42 Indians Detained in New Mexico Over Illegal U.S. Entry

first_imgOver 40 Indian immigrants are being held at a detention center in New Mexico over alleged attempts to enter the United States illegally, according to the Hindu. As many as 52 Indians, mostly Sikhs, are lodged at a facility in Oregon, reports that emerged earlier this week had said.Indian embassy officials are establishing contact with the Indian immigrants held at the two centers. “We have established contacts with both the detention facilities. A consular official has visited the detention facility in Oregon and another one is scheduled to visit the detention facility in New Mexico. We are monitoring the situation,” the embassy said in a statement.The Indian embassy contacted the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after it got to know about the detainees at New Mexico from community members. The ICE confirmed that at least 42 Indians are housed at the Otero County Detention Center in New Mexico, which is close to the El Paso border crossing from Mexico, according to the publication.The Indian embassy has got the names of the those held at Oregon and New Mexico from the ICE, the report added. Most of them are Sikhs from Punjab while a few are Christians from Andhra Pradesh. “From what we understand now, these are single men. And they seem to have paid large amounts of money to touts who helped them cross into the U.S,” a source familiar with the developments who did not want to be named was quoted as saying in the report.While over a dozen of the Indian detainees are being held at the New Mexico center for months, the others were brought to the center about a week ago, NDTV reported.The 52 Indians being held at the Sheridan prison in Yamhill county, Oregon, are facing harsh conditions, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici wrote in her blog earlier this week. “Through our Punjabi translator, we learned that these men were planning to request asylum because they faced severe religious persecution in India. Most are Sikh or Christian. Instead they were incarcerated in a federal prison,” Bonamici had said earlier.The immigrant detainees have been rounded up following the “zero tolerance” policy launched in May by the Donald Trump administration over illegal entry into the United States. The tough measures being taken by the U.S. authorities, including separation of minor children from their families, sparked global outcry, leading Trump to sign on June 20 an executive order to maintain family unity of migrants. Related Itemsnew mexicoOregonUnited Stateslast_img read more

Cooper Scooper

first_imgA British man diagnosed with gender identity disorder is being worshipped as a goddess of eunuchs in Becharaji, Gujarat.Stephen Louis Cooper has been embraced as a descendant of Bahuchar Mata, the revered goddess of Indian eunuchs.Cooper says “I love wearing a sari as I find wrapping a sari very sacred,” and sports rings in his nose and ears as he blesses thousands of eunuch devotees who make a pilgrimage to their leading temple. He told the BBC that he saw pictures of several Hindu Gods during his travels and “I could feel my energy being hreflected in a different way,” when he saw one of Bahuchar Mata riding what else, a cock, which he had tattooed on his arm.“People here have been lovely. They touch my feet and when I touch their head I feel the love and joy – pure and taintless,” he says. Because he speaks only English he cannot communicate with his devotees.Cooper would like to spend the rest of his life at the temple, where he lives in a guest house of the temple trust, but has some earthly constraints – his 6-month tourist visa will run out soon. Related Itemslast_img read more

Spirituality Inc

first_imgChandrika Tandon of New York is the founder of Tandon Capital Associates, a consulting firm that advises Fortune 500 companies on streamlining and reengineering their operations. Mayank Patel of Minneapolis is director of research and development of Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture between General Mills and Nestle, which markets cereals in 130 countries.Ravi Akhoury of New Jersey is chairman and chief executive officer of Mackay Shields, a $40 billion investment management company and vice chairman of New York Life Investment Management.Harish Bharti of Seattle, Wash., is a high-powered lawyer who built his reputation with a class action suit against McDonald’s over beef laced French fries, which resulted in a $12.5 million settlement and an apology.Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, a cancer specialist who has been adjudged one of the top physicians in the United States by Best Doctors in America, is director of Oncology at three major hospitals in the Columbia Presbyterian medical system in New York. Cereal Partner’s Mayank Patel says his colleagues know he’s vegetarian, does not drink and keeps an image of his guru on his desk.I find that people go out of their way to respect my values and I think my experiences at work help create more awareness for HinduismFive movers and shakers, each of whom have had a major impact on their industries and the world around them – and each says their secret asset is spirituality.They raise an intriguing questions: Can a high net worth individual also have a high net worth self? Is it possible to manage hedge-funds, intricate portfolios, thousands of employees – and your soul too?Although it may sound like an oxymoron, some of them say that spirituality is a vital for success in a materialistic world. “Spirituality keeps me grounded,” says Akhoury. “I don’t think there is a day when I do not meditate.”Spirituality is embedded deep in the Indian psyche and the importance of having an anchor in life can be traced to the Vedas. In the great epic Mahabharata, Arjuna agonized on the battlefield for waging war on his own kin. It was Lord Krishna, his charioteer and guru, who counseled him with the remarkable discourse, which is today known to millions as the Bhagavad Gita. “Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself – without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. For yoga is perfect evenness of mind.” Physician Dattatreyudu Nori:If someone’s a doctor it doesn’t mean he can’t be spiritual. He has to believe in science, no question about it. But every doctor who’s been in the field for a long time knows that there is something beyond science and medicine. Throughout Indian history, royal kings and nobles have had personal seers to streer them on the right path, living in the world and yet keeping their equanimity. The modern equivalent are CEOs who keep their cool in a frenetic world of mergers and acquisitions, cut-throat competition and a changing, globalized environment.Tandon, whose company has turned around the fortunes of scores of banks and other institutions across the world, spends her days in the frenetic corporate world torturing over the bottom line and the dollar. She keeps it all in perspective by starting her day with pranayama, the breathing and meditation techniques taught by Sri Sri Ravi Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living. In fact, if she doesn’t begin her day with this regimen, she feels she has forgotten something very important.Ranjan Tandon, her husband, who heads Libra Investors, a major hedge fund, is also a true believer in the value of pranayama and performs it every morning without fail. “He feels it makes him a much better investor, because of the clarity it gives him,” says Tandon. “It’s really about a set of processes which help you. It’s almost as if you blow out the stress. The techniques and processes like meditation, pranayama and yoga are exercises to help the inner polishing.” Tandon Capital Associates’ Chandrika Tandon:The transformation for me was that I went from being a very driven executive to a person who cares a lot about the world. She believes, however, that spirituality is not a mantle that one wears or something that can be defined easily: “It is a quest, a difficult process of constantly working on yourself and it is three steps forward, two steps back.”Tandon grew up in the family home in Chennai with her siblings. (Her sister Indra Nooyi is president of PepsiCo and her brother Nandu Narayanan is founder of Trident Investment Management). She grew up influenced by Hindu rituals at home, but also an openness to glean wisdom from all faiths. She even took an elective course in the 10th grade on Catholic scriptures and later attended a Jesuit college. She says, “All around me there was the underlay or foundations of Hinduism, which was very intense, but the structure on top of it was a very secular, open wisdom.” Attorney Harish Bharti: So what is good for the world is good for you and then everything is in harmony and balance. That’s pretty much what spirituality is. There’s no rocket science in it.This willingness to draw from different traditions has given her an indispensable set of tools to guide her: “From my perspective these are a set of ancient techniques that have been handed down to us in an understandable, practical form. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has done some incredible work in taking the pranayama and meditation techniques and creating almost a standardized approach for us.” Tandon also draws from Buddhist philosophy with its emphasis on compassion, love, kindness and meditation.“I see a big transformation in my whole preparedness for the day. This is not about a spiritual life where you retire to a monastery. I find it’s an extraordinary opportunity to take a few days in a year for one’s self to do an inner polishing in a more intensive way. You go into silence, into deep breathing, into deep meditation. It’s almost as if you’re clearing out the internal debris.“What happens is that when you get this clarity, compassion and sense of well-being, it then opens you up to absorb, to appreciate and that’s a spiritual philosophy that a lot of religions have in common,” she says. “Before I started to do this, it was like being waves on top of an ocean. After you start to do it you just go deep into the ocean – that’s yourself.” This search for self is something that Ravi Akhoury, who manages the $40 billion Mackay Shields fund, knows about. “It has always been an important part of who I am, but it became more and more important later in my life,” he says. “Frankly I would say that as my workload became more and more stressful, I found this was a haven where I could get a lot of solace from meditation.”It has been part of his daily routine for the past 20 years and he has found that meditation helps him relieve stress, not uncommon in his stressful business. “What happens in these situations is that your mind is always racing, because there’s so much information that is being flung at you from all different sources and you’re supposed to crystallize all this information and make a decision.” he says. “And your mind is always ticking, always working and it gets tired. And once it gets tired it’s not able to synthesize the information as cogently as it should. What I feel meditation has done for me is basically it rests the mind, gets it peaceful so the information can get synthesized much better and you can make better decisions.”Akhoury, who is a follower of Swami Chinmayananda, grew up in Jamshedpur in a family that was not big on rituals, but did celebrate all the major festivals. His mother, he recalls, never let a day pass without doing her puja. His early education in Scindia School also had an impact on him, because with the goal of turning out well-rounded students, there was an emphasis on athletics, study and spirituality. Every evening the students donned kurta pajamas and meditated and prayed for a while. “This starts building in you that it’s an important part of your development,” he says. Mackay Shields’ CEO & Chairman Ravi Akhoury:I’m fairly open about it. I think everyone in my company knows that I am a spiritual person. I think when I speak to my whole firm once or twice a year, basically to motivate them to produce results, I throw in spirituality. He recalls an incident when he was 12 years old and one of his favorite teachers asked the class how they would like to be remembered when they died. “We all looked at each other and laughed and giggled and said this guy is nuts and who’s thinking of dying. And then he turned around and said – I still remember – he said, ‘You know I don’t expect you to have an answer right now, but if you turn 50 or 55 and you still haven’t figured it out, then you’ve wasted your life.’ That was very profound and kind of stays with you.”During his IIT Kanpur days, spirituality took a back seat to the stress of studies, work and social life. “Then I realized something was missing in my life and I got back to it later in my life. And now it’s a very important part of my life. It helps me both to get back to my roots a little bit better and it also helps me to make better decisions.”As he points out, spirituality doesn’t mean you become a sanyasi and sit under a tree all day, but rather you somehow make time to think of the larger picture and get some peacefulness in your life and think of your existence outside your daily work and family.He finds meditation calming and says that some of the best ideas come to his mind after meditation: “I think that’s because the clutter in the mind gets dispersed and then your mind is open to new ideas. So I can say it’s helped me in my business, in my relationships, and I think it can only get better if I spend more time at it.”When Akhoury tries to read a novel he finds his mind wanders into business matters, but he can concentrate on books about spirituality and philosophy just fine, and has grown to appreciate the writings of Swami Chinmayananda: “The basic notions of our spirituality come from the teachings of the Vedas and the Bhagwad Gita, but what he has been able to do is translate philosophy into real life lessons.”Spirituality also guides Harish Bharti, the maverick lawyer who got McDonalds to settle a class action suit on behalf of vegetarians who had been served French Fries cooked in beef tallow. “Without the spiritual direction it’s basically like you’re walking in the dark. When you have faith you have a flashlight, a roadmap of life and driving instructions and you can proceed, instead of falling into a ditch and forgetting what the goal was.”He says the spiritual direction can come from any source, it doesn’t have to be any specific religion: “Everyone can get strength from their spiritual beliefs, but no specific religion has a monopoly on it. I like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s approach, because he teaches all the same information without being sectarian in any way and you don’t have to belong to any specific order or religion; you can follow his teachings. And you can be anybody on this planet. His meditation techniques are very effective. His focus is on public service and peace, and you cannot go wrong.”Growing up in Patiala, Bharti says he had always been fascinated by swamis and the way they imparted peace. “I used to like their company and for summer vacation I would go to the ashrams. I didn’t understand much, but I liked the atmosphere.”Bharti, who focuses on employment discrimination, civil rights, first amendment rights, medical negligence and class action litigation, says his spiritual beliefs help him to select cases based not on profit, but on social justice.“It’s more fulfilling and I’m not complaining – I’m doing financially very well – but I wouldn’t do it any other way,” he says. “So the idea in the end is that what is good for the whole world cannot be bad for a single individual. It keeps my mind straight and if I lose, and quite a few times I lose, I don’t think that is losing, because by the time I’ve raised the issue, I’ve already succeeded. If there’s a scam going on, even if you don’t win, you’ve already succeeded by exposing it.”Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori is one physician who would write himself a prescription for spirituality any day. He say, “It’s like a numbing medicine: just as a patient, even though we are cutting up his thorax or his abdomen doesn’t feel anything because he’s in anesthesia, so too spirituality gives you a kind of numbing medication where you will not violently react to day to day turbulences.”Nori, who supervises three hospitals in the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital system – the New York Cornell, New York Hospital Queens and the Westchester Square Hospital in the Bronx – is responsible for both patient care and administration in oncology.He is a devotee of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba, a saint who practiced multi-religious philosophies of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, advocating the oneness of God.Nori has built a temple in Baldwin, Long Island, dedicated to Sai Baba. “His teachings are very simple. You don’t need to read the scriptures to be a spiritual man. To practice spirituality and divine responsibility in day-to-day practices is what Baba teaches in very practical terms, which are most useful to the modern world right now.”A strong believer that karma and free will are inseparable, he says, “Spirituality or devotion to God helps you to use your free will in a righteous way. You don’t make decisions that are not worthy to you or to your workplace or to society. To me, spirituality is like a filter or shield around you; every thought process has to pass through this grid around you. How powerful, how strong this grid is depends on how spiritual you are.”Nori grew up in Hyderabad under a strong community influence in God and spirituality. As he grew older he developed his own perspective and realized on his own that spirituality was crucial for his own development. One would think that as a doctor, a man of science and reason, he would have little room for spirituality. “That would be a wrong notion,” he says. “If someone’s a doctor it doesn’t mean he can’t be spiritual. He has to believe in science, no question about it. But every doctor who’s been in the field for a long time knows that there is something beyond science and medicine.”Can a physician be a better physician when he is spiritual? Nori believes so. “You will be making righteous decisions in your administration and you will not be disturbed by any turbulence,” he says. He remembers investing almost six months in recruiting an important physician who went and took a job elsewhere.He says, “This put me six months behind, because I wasted a lot of time on this individual and you can easily get distressed. But if you are spiritual and have these balancing thoughts you will think this happened for your good. And indeed next week somebody more qualified applied for the same position. People go through all sorts of turbulent behavior, because they lack this understanding that whatever is happening is happening for a reason.”Nori performs puja or prayers in the morning and practices solitude or gyan-yoga every day. He says, “Reading the Bible or the Bhagwad Gita or the Satcharita of Baba are all paths to take you to spirituality, as are going to the temple or church. But spirituality is really a way of life, it is not a one time deal. You have to apply the values to everyday life.” He has established a family foundation for the underprivileged in India and points out that spirituality cannot be separate from being a good citizen.Spirituality as a way of life is at core of the belief of the followers of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), and Mayank Patel of Minneapolis has seen this first hand – and the transformation it can bring. Patel, who is relocating to the United Kingdom for his new position as director of research at Cereal Partners Worldwide, talks of the tremendous difference in his life since becoming a part of BAPS.He recalls the spiritual underpinnings at his home in Gujarat, but when he came to the United States to study, he says he lost the daily ritualistic elements as he became involved in studies and work at General Mills. In 1980, he connected with BAPS, which transformed his life.In his high pressure work, he says, “The requirement is to deliver top line and bottom line growth as we develop new products and new processes. There are a lot of constantly changing regulatory requirements, so it’s very demanding.”Some of the key things he learned through his spiritual engagement with the temple, he says, are dedication, helping others and seeing good in others, principles he applies in the workplace. He says, “Almost 80 to 90 percent of the time in the corporate workplace is expended on people’s shortcomings and I think we never leverage their strengths. When I focus on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses, I get more out of them.”Another teaching of Pramukhswami, the spiritual leader of BAPS, that Patel has transferred to the workplace is seeing his own progress in the progress of others and in so doing, he, says, he has aided the development of others in his team by taking time and energy in improving their performance.The teachings have also helped him achieve balance. He says, “I remember before the teachings, if there was a failure or things didn’t go my way, it used to irritate me a whole lot. I can now manage stressful situations calmly. In Corporate America the days of supervisors demanding things of their workers is gone. You cannot be successful without other people and so dealing with people is a key issue.”Ask Patel if it is essential to have a guru, and he says, “I personally believe that this is absolutely critical. I tell my friends that if you want to be a tennis player you can certainly take a book and read the principles or you can even go to the court and practice yourself, but if you want to play at Wimbledon, you need a coach. So even in life, if you really want to practice spirituality and achieve something in life or really advance to the highest state, then you need a guru. By having my guru in my life it’s helped me both professionally and in my personal life.”Does his family also believe in spirituality? “Going to satsang in the temple has helped my family too,” he says. “My daughter has been surrounded constantly by non-Indians and her spiritual grounding has helped her in all situations. She is so confident in terms of standing up with her friends and is proud of who she is, her values and her Hinduism and she talks freely about that. That’s the benefit that I really got for my family. I have received a huge benefit from my spirituality, there’s less frustration, less stress, less anger, less anxiety.” The family worships morning and evening, which Patel points out, is the ritual part, but what carries through is the discipline.How can one reconcile materialistic life with spiritual teachings? Do you have to renounce one to embrace the other? “I don’t think you have to compromise and take one or the other,” says Patel. “You could be in the middle of the materialistic world and still not be affected by it.” He believes in the BAPS concept of seva or serving others. BAPS has 120 different activities worldwide in which people can volunteer in social, religious and cultural projects, and in the organization young and old volunteer their time.The world is changing and so is the way corporate people are looking at the world, with spirituality finding a place in the workplace. Says Tandon, “It’s an exciting time and I think all of us are a part of that – that to me is a very powerful form of spirituality. This is about the whole transformation of the consciousness of one from the inside, and you use many, many approaches to change that.”Can this work in the business world where you have to be focused and sometimes even ruthless? “Knowing what I know now, I would have thought of a lot of my business decisions differently 10 years ago,” says Tandon, whose business often involved cost-cutting and layoffs by corporations. “You begin to take a more integrated, more holistic, more compassionate view of things, and I don’t think the two are in conflict at all. You have to really not look just at company profits, but you really start to look at the issues of people, you start to look at issues of giving back, of not destroying the environment.”When her daughter Lita, who is a sophomore at Yale University, turned 18, Tandon gave her a gift of an Art of Living meditation course. She says, “We teach children about reading, writing and arithmetic, but we don’t teach them how to manage stress and how to calm themselves. They have a more difficult time than our generation did.”Tandon, an accomplished trained singer, has created Soul Mantra, a CD of spiritual chanting, the proceeds of which go to charity. Spiritual growth is ongoing, she says: “It teaches me to take more of a trajectory view, a much broader view, much more of a holistic view than a short term view. Things come and go, but you have to create a much more sustainable model in whatever you do, whether it’s in the corporate world, the philanthropic world.”Tandon now devotes fifty percent of her time and significant resources to volunteer activities. She is executive in residence at the Stern School of Business at New York University, founder and chairman of the League of Artisans and heads the Sustainable Livelihood Initiative at the America India Foundation, working with underprivileged women.How does one reconcile spirituality with materialism? Says Nori, “That’s exactly the reason why you have to be spiritual, because there are so many distractions in life in a materialistic world, you want to make the right decision and for that you need faith in God and spirituality.”Likewise, Akhoury sees no inherent contradiction between spirituality and materialism. “I don’t think there’s any teaching that basically says you have to renounce materialism. The fundamental view is you don’t get attached to materialism, in other words, you don’t let materialism rule your life. And that is what Swami Chinmayananda’s teaching has taught me. It’s not about renouncement – materialism doesn’t rule your life, you rule it. And then you can enjoy materialism. You don’t control the consequences, you do control your own actions. And you have to do the right thing.”Akhoury says that spirituality makes one compassionate and more philanthropic: “If you let materialism rule you, then you still work hard and the industry rewards you for whatever you’re delivering. But if you’re not hung up about that, you can take some of it and spend it on things that you think are important.”Tandon zeroes in on the power of spirituality with her own experiences in the corporate world: “The transformation for me was that I went from being a very driven executive to a person who cares a lot about the world. If I hadn’t had this perspective of a broader world, a broader belonging, I wouldn’t have done all this. Now I believe helping others is as important as or more important than helping myself. It is an epiphany, but once you start thinking this way, there’s no going back, because you’re transformed from inside, the outside gets transformed too. That to me is the essence of what I think is the excitement and the joy this whole thing brings.” LEARNING TO EXHALESeattle lawyer Harish Bharti is a big fan of Prayanama, the meditation and breathing techniques. “Prayanama is the balance of energies and when you see people getting angry or emotionally wrecked or starting war, it happens because they don’t have the issue of insight. They see a very short distance. You can put it in one sentence: if you are totally self-centered, you are not spiritual. When you consider yourself a part of the whole world then you are worrying about the whole world and not about yourself. You have no time to worry about yourself and you have no anxieties. So what is good for the world is good for you and then everything is in harmony and balance. That’s pretty much what spirituality is. There’s no rocket science in it.“I meditate every morning, sometimes in the evening as well. I try to do it in the evenings, but sometimes my dog tries to interrupt. He wants me to play with him and that’s a challenge! When I try to do my breathing exercises, he wants to come and lick me. I don’t want to speak so I close the door and then he starts scratching on the door. But I do my meditation every day and that keeps me almost grief-free and anxiety-free. The day I don’t do my meditation, when I’m traveling, for instance, I can see the difference.”SPIRITUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE.HOW DOES SPIRITUALITY PLAY WITH COLLEAGUES IN THE WORKPLACE.Says Ravi Akhoury: “I’m fairly open about it. I think everyone in my company knows that I am a spiritual person. I think when I speak to my whole firm once or twice a year, basically to motivate them to produce results, I throw in spirituality. I think they know that’s a part of my life, they know I meditate every day. They know at certain times of the day I basically close my door and meditate for 20 minutes.We can all find 20 minutes of time and it’s easy to do if you actually believe it helps you. I believe it does. It helps me to be a better person, be a better business manager, and be a better family man.”Mayank Patel says his colleagues know he’s vegetarian, does not drink and keeps an image of his guru on his desk. He attends meetings worldwide and sticks with his beliefs, such as fasting three times a month. He says, “I find that people go out of their way to respect my values and I think my experiences at work help create more awareness for Hinduism.”For Harish Bharti, religion does not belong in the workplace. “Spirituality has nothing to do with religion and I like to keep religion out of the workplace too, because it’s personal to you. But anyone can be spiritual without being religious. A person who believes in nature, but doesn’t have any specific religion is as spiritual as somebody who believes in some god. It doesn’t matter what the belief system is as long as it is holistic and is in tune with the whole world.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Is Sunita Williams Really An Indian Idol?

first_imgTrust our desi bhais and behenas to over-react. The first whiff of perceived trouble on the return journey of the Space Shuttle Discovery last month, and India went into religious over-drive. Nothing apparently was seriously amiss aboard the International Space Station or in the team’s plans, save for the fact that the weather in Florida was deemed inclement for a space-ship landing. From a sane and rational perspective however, there was no room for alarm: adequate fuel supplies, viable alternative options and NASA’s backup systems on the ready.But reports of the weather conditions were enough to prompt frenzied prayers in temples, churches and mosques, and trigger off elaborate public yagnas and havans (sacrificial fires accompanied by mantras and incantations to propitiate various deities) in several Indian towns and cities. The media were doing their dutiful bit. Newspapers splashed detailed front-page reports, and dozens of reporters from television channels and radio stations were assigned to monitor the developments and convey minute-by-minute bulletins to a nail-chewing nation on the edge of its quivering seat. Would the crew members return safely? To an extent, the anxiety seemed justified. After all, a similar space mission in 2003 was marred by tragedy. Spaceship Columbia had been blown to pieces minutes prior to re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere because of an undetected fault in its heat shield, killing the seven astronauts on board, including Kalpana Chawla.This time too, the concerns of a billion-plus Indians at home and abroad focused on an Indian – or, as the reports primly pointed out, “a person of Indian-origin” – called Sunita Williams among the crew members. In fact, it would be reasonably accurate to predict that if it were not for her “Indian” origins, the Discovery story would be hard put to find even a small corner-space of the front pages in Indian newspapers. Let’s not kid ourselves. Despite the general rise in education and literacy levels among media consumers, Indians are far from getting turned on by stories about rocket technology and space exploration. And Discovery was, at the end of the day, a fairly routine mission by NASA standards. We’re not talking here of a moon or Mars landing, are we?Then why this wide-eyed over-reaction to the story of this half-Indian woman who happens to step into an American spacecraft? Just because of her Indian-sounding first name? Just because her hand-baggage included a copy of the Bhagawad Gita, a miniature of Lord Ganesha, and some samosas? And merely on the basis of her father’s television sound byte that she sometimes listens to Indian classical music? There is a section of Indians – admittedly miniscule as of now – that is vexed by these and similar questions. To be sure, they are not dismissive of the achievements of this remarkable woman. Who can take away from Sunita Williams the credit for the numerous records that she set in a single space mission? Who, but an ignorant and insensitive oaf, can fail to be impressed by a woman successfully pursuing a career in a tough and demanding field, with a combination of admirable grit and single-minded tenacity? Their quarrel is not with Sunita Williams as a person, but with those who have dubiously appropriated her personality as one of their own, who are forever on the look-out for links, however tenuous, with the next available international celebrity and therefore more than keen to convert every second story into nationalistic hype. And so the hype around the latest “Indian” idol, they believe, reveals less about Sunita herself than about Indians as a nation of insecure fawners.Their contention is simple: Sunita Williams was not born a thorough-bred Indian; she has not on her own acquired any abiding Indian connection either through her choice of residence, occupation or spouse. If at all, she is – in India and for Indians – a product of the Great Non-Resident Indian Publicity Machine. She has had a synthetic “Indian” identity thrust upon her by a celebrity-hungry horde of media reporters and by an over-zealous bunch of relatives back in India for a naïve, pliable and unsuspecting public’s consumption. A public that’s sadly incapable of looking beyond the West (read: US of A) for its cues.Let’s look at their objections point by point.First, some no-brainers. You don’t need to be an “Indian”- full, half or quarter – to be enchanted by an elephant-headed Hindu god, to be intrigued by Oriental mysticism and spirituality hreflected in scriptures and epics like the Mahabharata, or to be taken in by the deliciously aromatic and spicy flavours of our multi-faceted cuisine. All you need really is an open and curious mind, coupled preferably with a weakness for snake-charmer exotica, an adventurous palate and an intestinal lining that can withstand a spicy-hot attack.But does that in and by itself qualify you as a true Indian? If it did, a large portion of the white population in Great Britain and significant numbers of Americans – particularly young nubile girls on college campuses – could claim a legitimate affiliation to Indian-ness. For several decades, traditional Indian food with its local variants, going by the unexplained, but nevertheless accepted name of “balti” cuisine, has loosened the stiff upper lips as well as the purse-strings of even the more crusty and insular Britishers. And I know of several Americans who’d give much more than an arm and a leg to be treated to home-made curry served in the ambience of incense fumes and sitar strains.History is proof enough that India has held a perennial fascination for the foreigner. Among others, the Greeks, the Arabs, the Moghuls, and finally the Europeans (Englishmen to a greater extent than the Frenchmen and the Portuguese) have all left behind stories and traveler accounts, and – more significantly – their legacies as decipherable marks on its culture and civilization. At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, it is helpful in these days of so-called globalization to remember and realize that India has served as a cultural and ethnic melting pot of the world for as many millennia as America has for centuries. So it is only natural that India still attracts global attention and curiosity.  But is a mere interest in things Indian a sufficient yardstick for acceptance?To get away from the surface trappings of a phony and spurious Indian-ness, we have to look more closely at Sunita Williams’ life-choices, her background and upbringing, and even her bio-data. Quite literally. She was born in Euclid, Ohio, to parents of disparate national and ethnic roots. While her father is a Gujarati Pandya, an India-born first-generation immigrant who decided to marry, settle down and raise a family in the United States, Sunita’s mother is of non-Indian (Slovenian) origin. Significant, if only because it’s a universally acknowledged truism that a mother tends to have a greater and deeper influence on the hearts and minds of her growing kids – particularly her daughters – than does their father, however dominant he may overtly show himself to be. How familiar with – or even interested in – Indian culture and lifestyle is or was Mrs. Bonnie Pandya during Sunita’s formative years? Worth asking.Equally relevant to this debate is the question of life-choices. Nobody need quibble that a kid born to an Indian father in faraway Ohio and raised in Needham, Mass., speaks no Indian language fluently and even speaks English with an accent that’s decidedly not Indian. Or, that the kid later took a serious academic and professional interest in a field that’s best pursued in the high-tech environs of her native country. That’s the inescapable cost and consequence of living abroad.Questions however do stem from what the kid decided to do in the more mature phases of her life. She chose, for instance, to enlist in the U.S. Navy at age 24 and risked her life for the country of her birth while in active combat duty in the Operation Desert Shield during the 1990-91 Gulf War.Sunita Williams also chose to marry a non-Indian. A choice that is entirely personal and to which she is legitimately entitled, and that is now accepted in all but the most conservative of Indian families.  But individual acceptance does not wipe away a fact of life: that marriage is as much a social contract as it is a personal commitment. When you marry, you don’t just marry a person; you also marry willy-nilly into his or her entire world. And that world is the universe of his or her family, friends and – above all –  culture. Sunita’s choice of life-mate thus could arguably be a pointer to the kind of places and the kind of people she truly intends to spend her quality years. Good for her. But where does India figure in this column? Quite simply, it doesn’t.Talking of places veers us to the question of Sunita’s physical interaction with India. She is said to have visited the country no more than three times during the last forty-plus years. Not a shining statistic for anyone claiming close ties with it, but a statistic that nonetheless camouflages the reach of mass media in opening windows to geographically distant cultures.One such window for Williams was Kalpana Chawla herself. An acknowledged role-model and her predecessor in the NASA program, Chawla continues to be a household name in India. Odious comparisons have been made of their upbringings: Karnal-born Kalpana’s uphill struggles in small-town India and later as a foreign student in Arlington, Texas and Colorado contrasted with the clear advantages of growing up as an affluent doctor’s daughter in upper-class America. For those who question Sunita Williams’ status as an “Indian” icon, Kalpana Chawla and the other home-grown Indian space hero Rakesh Sharma are the only two Indian heroes in the annals of space exploration.The outcome of this debate may well hinge on your answer to a question that lies at its crux. Who, in your opinion, is taking a narrow ultra-nationalistic stand? Those who believe we should be willing to loosen our definition of “Indian” to accommodate an internationally recognized celebrity and achiever, because it adds to our national self-esteem? Or those who assert that while true achievement transcends nationality, such a slackening constitutes an insult to the very concept of an “Indian” nation and identity, because it implies we are so bereft of heroes that we have to import them at the cost of that same self-esteem.Take your pick.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Marathon Prodigy’s Coach Charged

first_imgThe coach of Budhia Singh, a 5-year-old marathon prodigy, has been charged with child abuse after his mother claimed he had scalded the child with hot water, tied him to a ceiling fan and beaten him.  Relatives in turn accuse the mother of selling her children into bonded labor.Budhia became a world celebrity for running a 26-mile marathon when he was only 3-years-old. He set another world record when he ran 40 miles in 7 hours last year.Two years ago, Budhia was adopted by his coach, who requires him to run 25 miles daily.  Related Itemslast_img read more

World’s Largest Turban?

first_imgMajor Singh wearing what is purportedly the biggest turban in the world, weighing in at 68 lbs and 400 meters of cloth.  Related Itemslast_img

U.S. Visa Windows In Mumbai To Double

first_imgThe U.S. Consulate in Mumbai will double the number of U.S. visa windows to 40 from the present 17 when it moves its consulate to its $900 million Bandra-Kurla Complex at the end of 2009. Mumbai is the sixth busiest visa post in the world among the 246 US consulates and embassies that process visas worldwide, processing 225,000 applications a year. Between them the four Indian consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi and Kolkata processed 725,000 applications last year.  Related Itemslast_img read more

Minority Majority

first_imgCurrent minorities will outnumber White Americans by 2042, according to Census Bureau projections.The bureau projects that by 2042, Hispanic, black, Asian & Pacific Islanders, and American Indians will outnumber non-Hispanic whites for the first time thanks to their higher immigration and birth rates.The U.S. population is projected to grow from 305 million to nearly 410 million by 2042.  Related Itemslast_img

Demand for Rajasthani Camel Riders in Arab Countries

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Kyrgios disqualified as Federer, Nadal, Djokovic advance in Rome

first_imgEthel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Warriors rally from 15 down at halftime, hold off Blazers for 2-0 lead Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios was disqualified from the Italian Open after an expletive-laden rant on Thursday as defending champion Rafael Nadal swept into the third round along with top seed Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.Kyrgios grabbed the headlines when he suffered a spectacular meltdown on Court Three against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud.ADVERTISEMENT The controversial 24-year-old, who had marked his presence in Rome by criticizing Djokovic and Nadal in an interview on Wednesday, starting arguing with the umpire in the third set.World number 36 Kyrgios had leveled the match at one set all but was given a game penalty early on in the third set for swearing.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsHis response was to kick out at a water bottle before throwing a chair onto the court, packing his bag and then storming off court, shouting I am fucking done’’Kyrgios was automatically disqualified with Ruud winning 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 2-1 to advance to the third round against former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. LATEST STORIES Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next For 37-year-old Federer, returning to Italy for the first time since 2016, it was like a practice session.“Like any other practice day when you play twice a day, you finish the first session, take a shower, eat something, relax, get ready for the next one,” said the 20-time Grand Slam winner.“I think it gives me some good information. I believe it’s going to be similar conditions in the match this afternoon.”Nadal said it was a “good start” as he targets a first title on clay this season before he starts the defense of his French Open crown from May 26.“That’s important for what’s coming up,” said the eight-time Rome winner.World number four Dominic Thiem slammed tournament organizers after he was dumped out 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 by Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.Austrian Thiem complained competitors were left hanging around during the rain-impacted day 24 hours earlier.“I really dislike how we players get treated at this tournament because yesterday was, in my opinion, not acceptable,” said last year’s French Open runner-up.“I’m quite pissed about it. I was tired, exhausted, today because of all these shitty things,” he added.Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the sixth seed, got past American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4 and next meets Jan-Lennard Struff. MOST READ DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Kyrgios had already been at the center of controversy during Wednesday’s washout when he told the NCR Tennis Podcast that Djokovic had “a sick obsession with wanting to be liked” and that the Serb’s post-match celebration was “cringeworthy”.Nadal was described by the Australian as “super-salty”.Meanwhile, Nadal crushed France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1, with Federer, a four-time runner-up, easing past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3, and Djokovic beating Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 6-3.All three are in action again later in the day to make up time after play was washed out on Wednesday.Nadal meets Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, with Federer up against Croatian Borna Coric, and Djokovic facing Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

IPL 2016: KKR not taking any game for granted, says Gautam Gambhir

first_imgKolkata Knight Riders once again showcased their all-round performance and this time on their home turf by beating Kings XI Punjab by seven runs. Put in to bat, Kolkata were restricted to a modest total of 164/3 with Gautam Gambhir (54) and Robin Uthappa (70) shining with the bat. (Full IPL 2016 coverage )Kolkata needed early wickets and the strike bowlers – Andre Russell and Morne Morkel didn’t disappoint by getting the early breakthroughs. However, Glenn Maxwell put some twist to the chase by bouncing back to form with a 42-ball 68 and stitching key stands with Wriddhiman Saha and David Miller.Piyush Chawla got the crucial wicket of Maxwell to turn the match in Kolkata’s favour and then Axar Patel kept Punjab interested with a breezy 7-ball 21. After that Russell took over and ensured Kolkata its win by finishing with figures of 4 for 20, also playing a hand in two run outs in the last over.Kolkata skipper Gambhir during the post-match presentation said that his team was 10 runs short but lauded his batsmen for having a professional approach.”We are used to this wicket and the way we have batted was very professional. I still thought we were 10 runs short but the ball did slow a bit in the second innings,” Gambhir said.When asked about Kolkata climbing to the top of points table and giving the team a chance to take things a bit easy. “We are not taking any game for granted,” Gambhir stated.On the other hand, player of the match, Russell and now a proud owner of the Purple Cap lauded the team for playing like champions.advertisement”I love playing here and it’s been amazing. We didn’t get enough on the board but we came back and bowled like champions.”We proved ourselves and that’s what a good team is all about,” Russell said after his match-winning efforts.last_img read more

Narsingh would have won the silver, claims WFI official

first_imgMumbai, Aug 26 (PTI) Continuing to back dope-tainted wrestler Narsingh Yadav, a top Wrestling Federation of India official today claimed the 74-kg freestyle wrestler would have clinched the silver medal had he taken part in the Rio Olympics instead of being banned for four years by the CAS. “Narsingh would have won at least a silver medal, I can assure you that,” said WFI secretary V N Prasood here on the sidelines of a press conference to announce a world level prize money event. Narsingh was exonerated on doping charges at home by NADA which upheld his claim that his food/drink during his stay while training for the Games at Sonepat in Haryana had been spiked with the banned substance, which he had injected. World Anti Doping Agency challenged the clean chit given to Narsingh by its Indian affiliate at the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Rio a day before he was set to take part in his weight class bouts. CAS threw him out of the Games and also slapped a four-year ban on the Indian grappler after he failed to produce any “real evidence” regarding the sabotage theory he had presented. In its ruling, the ad hoc panel of the CAS relied on expert evidence that Narsinghs dope offence was not due to one-time ingestion of the prohibited substance and its concentration in the first test result (of June 25) was so high that it had to come from an oral ingestion of one or two tablets of methandienone, rather than from a drink where the powder had been mixed with water. Explaining the chronology of events leading to his ban Prasood said, “On August 18 Narsingh gave a medical at noon and had his weight-in at 1.30 pm. His name was even there in the fixtures. At 8.30 pm in the night CAS released their judgement. “CAS told him give your weight, dont worry about anything in the afternoon, well give a result at night. So why should we have been thinking about it (ban),” asked Prasood when reporters questioned him on the matter. “Thats when we actually thought that after 21st they will take any action, (that) if they want to punish they will take away medal if Narsingh had won any medal,” he said. (More) PTI SSR NP ATK ATK BASadvertisementlast_img read more

How to Answer the Question “Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Company?”

first_img 3.4★ 23 hours ago 23h Estates and Trusts Paralegal Donahue Fitzgerald LLP Oakland, CA Corporate Applications Specialist – Technology Emtec, Inc. Jacksonville, FL 23 hours ago 23h Restaurant Manager Red Lobster Lees Summit, MO 3.1★ 23 hours ago 23h Nursing: Labor and Delivery MedPro Healthcare Staffing Torrance, CA 1.7★ “Why are you leaving your job?” No one really likes this question. Why? Because, let’s face it: half the time, our answers wouldn’t exactly please a potential employer. But you know you’re going to be asked this very question—or a similar version of it—on your next interview. So rather than be caught off guard, stammering through a thoughtless response or even an unprepared white lie, why not prepare an answer now that will wow, not worry, your potential employer? Here’s how to do it. According to Sharlyn Lauby, HR Bartender founder and author of Essential Meeting Blueprints for Managers, recruiters will understand that you may be nervous for the interview—but they won’t understand if you seem nervous answering this question. After all, she points out, “it doesn’t make sense to be nervous [if you are] telling the truth. And preparing your response allows you to eloquently explain your situation.”Now that you understand why you have to prepare an answer rather than fly by the seat of your interview pants, you should also try to understand why you’re being asked this question in the first place—because the reason will go a long way to calm your nerves. Lauby says companies ask why you’re leaving because they want to make sure you’ll be happy if you’re hired, and not for some other nefarious purpose. 40 Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Ask & Answer“For example,” she says, “if a candidate says they left because the company wasn’t flexible with their schedule and they’re interviewing for a position where they might not have flexibility, the candidate could be just as unhappy with the new company.” Hiring managers will also, of course, ask why you’re leaving to see if your answer aligns with what else you’ve revealed during your interview, Lauby says. “I’ve spoken with candidates who will say they’re leaving for more money then, two interview questions later, say they’re not motivated by money,” she says. You “need to make sure those responses make sense and align to paint the picture you want.” If you’re not leaving you job because you can’t wait to escape your current boss or because you hate your company, you have little to fear. In this case, Lauby says, you might say, “I really like the company but they know I’m looking for more and they don’t have any openings,” she suggests. “This sends a message that you have spoken to your manager about your career aspirations and—while the company might not be happy about the situation—they wouldn’t be surprised. As for trying out a new field, there’s nothing wrong with saying that you are looking for new challenges.” 7 Interview Answers That Make Recruiters Roll Their EyesBut if you’re leaving your position because there isn’t enough money in the world to make you stay—whatever the problem may be—you have to find a way to answer the question honestly without coming off as a complainer, or someone quick to jump ship. So, instead of pointing out what you hate about your current company, Lauby says, consider framing your response as, “my goals and the company’s goals aren’t on the same page. It’s nobody’s fault and it happens all the time. I’m ready to pursue my career goals,” Lauby suggests. It’s honest, but vague enough to be safe. And no matter what you do, “I would refrain from trash talking others,” Lauby says. “There’s always a way to say we’re not on the same page without assigning blame.” When you have a chance—after you’ve answered the question—Lauby also suggests that you “look for opportunities to bring the conversation back to the job you are applying for. For example, if you say you’re looking for a new opportunity because of your current commute is one or more hours, then you can add that you’re looking forward to the less than 30-minute commute in this new role,” she points out. Finally, remember: As much as you want a new job, you need to make sure it’s right for you, too. “If the reason that you’re leaving is a deal-breaker—like crazy work hours or no professional development—then don’t shy away from sharing the truth.” Lauby says. If you don’t, you could end up in the same position you’re trying to escape. “You may not the get job but that’s better than being miserable,” she says.Browse Open Jobs 3.8★ Ask a Resume Writer: Where Do I Start? 4.8★ Speech Language Pathologist North Shore Center for Speech, Language & Swallowing Disorders Westbury, NY 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h Full-time Associate Crew Carwash Carmel, INcenter_img 3.0★ 23 hours ago 23h Licensed Practical Nurse LPN Towne Nursing Staff Brooklyn, NY 3.8★ 23 hours ago 23h Sales Operations Specialist Novarad American Fork, UT 23 hours ago 23h How to Become the Candidate Recruiters Can’t Resist 5.0★ 5.0★ Dietary Supervisor Mount Royal Towers Birmingham, AL Also on Glassdoor: 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 2.5★ Specialty Vehicle Install Technician Transwest Fort Lupton, COlast_img read more

10 Top Companies For Work-Life Balance

first_imgBambooHRWork-Life Balance Rating: 4.8 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 15What Employees Say: “BambooHR just gets it. They treat their customers and employees with respect which creates a wonderful place to work. You won’t find the traditional level of office politics or empire building. The people who work at Bamboo generally want to help each everyone succeed. The executive team is top notch and you can walk into any of their offices to ask them a question or pitch them an idea. I could go on and on but needless to say, working at BambooHR has changed my life!” —Current EmployeeBrowse Open Jobs 23andMe Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.8 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 83What Employees Say: “We are surrounded by smart and humble people here. The culture is focused on being mission-based, fun, and doing work we love that makes a difference. A lot of companies talk about changing the world…but here we actually are disrupting healthcare. The stories of our customers are inspiring and remind us of the difference our product makes on lives.” —Current EmployeeBrowse Open Jobs AsanaWork-Life Balance Rating: 4.9 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 47What Employees Say: “Lots to love, but my favorite aspect is probably the feedback culture that exists. No one says “not my problem, hopefully, someone else will do it”; either they lead the way to fix it, or they seek out the most capable team / people to solve it and provide that feedback directly to them. This is critical in surfacing issues before they are serious problems and has been extremely helpful in allowing the company to scale without many things falling through the cracks.” —Current Software EngineerBrowse Open Jobs eXp Realty Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.9 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 22What Employees Say: “Agent Owned, Cloud Brokerage – Each agent is the CEO of their own business. eXp Offers its Agents the BEST Technology and Education for Real Estate Today. Multiple Revenue Streams, Stock Ownership, Revenue Share, Compensation Plan starting at 80/20%” —Current Associate BrokerBrowse Open Jobs Next CenturyWork-Life Balance Rating: 4.9 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 20What Employees Say: “As a Next Century employee, you never have to question the integrity and every day you’re rewarded with doing life-saving, mission-critical work.” —Current EmployeeBrowse Open Jobs SenderoWork-Life Balance Rating: 4.9 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 5What Employees Say: “If you want a true management consulting experience, project-based work, sharp, diverse people, and lots of challenge and variety, then Sendero has it. If you want to be an active member of your community, have interests outside of work, and sleep in your own bed every night, then Sendero has it. Add in a strong, values-based culture and it truly is the best of all worlds!” —Current EmployeeBrowse Open Jobs Methodology: This list features a selection, in no particular order, of companies that have at least 50 work-life balance ratings above a 4.0, according to full and part-time employees as of November 27, 2017. Company ratings on Glassdoor based on a 5.0 scale: 1.0=very dissatisfied, 3.0=OK, 5.0=very satisfied. SkuidWork-Life Balance Rating: 4.9 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 18What Employees Say: “The investment this company makes in its employees is unreal. Having worked for other companies in the same industry, It has been a great breath of fresh air working for one that truly values its employees above all else. The benefits are unparalleled. 100% paid for by the company. They also do 401k match and give you stock options when you join.” —Current Senior Business Development RepresentativeBrowse Open Jobs SailPoint Technologies Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.9 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 152What Employees Say: “SailPoint has a great corporate culture. I work with a bunch of highly skilled people with a passion for doing good work. People are helpful and friendly to each other, both professionally and personally. There is a high energy level and pretty much everyone seems to be giving their all, but it isn’t a pressure cooker.” —Current EmployeeBrowse Open Jobs They say that no one company will meet all of your needs. Whether the pay is off or the culture is bland, there is always something that must be sacrificed when it comes to landing your next big job. Until now!In addition to overall company ratings, Glassdoor asks users to review companies based on their work-life balance. And while work-life balance means something different to every individual, it’s safe to say that in its most general sense it means a healthy relationship between how much you work and how much time you have for your personal life.Here is just a selection of companies (in no particular order) that make work-life balance a top priority and have a Glassdoor work-life balance rating of 4.0 or above over the past year. And, good news, they are all hiring now!Asynchrony Labs Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.9 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 21What Employees Say: “Asynchrony has exceptional benefits and teams full of wicked-smart people. They use new technology, have opportunities to learn and be mentored, are forward-thinking with their development practices and have a diverse yet welcoming culture.” —Current User Experience DesignerBrowse Open Jobs Sprout SocialWork-Life Balance Rating: 4.9 out of 5Number of Open Jobs: 9What Employees Say: “You cannot beat the people, the culture, or the work/life balance Sprout Social gives you! I have never worked with a more hard-working, talented group of people! I look forward to coming to work every morning. It all starts with the leaders at the top who have been a consistent group from the very beginning.” —Current EmployeeBrowse Open Jobslast_img read more

​Crystal Palace want De Boer announcement by the end of the week

first_imgCrystal Palace is hopeful they can wrap up terms with Frank De Boer by the end of the week.The Dutchman had a successful spell resurrecting Ajax’s football program for six seasons before joining Inter Milan last year. De Boer only lasted 85 days in the role and has been unemployed since.The Express reports that De Boer was offered the Palace job while on the boat of Eagles chairman Steve Parish in the Mediterranean. The former Barcelona midfielder will take over from Sam Allardyce – who left the club last month – and become the fifth manager in four years at Selhurst Park.last_img read more

Man City defender Tosin Adarabioyo eager for more European football

first_imgManchester City defender Tosin Adarabioyo is eager for more European football.Adarabioyo has been at City since he was five and was handed his Champions League debut last season against Steaua Bucharest.Speaking about his Champions League debut to City TV, he said: “It was great, another great pleasure to play in the first team. It has always been a dream of mine to play in the Champions League.”Now I have achieved one of those dreams the next is to go and win it.”On signing his new deal earlier this week Adarabioyo spoke of his desire to emulate Vincent Kompany as he takes on the challenge of vying with the Blues skipper and John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and Aleks Kolarov for ma place in the starting line-up.“Vincent Kompany is a great leader,” he said. “I look up to him. He tells me lots of things in training sessions and I try to replicate some things from his game into mine.”last_img read more

Integrate Email Into Your Fundraising Mix

first_imgThere are several reasons that email should be seen as the foundation, or basic unit, of your online fundraising practices and strategy. The key to understanding email – and leveraging it to suit your needs- is to recognize how it gracefully complements all aspects of your communications – from your website to the forms people fill out when they mail in a donation and the ways you ask for donations. Simply stated, email is now a vital part of all of your outreach and communications.Email can complement your fundraising efforts by enabling you to create campaigns, conduct seasonal fundraising, and work across mediums by integrating it with your other fundraising strategies, including direct mail, web, phone, face-to-face solicitations, and events.Email can be effective at augmenting some of your current fundraising practices. For example, you may choose to send an email newsletter at the same time that you’re mailing a direct mail appeal , or send a personal email “thanks” after you’ve made a phone call. More and more, supporters and donors are becoming comfortable with being contacted in multiple mediums. Email is now ubiquitous enough that you can even make the “ask” in email. Asking for financialsupport via email is most effective when that donor originally donated via your website.In all these instances, the idea is to use email to cultivate dynamic, strong relations with your donors – and prospective donors.How to Use Email to Expand Your Donor RelationshipsThere are three major formats to reach your members or prospective members through email: e-newsletters, action alerts, and donation appeals.Publish a Regular e-Newsletter to Reach Out and Touch PeopleThe e-newsletter is arguably the most effective use of email. It’s malleable, dynamic, and easy to produce. The e-newsletter is where using email shines. You can keep your community in the loop, present a personal and branded mode of communication, conduct a very efficient and inexpensive method of regular updates, and get as fancy or plain as you want to.One common e-newsletter formatting question for organizations concerns the “plain text or HTML” issue. HTML in email enables messages to appear with complex formatting of fonts, columns, and embedded images.Studies demonstrate that recipients receiving messages in HTML are more likely to pass the message on and to “click-through” to the organization’s website. However, not everyone has their email setup to display HTML and a large percentage of users don’t or can’t view images. Keep that in mind when deciding how to format your emails.Use the “Action Alert” Model to Mobilize SupportersThe action alert is perhaps the first real application of email by nonprofits, beginning with simple text emails circulating among lists of affinity groups and communities. The action alert has evolved, to provide more leverage and options for how you choose to mobilize your constituencies.For example, you can now efficiently target action alerts to specific individuals by segmenting your list by any of your database fields, such as zip code, state, or issue interest. You can also issue follow-up emails based on previous responses to earlier action alerts or you can segment your list by who has recently donated and who hasn’t had any involvement in several months.Don’t Fear Using Email to Make a Direct Appeal for DonationsMost donors give simply because they’re asked. It’s that simple. Email can be (and is) effectively used for donation appeals. Email can also be used as part of a larger fundraising strategy when it’s a part of a coordinated effort across multiple mediums.Email appeals work well for seasonal occasions, such as an annual fund drive, an awards dinner, or a holiday. Online fundraising is extra effective when it’s coordinated with a real-world activity. Don’t forget that the highest percentage of online giving is during the last week of the year, in between Christmas and New Years, so be sure to make yourself front and center and reach out to your donors during that time.This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb 2004 edition of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.Source: Groundspring ITS Topic 12last_img read more

Online Monthly Giving: A Review of Nonprofit Programs

first_imgMonthly giving (also known as a recurring donors or sustainers program) has come a long way from the early days of child sponsorship.Now a centerpiece of many direct-marketing programs, monthly giving provides a reliable, low-cost stream of revenue that sustains ongoing programs. It also increases the annual value (and loyalty!) of low-dollar donors. And now that it is possible to handle both sign-ups and payments on-line, one-time donors are becoming recurring donors at a faster pace, boosting retention rates and helping organizations cut down on billing costs.This is all great news for nonprofits. But what else do we know (or need to know) about on-line monthly giving? How should you manage your program? How can you measure success? What are your peers doing?Should you consider yourself lucky to get $10/month from your recurring donors, or are you in urgent need of an upgrade strategy?We surveyed nearly 70 organizations and analyzed the on-line donor data of 8 large nonprofits to get some answers.Summary of Key FindingsAcquisitionSome organizations send their first solicitation within eight weeks of a new registration. Others focus their timing on the date of a donor’s first gift, and others run annual or quarterly recruitment campaigns.With an average monthly growth rate of 11 percent, the monthly donor programs we reviewed grew by 132 percent each year.RetentionThe groups we surveyed retained 70 percent of their on-line monthly donors in their first year, but retention rate dropped to 52 percent the second year.On average, 12 percent of on-line monthly donors missed at least one monthly payment in two years.ValueThe average on-line monthly gift (for all groups except international aid organizations) was $16. The average monthly gift for international aid organizations was significantly higher at $28.On average, 42 percent of on-line monthly donors had given a one-time on-line gift before becoming monthly donors. Almost 20 percent gave a one-time on-line gift within a year after they signed up.Surveying the Landscape: What Are Other Groups Doing?The competitive landscape for monthly giving is all over the map; it is difficult to pinpoint a baseline or prevailing strategy.Our survey revealed interesting trends in monthly donor management, but the main conclusion is that there is not, as of yet, a standard practice for promoting and managing monthly giving programs.Promoting the Program. Navigation items promoting monthly giving on Web page(s) were our survey respondents’ marketing method of choice, followed by e-mail appeals and e-newsletter features. More than half of the groups featured monthly giving on their main donation pages. See the chart below for a breakdown of the popularity of various marketing channels.Verdict Still Out on Timing. It’s tough to say who wins in the end, the tortoise or the hare, but there are plenty of each. Of the organizations that send on-line monthly giving appeals, 41 percent strike quickly, sending an appeal within eight weeks of an on-line subscriber’s registration date—some as early as the day of the registrant’s confirmation e-mail.Yet roughly 60 percent of the groups we surveyed operate on a schedule that is not based on registration date. Some organizations pay closer attention to the date of the donor’s first contribution; about 30 percent attempt to acquire monthly donors within six weeks of a one-time donor’s first gift.But when it comes to the frequency of on-line monthly giving appeals and campaigns, most organizations put on the brakes. More than half of our respondents conduct their monthly giving campaigns infrequently (30 percent) or not at all (21 percent). Quarterly (16 percent) and annual (16 percent) campaigns were the most popular, followed by monthly (14 percent) and weekly (2 percent).Handle with Kid Gloves. The prevailing opinion is that it is wise to treat on-line monthly donors a bit more gently than other donors. Fifty-three percent of our respondents send their monthly donors fewer solicitations (43 percent) or no solicitations at all (10 percent). In the other camp, 43 percent send them the same amount of solicitations as the rest of their donors, and 5 percent send them even more!Although almost a third of the groups surveyed either never send giving statements (24 percent) or send only a one-time acknowledgment (8 percent), the clear majority of our respondents send regular statements on an annual (32 percent) or monthly (also 32 percent) basis.Of those who send statements, barely one-third included cultivation copy, and only 8 percent include an appeal for another gift.Benchmarks for On-Line Monthly GivingSince the survey results described above are mostly anecdotal in nature, we also reviewed the transactional data of eight large nonprofits in order to set more concrete benchmarks for on-line monthly giving.We did not have enough information to calculate the return on investment (ROI) on these organizations’ on-line monthly giving programs, but the growth and retention rates speak for themselves: If you build it, they will come (and stay for a while).Say Hello! The annual growth rate for on-line monthly donors averaged 132 percent, or 11 percent each month. We saw occasional spikes in growth rates when an organization did more active recruitment.And Goodbye. The organizations in our study lost, on average, about 30 percent of their on-line monthly donors during their first year; still, that’s an annual retention rate of 70 percent. The retention rate dropped to 52 percent in donors’ second year, however.What Is a Monthly Donor Worth? With an average monthly gift of about $20, a monthly donor is worth about $240 per year, assuming no skipped months. Although this is an increase of roughly $1 over the past two years, after adjusting for inflation and taking into account sample size variability, this means the on-line monthly gift size has essentially remained the same—see below.The international aid groups in our study saw higher on-line monthly gift averages than other organizations (see chart below). Over the past half year, their monthly gifts averaged $28, whereas the other nonprofits saw an average of about $16. This is consistent with our findings in the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study that on-line donors to international aid organizations are more generous, with one-time gifts averaging $121 versus the nonprofit average of $97.Lifespans May Be Limited. The average lifespan (how long the donor gives monthly gifts, regardless of missed months) of on-line monthly donors whose first gift was given about two years ago (between October 2005 and December 2005) was about 18 months.Because the data we analyzed started in September 2005, we’re not sure what the “actual” lifespan is for monthly donors who gave their first gift more than two years ago. On average, we saw 12 percent of on-line monthly donors lapse at some point in their monthly giving cycle.Giving Goes Beyond Monthly. On-line monthly donors don’t like to be pigeonholed as such. On average, 42 percent of on-line monthly donors gave a one-time on-line gift within the two years before becoming a monthly donor. And about 20 percent of on-line monthly donors gave a one-time on-line gift within a year after signing up to become a monthly donor. The average amount of this gift was $56, a nice boost to the existing monthly revenue from that donor.ConclusionThere’s still much to learn about on-line monthly giving, but to quote some of the most successful marketers of our time: Just Do It.Although we’re still figuring out exactly how to do it, we have already figured out why to do it. There’s good money there, and you don’t want leave it on the table!Marie Ewald and Karen Matheson, M+R Strategic Services© 2007, M+R Strategic ServicesMarie Ewald is a vice president in the New York City office of M+R Strategic Services. Karen Matheson is the manager of quantitative research and analysis in the organization’s Seattle office. M+R Strategic Services provides integrated strategy, field organizing, communications, lobbying, on-line advocacy, and fundraising services to help clients achieve their missions to bring about positive change.last_img read more

World of Contrasts

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on February 28, 2011June 20, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This blog post was contributed by María Laura Casalegno, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. She will be blogging about her experience every month, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.We live in a fascinating world, with so many cultures, so many landscapes, so many realities… sometimes these different realities can be very unfair…that’s why I think that we live in a world of contrasts…I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala in January. Guatemala is a developing country with a population of 16 million people, 60 percent of whom are poor or indigent. The situation in Guatemala is very sad and can be daunting but there is always a glimmer of hope…In Guatemala I met Connie Vanderhyden, Jeri Pearson and her husband Marty Pearson, and Kim Dowat. Connie and Jeri are part of the organization Kickapoo Guatemalan Accompaniment Project (KGAP) and they have been working in Chacula community for over 17 years ago. The aim of the KGA Project is to work with ex-refugees from the Guatemalan civil war in developing strategies and tools to improve education and health in the community. Kim is a professional midwife and an ALSO Instructor from Wisconsin and she has been going to Chacula for six years. Last year she did workshops with traditional midwives and this year she repeated it. I was invited by her to participate in the workshops. We were training midwives in emergency management such as postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia and neonatal reanimation. The workshops were very interactive and we could see very positive outcomes from the past year. Some midwives told us their experiences and how they put in practice all they had learned in the workshops.Working with Kim was amazing. Besides being very professional, she is also a very nice and funny person. We were talking about my idea for Ashoka’s Young Champions of Maternal Health Program and how to bring it into the field. She was very excited about it and now we are, also with Dr. Hall, developing the idea to make a pilot project in a rural community here in Mexico or Guatemala.I’m very happy with my experience in Guatemala and I really admire what Kim, Connie and Jeri have been doing all these years. They are amazing and inspiring people. It’s nice to meet people like that—the kind of people that I want to have as an example.After my visit to Guatemala, I traveled to Kansas City, Missouri. I was attending with Dr. Hall an International ALSO Board Meeting. They were three days of intensive work and it was great to see how the ALSO Program is being developed in other countries. We also participated in a one-day training of Care Team OB Program, a program that teaches some techniques to improve teamwork in hospitals and OB units.The Meeting was very interesting and I learned a lot. I shared my experiences with other people and I have met some key people that could help in the research to measure the impact of ALSO Program that we are holding with Dr. Hall.I went from the warm and sunny Guatemalan weather to the cold and cloudy winter in the U.S. I went from the land of mountains and volcanoes to the land of plain fields. I saw people growing coffee and beans and people raising cows. I saw people living in the worst conditions and people who have all their basic needs satisfied and more…It is really difficult to understand how, still now, we have these unfair differences…how can be the world so indifferent to all this…Share this:last_img read more

Texas Task Force Calls for Perinatal Care at the Right Place, Right Time

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 30, 2018June 1, 2018By: Jill Arnold, Maternity care patient advocate and founder of CesareanRates.org and co-founder of the National Accreta FoundationClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Lack of access to risk-appropriate care, or the right level of care at the right time, has proven dangerous for women and infants in the United States (U.S.) and around the world. A Wall Street Journal analysis of CDC data from 2015 showed that women in rural areas die of pregnancy-related complications at a 64% higher rate than those in large U.S. cities, whereas women fared better in rural hospitals in 2000. Only half of rural counties have an obstetric provider available, creating what the Wall Street Journal calls “maternity deserts,” in which women often have to travel for hours to receive antenatal care and give birth.The state of Texas, in the south-central region of the U.S., is the second largest state in the country at 268,820 square miles, with 177 of its 254 counties designated as rural. Regionalization of care, which is a system for the delivery of health care within a region to ensure accessibility of essential services—even for patients in remote and rural settings—has been in place for decades to designate where infants are born or transferred according to the level of care needed at birth.Recognizing that the concept of perinatal regionalization of care for both the woman and the newborn had shifted over time to focus almost entirely on the newborn, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine published an Obstetric Care Consensus document on Levels of Maternal Care in 2015 to formalize facility standards for maternal care.In Texas specifically, any facility that provides maternity care and wishes to remain eligible for Medicaid reimbursement must receive a level of care designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services by 1 September 2020.As part of the designation process, the Texas Department of State Health Services requires a site survey to assess compliance with the Texas Administrative Code. ACOG has opened an office in Texas and will provide survey services for Levels II, III and IV hospitals that provide maternity care. On 1 May ACOG held its first formal surveyor training in Austin, Texas.A 2013 Texas House bill added neonatal and maternal care designations to the Health and Safety Code, which was amended in 2015 to mandate the creation of initial rules for the designation by 1 March 2018. The task force behind the effort, the Perinatal Advisory Council, is chaired by Dr. Eugene Toy, an obstetrician-gynecologist at University of Texas Health Science Center, who believes that these designations and the regionalization of care have increased collaboration among facilities in the state.“In Texas, what it has done is cause stakeholders to look at patients overall—pregnant, postpartum and newborns—as our collective patients,” said Toy. “We really believe that the site survey opportunity is where we can make a difference in the quality of care for our patients.”According to Dr. Christopher Zahn, ACOG’s Vice President of Practice Activities, the verification program operates under the philosophy of “getting women to deliver at the right place at the right time.” Zahn says that a hospital’s level is not a ranking or a rating but rather a categorization for use in collaborating and coordinating regionally.“This is a concept that’s still early in its implementation, but the goal is to improve outcomes and health through regionalization of care,” said Zahn.Approximately 90 surveyors, which included about half physicians and half nurses/certified nurse-midwives from all over the state, attended the training, according to Arlene Remick, ACOG’s Program Director in Obstetric Practice.“ACOG collaborated with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, American College of Nurse Midwives and local provider organizations in Texas to recruit surveyors,” said Remick. “The response was overwhelmingly positive. The providers are invested in this issue and excited to be part of this effort.”Definition of Levels of Maternal CareBirth Center: Peripartum care of low-risk women with uncomplicated singleton term pregnancies with a vertex presentation who are expected to have an uncomplicated birthLevel I (Basic Care): Care of uncomplicated pregnancies with the ability to detect, stabilize and initiate management of unanticipated maternal–fetal or neonatal problems that occur during the antepartum, intrapartum or postpartum period until patient can be transferred to a facility at which specialty maternal care is availableLevel II (Specialty Care): Level I facility plus care of appropriate high-risk antepartum, intrapartum or postpartum conditions, both directly admitted and transferred from another facilityLevel III (Subspecialty Care): Level II facility plus care of more complex maternal medical conditions, obstetric complications and fetal conditionsLevel IV (Regional Perinatal Health Care Centers): Level III facility plus on-site medical and surgical care of the most complex maternal conditions and critically ill pregnant women and fetuses throughout antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum care—Program updates and more information can be found here.Learn more about maternal health in the United States>>Share this:last_img read more