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CHENNAI IS THE VENUE FOR PRAVASI BHARTIYA DIVAS 2009
Parvasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is the annual flagship event of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) which aims to connect more 25 Million Indians with India's Economic and Social development. The Ministry is organizing Seventh edition of the PBD on 7-9 January, 2009 in Chennai, the South Indian city in Tamilnadu. The role of overseas Indians in the country's emergence as a global power will be the main theme. The event will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil will address the concluding session of the three-day meet.
During the annual meet, the Diaspora's role in India's emergence as a global power will be the focus of deliberations. The congregation of Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) will also dwell upon aspects like preservation of language and culture and health concerns of Indian Diaspora. Regional working sessions of the Diaspora residing in the Gulf, Asia-Pacific, Africa, USA, Europe, Caribbean and Canada will be organized.
A special trade and industry exhibition during the event with corporate, state governments, NGOs and financial institutions as participants will also be held as part of the convention, an official statement said.
Early this year, more than 1,500 participants from 50 countries had attended the PBD 2008 meet.
GOPIO CONDEMNS BOMB BLASTS IN BANGLORE AND AHMEDABAD
The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) expresses strong and unequivocal condemnation of the series of bombings in Bangalore and Ahmedabad on July 25 and July 26, 2008 respectively, that killed at least 29 innocent people and left many more injured. GOPIO considers these brutal and despicable acts as unforgivable and unjustified criminal actions directed to create widespread fear among innocent citizens.
"This is indeed a heinous act against humanity. GOPIO condemns this brutal and savage attack perpetrated against innocent citizens and the sick in a hospital. We share the pain and anguish of our brethren and sisters in India, and extend our condolences to the families of the victims and offer prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured," said Inder Singh, President of GOPIO International.
"It is obvious that these senseless attacks are meant to cause terror among our citizens" said K. N. Gupta, President of GOPIO of India. "Terror will not succeed as the will of decent people shall overcome such criminal acts", continued Mr. Gupta.
GOPIO commends the Government of India for its diligent efforts in providing emergency services to the survivors. GOPIO would fully support all measures taken by the government to bring security, calm and confidence to the people and applauds all efforts to prevent similar attacks in the future.
"We all grieve that such inhumane and uncivilized crimes has been perpetrated against innocent people in the land of our birth and forbears, a land where freedom has in itself been savagely wounded by the criminals", said Dr Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International
GOPIO expresses deep and abiding concern for the victims of these national tragedies, their families, friends and associates. It is indeed a time of deep sorrow for India, a very nervous time for the people of Bangalore and Ahmedabad and citizens of India in general. "We are very confident that the people of India will survive these national disasters and will retain courage, sense of dignity, pride, their values and their freedom. There is no doubt that a resilient nation as India will overcome these brutal and senseless attacks and the Government of India take necessary steps to prevent similar violence in the future," said Ashook Ramsaran, Secretary General of GOPIO.
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM - 2009 FOR DIASPORA CHILDREN
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs had introduced a Scholarship Program for Diaspora Children (SPDC) in 2006, to assist Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in pursuing under graduate courses in several disciplines in India. Under this program, over 220 PIO/NRI children have benefited during the last three academic years.
The Scholarship Program for Diaspora Children - 2009 has been announced. The following are the highlights of the SPDC-2009:
100 scholarships are being offered for undergraduate courses in several disciplines including Engineering/Architecture/ Technology, Humanities/Liberal Arts, Commerce, Management - BBA/BBM, Journalism, Hotel Management, Agriculture/Animal Husbandry, Sciences, Law, etc.
The program is open only to PIOs/NRIs from the specified 40 countries having a larger concentration of Indian Diaspora.
50% of the scholarship would be reserved for PIOs. However, in the event of non-availability of suitable PIO candidates, the unfilled slots could be assigned to NRI candidates.
NRI candidates would be eligible for the grant of scholarship only if their total family income per month does not exceed an amount equivalent to US $ 2,250 (US dollars two thousand two hundred and fifty only)
Children of NRIs should have pursued at least three years of education inclusive of 11th & 12th or equivalent (not beyond), in a foreign country during the last six years, and should have passed the qualifying examination abroad.
the last date for receipt of duly filled-in application forms in the prescribed format by Ed.CIL is 1st September 2008.
PIO/NRI Students already studying in India on a self-financing basis or under any other arrangement will not be eligible under this scheme, which is open only for fresh admissions in the first semester/year of undergraduate courses.
Candidates would be selected on the basis of a common entrance test to be conducted by Ed.CIL on 26th October 2008 at this Consulate. Exact timings would be intimated subsequently. The candidates would also have to fulfill all the criteria prescribed for the purpose.
The amount of scholarship admissible would be 75% of the Institutional Economic Cost (IEC) or US $ 3,600, whichever is less. IEC includes Tuition fee, Hostel fee & other institutional charges.
A copy of the announcement, information booklet and application form for the Program can be downloaded from the Ed.CIL websites www.edcil.co.in and www.educationindia4u.nic.in.
GOA TO APPOINT NRIs TO STATE BOARDS AND CORPORATIONS
Goa is set to become the first state in India to appoint non-resident Indians (NRIs) to various boards and corporations.
"Putting Goan expatriates on state boards and corporations is one of our various steps to reconnect them with their roots. When this happens, Goa will be the first Indian state to accord this honour to expatriates," said Eduardo Faleiro, former minister of state for external affairs and currently Goa's commissioner for NRI affairs.
"In view of their often-heard complaints about property disputes, we are amending the tenancy Act next month for a summary trial of property-related cases filed by NRIs. These people cannot stay in India for a long time to fight such cases,'' said Faleiro.
Speaking at the Goan Global Convention, Faleiro said that about 500,000 people of Goan origin live abroad. ``Almost one third of Goa's total population of 1.4 million lives abroad. Goa was also the first state to have started a scheme to issue `Goa Cards' to NRIs to give them unhindered access to government departments.
"We will also be the first state in India to put NRI representatives from countries with a large Goan expatriate population on a high-powered committee to address their grievances. This committee, headed by me, will have high-ranking state officials, including district collectors," Faleiro said.
To expedite NRI investment proposals, he said, the Goan government has appointed a nodal officer in the industry department.
"To reconnect second and third generation Goans abroad with their roots, the state government has launched a program called `Know Goa'.
"Under this program, we will invite 15 youngsters (in the age group of 18 to 26) who have distinguished themselves academically or professionally, to visit Goa for 15 days as guests of the state. We will pay all their expenses,'' the former Indian minister said.
Faleiro said the state government has also initiated a study to monitor migration from Goa. "As part of this study, we will visit people in their homes to know how many of their family members live abroad and how much money they send back home. We have also asked the Reserve bank of India to help us know how much remittances are coming into the state," he said.
The next Global Goans Convention is likely to be held in Australia.
"After holding first four conventions in Goa, we thought of going out of India and holding it in different countries. We held the first convention in Portugal last year. Hopefully, we will meet in Australia next year," Faleiro said.
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO TnT PAYS COURTESY CALL ON TnT PRESIDENT RICHARDS On Tuesday, July 15, 2008 a delegation of GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago Chapter paid a courtesy call to Trinidad & Tobago's President George Maxwell Richards. The delegation consisted of: Deosaran Bisnath, President of GOPIO Trinidad; Oscar Ramoutar, Treasurer; Sacha Mahabal, Assistant Secretary; Ena Maraj, PRO; Ms. Shivanie Ramcharitar, Youth Officer; and Dr. Vijay Ramlal Rai, Head of Culture Committee.
Public Relations Officer of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Ena Maharaj, informed President Richards of the history, formation, and objectives of GOPIO international and Mr. Deosaran Bisnath, President of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago discussed the policies, objectives, and plans of the New Executive and members of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago.
In recognition of distinguished service to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, a plaque was presented to President Richards by Mr. Deosaran Bisnath, President of GOPIO Trinidad.
GOPIO TnT officials with TnT President Richards. From L. to R.: Sacha Mahabal, Oscar Ramoutar, Deosaran Bisnath, President Richards, Ena Maraj, Shivanie Ramcharitar and Dr. Vijay Ramlal Rai.
TWO NEW GOPIO CHAPTERS INITIATED IN AUSTRALIA
Two new chapters have been initiated in Australia. GOPIO Brisbane under the leadership of Umesh Chandra and GOPIO Sydney North West under the leadership of Amrinder Bajwa. Both the chapters will be on probation for three months during which the ad-hoc chapter committees shall complete various legal and procedural formalities.
NRIs and PIOs from Brisbane area and those from Sydney North West interested to participate may contact GOPIO Brisbane President Umesh Chandra : email@example.com and GOPIO Sydney North West President Amarinder Bajwa firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO CENTRAL NEW JERSEY & PLAINSBORO ROTARY CLUB FELICITATES ANJALI DEVI
Rotary Club of Plainsboro, New Jersey and The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) of Central Jersey recently felicitated Mrs. Anjali Devi, a veteran Artist from Telugu Movie industry. The event was well attended by Indians living in Plainsboro, South Brunswick, Monroe and Princeton areas.
A veteran Telugu actress and producer, Devi acted in over 360 films and well known for her mythological role as Sita in Lava Kusa and glamorous roles in movies like Suvarna Sundari and Anarkali. Mrs. Anjali Devi received various Awards, including Raghupathi Venkaiah Award in 2005 for her life time service to Telugu film industry; she was conferred with Ramineni Award given for 2006 in fine arts sections. She won the prestigious ANR National Award for 2007.
The event started with an introduction of the Rotary Club of Plainsboro by Andy Iyengar, Past President of the Club. Mr. Dinesh Mittal, President of the club shared some of the community projects undertaken by Rotary Club of Plainsboro. Mr. Darshan Doshi, President Elect talked about some of the new projects that the club will be undertaking in this fiscal year. Dr. Rajeev Mehta (President, GOPIO Central New Jersey) spoke about the good work that GOPIO International has done for the Indian Diaspora and also introduced GOPIO of Central Jersey to the gathered audience.
Telugu artist Anjali Devi with officials of GOPIO Central New Jersey and Rotary Club of Plainsboro
Mr. Suresh Reddy introducing Mrs. Anjali Devi said, he was very fortunate to introduce Mrs. Devi who hails from Peddapuram, East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh, India. Mr. Reddy said Mrs. Devi acted in Lava Kusa, a milestone film and the first color film in Telugu film industry in 1963. Mr. Dinesh Mittal, President of the Rotary Club of Plainsboro along with Dr. Rajeev Mehta President of the GOPIO Central Jersey Chapter presented a Plaque to Mrs. Anjali Devi. Plaque read "Rotary Club of Plainsboro & GOPIO felicitate Mrs. Anjali Devi, for her relentless contribution to the Telugu/Indian film Industry".
Speaking at the event Mrs. Anjali Devi talked about her family, her career as an artist and philanthropy work that she is doing. Mrs. Devi was very passionate of the social projects that Rotary Clubs around the world take up and she wanted to participate in Rotary Club of Plainsboro's, "Jaipur Limb Project". Mrs. Anjali Devi donated some money for Jaipur Limb Project at the event. It was a great event that ended with many pledges towards Rotary social projects.
Contact: GOPIO-Central New Jersey President Rajeev Mehta, E-mail: email@example.com
GOPIO-AMSTERDAM PARTICIPATES WITH SURINAMESE HINDUSTANI COMMUNITY
This year the Surinamese-Hindustani community in the Netherlands has organised and is organising different programmes to celebrate the 135th Pravasi celebration. One of the special programmes of this Pravasi celebration in the Netherlands was an international symposium. It was held in The Hague on 5th June 2008 with a special reference to the Indian Diaspora of the Caribbean.
Shri Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Indian Overseas Affairs was the Chief Guest.
The keynote speaker was Prof. Dr. Brij Lal of the Australian National University. Prof. Lal was also Member of the Fiji Constitution Review Commission whose report forms the basis of Fiji's constitution. He was also the editor of the "Encyclopaedia of Indian Diaspora" published by the National University of Singapore.
The other speaker was Sandew Hira, Dutch historian and publicist of Surinami PIO origin. Sandew Hira is the pseudonym of Dew Baboeram. Dew is a researcher and consultant and is the editor in chief of the Global Atlas of the Indian Diaspora (GAID).
Minister Vayalar Ravi with GOPIO Amsterdam President Rajindre Tewari and other GOPIO officials after lunch hosted by GOPIO
The Hague Immigration Lectures with special reference on Indian Diaspora of the Caribbean and Fiji by Prof. Lal and the lecture by Sandew Hira are uploaded at the GOPIO website, http://www.gopio.net/publications.htm.
Contributed by Dr. Wahid Saleh in The Netherlands
HARISH BAJAJ IS GOPIO NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR NEW ZEALAND
Harish Bajaj has been appointed as the new GOPIO National Coordinator in New Zealand. Harish is a well known community activist in Auckland. He is Justice of the Peace and also has been conferred Queen's Service Order (QSO) for his service to the community. It has been due to the community mobilization work done by Harish that GOPIO has many chapters in New Zealand.
Contact: Harish Bajaj at firstname.lastname@example.org or GOPIO Pacific Regional coordinator Noel Lal at email@example.com. GOPIO SETS UP TASK FORCE ON NRI/PIO SENIORS
GOPIO Int'l has set up a task force on seniors with a purpose to find out issues and problems which Indian seniors may be having in the countries they have gone and settled and government benefits they may be getting. The Seniors Task Force Committee is headed by Mr. Jeet Suchdev, a well known community leader and former GOPIO National Coordinator in New Zealand. He is expected to prepare a document which would address questions such as:
What are the established procedures for sponsorship, who can sponsor and whom
What benefits seniors are entitled and after how long
How does single senior's benefits compare to couple's benefits
What are the established procedures in getting the benefits and are they difficult to follow
What is available org. assistance to seniors in going thru the process Approximate number of seniors sponsored by Indians
Sources of income for seniors: Own, government, children, other
Are these benefits adequate for fair living conditions
How does the senior's living condition compare the native born
Level of contentment and happiness
Are children and siblings supportive of seniors
Facilities for senior activities: Govt, private, civic
Reports of complaints and disillusionment
Return to India - percentage and prevalence
GOPIO would like input on the subject, which can be sent to GOPIO Secretary General at Ramsaran@aol.com.
GOPIO CHAPTERS CELEBRATE INDIA INDEPENDENCE DAY
GOPIO Sydney Chapters Join Hand - Three GOPIO chapters in the metro Sydney area, GOPIO Sydney, GOPIO North West and GOPIO South West chapters joined together to participate in India-Australia Friendship Fair on 10 August 2008 in Sydney Olympic Park.
GOPIO Sydney, GOPIO North West and GOPIO South West chapters had set up their own stall in the magnificent Athletic Centre venue. Among various VIPs who visited the stall were Her Excellency Mrs Sujatha Singh, High Commissioner of India, Hon. Mr David Bradbury, Federal Member of Parliament from Lindsay constituency.
Dr Rohitas Batta, President GOPIO Sydney Chapter, Mr Amarinder Bajwa, President, GOPIO North West Chapter and Mr Mahavir Prasad, Treasurer GOPIO Sydney put all out efforts to market GOPIO in the mega event. Electronic presentations were the brain child of Mr Bajwa.. Mr Gambhir Watts, Mr Harry Walia, Mrs Lucky Singh, Mr Vijay Jogia and Dr Virk were also present from the GOPIO family.
The event was organized by United Indian Associations, an apex body of the Indian organizations in Sydney. This function was attended by Her Excellency High Commissioner of India, Mrs Sujatha Singh, Consul General, of India in Sydney, Hon. Mr Sujan Chinoy, various Federal and State Parliamentarians and other dignitaries. About 10,000 people attended the fair which is celebrated every year to mark Indian Independence Day. Cultural Items were the main attraction and about 100 stalls provided variety of food and other information about educational, social and cultural aspects of multicultural India & Australia.
Contact: GOPIO Sydney President Dr. Rohitas Batta firstname.lastname@example.org, GOPIO Sydney North West President Amarinder Bajwa email@example.com, GOPIO Sydeny South West President Jagdish Lodhia firstname.lastname@example.org or GOPIO Austraslia National Coordinator Gambhir Watts email@example.com.
Photo below: GOPIO Sydney chapters' team members including Dr. Rohitas Batta, Amarinder Bajwa, Harry Walia and Mahavir Jain with Australian Member of Parliament David Bradbury at the Australian-India Friendship
GOPIO-CT Celebrates with Flag Hoisting and Children's Program in Stamford
On August 16, 2008 Stamford, Connecticut witnessed a cheerful gathering of Indian Americans from Fairfield and Westchester County celebrating the 61st Anniversary of India's Independence. GOPIO - Connecticut Chapter sponsored this event at the Stamford Government Center with Stamford's Mayor Dan Malloy as the chief guest along with Mr. P.S. Sashi Kumar, Consul for Visa and Passport and Community Affairs at the Indian Consulate, New York. The event was attended by about 300 people ranging from toddlers to seniors. There was certainly a feeling of pride and unity in the room decorated with balloons, banners and Indian and American flags.
Mayor Malloy praised the Indian community which is one of the fastest growing communities in Connecticut. "Some people are afraid of change. However, this country provides great opportunities to new immigrants who in turn bring their cultures and values to the American society. Celebrating countries of our origin is also an American tradition," said. Mayor Malloy issued a proclamation India Independence Day Stamford and raised the American and American flags. "As the Indian flag is raised and its national Anthem is sung, I encourage all citizens to join the Indian Community in celebrating the 61st anniversary of India's independence.
Mr. Sashi Kumar complimented the community's contribution to the passage of US-India Atomic Energy Cooperation Bill in the US Congress. "When India got its impendence, people around the world thought it would disintegrate. India has not only progressed, the country has become new place of opportunities with global stature," said Sashi Kumar.
GOPIO-CT President Sangeeta Ahuja, in her welcome address said that GOPIO-CT has become very active group providing services not only to the Indian American community, but also to the local society.
Following the flag hoisting ceremony, children read the contributions of several leaders of India independence movement and other revolutionaries including Rani Lakshmibhai of Jhansi, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lal Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh, Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Pandil Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Valabhbhai Patel.
The program was coordinated by Arun and Mangala Dongre.
Contact: GOPIO-CT President Sangeeta Ahuja at 203-329-9744 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO VICE PRESIDENT RAJ LOOMBA AMONG QUEEN'S HONORS LIST
GOPIO's European Region Vice president and entrepreneur Raj Loomba whi has been campaigner of widows' rights is among 17 other Asians chosen for the Queen's Birthday Honors this year. Loomba, founder of the Loomba Trust has been made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for "charitable services to poor widows and their children overseas."
A tireless campaigner for improving the plight of widows and their children all over the world, Loomba and his wife Veena Loomba set up the Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Trust in 1997, of which Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is the President. The Trust educates over 3,600 children throughout India, including 500 in Tamil Nadu who lost their father or both parents in the tsunami.
As chairman of the British Indian Golden Jubilee Banquet Fund, Loomba runs a program of visiting fellowships at Cambridge, Oxford and other leading universities including Edinburgh, Hull and Wales, whereby prominent Indian academics raise awareness of India's diverse heritage and current achievements as an emerging force in the world economy.
Others in the honors list this year are - Surina Narula, Jashvant Chauhan, Prof Romesh Chand Gupta, Samatiben Desai, Balraj Singh Dhesi, Satbir Singh Giany, Baldev Krishan Goyal, Tanika Gupta, Prakash Chandra Kakoty, Kulwant Kaur, Kumar Jayant Shamrao Kotegaonkar, Balwantbhai Dayabhai Unka Patel, Hitesh Kaji Patel, Sheliagh Ann Ram, Shahien Taj, Mahesh Paul Thapar, Vandana Saxena Poria, and Shalini Mahtani.
GOPIO CHAPTER PRESIDENT BECOMES JUSTICE OF PEACE
GOPIO Auckland South Chapter President Davinder Singh Rahal has been appointed as Justice of the Peace (JP) in New Zealand.
Justices of the peace are appointed to carry out important functions in the administration of documentation and justice. All JPs perform such duties as witnessing documents, certifying copies and taking declarations, affidavits or affirmations. Some with legal qualification can be authorized to perform judicial duties.
GOLFER VIJAY SINGH WINS BRIDGESTONE INTERNATIONA
Vijay Singh, the former world's #1, was victorious on the PGA Tour after not having won a tournament in almost a year and a half. His 32nd PGA Tour victory means he has won more tournaments on the tour than any foreign-born player - more than such big names as Gary Player, Ernie Els and others.
Despite having his belly putter abandon him at several critical spots down the stretch, Singh gutted out the victory Sunday, winning the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational by one stroke over Stuart Appleby and Lee Westwood at Firestone Country Club and pocketing $1.35 million.
Singh, who has alternated between the belly putter and a conventional model all season, shot a final- round 2-under 68 to finish the 72 holes at 10-under 270. Appleby also shot 68, and Westwood, who began the day as one of the tournament's tri-leaders, shot 69 and failed to catch the 45-year-old Fijian, who became the oldest player and the first in his 40s to win a WGC event.
BRITISH INDIAN RAMI RANGER RECEIVES DIVERSITY AWARD
Dr. Rami Ranger, MBE, FRSA was appointed as one of the diversity champions by the Next Steps Foundation and the Award was presented to him by the Rt. Hon. Andy Burnham MP the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sports in a prestigious ceremony which was attended by over 500 dignitaries and guests. Among those present was the Foreign Secretary The Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP.
As a Diversity Champion, Dr. Ranger will travel throughout Europe Championing Diversity in Europe. It should be noted that Dr. Ranger has been Championing the cause of Ethnic Minorities in Britain for decades. He worked hard to make the Conservative Party an Ethnic Friendly and it has now become an inclusive Party.
He was also the first to bring British people of Indian and Pakistani origin to celebrate for the first time ever, anywhere in the world, their joint Independence Day Celebrations last year. It marked a watershed in their relationships in this country where they live side by side and where their destines are now linked.
INDIAN AMERICAN SARITA JAMES SELECTED AS WHITE HOUSE FELLOW
Sarita James from Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been selected as one of the fourteen White House Fellows for the Class of 2008-2009. Currently, Sarita is a Senior Vice President of the 50-person Strategy and Policy Division at New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Prior to NYCEDC, Sarita worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, where she advised clients in the technology and telecommunications industries. She began her career as a Program Manager at Microsoft Corporation, where she was awarded two patents and served on the board of its 2,000-plus-member women's organization.
In 1994, she received the Grand Prize at the International Science and Engineering Fair for her research on software speech recognition. James's humor writing has appeared in the New York Times, and she has received a first offer on her upcoming memoir, "Indian in Indiana: Adventures of a Misfit from America's Heartland." She has run the 2003 ING New York City Marathon and cycled in the 2000 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, a 200-mile, one-day event.
Sarita spent a summer volunteering with Mother Teresa's orphanage in Kolkata and serves on the board of Ankur Kala, a Kolkata-based women's non-profit. She received a B.A. in Computer Science from Harvard College and her M.B.A. from Oxford University's Said Business School.
The White House Fellows Program, founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, offers exceptional men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the Federal government. Fellows participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with leaders from the private and public sectors and study trips to examine U.S. policy in action. Following the Fellowship year, the Fellows repay the privilege by contributing to the country as better national leaders and public servants.
Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of remarkable professional achievement, evidence of leadership skills, a strong commitment to public service, and the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute successfully at the highest levels of the Federal government. The program has fostered leaders in many fields, including Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, former CNN President Tom Johnson, United Nations Foundation President and Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth, former Supreme Allied Commander for Europe Wesley K. Clark, U.S. Senator Samuel Brownback, and U.S. Representative Joe L. Barton. PRESIDENT BUSH TO NOMINATE SANDY BARUAH AS US SBA ADMINISTRATOR
President George W. Bush has recently announced his intention to nominate three individuals to serve in his Administration. The President intends to nominate Santanu "Sandy" K. Baruah, of Oregon, to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Mr. Baruah currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Economic Development at the Department of Commerce. Prior to this, he served as Chief of Staff of the Economic Development Administration at the Department of Commerce. Earlier in his career, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development at the Department of Commerce. Mr. Baruah received his bachelor's degree from the University of Oregon and his master's degree from Williamette University.
In the meanwhile, the U.S. Senate has voted to confirm the nomination of Neel Kashkari as the U.S. Treasury's second assistant secretary for international affairs. Kashkari, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs & Co who serves as an adviser to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, will join Assistant Secretary Clay Lowery in the international affairs role, expanding the Treasury's capacity to work with foreign governments and multilateral institutions. Kashkari, who headed Goldman's information technology security investment banking practice in San Francisco before joining the Treasury, has been advising Paulson on a variety of issues, including the U.S. housing market, since his nomination in November 2007. Paulson was chief executive of Goldman Sachs before taking over as Treasury Secretary in July 2006. INDIAN AMERICAN TO HEAD MONTEREY INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
Indian American Dr. Sunder Ramaswamy has been appointed as the president of the California based Monterey Institute of International Studies. Dr. Ramaswamy is currently the Dean of the Faculty Development and Research, Frederick C. Dirks Professor of International Economics, and Project Director for Middlebury Monterey Institute of International Studies.
He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Purdue University in 1991, an M.A. in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and B.A. (Honors) in Economics from St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi, India. His principal fields of specialization are Development Economics, International Economics, Issues in Applied Microeconomics and Quantitative Methods.
Over the years he had held visiting positions at the Madras School of Economics (Chennai, India, Vanderbilt University, Institute of Financial Management and Research, (Chennai, India), Purdue University, and the World Bank. He has been involved with World Bank projects on various aspects of economic reforms in India. In the past he has also been associated with USAID and INTSORMIL projects on agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa. His teaching interests include Development Economics, International Economics, and Microeconomic Theory. His research interests are in the areas of development economics, international economics and applied microeconomics. His co-edited several books including Development and Democracy: New Perspectives on an Old Debat and Social Capital and Economic Development: Well-Being in Developing Countries. PIO ECONOMIST GOBIND NANKANI RECEIVES GHANANIAN NATIONAL AWARD
Gobind Nankani, prominent Indian-origin development economist and head of the Global Development Network (GDN), has been honored with a top Ghanaian national award for his contributions to the development of Ghana and Africa. Ghanaian President John A Kufour presented Nankani with the 'Order of the Volta' on July 3 in Accra.
Nankani was cited particularly for his role as vice president for Africa at the World Bank from 2004 to 2006, and also for his contribution over the years to the promotion of social development policy and financing. Kufuor presented awards to distinguished personalities, including foreign nationals. The awards were instituted by the nation's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, when Ghana attained republic status on July 1, 1960.
Speaking at the National Honors Awards, on the theme 'Branding Ghana for a Prosperous Future', Kufuor said: "We have sought to honor a cross section of society who in the course of their work has made exceptional contributions to the development of the nation. Today's function is to urge them on to greater service to the nation and encourage others to follow their example."
As head of GDN, Nankani oversees a worldwide association of researchers and policy institutes with the goal of generating and sharing knowledge, building research capacity and bridging the gap between ideas and policy for development.
Nankani firmly believes that "world-class research capabilities exist in developing countries. The challenge is to ensure that they influence policy debate at the country and regional levels". Informed policy-making instead of opinion-based policy-making is the key to effective and inclusive development and poverty reduction.
The online research database GDNet has over 7,000 registered researchers and provides access to over 14,000 journal articles for researchers in developing and transition countries. GDN became an International Organization in February 2008. It is headquartered in New Delhi. It signed the Headquarters Agreement with the Government of India in May 2008. GDN's regional offices are located in Cairo, Egypt and Washington. Its site is www.gdnet.org
PIO SOUTH AFRICAN JUDGE IS NEW UN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER
Navanethem Pillay, a judge in South Africa, has been appointed the new UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. Pillay (67), is to succeed Louise Arbour of Canada who completed her five-year term on June 30.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told the General Assembly his intention to appoint Pillay, who has served since 2003 as a judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Pillay was nominated after "an extensive selection process" which included consultations with member states and with the NGO community, Ban's spokesperson said,
"The secretary-general is committed to ensuring that human rights remain high on the agenda of the organisation. He expects that the new high commissioner will preserve the independence of her office and will maintain effective working relations with the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council," the spokesperson said.
INDIAN AMERICAN SANJAY JHA NAMED CO-CEO OF MOTOROLA
Motorola has named Dr. Sanjay Jha as CEO of its handset business and co-chief executive of the parent company (2007 sales: $36.6 billion). Motorola said it had snagged Sanjay Jha, the chief operating officer of Qualcomm Inc. and a star of the wireless industry, to head its handset division as it prepares to become an independent company.
Jha will also be co-chief executive of the parent company, sharing the responsibility with incumbent Greg Brown. Brown will take responsibility for Motorola's other two divisions.
INDO-GUYANESE GEORGE SUBRAJ HONORED
On Sunday, July 20, 2008 in Queens, New York, members of the Indo-Caribbean Counicl (IIC-NY) and Shri Devi Mandir welcomed Shri George Subraj, a PIO born in Guyana, to bestow upon him The Council's highest honor. Giving meaning and expression to its mission to "recognize Indo-Caribbean's and to serve others," The Council invited Shri George Subraj to receive this accolade for his financial, moral and humanitarian support of the first kidney transplant in Guyana, which was performed at the Georgetown Hospital. In fact, this is the first kidney transplant in the English-speaking Caribbean. Reflecting its plural composition, Council members Shri R.D. Kalicharran, Dr. Tara Singh, Hajee Zakir, Rev. Seopaul Singh, Shri Lalbachan Haricharran and Shri Roopnarain Persaud were in attendance at the temple to receive and welcome the honoree, Shri George Subraj.
Not only did Shri George Subraj contributed financially to the successful operation, he personally involved himself in all the logistics, permits and clearances from Government Ministries and hospital personnel. One could have expected complete cooperation from Guyanese officials; this however was not the reality. It was an uphill struggle to secure the necessary "paper works", and, if Shri George Subraj did not personally involve himself in securing the permits, the operation would not have even occurred, much less become the success it has been recorded to be. George Subraj's philanthropy deserves, and is here given, its rightful place in the history and maturity of the Indo-Caribbean group of People of Indian Origin.
The eight-hour operation was conducted by a U.S.-based medical team headed by Indian-born Dr Rahul M Jindal of Brookdale University Hospital. Other members included: Dr Edward Falta, Transplant Surgeon of the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre (WRAMC), Washington; Dr Melenie Guerero, Pulmonary Care Physician; Laura Owens, Transplant Coordinator; and Dr Arthur L. Womble, attached to the Athens-Limestone Hospital, Athens, Alabama. The local team comprised: Dr Ravi Purohit, Surgeon; Dr Ramsundar Doobay, Consultant, Internal Medicine; Dr Anita Florendo, Registrar, Internal Medicine; Dr Vivienne Amata, Anaesthesiologist; Dr Pheona Mohamed-Rambaran, Laboratory Director; Delon France, Medical Technologist; and Dr Wilson, Radiologist.
Munesh Mangal is recovering well, and so is his mother, who donated one of her kidneys to him. They were discharged from hospital on Monday, July 21, 2008. Munesh is responding well to treatment and George and Lake returned to Guyana on Tuesday, July 22, 2008, to monitor and help provide post-operative care to the Munesh Mangal's family. The Guyana government has promised to supply at least three years' medication to Munesh. "If this is done right, then we will be on the right track to carry out similar transplant cases in the future." observed Shri George Subraj in his acceptance remarks. He continued in his remarks to give thanks to each and everyone who assisted in fulfilling the need of the sick. He made special mention of Lake Persaud, also a recipient of an ICC-NY award, for his exceptional public relations work to make the kidney transplant project the success that it is.
INDIAN AMERICAN BAGS BRONZE AT OLYMPICS 2008
The past four years have been a rough road for Houston-based Raj Bhavsar. A junior standout turned NCAA star and World team stalwart, Bhavsar felt he deserved a spot on the 2004 Olympic team and was devastated when he was named alternate instead.
That disappointment led Bhavsar to a dark place, where he questioned just about everything in his life. Houston gymnast Raj Bhavsar was named to replace 2004 Olympic gold medalist injured Paul Hamm on the USA Gymnastics men's Olympic team.
Fueled by an underdog's mentality, a burglar's guts and the grace under pressure that is a minimum requirement for performing on the Olympic stage, the men of USA Gymnastics won a bronze medal in the men's team competition.
China won the gold medal with 286.125 points, and Japan slipped past the U.S. on the final apparatus to take the silver with 278.875. The U.S. scored 275.85 to edge Germany at 274.6 for the bronze. The Americans were fueled early on by the bold, rock-solid performances of a squad that included Houston gymnasts Jonathan Horton and Raj Bhavsar, and at the end by Sasha Artemev's redemptive series of twirls around the pommel horse as anchor man on the team's weakest apparatus.
"It's been an amazing and enlightening experience. After '04, there was a lot of hurt that went on in the sport for me. I had to succumb to that and surrender to it," said Bhavsar.
TWO INDIAN AMERICANS AMONG FORBES TOP-PAID YOUNG CEOs LIST
Two Indian-origin businessmen, publishing software giant Adobe's Shantanu Narayen and global outsourcing major Cognizant's Francisco D'Souza, have made to the league of young CEOs with fattest pay package in the US, as per a list compiled by Forbes.
Narayen has been ranked at the 5th and D'Souza at the 15th position in a list of 15 young CEOs, aged 45 or less. The list, published in the online edition of the US business magazine, has been topped by a person of Pakistani origin Nabeel Gareeb, who is the CEO of chipmaker MEMC Electronic Materials since April 2002.
In terms of age, D'Souza is the youngest of the 15 CEOs at 39. Gareeb is aged 43 and Narayen is 44, the report said.
However, Gareeb tops the list with an annual pay package of 79.6 million dollars, as against 12 million dollars of Narayen, who is the CEO of Adobe Systems since December 2007.
The annual total compensation for D'Souza, the CEO of Cognizant Technology since January 2007, has been put at 3.7 million dollars.
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
FIRST NRI UNIVERSITY TO BE SET UP IN BANGALORE The first university for overseas Indians providing higher and professional education will be set up in Bangalore as per recent announcement by the Indian government. The privately-run university will have 50 per cent seats reserved for People of Indian Origin and Non-Resident Indians and 50 per cent for students from within India.
The university would be governed by guidelines of the University Grants Commission. However, the Manipal Academy of Higher Education will set up the university and would have complete autonomy to decide the courses, fees structure and administrative set-up. It is likely to start admissions from next year. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs will supervise to ensure that the regulations are followed.
INDIANS ARE SECOND LARGEST GROUPS OF SKILLED MIGRANTS TO AUSTRALIA
IANS has reported that Indians have become the second largest group of skilled migrants arriving on Australian shores under the temporary skilled migration program during 2007-2008, according to new data released by Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Evans.
While almost a quarter of the temporary workers came from the UK, India came second with 14 percent followed by the Philippines at nine per cent and South Africa at six per cent. to meet the severe national skills shortages, especially in professional occupations and highly skilled jobs, as many as 110,570 visas were granted under the temporary skilled migration program last year, a 27 per cent increase on the previous year's 87,310.
As many as 81 per cent of 457 (work) visa holders were employed in professional occupations and highly skilled jobs with computing professionals, registered nurses, and business and information professionals being the top three listed occupations for temporary overseas workers.
The minimum salary Levels for 457 visa holders will increase by 3.8 per cent beginning Aug 1 next, after remaining frozen for over two years. The average nominated base salary for the temporary workers is about A$73,100.
Evans emphasized that the program is not a cheap labor scheme and the government would not tolerate the exploitation of workers.
"Although incidents of migrant worker exploitation are the exception rather than the rule, the government is moving to improve the protections in place to prevent exploitation of temporary skilled workers from overseas," Evans said in a statement.
Many of those coming under the temporary skilled migration program are choosing to become permanent residents. Almost 25,000 people on 457 visas became permanent residents during 2007-08, up 30 per cent on the previous year.
UK TIGHTENS VISAS FOR STUDENTS
Britain has unveiled stricter visa rules under which students from India and other non-European countries will be required to provide their fingerprints and prove that they have money to support themselves.
Official sources said the new system, known as Tier 4, will be more transparent and easily understood and will simplify the existing immigration rules. They said according to the new rules the students will have to be sponsored by education institutions that have been licensed by the UK Borders Agency.
Home Office minister Liam Byrne said "foreign students wanting to take advantage of our world-class universities and colleges must meet stringent criteria". "All those who come to Britain must play by the rules," he said.
"By locking people to one identity with ID cards, alongside a tough new sponsorship system, we will know exactly who is coming here to study and crack down on bogus colleges," he said.
According to new rules, the students will need to be sponsored by a licensed educational institution and obtain an identity card in advance, have a good academic track record and demonstrate that they can financially support themselves and any dependents.
The rules are intended to prevent people abusing the system by entering the country as students and then disappearing, the sources said.
The new student visa system under the Points Based System will require colleges and universities to report about the international students who fail to attend courses after gaining student visas, they said.
MINISTRY OF OVERSEAS INDIAN AFFAIRS TO HELP PIOs TO FIND THEIR ROOTS
In response to repeated requests - eight this year itself - from people of Indian origin settled in places such as the Caribbean Islands, the government is all set to put in place a mechanism to help these people trace their roots.
These people are descendants of indentured laborers of the 19th century, who settled in the then British colonies and lost all connections other than an emotional bond with India.
Officials from the Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs will meet officials from the states of UP and Bihar - the two states from which most indentured laborers were sent - later this month to set the ball rolling. Though UP claims to have already put in place a department, complaints from PIOs have shown it is far from effective. Apart from helping these people, the government also hopes that this will facilitate their investment in their villages.
MALAYSIAN INDIAN PARENTS PROTEST RACIAL ABUSE
About 500 angry parents and other members of the Malaysian Indian community gathered outside a school to stage a protest the alleged use of racial slurs the teacher against ethnic Indian students.
The incident took place at Banting, the principal town of Kuala Langat in Selangor state. The crowd began gathering outside SMK Telok Panglima Garang's main entrance from noon and dispersed about two hours later.
The headmaster was on leave so some teachers accepted on his behalf copies of the police reports made by two students. The reports also alleged that the teacher had beaten some students.
Coalition of Malaysian Indian NGOs secretary Gunaraj George, who was among those who handed over the reports, said such abuse would only result in breeding hatred and racial polarisation in schools.
The school teacher has been transferred but the local community refuses to treat the matter as closed and has demanded a public apology.
Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong said the teacher might be sacked if the allegations were proved true. He added that the ministry was awaiting an official report.
Ethnic Indians constitute eight per cent of Malaysia's 28 million population.
ABOUT 300,000 OCI CARDS ISSUED BY GOVT. OF INDIA
The number of Overseas Indians granted Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards reached 285,611 as of July 31, 2008, large majority, over 120,000 are from the United States. Other countries where sizeable numbers have been given OCI cards are from UK, Canada and Australia and Sri Lanka.
The OCI scheme was started in December 2005 in response to persistent demand for "dual citizenship" from overseas Indians in North America and the western world. The OCI certification facilitates life-long visa-free travel to India in addition to certain economic, educational and cultural benefits.
INDIAN PHYSICIANS AGAIN CLASH WITH BRITISH GOVERNMENT
Indian doctors are once again suing the British government, this time accusing it of violating the spirit of a four-month-old court order by seeking to deny thousands the opportunity to live and work in Britain.
The doctors, who won a landmark judgment in their favor April 8, say the British home ministry subsequently refused to withdraw an earlier rule that they say unfairly disadvantages doctors from India and other countries currently working in Britain.
The rule concerns the number of years a person needs to have lived in Britain before qualifying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) - the first stage to full citizenship.
The home ministry raised the minimum requirement from four to five years in April 2006, but refused to withdraw this change while issuing policy guidance in July this year - a move that a spokesman for the doctors termed as "unfair and unlawful".
"Once again the Home Office has been requested to abide to the rule of law, and once again it seems inevitable that the law of the country needs to be enforced onto an obsessed Immigration Ministry which is going to waste the tax-payers' money to further defend such unfair and unlawful policies," said Amit Kapadia, executive director of the HSMP Forum.
In April this year, the Forum won a high-profile case in favour of doctors who had been granted Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) visas but suddenly found themselves unable to work in Britain because of changes made to the visa criteria. Although the judgment concerned changes made in November 2006, the Forum says the government is violating the spirit of the ruling.
According to Kapadia, the judgment delivered a complete package to bring relief to doctors. This action by the Home Office threatens the livelihood of a very large number of doctors.
"Migrants and their families who applied for indefinite leave to remain after four years - as it was initially promised by the UK government to entice them to come to Britain to contribute to UK economy - are now issued with refusal letters and are being asked to leave the country," the Forum said.
It said the difference of a year in qualifying for indefinite leave was causing migrants hardship and upsetting their plans.
Many migrants' children - faced with the prospect of having to pay high university fees that are charged international students - have abandoned studies, changed career plans or taken a year off studies.
Kapadia said the government has until mid-August to reply to a legal notice served by the Forum.
RULES FOR NRI INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE
Under the general permission, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) can freely purchase immovable property, such as residential and commercial property in India. There are no restrictions on the number of residential/commercial properties that an NRI/PIO can purchase. No document for the property is required to be filed with the Reserve Bank of India.
The general permission does not cover the purchase of agricultural land, plantation property or farm houses in India. A proposal to acquire agricultural land, plantation property or farm houses in India will require specific approval of the Reserve Bank and such proposal is considered in consultation with the Government of India.
SIKH GIRL IN SOUTH WALES WIN LEGAL BATTLE TO WEAR KARA IN SCHOOL
A teenage Sikh girl won a historic legal battle to wear kara, a religious bangle, in her school, which banned her from attending classes for breaking the "no jewelry" rule nine months ago. 14-year-old Sarika Watkins Singh was excluded from Aberdare Girls' School in South Wales in November 2007, for refusing to remove a wrist bangle which is central to her faith.
Justice Silber in the High Court said the bangle - known as the kara - was a symbol of her Sikh faith and not a piece of jewelry. "The school is guilty of indirect discrimination under race relations and equality laws."
As a sequel to the judgment, Sarika will be returning to the school in September wearing the Kara, a slim steel bracelet.
EDUCATIONAL SEATS FOR CHILDREN OF INDIAN DIASPORA
The Government recently decided to reserve at least 15% seats in various state educational institutions for children of Indians staying abroad. The ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) has asked the states to create 15% additional seats in educational institutions to accommodate children of NRIs/PIOs.
With a large number of NRI/PIO children showing keen interest to study in India, overseas Indians have been lobbying for an NRI university for the last many years. The government has already announced the setting up of one or more NRI universities, yet details of such a university have not been finalized. In the meantime, the government has decided to create seats in the existing institutes for the children of the Diaspora.
INDIANS SEEKING ADMISSION IN OVERSEAS UNIVERSITIES ON THE INCREASE
USA has been destination of choice for Indian students seeking higher education. Last year, as many as 83,000 Indians were enrolled in American universities while over 76,000 had enrolled in the prior year. However due to higher cost of learning in the US, Indians have been seeking admission in institutions of learning in UK, Australia, France or elsewhere.
During the last few years, many foreign employers have been recruiting the best and brightest Indians. Some foreign universities have also been attracting talented Indian students. Last year, 21,000 Indian students in the UK were on student visa.
In June, Indian government approved renaming Fulbright scholarship as Fulbright-Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarships and Grants and doubled the number of available scholarships. The cabinet also approved financing of education exchange program between India and the US.
UK STRENGTHENS SAFEGUARDS AGAINST FORCED MARRIAGES
Many South Asian parents - Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis -- force, pressure or persuade their children, particularly daughters, to get spouses from India, many with disastrous results. Children, on the other hand, born and raised in the western countries, face duality between their parents' culture and the host culture and would much prefer to marry person of their choice. The UK government has announced tightening of rules to prevent forced marriages.
Most of the victims of forced marriages are from South Asian communities and they range in age from 18 to 21. In the new law, the age for marriage visa has been raised to 21. All sponsors will be required to register their intention to marry overseas. Thus a young person before leaving UK would know in advance that the marriage will take place overseas. The sponsor and the spouse, in case of forced marriage, will face deportation for violating the new law. These steps are expected to significantly strengthen the safeguards against forced marriages.
The UK government would also require that the new spouse should know English or learn within a reasonable period. The spouse will be required to sign up an agreement to learn English and in the event of failure to learn English, permission to stay in the UK can be revoked.
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one-time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website
http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm) and get details of chapter initiation . Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:
GOPIO Secretary General - Ashook Ramsaran, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail: email@example.com
NEW LIFE MEMBER
To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit http://www.gopio.net/membership_form.htm, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.
Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO General Secretary (New York, USA); and Munish Gupta, GOPIO Media Chair (Los Angeles, Calif)
Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Gurgaon, Haryana, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)
Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (USA), Karan Narula (Australia), Bina Mahabir (USA), Deosaran Bisnath (Trinidad & Tobago), Dr. Renu Mishra (USA), Sunil Prasad (Belgium), Sat Sukdeo (USA), Barjinder Sodhi (Germany), Raj Lakha (UK), Harish Bajaj and Suman Kapoor (New Zealand) and Ryan Tewari (The Netherlands)
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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