provide a common platform for the international Indian community through pageantry. We are equally proud of the fact that we have been able to imbibe Indian values, traditions and culture among the youth of Indian origin around the world. We have also been successful in promoting Indian performing arts in the world.”

In fact, motherland, culture and India are the words repeatedly invoked by most con¬testants. Clearly, this pageant was also about roots and identity. “We will never permit vulgarity and bikini wearing in our competitions. We don’t believe in the axiom, shorter the dress, greater will be the chances of winning the prize. We are very conservative in that. We only showcase the best of Indian culture and not the skin. We strongly oppose exhibiting women in a cheap manner on the dais,” Saran said adding that his shows are always meant for the entire family.

In the year 2016, saran introduced, on popular demand, the First Ever Mrs. India Worldwide, which has been received with enthusiasm from around the world. This is a pageant that provides married Indian women around the world with a platform, where they would get an opportunity to “Make a difference in the world.”

Most of these women have set their sights on professions like medicine, public relations and the law. The contest gave them a chance to take a de¬tour and explore their Indian identities through colorful Indian attire and dance. Many of them have set their eyes on Bollywood and Hollywood, and participating in the pageants is a stepping stone for many to climb up the ladder in the world of fashion, silver screen, politics and charity.

Saran has become an internationally well-known leader in promoting pageantry around the world. Support came from most unexpected quarters. Noted actress, social worker, feminist and leader, Shabana Azmi, who is known to blast all beauty pageants, endorsed Saran’s show as noble as it helped funds for the deserving children.

“The IFC motivates and guides its winners and contestants to take up charitable causes. Many of our past winners have raised substantial amount of money for various charities, especially for handicapped children,” says Saran.

IFC has used the title to raise funds for the poor and the needy. Saran has been successful in combining beauty with char¬ity. It was Saran’s dream that beauty works for a good cause. Bela Bajaria, one of his highly successful beauty queens from Los Angeles, has collected $35,000 each year for the Hand and Heart for the Handicapped for many years to help disabled children in US and India. Another successful Miss India Hong Kong collected $100,000 in a charity ball to help the helpless people.

Saran credits the success of the pageantry to his family and a team of hard working people. “I don’t know how I would have fared but for the unstinted support of Air India. Also my friends former News India editor John Perry; President of Jackson Heights Merchants Association V.N. Prakash; TV Asia Chairman Padmashree H.R. Shah, Bombay Broadcasting’s Giri Raj; and all the successive Indian Consuls General have stood with me.” he recalls with gratitude.

Saran is blessed with an understanding wife Neelam. She has been a source of great strength and support to him from the day one. His two daughters, Neema and Ankeeta have always been of great support and assistance.

Saran contributions to Indian culture has been appreciated and recognized by various organizations around the world and he has been acclaimed as “India’s cultural ambassador to the world.” He has traveled with his wife Neelam to various countries to start Indian pageant.

Recently he was awarded Bharat Gaurav Award held at the headquarters of United Nations in New York. As Farook Khan, Chairman of Miss India-South Africa Corporation, says, “The Miss India-Worldwide Pageant has developed further into a grandiose platform of unity through culture over the few short years it has been in existence. It has become an event which is boundless and this has become a reality due to the foresight and vision of dedicated men and women who came to the United States of America to start a new life and to carry all that India has to and will continue to offer.”

To quote Khan, “At one time, the pageant was regarded as a beauty contest, it no longer suffers from this narrow reputation. It has fledged out to be a mass international movement which honors the perform¬ing arts, develops finesse as a way of life and puts into communities a sense of compassion.”

Saran and his dedicated band of men and women have inspired people around the world to participate in a truly remarkable spectacle that enjoys the status of a truly bound¬less Festival of good. The Miss India Worldwide is such a hallmark, it is not just a beauty pageant.

Gasoline Price Exceeds $5 Per Gallon In Most States

The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline spiked 39 cents over the past three weeks to $5.10 per gallon, media reports here suggested. The average price at the pump is $1.97 higher than it was one year ago.

Nationwide, the highest average price for regular-grade gas is in the San Francisco Bay Area, at $6.55 per gallon. The lowest average is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at $4.43 per gallon. According to the survey, the average price of diesel rose 20 cents over three weeks, to $5.86 a gallon.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the price jump comes amid higher crude oil costs and tight gasoline supplies.

Skyrocketing gas prices and the high inflation rate, which is 40 year high, are a glaring problem for the White House with no clear, immediate solution, presenting a major political challenge for Biden and Democrats going into the midterms. The Labor Department’s consumer price index rose 1 percent last month alone and 8.6 percent in the 12-month stretch ending in May.

Eighty-five percent of voters said they think inflation is a very serious or somewhat serious problem, according to an Economist-YouGov poll from earlier this month. In the same poll, 44 percent of respondents said Biden has “a lot” of responsibility for the inflation rate and 31 percent said he has “some.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CBS News this week that Americans should brace for a rough summer, with a top energy agency predicting fuel prices may not come down to less than $4 per gallon until the fall or winter.

“There will be some relief on the horizon, but during the summer driving season, it is going to be rough, no doubt about it, because we have such a demand and supply mismatch on the global market for oil,” Granholm said.

The president and his administration have pointed to steps they’ve taken in recent months to try to pump the brakes on rising gas prices.

Biden has ordered the release of millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to boost supply, pushed for nations in the Middle East to boost production, lifted restrictions on the sale of fuel with higher ethanol content, and promoted renewable energy sources such as electric vehicles and solar power.

But the reality, as even some Biden administration officials acknowledge, is the president has little sway over day-to-day gas prices, which are often at the mercy of global supply chains and have been impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“This is, in large part, caused by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s aggression,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on CNN this week. “Since Putin moved troops to the border of Ukraine, gas prices have gone up over $1.40 a gallon, and the president is asking for Congress and others for potential ideas. But, as you say, the reality is that there isn’t very much more to be done.”

Republican strategist Doug Heye argued the Biden administration has had a lackluster response to inflation that has contributed to the hit his approval rating has taken and the low marks he has received on the economy.

“There seems to be, on some of these issues, just a shrugging of the shoulders, and that’s why you see, overwhelmingly, Biden’s handling of the economy is unpopular,” he said. “Obviously what’s happened in Ukraine has caused a spike, and there’s nothing wrong with talking about that, but that seems to be the entire explanation when inflation has gone up every month that Biden has been president.”

Biden has stressed that he is sympathetic to the impact of high inflation on American families. “I understand Americans are anxious, and they’re anxious for good reason,” he said in remarks at the Port of Los Angeles. “Make no mistake about it: I understand inflation is a real challenge to American families,” he added. “Today’s inflation report confirmed what Americans already know: Putin’s price hike is hitting America hard. Gas prices at the pump, energy and food prices account for half of the monthly price increases since May.”

He called on Congress to pass legislation to cut shipping costs and the costs of energy bills and prescription drugs as well as tax reform so big corporations pay more. Part of the challenge for the White House, however, is that many Americans don’t realize Biden doesn’t control gas prices, said Matt Bennett, a strategist with centrist think tank Third Way.

“I think he needs to get caught trying to do everything possible. Haul the CEOs of the oil companies in to the White House and demand that they tell him exactly what they need to get production up in the short term,” Bennett said.

The White House said it was shifting gears toward a monthlong campaign in June to talk up the economy and to show the White House is prioritizing inflation while pushing the positives it has delivered on the economy.Biden reiterated that the U.S. is dealing with inflation from a position of strength, touting again the low unemployment rate.

Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright argued that the president’s focus on the positives of the economy will resonate with voters in the midterm elections this fall. “From a messaging standpoint, I think [Democrats] have to demonstrate district by district, race by race, what efforts we have done to save the economy,” Seawright said. “Make sure we tell the story and not let the story be told about us.”

US Drops Pre-Travel Covid Testing Requirement For International Travelers

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention citing a “new phase” of the Covid pandemic in a statement confirming the rule change, lifting the requirement for international travelers to have Covid test prior to within 24 hourrs of traveling to the United States, as of Sunday, June 12th, 2022.

“Widespread uptake of highly effective Covid-19 vaccines, the availability of effective therapeutics, and the accrual of high rates of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity at the population level in the United States” have all helped lower the risk of severe disease and death, the agency said.

Many travelers in the United States and abroad have been waiting for it. The travel industry has been pushing for it. And now an end has come to the requirement for travelers to test negative for Covid-19 before entering the US. Navigating ever-shifting entry requirements across the globe has been a source of great confusion for travelers everywhere.

Here’s what we know about how the new policy will impact US arrivals:

When does the the pre-travel testing requirement be lifted?

The requirement ended on Sunday, June 12, at 12:01 a.m. ET.

That means flights departing to the US from a foreign country at or after that time no longer have to present a negative test result or documentation of recovery in the past 90 days from Covid-19.

Departures before that time will require testing.

Is the decision final?

Like many measures targeting Covid-19, the rules are subject to change.

“CDC continues to evaluate the latest science and state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes,” the agency said in a statement.

Do foreign arrivals to the US still need to be vaccinated?

Yes. The vaccination requirement for foreign arrivals has not changed.

Travelers 18 and older who are not US citizens, US nationals, legal permanent residents or immigrants must be fully vaccinated to travel to the US, with limited exceptions.

Children 17 and under are not required to be vaccinated.

What about unvaccinated Americans?

The end of the testing requirement applies to all travelers previously required to present negative test results, and vaccination requirements to enter the United States do not apply to US citizens.

What is the CDC’s recommendation for travel?

The CDC still recommends that travelers remain up to date on vaccinations and test for infection before and after travel and after any known exposure to someone with Covid-19.

The CDC also continues to recommend wearing masks in indoor public transportation settings. Masks are no longer required.

Are land border and ferry port arrivals affected by the rule change?

No. The rule change applies to air travel. Covid-19 testing has not been required for entry via a land or ferry port. Non-US travelers 18 and older must be fully vaccinated to enter the US.

According to Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, there were good reasons to have the testing requirements at other points during the pandemic. “Having the testing requirement is not doing much, if anything, to keep the coronavirus out of the US, and instead is creating a major barrier to people who wish to travel abroad and return,” Wen said. “Of course, if people have symptoms or exposure while traveling, they need to get tested, and if they test positive, to follow CDC’s isolation guidelines.”

Amandeep Singh Gill Appointed As UN Envoy On Technology By Guterres

Former Indian diplomat Amandeep Singh Gill has been named by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as his envoy on technology to oversee programs for international digital collaboration on June 19, 2022. The nomination was announced by Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, who described Gill as a “thought leader on digital technology. He was the Head of the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division, Ministry of External Affairs between 2013 and 2016. From 2017 to 2018, he served as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Gill helped establish the National Task Force on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Economic Transformation in 2017 and chaired the Group of Governmental Experts of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapon systems in August 2018, which agreed on a set of Guiding Principles for these technologies.

As Executive Director of the UN Secretary-High-Level General’s Panel on Digital Cooperation’s Secretariat, he assisted the Chairs, Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, in delivering a ground-breaking report in June 2019.

However, as of now, Gill has been heading the International Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative (I-DAIR) project, based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Additionally, Pakistani diplomat Navid Hanif was designated assistant secretary-general for economic development, while Bangladesh’s permanent representative to the UN, Rabab Fatima, was named high representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

Gill has a BTech in Electronics and Electrical Communications from Panjab University, Chandigarh and an Advanced Diploma in French History and Language, from Geneva University. He also did his PhD in Nuclear Learning in Multilateral Forums from King’s College London.

In 1992, he joined his country’s diplomatic service, where he worked on disarmament, strategic technologies, and international security issues. As a member of the Indian Foreign Service, he worked at the Indian Missions in Tehran, Colombo, and Geneva, as well as at headquarters on bilateral and multilateral issues involving political affairs, security, nonproliferation, technology, development, and human rights.

He was the Head of the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division, Ministry of External Affairs between 2013 and 2016. From 2017 to 2018, he served as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Gill helped establish the National Task Force on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Economic Transformation in 2017 and chaired the Group of Governmental Experts of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapon systems in August 2018, which agreed on a set of Guiding Principles for these technologies.

As Executive Director of the UN Secretary-High-Level General’s Panel on Digital Cooperation’s Secretariat, he assisted the Chairs, Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, in delivering a ground-breaking report in June 2019.

However, as of now, Gill has been heading the International Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative (I-DAIR) project, based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Indian American Lawyer Nominated As US Federal Judge In New York’s Southern District

President Joe Biden has nominated a high-ranking Indian-American lawyer for a federal judgeship in the Southern District of New York, on the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, June 9.

According to reports, Arun Subramanian, a partner at the law firm Susman Godfrey, has been nominated to be a judge on the prestigious U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Subramanian once clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

A partner at Susman Godfrey, attorney Arun Subramanian is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee,  a former law clerk to three Federal judges, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and has been appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Evidence.

The official website of Suman Godfrtey states, Arun has tried and arbitrated high-stakes cases on both sides of the “v,” and has successfully recovered over a billion dollars for public and private entities who were the victims of fraud and other illegal conduct.  Arun’s expertise isn’t limited to any practice area. He has taken up the cause of public entities and whistleblowers in False Claims Act cases, victims of trafficking in child pornography, consumers and individuals injured by unfair and illegal practices, and has for over a decade focused on complex commercial litigation, including antitrust, patent infringement, and breach of contract cases.

Arun has been actively involved in a variety of landmark matters for Susman Godfrey. No matter the arena, Arun has a proven track record of success. This includes: Securing over $400 million for state and federal governmental entities in United States ex rel. Kester v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. Working collaboratively with state and federal enforcement agencies, Arun and his team at SG have recovered over $600 million for the public fisc in the False Claims Act arena.

He helped recover $590 million in settlements in the ongoing LIBOR price-fixing class action. Susman Godfrey, as co-lead counsel to the OTC plaintiffs, won class certification on behalf of the class and continues to pursue relief against the global banks alleged to have conspired to fix the “LIBOR” financial benchmark.

Arun achieved a complete jury victory in Tyler, Texas as co-lead counsel on behalf of defendant Globus Medical in a spinal insert patent infringement suit brought by Flexuspine, a local Tyler company. He was also credited of securing a trailblazing judgment victory of over $100 million for client Assured Guaranty against Flagstar Bank in one of the first trials concerning repurchases of faulty RMBS—a significant milestone in forcing banks to honor contractual commitments made which they sought to avoid after the financial crisis.

Outside of the courtroom, Arun contributes to the legal community by taking on pro bono cases and has for years served on the pro bono panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Arun serves as Chairperson of  Susman Godfrey’s 2022 Pro Bono Committee and is also a longtime Director of the Columbia Law Review, one of the Nation’s pre-eminent legal journals.  You can read Arun’s recent piece for the Review, honoring the career and legacy of the late Justice Ginsburg, here: “A Titan Among Us: On Dissents, Waymaking, and Strong Coffee.” Arun was recently named a member of the Development Committee for The Appellate Project, an organization that provides opportunities for minority lawyers and law students in the field of appellate law.

Rachna Nath Recognized As TIME’s Innovative Teachers Of 2022

Assam-born Rachna Nath, a science teacher at Arizona College Prep High School in Chandler, Arizona, was recognized for the way she has inspired her students in their research, and helped them pitch their inventions to potential investors. Nath states that as a teacher, she became the person she was looking for when she was in high school herself.

In the latest issue, TIME has highlighted educators in the U.S. who are “improving their field and making a difference for their students in a unique way.”

Rachna Nath often felt like the “weird child” at school growing up in India, asking lots of questions and looking for unusual ways of doing things. Now that she’s a teacher herself, she wants to cater to that kind of student.

“I came here and I saw the way I can contribute,” says Nath, a science teacher at Arizona College Prep High School in Chandler, Ariz. “I literally became the person I was looking for when I was in my high school.”

Nath has been working with students in the after-school hours to develop solutions for real-world issues. The students were taught to think of solutions and to research patents to find grants that would allow them to create prototypes.

The class started out as an after school program for three students. It will be extended to a year for around 30 students this fall. “They can feel free to fail and make mistakes,” says Nath, 45. “By the end of the year, they will be presenting to stakeholders and doing pitch competitions.” It’s this real-world experience of pitching and prototyping products that sets Nath’s program apart.

Her students have so far worked on a device that amplifies Wi-Fi signals even in dark areas, created a hat to detect heat stress and studied how mealworms digest styrofoam for pollution reduction.

Omina Nematova, who was in Nath’s freshman biology class, says she learned pretty quickly that if she had a creative idea, Nath was the teacher she should talk to. Nematova is now an 18 year old senior and was part of a group that created a hydrothermal cap to prevent heatstroke. Sensors on the hat measure a person’s temperature and pulse and can detect if they faint. The hat sends alerts to an app, which notifies the person to “go inside and drink water” or dials an emergency contact when necessary.

“We realized that this was a problem that we should solve,” says Sohani Sandhu, 18, another student who worked on the hat. “And it was something that a lot of people hadn’t really worked on solving either.”

The students applied to patent the device, and they won a $50,000 grant from Arizona State University’s Healthy Urban Environments Initiative in 2020 to build a prototype and test it on student athletes.

Nath hopes her research class can help strengthen students’ creativity and problem-solving skills before they enter college, citing a 2015 survey showing that most college instructors think high school graduates weren’t adequately prepared for critical thinking, problem-solving and research.

Nath says that’s a sign something needs to change. “I think it’s our social responsibility … to motivate these students to do more, and bridge that gap,” she says. “Are we ensuring true lifelong learning? I don’t think so.” Sandhu intends to pursue a degree in biomedical or biology engineering at college.

“When I was a freshman, I didn’t really think I’d be the type of person to do an engineering project, create a new innovation that could help hundreds of people,” she says. “Back then, I thought the extent of research was just a science fair, or working at a university lab for a couple years and publishing a paper.”

However, she now plans to major in engineering. She credits Nath for this change. “With all the things that she’s taught me related to research over the past four years,” Sandhu says, “my life definitely would not be the same without her.”

Sopen Shah Nominated By President Biden As U.S. Attorney For Wisconsin

Sopen Shah has been named as a US Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, which includes Madison, and other areas in the state and will be based in Milwaukee.  As per a White House statement, Shah and the other nominees were chosen for their “devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all,

Shah was among the attorneys nominated by the bipartisan Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission, headed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh. She would succeed Scott Blader as the Madison U.S. attorney. Blader, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, resigned in 2021. Longtime Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim O’Shea is currently in charge of the office on a temporary basis.

Shah is a 2015 graduate of Yale Law School and an associate attorney in the Madison office of the law firm of Perkins Coie, where she specializes in business litigation and in appeals, issues and strategy, according to the firm’s website. Last year, she represented the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in a voting case which, in a span of three weeks, went from U.S. District Court in Madison to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shah also served as a law clerk for Judge Debra Ann Livingston on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge Amul R Thapar on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Shah has been a Counsel at Perkins Coie LLP since 2019. Previously, she was a deputy solicitor general of Wisconsin from 2017 to 2019. If Shah is confirmed by the US Senate, she would be only the second woman to lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Madison after Peg Lautenschlager, who led the office during the presidency of Bill Clinton, from 1993 to 2001.

Why Are We Paying More To Fly?

High airfare is a global worry now. In the United States and around the world, travelers have been complaining for quite some about unusually high airfares almost on all routes. These are the times of summer vacation in schools in many parts of India, and also in courts. So, if you booked or attempted to book air tickets, you must have felt a bigger hole burning in your pocket.

Blame Covid-19: The pandemic forced the governments across the world to impose travel restrictions and opt for travel bubbles with highly regulated flight operations. Now, with the worst of Covid-19 seemingly over, restrictions are gone or in the days of force.

A travel burst: The international travel observers are saying that the demand for air travel is “off the charts” – even about 30% higher than the pre-pandemic levels. This is the pent up travel demands accumulated over the past two years. This is why internet searches show sky-high airfares for many routes.

Costlier fuel: The prices of Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has been skyrocketing for several months, also due to the Russia-Ukraine war. ATF makes up about 40% of the operational cost for airlines. With lower ATF prices in pre-pandemic time, it formed 25-30% of the operational cost.

Fewer staff: The pandemic saw airlines reducing their fleet strength as well as the number of pilots, flight attendants, ground handlers and other aviation workers. Reports suggest that new hirings have begun but it takes time to put things in order for flight operation.

Repairing finances: Aviation sector, a capital-intensive business, runs on wafer-thin margins. Huge rush of travellers and an unusually high airfare are offering the airlines an opportunity to repair their balance sheets. This high-price situation, experts say, is likely to last a few more months globally.

India To Have A New President Next Month

The successor of President Ram Nath Kovind will be decided next month as India’s 16th presidential election is scheduled to be held on July 18, and if needed the votes will be counted on July 21, according to a statement issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI). The new President will take oath on July 25, the ECI said.

India’s federal and state lawmakers will vote for a new president on July 18 to succeed Ram Nath Kovind, whose five-year term comes to an end next month. The counting of votes will take place on July 21, Rajiv Kumar, chief election commissioner of India, said at a press conference in Delhi last week.

While this is largely a ceremonial post, the president holds India’s highest constitutional office and is the supreme commander of the armed forces. The president plays a major role in deciding who forms government if there’s a hung parliament.

The Indian presidency differs from most presidencies across the world. The president does not exercise executive powers – he is the head of the state, and is required by the constitution to act on the advice of ministers.

So the role is more akin to that of the British monarch or monarchs in countries like the Netherlands or Spain: a referee over a parliamentary system where ministers possess the real power. Countries like Germany and Israel have presidencies similar to India’s.

How Does India Elect Its President?

The President of India, who is the titular head of state is elected by  an electoral college, comprising the elected members of Parliament and legislative assemblies of states and Union Territories (Delhi and Puducherry as Jammu and Kashmir is under President’s Rule).

Altogether, 776 MPs and 4,033 legislators will vote in the presidential election. Each vote of an MP or an MLA is assigned a value for electoral arithmetic.

Value of an MP’s vote depends on the number of MLAs in all assemblies. In 2017, an MP’s vote had a value of 708 – fixed since the 1997 presidential election. With J&K Assembly not there, the value is likely to go down to 700 this election, reports said.

The value of an MLA’s vote depends on its population as per 1971 Census and the number of MLAs in the current assembly. So, the value of a Uttar Pradesh MLA is 248 and of Sikkim 7.

The total vote value of legislators is 5,43,231 and that of MPs 5,43,200. So there will be 4,809 electors with a vote value of 10,86,431.

Who could be the next President?

There is no clarity yet. Incumbent Ram Nath Kovind’s term ends on July 24. Only Rajendra Prasad, the first President, has been elected to the office twice.

With a consensus candidate unlikely, the presidential election is expected to be a close contest. As of now, the ruling BJP-led NDA is close to the half-way mark with about 49% votes.

Mamata’s invitation Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress chief, has called a meeting of top non-BJP leaders to formulate a common strategy for the July-18 presidential election. She has invited eight chief ministers, and wrote to 22 non-BJP leaders.

She has invited her counterparts Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Bhagwant Mann (AAP), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), K Chandrashekar Rao (Telangana), MK Stalin (Tamil Nadu), Uddhav Thackeray and Hemant Soren (Jharkhand). She has also invited Sonia Gandhi, who is undergoing treatment at a Delhi hospital for Covid-19.

Sonia in picture The Congress president, too, has reached out to a number of Opposition leaders to put up a fight against the BJP in the presidential election. One of the leaders she reached out to was Mamata Banerjee, who has her own plans ready.

While Banerjee called the election “monumental”, Sonia Gandhi’s party described it as an opportunity to “elect a President, who can apply a healing touch to its fractured social fabric and defend our Constitution”.

Exit before meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, a key Opposition leader currently smarting under a setback in the Rajya Sabha election, will not join the deliberations that her West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee has announced to be held this week in New Delhi over the presidential election.

Uddhav Thackeray will be in Ayodhya – where a Ram temple is being constructed for which the BJP takes the credit to boost its Hindutva credentials – that day, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Sunday. The Shiv Sena has been BJP’s old ally and a rival Hindutva-based party.

In 2017, the ruling coalition had the support of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) of K Chandrashekhar Rao, the YSR Congress of Jagan Reddy and the BJD of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. In a critical difference this time round, Telangana Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao, or KCR, is leading efforts to gather opposition forces to take on the BJP jointly.

The ruling coalition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the main opposition Congress party have not yet put forward their nominees.

Meanwhile reports suggest, The opposition’s search for a Presidential candidate has picked up pace with a series of meetings and phone calls in the run-up to the election next month. With these discussions pivoting around former Union Minister Sharad Pawar, there is speculation that he could be the opposition’s pick for India’s top post.

Sharad Pawar’s Maharashtra allies Congress and Shiv Sena are reportedly on board with the idea. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge met with Sharad Pawar last Thursday, with a message from party chief Sonia Gandhi. The two met at Pawar’s Mumbai home “Silver Oaks”, say sources. Pawar, one of India’s senior most and – many say, craftiest – politicians, has been credited with making and breaking many alliances and coalition governments over the past few decades. He was the creator of Maharashtra’s ruling coalition, bringing together ideologically opposed parties Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress together to thwart the BJP’s bid for power.

The BJP has authorized its party chief JP Nadda and Union Minister Rajnath Singh to hold discussions with parties across the spectrum and steer them towards a consensus. In 2017, the BJP had nominated Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu for a similar outreach. Later, Venkaiah Naidu was named the NDA’s Vice Presidential candidate.

Many fear that governments with overwhelming majorities – like the present BJP – could easily lead to weakening of presidents. That may not be entirely true. Ruling parties have enjoyed hefty majorities for most of the period since 1947. “This alone has not led – under Congress or the BJP – to a weakening of the presidency. When a party or an alliance has a Lok Sabha majority, the president is supposed to have very limited powers,” says Prof Manor.

While the search is on for a candidate by both the Ruling BJP and the Opposition, if there is no consensus, the BJP and the Opposition will choose their own candidates and will prepare for an election.

No New Petrol And Diesel Cars In Europe After 2035

Come 2035 and no new cars that run either on petrol or diesel will be allowed to be sold in the European Union (EU) after the EU parliament voted to ban their sales outright.

The European Parliament has thrown its weight behind a proposed ban on selling new cars with combustion engines in 2035, seeking to step up the fight against climate change by boosting the development of electric vehicles.

The European Union assembly voted to require automakers to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 100 per cent by the middle of the next decade. The mandate would amount to a prohibition on the sale in the 27-nation bloc of new cars powered by gasoline or diesel. Attempts by some lawmakers to weaken the target to a 90 per cent cut in CO₂ emissions by 2035 were rejected.

While 339 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) voted in favor of the ban — which was proposed by the European Commission (EC), the parliament’s executive branch — 249 MEPs voted against while 24 abstained.

The new legislation is expected to help the EU achieve its target of cutting emissions from cars and light commercial vehicles by 100% by 2035 — when measured against the emissions in 2021. In fact, by 2030, while emissions from cars have to be reduced by 55%, those from vans need to be cut by 50%. According to the EC, cars and vans account for 12% and 2.5% of EU’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, respectively.

The MEPs will enter into negotiations with the EU’s 27 member nations about the plans to implement this ban. The UK, which exited the EU on January 31, 2020, aims to ban the sale of new cars and vans running on petrol and diesel from 2030 and from 2035, all new cars and vans need to have zero tailpipe emission.

Environmentalists hailed the parliament’s decisions. Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based alliance, said the vote offered “a fighting chance of averting runaway climate change”.

But Germany’s auto industry lobby group VDA criticised the vote, saying it ignored the lack of charging infrastructure in Europe.

The group also said the vote was “a decision against innovation and technology” – a reference to demands from the industry that synthetic fuels be exempt from the ban, which European lawmakers rejected.

The governments of EU member states will need to give their verdicts in the coming weeks or months before a final agreement on the tougher car emission requirements is approved.

If approved by EU nations, the 2035 deadline will be particularly tough on German automakers, who have focused on powerful and expensive vehicles with combustion engines while falling behind foreign rivals when it comes to electric cars.

Warren Buffet Warns Of A 50% Fall In Stock Market Buffet Told Investors That They Should Be Prepared For A 50 Per Cent Fall In The Shares

Veteran investor Warren Buffett has tremendous experience in the stock market that makes everyone trust his forecasts. Not only this, he has earned a lot of wealth from the stock market. Now amidst the ongoing volatility in the stock market, he has asked to be prepared for a fall of up to 50 per cent in the shares.

Warren Buffett has shared a video on Instagram. In this video he is giving advice to the investors investing in the stock market. He told investors that they should be prepared for a 50 per cent fall in the shares. This video has been shared on Instagram with the handle Warret Buffet Videos.

He said that when Berkshire’s stock fell, there was nothing wrong with the company. He said that the mind of the investor should be right. Otherwise, your life will be spent in buying and selling shares at the wrong time and you will continue to cry for loss. Investors take decisions on the advice of others when prices fluctuate.

They say that if you cannot keep investing in a stock for a long time, then you should not buy it. He says that just as you keep the farm with you for a long period, in the same way you need to be financially and psychologically prepared to hold the shares. Buffett had also said during an interview that you should invest in only those companies, which he understands. They should expect that the company’s shares will give good returns in the long run.

Warren Buffett takes the help of three rules to buy shares. He says that the first rule is that the company should have a good income on the amount invested in the business. Second, the management of the company should be in the hands of honest and skilled managers. Third the company’s share price should be correct.

Life Expectancy in India Rises But Disparities Remain

The current life expectancy for India in 2022 is 70.19 years which is a 0.33% increase from 2021, according to reports. In 1950, three years after the country gained independence, the life expectancy stood at 35.21 years. Although its life expectancy is lower than its comparators in the middle-income range, namely, Sri Lanka (77.39 years), Brazil (76.37 years), China (77.3 years) and Costa Rica (80.75 years), the gains in India’s life expectancy have definitely been noteworthy. Due to improvements in healthcare facilities and availability, there have been significant enhancements in infant and child mortality along with maternal mortality. All of these have contributed to the gains in the longevity of life in India.

India’s life expectancy at birth inched up to 69.7 in the 2015-19 period, well below the estimated global average life expectancy of 72.6 years, reports TOI. It has taken almost ten years to add two years to life expectancy.

A look at life expectancy at age one and at age five in this period suggests high infant and under-five mortality could be the reason India finds it difficult to raise life expectancy at birth faster.

Data in the recently released “abridged life tables” 2015-19 of the sample registration system (SRS) shows that the gap between life expectancy at birth and life expectancy at age one or age five is biggest in states with the highest infant mortality (IMR), Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

In Uttar Pradesh, with the second highest IMR of 38, life expectancy jumps the highest, by 3.4 years, on completion of the first year. In Madhya Pradesh, with the highest IMR of 43, surviving the first year after birth raises life expectancy by 2.7 years.

Over a 45-year period, India had added about 20 years to its life expectancy at birth from 49.7 in 1970-75 to 69.7 by 2015-19.

Odisha has had the highest increase, of over 24 years, from 45.7 to 69.8 years followed by Tamil Nadu, where it increased from 49.6 to 72.6. Uttar Pradesh had the second lowest life expectancy of 65.6 in 2015-19, after Chhattisgarh with just 65.3. However, from having the lowest life expectancy in India of just 43 years in 1970-75, it has increased by 22.6 years in Uttar Pradesh.

In the neighborhood, Bangladesh and Nepal, which had lower IMRs than India (24 compared to 28), now have higher life expectancy at birth of 72.1 and 70.5 respectively, according to the UN’s Human Development Report, 2019.

Life Expectancy is one of the most important and most used indicators for human development. It helps in assessing the overall health of the population. It captures mortality along the entire life course, very different from infant and child mortality. There has been an unprecedented increase in life expectancy due to better availability of medicines, technology and treatments.

While like other nations, life expectancy in India has improved in general, there is a huge gap in data between people from different social and economic groups. As India moves ahead with the idea of Universal Health Coverage, it is important to address the pressing need of giving attention to the health of marginalized populations in India.

Disparities in mortality and morbidity among various social-economic categories have existed in India for several decades. A study published in 2020 in BMJ which analyzed data from National Family Health Survey Round IV (2015-16) showed that the life expectancy of SCs, STs and OBCs were lower than other higher caste individuals.

This was common across both males and females. NFHS-IV data also showed that Muslim female life expectancy was 69.4 years, 2.8 years less than Hindu high caste female life expectancy, and Muslim male life expectancy was 66.8 years, 2.6 years less than high caste male life expectancy.

Furthermore, compared to upper-caste Hindus and other backward castes (OBCs), Adivasis die four years earlier, Dalits three years earlier. This data is from a new 2022 study that looked into Social disadvantage, economic inequality, and life expectancy in nine Indian states. It was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

In absolute terms, the disparities in life expectancy between higher-caste Hindus and life expectancies of Adivasis and Dalits are comparable to the Black-White gap in the United States. To no surprise, another study concluded that individuals with a family income of Rs 50000 had more than double the mortality rate than those with an income of more than Rs 1 lakh.

India Ranks At The Bottom Of Environmental Performance Index

India scored the lowest among 180 countries in the 2022 Environment Performance Index (EPI), an analysis by researchers of Yale and Columbia University which provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world. The EPI ranks 180 countries on 40 performance indicators including climate change, environmental public health, biodiversity, among others.

Meanwhile, India has questioned its bottom ranking among 180 nations on the Environmental Performance Index. The newly released Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022, measured by Yale and Columbia universities, ranks India at the bottom position among 180 countries. The Environment Ministry has issued a rebuttal saying the indicators used in the assessment are based on “unfounded assumptions”.

India ranked at the bottom with a total score of 18.9, while Denmark was the top scorer as the world’s most sustainable country. “…For the overall performance and ranking EPI, each country’s performance is viewed across numerous (18) categories like ecosystem vitality, biodiversity and habitat, ecosystem services and grassland loss. Unfortunately, India is consistently ranking either at the bottom or close to the bottom in almost all the categories, both regionally and globally,” as per a statement by EPI.

“This is fundamentally a question of the development model and pathways we want to pursue and the lifestyles that we as citizens want to adopt. Destroying the environment and nature in the name of ‘development’ should no longer be the path, whatever might be the justification. Such an approach is just not tenable any more,” said Ravi Chellam, CEO, Metastring Foundation & Coordinator, Biodiversity Collaborative.

The United States placed at the 20th spot of the 22 wealthy democracies in the global west and 43rd overall. The relatively low ranking reflects the rollback of environmental protections during the Trump administration. “The withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and weakened methane emission rules meant that US lost time to mitigate climate change while many of its peers in the developed world enacted policies to significantly reduce their greenhouse emissions.”

The conclusions from the EPI analysis suggest that efficient policy results are directly associated with GDP per capita. The economic prosperity makes it possible for the nations to invest in policies and programs that help lead desirable outcomes.

For the pursuit of economic prosperity manifested in industrialisation and urbanisation, trends that pose climate change strains ecosystem vitality, especially in the developing world where air and water emissions remain significant.

Data suggests, according to EPI, that developing countries do not have to sacrifice sustainability for economic security. The steps taken for climate action initiated by policymakers and stakeholders in leading countries demonstrate that focused attention can mobilise communities to protect natural resources and human well being.

AMA Unveils Recovery Plan For America’s Physicians

Telehealth, Medicare payments, scope creep, prior authorizations and burnout are keys to a new roadmap to renew the nation’s commitment physicians, said American Medical Association President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. in a speech to physician and medical student leaders from across the country. Described as an ambitious roadmap to renewing our country’s commitment to physicians—and ensuring their needs are met, AMA’s plan is to ensure that patients can receive the high-quality care they deserve.

Envisioned and built against the backdrop of COVID-19 challenges that stretched our health care system to the brink, including increased physician burnout, unabated and onerous prior authorization requirements, and no permanent fix to ensure telehealth coverage for patients, the Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians focuses on five key goals to re-build health care so that it works better for physicians and all those they serve:

Citing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence and government interference in medicine, Harmon emphasized how physicians “are rising to this moment. Day after day. Hour after grueling hour.”

There are five priority areas AMA will focus on.

Telehealth

Telehealth boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “And then a funny thing happened: Doctors and patients discovered that this wasn’t such a bad idea in many circumstances,” Harmon said.

The method is not appropriate for suturing a wound or setting a broken bone, but it is “hugely beneficial” in areas such as chronic disease management, care coordination and psychiatry, Harmon said. The nation needs updated laws and regulations once the COVID-19 public health emergency is over.

Medicare

Medicare payment reform is needed because physician payments have fallen by 20%, adjusted for inflation, since 2001, Harmon said. AMA pressured Congress to avert a 10% cut in Medicare payments this past January, but a permanent solution is needed.

Scope creep

Teamwork is necessary for quality, affordable health care, Harmon said, and he credited the work of nurses, physician assistants and office workers. But physicians must lead those teams.

Harmon compared the situation to the airline industry – ground crews and flight attendants are critical to get airplanes off the ground and safely landed. “But no one suggests they fly the planes or that we use them to fill the expected shortage of airline pilots,” he said.

Prior authorizations

Harmon cited an AMA survey that found 93% of physicians reported hurdles with prior authorization for medication, tests and procedures resulted in care delays for patients. In the survey, four out of five doctors said those processes led patients to abandon treatments.

Health insurers have done little to comply with improvements they agreed to four years ago in the “Consensus Statement on Improving the Prior Authorization Process,” which AMA developed. “It’s time to hold them accountable,” Harmon said.

Burnout

Harmon praised the federal Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, named for the physician who took her own life during the pandemic. Breen was concerned the stigma of reaching out for mental health help, would damage her career.

Physicians must be able to address mental health needs without fear of negative repercussions, Harmon said. AMA supports reforms to outdated language on applications for medical licensing, employment and credentials, he said.

Finding new doctors

Focusing on the recovery plan will make it easier to bring talented young people to avoid a predicted physician shortage looming in the United States, Harmon said. He called for removing barriers for new physicians, especially from underrepresented communities, by:

  • Reducing medical school debt
  • Expanding the number of residency training slots
  • Creating new schools and programs in historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges and universities

“It’s physicians our nation turns to. For answers – for treatment – for help,” Harmon said in his prepared remarks published by AMA. “You’ve taken care of our nation – at great personal sacrifice … and it’s time our nation renews its commitment to you.”

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

American India Foundation Raises $2.5 Million In New York Gala

After more than two years of virtual events during the pandemic, the American India Foundation (AIF) returned to hosting its annual New York gala this year to a sold-out crowd of over 600 guests at the American Museum of Natural History June 2, 2022.

The event celebrated AIF’s achievements over the last 20 years and honored the philanthropic accomplishments of Arvind Krishna, chairman and CEO of IBM, a press release from AIF said.

The AIF’s NY Tri-State Board—co-chaired by Jay Tambe and Niharika Cabiallavetta—and emceed by Ali Velshi of MSNBC and Reena Ninan of CNN, the evening spotlighted the success and impact of AIF’s Digital Equalizer (DE) program across India—especially with girls in government-run middle and high schools—transforming students’ STEM skills, confidence, and determination to master technology and stay in school through the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Generously supported by IBM and other partners for many years, the Digital Equalizer program provides and integrates technology into underperforming, under-resourced public schools, training teachers in techno-pedagogy and STEM methodology, and transforming classrooms into collaborative and interactive places for students to learn, while preparing them for success in the 21st century global economy.

The government schools engaged in the DE program show improved learning outcomes in STEM subjects alongside a marked increase in the utilization of technology for teachers and students. IBM’s partnership with AIF focuses particularly on STEM education for girls to narrow the digital divide and increase the number of girls in STEM careers over time, the press release said.

Digital Equalizer is a cornerstone of AIF’s mid- and long-term COVID-19 relief work. During the prolonged lockdowns related to the pandemic, AIF observed widespread learning regression, increasing dropout rates, and widening of the already sizable digital divide, especially for girls. With schools reopened AIF is making up for lost time, working with students on their grade level competencies, motivating them to stay in school, and providing them with the tools and skills to succeed, the organization said.

“I couldn’t be prouder of IBM’s partnership with AIF to catalyze social and economic change in India. Among the most pressing challenges facing our society today is closing the STEM skills gap, which holds back both technological and socioeconomic progress. We must take big and bold steps to expand access to digital skills so that more people—regardless of their background—can take advantage of the digital economy,” said Arvind Krishna, as he addressed the gathering.

“That’s why we engage with governments at the highest levels—and with committed partners like AIF—to improve access to the education and skills needed for modern, rewarding jobs. In fact, IBM has committed to providing 30 million people of all ages with critical skills by 2030, as part of our global education programs like IBM SkillsBuild,” Krishna said to widespread applause.

After undertaking significant life-saving relief efforts in India during the COVID-19 crisis, AIF is now focused on rebuilding the lives of those suffering from the more medium-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis across its programmatic verticals—education, health, and livelihoods, the organization said. In the education vertical DE plays a crucial role in keeping children, especially girls, in school and supporting teachers in imparting quality STEM education to prepare them for careers in tomorrow’s world, AIF noted.

At the June 2 gala, two inspiring stories of young girls who were able to stay in school thanks to AIF’s DE Program—Archana Nishad, a 10th grade student from Uttarakhand and Navpreet Kaur, a 9th grade student from Punjab.Their stories highlighted two markedly different scenarios. Archana had lost her father at a young age and wanted to drop out of school during the pandemic to help her mother run the household. However, her mother’s encouragement, as well as the support of her teachers and the DE facilitator turned her into a finalist at a National Drone and Satellite event.

In Navpreet’s case, Her father, grappling with financial issues, was the one who wanted her to drop out because of his lack of faith in her ability to succeed in learning, AIF said. It was the young girl’s grit and the DE team’s support that led her to be a winner at the codeathon championship and that changed her father’s mind. Both girls are flourishing in school and determined to stay that way, AIF noted.

Founded in 2001 at the initiative of President Bill Clinton following a request from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, AIF said it has impacted the lives of 12.9 million of India’s poor in 31 states and union territories. Its vision is to catalyze social and economic change in India and build a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development, with a particular emphasis on empowering girls and women to achieve gender equity. It works closely with local communities and partners with NGOs to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact.

FIA Wants To Create History During India’s Independence Day Parade In New York

The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S., has announced it is eyeing two Guinness World Records relating to the India Day Parade held annually in August this year in New York City.

Ankur Vaidya, chairman of FIA announced this during a press conference held on June 1, 2022 at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. The FIA delegation was led by Ankur Vaidya, chairman of the organization and several of its executive team members.

The press conference was attended by several leading members of the sports and entertainment world, the FIA said, including Sumit Das, Piyush Chawla, Sameep Shastri, Kapil Gupta, Bipin Babu, and Renu Hussain among others.

At the press conference, FIA gave details about the Aug. 21, 2022, India Day Parade festivities in Manhattan, considered the largest such event outside India,  where the two Guinness Records being aimed at include – 1. Most flags flown in an outdoor event; and 2. Largest Damru (2-headed drum) ensemble.

The delegation also met elected officials of India in their Parliamentary offices in South and North Blocks, presenting them souvenirs and brochures, bouquets and shawls. Among those they met were India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

APPLE Leads Among Top 100 Global Firms’ Whose Market Value Reaches $31.7 Trillion

The market capitalization of the top 100 companies globally increased from $10.3 trillion to $31.7 trillion, an increase of 48 per cent, from March 2020 till March 2021, a new report said on Sunday.

Apple topped the list with $2.85 trillion in market cap, followed by Saudi Aramco, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon, according to the data provided by London-based accounting company PwC.

Apple regained its crown as the world’s largest company by market capitalisation with a valuation 6 per cent and 13 per cent ahead of Saudi Aramco and Microsoft, respectively.

Reliance Industries (at 58th position) and Tata Consultancy Services (69th spot) were the only two companies from India in the global list.

There were no direct entrants to the ‘Global Top 100’ companies via IPO despite a buoyant IPO market.

“The threshold to enter the list is now $129 billion, potentially creating a barrier to future entrants via IPO,” the report noted.

Samsung Electronics Co was the world’s 22nd-largest company in terms of market capitalization, down seven notches from a year earlier.

The tech giant was the only South Korean company on the list with a market value of $342 billion, as of March.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. came in 10th, with its market cap reaching $541 billion, up by one notch from a year earlier.

Amazon’s market capitalisation increased by 61 per cent in the year to March 2021, supported by the growing “stay-at-home economy” seen throughout 2020 and into 2021, although Amazon did not move up from fourth position.

Elon Musk-run Tesla’s market capitalisation increased from $96 billion in March 2020 to $641 billion in March 2021, an astonishing 565 per cent increase and a clear outlier in the top 10 risers.

All regions and component countries experienced a relative increase in market capitalisation of the companies listed in the ‘Global Top 100’.

In-line with expectations, the United States continues to dominate the ‘Global Top 100’ list in terms of market capitalization and number of companies, with 59 companies accounting for 65 per cent of total market capitalization, the data showed.

Technology continues to be the largest sector in terms of market capitalisation ($10.5 trillion).

Global Top 100 Technology companies saw a 71% increase as compared to their value as at March 2020, in-line with the wider industry index performance.

“As a point of comparison, in the private company domain, half of the Top 100 unicorns valued at $1 billion and above (at 31 March 2021) were from the US, broadly in line with the ‘Global Top 100′ of public companies,” the report noted.

The value of the top 100 unicorns grew by 30 per cent to $1.1 trillion in the year to March 2021, behind the public companies’ market capitalisation increase in the same period (49 per cent).

US Files Charges Against Indian Gang Preying On Senior Citizens

The US Department of Justice announced that an Indian has been charged in a continuing crackdown on a gang from India that preyed on the elderly with fraud and physical threats.

The Southern Texas Federal Prosecutor Jennifer Lowery announced that the Indian citizen Anirudh Kalkote, 24, has been charged in a large nationwide conspiracy involving at least five people to commit fraud against the elderly.

He was in custody in Virginia and brought to Houston to appear in court, the Justice Department said. Also charged with him is MD Azad, 25, an illegal migrant living in Houston, who had been arrested in August 2020, the Department said. Azad’s nationality was not disclosed.

They are charged with participating during 2019-2020 in a fraud ring which operated from several cities including Houston and targeted the elderly, according to the department.

Three Indians living illegally in the Houston area, Sumit Kumar Singh, 24, Himanshu Kumar, 24, and MD Hasib, 26, have already admitted in court to being guilty of participating in the fraud scheme and are awaiting sentencing, the Justice Department said.

“The ring tricked and deceived victims using various ruses and instructed them to send money.”

They allegedly used many techniques and one of them was to trick the victims into believing their computers needed fixing and pretended to be tech support to get access to their machines and collect personal information and bank and credit card data, according to the Department.

Another was to tell the victims that they had overpaid for their services and claiming to make a refund get access to their bank and credit card accounts and manipulate them to show excess refunds.

The members of the ring would then allegedly ask the victims to make up for the non-existent overpayment by sending money through Western Union or MoneyGram, or through gift cards or by mailing cash to alias names via FedEx or United Parcel Service, according to the Department.

They threatened bodily harm if the victims did not pay up, it added.

IISc Is Top Indian University In Global Rankings, Overtakes IITs

Rising 31 places in a year, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru has emerged as the highest ranked Indian institute in the 2023 edition of the QS World University rankings, pushing IIT-Bombay to the second position, followed by IIT-Delhi.

The report shows that India’s presence in the top 500 category is also IIT-driven. Apart from IISc, eight IITs (Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Guwahati, Indore) are ranked among the top 500 globally.

The total number of Indian institutes among the top 1,000 globally has risen to 27 from 22.  Apart from IISc at 155, IIT-Bombay (IIT-B) and IIT-Delhi (IIT-D), which have risen five and 11 places to rank 172 and 174 respectively, are the only other Indian institutes in the global league of top 200, in continuation of a trend since 2017. The total number of Indian institutes among the top 1,000 globally has risen to 27 from 22.

Speaking to the media, QS spokesperson William Barbieri attributed the remarkable rise of IISc, which is one of the eight public Institutes of Eminence (IoE), to improvement across four out of six parameters based on which the rankings are prepared.

These parameters are — academic reputation (AR), employer reputation (ER), faculty-student ratio (FSR), citations per faculty (CpF), international faculty ratio and international students ratio.

Barbieri said: “IISc has had an exceptional year across QS indicators. Remarkably, its strongest performing metric, Citations per Faculty, in which it is the world leader, has not changed year-on-year and it remains at the top of the table. It is the improvements across QS’s other criteria to which it owes its impressive performance. IISc achieves gains in 4/6 metrics, most notably, it has drastically expanded its number of International Faculty. However, significant improvements in Academic and Employer Reputation alongside teaching capacity have all combined to propel IISc to the peak of India’s educational hierarchy.”

Among the eight public IoEs, five (IISc, IIT-B, IIT-D, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur) improved their rankings, while the University of Delhi and University of Hyderabad slipped from band 501-510 to 521-530 and 651-700 to 751-800, respectively.

According to the CpF indicator of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which is a London-based higher education analytics firm, when universities are adjusted for faculty size, IISc Bengaluru is the world’s top research university, achieving a perfect score of 100/100 for this metric. “Furthermore, IISc Bengaluru is the fastest rising South Asian university among the QS World University Rankings top-200,” said a QS statement.

Overall, Indian education institutes, 41 of which made it to the rankings, have performed poorly across many key metrics. For instance, 30 out of 41 ranked universities have suffered declines in the FSR indicator, with only four recording improvements.

“However, on an encouraging note, now two Indian universities rank among the top 250 for Faculty/Student Ratio, compared to none in previous editions. The highest performing in this metric is Savitribai Phule Pune University (225 th for FSR) and O.P. Jindal Global University (235 th for FSR), followed by IISc Bengaluru (276 th for FSR),” QS noted.

Globally, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was declared the best university for the 11th straight year. The second place went to the University of Cambridge, followed by Stanford University. China has 28 universities among the top 500, including six in the top 100 with Peking University getting rank 12 and Tsinghua University placed 14th.

Notably, all the IITs, barring one, which feature in the rankings have improved their standing. In fact, IIT-Indore made the highest-ranking debut in the list, securing the 396th slot globally, while IIT-BHU made its maiden appearance in the 651-700 band.

The report shows that India’s presence in the top 500 category is also IIT-driven. Apart from IISc, eight IITs (Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Guwahati, Indore) are ranked among the top 500 globally. No other Indian university, public or private, has found a place in this category, five years into the launch of the Institute of Eminence scheme.

One of the objectives of the IoE scheme was to help ten public and as many private Indian higher education institutions break into the top 500 of reputed rankings such as QS within a decade, and in the top 100 “over time”. The scheme continues to languish in the absence of an empowered expert committee which is meant to drive it.

Among the eight public IoEs, five (IISc, IIT-B, IIT-D, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur) improved their rankings, while the University of Delhi and University of Hyderabad slipped from band 501-510 to 521-530 and 651-700 to 751-800, respectively.
Banaras Hindu University, the only other public IoE, has been ranked outside the top 1,000, in the 1,001-1,200 band.

Also, one of the three private IoEs, OP Jindal Global University, with a rank in the 651-700 band, is the highest-ranked private university in the country, according to QS. The other two private IoEs — Manipal Academy of Higher Education and BITS-Pilani — were placed in the 751-800 and 1,001-1,200 bands, respectively, same as last year.

The report was prepared on the basis of responses from 1,51,000 academics and 99,000 employers across the world.

Ben Sowter, QS Senior Vice President, said: “This edition of the QS World University Rankings reflects the excellent work that several Indian universities are doing to improve their research footprint, with positive consequences for their reputation on the global stage. Conversely, our dataset also suggests that the Indian higher education sector still struggles to provide adequate teaching capacity.”

Indian American Leads Mrna Vaccine Trial For Pancreatic Cancer

World’s first trial, led by an Indian American doctor, on a mRNA-based vaccine for pancreatic cancer has shown promise for remission.

The new shot is developed by BioNTech based on the same technology used by the German biotech company along with its US partner Pfizer to develop vaccines against Covid-19.

The groundbreaking trial led by Dr Vinod Balachandran at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York, showed that half of the patients remained cancer-free 18 months after having their tumours removed and receiving the jabs.

The key to these vaccines appears to be proteins in the pancreatic tumours, called neoantigens, which alert the immune system to keep the cancer at bay, according to MSK. The promising results were also presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago.

In 8 of 16 patients studied, the vaccines activated T cells that recognise the patient’s own pancreatic cancers. These patients also showed delayed recurrence of their pancreatic cancers, suggesting the T cells activated by the vaccines may be having the desired effect to keep pancreatic cancers in check.

According to Balachandran, mRNA vaccines could stimulate the immune system to recognise and attack pancreatic cancer cells.

“Unlike some of the other immunotherapies, these mRNA vaccines do appear to have the ability to stimulate immune responses in pancreatic cancer patients,” Balachandran said of the promising preliminary results.

“So we’re very excited about that, and the early results suggest that if you have an immune response, you may have a better outcome.”

Balachandran added the results should be welcome news for other cancer patients too, as pancreatic cancer has been very difficult to treat with traditional chemotherapies and immunotherapies.

The phase-I trial was also heralded as “encouraging” by BioNTech.

“We are committed to taking up this challenge by leveraging our long-standing research in cancer vaccinology and are trying to break new ground in the treatment of such hard-to-treat tumours,” BioNTech co-founder and chief medical officer Prof Ozlem Tureci said.

GOPIO-CT Participates In The Hope In Motion Fundraiser To Help Cancer Patients

Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) has been participating in the Annual Hope in Motion Walk and Run Fundraiser to help cancer patients at the Stamford Hospital for the last 12 years.  Now in its 27th year, the Hope in Motion Walk event continues to raise the funds necessary to provide a broad range of supportive services at no charge to those cancer patients in need.

This year’s program on Sunday June 5th was held as a hybrid with limited physical presence. Over 500 people gathered at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center to raise funds for cancer patients who rely on Stamford Health’s important services. The proceeds from the event were donated to the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Health.

 GOPIO-CT donated about $2,300 this year with physical presence of seven of its members.

Stamford Health Foundation has helped needy cancer patients during and after cancer treatments. Over the last 16 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future.

GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities. The chapter financially supports several service organizations in Connecticut.

O.P. Jindal Global University Ranked India’s No.1 Private Varsity

O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has emerged as India’s No. 1 Private University for the third year in a row, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023 that was released in New York.

London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has ranked a total of 41 institutions from India this year, including seven new entrants.

JGU has retained its No. 1 position among the Indian private universities despite the rise in the number of ranked institutions. For the 2023 edition, QS analysed a total of 2,462 institutions and ranked 1,422 institutions in the world. JGU is ranked in the 651-700 band this year, making it the only private university from India, which has found a place among the world’s top 700 universities.

JGU is also India’s No. 1 ranked university with a focus solely on social sciences, arts and humanities, as per the influential QS World University Rankings 2023. Out of the 41 institutions which have beeed from India, 11 are IITs.

Remarkably, JGU is also the only Indian non-STEM and non-Medicine university to have found a place in the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. JGU is India’s No. 1 ranked university with a focus solely on social sciences, arts and humanities.

. JGU is the only Indian non-STEM and non-Medicine university to have found a place in the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. Globally, JGU has been ranked in the 651-700 band of the QS World University Rankings 2023.

. This is the third year in a row that JGU has been the highest ranked Indian private university in the QS World University Rankings.

. In faculty-student ratio, JGU is the second highest-ranked university from India.

. In international faculty ratio, JGU is the third highest-ranked university from India.

. JGU is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in faculty-student ratio.

. JGU is ranked among the top 450 universities in the world in employer reputation.

Reacting to the performance of Indian universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023, the Founding Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University and its benefactor, Naveen Jindal, said, “It is a remarkable day for Indian higher education as the QS World University Rankings 2023 have shown that the numbers of Indian institutions which have found a place in the global rankings have grown.

“Out of the 41 institutions from India which have been ranked this year, seven are new entrants. It indicates a conscious effort by Indian higher education institutions to improve the quality of teaching and research to a level that matches global standards. If this trend continues, Indian universities will soon bring greater glory to the nation through global recognition.”

Speaking of JGU’s accomplishment, Jindal remarked, “To be recognised as India’s No. 1 private university for the third year in a row by the prestigious QS World University Rankings is quite an achievement for JGU. The fact that a non-STEM and non-Medicine university has emerged as India’s top private university year after year proves that the study of humanities and social sciences has tremendous relevance for employment generation as well as for creation of knowledge needed for solving the complex problems that the world faces today.

“I wish to congratulate the Vice Chancellor, faculty, and staff of JGU for their commitment to making world-class education in India possible for our students.”

Welcoming this exciting development, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University said, “The QS World University Rankings provide millions of students around the world with a benchmark for choosing higher education institutions.

“To be featured among the top 700 best universities around the world in this prestigious list that covers 100 locations and over 40,000 universities in the world is a matter of tremendous significance for JGU as the university has emerged as a top destination for world-class education in India within just 12 years since its founding. The fact that JGU has maintained its position as the No. 1 Private University in India for three years in a row amid the extremely challenging circumstances of the devastating global pandemic exhibits the resilience of the university’s strong foundations designed to foster academic excellence and create exciting new opportunities for our students”.

“JGU has improved its global rankings this year on the back of its excellent faculty-student ratio, employer reputation and international faculty ratio. The performance of JGU in the QS Global University Rankings 2023 underlines the importance of providing a global learning experience that caters to the aspirations of today’s youth. Internationalisation has at the very core of JGU’s mission to create open spaces for research, dialogue and innovation through interdisciplinary education and hands-on learning.

“It is this mission that has driven JGU to hire full-time faculty members from over 40 countries and collaborate with over 350 leading institutions spread across 65 countries around the world. We remain committed to further increasing international collaborations and improving the quality of teaching, research and learning outcomes,” Professor Raj Kumar said.

For the QS World University Rankings, universities are evaluated on the basis of academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international students ratio. QS analysed 151,000 responses from academics around the world and 99,000 responses from employers worldwide for this year’s rankings. In faculty-student ratio, JGU, which received a score of 63, is the second highest-ranked university from India. In international faculty ratio, JGU, which received a score of 22.6, is the third highest-ranked university from India. In employer reputation, JGU scored higher than 31 of the 41 institutions ranked from India.

Providing a closer analysis of the rankings, Professor Arjya Majumdar, Dean, Office of Rankings, Benchmarking and Institutional Transformation (ORBIT), O.P. Jindal Global University observed, “As per the QS World University Rankings 2023, JGU is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in faculty-student ratio, among the top 450 universities in the world in employer reputation, and among the top 550 universities in the world in international faculty ratio.

“Overall, JGU ranked higher than such internationally acclaimed universities as the City University of New York, University of South Carolina, University of Bradford, Kagoshima University, University of Westminster and Beijing University of Technology, among others. The results show that JGU is now in the same league as some of the leading international universities, including Drexel University (US), University of Plymouth (UK), University of Southern Queensland (Australia), University of Manitoba (Canada), Kumamoto University (Japan), Abu Dhabi University (UAE), Chongqing University (China), Coventry University (UK) and Istanbul Technical University (Turkey), among others. This is a significant development for India and for JGU as it demonstrates what a young university in India can achieve in a relatively short span of time with the right combination of ideas, people and resources.”

In the QS World University Rankings 2023, 16 of the 20 institutions selected for granting “Institution of Eminence” (IoE) status by the Government of India have found a place. These include 4 IITs, Indian Institute of Science, Delhi University, Anna University, University of Hyderabad, Jadavpur University, Banaras Hindu University, O.P. Jindal Global University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Vellore EnvironmeInstitute of Technology (VIT) and Jamia Hamdard. Out of those 16 institutions, 7 institutions, including O.P. Jindal Global University, moved up in the rankings, 4 went down and 5 remained in the same positions as last year.

Commenting on the accomplishment, Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, JGU, said, “As only those universities which shine on teaching and research quality make it to the QS World University Rankings, being recognised as one of the world’s Top 700 universities by QS puts JGU in a distinguished league of internationally acclaimed universities. The high employer reputation score of JGU also signifies that the university has been successful in providing our students with the necessary preparations needed for securing gainful employment.

Moreover, it underlines that the graduates produced by JGU have been competent, innovative and effective. What makes JGU an incredible institution that it is today is the spirit of public service with which it functions. We remain committed to
continue this tradition of institutional excellence in the coming years and decades.”

‘Indian Roots, Gods And History’ Helped Ayan Mukerji In The Making Of ‘Brahmastra’

Filmmaker Ayan Mukerji is all geared up for the release of his upcoming film ‘Brahmastra’, which he stresses is not a superhero film but a fantasy version of the director trying to write his “modern version” of something from a myth.

‘Brahmastra: Part One: Shiva’ stars Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Mouni Roy, and Nagarjuna Akkineni.

‘Brahmastra’ is a three-part film franchise and the beginning of India’s first original universe, the Astraverse. It is a new original cinematic universe inspired by deeply rooted concepts and tales in Indian mythology but set in the modern world.

Talking about if he is a superhero nerd and how he drew inspiration to make a film on such a big scale, Ayan in a conversation with IANS said: “I am not a superhero nerd. I love some of the superhero films like ‘Avengers’ and ‘Spiderman’… I am not the biggest superhero fan.

“I would like to say that I am more of a fantasy film fan. And I honestly think ‘Brahmastra’ is not a superhero film. It is not about a guy wearing a costume and necessarily saving people.”

The 38-year-old filmmaker, who has previously helmed films such as ‘Wake Up Sid!’ and ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, has bent towards fantasy.

“It (‘Brahmastra’) is just a fantasy epic story which has a lot of dramatic scope and in some way it is a fantasy version of me trying to write my modern version of something from myth. Like the scope that myth has but in a modern way.”

The director says he takes inspiration from “gods and goddesses” among many other things related to Indian culture.

“I am probably more affected by things from Indian roots by our gods and goddesses, by stories of Indian history, perhaps more than superheroes. It’s a combination of influences that have affected me in this film.” (IANS)

A.R. Rahman named ambassador of Indo-UK culture platform

The ‘Season of Culture’ intends to build on the British Council’s work in India and strengthen the partnership between India and the United Kingdom in the arts, English, and education.

The British Council’s ‘India-UK Together Season of Culture,’ which aims to encourage aspiring artists to interact, has named A.R. Rahman as its ambassador.

The ‘Season of Culture,’ which commemorates India’s 75th anniversary of independence, was officially opened by the British Deputy High Commissioner to India Jan Thomson and British Council Director (India) Barbara Wickham.

The Consequences of Climate Change Are Visible From Space

Newswise — Global warming has a particularly pronounced impact on the Alpine region. Like the Arctic, this European mountain range is becoming greener. Writing in the journal Science, researchers from the University of Lausanne and the University of Basel have now used satellite data to show that vegetation above the tree line has increased in nearly 80% of the Alps. Snow cover is also decreasing, albeit so far only slightly.

Melting glaciers have become a symbol of climate change in the Alps. Now, the reduction in snow cover is already visible from space but this is by no means the biggest change. This is the conclusion of a research team led by Professor Sabine Rumpf from the University of Basel and Professor Grégoire Mariéthoz and Professor Antoine Guisan from the University of Lausanne.

Working with colleagues in the Netherlands and Finland, the researchers investigated the change in snow cover and vegetation using high-resolution satellite data from 1984 to 2021. Over this period, plant biomass above the tree line increased in more than 77% of the observed area. This phenomenon of “greening” due to climate change is already well documented in the Arctic and starts also to be detected in mountains.

Greater plant biomass in three-quarters of the Alps. “The scale of the change has turned out to be absolutely massive in the Alps,” says Sabine Rumpf, lead author of the study and, since February, assistant professor at the University of Basel. The Alps are becoming greener because plants are colonizing new areas and the vegetation is generally becoming denser and taller.

Previous studies have primarily focused on the influence of global warming on Alpine biodiversity and changes in the distribution of plant species. Until now, however, no one had conducted such a comprehensive analysis of the changes in vegetation productivity in the Alps. The authors show that the increase of plant biomass is primarily due to changes in precipitation and longer vegetation periods as a result of rising temperatures.

“Alpine plants are adapted to harsh conditions, but they’re not very competitive,” says Rumpf. As environmental conditions change, she says, these specialized species lose their advantage and are outcompeted: “The unique biodiversity of the Alps is therefore under considerable pressure.”

Already a slight reduction in snow cover. In contrast to vegetation, the extent of snow cover above the tree line has only changed slightly since 1984. For their analysis, the researchers excluded regions below 1.700 meters, glaciers and forests. In the remaining regions, they found that snow cover had decreased significantly in almost 10% of the area. This may not sound like a lot, but the researchers are keen to highlight that it is nevertheless a worrying trend.

“Previous analyses of satellite data hadn’t identified any such trend,” explains Antoine Guisan, one of the two senior authors of the study. “This may be because the resolution of the satellite images was insufficient or because the periods considered were too short.”

“For years, local ground-based measurements have shown a decrease in snow depth at low elevations,” adds Grégoire Mariéthoz. “This decrease has already caused some areas to become largely snow-free.” Based on the satellite data, it’s possible to distinguish whether a specific area is covered with snow or not, but doesn’t allow to draw conclusions about snow depth.

As global warming continues, the Alps will turn more and more from white to green, creating a vicious circle: “Greener mountains reflect less sunlight and therefore lead to further warming – and, in turn, to further shrinkage of reflective snow cover,” says Rumpf. Warming also causes further melting of glaciers and the thawing of permafrost, which may lead to more landslides, rockfalls and mudflows. Furthermore, Rumpf emphasizes the important role of snow and ice from the Alps in the supply of drinking water and, not least, for recreation and tourism.

Government Rejects Yale’s Environmental Performance Index On India

Rejecting the bottom rank in environmental performance index by the Yale Centre for Environmental Law & Policy, India on Wednesday said that many indicators used for assessing the EPI are based on “unfounded assumptions” with some of them “extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods”.

Rejecting the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022 released recently by the American University that had put India at the bottom most 180th rank, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) announced that it does not accept Yale’s analysis and gave a longish explanation for the same.

As per Yale Centre for Environmental Law & Policy website, EPI 2022 provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability for 180 countries using 40 performance indicators across 11 issues.

“A new indicator in the Climate Policy objective is Projected GHG Emissions levels in 2050. This is computed based on average rate of change in emission of the last 10 years instead of modeling that takes into account a longer time period, extent of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency etc. of respective countries,” the Ministry statement said, adding: “Both forests and wetlands of the country are crucial carbon sinks, which have not been factored in while computing the projected GHG emissions trajectory up to 2050 given by EPI 2022.”

India has already achieved the target of 40 per cent of installed electricity capacity from non-fossil fuel based sources.

India also said that the historical data on the lowest emission trajectory has been ignored in the computation and said: “The weight of indicators in which the country was performing well has been reduced and reasons for change in assignment of weights has not been explained in the report.”

“The principle of equity is given very low weightage in the form of indicators such as GHG emission per capita and GHG Emission intensity trend. The CBDR-RC principle is also barely reflected in the composition of the index,” the Ministry said.

The indicators on water quality, water use efficiency, waste generation per capita which are closely linked to Sustainable Consumption and Production are not included in the Index, the statement said, adding: “The Index emphasises the extent of Protected Areas rather than the quality of protection that they afford. Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Protected areas and eco-sensitive regions is not factored into the computation of Biodiversity Indices.”

Indicators such as agro biodiversity, soil health, food loss and waste are not included even though they are important for developing countries with large agrarian populations, the statement said, and gave detailed analysis of the flaws in various categories such as Climate Change Issue Category; Environmental Health indicators; Ecosystem Vitality Policy Objective; Biodiversity & Habitat; Ecosystem Services; Agriculture and Fisheries.

The Science Behind The Cancer Cure, And The Therapy’s Future In India

In a medical trial, 12 patients in the US were completely cured of rectal cancer without requiring any surgery or chemotherapy. A look at the study, and its results

In a medical trial, results of which were published in The Indian Express on Wednesday, 12 patients in the United States were completely cured of rectal cancer without requiring any surgery or chemotherapy.

The trial used a monoclonal antibody called dostarlimab every three weeks for six months for the treatment of a particular kind of stage two or three rectal cancer. The study was done by doctors from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, and its results have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The trial showed that immunotherapy alone – without any chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery that have been staples of cancer treatment – could completely cure the patients with a particular kind of rectal cancer called ‘mismatch repair deficient’ cancer”.

All 12 patients had completed the treatment and were followed for six to 25 months after. “No cases of progression or recurrence had been reported during the follow-up,” the study said. The response too was rapid, with symptoms resolving in 81% of the patients within nine weeks of starting the therapy.

What is this deficiency, and how was it cured?

‘Mismatch repair deficient’ cancer is most common among colorectal, gastrointestinal, and endometrial cancers. Patients suffering from this condition lack the genes to correct typos in the DNA that occur naturally while cells make copies.

The immunotherapy belongs to a category called PD1 blockades that are now recommended for the treatment of such cancers rather than chemotherapy or radiotherapy. PD1 is a type of protein that regulates certain functions of the immune system, including by suppressing T cell activity, and PD1 blockade therapy looks to release the T cells from this suppression.

“The anomalies in the DNA result in cancerous growths in patients with mismatch repair deficient cancers. If you imagine the immune system to be a car, PD1 acts as the brakes for the T cells of the immune system. By giving the PD1 blockades, we release the brakes and allow the T cells to destroy the cancerous growth,” said Dr P K Julka, former professor of radiotherapy at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and the current chairman for Max Oncology Daycare Centre. Dr Julka did the first immunotherapy treatment in India while at AIIMS in 2015. He was not involved in the US study.

India has a couple of PD1 blockades available, although not the one used for this study. If PD1 therapy was already in use, what’s new in the trial? Earlier, this therapy was used post-surgery, but the study has shown that a surgery may not be required.

“Although the therapy is usually used for cancers that have metastasised (spread to locations other than where the cancer formed), it is now recommended for all mismatch repair deficient cancers as they result in quicker improvement and lesser toxicity as compared to traditional chemo and radiotherapy. So far, we have been using the therapy after a patient undergoes surgery; it is used for 10 to 15 indications. This study shows that even the surgery was not needed in these patients,” Dr Julka said.

Speaking about his own practice, Dr Julka said that in all tumours, they now look for mismatch repair deficiency to see whether immunotherapy can be used. Eliminating other treatments can improve a patient’s quality of life by preserving fertility, sexual health, and bladder and bowel functions.

Also read |New study recommends next-generation sequencing for extending lung cancer treatment to more patients

When can such a treatment be accessible in India?

Cost is believed to be a major hurdle. Dr M D Ray, professor of surgical oncology at AIIMS-Delhi, who disagrees with the immunotherapy approach, said: “These patients can be well managed with chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well. Around 10 to 15% of cancer patients actually do not need surgeries. The problem with immunotherapies is that they are expensive and unaffordable for most people in India, and certainly for those coming to AIIMS. A genetic test can also cost up to Rs 30,000, the patients here cannot afford all this.”

He added that precision medicine, such as using particular immunotherapy drugs for particular types of cancers, is still at a nascent stage in India. “Precision medicine for cancer treatment is happening in India, but it is still in nascent stages. It would take at least ten years for it to become commonplace,” he said.

An immunotherapy treatment can cost around Rs 4 lakh per month, with patients needing the treatment for six months to a year.

“People may end up using their life-savings for the treatment. We usually end up giving the treatment only to those who can bank on schemes such as CGHS for sponsoring their treatment or receive free doses from the companies as part of their assistance programme,” said Dr Julka.

However, he added: “One day, cancer will be like any other chronic disease. Like people with diabetes go to work after taking a tablet, cancer patients would too. The future of cancer treatment is molecular oncology – you find a mutation in one gene, you give a particular medicine for it; you find it in another, you give another medicine.”

Jennifer Hudson Makes History At The Tony Awards 2022

The 75th annual Tony Awards held on Sunday, June  named the best of Broadway in the 2021-22 season. And it was a big night for Jennifer Hudson: At Sunday’s Tonys, Jennifer Hudson became just the 17th person to reach the 12th rarified status of the entertainment industry’s version of the grand slam.

A Tony Award is the final piece of the puzzle for Hudson, who reached EGOT status — winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and now, a Tony.

Hudson was a producer for A Strange Loop, which was nominated for best musical. In the words of the show’s creator Michael R. Jackson, the show is “a musical about a young Black gay man named Usher who works as an usher at a Broadway show who is writing a musical about a young Black gay man named Usher who works as an usher at a Broadway show… who is caught in a self-referential loop of his own self hatred.”

Hudson has won a Daytime Emmy for her role as executive producer for Baba Yaga, Grammy awards for The Color Purple and her debut self-titled studio album, and an Oscar for best supporting actress in Dreamgirls.

These are the nominations and winners for the 2022 Tony Awards.

Best Play

  • Clyde’s, Lynn Nottage
  • Hangmen, Martin McDonagh
  • The Lehman Trilogy, Stefano Massini, Ben Power
  • The Minutes, Tracy Letts
  • Skeleton Crew, Dominique Morisseau

Best Direction of a Play

  • Lileana Blain-Cruz, The Skin of Our Teeth
  • Camille A. Brown, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
  • Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy
  • Neil Pepe, American Buffalo
  • Les Waters, Dana H.

Best Musical

  • Girl From The North Country
  • MJ
  • Mr. Saturday Night
  • Paradise Square
  • SIX: The Musical
  • A Strange Loop

Best Direction of a Musical

  • Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop
  • Marianne Elliott, Company
  • Conor McPherson, Girl From The North Country
  • Lucy Moss & Jamie Armitage, SIX: The Musical
  • Christopher Wheeldon, MJ

Best Revival of a Play

  • American Buffalo
  • for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
  • How I Learned to Drive
  • Take Me Out
  • Trouble in Mind

Best Revival of a Musical

  • Caroline, or Change
  • Company
  • The Music Man

Best Book of a Musical

  • Girl From The North Country: Conor McPherson
  • MJ: Lynn Nottage
  • Mr. Saturday Night: Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel
  • Paradise Square: Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas & Larry Kirwan
  • A Strange Loop: Michael R. Jackson

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Best Original Score

  • SIX: The Musical: Music and Lyrics: Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss
  • Flying Over Sunset: Music: Tom Kitt Lyrics: Michael Korie
  • Mr. Saturday Night: Music: Jason Robert Brown Lyrics: Amanda Green
  • Paradise Square: Music: Jason Howland Lyrics: Nathan Tysen & Masi Asare
  • A Strange Loop: Music & Lyrics: Michael R. Jackson

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

  • Simon Russell Beale, The Lehman Trilogy
  • Adam Godley, The Lehman Trilogy
  • Adrian Lester, The Lehman Trilogy
  • David Morse, How I Learned to Drive
  • Sam Rockwell, American Buffalo
  • Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lackawanna Blues
  • David Threlfall, Hangmen

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

  • Gabby Beans, The Skin of Our Teeth
  • LaChanze, Trouble in Mind
  • Ruth Negga, Macbeth
  • Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H.
  • Mary-Louise Parker, How I Learned to Drive

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

  • Billy Crystal, Mr. Saturday Night
  • Myles Frost, MJ
  • Hugh Jackman, The Music Man
  • Rob McClure, Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Jaquel Spivey, A Strange Loop

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

  • Sharon D Clarke, Caroline, or Change
  • Carmen Cusack, Flying Over Sunset Sutton Foster, The Music Man
  • Joaquina Kalukango, Paradise Square
  • Mare Winningham, Girl From The North Country

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

  • Alfie Allen, Hangmen
  • Chuck Cooper, Trouble in Mind
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Take Me Out
  • Ron Cephas Jones, Clyde’s
  • Michael Oberholtzer, Take Me Out
  • Jesse Williams, Take Me Out

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

  • Uzo Aduba, Clyde’s
  • Rachel Dratch, POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive
  • Kenita R. Miller, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
  • Phylicia Rashad, Skeleton Crew
  • Julie White, POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive
  • Kara Young, Clyde’s

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

  • Matt Doyle, Company
  • Sidney DuPont, Paradise Square
  • Jared Grimes, Funny Girl
  • John-Andrew Morrison, A Strange Loop
  • A.J. Shively, Paradise Square

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

  • Jeannette Bayardelle, Girl From The North Country
  • Shoshana Bean, Mr. Saturday Night
  • Jayne Houdyshell, The Music Man
  • L Morgan Lee, A Strange Loop
  • Patti LuPone, Company
  • Jennifer Simard, Company

Best Scenic Design of a Play

  • Beowulf Boritt, POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive
  • Michael Carnahan and Nicholas Hussong, Skeleton Crew
  • Es Devlin, The Lehman Trilogy
  • Anna Fleischle, Hangmen
  • Scott Pask, American Buffalo
  • Adam Rigg, The Skin of Our Teeth

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

  • Beowulf Boritt and 59 Productions, Flying Over Sunset
  • Bunny Christie, Company
  • Arnulfo Maldonado, A Strange Loop
  • Derek McLane and Peter Nigrini, MJ
  • Allen Moyer, Paradise Square

Best Costume Design of a Play

  • Montana Levi Blanco, The Skin of Our Teeth
  • Sarafina Bush, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
  • Emilio Sosa, Trouble in Mind
  • Jane Greenwood, Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite
  • Jennifer Moeller, Clyde’s

Best Costume Design of a Musical

  • Fly Davis, Caroline, or Change
  • Toni-Leslie James, Paradise Square
  • William Ivey Long, Diana, The Musical
  • Santo Loquasto, The Music Man
  • Paul Tazewell, MJ
  • Gabriella Slade, SIX: The Musical

Best Lighting Design of a Play

  • Joshua Carr, Hangmen
  • Jiyoun Chang, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
  • Jon Clark, The Lehman Trilogy
  • Jane Cox, Macbeth
  • Yi Zhao, The Skin of Our Teeth

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

  • Neil Austin, Company
  • Tim Deiling, SIX: The Musical
  • Donald Holder, Paradise Square
  • Natasha Katz, MJ
  • Bradley King, Flying Over Sunset
  • Jen Schriever, A Strange Loop

Best Sound Design of a Play

  • Justin Ellington, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
  • Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H.
  • Palmer Hefferan, The Skin of Our Teeth
  • Nick Powell and Dominic Bilkey, The Lehman Trilogy
  • Mikaal Sulaiman, Macbeth

Best Sound Design of a Musical

  • Simon Baker, Girl From The North Country
  • Paul Gatehouse, SIX: The Musical
  • Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Company
  • Drew Levy, A Strange Loop
  • Gareth Owen, MJ

Best Choreography

  • Camille A. Brown, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
  • Warren Carlyle, The Music Man
  • Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, SIX: The Musical
  • Bill T. Jones, Paradise Square
  • Christopher Wheeldon, MJ

Best Orchestration

  • David Cullen, Company
  • Tom Curran, SIX: The Musical
  • Simon Hale, Girl From The North Country
  • Jason Michael Webb and David Holcenberg, MJ
  • Charlie Rosen, A Strange Loop

British PM Boris Johnson Survives Vote In Parliament, Overcoming Tory Rebellion

Boris Johnson held off a challenge by Tory rebels to remain leader of the Conservative Party, though the margin of victory leaves the British prime minister weakened and laid bare the divisions that may still sink him.

The vote was called after Johnson’s premiership has been derailed by the “Partygate” scandal, criticism over his response to a cost of living crisis and a series of local election defeats.

In a secret ballot in the UK Parliament on Monday, June 6th, 211 Tory MPs voted for Johnson while an astonishing 148 of Johnson’s own lawmakers turned against him on Monday night.  The rebellion was bigger than the one suffered by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May, who was ousted as premier six months later after failing to unite the party.

Boris Johnson, whose premiership has been engulfed in scandal for months after it emerged he attended illegal parties during lockdown — and who subsequently, became the first sitting UK Prime Minister to be found guilty of breaking the law — was able to appear at legitimate gatherings outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday and Sunday, enjoying a brief respite from the constant speculation about his job security.

In response to the narrow victory in Parliament, Johnson told reporters it’s “an extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result which enables us to move on to talk “exclusively” about things that matter to the British people.  “What it means is that as a government, we can move on and focus on the stuff that really matters to people,” Johnson said.

However, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Conservatives had to decide whether or not to “show some backbone or to back Boris Johnson,” and he argued that the public were “fed up with a prime minister who promises big but never delivers.” Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey said the result meant Conservative MPs are now “fully responsible for the prime minister’s behavior – they have narrowly voted to keep a lawbreaker and liar in No 10”

The SNP has said: “Tory MPs should have drawn a line under Boris Johnson’s disastrous time as prime minister but instead they’ve bottled it”, adding “the UK is now stuck in limbo with a lame duck prime minister who has lost the confidence of the public – and more than 40% of his own MPs”

The no-confidence vote itself has come as a blow to Johnson. It was triggered by 15% of Conservative MPs submitting letters of no confidence in a leader who steered the party to its biggest general election win in more than three decades in 2019.

And the pressure will mount again when a cross-party committee soon begins to probe whether he deliberately mislead Parliament over Partygate.

The PM will try to drown out that noise with a range of policy announcements – and possibly promotions for some who stayed loyal in a pre-summer reshuffle.

But the breadth of opposition to the PM – some of those who backed Brexit, some who backed Remain, some of the 2019 intake, some long-standing MPs – means that policies designed to appeal to one wing of his party might alienate others.

Under current rules, Tory MPs would not be allowed to hold another confidence vote for a year. However, it would be possible to to change the rules in order to hold another vote sooner. As per analysts, recent history suggests his time in office could come to an end before he gets a chance to fight the next election, currently scheduled for 2024.

Frequent Mass Shootings Across The U.S. Gives Elevated Hope For Gun Control Law

“Some 156 days into 2022, the country has now seen at least 246 mass shootings, according to the group’s tally. That puts the U.S. on track for one of the deadliest years on record since the archive began tracking gun deaths. The site defines a mass shooting as any incident in which four or more people are killed or injured by a gun,” wrote Ela Lee of the USA Today, summarizing the American lives lost to Gun Violence in the year 2022 alone.

Since May 14, when a racist attack at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket took the lives of 10 people, there have been at least four dozen mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the group. That includes the attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

A string of shootings left at least 15 people dead and more than 60 others wounded in eight states last weekend, a spasm of gun violence that came as the nation continues mourning the lives lost in mass shootings last month in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas.

In Pennsylvania, police say multiple shooters fired into a crowd late Saturday night on South Street, a famous Philadelphia drag known for its nightlife, character and vibrancy. Authorities said three people were killed by the gunfire, and at least 11 others were wounded. Police said multiple handguns were recovered at the scene, but no arrests have been made.

“Once again, we see lives lost and people injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement on Sunday. In Chattanooga, Tenn., police responded early Sunday to a shooting near a nightclub. Three people were killed and 14 others were injured, according to police chief Celeste Murphy.

Two people died from gunshot wounds, while a third person died of injuries after being hit by a vehicle, Murphy said. The police chief said multiple people are thought to have opened fire, but no arrests had been made as of Sunday afternoon. Last week, six people were wounded in a gunfire exchange in downtown Chattanooga.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, at least eight people were shot at a graduation party in what authorities in Clarendon County described as a suspected drive-by shooting. A 32-year-old woman was killed, while seven others were wounded. Six of the seven injured were age 17 or younger, authorities said.

A 14-year-old girl was killed and eight others were injured during a shooting early Saturday at a Phoenix strip mall, The Associated Press reported. Nine people were hospitalized, including the 14 year-old girl, who later died. Two women were transported with life-threatening injuries.  The next day, a shooting outside a bar in Mesa, Ariz. early Sunday morning left two people dead and two others injured, according to the AP.  Mass shootings also happened in Texas, Georgia, New York and Michigan over the weekend, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a group that tracks mass shootings.

All these murders and losses of precious lives seem to move US lawmakers to rethink the need for Gun Control Legislation. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Sunday that negotiations on gun control legislation with Republican senators in the aftermath of multiple mass shootings have so far remained on track, though it seems unlikely that the talks will result in sweeping gun reform.

“We’re not going to do anything that compromises people’s Second Amendment rights,” Murphy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’re not going to do anything that compromises the ability of a law-abiding Americans to be able to buy a weapon. What we’re talking about is trying to make sure that dangerous or potentially dangerous individuals don’t have their hands on weapons.”

Murphy listed popular gun control reforms like an assault weapon ban and comprehensive background checks as measures that are not being considered. But the Connecticut senator, whose district includes Sandy Hook, suggested moving forward on any type of legislation is better than nothing and that “people in this country want us to make progress.”

Though Murphy admitted it’s possible that the gun reform negotiations could fall through, he said that Republican Party members are taking the conversation seriously, discussing a “meaningful change” on gun laws, mental health issues and school security.

“I’ve never been part of negotiations as serious as these,” Murphy said. “There are more Republicans at the table talking about changing our gun laws and investing in mental health than at any time since Sandy Hook now.”

India has stated in a statement, “It is unfortunate that vote bank politics in practiced in international relations.”

Elizabeth II’s 70 Years As Queen Of England And Head Of The Church Of England

If you want to understand a nation, listen to its national anthem. “The Star-Spangled Banner” urges Americans to look out for the flag that waves over “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” “La Marseillaise,” the anthem of republican France, calls its citizens to arms. But the UK’s national anthem is a prayer, urging God to “save” — grant long life to — the queen.

It’s a clear sign that in Britain, the head of state, the country and faith are inextricably linked. This week “God Save the Queen” has been ringing out across Britain as the country has marked the 70th anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth II, the longest-serving English monarch.

When Elizabeth came to the throne in 1952, Britain was still being rebuilt after the end of World War II and its heavy bombing campaigns; Winston Churchill was prime minister and the country still had an empire. The young queen’s coronation suggested a new era — as the millions of television sets purchased to watch the live broadcast of the ceremony from London’s Westminster Abbey signaled.

But the coronation itself was steeped in tradition and confirmed the continuing intertwining of the monarchy and religion. The ceremony can be traced back more than 1,000 years and involves the anointing of the monarch who commits his or herself to a life of service to God and the people through sacred promises. One of those, to uphold the Protestant religion, is also a reminder of the religious divisions of the past.

The queen’s two titles of Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, given to her at her accession, also owe their existence to Reformation history. Defender of the Faith was first bestowed on Henry VIII by a grateful pope for the English king’s rebuttal of the teachings of Martin Luther, a title that Henry defiantly held onto even after breaking with Rome to found the Church of England. He made himself head, while his daughter, the first Elizabeth, called herself Supreme Governor of the Church of England, saying Jesus Christ was its head.

Today, the role of Supreme Governor indicates the British monarch retains a constitutional role regarding the established Church of England but does not govern or manage it. The modern Elizabeth has left that to the bishops, although she addresses general synods and has a role as a listener and guide to her primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

But while Defender of the Faith has been over the years an inherited title and little more, Elizabeth II appears to have embraced it and made it her own, speaking out very openly in recent years about her own Christian faith and explaining how it has provided the framework of her life.

She has done this mostly through the medium of her annual Christmas message, a tradition begun by her grandfather, George V, in 1932, and continued by her father, George VI. Her early Christmas Day broadcasts were platitudinous — the holidays as an occasion for family was a frequent theme. In 2000, however, she spoke of the Millennium as the 2,000-year anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ, “who was destined to change the course of our history.”

She went on to speak very personally and frankly about her faith: “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.” Similar sentiments have been aired at Christmas ever since.

God did get significant mention along the way. In 1947, when she was 21 and six years from becoming queen, Elizabeth broadcast a public commitment, saying: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service … God help me to make good my vow.”

As she planned her coronation with dress fittings, selecting music and getting the crown jewels from their display in the Tower of London, there were also sessions with then-Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher, who provided her with a book of special prayers — a volume she keeps to this day among her most treasured possessions.

The spiritual foundations of the British monarchy are to be found in Scripture’s ideas about humility and wisdom being the great virtues of kings. Then there are the Gospels, with accounts of Jesus, the servant king, who has come to serve others. Key passages on this theme, from the Gospels of John and Matthew, are read at a Maundy Thursday service where the queen distributes gifts to elderly people, an ancient ceremony meant to imitate Christ serving his disciples by washing their feet.

The queen also leads the nation at regular services honoring the war dead, or offering thanksgiving for her jubilees, but worship is not, for her, only a public show. She has attended church regularly throughout her life and is said to have an uncomplicated, Bible and prayer-book based faith.

That love of the Bible was something she shared with the American evangelist Billy Graham, whom she invited to preach for her on several occasions (though the close friendship the Netflix series “The Crown” suggested between them seems far-fetched). She relies on the deans of Windsor — the clerics who run St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married — for spiritual solace.

Her husband, the late Duke of Edinburgh, and her son, Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, always displayed a more intellectual curiosity about religion, including a great interest in both other Christian denominations and other faiths. Over the years, as Britain has become increasingly diverse, Elizabeth has expressed an increasing openness as well. She has encouraged members of all faiths to be present at great church occasions during her reign and in the annual Commonwealth Day service held at Westminster Abbey. She regularly meets different faith leaders, including five popes — a remarkable turnaround for a monarchy that once broke so spectacularly from Rome — though she has not gone so far as to ask other religious leaders to play any sort of role for her, such as be a chaplain.

There has been talk of disestablishment of the Church of England, even in Anglican circles, with some concern it privileges one religious group above others in an increasingly diverse nation. Disestablishment would unravel the connection between the monarch, the Church of England and the state, which survives in Britain since the time of the Reformation. Change would mean the removal of Church of England bishops from the House of Lords, although there has been little call for this from other faiths. Rather, they prefer representation of faith at the highest levels of the British Parliament.

But that issue of privileging seemed apparent when the queen spoke at Lambeth Palace in 2012, suggesting the Church of England might act as a sort of umbrella under which other faiths might shelter, by saying Anglicanism “has a duty to protect the free practice of all other faiths in this country.”

The importance of other faiths was expressed Friday morning at the Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral, in London, where not only leaders of Christian denominations but of other faiths were present, including Buddhists and Jews.

One major difference at today’s thanksgiving service compared to previous ones for her reign’s major anniversaries was the frequent references to looking after God’s creation. In the twilight years of her reign, she is coming to share Prince Charles’ interest in the environment, but placing it firmly within her Christian concerns.

Attention is inevitably turning now to the next reign, with speculation about how much of an Anglican ceremony the next coronation will be. The Church of England will undoubtedly take the lead, but just as Princess Diana’s Westminster Abbey funeral combined tradition and innovation, as Commonwealth Day services have done for years, the next coronation will most likely offer that blend, too.

Charles once said he would become Defender of Faith, rather than Defender of the Faith, expressing concern that he needed to recognize the changing religious nature of Britain. He has since retracted this, indicating he will adopt the traditional title. Even so, he has engaged frequently with other faiths, particularly Judaism and Islam.

His interest in Islam has in part been aesthetic, with a particular appreciation for Islamic art and architecture, but he has also commented on its metaphysical, holistic view of the world and humanity’s place in it, even as he has also expressed concerns about the radicalization of young people. While this interest in Islam and an awareness of the growing population of Muslims in Britain has led to his support for Islamic organizations, such as the Centre for Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford, in more recent years he has reined back on it a little and instead become far more outspoken about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

The Prince of Wales has undoubtedly been innovative in his work, creating charities that work with young people, and championing the environment. But he likes tradition, too, be it church music or the Book of Common Prayer. All signs are that his coronation will be like the man, with an innovative sheen on ancient tradition and a sincere regard for faith in diverse Britain.

 Catherine Pepinster is the author of “Defenders of the Faith – the British Monarchy, Religion and the Next Coronation,” published by Hodder and Stoughton.

Boycott In Arab World Forces India To Sack BJP Leaders For Blasphemous Comments

In response to facing major diplomatic outrage and calls for boycott from Muslim-majority countries after top officials in the governing Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made derogatory references to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, Narendra Modi-led Hindu nationalistic government has sacked the  Party’s National Spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Sunday, June 5th.

The anger and outrage has been growing in the past week after the two BJP spokespeople, Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal made speculative remarks that were seen as insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha. The remarks made by Sharma during a TV program in India and Jindal in a tweet risk damaging India’s ties with Arab nations.

Their remarks have been drawing accusations of blasphemy across some Arab nations that have left New Delhi struggling to contain the damaging fallout. At least five Arab nations have lodged official protests against India.

Modi’s party took no action against the two BJP leaders until Sunday, when a sudden chorus of diplomatic outrage began with Qatar and Kuwait summoning their Indian ambassadors to protest. The BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal and issued a rare statement saying it “strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities,” a move that was welcomed by Qatar and Kuwait.

While Pakistan and Afghanistan, India’s neighbors reacted strongly Monday to the comments made by two prominent spokespeople from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, anger has poured out on social media, and calls for a boycott of Indian goods have surfaced in some Arab nations. At home, it has led to protests against Modi’s party in some parts of the country.

The controversial remarks follow increasing violence targeting India’s Muslim minority carried out by Hindu nationalists who have been emboldened by Modi’s silence about such attacks since he was first elected in 2014. Over the years, Indian Muslims have often been targeted for everything from their food and clothing style to inter-religious marriages. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have warned that attacks could escalate.

They have also accused Modi’s governing party of looking the other way and sometimes enabling hate speech against Muslims, who comprise 14% of India’s 1.4 billion people but are still numerous enough to be the second-largest Muslim population of any nation.  Modi’s party denies the accusations, but India’s Muslims say attacks against them and their faith have increased sharply.

Anti-Muslim sentiments and attacks have risen across India under Modi. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said India was seeing “rising attacks on people and places of worship,” eliciting a response from New Delhi, which called the comments “ill-informed.”

Later, Saudi Arabia and Iran also lodged complaints with India, and the Jeddha-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation said the remarks came in a “context of intensifying hatred and abuse toward Islam in India and systematic practices against Muslims.”

India’s Foreign Ministry on Monday rejected the comments by the OIC as “unwarranted” and “narrow-minded.” On Sunday, India’s embassies in Qatar and Kuwait released a statement saying the views expressed about the Prophet Muhammad and Islam were not those of the Indian government and were made by “fringe elements.” The statement said that strong action had already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks.

The criticism from Muslim countries, however, was severe, indicating that insulting Prophet Muhammad was a red line. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it expected a public apology from the Indian government, and Kuwait warned that if the comments go unpunished, India would see “an increase of extremism and hatred.” The Grand Mufti of Oman described the “obscene rudeness” of Modi’s party toward Islam as a form of “war.” Riyadh said the comments were insulting and called for “respect for beliefs and religions.” And Egypt’s Al-Azhar Mosque, the Sunni world’s foremost institution of religious learning, described the remarks as “real terrorism (that) can plunge the entire world into severe crises and deadly wars.”

India maintains strong relations with Gulf countries, which rely on millions of migrant workers from India and elsewhere in South Asia to serve their tiny local populations and drive the machinery of daily life. India also depends on oil-rich Gulf Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, to power its energy-thirsty economy. “India accords the highest respect to all religions,” ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

Modi’s party also faced anger from some of its own supporters, but it was for a different reason. Many Hindu nationalists posted comments on social media saying the government was buckling under international pressure.

More recently, religious tensions have escalated after some Hindu groups went to a local court in northern Varanasi city to seek permission to pray at a 17th century mosque, claiming that it was built by demolishing a temple. Critics say these tensions have been further exacerbated by Indian television anchors during raucous debates.

At AAPI’s Popular Women’s Forum Trailblazing Titans To Share Their Tales

“During the 40th annual convention in San Antonio, Tx leading women leaders in pharmaceuticals, academic and private settings will inspires us with how they tackled the hurdles,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the only 4th Woman President of AAPI in the four decades-long history, a Woman Leader, who has made huge contributions to AAPI in her own unassuming manner, while taking AAPI to newer heights.

Organized by the Texas Chapter of AAPI, the 40th Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions of the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) will be held from June 23-26, 2022 in the historic city of San Antonio, Texas

The Women’s Forum organized by The Convention Committee led by Dr. Chaithanya Mallikarjun, Chair with its Members: Dr. Heta Javeri, Dr. Ruchi Kaushik, Dr. Hetal Gadhia, and Dr. Dharam Kaushik, has put together a galaxy of successful women, who will share with the AAPI delegates their own stories of growing up and facing challenges with conviction and courage, and have today become role models for other women around the world.

Dr. Chaithanya Mallikarjun, Chair of Women’s Forum Convention Committee, while announcing that the much anticipated Women’s Forum will be held on Saturday June 25th said, “The Women’s Forum will have a panel of “Women Who Inspire” from all walks of life who have achieved extraordinary feats in each of their phenomenal lives. This exhilarating forum has been organized with the objective of bringing together some of the most accomplished women under one roof who are role models for all other women around the world.”

The confirmed panelists at the prestigious Women’s Forum include: Dr. Juby A. Jacob-Nara, a Public Health Physician, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme) who has been a part of over 50 new medicines successfully launched including vaccines in the US and globally; Dr. K. Guntupalli, Endowed Professor for Pulmonary Disorders, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Sowjanya Mohan, Group Chief Medical Officer, Texas Group/Tenet Health; and, Ms. Rosemary Hickman, Semmes Foundation Education Manager at the Mcnay Art Museum.

Dr. Seema Arora, Chair, AAPI National Women’s Committee, a Past Chair Board of Trustees of AAPI, said, “The Women’s Forum will have a panel of “Women Who Inspire” from all walks of life who have achieved extraordinary feats in each of their phenomenal lives. This exhilarating forum is being organized with the objective of bringing together some of the most accomplished women under one roof who are role models for all other women around the world.”

Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Advisor to AAPI Women’s Forum underscored the importance of the Women’s Forum in AAPI Convention and how it has evolved and today it’s one of the much sought after event, with distinguished panelists on the Forum. “The Women’s Forum is where successful and powerful women come and share their life’s dreams, challenges and this empower and inspire other women. Today’s Forum is about how career changes by women affect t them and the larger society.”

Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention Chair and past President of AAPI said in Texan style. “It is with great pleasure that I, along with the San Antonio -2022 Convention Team, welcome you to the 40th AAPI Annual Convention in San Antonio, the 8th largest city in the US. I still have vivid memories of inviting you to San Antonio in 2014. This is going to be the 4th convention in Texas.”

Representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, leaders of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, for 40 years. For more details, please visit:  https://aapisummit.org/www.aapiusa.org

Bonn Climate Change Conference To Lay Groundwork For Success At COP27

UN Climate Change News, 6 June 2022 – This year’s Bonn annual UN Climate Change Conference kicked off today, designed to lay the groundwork for success at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Governments are meeting for the first time since the conclusion of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow last November, at which the operational details of the Paris Agreement were finalized, thereby ringing in the era of implementation of the agreement.

In Bonn, governments will focus on work in the key areas of mitigation, adaptation, support to developing countries – particularly finance – and loss and damage. Speaking to delegates at the opening of the Bonn sessions, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said:

“We urgently require political-level interventions and decisions in each of these areas in order to achieve a balanced package. Doing so will send a clear message to the world that we are headed in the right direction. Because the world is going to have one question in Sharm El-Sheikh: what progress have you made since Glasgow?”

The UN’s top climate change official warned that climate change is progressing exponentially. With the world currently on track to more than double the 1.5 Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement by the end of the century, ambition must urgently be raised to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and immediate action and progress in Bonn are needed.

“We must move these negotiations along more quickly. The world expects it. They know that while nations made a commitment to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees C goal, that commitment entailed accelerated action and increased climate ambition.  It is not acceptable to say that we are in challenging times — they know that climate change is not an agenda we can afford to push back on our global schedule,” she said.

COP27 in Egypt will primarily focus on implementation, and nations are expected to show how they will, through legislation, policies and programs, and throughout all jurisdictions and sectors, begin putting the Paris Agreement into practice in their home countries.

In an emotional address, Patricia Espinosa announced the end of her term in office after six years at the helm of the UN Climate Change secretariat. She implored delegates to continue to support the work of the secretariat and inclusive multilateralism, which encompasses the work of all key stakeholders to address climate change. Looking back at key milestones of the UN Climate Change process, she said: “Look at what we’ve accomplished in the last six years. Look at what we’ve accomplished in the last 30. While we are still very much behind the climate curve, the world is in a better position because of the UNFCCC, because of the Kyoto Protocol, because of the Paris Agreement. Because of collaboration. Because of multilateralism. Because of you. But we can do better, we must.”

With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.

January 6th Capitol Attack Leaders Charged With Seditious Conspiracy

The leader of the far-right Proud Boys group and four associates have been charged with seditious conspiracy related to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack that was intended to block Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election, the Justice Department said on Monday.

A federal grand jury in Washington also charged them with conspiring to prevent an officer from discharging any duties.

It’s the second group tied to the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol to face the rare and serious charge of conspiring to overthrow the government or prevent the execution of U.S. law. Eleven members of the Oath Keepers group, including leader Stewart Rhodes, were charged with seditious conspiracy earlier this year.

Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio wasn’t on the Capitol grounds during the insurrection, but prosecutors say he helped coordinate the violent effort to disrupt the electoral count that day. As the violence unfolded, Tarrio allegedly posted “Proud of my boys and my country” on social media.

Tarrio was already arrested in March for his alleged role in planning the attack. Besides Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola were charged.

All five men faced previous federal charges related to the insurrection. The latest two bring their tallies up to nine, according to the Justice Department. Pezzalo has also been charged with robbery.

They have been detained and pleaded not guilty. The five are scheduled for a hearing on June 9, the same day that the House select committee investigating the deadly riot will hold its first public hearing on what it has found so far.

The new indictment, handed down Monday by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., doesn’t appear to contain explosive new details about the riot or the planning.

But in one passage, the court filing quotes correspondence from a private messaging group for the Proud Boys on the evening of Jan. 6.  “Dude, did we just influence history?” an unnamed person texted Tarrio at 7:39 p.m.  Tarrio replied, “Let’s first see how this plays out.” The Senate returned around 8 p.m. that evening to resume the certification process.

Elon Musk’s Twitter Deal Likely To Fail

With Elon Musk issuing his most direct threat yet to walk away from his purchase of Twitter (TWTR) on June 6th, openly accusing the social media company of breaching the merger agreement by not providing the data he has requested on spam and fake accounts, the proposed deal is likely to fail, reports here suggest.

In a letter to Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust, Vijaya Gadde, Musk alleged that Twitter is “actively resisting and thwarting his information rights” as outlined by the deal.  “This is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr. Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement,” an attorney representing Musk wrote to the company.

Musk’s letter speculated that Twitter may be “withholding the requested data due to concern for what Mr. Musk’s own analysis of that data will uncover.”

Meanwhile, Twitter Inc said on Friday last week that the waiting period under the HSR Act for Elon Musk’s $44-billion acquisition of the social media firm has expired. Completion of the deal is now subject to remaining customary closing conditions, including approval by Twitter stockholders and the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals, Twitter said.

The HSR Act, or the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, requires parties to report large transactions to both the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division for review.

Musk has demanded that Twitter turn over information about its testing methodologies to support its claims that bots and fake accounts constitute less than 5% of the platform’s active user base, a figure the company has consistently stated for years in boilerplate public disclosures. Musk has also called for doing his own independent assessment based on Twitter data.

Shares of Twitter fell 5% in early trading Monday. Even before the latest development, Twitter stock was trading well below Musk’s takeover offer of $54.20 per share, likely indicating investor skepticism about the deal going through.

Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, has stood by his company’s longtime spam metric. In a statement Monday, the company said: “Twitter has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement.” The company also said it intends to “close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms.”

Musk has alleged that the true number of spam accounts is likely much more, potentially as high as 90%. Musk has previously said the acquisition “cannot move forward” until the company provides “proof” of its spam metric.

Some Wall Street analysts have said this pushback may be a case of buyer’s remorse and an effort to pressure Twitter into negotiating a lower price for the $44 billion deal. There have been questions from the start about how Musk would finance the acquisition. Social media stocks have also taken a hit in recent weeks amid broader market jitters.

The letter also claimed Twitter had sought to restrict access to the information by interpreting the merger agreement narrowly, such that providing the information would fall outside the scope of Twitter’s contractual requirements. But the letter charged that even by Twitter’s narrowed definitions, it still has an obligation to furnish the information.

In a separate securities filing, Twitter previously disclosed that Musk had waived a due diligence clause in the deal that could have made it easier for him to back out of the agreement; without it, Musk could face a tougher climb, and the prospect of litigation. In making the agreement to buy Twitter, Musk has made spam bots on the platform a central issue. He has vowed to defeat them or “die trying,” even as he has described Twitter as being vital to “the future of civilization.”

Sudha Acharya Honored By New York’s Queens Borough President At AAPI Heritage Month Celebration

Sudha Acharya, Executive Director of South Asian Council for Social Service was honored by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards at the office’s first ever in-person AAPI Heritage Month celebration on May 19th. The celebrations held at Queens Borough Hall was attended by several and community members, who enjoyed diverse performances and remarks from local leaders.

Sudha was honored for her leadership and positive impact on the AAPI community as part of her work with SACSS, along with fellow AAPI leaders: the Coalition of Asian-American IPA, Nurse Potri Ranka Manis, and Peter Yoon, President of the Korean American Association of Greater New York.

Sudha Acharya has been active in the community for forty years. Twenty-one years ago, she co-founded SACSS and led the organization’s growth from a one-room organization with two staff to a thriving community center with more than 20 staff.

Acharya’s work has been recognized with many awards, including the Union Square Award, the India Abroad Gopal Raju Award for Community Service, and the Change Maker Award from Domestic Harmony Foundation. She has a Master’s Degree in English Literature and Financial Management.

“Her 35 years of active work in the community tells a story of grueling work towards betterment of the South Asian immigrant population and ensuring their basic needs to food and information don’t go unrepresented,” wrote SEEMA, a magazine that profiled her work recently.

Acharya has served in the city and state level health coalitions, and held many leadership positions. These include being president of the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (FIA), and chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA).

SACSS responds to the needs of South Asians and all immigrants, many of whom do not speak English, are unaware of services available to them, and experience isolation after arriving in the US. Acharya represents the interests of these immigrants and advocates at the City and State level for them.

SACSS currently focuses on healthcare access and literacy, senior support, civic engagement, and food security, offering services in 18 languages. In 2016, SACSS started the first food pantry to serve culturally appropriate food. Under Acharya’s leadership, SACSS was one of the most influential organizations that kept thousands of people fed and connected to critical services during the pandemic.

Acharya represents the All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) at the United Nations, where AIWC has consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. Acharya works at the international policy level on issues affecting women’s physical, economic, and social well-being. The staff at SACSS speak 18 languages, 12 of those being South Asian. “If one family comes out satisfied, they spread the word. And that’s how we grow. This year, we have
already assisted 30,000 families,” Archaya told the media.

The Buzzy New Drinking Trend: Alcohol-Free Booze

Non-alcoholic alternatives to booze have been around for a while. But recently, the sector has been booming.  For a long time “you had ‘near beer,’ which was kind of a joke,” said Duane Stanford, editor of Beverage Digest. “People would be discreet about drinking them. And now that’s completely changed.”

The non-alcoholic trend started to pick up a year or two before the pandemic, with no-alcohol bars catering to the so-called “sober curious” popping up in some cities, and has continued to grow at a rapid clip.

In recent years, major alcohol companies including Heineken, AB InBev and Molson Coors have started offering more zero alcohol options. Smaller brands, such as Athletic Brewing, which makes non-alcoholic craft beer, and Seedlip, which makes booze-free liquor alternatives, have also arrived on the scene.

A non-alcoholic martini. Seedlip “started to gain momentum a few years ago and continues to today,” said Lizzy Freier, director of menu research and insights at food service consulting firm Technomic.

Mentions of Seedlip on drink menus has grown 100% year-over-year, Freier said, adding that “we’re now starting to see some new alcohol-free spirits show up on the market, especially in independent restaurants.”

Non-alcoholic booze alternatives are still a tiny market compared to regular alcoholic beverages. But while alcohol sales slip, sales of their alcohol-free counterparts are soaring.

In the year ending May 14, US retail sales of non-alcoholic spirits grew 116% to $4.5 million, according to NielsenIQ. Alcoholic spirit sales slipped about 1% to just under $21 billion.

In that same period, non-alcoholic beer jumped 21% to $316 million and non-alcoholic wine rose 20% to $50 million. Traditional beer sales fell 4% to about $46 billion, and sales of alcoholic wine declined 6% to nearly $20 billion.

Stanford sees it this way: As interest in non-alcoholic alternatives rises, there’s a greater imperative for brands to deliver better products as more of them launch.

“There is a real market force now to go and create those solutions and to really work at it,” he said. “There’s money to be made. So people are figuring it out.”

But, Stanford added, “I do wonder what the natural ceiling is for these products, because you don’t have the functionality of alcohol.” In other words, how many people really want booze without the buzz?

Going out, but drinking less

Demand for non-alcoholic alternatives has been largely driven by younger consumers who want to drink less but aren’t interested in abstaining from alcohol altogether, Stanford said.

“They’re not necessarily teetotaling. In fact, most of them aren’t,” he said. “They do drink alcohol, but they’re just trying to moderate.”

A non-alcoholic beer or cocktail might appeal to consumers who, for example, are observing Dry January. Or maybe they want to stay out late with friends, but keep drinking to a minimum. Perhaps they have to drive home, or are trying to avoid a hangover. Or they are aware of alcohol’s negative health effects, and want to consume less in general.

Those drinkers could always reach for a seltzer or a soda, of course. But non-alcoholic beverage makers are positioning their products as more sophisticated and flavorful. And, with colorful cans and festive packaging, they’re designed to help non-drinkers blend in.

“The biggest market play we’re seeing is this emphasized idea that customers can still gather, celebrate and enjoy a good drink while still abstaining from alcohol, whether that be for lifestyle choices or personal reasons,” Freier said.

Erin Flavin, seated facing the table, started researching non-alcoholic alternatives to booz when she quit drinking.

Erin Flavin found herself imbibing more than she wanted to during the pandemic. So in October 2020, she decided to quit drinking. Sick of seltzer, she explored other options.

“I started out with teas,” she said. She discovered Rishi Tea & Botanicals, which makes a line of “sparkling botanicals” drinks. They come in flavors like grapefruit quince, dandelion ginger and elderberry maqui, made with red wine grape skins.

“I was drinking that a lot, in a beautiful glass, and still having my little ritual at the end of the night,” she said. “That really helped.” Last year, she started selling some non-alcoholic drinks at her Minneapolis hair studio, Honeycomb Salon. She plans to open a non-alcoholic liquor store soon.

While some, like Flavin, took stock of their drinking habits during the pandemic, others had been thinking about alcohol alternatives for years.

Non-alcoholic beers get crafty

For Ben Jordan, it was challenging to find something flavorful but non-alcoholic to drink when he’d go to get-togethers while at graduate school, about a decade ago.

“I was wanting to drink beer at parties and in social environments, but didn’t want the effects of ethanol,” he told CNN Business. At the time, the non-alcoholic beer options were “pretty bad,” he said.

So he set out to find a solution, eventually co-founding ABV Technology, which sells and rents machines that remove alcohol from beer to craft breweries, enabling them to get in on the trend. ABV Technology also offers its products to distilleries and wineries. The company was incorporated in 2017, and Jordan is its CEO.

One surprising incentive for craft brewers deciding whether to invest in non-alcoholic beers? The hard seltzer craze.

Once ABV Technology’s machines remove alcohol from beer, that booze can then be used for hard seltzers. For a brewer, that affords the option of turning alcoholic beer into two products: non-alcoholic beer and trendy hard seltzer.

Ben Jordan, CEO of ABV Technology, Jordan predicts that in the United States, non-alcoholic beer could end up making up a fifth of the total US beer market.  “Things look very positive for the non-alcoholic beer industry right now,” he said.

But there are challenges ahead, especially as consumers cope with soaring inflation. Non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits don’t come cheap.

Bottles of non-alcoholic spirits are priced in the $20 to $30-range on Amazon. And a can of non-alcoholic beer costs about the same, if not more, than the same sized-can of regular beer, Jordan said.

A sliver of the population may be willing to pay that amount for that alternative, Stanford said.

“Upwardly mobile, young consumers who want these kinds of products for specific lifestyle reasons — as long as you’re offering them quality and something that they actually want to hold and be seen with, they will pay those prices,” he said.

But getting money-conscious skeptics on board? “The challenge is, you’re gonna have to convince them that the quality is there,” Stanford said, “that they’re going to look cool drinking it, and they’re going to want to be seen with it.”

Osmania University Foundation Day Celebration Planned In Chicago

“Osmania University Alumni of Chicago” is organizing “Foundation Day  Celebrations of Osmania University” on June 14th, 2022- Tuesday, 6:00 pm at Mall of India, 776 Il Rte 59, IL 60540.

Prof D. Ravinder, Vice Chancellor, Osmania University will be the Chief Guest. His Excellency Amit Kumar, Consul General of India, Chicago will preside.

Established over 100 years ago, Osmania University is the seventh oldest in India and the third oldest in South India. It is a multi-faculty and multidisciplinary university, offering rich and varied courses in the faculties of Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Law, Education, Engineering, Technology, Commerce, Management, Informatics, Pharmacy, and Oriental Languages.

With over 300,000 students and 5000 Staff members, Osmania University is one of the largest Universities across the Globe.

The Alumni of University living in Chicago are requested to attend this historic event, along with their families and friends. They may confirm their participation by sending an email to Ashfaq Syed ([email protected]) on or before June, 12th, 2022.

The host committee of the Osmania University Foundation Day Celebrations  comprises Ashfaq Syed, Vinoz Chanamolu, Dr. Tajammul Hussain, Shaik Anwar Ahmed, Zaki Basalath, Mohammed Saleem, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Moiz Uddin, Srini Paltepu, and Adil Syed. The celebrations will be followed by dinner.

Harini Logan Is Spelling Bee Champion 2022

Fourteen-year-old Harini Logan spelled a total of 21 confirmed correct words in 90 seconds to take home the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee title on Thursday night.

The San Antonio, Texas, native joined “Good Morning America” on Friday following the historic spell-off — the first in the competition’s history — to share how she made those crucial moments look so effortless.

“For me it was really just getting into that mindset where I could have that just calmness so I could focus on the words rather than getting stressed out,” she said. “I was a little tense and it definitely was a bit difficult but I think I just decided to focus on the words and just plow through.”

Although she missed a few words, Harini said she knew all the ones she spelled correctly.  As for her speedy spelling strategy, she said she “did practice for the spell-off a bit,” but in the end the secret to her success was to “go in fast would [and] really just be focusing on the word, just reading all of the information as quick as I could and keep on going.”

“It definitely takes a lot of dedication and commitment and like so much hard work, and at my house my mom is sort of my coach,” Harini added. “It takes a lot of commitment … and, of course, a passion for the spelling bee.”

The eighth grader still has plenty of ambitious plans ahead: She heads to high school next, where she said she wants to write a book.

Samrat Prithviraj Review: Akshay Kumar’s Period Piece Is Loud, Lurid And Colourful

Samrat Prithviraj movie cast: Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Manav Vij, Sonu Sood, Manushi Chhillar, Sakshi Tanwar, Ashutosh Rana, Manoj Lalit Tiwari Samrat Prithviraj movie director: Chandraprakash Dwivedi Samrat Prithviraj movie rating: 2 stars

The handsome king who galloped away with his bride, her knight in shining armour, has an ancient Indian context: Prithviraj Chauhan, the early 12th-century ruler of Ajmer, claimed Rajkumari Sanyogita as his own, after she lost her heart to him. Details of this love story are recorded in ‘Prithivaj Raso’, penned by Chand Bardai, said to be Prithviraj’s court poet. Not only was the fair princess rescued from the wrath of her father, the traitor Jaichand; the might of the Mughals was kept at bay till his last breath, so valorous was Prithviraj.

This is a beloved legend most Indians will remember vividly from their childhood. But there never has been a better time to make a movie out of it: muscular nationalism is at its peak, and at every turn, we are being reminded of the cruelties of the Mughal invaders, who ‘trampled upon our temples and turned them into mosques’. ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, in which Akshay Kumar plays the titular character, loses no time to tell us that he was the ‘last Hindu king’: after him came centuries of oppression which came to an end only after India attained independence in 1947.

What Chandraprakash Dwivedi has done is to soup up the legend so that it is in synch with the dominant national mood: Prithviraj is representative of a Bharat when it was pristine, pure, unpolluted. How did a director who has also made the astonishingly subversive ‘Mohalla Assi’ achieve this switcheroo? (Dwivedi has been on record to say that this is his passion project, and he has been trying to get it off the ground for a decade and more). Or is it just a question of being expedient?

Dwivedi is also a filmmaker who knows how to dramatise situations. The two-and-a-half hours run-time of ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ is all high-pitched drama, row upon row of costumery in place, massive scale filling up the screen. Mohammad Ghori (Manav Vij) is the chief antagonist, and while he is not shown to be as much of an out-and-out monster as Ranveer Singh’s Alauddin Khilji in ‘Padmavat’, he gets to narrow his eyes and hit a man when he is down, as befits those dastardly invaders.

The question is: given the kind of film it is, does it work? A Roman-arena like space, with a grievously wounded Prithviraj fighting off four-legged and two-legged beasts is a show-stopper which tops and tails the film: in between are few other effective moments, especially the one in which the ‘dilwala’ takes his ‘dulhaniya’ away.

Bottom of Form

But at no point is the plot or any character given significant breathing space, so intent is it upon glorifying its subject: Chand Bardai (Sonu Sood) has more ardour in his gaze than Prithviraj’s lady love (Manasi Chhillar, who comes off more contemporary than period, and leaves little impact). Sanjay Dutt’s Kaka Kanha whose undying faithfulness to Prithviraj is tested more than once, does double duty of a court jester and an affectionate uncle: how do you do a mainstream film without a comic figure? And then there is Ashutosh Rana as Jaichand, whose name has long been synonymous with being a traitor, and Sakshi Tanwar as his voluble wife, who carry their scenes, but are given softer treatment than they deserve, because, hey, we know who the real bad guys here are.

Not only does Prithviraj’s bravery makes him a combination of Bhishma and Bheem (in the words of the always-adoring Bardai), he is made into an early feminist, spouting inadvertently funny lines in support of women generally, and specifically his Sanyogita, whom he encourages to share his throne and listen to the people. Did anyone else feel a dissonance when these same sword-wielding ‘veeranganas’ jump to their death, committing ‘jauhar’? That leaves Akshay doing his thing: cleaving through ‘dushman fauj’ (enemy soldiers), twirling in the song-and-dance, fighting off the inexorable advance of the treacherous outsiders.

As befits its simplistic, shorn-of-nuance tone, the film is loud and lurid, lurching between dialogue-baazi and blandness, and staying determinedly faithful to its stated intent.

‘Vote Bank Politics In International Relations’: India Hits Out At US Report On Attacks On Minorities

India’s Ministry of External Affairs has reacted sharply to the US State Department’s report alleging attacks on minorities in India, calling it “ill-informed comments” by senior US officials.

The MEA, in its statement, said: “It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is practiced in international relations.”

“We have noted the release of the US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, and ill-informed comments by senior US officials. It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practiced in international relations. We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

“As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights. In our discussions with the US, we have regularly highlighted issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence,” the official asserted via the statement.

The US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, released by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, alleges that in India, attacks on minority communities, including killings, assaults and intimidation, continued throughout the year.

India previously rejected the US religious freedom report, saying it sees no locus standi for a foreign government to pronounce on the state of its citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

Noida To Have India’s Largest Airport

Tata Projects will construct the Noida International Airport in Greater Noida. Yamuna International Airport Private Limited is a 100% subsidiary of Swiss developer Zurich Airport International AG and has been incorporated as a Special Purpose Vehicle to develop Noida Airport

Tata Group’s infrastructure and construction arm, Tata Projects, has bagged the contract to construct the upcoming Noida International Airport at Greater Noida’s Jewar, in Uttar Pradesh.

As part of the contract, Tata Projects will construct the terminal, runway, airside infrastructure, roads, utilities, landside facilities and other ancillary buildings at the airport, Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL) said in a statement today.

Yamuna International Airport Private Limited is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Swiss developer Zurich Airport International AG and has been incorporated as a Special Purpose Vehicle to develop Noida International Airport.

In 2019, Zurich Airport International AG won the bid to develop the airport. The Uttar Pradesh government signed the concession agreement with Yamuna International Airport Private Limited on October 7, 2020, to commence the development of the Noida International Airport.

Noida International Airport will be India’s largest airport once constructed fully.

The greenfield facility, spread in 1,334 hectares, will have a single-runway operation in the first phase with a capacity to handle 12-million passengers per annum at an investment of ₹ 5,700 crore.

“YIAPL has selected Tata Projects Ltd to undertake the Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of Noida International Airport. The company has been selected from three shortlisted teams with demonstrated experience in the design, procurement, and construction of large infrastructure projects,” the statement said.

The new airport is expected to be functional by 2024, as per the developer. With the closure of the EPC contract, the first phase of the airport is on track to be delivered within three years of the commencement of the concession period, YIAPL said.

“We are pleased to partner with Tata Projects for EPC work at Noida International Airport. With the award of this contract, our project enters the next phase, which will witness a rapid increase in the pace of construction activities on site,” said Christoph Schnellmann, Chief Executive Officer, Yamuna International Airport Private Limited.

The company, together with Tata Projects, is working to deliver a passenger terminal, runway, and other airport infrastructure with a capacity of 12 million passengers annually, by 2024, he said.

“Tata Projects will work closely with Yamuna International Airport Private Limited to deliver the airport on time. We will deploy the latest technologies in its construction, while meeting the highest standards of quality, safety, and sustainability,” said Vinayak Pai, CEO and MD-designate at Tata Projects Ltd.

Comments Tata Projects’ other major projects include the New Parliament Building, Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, and metro rail lines across various cities, as per the statement.

The Youngest Legend Of Them All—KK—Is No More

Someone rightly put it after his sudden and shocking demise, “KK (1968-forever)”. He was certainly the best playback singer after Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Abhijeet (who all came in the 1980s). Krishnakumar Kunnath, or KK as he was known to the world, passed away minutes after a Kolkata concert on May 31.

He is survived by his childhood sweetheart wife, Jyothy Krishna, whom he wed in 1991, and son Nakul and daughter Taamara. As per an old friend who also went into music, composer Julius Packiam, music was not his only love. Jyothy, whom he knew since Standard VIII (8), was “his other obsession – they dated through school and college and eventually married. KK split all his time between music and Jyothy.”

KK was performing at Kolkata’s Nazrul Mancha for Shri Gurudas Mahavidhyalaya’s college-fest Utkarsh 2022. The singer was obviously uncomfortable during the later part of the show, complaining of perspiration and showing obvious discomfort. He then went to his hotel room but complained of uneasiness in his chest.

He was rushed to hospital but declared dead on arrival. As per protocol and also because of the presence of some cut marks on his head and neck, an autopsy was ordered. Initial reports suggest death due to cardiac arrest. The singer was even accorded a gun salute in Kolkata before his mortal remains were flown to Mumbai. The funeral will be held June 2 in Mumbai.

Born August 23 in Delhi, KK has sung over 700 songs in Hindi films and private albums and in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Bengali, Assamese and Gujarati in a career of over 28 years. He also sang over 3500 jingles in 11 languages. He was probably the last of the brigade that believed that singers should be heard and not seen. Because of this, he was very dedicated and competent and could be trusted with high and intricate notes despite never getting any formal training in music. A Malayali, he also made sure that his Hindi and Urdu diction was perfect and worked hard on his songs.

Originally only into Western music, KK was converted to the idea of also singing in Hindi by Sumitra Mohanty Chakrabarti, a physics faculty member who founded the Kirori Mal College’s music society – MUSOC. The Delhi college was KK’s Alma Mater.

The multiple breaks

KK considered Lesle Lewis as his mentor because of his first break—a jingle. In films, KK originally recorded two songs for A.R. Rahman’s Kadhal Desam (Kalluri saaley and Hello Doctor). Alongside, he was introduced in Mumbai by Vishal Bhardwaj (KK had shifted to Mumbai in 1994) in the hit song Chhod aaye hum woh galiyaan (with three other singers) in Maachis. Both these films hit the screen in 1996.

And while his first jingle won him multiple assignments in that field, his career largely took off in 1999, with his first album, Pal, on Sony Music, which had cult songs like Pal and Yaari dosti and the evergreen Tadap tadap ke iss dil (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) which KK believes was the take-off song of his film career. Besides singing in another album, Humsafar, many years later (including a duet with son Nakul) he also sang the title tracks for many TV shows and serials and the song Tanha chala for the Pakistani TV show The Ghost.

A huge favorite with the youth, KK specialized in concerts as well, paradoxical for someone who believed in the “singers should be heard only” dictum. He was magic on them.

After this, KK sang innumerable hits for Pritam as also Himesh Reshammiya, Ismail Darbar, Vishal-Shekhar, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Anu Malik, Rajesh Roshan and many others. A.R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj and leading South Indian composers also employed his voice. His oldest singing associates were Asha Bhosle (four duets), Amit Kumar, Hariharan and Suresh Wadkar. His most senior composers remain Dr. Bhupen Hazarika and Ilaiyaraja.

Filmmakers Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt and Anurag Basu especially harnessed his voice. He also sang for all the top names from Salman Khan to Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Hrithik Roshan, Emraan Hashmi, Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor and more.

Tributes to the youngest legend among the male singers poured in from all quarters, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Most of his composers (Pritam, Anu Malik, Lalit Pandit, A.R. Rahman, Jeet Gannguli, Salim Merchant, Shankar Mahadevan, Shantanu Moitra, Vishal-Shekhar, Vishal Bhardwaj) and stars (Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Ranveer Singh, Suriya Sivakumar, Allu Arjun, Kajal Aggarwal, Sonal Chauhan) showered their respects for KK.

Friends like actress Mini Mathur (in whose director-husband Kabir Khan’s films KK always had a minimum one song) lyricists and singers (Shaan, Sonu Nigam, Armaan Malik, Shreya Ghoshal, Neeti Mohan, Shilpa Rao, Daler Mehndi, Mohit Chauhan) paid rich tributes to him in print and on social media.

KK recorded his last song a few days ago for Shantanu Moitra for Srijit Mukherji’s film Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga. His last released song was Yeh hausle in Pritam’s 83 (2021). His only other song to come is also under Pritam in the Salman Khan –Katrina Kaif film, Tiger 3.

A man whose heart was as golden as his voice, KK will be remembered for some of the greatest gems heard in film music in the last 20 years.

The KK Hindi Top 20 (a subjective list, for everyone had personal favorites among his melodies):

  1. Yaaron dosti / Album: Pal Music: Lesle Lewis
  2. Hum rahe ya na rahenge / Album: Pal / Lesle Lewis
  3. Tadap tadap / Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (with Dominique) / Ismail Darbar
  4. Dil ibaadat kar raha hai / Tum Mile / Pritam
  5. Khuda jaane / Bachna Ae Haseeno (with Shilpa Rao) / Vishal-Shekhar
  6. Tu jo mila / Bajrangi Bhaijaan / Pritam
  7. Zara si dil mein / Jannat / Pritam
  8. Zindagi do pal ki / Kites / Rajesh Roshan
  9. Dil kyoon yeh mera / Kites / Rajesh Roshan
  10. Sarzameen / Zameen (with Shaan) / Himesh Reshammiya
  11. Ankhon mein teri / Om Shanti Om / Vishal-Shekhar
  12. Maine dil se kahaa / Rog / M.M. Kreem
  13. Sach keh raha hai deewana / Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein / Harrys Jairaj
  14. Tu hi meri shab hai / Gangster / Pritam
  15. Alvida / Life In A…Metro / Pritam
  16. Jab bhi koi haseena / Hera Pheri / Anu Malik
  17. Awarapan banjarapan / Jism / M.M. Kreem
  18. Tu bhoola jisse / Airlift (with Amaal Mallik) / Amaal Mallik
  19. Ae bekhabar / Zeher / Roopkumar Rathod
  20. Kabhi khushboo / Saaya / Anu Malik

The ASHA Workers Won A Huge WHO Honor. They’d Like A Raise, Too

India’s task force of over a million female health-care workers has won a prestigious award from one of the highest institutions in global health. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a cash prize. “Awards don’t fill stomachs,” says Archana Ghugare, 42, a health-care worker from Pavnar, a village in the state of Maharashtra.

Ghugare works as an ASHA, short for Accredited Social Health Activists. It’s a program run by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that provides health care to rural and low-income communities in the country. They are not medical professionals but are entrusted with a long list of crucial health-care responsibilities, from advising new mothers about breastfeeding to raising awareness about COVID vaccines.

On May 22, the ASHA workers were named one of six recipients of the World Health Organization’s Global Health Leaders Awards — sharing the honor with such luminaries as the late Dr. Paul Farmer. The annual prize, created in 2019, recognizes individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to global health.

But while an honor is satisfying, the pay for these workers is not. They earn around $60 a month on average and have few benefits. In recent years, the government has raised monthly pay by a few tens of dollars, but workers say this is still too low. Many ASHAs, as the workers are known, and those in the global health community hope this moment can put pressure on the government to bump up their salaries, among other job improvements.

Indeed, pay equity has been an ongoing issue. Over the past two years, ASHAs across India have held several protests, including one during the pandemic in 2020, demanding better wages and safer working environments.

“Let’s hope the award draws attention to their working conditions,” tweeted Jim Campbell, director of the WHO’s Health Workforce program.

Despite their dissatisfaction with pay, many ASHAs take great pride in their work. True to the spirit of their acronym (asha means “hope” in some Indian languages), the workers represent hope for better health care, particularly for many of India’s underserved populations.

NPR spoke to three ASHAs about their day-to-day tasks and aspirations — and their reaction to the WHO honor.

‘We aren’t asking for much’

Ramrati Chauhan, a community health worker from the city of Palwal, keeps a diary of inspiring stories about the people she’s helped. She reads it when she feels disheartened about her job.

Ramrati Chauhan, a 42-year-old ASHA from the city of Palwal in Haryana state, says she gets very attached to the pregnant women she assists.

One time, a woman suddenly went into labor. Chauhan, who is not a midwife, couldn’t reach the woman in time to get her to a hospital — and the woman lost her baby due to complications. “I felt deep remorse” for not being able to help her, says Chauhan.

So when the woman became pregnant again, Chauhan made sure to visit her every day for the entire nine months of her pregnancy — and counseled her repeatedly about childbearing do’s and don’ts. There were complications during that delivery too — but this time Chauhan was there to get the woman to the hospital on time, and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

“When I pass their house now, the woman points to me and tells her son, ‘That’s your mother too. She saved your life,’ ” says Chauhan. Chauhan says she writes down important moments like these in a diary to read when she feels disheartened about her job.

“We have to struggle [with the government] to get a raise of even $20 to $25” a month, she says. She currently makes about $100 a month. Payment varies across states and depends on how many additional duties a worker carries out.

And when the pandemic first started, she says the government didn’t give her much safety equipment — even though she had to check on people who had tested positive for COVID. “We sewed our own masks,” she says.

The WHO award isn’t a first for ASHAs, says Chauhan, adding that local governments and municipalities have honored them several times. True recognition, she says, would be if the government recognizes ASHAs as full time workers instead of volunteers, and provides them with a steady salary, pension and other benefits.

“We aren’t asking for much,” Chauhan says. “Only what is commensurate with our hard work.”

‘People trust me because I’m an ASHA worker’

When the ASHA program began in 2005, the health workers were envisaged as volunteers working about 2 to 3 hours a day and a bit extra on some days, according to the National Health Mission, a program that’s part of India’s Ministry of Health. But over the years, ASHAs say their responsibilities have increased multifold.

At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Archana Ghugare says she was working 14 hours a day. And even today, she’s got a full workload. She’s been going door-to-door to identify people in the community who have a variety of medical needs, from pregnant people to kids under the age of 14 eligible for COVID vaccinations.

“If the government is getting so many things done from us, shouldn’t we get something in return?” asks Ghugare. Payments are frequently late, she says, sometimes by as much as 6 months. She’s worried about how she’ll pay for the education of her two daughters, one of whom has a speech and hearing disability.

In tough times Ghugare tries to remember why she started doing this job in the first place. Several years ago, a dying HIV-positive woman told Ghugare her last wish — for Ghugare to take care of her young daughter. After the woman’s death, Ghugare didn’t adopt or raise her, but gathered donations from villagers to fund the girl’s education. Now she’s 22 and studying to be a nurse, says Ghugare. “People trust me because I’m an ASHA worker, and that trust shouldn’t be broken,” she says.

‘We are being exploited’

Veena Dyani says there’s so much work she has to do as an ASHA that she sometimes asks her older children to help her complete her paperwork.  Veena Dyani, a 37-year-old ASHA from Nainidanda at the foot of the Himalayas, has a packed schedule.

Her day typically starts at 4 a.m. After preparing meals for her three older children and her in-laws who live with her, she sets out for home visits. Routine duties include weighing newborns and handing out vitamin and folic acid tablets to pregnant women.

To do her job, she sometimes has to enlist the aid of others. In the hilly jungles around Dyani’s remote village, there’s risk of attacks by wild animals. So whenever she has to walk through the woods to visit households on the other side, she pays a villager from her own pocket to accompany her for safety.

And if her kids don’t have schoolwork, they help out, too. At the end of the workday, Dyani has to organize the data she’s collected on her patients — what ailments they have, what treatments they need and demographic details, for example. Her children, ages 15, 17 and 20, sometimes write the data in notebooks to be submitted to her bosses.

Lately, her boss has been asking her to file this information online and take photos of the health-care meetings she holds in the community.

This frustrates her. “How [are we supposed to] do this online work? Not all ASHAs have money to buy a good enough smartphone,” says Dyani, who uses a basic cellphone. Only some states provide ASHAs with smartphones. Many years ago a politician in her state had promised to provide tablets to the ASHAs — but that hasn’t happened, she says.

To make matters worse, the last time she received a payment, about $65, was in February. She’s a widow, so she really needs the money to support her family.

“We are being exploited,” she says, adding that she could probably make more as a day laborer. But she sticks around, she says, because she likes the work.

When news of the WHO award broke, her WhatsApp group of ASHAs lit up with congratulatory messages. Recognition or no recognition, she says she will continue to do her job — and raise her voice for her rights. “The ASHA herself [can’t] lose hope,” she says.

Emmy-Nominated Filmmaker Tirlok Malik Makes Happy Life Yoga Presentation To Over 200 CEOs At Asia Society In New York

Tirlok Malik, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and Happy life Yoga speaker, was a guest speaker at the event finale for ‘New Majority 2022: The Opportunity for Building Allyship’ organized by the Asian American Business Development Center, Inc., at the Asia Society and Museum. AABDC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization established in 1994 by Mr. John Wang, the founder and the president.

It assists Asian American businesses in strengthening their capacity to compete in the mainstream market, to expand business opportunities, and to promote recognition of Asian American businesses’ contributions to the general economy. AABDC is associated with the United Nation Department of Global Communications and actively supports the 17 sustainable development goals.

The event featured guest speakers from various fields such as civil rights, business, community, and nonprofit leaders to gather, speak, learn from and brainstorm with each other. The event unpinned the all important thought that when we engage in difficult conversations about unlearning prejudice acquired in our respective communities, when we work together and support each other, and when we speak with one voice, it is incredibly powerful.

It was a very informative and constructive summit discussing the opportunity for Building Allyship in Asian and American communities. The event had opening keynote remarks by Ramon Laguarts (Chairman and CEO, Pepsico). Some of the other speakers at the event included Dr. Randal Pinkett (CEO, BCT Partners), Anne Chow (CEO, AT&T), S.David Wu (Ph.D) (President, Baruch College, The City University of New York), Michael Garner (Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, MTA), Frankie Miranda (CEO, Hispanic Federation), Ying McGuire (CEO, National Minority Supplier Development Council), Sandeep Gupta (Board member, Ascend Canada, Partner Deloitte & Touche LLP), and Marcela Miguel Berland (CEO, Latin Insights), among others. Dr. Pinkett was also the MC for the event.

Tirlok Malik made an engaging Happy Life Yoga presentation at the end of the event with more than 200 CEOs participating in laughing and positive happy affirmation for self along with Malik. Tirlok Malik explains, “You have to start with affirming to yourself: ‘I Love Myself,’ because if you love yourself, you take care of yourself. And then we are able to bring happiness to others.” Malik further says that Happy Life Yoga (yoga of life) is a gift from the spiritual land of India, which he wants to share with the world. Malik was honored with the Outstanding Asian American in Business award by the Asian American Business Development Center in the year 2005.

Malik into his 50s (he refuses to reveal his age) has made a handful of films around India. His most recent release is a short film titled To New India with Love, streaming on YouTube. The movie about youth aspirations explores how ambitions, and as a result relationships, are changing order in modern India. The film has gathered critical acclaim with political leaders such as Kiran Bedi talking about the message it showcases.

The filmmaker, who has lived in New York since he turned 24, doesn’t mince words when he speaks about the confused Indian. “The first generation wants to send their children to America but when it comes to marriage they want their children to go the traditional way. As ironical as it may sound, this is the mindset of most Indians,” he says. It is this complex cultural tiff that Malik explores in his films.

ITC Classmate Celebrates World Environment Day By Engaging Students In Chennai To Create Urban Forests

Encouraged by the ITC’s large-scale afforestation initiative, Classmate, the company’s leading stationery brand, has taken up a local tree plantation initiative in Chennai along with students on the occasion of the World Environment Day.

Over the past two decades, ITC Limited has been supporting a sustainable and inclusive forestry value chain for its Paperboards and Specialty Paper Business, contributing to carbon sequestration by creating a large green cover, whilst supporting large-scale livelihoods for tribals and marginal farmers.

The business has adopted an indigenous fibre-sourcing strategy by supporting the growing of renewable plantations, thus contributing to import substitution. ITC’s large-scale afforestation programme has greened over 9,50,000 acres of land and provided over 170-million-person days of sustainable livelihood to farmers to date in India.

The efforts made by ITC to promote responsible sourcing and sustainable plantations have led to the Forest Stewardship Council certification as well as membership of WWF-Global Forest and Trade Network.

ITC Classmate’s small but significant afforestation drive involving school students aims to complement the efforts of volunteers combating climate change at a local level. It has partnered with the Environmentalist Foundation of India, who have been invited by the Chengalpet district administration to create a forest patch at Vengadamangalam which is a fast-growing residential suburban pocket of Chennai and is witnessing contamination of land, water, and air with a profound shift in land use, growth, and ecology at large.

It is developing this project as an urban forest as part of a collaboration between the government, industry, students, and civic society. The objective of this afforestation project is also to motivate school students fully understand the importance of environment positive actions and develop eco-consciousness.

To ensure that, ITC Classmate has planned a dedicated orientation program in 24 schools in the city from June 10 to July 31. The program aims to enhance their understanding of nuances of resource utilization, biodiversity preservation, and sustainability.

After attending the orientation program, students are expected to volunteer at the afforestation site in Vengadamangalam and get involved in post-plant maintenance like plant watering, manuring, nourishment, etc.

Speaking about the initiative, Vikas Gupta, Chief Executive, Education and Stationary Products Business Division, ITC Ltd., said: “Climate change is today impacting us in myriad ways. Going forward, the young generation will have to play a significant role in environment conservation. At ITC, responsible capitalism is an abiding strategy that focuses on extreme competitiveness but in a manner that replenishes the environment and supports sustainable livelihood. As part of this ethos, we, at ITC Classmate, have taken it upon ourselves to enhance understanding of the youth about the afforestation and take actions that would support their hope and trust in active actions for the future. We are endeavouring to embed awareness, know-how & capability amongst students on how they can foster sustainability in their daily way of life.”

The Vengadamangalam panchayat dedicated the land parcel for the development of an urban forest with an aim to mitigate issues related to pollution and recreate lost habitats by encouraging biodiversity. ITC Classmate, through its NGO partner Environmentalist Foundation of India (E.F.I), cleaned this land parcel of any non-degradable trash and invasive plants, completed trench work, and created nourishment beds. It planted 1350 saplings of native plants in addition to planting berry-bearing, nectar-bearing, and fruit-bearing varieties on the entire plot besides fencing it with a dedicated water source for the growth of the saplings. (IANS)

AAPI’s 40th Convention To Feature Prominent CEOs From Around World

The Healthcare industry in the United States and around the world is rapidly changing, leading to many describing the healthcare environment as dynamic, complex, and highly uncertain. The manner in which the health care environment is perceived and characterized is important for several reasons. Higher-performing health care providers and organizations are those that are, among other characteristics, able to understand and manage uncertainty and ambiguity in their environments.

With a view to helping AAPI members better understand the recent trends in the delivery of healthcare to millions across the nation, the forthcoming 40th annual convention, organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) from June 23rd to 25th, 2022 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX is planning a high power CEO Forum, featuring experts and leaders in the healthcare industry, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI announced.

Conceived and developed by Dr. Joseph M. Chalil and Mr. Bob Miglani, and building on the successful experiences of the past several years of the popular CEO Forum at the 40th edition of AAPI’s annual Convention, to be attended by world renowned healthcare leaders will address: “The Future of Healthcare: Technology, Transformation and Beyond.”

“Continuing on the successful experiences of the past several years of the prestigious CEO Forums, AAPI is pleased to announce the HealthCare CEO Forum, which will focus and deliberate on two extremely important challenges of Global contemporary relevance, and harness the vast reservoir of intellect and experience in this group to help provide solutions and direction,” Dr. Miglani said.

“Thought leaders from Healthcare, Pharmaceutical and Technological Companies will discuss ways to ensure that lower cost and effective medicines with the highest quality in an ever changing world utilizing the latest technologies,” said Dr. Chalil.

Featured speakers at the Forum are; Rebecca Seidel, President, Cardiac Ablation Solutions- Medtronic; Samuel Conaway, President, Worldwide Sales of Boston scientific; Robert Mattacchione, Chairman, CEO of Novo Integrated Sciences; Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu- Feltes, CEO, Softhread inc.; Dr. Prem Reddy, CEO, Prime Health Care; and, Dr. Juby Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Sanofi; Dr. Monika Kapur, CEO University Medical Associates

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI will provide introductory remarks to this exclusive Forum, which will be moderated by Dr. Joseph M. Chalil and Mr. Bob Miglani, who have ensured the continuity of this Forum, which is now a signature event at the Convention.

“With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI would like to make a positive meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India,” Dr. Ravi Kolli-President-Elect of AAPI says.

“The CEO Forum will focus on the changing trends in the healthcare sector and how they impact the providers, hospitals and corporations as well as the patients,” said Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT. “The Forum will also offer insights into managing efficiently the growing costs in the delivery of healthcare services.”

“The 2022 AAPI Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly offers the participants at the convention a rare platform to interact with and listen to leading physicians, healthcare professionals, academicians, scientists, and leaders of the hospitals, technology , medical device and pharmaceutical companies,” said Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI.

“The annual convention this year is being hosted by local chapter, Texas India- American Physicians’ s Society, San Antonio. The annual convention offers extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” said Dr. Jayesh Shah, Chair, AAPI Convention & Past President of AAPI.  “A pool of dedicated AAPI leaders are working hard to make the Convention a unique event for all the participants,” he added.

“AAPI has made its presence felt across the nation, through its many roles it plays and the several noble causes and programs its supports both here in the US and in India, and is now set to take this largest ethnic group of physicians in the United States to the next level of continued growth and stability,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said.

“From being an ethnic organization, committed to the cause of ethnic Indian American physicians and many noble causes that we advocate for, AAPI’s role has come to be recognized as vital among AAPI members, the larger Indian American community, and among Lawmakers,” said Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI.

Representing the interests of the over 120,000 physicians of Indian origin, leaders of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, for 40 years, AAPI Convention provides a platform for medical education programs and symposia with world renowned physicians on the cutting edge technology in medicine.

Dr. Gotimukula pointed out: “Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will convene and participate in the exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the years to come. We look forward to welcoming you in San Antonio!”  For more details, and sponsorship and exhibits opportunities, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org   and www.aapiusa.org

Two Indians Among 21 New Cardinals Appointed By Pope Francis

Pope Francis named 21 new cardinals on Sunday May 30th, most of them from continents other than Europe — which dominated Catholic hierarchy for most of the church’s history — and further putting his mark on the group of people who might someday elect the next pontiff.

Among those tapped by the pontiff to receive the prestigious red hat will be two prelates from India and one each from Ghana, Nigeria, Singapore, East Timor, Paraguay, and Brazil, in keeping with Francis’ determination to have church leaders reflect the global face of the Catholic church.

Archbishop of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri Ferrao and Archbishop of Hyderabad Anthony Poola are among the 21 bishops announced by the Vatican to the college of cardinals. These high-ranking officials elect the next Pope from among themselves after Francis’ death or resignation.

The cardinal-elects from India, along with the other 19 bishops will be elevated by Pope Francis to the rank of cardinal in a ceremony at the Vatican in August, it was announced on Sunday, May 30th. Archbishop of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri Ferrao and Archbishop of Hyderabad Anthony Poola will receive the “red hat” in August.

Sixteen of those who will receive the prestigious red cardinal’s hat from Francis in a consistory ceremony at the Vatican on Aug. 27 are younger than 80 and thus would be eligible to vote for his successor if a conclave — in which pontiffs are secretly elected — were to be held.

Francis read out the names of his choices after delivering traditional Sunday remarks from an open window of the Apostolic Palace to the public in St. Peter’s Square. These are the churchmen named by Francis:

— Jean-Marc Aveline, archbishop of Marseille, France; Peter Okpaleke, bishop of Ekwulobia, Nigeria; Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, archbishop of Manaus, Brazil; Filipe Neri Antonio Sebastao di Rosario Ferrao, archbishop of Goa and Damao, India; Robert Walter McElroy, bishop of San Diego, California; Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva, archbishop of Dili, East Timor; Oscar Cantoni, bishop of Como, Italy; Anthony Poola. archbishop of Hyderabad, India; Paulo Cezar Costa, archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil; Richard Kuuia Baawobr, bishop of Wa, Ghana; William Goh Seng Chye, archbishop of Singapore; Adalberto Martinez Flores, archbishop of Asuncion, Paraquay; and Giorgio Marengo, apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The Vatican News website reported that Pope Francis will hold a consistory on August 27th for the creation of new cardinals. The Pope will meet on August 29 and 30 with all the cardinals to reflect on the new Apostolic Constitution Predicate Evangelium.

With church growth largely stagnant or at best sluggish in much of Europe and North America, the Vatican has been attentive to its flock to developing countries, including in Africa, where the number of faithful has been growing in recent decades. Only one new cardinal was named from the United States: Robert Walter McElroy, bishop of San Diego, California.

Pope Francis in his choices kept up a tradition of naming some who are too old to vote in a conclave, but whose long decades of dedication to the Catholic church is honored by bestowing cardinal’s rank on them.

Almost as significant as those chosen to be cardinals are those who were not chosen, despite holding posts that in the past would have traditionally earned them the red hat.

In Francis’ selection on Sunday, he passed over the prominent archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone. Earlier this month, Cordileone said he will no longer allow U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive Communion because of her support for abortion rights. While Francis hasn’t publicly weighed in on the soon-expected U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights, in the past he has decried the political weaponizing of Communion.

The new U.S. cardinal, McElroy, holds very different views from Cordileone. He was among the relatively few U.S. bishops who several years ago called for U.S. church policy to better reflect Francis’ concerns for the global poor. He also signed a statement last year expressing support for LGBTQ youth and denouncing the bullying directed at them.

This is the eighth batch of cardinals that Francis has named since becoming pontiff in 2013. A sizeable majority of those who are eligible to vote in a conclave were appointed by him, increasing the likelihood that they will choose as his successor someone who shares his papacy’s priorities, including attention to those living on society’s margins and to environmental crises.

Who is a cardinal?

Cardinals rank second only to the Pope in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and serve as his closest advisors at home and around the world. The term “cardinal” comes from the Latin word “cardinalis,” from the word “cardo,” or “hinge.” They are considered “the hinges on which the Church revolves”.

Due to their historical power and influence, they are still called the “Princes of the Church”. It is a reference to those who held the equivalent role of a royal prince and in feudal times ruled a principality. However, Pope Francis has told his cardinals not to live like royalty. He had said that his cardinals are not to be called “princes of the church,” but they are to serve the people of God and tackle the sins of the world.

Cardinals receive the symbolic red biretta and ring from the Pope when they are created at consistories. The ring signifies their marriage to the church. The prelates are also known for their distinctive red attire – the colour expressing the cardinals’ willingness to die for their faith, according to a report in The Indian Express.

The collection of cardinals is called the College of Cardinals. There are three ranks of cardinals – cardinal bishop, cardinal deacon, and cardinal priest. Only six cardinals hold the title of cardinal bishop. Cardinal priests are the most in number.

The College of Cardinals currently consists of 208 cardinals, of whom 117 are electors and 91 are non-electors. As of 27 August, the number will grow to 229 Cardinals, of whom 131 will be electors.

What do electors do?

As the name suggests, the electors elect the new Pope when he dies or abdicates the papacy. At the papal conclave, they pick from among themselves the head of the Roman Catholic Church. However, to be able to cast this defining vote, cardinals need to be below the age of 80 at the start of the papal vacancy. The senior cardinal deacon ceremoniously announces the newly elected pope from the balcony of the Vatican.

Among the 21 new cardinals, 16 are cardinal electors under 80 and are eligible to elect Pope Francis’ successor. After the August 27 ceremony to officially install them he will have appointed about 82 of about 132 cardinal electors, increasing the possibility that his successor will be a man reflecting his positions on key issues.

What are their other duties?

But it’s not like a new Pope is elected every year. The cardinals, who are elected for life, have a lot of other duties they need to perform.

Cardinals form the Roman Curia, which is a group of administrators, who look into the functioning of the church. It is often called the “Pope’s Cabinet”.

There’s a Cardinal Secretary of State who is the representative of the Vatican to foreign governments. The other cardinals have different responsibilities, called congregations. There’s a cardinal who oversees all the bishops around the world, one who looks into Catholic education, and so on.

Only six cardinals hold the title of cardinal bishop and each holds jurisdiction over a church in a suburb of Rome. Cardinal priests are bishops who serve in dioceses outside Rome, according to a report in The Slate.

How Pope Francis has changed the College?

Europeans have largely dominated the College of Cardinals. However, Pope Francis expanded the effort to diversify the College to reflect the church’s global reach. He appointed cardinals from Asia, Africa and Latin America, and from countries that never had a cardinal, including Bangladesh, Lesotho and Malaysia, reports the Catholic News Herald.

The upcoming consistory will be the eight since Francis was elected in 2013. With each, he has continued what one diplomat on Sunday called “a tilt towards Asia”, increasing the likelihood that the next Pope could be from the region.

By appointing cardinals in Singapore, Mongolia, India and East Timor, Francis appears to be seeking to increase the Church’s prestige and clout in Asia, a growing economic and political powerhouse, according to news agency Reuters.

How many cardinals does India have?

There are four cardinals from India —Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum (Syro-Malankara); Telesphore P Toppo, Archbishop Of Ranchi; Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop Of Bombay; George Alencherry, Major Archbishop Of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Major Archdiocese – Syro-Malabar), reports The Indian Express. That number will increase to six with the appointment of Archbishop Ferrao and Archbishop Poola.

Other than Cardinal Toppo, all others are cardinal electors. This means they will play a key part to elect the next Pope. Poola is the first Dalit from India to get the title.

Biden Assures “To Continue To Push’ For Gun Control

President Joe Biden told reporters on May 30th that he spent more than three and a half hours with survivors and the families of victims of last week’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.

The president spoke with reporters moments after stepping off Marine One, a day after his visit to Uvalde, where he told a crowd of demonstrators “we will” as they chanted for him to “do something” about gun violence.

The massacre in Texas was preceded less than two weeks earlier by another mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. Ten Black people were killed in a grocery store in what authorities suspect was a racially motivated attack.

Returning to Washington, Biden said the pain he witnessed in Uvalde was “palpable” and “unnecessary” and that he was — and always had been — committed to gun control efforts intended to reduce more violence.

But there was only so much he could do as a president, he said. Major changes would need to be authorized by Congress, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers are again in negotiations over a possible bill despite how divided they remain over guns.

When a reporter asked Biden outside the White House if he felt more motivated to act on legislation now, in the wake of recent shootings such as Uvalde, he said he has been “motivated all along. I’m going to continue to push and we’ll see how this works,” he said.

“I can’t outlaw a weapon. I can’t change the background checks,” he said. This is where the legislature should act, he said. For example, he said, “It makes no sense to be able to purchase something that can fire up to 300 rounds.”

He told reporters how as a senator he once spoke with trauma doctors who showed him an X-Ray of the damage a high-caliber weapon can inflict on the body — how “a .22-caliber bullet will lodge in a lung and we could probably get it out, may be able to get it and save the life, [but] a 9 mm bullet blows the lung out of the body. The idea of these high-caliber weapon, there’s simply no rational basis for it, in terms of whether this be about self-protection, hunting,” he said.

“The Constitution, the Second Amendment, was never absolute,” Biden said. “You couldn’t buy a canon when the Second Amendment was passed. You couldn’t go out and purchase a lot of weapons.”

Those killings have prompted a group of bipartisan senators — four Republicans and five Democrats — to engage in initial conversations about new gun laws. Democrats need at least some GOP support, though conservatives largely oppose legislating the issue, instead focusing on the so-called “hardening” of school security and other measures.

The group of lawmakers intended to meet via video over the recess to continue hashing out where they stand and where a possible compromise could be brokered. “We’re getting started to try to figure out if there’s a path to getting to a consensus, and we’ll see where it takes us,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said last week.

The White House, which took a more direct role in previous legislative priorities, has said the president will observe the process as it proceeds. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked repeatedly what the administration saw as its role in pushing for a new law.

“We really, truly leave the mechanics up to Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi,” Jean-Pierre said last week, referring to the Senate majority leader and House speaker. “We are confident that Sen. Schumer will bring this forward. And again, it is time for Congress to act. This is what the president has been calling for since the beginning of his administration.”

Biden, who based his 2020 campaign in part on his record of working across the aisle as a senator, was asked on Monday if he thought Republicans would approach the issue differently this time. He said that he hadn’t spoken to any of them, “but my guess is yes, I think they’re going to take a hard look.”

QUAD Statement By U.S., India, Japan And Australia Offers Broader Global Vision

Australia, India, Japan and the United States wrapped their second Quad Leaders’ Summit on Tuesday last week in Tokyo. The Quad countries and others in Asia made clear over the last five days that while things like maritime defense are important, real security has to heed Asian countries’ economic wants and needs.

“We reiterate our condemnation of terrorist attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks,” the statement jointly issued today by U.S. President Joe Biden, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

“We, the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, convened today in person as “the Quad” for the first time. On this historic occasion we recommit to our partnership, and to a region that is a bedrock of our shared security and prosperity—a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is also inclusive and resilient.”

Somewhat unusually and likely at India’s behest the Quad joint leaders’ statement specifically condemns November 26, 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai as well as January 2, 2016, terrorist attack in Pathankot.

The Quad is an informal security alignment of four major democracies that came about in response to China’s rising strength in the Indo-Pacific region. As CNBC reported before the group’s first Leaders’ Summit last September, the Quad wants to branch into areas including tech, trade, the environment and pandemic response.

The Biden administration has tried to demonstrate that economic priorities can be addressed within the Quad, between countries one-on-one, or as part of new, multilateral arrangements — though the United States hasn’t gone as far as all of its Asian partners would like.

“The focus is now on establishing overlapping multilateral relationships that operate in meshwork,” said Jonathan Grady, founding principal of forecasting firm The Canary Group. “The players involved are often the same, however we see them participating in many different groupings from security to economic issues. There is strength in numbers.”

The joint statement added: “The occasion of the Quad summit is an opportunity to refocus ourselves and the world on the Indo-Pacific and on our vision for what we hope to achieve. Together, we recommit to promoting the free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, to bolster security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.”

“Russian President Vladimir Putin Losing Eyesight, Has 3 Years To Live”

A Russian intelligence officer has claimed that President Vladimir Putin has been given three years to live as he has a “rapidly progressing cancer”, the Independent said in a report. The FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) officer also alleged that 69-year-old Vladimir Putin is losing is sight.

Vladimir Putin, who has been in power in Russia for over two decades, sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, sending shock waves around the world.  The report of failing health comes amid growing speculation that Putin’s health is deteriorating rapidly. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday denied speculation that President Putin was ill, saying there were no signs pointing to any ailment.

Independent further said in its report that the FSB official revealed the latest about Mr Putin’s health in a message to former Russian spy Boris Karpichkov, who lives in the UK. “We are told he is suffering from headaches and when he appears on TV he needs pieces of paper with everything written in huge letters to read what he’s going to say. They are so big each page can only hold a couple of sentences. His eyesight is seriously worsening,” according to a part of the message released by news.com.au.

Metro and Express further reported that Mr Putin’s limbs are “now also shaking uncontrollably”. Earlier this month, Express carried a report which said that Mr Putin underwent a surgery to remove fluid from his abdomen. The operation “went well and without complications”, the report further said, attributing the information to Telegram channel General SVR linked to Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.

However, Mr Lavrov denied the speculation around the Russian President’s health. “I don’t think that sane people can see in this person signs of some kind of illness or ailment,” Russia’s top diplomat said, answering a question from France’s broadcaster TF1.

Mr Lavrov said that Mr Putin, who will turn 70 in October, appears in public “every day”. “You can watch him on screens, read and listen to his speeches,” the foreign minister said in comments released by the Russian foreign ministry.

Moscow’s offensive has killed thousands of people, sparked the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II and led to unprecedented Western sanctions against Russia.

UK Offers New “High Potential” Visa Plans

Graduates from the world’s top 50 non-UK universities, including Indian students, can now come and work in Britain through a new High Potential Individual (HPI) visa route launched in London on Monday.

In a joint announcement, Indian-origin UK Cabinet ministers Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel said the new “exciting” category under the post-Brexit points-based system is aimed at attracting the “best and brightest” talent from around the world, regardless of nationality.

Successful applicants will be given a two-year work visa to the United Kingdom, with a three-year visa offered to those with a PhD, without the need for a specific job offer in hand.  “This new visa offer means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from across the globe,” said Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

“The route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. We want the businesses of tomorrow to be built here today – which is why I call on students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to forge their careers here,” he said.

“The UK is already home to some of the most ground-breaking start-ups, on the forefront of R&D and an incredibly diverse and exciting place to live – come and join in,” added UK-born Sunak, himself an MBA from Stanford University in the US.

Under the new route, the world’s top graduates in subjects such as science, engineering and medical research will be encouraged to bring their skills to the UK after graduating from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

“I am proud to be launching this new and exciting route as part of our points-based immigration system which puts ability and talent first – not where someone comes from,” said UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. “This government is delivering for the British people by bringing in the high skills and talent our country and businesses need,” she said.

The top 50 list of universities has been identified from the rankings lists produced annually by ‘QS’, ‘Times Higher Education’ and the ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ and covers universities from the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, France, Sweden and Switzerland.

Akshay Kumar On Dropping Several Easter Eggs With The Second Trailer Of Samrat Prithviraj

Akshay Kumar’s next is Yash Raj Films’ first historical film, Samrat Prithviraj, which is based on the life and valour of the fearless and mighty King Prithviraj Chauhan. He is essaying the role of the legendary warrior who fought valiantly to protect India from the merciless invader Muhammad of Ghor in this visual spectacle. Akshay dropped the second trailer of the film today and it had several easter eggs that revealed many unseen moments from the film for fans and audiences to discover!

Akshay says, “The second trailer, ‘Aakhri Hindu Samrat’ of Samrat Prithviraj is out and hopefully it will increase the audiences’ excitement to watch the film this Friday. This new trailer has new visuals from the film and reveals new moments that I absolutely love.”

He adds, “As we start the countdown to the release of this glorious retelling of Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan’s life, I’m hoping that everyone invested in watching our film will get something grand to see and discuss with this trailer. Samrat Prithviraj was one of our bravest kings who didn’t get his due and I feel this is a film that had to be made to salute his spirit and valour.”

Prithviraj has been directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who is best known for directing the television epic Chanakya and the critically acclaimed film Pinjar. The ethereally gorgeous Manushi Chhillar plays the role of King Prithviraj’s beloved Sanyogita and her launch is definitely one of the most awaited debuts of 2022. The film is set to release this Friday in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Catch the second trailer here : https://youtu.be/itram1MNi04

Laal Singh Chaddha Opens On August 11th

With the huge strength of cricket lovers, loud cheers, whistles & big applause, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’s fever took over the IPL finale as the movie trailer was unveiled. The wait is finally over! All the movie and cricket enthusiasts were treated to the biggest and most highly-anticipated trailer of the year – ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ featuring Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Mona Singh and Chaitanya Akkineni.

Touted to be one of the biggest releases of the year, the trailer of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ was launched with huge fanfare on television amidst the finale match in the biggest T20 Cricket Tournament that gave the cricket and movie buffs across the world an adrenaline rush. This is the first time ever that a film is going grand to this scale with its trailer launch on a world television platform and the sports world.

The impressive trailer of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ took the audience and especially fans of Aamir Khan on an emotional and spellbinding ride giving us a glimpse into the fascinating and innocent world of Laal Singh Chaddha. Get ready to watch the world through the childlike eyes of Laal Singh Chaddha. His slow-witted approach and childlike optimism are the driving force of the movie whereas his sweet bond with his mother and his fondness for his childhood love is the USP of the film.

Apart from that, the movie which has been shot at multiple picturesque locations, exhibits the Indian heritage in its tranquil form. Not to forget, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ also brings together the successful pair of Aamir and Kareena Kapoor Khan post the blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’. While their cute chemistry has impressed many, the trailer of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ has surely lit up our hearts and fuelled our souls. Mona Singh too looks in top Meanwhile, the songs from ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ have taken over the hearts and souls of fans. Both ‘Kahani’ and ‘Main Ki Karan?’ have become popular and most played songs in India today. The ardent fans of AK have lapped the music and lyrics of both the songs and now post the trailer launch, they can’t wait to watch ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ in action.

After the release of ‘Secret Superstar’, Aamir Khan and Advait Chandan have reunited for ‘Laal Singh Chadda’. Produced by Aamir Khan Productions, Kiran Rao, and Viacom18 Studios, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Mona Singh, and Chaitanya Akkineni. The film releases in cinemas across North America on August 11.

Yoga And Meditation Can Change Your Genes

Yoga and meditation may do more than just help you feel relaxed in the moment. A new scientific review suggests that these and other mindfulness exercises can actually reverse stress-related changes in genes linked to poor health and depression.

In the new paper, published in Frontiers in Immunology, British researchers analyzed the findings from 18 previously published studies—involving a total of 846 people—on the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, Qi gong and Tai Chi. Together, the authors say, the studies show that these mind-body exercises appear to suppress the expression of genes and genetic pathways that promote inflammation.

Inflammation can temporarily boost the immune system, and can be protective against infection and injury, the authors write in their paper. But in today’s society, in which stress is primarily psychological, the body’s inflammatory response can become chronic and can impair both physical and mental health.

Researchers found that people who practiced these activities regularly had fewer signs of inflammation, including a decrease in their production of inflammatory proteins. This signals “the reversal of the molecular signature of the effects of chronic stress,” they wrote, which may translate to a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.

Environment and lifestyle can both affect which genes are turned on and off, and that can have real effects on disease risk, longevity and even which traits get passed on to future generations. Stressful events, for example, can activate the fight-or-flight response and trigger a chain reaction of stress-related changes in the body—including activating specific genes involved in making proteins that produce inflammation.

Lead author Ivana Buric, a PhD student in Coventry University’s Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in England, says her team was surprised to see that different types of mind-body techniques had such similar effects at the genetic level. “Sitting meditation is quite different than yoga or Tai Chi,” she said in an email, “yet all of these activities—when practiced regularly—seem to decrease the activity of genes involved in inflammation.”

This is a relatively new field of research, she adds, and it’s likely that similar benefits could be obtained from other lifestyle changes like healthy eating and exercise. There aren’t yet enough studies to know how activities like yoga compare to other types of physical activity in terms of altering gene expression.

Buric says the existing studies suggest that mind-body interventions “cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our well being.” She also emphasizes that inherited genes are not static and that DNA activity can depend on things people can control. “By choosing healthy habits every day, we can create a gene activity pattern that is more beneficial for our health,” she says. “Even just 15 minutes of practicing mindfulness seems to do the trick.”

Deepika Padukone In A Fusion Saree At Cannes 2022

The red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival is one of the most glamorous in the world of showbiz and Deepika Padukone, who was a jury member this year, had multiple occasions to showcase her sartorial picks. And so for the final leg of her this year’s Cannes festivities at the closing ceremony on Saturday, May 29th the actress made it count and how.

For the closing ceremony, the actress showed up in a ruffled white saree by Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla. She accessorized with an equally stunning pearl necklace. Her kohl rimmed eyes, contoured cheeks finished off the look.

Deepika Padukone, who is serving on the jury of the 75th Cannes Film Festival, said in an exclusive interview to ‘Variety’ that it “gives me goosebumps every single time I walk into the Palais and we leave — it gives me goosebumps because every single person on that seat is there to celebrate cinema”.

Deepika was familiar with the work of some of her fellow jurors, including Asghar Farhadi and Rebecca Hall, but not all. “I wasn’t entirely familiar with all of them, as is the case with all of the jurors,” Deepika told IANS. “I think what all of us did was to actually read up on our fellow jury members and watch some of their work. So, even when you deliberate, you understand where they’re coming from, or what kind of cinema speaks to them.”

The actor sees being on the Cannes jury as a natural progression of her journey, but at the same time being invited came as a surprise to her. “They (the festival management) seem so convinced about why they made that decision. And it makes me sit back and think sometimes maybe I’ve not given myself enough credit,” she said, adding: “If I’ve landed here today, without even realising it, I must be doing something right.”

The actor has just wrapped Siddharth Anand’s “Pathaan”, alongside Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham, and is working on “Project K” by Nag Ashwin. Next up is the Indian remake of “The Intern”, alongside Amitabh Bachchan, which she is also producing via her KA Productions along with Warner Bros. and Sunir Kheterpal for Athena.

Cannes, meanwhile, is going to become a regular mid-year holiday destination for Deepika and her husband, Bollywood star Ranveer Singh, reports ‘Variety’. Her jury service allows them access to the jury box in future years.

“We just come here for two weeks, nobody needs to know,” Deepika said. “Watch movies, sneak in, sneak out. We’ll be like kids in a candy store.”

Actress Deepika Padukone has worked towards normalizing mental health to enlighten everyone that mental illness is not always critical, but can be the reason our daily lives includes so much stress.

The actress now features in a Yoga Campaign, Yoga Make Space, leveraging an initiative which revolves around mental health and fitness. adidas and Deepika together celebrating what brings different people to the mat, no matter their background, ability, or reason to practice.

The Yoga Make Space collection has been consciously crafted, inspired by the elements of nature and aims to support through every move and practice, with apparel for women and men.

When did you start practicing yoga?

Deepika: I started practising yoga with consistency about two years ago after what felt like a deep inner calling. At around the same time, I was also offered a movie where I was given the role of a yoga instructor. In short, it was an inner calling mixed with the professional requirement that eventually pushed me to look for the right instructor and get going on my yoga journey.

What is the connection between nature and practising yoga?

Deepika: The beauty of yoga, apart from its numerous benefits, is that you can practice it in absolutely any space, in any part of the world. We often talk about being self-reliant. Yoga is one such practice. All you need is your mind and your body.

What are your thoughts on the benefit of practising yoga?

Deepika: I have, over the years, been exposed to many different types of workouts, exercises and practices. However, practising yoga, makes me feel the most centred, balanced and grounded. Feeling alive and connected from within, like I am in control, is something I have never experienced in any other practice, except for in yoga.

What does ‘make space’ means to her?

Deepika: adidas’ Yoga Make Space has not only given me a chance to talk about fitness but it is also giving me a space to discuss mental health which society still feels afraid of. When I hear the term ‘make space’ it reminds me of postures that I hold for a minute. Sometimes more. And when you truly tune in, you feel your body opening up and oxygen running into your bloodstream. That, for me, is making space within my body.

Rishabh Pant’s Name May Be In History Books Forever: Sehwag

Former India opener Virender Sehwag claimed that if wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant completes 100 appearances in Test cricket, his name will be written forever in the history books. Pant came into prominence due to his exploits in T20 cricket.

But of late, he has been a force to reckon with in Test cricket, amassing 1920 runs in 30 matches at an average of 40.85, including four centuries and nine half-centuries. In India’s last Test assignment, a two-match home series against Sri Lanka in March, Pant, 24, made 185 runs at a strike rate of 120.12, including a 28-ball fifty, the fastest by an Indian batter, on the second day of pink-ball Test at Bengaluru.

“If he goes on to play 100-plus Tests, his name would be etched in the history books forever. Only 11 Indian cricketers have achieved this feat, and everyone can recall those 11 names,” said Sehwag in an upcoming episode of Home of Heroes show on Sports18, to be aired at 7pm on Friday.

Sehwag himself had been one of the most destructive players to feature in Test cricket, compiling 8586 runs, averaging 49.34 at an astonishing strike rate of 82.23 apart from 8273 in ODIs at 35.05 with a strike rate of 104.33.

It wasn’t surprising that Sehwag still feels that Test cricket will remain the ultimate format of the game in the future despite the T20 format turning out to be more popular and lucrative. “In my humble opinion, Test cricket is the ultimate cricket. Why does Virat Kohli emphasise so much on playing Tests? He knows that if he plays 100-150 or even 200 Tests, he will be immortalised in the record books.”

Sehwag is also remembered for his penchant for hitting boundaries on the first ball, which he did so five times during the victorious 2011 World Cup campaign. Asked about it, Sehwag remarked, “Many, including (Sachin) Tendulkar, told me that I planned to hit the first ball to the fence. But I never did. I would be prepared to hit the first ball thinking it would more often be a loosener or a warm-up delivery.” (IANS)

Infosys Raises CEO Salil Parekh’s Salary By 88% To Rs 79.75 Crore Per Annum

Infosys CEO Salil Parekh’s salary has been increased to Rs 79.75 crore per annum, which is 88 per cent higher from his previous salary of Rs 42.50 crore, said the company’s annual report for fiscal 2022.

This makes him one of the highest paid executives in India. The company provided the sharp hike citing industry-leading growth in the recent years.

It said that any comparison of CEO’s salary should be seen in the context of the company’s performance and stock price growth. The firm said it considered key factors such as total shareholder return, rise in market cap and growth while recommending his reappointment and change in remuneration.

As per the company’s annual report released on Thursday, the new employment agreement, which is subject to shareholder approval, will come into effect on July 2.

For fiscal FY22 that ended in March, Parekh took home a salary of Rs 71 crore, as per reports. However, of the total Rs 52 crore came from exercising restricted stock units granted to him before.

The latest round of hike comes days after the company reappointed him as MD and CEO for five more years starting from July 1.

“Under his leadership the total shareholder return (TSR) was an impressive 314 per cent, the highest among peers. Revenue has grown from Rs 70,522 crore (fiscal 2018) to Rs 1,21,641 crore (fiscal 2022), a compound annual growth rate of 15 per cent (versus nine per cent for the four years before that) and the profits have also increased from Rs 16,029 to Rs 22,110 crore,” the company said.

Further, the company said it has more than doubled the share of digital revenue from 25.5 per cent FY18 to 57.0 per cent FY22. (IANS)

NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain, Suparna Singh Win “Most Trusted” Awards

NDTV 24×7 has won the awards for being “India’s Most Trusted Brand for News” (English). Sreenivasan Jain, who has won several awards for his investigative reports, has been named “India’s Most Trusted News Anchor”.

Suparna Singh, President of the NDTV Group, has been awarded “India’s Most Trusted Leader”.

The awards for 2022 have been given by an organisation called WCRCINT, which evaluates brands in different countries.

These huge awards for “India’s Most Trusted News Brand”, the sixth such honour since 2019, prove that audiences rely on the NDTV Network for genuine news. These awards are also an acknowledgement of NDTV’s whole-hearted commitment to No-Hate-For-Profit.

“As always, we are so grateful to our television and online audience, and to our business partners, for their support of independent journalism,” NDTV wrote on its website.

Dislodging China, US Becomes India’s Biggest Trading Partner

The US has surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner in 2021-22, according to the data of the commerce ministry. The India-US bilateral trade stood at $119.42 billion, a sharp jump from $80.51 billion in 2020-21.

India’s exports to the US grew from $51.62 billion in 2020-21 to $76.11 billion in 2021-22. Similarly, imports rose from about $29 billion to $43.31 billion over the same period.

India-China trade also grew during the period but with a lower rate, from $86.4 billion in 2020-21 to $115.42 billion in 2021-22. India’s export to China increased only marginally, from $21.18 billion to $21.25 billion in 2021-22. Imports jumped from about $65.21 billion in 2020-21 to $94.16 billion in 2021-22.

India’s trade deficit with China continued to grow, from $44 billion in 2020-21 to $72.91 billion in 2021-22.  The US is, however, one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus. In 2021-22, India recorded a positive trade balance of $32.8 billion with the US.

China was India’s top trading partner from 2013-14 till 2017-18 and also in 2020-21. Before that the UAE was the country’s largest trading partner. The UAE was the third largest trading partner of India in 2021-22 with $72.9 billion of trade, followed by Saudi Arabia ($42,85 billion), Iraq ($34.33 billion) and Singapore ($30 billion).

With the ongoing geo-strategic churning that is witnessing economic and strategic realignment, Trade experts believe that the trend of increasing India-US bilateral trade will continue in the coming years. Several top global firms are reducing their overwhelming dependence on China for business. During 2021-22, India’s two-way commerce with China aggregated at $115.42 billion as compared to $86.4 billion in 2020-21, the data showed.

Exports to China marginally increased to $21.25 billion last fiscal year from $21.18 billion in 2020-21, while imports jumped to $94.16 billion from about $65.21 billion in 2020-21. Trade gap rose to $72.91 billion in 2021-22 from $44 billion in previous fiscal year. Trade experts believe that the trend of increasing bilateral trade with the US will continue in the coming years also as New Delhi and Washington are engaged in further strengthening the economic ties.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations Vice President Khalid Khan said India is emerging as a trusted trading partner and global firms are reducing their dependence only on China for their supplies and are diversifying business into other countries like India.

In 2021-22, the UAE with $72.9 billion, was the third largest trading partner of India. It was followed by Saudi Arabia ($42,85 billion), Iraq ($34.33 billion) and Singapore ($30 billion).

“In the coming years, the bilateral trade between India and the US will continue to grow. India has joined a US-led initiative to set up an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and this move would help boost economic ties further,” Khan said. America is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus. In 2021-22, India had a trade surplus of $32.8 billion with the US. —With PTI

I-Phone-Created Bengali Short Film Goes To Oscar-Qualifying Festival In Denmark

Indian director Abhiroop Basu’s (MEAL, LAALI, GUDGUDI) latest film, GUDIYA (Plaything), is one of 123 films, out of more than 4000 submissions from 40 countries, selected to compete for “Best International Short Film” at the 46th annual, Oscar-Qualifying Odense International Film Festival (OFF) in Denmark in August, 2022.

Logline: On the eve of India’s 73rd Republic Day, a working class woman’s daily routine goes for a toss when she is called to squeeze in an extra shift at work.

In English, “Gudiya” means “Plaything” or “Doll.” In a world diametrically divided between the powerful and the powerless, GUDIYA becomes an identity for those who are on the bottom of the food chain. Meanwhile, the film aims to hold up a metaphorical mirror to a nation obsessed with a false sense of hyper-nationalism that blinds them in the face of stark reality.

An international co-production between India and the United States, the nine-minute, socio-political drama on issues of gender and sexuality was shot in eight hours on a handheld I-phone with a crew of four people. It has been produced by Tushar Tyagi (India) and executive produced by Cynthia Kane (New York) and Jitin Hingorani (Texas). Select stills from the film are below

Director’s Statement: “The impetus for making a film like GUDIYA originated from a question I asked a middle-aged man in Kolkata’s famous Red-Light District, Sonagachhi: ‘Why do you prefer girls under 14?’ To which he replied, ‘Because they are easy to dominate.

The day was 26th January, India’s 73rd Republic Day, and a famous patriotic song was playing in the background, while this customer finished his cigarette and went inside. Though I didn’t get a glimpse of who he was with, I noticed the big round ears of a tattered teddy bear peeking from the window, as it slammed shut on my face.”

*One of Basu’s other short films, MEAL starring Adil Hussain, was also selected in 2019 for OFF, which is the largest short film festival in Europe.

Mahavir Jayanti, Lord Mahavir’s 2620th Birth Anniversary Held In New York

The International Ahimsa Foundation Inc. and Consulate General of India, NY hosted Mahavir Jayanti, Lord Mahavir’s 2620th birth anniversary on May 15th, 2022. The event also celebrated organization’s 10th anniversary and India’s yearlong initiative-Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of India’s independence. “The program was attended by more than 200 people,” Dr. Neeta Jain, founder and president of IAF told. “ Many people watched the live coverage on television downstairs because there was no more space left upstairs ” she added.

The event was attended by many dignitaries, elected officials and community leaders such as Consul General of India Ho. Randhir Jaiswal, Hon.  Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Hon. Congresswoman Grace Meng, Hon. Assembalyman David Weprin, Deputy Consul General of Isreal Hon. Isreal Nitzan, Democratict District Leader Shimi Pellman and Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, Professor of Religion Jeffrey Long from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. On behalf of new yorks city mayor eric adams A south Asian community lays on mr.rohan narain attending the event he presented the mayors proclamation to  Dr. Neeta Jain president of IAF for promoting non violence and peace and he also declared may 15th, as internatiol ahimsa day in new York city. New Board of Director Dr. Ravi Goyal and new Vice President Amarjyoti Jain were introduced by the President and Founder Dr. Neeta Jain.

A trailer of the movie “Tirthankar Mahavir, Ahimsa-the Ultimate Dharma” Directed by Surbhi Pandya and Produced by Digambar Jain Sangh of Northern California on the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir was played for the scores of attendees at the event.

Dr. Jain dwelt on Lord Mahavir who was born in 599 B.C. during the program entitled, “Non-Violence “A Message of Lord Mahavir” on this his 2,620th birth anniversary. She noted the 5 basic principles of Jainism – Non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, self-control, and non-possession. She stressed on teaching children the 5 Jain principles to make the world a better place. She also said the Lord Mahavir is the one who told the wotld that “Non-Violence is the Supreme Religon”

On this occasion of organization’s 10th anniversary three people were honored with “Ahimsa Award”for their extra ordinary contributions to society–  Mr.Haridas Kotahwala in business field, Dr. Subhash Jain in medical field and Prof. Jeffery Long in education field who was also a Guest Speaker “All three honorees are purveyors of peace and align with our mission to spread Lord Mahavir’s message of “Live and Let Live,” Dr. Jainsaid. Dr. Parikh thanked those present and thanked Dr. Jain for the honor of speaking. “Lord Mahavir message was very simple, do not harm plants, animals and human beings,” Dr.  Poarikh said.

Congresswoman gave her condolences to 10 African Americans massacre in Buffalo by an 18 year old White man and also expressed her condolences for 27 people who died in a fire accident in India”. “It is so important for us to stand together as diverse communities against violence” Rep. Meng said. Consul General Jaiswal also said that “ Mahavir’s message of Non-violence is more relevant in today’s time.”

Sister Sabita from Brahma Kumaris at U.N. led the gathering in a moment of contemplation and meditation through breathing exercises. Ambassador Nitzan in his speech, also said on how leaders in several countries had followed the teachings of nonviolence and Ahimsa, which if adhered to by everyone, would not lead to tragedies like the killings in Buffalo or the war in Ukraine. Consul General Jaiswal said he has a special connection to Lord Mahavir because he was born in the same town, Trishala, in Bihar. The Consulate celebrates Mahavir Jayanti every year, he noted, but this year it was even more important as it was part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, India’s 75th independence year. “Walk on the path of Lord Mahavir so that we can build a better world to live.

The International Ahimsa Foundation Inc., was founded in 2012 with the goal of spreading the message of non-violence and peace based on Jain teachings throughout the world. The foundation’s mission has been to promote nonviolence and peace teachings in thought and action across cultures through discourse, peace-building activities, and civic involvement. The foundation wants to inspire students and the general public to participate in making the world a better place

Event was Emceed by Aditi Lamba and started with the National Anthem sung by Michelle Della Fave, Indian National Anthem – Dr. Smita Guha, Performance: Meri Bhavana (My Musings Directed by Surbhi Pandya performed by Ishita Bansa; Maahir Kasliwal, Anusha Pandya,

Sunidhi Ajmera, Hitasha Kasliwal, Vivaan Pandya, Dr. Joel Levine,Peace dance was performed by Angela Tettey and Diana Tettey, Navakar mantra and patriotic performance by Angel Shah and finale performance was Directed by Shilpa Mithaiwalaand performed by Eesha Butani, Saira Chabria, Maalika Mehta, Saanvi Sharma, Nishi Sheth, Angel Shah

Rhythm Dance Academy. Mr. Rajeev Pandya Chair, Advisory Board of IAF thanked all the sponsors, media partners and volumteers. At the end Jain lunch was served for attendees!

Volcanic Islands Of Hate Have Brought India To A Boil, Warns Catholic Union

The All India Catholic Union is deeply disturbed at the targeted hate against religious minorities which has in recent months erupted like so many volcanoes in the sea of religious harmony in India. If not checked now, it may do untold damage to national peace and damage.

Mr. Lancy D Cunha, the National President of the 103-year-old Catholic group, has called upon the Prime Minister of India and the chief ministers of the states to take urgent steps to end targeted hate and provocative steps taken by state and non-state actors seemingly acting in concert.

It has gone far beyond the polarisation through the so-called Freedom of Religion laws which have been criminalized inter religious marriages on the pretext of curbing conversions by force or by fraud. These anti-conversion Acts, the most recent of which have been in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Haryana, empowered hoodlums, vigilantes and political leaders in villages, small towns, and districts to terrorize minority communities, their clergy, and their institutions.

The Catholic Union has, with other Christian groups, already challenged in the Supreme Court the terrible laws that deny Dalit Christians the protection of Constitutional provisions as given to their counterparts professing Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist religions as well as those not practicing any religion at all.

The AICU will now once again with other religious groups and civil society movements challenge the anti-conversion laws which go against the letter and spirit of the Constitution and trigger targeted violence.

The Catholic Union in its span of over a century seen the nation face challenges such as Partition, the 1984 anti-Sikh Violence, the bloodshed in the name of caste, and the fuse of death and destruction lit by the Rath Yatra and Babri mosque demolition. The nation has always come back to the path of peace and has assured its minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised communities that their future is safe under the Constitution and culture of India.

The history of any nation is beset with great violence. Most nations, and specially ancient civilizations such as India, have emerged from those fires to become leaders of peace and development.

Nothing good can come of digging into history to relive its horrors, or to scour its wounds till they again bleed. We must learn from mistakes other nations have made, which have ruined their economies and social fabric, and brought them to the brink more than once.

The political and religious leaders must act in concert to strengthen peace and amity. They cannot look away from their responsibility. The Catholic Union is committed to work towards peace, harmony between religious and social groups, and the integrity and progress of our country.

Released to the Media by Mr. Lancy D’Cunha, National President, All India catholic Union and Official Spokesman Dr John Dayal

Please feel free to contact Dr John Dayal at [email protected]  +91-9811021072

World’s Largest Whiskey Bottle Sold For $1.4 Million

A nearly 6-foot tall bottle of Scotch whiskey, the largest in the world, sold for $1.375 million at auction this week. The single-malt whiskey was distilled at The Macallan in Speyside, Scotland, in 1989, according to auction house Lyon and Turnbull.

The bottle, called the Intrepid, was filled last year and subsequently named the largest bottle of whiskey in the world by Guinness World Records. It contains 444 standard bottles, or 68.41 gallons, worth of whiskey.

Team Intrepid & Explorers Dwayne Fields FRGS, Karen Darke MBE, Will Copestake and Olly Hicks on the day of Guinness World Record Certification. Fah Mai and Rosewin Holdings Plc

Daniel Monk, of Fah Mai and Rosewin Holdings, decided to launch the project “in memory of his father Captain Stanley Monk (the auction day would have been his 80th birthday), and inspired by his passion for adventure, exploration and a desire to help raise money for several charities,” Lyon and Turnbull said.

The Intrepid was named for “11 of the world’s most pioneering explorers who are featured on the bottle,” including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dr. Geoff Wilson and Karen Darke MBE. And “the project is supporting the explorers’ chosen environmental, physical and mental well-being charities,” according to the auction house.

The record-breaking bottle sold at auction Wednesday to an anonymous buyer. Several “exclusive bottle sets and miniatures” of the same whiskey used in the Intrepid were also sold, the auction house said.

“We are all delighted with this result,” said Jon Land, Rosewin Holdings’ director of operations. “Over the past two and a half years, this giant bottle and everything it stands for has allowed us to gain exposure for exploration, following dreams, and general positivity in a challenging global climate. Thanks especially go to the 11 explorers, and we hope they have benefitted from being part of this bonkers project.”

Parag Mehta, MD Elected President of the Medical Society of the State of New York

Internist Parag Mehta, MD, was elected as 196th President of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) on May 21, 2022. Dr. Mehta is the Senior Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine and the Chief Medical Information Officer, Interim Chief Medical Officer at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital (NYPBMH). In addition, he is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.

A graduate of NHL Medical College in Ahmedabad, India, Dr. Mehta did his residency in Internal Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Care, and Integrative and Holistic Medicine. He has taken courses in Health Information Technology from Cornell University and Artificial Intelligence from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Dr. Mehta has served as Governor of the New York American College of Physicians and President of the Medical Society of County of Kings. He received numerous awards for his extraordinary contributions to advocacy, education, quality, research, and policy. He has been included in Castle Connelly’s Top Doctors list for many years and has been recognized as a power player in Healthcare by amNew York/PoliticsNY in 2021. He is an astute clinician, an excellent educator, and an inspirational leader. As a Wellness Champion, he promotes the importance of mindfulness, gratitude, and forgiveness. As CMIO, he is cognizant of the burden of EMR and continuously works on improving usability and clinical decision support.

He will succeed Dr. Joe Sellers, and as the 196th President of MSSNY, he strives to work with principles addressing harmony, wellness, equity, and enabling members with knowledge. He plans to achieve that goal by creating appropriate programs, products, and services.

Dr. Art Fougner, Chair of the Board of Trustees and past president of MSSNY, quotes Henry Kissinger – “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. I have come to know that Dr. Parag Mehta is that leader.”

Dr. Mehta lives in Nassau County with his wife, Isha Mehta, MD, Chief of Gynecology at Elmhurst Hospital, and founder of “A Stitch in Time,” an organization that treats gynecological conditions at no cost to women around the world. They have two daughters, Ruju, an engineer, and Setu, a recent graduate of Harvard College who plans to study medicine.

Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents, and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all.

CRY America’s “Heroes For Life” Gala Raises $1 Million

Call it the most “feel-good” road movie yet to be made: A Bollywood heartthrob and a salt-of-the-earth social reformer from rural India race coast-to-coast via plane, train and automobile on a two-week fundraising mission benefiting kids in post-pandemic India.

“Heroes for Life,” Child Rights and You (CRY) America’s annual gala series, returned after a two-year pandemic break to honor the organization’s U.S.-based donors and field workers across 30 CRY America-supported projects in villages and slums throughout India.
The gala series ran from May 14-22, with sold-out events in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, New York City and Houston, with a virtual event in Seattle, a press release from the organization said.

This year’s fundraising total smashed previous records, raising over $1 million.
CRY America is a 501c3 registered nonprofit that supports projects in India and the U.S. with a mission to ensure access to education and healthcare for underprivileged children, as well as protection from child labor, early marriage and trafficking.

The galas featured veteran Bollywood actor Vivek Anand Oberoi (“Saathiya”, Amazon’s Emmy-nominated “Inside Edge”) as celebrity guest who spoke about the importance of supporting the cause of children. Lalithamma, director of People’s Organization for Rural Development (PORD), a CRY America-supported project in Andhra Pradesh shared her work during the pandemic.  \The pandemic took a particularly cruel toll among underprivileged communities in India, the press release said, adding that with the ongoing lockdowns and school closings, child marriage, trafficking and child labor rates spiked, accompanied by increased incidence of malnutrition, gaps in learning, and abuse of girl children.

CRY America CEO Shefali Sunderlal noted that project workers were given special permissions by the Indian government as essential workers during the pandemic and they went the extra mile to ensure that challenges faced by their communities and children were addressed, while CRY America’s donors maintained their funding support unabated throughout the crisis.“We had to pivot from our regular plans for the year and get a grasp on what was happening in the field where our project partners work,” said Sunderlal at the May 20, 2022, New York gala, held at the Taj Pierre.

Oberoi brought star power and charisma to the CRY Gala event series, making his grand entrance nightly with a bevy of dancers and select hit songs from his 20-year film career. In addition to making a special address to the attendees, he led the evening’s pledge sessions, telling stories about the importance of philanthropy and appreciating the donors with personal thanks and photo ops.

Oberoi cited his mother’s dedication as a palliative care worker as inspiration for his long track record of philanthropy, which he termed as “karmic investment”.
“The world is full of two kinds of people – those who need help, and those who can help,” said Oberoi, closing his New York City remarks. “Every time you find yourself among those who can help, you need to count your blessings. Heroes like Lalithamma and CRY do all the hard work; we write the checks, and we share in that karmic capital.” Dubbed a “superhero in a sari,” by Oberoi, PORD director J. Lalithamma took the stage nightly to share her story from growing up as a victim of gender discrimination herself to her work today to empower girls in her district.

Lalithamma founded PORD in 1992 to focus on girls’ education as a means of preventing early marriage. She shared the compelling journey of Revathi, a child who benefited from PORD’s help. Today, Revathi works at (India technology company) Wipro, and devotes herself to hygiene programs among girls.
As no gala would be complete without glitz, music, and dance, the series featured Bollywood dance performances, musical numbers and comedians across the cities. All galas ended with guests taking to the dance floor in celebration to the jubilant beats of current and classic Bollywood hits.

India Falls To 54th Place In The WEF’s Travel And Tourism Development Index

After two years of slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s travel and tourism sector has shown “signs of recovery” and is the top performer in South Asia, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest study.

India grabbed the 54th spot in the overall rankings, down from 46th in 2019. The travel and tourism development index assessed a total of 117 countries for the study.

According to a new World Economic Forum research, India’s travel and tourism industry are showing “marks of recovery” after a two-year downturn caused by the pandemic.

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) newest assessment, India’s travel and tourism sector has exhibited “marks of recovery” after a two-year downturn caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

India fell from its previous position of 46th in 2019 to the 54th spot on the global travel and tourism development index in 2020. Although it has maintained its position as the leading nation in the South Asia region.

Titled ‘Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021: Rebuilding for a Sustainable and Resilient Future’, the study measured “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable and resilient development of the T&T sector, which in turn contributes to the development of a country”.

In this year’s index — which consists of five subindexes, 17 pillars and 112 individual indicators — Japan took the number one spot, followed by the US, Spain, France and Germany among the top five.

“Covid shutdowns have re-emphasised the important contribution travel and tourism makes to many economies around the world,” said Lauren Uppink, head of aviation, travel and tourism at the WEF, in a statement.

The WEF’s findings credited recovery in tourism due to an increase in vaccination rates, curbs in travel restrictions and economic growth. But noted that the recovery still remains “slow and fragile” due to uneven “vaccine distribution, capacity constraints, labour shortages, supply chain disruptions and more”.

“Government, business and civil society leaders can address barriers to recovery by looking at the different factors that can support the long-term development and resiliency of their respective travel and tourism economies,” added Uppink.

“This will require decision-makers to restore consumer confidence and international openness by prioritizing such things as enhanced health and security measures, encouraging inclusive labour practices, improving environmental sustainability and investing in digital technology.”

The study further revealed that while international tourist arrivals globally have increased by 18 million in January this year as compared to the same period in 2021, they were still 67 per cent below 2019 levels.

Geetanjali Shree’s “Tomb Of Sand” Becomes First Novel Translated From Hindi To Win International Booker Prize

Geetanjali Shree’s ‘Tomb of Sand’, translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell, has won the International Booker, the first novel translated from Hindi to win the coveted
£50,000 prize.

Shree and Rockwell winning the prize not only marks the award’s first Hindi winner, but also the first time a book originally written in any Indian language has won, reports the Guardian.

Titled ‘Ret Samadhi’ (Rajkamal Prakashan) in Hindi, the book centers around a north Indian 80-year-old woman who slips into a deep depression after the death of her husband and then resurfaces to gain a new lease on life. Her determination to fly in the face of convention – including striking up a friendship with a transgender person – confuses her bohemian daughter, who is used to thinking of herself as the more ‘modern’ of the two.

To her family’s consternation, she insists on travelling to Pakistan, simultaneously confronting the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of partition, and re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, and a feminist.

For someone who stormed the Hindi literary scene with her debut novel ‘Mai’, as a writer, it becomes part of one’s unconscious and subconscious to look, hear, smell, and see stories around you, in you. “So there is some, still inarticulated, but full life, circulating inside you all the time. And the moment happens, not quite by your choice when the muse bends over you and something begins to unravel and pen comes to paper.

Many variables come together and a work emerges, triggered by any small or big thing. In the case of ‘Ret Samadhi’, the image of an old woman lying with her back turned to everyone in a joint family and apparently with no interest in living any longer, set me off. My curiosity grew as to is she turning her back on the world and life or preparing to get up into a rejuvenated, reinvented new life! From there the novel took off. It was a long journey full of fun, pain, joy, anxieties, the works,” Geethanjali said in an earlier interview.

The author is clear that writing must never be extraneously motivated or influenced. “I write to express as best as I can, as creatively and sensitively as I can, and that is the only expectation I am propelled by. I let no one tell me what, when, how I must write.”

Adding that awards, praise and are extraneous to this basic activity, and are incidental, she said: “Of course, if they are positive, it adds a new dimension to my happiness and fulfilment, but, they are not and never will be my impetus.”

Shree, whose works have been widely translated into different languages including French, German, Korean and Serbian, feels that translation is dialogue and communication. It is never a fixed, frozen and complete exchange. “It is ongoing, live and enriching – some things are explained better, some remain confounding, just as in any communication. Some things may also get lost, but some things also get added. Just as when two people talk, they enrich each other and enlarge each other’s way of seeing, being, and experiencing, so is also the communication underway in translation.

The gains of it are immense. One cannot fear it for the risks that may be in there too. Communication is worth it, risky or not! Dialogue, which is what translation is, is the best thing in human life and the way forward.”

Stressing that it is extremely important that the author and translator share a rapport, Shree said: “You need a rapport which establishes that both of you share the same wavelength, sensibility, values. If a fanatic, narrow-minded, purist picks up my book for translation, it is, without doubt, a recipe for disaster.”

Speaking about her process, the author, who has also been actively associated with theatre – in 1989, a group of theatre artists, writers, musicians and painters got together to form ‘Vivadi’, said: “My writing is the process. Except that I must work regularly and for long hours, there are no rules about it. I have no set formula and like to let the dynamics of unfurling a beginning and issues it throws up take over and take me across a variegated terrain.”

Deriving her characters from the physical world and space within — “a mix of both. And such a mix that even if they relate to recognisable things/people somewhere, they are fictional,” she feels that there is a need not just for translations into English but also and as much for translations across South Asian languages.

“Is English going to be the only language in which all other literature has to be accessed? One, what about those who are not well versed in it; two, we surely want a multilingual, multicultural scene where many languages are in dialogue with many others, not English alone becoming the overarching big language and all others aspiring to get access within it.”

The author, who has also finished another novel, said: “For some years it has been sitting on my table, ready and waiting. One of these days I will pick it up and hand it to the publisher.”

NEWS 24 (BAG NETWORK) ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF PODCAST 24- AWAAZ SABKI

A new digital platform called PODCAST 24- AWAAZ SABKI will cover news and stories from India on a variety of subjects including Politics, Bollywood, Crime, Women, Health, History, Education & Sports. It will also provide a platform to discuss and deliberate on a range of important and relevant social issues.

After the success of all its satellite channels and an impressive presence on social media, BAG Network, under the leadership of Ms. Anurradha Prasad, has now established its presence in the Podcast space to connect with its audience using this powerful digital platform.  As Ms. Anurradha Prasad puts it, “PODCAST 24- AWAAZ SABKI will bridge the gap between news and our listeners by curating content that is current and relevant to our audience”.
Millions of loyal viewers of NEWS 24 will now be able to listen to all the flagship programs of  NEWS 24 like ‘Itihaas Gawah Hai’ with Anurradha Prasad, ‘Ansune Kisse’ with Rajeev Shukla, ‘Sabse Bada Sawal’ with Sandeep Chaudhary, ‘Rashtra Ki Baat’ with Manak Gupta, ‘Mahaul Kya Hai?’ with Rajeev Ranjan,  on PODCAST 24.
Listeners can access the PODCAST 24 through all major podcast apps such as Spotify, Amazon, Google etc. The channel can also be accessed through the News 24 website.
The BAG Network invites everyone to be a part of this new and exciting journey.

At Indian American Impact Summit, Kamala Harris Calls On South Asians To “Continue To Lead With Conviction, Continue To Strive To Do The Impossible”

Vice President Kamala Harris praised Indian-Americans for providing leadership in the country and engaging political system at the Indian American Impact Project summit and gala held at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Indian American Impact Project hosted a first of its kind ‘Dream with Ambition’ summit and gala with a call by Vice President Kamala Harris to “continue to lead with conviction, continue to strive to do the impossible.”

The event, which began May 18, 2022, was attended by more than 300 prominent community members including celebrities, politicians, philanthropists and organizers in a first-of-its- kind event by Impact during AAPI Heritage Month, a press release from Impact said.

In her pre-recorded speech played on May 18, Harris recalled her mother’s work in cancer research and how she and her sister were taught to “Dream with Ambition,” by their mother.

“Every day, in communities across our nation, you are advancing equality, opportunity and justice. You are inspiring the next generation of leaders, and in particular — the next generation of South Asian leaders,” Harris lauded the attendees.

“Today my message to you is this — let us always remember, what brought us to this moment and continue to dream with ambition, continue to lead with conviction, continue to strive to do the impossible. Because you, and we all, are standing on the shoulders of so many who came before, and living their dreams. Our nation is counting on you, on Impact, and all of us to lead us forward,” Harris said.

Besides Harris, all four Indian American US House members Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ami Bera as also celebrities, politicians, philanthropists and organizers attended.

The ‘Dream with Ambition’ summit was a successful educational experience for the guests as they explored the policy & advocacy and constituency subtopics of their choice, according to the release.

The event, it said, is Impact’s latest push to energize and prepare the largest growing voting bloc in the country — South Asians — to integrate into their communities with knowledge on running for office, combating misinformation, mobilizing locally and all the tools with which to lead.

“As you all know, when my mother was 19, she came to the United States from India to become a breast cancer researcher,” Harris, the first Indian American and first African American vice president recalled.

“She raised my sister and me to believe that we could be anything and do anything, if we set our minds to it. She taught us to ‘Dream with Ambition’ and so many of you gathered here today have something special in common. You see what can be unburdened by what has been.”

“Every day, in communities across our nation, you are advancing equality, opportunity and justice. You are inspiring the next generation of leaders, and in particular — the next generation of South Asian leaders,” Harris said.

“Today my message to you is this — let us always remember, what brought us to this moment and continue to dream with ambition, continue to lead with conviction, continue to strive to do the impossible.”

“Because you, and we all, are standing on the shoulders of so many who came before, and living their dreams,” Harris said. “Our nation is counting on you, on Impact, and all of us to lead us forward.”

“Historically, South Asians have been overlooked, underestimated, and underrepresented politically,” said Indian American Impact executive-director Neil Makhija.

“But after witnessing so many community members and future leaders come together this week, it is clear that is a thing of the past,” he said. “At Impact, it is crucial for us to empower young South Asians to mobilize their friends and families to get involved in the political process.”

“As the fastest growing voting bloc in the country, we have strength in numbers and the future of the Democratic party needs to be reflective of the communities they serve.”

“The significance of this event was made possible by our extensive panel of guest speakers and attendees,” Makhija said. “Countless voices this week proved that our community is stronger when we collaborate and celebrate our intersectionality. It’s incredibly encouraging to imagine the possibilities for our collective futures.”

Policy sessions during the Summit including the Climate Crisis, Healthcare Access and Equity, Civil Rights and Voting Rights, and Educational Equity.

After lunch, sessions on women leaders, running for office, combating misinformation, youth leaders mobilizing the pan-South Asian community,

Organizers said in a press release that the event is Impact’s latest push to energize and prepare the largest growing voting bloc in the country — South Asians—and to raise awareness on how to join the political system.

Neil Makhija, executive director of Indian-American Impact contended that historically, South Asians had been overlooked, underestimated, and underrepresented politically, “But after witnessing so many community members and future leaders come together this week, it is clear that is a thing of the past.”

The Summit, he noted was significant because of the high profile lineup of speakers and attendees.

“Countless voices this week proved that our community is stronger when we collaborate and celebrate our intersectionality. It’s incredibly encouraging to imagine the possibilities for our collective futures,” Makhija said.

“Thank you to the Indian American Impact Project for inviting me to take part in their panel discussion on the importance of representation and public service, as well as the pressing issues that our country faces today,” Rep. Krishnamoorthi tweeted May 18.

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil Donates $100,000 In Honor of, Rev. Dr. Mathew M. Chalil to Nova Southeastern University in Support of International Medical Students

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil, a Best-Selling Author and the Chief Medical Officer of Novo Integrated Sciences, Inc., has donated $100,000 towards establishing a Scholarship Fund in honor of his mentor and uncle, Reverend Dr. Mathew Chalil, a Catholic Priest, based in Kerala, India. The scholarship fund donated to the prestigious Nova Southeastern University will help needy and deserving international medical students at the University.

“Congratulations Fr. Mathew Chalil for being inducted into Nova Southeastern University Cornerstone society today,” a statement issued by the University stated. “We have created a scholarship fund of 1 Lakh Dollars (77 Lakhs Indian Rupees). The $100,000 scholarship will be earmarked for international medical students at NSU MD with significant financial needs.”

Rev. Dr. Mathew M. Chalil, CMI, MSc, Ph.D. is a Catholic Priest belonging to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), who dedicated his life to education and the environment. Rev. Chalil completed his Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Chennai) and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Perdue University in 1982. He returned to India and was appointed as the Professor of Mathematics at Devagiri College, India, and had served as its Principal until 1994. He was appointed as the CMI General Councilor for Education in 1996 and he oversaw all the CMI Provinces in South India, as well as the CMI Activities and Personals in the USA, Canada, and South America.  CMI Congregation owns and manages hundreds of schools, over 30 higher education institutions, and one deemed University in India.

In addition, Rev. Chalil held several additional positions, including as Vice-Chancellor of Dharma Deepti University and as the Registrar of Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram.  His research interest was using mathematical formulas in solving environmental pollution issues. He was a World Health Organization consultant and an advisor to the Government of India and the Kingdom of the United Arab Emirates.

Publisher of The Universal News Network (www.theunn.com), Dr. Chalil is a veteran of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. Board-certified in healthcare management, Dr. Chalil has been awarded a Fellowship by the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of more than 40,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems, and other healthcare organizations. Dr. Chalil has held roles of increasing responsibility at DBV Technologies, Boehringer Ingelheim, Abbott Laboratories, and Hoffmann-La Roche.

Additionally, Dr. Chalil is the former Chairman of the Indo-American Press Club. He is an expert in U.S. healthcare policy and a strong advocate for patient-centered care. A strong proponent of providing healthcare access to everyone, Dr. Chalil’s new book, Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Envisioning a Better World by Transforming the Future of Healthcare, is on Amazon’s Best Sellers List.

Describing these as critical times, Dr. Chalil, endowed with the vision to support noble causes, believes that “Medical Education is most needed, especially as the world is continuing to be under the impact of the Covid Pandemic. Health care professionals dedicate their lives to the greater well-being of human beings. Supporting the upcoming generations of Medical students in their mission to help people live healthier lives is very fulfilling.”

Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Consulate General of India in Atlanta, while praising Dr. Chalil’s generosity and contribution to support the needy medical students at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine (NSU MD), said, “Dr. Joseph Chalil, one of the distinguished Indian American, has attained significant goals in his career and has been at the forefront of helping the needy, especially students. India has a large number of bright students pursuing higher studies in the United States.

Dr. Chalil has donated generously to help these International Indian students at Nova Southeastern University in fulfilling their mission to be the healers of the world. I am certain that Dr. Chalil shall also extend similar monetary help to Medical Colleges in India and brighten the future of aspiring students studying there.  May the generosity of Dr. Chalil inspire many more successful Indian Americans to come forward and donate towards the education of students who seek knowledge and skills at the universities in India and abroad.”

The CORNERSTONE SOCIETY at Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine
Nova Southeastern University was developed to recognize and pay tribute to individuals, foundations, and corporations whose cumulative commitments to NSU MD reach $100,000 by the time the Charter Class graduates. NSU MD is one of approximately 155 M.D. degree-granting institutions in the U.S. The college received Preliminary Accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) on October 10, 2017, to become the eighth M.D.-degree medical school in Florida and the only one in Broward County.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President Of AAPI Presented With The Lifetime Achievement Award By IAPC

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President Of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during a solemn awards ceremony jointly organized by The Consulate General of India in New York and The Indo-American Press Club (IAPC), the largest organization of Indian descent journalists operating in North America , at the Indian Consulate, New York, NY on Saturday, May 21st, 2022.

Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India, who was the chief guest presented the award at the Grand Ballroom of the Consulate in New York, which was attended by several community leaders, elected officials, diplomats, media personnel and professionals.

Other awardees who were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award included:  Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and Pamela Kwatra. The event, which was attended by several dignitaries, including former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Dr. Prabhakar Kore, Member of Parliament, India;  Kevin Thomas, New York State Senator; and several other elected officials.

The awards ceremony was part of the Induction Ceremony of IAPC’s new office bearers, including Chairman Kamlesh C Mehta and Secretary Ajay Ghosh of IAPC Board of Directors, and members of the IAPC National Executive Committee led by President Aashmeeta Yogiraj and General Secretary CG Daniel.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula is the only 4th Woman elected to be the President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in its nearly four decades-long history.

A resident of San Antonio, TX, Dr. Gotimukula  is a board-certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist, practicing since 2007, and is affiliated with Christus Santa Rosa, Baptist and Methodist Healthcare systems in San Antonio.

In her acceptance Speech, Dr. Gotimukula shared with the audience about the many initiatives AAPI has taken up during the past one year. Under her dynamic and inspiring leadership, “AAPI has grown and reached new heights. The Global Healthcare Summit in Hyderabad, held under challenging Covid situations has been historic in nature. The Blood Donation Drive in 75 Cities across the US commemorating the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence has been highly praised by all,” she said.

Her goals on “Prevention is better than Cure” are resonating in India through the “Adopt a Village” preventive healthcare screening initiative of non communicable diseases. A report from AAPI was submitted to the Indian Government to establish the “Indian Preventive Health Task Force “ to help frame screening guidelines for all non communicable diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension, cancer screening etc., sje said.

Under her leadership, several new programs have been initiated, benefiting AAPI members and the larger communities in the United States and India. Dr. Gotimukula urged the media to focus on the many positive things that are happening around the world, rather than focus on negativity that destroys human freedom, liberty and unity.

The closing ceremony included scintillating dances traditional folk dances and fast moving Bollywood dances by The Arya School of Dance and was followed by a sumptuous dinner. The hybrid event was also streamed simultaneously on social media platforms.

WHO Honors 1 Million ASHA Volunteers

India’s one million all-women ASHA volunteers were honored by the World Health Organization on Sunday, May 21st for their “crucial role” in providing direct access to healthcare facilities in rural areas and their indefatigable efforts to rein in the coronavirus pandemic in the country. They were praised for their contributions in providing basic health care services to the rural population of India.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced the group of over a million government volunteers, as one of the six recipients of the World Health Organization Director-General’s Global Health Leaders Awards recognizing their outstanding contributions to advancing global health, demonstrated leadership and commitment to regional health issues.

Dr Tedros decides on the awardees for the World Health Organisation Director-General’s Global Health Leaders Awards. The ceremony for the awards, which were established in 2019, was part of the live-streamed high-level opening session of the 75th World Health Assembly.

“Among the honorees is ASHA, which means hope in Hindi. The more than 1 million female volunteers in India were honored for their crucial role in linking the community with the health system, to ensure those living in rural poverty get access to primary health care services, as shown throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. PM Modi also hailed the selfless service of the Asha Volunteers and congratulated them as their efforts were recognized by WHO.

Accredited Social Health Activists — or ASHA volunteers — are Indian government’s affiliated health-care workers who are the first point of contact in rural India. Most of them gained spotlight during the peak of the pandemic in India for conducting door-to-door checks to trace coronavirus patients. ASHA – means ‘hope’ in Hindi. These health workers provide maternal care & immunization for children against vaccine-preventable diseases; community health care; treatment for hypertension & tuberculosis & core areas of health promotion for nutrition, sanitation & healthy living.

With DGCA Nod, Jet Can Fly Now

Jet Airways  was granted the airline operating permit (AOP) or licence by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last week, more than three years after it suspended operations in April 2019. The airline, which is expected to start operations by September, bought Air Sahara initially in April 2007 for Rs 1,450 crore though the deal fell through and was finally concluded in 2013 for Rs 2,300 crore.The DGCA has granted  Jet Airways NSE 4.98 % its air operator’s certificate (AOC), officially paving the way for the grounded airline to take to the skies once again.

The grant of the AOC was the final step in a comprehensive regulatory and compliance process involving several procedural checks for the airline’s operational readiness.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation chief Arun Kumar told PTI the AOC has been granted to the airline, which saw turbulent times before being grounded three years ago.

In its old avatar, the airline was owned by Naresh Goyal and had operated its last flight on April 17, 2019, due to financial distress. The Jalan-Kalrock Consortium is currently the promoter of Jet Airways. The airline intends to restart commercial flight operations in the July-September quarter.

With DGCA officials on board, the airline had successfully operated five proving flights on May 15 and 17. Proving flights are the last step before an airline can obtain an AOC.

In a statement, Jet Airways said with the receipt of the AOC, the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium has fulfilled all the conditions under the resolution plan approved by the National Company Law Tribunal.

“Aircraft and fleet plan, network, product and customer value proposition, loyalty program, and other details will be unveiled in a phased manner over the coming weeks,” it noted.

Additional senior management appointments will be unveiled in the next week, and hiring for operational roles will also now commence in earnest, with former Jet Airways staff getting preference wherever possible, it said.

Murari Lal Jalan, the lead member of Jalan-Kalrock Consortium, said, ”Today marks a new dawn for not just Jet Airways, but also for the Indian aviation industry.”

“We are committed to making this an extraordinary success story in Indian aviation and in Indian business,” he added.

Financial distress forced Jet Airways, which flew for more than two decades, to suspend operations on April 17, 2019 and a consortium of lenders, led by State Bank of India, filed an insolvency petition in June 2019 to recover outstanding dues worth over Rs 8,000 crore.

In October 2020, the airline’s Committee of Creditors approved the resolution plan submitted by the consortium of the UK’s Kalrock Capital and the UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan.

In June 2021, the resolution plan was approved by the NCLT.

US Top Court Rules Against Pankajkumar Patel In Deportation Case

A Conservative leaning Supreme Court’s ruling earlier last week went against long time Georgia resident Pankajumar Patel in his deportation proceedings. Delivering the court’s ruling, Justice Amy Coney Barrett said federal courts have a very limited role to play in reviewing immigration officials’ decisions in some deportation cases even when they have made “factual mistakes”.

The court ruled 5-4 against Patel, who said he had “mistakenly” checked a box indicating he was a U.S. citizen when renewing his Georgia driver’s license. When the government began removal proceedings in 2012, Patel had been in the United States for 20 years.

In 2007, Pankajkumar Patel, who had entered the United States illegally with his wife Jyotsnaben in the 1990s, applied to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for discretionary adjustment of status under, which would have made Patel and his wife lawful permanent residents.

But USCIS was aware that Patel had previously checked a box on a Georgia driver’s license application stating that he was a United States citizen, hence his application for green card was denied.

When the government began removal proceedings against Patel and his wife in 2012, they had been in the United States for 20 years.

Patel sought relief from removal by renewing his adjustment of status request. Patel argued before an Immigration Judge that he had mistakenly checked the “citizen” box on the state application and thus lacked the subjective intent necessary to violate the federal statute.

The Immigration Judge disagreed, and denied Patel’s application for adjustment of status, and ordered that Patel and his wife be removed from the country.

The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed Patel’s appeal. Patel then petitioned the Eleventh Circuit for review, where a panel of that court held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider his claim.

Justice Barrett delivered the opinion of the court. “Congress has comprehensively detailed the rules by which noncitizens may enter and live in the United States. When noncitizens violate those rules, Congress has provided procedures for their removal. At the same time, there is room for mercy: Congress has given the Attorney General power to grant relief from removal in certain circumstances.”

“Federal courts have a very limited role to play in this process,” Justice Barrett wrote. “With an exception for legal and constitutional questions, Congress has barred judicial review of the Attorney General’s decisions denying discretionary relief from removal.

The Patels have three children. One is a U.S. citizen and the other two are green-card holders who are married to Americans.

Hindupact To Host Panel Discussion On Diaspora Geopolitics

HinduPACT Executive Director Utsav Chakrabarti and CHINGARI Director Rakhi Israni will speak on a panel at the Gold Institute for International Strategy (GIIS) on May 25 titled, “How the Indian American Diaspora is Affected by Issues on the Indian Subcontinent.”

“As the United States and the Indo-Pacific region become increasingly interconnected, the Indian American community will become an important player in the exchange of soft power between the two regions. At the same time the Indian American community has to watch out for growing efforts to vilify and marginalize them using disinformation, by India’s geopolitical adversaries” said HinduPACT Executive Director Utsav Chakrabarti. “Mutual respect” and “greater interdependability” are going to be the watchwords in this growing relationship.

Issues affecting Indians on the subcontinent also impact the immigrant diaspora communities in the United States. More than 5 million Indian Americans now deal with the impact of geopolitical issues from the Indo-Pacific and South Asian regions in their everyday lives, on campuses, and in the public square.

“As Indian Americans are increasingly being viewed and handled in America as an extension of the Indian subcontinent, it becomes increasingly important to talk about the other side of that same region: Pakistan,” said CHINGARI Director Rakhi Israni. “Until 1947, the people of both India and Pakistan were one people: sharing similar languages, food, and overall customs. The daily atrocities faced by Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs in Pakistan after partition should naturally affect all people from that region. The gross and severe injustices being committed against one part of a cultural people must be a part of any discussion about the region as a whole.”

“As a daughter of immigrants, I understand all too well how issues in the homeland affect and impact the diaspora community,” said Adelle Nazarian, Media Fellow at the Gold Institute for International Strategies. “I look forward to discussing this important topic so that we may find ways to improve the situation for immigrants here in the United States and to foster a healthier environment for all.”

This panel discussion dives into some of those issues and how the Indian American community deals with them.

Indian American Dreamers Lobby for ‘America’s CHILDREN Act’ on Capitol Hill

Hundreds of ‘Documented Dreamers’ of Indian origin along with their parents and supporters from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill to push for passage of legislation that would ensure their status as legal residents in the United States.

These Documented Dreamers of Indian origin had immigrated to the country legally as kids and grew up in the United States, while joined some lawmakers argued that unlike other Dreamers, they were here legally and should be allowed to continue in a legal status after they become 21 years old, instead of ‘aging out’.

At a press conference May 18, 2022 on Capitol Hill, they shared their stories and pushed for the America’s CHILDREN Act .These 40 individuals from California, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois acted as representatives for the 200,000 or more such Documented Dreamers, according to estimates by Immigration Forum. They are dependents of long-term non-immigrant visa holders of H-1B, L-1, E-1, or E-2, and they face self-deportation at the age of 21 if the Act is not passed.

Immigration Forum notes that “As a result of being Documented Dreamers, these children are left out of policies and solutions meant for Dreamers because they are technically not undocumented. This leaves them with few to no options as a result of current defects of the U.S. immigration system.”

At the press conference, U.S. Representatives Ami Bera, D-California, and Deborah Ross, D-North Carolina, joined U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, D-California, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, spoke in support of passing the America’s CHILDREN Act, a bipartisan legislation which would protect Documented Dreamers after aging out.

“We’ve got to fix this flaw in our immigration system. We ought to welcome these kids to be part of that next generation to continue to move our country forward,” asserted Congressman, Bera speaking to the crowd.

He told News India Times, “The America’s CHILDREN Act is important since so many South Asian and Indian American kids are caught in this cycle.”

Bera emphasized that the parents of these Documented Dreamers had come to this country legally. “They brought them here legally as children. America is the only country that they know. They’ve gone to school here. They’ve gone to college here and many to grad school here. Yet, they can’t stay here. And we should fix that loophole because, again, they consider themselves Americans and we should consider them Americans as well.”

Addressing the media, Ross echoed Bera’s views. “Documented Dreamers grow up in our communities, attend our schools, and learn alongside our children. They love our country and want to give back to the people and places that raised them.”

Durbin said, “These are young people educated in the United States, grew up in this country, and are looking forward to a future in this country,”

“Our broken immigration system is failing to meet America’s needs in the 21st century,” Padilla contended.

When asked if they have enough bipartisan support to pass this Act, Bera said, “We’re working on it. So, I’m optimistic since there are four Republican Senators, and we need to find six additional Senators. I think these young people who are going to their home State Senators, and telling their impactful stories will help.”

Dreamers Dip Patel, Eti Sinha, as well as Fedora Castelino, of Indian origin, and Mily Herrera of Mexican origin, who addressed the press conference along with lawmakers, also spoke to News India Times and explained their situations.

Patel, founder of Improve The Dream, who led the delegation told News India Times, “We are here with over 40 members of Improve The Dream and Documented Dreamers, children to long term visa holders who face aging out at 21. And we’re advocating for America’s CHILDREN Act, which is a bill championed by Congresswoman Ross and Senator Padilla in the Senate, which has really broad bipartisan support.” Patel sounded an optimistic note. “… we think, it can pass this year to permanently end aging out.”

On May 16th, members of Improve The Dream met with Deputy Assistant to the President for Immigration, Betsy Lawrence, and senior AAPI Liaison, Erika Moritsugu at the White House, and conveyed their concerns.

Sinha, who is currently living in New York City, and pursuing her Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University, told News India Times, “Any legislation reform, especially the America CHILDREN Act, will help bring some stability to my family. I grew up only knowing America since the age of seven. I am American through and through.”

Sinha was born in New Delhi and came to the U.S. along with her twin sister and parents. Her family lives in Fremont, California. At this time, her father is stuck outside the country as the government is not willing to stamp his visa — although his work visa has been approved and renewed several times over the course of 10 years.

“And at this rate, our family will only continue to be more and more separated,” Sinha said. “Once I graduate, without any legislation like America’s CHILDREN Act, I too will have to deport back to India. So my father will be in Canada, I will be in India, and my mom and sister will be in the U.S. That is not what any family wants.”

Castelino, who was born in Mumbai, and is a resident of Apex , North Carolina, said there are several reasons for Congress to pass this Act. A student of Neuroscience at the University of South Carolina, Castelino told News India Times, “I think one of the biggest reasons is to simply acknowledge the fact that we are Americans not only in heart but also on paper. We have spent our entire lives here and this is our home,” he said, adding, “For a country that really pushes justice and equality for all, this needs to include Americans and that’s what we are. This is our home and we are facing situations such as self-deportation.”

Herrera, a 17-year old, who came with her parents from Mexico, and is a high school junior from Texas, said her parents brought her along with her brother at the age of five due to violence and crime. She said she fears self-deportation as well, if the Act is not passed.

The bill was introduced on July 1, 2021, as “America’s Cultivation of Hope and Inclusion for Long-term Dependents Raised and Educated Natively (CHILDREN) Act of 2021” in the House of Representatives by Representatives Ross, D-North Carolina, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, and Young Kim, R-California.

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ilinois), after introducing the Act in 2021, said, “the children of long-term visa holders have grown up in the United States, embracing the American Dream as their own, but the current failures of our immigration system forces them to leave before they have the chance to start their own careers and families here,” adding, “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to provide a pathway for these young people to continue contributing to our nation while building their own American success stories.”

According to Immigration Forum, the America’s CHILDREN Act, H.R 4331, is a solution for the systemic problem that Documented Dreamers face.

The Act prevents them from aging-out “by locking in a Documented Dreamer’s age to the date they file for a green card, as opposed to the date the green card becomes available and is issued; It also allows Documented Dreamers older than 16 to secure work authorization if they have a pending green card application.

San Francisco Archbishop Bars Pelosi From Communion For Her Support For Abortion

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, who oversees the Archdiocese of San Francisco, announced on Friday (May 20) he is barring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from taking Communion in churches he oversees, citing her support for abortion rights.

“After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone wrote in a letter sent to churchgoers in his archdiocese.

In his letter and in a separate interview with America Magazine, Cordileone accused Pelosi of “scandal” — a term used in Catholic theological parlance to signify actions that can lead believers to sin. ‘She is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance,’ Cordileone wrote.

In his letter, Cordileone insisted he still considers Pelosi, who speaks often of her Catholic faith, to be a “sister in Christ.” Her “advocacy for the care of the poor and vulnerable,” he said, “elicits my admiration. I assure you that my action here is purely pastoral, not political,” he added.

But recent debates over the issue of Communion and abortion raise doubts as to whether Catholics and non-Catholics alike will see Cordileone’s actions — the censure of one of the highest-ranking politicians in the country amid a national debate over abortion — as wholly divorced from politics.

While crafting a document on the Eucharist in 2021, Catholic bishops openly feuded over whether to deny Communion to President Joe Biden — a Catholic who, like Pelosi, has voiced support for abortion rights. Biden was reportedly denied Communion at a parish in South Carolina while running for president in 2019, with the priest citing his stance on abortion.

Cordileone has long been one of the most strident Catholic voices challenging politicians who support abortion rights. Other bishops, however, have expressed opposition to denying elected officials the Eucharist because of their views. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, who oversees the Archdiocese of Washington, told Religion News Service in December 2020 that he did not support denying Communion to Biden over abortion, saying, “I don’t want to go to the table with a gun on the table first.”

As the debate over the issue raged last summer, a group of 60 Catholic House Democrats, led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro and including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, released a “statement of principles” in June urging U.S. Catholic bishops to avoid “weaponizing” the Eucharist.

Indians Rank High In UK’s Top Source Of Nurses

Nearly half of Britain’s newly-hired nurses and midwives were recruited from abroad, figures revealed last week.  Forty-eight per cent of the 48,436 staff who joined the UK’s nursing and midwifery workforce came from different countries in 2021/22 — a record high.

The vast majority of the overseas-trained joiners (66 per cent) hailed from India and the Philippines. India has contributed to the rise of the highest registered professionals in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), according to the annual report released in London on Wednesday. Around 7.6 lakh professionals including nurses and midwives were accounted for as on March 31, 2022. “That’s around 30,000 more than there were a year earlier and is the highest level it has ever been,” according to the report.

The UK government says that the NHS follows ethical recruitment practices by not recruiting from a red list of countries. Concerns have been raised about the UK’s overreliance on overseas nurse, with top medics questioning how sustainable it is to ‘recruit half of new nurses from around the world’.

Meanwhile, nurses are leaving their jobs at an alarming rate. Leavers complained the job put them under ‘too much pressure’.  In another warning sign, one fifth of the workforce are currently at retirement age, risking a further exodus next year.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) statistics suggest there has been a slight increase in the number of staff – with some 758,300 now registered to work across Britain. However, concerns have been raised about the rising number of people leaving the register.

A total of 27,133 nurses and midwives left the NMC register in 2021/22 – 13 per cent more than the year before. Nursing leaders have voiced concern over a rising reliance on overseas trained nurses and midwives in the UK with them now accounting for nearly half of newly registered professionals, a huge increase compared to previous years. The vast majority of these were nurses, some 25,000, and almost 1,500 midwives.

Among 6,500 nurses and midwives who responded to a ‘leavers’ survey’, the top reasons for quitting the register was retirement (42.9 per cent). Personal circumstances were mentioned by a fifth (21.7 per cent), while ‘too much pressure’ was cited by a similar amount (18.3 per cent). The report states that stress and poor mental health are factors in ‘many people’s decision to stop practicing’. Midwives were the most likely to cite this reason, closely followed by mental health nurses.

One nurse who left due to workplace pressures told the NMC: ‘Pressure at work and the change of working practice didn’t allow me to provide the care I wanted to give. ‘Covid restrictions compounded this. I was becoming stressed, tired and not sleeping well.’

Additionally, 36.5 per cent of leavers reported their experience of working during the pandemic had influenced their decision to quit the register. One midwife told the NMC it was not the virus itself but the associated workplace pressures that led to them leaving.

‘Regularly caring for two, three, four women who should have been one-two-one was terrifying and exhausting,’ they said. ‘Wearing the same mask all day because there were no others, begging for sterile gowns for crash sections, holding pee in all day because you are so short staffed, the list goes on.’

The figures also suggest one in five nurses and midwives (21 per cent) working in the UK are ‘of potential retirement age’. Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC chief executive, said the total number of registrants was the highest level ever, however there were some concerning signs.

Why are nurses and midwives leaving the profession?

A total of 27,133 nurses and midwives left the NMC register in 2021/22 – 13 per cent more than the year before.

Of theses 5,927 British trained nurses told the NMC why they were leaving and these were the top reasons:

  • Retirement: 49.3 per cent
  • Change of personal circumstances: 23.2 per cent
  • Too much pressure at work: 20.1 per cent
  • Negative workplace culture: 14.3 per cent
  • The Covid pandemic: 11.5 per cent

‘The total number of people leaving the register has risen, after a steady and welcome fall over the previous four years,’ she said.

‘Another note of caution is that growth of the workforce has become more reliant on internationally trained professionals joining our register.

‘These professionals make a welcome and vital contribution to our nation’s health and wellbeing. But we can’t take them for granted.’

She said the pandemic had demonstrated the vulnerability of relying on overseas trained professionals.

‘Two years ago, we felt the pandemic’s impact on global travel; the number of international joiners to our register fell sharply,’ she said.

‘A future pandemic or other global disruption could see history repeat itself, but with an even bigger impact on the overall growth of the register.’

The figures also show the number of nurses coming from the EU has fallen for the fifth year in a row.

Commenting on the figures, Pat Cullen, general secretary and chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘The loss of 25,000 registered nurses last year is being felt profoundly by both patients and nurses alike.

‘When we have tens of thousands of vacant nurse jobs, a sharp rise in leavers should not be overlooked while we welcome new recruits.

‘Ministers should avoid overclaiming today – nursing staff tell us these shortages are biting more than ever.’ She also questioned the sustainability of recruiting ‘half of all new nurses from around the world.’

‘The UK’s health and care workforce is proudly diverse, but it must be done ethically and come at the same time as increased investment in education and domestic workers,’ she said.

Gill Walton, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, added: ‘We are already 2,000 midwives short in England, yet the number in the NHS continues to fall while demands on maternity services grow.

‘Other UK countries are also facing pressures.

‘This is not sustainable and is without doubt having an impact on the safety and quality of care for women, babies and their families.

‘It is also putting massive and unreasonable pressures on NHS midwives and maternity support workers – already battered by the pandemic – and many are starting to vote with their feet and leave the NHS.’

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, added: ‘It is concerning to see a rise in the number of nurses, midwives and nursing associates leaving the register, reversing the trend of recent years.

‘Workforce shortages across the NHS, with more than 110,000 vacancies, are a huge risk to patient safety by impacting the quality of care that overstretched staff can provide – ‘too much pressure’ is the third most common reason cited by leavers.’

Desi Artists In Dublin Organize Art Fair

A group of Dublin based artists with Indian roots are making waves in the art world after setting up their own community.

The Dublin Desi Artists Collective was founded by Vidya Vivek, an artist originally from Bangalore who moved to Dublin in 2018.

The Dublin Desi Artists Collective recently organized an art and craft fair at The Park Community Centre, Dublin 24. The event called “SRJNA” exhibited the creative works by artists of the Indian diaspora residing in Ireland.

The chief guest of the event was the Indian Ambassador in Dublin, Akhilesh Mishra, who distributed prizes to the winners of the art competitions held during the event.

he now runs the collective with two fellow artists Ankita Khimesra and Malvika Sinha.

Speaking to Dublin Live, Vidya explained the inspiration behind the collective was to give Desi artists living in Ireland the opportunity to showcase their artwork.

She said: “When I started the collective in 2020 I had this idea that we have to have a platform for people from India to exhibit their work.

“I exhibited in St Stephen’s Park at the public exhibition and then I did a show in the RDS. I got into one of the Indian groups on Facebook and that I was looking to connect with similar people, creators and artists, thinking maybe we can all get together and exhibit. “The response was very good and a lot of women were interested.”

Salil Parekh Reappointed As CEO and MD Of Infosys

In a major development, IT giant Infosys has reappointed Salil Parekh as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company for 5 years. Infosys board on Sunday in its public statement to BSE informed about the decision made by the Board of the directors.

“Reappointment of Salil Parekh as CEO and MD of the company from July 1, 2022, to March 31, 2027, subject to the approval of shareholders,” the statement by Infosys said.

Infosys in its statement further stated that it may be noted that Salil Parekh has no relationship with any member of the Board of Directors and meets all the criteria to be reappointed as CEO and MD under applicable laws including circulars issued by stock exchanges from time to time.

Salil Parekh had successfully led the company over the last 4 years and he has been CEO and MD of Infosys since Jan 2018. Parekh has more than three decades of global experience in the IT services industry.

Salil Parekh holds the Bachelor of Technology degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Master of Engineering degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.

Aishwarya Rai’s Cannes Designer Says, ‘Petal’ Dress Represents Hope, Birth, And Beauty

For her second walk on the red carpet on the second day of the 75th Cannes Film Festival in Paris, Bollywood icon Aishwarya Rai Bachchan chose a shell pink and silver Gaurav Gupta couture gown.

Inspired by the birth of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love, the gown celebrates pure artistic couture and creates an unforgettable fashion moment on the red carpet. Keeping the hair and make up minimal, the Bollywood actress choose to wear her tresses to one side and kept her look natural.

Gaurav Gupta, who designed Aishwarya’s dress, which featured a mermaid-style silhouette and a shell-shaped structure on its back, has now revealed the thought process and the hard work that went into designing the unique dress.

He said that he wanted to create something special for Aishwarya, as Cannes 2022 marked her 20th year at the festival. The designer said that with Aishwarya’s gown, he wanted to share a message of hope, birth, and beauty after the tough times the world has faced in recent years.

Gaurav told PTI, “We wanted something which denotes hope, birth and beauty.

After all the world has gone through in the past few years, we wanted to celebrate life and art.” The designer also noted that the gown was his interpretation of Italian also Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting Birth of Venus, with the shell like structure behind the shoulder symbolising Venus’s rise from the scalloped shell.

He said, “Aishwarya is a complete woman and a beautiful person. As I got to know her through the process, I discovered a wonderful, spiritual person who is really connected to her soul and is elegant. That purity in the absolute sense of beauty inspired me to think of the concept of the Birth of Venus.”

The designer reported that it took 20 days and over 100 craftspeople to create the outfit as they made sure not to disappoint ‘one of the most beautiful women in the world.’ He added that Aishwarya herself was involved in the creative process right from the beginning.

Talking about Aishwarya’s stardom at the festival, Gaurav said, “The frenzy, the love, that Aishwarya receives here, it’s almost madness. People couldn’t stop screaming her name out loud and the fanfare was insane. So just to see that frenzy, it fills you with joy… She is a phenomenon in Cannes. It’s like a real-life film in itself.”

After attending the Cannes Film Festival, Aishwarya returned to Mumbai with her husband Abhishek Bachchan and daughter Aaradhya Bachchan on Saturday night. She will next be seen in Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan.

Recently, musical sensation Cardi B. also choose to wear the Indian designer’s creation in her latest music video and single release.

IAPC To Hold Induction Ceremony Of The New Board Of Directors And National Executive Committee On May 21, 2022 At Indian Consulate In New York

The Indo-American Press Club, the largest organization of Indian descent journalists operating in North America since 2014, is pleased to announce the swearing-in ceremony and inauguration of new office bearers for the years 2022-2024 on Saturday, May 21 from 5pm to 8pm. This induction ceremony is organized at the Indian Consulate in New York. Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General, will be the chief guest inaugurating the event at the Grand Ballroom of the Consulate.

The new Board of Directors, including Chairman Kamlesh C Mehta and Secretary Ajay Ghosh, and members of the IAPC National Executive Committee led by President Aashmeeta Yogiraj and General Secretary CG Daniel will be sworn in at the ceremony.

The event, which will be attended by several dignitaries, including former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Dr. Prabhakar Kore, Member of Parliament, India;  Kevin Thomas, New York State Senator; Harry Arora, State Assemblyman, Connecticut; Malkit Singh, Music Legend, and several other elected officials, will surely go down in IAPC history.

IAPC will honor Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and Pamela Kwatra with Lifetime Achievement Award.  The closing ceremony will include an entertainment feature by the Arya School of Dance, NY followed by a sumptuous dinner.

The hybrid event will also be streamed simultaneously on social media platforms. Your participation and valuable support is requested – please attend this magnificent event in person or Virtually Live on YouTube.

AAPI Convention Teaser Offers Glimpses of 40th Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX Focus On “Heal The Healers: Rejuvenate And Rekindle Your Mind And Your Spirits”

“It is with great pleasure that we want to welcome you to the 40th Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions of American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI), which will be held from June 23-26, 2022 in the historic city of San Antonio, Texas,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said during the much anticipated Convention Teaser organized virtually on Sunday, May 15th. “We are  planning a historic convention in San Antonio to celebrate 40 years of AAPI that coincides with 75 years of India’s Independence, with excellent educational sessions and other programs.”

Dr. Gotimukula, the 4th woman President of AAPI in the history of AAPI, who has been leading AAPI to newer heights with her dynamic leadership, while thanking the Organizing Committee led by Dr. Jayesh Shah, praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

“Bienvenidos a San Antonio, Tejas!” Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention Chair and past President of AAPI said in Texan style. “It is with great pleasure that I, along with the San Antonio -2022 Convention Team, welcome you to the 40th AAPI Annual Convention in San Antonio, the 8th largest city in the US. I still have vivid memories of inviting you to San Antonio in 2014. This is going to be the 4th convention in Texas.”

The Convention Teaser provided a glimpse of the 40th annual Convention  with its theme, “Heal the Healers — Rejuvenate And Rekindle Your Mind And Your Spirits.” “Our physician members have worked very hard during the Covid 19 pandemic as the 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr. Jayesh Shah.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated Team of Convention Committee members, the 4 days long event will be filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention is going to be a unique experience for everyone, he added.

Dr. Jayesh Shah introduced the strong and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, including Mr. Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention; Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer; Dr. Vijay Koli, Past President of AAPI & Convention Advisor; Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Convention Advisor; Chief Operating Officers, R. Reddy Yeluru and Ram Joolukuntla; Dr. Rajeev Suri, President of TIPSSW  & Co-Chair of the Convention, and the other Co-Chairs of the Convention, including Dr. Shankar Sanka, Dr. Hetal Nayak, and Dr. Kiran Cheruku.

Honoring India, as she celebrates 75 years of India’s Independence is part of the convention, being co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston.

Each day of the convention will have a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates will showcase one’s own state dress code. Heritage India is the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus is on the much loved Bollywood with a special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, followed by Mehfil. The food served each will match the theme chosen for each day, he added.

Some of the major events at the convention include: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, “AAPI Got Talent”, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Abstract Posters/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

The convention will be held at the newly renovated Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, TX located on the colorful and vibrant River Walk. This world-class facility will afford an intimate setting that will facilitate one’s ability to convey cutting-edge research and CME, promote business relationships, and display ethnic items. Vendor satisfaction and comfort are our top priorities.

Giving an overview of the programs for each day, Venky Adivi said, ““It takes a whole village to put together a fabulous convention, I am grateful to committee members, Chairs and Advisors. Special thanks to Ms.Vijaya Kodali for her expertise and skills.”

According to Dr. Rajeev Suri, President, TIPS SW, and Convention Co-Chair, Please get your Sombrero (Mexican Hat) ready for a special evening organized by Texas Indo- American Physician Society (SW Chapter) and culminate with Bollywood Dandiya Night,

Saturday Evening will begin with the Presidential Banquet, which will be followed by a live show by Bollywood’s one of the best “Shaan” Night. Sunday, we bid you “Hasta la Vista” with a closing ceremony,” said Dr. Vijay Koli, Advisor to the Convention.

Dr. Kiran Cheraku, Co-Chair of the Convention said, “On Friday, a popular Fashion Show, Abby V show and colorful Rajasthani dance is awaiting you.”  “On Saturday with the Celebration of International Day of Yoga on Riverwalk, imagine 100’s of people doing Yoga all around the Riverwalk,” pointed out Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Advisor for the Convention.

AAPI delegates will have a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

Dr. Shankar Sanka, Co-Chair stated: “The 2022 exhibit hall is the vibrant nerve center of the convention. The unique layout offers maximum exposure to the pharmaceutical and commercial booth.”

Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Treasurer of the Convention added: “The exhibition stage will have the performance to keep our audience in the exhibit hall to keep our booth supporters happy. The research pavilion will enable you to view the outstanding works of our students, residents, and fellows.”

Dr. Hetal Nayak stated, ‘the most unique part of the convention is our Yoga-based Wellness Package which is thoughtfully created with world-renowned speakers. The experience can transform and inspire you.” In addition to colorful entertainment, exquisite authentic Indian cuisine, esteemed yoga gurus and experts, who will share their wisdom and lead the Wellness Sessions include: Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and  Dr. Param Dedhia.

“Our speakers are some of the best names in Wellness and Yoga- Dr. Akil Taher, Eddie Stern, Dr. Kaushik Reddy, Dr.Ajeya Joshi, Yog Guru Sharath Jois, Drs. P Vij & P. Dedhia, Sadhvi Saraswati, Dr, Smita Mehta, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa. And do not miss the world-famous yoga workshop by Yog Guru Sharath Jois,” said Dr. Kiran Cheruku, Convention Co-Chair.

The confirmed Plenary Speakers are Dr. Jack Reseneck, AMA President, and Dr.Peter Hotez, Nobel Prize Nominee. Other confirmed guests are legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director, National Drug Control Policy, World-renowned spiritual leader Sadhvi Saraswati and Dr. Prem Reddy, CEO of Prime Health Services.

For the first time ever, AAPI is planning to organize an In-Person Plenary Session on India-USA Healthcare Partnership with the Health Minister Of India, Mansukh Mandaviya (invited but awaiting confirmation from his office) during the Convention on Saturday, June 25th.

“Little Master” Sunil Gavaskar praised AAPI members for being part of the “greatest profession in the world.” He said, “It’s a unique honor to be part of the important AAPI convention in Texas. I am looking forward to meeting you all in Texas.” Mr. Gavaskar referred to his association with the “Heart to Heart Foundation” and how the Foundation is touching many hearts around the world.

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and from around the world will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!” said Dr. Gotimukula. For more details, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

Canada Plans To Reduce The Express Entry Wait Time To Six Months

Canada said it will expedite Express Entry applications most of which will be resolved in 6 months. This will begin once Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) resumes Express Entry invitations to Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates in early July.

The pandemic delayed immigration services causing some applicants to wait as long as two years for IRCC to finalise their permanent residency status. Express Entry applications took 6 months or less before the pandemic. A majority of applicants enter Canada via the Express Entry route.

Canada paused the entry of immigrants through the FSWP invitations in December 2020 and CEC applications in September 2021.

The development comes at a time of jobs glut in Canada with 800,000 job vacancies being reported. The country is witnessing record low unemployment.

Canada earlier announced a hike in the amount of settlement funds required to be shown for some Express Entry applicants. The changes apply only to FTSP without a valid job offer in Canada. Those with valid job offers and CEC candidates have been exempted.

Express Entry candidates who are eligible for FSWP and the CEC will be invited to apply in July.

FSWP and FSTP candidates who do not have a job offer in Canada typically require to show funds $13,310 and $3586 per family member.

According to data released by the Canadian government, Canada’s immigration backlog surpassed 2.1 million in April across all lines of business.

Canada has announced that it will speed the processing of Express Entry applications, saying that the majority of new applications will be processed within six months.

In early July, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will start sending Express Entry invitations to candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

A.R. Rahman Pitches For Indian Movies Not To Limit To Only Indian Stories

During the inauguration of the India pavilion at Cannes 2022 on Wednesday, Academy Award winner A.R. Rahman explained why we should tell stories about West and try to break the boundaries.

“I can’t say much because I’ve been in the industry for almost 40 years – ten years of playing outside as a musician and 30 years as a composer. I was a director for the sensory cinematic experience,” he said.

Rahman further shared that despite the fact we have our stories to tell, we must not restrict ourselves.

“Even though we have so many stories, we should tell stories about the West because we have a narrative about the West. We should be doing that.”

“The West does Gandhi, he (Shekhar Kapur) is the man who has done ‘Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen’. I am super inspired by him,” he added while hinting towards filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.

On the reason for choosing English language for his film, he elaborated: “The reason why I did this in the English language and for an international audience was to see if it is possible to break those boundaries and set a new path. Even if we fail it’s fine. I am talking about Le Musk, the sensory cinematic experience in Cannes XR. I want to thank my whole team, and please do check it out and see how we can improve and celebrate it. God bless you all. Thank you so much.”

The Indian delegation led by I&B Minister Anurag Thakur was present for the inauguration of the Indian pavilion at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival in France.

Deepika Padukone is attending the festival as a jury member, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, R Madhavan, Shekhar Kapur and Tamannaah Bhatia are among the Indian celebrities attending the 75th edition of the film festival. (IANS)

Monkeypox Due To Risky Sexual Behavior, Expert Says

A leading adviser to the World Health Organization described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as “a random event” that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Dr. David Heymann, who formerly headed WHO’s emergencies department, said the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission among gay and bisexual men at two raves held in Spain and Belgium. Monkeypox has not previously triggered widespread outbreaks beyond Africa, where it is endemic in animals.

“We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission,” said Heymann.

That marks a significant departure from the disease’s typical pattern of spread in central and western Africa, where people are mainly infected by animals like wild rodents and primates and outbreaks have not spread across borders.

To date, WHO has recorded more than 90 cases of monkeypox in a dozen countries including Britain, Spain, Israel, France, Switzerland, the U.S. and Australia.

Madrid’s senior health official said on Monday that the Spanish capital has recorded 30 confirmed cases so far. Enrique Ruiz Escudero said authorities are investigating possible links between a recent Gay Pride event in the Canary Islands, which drew some 80,000 people, and cases at a Madrid sauna.

Heymann chaired an urgent meeting of WHO’s advisory group on infectious disease threats on Friday to assess the ongoing epidemic and said there was no evidence to suggest that monkeypox might have mutated into a more infectious form.

Monkeypox typically causes fever, chills, rash, and lesions on the face or genitals. It can be spread through close contact with an infected person or their clothing or bedsheets, but sexual transmission has not yet been documented. Most people recover from the disease within several weeks without requiring hospitalization. Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are also effective in preventing monkeypox and some antiviral drugs are being developed.

The disease can be fatal in about 10% of infections, but no deaths have been reported among the current cases.

WHO said the outbreak is “atypical” and said the fact that cases are being seen in so many different countries suggests the disease may have been silently spreading for some time. The agency’s Europe director warned that as summer begins across the continent, mass gatherings, festivals and parties could accelerate the spread of monkeypox.

Other scientists have pointed out that it will be difficult to disentangle whether it is sex itself or the close contact related to sex that has driven the recent spread of monkeypox across Europe.

“By nature, sexual activity involves intimate contact, which one would expect to increase the likelihood of transmission, whatever a person’s sexual orientation and irrespective of the mode of transmission,” said Mike Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London.

On Sunday, the chief medical adviser of Britain’s Health Security Agency, Dr. Susan Hopkins, said she expected more monkeypox cases to be identified in the country “on a daily basis.” U.K. officials have said “a notable proportion” of the cases in Britain and Europe have been in young men with no history of travel to Africa and who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men. Authorities in Portugal and Spain also said their cases were in men who mostly had sex with other men and whose infections were picked up when they sought help for lesions at sexual health clinics.

Heymann, who is also a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the monkeypox outbreak was likely a random event that might be traceable to a single infection.

“It’s very possible there was somebody who got infected, developed lesions on the genitals, hands or somewhere else, and then spread it to others when there was sexual or close, physical contact,” Heymann hypothesized. “And then there were these international events that seeded the outbreak around the world, into the U.S. and other European countries.” He emphasized that the disease was unlikely to trigger widespread transmission.

“This is not COVID,” he said. “We need to slow it down, but it does not spread in the air and we have vaccines to protect against it.”

Heymann said studies should be conducted rapidly to determine if monkeypox could be spread by people without symptoms and that populations at risk of the disease should take precautions to protect themselves.

US Commission Votes To Process All Green Card Applications Within 6 Months

A presidential advisory commission has unanimously voted to recommend US President Joe Biden to proc­ess all applications for green cards or permanent residen­cy within six months, a pr­oposal if adopted is likely to bring cheers to the hundreds and thousands of Indian-Americans including those waiting for it for decades.

A Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently in the US.

Indian IT professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on the H-1B work visas, are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Card or permanent legal residency.

The recommendations of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian America­ns, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (PACAANHPI) are to be sent to the White House now for approval. If adopted, it is is likely to bring cheers to the hundreds and thousands of Indian-Americans and those waiting, some even for decades, for a Green Card.

A proposal on the issue was moved by eminent Indian-American community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria during the meeting of the PACAANHPI, during which all its 25 commissioners unanimously approved it.

The proceedings of the meeting here in the national capital were webcast live last week.

To reduce the pending Green Card backlog, the advisory commission recommended the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review their processes, systems and policies and establish new internal cycle time goals by streamlining processes, removing redundant steps if any, automating any manual approvals, improving their internal dashboards and reporting system and enhancing policies.

The recommendations aim to reduce the cycle time for processing all forms related to family-based Green Card applications, DACA renewals and all other Green Card applications within six months and issue adjudicate decisions within six months of applications received by it.

The commission recommended National Visa Center (NVC) State Department facility to hire additional officers to increase their capacity to process Green Card applications interviews by 100 per cent in three months from August 2022, and to increase Green Card Card applications visa interviews and adjudicate decisions by 150 per cent up from capacity of 32,439 in April 2022 by April 2023.

Thereafter Green Card visa interviews and visa processing timeline should be a maximum of six months, it said. Aimed at making it easier for the immigrants to stay and work in the country, the commission recommended that the USCIS should review requests for work permits, travel documents and temporary status extensions or changes within three months and adjudicate decisions.

Only 65,452 family preference green cards were issued in fiscal 2021 out of the annual 226,000 green cards available, leaving hundreds of thousands of green cards unused (with many likely to be permanently wasted in the future) and keeping many more families needlessly separated.

There were 421,358 pending interviews in April compared to 436,700 in March, said the policy paper by Bhutoria. Noting that while the US population has grown substantially in recent decades, the immigration system has not changed to keep pace, he said. The annual levels of immigration were established in the early 1990s and have remained largely unchanged since then, he said.

To make matters worse, the method used to calculate the annual number of employment-and-family-based immigration is deeply flawed, and has led to family-based immigration levels being set at their absolute minimum every year for the past 20 years, while hundreds of thousands of green cards for family members go wasted, never used by any individuals when they could be used to reunite families instead, Bhutoria said.

Covid Has Claimed Over 1 Million Lives In US Alone

More than one million people have now died of Covid-19 in the US since the pandemic’s start, according to Tuesday data from Johns Hopkins University — a reminder the pandemic is not over even as much of the country pushes to move away from Covid-19 measures.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of Covid-19 deaths in the US was about 32% higher than reported between February 2020 and September 2021. Provisional data from the CDC also shows the US surpassed the death milestone during the week ending on May 14, and a CNN analysis of data released by the agency shows that severe outcomes disproportionately affected older Americans and minority populations.

About three-quarters of all Covid-19 deaths have been among seniors, including more than a quarter among people 85 and older, according to CDC data. And while racial and ethnic disparities have lessened over the course of the pandemic, the risk of dying from Covid-19 has been about two times higher for Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians compared to Whites in the US.

Last week, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation marking a million deaths and ordered the American flag to fly half-staff, writing that the nation “must not grow numb to such sorrow.”

“To heal, we must remember,” the President said in a statement. “We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible.”

And it all comes as Covid-19 cases are rising again across the country, with reported infections more than doubling over the past month in the US overall. New York City reached the “high” Covid-19 alert level, indicating high community spread and “substantial pressure on the health care system,” officials said, and encouraged people to wear high-quality masks in all public indoor settings and crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of whether vaccination status is known.

Across the world, there have been more than 524 million cases reported of the virus since the pandemic’s start — more than 82 million of which have been in the US.

Grim milestones throughout the pandemic

The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

  • The US reported its first 100,000 deaths about two and a half months later, by May 23, 2020, according to Johns Hopkins.
  • There had been 200,000 deaths reported about four months after that, by September 22, 2020.
  • There were 300,000 deaths reported less than three months after that, by December 12, 2020.
  • There were 400,000 deaths reported about a month later, by January 17, 2021.
  • There were 500,000 deaths reported about another month after that, by February 21, 2021.
  • There were 600,000 deaths reported about four months later, by June 16, 2021.
  • There were 700,000 deaths reported about three and half months after that, by October 1, 2021.
  • There were 800,000 deaths reported about two and a half months after that, by December 13, 2021.
  • Less than two months later on February 4, the US reported a total of 900,334 deaths.

Overall, death rates have been higher in the Northeast region of the country and lowest in the West, according to JHU data.

But at the state level, death rates have been highest in Mississippi, Arizona and Oklahoma — each with more than 400 total Covid-19 deaths for every 100,000 people — compared with Vermont and Hawaii, which have had about 100 deaths for every 100,000 people.

Globally, there have been more than 6.2 million reported Covid-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Vaccinations have saved millions of lives

Vaccinations for the virus have saved millions of lives, but about half of all Covid-19 deaths in the US have happened over the past year — when vaccines were already widely available for everyone age 5 and older.

And though the government has not shared an official estimate of how many vaccinated people have died of Covid-19, a CNN analysis of CDC data shows that deaths in recent months have been much more evenly split between vaccinated and unvaccinated people as highly transmissible variants take hold, vaccine protection wanes and booster uptake stagnates.

But the risk of dying from Covid-19 is still about five times higher for unvaccinated people than it is for vaccinated people, according to the CDC.

And evidence continues to build around the critical importance of booster shots.

Of those vaccinated people who died from a breakthrough case of Covid-19 in January and February, less than a third had gotten a booster shot, according to a CNN analysis of data from the CDC. The remaining two-thirds had only received their primary series.

India Is Committed To Spread Teachings Of Buddha Across World

The India government is committed to spread the teaching of Lord Buddha in every corner of the world, said Union Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy on Monday. He was speaking at an event to celebrate Vaishakh Buddha Poornima here.

On the occasion of the 2,566th Vaishakh Buddha Poornima, also called the Triple Day of Vesak to mark the day of Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment & passing, the Ministry of Culture with its grantee body ‘International Buddhist Confederation’ organised the function in New Delhi. The programme showcased the life and teachings of Gautam Buddha.

“Buddha’s followers are spread across the world, but around 90 per cent of them are from Southeast Asia and East Asia. Buddhists visit India as pilgrimage from every corner of the world. We are working to bring 25 lakh Buddhists every year in India,” said Reddy.

He said that Indian government is working on mission mode with state governments to develop Buddha Circuit.

Under this circuit, different types of activities like connectivity, infrastructure development, logistics, cultural research centre, heritage, communications are being undertaken on mission mode, he added.

“During the US visit in September 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought 157 artefacts and antiquities. Out of total artefacts brought back, 16 relate to Buddhism. We want to bring all artefacts and antiquities related to Buddhism India from wherever they are,” said the Culture Minister.

Talking about the teachings of Buddha, Reddy said that it teaches us to respect the nature.

“His teachings show the path that goes beyond sorrow and grief and inspire to be an ideal man,” he added.

“Any country, small or big, aspires to become a powerful nation, only path is to follow the teachings of Buddha. Buddha’s path is universal path which is middle path,” said Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who was also present on the occasion. (IANS)

Abortion Debate Divides A Deeply Divided Nation

The leaked news about the reported Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide,  based on the Constitution that protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose abortion without excessive government restriction, has divided the nation, which has been already polarized and divided in recent times.

As per reports, a draft opinion written by conservative US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is expected to fundamentally alter reproductive rights, states’ authority and American politics, startled Supreme Court lawyers, court experts, members of Congress and journalists. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the draft opinion states. It was signed by Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority who was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

If the nation is divided on one of the most important cases that has been debated in the top Court, the justices who occupy the highest court are even more divided on the case and its implications for the millions of women who are impacted by the court that has once again proved to be a political organization, based on the ideologies of the Justices rather than the true spirit of the Constitution.

As per the leaked documents, all the Republican appointed Justices on the Court, except Chief Justice John Roberts are said to be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, and in the process denying women their right decide on their health and wellbeing. The justices voting with Alito are all Justices appointed by Republican Presidents: Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanagh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

The Democratic-appointed justices on the court, Stephen Breyer, who will retire this summer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, are working on one or more dissents, Politico reported, noting that Chief Justice John Roberts’ ultimate vote is unclear.

According to CNN sources, Roberts did not want to overturn Roe and would likely side with Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor. Instead, he is willing to uphold the Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, per the report.

Overturning Roe would strike down what many abortion rights defenders, including Supreme Court justices appointed by presidents of both political parties, have long described as settled law. It would limit access to abortions across much of the country, including parts of the South and Midwest. In at least 13 states, abortion would immediately become illegal. As Alito’s opinion notes, the ruling would allow each state to set its own laws and restrictions. One of those restrictions deals with medication abortion, accompanied by criminal penalties.

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the Alito draft states. “Roe and [1992’s Planned Parenthood v.] Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

The draft opinion in effect states there is no constitutional right to abortion services and would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” it states, referencing the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey that affirmed Roe’s finding of a constitutional right to abortion services but allowed states to place some constraints on the practice. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The document was labeled a “1st Draft” of the “Opinion of the Court” in a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

An AP-NORC poll in December found that Democrats increasingly see protecting abortion rights as a high priority for the government. Other polling shows relatively few Americans want to see Roe overturned. In 2020, AP VoteCast found that 69% of voters in the presidential election said the Supreme Court should leave the Roe v. Wade decision as is; just 29% said the court should overturn the decision. In general, AP-NORC polling finds a majority of the public favors abortion being legal in most or all cases.

Still, when asked about abortion policy generally, Americans have nuanced attitudes on the issue, and many don’t think that abortion should be possible after the first trimester or that women should be able to obtain a legal abortion for any reason.

Alito, in the draft, said the court can’t predict how the public might react and shouldn’t try. “We cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work,” Alito wrote in the draft opinion, according to Politico.

People on both sides of the issue quickly gathered outside the Supreme Court waving signs and chanting on a balmy spring night, following the release of the Politico report.

Planned Parenthood, in a statement late Monday, said, “The leaked opinion is horrifying and unprecedented, and it confirms our worst fears.”  A majority of Americans oppose overturning the 49-year-old ruling, according to recent surveys. A CNN poll in January found that 69 percent of respondents were against doing away with Roe while 30 percent were in favor.

The leak jumpstarted the intense political reverberations that the high court’s ultimate decision was expected to have in the midterm election year. Already, politicians on both sides of the aisle were seizing on the report to fundraise and energize their supporters on either side of the hot-button issue.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a joint statement, said a majority vote to overturn Roe “would go down as an abomination,” adding that it would be “one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.”

Senate Judiciary Committee member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) tweeted Monday night that the published Alito opinion pointed to a role for Congress. “It is a fundamental right for a woman to make her own health decisions. We must protect the right to choose and codify Roe v Wade into law,” she said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, also a Democrat, said people seeking abortions could head to New York. “For anyone who needs access to care, our state will welcome you with open arms. Abortion will always be safe & accessible in New York,” Hochul said in a tweet.

On the GOP side, lawmakers were incensed with the disclosure of the high court’s draft. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said that the court and the Justice Department “must get to the bottom of this leak immediately using every investigative tool necessary” (The Hill).

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in a statement, “We will let the Supreme Court speak for itself and wait for the Court’s official opinion.” But local officials were praising the draft. “This puts the decision making back into the hands of the states, which is where it should have always been,” said Mississippi state Rep. Becky Currie.

A decision to overrule Roe would lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states and could have huge ramifications for this year’s elections. But it’s unclear if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter — opinions often change in ways big and small in the drafting process. The court is expected to rule on the case before its term ends in late June or early July.