Archive | December, 2014

Most Influential South Asians of 2014

Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

Arvind Kejriwal

By Rajdeep Sardesai

April 23, 2014

A powerful outsider in Indian politics

Arvind Kejriwal is the antithesis of the modern-day Indian politician. He’s no Hindu nationalist, he doesn’t have a famous surname, and no, there is no evidence that he has made money from politics.

A former civil servant, he cut his teeth in public life as an activist campaigning for greater transparency in government. But it was his role as the driving force behind a grassroots anticorruption movement in 2011 that catapulted him onto the national stage. Late last year, he became chief minister of Delhi following a remarkable political debut by his Aam Aadmi, or common man, party.

Though his administration lasted a mere 49 days, with Kejriwal proving less adept at turning the wheels of government than campaigning against it, his image as the quintessential outsider taking on powerful interests — a David versus many mighty Goliaths — has earned him a unique place in Indian politics.

Sardesai is the editor in chief of the IBN18 Network

Hosain Rahman

By Matt Vella

April 23, 2014

Robyn Twomey—Corbis Outline

The stylist of wearable tech

The race to make wearable tech the biggest thing since the smartphone is on. Apple, Google and Samsung are all working on making our gadgets far more personal by packing in sensors that measure everything from heart rate to hydration. Yet with his company’s line of UP wristband computers, Hosain Rahman is out ahead of them all.

Since Rahman co-founded Jawbone in 1999, he’s managed to stay one step ahead of the prevailing vogue. He turned the Bluetooth headset into an objet d’art exhibited in venues from San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art to the Pompidou Center in Paris. He perfected the small, portable wireless speaker before there were millions of them out there. And with the fitness- and sleep-tracking UP band, he’s turned Jawbone into one of the biggest companies in wearables. It doesn’t hurt that the slinky bands look cool; they’ve been spotted on the wrists of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore.

Most founders in Silicon Valley pay lip service to design. Rahman is one of few who has proved how powerful it really is.

Arunachalam Muruganantham

By Ruchira Gupta

April 23, 2014

Illustration by Michael Hoeweler for TIME

The entrepreneur who is an unlikely health crusader

In a small south Indian town, a man’s empathy for his wife has sparked a revolution. In 1998, Arunachalam Muruganantham asked his wife why she hoarded dirty rags and was told she needed them during menstruation. Buying sanitary napkins would cost too much. His response: designing a simple machine to produce sanitary pads. He even wore some himself, using a tiny pump to test absorption. And instead of selling his idea to the highest bidder, he supplies his low-cost machines to rural communities. Now millions of poor Indian women can avoid painful urinary-tract infections and create their own pad-manufacturing businesses. The invention has also sparked interest around the world.

It’s a truism for a reason: Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion.

Gupta is the founder of Apne Aap, an Indian anti-sex-trafficking organization

Narendra Modi

By Fareed Zakaria

April 23, 2014

Prakash Singh—AFP/Getty Images

The divisive politician poised to lead the world’s largest democracy

Elections are reactions, often negative reactions. That is surely the explanation for the breathtaking rise of Narendra Modi, who — if the opinion polls are accurate — is poised to become India’s next Prime Minister, and thus the world leader chosen by the largest electorate on the planet. India is currently ruled by Manmohan Singh, a mild-mannered 81-year-old technocrat with no political power of his own and a passive leadership style. Reverse every one of those traits and you have Modi, the charismatic, intense, utterly decisive head of Gujarat, one of India’s fastest-growing states. Most Indians believe that their country has lost its way as its growth rate has been almost halved while inflation has soared. Modi has a reputation for quick action, encouraging the private sector, and good governance. He also has a reputation for autocratic rule and a dark Hindu-nationalist streak. But those concerns are waning in a country desperate for change.

Zakaria is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS

Arundhati Roy

By Pankaj Mishra

April 23, 2014

Chiara Goia

The novelist who is the conscience of India

In early 1996, Arundhati Roy, then a screenwriter in Delhi, called me to say that she had written a novel. I can still remember my first enraptured reading of The God of Small Things. The novel seemed, in its evocations of the beauty and terror of life, its radical distrust of power, reflexive hatred of injustice and effervescent humor, almost miraculous. More remarkably, Roy’s subsequent nonfictional engagement with the conflicts and traumas of a heedlessly globalized world has manifested the virtues of an unflinching emotional as well as political intelligence. Her lucid and probing essays offer sharp insights on a range of matters, from crony capitalism and environmental depredation to the perils of nationalism and, in her most recent work, the insidiousness of the Hindu caste system. In an age of intellectual logrolling and mass-manufactured infotainment, she continues to offer bracing ways of seeing, thinking and feeling.

Mishra’s latest book is A Great Clamour: Encounters With China and Its Neighbours

Malala Yousafzai

By Gabrielle Giffords

April 23, 2014

Trunk Archive

Pakistan’s torchbearer for girls’ education

Like millions around the world, I draw strength from brave Malala’s example.

I have seen courage in many places — in the thousands of our nation’s military members I have met and represented; in those who ran toward the gunfire in a Safeway parking lot on Jan. 8, 2011; and in our leaders who take the tough votes because it’s the right thing to do — but Malala’s courage is uncommon.

In the face of oppression and bitter injustice, she demands education and opportunity. In the face of violence from the hands of cowards, she refuses to back down.

Malala is a testament that women everywhere will not be intimidated into silence. We will make our voices heard.

We will speak, no matter how hard it is to do so.

Giffords is a retired Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona and a co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions

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Canadian Pakistani community mourns loss of life in Peshawar attacks

Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

Canadian Pakistani community came out in droves in cities across Canada to mourn the deaths of innocent children and school staff in Peshawar.

The community condemned the terrorist attack by Tahrik e Taliban, an extremist group, who claimed the responsibility of heinous attack on school in Peshawar. The lawlessness, the kidnappings, and all the other ills that community has become used to listening to when it comes to Pakistan was shaken out of its slumber by what terrorists did in this school attack. Business owners, family gatherings, community organizations all mourned and cried over the deaths of children brutally and mercilessly killed by Taliban.

The community reiterated that Islam’s message is that of peace and tranquility, and not that of murdering and blowing up innocent lives at the place to gain knowledge. 145 people killed in last week’s attack were martyrs who were seeking knowledge (ilm).

In the Quran, Allah says

“And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.”

Furthermore, the massacre of innocent children horrified a country already weary of unending terrorist attacks.

Pakistan’s teenage Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai – herself a survivor of a Taliban shooting _ said she was “heartbroken” by the bloodshed.

The Canadian Pakistani appreciates the support from their elected members. These elected members were at hand at community events and at mosques to support Canadian Pakistani and the Muslim community in general. These members acknowledged that

Islam is not the religion that condones violence against innocent. That Muslims are peace loving people who want their kids to be educated. Their solidarity and support with the Muslim community means a lot.

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The year’s top foot-in-mouth moments from Canadian politics

Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

Justin Trudeau, Julian Fantino and the rest of these politicians would gladly take back their misstatements, fumbled apologies and embarrassing gaffes.

Say what?

We’ve all done it: blurted out something we immediately wanted to take back.

In Canadian politics, it was a banner year for blurting and regretting, but this being Ottawa, the blurting was always clearer than the regretting.

Regardless, here are 10 instances in which our federal representatives might have wanted a do-over:

Film at 11: Conservative backbencher Peter Goldring advocates body cameras to detect ulterior motives in late night Scrabble games.

“MPs must learn, as I have from encounters with authority figures in the past, that all do not tell the truth. I now wear ‘protection’ in the form of body-worn video recording equipment.”

He is immediately shrink-wrapped by party operatives and a retraction is delivered within hours.

Whip it. Whip it Good: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau stomps all over his speech on Canada’s efforts to degrade ISIS.

“It’s not about whipping out our CF-18s to show how big they are.”

Remarkably, a poll later indicates he won public support for the frat boy line.

Beam her down, Tom: NDP MP Charmaine Borg turns the House of Commons into a fundraising circus.

“For $1,000,” she says, she will utter the Star Trek line “Resistance is futile” in Parliament, a play on the alien race which shares her last name.

She is quickly persuaded by party leadership that wasn’t really why she was elected.

He’s also tight with Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster: Mississauga Conservative MP Brad Butt twice says he knows of campaign workers taking voter information cards from the garbage to use in illegal voting. On Feb. 6 he said he witnessed it personally.“Why are they doing that? They are doing it so they can hand those cards to other people, who will then be vouched for at a voting booth and vote illegally.”

He later says he “misspoke” and then told the House he saw no such thing.

Empathy ”R” Us: Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino arrives 70 minutes late for a meeting with veterans, then berates them in front of television cameras.

“This finger-pointing stuff doesn’t really work very well with me,” Fantino snaps at one elderly vet, stooped by the weight of his war medals.

The minister wins extra points with his encore, walking away from the wife of a veteranwith PTSD as the cameras rolled.

Calandraspeak without translation: Stephen Harper’s Parliamentary Secretary, Paul Calandra, rises to answer a question from Tom Mulcair on our Iraq mission:

“Mr. Speaker, what does the leader of the Opposition not understand? Our friends in Israel are on the front lines, combating terrorism.”

Calandra gains extra points days later when he rises to apologize for his gibberish, taking full responsibility “despite what people think about kids in short pants,” a reference to the staffers in the prime minister’s office who gave him his initial talking points. He gains further points by choking up during his apology, then messing it up and having to correct his apology.

Some opinions carry more weight than others: Another former Harper parliamentary secretary, Dean Del Mastro, is found guilty by Judge Lisa Cameron of overspending in his 2008 campaign, then falsifying documents to cover it up.

“I know what the truth is. That’s her opinion. My opinion is quite different.”

Less than a week later, with the executioner’s blade hanging over his political future, Del Mastro resigns his seat. He, too, gains extra points for tearing up.

I went to Israel and all I got was this lousy T-shirt? Conservative MP Mark Adler joins Stephen Harper on a historic trip to Israel, but can’t get his mind off his York Centre riding at Old Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

“This, it’s the re-election. This is the million-dollar shot,” Adler says, unsuccessfully pleading with Harper staffer Jeremy Hunt for a photo with the prime minister in front of the famous holy site for Jewish prayer.

Adler has an estimated 21,000 Jewish voters in his riding.

Straight Talk on the Bare Fax. His political career in ruins, sexual assault charges looming and four children to feed, senator-in-exile Patrick Brazeau takes a job as day manager at Barefax, a strip club in the shadow of Parliament Hill.

“It is what it is, I have four mouths to feed,” he tells Postmedia journalist Stephen Maher.

Brazeau was ordered into rehab in October by a Quebec judge.

Oh, I thought you meant another bozo: GTA Liberal MP John McKay is caught on tape by a Conservative operative reacting to leader Justin Trudeau’s decision to bar pro-life candidates in the next general election.

“I initially thought it was a bozo eruption; that he didn’t actually think about what he said,” McKay said. He gains extra points by then jumping on another even “scarier” possibility, that it was the idea of Trudeau’s brain trust.

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MPP Malhi Announces $63 Million for Affordable Housing in Peel Region

Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

Ontario Supporting Local Solutions for Affordable Housing

 Ontario is working to end homelessness by delivering more than $63 million in affordable housing funding over five years to low-and moderate-income households in the Region of Peel.

 The investment, cost-shared between the governments of Ontario and Canada, supports the construction of affordable rental housing units, repairs and improvements to existing units, and rental and down-payment assistance to people in need.

 A portion of the total program funding will be dedicated to Aboriginal households living off-reserve, and help support other priority groups such as seniors, persons with disabilities and victims of domestic violence.

 Since 2003, Ontario and the federal government have committed more than $4 billion to affordable housing initiatives, representing the largest affordable housing investment in the province’s history, helping 385,000 households.

Supporting affordable housing is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

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A misspent year

Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

The Hon. Judy Foote


Looking back on the year, it is increasingly clear that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s priorities are no longer the priorities of Canadians.

His Conservative government has focused economic attention solely on its promise to introduce an expensive income splitting scheme.

Paying for it has trumped every other need. Over a billion dollars for veterans’ services have gone unspent while the government closed nine local offices—making it even harder to access a support system the Auditor General called “complex and time-consuming.” Veterans who needed mental health services have been left waiting months, even years, to get help.

Spending on infrastructure projects through the Building Canada Fund has been cut by 90%. Employment Insurance payroll taxes have been frozen at artificially high levels. Other taxes, such as tariffs on imports, have gone up. Public safety has been shortchanged, from search and rescue to food inspection and rail safety to environmental protection.

All for the sake of income splitting, which will cost the federal government a whopping $2 billion a year, but will not benefit 85% of Canadian households. Single mothers and fathers, those who have the least and couples with similar incomes will get nothing. Among the few who will benefit, the largest benefit will go to those who need it the least.

There is no reason why middle class families should have to pay to give families like Mr. Harper’s a $2000 tax break.

Worst of all, this scheme will do nothing to help with our middling economic outlook. Economic growth continues to be low, the jobs market sluggish and household debt high. Federal mismanagement has left big projects like the Keystone XL pipeline struggling to get going. Exports are only returning to their pre-recession peak.

Liberals have been hearing from Canadians that this is just not good enough. They are looking not only for a different government, but a better government. We are working hard to earn their trust.

We believe that a surplus built by Canadians should be invested for the benefit of all Canadians. That means investing in our people, our natural resources, our infrastructure, our trade and our drive to innovate. These are the things that made Canada successful in the first place. That is how we will restore growth and bring relief to struggling middle class families and all those striving to get there.

Canadians can’t afford another misspent year.

 Judy Foote is Liberal Party of Canada Whip.

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Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari

  Pakistan has experienced thousands of terrorist attacks, road side bombings and suicide attacks over the last 13 years. However, none was so devastating and brutal as was the attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar, on December 16, 2014. The initial death toll was 141 which included 132 students. The rest were the school staff, including its principal. Around 131 persons were injured. Later, some injured students died, raising the number of dead to 146.

 The responsibility for this incident was claimed by the Tehrik-i-Taliban-i-Pakistan, declaring it to be their revenge for the killing of their people in the on-going military operation.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban sent its explanation of the attack to some media and other select people. They tried to project the incident as a careful incident to target only the children of the military people. However, the narratives of the students who survived the attack are so shocking that one cannot think that a human being could ever be so brutal. They killed young children indiscriminately and mercilessly, who so ever came in their target. Some of the attackers engaged in suicide blast that also killed the students and the staff. All the seven attackers were killed, either because of suicide blast or because they were targeted by Army shooters. The Army took several hours to clear the school of the attackers.

 The whole of Pakistan was shocked by this attack. However, there were still a small number of people who tried to justify the Taliban action and blamed Pakistan’s government and the Army for use of force against the Taliban in the tribal areas. They argued for winning over the Taliban by talking to them.

 It was unfortunate they did not suggest anything to be done by the Taliban. All these people condemned violence and terrorism in general but they were not willing to condemn the organization that claimed the responsibility for the attack.

 These were people were in a minority. The people in general were shocked and observed mourning for several days. All of them wanted the government and especially the Army, to take the toughest possible action against the Tehrik-i-Taliban and others who engage in terrorist activities.

 Though both the civilian government and the Army authorities expressed their strong desire to take a firm action against such groups, the Army and other services were more clear-headed in what is to be done. The military action was already going on in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency and they decided to speed up and expand the scope of the military operation.

  Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, visited Kabul for half a day in the afternoon of December 16 for talks with the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan Army Chief and the American Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for seeking their more active cooperation for countering terrorism and for strengthening security on the Pakistan Afghan border.

 The civilian leadership was also active in dealing with the post-attack situation. The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took immediate steps to provide medical assistance to the injured. It extended support to the Army that entered the school to fight the terrorists and increased security in the province. Other provincial governments also stepped up security in their provinces.

  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flew to Peshawar and so did the Army Chief. However, the response of the federal government led by Nawaz Sharif was rather slow. The Prime Minister focused more on issuing statements and reassuring the nation that his government would not sit-back and let such incidents take place. However, no concrete plan of action was available. The next day, December 17, the PM held meetings with the leaders of political parties for evolving a strategy for coping with terrorism.

 The meeting of the leaders of different political parties continued for several hours but nothing concrete came out of it except the statements of the leaders in favor of taking tough action against the terrorists. They agreed to set up a special committee comprising the representatives of different political parties to suggest a plan of action to cope with terrorism in 7 days.

  The federal government should have gone to the meeting of the political leaders with a plan of action to seek their views for making changes in it. After the meeting such a plan of action should have been put into practice. However, the problem with the federal government is that it is always short of ideas and moves very slowly for taking concrete action on anything.

Further, the federal government lacks confidence to take firm action against the militants all by itself. It wants to involve other political leaders in order to pacify the extreme right wing people that all political leaders have demanded an action.

Unfortunately, a number of elements in the political far right and Islamists have sympathy for the Taliban and they also support Nawaz Sharif. This makes it difficult for the Muslim League Nawaz to play tough with the Taliban and other militants.

  The issue of reviving death sentence also came up before the government to deal with the terrorists who had been given death sentence in various terrorist attacks in the past.

Pakistan had suspended the implementation of death sentence in 2008. After some thinking at the official civilian and military levels it was decided to give a go ahead to implementation of the death sentence against the terrorists.

 The Army Chief signed the death sentence order of the terrorists convicted by court martial and death sentence for two terrorists was carried out on December 19, the day the decision was made.

The civilian government initiated the process in its usual slow pace and some death sentences were carried out later. However, given the high number of people on the death row, the federal government is likely to find it difficult to implement the death sentence for all.

  Another significant development was that Imran Khan, chief of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf, who was on street protest against Nawaz Sharif, participated in the meeting of the political leaders. Later, he decided to suspend his “Dharna” in view of the Peshawar incident.

  The suspension of Imran Khan’s Dharna gives a temporary relief to Nawaz Sharif. If his government cannot evolve some political settlement in the next two weeks, Imran Khan is expected to revive his street protest. It will also put an end to the current harmony and unity in the political circles.

 Two conclusions can be drawn by examining the situation in Pakistan in the first week after the Peshawar incident.

 First, there is greater popular support than ever to take a firm and decisive action against the Taliban and other groups for controlling terrorism in Pakistan.

 Second, the federal government under Nawaz Sharif has shown activism in dealing with the situation but its performance continues to reflect confusion and slow action and a desire to take the cover of other political parties and the military for taking a tough line towards hardline Islamic groups and the Taliban and their allies. It appears to be reluctant to take a lead role in countering terrorism.

 The military in general and the Army in particular has come out at the top in expressing determination and taking immediate steps to deal with terrorism in the aftermath of the Peshawar incident. The military has won more appreciation of the public than the civilian government. It seems that the Army top command has come to a clear view that all kinds of Taliban and their allies have to be dealt with force. The civilian government is still trying to create a unity and harmony of mind on this issue.

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Four Guantanamo inmates sent home to Afghanistan

Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

Four Afghan prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have been sent back to their home country, the Pentagon says.

Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir were repatriated after a review of their cases.

Eight Afghans are believed to be among the 132 detainees remaining at the US prison in Cuba.

President Barack Obama has pledged to close the facility, opened in 2002 to hold “enemy combatants” in what the US termed its war on terror.

‘Nowhere to go’

“As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force,” a Pentagon statement said on Saturday.

The four Afghans – who had been held at Guantanamo Bay for more than 10 years – were flown to Afghanistan’s capital Kabul aboard a US military plane and handed over to the local authorities.

The Pentagon provided no further details.

Afghanistan’s High Peace Council – a body set up by the government to deal with insurgents – said all four would be reunited with their families in the “near future”, according to the Associated Press news agency.

US lawyers for the former detainees had always argued that their clients were innocent.

Wells Dixon, who worked on the case of Shawali Khan for a number of years, told BBC World TV: “They decided unanimously that he posed no threat to anyone.

“I am frankly surprised that he wasn’t released many years ago.”

Mr Dixon added that he expected to see more transfers from Guantanamo Bay in the near future.

President Obama seeks to eventually shut the facility.

Earlier this month, six prisoners were flown to Uruguay, which said they would enjoy complete freedom in the South American nation.

About half of the remaining inmates at Guantanamo Bay have been cleared for transfer but have nowhere to go because their countries of origin are unstable or unsafe.

President Obama’s efforts to shut the facility have also been stalled in part due to a reluctance by Congress.


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Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

New funding announced at event in Toronto cooperation between Canada and India in the fields of global health

Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, has announced an investment of up to $3.1 million in 11 innovations in India, designed to save and improve the lives of women and children.

Ten proof-of-concept projects will receive $112,000 CAD each and one Bangalore-based project, proven successful in trials, is now deemed ready for a $2 million CAD scale-up. It enables a mobile phone to work as a glucose metre for diabetics.

The funding was announced by the Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, during the Grand Challenges Canada India Health Innovation Summit in Toronto, hosted by Grand Challenges Canada and the National Council of Indo Canadians.

More than 125 guests from over 27 Indo-Canadian organizations, including Akhilesh Mishra, Consul General of India and Dr. Peter A. Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, attended the Summit in Toronto, celebrating and showcasing global health innovators from India and Canadian innovators from Indian descent who are working to improve the health of the most vulnerable in India.

This event and the funding announcement builds on the Programme of Cooperation that was signed in February 2014 between Grand Challenges Canada and the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology, in order to promote the development of long-term cooperation between Canada and India in the fields of global health, early child development, women and children’s health and mental health.

“Canada has welcomed generations of newcomers from India who have helped build a pluralistic and prosperous Canada. Both Canada and India share a mutual regard for innovation, and the valuable benefits it brings to our lives and our communities. By working together, we can leverage the expertise of our countries, through innovation and technology, for best practices to improve the health of our citizens,” said the Honourable Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister.

To date, Grand Challenges Canada has funded 80 innovations in India, for a total investment of more than $16 million CAD. These projects are being implemented by institutions based in India and by institutions based in Canada or other countries, in partnership with Indian institutions. Many of these innovations are improving maternal, newborn and child health, which is Canada’s flagship development priority.

Jana Care, a company based in Bangalore, India, secured a $2 million CAD investment commitment for the development of the Aina device, a mobile blood monitoring device that plugs into a smartphone and enables the testing of six basic blood parameters. This innovation can be easily used in home, clinical or remote settings, and allows for transmission of medical data directly from patients to health professionals.

These funds aim to accelerate the scale-up of highly promising health innovations in developing countries. The $1 million CAD commitment by Grand Challenges Canada in Jana Care will be matched by a syndicate of investors, including Unitus Impact. Unitus Impact is a venture capital firm investing in scalable businesses that increase incomes and improve the livelihoods of the working poor in Asia’s fastest growing economies. Unitus Impact will invest through its recently launched Livelihood Impact Fund, which had its first close in July 2014 with investments from prominent family offices, foundations and high net worth individuals in Australia, Europe, Indonesia, Singapore and the United States.

“Canada is pleased to support the Aina device, a health innovation that promises to improve the quality of health of individuals in India suffering from diabetes,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. “Through innovation we have the potential to transform the health and lives of people in developing countries. This is what our Government’s partnership with Grand Challenges Canada is all about.”

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Canada-God’s own country!

Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

Lachman Balani


Ashes to ashes! Dust to dust!

Nanga aaye, nanga jayenge (we came naked and so shall we go)!

During the yuletide season, many people of all cultures donate something or the other to their favourite charity and count their blessings for the opportunities Canada has provided them.

Many who came to Canada 30 to 40 years ago reminisce how they had hardly anything when they arrived, promising themselves they will make a better life for them and their families. They worked hard, scrimped and saved, saw their kids through school and also squirreled away enough money for their retirement and to leave a legacy for their offspring.

 At the same time they also enjoyed short vacations to nearby countries like the US, Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and more, having lived very full and eventful lives, something they feel they would never have been able to accomplish in their homelands.

Not only that, ever since they arrived, there have been open and clean spaces, excellent schools and fantastic infrastructure, relatively little pollution, great homes they have lived in, nice cars they have driven, plentiful food, amazing amenities, free medical care in good hospitals, freedom of speech and more.

Now they have reached the point where they wish to leave a financial legacy for their children, much like they would have done in their home countries to ensure the livelihood of their children, only to find their children are on their own two feet, have bought their own home, own cars and have all the necessary amenities possible.

“Canada has been good to us” says a couple from India.” When we left in the 70s, India was in terrible shape with little future for us lower middle class people. We came here and now we have a mortgage free home, a pension plan for when we retire, our own savings and we want to leave something for our children, but they seem disinterested saying that even they have everything. They are telling us to go on a world tour and on cruises and to spend the money on ourselves and enjoy. This is what God intended. He did not want us to hoard money like they did in India and they still do because of so much insecurity. Here we can do what is said in our scriptures. We came naked and we will go naked. While we are here, we have worked hard and also enjoyed. Now we even have enough to donate to charity, which is also what God intended us to do.”

“What they are saying is true”, chimes in a couple from Peru. “Over there in our homeland, it is tough to earn enough to have a good life and go to restaurants and have a nice two storey home and still have enough to give to charity. We are so glad we came here.

“Exactly,” echoes a mixed couple, one spouse from Sri Lanka and the other from the Philippines. “We came with nothing, made enough to buy a nice home, live a good healthy life and now our children are enjoying the same. We are donating to charity and when we die we will have nothing or practically nothing. This is what the Lord prescribed. We are in the promised land.”

And thus go the stories at the round of Christmas gatherings this winter. Everybody seems happy and is in a giving mood, very much thankful to Canada, the land of the Gods!


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Six easy ways to boost your fibre at breakfast

Posted on 25 December 2014 by admin

The question: I’ve heard that eating a high-fibre breakfast can help me lose weight. Besides cereal, what are ways to increase my fibre intake at breakfast?

The answer: Provided you’re not exceeding your recommended calorie target for healthy weight loss, increasing your fibre intake at breakfast – as well as at lunch and dinner – could help you lose weight. High-fibre foods add bulk to meals and are digested more slowly so they help you feel full on fewer calories. They also take longer to chew, which may prevent you from eating more than you should.

The average Canadian consumes between 11 and 17 grams of fibre each day – half the amount that’s recommended. Women aged 19 to 50 are advised to get 25 g of fibre each day; men require 38 g. As we get older, we need less fibre. After 50, women should aim for 21 g; men, 30 g.

There are plenty of ways to increase your fibre intake that don’t require opening a box of bran cereal. To get started, here are six ways to to boost fibre at breakfast (aim for at least 8 g of fibre):

Blackberries and raspberries (1 cup of each = 8 g fibre): Add these berries to smoothies, layer in yogurt parfaits or sprinkle over hot cereal.

Avocado (1/4 cup mashed = 4 g): Spread whole-grain toast with two tablespoons mashed avocado. Like peanut butter, it’s an excellent source of monounsaturated fat but with half the calories. Two slices of avocado toast will equal 10 g of fibre.

Black beans (1/2 cup = 8 g): Make a breakfast burrito: Scramble two egg whites, toss in one half-cup of black beans (drained and rinsed) and place in a 10-inch, 100-per-cent whole-wheat tortilla; top with salsa. All in: 11 g of fibre

Pumpkin puree (1/2 cup = 3.6 g): Stir it into hot oatmeal, whirl it in protein shakes or blend it into muffin and quick bread batters. One half-cup also serves up almost 4 g of fibre and your daily supply of vitamin A – and for only 42 calories and 4 g of natural sugar. Consider it half a fruit serving.

Chia seeds, whole (1 tablespoon = 5 g): They’re an easy addition to smoothies, yogurt, hot cereal, even pancake and waffle batters. In addition to fibre, you also get more than two day’s worth of alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat, plus calcium, magnesium and iron.

Almonds (1/4 cup = 4.5 g) and pears (1 medium pear = 5.5 g):When you’re too rushed to sit down to eat breakfast, grab a pear and one quarter-cup of almonds (about 30) to go. This fibre-rich meal is more filling than you think, delivering 10 g of fibre, protein and heart-healthy fats.

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