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COMMUNITY | News in Brief: November 2009

Fremont Realtor Earns Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation | Sankara Nethralaya Hosts Event in Fremont, Calif. | Cricket for a Cause | Qawwali Concert | Key Administration Post | German Award for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar | Awards Banquet | Bill to End Hepatitis

Fremont Realtor Earns Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation

Ashok Kumar Gupta of Intero Real Estate Services in Fremont, Calif., has earned the Certified Distressed Property Expert designation, having completed extensive training in foreclosure avoidance, with a particular emphasis on short sales, according to a press release from Intero.

“At a time when millions of homeowners are struggling with the possibility of foreclosure, the skills and education accumulated by Gupta will help benefit Fremont area residents and communities,” the release added.

“Short sales allow the distressed homeowner to repay the mortgage at the price that the home sells for, even if it is lower than what is owed on the property. With plummeting property values, this can save many people from foreclosure and even bankruptcy. More and more lenders are willing to consider short sales because they are much less costly than foreclosures.”

Today, more than 13 percent of homeowners are delinquent on their mortgage or in the foreclosure process. This is occurring across all price ranges, and the fastest-growing category of homes in foreclosure is the luxury home market.

“The CDPE designation has been invaluable as I work with homeowners and lenders on complicated short sales,” said Gupta. “It is so rewarding to be able to help families save their homes from foreclosure.”

Alex Charfen, co-founder and CEO of the Distressed Property Institute in Austin, Texas, said that agents such as Ashok Gupta with the CDPE Designation have an valuable perspective on the market, and training in short sales that can offer homeowners real alternatives to foreclosure, which can be devastating to credit ratings.

“These experts better understand market conditions than the average agent, and can help sellers through the complications of foreclosure avoidance,” he said.

The Distressed Property Institute provides live and online courses to train real estate professionals how to help homeowners in distress, with a particular emphasis on handling short sales.

“Our goal is to help as many homeowners as possible, by educating as many real estate professionals as possible,” Charfen said. “Ashok Gupta has demonstrated a commitment to the struggling homeowners, and will provide much-needed assistance in stabilizing the community.”


Sankara Nethralaya Hosts Event in Fremont, Calif.

At the Sankara Nethralaya awareness event in Fremont, Calif. (l-r): Dr. Jacob Eapen, Dr. Tarun Sharma, Attorney Mahesh Bajoria, Dr. Deepak Sachdev and Roger Bakshi, CEO of Calcoast Financial Corp.

Dr. Tarun Sharma of Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, held an awareness and fundraising event at the residence of Fremont-based attorney Mahesh Bajoria Oct. 25.

Sankara Nethralaya is a non-profit charitable organization that has eye hospitals throughout India. It was founded by Dr. Badrinath along with a group of philanthropists.

Sharma gave a presentation about the current activities and future plans of Sankara Nethralaya in India.

A new six-storey hospital with state-of-the-art facilities was opened recently in Kolkata.

Sankara Nethralaya has received wide recognition and numerous awards including Corporate Citizen award from the government of India.

Sankara Nethralaya is also involved in extensive educational, training and research activities in medical science.

Sankara Nethralaya is looking for donors as well as people interested in charity and service to mankind.

Funds can be donated through Sankara Nethralaya Opthalmic Mission Trust Inc., a 510 (c)(3) registered organization in the United States. All donations are 100 percent tax exempt.

Interested readers can get more information at http://www.sankaranethralaya.org/ or at http://www.omtrust.org


Cricket for a Cause

Bay Area Cricket Alliance chairman Jaswinder Singh and Super 25 League president Alok Agarwal distributing the Man of the Match prize to Sher Ali at the fundraising match played Oct. 25.

Super25 champions Kings chased down a stiff target of 248 against an invitational XI in a 25-over-a-side game played Oct. 25. The game was played to raise funds for victims of the recent flooding in the southern part of India.

Invitational XI won the toss and decided to bat first on a very fast but wet Rancho Milpitas outfield. Invitational ended up with the score of 247 in 25 overs and both teams were treated to lunch hosted by Alok Agarwal and family.

The Kings team started their chase badly with Omar getting Ravi caught and bowled and Sukhchan leg before wicket in a very erratic first over. However the team subsequently recovered and hit the winning runs in the penultimate over. Sher Ali was adjudged the man of the match sponsored by California Cricket Academy.

It was an entertaining match for everyone who came to watch and also for those who played in it. Close to 500 runs scored in less than 50 overs of cricket, including two swashbuckling centuries.

At the time of writing this report close to $500 had been raised by cricketers, their family and friends and more donations are expected to come in later. That is almost a dollar for every run made in the game. The Bay Area Cricket Alliance and Super 25 deserve the thanks of the community for putting the event together in such a short notice and warms thanks to the players who came from leagues all across the Bay Area to participate in this event. All participating players donated their match fees to this cause. This fundraiser also served as a kick-off event to Super 25 Winter League that begins with top teams from the Bay Area vying for the coveted Super 25 championship and prize money.


Qawwali Concert

Imran Aziz Mian Qawwal

His father, the late Aziz Mian, was a giant amongst the world of qawwali singers and is still credited with holding the record for the longest single song ever sung within the confines of this unique vocal art form (Hashr Ke Roz Main Poochhunga) lasting over 110 minutes. After the death of the senior Mian in the year 2000, his three sons took up the mantle, hoping to emulate their father’s success. And seeing one of them, the young Imran, rising to his knees while singing with hands raised here in Northern California, the sight brought back memories for his fan of his father as this was once his trademark signature performance move.

Qawwali is devotional music and song which the Sufis embraced in the Persia-India-Pakistan region. It is certainly an acquired taste but once you are hooked; there are few other art forms that compare. The words are mainly Urdu-Hindi-Punjabi but Persian and sometimes regional languages are also used to communicate with the immediate audience. And it is how the performer communicates along with the theme that make qawwali distinctive: In praise of God, praise of the prophet, in praise of the Imam (Ali) and Sufic poetry, known as humd, naat, manqabat and kafi respectively. It’s a heady mix that can move the listener to a trance-like state.

Dr. Raza Mirza of Kahkashan Art Council did not err while introducing Imran Aziz Mian and his party (Humnawa). As soon as his rendition of Maula (God) was heard on the stage, time just decided to fly. The repetition, synchronization of hand clapping and strength of vocals blended wonderfully together in this humd.

For qawwali enthusiasts, this was not the show to miss. Imran Aziz Mian continues to sustain his father’s legacy with strong performances. He is one vocalist that traditional qawwali fans will learn to appreciate for years to come.

— Ras H. Siddiqui


Key Administration Post

U.S. President Barack Obama Oct. 29 announced his intent to nominate Suresh Kumar assistant secretary of commerce and director general of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, Department of Commerce, according to a press release from the White House.

Kumar is president and managing partner of KaiZen Innovation. He served as special advisor to the Clinton Foundation where he worked with governments in Sub-Saharan Africa and corporate CEOs to establish private-public partnerships to stimulate economic development in the region. Kumar previously served on the group operating committee at Johnson & Johnson and as vice president of consumer products for Latin America at Warner Lambert/Pfizer.

Kumar has published papers on global management and served as adjunct faculty member at the Schulich School of Business at Toronto’s York University, Bombay University, and has been appointed professor of international business at the Rutgers University EMBA program.

Between 1970 and 1985, Kumar was a news anchor on national television in India. He has an economics degree from Delhi University, an MBA from Bombay University, and is an alum of the Thunderbird International Consortium Program. In 2004,. Kumar was named Distinguished Executive-in-Residence by Thunderbird School of Global Management for his contributions to global trade.


German Award for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

At the award ceremony to confer on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar the 2009 Culture in Balance Award Oct. 10 in Dresden, Germany (l-r): Prof. Bernd Guggenberger, dean of Lessing University, Berlin; Helma Orosz, mayor of Dresden; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder, Art of Living Foundation; Prof. Gesine Schwan, candidate for the 2009 German presidential elections and dean of Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, Berlin; Nirj Deva, Member of European Parliament; Mrs. Deva; and Hans-Joachim Frey, director of Forum Tiberius.

Spiritual leader and Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was Oct. 10 conferred with the 2009 Culture in Balance Award in Dresden, Germany, in recognition of his contribution to culture and for his commitment to global cultural balance. In granting the award, the selection committee attached special importance to Sri Sri’s efforts in promoting intercultural dialogue, peace and reconciliation in conflict zones, and ethics in business.

The award, instituted by the Forum Tiberius, was presented to Sri Sri by Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz amidst a standing ovation. The award ceremony took place in a special session of the World Culture Forum at Volkswagen’s landmark transparent factory in Dresden.

Tributes were paid to Sri Sri by a number of individuals, including Nirj Deva, British Member of European Parliament; Prof. Gesine Schwan, candidate for the 2009 German presidential elections and dean of the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, Berlin; and Prof. Bernd Guggenberger, dean of Lessing University, Berlin.

In her address, Prof. Schwan praised Sri Sri for his peace efforts, global service projects, and valuable counsel on the various social and political issues facing the world. “It is admirable with what a gentle resoluteness, with what a calm dynamic, with what full concentration, with what incorruptible kindness, Sri Sri makes people understand that they can only contribute to peace by overcoming their own inner fear and prejudices against others,” she said in German.

Upon receiving the award, Sri Sri said, “I share this award with all those people who stand for a violence-free and stress-free society. This award is not for a person or personality, but for a principle that stands for the ideal of a ‘one world family’ and cultural plurality.”


Awards Banquet

The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center (www.keralacenter.net) will honor seven Indian American Malayalees for their outstanding achievements in their field of specialization or for their service to the society, according to a press release. The awardees will be honored at Kerala Center's annual banquet Nov. 14 at the Kerala Center in Elmont, N.Y.

The chief guest is Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the UN. The keynote address will be delivered by Prof. T.V. Paul, James McGill Professor of International Relations in the department of political science and director of Center for International Peace and Security Studies at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Prof. Paul will speak on the topic “Is India’s Peaceful Rise Possible?” According to Prof. Paul, the rise of India as a great power along with China is expected to take place before the middle of this century. As its power capabilities especially in the military and economic arenas increase, India is expected to claim a stake in the global power hierarchy. Will this claim be peaceful or violent? Entertainment will follow after the award ceremony. Tickets for the banquet can be reserved by contacting Kerala Center at (516) 358-2000 or e-mail at thekeralacenter@yahoo.com.


Bill to End Hepatitis

Rep. Congressman Michael Honda, D-Calif., chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, introduced the bi-partisan Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Control and Prevention Act of 2009, to address a national Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C epidemic impacting America. The bill incorporates the monitoring, testing and research and education provisions contained in the Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C bills from the 110th Congress. Rep Honda’s bi-partisan legislation was drafted in strong partnership with Reps. Charles Dent, R-Penn., Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., William Cassidy, R-La., David Wu, D-Ore., and Anh “Joseph” Cao, R-La. They are joined as original co-sponsors by Reps. Todd Platts, D-Penn., Delegate Donna M. Christensen, D-Virgin Islands, Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Judy Chu, D-Calif., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.

Rep Honda, chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said, “Chronic Hepatitis B and C are silent killers, poised to strike millions of Americans and it is time for Congress to act in a concerted effort to educate particularly vulnerable communities as well as the general public. For example, due to a number of factors, Asian American & Pacific Islanders have a much higher prevalence rate of hepatitis B and develop liver cancer at a much higher rate than other ethnic groups. “However, few in the AAPI community are aware of their risk factors or about how to manage or treat the disease. This bipartisan bill judiciously invests federal money in a balanced, comprehensive approach to viral hepatitis education, prevention, treatment, and management and I look forward to working to pass this legislation.”



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EDITORIAL: Nobel-winning Research
SUBCONTINENT: Afghan Engagement
COMMUNITY: Eid in the Family
RECIPE: Chicken Tikka
REAL ESTATE: Foreclosure or Short Sale: Your Best Option
SUBCONTINENT: Looking for Julia
TRAVEL: McArthur-Burney Falls
AUTO REVIEW: 2010 Mazda CX-7 Sport
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: All the Best
TAMIL FILM: Aadhavan
COMMUNITY: Diwali & Annakut
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