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NRI in Bid to Promote to Jute Cultivation December 11, 2018 13:26

A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) and PULSES Chief Executive Officer Srinubabu Gadela wage a war against plastic saying it is ruining the health of the people and the wealth of the farmers with the huge drop in jute production in the backward Srikakulam district. The United States-returned NRI has been organizing meetings for the past few months to make farmers to go back to jute. He says adequate availability of raw jute would lead to a revival of all the closed industries. Dr. Srinubabu, who hails from Allena village of Burja mandal, completed his post-doctorate from the Stanford University and started Omics International Private Limited to facilitate free access of journals for researchers. Later, he established the Pulses Group, a health informatics and health care services in Hyderabad. Dr. Srinubabu, who is not content with his achievements, is keen on enhancing the income sources of farmers by guiding them in the usage of the latest technology and information in agriculture. He has been conducting training programs for youngsters to become entrepreneurs. "Thousands of farmers and laborers have fallen victims with little demand for jute cultivation and closure of many industries in Rajam, Bobbili, Vizianagaram, and other places. The revival of jute production and processing would certainly minimize the usage of plastic covers and bags. There is a huge demand for jute material in paper and textile industries too. That is why I am suggesting the farmers go back to jute cultivation which is sure to generate more income and employment." Ambedkar University Vice-Chancellor Kuna Ramjee said the University would sign an agreement with the Pulses Group in training PG students in a systematic way. "Youngsters from poor families and Telugu medium can also do wonders if they work hard and develop new ideas. That is why we requested its chairman to take up special training programs and help the PG students to get jobs in reputed firms and start their own industries," said Dr. Ramjee. Minister for Human Resources Ganta Srinivasa Rao felicitated Dr. Srinubabu for coming forward to serve the native district. "We should do something for our native places. It will certainly make other well-settled NRIs utilize their knowledge and wealth to benefit the backward areas," he said. -Sowmya Sangam

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Shashi Tharoor Launches Indian Author's Book at Sharjah Book Fair December 11, 2018 04:42

The Lady Biker, a collection of short stories by an Indian-American actor, producer, and author Thampi Antony, was released by Member of Indian parliament and author Shashi Tharoor, at the Sharjah International Book Fair earlier this month. Published by Mathrubhumi Books, Tharoor gave a copy to Abu Dhabi-based writer and cultural critic Shajahan Madampat on November 9. Tharoor said he is a great Malayalam short story enthusiast and lauded Antony's work. Antony, a resident of Alamo, California, said it was a matter of great privilege and delight, as a writer, to have the work released by Tharoor, a public figure with an enormous following and a packed schedule. Referring to the excitement that the presence of the Indian National Congress MP created, he said that there was a near stampede at the event. "Even the security guards couldn't do much," he said. "Some of my closest friends couldn't get anywhere near the book release event. I am delighted that he kept his promise to me and came for the release." The Lady Biker (original Malayalam title: Pen Biker) is a collection of 14 stories that was first published in several prominent Malayalam weeklies over a period of two years. The Lady Biker, the title story, was published in the Kalakaumudhi weekly. In the author's own words the book is an amalgam of the American life and Malayalee experiences. "Each story is a conversation," reviewer Veena Chand wrote in Mathrumbhumi. "Each character talks to the reader in plainest of languages." The Lady Biker is Antony's fifth Malayalam book and second short story collection. He has also written a novel, a collection of poems and a play. Antony has acted in 40 films, mostly in Malayalam, including Sufi Paranja Katha, Beyond the Soul, and Parudeesa. His latest movie Puzhayamma, directed by Vijeesh Mani, is scheduled to be released in the New Year. He also acted in Cash, a Hollywood movie that he produced. The Californian has likewise produced 7 films, most notably the Calcutta News. -Sowmya Sangam

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Telangana NRIs Vow to Support TRS In Future Bids December 10, 2018 12:05

Telangana Non-resident Indians (NRIs) on Sunday expressed their confidence over the winning of Telangana Rashtra Samithi in the assembly elections held on December 7, saying the party would retain power and continue to implement welfare and development activities. The NRIs vowed to continue their support to the TRS and its president K. Chandrashekar Rao in their future endeavors after the election results are announced Tuesday. Speaking to the media at Telangana Bhavan on Sunday, TRS NRI wing coordinator Mahesh Bigala said the Telangana NRIs had traveled wide and far across the State to campaign on behalf of the TRS for the Assembly polls. "We have witnessed a positive response from people cutting across caste, religion and region lines. They are overwhelmed with the governance of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. We are confident that the results will be in favor of the TRS," he said.Mahesh further said Chandrashekhar Rao would play a vital role in the creation of the Federal Front to bring qualitative change in the national politics. He reiterated that the Telangana NRIs would rally behind the Chief Minister in this regard. "The people of Telangana would never accept TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu in the State, and the Congress and TJS president M Kodandaram lost their credibility due to their alliance with Naidu," he said. TRS NRI wing leader Mahesh Tanneru thanked the Telangana NRIs who took part in the poll campaign. He said Chandrashekhar Rao had already assured to address the issues pertaining to Telangana NRIs after returning to power.By Sowmya Sangam

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Telangana Polls: NRI Contests from Warangal West to Change City's Fate December 05, 2018 11:46

A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) who lived in the United States is trying his hand at Telangana Assembly elections 2018 from Warangal West constituency, with an aim to change city's fate. Vikranth Babu Samidha came back to India three years ago from the United States to engage himself in social work in his motherland and is currently contesting as an independent candidate. He worked with prestigious companies such as Apple and AT & T in the U.S. "People watch movies like Sarkar, and hoot and cheer for such movies, but they won't come out to vote. They spend time and money to travel to watch these movies, but they can't go to a polling booth in their own locality to cast a vote, which can bring about change," says Vikranth to TNM in Warangal. Vikranth will be competing against Member of Legislative Assembly Dasyam Vinay Bhasker of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Telugu Desam Party's Revuri Prakash Reddy, and Dharmarao Marthineni from Bharatiya Janata Party. Motive to Join politics "It's not about winning or losing for me at the moment. It's more about spreading awareness among people on their right to vote. And I felt like it required me to enter politics actively and use that as a platform to do so and that's what I'm doing," he says. Image Source: The News Minute Born and brought up in Warangal, Vikranth completed his Masters in computer science at Texas A&M University and currently is the I-T head at Apollo Sugar Clinics, Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad. "I work as a consultant. This is so that I can work for three days a week and dedicate the rest of the week for the various organizations I volunteer for here in Warangal," he says. "I have been working with various organizations, mostly in the field of education where we ensure people go to school, donate books, bags and other necessities so they can receive a decent education. Through this, we also started teaching people about sanitation, etc. As elections approached, we were asking people why they don't come to vote and realized that there is little awareness about the need to vote and the need to elect the right leaders. I felt like people needed to know why and who they vote for and ensure that they hold them accountable for the lack of development. At this point, several people asked me why don't I enter politics myself, so I thought - why not," he adds. Vikranth works with organizations such as Helping Hands India, Youth for Swachh Warangal and Young Pioneers of India. 'No Promises' Vikranth says he doesn't want to make many promises and then fail to fulfill them. His motto too, he says, is 'Neraverchani maatalakanna, panulu chese chethulu minna," which translates to 'working hands are better than empty promises.' "We don't want to engage in pointing fingers at others or getting personal. Our agitation is against the work that hasn’t been done yet and we will work on finding solutions for current problems instead of complaining," he adds. Vikranth wants to concentrate on four major areas: Health, education, smart cities, employment for youth. And his focus too, he says, is on the growing urban population in these towns. He believes that a 'one size fits all' manifesto won't make sure that development trickles down to the bottom of the pyramid. "Things like health and education can be generic but beyond that, every MLA needs to have manifestos specific to their constituencies that target specific problems," he adds. Vikranth points out that more than 65 percent of our population comprises youth. "For any development and innovation going forward, youth will play a very important role and we are seeing that happen slowly. But the saddest part is that today our Parliament is one of the oldest in the world in terms of age of politicians. When we need youth for everything, why don’t we want them to rule the country?" he says. Vikranth wants to bring about more employment opportunities for the youth and turning Warangal into a smart city is one such big opportunity, according to him. Warangal was selected as a smart city in the second list put out by the government. But Vikranth claims that no work has been done on this front. "Look at things like rapid transportation systems, solid waste management, or even underground drainage. There is so much that can be done but nothing has been done. Nearly Rs 900 crore has been released for this purpose for Telangana and we have found that not even Rs 200 crore has been utilized. And the leaders too, don’t seem to know how to make Warangal a smart city," he adds. Vikranth wants to implement solid waste management and underground drainage in the city if he comes to power. He also wants to create recyclable bricks and lay roads with recycled material. "There is immense employment opportunity through solid waste management since everything is recyclable and a lot can be done with the waste generated in these towns," he says. "Involving the youth in making Warangal a smart city will ensure the development is holistic." Use of Digital Media For his campaigning, Vikranth is focusing on digital media, with digital ads online and through WhatsApp. Apart from that, there is also print campaigns and door-to-door campaigning. His budget, Vikranth says is Rs 10 lakh and the moment that money is exhausted, he says, he will stop campaigning. "I have taken the initiative and put a step forward to bring about some change. Whether I win or not, is something people will decide. But through the campaigns, if I manage to influence at least 10-20 percent of the people, I will be happy. At least some change would have begun," Vikranth says. -Sowmya Sangam

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Kolkata-Born Scientist Rahul Mandal Wins UK's Popular Baking Show November 01, 2018 07:04

A Kolkata-born research scientist, who is currently living in the United Kingdom has crowned the winner of a popular baking show on British television after winning over the judges with his elaborately-designed pastries and cakes. The 30-year-old Rahul Mandal was declared the winner of Channel 4's 'Great British Bake Off' on Tuesday night after impressing the judges with his "East meets West" style of baking. As the winning name was revealed, he said: "I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. I just feel I need to talk with my mum." Mandal was born in Kolkata and moved to the United Kingdom as a student, where he started elevating curiosity for cooking and baking. Mandal from Rotherham in northern England struggled with disasters during the show's finale when his icing bag exploded during a doughnut challenge. Shortly after, his mixing bowl smashed while he was creating his rock garden, motivated by Victorian explorers bringing back exciting plants from around the globe, for the "Edible Landscape" show-stopper challenge. Despite the mischances, the taste and quality of Mandal's baking saw him win over the judges as he beat fellow British Indian contestant Ruby Bhogal and Kim-Joy Hewlett in the grand finale of the long-running television show. "He is one of those characters that you will miss when you are not with him. I don't think he realizes still how good he actually is and I think that's what's magic about Rahul," said celebrity chef Paul Hollywood, one of the judges. "I never baked when I was in India. My baking journey began in the UK about five years ago when I was feeling lonely, and needed to do something along with my studies," he said. "At that time, it was limited to making bread and biscuits. The first cake I made was about two years ago when my parents visited the UK for the first time," he added. The winner is bestowed with a coveted cake stand trophy and the publicity from the show can outcome in a huge career boost for galore contestants. Every year, amateur baking enthusiasts vie to get a spot among 12 bake-off contestants and spend nine weeks in a large tent to compete in a series of elimination rounds. "Cooking programs always interested me. Even as a child, rather than watching sports, I enjoyed watching cookery shows. I started cooking and experimenting with food from the age of 15, however, proper everyday cooking started since I moved to the UK," Mandal said. "I like the simple classics, sometimes with a little twist in it. My colleagues love my Lemon drizzle cake and its cousins like Lemon and cardamom drizzle cake, or lemon and elderflower drizzle cake - they like them a lot," he said. While baking is a hobby, he sees a connect with his day job as a scientist as he believes precise planning and attention to detail come in handy for both. "If it is something big, I develop and design it over the week and then execute it over the weekend," he said. The final three contestants in the 2018 series were evenly matched for this year's finale, which attracted a lot of social media attention.    ImageSource: The Telegraph Fans were split over Mandal being given an extra 15 minutes after he smashed his mixing bowl while creating his showstopper but the majority were rooting for the diffident and humble scientist-baker. The recent series evidenced a rating success for Channel 4, which took over the show earlier this year following its move from its original home on the BBC. -Sowmya Sangam

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Former NRI Fills Drinking Water Pots Each Morning to Serve People October 25, 2018 12:18

There are not a lot of souls around in our country who have a heart of compassion, nevertheless, 69-year-old Alag Natarajan is one from the noble minority.The former Non-Resident Indian (NRI) who lived in London for about three decades intended to do a bit for the people on his comeback. One thing that caught his eyes is that people who spend most of their time on the roads do not get the minimum necessity of water to slake their thirst.According to a report in Inuth.com, Natarajan, a resident of South Delhi, started setting up water coolers around his locality to meet people's needs. He installed 10 coolers at different locations, starting from his own residence in Panchsheel Park. But immediately, he grasped that no one was keen to fill water in those coolers. There was as well the difficulty of getting an electric connection to run the devices."It has been four years now including the cooler maybe five years. When I started, I installed 10 coolers in different parts of Delhi but half of them I have to bring back because people had no respect for it. Each cooler cost me Rs 25,000," he was quoted as saying by Inuth.The man did not lose trust, however. He switched to a low-priced substitute - earthern pots of 'matkas'. He placed around 80 of them in different areas and on a daily basis, at around 4 a.m., he takes out his water van to fill them.Natarajan, however, does not charge money for his social service. Now and then, people donate money for his hard work, but his financial support comes mostly from his pension in London. His family too supports him. One 'matka' costs him Rs 350, he said.In addition to serving water, the veteran as well provides breakfast to security guards, laborers, and drivers and at the present, he has started making the foodstuff (idli) besides serving cucumbers and bananas. He has as well put up self-help cycle pumps in different areas to promote cycling.-Sowmya Sangam

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Indian-Origin Man Jailed in UK Over Handling Stolen Vehicles October 17, 2018 05:24

An Indian-origin man has been sentenced to eight years in jail by the United Kingdom court for the handling of 19 stolen high-value vehicles worth over 7,00,000 pounds. Chirag Patel, 39, was found guilty of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and ownership of the criminal property at the extremity of a five-week trial at Croydon Crown Court last Friday. "Patel played the leading role in a sophisticated operation to handle high-value, stolen vehicles, motivated only by sheer greed," said Acting Detective Sergeant Billy Clough, who led the investigation for the Metropolitan Police. "He even attempted to convince the jury that he was a legitimate businessman, who had simply been unlucky in obtaining such a vast quantity of stolen items, but the jury saw through this and convicted him of being the key player in a significant criminal enterprise," he said. Patel was imprisoned for conspiracy to handle stolen goods in relation to the cars and keys, for which he received eight years' in jail. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for owning criminal property and in relation to over 440,000 pounds of unexplained cash deposits which had been identified from two personal bank accounts in his name. Both the judgments will run simultaneously. "I hope this sentence sends a message that those involved in this type of organized criminality will be pursued robustly," the Met Police said. The tribunal was told that in February 2015, Patel reported to police force that his Porsche had been purloined. Initially, Patel resisted giving his residence address, rather providing details of his parent's address. When he eventually gave his own address, officers attended the property as part of their probe into the stolen car. Here they discovered a number of high-value vehicles in the basement car park. Officers identified that one of the cars had a personalized number plate identical to one seen earlier on a vehicle outside Patel's parent's address. Further inquiries by officers established that the five vehicles in the car park had fake number plates and each was later confirmed to have been purloined. Shortly, Patel was arrested at his address. During a hunt of his possessions, Met Police officers recovered 26 sets of car keys, likewise lists of registrations and vehicles, devices for accessing onboard computers in vehicles, programming keys and a number of tablets, mobile phones, and laptops. Following a detailed investigation, led by officers from Croydon's Serious Acquisitive Crime Unit, a total of 19 stolen vehicles with an estimated value of 728,000 pounds were linked to Patel and later seized, also nine sets of keys which had been stolen from Jaguar Land Rover's plant in Solihull, West Midlands, and a laptop purloined in Streatham area of south London during a burglary. During the trial, judge H H J Gower commended the work of the Scotland Yard officer, Police Constable Andy Garland, whose work identified the first stolen vehicle. The police subsequently discovered that Patel had been using the vehicles in the running of an "off-the-books" vehicle rental enterprises, where vehicles were rented out to his connections and associates. The vehicles had been purloined by unknown individuals during burglaries and keyless thefts across London between October 2012 and January 2015 and were stored at or near addresses owned by Patel and his kin, or with links who looked after the vehicles for him or rented them from him. The identities of the cars were hidden using legitimate insurance details of vehicles which had been written off on official records. By Sowmya Sangam

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Indian-Origin Man with Eye-Condition to Get Guide Horse in UK October 15, 2018 05:14

An Indian-origin man based in north-west England, who suffers from a degenerative eye condition, is set to become the first person in the United Kingdom to acquire a guide horse to assist him with day-to-day tasks once he loses his imagination completely. Mohammed Salim Patel, 24, a journalist based in Blackburn at Lancashire, suffers from a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, due to which he is left with a very little amount of vision in his right eye and will sooner or later turn totally blind. The thought of a miniature guide horse came to his attention as he suffers from a deep-seated fear of dogs since a scary childhood encounter and could not rely on the more usually used guide dogs for the unsighted. "Digby (guide horse) is still a baby and will be two years old in May 2019. His training will take around two more years," Patel said. "Digby will be able to work into his 40s, whereas a guide dog has to retire at the age of eight," he said. After spending some time with his companion-to-be, Patel believes a guide horse has numerous added benefits over guide dogs, even a much longer working life, 350-degree vision and ability to see in the dark. "Even if his training takes longer than two years, it doesn't matter too much as once he's trained, I will have decades with him as my assistant animal," Patel explained. The tale of Digby caught the attention of the annual Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons, where the horse is amongst the finalists in the Hero Pet category - intended at honoring animals who have transformed the lives of their owners. "It's very nice to have Digby recognized for his great work, despite still being in training. He is a star," said Patel, in reference to the awards. The journalist works with the BBC North West Tonight Television after completing a Journalism Trainee Scheme. By Sowmya Sangam

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Africa's Indian-Origin Billionaire Abducted in Tanzania October 12, 2018 10:51

An India-origin youngest billionaire of Africa was kidnapped by gunmen on Thursday morning in Dar es Salaam, when he was getting into his gym. According to an ABC News report, the 43-year-old Mohammed Dewji, owner and president of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Ltd. (METL) and a former member of Tanzania's Parliament, was entering a gym for his day-to-day morning workout, when he was pushed into the car, and it sped away.Firing their guns into the air, two masked men took Dewji with them. Police have 12 suspects in this case, including the hotel's manager. Dewji served in Parliament from 2005 to 2015.According to Forbes magazine, he has a net worth of $1.5 billion.The motive behind the kidnapping is unknown, yet police suspect that it can be a case of 'ransom kidnapping'.-Sowmya Sangam

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Indian Student Becomes UK High Commissioner for a Day October 09, 2018 07:31

A student of political science in a Noida university, Esha Bhala, has become British High Commissioner to India for 24 hours.To observe the International Day of the Girl Child, which is celebrated on October 11, the British High Commission organized a competition for women aged between 18 and 23 to become the British High Commissioner to India for a day.To enter, the competitors submitted a short video presentation on the theme "What does gender equality mean to you?"A total of 58 students from across the country submitted their videos.The successful entry was from Bahal, who plans to become a social entrepreneur after completing her higher studies in public policy and law.Expressing delight over the achievement, acting British High Commissioner for a day, Bahal said: "Acting as British High Commissioner for a day has been a great and really unique experience. I've learned about the breadth and depth of United Kingdom-India relations - and had the opportunity to highlight the importance of gender equality and inclusivity, issues which are of great importance to me."-Sowmya Sangam

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NCW Appeals MEA to Foil Ex Parte NRI Divorces October 04, 2018 05:51

The National Commission for Women on Wednesday asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to consider the practicability of entering into agreements with countries having ample India diaspora to prevent dissolution of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) marriages through ex parte divorce decree passed by foreign courts.In a letter to Swaraj, NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma emphasized the plight of Indian women in NRI marriages.The commission said that in many cases, despite the marriage having been solemnized in accordance with the personal laws of the country (of the husband) and India, foreign courts decide the cases and dissolve marriages.The commission proposed that the ministry explores the feasibility of entering into treaties with countries having sizable Indian diaspora so that cases accompanying dissolution of marriages performed in India may not be adjudicated by the courts of other countries - expect if parties unequivocally and voluntarily submit to their jurisdiction.The NCW pointed out that it has received a big number of complaints from NRI brides regarding ex parte divorce decree passed by the abroad courts.In many cases, such decisions are taken on the grounds currently not available for obtaining a decree of divorce in India, it said."It has been observed by the commission that NRI husbands are misusing such provisions," it said.The commission is of the perspective that the dissolution of marriage in such cases should occur in accordance with the laws of the country where the marriage was solemnized and within that nation as Indian women in NRI marriages are peculiarly vulnerable in foreign countries, oftentimes without any financial support, Sharma said in the letter.By Sowmya Sangam

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Selling Lunch Boxes, Indian Women in Swiss Raises ₹1.8L for Kerala September 19, 2018 10:02

For galore Indians living abroad, watching what was on in their home country during the Kerala floods was difficult. For a group of women who lived in Switzerland, it was no different. When Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to people to donate to the CM's Disaster Relief Fund, they too desired to do their bit.The group of 16 women, all living in the Swiss city of Baden, came together and worked for three days to raise Rs 1.8 lakh for Kerala flood relief. All this, by selling lunch boxes with Indian food to locals and other Indians living in the city."The idea was good, but we realized that it would require a larger investment than we could afford, and also formalities and permissions to set it up. We needed something that would allow us to help quicker," tells one of the women Bandana Maheshwari to TNM.After checking with their networks, Linija and Bandana were able to find 14 other women who were curious in the initiative. Related content: Kerala Authorities: Rebuilding After Flood Will Cost $3.7bnCollectively, they decided it would be best to set up and deliver meal boxes with Indian food for all three meals.Everyone got on board speedily, and after readying and popularizing the idea through social media and flyers for just two days, the women decided it was time to swing into action."It was challenging because everything was happening so quickly. Till the midnight of August 21 we were still getting orders," Bandana narrates.On August 22, the plan was set into motion. Two locations were decided where some women would cook the vegetarian and non-vegetarian food respectively. There were some women who were packing lunch boxes, and three women who had cars were accountable for delivery. The responsibilities would rotate over the three days, depending on who was free when."We used what we were going to donate individually as the capital for this project," Bandana says. "While the first day was a bit chaotic, we had gotten into the groove by the second day and then things went smoothly."By Sowmya Sangam

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