U.S. Committee Votes For Restrictions on Companies Using H-1B Visa Program

first_imgThe United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Nov. 15 approved the bipartisan legislation to increase the base wage of H-1B visa workers and other conditions in the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (H.R. 170). The move is believed to be damaging for Indian workers and software companies.According to the new legislation, the minimum salary of an H1-B visa holder must be $90,000. The committee approved the bipartisan legislation by voice vote. The legislation will now be taken to the Senate for approval. It was introduced by Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). It is in line with U.S. President Donald Trump’s stand to protect American citizens’ jobs from immigrants who would do the same work at a lower salary.“Unfortunately, the loopholes left open in H-1B have allowed a small handful of companies to game the system and crowd out employers who need the limited slots available to bring in the best and brightest individuals from around the world,” Issa said in a statement released by the committee. “The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act is a common-sense update that will go a long way to protecting American workers while helping companies have better access to the talent they need to grow their businesses and create new jobs here in America.”The companies that are likely to be hit by the decision are Indian fintech firms like Infosys, Wipro, HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services. They are said to hire young Indian workers who live in the United States for three years, replacing American software engineers, for lower wages.According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, about 70 per cent of the H-1B visas issued annually go to Indians. However, Indian Information Technology Secretary Aruna Sundarajan said in May this year that only 17 per cent of the 85,000 H-1B visas go to Indian companies.“Our immigration programs must put American workers and our nation’s interests first, and unfortunately that is not the case currently with the H-1B visa program,” Bob Goodlatte, the Chairman of the judiciary committee, said.Apart from the hike in the wage, the bill would also prohibit H-1B dependent employers from replacing American workers with H-1B employees. A company is considered H-1B dependent if at least 15 per cent of its employees hold this visa.However, companies like Facebook, Apple and Google, which hire a small number of employees through the visa program, are not doing so for cheap talent. The salaries given to Indian counterparts are far above the base wage required for the H-1B visa.“In Silicon Valley, being an immigrant doesn’t matter. It’s the ideas that matter. We are able to build products for everyone because we attract talent from around the world,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who had also emigrated from India to the United States, said in February. Related ItemsH-1BProtect and Grow American Jobs ActSilicon Valleylast_img read more

U.S. Secretary of State Not Sending Senior Officials for Ivanka Trump’s India Trip: Report

first_imgU.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wouldn’t be sending a high-level delegation from his department during Ivanka Trump’s upcoming visit to India. The move is being seen as an indication of his displeasure about U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter leading the United States’ delegation for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit that’s beginning in India on Nov. 28.Tillerson’s decision to not send the high-level delegation is unrelated to budget cuts for his department, several state department officials and sources close to the White House told CNN. The event is being hosted by India and the United States jointly this year in Hyderabad. It is organized by the U.S. State Department.In past years, State Secretary John Kerry and sometimes U.S. President Barack Obama had led the delegation.“No one higher than the deputy assistant secretary is allowed to participate. The secretary and his top staff have insisted on approving all travel– even the most minute details,” one senior State Department official told the publication.“They (Tillerson and his staff) won’t send someone senior because they don’t want to bolster Ivanka. It’s now another rift between the White House and State at a time when Rex Tillerson doesn’t need any more problems with the President,” the official added.The report comes amid growing tension between the White House and the State Department. Tillerson and his inner circle are unwilling to support Ivanka, for whom this will be the highest-profile appearance representing the United States so far.“Rex doesn’t like the fact that he’s supposed to be our nation’s top diplomat, and Jared and now Ivanka have stepped all over Rex Tillerson for a long time. So now, he’s not sending senior people from the State Department to support this issue. He’s not supporting Ivanka Trump,” a source was quoted as saying in the report.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited Ivanka for the summit, the theme for which is “Women First, Prosperity for All”. Many countries are sending women-only delegations for the summit.U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary for the central Asia region, Alice Wells, was supposed to attend the summit but her participation has been withdrawn now. Related ItemsHyderabadIvanka TrumpRex Tillersonlast_img read more

Atul Gupta Challenges Court Order to Freeze Assets in South Africa

first_imgAtul Gupta, one of three brothers who are being probed for alleged “state capture” in South Africa, has challenged the court order freezing 10 million rand ($859,025) in his bank account, Reuters reported.As a part of the investigation into the Gupta brothers’ alleged links with former President Jacob Zuma, South African prosecutors were authorized to freeze the 10 million that was apparently an illegal transfer to Atul Gupta’s bank account. The Gupta brothers and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.In court papers filed in the Free State province, Atul Gupta said he was “currently outside South Africa” and refuted the prosecution’s allegations of receiving 10 million rand . The affidavit attached to the court papers was signed on Feb. 8 at the South African consulate in Dubai, according to the news agency report. A spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority verified the veracity of the court papers to Reuters. The prosecution will dispute Atul Gupta’s challenge in court.The police are looking for Ajay Gupta, another one of Gupta brothers, who has been called a fugitive from justice, as part of their probe into fraud in state-backed Estina dairy project in Free State province. Ajay Gupta reportedly attended a wedding in Agra and arrived in Dehradun on Feb. 13, according to the Times of India. He stayed at his family’s “palatial bungalow” till Feb. 16, although he was originally supposed to leave on Feb.18. He cut his stay short after Zuma’s resignation and left in a helicopter to the airport, escorted by the local police. He left for undisclosed location, the report said.“As far as the developments in South Africa are concerned, we have to date received no intimation from the South African embassy or police regarding anything related to the Gupta brothers. Since the family is a Z-category protectee, they inform the district police whenever they are visiting Dehradun and a security cover is arranged for them,” the Times of India quoted an official as saying.Last week, South Africa’s elite police unit Hawks raided several Gupta properties in Johannesburg. The relationship between former South African President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family is under the judicial scanner for an inquiry into high state-level corruption.The judiciary will look into allegations of “influence peddling” — whether the Guptas sought to influence the appointment of cabinet ministers and were unlawfully awarded state tenders.South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa has the fight against corruption on his top agenda. Related ItemsGupta FamilyJohannesburgSouth Africalast_img read more

New Jersey Governor Allows Undocumented Immigrants to Get College Financial Aid

first_imgCollege students in New Jersey who are undocumented immigrants will now be eligible for financial aid from the state, after a bill was signed into a law by Governor Phil Murphy on May 9.Students, including undocumented immigrants, who meet certain criteria will qualify for state student financial aid programs, according to the bill.“Tuition equity and equal access to financial aid are moral standards that we as public officials must uphold for all New Jersey students, whether they were born here or not,” Murphy said in a statement, the Observer reported.The legislation will help students achieve their academic goals, Murphy added. “These young people came to this country as children, were educated in our schools and are just as American as anyone else. I’m proud to sign this legislation to help these students achieve their educational goals and their pursuit of a successful future,” he was quoted as saying by the publication.Murphy also pointed out that the legislation will dull U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempts to push “dreamers” out of the country. “We will fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening,” Murphy said, Patch.com reported.College students in New Jersey who are undocumented immigrants had to, until now, pay for their college classes at lower, in-state rates, after former state governor Chris Christie signed a bill to the effect in 2013. Now Murphy has taken the action a step further by allowing some students who are undocumented immigrants to be eligible for financial assistance. This is something that Christie did not support.In order to qualify for the financial assistance, students should have attended a New Jersey high school for three years, and should also have applied to make their immigration status legal, besides other requirements.Those who have already applied to make their immigration status legal and are eligible for the financial aid, could get it as soon as September.Murphy also took to the social media to announce signing of the bill, saying, “DREAMers are as much New Jerseyans as my kids.”Our DREAMers are as much New Jerseyans as my kids. They grew up and were educated here and want to be part of our future economic success.That’s why today I signed a bill to allow our DREAMers to be eligible to receive state tuition assistance to help pay for their educations. pic.twitter.com/UMLvOATvOz— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 9, 2018Senator Teresa Ruiz, one of the sponsors of the bill,  applauded the step taken by Murphy, saying that New Jersey is proud to invest in all the students of the state throughout their academic careers, Fox News reported.However, not everyone welcomed the decision.Assemblyman Jay Webber slammed the bill, stating that it is “fundamentally wrong for our citizens and taxpayers.”“I stand in defense of a basic belief: that citizens of the United States should be treated as well or better than non-citizens who happen to be in our country,” Webber was quoted as saying in the Observer. “Democrats also are taking that financial aid away from New Jersey citizens to give that aid to non-citizens, and our citizens certainly see no fairness in that takeaway,” he added. Related ItemsDACAdreamersNew Jerseylast_img read more

Indie Films Step Up

first_imgA SuitableGirl Caption Animated characters in a car. spicesisters The-Cinema-Travellers-TIFF-2016-FeaturedAfter the theatrical release of Lipstick Under my Burkha, an award winning Indian film, was banned by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), it was promptly picked by the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) to open the 2017 edition of the celebrated event. The festival proudly plans to present this sensitive story of four small town Indian women struggling with societal norms in its original edit.In March, another Indian documentary, Notes to My Father, which holds the distinction of being the world’s first VR (virtual reality) documentary on sex trafficking, premiered at the SXSW (South by South West) Festival in Austin, Texas. The documentary garnered attention not just for its heart-rending subject, but also for the use of new-age VR technology that’s now beginning to stream into the world of movies too.A RajKummar Rao starrer, Newton, which tells the tale of an election officer righteously doing his duty in a small town in India as Maoist conflicts loom large, went on win the Art Cinema Award at the Berlinale earlier this year and is now competing at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival in New York in the international narrative competition section.Alternate movies such as these have been gaining recognition at global forums lately, bringing the focus to an impressive body of independent films made both in India and by Indians across the globe. Despite increasing interest and funding, the indie film scene, however, continues to remain marginalized, swamped by the mammoth Bollywood industry. Nevertheless, indie Indian movies are creating a gentle stir in the creative world.The alternative or indie film is a genre of feature films produced outside of a major studio and distributed by independent entertainment agencies. The subjects are often, non-commercial, honest, even uncomfortable portrayals of society, as opposed to the fluffy, feel-good representations popular in most mainstream movies.It’s ironical though, that in a country in which an estimated 2,000 films in different languages are made annually, often it is festivals and screenings abroad that recognize the contributions of alternative Indian cinema. The popular culture, both at home and amongst diaspora Indians reveres commercial blockbusters.Although Bollywood remains the big daddy of entertainment for Indians all over the world, with forecasts projecting an 11 per cent annual growth in 2017, there is also increasing interest among serious cinema lovers in the variety of ideas being tackled by parallel cinema in India.A new report, titled, Digitization & Mobility: Next Frontier of Growth for M&E, released by Deloitte and The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), projects the size of Bollywood industry at $2.9 billion, (Rs 193 billion) in 2017.  Theatrical revenues in India will also rise from $1.78 billion to $2.13 billion in 2017. As more mediums of storytelling, coupled with a growth in international platforms, become accessible to producers, the boats of independent filmmakers, telling tales from the Indian subcontinent, are rising too.Los Angeles based filmmaker Sarita Khurana, whose feature film, A Suitable Girl, will be screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this month, says: “India’s had a thriving alternative cinema for decades, in the 1950s to 1970s, and it’s wonderful to see a new wave of it again. Filmmakers like Aamir Khan and Anurag Kashyap have recently helped push this equation along, bringing films like Peepli Live to Sundance and Gangs of Wasseypur to Cannes. Because these films are being shown in international film festivals, there is a growing awareness of the fact that India is producing films that are not just Bollywood.”Popularity in America?This is especially true in America, where dedicated film festivals, such as the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) and New York Indian Film Festival, as well as several smaller ones, promote all facets of Indian cinema. These platforms give a chance to filmmakers from India and Indians across the world to tell unique and compelling stories often ignored by commercial cinema with depth and ingenuity.Mike Dougherty, director of programming at IFFLA, says: “Indian cinema is such a trove of beautiful, diverse and daring filmmaking, both in the feature-length format and in short films. In a country of more than a billion people with 22 official languages, you’re sure to find a rich variety of work from a broad spectrum of artists. However, the film festival circuit worldwide and in the U.S. has often underrepresented Indian cinema, and does not give the cineaste community a true picture of the scope of work available from India.“Many festivals play one, maybe two Indian films across their entire lineups and feel they’ve represented the country well. We know there’s much more out there, and we strive to elevate our films to their rightful place alongside the best of world cinema. IFFLA is crucial to giving these films a strong platform in the U.S., and we provide opportunities for the filmmakers to visit Los Angeles and introduce themselves to the biggest entertainment industry in the world.”The filmmakers say that parallel films challenge the common notion that Indian films equate to Bollywood. Khurana says: “Because we’re producing non-Bollywood films, the festivals around the world have opened their eyes, and cinema from India is getting a lot more exposure. The stories are specific to a location or time period in India, but like all good cinema, relatable in a universal way. Once we break the Bollywood frame, these stories are just as relatable as any cinema coming from around the world.”But aside from festivals or film connoisseurs is there an appetite for non-Bollywood films amongst diaspora Indians, or are they just mementos to diversity in Indian filmmaking? Smriti Mundhra, daughter of legendary Indian filmmaker JagMohan Mundhra, who has produced films such as Bomb the System in New York City and co-directed A Suitable Girl, says: “The surge in popularity of non-Bollywood Indian films in the U.S. is extremely encouraging. In Los Angeles, where I live, we have a number of theaters dedicated to Bollywood and diaspora films, and week after week I see crowds of South Asians from across all communities come out to see the latest releases — whether it’s Salman Khan’s new film or an independent drama like Shonali Bose’s Margarita With a Straw. The South Asian community seems to be very enthusiastic about this diversity in films and more than willing to support Indian independent cinema. This is great news for us, because they are a potential audience for our film that is already well established, show up to the theater every week (often in large groups) and are actually enthusiastic about art house films.”Why international festivals matter? The parallel movie movement began in India in the 1950s, helmed by legends, such as Satyajit Ray and later Shyam Benegal, and produced such classics as Pather Panchali (1955) directed by Satyajit Ray, which went on to win the Best Human Document award at the Cannes Film Festival.Though a constant stream of parallel movies continued to win laurels throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with actors such as Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri effortlessly flitting between art house and mainstream cinema, Bollywood remained the toast of all times with its far reaching impact and totally eclipsed the art house genre by the 1980s and 1990s. One reason the alternative movies could not gain a following was the paucity of mediums at home to share the potential and a lack of funding to take the projects to international arenas.The last decade has been more receptive, opening up new avenues to showcase alternate forms of storytelling. There are now dozens of film festivals both abroad and in India, ranging from the one held in Dharamshala to the Ladakh International Film Festival in the Himalayan region of Leh, a small town that does not even have a cinema of its own, to the Mumbai Queer Film Festival.Perhaps the most significant is the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) organized by the Ministry of Broadcasting, Government of India, held in Goa annually, which provides opportunities for filmmakers to showcase their talents. Together with the Film Bazaar, organized by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) they are the principal vehicles to encourage collaboration between international and South Asian film producers.However, it is still the laurels won at international festivals that turn the spotlight on Indian talent. Indian art films frequently earn more laurels in international circuits than amongst their own audiences, Christina Marouda, founder, IFFLA says: “To a certain extent yes, though this has been changing over the last couple of years, primarily because of the spotlight that the Mumbai International Film Festival has been putting on those films, as well as the incredible work that NFDC (National Film Development of India) has been doing in presenting the annual Film Bazaar.”Hannah Norling, head of marketing and communications, My Choices Foundation, an NGO, engaged in uplifting women, which partnered in the VR documentary, My Father’s Daughter, says: “The festivals are an enormous opportunity for any film as the these are attended by global film industry leaders, from production houses to distributors. They provide a platform for exposure to those in the industry who can potentially get behind the film and take it forward.”Their screening at the SXSW Festival, Norling said, allowed an unusual audience to be exposed to their work: “We see this as an opportunity not just to raise awareness for the issue of sex trafficking in India, but to also influence more story tellers to start sharing stories like these.”The international festivals lead to confluence of ideas that bring together varied stories strung together by common emotions. They also take a lead in bringing stories facing difficulties getting screenings or finding an audience in India. For instance, this isn’t the first year that IFFLA is screening a film banned in India.Marouda recalls: “Going back to 2005, it is the festival’s third year and everyone in our programming department is in love with this film called Black Friday. We confirm it and the producers tell us, one of us will come to present the film, we’re like, what about the director? You don’t want him there, he is a trouble maker. We say, hmm, strange, we’ll take your word, but we want to make sure you inform him of his film’s participating in IFFLA. Cut to an hour prior to the screening of the film. We receive a call, the Black Friday director is at the airport, a volunteer driver recognized him and picked him up, bringing him to ArcLight. I’m thinking, do we need to hire security, how about the Q&A, how am I going to handle that? The director arrives, humble, excited yet very nervous, it’s his banned film playing in front of a packed house in Los Angeles, in this exact theater. We have a fantastic Q&A, the film wins the jury award for best feature, the jurors along with us, call up all distributors and ask them to see this film, and keep an eye on this filmmaker from India. The rest is history…. Anurag (Kashyap) went on to become the most sought-after filmmaker from India in all top tier film festivals in the world.”Smriti Mundhra adds: “Independent film is as competitive as it’s ever been, thanks to the access people have to the tools to make movies. That’s why festivals and film programs, like labs and grants, have become an important factor to give a film credibility so it stands out from the crowd.”Mundhra who is showcasing A Suitable Girl at Tribeca this year, says: “Tribeca Film Festival is one of the most renowned festivals in the world. Being an official selection in the elite Documentary Competition program, is vital to the future of our film. It sends a message to the gatekeepers of the industry that this film is one worth paying attention to. We were also lucky to have the endorsement of other major organizations like Women In Film, Film Independent and the NFDC/Goa Film Bazaar. But Tribeca is just the beginning for us. We really look forward to screening our film at festivals worldwide to reach not just the industry but also our potential audience.”Stories that matter Contrary to common perception, international film festivals often pick tales that have typical Indian nuances. Norling says: “Storytelling seems to be becoming more important to viewers. Also Indian filmmakers and viewers are interested in ensuring that it isn’t the West that is the only one sharing India’s stories in documentary and independent film style.”Foreign audiences are open to ideas that originate from the subcontinent and may sound extraordinary to the West, such as the story of A Suitable Girl, which revolves around the concept of arranged marriages, Khurana says: “A lot of people in the West have a misconception about arranged marriage in India — they have an old-school and narrow view that it is just about child marriage, or forced marriage, or don’t understand how arranged marriage is an institution like any other that evolves over time, so that there are many versions of ‘arranged marriage’ in contemporary India today. I think this film will open people’s eyes to what arranged marriage looks like in India today — and given that it’s not that different than what you might find on a western dating site. There are many relatable elements that may make people reconsider their outdated notions of arranged marriage. I also think people are thinking about how the outcomes of a love marriage is no more guaranteed than an arranged marriage, and seeing a different path to achieve the same thing (i.e. companionship, marriage), opens up a new dialogue about how people couple together, how do you find the ‘right’ one, and how do you negotiate this difficult thing called marriage?”She adds, “Above all, the story is about how women negotiate this institution and deal with the various power dynamics and patriarchal expectations of their role in society, and how marriage upholds that patriarchy in many ways. That should be very relatable to a lot of women.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Hell Of A Party

first_img“Indians love to party. That’s how we meet people,” says Sunil Thakkar, putting a dent in the image of the model minority in button down shirts interested only in studiously writing lines of code and dreaming of the next IPO. Thakkar should know – he has his finger on the pulse of the desi party scene in Houston. And now he has a film to prove it. Thakkar is producer and co-screenwriter of Where’s the Party Yaar? (WTPY) currently making its way through America after releasing in Chicago and Houston in September. It’s a romp through Indian America, starring American Desi’s Sunil Malhotra and Kal Penn. But it’s based on Thakkar’s own experiences of running desi parties in Houston. Along the way it tries to skewer every sacred cow it can find – from astrologers, to the Hindi love song in the rain, to the eternal tussle between ABCDs and FOBs.According to the website for Where’s the Party Yaar? Sunil Thakkar’s favorite past time when he lived in Bombay was scouting the Juhu area for all the film star bungalows. After 16 years he saw Amitabh Bachchan standing outside his house smoking bidis. He immediately started “Star Tours” and took newly arrived villagers star gazing for a nominal fee of Rs. 85. This business was booming until a local “bhai” showed up at his house wanting a cut of the profits. Sunil’s mother decided to send him out of harm’s way to the United States to pursue higher education.“Umm well that’s not quite how it was,” admits Thakkar on his cell phone as he gets on the freeway heading to Florida to screen Where’s the Party Yaar? at a South Asian Students Association meet in Orlando. “I was just this quiet, simple kid who used to stammer,” he says. His career track was anything but wacky. He came to the United States to study engineering in Ohio and then went on to do his MBA from Rice University in Texas. For a shy Indian boy, the United States was both an exciting place as well as a disorienting one. It sent him hurtling towards his own culture. “I got into doing garba ras and really loved it. I’d never done it in India,” he recalls. Before long he was emceeing shows, mimicking the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and started his own radio show in 1993 – Music Masala – a hotchpotch of humor, Bhangra and Bollywood gossip. That’s when Thakkar tuned in to the fact that desis loved to party, but they were ill at ease in the American party scene. Music Masala started throwing big desi dance parties in Houston with hundreds of people jamming to the latest bhangra hits and desi remixes. Thakkar started noticing the conflict between the ABCDs and the FOB immigrants. “It was a constant battle of too few women and too many FOBs doing their hoye hoye dance moves,” he says candidly. Women would come and say “Too many FOBs, yaar.” As a business owner, Thakkar saw he had a problem on his hands. “You need a good mix.You need cool guys and hot chicks for a party to build a reputation, not just a lot of software engineers from Kerala or Andhra. This is business.” Things came to a point where someone would call Music Masala and ask “Hey, where’s the party, yaar?” they would go “Party, what party?”And if that failed there were lots of other little roadblocks. “If we saw 3 or 4 guys together, we would stop them and say ‘Sorry, party packed.’ Or have a dress code: no funny sneakers allowed,” admits Thakkar. The experiences gave Thakkar and co-writer and director Benny Matthews the idea for the film. He knows it’s not politically correct and some will say it smacks a little bit of self-hate – desi parties claiming to be too good for desis! Thakkar says he understands. “These are good people. I am an FOB myself,” he says. “When I came here I was a total geek. People had to tell me ‘Sunil, you need deodorant.’” That’s why when he made WTPY, he wanted an FOB like him to be its hero. He even cast himself in the small role of Shyam Sunder Balabhadra-patramukhi, an FOB in search of the ultimate desi party.“FOB has a bad connotation that ABCD doesn’t necessarily have. I wanted Hari, an FOB to be the hero,” emphasizes Thakkar. But as a businessman, he also knows that too many desis freshly liberated from the claustrophobic embrace of the family in India can get a little too rambunctious in a club. “People would get drunk, break into fights. That gives parties a bad rep,” he claims.In the film Hari Patel shows up in Houston into the arms of the Bakshi family. Their son Mo belongs to the Rho Beta Rho fraternity, promoter of the coolest desi parties on campus. The promoter Ray’s mission in life is to keep too many FOBs from crashing the party. But Hari thinks the girl of his dreams will be there. Does Hari find out where the party is? It’s the slightest of plots, but Thakkar tries to use some wacky humor to take potshots at the Indian American experience in a way not too many people have. Unlike most immigrant films, the America Hari Patel arrives into is not the America of the Smiths and Jones. It’s made of Bakshis and Singhs. “This is what Houston looks like,” stresses Thakkar. “There is a Raju panwallah here. I get gas at an Indian gas station. I can get my groceries from an Indian store and then stop for some sugarcane juice or a dosa. I am living a cool part of India in America but it’s a life I didn’t have back home.”Some people think of this as urbanized ghettos. Others will claim a film like WTPY can never cross over to a wider audience because it’s so specific to the Indian American experience. But Thakkar points to the reviews since the film officially released in September after doing the rounds at festivals in Austin, Toronto, San Francisco and Dallas. “A witty assimilation comedy” chortles the Austin Chronicle. It “discretely dismantles caricatures of FOBs with deft send-ups of stock Bollywood leitmotifs,” says the Village Voice. However the Los Angeles Times complains the film is “too corny and drawn out to appeal to crossover audiences but may strike a nerve in Indian communities.”Thakkar says he can only he honest about what he knows. The reality of immigration into areas like San Jose and Houston and New York is simply this. Whole neighborhoods are becoming little Indias, absorbing the new waves of immigrants. But in the process everyone gets changed. Though the panwallah and the video stores with pirated copies of Bollywood blockbusters might look familiar, it’s not home. Its an Americanized version of our imagination of what home is. “The America we are coming to is not white America. It is Indian America, but the way they conduct life and business is totally different as well,” says Thakkar.So in WTPY, Hari has a few lessons to learn about what being American means, and his cousin Mo has a few lessons of his own to learn about what his roots are all about. Despite their differences, Thakkar realizes that whether they are ABCDs with gel in their hair and Banana Republic black turtlenecks, or FOBs in oh-too-white sneakers and checked shirts from the sale rack at Target, everyone wants to have fun. So now he is taking the party on the road. “When you host a big party in Houston, only people from Houston can come,” he says. “So why not have one on a big boat and invite people from all over the United States.”That’s how Thakkar and his friends came up with the idea of the Masala cruises. “Like the one that went from Miami to the Bahamas. The next one heats up the glaciers of Alaska in 2004. It’s just like an ordinary cruise except you have desi food, desi entertainment and DJs.” And yes, you even get to see WTPY. Talk about a captive audience!But what’s most important about the cruises says Thakkar is that everyone gets to go. Families with small kids, teens, singles, families with their parents from India. “And they get to have a comedy night and Bollywood night and dandiya, all the things they like but can’t get on other cruises.” He claims the idea is catching on. The first cruise had about 470 people. The next one had 750. He’s hoping to do even better the next time.But whether its Masala cruises or WTPY, Thakkar aims to be Indian in America and have a lot of fun doing that. He knows the immigrant experience is no picnic. He knows about hate crimes and exploitation of H1-B workers and the Patriot Act. WTPY itself came face to face with that when post 9/11 they lost permission to film Hari’s coming-to-America scene at the airport. But he doesn’t want his film bogged down in politically correct mantras and activism. His aim is to keep his film honest and fun and “real, real, real.” And have fun with his friends while doing it. The executive producer is his wife Sandhya. The director and co-writer is his good friend Benny Mathews. Sunil Thakkar wants to show that with the right gang you can always be carrying a bit of Bombay with you whether you live in Houston or Boston. And that’s amply clear over the phone. “Hold on.” says Thakkar. “We are coming to a Taco Bell and need to get something to eat.” The Music Masala gang is trying to come up with their hot tips on how to shed the FOBness. “Stop levitating on toilet seats” shouts one. “Stop picking your teeth with business cards” suggests another.But as they pull up to the counter and Thakkar starts giving the order you realize Sunil Thakkar has never lost touch with his desi roots. “Nachos supreme without meat, tostadas and lots of hot sauce. Extra hot sauce,” he bellows. Then he adds “Just water, no ice. And oh more hot sauce please.”  Related Itemslast_img read more

IAEA on Board?

first_imgIndia is within weeks of striking a deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency on its civilian nuclear program.French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Indian reporters at a press conference in New Delhi, “To the best of my knowledge, it’s only a matter of weeks and the authorization (from the IAEA) will be given.” The deal with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency is a key step in finalizing India’s landmark atomic energy pact with the United States. The country hopes to establish similar agreements with France and other nuclear powers.“India has never proliferated, and it has made it clear that it wants to separate its civil nuclear program from its military one,” Sarkozy said.The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal has run into opposition in both countries. In India, critics oppose closer ties with the United States and fear the deal could undermine the country’s nuclear weapons program. U.S. critics say the extra fuel provided under the deal would boost India’s nuclear bomb stockpile by freein  Related Itemslast_img read more

Luxury Retirement Homes

first_imgShe grew up listening to her grandparents’ stories over dinner, three generations gathered in the house they shared, like nearly every Indian family she knew.But now that Uma Paranjpe is a grandmother, she finds herself living alone in a small apartment, her children abroad, her grandchildren far from her cooking and her stories.And she’s thrilled.“Grandparents also want their own independence,” said the 62-year-old widow, who lives in a bustling retirement community in this southwestern Indian city. “We want freedom. We would like to travel, to pursue our hobbies.” A cultural revolution is under way in India, led by an unlikely gray-haired vanguard that is dramatically changing what it means to be old here, and what it means to be a family. In a country where family is society’s strongest cultural anchor, the thought of the elderly living alone has long been anathema, but many old people today are embracing the notion.With the economy booming, children are moving away for jobs, leaving elderly parents on their own. While some lament the breakdown in family as a sign of cultural decline, others – especially the well-off – are happy to devote their old age to themselves instead of their grandchildren.The new retirement communities are so far available only for the rich. There’s nothing between the high end faux Florida facilities and bleak government-run homes for those with nowhere else to go.Roughly a dozen development companies across the country offer sparkling facilities complete with badminton courts, lap pools and game rooms to the wealthiest sliver of the country’s 80 million people over 60.“I don’t think my son or my daughter will look after me – and I’m damn happy about it,” said Minoo Shroff, 72, who lives in a housing complex for seniors in Pune, a pleasant city popular with retirees because it’s more temperate than much of the rest of India. “I’m independent, they’re independent.”Seniors in India traditionally occupy a role somewhere between family pillar and dependent hanger-on, with more than 71 percent of the elderly living with their children or grandchildren, according to the 2001 national census.Grandparents can be revered keepers of family lore or ghostly presences cooking nearly forgotten recipes. But from teeming cities to sleepy villages, caring for one’s parents is to most Indians a duty as important as caring for one’s children, and home after home across the country is crowded with the same mix of generations.The arrangement is one borne out of custom and financial necessity – the Indian government provides no Social Security type benefits and less than 10 percent of the population receives even a small pension.Experts say the new prosperity flooding into India is weakening the “joint family” system, where the next generation lived with the last, because the pace of life is speeding up and getting Westernized.“The younger generation is very busy. They don’t have time to spend with older people,” said Harvinder Bakshi of HelpAge India, an activist group for the elderly. “The joint family system is disintegrating.”Newspapers frequently carry lurid stories of children abandoning their parents to the street, and activists have called on the government to open more affordable old-age homes.Bakshi says his group, a major one, gets a half-dozen calls a month about abandoned seniors.Even the expensive retirement homes can’t make up for the joy of growing old among family.“I miss that bonding, that security, that comfort, the love, the shelter. We don’t feel that here,” said Madhukar Gokarn, 73. She and her husband live in an exclusive retirement community called Golden Nest in Pune, but her afternoon walks on the building’s roof are small consolation for what she has lost. “Who wouldn’t want to be with their own children as long as possible?”Shashank Paranjape, the real-estate developer generally credited with introducing retirement homes to India, opened his first project, Athashri, in 2003 in Pune as a complex explicitly modeled on Western retirement homes. With roughly 1,000 residents in four branches, Athashri is a thriving community that looks as though it were plucked straight from Florida, right down to the early-bird specials – spicy lentils and rice. A cultural revolution is under way in India, led by an unlikely gray-haired vanguard that is dramatically changing what it means to be old here, and what it means to be a family. In a country where family is society’s strongest cultural anchor, the thought of the elderly living alone has long been anathema, but many old people today are embracing the notion.Paranjape plans retirement homes in five more Indian cities, but he and other developers face major hurdles.To most Indians, communities exclusively of old people seem as impractical as neighborhoods of children would be. Also, the buy-in prices of $75,000 to $125,000 rule out the vast majority of the population, although with the economy growing every year, developers are betting the market will increase.The communities buzz with card games, book clubs and music lessons – activities all but unthinkable in generations past, when old age was spent helping with grandkids and household chores.“My mother used to love the violin, but she never had time to play,” said Pushpa Salem, 67, who has become an avid butterfly collector since moving to Athashri nearly five years ago. “She would have loved it here.”“When we stay with our children we feel very old,” she said. “Here, we feel young.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian BPO’s Generate US Jobs

first_imgIndian corporations have generated 30,000 U.S. jobs, according to a report by the US-India Business Council (USIBC).The Tata Group employs 19,000 U.S. citizens in its 16 U.S. business and has invested over $3 billion in the country. The Essar Group employs 7,200 Americans in its operations in 12 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New York and Texas. HCL employs 3,000 at its 21 U.S. locations.Over a dozen other major Indian corporations, such as Mahindra, Wipro, Essel-Propack, ITC Kitchens of India, Ranbaxy, Satyam and Wockhardt have significant U.S. employees. Related Itemslast_img read more

Developers willing to pay crores for Mumbai shanties as land prices soar in Bandra

first_imgBharat Nagar slum along the Mithi river, the Adani project (center) under constructionStanding in the slush in front of his home at Bharat Nagar in Bandra (East), surveying a garbage pile, Shamshuzama Ansari dreams of a bright future. A Mumbai builder has offered to buy his 225 square feet brick-and-cement-roofed,Bharat Nagar slum along the Mithi river, the Adani project (center) under constructionStanding in the slush in front of his home at Bharat Nagar in Bandra (East), surveying a garbage pile, Shamshuzama Ansari dreams of a bright future. A Mumbai builder has offered to buy his 225 square feet brick-and-cement-roofed shanty for a whopping Rs 1.25 crore. The 30-year-old owner of a mobile phones and accessories shop lives here with his wife and parents. He now plans to buy a flat in the suburbs of the city and invest the rest in his business.Ansari’s is not an isolated rags-to-riches tale. At least 800 other residents of Bharat Nagar, a slum settlement comprising 2,400 dwellings, received between Rs 80 lakh and Rs 1.45 crore from real estate giant HDIL. (A 280 square foot flat in a nearby building constructed under the state government’s slum redevelopment scheme costs just Rs 35 lakh). Most have moved into their own flats in the western suburbs of Nallasopara and Bhayander, where a 300 square foot one-room-kitchen apartment costs anywhere between Rs 15 and Rs 18 lakh. The rest of the money has been invested in buying shops near their homes. For some, the windfall has not brought good tidings. Khalida, 55, who shifted to a flat after 40 years in Bharat Nagar, says: “Many people frittered the money on either dance bars or gambling. Some people could not survive outside the slum and fell sick. They had to spend huge sums on medical treatment.”Abdul Hamid Abdul LatifSpread across 20 lakh square feet, Bharat Nagar has come up on the banks of the Mithi river over the past 50 years. The land is owned by the state government which collects a monthly rent of Rs 55 from each owner. All shanties built before 1995 have been regularised, hence the owners can sell them. All have electricity, television sets and some of the dwellings sport tiled floors. Bharat Nagar is in demand because it connects the commercial hub of Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) to the posh Kala Nagar. With BKC’s vacant plots closer to downmarket Kurla, the demand for land closer to Bandra brings buyers flocking to Bharat Nagar.Pankaj Kapoor, md of real estate rating agency Liases Foras, says developers are more than willing to pay slum-dwellers for the land. “Due to its proximity to the Bandra-Kurla Complex, land rates in Bharat Nagar are very high. The developer is paying to get the land and one should look at it purely from the perspective of the whole project,” he says.advertisementDeveloped as an alternative to Nariman Point, the 370-hectare bkc business hub has banks, the National Stock Exchange and the Bharat Diamond Bourse. Land rates in bkc are now touching Rs 50,000 per square foot. HDIL bought the land on behalf of the Gautam Adani Group, which has started building a commercial centre on the cleared plot.Shamshuzama AnsariAt Tata Colony, another slum pocket of 300 shanties a stone’s throw away from Bharat Nagar, all but 65 slum-dwellers have sold out to DB Realty. They received between Rs 80 lakh and Rs 1 crore per dwelling. DB Realty handed out Rs 45 lakh by cheque and the rest in cash and also appointed a private bank to guide the shanty owners on investing their money and saving taxes. The firms plans to build a commercial complex were put on hold after two of its mds Vinod Goenka and Shahid Balwa were jailed in the 2G case.In Worli’s Jijamata Nagar, a hut costs Rs 45 lakh. DB Realty and Lokhandwala Builders are eyeing this slum settlement spread over 68,400 square metres. DB Realty has already spent Rs 16 crore on buying several shanties. “The land will be worth Rs 1 lakh a square foot after redevelopment so they can afford to spend crores,” says Datta Navghane, chairman of the slum society. A builder has already offered Rs 45 lakh per shanty in Worli’s Mahatma Phule Nagar.last_img read more

Argentina top football rankings, India remain at 162

first_imgArgentina remain on top of the football rankings issued on Thursday, which saw very few changes and did not affect the top 50, with Spain still in the sixth place.Argentina heads the list with 164 points ahead of Belgium, which in turn has only 11 more than Chile.Colombia remains fourth ahead of Germany and Spain, the last two world champions, followed by Brazil, Portugal, Uruguay and England.India remained at the 162nd spot.The rankings and point scores for May are as follows:1. Argentina 1,532 points2. Belgium 1,3643. Chile 1,3534. Colombia 1,3375. Germany 1,3096. Spain 1,2777. Brazil 1,2618. Portugal 1,1849. Uruguay 1,15810. England 1,069.last_img read more


first_img6th Race: The Cochin Plate, Div-II, 1200M6th Race: The Cochin Plate, Div-II, 1200MAshwa Prabir (mr Faisal Md Khan) 52 G Manikandan, First.Amigos 55 A Imran Khanm, Second.Ice Skates 55 A Ayaz Khan, Third.Classy Lassy 51 N Murugan, Fourth.Not Run: Resurgent,Rest All Ran.Won By: 3-3/4L, 3-3/4 and L.Neck.Time: one Min 15.75 secsWinner Trained by: Faisal Md Khan.Favourite: Cecil.(MORE) PTI COR ROH KK KK PMlast_img

1st ODI: India vs Zimbabwe

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12 Awesome Companies In San Francisco Hiring Now

first_img 23 hours ago 23h AppD Senior Devops Engineer AppDynamics San Francisco, CA 3. ChevronWhat Is It: Chevron is engaged in every aspect of the oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy industries, including hydrocarbon exploration and production; refining, marketing and transport; chemicals manufacturing and sales; and power generation.What Employees Say: “Excellent salary, benefits, workplace culture and career opportunities.” —Former Business Development Manager  23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 11. PostmatesWhat Is It: Postmates is transforming the take out world and their mission is to be the on-demand delivery infrastructure for every major city in the world.What Employees Say: “You get to see the results of your work almost every day. The business is very fast-paced, and your impact becomes visible really quickly. You get to work with very smart people, as well as to learn and grow a lot. Ask for help and you will always receive it. I haven’t met a single incompetent person yet.” —Current Software Engineer 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 3.6★ Available Jobs at Chevron Stations Inc. in San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h Available Jobs at Stella & Dot in San Francisco, CA 7. Patelco Credit UnionWhat Is It: As a not-for-profit credit union, Patelco was founded to serve the financial interests of people in their communities.What Employees Say: “The benefits are some of the best I’ve had. Up to 8% 401k contribution, low cost medical, a competitive PTO package, a bonus program you can definitely smile at, and generous discounts on certain loans products. I have taken advantage of all the above. Erin – our CEO – is active in bettering the workplace for us and making sure we remain strong in our industry. The pay is great.” —Current IT Employee 3.1★ Food and Retail Delivery _ Work Flexible Hours Postmates San Francisco, CA Company Representative SelectQuote San Francisco, CA Available Jobs at World Wide Technology in San Francisco, CA See more SelectQuote jobs in San Francisco, CA 3.9★ 3.3★ 4.7★ HRIS Manager Eventbrite San Francisco, CA 9. Gap Inc.What Is It: They’ve grown from a single San Francisco shop in to a global icon with five brands (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta and Intermix) because Gap Inc. has always believed in doing more than selling clothes.What Employees Say: “Attracts bright, capable people that will force you to step up your game. Fun to learn about different processes. Energetic atmosphere that will develop your skills and increase efficiency with each project.” —Current Employee 4.0★ 3.6★ Available Jobs at Gap Inc. in San Francisco, CA Information Security Strategy Manager Gap Inc. San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h Regional Home Loan Consultant Patelco Credit Union San Francisco, CA Sr. Project Manager – NorCal World Wide Technology San Ramon, CA Sr. Analyst Advanced Analytics Gap Inc. San Francisco, CA 3.7★ VP, Creator Marketing Eventbrite San Francisco, CA Vice President and Staff Scientist Large Molecule Drug Discovery and Engineering Genentech South San Francisco, CA 3.7★ 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h Bakery and Coffee Bar Team Member Whole Foods Market San Francisco, CA See more Genentech jobs in San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h See more Bain & Company jobs in San Francisco, CA 2. SelectQuoteWhat Is It: Find and compare the best term life insurance quotes thanks to SelectQuote.What Employees Say: “Plenty of warm leads and access to the best companies and products in the industry. Unbiased, consultative selling focused on creating value for clients. Great compensation and additional incentives like contests and awards trips. Competitive but not cut throat. Very collaborative culture with open doors all the way up to the CEO.” —Current Account Manager/Sales Agent See more Whole Foods Market jobs in San Francisco, CA Available Jobs at AppDynamics in San Francisco, CA See more Gap Inc. jobs in San Francisco, CA Creative Project Coordinator Stella & Dot Brisbane, CA 3.6★ 4.7★ 23 hours ago 23h See more Chevron Stations Inc. jobs in San Francisco, CA 4.4★ Director of Inventory Planning Stella & Dot Brisbane, CA Meat Team Member (Full-Time) Whole Foods Market San Francisco, CA Customer Service Representative for Chevron Stations Inc., Store Chevron Stations Inc. San Francisco, CA 12. World Wide TechnologyWhat Is It: WWT is a technology solution provider with more than $9 billion in annual revenue that provides innovative technology and supply chain solutions to large public and private organizations around the globe.What Employees Say: “Completely Awesome place to work. The best part of WWT is the people and culture. They are who they say they are. It is that simple. From the top down it is impressive how this company is run and attracts great people. The growth here is exploding while maintaining culture, because WWT attracts the best from the industry. Nothing but a great experience.” —Current Managing Consultant Director, Business Operations Postmates San Francisco, CA Informatics Engineer Genentech South San Francisco, CA Unavailable Bain & Company San Francisco, CA 3.9★ 23 hours ago 23h 3.1★ Available Jobs at Whole Foods Market in San Francisco, CA 4. GenentechWhat Is It: The biotech company’s mission is to develop drugs to address significant unmet medical needs.What Employees Say: “Great place to work due to culture, benefits, talented people. Mature processes and tools. Opportunities available locally and globally. Diversity and inclusion are central and focused on.” —Current Director of Global Product Management Available Jobs at Genentech in San Francisco, CA Available Jobs at SelectQuote in San Francisco, CA See more Stella & Dot jobs in San Francisco, CA 4.4★center_img 23 hours ago 23h Customer Service Representative – Store Chevron Stations Inc. Larkspur, CA Member Solution Specialist (Personal Banker) Patelco Credit Union San Francisco, CA AppD Site Reliability Engineer AppDynamics San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h Software Engineer, Search & Recommendations Eventbrite San Francisco, CA 4.0★ See more Eventbrite jobs in San Francisco, CA Manager, Strategic Partnerships Bain & Company San Francisco, CA See more AppDynamics jobs in San Francisco, CA 3.6★ Senior Member Service Representative (Senior Teller) Patelco Credit Union Daly City, CA 23 hours ago 23h 8. EventbriteWhat Is It: Eventbrite powers ticketing and registration for more than two million live experiences each year, hosting the world’s largest online selection of events.What Employees Say: “The company is composed of incredibly helpful, thoughtful, and truly kind individuals who honestly care about your personal and professional growth. Amazing positive culture, lots of perks in the office, and (in my experience) outstanding managers.” —Current Employee 23 hours ago 23h Sr. Corporate Counsel-AppDynamics AppDynamics San Francisco, CA Manager Strategic Partnerships, Digital Solutions Bain & Company Inc San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h 6. AppDynamicsWhat Is It: With AppDynamics, enterprises have real-time insights into application performance, user performance, and business performance so they can move faster in an increasingly sophisticated, software-driven world.What Employees Say: “Flexible timing, the work environment is good, people are really awesome, very friendly. Lot of opportunities to learn and grow. Company takes good care of employee needs. Strong cultural values.” —Current Software Engineer See more Patelco Credit Union jobs in San Francisco, CA 3.4★ 4.4★ 4.7★ Manager Tax Projects Gap Inc. San Francisco, CA Assistant Station Manager Needed! CSI Chevron Stations Inc. Alamo, CA Project Manager World Wide Technology San Ramon, CA 3.4★ Available Jobs at Postmates in San Francisco, CA 4.3★ 3.6★ 23 hours ago 23h Sure you may associate S.F. with tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, but there’s a whole lot more to the Bay Area than mega companies. San Francisco is home to a little bit of everything, and we’re not just talking about the amazing dining options.From finance to fashion, biotech to business, workers can hop on a cable car or train to head to work at some of the country’s hottest businesses. The median pay in San Fran is $66,221, growing YoY by 3.8% and eclipsing the national average of $51,360. With 110,875 jobs open in the month of January, now’s the time to apply for your piece of the pie.In advance of our Best Places to Work Roadshow coming across the Golden Gate bridge this month, here are 12 awesome companies in the Bay Area hiring now.1. Whole Foods Market What Is It: A favorite in the region, Whole Foods is a supermarket chain exclusively featuring foods without artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats.What Employees Say: “Met a great diverse group of people and got to learn so much.Great perks and benefits. They see you for the work you put in not by how you look. I loved the liberty of being able to dye my hair different colors and being able to express my uniqueness through my style of clothes.” —Former Guest Service Employee Available Jobs at Bain & Company in San Francisco, CA 4.3★ Services Consultant (Strategic Staffing) World Wide Technology San Ramon, CA 23 hours ago 23h 3.7★ 23 hours ago 23h See more Postmates jobs in San Francisco, CA Senior Engineer – Cell Culture Development Genentech South San Francisco, CA Marketing & Social Coordinator Stella & Dot Brisbane, CA 4.0★ 23 hours ago 23h 4.3★ 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 3.9★ Warehouse Workers – Earn up to $28/hr Delivering Food Postmates San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h 3.1★ 23 hours ago 23h Meat Team Member (Meat Counter Service)- No Experience Required Whole Foods Market San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h 3.3★ 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 3.4★ 3.6★ 3.3★ Available Jobs at Eventbrite in San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h 5. Bain & CompanyWhat Is It: Bain & Company is one of the world’s leading consulting firms with offices in 51 global cities.What Employees Say: “Great exposure to problems and clients, strong professional development focus, relative respect for work-life balance.” —Current Employee 3.7★ 10. Stella & DotWhat Is It: Stella & Dot is a global, social-selling fashion accessories brand based in Brisbane, CA.What Employees Say: “Very well run company with great opportunities for advancement. Make your own hours and tons of great bonuses!” —Current Sales Rep 23 hours ago 23h Available Jobs at Patelco Credit Union in San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h See more World Wide Technology jobs in San Francisco, CAlast_img read more

Guangzhou Evergrande coach Scolari can’t see Paulinho leaving for Barcelona

first_imgGuangzhou Evergrande manager Luiz Felipe Scolari doesn’t expect Paulinho to leave for Barcelona.The midfielder is expected to join Barca this summerBut Scolari says: “His release clause is 40 million euros ($44.80 million) and none of the Chinese clubs will let their key players go because it would be difficult and expensive to find a replacement due to the new rules.”Paulinho said over the weekend, “There is an offer, but in life and also in my career I find myself at a very happy stage now. When you are at such a stage, it’s difficult to make a decision.”I need to weigh many things and then make up my mind. One of the critical factors is my happiness. I think firstly my wife and I are very happy in China, we like it here and we like the people.”last_img read more

4 Nifty Tips for Building a List

first_imgKatya’s note: This guest post is by my talented colleague Rebecca Ruby at Network for Good. I want to share it because I often get asked, how do I build an email list?By Rebecca RubyA philosophical question: If an e-newsletter is powerful enough to move someone to action, but no one’s around to read it, does it make an impact? If not particularly mind-bending, this inquiry does bring up a valuable (seemingly obvious) point: You can craft a fabulous e-newsletter, send it out just the right number of times per year and impart some really powerful information, but you need to create an email contact list (an audience) at your organization to be effective. Here are four tips to get you started on the road to contact-information glory: 1. Make it easy, compelling and cool for your website visitors to give you their email addresses (yes, it can be cool). The majority of people visiting your organization’s website is there on purpose-they may have been searching for your organization in particular or simply shopping around for a nonprofit with your mission. Make the sign-up button easy-to-spot, put it “above the fold,” and make your form brief yet informative (you risk form abandonment if you require or ask for too many pieces of information). 2. Include “join our email list” everywhere you can. Once you have your online form, send people there from all directions: your homepage, the signature at the bottom of your email (your everyday contacts may opt in), and other places you have content sprinkled around the Internet such as blogs and social networking pages.3. Use the “people love free stuff” principle. Incentivize. You’re asking people to give you something (information), and they’re going to wonder what’s in it for them:•Set up a drawing.•Offer prizes to the first X people who sign up for your new e-newsletter or who sign up by Y date.•Show people that they’re making a difference and/or joining a community.4. Make it easy for your current subscribers to hook their friends. Promote your newsletter and gain new subscribers by asking current subscribers to forward your message along; consider including a “forward to a friend” link in your message. Keep in mind that you should always include a subscribe link in your newsletter so people who do receive a forwarded copy have an easy way to get their own copy in the future.last_img read more

Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 3, 2011November 13, 2014Click 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)Earlier today, USAID and Johnson & Johnson, launched a new mhealth initiative focusing on maternal health, with support from the UN Foundation, the mHealth Alliance, and BabyCenter LLC. The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) “will work across an initial set of three countries, Bangladesh, India and South Africa, to help coordinate and increase the impact of existing mobile health programs, provide resources and technical assistance to promising new business models, and build the evidence base on the effective application of mobile technology to improve maternal health.”The launch is being webcast live through the US State Department’s website and features Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, USAID Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, CEO and Chairman of Johnson & Johnson William Weldon, and Founder of Every Mother Counts Christy Turlington BurnsIn case you miss it live, the video will be available through the site’s archives.Share this:last_img read more

Historic UN Ruling: States Must Ensure Access to Maternal Health Care

first_imgPosted on August 26, 2011June 19, 2017By: Emily Hsu, EngenderHealthClick 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)The following post originally appeared on EngenderHealth’s blog. It is reposted here with permission.Governments have a human rights obligation to guarantee women’s access to timely and nondiscriminatory maternal health services, according to a recent ruling by a major United Nations human rights body.The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) issued the Aug. 10 ruling, concluding the first maternal death case ever to be decided by an international human rights body.The case began in 2002 with the tragic death of Alyne da Silva Pimentel, a 28-year-old Brazilian of African descent. Alyne was denied timely care at a public health facility and later died after giving birth to a stillborn baby. Five years later, her mother brought the case to CEDAW, stating the government of Brazil violated her daughter’s right to life and health by failing to meet its obligation to ensure the health and rights of her daughter.In her complaint, Maria de Lourdes da Silva Pimentel invoked Articles 2 and 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which call on the government to pursue all appropriate means to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care.Brazil is an emerging economic power in South America. While the country has dramatically reduced maternal deaths in the last 10 years, the progress at the national level belies the extreme disparities in maternal health care that still exist based on race, socioeconomic status and geography.The ruling sends a powerful message in the international arena and demands that the government compensate Alyne’s family and take steps to ensure women’s rights to safe motherhood and health care. More broadly, it establishes that maternal health is a human rights responsibility of governments that must be taken seriously and that applies to all women, including indigenous, impoverished women who are most affected by maternal mortality.Created in 1982, the Committee is made up of 23 experts on women’s issues worldwide. The Committee mandate is to monitor progress for women in countries that are parties to the Convention. Members review national reports to assess the steps being taken to improve situations for women—a process that itself enables continuous dialogue and focus on anti-discrimination policies.Photo by C. Ngongo/EngenderHealthShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Nokia Joins Safe Birth Campaign to Provide Clean Delivery Kits to Women in Crisis Settings

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on December 21, 2012August 15, 2016Click 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)A message from our colleagues at UNFPA:Nokia joins UNFPA’s Safe Birth. Even Here campaign, through which midwives in refugee camps are reporting on safe deliveries by uploading photos and stories to a website from where the good news can be shared through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Social media users can thus join in celebrating a safe birth in the worlds most difficult and overlooked settings.Now, Nokia will enhance the efforts of social media users by donating a life-saving Clean Delivery Kit for every share of the good news. The $3 Kit provides pregnant women with the most basic essentials for preventing fatal infections in humanitarian situations. It includes a bar of soap, a clear plastic sheet to lie on, a razor blade for cutting the umbilical cord, a sterilized string to tie off the umbilical cord, a cloth to keep the mother and baby warm, and latex gloves.Nowhere in the world is the risk of dying in childbirth greater than in disaster settings. Here, one in five women are likely to be pregnant. Mothers and babies are cut off from health care and exposed to trauma, malnutrition, disease and violence – putting their lives in great danger. Maternal deaths soar in disasters – yet they can be prevented.The Safe Birth. Even Here campaign aims to raise awareness about maternal health and the challenges faced by expectant mothers in crisis settings. UNFPA and Nokia hope that the donation will encourage the general public to participate in the campaign and decision makers to advocate for maternal health in emergencies. Please support pregnant women in crises settings by sharing the extraordinary images and stories from refugee settings as well as the news of the matching donation!To learn more about the campaign and for details on how to participate, click here!Share this:last_img read more

Nominations Still Open for ICM’s Excellence in Midwifery 2014 International Midwife Award

first_imgPosted on March 11, 2014August 10, 2016Click 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)The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and Save the Children invite you to nominate an exceptional midwife who works in maternal and newborn care in low-resource settings. All women need access to antenatal care in pregnancy and skilled care during childbirth. Midwives and others with midwifery skills can reduce maternal mortality by two-thirds and reduce newborn mortality by half.  Identify and nominate someone you know working to provide these services now.Two midwives will be chosen to attend the conference which will be held in Prague, Czech Republic from the 1st to the 5th of June, 2014.Nominations are open though March 17th.Follow the nominations, awards and conference on Twitter at #MidwifeAward @MHTF  and @HealthyNewbornsShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more