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COMMUNITY | News in Brief:

San Jose Attorney Mohinder Mann Honored | United Way Leaders Visit India | Bhutto Mourned | Pravasi Honor | Elected President

San Jose Attorney Mohinder Mann Honored


Attorney Mohinder Singh Mann holding a California State Assembly resolution honoring him. He has recently been conferred the Civil Justice Award by the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association.

San Jose personal injury attorney Mohinder S. Mann and The Mann Law Firm have been awarded the Civil Justice Award by the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, according to a press release.

California Assemblyman Joe Coto introduced Mann at the Trial Lawyers Annual Holiday Party and Awards Night. Coto said, “Mann has served throughout his legal career the economically disadvantaged segment of our community that is in critical need of legal assistance.”

Mann  is a founding member of the Silicon Valley-based grassroots organization Coalition 2001. Under Mann’s leadership, Coalition 2001 was awarded the Asian Americans for Community Involvement’s highest honor for community service.

“Mohinder Mann is a leader who sets an example through the generous giving of his time and resources to make a difference in the lives of people that he touches”, said Ed Vasquez, executive director, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association.

On the legal front, Mann has been an advocate for additional and adequate court funding in Santa Clara County. He has served on the Board of Governors of Consumer Attorneys of California for four years and served as president of the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyer’s Association for two terms. He has been recognized for pro bono legal services to the seniors and families in need.

Numerous elected officials came out to honor him. County Supervisors Pete McHugh and Liz Kniss prepared resolutions as did California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber. Also in attendance  were former San Jose Vice-Mayor Cindy Chavez and numerous judges.

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United Way Leaders Visit India


Teresa Hall Bartels and other officials visiting an Indian hospital that is supported by United Way.

The Global United Way leadership recently visited with corporate and other community leaders in New Delhi, Mumbai and Baroda to discuss the importance of building on the good work already being done in the country and expanding it to a number of additional regions, according to an organization press release.

Currently, United Ways operate in Mumbai and Baroda.  United Way seeks to extend the successes of these organizations to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Goa, Hubli-Dharwad, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, the National Capital Region and Pune.

In New Delhi, United Way convened a meeting attended by over 50 individuals from U.S. multinational companies, NGOs and other area leaders to discuss such a partnership and to determine immediate.  “There is already a strong movement of individuals, companies and organizations in India who are looking for opportunities to impact critical human issues here,” said Teresa Hall Bartels, president of United Way International.  Among the participants at the meeting was  Indian cricketer Kapil Dev, who opened the meeting speaking about the increased disparity between the “haves” and “have-nots” and the bound duty of those with means to address it.

While in Mumbai, the Global United Way leadership team visited the United Way project in Dharavi and met with the Confederation of Indian Industry, U.S. Consul General Michael Owens, and the Indian Merchant’s Chamber.  

United Way Expansion in India Initiative was launched in 2007 with the objective of expanding United Ways across India. Led by Roma Kapoor, director, India Initiatives, United Way is increasing awareness and support for regional communities across India amongst non-resident Indians and with North American businesses with interests in India.  “India United Way Expansion Fund has been created to invite and encourage multinational corporations and NRIs to contribute,” said Kapoor.

More information is available on the Web at www.uwint.org

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Bhutto Mourned

Friends of South Asia, a San Francisco Bay Area organization, expressed shock and grief at the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and condemned this grisly act of violence. FOSA also mourned the death of 20 others in today’s explosion and hopes for the well-being of those injured.

“We do not know who killed her, or what the killers wanted to achieve. We grieve for the families of those killed, and for the nation of Pakistan, which has been traumatized by repeated acts of public violence. We share the anguish of the Pakistani people and appeal for an end to this mindless political violence,” said Ijaz Syed of FOSA.

FOSA also cautioned against this heinous act being used as an excuse to further clamp down on the civil liberties of the Pakistani people. “We brook no sympathies for any entities — religious, political or otherwise — who use senseless violence to further their aims. However, we also recognize that a fully functioning democratic government, with an independent media and judiciary, is necessary to safeguard the safety and security of the public at large,” added Sabahat Ashraf of FOSA.

The fact that Benazir Bhutto was killed while leading a political rally in Rawalpindi, a city regarded as a garrison city due to the presence of Pakistan Army’s headquarters, and not in NWFP or Baluchistan, the hotbeds of insurgency, where she had recently led several rallies, pegs the responsibility of providing adequate security to Bhutto’s election rally squarely on the shoulders of the Musharraf government. “It can safely be assumed that the political benefit — if any — of this tragic killing will be only for the present regime,” said Syed. “The military in Pakistan should not be allowed to use Benazir’s murder as an excuse to restore martial law or impose a state of Emergency in Pakistan again.”

More information is available at on the Web at  www.friendsofsouthasia.org/

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Pravasi Honor

Thomas Mammen

The third Bharatvanshi Gaurav (Pride of Overseas Indian) Award will be presented to Dr. Thomas Abraham, chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin,  by former Indian Vice President Bhairon Singh Sekhawat Jan. 4 in New Delhi.

The first Bharatvanshi Gaurav Award was given to Ranjith Ramnarain of the Republic of South Africa by Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam in  October 2005. The second award was given to Satnarayan Maharaj of Trinidad & Tobago by former Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral in December, 2006.

The award was constituted by Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Nyas (Trust for International Cooperation) to honor one person (PIO/NRI) each year for making an outstanding contribution towards fostering a better understanding abroad of India and/or for extending support to India’s causes, concerns and interests internationally and/or for making a significant contribution is service of the Indian Diaspora. The award consists of citation, shawl, memento and Rs. 100,000.

Abraham’s  was elected president of Indian Club of Columbia University in 1975.  He served as the first president (from 1976 to ’81) of the Federation of Indian Associations of New York which organizes the largest India Day Parade outside India and in 1980 he founded the National Federation of Indian American Associations, the largest umbrella organization of Indians in the U.S.  Abraham currently serves as the chairman of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin  which he founded in 1989. Abraham also served as the co-chairman of the fund raising campaign to institute a chair for Indian studies (now known as Jagdish Bhagwati Chair for Indian Political Economy) at Columbia University . Two other groups initiated by Abraham are the National Indian American Association for Senior Citizens and South Asian Council for Social Services.

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Elected President

Dilip Butani

Dilip Butani was unanimously elected president of the Federation of Indian-American Associations, Southern California, for the year 2007-2008, according to a press release.

FIA is the parent organization of Indian-American associations. It has a number of functions  besides the celebration of Republic Day function and the India Independence Day mela.

Manu Patel will be the chairman and Ravji Patel will head the advisory committee.

The team includes Sharad Rao as the executive vice-president, Prakash Pancholi as the secretary and Varinder Mehta as the treasurer. The vice presidents are Nauzad Sadry (cultural), Neeru Seth (events), Subhash Tolia (community service), Aisha Patel (public relations), Veena Singh (planning), Ramesh Bhatt (senior citizens) and Kushi Sadry (youth).

Popular music director Jatin Pandit will be the international director.
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COVER STORY
Unsung Heroine:
Agnes Smedley

American feminist Agnes Smedley played a key role in assisting Indian freedom fighters in the U.S. and in Europe in the beginning of the 20th century, writes Ved Prakash Vatuk.


HUMAN RIGHTS
Humble Heroine:
Mukhtar Mai in Sacramento

Mukhtar Mai was declared Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year for her fearless stand against sexist oppression. She recently visited Sacramento, and our reporter Ras H. Siddiqui was there.


SUBCONTINENT
Midair Near Misses:
Air Traffic Crisis in India

India’s exponential growth in air traffic is now the cause of a missed mid-air collision every 15 days, writes Siddharth Srivastava.


OTHER STORIES
EDITORIAL: Unsung Heroine
NEWS DIARY: December
PHOTO ESSAY: 2007: Year in Review
OVERSEAS INDIANS: GOPIO Awards
TRIBUTE: Goodbye, Benazir
SCIENCE: A Close Relationship
ETHNIC ISSUES: Study in Contrasts
SUBCONTINENT: India’s New Boom
TRAVEL: Bear Valley, Calif.
HEALTH: Pregnancy 101
COMMUNITY: News in Brief
INFOTECH INDIA: Round-up
MUSIC: Kal Ki Yaadein Concert
AUTO: 2008 Acura MDX
BOLLYWOOD: Taare Zameen Par
BOLLYWOOD: Guftugu
TAMIL CINEMA: Mirugam
RECIPE: Hot Kachri
HOROSCOPE: 2008 Yearly Forecast

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