Archive | August, 2010

Harper government will match dollar-for-dollar

Posted on 27 August 2010 by .

The Canadian government will match dollar-for-dollar for eligible donations made by individual Canadians to Canadian registered charities.

Over the weekend, The Honourable John Baird, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced that the Government of Canada has established a Pakistan Floods Relief Fund.

“Canadians have shown that they are always ready to help those in need,” said Minister Baird. “In order to support their generosity, our Government will match their contributions dollar for dollar.”

“The Government of Canada will contribute an equivalent amount to the Pakistan Floods Relief Fund for every eligible donation by individual Canadians to Canadian registered charities between August 2 and September 12,” said Minister Oda. “This fund will provide effective and accountable financial support to experienced Canadian and international humanitarian and development partner organizations working on humanitarian assistance, early recovery, and reconstruction efforts in the affected areas.”

“The Harper government finally announced it will match, dollar-for-dollar, funds raised by Canadians to help Pakistan flood relief.  However, there is a catch.”  said MP. Jim Karygiannis.  “The Harper government has put a condition on the plan – it will ‘match dollar-for-dollar every eligible donation by individual Canadians to Canadian registered charities’.  “What about the hundreds of thousands raised by the Canadian Pakistan community. Does this money not matter?”

So far to the Consulate’s knowledge about $550,000 have been fundraised to help flood victims, says Mr. Imran Ali, the Counsel at the Consulate General of Pakistan, Toronto. Apart from monetary donations, various Facebook groups are fund raising to provide relief. Mr. Ali particularly noted the Facebook group called Tents from Toronto which has been quite successful.

The immediate need of flood victims is air transportation, tents, canned food and mineral water, says he says.

In a teleconference last week, Minister Oda acknowledged that “access to many parts of the affected areas” has become challenging since “roads are destroyed,” and bridges have been washed away by flood waters. The destruction of ground transportation is making it difficult to outreach the needy.

While discussions have been going on between the governments of Canada and Pakistan to dispatch Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to help bring clean water to the devastated regions, nothing has been decided so far. The Pakistani government is desperately seeking helicopters, even short-winged helicopters to reach people to provide relief.

Canadians have been critical of sluggish Canadian response to floods in Pakistan when compared to earthquakes in Haiti.

Pakistani origin Canadian Senator Salma Ataullahjan says traditionally “it takes longer time [for people] to respond to floods.”

“In Pakistan we’ve functioning government with strong military presence,” Minister Oda says, which is also one of the reasons why the response to floods in Pakistan has been slow when compared to the earthquake in Haiti.

As flood victims urgently need relief,  government of Pakistan’s credibility has also resulted in lesser donations to charitable organizations.

Speaking of corruption allegations on the Pakistani government, Mr. Ali says “That trust deficit is always there where third world countries are concerned.” Most of the aid and assistance is arriving in Pakistan “through the reputable organizations, not necessarily into the coffers of Pakistan but the organizations along with the government,” he added.

Some of the areas stricken by floods were evacuated from the militants and extremists by the efforts of Pakistani Army last year. The international community is wary of the charitable organizations with links to militant organizations providing relief to flood victims.

Anthony Cordesman, who has advised the Obama administration on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the floods represent “a major opportunity” for Islamist groups to win further influence among people denied government services.

“If it continues, it makes Pakistan more and more vulnerable to extremism,” Cordesman, a leading security expert from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told AFP.

Minster Oda says “we’re aware of reports that charitable organizations” not necessarily associated with terrorist organizations “maybe” providing aid and assistance, “that is why Canada is working with its own partners, the organizations we’re familiar with.”

“When someone is dying, any person who is in the closest proximity will provide relief, that is natural,” says Mr. Ali.  “There may be local social milieu providing relief, that is why it is essential that the government of Pakistan and the international community fill the void..to provide relief and rebuild..I’ve spoken to seven or eight organizations who are working right in the middle of the waters and they’ve all told me that there’re no signs of Taliban or any other terrorist organizations working there.”

In the short term, the Canadian government is aware of immediate needs of flood victims. However given the extent of devastation caused by the floods, the Canadian government “will be working with Pakistan and international community to assess the need” for a long term recovery and rebuilding efforts, Minister Oda says.

Given the mistrust Pakistanis have for the American government’s involvement in Pakistan and whether Canadian government would like to get more involved, Minister Oda says “in some areas we [Canada and the US] work together, in some we share information, so we don’t duplicate our efforts.”

She reiterated Canada’s strong partnership with Pakistan in the areas of education, training for teachers, economic growth and good government. However, Minister Oda says Canada always picks an area “where there is a great need” and “Canada’s support can be effective..and we can get real results.”

More than 1,500 people have been killed and over 320 million are affected in Pakistan in the wake of floods. These floods have affected people in all four provinces of Pakistan. Canada known for its humanitarianism has peaked its aid and assistance from initial $ 2 million to up to $ 33 million from the federal government. Another $8 million have been provided by Ontario government.

Author: Asma Amanat

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Mc Guinty: Canadians owe Tamil refugees “an open heart and an open mind”

Posted on 27 August 2010 by .

Premier Dalton McGuinty says that some of the refuges on board MV Sun Sea might be “dangerous,” but Canadians owe them decent life in Canada.

“There’re 500 people in that boat, not 5 million,” he said who are looking for “a genuine Canadian response.”

“They despair for their future in their native land, and they are hopeful for their future in this land,” he said.

Some of these Tamil migrants are accused of being Tamil Tigers, however Premier McGuinty says “that might be so. If there are, we will find them out and we will deal with them accordingly.” But as Canadians, he goes on “we owe them [Tamil asylum seekers] an open heart and an open mind.”

A boat full of Tamil migrants has landed on the shores of British Columbia. 492 Tamil migrants have hailed MV Sun Sea to flee Sri Lanka. Before coming to Canada, the boat was refused landing on the shores of Australia.

Acknowledging Canada as “the land of refuge,” Prime Minister Harper expressed security concerns “when a boat full of people..simply lands” outside of due process.

“We will security screen everybody with regard to this,” he said, vowing to strengthen the borders if there is a need.

“It’s a fundamental exercise of sovereignty. We are responsible for the security of our borders and the ability to welcome people or not welcome people when they come,” Mr. Harper added on his recent trip to Mississauga.

“This is definitely not a humanitarian exercise, it is a human smuggling operation linked to the Tamil Tigers,” Chitranganee Wagiswara, Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Canada, said in an interview.

“The Canadian government should not accept their claims for refugee status. It’s up to the Canadian government to decide, but that (potential links to the Tigers) is an issue that Canada is aware of and should be cautious.”

Taking a jab at the federal government Premier McGuinty said – according to long census form –  100,000 newcomers come to Ontario every year. Another 20,000 come to Ontario as refugees. He emphasized that in next five years, newcomers would be an important part of Ontario’s labour force and Ontario’s economy is benefited by new arrivals to Ontario.

“Stats Canada tells us – because they use a long form census, by the way – Stats Canada tells us that second generation Canadians, that’s children of parents born outside the country, do better in school and stay in school longer and get better jobs and earn more than children of parents who were born here. This tells us that new Canadians are a powerful, positive contributors to the strength of our economy and our society” he said recognizing the contributions of immigrants to Ontario and Canada.

Premier McGuinty was attending iftar dinner at International Muslim Organization, at Etobicoke.

Author: Asma Amanat

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Thank you for Enriching Canada – McGuinty

Posted on 27 August 2010 by .

Premier Dalton McGunity expressed his deepest gratitude to his audience at Islamic Muslim Organization (IMP) at Etobicoke on Friday. He was having iftar dinner with more than 350 Muslims.

“Thank you for choosing Ontario and Canada as your home.”

“Thank you for enriching us in every way especially with your traditions, values and culture.”

Premier McGuinty greeted by officials of IMO

Premier Dalton McGuinty

Omar Farook - candidate for Toronto City Council Ward 1

Ontario Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Dr. Eric Hoskins

Premier McGuinty dines with Minister Eric Hoskins, MPP Dr. Qaadri, Omar Farook, MP Kristy Duncan and MP Wrzesnewky

Mindful of families’ presence there, Premier McGuinty thanked parents and grandparents for keeping alive the values and culture that our ancestors try so hard to pass on to their future generations. These values, he said, enriches Ontario and makes it a better place for all Ontarians and Canadians.

Generous with his time, Premier McGuinty recounted what we as Canadians want: education, safe and clean environment, a strong economy that gives jobs to people and peace.

With great pride, he shared with his audience that Ontario Liberal Caucus has four Muslim members that contribute so much to Canada.

Mindful of flood victims in Pakistan, Mr. McGuinty applauded IMO’s efforts to fundraise for Pakistanis in their dire need. McGuinty government has donated an additional $800,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, bringing the total donated to $1 million.

Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Dr. Eric Hoskins, MPP Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, MP Kristy Duncan and MP Boris Wrzesnewskyj were also present at the event.

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Conservatives unfairly silence long-gun registry advocate RCMP Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak

Posted on 27 August 2010 by .

Just like police officers across the country, I have deep respect for RCMP Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak. His work as Director General of the Canadian Firearms Program, which oversees the gun registry, has been vitally important to public safety in this country. He is credited with significantly improving the program’s efficiency, winning him deserved praise and respect from police chiefs and frontline officers alike.

The Harper Conservatives, who want to kill the gun registry, have shoved Chief Supt. Cheliak out of a job he excelled at. Threatened by Chief Supt. Cheliak’s success at using the gun registry to protect frontline police officers from gun violence, he is now just the latest in a long line of victims of the Harper Conservative’s dangerous ideology. Just like the Victims Ombudsman, our Head Statistician, the Military Public Complaints Commissioner, the RCMP Public Complaints Commissioner, the Nuclear Safety Regulator, Diplomat Richard Colvin and anyone else who disagrees with them, Chief Supt. Cheliak was tossed aside because he chose to uphold facts and truth.

As an MP, you get to know these people, how dedicated they are, how well they do their jobs and how important their work is to Canada. The fact that they are being fired or marginalized because they refuse to regurgitate talking points they disagree with is deeply disturbing.

Dissent is vital to democracy. Shutting down independent voices and experts while shunning facts threatens our democracy. People like Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak tell it like it is and challenge false assertions, whether they’re made by the Harper government or anyone else.  Whether convenient or not, we must listen to these voices to have a healthy country.

Canada’s 400 Police Chiefs and 150 police associations elected to represent front line officers overwhelmingly support the gun registry. Paediatricians, ER workers, Paramedics, nurses, doctors, bar associations and victims groups say the registry saves lives. Meanwhile, the RCMP tells us that killing the registry will only save 4 million dollars a year.

My grandfather was a hunter. I grew up firing a gun. I don’t hate guns any more than I hate cars, because I believe in registering them both. You must register your car, your boat, even your dog – so why not register your gun. You can do it for free and the process is simple.

Go up to an officer and ask them about the registry, about how they use it.  A vast majority will agree that it is a tool that helps keep our community safe and saves lives. I can’t think of another tool in policing that has such near unanimous support – yet the Conservatives want to kill it so they can drive a wedge between rural and urban Canada.

RCMP Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak knew this. He knows this program inside and out, better than anyone else, and he knows just how important it is to public safety. These are all reasons why he got targeted for removal, and it fits with the Harper Conservative pattern. When confronted with information proving that they are wrong, Conservatives fire, remove or personally attack the source. They never consider that they might be wrong.

The Liberal party is united in support of the registry, and have committed to improving it. Now it is up the NDP, whose votes will decide if the registry is killed or saved. The NDP says they don’t decide as a caucus how to vote for private members bills – but it’s as plain as day that the bill to kill the gun registry is a government bill masquerading as a private members bill. Either the NDP believes in effective gun control and backing up our police, or they don’t.  Which is it going to be Jack?

There aren’t many black and white issues in politics – but this is one. Killing the registry is dead wrong and we need all hands on deck to save it. The Conservatives know they are losing the battle, that’s why they refused to allow a vote in June and that’s why they’re silencing voices like Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak. Let’s make sure they don’t get away with it.

Mark Holland is the MP for Ajax-Pickering and the Liberal Critic for Public Safety and National Security

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Festivity in the air!

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

Teej – ‘the festival of swings’ is celebrated with gusto and fervour in various parts of India and Nepal. The festival of Teej commemorates the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Married women and young girls celebrate the festival with earnest devotion.  Being a mansoon celebration it rejoices in the bounty of nature with social activities and customs.

“We celebrate the festival with devotion. It is called the `swing festival’ where decorated swings are hung from trees and women dressed in their best attire swing on them. The others who accompany them sing songs and enjoy the day,” says Reeta Shukla, a housewife.

Legend behind this festival

According to Hindu mythology, in the month of Shravan, Goddess Parvati reunited with Lord Shiva after a penance of hundred years. In her 108th birth, Lord Shiva realized her devotion for him and accepted her as his wife. This legend is said to be the basis of Teej celebrations.

Now let’s have a look at some of the exciting rituals and customs of teej:

Mehendi: “Its one of the most beautiful traditions of this festival. It is said, “The darker the henna, the more a woman is loved by her husband and in-laws.” Back home you can see the markets crowded with women getting their palms decorated with henna. In fact, it has become common in Canada too! At my home in India all of us get together at my mom’s place for Teej mehendi and some of us hide our husband’s name in the mehndi design which later becomes part of the search game. Husbands then search out their name and gift something to their beloved wife,” says Reshma Jaju, an employment consultant at Kelly Services.

It’s time again to look like a new bride: Hues of reds, greens and pinks can be seen everywhere. “We dress up in colourful cloths and jewellery to look like a new bride once again. Our Teej shopping starts well in advance. The best part of this festival is that women have full liberty to ask for anything they wish. Even husband`s don’t stop them from doing anything and gift them whatever they desire as they starve themselves for well-being of their husband,” says Shreya Agarwal, student of York University.

Tradition of Teej Fasting

The holy custom of fasting forms an integral part of Teej celebrations. Hence Teej is also famous as ‘women fasting festival’ of Rajasthan. “For full 24 hours we women refrain ourselves from food and water to ensure long life of husband. The tradition to fast for so long without water and food has a pious legend associated with it. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati underwent penance for 100 years to be accepted by Lord Shiva. Even till date women pay homage to Goddess Parvati and seek blessings for blissful marital life. We sing and dance to distract our attention from kitchen,” says Reshma. Married women keep fast for healthy life of their husband while unmarried girls keep it to marry a person who good and understanding.

After the day-long fast for longevity of their soul mate is over, women drink water and eat some healthy food. Many husbands make their wife drink water with their hands.

The tradition of swings: Teej also known as ‘Festival of Swings’ marks the advent of monsoon season. The word Teej, in many minds conjure up the image of swings as people hang beautiful swings in gardens and outside their houses. People follow the age-old tradition of swinging in the rains and perform traditional dance.

“We usually decorate the swings with colored and fragrant flowers. Some swings are also decorated with leharia print fabric to highlight the Rajasthani culture. These swings are either hung in the locality parks or at the backyard,” says Meenakshi Maheshwary, housewife.

This way Teej Celebrations bring lot of happiness for both married and unmarried couples and create some everlasting memories.
Author: Ramya Maheshwary

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Low turnout for Miss Pakistan World Pageant

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

In spite of bitter criticism, Miss Pakistan World Pageant contestants’ cat walked to win the title of Miss Pakistan Worldwide. The calls of the community to cancel or postpone the event in the holy month of Ramadan and in the wake of deaths of over 1,500 Pakistanis in floods were rejected by the organizers of the pageant.

Annie Rupani - Winner of Miss Pakistan Worldwide,

No wonder the turnout was extremely low.

Naira Malik - 1st runners up with Barira Lateef - 2nd runners up

The organizers report that the number of people who attended the event was about 350. The Toronto Star reported that there were only about 200 or so attendees. Ms. Sonia Ahmad, President of Miss Pakistan World, alleged the Star reporter to be “biased” and that “they [The Star] have their own agenda.”

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Miss India Canada 2010 pageant “Wowed”

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

With a red carpet entrance, dazzling cocktail hour, and stunning stage set provided by Dream Party Decor, patrons were “Wowed” right from the very beginning. The 16 contestants began the evening with a high-energy dance sequence that captivated the audience and kept them in their seats for the remainder of the evening.

Anokhi, 1st runners up

Maaza Jan, 2nd runners up

It was a night of entertainment, prestige and glamour all rolled up into one; the 20th annual MISS INDIA-CANADA Event had it all! The sold out show was proudly supported by Rogers. The event was truly a memorable experience that those present will remember for years to come. Other sponsors included India Tourism, Om Financial, Cuisine of India Catering, Bigen Speedy Hair Colour, and Airliners, to name a few.

Organizers, Sanjay Agnihotri and Gautam Sharma were then called upon to say a few words and then presented Bollywood Star, Suniel Shetty with the Special Achievement Award.

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The Pageant is Conservative with our values and culture – Aanchal Sharma, Miss India Canada 2010

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

Perhaps there is something to be said for the word “Aanchal.” Miss Aanchal Sharma was crowned Miss India Canada 2010 by Miss Aanchal Dogra, 2009.

Aanchal Dogra, Miss India 2009 crowns Aachal Sharma, Miss India 2010

With passion for teaching, the second best thing for Miss India Canada 2010 is fashion. Aanchal entered Miss India Canada pageant as many of her friends had participated in the competition in previous years, and have had “amazing experience.”

“For this pageant there’s no height and weight requirement,” Aanchal tells us excitedly.

Organizers of Miss India Canada 2010 pageant Sanjay Agnihotri with Guarav, the guest of Honour Sunil Shetty and Miss India Canada

Pageants are traditionally associated with themes of sexuality, however “this is an Indian pageant..it’s very conservative with our values and cultures,” Aanchal tells us. She adds “there wasn’t anything that made me uncomfortable about this competition.”

Born and brought up in Toronto, Aanchal defines herself as “an artist.” Nonetheless “I always wanted to be a teacher before anything else,” she tells Generation Next. She has graduated from York University with Bachelor of Education and has had taken classes in Kinesiology as well.

Though Miss India Canada’s title has given a new identify to Aanchal, she is a very familiar face on stage at community events where she dances with a group called DIYA Arts and Academy. Aanchal has trained in bhartanatyam dance.

She was also North American Desi Idol 2008.

Her hobbies include photography, dancing, singing, softball, and playing Nintendo Wii.

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South Asian Youth Conference

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

Youth are Not Future, they’re Shaping Our Present – Amit Gupta, Co Chair of ABC Youth

Youth has a lot of potential and has so much to offer in terms of ideas and opinions, however they are not taken seriously.

This was the main motivation of the organizers of South Asian Youth conference was to gather the youth over the weekend at Hill Tree.

Amit Gupta-Co-Chair of ABC Youth

“Generally we find that there is a disconnect between what we do as community organization and youth..we want more participation from youth,” says Mr. Amit Gupta, Co-Chair of ABC Youth.

Meera Gupta-Co-Chair of ABC Youth

“Youth can come out and tell us what they want. Usually it’s always the parents’ function, and youth is sitting on the side, saying when are we going home,” adds Ms. Meera Gupta, Co- Chair of ABC Youth when asked why they have organized such a conference.

But who do we call youth. United Nations terms individuals between the ages of 15 – 24 as youth. We, at Generation Next, define youth as people between the ages of 15 – 40. And the organizers of the youth conference struggled with the questions. Eventually they decided for the purpose of this conference, youth are people between the ages of “ 14 – 30.”

The wider age range was also chosen for the younger group to learn from those who have finished college and are starting to work in professional environment.  “We’re also giving them a chance to network,” says Ms. Meera Gupta.

The need for having a South Asian Youth Conference was also felt because “youth need to interact more with parents and understand parents’ perspective. Youth have a lot to offer..but we weren’t able to tap into youth’s talent,” says Ms. Mini Gupta, one of the delegates of South Asian Youth Conference.

“Youth are the present. They’re shaping the present,” emphasizes Mr. Gupta who still considers himself youth at the age of 40.

Another aim of the conference was to address the generation gap “which is not from kids’ side, but from parents’ side,” says Ms. Mini Gupta.

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More than 100 youth between the ages of 14 and 30 attended the youth conference. The organizers had invited a variety of motivational speakers from different backgrounds. Our chat with them is as follows:

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Contribute to all aspects of Canadian life and society, including Canadian army – Professor Sandeep Agarwal, Ryerson University

Speaking about the strengths and weaknesses of South Asian youth, Dr. Agarwal says “South Asian youth are very talented very skillful.” A part of the reason [of youth’s success] is the first generation parents who have a lot of attachment with the countries of origin but who also emphasize education. “This country is ours now,”, he says. We’ll have to serve on different aspects of Canadian life and society, so there should be South Asians serving in Canadian army – “mind you, we have to defend this country.” There is very little volunteerism in South Asian community and it’s different from the traditional Canadian volunteerism. The Canadian volunteerism is about “broader goals and broader society whether it’s about environmentalism or something else. South Asians’ volunteerism is limited to our community and our place of worship.”

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Young men should seek assistance if they’ve depression – Lenin Sivam

Speaking of controversial themes of his movies, Lenin Sivam, says “I do make movies [on subjects] that bother me.” It’s his way of venting out his frustration. Mr. Sivam has made movies on arranged marriages, issues with arranged marriage, stigma associated with male depression and so on. He says South Asian culture is such that it does not allow men to be very expressive or to cry as “it’s something girls do.” But young South Asian men should seek medical assistance if their performance levels are dropping and they are not able to concentrate on their work.

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Keep Thinking of New Ways of Doing Things – Sandeep Goel, VP at ICICI bank

The realization that you’re not ready for university after high school or for work after university, can help you learn, says Mr. Goel.  “And there’re a lot of helping hands available to you.”In his presentation, Mr. Goel urged youth to never stop dreaming. To be successful, he advises “keep thinking of new ways.” The whole notion of work place has changed as bosses and subordinates can be miles away from where you are, he says. Also “expectations” of employers are very different from eomplyees. Nonetheless, he believes opportunities for youth to find work are endless.

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Youth don’t have money but they don’t have obligations either – Kundan Joshi, VP of ICCC


Youth are in perfect stage of life to get head start in entrepreneurship. “They don’t have money, but youth don’t have any obligations either. They’ve more motivation and lesser commitments,” says Kundan Joshi,  VP of Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce. He concedes that “youth are not taken seriously enough.” Getting the banks to finance your goals is extremely hard. He feels that support that entrepreneurs get from Canada is great when compared to India or any other third world country.

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Overcome FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real – Venki Raman – Associate Vice President at CIBC

In response to a question that not enough South Asians get to policy making positions in corporate Canada, Mr. Venki Raman, an Associate VP at CIBC, says “we’ve a number of immigrants who are in executive positions and are leaders like me. We’ve senior people, senior than me who are presidents at CIBC.”

Mr. Raman is a motivational speaker who is also writing a book titled “Progress to Peak Performance.” In his presentation, Mr. Raman urged the youth to gain control of their lives and to stop procrastinating. He gave new meaning to FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real and advised them to overcome this fear.

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The Commonwealth Games: Showcasing India

Posted on 25 August 2010 by .

The Commonwealth games taking place this October 3-14 in Delhi is something that brings pride to the hearts of Indians.  It will be a time for India to showcase to the world who Indians are, and what we can provide to this world.  The games will further increase India’s image and bring in greater tourist revenue.  India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  If carried out well, the Commonwealth games will provide a great perspective about this burgeoning county.

Recent reports suggest India will be sending 61 athletes to the games.  Like Canada during the winter Olympics, there will be plenty of people hoping for a gold medal on home soil. India placed fourth at the last commonwealth games with a final tally of 50 medals, but will surely be looking to place first this time. India finished right behind Canada in the 2006 games, which finished with a total of 86 medals.

The games will feature sports such as: Archery, Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

While there is much to look forward to in these games, there are also problems associated with it.  Particularly, the process of putting these games together is not going well.  On the weekend of August 14-15, after hearing for weeks about accusations of corruption, reports about delays in building infrastructure or building improper infrastructure, and a shore of other issues, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to step in.  Prime Minister Singh took a drastic step by removing control of the Organizing Committee, headed by Suresh Kalmadi, and giving power to a Group of Ministers (GoM).  The ministers will have to ensure that preparations are carried through on time and that they meet world-class standards.

The breadth of the problems with these games does not end there.  One of the accusations put forth against the organizers is that they are guilty of hiring child workers, and paying them as low as 150 rupees for their work.  Other problems include the misappropriation of funds.  There are plenty of accusations going around about where some of the money given to the Organizing Committee has gone off to.  Recently, there were two members of the committee who were fired.  Kalmadi has also been asked to resign by many of his critics.

These are some of the vast issues that India will have to deal with as it prepares itself to accept countries from the world over into their home.  But, one should not dwell on the negatives affixed to how the games are coming about.  Much of the world will be looking to India in October. It will be a time to celebrate Indian culture, party, and take satisfaction in being Indian. All the negatives aside, it will be a time to show the world that India is growing, and will be a great force one day.

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What You Need to Know about Commonwealth Games 2010

1. India will be hosting the Commonwealth Games for the first time. This will be the 19th round of the Commonwealth Games.

2. The 2010 Commonwealth Games is going to be largest Commonwealth Games event ever. There are going to be 17 sports and over 285 events. Also 72 nations will be competing against each other.

The Motto of the 2010 Commonwealth Games is “Come out and play”.

3. Tennis matches will be making their debut at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Even though the sport had been on the approval list, it is only making its appearance now.

4. It has been estimated that there are over 415000 daily wage workers working on the projects related to 2010 Commonwealth Games. It is unfortunate that most of them are being paid less than minimum wages.

5. Commonwealth Games is the only multinational event in which the home nations of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland – send separate teams to theCommonwealth Games unlike at Olympics.

6. The 2010 Commonwealth Games are going to be the most expensive Commonwealth Games ever and are going to cost the capital more than US $1.6 Billion Dollars. This does not include the amount that the capital has already spend on the infrastructure development in the city.

7. It has been estimated that over $1.94 Billion Dollars was spent on modernizing the Capital’s International Airport.

8. It has been predicted that the Commonwealth Games at Delhi will increase the capital’s GDP by 49 percent and that means it will become the richest city in the country followed by Mumbai. The year 2010 will be the first time ever GDP of Delhi will be more than Mumbai since the country’s Independence.

9. The 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games will be the first games ever to be recognized as “Green Commonwealth Games”. This is despite the fact that there had been a felling of “heritage trees” in the forest area to make way for the game facilities.

10. The Queen’s Baton has been equipped with modern technologies such as GPS, Camera and SMS Functionality. This will prevent the baton from getting lost, allow the user to take pictures and also will send messages to the baton bearers throughout the day.

Author: Meuren Martins

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