On April Fool’s Day, April first, a nonpartisan group of local citizens will join marchers around the US for a very serious cause: healthcare access. Organizer Nilofer Couture is planning a satellite march in Sylva that will coordinate with marches set for Washington D.C., New York City, Seattle and other communities across the country.The goal is “equitable, affordable, quality health care for all” and an extensive Bill of Rights. Under the new administration, people everywhere have grown concerned with the future of healthcare and losing the important gains that were made with passage of the Affordable Care Act. Marchers are insisting that healthcare is not a red or blue issue, but a human one. “Regardless of whom you voted for last November, women don’t want to go back to the days of paying more for their health insurance than men”, says Nilofer. The group’s Bill of Rights includes demands that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on, such as ‘those with pre-existing conditions receive exactly the same rates and the same access to coverage as everyone else’ and ‘No one loses coverage as the result of any legislative transition period.’The aim of the march is to put a human face on the people with so much at stake- all Americans. “You shouldn’t have to worry that you’re one bad test result away from bankruptcy,” says Lauren, explaining “if coverage caps are once again instituted every person is at risk.”Asheville activist and journalist Leslie Boyd will be the keynote speaker who, along with Dr. Ed Morris from Franklin, Doug Trantham (Behavioral Health and Clinical Director, Cherokee Hospital), Caitlan Wyatt (Community Field organizer, Planned Parenthood) and Joe Sam Queen, (former Democratic member of the House of the NC House of Representatives), will speak at the rally before the march. They will speak about those lives that stand to be affected by any loss of coverage. The speakers feel passionately about healthcare as a human right. “Women and children especially stand to lose so much in preventative care that they’ve been getting for free. Things like well-woman and well-child visits, vaccinations, mammograms, and pap smears.Marchers will gather first at the Bridge Park in Sylva from 1:00 – 3:00 pm for a rally and then march down Mill Street and Main Street where the march will end at the fountain.
19 March 2013Experts from the BRICS group of countries have given their backing to the creation of a BRICS development bank, as well as an alternative to Western rating agencies for educational institutions, says the executive director of Russia’s National Committee for BRICS studies, Georgy Toloraya.The fifth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit will take place in Durban next week.Officials from the five countries met in Durban over a weekend earlier this month for a workshop aimed at mapping out a long-term strategy for a mooted consortium of BRICS think tanks.The experts held three days of sessions in the run-up to the summit, where they agree to establish a council of think tanks and to “support the idea of a BRICS bank”, Toloraya said last week.Toloraya said the first phase such a financial institution would serve as a centre of analysis.“We use World Bank and International Monetary Fund statistics and analytical reports all the time, as we have no such instruments of our own. A future BRICS Investment Bank is seen as a mechanism that would help realize where money should go, agree development strategies and coordinate investment,” Toloraya said.The experts also speculated that the BRICS countries might conclude preferential trade agreements. “It will not be a free trade zone yet, but a first step towards it. Settlements in national currencies are not ruled out,” Toloraya saidThe recommendation to create a BRICS rating agency for educational establishments has similar reasons behind it.“None of our universities is high on the Western rating lists. In the meantime, the Silicon Valley in the United States is crowded with Russians,” Toloraya said, adding that Western university ratings relied on publications in Western magazines and on Western awards.“Such an agency would be rather easy to set up. When we know how we rate ourselves, possibly students will decide to go to study in Russia or elsewhere, and not in the United States,” he said.Toloraya sees the BRICS grouping as an “intellectual project for formulating new rules of global co-existence”.An association of countries located on four continents was “an alliance of civilizations which will never develop into a military bloc,” he said. “BRICS is an elite project, an attempt by rising powers to safeguard their interests together.“BRICS is a civilized attempt at coming to terms as to what a future world order should be. It is not accidental that the group’s participants are advocates of non-interference in internal affairs and of the rule of international law.”Source: SAnews.gov.za
As the saying goes, ‘you can take a Punjabi away from Punjab, but you can never take away Punjab from a Punjabi’. And the Punjabi diaspora across the globe stays true to that claim. Known to be courageous and enterprising, many Punjabis have made a mark globally. simply punjabi brings,As the saying goes, ‘you can take a Punjabi away from Punjab, but you can never take away Punjab from a Punjabi’. And the Punjabi diaspora across the globe stays true to that claim. Known to be courageous and enterprising, many Punjabis have made a mark globally. simply punjabi brings to you five such people who are achievers in their respective fields and are currently in the news. Though they are settled in different countries, their hearts beat for their soil in Punjab.Gill with his Italian shotgunSohrab Singh Gill, 23, shooterHe romances the gun and shooting is his passion. Sohrab Singh Gill grew up with guns all around him-his father Paramdeep Singh Gill is a Jammu and Kashmir-cadre Indian Police Service officer who served most of his term in the strife-torn valley and is today the director general of Punjab Police.”The guns and their sound fascinated me,” says Gill who took to shooting seriously at 16. “I started with rifle shooting but gradually began liking the shotgun. It was challenging shooting at flying targets,” says Gill. He is the only Indian to have won an international skeet medal at any event held outside India.Gill, currently pursuing his LLB from Chandigarh’s Panjab University, took it up as he could devote more time for his shooting. For four hours every day Gill practices his aim. The game demands a high level of concentration. “Also, you need good eye-hand coordination,” says Gill. Shooting, says Gill, is a very unforgiving sport: “You miss out on certain events and you are gone. You have to work hard throughout.”advertisementTuli shows off his invention, the UbisurferSuneet S. Tuli, 42, businessmanIt’s rather uncommon to find a mix of entrepreneurial moxie and humility in anyone. But Toronto-based Suneet Singh Tuli is an exception. Meet the man who virtually has the world in his palm. Aimed at leading an internet revolution in India he recently launched the Ubisurfer with free Internet. Tuli, the founder and CEO of DataWind Ltd, has had 20 years as an entrepreneur.Last few years Tuli has been focussed on providing affordable Internet to the consumer. He knows not all Indians can afford to spend over Rs 25,000 on a computer and an additional few thousands on an Internet connection. Hence, he has priced his UbiSurfer, (an internet-connected netbook) at an affordable Rs 7,999. Apart from being a netbook, it includes a CDMA modem Tata SIM and a free Internet connection for a year at 30 hours per month. “India is a different market with vast volumes and different needs. Now only a small portion have access to the net which ought to grow exponentially,” says Tuli, confident that the combination of fast and free access to the net will be a winner here.Brar on the sets of his filmKaran Brar, 11, actorHis teachers often visit him on the sets and his parents and grandparents just can’t keep the smile off their faces. But signing up three films with the famous production house 20th Century Fox is no reason to cry, is it? Karan Brar from Seattle, Washington, is the first 11-year-old Punjabi sikh who has in his kitty the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and its sequel. The film, based on the best-selling illustrated novel Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, chronicles the adventures of wisecracking middle school student Greg Heffley. Brar essayes the role of the second lead, a character by the name ‘Chirag Gupta’ in this movie.Greatly inspired by father Harry Brar, who acted in theatre during his college days, Brar fell in love with acting when he was only seven. His interest developed when he participated in Hollywood’s famous acting competition, IPOP (International Presentation of Performers), where he received rave reviews. His first acting assignment was an ad film for Shell Gas. “Actually, I hated acting as a seven year old. My dad inspired me so I did acting and I realised it was my talent,” smiles Brar.Bajwa strikes a poseNeeru Bajwa, 29, actorHer Bollywood debut was opposite Viveik Oberoi in Prince. An ex-runner up, Miss India Canada, her performances in Punjabi films like Dil Apna Punjabi, Heer Ranjha, Munde U.K. De, and now, the recently released Mel Kara de Rabba has been widely appreciated.Neeru Bajwa, a pretty and charming Punjabi model turned actress, has always been fond of acting ever since she can remember. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Bajwa strated out with a serial Hari Mirchi Laal Mirchi on Doordarshan.From a tender age, Bajwa has been interested in her culture and language and wanted to pursue acting in India. “I am thankful to my family for making me familiar with my native languages. Had I not been fluent in Hindi and Punjabi, I wouldn’t have ever thought of entering the Indian film industry,” says Bajwa.advertisementAccording to her, the Punjabi film industry is getting professional by the day, which really contributes towards the positive growth of the industry. “So far, my experience doing Punjabi films has been great,” she says and adds, “I had a great time working with Harbhajan Mann in Heer Ranjha for which I had to do a lot of research,” she says.Momi with her artworkTanya Momi, 49, artistA prolific painter and a successful salon owner in Mountain View, California, Tanya Momi rebuilt the pieces of her life after a traumatic marriage and divorce. Born into an intellectual sikh family in Chandigarh, Momi, a sensitive, shy child, showed an early talent for artistic expression. Thereafter, Momi earned her bachelors degree in art.”As a young woman, I was passionate about art,” says Momi, and adds, “My favourites were figure drawings and cubist paintings, techniques that have strongly influenced my painting style.”However, Momi lost touch with her artistic side when she got married and moved to California at 22. Rigid and orthodox, her in-laws didn’t allow her to pursue her passion or to step outside. However, on a neighbour’s suggestion of becoming a manicurist, the in-laws saw her as a money-maker and relented.After her divorce, Tanya was shunned by the women of her own community and propositioned by men. “I wasn’t swept asunder because of the faith in my gurus. In fact, many of my paintings display passages from the Guru Granth Sahib,” says Momi. Today, she has finished nearly 300 unique paintings. “I don’t have any artists I relate to,” she says. “My life is my inspiration.” n by Arvind Chhabra, Monita Sharma and Anandita Gupta