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NRI Corner 2
Vatan travel question...

I'm trying to book online ticket for say Mumbai-Chennai. Some like IA have residens and non-residents funda. My kids are on amriki passport. If I buy tickets as Indian resident then what will happen if I show up with kids amriki passport as identification. we are still on indian passport. Ideally I would like to book online and pay with credit card. Does that mean my credit card will take it as foreign transaction and charge me additional fees as if I used it in India?

Other question is about the taxes and surcharges e.g. Passenger Service Fee, Transaction Fee, Fuel Surcharge, Congestion Charge etc. Are they normal Taxes and Surcharges? Is that workaround by airlines to bump up the actual fare? The online fare is attractive at 400-500INR but after all T&S it is lot more.

Are there other alternatives to booking flights? How about travel agents in India?
<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> Doctor finds spiders in ear of Oregon boy with earache

Associated Press

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ALBANY, Ore. — These guys weren't exactly Snap, Crackle and Pop.

What began as a faint popping in a 9-year-old boy's ear — "like Rice Krispies" — ended up as an earache, and the doctor's diagnosis was that a pair of spiders made a home in the ear.

"They were walking on my eardrums," Jesse Courtney said.

One of the spiders was still alive after the doctor flushed the fourth-grader's left ear canal. His mother, Diane Courtney, said her son insisted he kept hearing a faint popping in his ear — "like Rice Krispies."

Dr. David Irvine said it looked like the boy had something in his ear when he examined him.

When he irrigated the ear, the first spider came out, dead. The other spider took a second dousing before it emerged, still alive. Both were about the size of a pencil eraser.

Jesse was given the spiders — now both dead — as a souvenir. He has taken them to school and his mother has taken them to work.

"It was real interesting, 'cause, two spiders in my ear — what next?" Jesse said.

Dev: Relatives or friends in India can buy local tickets for you and/your kids and it's perfectly okay.
<b>Indian students in Texas pool accident identified</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The victims, both 23, have been identified as Pravesh Kumar and Vijay Mahadvan, both graduate students at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK).

Police said the two men had been drinking alcohol when they climbed the locked gate surrounding the pool. Both were wearing only a pair of blue jeans. Police said while they are investigating this case nothing suspicious appears to have happened, and they are calling it an accidental drowning.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

After putting so much efforts and struggle, now these guys have death certificate to show.
The May 6th protests on the occasion Andhra CM's visit to Chicago was major success in Hindu civil rights. According to eye witness accounts, more than 400 protestors from all over the United States turned up for this historic occasion. It was a colorful atmosphere with bhajans, chants, slogans chanted by protesting Hindus as well Hare Krishnas.

A memorandum was later on submitted to the Andhra Chief Minister expressing concerns about Anti Hindu activities the demanding repeal of Hindu Endowment Act.





Prakasa Rao Velagapudi, President
Save Temples/Global Hindu Heritage Foundation
548 SilverStone Dr
Madison, MS 39110
Phone: 601-856-4783
http://www.savetemp les.org
savetemples@ gmail.com

A massive awareness campaign by over 400 people was held to protect Hindu Temples in India.

Rosemont, IL- May 6, 2007 – A massive protest campaign organized by Save Temples forum was attended by about 500 Concerned people during the visit of Mr. Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, Chief Minister of the South Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Reddy was at the Donald Stephens Convention Center to attend a Reception hosted by organizations TANA and ATA. People including many doctors, IT professionals, businessmen were protesting the policies of Mr. Reddy's Government which have been highly detrimental to the Hindu institutions including temples.

The protest was held from 3:00 PM till 6:30 PM which included men, women and children of different nationalities from all around the country. Most of the concerned participants attended in response to the fliers and advertisements placed in various temples and various Indo-American newspapers. Many participants responded to the continuous bad news such as temple land scams, cancellation of Sri Rama Navami as Hindu Holiday and miuse of temple funds., Frustrated youth spontaneously arrange the protest and it was so overwhelming that it was beyond their expectations. Members of several organizations such as ISKCON, Christians against proselytism, Indian American intellectual forum, Vishwa Hindu Parishad also joined the protest.

One of the protesters, Mr. Durga Prasad from Arizona, was on Fast without taking even water starting on Friday night till the protest was concluded. He provided tremendous inspiration to the fellow protesters.

The protesters demanded repealing the Hindu Endowments Act, religious freedom for Hindus in practicing Hindu religion and management of Hindu institutions. The participants raised slogans such as 'Repeal Hindu Endowments Act', 'Hands off..... temples', '1-2-3.... keep temples free', Eadukondalavada Venkataramana Govinda Govinda etc. and sang devotional hymns.

Representatives Meet the Chief Minister

V. V. Prakasa Rao and Prasad Yalamanchi have been in constant contact with Dr. Gavva Chandra Reddy, the president of ATA and Dr. Bandla Hanumaiah, the president of TANA. They have been very cooperative with our request to meet the Chief Minister and also expressed their concern for the welfare of the Temples. At the request of Dr. Gavvaa, V. V. Prakasa Rao and Prasad Yelamanchi met with Hon. Chief Minister, Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in Hyatt Hotel in Chicago. They expressed concerns of all Hindus regarding the plight of the temples in Andhra Pradesh by saying that thousands of acres of Temple lands have been sold, Temples' revenues have been diverted to non-Hindu causes, numerous Temples have been demolished and hundreds of Temple lands have been allowed to be encroached. They mentioned that the Endowment Act should be repealed. Mr. Reddy mentioned about the recent amendment to the Endowment Act giving autonomy to about 30,000 temples with less than Rs 50,000 annual income and giving Rs 2500 for these Temples to support Dhup Deepa Naivedyam program; release of Shirdi Sai Baba temples to independent management trustees; and legislation to ban missionary activities near major temples. When the representatives mentioned that although the Hindu community was happy to read the news about these developments, they again requested the repeal of the Endowment Act. They mentioned that Hindu Temples should enjoy the same freedom and independence as other two major religions. Then they submitted a "Memorandum of Concerns to Hon. Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh" Mr. Reddy scanned through the memorandum, smiled and said, "Anything is possible," and that he would consider the demands.

Plan to disrupt the Peaceful Protest was foiled in Chicago

On May 6, 2007 nearly 500 people were peacefully protesting in Chicago expressing their concern for the plight of Hindu Temples in Andhra Pradesh during Honorable Chief Minister's visit to USA. A group of five people came into the middle of demonstration and started asking why we were doing the protest. One of the Protesters gave the booklet containing the information. Protesters took the booklets when they did not want. <b>Then one gentleman, later identified as Dr. Jayachand Pallekonda went behind Mr Praveen Gandhi and started choking his throat with his fingers</b>. Mr Gandhi was not even able to shout as his throat was being pressed very hard. <b>Nearby police saw the incident immediately, rushed behind Dr Pallekonda pulled his hands off Mr Gandhi and handcuffed him</b>. Then took away from the Protest area and filed a case. Hearing is set for May 23, 2007 in Rosemont, Il. <b>Mr. Gandhi was taken to the emergency hospital the next day due to the swollen glands. Dr. Pallekonda is seen on the left side of the picture with black outfit. Dr. Jayachand Pallekonda is President of Federation of Indian American Christian Organization of North America, Washington, DC</b>. His website link:

http://www.zoominfo.com/search/PersonDetail. aspx?PersonID= 50212444

Please follow this link to see the attacker:


After the protest, many participants gathered in a conference hall at a nearby Hotel to share their experiences and plan future action. The speakers congratulated the participants and urged everyone to carry on the fight for Hindu Civil Rights.

For information: http://savetemples.org or
Contact: savetemples @gmail.com
Phone: 601-856-478
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Data [may have] stolen from UK visa service </b>
Nandini Jawli | London 
Britain suspends online applications
Indian online visa applications to the British High Commission have been suspended due to a serious security lapse. The matter would be investigated at the higher levels in the UK.

The Internet visa applications had some serious security lapse, which made personal details of 50,000 Indian applicants freely available online. There are concerns in the UK that this might have led to identity thefts and misuse by terrorists.

Britain's Channel 4 has reported that the lapse made personal details of thousands of people wanting to travel to the UK, unsecured and available to anyone online. Four hundred and seventy thousand Indians applied for visas to come to Britain last year. Around 50,000 had applied online.

The Channel reports that one of the applicants, Sanjib Mitra from Bangalore, noticed the lapse in April last year. Visa processing in India has been contracted out by the Foreign Office to a private Indian company, VFS Global. Sanjib Mitra alerted the company as well as the British High Commission in India.

After the revelations,<b> Britain has suspended its online visa applications not only in India but also in Russia and Nigeria. The services were provided by the same company VFS. Britain's Foreign Office had in February awarded VFS a five year contract worth £190 million for visa processing.</b>

Due to concerns that the data privacy may have been compromised, the Information Commissioner is to investigate the whole matter. The Information Commissioner's Office is an independent authority set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information.

There is a looming suspicion that personal data may have been stolen. The security flaw continued for about a year. Home addresses, dates of birth and passport numbers were all said to be accessible for more than a year. The online system has been running since 2003.

<b>Britain's opposition Conservative Party has called it an 'Indian visa fiasco' and have expressed concerns that this security breach was open to being exploited by terrorists. </b>

The shadow immigration minister, Damian Green, said, "This may have been a treasure trove for international terrorists."

The Information Commissioner, the Government's data privacy watchdog, has demanded a 'full explanation' from the Foreign Office.
Behavior of most East African British Asians with Indians(who come to UK from India)... I am again posting here what I have already posted in some other thread on India-Forum:-

Indians who have not been to UK or stayed in UK for a long time would be surprised to hear that British Asians who came to UK from Kenya & Uganda i.e. East Africa really behave badly with Indians (who have come to UK from India).

A quick background: Brits took indentured laborers from India to work on railway tracks etc. in countries like Kenya 100-150 years back. Though these Indians got educated & prospered over the decades in East Africa but over the period of time started talking, dressing & even speaking like their black counterparts (some Gujratis from E.Africa even speak ‘Swahili’ at home). When these East Africans Indians were thrown out of East Africa (they use to misbehave with blacks there), they came to UK around 1970. Some of these East African Brit Asians have not visited India for decades & most of them openly bad mouth India & Indians.

I have never seen a more rude and badly behaved bunch in my life. The only thing Indian about these East African creatures (who are mostly Gujrati & Sikhs) is their Indian names. These East African Brit Asians get angry when you call them Indians & angrily tell you ‘excuse me, we are British Asians, don’t call us Indians' (they are ashamed of their Indian roots).

These East African Brit Asians suffer from a deep rooted inferiority complex (becoz of their indentured laborer background)…They smile & talk politely with Brit ‘whites’ but frown & are openly abusive,rude when interacting with Indians from India mocking Indians about their Indian accent & openly misbehaving with Indians. Any Indian from India (or for that matter any Indian American, Indian Australian etc.) staying in UK would tell you that these East African British Asians are one of the most ugly creatures (and I don’t just mean in looks) on this planet earth.

When I was new in UK(London), I used to enthusiastically approach & try to talk to these East African British Asians but was shocked at their crude & abusive behavior(after years in London now, I have wisened up so try to avoid interacting with them as much as possible). The more you get to know East African British Asians, the more you are shocked at the amount of poison they harbor inside them for Indians(Indians who have come to UK from India). Reality is there is no love lost in UK between most East African Brit Asians and Indians from India.
My suggestion to any Indian planning to come to UK for higher studies or work (most Indians in UK are aware of this problem but no one wants to openly talk about it)

When you go to a shop or supermarket in London and notice a East African Brit Asian frowning, deliberately being rude or nasty with you (you find a lot of East African Brit Asians in lowly paid jobs in London as salesperson or cashiers in shops & supermarkets), don’t take it personally as these East African Brit Asians are nasty to most Indians in London. Be esp. wary of 2nd & 3rd generation(those born & raised in UK) Brit Asian men of East African origin as they come across as highly vicious, rude & brusque in their behavior.

Also, you would be better off approaching a ‘chitta’ (white Brit) in a shop in London as whatever their personal feelings about Indians/Asians, 99% white Brits are very polite when talking/interacting with you. Avoid interacting as much as possible with East African Brit Asians for all they would do is give your grief as no.1 they have a deep rooted inferiority complex (because of their indentured laborer background) and they are also jealous of Indians economic success in UK. Let’s just put it this way, East African Brit Asians may have got educated & some may have even prospered in UK but their basic mentality still remains that of ‘indentured laborers’.

You would also hear some East African Brit Asian women tell you ‘we can date anyone except Indians from India' (these girls mostly are seen dating either afro-Caribbean men or East African Brit Asian men). In case you hear these girls saying ‘we can marry and settle even in Sahara desert but never in India’ or when they say ‘you have such a typical Indian accent' (said in a derogatory manner) or at other times tell you 'you(meaning Indians) want to marry a Brit Asian to acquire a British passport’, don’t let such comments annoy you. Instead coolly reply ‘I have no intentions of marrying or dating someone from an indentured laborer family as Indians like to marry girls only from a ‘Khandani’ family'.

On the positive side, you will enjoy your stay in London as London is truly a cosmopolitan city(in fact you will find in London people from more nationalities than any other other city in the world). London also still retains the old world charm and is probably one of the most beautiful & green city in the world.

In office or in Universities, you will also find a lot of fellow Indian so would have no problems making friends. Also, Indian Americans (who have come from USA to study or work in UK), Indian Australians, Indians from Mauritius, Indians from South Africa etc are also warm & friendly & you would enjoy interacting with them. For those coming to study in London, you would also find Greeks, Spanish, Italians students etc are also very friendly and warm and make great friends. Some of my closest friends in London are Greeks.

One more thing, 2nd and 3rd generation British Asians(born and raised in UK) whose parents were/are highly educated & professionally qualified(e.g. Doctors etc) and came to UK from big cities of India are also pretty nice and friendly.
<b>Ramesh Pandey beats Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Unlike Jobs or Buffett, Pandey is not a billionaire and his company, based in South Brunswick, New Jersey, employs only 15 people. Six years ago, his company's stocks were sold for pennies and everyone asked him to quit.

But he persisted and worked to make a drug for the dreaded Sickle Cell Disease or Blackman's Disease, that kills mostly Blacks and Asians. This is the only non-toxic medicine for the disease, produced from a natural extract.

Readers of MarketWatch, promoted by DowJones, appreciated that work by according him the top spot.

Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited blood disorder caused by an abnormal hemoglobin called Sickle Hemoglobin and characterised by acute painful crises, organ damage, anemia and early death.

The company he set up in Nigeria has started producing the drug to fight the disease. "We have the capacity to produce the medicine only for Nigeria now. But we will soon expand production to benefit other African and Asian countries," Pandey said.

Pandey, who established the Ayurvedic University in New Jersey, has had a distinguished career in the biomedical sciences spanning over 40 years.

His life is an amazing story of ups and downs too. <b>A native of Uttaranchal</b>, he is one of the earliest immigrants to the United States, and <b>remembers days when people would not rent apartments to Indians.</b>

He joined the University of Illinois at Urbana Champagne as a post doctoral student in the late 1960s. Later, he worked for two years in India, where his expertise on antibiotics was used at Hindustan Antibiotics.

After returning to the US, he joined the National Cancer Institute. They wanted him to fix a problem with a cancer drug, which he did successfully. <b>He led a team which produced drugs that would cost $3-4 million per kg.</b>

He wanted to make them cheaply, but the several companies he approached for support were not interested.

Abbott Laboratories offered him a better position and he joined them in 1982. "One fine day that year, <b>the CEO of Lyphomed called me. He wanted me to help them produce Vancomycin, a major antibiotic. The patent of that medicine -- which was with Eli Lilly -- had expired," he said. He got a major share of XeChem, a company promoted by Lyphomed</b>.

Since Lyphomed had no research facility, he joined the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University to develop the medicine. When it was marketed three and a half years later, it became an instant success.

"<b>Within two weeks, the company got the amount it spent for developing the medicine. In one year, it made millions. I too got a few million, which wasn't bad,"</b> he said. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

But when he was trying to make a cancer drug, the company that produced it earlier created roadblocks. It was a struggle to make Paclitaxel, a plant product used for the treatment of ovarian, breast, small cell lung cancers, AIDS related Kaposi's  sarcoma and stomach cancer.

<b>Today, Xechem International holds over 20 patents for  Paclitaxel, a cancer treatment medicine derived from the Yew tree.</b>

When Lyphmed was taken over by Fugisawa, he took control of Xechem in 1990. By April 1994, the company grew over 300 per cent and became public, trading on the  Nasdaq small cap market and raised nearly $5.75 million. But by 1998, it wasn't doing well, and stock prices fell.

A meeting with an official delegation from Nigeria in 2001 changed the situation. Pandey was asked to set up a company in Nigeria. He was not sure till they spoke about Nicosan, a herbal medicine they were developing to fight Sickle Cell Disease. The word herbal changed his mind.

"I want to do it," he said. During a visit to Nigeria, Pandey agreed to build the pharmaceutical factory, Xechem Nigeria, in Abuja. The company started with borrowed equipment, and Pandey became the leading chemist and masterminded further development of the phyto-pharmaceutical product.

With the collaboration of the Nigerian government, he established a state-of-the-art research and production factory. Yet, there were many hurdles to cross in bringing the drug to the market, which included additional funding and keeping qualified people.

"We know of no existing non-toxic medicines available anywhere in the world for the effective treatment of SCD. Xechem will be in a truly unique position to offer viable and efficacious treatments for a percentage of approximately 4 million affected in Nigeria alone," Pandey said.

"We have been successful in bringing the SCD drug to the market in a relatively short period of time. Much work still lies ahead, but I am optimistic about the progress which will continue to accelerate," he said.

Pandey has served numerous universities, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies worldwide. He has created and patented a  diagnostic kit for space travelers. His recent work is mostly on research, development, and production of proprietary and generic drugs from traditional Chinese medicines and Ayurvedic Indian medicinal plants.

He also holds several US and international patents for biotechnology analysis and rare drug production processes, including Paclitaxel.

Pandey is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Antibiotics and of several professional societies including the American Chemical Society, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Pharmacognosy, American Society of Microbiology, Industrial Microbiolo-gy, Indian Science Congress and New York Academy of Sciences.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Cho Seung Hui and American Narrative, Iraq War, Bush, etc

The similarities between Cho's psychology and the forces that drive United States foreign policy ought to be startling, and profoundly disturbing: the feelings of vulnerability, victimization, humiliation and rage are the same -- as is the determination to restore one's own dominance through violence and murder.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
From Hinduism Today
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Hinduism Today Submits Religious Worker Visa Change Evaluation to Government</b>

KAUAI, HAWAII, June 12, 2007: Hinduism Today, under its parent organization, Saiva Siddhanta Church, has had its comments on the proposed religious worker visa posted on the government's web site at URL above. Click on the URL, then toward the bottom of the form, optional step 4, select "document title" from "category" and type "religious worker" in the search field, then click "submit." In the resulting window, click "USCIS-2005-0030" under "Docket ID", which will take you to a list of the original documents of the rule change issued by the government and a list of all comments submitted to date. Click USCIS-1005-0030-0021.1, "Comment Submitted by Arumugam Katir," for the Church's document. Other comments are now posted from the Hindu American Foundation, and a number of Christian groups including the Bible Broadcasting Network.

<b>Hindu temples are again urged to look into this very substantial change to the R-1 visa upon which most of our temple priests have come to America.</b> See also our analysis available at http://hinduismtoday.com/resources/Visa_Ru..._Hindu_Analysis. pdf.

Saiva Siddhanta Church was the first Hindu temple in America to receive the "church" designation from the IRS. This occured in 1962. It is in dealings with the government, such as this visa issue, that the designation becomes very useful, as the concerns of a "church," will carry more weight than those of a "religious organization." Click http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf for the IRS explanation of its "church" designation, which is available to all religions.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>First Woman, Indian to Win Engelberger Robotics Award</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bala Krishnamurthy, founder and chief executive officer of Aeolean Inc., is the first woman and the first person of Indian origin to win the Engelberger Robots Award for Technology Development. She will be presented with the award at a gala banquet for the International Symposium on Robotics June 13 at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

Krishnamurthy has a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a master's in both applied mathematics and computer science. She has developed robotic systems ranging from hydraulic manipulators for the auto manufacturing industry to mobile sensate robots for commercial use, and has also published several papers on robotics, according to an Aeolean press release.

Aeoleon Inc. provides consulting for the design and development of safety and mission-critical systems relying on robotic automation.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->There was a one hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffet, the second richest man who has donated $31 billion (85% of his fortune) to charity.

Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:

1) He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!

2) He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.

3) He still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.

4) He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.

5) He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world's largest private jet company.

6) His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis.

7) He has given his CEO's only two rules.

Rule number 1: Do not lose any of your share holder's money.

Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.

8) He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch television.

9) Bill Gates, the world's richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.

10) Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.

11) His advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.
Space shuttle returns to Earth
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Astronaut Sunita "Suni" Williams returned to Earth on Atlantis after spending more than six months at the space station. She set an endurance record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman at 195 days. During her stay, she also set the record for most time spacewalking by a woman.
<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Astronaut Suni Williams Sets the Record Straight, and Long
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->After six years of people, three of whom have been women, living in space aboard the International Space Station, the female time-in-space endurance record set 11 years ago has been broken.

And it was broken in a single flight.

<b>NASA Astronaut Sunita Williams set a new record this morning at 12:47 CDT for the longest duration spaceflight by a woman. At that time, Williams surpassed Shannon Lucid’s mark of 188 days, 4 hours set in 1996. </b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo-->

NRIs in US get RTI

Nidhi Sharma | New Delhi

Now non-resident Indians (NRIs) living in the US would be able to exercise the Right to Information (RTI). The Indian embassy in Washington DC has been brought under the purview of the RTI Act, 2005 and a public information officer (PIO) has been appointed.

This does not mean that the embassy's functions alone would be under the RTI Act purview. If NRIs need any information on Government departments in India, they would be able to file an RTI in the embassy, which in turn would send it to the department in India. The information would be given within 35 days of filing of the application.

NRIs have already started exercising their right. 10 applications have been filed with the embassy. One of the first applications is regarding Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Somu Kumar, a resident of Virginia, has filed an application requesting information on Dow Chemicals, headquartered in US. Somu expects to hold Dow Chemicals "accountable" in some through this information. Any Indian citizen with a valid Indian passport can do what Somu has done by just paying a nominal fee of 24 cents. Somu says: "Filing an RTI application is easier than the leave of absence applications one wrote in the primary school."

This success did not come easily. RTI activists from India and America had to campaign for months to bring the Indian embassy under the purview RTI Act. When the repeated appeals to the Indian embassy went unheard, the activists got in touch with Central Information Commission (CIC) in India. Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah issued an order in April bringing all foreign missions under RTI Act. It is only now that the Act is being implemented in America. Washington DC is the first embassy to have declared its PIO and appellate authority also. Rahul Chhabra, counsellor (Press, Information and Culture), at the embassy is the PIO and RS Jassal, deputy chief of mission, is the appellate authority to file the first appeals.

Says Arun Gopalan, a resident of Maryland: "Our repeated attempts since November 2006 to get the Indian embassy officials in Washington DC to implement the RTI Act went unheard and then we were left with no other option but to get in touch with the Central Information Commission directly."

<b>NRI denied admission on race grounds </b>
New York, June 26, 2007
First Published: 18:44 IST(26/6/2007)
The parents of an Indian American girl are in shock after their daughter was denied admission to an elite New York school for gifted children because of its racial quota rules.

Nikita Rau, 11, failed to get into the Mark Twain Intermediate School for specially gifted children, also known as IS 239, although she scored more marks than white students, according to The New York Post.

"I feel bad because I would have gotten in if I was white," Nikita told the Post.

IS 239 is one of two public schools in New York that follows a racial quota system, according to a 1974 federal court order.

Under the system, originally intended to boost minority enrolment, 60 per cent of Mark Twain's student body is kept aside for white students while 40 per cent is reserved for minorities, the Post reported.

After applying for Mark Twain, Nikita took a test for musically gifted children and scored 79. Last month, the education department sent a letter to her parents saying she has not been accepted as she was classified as a minority and needed to score at least 84.4 as against 77 needed of white students.

"This country believes in racial equality and we should not face this in America," the Post quoted Nikita's father Anjan Rau as saying. "I think it's morally wrong," said Rau, a Bay Ridge resident who moved from India in 1982.

He added that though Nikita was born in the US and was a US citizen, this was not taken into account. "It could hurt her chances of going to Harvard, Yale or Princeton," Rau said.

IS 239, popularly known as 'Twain', is known not only for its intensive academic rigour, but also for the fact that all students attending it have special potential in a talent area.

The school is located in Coney Island, a predominantly African American and Hispanic section of the New York school district.

When Nikita's mother Kanchan Rau approached Schools Regional Enrolment director Paul Helfman, he agreed that the system was unfair but pleaded helplessness.

When the Post began inquiring into the matter, the Raus were called by a school official who told them Nikita could attend IS 98 or the Bay Academy, another Coney Island school for the gifted, though less competitive than Mark Twain.

The Raus' lawyer, Rosemarie Arnold, has written to the Mark Twain authorities urging them to reconsider their decision to reject Nikita.

"The unconstitutional rejection of my client constitutes discrimination," she wrote.

Meanwhile, the Raus have received support from New York schools chancellor Joel Klein, who reportedly said that the 1974 court order was no longer necessary.

"I think probably that court order is no longer necessary," The New York Sun quoted Klein as saying Monday.

He, however, said he would not take any action in this case pending a US Supreme Court decision due this week. The court is ruling on two cases challenging public schools' use of race as a factor in their admissions decisions.

Arnold said the court's ruling in those cases would also determine the Rau family's next move.
In California State University and other colleges in California, this year and in future it will be very difficult for Asians to get admission. Universities diversification policy will hurt Asians. It will be much more difficult for Asian Woman.
Same situation will be in other states where Asians are in big number.

For minorities to use quota, they should move to Tennesse or other states.
Spread the word!

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->AT&T quietly introduces $10 DSL plan
By Peter Svensson

NEW YORK -- <b>Without any sort of fanfare, AT&T Inc. has started offering a broadband Internet service for $10 a month, half the price of its cheapest advertised plan.

<span style='color:blue'>The DSL, or digital subscriber line, plan introduced Saturday is part of the concessions made by AT&T to the Federal Communications Commission to get its $86 billion acquisition of BellSouth Corp. approved last December.</span></b>
The $10 offer is available to customers in the 22-state AT&T service region, which includes former BellSouth areas, who have never had AT&T or BellSouth broadband, spokesman Michael Coe confirmed Monday. Local phone service and a one-year contract are required. The modem is free.</b>

The plan was not mentioned in a Friday news release about AT&T's DSL plans, and is slightly hidden on the AT&T Web site. A page describing DSL options doesn't mention it, but clicking a link for "Term contract plans" reveals it. It's also presented to customers who go into the application process, Coe said.

The service provides download speeds of up to 768 kilobits per second and upload speeds of up to 128 kbps, matching AT&T's $19.95 plan.

The agreement with the FCC required the company to offer the plan for at least 2 1/2 years. Coe said he could not comment on future advertising plans for the offer.

The introduction of the plan, slightly before the deadline at the end of June, was first reported by The Tennessean in Nashville.

<b>Another concession to the FCC is yet to come: a plan for DSL that doesn't require local phone service. AT&T has another six months to introduce that option, which should cost at most $19.95 per month.</b>

Consumer advocates have fought for this so-called "naked DSL plan," because DSL can carry Internet-based phone calls for less than the price of local phone service. However, at 768 kbps, the download speed may be too low to appeal to the relatively sophisticated customers who use the Internet for phone calls. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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