Archive | August, 2016

Alison Brie to Star in Netflix Wrestling Comedy ‘GLOW’ From Jenji Kohan

Posted on 31 August 2016 by admin

The Netflix series marks the in-demand actress’ latest TV role since ‘Community’ and ‘BoJack Horseman.’ Alison Brie is hopping into Netflix’s wrestling ring.

The Community and BoJack Horseman favorite has booked the starring role in the streaming giant’s Jenji Kohan comedy GLOW, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

GLOW — aka Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — is inspired by the real story of the 1980s female wrestling league. The 10-episode comedy is set in Los Angeles and will showcase big hair and body slams and tell the fictionalized story of an out-of-work actress who finds one last attempt to live her dreams in the form of a weekly series about female wrestlers. The comedy is based on the professional women’s wrestling syndicated TV series that existed in the ’80s. The comedy was picked up to series in May.

Brie will star as Ruth, a struggling actress whose dreams of fame take a surprising turn when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women’s wrestling.

GLOW was co-created by Liz Flahive (Homeland) and Carly Mensch (Orange Is the New Black), who serve as showrunners on the series that also counts OITNB’s Kohan and Tara Herrmann as executive producers.

GLOW expands Brie’s relationship with Netflix, where she voices multiple characters in critical favorite animated comedy BoJack Horseman.

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Hollywood a great achievement for Deepika Padukone, says Diana Penty

Posted on 31 August 2016 by admin

Actress Diana Penty is more than happy for her Cocktail co-star Deepika Padukone for her “great achievement” of making her Hollywood debut with the film xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Diana, who ventured into Bollywood in 2012 with Cocktail starring alongside Deepika and Saif Ali Khan, says she is proud of the Bajirao Mastani star.

“It is a great achievement. We all are so proud of her. It is an amazing achievement. She has managed to put Bollywood on the map along with Priyanka Chopra,” Diana, whose film Happy Bhaag Jayegi released earlier this month, told IANS. In xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Deepika shares screen space with Hollywood star Vin Diesel.

Directed by D.J. Caruso, it is a sequel to the 2002 film xXx and 2005 film xXx: State of the Union. It also stars Ruby Rose, Samuel L. Jackson, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa. The film is slated to release on January 20, 2017.

Diana Penty, who has returned to the silver screen with Happy Bhag Jayegi, four years after her Bollywood debut Cocktail, feels that if there is no problem, then it is a problem. “I am coming to my own. I am more confident. I am not self-conscious anymore. I am not shy and reserved as I used to be. I have learnt that I am who I am. If you have a problem then it’s your problem,” said the actress to Filmfare, when asked, “how have you changed over the years.” When Diana was further quizzed about her whereabouts post Cocktail, she replied that she was busy with her endorsements, shows, and modeling, as acting was something that just happened to her.

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Nargis Fakhri reveals about her life-threatening disease

Posted on 31 August 2016 by admin

Bollywood beauty Nargis Fakhri has been in the news of late for rumours over quitting Bollywood, and now the actress has captured media attention for ‘fighting life-threatening disease’.

Recently, the actress sparked rumours that she left India because she had broken up with rumoured boyfriend Uday Chopra.

But, she in an interview to a leading daily said, “When I came here, I had arsenic and lead poisoning and no one knew what was wrong with me.

It can happen in many ways — it could be in the water, food, rusted lead pipes in an old building. The doctor tested me, but he was so scared because it was at a very high level and I asked him ‘What do I do?’ Then I cured myself.”

She added, “Ayurveda is based on naturopathy, herbs basically but it was a combination of different things that I researched and six months later I got the test done again and there was nothing! The doctor was like ‘Oh, my God! How did you do this?’ And I said I will tell you when I see you.”

Rumblings of her quitting Bollywood also made headlines recently in the media. Without digging deep into rumour mills, the Rockstar actress slammed these rumours on her Instagram.

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“I Belong To U” singer Ranjini

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Ranjini is an Indian-American recording artist and songwriter. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Ranjini learned to sing from her mother, Uma Ettigi.

She wanted to learn how to play the piano and played by ear until her parents agreed to enroll her in formal piano lessons at age 11. As a preteen, Ranjini started experimenting with pop and R&B after discovering artists like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion- singers which influenced Ranjini’s vocal style.

Here’s Generation Next’s interview with Ranjini:

Please tell us a bit about your academic/family background?
As with most Indian families, my family has always emphasized the importance of education. My father, Prakash, is a physician, and my mother, Uma, founded her own Indian Arts Academy in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia focusing on Carnatic vocal, Bharatanatyam, and veena. My sister and I were her first students! For me personally, I loved school, have always had a passion for learning and was on course to going to law school when I made the very tough decision to put my college career at NYU on hold to pursue a music career.

Why be in the arts?
The arts allow me be who I am. From the way I choose to approach a song vocally to the outfits I wear onstage or in a music video, I get to pretty much be in control. Singing has been my way of expressing myself since I was a toddler and was never just a hobby for me. It’s always been so much more. When I started writing songs and achieving a little bit of success with that, songwriting became an extension of my artistry and let me know I made the right career choice.

What is it for you? American music or Indian music?
Both! I have a Carnatic vocal foundation, but grew up listening to Mariah, Whitney, Lauryn Hill, Brandy and Christina Aguilera just to name a few. I think when you’re a music lover, good music is good music, no matter what the style or language.

Why do you think many modern songs & music videos are not like evergreen songs & music videos of the past?
The Internet has changed how consumers receive music forever. The rate at which we get information is faster than ever before. Similarly, the rate at which fans listen to, digest, get attached to or reject new music is also much faster. Back in the day, it used to be you would hear that your favorite artist is releasing an album, you’d get all excited, the album drops, you go to the store, pay for the whole album (not just a single), unfold the album artwork, pop the CD in and play it on loop. It was this whole experience, exactly how the artist wanted you to experience their body of work they poured so much time in. Today, listeners will listen to half a song on YouTube or Spotify before getting bored and skipping to the next song or the next artist in the “based on artists you like” catalogue. I think artists today feel enormous pressure to always be releasing new material, whether it be a mix tape or jumping on another artist’s record just to stay relevant with their fans. So now it’s a quantity game, and quality has paid the price.

Do you believe art is for entertainment or for social awareness? One can argue that with so much disturbance in life, people would like to enjoy art for relaxation purpose only.
There’s a time and place for both. Personally, my favorite song that I have recorded to date is a humanitarian song I wrote called “I Belong To U”. It’s a message song however, and it’s much harder to get mainstream love for that kind of record. My most popular record was a song called “Instant Message” that we actually never commercially released but it got major airplay on U.S airwaves. It’s your typical love song about a girl who’s all into loving her man, and fans came out in droves telling me they loved the song and want to hear more like that. Don’t get me wrong, of course I like the song, it’s just not my favorite cut. But I always say, the fans like what they like, and they’re NEVER wrong!

What’s your family’s reaction to your profession choice?
My parents are super supportive, and I know I’m lucky in that regard! I meet  Indian kids who have crazy talent, but because they’re afraid of it not working out, they take a safer route when it comes to career decisions. What would we attempt to do, if we knew we couldn’t fail? And sometimes it takes a parent recognizing the talent in their child, and really believing in them enough to help guide them to do bigger things with their God-given gift. Knowing your parents have your back can give a kid the nerve to believe in himself. For me, I went to my parents and told them I was going to pursue music instead of law. I didn’t ask if it was ok with them, I more so let them know (gently) that that’s what I was going to do. They were scared at first, but now I think they’re happy I followed my heart.

Is it a profession where you can make money?
Maybe not at first, but then again I don’t think you should get into this profession if money is your priority. If you’re a singer starting out, consider writing music as well because publishing is a solid way of making money IF your song becomes a hit, or even a quasi-hit. The other way artists make money is by performing. The more you perform the more you build your fan base, and the more you build your fan base, the likelier you are to sell out shows (even if it’s small venues at first). Social media is on your side with fan building so work the hell out of it!

Do good looks matter? Do they get you into the door?
Good looks can get you in the door, but it won’t keep you in the room. Gotta have talent and personality to back it up.

How do you keep yourself fit?
Yoga, and more yoga.

How much time do you spend on social media?
It’s kind of a full time job. I’m always on Instagram posting up pics of pretty much anything going on in my life, whether it’s something music-oriented, or my outfit of the day, or an inspirational quote. It helps me connect with my fans..and I really do read every single comment that’s posted up and reply to every DM sent.

What kind of pressures do you feel as a professional?
From time to time when I’m writing with my producer (Grammy-award winning Quincy Patrick) I feel a little pressured to stay on top of musical trends that may not really be who I am. Like for instance, as much as I love Drake and listen to his music, if I try to write in his style in an attempt to sound fresh, it comes out sounding just like that…an attempt. And that won’t work. So I do feel some pressure when I’m writing to stay ahead of the trend, but my best stuff has been when I’m just at the piano, putting down a simple melody and lyric.

Is the industry different for men vs. women?
Yes, in general, women are held to a much higher physical standard than men. It’s not fair at all, and there are a few exceptions, but that’s the way the industry has been for decades.

How much pressure do you feel to maintain a certain figure and looks?
There is pressure, but I try not to be consumed by it. I will say the pressure is highest before a video shoot because the camera really does add 10 lbs. A month before any shoot, I go on a strict no-carb diet, lots of fish, veggies, and water. I also increase my work out and if there’s dancing in the video, I rehearse like crazy to get the routine down.

What and who do you turn to when depressed?
Meditation is my saving grace!

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Continuing to live out my dream, making music, performing for my fans, and hopefully inspiring some young Indian kids out there to follow their dreams too!

What would you like to change in the world. Do you associate yourself with any charities?
I actually co-founded a charity with my producer Quincy called Dreamality, Inc. Music education played such an important role in my life growing up and it’s a shame that schools in underserving communities don’t have access to quality music programs. We bring music programs to these schools and have served over 500 kids so far in the tri-state area in the last 2 years. We’re looking to double that number by the end of 2017. Please visitwww.dreamalityinc.org to make a tax-deductible donation and help bring music education to kids in need!

Your favourite male artist
Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder

Your favourite female artist
Beyoncé and Whitney Houston

What are you currently working on, and what’s coming up in the future?
We just released my latest single “Could It Be” featuring platinum selling rapper Driicky Graham (“Snapbacks and Tattoos”). The video was also released earlier this year and is doing well with the fans. I’m currently working on my next single, an up-tempo in the club track that’s going to get everyone on the dance floor. I’ll also be performing at the Dreamality Benefit Concert at the Highline Ballroom, NYC in November which will be featuring some of the hottest names in the industry. There are also some plans in the works for some television projects in 2017, so keep an eye out!

Official Website- www.iamranjini.com
Instagram- @ranjiniofficial
Twitter- @ranjiniofficial
Facebook- Facebook.com/iamranjini

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Toronto derailment shows rail safety gap

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Toronto was lucky over the weekend — no one was hurt and damage was minimal after a train derailment in the heart of Canada’s largest city. Crews were busy Monday morning cleaning up 1,200 litres of diesel oil spilling from a locomotive, but the fuel didn’t enter the sewer system or pose any threat to the public. And dangerous freight remained intact.

But this outcome is no cause for complacency on rail safety; not after a train crash, and subsequent inferno, killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic three years ago. And not in light of additional safety measures that still need to be undertaken.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board is investigating the Sunday morning derailment, and federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said he will act quickly to close any safety gaps revealed by that probe. But there are steps he could take now to bolster public confidence in the reliability of Canada’s rail network.

Preliminary indications are that human error was a factor when two Canadian Pacific freight trains, headed in opposite directions, sideswiped one another at a switch near Dupont and Bathurst Sts. at about 5:20 a.m. As reported by the Star’s Ebyan Abdigir, one of the trains was carrying batteries and aerosol containers, which are classified as dangerous goods, but its cargo remained intact.

The incident serves to underline a compelling need to find alternate routes for shipping dangerous goods, detouring such material around densely populated areas. Several Toronto city councilors and Mayor John Tory signed a letter to Garneau earlier this year urging consideration of substitute routes that would mitigate risk of a catastrophe.

It’s a significant concern. A Star investigation in 2014, monitoring CP rail traffic on one line through Toronto, found more than 130 cars and tankers carrying dangerous goods such as crude oil, methyl bromide (a neurotoxic gas) and other compounds. That’s what was found in just two 12-hour shifts.

Councillor Josh Matlow has suggested that CP work with the Canadian National Railway to run its dangerous freight on CN lines north of the city. This seems a reasonable approach and federal officials would do well to encourage such cooperation.

Since the tragedy at Lac-Mégantic Ottawa has adopted several worthwhile measures improving rail safety in Canada. But there’s clearly more to be done. In addition to promoting alternate routes for hazardous cargo, federal officials should strive to speed up the retirement of older, less puncture-resistant tank cars from transporting flammable material. Safer, sturdier cars aren’t scheduled to completely assume shipment of such goods until 2025.

And railways should be required to give residents living near freight lines more information about the dangerous material travelling, sometimes quite literally, past their own backyards.

Better protection of the public is essential. The next time a rail accident occurs in midtown Toronto, or some other large metropolitan centre, residents might not be as lucky as they were this weekend.

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Jane Philpott Billed Taxpayers $520 For Air Canada Lounge Access, Documents Reveal

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

The controversy surrounding Jane Philpott’s travel expenses grew Monday as evidence surfaced that the federal Liberal health minister billed taxpayers $520 for access to Air Canada’s executive airport lounges in North America and Europe.

Late Monday, the minister promised to repay the money after the Opposition Conservatives used the Access to Information Act to obtain the receipt for the one-year “Maple Leaf Club North America Plus” membership.

A copy of the document was provided to The Canadian Press.

Tory MP Colin Carrie, who is health critic in the Conservative shadow cabinet, said the Air Canada expense reflects a broader trend of “excess and entitlement” on the part of the minister and the Liberal government.

“It is another example of the minister’s lack of judgment and disrespect for the Canadian taxpayer,” he said.

Aaron Wudrick, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, echoed Carrie’s sentiments earlier in the day.

“The things that are reasonable expenses are things that are directly related to their job,” Wudrick said. “I cannot see what the possible connection would be between her needing lounge access and ability to do her job.”

Spokesman Andrew MacKendrick told The Canadian Press on Monday that Philpott intends to repay the $520.

In a statement, Philpott said she has already directed her department to review all of her expenses, vowing to fully reimburse any other filings found to be inappropriate.

“I apologize and we will take steps to ensure this does not happen again,” she said.

Last week, Philpott said she would repay $3,700 in high-end car service costs after it was revealed she billed for $1,700 on one day and more than $1,900 on another day.

The minister’s department is also reviewing 20 trips to Toronto Pearson International Airport that cost a total of $3,815 to see if taxpayers were charged fair-market value.

The car service — used to take the minister between work events — was provided by a limo company owned by a volunteer who canvassed for Philpott in the last election.

‘Patterns’ of entitlement: NDP MP

NDP MP Charlie Angus said he is concerned about what could be a pattern of entitlement.

“It is still early days, so we have to see whether these patterns are going to form into something,” Angus said.

“What concerns me is this sense of entitlement right off the bat. She doesn’t have access to the executive lounge so taxpayers should pay the $500 so she can go sit and have a free drink and get … taco chips. I think that attitude is of concern and it raises red flags.”

Angus said he is also concerned about the overall handling of the issue by the prime minister.

“He said they were going to do government differently,” he said.

“We are not asking ministers to bring bag lunches but these kinds of expenses, they’re really not necessary.”

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Border Services Agency needs independent oversight

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced a welcome package of reforms for Canada’s immigration detention system. But missing was an independent body to oversee the Canada Border Services Agency.

On the face of it, there’s much to applaud in Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s announcement that Ottawa is setting aside $138 million “to transform the immigration detention system in Canada.”

It’s a system much in need of reforming. Under the Harper government, preventive detention went from being a last resort to a routine procedure for handling failed refugee claimants, people without documents or those who had had their status revoked. As a result, Ottawa incurred the ire of human rights organizations from Amnesty International to the United Nations.

But in his first nine months in office, Goodale clearly listened to critics. He set aside $122 million to replacing aging immigration detention centres in Laval, Que., and Surrey, B.C. Another $10.5 million will be used to improve and provide mental and medical health services for those in immigration holding centres. (Under the current system, detainees must often be transferred to provincial jails to get access to such services.)

Most promising of all is that $5 million will be spent to increase “alternatives to detention.” That could mean the use of performance bonds, cash deposits and electronic reporting systems so that migrants who are considered a flight risk don’t have to be locked up at all.

Those measures should be introduced as quickly as possible. Building new detention centres will take years, and detainees cannot wait that long for relief.

One glaring omission is any promise to create an independent body to oversee the Canada Border Services Agency, which oversees the detention of migrants in Canada behind a veil of secrecy.

For example, in the past 16 years 15 people have died while in CBSA custody, three this year alone. When that happens, the agency goes into information lockdown mode. It often refuses to reveal the names of those who died, their nationality, whether their next of kin have been notified, or the circumstances of their death. Indeed, it sometimes doesn’t even announce that a person has died in custody until the news gets out from other sources and it is forced to confirm it.

Under those secretive measures, one could argue that migrants can actually be “disappeared” in Canada.

An independent oversight body could also ensure that the agency is answerable for the number of migrants it detains in the first place. Those numbers are strikingly high: in 2013-14, for example, it detained 10,088 migrants, almost one-fifth of who were refugee claimants. A third of them were held in provincial maximum security jails, even though they posed no danger to society, because immigration detention centres were overflowing.

After years of the Harper government ignoring the plight of Canada’s unwanted migrants, Goodale should be congratulated for the strides he has taken. But he needs to press harder on short-term solutions while new facilities are being built. And he should move to ensure that the CBSA gets badly needed oversight.

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Ottawa’s new air-travel rule catches dual citizens by surprise

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Canadian citizens with dual citizenships will soon be allowed to fly into the country only if they have a Canadian passport.

The policy will come into effect Sept. 30 as a final phase of Canada’s move to an electronic screening system to step up border security and boost exit control of travellers, including Canadians on government benefits.

The upcoming requirement has caught many by surprise calling the practice “discriminatory” against dual citizens and a money grab, and is expected to create havoc as travellers with dual Canadian citizenships may find out only at the last minute when trying to board on a flight.

“What is changing is that the Government of Canada is implementing a new electronic system to assist airlines in verifying that all travellers have the appropriate documents to travel to or transit through Canada by air,” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada spokesperson Lindsay Wemp told the Star.

“Air carriers are obligated by law to confirm that all persons seeking to travel to Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid Canadian passport satisfies these requirements for Canadian citizens, and is the only acceptable travel document for the purpose of air travel.”

Currently, Canadian citizens with dual citizenships can use the passport of the other country to enter Canada by air if they can provide proofs of residency in Canada, such as a driver’s licence and Canadian citizenship card.

According to the 2011 Census, at least 2.9 per cent of Canadians — 944,700 people — had multiple citizenships; the most frequently reported other citizenships were the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Poland.

Ottawa rolled out the electronic travel authorization, or eTA, system last year, requiring air passengers — including all applicants for study and work permits, as well as those from countries that currently do not require a visa to come to Canada — to submit their biographic, passport and other personal information through the immigration department website for prescreening or face being denied entry. American citizens are exempted.

However, Canadian citizens will be ineligible for eTA of Sept. 30, because they will be expected to carry their Canadian passports which, by default, bar dual citizens from using the passport of the other country to return to Canada. What baffles several observers about the new rule is that it only applies to air passengers.

“This proposed policy change is discriminatory to dual citizens and for the life of me, I cannot see why it is necessary. It would appear to be a money grab with no benefit and huge inconvenience for any of us who live overseas,” said Craig Campbell, 60, who was born to a military family in Manitoba and is a dual Canadian-Australian citizen.

“There is time to fix this appalling discriminatory policy. I served the country of my birth as did my father, uncles, aunts and grandfather before me. This is simply a shameful way to treat one very small category of proud Canadians for no discernible benefit to the country.”

Calgary-born Carey Du Gray, 45, who has lived in the U.K. since 2009, said he only found out about the new requirement when he was trying to book travel two weeks ago to fly home in October.

“My daughters were born in the U.K., but they are Canadian citizens. They would not be able to travel to Canada using their British passports. What lunacy, eh?” asked Du Gray, a fundraising consultant based in London.

“What followed was a 48-hour scramble to get all of the documentation and photos together. The guidance on the (Canadian) website said they were taking up to 40 business days to process new passport applications on account of the flood of them that are coming in ahead of the policy change.”

Canadian expatriate Sandi Logan, who worked in the Australian immigration department, said the requirement on dual citizens’ travel just doesn’t make sense.

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THE DIVISIVE TRENDS IN PAKISTAN POLITICS

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari

         Pakistani politics faces several divisive trends. The federal government led by the PMLN and the PTI are working hard to knock each other out of the political process. The growing conflict in politics and mutual distrust among the political leaders has negative implications for internal political and societal harmony.

      The political dialogue has become very bitter, involving charges and counter charges on the part of the ruling PMLN and the major opposition parties. The growing acrimony in the political exchanges is negation of democratic parlance and personalizes the political contest.

      The ruling PMLN and the opposition parties have launched a war of legal references against each other. These references, meant for disqualifying the senior most leaders from the parliament, are now with the Election Commission, Speaker of the National Assembly and the Supreme Court. The legal battle regarding the references will produce a flood of charges and counter-charges against each other.  Some of the top leaders of the PMLN and the PTI face legal references for not fully declaring their foreign assets and properties, the bank loan write-off, money-making corrupt practices and the related issues. The track record of Asif Ali Zardari is problematic in this respect; he still faces some charges.    The political parties engaged in the war of references do not realize that they are undermining their own reputation.

      Different opposition parties have separately launched protest against the federal government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The PTI is holding protest marches in support of its demand for accountability of Nawaz Sharif for financial malpractices and especially the disclosures by the Panama documents. The Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) led by Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri has initiated street protest to seek justice for the killing of 14 workers of his party outside his residence and the PAT office in Model Town, Lahore in June 2014. Though a First Information Report (FIR) was registered on the initiative of the Army Chief, no action was taken against those named in the FIR because it includes some of the key PMLN leaders and their favorite bureaucrats and police officials.   Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, leader of the Awami Muslim League, has also announced a schedule of public rallies in August-September to get rid of the PMLN government.

    There are strains in the civil-military relations. The recent statement of the Army Chief about the neglect in implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) by the civilian governments brought these differences in the public, although the political circles were aware of the troubled civil-military relations.  Now, the civil government has become active in implementing the NAP. However, in addition to other issues of difference between the PMLN government and the security establishment, some elements in the PMLN are engaged in a low-key campaign against the security establishment, neutralizing the efforts of the PMLN leadership to improve interaction with the security establishment.

    The MQM is playing politics in its peculiar way to protect its political interests in Karachi. Its latest protest, especially the “fast unto death” movement is to build pressure on the Rangers in Karachi, the Sindh government and the federal government for forcing them to accept their demands.  The MQM is not opposed to the security operation by the Rangers in Karachi but it does not want the Rangers to take action against its activists, including those who are said to use violence in support of their personal and party agendas.  The handling of the MQM demands is another difficult challenge for Nawaz Sharif.

     So far, the PMLN has managed to withstand these pressures because the opposition parties are pursuing their anti-PMLN agendas separately.  It they join together, the PMLN will find it extremely difficult to cope with the protest.  Further, much depends on the capacity of the PTI and the PAT and the Jamaat-i-Islami to sustain street protest for a week or so in the city of Lahore, which is the heartland of the PMLN.

     The indefinite policy of the PPP towards the growing conflict between the PMLN government and the PTI and other political parties weakens their efforts.  The PMLN is confident that Asif Ali Zardari and his close associates would stand by it if the crisis accentuated. However, the PPP leadership in the Punjab wants to pursue open confrontation with the PMLN government in the Punjab. At the moment, some PPP leaders, mainly from Punjab, engage in tough talking against the PMLN but the Dubai based leadership wants to keep its options open. If the opposition protest intensified, the PPP is expected to face internal conflict on its policy towards the opposition protest.

   It is difficult to suggest if the opposition will succeed. As long as the PMLN maintains a monopolistic control of political power in Punjab, it can wriggle out of the difficult situation. However, the political process will get more fragmented with multiple divisions and splits. This will add to the uncertainty about the future of Pakistan’s domestic political system. Even if it does not collapse, it can become dysfunctional unless the PMLN makes leadership changes, accommodates some opposition demands and adopts a policy that directly benefits the people. It needs to address the growing socio-economic inequities in Pakistan.

   The uncertain situation can get out of control of the current rulers by a triggering factor that can shoot out of a court decision, greater assertion by the opposition in Lahore, a decision of the federal government to make an extensive use of coercive apparatus of the state against the opposition, internal rebellion in the PMLN, or an adverse development in the government’s relations with the security establishment.

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Stigma, shame behind ethnic delays in seeking help for mental illness

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

A new study found Chinese, South Asians suffer more severe symptoms than other groups by putting off getting treatment for mental illness.

Chinese and South Asian patients experience more severe mental health problems by the time they seek professional help, says a new study that looked at severity of psychotic symptoms and ethnicity.

“When compared to patients from other populations, Chinese and South Asian patients were on average much sicker by the time they got to hospital,” said Dr. Maria Chiu, lead author of the study, “Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Severity,” to be released Wednesday.

“Cultural factors play a big role in these findings. While Asian people tend to have stronger family support, they are also faced with a higher level of stigma and it prevents people from seeking help early. Families may try to cope and keep the illness within the family until there is no choice but to go to hospital.”

Based on the Ontario Mental Health Reporting System database, researchers with Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences examined information on more than 133,000 patients — including 2,582 Chinese and 2,452 South Asians — hospitalized for psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, between 2006 and 2014.

Chinese and South Asian patients represented 2 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively of the in-patient population in the study, while they respectively account for 5.6 per cent and 7.9 per cent of the overall Ontario population.

Researchers assessed the severity of the subject groups based on four measures: if they were admitted to hospital voluntarily, whether they demonstrated aggressive behaviour, and the number and frequency of psychotic symptoms (hallucinations, delusions and abnormal thought process) they presented.

The study found that involuntary admissions were significantly more common among Chinese (67.1 per cent) and South Asian (59.7 per cent) patients than among the general population (46 per cent).

Both groups were also more likely to demonstrate aggressive behaviour at 20.4 per cent for Chinese and 16.3 per cent for South Asian patients, compared to just 14 per cent among other patients.

Patients from these two groups were also significantly younger than other populations being hospitalized and were more likely to experience multiple psychotic symptoms (55 per cent of Chinese versus 49 per cent of South Asian patients versus 38 per cent of other populations.)

Although immigration experience has often been linked to stress and mental health challenges, the study found both immigrants and Canadian-born patients of Chinese and South Asian descent shared similar illness severity when admitted to hospital.

“We need to consider Chinese or South Asian ethnicity, independent of immigration and diagnosis, as an important determinant of multiple dimensions of illness severity,” said the study published in the August edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The report suggests Chinese and South Asian communities may be more reluctant to seek help due to shame and stigma as well as cultural differences in the recognition and conceptualization of mental illness and mental health care.

Those challenges, it said, can be further compounded by language barriers and culturally insensitive health services.

“The longer mental illness goes without treatment, the more difficult it can be to get people back on track,” said Dr. Paul Kurdyak, psychiatrist and researcher with CAMH’s mental health policy research and lead scientist for the ICES mental health and addictions research program.

“This study highlights that ethnicity and culture are factors that should be considered when developing outreach strategies and treatment approaches, particularly at earlier stages before a patient’s illness worsens and hospitalization becomes necessary.”

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