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Not on Facebook? Never mind, here is our Facebook and other NEWS !

March 2015
Not on Facebook? Never mind, here is our Facebook and other NEWS !

The oil tanker accident and oil spill that occurred in December in the Sundarbans (60% of the wildlife sanctuary and world heritage site is in Bangladesh, 40% in India) is a hazard to local communities as well as to the wildlife, including the endangered Bengal tigers and rare dolphins.

It’s Bangladesh Independence Day! India contributed at the time: the Bangladesh government–in-exile was set up in Calcutta (now Kolkata), and the India Army entered the battlefield in 1971.
Here is the Google Doodle, showing in Bangladesh today: a Royal Bengal tiger looks up from a river or mangrove swamp framed within a crimson sun.


Singhal was 21 years old when she filed the petition in 2012. ..."The judgment itself came in less than a month," she says. "But the journey itself has taken two and a half years."

An epic battle tonight--will you be there?
Cricket World Cup 2015 - Semifinals #2 - Australia vs. India.
Here is the Google Doodle
and some commentary from Guyana (everybody's watching!)
http://www.stabroeknews.com/2015/sports/03/25/superpowers-collide-in-sydney-semi-final-blockbuster/ [doodle]

Anvita Gupta, 17: discovering drugs for cancer in Arizona, exhibiting at White House Science Fair.
Anvita used machine learning to “teach” a computer to identify potential new drugs for cancer, tuberculosis, and Ebola. She combined artificial intelligence techniques, 3D visualization and biomimicry to discover which drugs might inhibit the interactions of intrinsically disordered proteins with other proteins. These proteins make up 70% of all cancer proteins and are mutated in tuberculosis and Ebola.

New event, TODAY, 4pm, at Emory Law School:
Piercing the Patriarchal Veil: The Impact of Personal Law and Family Privacy on Child Protection in India.
Presented by the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative and the Feminism and Legal Theory Project
Visiting scholar, Sayali Bapat

Ruchi Pandya, 18: improved blood testing at White House Science Fair:
Combining nanotechnology, biology and electrochemistry, Ruchi Pandya’s research requires small biological samples – only a single drop of blood – to test for specific cardiac biomarkers. She developed a one-square centimeter carbon nanofiber electrode-based biosensor that has the potential to improve cardiac health diagnostics for patients around the world.

Nikhil Behari, 14, invents keystroke-based authentication, exhibits at White House Science Fair:
After hearing about major data breaches at retail chains, this Pennsylvania teen created a security system that is easy to use and effective in protecting online data. Nikhil wondered if the way people type could be used for secondary authentication for safer passwords. He connected sensors to a microprocessor he had programmed to detect keystroke pressure, and used a separate program to measure action and pause time as users type. Analyzing his data, he showed that keystroke-based authentication is a potentially powerful technique for distinguishing and authenticating individuals. Nikhil won a second place award in Technology at the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS national finals.

Sahil Doshi, another participant at the White House Science Fair:
Inspired by the global energy crisis and the lack of electricity around the world, Pittsburgh ninth-grader Sahil Doshi designed an innovative carbon-dioxide powered battery called PolluCell. Comprised of multiple electrochemical cells wired in parallel circuits, PolluCell harnesses the power of carbon dioxide and waste materials to generate electricity, reducing the environmental effects of pollution. The battery earned him $25,000 and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist at the 2014 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

"Rethink" Bullying
Yesterday President Obama hosted the fifth White House Science Fair, welcoming more than 100 students from across the country to share their projects and celebrate their science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) achievements at the White House. Here is one participant:
Trisha Prabhu, 14
Illinois teen Trisha Prabhu learned about research showing that the human brain’s decision-making region is not fully developed until age 25 and got inspired to help teens rethink how they treat others. She developed a computer program that alerts users when an outgoing message contains language that is potentially abusive and hurtful. Preliminary analysis showed that adolescents who use the “Rethink” system are 93% less likely to send abusive messages than those who are not warned about the consequences of their actions prior to sending a message.

Vinay Harpalani, Associate Professor of Law at the Savannah Law School, writes on the racial ambiguity of South Asian Americans. "The experiences of South Asian Americans are unique in the variety of racial classifications and characterizations they present - including the U.S. Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Thind (1923), the “model minority” stereotype, “flying while brown” instances of racial profiling, and former Virginia Senator George Allen’s “macaca” remark in 2006." "[W]hile the Article is a full account of South Asian American racial ambiguity, it also posits broader implications of this analysis for examining American racial hierarchy and dynamics more broadly."

Ambassador Creekmore to speak on
"Can the Modi Tsunami Change India?"
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 11:30 am
Capital City Club, Atlanta.  Below: Ambassador Marion V. Creekmore, Jr. with Consul General Ajit Kumar in November 2012. (Photo: Bytegraph)

3/22/15 This mom wanted books that reflected her daughter's culture. So she wrote her own.

Asian Studies Center Brown Bag
Kathryn McClymond, Professor and Chair, Religious Studies
“A Lens on India Study Abroad
Monday, March 23, 12-1pm
Georgia State University, 25 Park Place, Room 1711 (17th Fl)
Join us to hear about Professor McClymond's media project during a new semester long Study Abroad program in India offered Fall semester 2014. Feel free to bring your lunch with you.
This event is co-hosted by the Department of Religious Studies.

Nagesh Singh will soon be the new Consul General of India in Atlanta. This was announced last night in Atlanta by visiting diplomat and author Vikas Swarup. Nagesh Singh has been Joint Secretary/OSD to the Vice President of India, Md Hamid Ansari, and previously was Director (Pakistan) at the Ministry of External Affairs – GOI, Counsellor in the Mission of India to the UN, and served in Senegal and France.
As well as being the author of the book that inspired Slumdog Millionaire, Vikas Swarup is a 1991 batch Indian Foreign Service officer who has been posted to Turkey, the US, Ethiopia, the UK, South Africa, and Japan (as Consul General of India in Osaka-Kobe from 2009 to 2013). He is now Joint Secretary (United Nations – Political) in New Delhi.
The down-to-earth diplomat noted that the Atlanta consulate is still new, and asked attendees at the GAPI/IACA gathering to give their support and affection and work in harmony. He said that the people in the consulate are receptive and have been told, in fact, to keep an open house. Consul R. Srinivasan is Acting Consul pending the arrival, probably in May, of Nagesh Singh. [photo]

3/21/15 Have you ever said, “These tests make me feel like climbing the walls!” In India, some parents have taken that to a new level—cheating to help their kids pass a test.

Teen aged 19 in Uttar Pradesh jailed for 14 days for a comment on Facebook criticizing state minister Azam Khan.

Classical musicians: applications deadline April 10, 2015:
http://www.indianraga.com/ has Fellowships for talented young musicians from Indian classical music and international genres to work on creative ideas in a team and produce music videos for a global audience. Contact: www.indianraga.com/fellowship.
Feature article coming in the April issue of Khabar magazine.

Priyanka Chopra recently came to Atlanta to prepare for an ABC show Quantico, in which she plays an FBI trainee. And with so many desis here, wouldn't you know, some of her fans have been treating her with "desi khana." So she's not missing good food. "Too sweet" of them, she says.
Wonder what her character's "secret motive" is for joining the FBI?

Multicultural Relationships Causing a Stir in Your Family?
The company below is casting for an upcoming docu-series--looking for families where multiple members are in multicultural or interracial relationships.
Have your children or siblings “married out” of your family’s traditional culture and into a new one?
Has hilarity ensued as your parents have been exposed to new customs, traditions, or styles?
Is your family hard to please? How do you navigate through this experience?
They want to hear about the trials and tribulations your family encounters: the good, the bad, the funny, the absurd, the challenging.
To share your story, please contact them at: Suzanne@theconlincompany.com
Thank you so much in advance for your help!!
Culver City | CA 90230

Thanks to Dr. Venkat Narayan, some of us from Atlanta have started a petition to PM Modi seeking for his government to do more for the safety and security of women in India. If you believe as we do that this is a serious enough issue to need help from all quarters, please sign the petition. Thank you!
Atlantans Initiate Petition to Prime Minister Modi on Violence against Women

Would you like to help host Indian delegates/visitors to Georgia, through the Georgia Council for International Visitors? The opportunity: Sunday, March 22 - Three (3) delegates from India would like to experience dinner hospitality with GCIV hosts in Atlanta. They are participating in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program focusing on Gender Based Violence and are available at 5:00 PM for dinner.
A recent report on some of GCIV’s mission and activities:

A third event for Vikas Swarup, author of Slumdog Millionaire, in Atlanta this week!
1) 3/19, 6:30pm, IPN talk /dinner at Global Mall.
2) 3/20, 4:30pm, Emory talk /screening at Claudia Nance Rollins Building Auditorium.
3) 3/21, 6:30pm, GAPI, IACA, Third Eye Dancers talk / dinner /program at Global Mall.

Rajiv Satyal, stand-up comedian from Ohio, explains India and Indians to the rest of the world.
(Ok, we’re late—we’re Indian, too! The video came out for India’s Independence Day last year, but it’s great to see any day.) http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/watch-video-i-am-indian/

"a truly exceptional programme - possibly the first of its kind in India." Only 2% of India's disabled population is formally employed in organized sectors. Of that, those with profound and multiple disabilities who have gained employment is virtually nil - and that's the statistic Enable India and EMC are trying to change.

Norcross-based Suniva (founded by Ajeet Rohatgi, Ph.D., Chief Technical Officer) is the leading American manufacturer of high-efficiency, cost-competitive PV solar cells and modules. Suniva’s Matt Card, VP global sales and marketing, has been appointed to the Renewable Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee to work with the U.S. Commerce Department to promote U.S exports of renewable energy and energy goods and services. The administration seeks to have the U.S. become the leading exporter of clean energy technologies.

Slumdog Millionaire author Vikas Swarup in Atlanta this week!
Friday, 3/20 at Emory University for a 4:30pm conversation and 5:30pm screening.
Saturday, 3/21 at Ashiana in Global Mall for a talk, book signing, and dinner program presented by GAPI, IACA, and Third Eye Dancers.

Sonam Kapoor is in the news, set to work with ad-film-maker Ram Madhvani in a biopic on Neerja Bhanot. Neerja Bhanot is India’s youngest Ashok Chakra winner. She gave her life when, as a flight attendant on a highjacked flight in 1986, the pilots fled but she stayed to calm the passengers and save those targeted. She was shot while shielding children.
Filmmaker Hansal says, “How would you define who is commercial and who isn’t?... It’s just that actors want to play strong characters, do interesting films and be challenged.”

Known for his “Gandhi Katha,” Narayan Desai, son of Gandhiji’s personal secretary and biographer Mahadev Desai (no relation to the reporter of same name), has passed away at the age of 90. Here is the report of his visit to Atlanta in 2012:

Time passes, and things change, often for the better. This afternoon a statue of Gandhi was unveiled not far from the statue of Churchill in Parliament Square, London. India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley participated, saying before the unveiling that "India and the UK share the same values and we are a partnership of equals. This lasting friendship is just one of many legacies left by Gandhi." British culture secretary Sajid Javid said his country's relations with India were those that Gandhi dreamed of -- as friends and equals. (Photo: Steve Sailopal) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Mahatma-Gandhis-statue-unveiled-at-Londons-Parliament-Square/articleshow/46564581.cms

Ravinder Jeet Singh Gogi, an American citizen from Lathrop, California, was arrested as a political prisoner while in India visiting his father, Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa, who is on a hunger strike begun on January 26 for the release of Sikh prisoners who have served years in jail. Both Bapu Surat and Ravinder, as well as Indian reporter Surinder Singh, were arrested. Bapu Surat is not being allowed to see his US citizen daughters who had also come to be with him, and the family are worried that he is not being properly cared for in the hospital. Ravinder has refused to furnish bail, saying that he did nothing wrong by accompanying his elderly father at the hospital. The family in America is asking the US ambassador in New Delhi to intervene on Ravinder’s behalf.

Another reason to renew your New Year's resolution to cut soft drinks: Urvashi Rangan is an environmental-health scientist and policy analyst, Executive Director of the Food Safety and Sustainability Center for Consumer Reports, and manages two public-education websites--her research team found that "between 44 and 58 percent of people over the age of six typically have at least one can of soda per day, possibly more, potentially exposing them to 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a possible human carcinogen formed during the manufacture of some kinds of caramel color."

Read about the Bharatnatyam doyen of Atlanta, Dina Sheth.

New event listing, for this evening:
Help someone you know! Join DACA recipients and lawyers from Advancing Justice - Atlanta for a free Informational session on the latest changes to immigration law.
7pm at Northview High School in Johns Creek.

Women of Courage, recognized by the White House, include
Niloofar Rahman of Afghanistan (received death threats), Nadia Sharmeen of Bangladesh (beaten), Tabassum Adnan of Pakistan (child bride now fighting honor killings, acid attacks, and swara, the act of trading women to resolve disputes). Here are Nadia Sharmeen's words (text & video) at the ceremony:

Nadia Sharmeen of Bangladesh is one of the Women of Courage in the video below. "As we celebrate International Women's Day, we encourage you to watch this inspirational message from the 2015 International Women of Courage Award recipients" (U.S. Department of State)

Making a positive difference!
[boy collects books for underprivileged]

Laxmi Aggarwal was just 16 when a 32-year-old man attacked her with acid after she rejected his marriage proposal. For years Laxmi hid her face, but after India exploded in outrage over a brutal gang rape on a bus two years ago, she discarded her veil and joined the growing effort to stop acid attacks and other abuse against women. The 24-year-old has since become one of India's leading activists on the issue and, last March, she was presented an International Women of Courage Award in Washington DC by First Lady Michelle Obama.

At the award ceremony, Laxmi read a poem she had composed, part of which was directed at the man who attacked her: "You haven't thrown acid on my face, you threw it on my dreams... The time will be burdened for you. Then you will know that I am alive, free and thriving and living my dreams."

Laxmi, who for years felt suicidal and had to undergo over a dozen operations for disfiguring burns on her face and body, is determined to stop other girls and women from suffering the same fate. An estimated 1,500 people, 80 percent of whom are women, are attacked with acid annually around the world. Those attacked are also overwhelmingly young women with an estimated 40 to 70% of the victims being under 18.

Over the past two years, Laxmi has become the standard-bearer of the Stop Acid Attacks campaign, making repeated appearances on national television and gathering over 27,000 signatures on a petition to curb acid sales. As a result of the campaign, the first ever to engage acid attack survivors on a large scale, there has been progress. The Indian government passed a law that instituted criminal charges specifically for acid attacks and the Supreme Court ordered a limit of over-the-counter acid sales. Laxmi and the other activists continue to press for more action from the government including stricter prosecution of attackers and more support for acid attack survivors.

Along with the campaign's growing success, Laxmi has also experienced two recent personal triumphs -- she started a new job as a television news anchor and she is in a relationship. Rebuilding your life is one of the hardest struggles faced by acid attacks survivors; following her attack, a relative told her, "[she] could forget ever finding love or romance." Once again proving naysayers wrong, Laxmi found love with a fellow campaigner, Alok Dixit, who stated, "I was attracted to her courage. She is an exceptional young woman and for me, she is beautiful."

To learn more about the Stop Acid Attacks campaign, visit http://www.stopacidattacks.org/ and follow their great work on Facebook at Stop Acid Attacks.

For more information on acid attacks in general, check out the excellent 2012 Oscar-winning Best Documentary Short entitled "Saving Face." The film is digitally available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1lPOIe6or you can learn more about it athttp://savingfacefilm.com/

For Mighty Girl books for children and teens that address issues of abuse and violence and offer a helpful way to spark conversations around this important topic, visit our "Abuse & Violence" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/social-issues?cat=61

For a highly recommended book for older teens and adults that discusses how girls and women are fighting back against oppression and transforming their communities, check out: "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" at http://www.amightygirl.com/half-the-sky

There are also two films that explore the transformative potential and power of girls and women in developing countries - both for ages 13 and up: the documentary based on the “Half the Sky" book (http://www.amightygirl.com/half-the-sky-documentary) and “Girl Rising” (http://www.amightygirl.com/girl-rising).

And, for many more true stories of inspiring girls and women who worked to change the world, visit our “Activist” book section in Biographies at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/history-biography/biography?cat=207
Shared from the site, A Mighty Girl

Why do we study history? To understand past events, to understand people's motivations, to understand people and events of today. "While we ponder today whether the recent murder of three Muslim students in North Carolina was a hate crime or a merely an argument over parking gone horrifically wrong, it’s worth remembering that acts of violence committed against religious groups in American history have rarely had a single cause. While some may see Bellingham’s anti-Sikh riot as a hate crime, others might claim it was simply a labor dispute."

Documentary India's Daughter to be shown in Canada today, Sunday 3/8 at 10pm, to coincide with International Women's Day. CBC says, "Before the film was even released it has been banned in India and has caused much upheaval. We encourage you take part in this important issue."
"Episode only available within Canada for a limited time after broadcast."
Two video clips on the website below:

Letter by Aasees Kaur published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution under Bullying, DeKalb Schools, Discipline, Diversity, Ethics, Federal education policy, Gwinnett Schools, parenting, Politics, School reforms, School safety.

A new Letter to the Editor: Dr. Monita Soni of Decatur, Alabama reminisces about past Holi celebrations and shares her current Holi wishes and activities.

4pm this afternoon, a great opportunity to learn more about "Let Girls Learn": White House Conference Call on Let Girls Learn Initiative

The Obamas are putting more emphasis on the "Let Girls Learn" initiative:
Why Educate Girls
Education is one of the most critical areas of empowerment for women. When girls are educated, they lead healthier and more productive lives. They gain the skills, knowledge and self-confidence to escape the cycle of poverty. They become better citizens, parents and breadwinners. An educated girl has a positive ripple effect on her health, family, community and society as a whole.
*An extra year of secondary school for girls can increase their future earnings by 10-20%.
*In India, women with no formal schooling are less likely to resist violence than women with schooling.
*In Burkina Faso, educated women are 40% less likely to subject their daughters to genital mutilation.
*Girls with secondary schooling are up to 6 times less likely to marry as children than those with little or no education.
*Each extra year of a mother’s education reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5%-10%.
*If India enrolled one percent more girls in secondary school, their GDP would rise by $5.5 billion.

Nonviolence?: an accused rapist is lynched.

More details in our Events Calendar:

"Marigold Hotel" wound up making $136 million worldwide and earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations in marquee categories. The "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" opens tomorrow and is sure to be just as heartwarming.

Superb photos from around the world, including four from India—vote for your favorite:

Debates ensue on the documentary about the Nirbhaya rape and interview of rapists:

What will the budget bring to India? The promised 20 million homes by 2022, to replace India's overcrowded slums, would cost $2tn - about the size of India's economy. Will the $18bn food subsidy program be reduced, which provides cheap rice and wheat for about 600 million people?

Phones and tablets getting cheaper in India:

New event for THIS MORNING, 11:30am:
Go Eat Give presents "Muslim Contributions to Civilization."
Lunch & Learn, $10, at the Atlantic Institute, 1349 West Peachtree Street Northwest #1010, Atlanta, Georgia 30309. RSVP to 404-254-4844 or email info@goeatgive.com or register online:

Speeding towards destruction? The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is ready with a notification to dilute tribal rights that would make it possible for most industries to chop down traditional forests without the consent of gram sabhas — a precondition that exists at the moment.

New event listing: Film "The Patience Stone" directed by Atiq Rahimi, based on his novel of the same title. In a war-torn country, a woman (Golshifteh Farahani) alleviates her silent suffering by confessing her dreams, desires and secrets to her husband who is in a coma.
Reviews: not typical Bollywood/Tollywood, richly rewarding
“I can’t awaken sleeping souls,” Rahimi concedes. “But at least I disturb their slumber.”
Topics: women’s issues, disability, ethics, philosophy. Pizza and drinks provided.
Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Time: 7-9pm,
Venue: Emory University, Center for Ethics- Room 102, 1531 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322.

Bullying continues in metro Atlanta, if not in Dekalb County, then in Gwinnett. Kids on a school bus yelling insults at an elementary-school Sikh boy in Duluth, Georgia: He writes, "“kids being racist to me and calling me an afghani terrorist.
please dont act like this towards people like me.
if u dont know im not muslim im sikh”

Arun Singh, India's envoy to Paris, will likely take over the ambassadorial assignment in Washington DC, in May (after managing Modi’s April visit to Paris) replacing S Jaishankar, who was appointed foreign secretary on January 28. Singh has already spent five years in Washington as deputy chief of mission. He has been ambassador to Israel, and he managed the tough Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan relations between August 2001 and April 2005.

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